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Breese Family Monograph

Part 4 - pages 495 to 502

 "I suppose that none who knew him can doubt that he possessed a naturally amiable and generous temper; and it is due to candor to say that his kindliness of spirit sometimes interfered with his strength of purpose, and occasioned him not a little embarrassment in determining what was the course of duty. In all his deal­ings he was strictly upright, never making another's necessity his own opportunity. He had great constitutional diffidence. It was not easy for him to feel at home among strangers, or to mingle freely in the more stirring scenes of life; and yet this retiring, self-distrustful air that pervaded all his movements only drew him closer to the hearts of his friends. His presence was eminently a source of light and com­fort in his own house. In the training of his children the exercise of parental author­ity was so qualified and softened by parental tenderness as to render obedience a matter of pleasure not less than of duty. His friends always met a cordial welcome at his door, and his hospitality scarcely had a limit .... 

"While he held the great truths of the Gospel with unyielding tenacity, he made but little of denominational differences, where these truths were recognized; and hence we find him, at different times, in communion with churches bearing different names, and yet equally holding the Head. His natural diffidence combined with his inherent sense of propriety to keep him from an indiscriminate avowal of his relig­ious thoughts and feelings; but on all occasions that he deemed suitable he was ready to bear testimony in favor of the truth and excellence of the Gospel. His Christian character shone with increased brightness as the shadows of the night of death were gathering around him. The circumstances in which he was dying were not such as he would have chosen, but they were such as his heavenly Father had ordained, and that was enough. With serene composure, and an all-sustaining faith and hope, he passed through the dark valley, and passed on to his reward." 

The children of Richard Cary and Sarah Louisa (Davis) Morse, beside one who died in infancy, were four sons: Sidney Edwards,: Richard Cary, William Henry, and Oliver Cromwell; and five daughters: Elizabeth Ann, Charlotte Gebhard, Louisa Davis, Mary Russell,: and Rebecca Finley:--all of whom are now living. The youngest daughter is still unmarried.  Sidney E. Morse Jr. (Y. C. 1856), now of New York married Anna Matilda Church, a granddaughter of the elder Professor Silliman, and  Schuyler descent through her father, in 1859, and has two children, both daughters; Richard C. (Y. C. 1862), now Rev. R. C. Morse of New York, married Jennie E. daughter of Joshua M. Van Cott of Brooklyn, L. I., in 1883; William H. (Y. C. 1867) married Louise Parish Townsend of Greenport, L. I., in 1879, and has one child living, a daughter; Oliver Cromwell (Y. C. 1868), a clergyman, married Ella Jones of Washington, D. C., in 1881, and has two children, a son and a daughter. Elizabeth Ann Morse married Samuel Colgate, now of Orange, N. J., in 1853, and has six sons; Charlotte G. married Rev. Dr. J. Aspinwall wall Hodge, now of Hartford, Conn., in 1857, and has four sons living; Louisa D. married Howard Livingston Parmele (grandson of Judge Jonas Platt of the state of New York), now of Valley Creek, Fannin Co., Texas, in 1864, and has two children living, both daughters; and Mary R. married Edward Austen of Maryland, in 1858, and has three daughters and one son.  

Samuel Breese my grandfather married, secondly.  Elizabeth daughter of Garland Anderson (see chebalter Anderson) of Philadelphia, Jan.. 7, 1768. It is said to be a fact that the wedding-dresses of the first wife of Samuel Breese, Miss Finley, happened, on one occasion, to be tried by the dressmaker on Miss Anderson, who was afterwards to be his second  wife - the two ladies being so similar in figure and size.

By this second marriage he had: 

I.  Samuel Sidney,  born Sept. 26, 1768 - my mother's "favorite brother," who married Helena daughter of Major John Burrows, an officer in the American Army during the Revolution. of Middletown  Point, N. J., Dec. 29, 1801; and died Oct. 15, 1848 at Sconondoa,  Oneida Co., N. Y. - a place where I passed many happy days in boyhood, and around which cluster some of my pleasantest early recollections. Here I became fond of country-life, by being allowed to make my first trial of outdoor horseback-riding; to play in a beautiful brook which flowed across my uncle's estate on the side of the house, beyond  a neatly kept garden, with bark-paths between borders and beds of rather wild-growing flowers and small fruits; to ramble in a grove of native forest-trees further away, reached by a rustic bridge; and to watch various farm-operations. Here, too, I first saw Indians, a remnant of the Oneidas, to whom the noted Eliezer Williams (by some persons once supposed to be "the Dauphin" of the time of the French Revolution) had ministered; and visited the family of Col. De Ferrier, a wealthy refugee from France, in my uncle's neighborhood, who had married an Indian squaw, never quite weaned from her first habits of life. Ail these novelties to me, so charming in themselves, were made still more enjoyable by the indulgent kindness of my affectionate uncle and aunt, as well as by the companionship of bright-minded and amiable cousins, most of  them older than myself, all of whom I shall ever hold in loving remembrance.

