TOWN OF MONTEZUMA
MONTEZUMA is situated about the center of the west border of the county, and lies
wholly within the angle formed by the great easterly bend of the Seneca River,t which forms its northern and western
boundary. The town of Aurelius borders it on the south, and Mentz and Throop, on the east.
The surface is moderately uneven, the hills consisting chiefly of rounded eminences or low ridges, which generally
terminate abruptly toward the north and lose themselves in the surrounding highlands towards the south. The steepest
declivities are in the south part. Broad intervals of low, flat alluvial lands, many of which are subject to annual
inundations during the spring freshets, exist in the northern and central parts. An extensive swamp, known as the
Montezuma marshesj and "the paradise of musquitoes," extends along the river. Immense quantities of flag,
which grow from eight to twelve feet in length, are annually cut from these marshes and shipped to the eastern
markets, where they are used for bottoming chairs and other purposes. This and the fisheries here during the season
give employment to a considerable number of the inhabitants. Cattle are pastured upon these marshes, and we are
told that so little exertion is required here to get such a subsistence as the poorer classes usually have to be
content with, as to leave very few to be supported as paupers, a less number than in any other town in the County.
Cayuga Brook, which flows in a north-westerly direction through the town a little north of the center, is the only
The underlying rocks are those of the Onondaga Salt Group, the red shale of which makes its appearance along the
canal, about two and one-half miles west of Port Byron, where it is associated with the yellow and green varieties.
It is also met with in the borings made for brine. This group contains all the gypsum masses of western New York,
and furnishes all the salt water of the salines of the counties of Onondaga and Cayuga. The gypseous is the valuable
deposit of Central New York, and the most important, not only on account of its plaster beds, but because it is
only in this deposit that we have positive evidence that salt has existed in this group in a solid state.
"The great mass of the deposit consists of rather soft yellowish or drab and brownish colored shale and slate,
both argillaceous and calcareous, and of argillaceous and calcareous slaty and more compact masses which are hard,
a brownish color predominating. The whole is usually denominated gypseous marl; being earthy and indurated, slaty
and compact. Some of the indurated and more solid kinds, when weathered, present a peculiar appearance like that
of having been hacked by a cutting instrument, and with some regularity, owing to cracks or joints in two directions,
giving a rhombic suriace ; which, by solution and wear taking place at the cracks, and those not being continuous
and regular as to distance, the appearance mentioned is produced. The stone readily breaks in the direction of
the furrows or hacks, and the fracture shows stains or marks of infiltration.
"When an acid is applied to the different associates of the gypsum,they do not effervesce in the free manner
of purer limestone, but the effect is produced when in powder. It is highly probable that the greater number contain
magnesia, which may cause the difference.
"The dark color of the gypsum and the brownish color of many of its associates, appear to be owing to carbonaceous
matter, and not to metallic oxides, becoming lighter by long exposure. The greenish colored shale, so abundant
usually in gypseous deposits, appear to be but an inconsiderable portion in the district; owing to the dark color
of its gypsum, and but few parts of the mass having recently been uncovered, and its ready change ot color by the
action of the weather."
Several brine springs exist in and near the village of Montezuma. Their geological situation is in marly clay,
380 feet above tide. They have a temperature of fifty degrees, and evolve carbonic acid gas.
"The springs were discovered at a very early period by the Indians, and were shown by them to the first white
settlers. The brine was originally obtained by digging small holes in the ground a foot or two in depth, in the
marsh at the foot of the ridge upon which the village of Montezuma is situated. Subsequently wells were sunk by
the whites to the depth of forty or fifty feet, from which brine was obtained in sufficient quantity for the manufacture
"In 1807, salt water was discovered in a branch of the Seneca River, since called Salt Creek, at the depth
of eight or ten feet from the surface. The brine thus obtained was similar in quality to that in the wells already
noticed. In 1810, under the direction of the Cayuga Manufacturing Company, a well was sunk about one hundred feet
deep, on the west side of the ridge upon which the village now stands. In sinking this well three separate springs
of water were discovered. The first was about ten feet from the surface, and was like that which had been previously
used. Then succeeded a stratum of fine blue clay, five or six feet in depth. Below this was a stratum of hard pan,
with occasionally some gravel, about thirtyfive feet in depth. A third stratum of quicksand succeeded, in which
was found some weak brine, yielding about ten ounces of saline matter to the gallon. Lastly, there were strata
of sand and clay, with some water, to the depth of one hundred feet, where was found the great fountain of brine,
which came in through abody of quicksand. This brine, when unmixed with that of the upper veins, is said to have
produced twenty ounces of saline matter to the gallon.f
The brine from this well was analyzed by Mr. G. Chilton4 of New York, and found to contain in each 1,000 grains,
Chloride of calcium 1.53
Chloride of magnesium 0.30
Sulphate of lime 4.31
Carbonate of lime 0.02
Chloride of sodium 73.72
A year or two afterwards, another well was sunk on the east side of the ridge, and the great fountain of brine
was found at a depth of eighty
feet. The strata passed through were similar to those in the preceding well. The new well, more recently opened,
(I believe in 1824,) was one hundred and twenty feet deep. At one hundred and fifteen feet, the brine was said
to have been of sufficient strength to yield eighteen ounces of saline matter to the gallon. On reaching the quicksand,
however, the brine rose rapidly, and in two or three days overflowed the top of the well.
