BY JOHN S. MINARD.
THE TOWN of Centreville was created by an act of the legislature passed Jan. 15,
1819, out of territory which from March 6, 1818, had been included in Pike; Pike having been taken from Nunda at
that date, and originadly including beside present Pike, Hume, Centreville and Eagle. Nunda was formed from Angelica,
March 11, 1808; and Angelica from Leicester, which was formed March 30, 1802. Previous to 1802 Leicester had for
a short period formed a part of Northampton, a town which included all the Holland Purchase and considerable territory
east of it. So Centreville has formed a part in succession of Northampton, Leicester, Angelica, Nunda and Pike.
Centreville was designated on the map of the Holland Purchase as township six, range two, and although the deeds
refer to the survey as having been made by Joseph Ellicott, William Rumsey subdivided the township into lots in
July and August, 1807.
Centreville, the northwestern town in the county, lies on the summit of the ridge dividing the waters of the Genesee
river and Cattaraugus creek. Its surface is moderately hffly upland, and the soil mostly a clayey loam. It is drained
by the Sixth Town creek (improperly called Six Town) which has two principal tributaries, one having its source
in the northwest part of the town; the other, starting from the southwest part, contributes more largely to its
coufiguration than any other stream; Houghton creek, whose source is in the southeast part, and by a small and
very sluggish stream in the northwest part, which is a branch of Cattaraugus creek. The first settlement was made
directly at the "Centre" several years before the town was formed, and Centrevifie seemed the proper
name for the new town.
The first who "articled," or "took up" land were Joseph Maxson, Russell Trail, Thomas Clute.
Strong Warner, David Gelatt and Samuel Webster in 1808. Settlement was made by Joseph Maxson in April, and, as
Turner, in his "History of the Holland Purchase," well says, "his advent into this primitive wilderness
is worthy of notice." He was only 18, and came from Otsego Co. Two cents and a few articles of provisions
and clothing constituted his wealth. At Pike be took from his feet a pair of new shoes, bartered them for an axe,
and pushed on into the wilderness, and in the center of the township near a small stream erected the rudest kind
of a hut. For a bed he peeled basswood bark, used some pieces as a floor and others for covering. Not long after
he came snow fell six inches deep. He persevered in his labors and passed eight months alone. In the books of the
land. office an entry made July 22, 1808, shows that he had five acres cleared, which probably meant nothing more
than feffing the trees and burning the brush. He raised a few bushels of corn and some potatoes the first year,
and had two acres prepared and put into wheat that fall. Success attended the young pioneer. He became an early
tavern keeper and the owner of a large and well-improved farm. After the country was considerably cleared up he
became restive, sold out in the forties, went to Wisconsin, and engaged in building mills. "He preserved for
years one of the cents before mentioned, one kernel of the seed corn of 1808, and an old wooden fan with which
he cleaned the first wheat raised in town."
Before 1810 James Ward had erected a framed barn, the first it is said in town. He is also credited with planting
the first orchard. Soon after this, settlement was made a little north of the center by Zacheus Spencer, Thomas
and Strong Warner and Perkins B. Woodward from Ashford, Coun. Strong Warner afterwards kept a public house about
1½ miles northeast of the "Centre," on the Allegany road. He was a stiring, resolute, enterprising
man and often called to positions of responsibility by his townsmen. He removed to Michigan where he died. Woodward
located about half a mile north of the village, where he ever after lived. He was the first to manufacture brick
in town. The business was abandoned some 40 years ago. Sargent Morrell, from Vermont, located in 1810 in the south
part. Benjamin Blanchard, also from Vermont, came in 1811 settling on lot 25. He died 20 years ago. He had four
brothers who located here, Mark, Lewis, Abel and. Barnes, all had large families. But one only of the name is left
in town. Luther Houghton located in 1811, but soon removed to Caneadea. In 1812 John and Samuel Leach settled on
lot 26. Other early settlers were William Foy, Mr. Perry, Mr. Carpenter, Eber Hotchkiss, Mr. Thatcher, Russell
Higgins, Russell Trail, Dr. Calvin Cass and Packard Bruce. Trail took "articles" for land in 1808, and
became a resident during the war of 1812. His location was on the "John H. Davis," or "Morris farm,"
where he died 50 years ago. Mrs. Russell Higgins was a daughter of Russell Trall, as was also Mrs. Timothy Higgins.
