Stedman - Darby Manuscript

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This is taken from a manuscript written about 1900 by a grandaughter of "Dilla" DARBY (b July 19, 1798), Sonora STEDMAN. Sonora was born Sept 5, 1887 in McLean, New York, and died April 28, 1935, in an auto accident near Lansing, N.C. The article was found in the Cortland Historical Society and is entitled....

"My Ancestors"

Generations have been long in years with our family. It was grandparents of mine who came to Cortland County at least 98 years ago. Grandmother STEDMAN came first. She was little Lydia DARBY then, aged four. (My note: Samuel STEDMAN was married to Lydia SMITH first, and Dillie DARBY 2nd. We have not seen anything that shows Dillie is really named Lydia. All the records are in the name of Dillie or Dilley DARBY, furthermore her mother Anna GROW has a sister also named Dillie. It may be that Sonora is getting the 2 wives names of her Grandfather mixed up. It is possible that Dillie is a nickname, and the real name is Lydia, but we have not seen anything except this manuscript that calls her Lydia DARBY. The DARBY STEDMAN children, Smith & Lydia seem to be named after the first wife's memory - Lydia SMITH - so Dillie may have known Lydia SMITH before her death. McLean, where the STEDMANs lived is also where Nathan P. DARBY lived & is buried.)

She rode into the county on a pillion**. Her mother was in the saddle and two-year old Thomas rode in his mother's lap everyday, where he could be watched." (My note: Obituaries for Lyman DARBY (b May 8, 1800) & Thomas DARBY (b Dec 2, 1802), brothers, show Lyman was the one who came into Cortland with his parents at age 2, and Thomas was "born in this county" a few months after the DARBY's got here. However, this is undoubtable how the story was told to Sonora STEADMAN, who writes this 100 years after the fact!)

"Great Grandfather DARBY rode in the lumber wagon. There was a reason why the saddle horse had to be bought after the family started from Connecticut. About four months after the family arrived in East River, they had a brand new baby! (This new baby was Thomas DARBY). Pioneer Ancestors took risks! Little Lydia's future husband, Samuel STEDMAN rode to York State on horseback too! He came from Tyringham, Massachusetts when about twenty years old. Three older brothers were already settlers out South Cortland Way! He at first set out from Tyringham alone but fell into trouble at Albany through carelessness, and returned to Tyringham. There the wages he had been receiving were greatly raised if he would hire out for another year. So he stayed the year out. Then he left with a party riding through to the Genesee River and later after several years in Wyoming County, he returned to Cortland and married Lydia DARBY." (After describing her mothers' family, Sonora STEADMAN goes on to say....)

"How families diminish nowadays. After all those large families, I am the only descendant of the union between Smith STEADMAN & Ellen VEDDER, Smith STEADMAN being the only descendant of Samuel STEADMAN & Lydia DARBY."

**A pillion is a cushion, pad, or carrier, fastened on the back of a womans' saddle, usually for a light female passenger.

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This is another article written by Sonora STEDMAN about her grandfather, Dillie DARBY STEADMAN's husband!


" When history pupils read in their neat pictorial text books that the early banking systems of our country created financial confusion, the pupils yawn at the lifeless generalization. Young Samuel STEADMAN, one hundred years ago, became deeply interested in banks and their paper currency.

Sam was planning to leave his home in Tyringham, Mass. and move to Cortland Co, New York, where there were already three brothers of his. He finished his second year as farmhand for Galusha GROW of Tyringham and received as the major part of his tow years wages, a splendid young saddle horse, and two large bills, apparently issued by a local bank. The horse, he had requested for his journey; but the paper money was not so convenient. It would not be legal tender so far from Massachusetts. Same was in haste. So, an informal method of changing his bills apparently suggested itself. He had no saddle or bridle. He would manage some way to get to Albany with a bridle contrived from a wooden bit and scraps of rope and leather and would ride bareback. In Albany, he would bread one bill in paying for a saddle and a bridle. He would use the other to pay his hotel bill there. In both transactions he would try to get bills from the New York State Bank.

Clever as this scheme seemed, it did not allow for another fact of the financial situations. Counterfeiting flourished and the bills Sam had assigned for the hotel keeper was a counterfeit. His arrival had been watched by a cynical loafer who whispered "Horsethief!" "He must have stolen a horse where there was no bridle handy!" The suspicion clung in the minds of the hotel people and when the experienced landlord received the counterfeit money, he promptly called the sheriff.

Arrangements were somehow made for the prisoner to return to Tyringham under arrest. If he could clear himself of the charges of stealing his horse and being connected with a counterfeiting gang he might go free from there. Such was the case. The deacon made good the amount of the counterfeit bill, wich he had received from a cattle drover; he laughed heartily over the homemade bridle and its consequences. Samuel reached Cortland county and continued his career of exemplary morals with no more arrests as a suspicious character.

Signed: Senora STEDMAN, grandaughter of the said Samuel STEDMAN

Thank you Lynda Darby Ozinga for sharing this information

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