Nathan Crosby

Canisteo, Steuben County, NY

Submitted by PHGS member, Pam Davis

Nathan Crosby and Nancy (Hallett) Crosby

The Crosby family in Canisteo is of English decent. His grandfather, Benjamin Crosby, emigrated from England about the middle of the last century, arriving in New York, after a long period of suffering by being cast away, one of the children having starved to death. The family remained in the vicinity of New York until 1789, when Mr. Crosby, in company with several others, explored the Canisteo Valley and purchased the territory that now comprises the towns of Canisteo, Hornellsville, and thus he became one of the original proprietors of this section of Steuben County. In 1790, he settled with his family where Hornellsville now is located, and there owned several hundred acres of land. He raised a family of eight children, who reached maturity, among whom was Richard Crosby, who was a captain in General Washington’s bodyguard, and was also ensign in the first military company organized.
Richard Crosby was with his father when he first visited the Canisteo Valley; married for his first wife, Hannah, daughter of Jeremiah and Anna Baker, and sister of Hon. Jeremiah Baker, now living in Canisteo. 
Their children were Benjamin, Benjamin 2nd, Hector, Troylous, Mrs. Absalom Travis, Frederick, John, Mrs. Charles Travis, and Samuel.
The mother died in 1812, and about 1813 he married Hannah, daughter of Nathan Thomas, of this country. The children by this union are Nathan, Mrs. Elizabeth Hallett, Ulysses, and Robert. The father died about 1822; the mother died in 1863, aged seventy-one.
Nathan Crosby was born in the town of Canisteo, March 26, 1815. He had limited opportunities for an education from books, yet received such parental training as to lay the foundation for a successful business life as a farmer. His father owned a mile square of land in the valley, and was thereby enabled to leave each of his sons a small farm, which however at the time that Mr. Crosby started business for himself was of little value. In 1836 he married Nancy, daughter of Elijah and Elizabeth (Moore) Hallett of Canisteo. She was born November 19, 1820.
Their children are Mary (died young), Mrs. Thomas J. Sheffield, Hiram, George, deceased, leaving a wife and two children, Byron and Lewis L.
Hiram was a volunteer in 1861, of the 86th New York Volunteers, Colonel Bailey commanding; served three years and was in the battles of second Bull Run, Wilderness and all in which his regiment was engaged.
Frank Hallett, a son-in-law (Mrs. Sheffield’s ) first husband, was in the same regiment, and met his death at Spottsylvania Court-House, being wounded, taken prisoner, and died as a prisoner of war.
Mr. Crosby’s life has been spent as a farmer and lumberman; in the latter business he has been engaged for as many as thirty years of his life, mostly as pilot on the Canisteo, Chemung, and Susquehanna Rivers. He has been a member of the Free-Will Baptist Church for over forty years, having been deacon for the last thirty years of this time. He is a Republican in politics, but was originally a member of the Democratic party.

*The above information was obtained from the History of Steuben County, New York by Clayton (1879).

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Last Update February 15, 2020