History of Bolivar, New York (2nd)
A Centennial Memorial
History of Allegany County, New York
John S. Minard, Esq. Historian
Mrs. Georgia Drew Andrews, Editor.
W. A. Fergusson & Co., Alfred, N. Y. 1896


Next to Richburg, Bolivar was for a season a hot oil town, but Bolivar people showed good sense in confining oil operations to territory outside of the village limits. In 1882 Bolivar boasted of nearly 5,000 population. At this time the Police Gazette had the largest circulation in Bolivar of any New York weekly. In January, 1882, Olean capitalists sent F. L. Newton, now a Buffalonian, to Bolivar with a canvas sack containing $20,000 in currency to open a bank. In four months' time the deposits exceeded $250,000. Like Richburg, Bolivar sheltered a very tough element and the nightly scenes witnessed on Railroad street - Bolivar's Bowery - were very wicked. Along with the oil boom came a German philosopher with a stink pot full of chemicals and a mineral rod. He felt sure that he could pick out a location for a good well, Finally he succeeded in interesting some oil men in his theory and a well was drilled a short distance below the village. Much interest was manifested in the test. When the old German learned that the well was "dry," he packed his grip and started for the woods. And they haven't seen him since. The rabble that drifted in on the oil tide has all left now, and Bolivar has settled down into a steady going prosperous village; in fact it has held its own the best of any oil town in the country, unless it is Bradford. Bolivar has a state bank, good hotels, excellent schools, well equipped fire department, fine academy, excellent stores, a race track and a newspaper. Bolivar is the oil headquarters of the Allegany field, and the local buying agencies of the National Transit Company and the Tidewater Pipe Company are located there. The wealth that poured out of the hills and valleys made a few men very rich, many comfortably well off, and many lost the savings of years in a vain endeavor to "strike it rich." One of the earliest and brainiest operators in the field was George V. Forman of Olean, now of Buffalo. In company with H. L. Taylor and John Satterfield of Buffalo, Mr. Forman in 1881 owned 3,000 acres of "cream" territory in the Allegany field. In May, 1882, the Cherry Grove bubble induced many of the producers of the Allegany field to offer their leases at ridiculously low prices. They were fairly crazy to get to Cherry Grove and offered oil property at almost one fourth of the real value. Mr. Forman bought up every lease offered for sale and when the reaction took place a few months later, he sold out at profit of nearly half a million dollars. The late Asher W. Miner of Friendship is credited with clearing over half a million dollars in oil operations in the Allegany field. The McCalmont Oil Company of Pittsburg have cleared a round million dollars out of their oil operations in the Allegany field, and the Hazelwood Oil Company have also made a fortune. Both of these companies still retain large interests in the field. Not over to per cent of the farmers who originally owned the land were benefitted by the oil boom. The majority of them sold their farms at high prices and fooled away the money in speculating. Those who leased on a royalty are today comfortably well off, and assured of a steady income as long as the wells on their farms continue to produce oil. One old farmer who lives near Allentown has already received over $100,000 in royalties, and many others have received like amounts. There are a large number of producers in the field today who are worth from $10,000 to $25,000, who to years ago were employed on leases "by the month." There are probably a dozen resident producers who have amassed from $75,000 to $100,000. There are also men to be found at work on the leases "by the month" who were comfortably well off to years ago. Fortune was ever fickle, and one is impressed with the fact at every turn in the oil regions.