"In 1823, the salt made at the Montezuma springs amounted to between 16,000 and 20,000 bushels, of which about
r,ooo were produced by solar evaporation. From that time the annual produce gradually decreased, until it scarcely
amounted to more than a few hundred bushels.
"This great depression of the manufacture may be ascribed to several causes. One of these undoubtedly is the
rudeness of the pump works. The brine is raised by hand or horse power, and the tubs are so imperfectly constructed
that fresh water is continually flowing in and, reducing its strength. The soil is moreover owned by individuals,
and the manufacturer is obliged to purchase or lease it, as well as to erect his works. At the Onondaga springs,
on the contrary, grounds are furnished by the State without charge.
"Again, the inferior strength of the Montezurna brine has operated unfavorably upon the manufacture at this
place. On the other hand, the advantages possessed here, are an abundant supply of wood and eligible sites for
the erection of works on a side-cut from the Erie Canal.
"The brine obtained from one of the borings made here previously to 1840, had a specific gravity of 1.07543.
1,000 parts of the brine yield 101.20 dry solid matter. The composition of the whole is as follows:
Carbonate of lime 0.18
Sulphate of lime 5.25
Chloride of calcium 1.40
Chloride of magnesium 1.00
Chloride of sodium, or common salt Oxide of iron, with a minute portion of silica and carbonate of lime 0.02
Carbonic acid, holding in solution the carbonate of lime and oxide of iron 0.08
Water, with a trace of organic matter 898.72
"This brine, therefore, contains 700 grains of dry chloride of sodium in a wine pint; 5,600 grains, or 0.80
pound in a gallon, and it requires nearly seventy gallons for a bushel of salt. The strength of the Geddes brine,
when compared to this, is about as ten to seven; of the Liverpool brine, as ten to six and a half.
an act of the Legislature passed in 1840, an appropriation was made for the purpose of procuring, if possible,
a supply of brine of sufficient strength to be advantageously used in the manufacture of salt. A shaft was sunk
to the depth of 200 feet, which opened into a vein of brine much stronger than any heretofore procured in this
vicinity. The specific gravity of this brine is 1.09767; and 1,000 parts of it contain 129.33 parts of dry, solid
matter, or 12.93 in 100 parts of brine. This is within one per cent. of the quantity contained in some of the brines
which have been worked in Onondaga county; a fact which would seem to warrant further expenditures, and to strengthent
he expectations which have been entertained in regard to the establishment of the manufacture of salt at Montezuma.
"I have analyzed brine from a boring of upwards of 500 feet, at the village of Montezuma, and which is remarkable
for the large proportion of saline matter which it contains. The specific gravity of this brine is 1.18959, water
being 1.00000. 1,000 grains of the brine contained 230.30 grains of perfectly dry saline matter. The strength of
the specimen may be judged of by the fact, that 1,000 grains of water saturated with common salt, contain from
260 to 270 grains of that salt; so that if there were nothing in this brine but common salt, it would be within
three or four per cent. of complete saturation but this is far from being the case.
"The following are the constituents in 1,000 grains of this brine:
Sulphate of lime, with minute portions of carbonate of lime and oxide of iron 0.69
Chloride of calcium 90.24
Chloride of magnesium 8.05
Common salt, (pure and dry,) 131.32
Water, with traces of Organic matter 769.70
It will require from 43 to 45 gallons of this brine to furnish a bushel of salt in tile ordinary state of dryness.
"The following statement will exhibit the value of this brine, as compared with the best specimens heretofore
obtained from Syracuse and Montezuma:
Proportion of common salt in 100 grains of this brine 13.13
Proportion of common salt in 100 grains of best Syracuse brine 17.35
Proportion of common salt in 100 grains of best Montezuma brine 9.33
"But in regard to the troublesome impurities, viz: the chlorides of calcium and magnesium, the proportion
in the brine just described is much larger, as will appear from the following statement:
Earthy chlorides in 100 grains of this brine 9.82 Earthy chlorides in 100 grains of best Syracusebrine 1.50
Earthy chlorides in 100 grains of best Montezuma brine 2.40
"The manufacture of salt from this brine, therefore, will require more than ordinary care; as the earthy chlorides,
even in small proportions, render it moist and unfit for certain uses."
The well here referred to is doubtless the one sunk in 1839, by Solomon P. Jacobs, then State Superintendent of
Salt Works, back of the present grist-mill in the village of Montezuma. It was carried to a depth of 650 feet.
