Town Of Sheridan2702 Route 20, Sheridan, NY 14135
In 1802, men working under General Paine for the state of Connecticut cleared a rough wagon road along the low gravel ridge that U.S. Route 20 follows through Sheridan, New York today. First traversed by Native Americans in prehistoric times, the route in 1802 marked the way to Connecticuts Western Reserve in present-day Ohio, where the Treaty of Greenville had recently opened new land for settlement. Many travelers would use the path in years to come. But Paines Road also served newcomers who made their homes out West in present-day Sheridan. It was not long before they arrived. Nor was it long before the town started to take shape, out of the forest they turned into farmland. In the summer of 1803, Francis Webber of Monson, Mass., supposedly came to the area on a hunting expedition and set up camp for several weeks under a balsam tree on Paines Road, in the vicinity of the commemorative stone on the Collins property today. As the story goes, his favorable impressions convinced him and his extended family to move here. On August 30, 1804, Francis Webber, William Webber and Hezadiah Stebbins made the first purchases of land in Township 6, Range 11 (as most of the land in Sheridan was surveyed by the Holland Land Company). Francis articled, or contracted to purchase, 214 acres in the west part of Holland Land Company Lot 17, while Hezadiah articled 108 acres in the east part of the same lot. William Webber contracted for land in adjacent Lot 27. Both from Monson, the Webber and Stebbins families were connected by marriage. Little genealogical information has been found about the Webbers. But Stebbins family records confirm the two families close ties to one another. Hezadiah Stebbins was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. His daughter, Roxey, married Jonathan Webber, who was likely a son or nephew to Francis. Meanwhile, Asenath Webber, likely Francis daughter, was the first wife of Hezadiahs son, Thomas. While these families were the first documented residents of Sheridan, they were not alone in their adventure. Other settlers purchased land here soon afterward, usually offering only one or two dollars as a downpayment. Most came from New England and eastern New York, making the long journey by ox sled before the snow had melted in the early spring. Many found traces of ancient residents lives as they felled trees and tilled fields.