The drilling of the old Richburg well opened up one of the richest oil fields of modern times. Other good wells came in rapid succession. In June, 1881. the Boyle well, another noted well, was struck. It started off at 200 barrels a day, and the lucky strike caused intense excitement. In 1881 the Allegany field produced 681,509 barrels of oil, and in 1882 the production was increased to 6,519,000, the top notch record. Up to date the field has produced 29,000,000 barrels. The first big reverse the Allegany field suffered was in May, 1882, when the Cherry Grove gusher came in and smashed the market to 49c. Since 1882 the production of the field has steadily declined, until it has reached 2,000 barrels per day. The largest wells ever drilled in the field are located on the Reed and Gar thwait farms in the town of Bolivar. Both of these wells started off at 400 barrels a day, and both wells are still producing oil. During the first year of the boom thousands of barrels of oil ran to waste every month. The wells came in so fast that the pipe lines could not take care of the oil. The longevity of the wells drilled in the Allegany field is quite remarkable. The oil sand is very hard. The 30 wells drilled on the Reed farm in the town of Bolivar have already produced $1,000,000 worth of oil, and they will continue to produce oil for a dozen years to come. Records show that in the past twelve years a cluster of eight wells on a farm owned by Riley Allen at Allentown, have produced over $135,000 worth of oil, and they are still producing 2,000 barrels a year. And there are many farms in different parts of the field that show better records than the one owned by Allen. The average depth of the wells drilled in the Allegany field is 1,200 feet. The average cost of drilling a new well at present and rigging it up for pumping is about $1,500. In 1882 the same work cost $2,000. From 4o to 6o quarts of nitro-glycerine are usually used in shooting a well, but sometimes 100 quarts are used. Nitro-glycerine now sells for $100 a quart. In 1882 a 40 quart shot cost $140. In this field several handlers of this dangerous explosive have lost their lives and many others can relate thrilling and truthful stories of hair breadth escapes from frightful deaths, while following their hazardous calling as oil well shooters. Within two years, two well known Bolivar shooters lost their lives. All that was found of the two bodies could be placed with ease in a peck measure. And yet there are half a dozen applicants ready to fill every vacancy that occurs. The pioneer oil well shooter of the Allegany field is Col. W. A. Myers of Bolivar. The story of his experience in the nitro-glycerine business would make an interesting volume. He claims the honor of making the first pound of nitro-glycerine ever exploded in an oil well. He established a factory at Titusville, Pa., in the winter of 1869. At that time he mixed the stuff in earthen crocks. Later on he invented a machine that made 400 cans a day. In those days it was almost impossible to secure any helpers at the factory and farmers would drive three miles out of their way to avoid passing close by where the deadly explosive was made. Myers built a factory near Olean in 1879. It was afterward blown up. One of the most exciting events in his life took place at Bolivar Run, Pa., in May, 1882. A factory containing 3,200 pounds of nitro-glycerine blew up. Myers had just stepped out and was not over 50 feet distant when the explosion took place. He was hurled through the air over too feet, but strange to say, he was not seriously injured. When he recovered his senses he discovered that he was almost nude. One stocking was all the wearing apparel he had on. His coat was blown off and torn to tatters. It is now highly prized as a relic. Myers built a factory near Bolivar in 1882, the capacity of which was 5,000 pounds of nitro-glycerine a day. He gave up shooting entirely and devoted his attention to supplying explosives to other men. In 1884 he sent his son, W. R. Myers, to Egypt to build a factory and shoot some test wells near the great pyramids for an English syndicate. He retired from his hazardous calling in i886, after an exciting experience of 17 years in the business. He is one of the few survivors of the old time Oil Creek shooters, the majority of whom met violent deaths.

BOLIVAR BUSINESS INTERESTS. - The business men are an enterprising, energetic class of people. Among them the oil man holds a conspicuous place, in fact most everyone is an oil man to a certain extent, very few have been able to resist that contagious chance taking, Louisiana-lottery feeling which leads people into taking an interest in a well or speculating in the exchanges. Before the advent of the oil industry the interests were mostly agricultural, dairying and lumbering being the principal pursuits. The mercantile interests were inferior in comparison to the present situation The population of the village was then about 200. During the summer of 1880 Richburg, the sister village, experienced a boom which has had few equals in oil country history. Bolivar was not very much affected until the following winter. The development of the Richburg pool having become pretty well defined, the enthusiasm cooled down with the cold weather. Meanwhile. developments were becoming quite extensive to the south of Bolivar village, and during the summer of 1881 the territory between Bolivar and Allentown was creating considerable excitement and proving valuable property. Bolivar was the most accessible station for headquarters during the operations of 1881. The narrow gauge roads came winding their serpentine paths over the hills from all points, Bradford, Cuba, Angelica. Friendship and Wellsville all sent eager crowds over the miniature railroads to Bolivar. Machine shops, stores, all manner of institutions, began a steady growth. The boom was not such a prodigy as Richburg experienced but it proved far more lasting. Today it is a serious matter to obtain a fairly good house to rent in this town while Richburg is a desolate ruin, the empty, windowless buildings displaying endless visions of haunted houses of all descriptions. Although the oil industry experienced a season of great depression for several years, through low prices and a falling off in production, still Bolivar held to a great extent the prosperity gained during 1881. And at the present price of crude petroleum the town is enjoying a great degree of prosperity. Perhaps there is more cash per capita in circulation in Bolivar than in any other village in Allegany county.

The interests of that great corporation, the Standard Oil Company, in Bolivar and vicinity is carefully looked after by W. F. Thomas, who knows all that there is to know about oil in the Allegany and Pennsylvania fields.

One of the most prosperous of the firms in the oil and gas industry in town is the Empire Gas and Fuel Co. Their office is located on Boss street and is the real center of the great gas plants supplying Cuba, Wellsville, Bolivar and Richburg. Beside the great number of gas wells this company has an extensive production of the oleaginous fluid. The Bradley Bros. are the owners and directors of this company. They began the business by supplying Richburg and Bolivar with gas, and have gradually increased their operations until their interests mount upwards into the hundred of thousands; still Mr. Bradley will tell you, with a twinkle in his eye, that he has never been out of debt "since he was twenty one."

