History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Forts & Firesides of the Mohawk Country
by John J. Vrooman, 1951
Published by Baronet Litho Co., Inc., Johnstown, NY
GENERAL COCHRAN HOUSE
THIS HOUSE was built in 1790 by Major James C. Cochran, for his father Doctor John, on land given him in partial payment for his services as Director General of hospitals through the Revolutionary War. It is located a little more than a mile east of St. Johnsville on a sight elevation overlooking the river valley.
The owner, Doctor Cochran, was born in Pennsylvania in 1730 and served as a surgeon in the Colonial Army. He was a close friend of General Washington. Following the Revolution, General Cochran was appointed by Washington as Commissioner of Loans, in which position he continued until disabled by a paralytic stroke. He then moved to this house at St. Johnsville where he died in 1803. He was buried in Utica.
Two sons, James and Walter, survived him. Both were army officers, James with the rank of Major, and Walter as a
Captain. James married his cousin, Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler, in Utica in 1822. She was the daughter of GeneralPhilip Schuyler and was the godchild of General Washington. In 1827 they moved to Oswego. She died there in August, 1857, her husband, Major James, having preceded her in death.
Walter, the second son, seems to have remained longer than his brother at the old home, but by 1817 he had moved to Utica. He was the last of the Cochrans to occupy the homestead. He married, and like his brother moved to Oswego and strangely enough died in 1856, the same year in which occurred the death of his sister-in-law, Catherine Schuyler Cochran. But in this case he was the survivor of his marriage for his wife had preceded him.
An interesting story is told of General Scott who stopped at the house as a guest of the Cochrans on his way west during the War of 1812. His importance was not to be denied, but the hosts were confronted with an empty larder. It is truthfully said that a farm always affords a living, and in this case it was the peacock which was the piece de resistance.
Another famous visitor was Joseph Brant, who stopped here after the war en route to a conference in Philadelphia. His presence was noised about and so great was the hatred of the Valley folks toward him that an angry crowd soon gathered about the house making it necessary to spirit him away before the threatened violence broke out.
Much of the mahogany furniture once in this home was the gift of General Washington to General Cochran, some of it coming from Washington's Headquarters at Newburgh. The Cochrans naturally kept these treasured possessions when they sold their old home.
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