This reminiscence of John A. Meagley, written sometime prior to 1934 by Frances M. Ostrom, was contributed by Ed and Elizabeth Barnard in 1999. Ed would like to learn more and correspond with others about researching the history of the Town of Root.


My Father, John A MEAGLEY, was born Oct 21st, 1816, in the Town of Root, Montgomery County, of Dutch descent. His family located along the Mohawk River, near or in Ilion, NY. They were led to go overland to Plymouth, in Chenango County. His Father bought a small farm of fifty (50) acres, near the settlement of Beaver Meadow, where he grew to young manhood; met a pretty girl with light brown curly hair (named Maria GLAZIER). Her family were "down-east Yankees". Former Pres. Franklin PIERCE was a near relative, also from the East, (not so: Ed, 2/5/1999).

My Father later married this girl; she became my dear Mother, and told me he was a dapper young man, wearing velvet vests and silk hats - other relatives told me the couple were the talk of the countryside for good looks. Later on, in 1853, they came to Binghamton to locate for better advantages for the children. I was the first Meagley to be born on Pine Street, in Binghamton.

The outstanding characteristics was first we had to mind. One morning when he asked the blessing at the breakfast table, Ella, in her high chair, made funny faces. I snickered out loud, was called to him and was punished in the good old-fashioned way. His love of music, he picked up the violin, (or fiddle as it was called in those days), could play anything he knew, the old dance music - "Money Musk" - "Fisher's Hornpipe" - and many others, which was a supreme delight to us children, as well as many other friends.

He was very strong in his religious convictions. When we were old enough we attended church with him both morning and evening; did our share of church work, making the entire choir with Mr WILKINSON, receiving no remuneration, whatever; never allowed ourselves to be absent from services.

His financial support was never lacking regardless of his large family. His idea was that a tree should bear fruit; he became quite a wizard in grafting. On our farm was a mountain ash tree. He grafted in a pear sprout - I saw the tree in later years with one side large green pears, the other side the red berries of the mountain ash. It was a perfect picture that I never forgot.

The business of the country in his "heyday" was largely in the tanneries. He invented a method for burning the wet tan bark (a great saving), made the model by hand, but did not get it patented. A great mistake financially, as we were told by many prosperous tanners, as it was generally used throughout New York State, Pennsylvania, and further South.

When a young man he made a leather trunk by hand, and when finished journeyed to Cincinnati and return. For those days almost equal to a trip around the world to-day. Many are the pairs of shoes of his making, even to the laces. We four girls - Sara, Frances, Lizzie and Ella (not Emma), have worn, as he knew every detail of the treatment of leather.

I remember her, when a small child, of visiting the Great- Grandfather and Mother MEAGLEY at the farm. The Grandmother's Father (Mr. MOWERS/Mower) fought in the War of the Revolution. It is on record in Washington, D.C. and this enabled Ira to join the "Sons of the Revolution" - we could be "Daughters". This farm my Father later gave to his maiden Sister, Barbara MEAGLEY, twin sister of Gertrude ( Mrs Samuel BENNETT).

He also liked walking - almost a lost art today. If, for any reason, he was called from home a distance of ten miles or more, he walked across country.

My Father died June 20th, 1891.

This mental wreath is lovingly placed upon the memory of my Father by his second daughter, now.
Frances M OSTROM, of Binghamton, N.Y.
Mrs Earl Duane OSTROM
9 Jan 1855 - 19 Sept 1934 (79)
140 Riverside Drive, Binghamton, NY

Sister of:
Ella Kate MEAGLEY (Moon)
(Fifth Daughter)

Original handwritten letter, undated, (before ZIP CODES), is in the possession of: Mrs. Elizabeth S. BARNARD, Westmoreland Ave., Syracuse, NY.

February 1999

Back to Town of Root Page

Back to Montgomery Counties GenWeb

Created: 2/12/99
Copyright © 1999 - 2012 Ed and Elizabeth Barnard
Copyright ©1999 - 2012 Montgomery County NYGenWeb
All rights reserved.