Another prosperous company is the Bolivar Oil Co. This firm was organized three years ago by twelve business men of the village, the capital raised by them was $8,000. This was so judiciously invested in oil and gas plants in Ohio and elsewhere, that their property is now estimated at $75,000. The president of this company is E. J. Wilson, who has a comfortable income from his various interests of $250 per day. The office of the company is the old Tidewater office. The secretary and treasurer is W. L. Nichols.

There are several industries which are in a measure connected with the production of oil. At the western extremity of Liberty street A. C. McDonell has a machine shop. He manufactures and repairs drilling tools, engines, etc. Gas is used in the plant for lights and fuel. Mr. McDonell also is engaged in oil production. Alex. Wilson has a shop on Main street where engines, boilers and all sorts of machinery is repaired. There are two plants for repairing boilers in town - Dempsey Bros. on Liberty street and A. Elsesser near Main street. One of the best patronized stores in town is the Oil Well Supply Co.'s establishment on Main street. At this place all the hardware necessary (except the silver dollar) to the production of oil from the time the well is located until the tank is filled, is furnished. The gentleman in charge is J. Craig. For several years a similar store owned by the Jarecki M'f'g. Co., was located here - but the business proved that one such store was sufficient.

In the autumn of 1895 several gentlemen established a nitro-glycerine plant. Until this time the dangerous compound was drawn into town from Bradford or Warren. The Rock Glycerine Co. No. 2 now manufactures a grade of the explosive which proves highly satisfactory. The site of the plant is in a secluded hollow about a mile west of the village, on land owned by E. R. Kilbury. The reason for selecting this retired spot is not attributed to the modesty of the gentlemen engaged in the industry, but is owing to the fact that sometimes circumstances of a highly startling nature transpire, - after which it is difficult to find any tangible evidence of the existence of such an establishment except a great hole in the ground, which proves at least that it would not be well to locate on Main street. An expert, a gentleman from Bradford, presides over the manufacture of the article and is aided by one or two assistants.

The oil well shooter, with his glycerine carriage, is a familiar sight in Bolivar. His duty is to take the cans from the magazine, haul the explosive to the well, lower it in the long tubes called "shells" and explode it where required. This duty requires nerve of all qualities and descriptions. There are several shooters at present in the village. The Van Curen Bros. are interested also in the nitro-glycerine plant, with M. Williams, who is in business for himself, and H. H. Young, better known as "Brig" Young, who shoots for the Newton Torpedo Co. The events which occasionally happen in the lives of these shooters would make the dime novel retire with a blush. The writer vividly remembers one occurrence which took place in September, 1892, for the reason that he was one at least of a small party who wished for a few seconds they were "some where else." The well was located in the woods on a steep hillside. The shooter was H. H. Young "who (upon his own statement) "was born lucky." After the shot had been successfully lowered, "Brig" got into the wagon preparatory to driving the team and wagon out of danger from the falling debris which follows the explosion of the torpedo. There were two cans in the wagon which had not been used. As the team backed on the side hill the two upper wheels left the ground, rose slowly, - higher, higher, reached the line of the center of gravity, - hung there a single tremendous second as "Brig" crawled upon the rising wheels and slowly forced them back to terra firma. All others of the party had meantime made an inglorious retreat, feeling that their combativeness was not equal to the shock of the explosion of 16 qts. of nitro-glycerine. The shooter was calm and unembarrassed and the job was finished according to law and order.

One of the most thriving institutions of the village is the cigar factory (No. 1528, 28th District) of F. A. Loop & Co., started Nov. 27, 1893. Employment is given to ten men, sometimes more, and a very satisfactory article is produced. The members of the firm are F. A. Loop, J. M. Van Gorden and S. A. Wertman. They make several brands of all qualities. Two men are travelling for them in the interests of the company during most of the year. The employees are paid so much per hundred. One of their most expert workmen often earns $18 per week working 8 hours per day.

E. A. Root is building a sawmill on South Main street and near it a planing mill is to be established.

There are two hardware merchants driving a rushing trade, H. L. Zimmerman and Ira Voorhees. The clothiers are R. L. Andrus & Son and Fitzgerald Bros. The drygood merchants are Hoyt & Cowles, J. H. Root & Son, and Mitchell &. Co. (drygoods and groceries), who occupy the lower story of Masonic Block. The grocery men are F. Hulbert & Co., Mrs O'Brien and J. J. Cooper. The druggists Seibert & Cutler and J. E. Drake. Gavin & Healy have a news office, jewelry and notion store. All of these are established on Main street. The millinery establishments are owned by Mrs. Bertha Weiler and Miss Mabel York. Mrs. Weiler has been engaged in the business in this town for 12 years. There are two first class hotels, the Newton House built by D. A. Newton to accommodate the crowd during "the excitement," and the Clark House. Both are located on Main street. The Newton House is a wooden structure, 4 stories high, and large, considering the population of the town. The present proprietor is C. C. Thomas. The Clark House is a smaller establishment. D. E. Brock has just sold it to Calvin Scott for $3,500. Wesley Hoyt has a fine line of furniture in his store on Main street. In addition to these establishments Bolivar has a harness shop, a boot and shoe store, barber shops, a fruit store, owned by G. H. Parker, who is also the postmaster, a bakery, three meat markets, several restaurants, a crockery store owned by J. T. Cowles, and two livery stables. Nearly all the mercantile establishments are on Main street.

