This afternoon I pulled out the research I did many years ago – when I was a baby genealogist – on my Agard family line. The document I had started was 43 pages of family history starting with the founding couple, John and Esther Agard who arrived on the Massachusetts shore in 1683.
The plan is to read through a few pages at a time, run them off, and then perform a “genealogy do-over” checking names, dates, and all other facts. I am so glad I did this original research when we lived in New England, as that was where I had access to the records.
When I came to Samuel Agard, I got that small world feeling again, as genealogists are wont to do. When I write up monographs, I like to explain the geographic areas in which my ancestors lived. In this case, the Agards settled in the Town of Catherine, NY. And if you read the write-up I found, one of the land purchasers was from Newtown, CT, where I was living when I did this original research. And then my Agard ancestors went on to establish the first library in Catherine. You go guys!
And so, with that introduction, meet Samuel Agard.
Samuel Agard (b: 6 Sept 1782) was the second child of Noah and Lucina (Jones) Agard. In 1807 Samuel married Sally Stone (1785-1813), daughter of John and Lowly Stone of Branford, Connecticut. The promise of available western lands was tempting for folks trying to farm the rocky Connecticut soil. Samuel traveled to Catherine Township, NY with his father Noah in 1809 and took title to land in 1814. He then found property in the Town of Dix that had a sawmill.
The town of Catherine was originally called Johnson’s Settlement, named for Robert C. Johnson of New York City who purchased 10,725 acres in this area of Upstate New York. In the center of the crossroads stood a post, not unlike the liberty pole that stands in the middle of State Route 25 and Route 6 in Newtown, Connecticut. The town was divided into northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest sections. Interestingly, the lot in the southeast corner of the town was purchased by Job Lattin, Jr. of Newtown, Connecticut. In fact, many early settlers arrived from Connecticut as this area of Upstate New York was known for its fertile land and abundant orchards.
The Town of Catherine was organized by act of legislature on 9 March 1798. John Mitchell is listed as the first bona fide settler; Eaton Agard is listed as one of the early settlers. The Methodist Episcopal Church in Catherine was organized in 1805; one of the first trustees is Samuel Agard. The Catherine Library Association was organized 1 April 1817 and Samuel Agard again listed as a first trustee. The first post office was established in 1816.
Samuel Agard, son of Noah, was also a circuit preacher in 1825. Eaton Agard was Town of Catherine Supervisor in 1847, 1867-68. The Agard farm was located at Lawrence 75A, Northwest Section Township 3, Johnson Settlement to Cayuta Lake.
Sally died in 1813 and is buried in the Agard Cemetery on Route 414 between Alpine and Odessa, New York.
In 1819 Samuel married Lydia Hibbard, the fourth daughter of Daniel and Anna (Ripley) Hibbard, of Dummerston, Vermont. Lydia (Hibbard) Agard was born 1 August 1792. Samuel and Lydia’s children were all born in Catherine, NY. Lydia died 25 August 1846 in Havana (Montour Falls, NY); Samuel died 27 October 1861. Samuel and Lydia are buried in the Montour Cemetery, Montour, New York. See later pages for further information on Samuel and Lydia.
On 22 May 1817 Samuel and Eaton Agard, along with others “…did by writing under their hands signify their consent and desire to associate themselves together for the procuring and creating a public library…” Samuel was First Trustee of the Catherine Library Association