One of his sons, Marvin Trall was once town clerk of Centerville, afterward a prominent lawyer of Wyoming county,
and county judge and surrogate of that county. Russell T. Trall, another son, is the well-known physician, lecturer
and medical author of New York City.
Calvin Couch was among the new corners in 1820. He came from Pike, where his father settled ten years earlier.
He died in 1829, leaving a widow and sons Jonathan and William B. Jonathan was supervisor for several years, and
held other town offices. He died ten years ago, and William removed to the west. Hugh Gillis from Ontario county.
located in 1825 about 100 rods from where he died a few years since. He was justice of the peace many years. Morris
Stickle from Monroe county located in 1822 on the farm now owned by Erwin Stickle, there passing the remainder
of his days. Myron Stickle for years supervisor and justice, and side judge in the county is the only representative
left in town of the immediate family of Morris Stickle.
The first inn was kept by one Thatcher at the Centre in 1810, and the first store by Sparrow Smith in 1820. The
first physician was Calvin Cass. The first one born and the first to die was Calvin P. Perry. The first marriage
was that of William Foy and Ruth Merrill in 1811. The first school was taught in the winter of 1813-14 by Perkins
B. Woodward. The first framed house was built by a Mr. Carpenter. The first sawmill was erected on Sixth Town creek,
by Mark Blanchard and Eber Hotchkiss in 1813, and it was indeed a notable event, as any boards, or sawed stuff
used before that date had to be brought from Mills' Mills. This sawmill stood. on the farm now owned by Arthur
B, Chase the noted violinist.
In 1817 Russell Higgins and Packard Bruce erected the pioneer gristmifi on Sixth Town creek. It was a rude affair,
but its noisy clatter made music which gladdened the ears and hearts of the early settlers, for it saved them weary
journeys through the woods to Mills' Mills. This mill fixed the name "Higgins' Mill" on the little hamlet
in the hollow. A gristmill was built at the "Centre" by John Thompson, Charles Tarry and others just
before the Civil War, but it ran only two or three years. Thos. Symes has a feed mill in his shop at the "Centre."
Russell Higgins' two daughters and a son still occupy the old homestead; one of the daughters, Ellen, attained
considerable eminence as a physician, and practiced several years in the city of New York. Mr. Bruce did not remain
long in town. His son, Edward S., was once sheriff of Allegany, and a daughter married Hon. Henry M. Teller.
Centerville was not so heavily timbered with pine as were some of the other towns near by, but still there was
enough of this valuable wood. to attract attention, beech, maple, cherry, ash, cucumber, oak and elm were found
in their perfection. Ashes were a great article of commerce, helping largely to defray the expenses of clearing
the land and paying for provision and clothing. Sparrow Smith manufactured pearlash here from 1825 to 1844. an
ashery was almost invariably connected with a store, and the ashgatherer, with his big teath and capacious wagon
or sleigh box, was a very famffiar sight. He carried a trunk or box containing pins, needles, hooks and eyes, tape,
calico, tea, coffee, spice, etc., to pay for the ashes. A store and ashery was conducted at Higgins' Mills for
some years. Cook, Hale & Co. were for years the town's leading men in the ashery business. By the state census
of 1855 only two asheries were reported in the county, both were in this town.
When Porter Hanks came from Plainfield, Otsego Co., in 1831 a Mr. Cook was running a store here for Mr. Hale of
Rochester, Joseph Maxson. was keeping one public house-and Russell TraIl another at the Centre. Mr. Hanks opened
another store with Bradley Higgins as a silent partner, and was succeeded by M. D. Higgins. The main part of the
residence of D. A. Hanks was the building in which this store was kept. Mr. Hanks went to New York twice a year
to buy goods, which were sent by canal to Rochester, poled up the river in flat-bottomed boats to York Landing,
and from thence hauled by teams to destination. M. W. Skiff, then clerk for Cook, was postmaster. A four-horse,
old. style stage coach, heavy, strong and capacious, was run from Geneseo to Jamestown, passing over the Allegany
road. Mr. flanks built an ashery. The pearlash was marketed in New York. Butter was taken for goods, at from 6
to 10 cents per pound, and eggs at about the same price per dozen. When a sufficient quantity had accumulated the
butter would be mixed together, worked over and packed, and the eggs packed and. both sent to Rochester with teams.