About 1858 the State appropriated $7,000 to develop the Montezuma salt springs. Col. John S. Clark and William
H. Carpenter, of Auburn, were appointed commissioners to superintend operations. A boring was made east of the
village, near Buckland's bridge, on the farm owned by C. W. Clapp, and another near the river, on land owned by
J. J. McLoud; but the brine at neither place was sufficiently strong to warrant the erection of works. A third
boring was made at a place locally known as "Charleston," one and one-half miles south-west of this village,
and brine obtained, which, it is said, was equal to that at Syracuse. Two long blocks were built and the manufacture
of salt begun about 1860. In 1862 Messrs. Truesdale & Loomis began to make salt of a superior quality, and
bade fair to realize their fondest hopes. Salt was manufactured about three years, till 1863, when a bar of iron
or steel, an attachment to the pump, fell to the bottom of the well, which was thus effectually sealed and remains
so to this day. The bar exactly fitted the tube and could not be removed. The business was consequently abandoned.
This circumstance gave rise to the suspicion of foul play and induced the belief that this accident was concerted
in the interest of the salt works at Syracuse; but it is probable that the business here, like that at Syracuse,
suffered from the competition incident to the development of the salt interests in Michigan and Canada, and that
this accounts for the final abandonment.
A few years previous to this Frank Torrey, L. D. Fenelon and David Gaston manufactured a good article of salt from
brine drawn from the old well near the grist-mill, in the village; but they soon discontinued it. In 1872 a stock
company was formed, the capital being furnished by weekly contributions, for the manufacture of salt by solar evaporation.
Seven long vats were erected; but after a short trial some lost faith in the enterprise and withheld their contributions,
and the project was soon abandoned. The inferior brine and deliquescent character of the salt made from it, owing
to the presence of earthy chlorides, made it impossible to compete with the works at Syracuse.
About this time another appropriation of $3,000 was obtained through the efforts of Hon. Ira D. Brown, member of
the Legislature in 1871. Wm. Thorn, J. M. Jones and B. Ross were appointed commissioners. They were of the opinion
that by cleaning out and extending the tube of the well near the grist-mill a stronger brine would be obtained,
but they sunk the well to a depth of 1,000 feet without realizing their expectations. The derrick still stands,
a monument to their enterprise and the State's improvidence.
The soil upon the hills is a clay loam, mixed in places with gravel; in the valleys and on the flats it is a rich
The area of the town is 9,550 acres; of which 7,528 are improved; 844, woodland; and 1,178. otherwise unimproved.
The population in 1875 was 1,395 ; of whom 1,222 were native; 173, foreign; 1,385, white; 10, colored; and 215,
owners of land.
The direct line of the New York Central Railroad crosses the north border of the town, but there is no station
within the town. The Erie Canal crosses the town from east to west a little north of the center and crosses the
river upon an aqueduct. The Cayuga & Seneca Lake Canal connects with the Erie Canal at Montezuma village, and
extends south along the west border.
Montezuma (p. o.) was incorporated in 1866. It is situated near the center of
the west border, adjacent to the river, and at the junction of the Erie and Cayuga and Seneca Lake Canals. It is
connected by stage with Auburn, whence it receives its mail. It contains four churches, (M. E., Free Methodist,
Baptist and Catholic,) a district school, one dry goods store, one hardware store, one drug store, four groceries,
two hotels and a grist-mill. It has a population of 550.
The grist-mill owned by Messrs. Babcock & Drake, came into their possession some twelve years since. It was
originally built as a steam mill in 1853, by L. A. Hopkins, of Auburn, and was changed to a water power mill in
1861. The motive power is furnished by the surplus water from the canal, there being no natural water power in
the village. The mill has three run of stones.
The Northern Hotel, located in what is called the old village, is conducted by H. R. Shockey, who leases of Mrs.
Elcy Forbes. This hotel occupies the site of the first hotel kept in the town, which was built about seventy years
ago by a man named Stephens, and was burned July i6th, 1874.
The Exchange Hotel, located in the new village, has been kept by Garrett Forshee some five or six years.
Montezuma Lodge F. & A. M. No. 176, was organizedjuly 15th 1850, with seven members, and meets the first and
third Saturday evenings of each month. Sirneon Mott was the first niaster. The present officers are, Jerome L.
Fuller, M.; Chas. W. Ball, S. W; John Ross, F. W.; H. Mack, Treas.; Ed. Ross, Sec. The present membership is 48.
Rechabite Tent No. 43, was organized in September, 1874, with Russel S. Chappel as C. R.; B. F. David, D. R.; and
Geo. W. Bell, Shepherd. The present officers are, B. I. C. Bucklin, C. R.; Chas. Davenport, D. R.; and Dr. E. W.
Crispell, Shepherd. It is reputed to be a useful temperance organization. There are 6o members. Meetings are held
every Saturday night.
Logan Grange No. 107, attheold Mentz Church in Montezuma, was organized about 1873, with thirty members. It consists
of twenty-nine members. The first officers were, Jno. S. Pratt, Master; Wm. Buckingham, Overseer; and Jas. H. Baldwin,
Lecturer. The present officers are Chas. C. Weston, Master; J. D. Nye, Overseer; and Abram Rowe, Lecturer.
