Orrin Stone was an Oswego County pioneer.  A son of Jehiel and Ruth Norton Stone of Guilford, Connecticut, he accompanied his parents and nine brother and sisters to a site near Ovid, Seneca County, New York, then a part of the Military Tract.  After a brief residence there the Stones in company with their neighbors, the William Burts, resettled in Scriba.  The tradition relates that the reached Oswego via the Seneca Oswego waterway, driving their livestock along the streams.  They proceeded to Scriba Corners along a crude trace.  The Stones occupied the land east of the Corners, the Burts, a tract to the west.  At the time of their arrival in 1803, Orrin was 14.

            There was sufficient land for numerous sons and daughters and Orrin was preparing to move from the family cabin to one of his own when he made the initial entry in his diary.  The date was January 1st 1814.  He was planning to take a wife; and there was almost endless details requiring his attention.

            A perusal of the terse observations through a period of several years leaves many questions unanswered; yet a partial pattern of frontier life evolves.  Hard labor was a routine.

            In the winter months he was busy “chopping” to level the forest in preparation for fields and crops.  In the course of a year he spent 65-75 days chopping, logging, and splitting and additional days at woodworking, fence building and hauling.  In March and April chopping yielded to “sugaring”.  Preparing troughs, tapping trees, sap gathering and boiling syrup absorbed most of his working hours for about three weeks.  And before April yielded to may, he turned to plowing and later planting and hoeing.  The diary indicates some 30 to 40 days labor in the plowing of wheat, corn, oats and potatoes, and corn became principal occupation from July through October.

            In-between-times he laid his chamber floor, caulked or mudded his cabin, mended fences, drove his cow or hog to be bred (sometimes over considerable distances), marketed his potatoes or ashes in Oswego, and borrowed his father’s oxen to carry his grain to the mill.

            There was a respite from heavy toil on Sundays when there were occasional meetings in the schoolhouse at the Corners, or in Hiel Stone’s barn.  A local lay preacher conducted the Baptist service.  Recreation was found in raisings and bees and singing school.  Stone occasionally went hunting and fishing, but took special delight in searching for bee trees in the woods.

            He also belonged to the local militia, and sometimes accepted the duty of conveying the “warning” to the members.  In an emergency in 1814 attending the war of 1812 he accompanied the militia to Henderson Harbor.  The only detailed incident in the record (a brief paragraph) relates the invasion of Oswego in May of 1814.

            In later life, Stone was a postmaster, storekeeper, and farmer.  He died in 1876.

 

            The Society is indebted to Mrs. George M. Penney of Oswego, a descendant of the Jehiel Stone family, for the use of The Stone Diary.

 

            This selection was not created by the authors of this site.  All information available to is was obtained courtesy of SUNY Oswego’s Penfield Library.