Middlefield and the Settling of the New York Frontier : A Case Study of Development in Central New York, 1790-1865

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-08-01
  • Publisher: Square Circle Press LLC
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More than just a mere history of one community, Dominick Reisen's scholarly exploration of Middlefield in Otsego County presents this rural, crossroads hamlet as a case study of the development of small towns in central New York State during the early years of the American Republic, through the Civil War. Reisen tracks the emergence and growth of various businesses and social groups within the community, tracing in great detail the lives of various key figures who made their home in Middlefield. He discusses how external agricultural factors and the great social movements of the era, such as temperance and abolition, impacted their lives inside the hamlet, both economically and socially. Viewing these ambitious personalities through the full spectrum of life, the author reveals how their interconnected lives and businesses led to a degree of prosperity and self-reliance in this secluded frontier settlement. This wide-ranging study's crucial value to historians, however, is the way in which Reisen uses Middlefield to illustrate the development of the entire region of central New York during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He reviews the development of technological achievements such as the Erie Canal and railroads, and explains how these advancements in transportation alternately spurred growth and led to stagnation in various communities. He also provides significant discussion of the unique landownership patterns of central New York and how these arrangements led to social unrest and radical change, resulting ultimately in the Anti-Rent Wars during the second quarter of the nineteenth century.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
The Manorial Visionp. 3
The Development of the Hamletp. 21
Prosperity and Social Epiphanyp. 45
The Changing of the Guardp. 87
A Steady Prosperityp. 124
An Abstraction Called Warp. 163
Conclusionp. 175
The Kidnapping of Daniel McCollum (1878)p. 187
Middlefield Town Supervisors and Clerks (1797-1877)p. 188
Postmasters for Middlefield (1815-1967)p. 189
Petition for Middlefield Masonic Lodge (1823)p. 190
Baptist Church Pew Auction Results (1826)p. 191
List of Students, Academic School (1827-28)p. 193
Number of Students per Class, Academic School (1827-28)p. 194
School Bill, Academic School (1827-28)p. 195
Civil War Enlistees from Middlefield (1860-65)p. 196
Notesp. 199
Indexp. 223
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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