In the south-east part of the town is a cheese factory, which receives the milk of about too cows. It was built
in 1872, by a stock company, of which Wallace Weston is President; S. R. Glasgow, Secretary; and Alonzo J. Weston,
The first settlements were made in 1798, at what is now called the old village of Montezuma, by Dr. Peter Clarke,
Comfort Tyler and Abram Morgan, who were attracted to the locality by the salt springs there ; though it is pretty
certain that neither Clarke nor Tyler settled there permanently till several years later, about 1810 or '11. About
the beginning of the present century they commenced the manufacture of salt, "and did a good business long
before Syracuse had lain the foundations of its present prosperity and wealth."
CONONEL COMFORT TYLER was born in the town of Ashford, Conn., February 22d, 1764. At the age of fourteen he evinced
that disposition to mingle in public affairs which so conspicuously characterized his after life, for at that age
we find him a soldier in the war of the Revolution, though his duties were light, being mostly confined to service
in and about the fortress of West Point. In 1783 he was engaged in surveying and in teaching school in the Mohawk
country, and while there he was engaged by Gen. James Clinton and spent one season with the expedition to establish
the boundary line between New York and Pennsylvania. In the spring of 1788, in company with Major Asa Danforth,
he began the settlement in Onondaga county, where he "felled the first tree, and constructed the first piece
of turnpike road in the State west of Fort Stanwix," and assisted in the first rnanufactureof salt. When the
Military Tract was surveyed he was selected to assist. He surveyed one of the townships, and subsequently the Cayuga
reservation. He filled various offices of responsibility and trust in Onondaga county, and in 1798 and '9, represented
that county in the Legislature. He was foremost among the agitators for public improvements, and was conspicuously
active in the construction of roads, bridges and all other works calculated to promote the general welfare. His
efforts to bring capital and influence in aid of these undertakings led to his acquaintance with Aaron Burr, and
his subsequent connection with the celebrated southern expedition projected by that gentleman, which resulted so
disastrously. The disease which ultimately resulted in Col. Tyler's death is ascribed to his effort to evade capture
at this time. This affair greatly impaired his private fortune, and, such was the popular prejudice against those
who participated in it, that it destroyed forever his prospects as a public man. It also engendered a controversy
between Burr and Tyler, which resulted in their total estrangement.
In 1811, Col. Tyler removed with his family to Montezuma, and took a deep interest in the Cayuga Manufacturing
Company, who were engaged in making salt. With a view to increasing their business by rendering Montezuma more
accessible, and very much by the advice and personal exertions of Col. Tyler, the company built two long bridges
across the Seneca and Clyde rivers, and constructed a turnpike, more than three miles in length, over the Cayuga
marshes, where the earth was so soft that with one hand a man might with ease thrust a pole into it ten or twelve
Col. Tyler resided two or three years in Hoboken, and superintended the draining of the salt meadows in that vicinity.
During the war of 1812 he entered the army and served in the capacity of Assistant Commissary General to the northern
army, with the rank of Colonel, till the close of the war.
After the close of the war the canal policy engaged his earnest attention. From the beginning, he was among the
foremost of the advocates of that work, and he was early in the field, side by side with Judge Geddes and Judge
Forman in advocating the feasibility and policy of the plan. He lived to rejoice with those who rejoiced at its
He died at his residence in Montezuma, in the house now occupied by Addison Pease. August 5th, 1827.
Dr. Peter Lynsen Clarke, who was born at Milford, Connecticut, July 15th, 1773, came from New York city, on horse-back,
and arranged for the erection of his residence, returning in the same way. Soon after his return he learned that
the parties with whom he had contracted for the erection of the building, had decamped with the $2,000, the contract
price. He immediately returned and executed a new contract with other parties, for a like amount, not forgetting
the second time a precaution he had overlooked at first, to require sureties from the builders.f It is a large,
once sightly building, and though it now shows signs of decay, is extremely well preserved. When erected it was
supposed there was not another such house west of Albany. It stands upon a rounded eminence, known as Prospect
Hill, and from its roof one gets a magnificent view of the surrounding country, which lies spread before him like
a panorama. A really beautiful landscape is presented, such as one seldom beholds, diversified by hill and valley,
and broad spreading plains, through which the river and creek, like silver threads, glisten in the sun, as they
wend their tortuous course. The eye is charmed by the pleasing alternation of cultivated field, wooded slope, and
grassy plot, with an occasional house peeping through the foliage of trees by which they are partially hidden.
He realizes fully, having previously viewed the country from the neighboring lowlands, the force of the adage,
"distance lends enchantment to the view," for it needs such a distance and altitude to give him a favorable
impression of the marshy tracts which prevail in the immediate vicinity of the village.