Samuel Sidney Breese, said an obituary in the "New York Observer,"

"was educated under the care of the Rev. Dr. Woodhull of Monmouth, N.. J., whose school stood upon the ground where the battle of Monmouth was fought.   He soon after entered upon the study of the law in the office and under the direction of Judge Boudinot of Newark, N.J. [In 1789 he received the honorary degree of Bachelor of Arts from Yale College.]

"After being admitted to the bar he practised his profession a short time at Shrewsbury, N. J., but soon after removed to Cazenovia, N. Y., and was one of the first settlers of that place, being then occupied as a clerk of the Holland Land Company. He was also the first Clerk of Chenango County [then including the present counties of Madison, Chenango, Chemung and Tioga]. In 18o7 he removed to Whitestown, and became the law partner of the late Judge Jonas Platt. In 1813 he gave up the practice of the law, and moved to the farm [then "in the wilderness of Sconondoa and Oneida", which he occupied till his death. He . . . represented his district in the Legislature, and was a delegate in the former Convention to form a new Constitution. These public stations he filled with ability and integrity. Mr. Breese was a good citizen and an ardent lover of his country. He was a man of unobtrusive mariners, loving and seeking retirement. He was also a man of the  most incorruptible and approved integrity in all business transactions. He was an indulgent husband and father, an affectionate and firm friend, and as we trust a sincere Christian.... All his hopes centered in Jesus Christ."

My aunt, the wife of Samuel Sidney Breese, born in 1782, had for her mother Margaret Forman, a daughter, as her father was a son, of one of the two original proprietors of Middletown Point, N.J. Her mother having died soon after the War of the Revolution, and her father not much later, she was taken, in May 1796, by her uncle General Jonathan Forman (father of Mrs. Henry Seymour of Utica, N. Y. and grandfather of Gov. Horatio Seymour), to Cazenovia. N. Y., to make her home with him there. Of this then adventurous expedition she wrote down, in her advanced years, some recollections which form a vivid picture of traveling-experiences and of the early settlements in Western New York, eighty-eight, years ago, full of the naive simplicity of truth, as follows: 

"My uncle Jonathan Forman chartered a sloop at Middletown Point, N. J.,  where he and his ancestors had long resided. .We went aboard, and went as far as Keyport down on the bay [Raritan Bay] and reached New York the next morning, and staid there one day, waiting for fair winds to take us along. In the morning we went on board, but made rather slow progress, as most people know who went up and down the Hudson River on sloops: we had to tack from one side to the other of the river, to make any headway. We were one week getting to Albany.  Nearly every day, the weather being very pleasant, my cousin, afterwards Mrs. Henry Seymour) and myself would go ashore; and having a good, faithful Negro servant with us, named ‑Peter Stoten husband to one of the colored women servants of the family, he took care of us--he was very good to us children, and took us ashore to pick flowers and ferns. I remember one place well--it was called East  Creek: here for the first time we saw hemlock; we thought it would be so beautiful  to put with flowers in vases that we gathered our arms full; uncle and aunt laughed quietly, but said nothing--they did not tell us we were coming to a hemlock country. We spent our time very pleasantly, taking our little boat, and stopping at different places on the river. At Albany we felt very sad at parting with our faithful servant man, who had been so kind to us, and had lived with us so many years: he cried like a child when he turned to leave us. We said two days at Albany with an old friend who formerly was a neighbor of ours in New Jersey, a Mr. James Caldwell--his wife and daughters very agreeable. They took us out of the city to see a tobacco-factory; and a snuff-factory, and to a chocolate-mill, all of which interested us much. My uncle next day hired a stout, clever man to take us to our western home. After leaving Albany we went to Schenectady, and there spent a day and night with another friend of my uncle's. Next morning we cross'd the river, and traveled along on the banks of the Mohawk; it was lovely to see the river winding along, and our stopping at different places; the people, too, so different, being Dutch, and that was the language they used among themselves entirely - this amused cousin and myself: at one place we stopp'd to dine, not far from the house of Sir Willm Johnson, where we saw for the first time a pillion - had  never seen two persons ride one horse, and staid one day, and the next, being Sunday, we staid at a large house kept by the widow Herkimer. It was pleasant, on the river-banks, lire saw also for the first time a hand-loom with a piece of cloth in it; this was as a curiosity, as in New Jersey weaving was not done in the family as we found it here    At last we came to Utica (old Fort Schuyler); here my uncle's brother Samuel S. Forman met us; he was, and had been three or four years, living  at Cazenovia. We stopped for one day at the public house we were all invited to take tea by Bit. Post, which we did, and there for the first time I saw an Indian; he came in to put wood on the fire - I little thought, then. I should live so near them   for a long time I was afraid of them; in the afternoon Arthur Breese, then living at whitestown, came *o see us. I think that, at that time. there might have been from twenty to thirty small houses in Utica; Peter Smith, father of Gerrit Smith, was then living there. The next morning we again started, and passed through Whitestown. There we were shown the house where old Judge White lived, the first settler of Whitestown. Gen'l Jonas Platt and Arthur Breese both lived here - it was much pleasanter-looking than Utica. Our first day's ride from early dawn only brought us to Westmoreland (now Hampton); it was near sundown when we arrived. We staid at  Mr. Dean's a log-house. After breakfast next day we travell'd on, over very bad roads, our driver having to walk, and hold up the carriage to keep it from turning over; with an axe he had to cut away a log, or limb of a tree. This was the first top-carriage that had ever been through the count,-y from Utica to Cazenovia, and it was the first for some years.

