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AW Mayhew

Abiah Wadsworth Mayhew

  • (b 1774 Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard, MA - Deerfield, MA - Hillsdale/Spencertown, NY - d 1850 Austerlitz, NY)

  • established ca1795 cabinetmaker shop in Spencertown, there in the 1820s

  • Deacon and Elder in the Presbyterian Church

AW Mayhew

Abiah Wadsworth Mayhew was born 9-14-1774 in Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard, MA. His father Zephaniah and mother Polite moved the family from Chilmark to Williamsburg and Conway, MA by 1777 and were then documented as living in Deerfield, MA between 1789 -1792. (In a 1776 deed, Zephaniah was listed as a yeoman in Chilmark while in deeds from 1777, he was listed as a yeoman in Conway.) Abiah married Joanna Locke in Deerfield, MA on 7-17-1796, he from Spencertown, NY. They had six children between the years 1808 and 1821: 1808 George A., 1812 Charles W., 1815 Emily, 1817 David P., 1818 Caroline E. and 1821 Elizabeth H. (The Spencertown reference is the first documentation of Abiah living in New York from period sources.)(NY records are not robust during this early period and the details on the children came from a family Bible.) Abiah is listed on a Hillsdale tax list from 1799 with $150 worth of real estate. Both he and his father Zephaniah were listed on the 1800 US census for a Hillsdale, NY. Abiah was recorded by the US census for Austerlitz in 1830 and 1840.


It is probable that Abiah settled and remained in Spencertown, despite the tax and census references to Austerlitz and Hillsdale. Spencertown, now a hamlet of Austerlitz, was established first in 1756, as part of Massachusetts, noting that the MA / NY state boundary was not resolved until 1767. Hillsdale was established next in about 1791 and Austerlitz was split from Hillsdale in 1818.


A history of the Austerlitz, NY area recounts that Abiah came to Spencertown ca. 1795 and “established a cabinet makers shop.” He was a Deacon and an Elder at the Presbyterian Church in Spencertown and also a captain in the light infantry 1811 from Columbia County.  In the 1840 US census, Abiah and a son were noted as being in a manufacture / trade profession. Abiah died in Austerlitz in 1850, with the Austerlitz town record listing his trade as a cabinetmaker. The history of the Austerlitz area also records that “between Mrs. Frank Wolfe’s house and Henry Schlegel’s store … was the cabinet shop of Deacon Abiah Mayhew, one of the leading lights of the Presbyterian Church. … He also had a store with a tailor shop upstairs; adjoining was a horse shed with a harness and carriage trimmers shop … and a cobbler’s shop … “ (And So It Was … Yesteryear in the Punsit Valley, by Mrs. Frank Rundell Sr., 1993, courtesy of the Austerlitz Historical Society.) During the 1820’s, according to the Short History of Spencertown, by Tom Moreland, Abiah’s shop was recorded as being between Oliver Ogden’s harness-maker shop and Dr. JC Olmstead’s office on the west side of Main Street. According to the Spencertown history, the tailor shop was down another lot on the upper floor of the Luther Waite’s tavern stand rather than being a part of Abiah’s holdings.  According to the Spencertown Historic District study, these businesses were a few “doors down” from St. Peter’s Presbyterian Church.


Abiah’s uncle, Wadsworth Mayhew (b 1741), was listed as a joiner in Chilmark, MA in four deeds dated 1773, 1774 and 1776, otherwise listed as a yeoman. Abiah’s grandfather Zephaniah Mayhew’s estate, ca 1750, included boards, logs for sawing and 15000 shingles, while his gr-grandfathers estate, settled by 1773 included a lot in Chilmark with a joiner’s shop. Wadsworth was in Conway, MA in 1783 and 1785 and in Cambridge, NY in 1790 and 1799. Wadsworth died there in 1829.

A distant cousin (4 – 5 generations removed), William Mayhew, was identified in an 1810 Chilmark deed as a housewright. William was born in 1784.





AW Mayhew family tree from “Beatty … A Family History”, by Troy Beatty Jr., 1952. This same source provided the record of AW and Joanne’s children from a Mayhew family Bible passed down through their daughter Caroline.




A Short History of Austerlitz, Tom Moreland, Town Historian [Excerpted, without endnotes, from The Old Houses of Austerlitz (AHS 2018)]



Spencertown ca 1820s west side of main street. Graphic by Ron Toelke.




Spencertown Historical District, section



5219 South St., St. Peter’s Presbyterian Church, 2 story, 1777 and 1824, William Babcock builder

821 Main, Abraham Holdridge house, 1803 / 1830

825 Main, assumed to be Abiah Mayhew lot / site, now occupied by a store built in 1940

831 Main, JC Olmstead house, 2 story Neoclassical, 1826

835 Main, Luther Waite tavern stand, 2 story Federal, ca 1830

839 Main, Elisha Babcock house, 2 story, Neoclassical, ca 1824

845 Main, Parsons-Lovett house, 1 story, Greek Revival, 1830

858 Main, John Tibbet house, 2 story, Federal, ca 1802

866 Main, Pratt homestead, 2 story, Colonial, ca 1760

Maple smoother, 7.5” length, assume wedge and iron are replaced 



























Toted beech molder, 11” length, original wedge






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