Dr. Clarke moved into the town soon after with his family, and while his house was in process of erection occupied
a house adjacent to it built by Mr. Swarthout, which has since burned down. He and his son, James Anthony Clarke,
who was born in Brooklyn, July 23d, 1804, were largely interested in the salt works at this place, and were prominently
identified with several other business interests conducted here.
About 1840 he removed with his family to New York, where he died May 31st, 1858. His remains are interred in the
family cemetery in Montezuma, which is an addition, including three acres of ground, to the Montezuma Prospect
Hill Cemetery, beautifully situated upon the hill-side a little south-east of the village, where a fine marble
monument is erected, costing $1,000.
The property still remains in the hands of the Clarke family, and the old house is the summer resort of its surviving
members, some of whom spend several months here every summer.
"Col. Solomon P. Jacobs, Dr. Job W. May, Royal Torrey, Wm. Dewey, Zebulon Mack, Drs. Noyes Palmer and Geo.
W. Fitch, Robert Whaley, Alfred Hovey, Nicholas Morgan, Samuel Bradley, Simeon Mott, Benj. F. Janes, Asher P. Osborn,
Alanson Griggs, S. N. Budlong, J. C. Wood, John J. and Frank Cook, Augustus Stokes, Geo. Vredenbergh, Dr. Griggs
and others, who sleep their last sleep, were residents of the village. Several of them to-day are represented in
business by their children.
"H. S. Lemon was salt inspector; James McLoud, Samuel Gillespie and J. K. Chipps were proprietors of hotels.
In 1848 Col. Jacobs was canal superintendent ; Roswell R. Jacobs, captain of the State scow; Horace Davenport,
Lewis D. and John R. Fenlon, captains of the packet boats.
"Lewis Bostedo, who died December 23d, 1877, in Wisconsin, and figured conspicuously in the business of the
village, John J. Talimadge, (Democratic candidate for Governor of Wisconsin, in 1870,) Giles Ross, (now of Michigan,)
John Patrick, recently deceased, John Brett, who died in Auburn, Norman Hurd, who died in Canada, Diamond H. Hoff,
who died recently in California, Edson Bishop, who died a few months since in Auburn, Maj. David Titus, of Aurelius,
Samuel Bell, of Sacramento, Cal., Maj. Washington Bogardus, now living in New York, Wm. and J. K. Chipps, now living
in Geneva, were also engaged in business. N. G. and Robert Ransom, (the former now living in Missouri, and the
latter in this town,) and Wm. Ross, now living in the village, were leading farmers. Wm. Chillis, since Lieutenant-Governor
of California, taught school in the house of Judge Post. Chauncey Smith, of Michigan, Chauncey Stokes, and Adonijah
Stanley, of California, Abram Preston, of Michigan, and Smith D. Mallory, now living in the town, were prominent
carpenters and mechanics. The genial Stephen Reamer, now deceased, kept a hotel on the site of the present hotel
in the old village. Chas. Fenlon, now County Treasurer of Waupaca county, Wisconsin, R. K. McMaster, of St. Louis,
recently deceased, Hiram Titus, now of Aurelius, Geo. B. Hurd, Henry Stokes, Frank Torrey, C. C. Mallory, and Benj.
P. Ransom were among the young men of that day."
Ephraim Martin and a Mr. Howell were early settlers in the south-west part of the town, and Lewis McLoud, east
of the village. Robert Ransom settled a little west of the village at an early day. Jethro Wood, the inventor of
the cast-iron plow, came into the town from Scipio about 1832, and settled on Clarke's hill.
MERCHANTS.- Dr. Peter Clarke, Caleb M. Fitch, John M.Flintanda Mr. Lord wereamong the first merchants.
Caleb M. Fitch moved into the town from Columbia county, N. Y., with his family, consisting of wife and eight
children, only two of the latter of whom, (Wm. and Sarah Ann, wife of Bennett Radford.) are now living, about 1822,
and settled in the old village, and opened a dry goods store in the building diagonally opposite the hotel, and
now occupied by Henry Lemon, as a dwelling. Peter Clarke was selling dry goods in the same building, which was
divided. He was a member of the Cayuga Manufacturing Company, which then consisted, besides himself, of Peter Clarke,
Geo. W. Fitch and Job and Asher Tyler, the latter of whom removed to Cattaraugus county, and served his district
in Congress in 1843-'45. About 1826-'27-'28, Mr. Fitch was associated with John M. Flint in the dry goods business.
He subsequently purchased the interest of Flint, who removed to New York, where he kept the Pearl Street House.
Mr. Fitch died August 23d, 1829.
Horatio Mack opened his drug store in the village in 1870, and has since continued it. He wasborn here July 1st,
1844. He is the present postmaster, a position he has held for nine successive years. His father, Zebulon Mack,
who, in early life taught school in Montreal, moved into the town of Montezuma from Seneca Falls, in 1841, and
died here November 24th, 1861. He was engaged in the grocery business in the village some ten years, and was postmaster
for five years from 1849. In 1856-'57-'58 he was salt inspector.
