1779 - 1813
was born in the township of Sturbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts on May 15,
1779. He was the second oldest and first son of John and Lucretia Babbit
He worked alongside his many siblings and hired hands on the
large farm his father owned. Education was very important to the family.
In a quest to purchase a homestead of his own, he moved to
New York about 1804.
In 1805, Moses and Hannah Lucretia Morton were married in
Guilford, Windham, Vermont. Hannah, a daughter of Abraham and Phebe
Langford Morton, was born in Vermont on March 15, 1788. Holbrook histories
tell us Hannah was an "active, lively spirited woman."
Three children were born to Moses and Hannah:
Joseph, born 16 Jan 1806 at
Chandler, born 16 Sep 1807 at
Phebe, born 16 March 1810 at
Moses' dream was
fulfilled when he was issued a deed on September 30, 1807 to 150 acres, known as
part of "Scibian Patent."* At that time, it was called Florence,
but has since been renamed Annsville. (Map at right shows Annsville as the pink
portion near the top northwest corner. Click on map for larger version.) Moses worked as a farmer and had to
clear his land before planting.
From the journal of Joseph, Moses' son:
The county was
new, very heavy timbered with beach, maple, birch, hemlock, spruce, some
basswood. The winters were long and tedious. The snow often averaging from
five to seven feet on the level so that few fences were to be seen and laying
from the first of November to the middle of April.
My father in settling in Florence now called Annsville was
much deprived of many of the so called comforts of life, it being entirely
new, the people mostly poor, having obtained their land on credit; but my
father lived agreeable with his wife. I Joseph, being their first born, my
mother not being quite eighteen years of age at the time.
I was naturally a robust boy as was my brother Chandler and
Phoebe and things moved on in a harmonious and agreeable manner as my father
had built the first frame barn 30 by 40 feet in that Country. He had been away
from home the most of the winter getting out logs for lumber some eight or ten
miles off on account of scarcity of saw mills to finish his barn in hopes of
future happenings, long life and prosperity which enshrouds the mind with the
hopes of future greatness. But in the month of February he came home in the
evening, went away a mile or so for a cross cut saw, returned about nine
o'clock being very cold which lasted about three hours when a raging fever set
in. He continued to grow worse for three days when he died February 28, 1813,
age 33 years 9 months. Thus in my youth I was left without a father who was
always mild and generous with my little brother and sister. This unexpected
death left my mother in a low state of feelings; but few know how to
participate in except it be those who are called to the like circumstances. I
had the fever after my father died. I lost my hearing for some three weeks in
which they looked upon me dangerous.
My father was buried in the common burying ground about a
mile from home. The Methodist Priest who preached my father's sermon died
three weeks afterwards and was buried by his side at Mr. Hammonds request, the
name of the preacher. I visited the grave yard in 1827 and found the two
graves grown over with black berry bush. Peace to their ashes until
My mother rented the farm the next season on shares to
Alvin Smith Miller and lived in the house on the farm. There were about
thirty-five or forty acres under cultivation.
In June after my father died my grandfather, John Holbrook,
came to see my mother and assist her in settling the estate, my father not
being in debt, left her with a span of horses, a dozen sheep, a few cows, a
yoke of oxen, and some young stock, enough to make her comfortable so long as
she took care of it.
It was Moses'
dying wish that Joseph and Chandler should live and be educated with the
Holbrooks in Sturbridge, since no established schools were kept near the farm in
New York. Joseph returned with his grandfather in 1813; Chandler and Phebe
were brought to Massachusetts in the fall of 1814, leaving Hannah alone to
manage the farm.
* Approximately 33 miles from
Utica and 16 miles northwest of Rome toward Sackets Harbor.