Mr. Hanks' partner went on one ocaasion to Gemeseo, where was the nearest bank, with $500 which he wanted. to send
to New York, $300 to one firm and $200 to another. The bank wanted $1 per hundred exchange. This he thought too
much and procured five $100 bills. These they sent by mail and lost all of it. In 1836 the firm sold the store,
bought the farms of M. D. Higgins and Levi Luther and went into sheep raising. Dogs used to kill many. Mr. flanks
sometimes had. 20 men at work in "haying." Money was scarce. John Bean let a letter lie in the office
three months before he could get the money to pay the postage.
In 1835 Morris Stickle was appointed enumerator for Centerville for the state census. He preserved some of the
statistics, which his son Myron has kindly furnished us. This manuscript shows that there were 1,423 inhabitants.
No. doing military duty 92, no. of voters 266, married females under 45 181, unmarried females from 16 to 45 92,
females under 16 311, marriages during the year 14, births in the year 58, deaths for same time 22, acres of improved
land 6,621, neat cattle 2,062, horses 380, sheep 4,070, hogs 1,116, yards of fulled cloth made 2,554, flannel 4,022,
linen cloth 4,752. During the War of 1861-4 Myron Stickle's wife (Mary J. Lyon), spun and wove 25 yards of linen
cloth for shirts and pants, rather than pay 60 to 70 cents per yard for cotton cloth. This was doubtless the last
home-made cloth made in town.
In 1836 Lyman Lovell from Vermont taught a select school at the Centre; about 35 pupils attending. This was so
well conducted as to attract attention and inspired much zeal in educational affairs in the town. Jonathan W. Earle,
a graduate of Vermont University, started a school in the early forties which continued several years and drew
patronage from Hunts Hollow, Pike, flume, Rushford and some of the Cattaraugus towns. It was largely attended and
sent out a good class of scholars. Mr. Earle's superior qualities as a teacher were however soon demanded in larger
educational centers. To Mr. Earle's scholastic accomplishments, was added great fame as a wrestler, and experts
in. that line came long distances to "try titles" with him.
To the names of early and prominent settlers we add the Veaseys, Lambertsons, Joel Nye, Ellis, Cole, Pratts, Binghams.
Oleasby, Hopkins, Osgood, Hatch and others. Succeeding Dr. Cass, the early physicians were Dr. Wm. A. Stacy, Dr.
P. Higgins, Dr. Stewart and later Drs. Crang, Hanks, Ware, Body, John Stacy, Fish, and L. G. Waterman, now the
only physician in Centreville. Other early merchants were: Mr. Carpenter, G. S. Jenkins, R. O. Billings and John
Thompson. D. A. Hanks and Elliott & Hancock now conduct the only mercantile enterprises in town. Symes Bros.
run a successful carriage and wagon making establishment. Four cheese factories are in operation. T. B. Pratt,
Thos. Symes and L. Higgins each have a sawmill. There is now no gristmffl. But one lawyer ever made lodgement here
and he tarried only a short time. Sheep husbandry has been a leading industry; dairying and hay are now the chief
sources of revenue.
The assessed valuation of real estate for 1894 was $355,654, of personal property $10,000. Equalized value of land
per acre $15.45, state tax $740.42, county tax $1,530.02, town tax $2,286.23, other taxes $50..88. Total amount
exclusive of school and road taxes, $4,556.67. The population was in 1830, 1,195; 1835, 1,426; 1840, 1,513; 1845;
1,436; 1850, 1,441; 1855, 1,394; 1860, 1,323; 1865, 1,181; 1870, 1,043; 1875, 995; 1880, 956; 1890, 911; 1892,
The officers elected at the first town meeting in 1819 were: Jesse Bullock, supervisor;
Alfred Forbes, town clerk; Edward Crowell, Zacheus Spencer, everseers of the poor; Benjamin Blanchard, Mark S.
White, Strong Warner, assessors; Abraham Dayton, Mark Blanchard, Nathaniel Moore, commissioners of highways; Jesse
Hadley, Calvin Cass, constables; Calvin Cass, collector; David Smith, Benjamin Weaver, Simeon Forbes, school commissioners;
Calvin Cass, Jesse Bullock, Alfred Forbes, school inspectors; Perkins B. Woodford, pound master.
SUPERVISORS.- Jesse Bullock, 1819,
'20, '22; Alfred Forbes, 1823; Russell Burlingame. 1824, '25, '35; Jesse Hadley, 1826-28; David Oaks, 1829; Benjamin
Blanchard, 1830, '41 ; Strong Warner, 1831, '32; Orin Pell, 1833, '34; Hugh Gillis, 1836-38; Timothy Higgins, 1839,
'40, 1842-45, 1856, '57; Gregory Metcalf, 1846, '47; Ezra M. Hopkins. 1848, '49; R. O. Billings, 1850-52; G. H.