Eli Sherman, a native of New Jersey, came to Montezuma from Onondaga county in April, 1836, and in company with
Hiram Curtis from Connecticut, engaged in the boot and shoe business. After about a year Mr. Curtis returned to
Connecticut, leaving Mr. Sherman to conduct the business alone until 1871, when his son, James L. Sherman, was
admitted to partnership. In 1860, dry goods were added to the stock. The firm is E. Sherman & Son.
Wrn. Thorn was born in London, England, and came to this country with his wife, Jessie, in 1848. In the fall of
1861 he removed to the village and opened a flour and feed store. He was canal collector in 1872-'73.
Preston W. Ross and James J. McLoud, opened their stock of groceries and boots and shoes in December, 1874, under
the firm name of Ross & McLoud.
John F. Daley, who has resided in the town some thirty years, and whose family has charge of the Clarke family's
property, opened his grocery and meat market Novembea 17th, 1875.
Frank Faatz, in the spring of 1877, opened the hardware store, which is now conducted under the name of Frank Faatz
PHYSICIANS.- The first physician was Dr. Nathan Wood, who lived in the Ward settlement in Throop. Dr, Job W. May
was probably the first resident physician. He settled at the old village previous to 1814. He continued to practice
until incapacitated by age and infirmities. In 1858 he removed to Wayne county, where he died, January 2d. 1875,
aged 98 years. He was an excellent physician. Dr. Geo. W. Fitch, a brother of Caleb M. Fitch, came in from Onondaga
Hollow shortly previous to 1822. The present physicians are Drs. C. E. Chase and E. W. Crispell.
Mrs. Sarah D. Stocking, formerly Mrs. S. U. Mack, and Mrs. Mary Sherman are the present milliners.
"The first postmaster was Dr. Job W. May. His successors were, Dr. Geo. W. Fitch, Dr. Noyes Palmer, E. Sherman,
Norman I-Turd, Lewis Bostedo, Zebulon Mack, Samuel W. Budlong, Benj. F. Janes, E. Sherman, G. A. Stocking and Horatio
"Judge Wardwell, who died in Jefferson county, in April, 1878, was the first canal collector.
He was succeeded by Wm. Noble, Dr. Noyes
Palmer, Alfred Hovey, E. B. Cobb, Dr. Alleben,
Elijah Miller, Theron Green, Wm. H. Day,
David S. Titus, E. H. Whitney, Giles Ross,
Stephen M. Stokes, Wm. K. Wheat, Hiram Titus,
Chas. Truesdale, Royal E. Torrey, Henry
Stokes, Garrett Forshee, A. White, Wm. Thorn,
B. Ross, John Nolan and Wm. Emerson."
The first saw-mill was built about 1810 or 12; and the first grist-mill about 1842 or '43, by Horatio Griffin.
It was a steam-mill, and stood on the lot owned by Catharine Joiner, on the east side of the road between the old
and new village. A saw-mill was connected with it, but both burned down soon after. Previous to that the settlers
took their grists to Throopsville and Port Byron.
The completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 gave a new impetus to the village, and diverted settlements to its locality,
which is denominated the new village, in contradistinction from the settlements made when the salt interests were
the center of attraction.
TOWN OFFICERS. - Montezuma was organized as a town April 8th, 1859, being set off from Mentz. The first town meeting
was held at the house of Isaac W. Trufant, March 6th, 1860, at which time the following named officers were elected:
Royal Torrey, Supervisor; Isaac W. Trufant, Clerk; Morgan L. Worden, William Bell and Robert Jeffries, Justice
of the Peace, James A. Baldwin, William Pease and John B. Myers, Assessors; Ezra Pease and Joseph McLoud, Overseers
of the Poor; Robert Ransom, Joseph Weston, John A. Taylor, Jr., Commissioners of Highways; Jesse S Leigh, Collector;
Henry Stokes, Harmon H. Morgan, Christopher Trufant, Moses Gay and John W. Mills, Constables; Bennett Ratford,
Smith D. Mallory and Charles H. Gamwell, Inspectors of Election; Titus Bargy, Sealer of Weights and Measures; N.
Post and G. H. Stocking, Justice of the Peace.
The present officers are (1879):
Supervisor- Alonzo D. Drake.
Town Clerk-William F. Daley.
Justices- Nathaniel Post, Frank Torrey and Jonathan P. Jones.
Assessors- John Ross, Charles W. Ball and James U. Nye.
Collector- William Kelley.
Overseer of the Poor- Silas H. Pease.
Constables-Horace Davenport and Charles Humphrey.
Inspectors of Election- Curtis I. Trufant, Thos. Hall and Charles Walling.
Game Constable- Jacob H. Shaw.
Commissioners of Highways- William Buckingham, John Stabinecker, Jr., and Harrison L. Crofut.
Commissioner of Excise-George Eckert.
Montezuma sent over one hundred men into the field during the Rebellion, of whom many died. La Due, Walling and
Mosher died in Andersonville prison, and Franklin Reed, Harmon A. Morgan, George White, Henry Mink and others,
were slain in battle.
