The Town of De Ruyter.
This is one of the five towns that were formed previous to the erection of the
county and was set off from Cazenovia March 15, 1798; it then contained the territory of the present towns of German,
Lincklaen, Otselic and Pitcher, in Chenango county, and Georgetown in Madison county. The town received its name
in honor of Admiral De Ruyter, of the Dutch navy. It is the southwest c9rner town in the county. It presents a
hilly surface which is broken by the valley of the Tioughnioga River, which with numerous small tributaries, drains
and waters the town. The soil is of a general good quality, sandy and gravelly loam on the hills and rich alluvium
in the valleys. The village of the same name as the town is situated in the southwestern part of the town; it was
incorporated in 1833. There are only two post-offices in the town-De Ruyter and Sheds (Shed's Corners.) The population
of the town as shown by the census taken at various dates from 1835 was as follows:
1835. 1840. 1845. 1850. 1855. 1860. 1865. 1870. 1875. 1880. 1890. 1892
1,562 1,799 1,829 1,931 1,921 1,817 1,820 2,009 1,609 1,584 1,500 1,480
The principal occupation of the farmers of the town is dairying to which general farming has largely given place
in recent years. Some twenty-five years ago, when the manufacture of cheese in factories was made a prominent industry,
five factories were established in the town; but there are only three now in operation-one a mile and a half north
of the village, one four miles north of the village and one at Shed's Corners. Large quantities of excellent butter
are made by individual farmers throughout the town. The raising of potatoes for market has taken on considerable
importance within quite recent years and at fair prices are a profitable crop. The numerous saw mills of early
times are nearly all idle. Considerable hardwood lumber is still cut, most of which goes to the Bryant Furniture
Company, which operates a steam saw mill in the village and has a large factory in Truxton.
The destruction of the records of this town renders it impossible to give the date and proceedings of the early
town meetings, and doubt. less deprives us of much important and interesting material. The town constitutes a part
of the second school commissioner's district of the county and is divided into ten school districts with a school
house in each, in which are employed fifteen teachers in 1897, to teach a total of 340 children. The present value
of school buildings and sites is nearly $10,000. An excellent high school is conducted in the village of De Ruyter,
which is the direct successor of the old De Ruyter Institute, founded in 1836 by the Seventh-Day Baptists. It became
a Union free school in 1874, and the name, De Ruyter Union School and Academy was adopted in 1877. The present
faculty includes Irving Smith Sears, principal; Jennie Van Demark Sheely, preceptress, and four assistants. The
attendance at the present time is about 270.
As at present bounded the town lies wholly within the Gore, de. scribed in an
early chapter. Settlement began In 1793 by Elijah and Elias Benjamin and Eli Colegrove. Both the Benjamin brothers
had families, members of which and their descendants have been prominent in the community. Joseph Messenger, Samuel
Thompson, and William and Thompson Burdick became settlers in 1795, and Daniel Page, Gideon Foster and Eleazer
Gage a little later. In 1800, or within a year or two thereafter, Matthew Wells, Jonathan Shed, Darius Benjamin,
Samuel Bowen, Levi Wood, Sylvester Crumb and probably a few others located in different parts of the town. Among
other settlers previous to or about the time of the formation of the county in 1806 were Joseph Rich, Jonathan
Bentley, Benjamin Merchant, Job Webb, Benjamin Stratton, Abram Sutton, John Shepard, James Hunt, Nathaniel Wright,
John Pierce, Reuben Burnard, John Gifford, Ephraim Arnold, Beman Hoag, David Wood, John Hewitt, Joseph, Thomas
and Benjamin Mitchell, Dr. Ephraim Otis, Stephen Bogardus, Benjamin Wybert, Enos and Amos Peasley, Elijah Cornell,
Joseph and Benjamin Tripp, and Joseph Underwood. Many in this list were Quakers, who established a Meeting about
1806, and have always been numerous and influential in the community. These and the settlers who came in later
soon cleared parts of their farms, built saw mills and grist mills, opened roads, established the schools and churches
and gradually surrounded themselves with the comforts and advantages of the older settled localities further east.
De Ruyter Village.- This village is pleasantly situated on the Tioughnioga on the western border of the town and
is a station on the Lehigh Valley railroad. The early gathering at this point was due mainly to the building of
a saw mill immediately after the arrival of the first settlers; this was soon followed by a grist mill, and in
1800 Samuel Bowen opened the first store. Two or three other merchants began trading before the erection of the
county in 1806. The post-office was established in 1810. Ephraim Arnold established an early tannery, and Daniel
Page built the first public house in the corporation as early as the beginning of the century. Later merchants
were Nathan B. Wilbur, James Benjamin, Eli Spear, Col. Elmer D. Jenks, Sylvester Aylsworth, John Elmore, Martin
Spear, Crandall & Alvord, H. A. & F. C. Dillaye, Bradley Merchant, Noah T. Coleman and others. The present
merchants of the place are H. B. Griffiths, started in 1883; F. S. Mitchell, drugs, began in 1882; Hardy &
Orvis, dry goods, 1894; H. C. Blanchard, clothing, 1895; C. E. Maxson, jewelry. 1893; M. R. Smith, clothing, 1881;
E. S. Norton, hardware and groceries, bought the A. M. Purchase store in 1894; W. W. Rainey, harness, 1893; Eugene
Ryder, varieties, 1895; W. G. Weed, baker, 1870; F. L. Haskins and G. M. Foster, meats; W. B. Ryan, general store,
1895; H. S. Walker, hardware, in trade more than thirty-five years; E. H. Lee, general store, 1874; S. W. Fiske,
grocer; R. F. Clark, grocer, 1898; E. M. Stanton, general store, 1895; F. M. Russell, groceries and hardware, 1887;
A. W. Francis, flour and feed, 1885; R. E. Smith. furniture and undertaking, succeeded J. H. Crumb, 1886; Thompson
& Church, millers; Stanton & Nichols, millinery, 1898; J. D. Allen, plumber; M. E, Tallet, produce, lime
and coal; H. P. Mitchell, insurance, 1881; E. D. Benjamin, photographer, 1883; the Cazenovia Coal and Lumber Corn.