Jenkins, 1853; Allen Simmons, 1854, '55, 6o, '62; ; A. S. Barnum, 1858, '59; Jonathan Couch, 1863-65, '69, '70,
'74, '75, 1877-79, '60, '81, '82, '83, '84, L. B. Treeman, 1866-67; Thomas B. Edwards, 1868; John D. Ballard, 1871-73,
'76; W. T. Elliott, 1886, '88 '89; Myron Stickle, 1887; J. S. Sawyer, 1890; M. D Hanks, 1891-92; D. M. Hancock,
The town officers (1895) are: D. M. Hancock, supervisor; A. L. Barnum, town clerk; John Metcalf, commissioner of
highways; Alvah Powell, Richard Owens and F. R. Palmer, assessors; F. R. Palmer, Victor Crowell, E. E. Barnum,
John McKerrow, justices; A. P. Allen, overseer of the poor; William D. Wilmot, collector; John Heald, Frank S.
Slocum, Darwin E. Allen, William D. Wilinot, constables; D. M. Lewis, E. E. Barnum, inspectors of election; Thomas
Gibby, commissioner of excise.
The Presbyterian Church at Centreville. the pioneer in the religious field, was organized July 25, 1824, by Rev.
Silas Hubbard, the first pastor. There were 14 original members. The church was received into the Genesee Presbytery
August 31, 1834, and in 1829 transferred to the Presbytery of Angelica. In 1831 there were 30 members, in 1843
109, in 1846 78. Other early preachers were: Revs. Horatio Waldo, Horace Galpin, John T. Baldwin, Lemuel Hall,
Phineas Smith, Leonard Rogers, Samuel Sessions, Smith Sturgis and H. B. Taylor. About 1850 came Rev. Lyman B. Waldo.
Rev. John W. Lane succeeded him in 1853, and under his ministry a house of worship was erected costing $3,000,
which was dedicated in the fall of 1859. Mr. Lane, in 1868, was succeeded by theological students as supplies.
In 1878 Rev. Franklin S. Spencer, the Rushford pastor, was supplying the pulpit. Since then very little Presbyterian
preaching has been had. The Presbytery owns the church upon which there is a debt of $500. The house is open for
services of other denominations; the Baptists of late years hold meetings there quite regularly, Revs. Darling,
W. N. Mason and Spencer officiating. A Sunday school with 25 members is held.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in June, 1842, with 13 members by Rev. Charles D. Burlingame, the
first pastor. In 1844 a church was erected at a cost of $1,000, with a seating capacity for 175. The pastors have
been Revs. William Welling, D. W. Worthington, John Hifis, W. H. McCartney, Mr. Long, J. L. Newton, J. L King,
John Vaughan, Mr. Babcock, G. H. VanVradenburgh, J. K. Underhill, N. B. Oongdon, Mr. Jackson, A. Mills, H. Peck,
J. L. King, Mr. Farnum, A. H. Mason, W. L. Moore and Dr. W. F. Wells. Regular services are held. The membership
is about 20. There is a Sunday school of 35 members of which R. N. Byington is superintendent.
The Fairview Congregational Church was organized in 1846 by Rev. John T. Edwards. In 1851 a small house of worship
was erected. In 1865 a large and better one costing $900 was built. The people supporting this church are mostly
Welsh. In 1878 Rev. W. R. Roberts was their pastor. A Rev. Mr. Roberts is now preaching there. There are 30 members.
There is a Sunday-school.
The Wesleyan Church (Higginsville).- Late in the forties Rev. John Watson organized a class (largely composed of
seceders from the M. E. church on account of its attitude on the slavery question) at Higgins' Mill. Among them
were Humphrey Palmer, Marcellus Palmer, Elisha Wood and Mr. Chamberlain. It was for years connected with Rush Creek,
Beilville and East Rushford in "The Allegany charge." Among the earlier preachers were: Revs. L. R. Ward,
C. K. Leonard, Z. T. Petty, Alanson Bixby, S. Phinney, H. Harris, Silas Brundage. Later, Revs. P. W. Ball, Geo.
W. Cooper, and the present supply Rev. Sisson. The society has purchased an unused store building and converted
it into a comfortable little church, erected sheds, etc., and has a Sunday school connected.
