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Chestertown pioneers remembered

Chester pioneers hardy, resolute

Landon Hill was named for M.B. Landon, who ran a tavern at the foot of the hill, probably about where the big yellow house is now that once belonged to the late town co-historians Thomas and Jane Parrott.

Buried off Landon Hill, in the little cemetery on IngrahamRoad, is Martin Wightman who died in 1796 at the age of 1year, 8 months and 2 days. He probably didn't get his stone until after stone cutters arrived in 1805 to ply their trade. Martin is buried beside his mother, Polly Wightman who died in 1860. Her epitaph says, "She went down to the grave like a sack of corn fully ripe." In the same cemetery, stone cutters recorded the fate of Polly's brother, blacksmith Obadiah Knapp, 42 and also Sylvester Carpenter, 26 - who both died "suddenly" by trees falling on them.

Volumes could be written about the hardy pioneer men and women who labored over the years to tame the Adirondacks and see it become fruitful. The first name to be recorded in Chester history should be William Bond, the man who owned the land. Bond was born in 1740 in England and in 1760 he came to Westchester County. He secured a 500-acre land grant in 1784, in the area that was later to become Warrensburgh and he settled near Bond's Pond, now Echo Lake. It is believed that he died before Warrensburgh became a town in 1813.

Tripp family prominent in local history

Bond's daughter married the son of Peleg Tripp of Warrensburgh. Bond bought a large tract of land which later became Chester village and he might have moved there. Further mention of him has vanished from history, although as late as 1832 there is a William Bond listed in South Gore, which would later become known as Chestertown. Bond's grandson, born in 1816 in Warrensburgh, was James L. Tripp, a farmer who married Phoebe A. Palmer in 1845 and they settled in Chester in 1846. Phoebe Tripp had two known children, Hiram and Josephine and possibly a baby named Mariah born in 1849. By 1850 there were 1,850 people living in Chester and in December of that year, after only five years of marriage, Phoebe, 22 years old, died of "diarrhea." Another family member, Ann Tripp, 66 of Warrensburgh, according to the records, died about the same time of "putrid sore throat."

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