"At length we reached Oneida Castle. There the Indians flocked around us, and gazed with curiosity at the cover'd carriage; we stop'd to have our horses fed, and sat down under an old tree on the hillside and ate our lunch. There was a gate at the hill, which the Indians (the little ones) would run to open, expecting a penny. There was then standing on the Green the old meeting house where Dominie Kirkland [father of Rev. President Kirkland of Harvard preached to the Indians, and after -- him an old Scotch clergyman, by name Jenkins. We then went on to Lenox, and stopped at old Myndart Wymple's, an old Dutchman, a very neat log-house; we had 'or a good supper and night's lodging: before we went to rest, we went out to see the burning log-heaps where they were clearing the land, and thought it great extravagance  to burn so much good wood. But the further we went the more willing we became that the trees should burn, and the land become cleared. The next morning we started for Chittenango, over bad roads, our driver having every now and then to clear the way with his axe. Major Forman, our uncle from Cazenovia, was with us now, on horseback; he would sometimes take one of us on the horse before him. At Chittenango we all went to the house of old Lewis Denny; they had one daugh­ter (were Indians), and this daughter afterwards married Angell De Ferrier: we all went into this daughter's room, to see how fancifully it furnish'd. After taking a drink of cold water went on our way, and did not stop again till we reached Cazenovia, late in the afternoon. 

"When I first came to Cazenovia it was in May of 1796. Our next neighbor was Colonel Lincklaen, one of the Holland Land Company; he had been in partner­ship with my uncle Sam'l S. Forman in merchandizing. My uncle General Ledyard was at this time living in Aurora in Cayuga Co.; my cousin Helen (his daughter) came to visit this uncle Forman, and was married to Colonel Lincklaen.

…When I first went to Aurora, to visit uncle Ledyard, we could only go by sleighs in winter, and on horseback in summer - it is distant from Cazenovia 65 miles . . . we often had to ride 9 or 10 miles before coming to a log house--all were log houses--our first stopping-place was Manlius, next Onondaga, then Marcellus, where we could stay all night, and get something to eat, and so on all the way; when I first pass'd through Skeneateles there were but few log houses; at Auburn, but one good log tavern and store. When we reached, Aurora, it looked beautiful -a few frame houses, a number of log houses, and the beautiful lake. I remained there 3 years - it was constantly improving; Judge Phelps was one of the first set­tlers, a man very much respected; the society, most of it, was good. We often took horseback rides for pleasure, down to Cayuga to see the great bridge then building across Cayuga Lake ....