The Centreville Tent, K. O. T. M, was organized Feb. 10, 1893. There are now 22 members. Meetings are held semi-monthly.
The officers for 1895 are: Lott Smith, P. C.; Wm. P. Wilmot, C.; Frank Slocum, Lt. C.; A. L. Barnum, R. K. and
F. K.; Charles Clark, Jr., Chap.; John Vosburgh, Sergt.; P. G. Jones, M. at A.; Reuben Lewis, 1st M. G.; Bird Hopkins.
2d M. G.; Stephen Reynolds, Sentinel; Warren Palmer, Picket.
Royal Templars of Temperance, with a charter bearing date April 6, 1878, has a membership of 50. The officers are:
Thomas Williams, S. C.; Peter Hughes, V. C.; R. N. Byington, P. C.; Paul Morris, Chap.; Clara Cole. Sec.; Samuel
Symes, Financial Sec. and Treas.; D. L. Veasey, Herald; J. M. Fish, Guard; Thos. Symes, Sentinel.
Azem F. Bowen, son of Elias Bowen, a soldier in the war of 1812, and son of Bijah
Bowen of Madison Co., was born in East Otto in 1840. Elias came to Gowanda soon alter the war and married Lydia
Wellington. Children: Mahaman, Alzina, Elias, Wellington, Lurana, Caleb, Jesse, Joseph, Lydia, Daniel, Azem and
Judson. Elias, Daniel, Azem and Judson were soldiers in the late war. Azem enlisted in 1862 in the 1st N. Y. Dragoons,
and was in the battles of Deserted House, Manassas Junction, Winchester, Cedar Creek, Wilderness, Spottsylvania,
Cold Harbor, Trevillian Station (where there was severe hand-tohand fighting), Shenandoah Valley, Weldon Railroad,
and was present at the surrender of Lee at Appomattox. He was taken prisoner at Manassas Junction, was confined
in Libby and Belle Island prisons, was paroled, came home and married Myra Squires, Christmas day, 1863, and returned
to his regiment seven months from the date of his capture. He was in 36 different engagements during the three
years that he served his country. After the war he settled in Franklinville, and since 1874 has lived on his farm
of 71 acres in Centerville. Mr. and Mrs. Bowen have had two adopted children: May (Mrs. Julius Hogg; children:
Emmett and Cecil), and Newton Howard, now in the west.
Frank D. Couch is the son of William B., son of Calvin whose father, a German, was impressed on the sea into the
British service, but deserted and fought for America in the Revolutionary war. He married in Massachusetts and
settled in Perry, N. Y., with his family of 3 sons and 4 daughters. Luther and Lorren settled in Hume. Calvin settled
in Centreville, married Mary Brown. Their children were: Jonathan, born in 1821, died April 16, 1883, and William
B., born Aug. 29, 1826. The latter a farmer married Elida E. Allen in 1848, who died Nov. 2, 1871. Their children
were: Calvin, Mary R., Frank D., born Nov. 30, 1854, in Hume, Floyd, born in 1856 (married Martha Bell, children,
Belle, Clifford and Margerette), Rose, born in 1860 (Mrs. John Wright, children: Lloyd, Ernest and Herold). William
B. came from Hurne to Centreville in 1862. He went to Illinois in 1865. returned in 1872 and has been a resident
of North Dakota since 1883. Frank D. married, in 1877, Emma R., daughter of John D. Ballard. Their children are:
Luverne B., Forrest J. and Glenn F. Mr. Couch made cheese in Cattaraugus county 4 years, and i year in Hume. He
bought his present farm of 214½ acres in 1882. Politically he is a Prohibitionist.
John J. Davies, son of John and Mary (Samuel) Davies, was born in Cardigan, Wales, in 1845, and was one of 9 children.
He became a sailor for 6 years and rose to the position of first mate on vessels running from England to South
America. In 1869 he came to America and to Centreville with Thomas T. Evans, whose daughter Mary was his wife.