The dairying interests of Bolivar have been a secondary industry since the oil boom. There are two cheese factories located in the town, one near the village another at South Bolivar. The first one in the village was built by D. A. Newton in 1874, and made that year over 65,000 lbs. of cheese. (It was discontinued in 1882, made into a hotel and called the Manchester House.) The Bolivar cheese factory built in 1887 by Curtis Smith is situated at Bolivar village. The main building is 24x24 feet, the wing 20x50 feet. In 1893 the milk of 200 cows was used and about 50,000 pounds of cheese was made. At the present time the business is an unsatisfactory one, and the factory is not making a large quantity of the article. At South Bolivar a larger quantity of cheese is made, during 1895 over 100,000 pounds.

BANKS. - THE STATE BANK OF BOLIVIA was organized May 31, 1882, with R. F. Burckman president, and J. F. Thompson cashier. Mr. Thompson now occupies the responsible position of cashier of the Seaboard National Bank of New York City. In 1884 a change in the ownership of the stock took place and an election occurred which made J. M. Curtiss, of the law firm of Curtiss & Bliss, president, with F. L. Newton, a son of D. A. Newton, cashier. Mr Newton is now cashier of the Fidelity Guarantee and Trust Co. of Buffalo. The capital stock of the State Bank of Bolivar is $100,000, with a surplus of $60,000. The present officers are J. M. Curtiss president, J. B. Bradley vice president, G. H. Root cashier, J. F. Hogan is bookkeeper. This institution is on a sound financial basis and is one of the most profitable financial institutions in the county. A recent report gives this statement of its business: Resources: Loans and discounts $100,391.45, due from directors $1,367.23, overdrafts $3,014.14, due from Trust companies, etc, $10,133.03, banking house and lot $3,000, bonds $1,000, specie $3,092.12, U. S. notes $1,844, cash $163.02, expenses $176.74, Furniture, etc., $1,000, oil property $10,600, total $135,781.73. Liabilites: Capital stock $30,000, surplus $5,044.69, discount $1,071.87, exchange $107.85, deposits $70,153.57, demand certificates $29,403.75, total $135,781.73.

FIRE COMPANIES. - Bolivar has two fire companies, the J. B. Bradley Hose Co. and the CitizensHoseCo. The aggregate number of members is over one hundred. The Citizens Hose Co. own its hose building, which is located on Friendship street, and is a pleasant well kept structure. The president of the J. B. Bradley Hose Co. is M. Furnald. The water works system of the town is unique. Two large wooden tanks are located high up on one of the surrounding mountains and are kept full of water from a nearby spring; a system of water pipes lead down and about the village, giving a tremendous preasure when it is required.

PHYSICIANS. - Although the general health of the population of Bolivar is excellent owing to plentiful supply of pure water and air, yet we have an intelligent and thrifty staff of physicians. Among them perhaps Dr. Joseph L. Cutler has gained the most prominence. [See Medical Chapter.] He began life as a teacher, earning enough at that profession to complete a a course of study in the University of New York. While a teacher studied medicine. Among those to experience Dr. Cutler's guidance along "The flowery path of knowledge" was John Rockefeller, the head of that greatest business organization in the world, the Standard Oil Co. Rockefeller was then a lad of eight years, and Dr. Cutler was his first teacher. A younger brother, Wm. Rockefeller, and an older sister were also among the Doctor's pupils. It is evident that at the schoolmaster's desk the Doctor was a success. He has given up in a great measure active practice, but his advice is sought at all times, and perhaps there is not a man in Bolivar or the southern tier of Allegany's towns who has more friends or who has done his fellow mortals more practical good. than genial Dr. "Joe." Dr. Dorr Cutler, a brother of J. L. Cutler, was during the Civil War a volunteer of the 138th N. Y. (9th N. Y., H. A.) He married Miss Harriet Cowles. (See Medical Chapter). The family of Dr. Latham traces ancestry to Mary Chilton, one of the passengers of the Mayflower, by some historians said to be the first woman to land on Plymouth Rock. She married John Winslow, a brother of Edward Winslow, one of the first governors of the Plymouth colony. Their daughter became the wife of Robert Latham who came to America about 1640. From this couple all the Lathams in this country (so far as known) have descended. Dr. Latham's father, Rev. Joseph Latham, Jr., has been a minister in the Genesee Conference of the M, E. church for over 40 years. Dr. Latham is a member of the M. E. church, and secretary of the official board. Dr. Latham is a great student, a man of cultivated tarts and an enthusiast in his profession. (See Medical Chapter). Dr. Charles F. Hoffman, who has practiced medicine in this state since 1885, is one of the modern, thoroughly equipped physicians, who from their natural abilities and exceptionally fine educational advantages, deserve and win high rank in their profession. (See Medical Chapter.)

