Nathan Teall, First Postmaster

Posted on April 5, 2017

Image
Nathan Teall Marker

REMEMBERING CLAY

Nathan Teall, First Postmaster

Clay’s first official postmaster was born January 9, 1784 to Timothy and Phoebe (Hull) Teall in Killingworth, Connecticut. His brother, Oliver, was born in 1788. Timothy, also born in Killingworth, married Phoebe on December 13, 1781. The 1790 census shows Timothy alone in Caughnawaga, Montgomery County, New York. He may have been there to prepare a homestead for the family. Records do show that he settled in Manlius and served as Town Supervisor in 1800. Also, he was one of the town’s first doctors. His brother, Oliver, helped build a section of the original Erie Canal and built Syracuse’s first drinking water supply system. When their mother, Phoebe, passed away in the late 1700’s, there were also four sisters in the family. Nathan married Clarinda Button, who was born September 11, 1781. The 1810 census shows them living at the northeast corner of the intersection of Route 31 and Route 5. They were among the first settlers of Clay. During the War of 1812, hNathan served in Captain Ralph Phelp’s Company, 147th NY Militia regiment, which fought at Oswego and Sackett’s Harbor. Although a farmer most of his life, Nathan is best known as the first official Postmaster of Clay, serving from June 20, 1825 to 1836 at the post office in his home. At that time it was a wooden structure and there is no record of what happened to it as there is a brick structure at the site today. In 1825, the post office was known as West Cicero as Clay was not established until April 14, 1827. The intersection at that time was known as Teall’s Corners after Nathan and his family. Even though it was named Clay Post office, it only served a small part of Clay as other post offices were being established. Following Nathan were these postmasters: William Hale, James Little (many years), Hial Crandall, Orris Barnes, William Lee, Mrs. John Walter, and perhaps others. (See the photo of the Historic Marker, which still stands). Nathan was a very successful farmer with many acres under cultivation. In 1850, his farm was worth $4,000. By 1855, Nathan’s son Washington shows up in the census as living in a separate location on the property and probably was the one who managed the farm. At that point, it was worth $6,000. In 1860 when Nathan was 76, it shows a worth of $5,500. Census Agricultural schedules showed his farm as 90 acres improved and three acres of unimproved land. Other assets included: Machinery - $100; Livestock - $600; orchard (apples) - $40; animals slaughtered $70; and homemade manufactures - $14. Of their eight children, five reached adulthood: Abigail (Winchell); Phoebe Ann (Thompson); William (1816 – 1891); Fidelia (Gillete)– (died before 1871); and Washington (1826-1904). Nathan passed away in 1871 at the age of 87 and was buried in Myrtle Grove Cemetery in Lysander. Clarinda passed away in 1879 at the age of 97 and was considered “without a doubt, the oldest inhabitant of the Town of Clay” according to her obituary. It also stated that she died on the same farm that she and Nathan had settled in 1810 and continued to live for the rest of their lives. However, she wasn’t living in the same house as Abram Moyer shows up on the 1874 map as the owner of the homestead . The 1875 New York Census shows Clarinda living with her son William a little to the west of the Route 31 and Route 57 intersection. This location and Washington’s home were all part of the original farm property. Clarinda also is buried in Myrtle Grove Cemetery in Lysander with three of her children to mourn for her. Nathan and Clarinda were typical of the earliest settlers of Clay. They loved their farm, their homestead and their eight children. They contributed to the growth of the Town through their hard work and dedication. NOTE: Many thanks to Zachary Peelman, MSEd, for his research for this article.

Dorothy Heller, Historian

Other
Remember Clay Stories

Image
Immanuel Church Groundbreaking

Immanuel Lutheran Church Groundbreaking

Remembering Clay | Nov 6, 2015

REMEMBERING CLAY
Immanuel Lutheran Church Groundbreaking

Hamlet of Euclid

Remembering Clay | Jun 12, 2019

REMEMBERING CLAY

Hamlet of Euclid*

 

Image
Side Track Farmer%27s Market %231

Side Track Farmer's Market

Remembering Clay | Aug 26, 2016

REMEMBERING CLAY

Side Track Farmer's Market

African-American Settlers

Remembering Clay | Sep 24, 2018

REMEMBERIING CLAY

African-American Settlers*