They crossed the ocean in the ship "City of Brussels." He at once became a farmer, chopping cordwood
winters, which paid him $1.50 per day and his board. He has kept a dairy of over 30 cows, and has raised large
crops, digging 300 bushels of potatoes per acre in 1895. The children of his first wife were: Mary E. (Mrs. William
Thomas), Thomas J. (married Stella Gove of Livonia, N. Y. They have one child, Lora), and David J. (who married
Annie Fuller, one child, Enah.) His second marriage was in 1872 to Deborah Evans, sister of his first wife. The
children by his second wife were: Willie J. (married Floy Anstee), Maggie E., Samuel J., Dannie J. (married Mina
Simmons of Mansfield, Ohio), Bennie J., Freddie J., Katie E. and Sarah E. Mrs. Deborah Davies died in 1889, and,
in 1892, Mr. Davies married Louisa, daughter of Richard Jones of Centreville. They have twins, Annie E. and Willard
John H. Davis is son of William Davis, who was born in Wales in 1828, and married Margaret Thomas. Children: David,
Mary A., John H., Thomas, Hannah, Margaret, William, Myra, Edward and Dennis, all born in Freedom and Centreville.
Mr. Davis came to Centrevile in 1852 and died in 1885. John H. Davis was born Sept. 30, 1857, and has always been
a farmer. He lived 3 years at Fairview, 3 years in Freedom and since in Centerville. He bought his present farm
of 237 acres in 1892. He married, in 1879, Elizabeth, daughter of Stephen and Sarah (Chapman) Findley. Children:
Margaret A., born May 28, 1842, William J., born Dec. 2, 1884., Maud E., born Nov. 2, 1886, Nellie J., born Feb.
26, 1890, and Ella M., born April 20, 1894. William J. died May i 5, 1895. Mr. Davis was justice of the peace in
Centerville from 1888 to 1892.
David M. Hancock descends from a family of coal miners in County Staffordshire, England, made historic in America
by John Hancock of Boston. Joseph, born in 1800, son of Thomas, married Mary, daughter of George Newton, a naval
commander under Lord Nelson. Joseph and Mary Hancock had two children, John and Sarah. John was born March 11,
1824, and began work in the coal mines with his father at the age of six. In 1846 he came to Boston in ship Thomas
H. Perkins, thence went to Pittston, Pa., where his English employers had a coal mine. He became such an expert
in the surface indications of coal that the government secured him in 1849 to travel with Prof. Owen of the Smithsonian
Institute to examine all the coal fields in the United States which took nearly three years. He was next employed
by coal corporations, locating and opening mines in the Lafayette district, and McKean, Forest and Elk counties,
Pa. In 1881 he went to New Mexico for a syndicate to locate gold and silver mines, While there he bought five claims
in Sierra county which he is now developing He married Mrs. Mary (Mitchel) McFarlin. Children. Keziah, Robert,
Joseph, David M., Ida and Willie. David M. was born in Pittston, Pa., in 1857. He married Dell, daughter of Merritt
Mead. Children, Ella, Grace, Inez, Robert and George. He is a progressive farmer and settled on his farm of 254
acres in 1880. He raised in 1895, 15 acres of the largest corn in Northern Allegany. and built the first silo in
Centerville. He deals in live stock and sells agricultural implements. Mr. Hancock has been an assessor in Centervile
three years and its supervisor since 1892.
John H. Morgan is son of Daniel Morgan, who was born in Pembrookshire, Wales, in 1810, and married Ann Morgan.
Children, John H., Anna, Benjamin. Samuel, Mary A., William, Daniel and David. Daniel Morgan brought his family
to America in 1839, stopping at Utica, where he worked at farming. In 1842 he came to Freedom where he lived till
his death in 1888. John H. Morgan was born in Wales in 1834. He was brought up and has remained a farmer. He married,
in 1857, Elizabeth Roberts. Children, David J., born in Freedom in 1858, married in 1885, Mary Edwards. Children,
John and Lucian; Margaret (Mrs. William Higgins), children, Floyd, Katharine and Elizabeth; Samuel married Mary
Williams. Children, Stanton and Stanley; John married Catharine Evans, children, Lulu and William; Hannah (Mrs.
John Higgins), children, Frank and Emma; Annie (Mrs. Robert Williams), children, John. Roy and Lloyd; Mary (Mrs.
Arthur Peet), children, William and a babe; Emma (Mrs. James Gibbons, one child John) and William. John H. Morgan
bought in 1872 the farm of 101 acres in Centerville on which his son David J. has lived for the past io years.
While in that town he was assessor 7 years. In 1886 Mr. Morgaa moved to his present farm of 87 acres in Freedom.
Mrs. Morgan died in 1891.