ATTORNEYS. - J. M. Curtiss, Esq., the first lawyer to locate in Bolivar, came here in 1850, and has been in constant practice from that time. Four years ago he formed with Walter T. Bliss, Esq., the existing law firm of Curtiss & Bliss. (See Courts and Lawyers).

PHOTOGRAPHERS. - M. A. Furnald, H. A. Cudding.

MACEDONIA LODGE NO. 258, F. & A. M., (Masonic history furnished by E. W. Cowles, Esq.) was organized at Bolivar. The first meeting was held U. D. at Odd Fellows Hall in the hotel (now Clark House) March 10, 1852. The officers elected were: S. G. S. Rowley, W. M.; S. W. Thomas, S. W.; A. G. Williams, J. W.; S. S. Buckley, Sec'y; J. M. Curtis. S. D.; Orry Millard, Tyler. The charter was later granted and was dated June 12, 1852. The first installation of officers under the charter was on Aug. 11, 1852, by D. G. M. Jeremiah Hatch as follows: S. G. S. Rowley, W. M.; S. W. Thomas, S. W.; A. G. Williams, J. D.; S. S. Buckley, Sec'y; Geo. J. Adams, S. D.; D. A. Hix, J. D.; Alvey Withey, Tyler. The members at that time were: J. M. Curtis, D. C. Root, J. W. Rowley, Wiloby Jakways, C. A. Withey, Cyrus J. Newton, Alex. Martin, Isaac D. Smith. The Masters have been: S. G. S. Rowley, J. M. Curtis, E. W. Cowles, A. N. Carpenter, I. H. Mourhess, Chas. H. Brown, C. L. Jukes, Stephen W. Thomas, A. G. Williams, E. R. Kilbury, R. L. Andrus, C. M. Williams, John P. Calvert, Fred A. Hulbert. For 1896 C. B. Montgomery. The place of meeting of the lodge from its organization to June, 1881, was in the hotel where it was instituted. From June, 1881, to June 7, 1882, it was without a regular lodge room. Then it moved into a hall in the A. G. Williams' building on the west side of Main street and remained there until 1891 when the lodge and chapter erected a good commodious building of their own, affording an elegant hall and necessary apartments. The corner stone was laid June 17th, and the hall was dedicated Oct. 22, 1891. The lodge and chapter occupy the upper rooms and the lower part is occupied by stores. The building is brick veneered, and cost $3,400. The fraternity made a bonded indebtedness of $2,300, and there is now an indebtedness of $1,050 on the building. The regular Lodge meetings are held monthly on the 1st and 3d Wednesdays. The membership Jan. 1, 1896, was 115. S. G S. Rowley, the founder and father of Macedonia Lodge, was born in Otsego county May 31, 1799. He was made a Mason June, 1820, and a Royal Arch Mason before he was 22 years old. He lived in Bolivar the most of his life and took great interest in masonry. He was at the home of one of his sons, F. E. Rowley, in Port Allegany, Pa., when he died Oct. 15, 1894, aged 95 years, 5 months. The remains were brought to Bolivar for burial. He had been a Mason 74 years.

BOLIVAR CHAPTER NO. 280, R. A. M., was organized May 8, 1890, with 26 members. The charter bears date Feb. 4, 1891. The first officers were: William F. Thomas, H. P.; Fred L. Newton, K.; C. L. Jukes, S. The High Priests from organization have been: Wm. F. Thomas, C. M. Williams and George A. Beers. Wm. F. Thomas, A. G. Williams and J. M. Curtis are the only ones now living in Bolivar of the charter members. The regular convocations of the chapter occur on the 2d and 4th Wednesdays of each month. The membership of the chapter was 65 on Jan. 1, 1896.