pany carries on business here. John Rice Rider established a banking business in 1864, and in 1870, E. B. Parsons
and B. B. Crandall opened the B. B. Parsons & Co.'s bank, with $15,000 capital. This institution subsequently
failed. In 1889 the De Ruvter Banking Company was organized by B. S. Bryant, president; M. E. Teller, vice-president;
F. S. Mitchell, treasurer and cashier. The capital is $10,000.
The village fire department had its inception in 1833, when the first engine was purchased, and measures adopted
for building an engine house and town hail; the latter was erected in 1839 and was sold in 1855 and a new one built.
The department now consists of a hose company and engine company of seventy men. A system of water works was established
in 1897, which supplies the public with pure spring water and gives a pressure in pipes of 134 pounds to the square
inch; twenty eight hydrants have been set in the village, thus rendering the fire engine substantially useless.
Physicians practicing in the village are Drs. Silas Clarke, Edwin M. Coon, James E. McClellan, C. P. Monro, and
J. H. Shaffer, the latter a dentist. De Ruyter has had two or three lawyers of more than ordinary ability and repute,
who are noticed in chapter XXV. The present attorneys are Wallace E. Burdick, J. H. Poole and H. D. Messenger.
De Ruyter has had several newspapers which are now extinct. The first was the De Ruyter Weekly News, started in
1862 by J. E. N. Backus; it lived about two years. The De Ruyter New Era was founded by John R. Beden in 1870.
The De Ruyter American was established in Decernbei, 1896, by N. E. Bugbee and was discontinued in November, 1897.
The De Ruyter Gleaner was established September 18, 1878, by W. W. Ames; it absorbed the New Era in 1889 and is
still continued as a healthy, ably conducted journal.
The Taber House, built in 1849, is now conducted by John Coye; the Central Hotel was changed in name to the Park
Hotel and much improved and is now conducted by W. W. Owens. The De Ruyter Hotel was built for a dwelling by M.
R. Merchant; it passed to Isaac Samson, who soid it to M. W. Baldwin; he changed it to a hotel in 1893.
There are four churches in the village-Congregational, organized in 1897 and built an edifice in the same year;
Baptist, organized in 1798; Seventh.Day Baptist, formed within a short time after settlement began; Methodist,
organized before 1817.
De Ruyter village was incorporated April 15, 1833; reincorporated December 7, 1847, and again February 18, 1878,
under the law of April 20, 1870. A list of the officers from its incorporation to the present time is given in
Shed's Corners.- This is a mere hamlet in the northeast part of the town on the Tioughnioga, which took its name
from Jonathan Shed, the pioneer of that locality. The post-office, which has been in existence there many years,
was changed in name recently by the Department, to Sheds. There was formerly a Universalist church which has become
extent; a Methodist church has been in existence many years. A hotel was kept by Allen Randall, which was burned
and not rebuilt. One of the cheese factories and milk stations of the town is in operation here, and one store.
Following is a list of supervisors from 1807 to the present time: 1807-09, Jeremiah Gage; 1810-13, Eli Gage; 1814-17,
James Nye; 1818-19, Nathan B. Wilbur; 1820-23, Jeremiah Gage; 1824-26, Elias P. Benjamin; 1827, Hubbard Smith;
1828, E. P. Benjamin; 1829-30, Abraham Sutton; 1831, John Hewit; 1832-34, Le Baron Goodwin; 1835-36, Bradley Merchant;
1837, Benjamin Enos; 1838, Abraham Sutton; 1839-40, Ira Gage Barnes; 1841-43, David Maine, jr.; 1844-45, Jonathan
Brainard; 1846-47, Dwight Gardner; 1848-49, Abijah N. Annas; 1850-51, Lewis Sears; 1852-53, William Hunt; 1854,
John R. Rider; 1855, Albert G Burdick; 1856, Ira Spencer; 1857, J. Henry De Lamater; 1858, Sitneon Rider; 1859,
David Maine; 1860, William C. Crumb; 1862, Daniel Q. Mitchell; 1863, H. C. Miner; 1864, Daniel Q. Mitchell; 1865-66,
J. W. Merchant; 1867-68, Newell Reeve; 1869-70, A. N. Annas; 1871-73, Alverson B. White; 1874-76, Daniel Q. Mitchell;
1877-80, Joseph H. Crumb; 1881-83, Charles H. Maxson; 1884, Edward B. Parsons; 1885-86, Charles F. Maxson; 1887,
George F. Annas; 1888-91, Byron S. Bryant; 1892-93, John Hunt; 1893-97, Warren W. Ames.