THE LIFE of DAVID SAGE
of Delaware and Otsego Counties, New York
compiled by William L. Morrison, Ossineke, Michigan
When details about a family cannot be found one must build a preponderance of evidence. Thus it is with the David Sage Family of Kortright, Delaware County and Oneonta, Otsego County, New York. Many years ago, when I began the research into David and Thurza Sage of Sandisfield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, I had all of the children being born in Sandisfield. Evidently that is incorrect, for when I found their son David in Kortright, he stated in the 1855 census record that he was born in Greene County, New York. Normally I disregard those single entry discoveries that contradict what is known up to that point. However, in the 1865 census he once again states his birthplace as Green County, New York. Now I listened. I also listened when he stated that he had been living in Kortright for 34 years. This little fact means that all of his seven children were born in Kortright. It also means that David and Phebe Clark met and got married soon after David moved from Greene County to Kortright. If what he says is correct that was done in 1821.
Research into Greene County did not produce any show of his family ever being there. Nor did any research in Delaware County produce any birth record for any of his children. This is understandable because there is a vast period between the Puritans and their penchant for keeping voluminous records and the laws requiring the submission of family information. The period of which I speak is the time from the end of the War of the Revolution and the enactment of the laws - roughly 1780 through 1880. This coincides with the movement of people out of the confines of New England into that vast unknown, going west. Many of the people were often isolated from any churches, settlements or other neighbors - thus no records.
The first that we see of David is in the 1840 census for Kortright. He reports one son under 5 (Emory - 1837), 1 son 5 and under 10 (Orrin - 1835), 1 son 15 and under 20 (Harvey - 1824), 1 male 40 and under 50 (David - 1795), 1 male 60 and under 70 (Unknown), 1 female under 5 (Emily - 1837), 2 females 10 and under 15 (Electa - 1829 and Frances - 1826), 1 female 15 and under 20 (Elizabeth - 1822) and 1 female 30 and under 40 (Phebe, his wife - 1801). All of these children and their birth years came from the books by Elisha Sage in 1878 and Charles Sage in 1919. Further research revealed the dates in more detail and will be presented at the time of discovery and presentation.
The next time we see David, Phebe and their children is in the 1850 census for Kortright. David is now 55 years old, Phebe is 49, Frances 23, Electa 21, Orrin 15 and Emily 13. Missing from the household are Elizabeth (I never found her again), Harvey and Emory. Harvey and Emory are found just across the border in Oneonta, Otsego County, New York.
Harvey had migrated to Oneonta in Otsego County sometime in or about 1849. However, in 1850 Harvey, 25 years old, is married to Laura A Graves, 22 years old, and living in his household are his younger brother, Emory, who is now 13 years old and Laura's younger sister, Mary, who is 11 years old.
The State of New York in 1855 began collecting information for a state census. Thus it is that we see David and Phebe once again reporting from Kortright. More changes have taken place in the family structure. Electa is now married to John Youngman and has two children: Deloss Charles and Orrin. They are living with David and Phebe. David is now 59 years old, states that he was born in Greene County, New York and has lived in this community for 34 years. Phebe reports that she is 54 years old, was born in Delaware County and has lived in this community for 54 years. John Youngman is 31 years old and was born in England. Electa is 26 years old and was born in Delaware County 26 years ago. Emiline (another one of Emily's names) and Emory are now 17 years old and back together. Emory has moved back home.
Where are Orrin and Frances? We know that Harvey moved over to Oneonta and sure enough he reports in the 1855 census for Oneonta that he is 30 years old, born in Delaware County and has lived in this community (Oneonta) for 6 years (since 1849). Laura is 27 years old, also born in Delaware County but has lived in this community for 10 years (since 1845). Ah, now we have a wee one in the mix - young Austin is now 2 years old. Living with Harvey and Laura is Orrin, younger brother to Harvey, and is now 19 years old and has lived here for two years. Mary, Laura's sister, has been living with them for six years and is now 16 years old.
Frances or Frannie, as she will become more known, has been found. She married Jordan James D Scoles in October of 1856 in Lee County, Iowa. That means that sometime between 1850 and 1856 she headed west. Trains in 1850 went only as far as western Indiana and by 1855 only went as far as eastern Iowa. Train travel from New York to those far reaches could take up to a week because of the many transfers. Once the end of the line was reached the traditional mode of horse drawn transportation was necessary (remember that a horse could usually only travel between 17 and 20 miles a day). Did Fannie read of a "brides wanted" advertisement in a local paper? She was 29 years old when she got married - quite old for those days. An adventuresome soul she certainly was.