BUTTRICK CHAPTER NO. 109, 0. E. S. The first charter for this chapter was granted to Allentown Chapter No. 62, which was largely promoted by the efforts of Mr. and Mrs. Fred A. Hulbert. Mrs. Melvina Allen, W. M. has kindly furnished us its history as follows: "Allentown Chapter No. 62, was organized at Allentown March 31, 1887, with 65 members, Mrs. Lina Raydure, W. M. and Robert McCutcheon as W. P., by Mrs. Sadie McKelvey of Rochester, Grand Matron. This chapter prospered well until 1894 when the charter was surrendered. Some of the members united with ladies of Bolivar. and applied for a charter for the present chapter, the chapter was organized U. D. July 11, 1894, and the chapter, 109, was granted in June, 1895. It had 25 charter members: Mrs. Melvina Allen, W. M.; Mrs. Harriet Beatty, A. M.; Mrs. F. A. Hulbert, Treas.; Mrs. Frank Beers, Sec'y; Mrs. Clara Andrus, Con.; Mrs. Lillian Tuttle, A. Con.; Mrs Elizabeth Garthwait, Warden; Legrand A. Tuttle, Sentinel; Mrs. Ada Barber, Ada; Estella Smith, Ruth; Mrs. Bertha Weiler, Esther; Mrs. Hunt, Martha; Mrs. Ella Dunning, Electa; Thomas P. Hardin, W. P. The membership is 43 and meetings are regularly held in Masonic Temple on the 2d and 4th Tuesdays of each month." Mrs. Melvina Allen has been W. M. 5 years in the two chapters and District Deputy Grand Matron of the 13th District since 1890.

Bolivar has her quota of other societies, social and literary. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows has a growing well ordered lodge. Its number is 615, and it was instituted March 3, 1884. The society has several rooms on south Main street and hold their meetings weekly. The membership is 43 and it is constantly increasing. This order is one of the oldest in town, a lodge having been organized in 1856. The first officers were J. Bernhoff, N. G.; J. H. Hendrickson, V. G.; C. M. Stoppard, secretary; C. Reed, treasurer. The present order got its charter Aug. 21, 1884. The present officers are E. R. Williams, N. G.; W. C. Phillips, V. N. G.; J. T. Cowles, secretary; I. G. Cooper, treasurer.

The Tent of the K. O. T. M. was organized in 1881. The Bees now number 101. Their meetings are weekly and held in the Williams block. The present officers are Chas. Sheffer, commander; Wm. Harrington, lieut. commander; J. Craig, record keeper. The L. O. T. M. was organized Feb. 7, 1894 with a membership of 45. The officers are Mrs. Emma Hulbert, lady commander; Mrs. D. T. Beatty, past lady commander; Mrs. Anna Fritz, record keeper; Miss Kittie McBride, finance keeper.

An organization of the Royal Templars of Temperance was instituted March 24, 1886.

H. C. GARDNER POST NO 247 of the G. A. R. is the society in the eyes of the old soldiers. The Post numbers 40 members and was organized in 1881. The present officers are A. George, commander; M. A. Furnald, adjutant Many of the members were in the 189th N. Y. Regt. and the division in which were Lieut. E. R, Kilbury and M. A. Furnald were in the front ranks and received the flag of truce when Lee surrendered. Some of the battles in which the 189th participated were Petersburg. Five Forks and Appanatox. E. R. Kilbury a member of the post entered the war in 1868 as first lieutenant. M. A. Furnald entered the same year. The colonel of the 189th was A. L. Burr of Bath. Some of the other members of the post are Lyman Root, John Beers, E. Richardson and C. Allen. The post has a number of soldiers who enlisted from other towns in other regiments. The meetings of the G. A. R. are held semi monthly in the W. C. T. U. hall. E. R. Kilbury was the ambulance officer for the first division of the first corps, during 1864-65. He was promoted from second lieut. to first lieut. while in the service. He was in the Weldon raid and in the fight at Petersburg when Fort Stedman was recaptured. Lieut Kilbury's command was noted for efficient service in caring for and removing the wounded from the field to the hospital. Its work was in the heat of the battle, often between the fire of the two armies.

The prominent literary societies are the Sorosis and the Epworth League. The former was founded May, 1895. Its membership is limited to twenty five ladies. They meet once a week, and the society is incorporated under state laws. The work of "Sorosis" is reading and reviewing some of the literary productions of the day, also occasionally sketching the lives of prominent authors or topics of interest. It is a pleasant and instructive feature of the social life of the town especially for the ladies of the organization.

THE EPWORTH LEAGUE was organized first as theYoungPeople's Union Jan. 2, 1890. The date of their charter is March 1, 1890, which is also No. 20. The first officers were, J. V. Lovell president, C. F. Albee, L. Furnaid, S. Potter and L. Barmore vice presidents, Maria Fisher secretary, L. Le Beouf treasurer. The present officers are, S. E. White president, B. Main, L. Furnald, F. Davie, Mrs. H. L. Zimmerman vice presidents, A. Durnell secretary, R. Stone treasurer. The present membership is 60. Associated with the Epworth League is the Junior League, No. 226, organized Nov. 29, 1890. The membership is 75. Pres. Mrs. J. W. Barnett. Both associations meet weekly.

W. C. T. U. - The W. C. T. U. was organized Dec. 6, 1883. First officers were Mrs. J. B. Bradley president, Mrs. J. N. Dalby vice president, Mrs. M. A. Wood corresponding secretary, Mrs. A. E. Kenyon recording secretary, Mrs. D. C. Hoyt treasurer. The organization rooms on Boss street and meet each Friday P. M. The lady who has perhaps been the chief pillar of the W C T. U. is Mrs. J. B. Bradley.

METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. - The first religious services of the town were held by Austin Cowles, a local Methodist preacher, in 1820. Methodist sentiment was strong here and resulted in 1828 in the Bolivar Methodist church. The first trustees were Nelson Hoyt, Eli LeSuer, Abel Root, Jr., Clark Millard, Levi LeSuer. There were then 30 members. In 1843 a neat church was built costing $1,900, Nelson Hoyt contributing the building lot. The present building was erected in 1882, costing, with general furnishing and pipe organ, about $13,000. The membership is now 125. The trustees are R. L. Andrus, J. L. Cutler, J. W. Hamsher, E. R. Kilbury, A. C. Pire. Dr. Latham, clerk; classleaders, J. W. Hamsher, L G Campbell, James Turner. Pastors as recorded: 1855-6, T. W. Eaton; 1856-7. Wm. Leak; 1857-8, W. Herd; 1859-61, 0. S. Chamberlayne; 1861-2, T. W. Potter; 1864-5, H. 0. Abbott; 1866-7, A. W. Willson.; 1867-8, Joseph Latham; 1870-1, T. E. Clayton; 1871-2, G. H. Van Vradenburg; 1872-3, John Agar; 1874-5, J. K. Torrey; 1875-7, A. H. Johnston; 1877-8, Rowley; 1878-9, A. B. Kelley; 1879-81, R. Canfield; 1881-2, T. R. Stratton; 1882-5, I. H. Dalby; 1885-6, G. W. Loomis; 1886-9, F. S. Parkhurst; 1889-90. J. V. Lowell; 1890-4, S. W. Arnold; 1894, J. W.Barnett, present pastor. The Sunday school was early organized. R. L. Andrus was superintendent for 32 years, resigning the office in January, 1896. M. A. Furnald is the present superintendent.

THE FREE METHODIST class of Bolivar, N. Y., was organized on the first Sunday in January, 1884, by Rev. A. C. Leonard, who then resided in Belmont. The class consisted of three members, John Crandall, Mrs John Crandall and Mrs. Mary Wheelock. June 11, 1884, the class met and incorporated themselves, thereafter to be called the Bolivar Free Methodist church, then having a membership of nine. Rev. J. G. Terrill was the first regular pastor, under whose pastorate the church building was erected. This was dedicated Aug. 3, 1884. Valuation $1,000. The church grew rapidly for sometime, but, owing to the removal of the greater part of its membership to other localities, it only numbers fourteen at present. It has six officers, Rev. J. H. Wheeler is pastor. The Sabbath school was organized soon after the church was erected. John Crandall superintendent. At present the school numbers thirty, with six officers and teachers.

CATHOLIC CHURCH. - The Catholic society was organized during 1882. The pastor, who was also the prime mover in bringing about the building of the church, was Rev. Father Caraher. He also had charge of a similar organization in Cuba. Most of the money for building the church was furnished by the Catholic fair which netted the society $1,500 in one week. Father Caraher raised by other means $500. The land on which the church stands was the gift of D. A. Newton, When Father Caraher left Cuba, the Bolivar parish came into charge of Father Griffin. At present Rev. Father J. J. Rogers has charge of three parishes, Cuba, Friendship and Bolivar. Services here are held every third Sunday. There is a Sunday school contected with the society which contains about 200 members. The present trustees are L. Seibert, A. C. McDonell and J. Devlin. The assessed valuation of the church property is $1,000.