CHURCHES.- The first church formed in the town was The First Presbyterian Church of the town of Mentz, now located
at Port Byron, about the beginning of the present century. The meetings were held in a school house which stood
near the site of the "Old Mentz church."
THE BAPTIST CHURCH OF MONTEZUMA was formed September 11th 1819, and the" Church of Aurelius and Mentz"
was adopted as its name. The first pastor was Rev. Ichabod Clark, who was voted $25 for his "labors among
us in the gospel," February 21st, 1820. The church took early and strong ground against the practice of dancing,
for at a meeting held March 9th, 1820, it is recorded that Benjamin Waite made complaint against Harry Phelps for
indulging in that pastime, and a committee was appointed to labor with him. May 11th 1820, the committee reported
adversely and fellowship was withdrawn. At the same meeting $75 was voted Mr. Clark for pastoral services for one
year from March 10th, 1820, the amount to be paid in grain, which, according to a vote passed January 20th, 1821,
was to be estimated at seventy-five cents per bushel for wheat, and thirty cents for corn and rye.
James Rathbone, Amos Woodworth, William Chandler, Benjamin Waite, William Gay, Samuel Gilbert, R. N. Woodworth,
Ebenezer Allen, Freegift Cole, William Blossom, Harry Phelps, William Greiggs, Benjamin B. Jewett, Wheaton Hicks,
Sperry Peck, Phebe Gay and Elias Beach were among the first members of this church.
February 21th, 1820, it was "Voted that we believe it to be a disciplinable evil for our brethren to attend
the Free Mason Lodge; therefore feel it our duty as a Church of Christ not to fellowship such brethren as do visit
the Lodges, or any other of the Masonic meetings." This view, however, seems soon to have been very much modified,
for November 4th, 1820, it was "Voted to withdraw the vote passed February 21st, 1820, concerning the subject
Elder Elkeney Comstock was the next pastor, for February 2d, 1822, he was voted $100 for preaching one year from
January 1st, 1822. May 4th, 1822, it was "Voted that the church acted unconsiderate in receiving Brother Fradrick
Lathrop on his Baptism, being Baptized by an open communion Baptist." At the same date it was "Voted
to withdraw the hand of fellowship from Sister Eunice Emons for her unlawful act in marrying another man while
her husband liveth." For several years they were without a pastor, although the records show that frequent
efforts were made to secure the services of one. Elder Luther Goodrich was the next pastor, from June 28th, 182$,
for two years. July 3d, 1830, it was "Voted to hold meetings constantly at the school-house on the turnpike
near to Fosteryule."
June 4th, 1831, Elder Goodrich officiated, and Elder John Jeffries succeeded him in the pastorate. October 1st,
1836, he was granted a letter. Elder S. M. Plumb served them a few months in 1837, and was succeeded by Elder Ezra
Dean, as a licentiate, April 19th, 1838. Elder Dean was ordained August 29th, 1838, and continued one year. Elder
John Jeffries was again engaged May 15th, 1838.
January 1st, 1842, the church decided to give Edmon Mott a license to preach, and August 6th, 1842, the hand of
fellowship was withdrawn from him on account of infidelity to his wife.
In 1843 Elder Jeffries severed his connection with the church, but was engaged to supply the desk till another
pastor could be secured, for which he was promised a reward. September 3d, 1844, he was voted $50 for that service;
but it was never paid, for February 20th, 1845, it was voted to accept it as a donation, Mr. Jeffries having relinquished
his claim to it. June 3d, 1843, a letter of dismission was voted him. W. F. Purrington supplied the pulpit, at
the expense of the society, till May 1st, 1844. Sunday, November 3d, 1844, Elder P. Lyon seems to have filled the
pulpit, and the following Sunday his services were engaged for one year at a salary of $250.
February 28th, 1846, it was unanimously resolved to call Brother W. F. Purrington to ordination. February 6th,
1847, it was resolved to invite Brother Purrington to continue the pastorate, and instead of a salary to give him
all that could be collected in the church and society by subscription and donation. July 1st, 1849, Elder O. M.
Gibbs assumed pastoral relations. May 2d, 1852, Elder H. Trow was called to the pastorate one year, for $300. June
ioth, 1855, the services of Elder Ferguson were secured till the first of the following September, at $5 per Sabbath.
The record does not show who were the pastors from this period to 1868, in which year Elder L. R. Reynolds was
called. He commenced his labors January 1st, 1868 and closed them April 1st, 1872. He was succeeded by Elder Chas.