Flavel Ruthem Palmer is the grandson of Humphrey Palmer of Honiton, Devonshire county, England, whence government
persecution drove him from an estate that rented for £300 per year, that was afterward confiscated, because
he espoused the cause of the American colonies. He settled in East Guilford, Windham Co., Vt. Children: Humphrey,
John, William, Hannah, Maria. William, born in 1786, came to Centerville about 1812, and bought of the Holland
Land Co. moo acres at $2.50 per acre. He married in 1814 Sally Vendermark, had one child Stephen. By his second
wife, Elenor Knickerbocker, of East Bloomfield, N. Y,, his children were Silas W., Monroe, Jeremiah, Henry, Calvin,
Flavel R. and Ellen. Mr. Palmer was a school teacher, a writer of prose and poetry, and a strong abolitionist.
His mental traits had marked development in his children. Silas W. and Henry were Baptist ministers, Flavel R.
is a writer in prose and verse, and Ellen (Mrs. A. B. Allerton), who died in Padonia, Kansas, in 1893, was a poet
of national reputation. Her volume, "Poems of the Prairies," is one of the classics of the west. Mr.
Palmer died in 1865. Mrs. Palmer in 1863. Flavel R. was born Dec. 15, 1831, was a student in Leland Seminary, Vermont,
two years. He married, in 1854, Cynthia A. Kellogg. Cyrus S., their eldest child. graduated from Cornell University
in 1890. His health failed while principal of Monroe Collegiate Institute at Elbridge, N. Y., in 1893, and he is
now on the old homestead in Centerville. He married, in 1891, Nellie Jones, of Pike. N. Y, Florence E., their other
child, in the wife of Deputy Sheriff Byron E. Woods of Fillmore. Mrs. F. R. Palmer died in 1893, and his second
marriage was in 1895, to Mrs. Salinda M. (Frye) Whitney. Mr. Palmer is one of the assessors of Centerville, and
is serving his ninth year as justice of the peace.
Thomas B. Pratt is a son of Delanson Pratt who was born in 1805 in Tolland, Mass., where his father lived. Delanson
came to Cayuga county, and from there in 1832 to Centreville. He married in 1831, Lucia. daughter of Thomas Bingham,
who came from Riga, Monroe county, in 1819, and bought 900 acres of land, 120 acres in Hume, the rest in Centreville.
Mr. Bingham never lived on it, but gave 150 acres to each of his sons Joseph, Justin and Clark, who settled thereon.
Mr. Pratt bought land where Thomas B. now lives, and, in 1840, the sawmill built by John Connell in 1830. The children
of Delanson and Lucia Pratt were: Thomas B., Martha, Elmira (Mrs. Horatio Vedder), Amelia (Mrs. Palmer Watson),
Marcia (Mrs. Orville Miller), and Hattie (Mrs. Adelbert Gillett of Buffalo). Mr. Pratt died in 1867 and Mrs. Pratt
in 1878. Thomas B. Pratt was born in 1832. His earliest memories are his love for machinery, urging his father
when only 8 years old to buy the sawmill in which he was a devoted worker till its loss by fire in 1867. The failure
of Houghton Creek caused him to rebuild a steam mill in its place, to which was added a shingle machine, and later
a run of stone for grinding coarse grain. In i 88o this mill Cut 800,000 feet of lumber. Material for building
is here sawed, planed and fitted for use, doing a business of $5,000 a year. For many years the charge for planing
boards on one side was $3 per M. now both sides are planed for $1. In 1858 Mr. Pratt began for himself on part
of his present farm of 167 acres, and the same year married Lusina, daughter of Willard Higgins of Centreville,
who came from Vermont. Their children have been: Finette E., and Willard D. who married J. Belle Wilson and has
children, Kirk W., M. Beryl and L. Irene. Ella J. Rice is an adopted child of Mr. and Mrs. Pratt. Her mother was
Mrs. Pratt's sister Elizabeth.
Thomas and Samuel Symes, wagon manufacturers and owners of the saw and feedmills at Centreville, Sons of Samuel
and Mary (Scott) Symes were born in Somersetsbire. England. Samuel Symes, elder, came to America in 1852. Thomas
Symes came in 1855, joined his father and bought John Morris' blacksmith shop. In 1856 Mrs. Symes and two daughters
Mary and Edith and one brother Samuel came. They all settled in Centreville and Samuel joined in the wagon and
blacksmith shop. They put steam power in their shops in 1867, a mill for grinding feed in 1874 and the sawmill
in 1895. Thomas married as his first wife, Sarah Mathias in 1858. By his present wife, Sarah Plumb, he has two
children, John T. and Mary B. He has been town clerk 14 years and highway commissioner three terms. His father
and mother both died in 1866.