SCHOOLS. - The first schoolhouse was built in 1820. Logs served as material in building. The first teacher was Rachel Gilbert who taught during the summer, while Austin Cowles taught the succeeding winter. The schoolhouse was located on the northeast corner of lot 55. Could one of the boys who attended the log cabin school renew his youth and creep once more "like a snail unwillingly to school," he would find, in place of the log cabin, a large wooden structure with crowds of children; young men and women within, under the guidance of a corps of seven teachers. He would also find the methods used in urging pupils "along the flowery path of knowledge," while not so violent as in the olden days, had produced a pace of which he had never dreamed. Instead of one old spellingbook and a bit of charcoal, he would find innumerable books, tablets, charts and apparatus of all description. In 1885 the district school in "No. 1," by virtue of the greatly increased population, became a Union school. The members of Board of Education were E. R. Kilbury, president; W. R. Stevens, C. H. Brown, Frank Hoover and R. L. Andrus, trustees. The first principal was Prof. McCartney. The district schoolhouse was greatly enlarged. A larger school yard was also procured by purchasing land from the Olean Land Co. The annual registration is usually about 300 with an average daily attendance of from 220 to 240. The school by the last inspection of Inspector Clement is ranked as a High School, having sufficient library and apparatus, and courses extensive enough to entitle it to that rank. The number of academic pupils is usually about 40 with a tendency to increase as the population of the village becomes more stable. Many who have been in attendance but who have not completed a formal course leading to graduation, have entered business and professional life. Since 1891 the standard for graduation has been that of the Regents. In the four years succeeding 1891 nine male and 12 female students have been graduated on Regents diplomas. Of the male graduates 3 are at Cornell University, each on a state scholarship obtained by a competitive examination. One is in Milton College, Wis., and one at Alfred Uuiversity. Of the female graduates six are teachers, three have taken Normal training in addition to their academic course. The full list of High School courses is maintained with the aim of meeting any requirement whether of business or preparation for college. All students for college are in courses leading to the degree of A. B. To the Bolivar High School belongs the credit of having the highest honor certificate issued in the state, a 100 credit classical scientific diploma secured in 1893 by Miss Josephine E. Keeney, who afterward graduated from the Albany Normal College. To prevent the necessity for pupils going to other schools for higher academic work, advanced and post graduate work have received attention, and since 1891, 30 diplomas have been received for post graduate work. The school year is divided into two terms. the first of 19 weeks and the second of 20 weeks. At the middle and expiration of those terms grade examinations are given throughout the school. Faculty meetings are held each Monday evening, and at these meetings principles and methods are discussed. This weekly meeting has proved of great help in promoting and maintaining unity and integrity of work and to establish a faculty to keep abreast of main lines of educational progress. In the workings of the Board of Education a remarkable unanimity and harmony has prevailed, while the trustees have always had the support of the people in their decisions. To Mr. E. R Kilbury, president of the board for the entire time since the organization (with the exception of two years, when he declined the position and the office was efficiently filled by Mr. J. W. O'Day) is due much 'of the credit for an intelligent and harmonious administration of affairs. The teachers are now seven in number, though there have been eight and six, according to the varying number of pupils. The principal, Alexander J. Glennie, was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and came to America in 1871, when 5 years old, with his parents, his father George Glennie settling at Geneseo, N. Y., his present home. In 1872 became a pupil of the Normal school and was graduated from the Normal department in 1889 as president of his class. While attending the school he taught several terms of district school, and, on graduating, at once became principal of the graded school at Arkport for one year. The next year he was principal of the union school at Alexander. In 1891 he commenced his very successful principalship of Bolivar's school system in which he is now engaged. "He is extensively known as a thoroughly energetic and progressive teacher, who can show tangible results of his work with young men and women." Mr. Glennie is senior warden of Macedonia Lodge of Freemasons, and a member of Bolivar Chapter R. A. M. He married Mary K. Cowles of Bolivar. Miss Ella Crandall, graduate of the Geneseo Normal, class '95, began her work as preceptress in September, 1895. Miss Crandall was a former student of the school and a successful teacher before her normal course. Miss Alice L. Sibley, appointed in 1894 to the 7th and 8th grade is a graduate of the Brockport Normal class of '94. Miss Lena B. Munroe, appointed in 1894, was a student of the Oswego Normal school and came to Bolivar as teacher of the 5th and 6th grades. Miss Louise Flint, of the 1st and 2d grades, was appointed in 1895, and has had a number of years' experience as a teacher in Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties and other places. She is a graduate of the Fredonia Normal. Miss Adah M. Perry has charge of the 3d and 4th grades. She has been a teacher in this school since the organization as a union school in 1885. Miss Kittie R. McBride, now teaching the primary, has a similar record of continuous teaching. The expenses of the school year in Dist No. 1 are from $4,000 to $4,200. The members of the present Board of Education are E. R Kilbury, president; R. L. Andrus, C. C. Garthwait, A. Wilson, Geo. Beers, trustees. There are six other schools in the town with an average attendance varying from six to twenty. These are subject to the vicissitudes of the frequent changes in teachers, good, bad, and indifferent. Perhaps the largest of the schools, aside from Dist. No. 1, is the school at "Kossuth," a small settlement a mile south of Bolivar village. Among those who have held the principalship of the Bolivar High School is school commissioner Stephen Pollard.

Also see History of Bolivar, New York.

Return to [ NY History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ]

NY Counties - Albany - Allegany - Broome - Cayuga - Chatauqua - Chenango - Clinton - Columbia - Cortland - Dutchess - Erie - Essex - Franklin - Fulton - Genesee - Herkimer - Jefferson - Lewis - Livingston - Madison - Montgomery - Niagara - Oneida - Onondaga - Ontario - Orange - Orleans - Oswego - Putnam - Queens - Rensselaer - Richmond - Rockland - St. Lawrence - Saratoga - Schenectady - Steuben - Suffolk - Tioga - Tompkins - Tryone - Ulster - Washington - Wayne - Yates

All pages copyright 2003-2012. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy