Boylston, lying in the center of the northernmost limits of Oswego county, was
formed from Orwell on the 7th of February, 1828. It was originally known as survey township No. 6, otherwise called
"Campania,” of the Boylston tract, and upon its organization was named in honor of Thomas Boylston, who for
a short time held the title to that extensive purchase. It is bounded on the north by Lorraine, Jefferson county;
on the east by Redfield; on the south by Orwell; and on the west by Sandy Creek and Ellisburg in Jefferson county,
and comprises an area of 24,270 acres.
The surface of the town has a general westerly inclination and the highest points attain an altitude of 700 to
800 feet above tide-water. It is one of the most sightly localities in the county. From its greatest elevations
an extended and beautiful panoramic view is unfolded to the beholder. Lake Ontario and the intervening town of
Sandy Creek, and portions of Ellisburg and Richiand, are presented to the eye, while other landscapes little less
pleasing greet the vision of the appreciative observer. “Distance lends enchantment to the view of both lake and
land, and if beautiful prospects took precedence over corn and cheese, Boylston might outrank all the rest of the
county.” The surface is rolling and moderately hilly. The soil in the northern and western parts is a fertile gravelly
loam, the underlying rock being the Lorraine shales. The southeast corner of the town extends into the gray limestone
region and the soil there is light and thin. Outcroppings of rock are frequent, especially along the streams, and
in some instances interfere with the cultivation. Until recent years the principal industry was lumbering, but
agriculture has generally superseded other employments. The town was originally covered with a heavy growth of
valuable. timber, which gave employment to numerous saw mills, but which now is seen only in scattered remnants.
Productive fields and pleasant homes have replaced the larger portion of the primitive forests, and afford to the
worthy inhabitants of to-day a substantial revenue as well as a desirable residence. The most important stream
is Little Sandy Creek, which has its source in Redfield and, flowing westerly through this town and Sandy Creek,
empties into the lake. There are other small brooks that afford adequate drainage. The chief products are grain,
hay, and. potatoes, and considerable attention is also given to dairying.
Ever associated with a dense wilderness are many thrilling stories of adventure, and Boylston is no exception to
the rule. Late in settlement and still later in development, these stirring narratives are unforgotten. Deer and
bear, welcomed and dreaded respectively in the vicinity of the pioneer’s home, were frequent visitors within the
memory of many inhabitants. Encounters with the latter animal, formerly frequent,- are still of occasional occurrence.
Hunting was for many years a favorite pastime, a sport not unattended with danger, but sought, nevertheless, for
its genuine adventure and excitement.
Many Indian relics have been found from time to time in the town, showing that this was a hunting ground for the
savages as well as their civilized successors.
The original patentee of the lands comprised within the present town of Boylston was Alexander Macomb, of New York.
city, who, on June 22, 1791, in behalf of a company said to consist of himself, Daniel McCormick, and William Constable,
applied to the Legislature for a tract since known as Macomb’s Purchase. The price was to be eight pence per acre,
and the patent was issued to him January 10, 1792. He had become involved in speculation, and on October 3, conveyed
to William Constable that portion of his purchase of which this town formed a part. December 18, 1792, Constable
conveyed nearly all of survey townships Nos. 5 and 6 (Boylston) to Samuel Ward, who, two days later, sold a tract
including this town to Thomas Boyhston, of Boston. May 21, 1794, Boylston gave a deed of trust of eleven townships
to George Lee, George Irving, and Thomas Latham, assignees of Lane, Son & Frazer, of London, and they conveyed
them to John Johnson Phyn, June 2, 1794, in whom the title became vested. April 10, 1795, Phyn appointed William
Constable his attorney to sell any or all of the Boylston tract, and on April 1, 1796, conveyed to him (Constable)
the unsold lands, which included this township. March 16, 1798, Constable gave his brother James a power of attorney
to sell lands, and, to establish confidence in the validity of his title, procured from Gen. Alexander Hamilton,
J. 0. Hoffman (attorney-general of the State), Richard Harrison, and other eminent lawyers a certificate that they
had examined his conveyances and believed them perfect. William Constable died May 22, 1803, and on April 26, 1819,
a deed of release was executed by his heirs to Hezekiah B. Pierrepont, from whom the title of the unsold portions
passed to his son, William C. Pierrepont.
The highways of the town, owing to the scattered population, have always been a subject of more or less solicitude,
yet in point of improvement they have kept pace with those of the more thickly settled communities. Those in the
western part were the first to be surveyed and constructed. In 1849 the Lorraine plank road was completed and opened
by a company incorporated on January 3 of that year, which consisted of Moses Brown, Philander Smith, Ehihu Gillett,
Chester Gilman, and A. L. Baker. This thoroughfare was discontinued as a plank road several years ago.
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At the first town meeting, held in the spring of 1828, the following officers
Supervisor, John Wart; town clerk, Joseph Shoecraft; assessors, Jesse Colman, Matthew Shoecraft, Barnabas Porter;
commissioners of highways, Daniel Chase, Peter 'Wells, Zaben Cole; overseers of the poor, Thomas Dutcher, Martin
Lillie; collector, Henry D. Pruyn; constables, Henry D. Pruyn, Philip A. Bortles; commissioners of common schools,
John Wart, John Dunbar, jr., Reuben Snyder; inspectors of common schools, Miller R. Larmouth, Peter Wells, Philip
The supervisors have been;
John Wart, 1828-29; Joseph Shoecraft, 1830-35; Henry Snyder, 1836-37; Joseph Shoecraft, 1838; John Wart, 1839-40;
Jacob V. Gordon, 1841-43; Joseph Shoecraft, 1844; Jacob V. Gordon, 1845; Daniel Shoecraft, 1846 -48; James Lowry,
1849-50; Azariah Wart, 1851-52; Abraham Snyder, 1853-54; Azariah Wart, 1855-56; Joseph L. Bortles, 1857-58; Henry
J. Snyder, 1859-60; James Lowry, 1861; Henry J. Snyder, 1862; Christopher J. Huffstater, 1863-64; Joseph L. Bortles,
1865-66; Henry Lester, 1867-70; David Hamer, 1871-72; Henry Lester, 1873; John Oderkirk, 1874-75;George W. Rudd,
1876-78; Leonardo R. Huffstater, 1879-80; George N. Shafty, 1881-90; Orrin L. Stowell, 1891-92; Emerson D. Lester.
The town officers for 1894-95 were:
Emerson D. Lester, supervisor; Charles A. Fuller, town clerk; Elvin S. Blodgett, highway commissioner; Aaron W.
Fuller, William Ridgeway, James Hunt and Eugene Wells, justices of the peace; Walter H. Greenwood, Philando Delong,
and Lyman J. Baker, assessors; Joseph L. Borties, overseer of the poor; Henry G. Greenfield, collector; James B.
Tilton, George Wills and George Doneburg, town auditors; William A. Snyder, sealer of weights and measures.
In 1882 a neat frame public hail was erected near the center of the town at a cost of about $600; this is used
for holding elections and for the transaction of other town business.
The first settlers in the town of Boylston were John Wart and Michael Sweetman, who, unknown to each other, made
permanent locations in 1812. Mr. Wart was the first actual resident, as he arrived two days before his neighbor.
He came from Otsego county and settled in the northwest corner of the town, as did also Mr. Sweetman, who removed
hither from Montgomery county. The locality then was an unbroken wilderness, and many were the stories which these
hardy pioneers lived to recount. Soon after their arrival, the War of 1812 broke out and both hastened as volunteers
to the defense of Sackett's Harbor. Immigration ceased, and for two years theirs were the only families in the
town save a man named Gordon, who lived a part of the time in the vicinity. Alonzo Wart, eldest son of John, was
born December 12, 1812, and was the first white child born in Boylston, but he survived only until February, 1814,
when he died, which was the first death in the township. William Wart, a son of John, was born here September 4,
1819, married a daughter of John Dingman, and resides in Sandy Creek, where his son holds the office of postmaster.
In 1814 Rhodes Streeter became the third permanent settler of the town.
In 1815 four families came in.-those of Peter Wills, John F. Dean, Martin Lillie, and Asa B. Copeland, all of whom
located in the vicinity of North Boylston. The last survivor of this pioneer band was Mrs. Lillie. In 1816 Morris
Wart, a younger brother of John, became a settler. Among those who came hither the same year were Andrew Bortles,
George Huffstater, Matthew Shoecraft, Jacob Weidrich, Jesse Blue, Peter Huffstater, Joseph Shoecraft, Peter Barga,
and Jacob, Reuben, Henry, Abram, and Jonathan Snyder, nearly all of whom were substantial farmers from the famous
Mohawk Valley. Abram Snyder located on the homestead now occupied by his son, Abram, Jr., while Reuben settled
where Ira Cummins now lives. The locality took from them the name of Snyder's Corners.
As early as 1822 Elisha Stevens made a settlement in the Snyder neighborhood and in that year built on Sandy Creek,
near the western boundary of the town, the first saw mill in Boylston. About 1830 a grist mill was erected, but
it was neither valuable or enduring. On the Moore road is now a mill owned by Edward Snyder.