"While I was at Cazenovia, uncle S. S. Forman took cousin and myself for a winter's ride, to Salt Point (now Syracuse), and to see the old Block House . . . where Syracuse now stands was a primeval forest. About those days Colonel Lincklaen, his wife and myself went on horseback from Cazenovia to Whitestown, to visit Judge Platt's and Arthur Breese's families: as we passed through Oneida Castle, we rode to the house of the old Indian chief Scpmpmdpaj, who was then liv­ing: his squaw had been churning; we all drank butter-milk to please the old chief; when we first rode up he was sitting out in a kind of porch - as he saw who it was, he cried out 'Lincklaen! Lincklaen! two squaws; two squaws!' He was a very handsome old Indian chief… Sometime after this I went to Aurora, and while there I was married to Samuel Sidney Breese Esq., the eldest brother of Arthur Breese, by Judge Seth Phelps--there were no clergymen at that time settled near that place, nor for years afterwards. I returned with my husband to Cazenovia, where we lived 7 years . . . and then we removed to Whitestown.... While living there we went with our infant daughter Elizabeth (six months old), for the first time, to visit our old friends in New Jersey. We staid two days in Albany, then went to the dock to see the great wonder, the steamboat Robert Fulton -thousands of people were there to look at her, crowds as far as the eye could reach. We went down the river on the sloop call'd the Oneida Chief, two days and two nights going down.... After a week's visit, alter an absence of fourteen years, we returned to New York, and took passage on the Robert Fulton - we went on board at 12 o'cl - the docks were crowded with people to see the steamer - cannon were fired - it was still so great a wonder; at West Point cannon were fired, flags hoisted; and at all the principal villages and towns the docks were filled with spectators. The fare was then seven dollars, the same on the sloop Oneida Chief . . . considered the finest on the river.  

"These are my early recollections. I have lived to see wonderful changes and improvements all through this country--the making of the Erie Canal . . . the great Central Railroad . . . and the Telegraph perfected . . . and now I am . . . sitting in my old house in Sconondoa, that was built by my husband in 1813. Forty-six years ago, and where almost all his life and mine have pass'd, we have lived happily together. My husband has gone before, and I shall soon follow him to that land where partings are unknown.

By Mrs. Helena Burrows Breese."

 Mrs. Helena (Burrows) Breese died Jan. 5, 1861.

 Excellent portraits of Samuel Sidney Breese and his wife, by their nephew S. F, B. Morse, are in the possession of their grandsons Sidney and Arthur Breese, at Oneida, N.Y. Samuel Sidney and Helena (Bur­rows) Breese had, beside one child who died an infant of a few day§, six children, as follows: 

(1.) Samuel, born Sept. 27, 1800, graduated at Hamilton College in 1822; who married: first, Orphia Jane daughter of Gerry Bacon Esq. of Woodbury, Conn., in 1845, who died in 1862, leaving two sons, Sidney Bacon; (b. 1850) and Arthur (b. 1858), both now living, and the present representatives of the elder branch of our Breese family; and,             secondly, Laura C. daughter of Charles Shepard of Hartford, Conn., in 1869, who survives him. He died Oct. 14, 1874,  "respected and beloved in his neighborhood and by his friends, and an influential and useful member of society."

(2.) Margaret, born July 16, 1804: who married Joseph Roby, a merchant of Utica, N. Y., Sept. 8, 1829: and died in Albany, N. Y.,   Mar. 31, 1832, leaving two children, a son and a daughter; of whom the latter died an infant, and the son (b. 1830), named Sidney Breese, an             orphan from his eighteenth year, is now living in Rochester, N. Y.., the father of five children, of whom one son, Sidney Breese, has this year entered Yale College.

(3.) Elizabeth, born Mar. 2, 1808; who married Augustus Caesar Stevens (descended through his mother, Eunice Wood, from General Warren of Revolutionary fame, as well as from Roger Sherman the Signer), June 6, 1831; from whom she was separated by his death in 1845 leaving her with four children:

 Sidney Augustus; (b. 1832), Breese Jacob: (b. 1834), Charles Edward: (b. 1836), and Helen Breese (b. 1809), all of whom are living, and have married (the two eldest sons twice), and, excepting the daughter, have had children. The eldest Son is a grandfather; so that this cousin of mine has already become a great grandmother. The second son is the present Mayor of Madison, Wise. Helen Breese Stevens married George H. Sanford of Glens Falls, N. Y., in 1860; but has been for many years a widow, living with her mother in the old homestead at Sconondoa.

(4.) Catharine Hallett,  born Mar. 18, 1811; who married Nathan Fitch Graves Esq., now a highly respected lawyer of Syracuse, N. Y., who has been also Mayor of that city, Nov. 23, 1845, without children; and is still living. She is a natural artist, and it is she who painted the copy of the portrait of my grandfather Breese mentioned above, which was a present from her father to my mother;

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