Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Joshua Leland and the Dunbar House Marker

Joshua Leland came to Eaton in 1792 - 1793 with friends Benjamin Morse and John Morris from Sherburne, Massachusetts.  The land that was opening up for sale in those days would have been the “frontier”, or “Indian Country.”  Leland made a shelter or rudimentary house and later returned with his wife and family. 

They became stuck in the mud at what would become his later home near today’s Leland Pond.  Mrs. Hammond writes that he had to fetch Benjamin and John to help him cross the Chenango, and come to today’s English Avenue in Eaton.  He and his family are recorded as living in a three-sided abode with their children and animals the first winter.

Mrs. Hammond’s History of Madison County claims that it was near what is today’s Caleb Dunbar’s House marked by a NYS Historic Marker.  Leland kept his house open to the public as a tavern and accommodation for travelers.  I believe he built the house that he sold to Samuel Sinclair and that it is Sinclair who sold the property to Caleb Dunbar. This would explain why it was hard to trace the original deed totally.

Humorously, the deed to most of the parcel of land known as Eaton today was found 131 years later (a sheepskin deed) and finally filed in Madison County.  The original deed would have been registered prior to 1806 in Chenango County, as this land was in Chenango County until when it was parceled off as a separate county.

The house was passed back and forth in the Dunbar Family to Thaxter, George and Henry until the 1900’s when it was sold on a tax deed. Many original papers that belonged to Col. Leland were found in the house including a parcel of information on the Kent family another of one of the earliest settlers who lived above this land on today’s Sanford Road.

Leland sold his interest in this area to Joseph Morse and moved to the location of the Leland Marker at the Ponds.  Leland had teased while living on English Avenue that his wife was the “fairest woman” east of the Chenango and of course… she was the first white woman.

*The dead is restored and is located at the Madison Country Courthouse and is signed by Col. William Smith and his wife Abigail Adams Smith,  President Adams daughter. See previous articles.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting, Mary.
    It's a beautiful day. Glad we didn't get the wind last night and hope you didn't either.
    Judy O.