In 1817 the present Boylston became a part of Orwell, and John Wart was appointed a justice of the peace, being
the first within the limits of this town. In that capacity he married Jonathan Snyder and a Miss Stevens, the first
couple wedded in the town of Boylston. Prior to that, however, Samuel Wells and Betsey Gordon were united in the
sacred bonds of matrimony, but they went eastward to have the ceremony performed.
By 1824 a sparsely settled community had become established in the west part of the town, leaving the eastern and
central portions a dense forest, in which the bear, wolf, and deer roamed almost unmolested. Even down to 1850
these localities remained practically untouched except for the game they furnished the sportsmen. As fast as the
numerous saw mills devoured the timber the pioneers resolutely opened farms, and rapidly brought the hills under
cultivatIon, and during the past forty years more land has been improved in Boylston than in any other town in
Aaron W. Fuller, who, with his son Charles A., occupied the center lot of the town, settled there in 1852, and
the same year his brother, William T., located on the farm across the road. Stephen Baker came to the neighborhood
also in 1852, but subsequently moved to Missouri.
Other early settlers were Thomas and Robert Sliter, Mr. Crawford (a blacksmith), Joseph A. Tilton (father of James
B.), Jacob Barga (father of William), Leonard Palmer (a farmer and foundryman where his daughter, Mary Palmer,
now lives), William Barker (father of James), Jesse BaIlou (father of Hosea), Nelson Oderkirk (father of John A.),
Frederick Barga (brother of Jacob), Henry Palmer (brother of Leonard), James Lowry, Sr., (father of James), Cornelius
Delong (fattier of Philander and Charles), James McDougall, John Smith (father of George), William Tanner, Solomon
Paddock, Barney Ostrom, David McDougall, Hosea B. Turner, David Brown, Garrett Snyder, and the Cole family, on
whose farm stands the Le Clair cheese factory.
During the war of the Rebellion the town sent sixty-five of her brave citizens to fight in the Nation's cause.
Each served with credit and fidelity.
The first school house in Boylston was a bark covered log structure erected in 1817, and in it school was taught
during that summer by Potty Ailport. The town at present has nine school districts with a school house in each,
in which nine teachers were employed during the year 1892-3, and which were attended by 219 scholars. The value
of school buildings and sites is $3,650; assessed valuation of the districts in 1893, $168,579; public money received
from the State, $1,036.45; raised by local tax, $715.77. The districts are locally known as follows:
No. 1, Wart; 2, North Church; 3, Van Auken; 4, Hemlock; 5, Phelps; 6, Palmer; 7, Joint; 8, Center; 9, Smartville.
The population of Boylston in 1830 was 388; 1835, 368; 1840, 481; 1845, 538; 1850, 661; 1855, 815; 1860, 909; 1865,
960; 1870, 1,053; 1875, 1,132; 1880, 1,283; 1890, 1,081.
Supervisors' statistics of 1894.-Acres of resident land, 14,779; non-resident, 9,491; assessed valuation of real
estate, $183,785; equalized, $171,608; personal property, $1,720; town tax, $1,434.74; county tax, $970.63; total
tax levy, $2,766.97; dog tax, $89; rate of taxation, $1 50. The town constitutes a single election district and
in November, 1894, polled 222 votes.
Villages. -There are no villages
in the town. North Boylston is a small hamlet and postoffice in the northern part, at which George W. Rudd is postmaster.
This post-office was established in April, 1852, under the postmastership of Luke Wells, who opened a tavern there
in 1851. Eugene Wells erected a store and cheese factory there in 1888. Boylston Center is a post-office near the
center of the town; the postmaster is Daniel Amos Snyder. Smartville post-office, named in honor of William Smart,
who formerly conducted a store and saw mill there, was established in the fall of 1893 with Theophilus F. Lenoir
Churches. -The First Wesleyan
Methodist church of Boylston, situation near the line of Sandy Creek, was first organized about 1845, and among
its early pastors were Daniel Calkins, Loomis Chase, Daniel Hollis, and James Francis. The present incumbent is
Rev. Mr. Havens. In 1856 a church edifice was built and is still in use.
The North Boylston circuit (Methodist Protestant) was set off from the Boylston- Orwell circuit in 1868, prior
to which meetings had been held in the school house near the present church edifice, which was built in the northwest
part of the town in 1859. The first pastor was Rev. Charles Wiedrich, the present one being Rev. Mr. Beebe. This
same denomination holds services in the school house at Smartville.
Regular services are usually maintained at each of these three places, which afford the inhabitants convenient
facilities for religious worship.