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BIOGRAPHY OF ABIGAIL ARCHER

Abigail was the daughter of Jonathan & Mary Ann Archer (unproven), she was born on March 14, 1787, most likely in Monroe, Orange County, New York. She married Peter Smith on January 7, 1807, almost surely in Orange County. Abby and Peter had a daughter, Lucinda, born on March 15, 1808 in Orange County. Soon after the birth of Lucinda, the family left Orange County and migrated to western New York. They arrived in Cayuga County in late 1808, and settled on Lot 30 in the Military Tract, which they bought from Francis Hammer. They built a log home in the middle of their 50 acres, and did their baking in outdoor ovens.

Peter left home to serve his country during the War of 1812, and when he returned, they paid for their land and received a deed. The log home in Ulysses Township was by that time in newly created Seneca County, so they went to Seneca Falls to register the deed. By that time the family had grown to five, with a daughter Angeline Burlingame and a son James Archery born in their log cabin. When the last of their nine children was born in 1826, Tompkins County had been created and Ulysses was part of the new county. The family had finally outgrown the old log cabin, so a new home was built that year, on the site of the old cabin. 

Abby died on July 4, 1854 and  is buried in the “Hayts Cemetery” on Hayts Road and Route 96, near Ithaca. Her headstone supposedly reads “Abigail, wife of P. H. 1787-1864” That death date is ten years later than the date given in the History of Schuyler County, which is July 4, 1854. The cemetery record is probably in error, since Peter’s will, written in 1859, does not mention his wife, indicating that she had died before he wrote the will. Peter lived for ten years as a widower and died in 1864. Three more generations of their descendants lived on the farm by the 1920’s.

Information for this biography from Cemeteries of Tompkins County, on the Tompkins County Rootsweb site; The History of Schuyler County, in an article about the Beardsley family; the records of Tompkins County; the McKenzie Papers at the Westchester County Historical Society; the will of Jonathan Archer; also used was a paper apparently written in the 1920’s, author unknown, titled “History of Peter H. Smith, Native of Orange County” which claims to have used information from the family Bible.

Thanks to Kenneth Smith for sending us this biography. If you have questions, please contact him.

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