Tragedy struck in 1856. Two days after her 27th birthday, Electa (Sage) Youngman died. She is buried in the McMurdy Brook Road Cemetery in Kortright.
This picture of her gravestone was provided by Marianne Greenfield of Delaware County. The inscription reads: Electa A. - wife of John Youngman and daughter of David & Phebe Sage - born March 29 1829 - died March 31, 1856 - aE 28.
Following the death of his wife we see that John Youngman has moved his remaining family to Oneonta as well, for reported in the May 11, 1858 edition of the Bloomville Mirror is the announcement that, married in Cooperstown, April 22, by Rev. W. G. Quest, Mr. John Youngman to Emily S. Sage, both of Oneonta. Emily is the youngest daughter (and twin to Emory) of David and Phebe Sage and sister of Electa.
Reported in the February 22 edition of the Bloomfield Mirror we find that Emily S. Youngman has died on the 10th of this month. It states that she suffered a short but painful death in the 22nd year of her life. Thus it is that John has lost a second wife of a Sage girl.
For at least 20+ years the David Sage Family has been quite stable. They had a well established farm and presumably, well established roots in Kortright. But by 1860 we no longer see any Sage's in Kortright. Several data suggest that they had moved to Oneonta, Otsego County by 1858. David and Phebe are living with their son, Harvey and his family. Harvey and Laura still only have the one son, Austin. David is now 64, Phebe 59, Harvey 36, Laura 32 and Austin 7. That leaves Fannie, Orrin and Emory still unaccounted for. Not to worry for in 1860 we see where Jordan and Fannie Scoles have moved to the City of Knoxville in Knoxville, Marion County, Iowa - they still have no children. Jordan is WORKING as a druggist. Also in Knoxville, WORKING as a farm hand is 22 year old Emory. Orrin is living in Jackson, Lee County, Iowa, WORKING as a ferryman and living not to far from that sweet little lass, 18 year old Mary Black, who he will wed in November.
John Youngman is also chronicled in the 1860 census of Oneonta. His wife is now reported as Adelia.
Life goes on and for those in Oneonta, Otsego County, New York of 1865 we have another state census. David is now 69 years old and once again declares that he was born in Greene County, New York. Phebe is 64 and born in Delaware County. They are still living with their son, Harvey and his family. No more news with Harvey and Laura; their only child, Austin is now 12.
Still following the census trail we find that David appeared in the census on 16 Jun 1870 in Knoxville, Marion, Iowa. 74 years old - born in New York - living with daughter, Frances, and her family. Phebe is listed as 69 years old and born in New York. Fannie and her husband, Jordan now have two children: D J and E Alice. Harvey, his wife, Laura, and their son, Austin are still living in Oneonta, Otsego County, New York. Orrin and his wife, Mary Ann Black, have now moved to Vernon, Clark, Missouri and have two children: David H (5) and Elizabeth Lucy (9 months). Emory has married, Lucy Mildred Burnett, and they have one child: Merton O (3).
Phebe CLARK, daughter of Timothy and Elizabeth CLARK, who was born on 28 Apr 1801 in Kortright, Delaware County, New York, died on 24 Jan 1873 at the age of 71 in Knoxville, Marion County, Iowa. She was buried on 26 Jan 1873 at Lincoln Cemetery in Knoxville, Marion County, Iowa. Her maiden name was found in the DAR records for David.
Back home in Oneonta we can see the announcement of his death in the local newspaper:
Death & Marriage Notices
Oneonta Herald & Democrat
Starting January 1874
Compiled and Contributed by Sandy Goodspeed
In Columbia, Iowa, March 5th, David SAGE in the 80 year of his age, formerly of this town.
He was buried on 7 Mar 1874 at Lincoln Cemetery in Knoxville, Marion, Iowa. 78y 5m 5d, GAR.
Thus ends the story of David Sage and his wife Phebe Clark. They ended up far from their original homeland but close to family. The story does continue with the subsequent offspring of those generations yet to come. The trail is easy to follow; however, it is beyond the scope of this essay. Perhaps some descendant will pick it up and write about it. -- © William L. Morrison, Ossineke, Michigan - 2013