William W. Thomas is son of Lewis Thomas who was born in Wales in 1785. The children of Lewis were: Peter, Richard.
Mary, William W., Leah, Sarah and Rachel. Mr. Thomas brought his family to America in 1831, settling near Utica,
where William W. worked on construction of the New York Central railroad at 50 cents per day. In 1841 Mr. Thomas
came to Freedom and 2 years after moved to Centreville, bought 55 acres of land of David Ellis, and his son, William
W., helped pay for this by selling butter for 6 cents per pound, and drawing oats to Buffalo for 12½ cents
per bushel. In 1845 he drew potatoes to Buffalo for 25 cents per bushel to help make up the deficiency in the interest
then due. As he could not spare the price of lodging, he was on the road two nights and one day. Another time he
stopped at the "North Star" tavern miles from Buffalo, and late at night when he went to feed his horses
he found flames in the manger that reached to the roof, he ran aloft, threw more hay on the flames then jumped
on the top and smothered the fire. The landlord, Mr. Sexton, was so grateful that he made his bills free ever after.
William W. Thomas married Elizabeth, daughter of John Davis from Wales. Their children were: John L., Mary (Mrs.
David Davis, whose children are, Catharine and Mabel), John, Isaac, a railroad man now in British Columbia, Catharine
(Mrs. William Young, has one child, Earl), Gomer, who was married in November, 1895, to Miss Helen Belle Bloomingdale
of Alabama, Genesee Co., N. Y. Mr. Thomas has been a very successful fanner, owning at one time over 600 acres
of land. On his farm of 380 acres his sons John and Gomer raised 2,300 bushels of grain in 1895 in spite of the
drought and grasshoppers.
John C. Vosburg is the son of Lorenzo D., son of Jacob, son of Abram Vosburg, whose father came from Holland. Abram
came from Bainbridge, Otsego county, where Jacob was born, to Washington township, Wyoming Co., Pa., where Vosburg
Station and tunnel on the Lehigh railroad were named after him. Lorenzo D. was born there Nov. 15, 1815. He kept
a hotel at Meshoppen, where John C. was born Feb. 15, 1859, was postmaster and merchant at Russell Hill, and gave
the land for the first Church built in Washington township. He married Eliza Wiggins. Children: Marion, Armina,
Luella, Etta, Isabel, John C., Merritt and Lottie. Lorenzo D. came to Centerville in 1870, a farmer, where he died
in 1892 and his widow in 1895. John C. was brought up a farmer and married in 1882 Mary Marsh. Children: Manley
F., Ruth and Agnes. Merritt Vosburg married Etta Low. Children: Albert, Frankie, Ada, Amber and Stanley. Mr. Vosburg
has rented this farm of 289 acres since 1882. He raised in the dry season of 1895 1,600 bushels of grain and 700
bushels of potatoes.
Lucius Gilbert Waterman, M. D., physician and surgeon at Centreville, son of Eli and Persis (Edwards) Waterman,
was born Sept. 16, 1849, in China (Arcade), Wyoming Co., N. Y. Eli Waterman was born in Blanford, Mass., June 8,
1789, and was a major in the War of 1812. His first wife was Persis Wright. Children: Diantha, Anson, Robert, Nancy,
Alonzo, Eliza and Persis. His second wife, Persis Edwards, was born in Suffield, Hartford Co., Conn., May zo, 1801.
Their children were: Caroline, Lucius E., Harrison, Franklin, Orlando, Alphonso, Jerusha A., Eli W., Esther, and
Lucius G. Mr. Waterman came to China soon after 1820, bought 360 acres of land of the Holland company at $2.50
per acre, built the first sawmill in town, opened a public house in which he kept the first postoffice at East
China, and was postmaster 27 consecutive years. He died in Arcade, Jan. 24, 1861, and his widow Jan. 2, 1890. Lucius
G. was educated at the University of Suffield, Conn., read medicine five years with Dr. Lusk of Eagle, attended
lectures at Medical University of Buffalo, came to Centreville in 1878, was received into the Allegany County Medical
Society and by it was licensed to practice. In 1883 he received his diploma from Buffalo Medical College. He married
in 1871, Mary A., daughter of Capt. A. N. Richardson of Eagle. They had one child, James R. born July 5, 1875.
He is a Latin academic graduate of Pike Seminary, and is now a student in Buffalo Medical College. Mrs. Waterman
died in 1887.
* name as incorporated was Centreville. Usage and custom now frequently
spell it Centerville.- Editor.