Berry who served the church from May, 1872, till May, 1874; Elder Sigford supplied the pulpit three mopths during
the summer of 1874, and Adelbert Coates, a student from Rochester, for six months during the summer of 1875. Till
October 1st, '76, when Ross Matthews, of Port Byron was called, the pulpit was supplied. by students from Rochester
and Hamilton. When it was decided to call Elder Matthews, it was also decided to raise $200 toward his salary and
to ask the State Convention to add thereto such sum as they in their wisdom saw fit. April ioth, 1878, an invitation
was extended to Elder L. R. Reynolds to again become their pastor for one year from April 28th. The Church has
a present membership of thirty-six.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, MONTEZUMA. - In the year 1823, the first meetings under the auspices of the M. E. Society,
were held at the school house in the old village. Robert Whaling was the first class-leader. The original members
of his class were Benoni Harris and wife, Robert Whaling and wife, Walter Thorp and wife, Thos. Fenlon and wife,
Ezra Buckingham and wife, Eneas Cherry and sons, Sallie Austin, Maria Clarke, and Mary Barnes. In the year 1825,
the Mentz Church was erected. The first minister was Rev. John Kimberling, who was succeeded by Vincent M. Corriel,
Dana Fox, Isaac Puffer, Roswell Parker, John Watson, John Whitcomb, Loren, L. Adkins, Philo Bennett, Rev. Mr. Morton,
Alonzo Wood, Wm. Newell Cobb, Jas. Aylsworth, Ward W. White, Aaron Cross, Samuel B. Porter, C. H. Hall, Wm. Dean,
David Davis, Lansing Benjamin, A. Hamilton, Asa Benham, J. S. Foster, Albert Ensign, John M. Searles, Thos. U.
Wire, Wm. C. I3owen, F. M. Warner, Walter Jerome, S. Miner, Elias Hoxie, David Davis. D. W. Beadle, David Stone,
Royal Houghton, S. H. Aldridge, Charles L. Dunning, John R. Pendell, and W. F. Butman, the present pastor.
The present M. E. Church on Auburn street, was dedicated January 1st, 1848, Rev. Elias Bowen, Presiding Elder.
Cost about $2,000. Present number of members 100.
Average attendance at Sabbath school, 35. Average attendance at Class-meetings, 45. Average attendance at Prayer-meetings,
While none of the members of the church have been called to the missionary field of labor, yet the church has had
at all times active and zealous members, who have always stood firm and true for the Master, and has been blessed
with an active and pious ministry, and many are safe in the promised land as the reward of their labors. Rev. Wm.
C. Bowen, A. M., a former pastor of the church, is now Professor and Principal of the Bordentown Seminary, Bordentown,
THE OLD MENTZ CHURCH (M. E.) located in the south-east part of the town, was organized prior to 1825, in which
year their present church edifice was erected. Meetings were held previous to the erection of the house in the
barn of John Gilmore. Rev. Samuel Bibbins of Weedsport, officiated as their pastor when the church was erected.
The present pastor is Rev. Seth Mattison, who has served them two years. The present membership is about thirty;
and the attendance at the Sabbath school forty.
The first Methodist minister known to have preached in Montezuma was Benoni Harris.
ST. MICHAEL'S CHURCH, (Catholic,) at Montezuma village, was organized about 1865, with some fourteen families,
among whom were John M. Daley, John Nolan, Michael Maroney, Thos. Connolly and Thos. McGuire. Previous to the organization
occasional meetings were held in private houses and conducted by priests from the neighboring villages. The church,
the one now occupied, was built in 1865, at a cost of $1,400, the money having been contributed by individuals
in this, Seneca and Wayne counties. The first pastor was Rev. James Leddy, who commenced his ministrations in the
fall of 1865, and came once a month from Weedsport, where he was settled. After about a year Father Patrick Burns,
commenced his ministry here, continuing about two years. He was succeeded by two German priests, one of whom was
Rev. Father Joseph, who also served them about two years. Father Michael Purcell came next, continuing his pastoral
relations about three years, and was followed by Anthony Vei Cici, an Italian, and after two years, by John C.
Kenney, who also served them three years. Father Kenney was succeeded by Father Chas. Horan, whose ministrations
they now enjoy, and who, like his predecessors, being stationed at Weedsport, filled the pulpit there as well as
at Port Byron. The church never had a resident pastor. They number about thirty-seven families, and are now negotiating
for a lot, on which they purpose erecting a new edifice. Father James O'Connor was a very acceptable pastor of
this Church, but in what year we could not determine.
THE FREE METHODIST CHURCH, of Montezuma village, was formed about 1869, in which year the church edifice was built
by Bolivar Beach, in whom the title is vested. The building cost about $1,500, and will seat about 300 persons.
Among the first members were Bolivar Beach and wife, Ellen, John Stahlnecker and wife, Catbarine, and daughter,
Catharine, Wm. Reed, Roswe]l R. Jacobs. Mrs. Almeda Freeland, Thos. Allen and Mrs. Benjamin Helmer. The present
number of members is twelve. Meetings were held some two years previous to the building of the church, in the Baptist
Church and the school-house. The first pastor was John Glen, who remained one year. He was succeeded by John T.
James, a Mr. McDougall, John Osborn, and Moses M. Downing, each of whom remained one year. Rev. Mr. Olney, of Port
Byron, is the present pastor. They have not been continuous in their service, and the church is in a feeble condition.