History of the Village of Newark Valley, NY



September 18, 1894, the electors of Newark Valley held a special election and then voted 106 for and 71 against a proposition to incorporate the village, including within its limits 678 72-l00ths acres of land. The certificate of election was filed in the county clerk's office September 22, 1894, and in October following the first village officers were elected.

Just one hundred and two years before the incorporation was effected Ezbon Slosson settled on the site of the village and built a log cabin, near the bank of the creek. In 1795 the waters of the stream were swollen with heavy rains and pioneer Slosson and family were compelled to vacate their domicile and seek refuge with his father, Enoch Slosson, another pioneer of the town. Mr. Slosson then built a new dwelling in a safer place, on the site afterward occupied by the lecture room of the Congregational church. However, Ezbon Slosson had little thought of founding a village settlement, although he built a framed house in 1806, and about the same time kept a tavern, opened a small store, and built and operated a distillery. The distillery was not an innovation for the time, as good home-made whiskey was almost as much a staple article of trade as tea, sugar, cloth, and many other wares; and few indeed were the families of that period who did not keep in their homes a supply of whiskey.

Among the factors in early village history were Ezekiel Rich and Otis Lincoln, who as partners started a tannery and began making gloves and mittens in 1808, and kept up the industry until 1820, when Mr. Rich sold out and removed to the town afterward named in his honor. But Mr. Lincoln continued operations at our little hamlet and did as much to build it up and promote its interests as any man in its early history. He purchased a considerable tract of land in the vicinity and laid out and donated to the public a park tract, although the action was wholly informal; and it was not until within the past year that Mr. Lincoln's heirs quit-claimed the park to the vifiage. This worthy proprietor also built and kept a large hotel, and was engaged in tanning and also in mercantile business on a large scale. He was for many years partner with his son, William S. Lincoln, and the firm was looked upon as one of the strongest in the county. The Lincoln hotel stood on the site now occupied by the high school, and was for many years an assembling place in the village. The tannery was on the site of the present industry of the same character, although the present one is much larger and conducted on quite different plan. Nevertheless, a tannery of some kind has been in operation on this site for almost 90 years.

From its infancy in Newark Valley there has been an almost constant growth in business interests and population, yet in all this time the number of inhabitants has not exceeded 850. It is the youngest and one of the four incorporated vifiages in the county. The now called Lehigh Valley, but originally the Lake Ontario, Auburn & New York railroad, was constructed through the town during the years 1869-71, and was an important factor in promoting the welfare of the village, but the chief factor of all has been the enterprise, generosity, and public-spiritedness of the people which have made Newark Valley what it is to-day.

The village is pleasantly situated in the very centre of one of the best agricultural regions of the county, and although but ten miles from the county seat the principal part of mercantile trade is kept at home. All branches of business incident to small villages are well represented, and there is little indication that overcompetition has worked to •the disadvantage of any interest. Several of the stores are large and well stocked, and all appear to be conducted on safe principles. The tannery is by far the leading manufacturing industry of the vicinity and furnishes employment to about forty workmen, and directly supports as many families. During the period of its history, the buildings have been twice burned. In its present capacity the firm of Allison, Davidge & Co., began tanning in 1865. Two years later Mr. Allison became sole owner, but in 1868 Davidge, Landfield & Co., succeeded, and• under that management, and that of S. B. Davidge & Co., the plant was operated until the firm joined interests with the United States Leather company in May, 1893.

The Newark Valley Wagon Company was incorporated in February, 1882. with $30,000 capital, and for several years was a leading industry, but at last misfortune came and the works were abandoned.

Moore, Cargill & Co., started a saw mill in the village in 1867, and from that time a mill has been operated on the site. The present owners are L. E. Wiffiams & Son. The other manufacturing interests of the village may be mentioned about as follows:
Burch & Wells' saw, cider, and thresh-mill; P. P. Moses & Son's grist mill; Bert. Bliss's feed mill; the Newark Valley wagon shops, C. H. Quick, owner; Moore's wagon works, succeeding Donley Bros.' marble works.

The Northern Tioga Agricultural Society is one of the notable institutions of the town, the villages and. in fact of the county. It originated in a proposed basket picnic among the farming element of the town. These worthy agriculturists were desirous of meeting to discuss matters of interest in their special pursuit in life, and one suggestion led to another until the subject at last contemplated an organization of considerable magnitude, and the result was that Frederick W. Richardson proposed an agricultural society, very much like, that which now does so great good in this part of the county. The society was informally organized Nov. 23, 1880, and was incorporated March 2, 1881. From that until the present time it has been a remarkable success and productive of much good in the county. The grounds, which are leased, are ample, and are furnished with all the accommodations of any well appointed fair ground. Annual meetings are held and all promised premiums are paid in full. The present officers are Stephen L. Ball, president; J. F. Councilman and George E. Barney, vicepresidents; G. E. Purple, secretary; E. F. Belden, treasurer.

The Newark Valley trout ponds and pleasure grounds are purely a private enterprise, but are of such a character that a brief mention of them is proper. They are the property of Norman K. Waring, and were begun in 1869 and opened to the public in 1872. The grounds are abundantly supplied with water, well stocked with fish, and good buildings are provided for the public accommodation. Various proprietors have undertaken the management of the grounds, but they have as often reverted to the founder.

The Newark Valley high school was established in its present form in 1896, successor to the Newark Valley union free school, and the latter the result of the generosity of the late Royal W. Clinton. Previous to 1887 all attempts to unite the school districts which included portions of the village were unsuccessful, and in the fall of 1886 such a proposition was voted down, 112 against and 101 for. On February 14, 1887, Mr. Clinton said to the inhabitants of the village that if they would unite districts 2 and 14 of the town, and secure a site, he would cause to be erected and donate to the consolidated district to be established a school build ing suited to the necessities of the village. The result was the formation of Union free school district No. 2, and on October 25, 1887, the building was formally presented to the board of education. It is an attractive structure and stands on the site of the old hotel, built many years ago by Otis Lincoln.

The first board of education was elected April 14, 1887, and comprised Edward G. Nowlan, Robert Donley, Sherwood B. Davidge, E. G. Kinney, and William Cargill. The board organized April 19, 1887, electing Mr. Kinney president; Robert Donley clerk, and Morris Eiwell, treasurer. The first principal was Prof. W. H. Ryan, followed by Profs. J. S. Kingsley, F. P. Webster, Miss Fannie L. Hughes, and J. S. Kingsley, in the order mentioned. The members of the present board are Oscar S. Randall, president; Myron L. Williams, clerk, and Austin Dickerson, Gilbert E. Purple, and John O. Roberts. Treasurer, Sherwood B. Davidge.

The Newark Valley fire department as now constituted is the outgrowth of the little company formed at a meeting held Sept. 8, 1886. At that time Rescue Chemical Engine Co. was organized, and the engine was purchased with a subscription fund of $600 and the percentage paid by the insurance companies doing business in the village. Old Rescue has retained its identity to this time, but Dec. 14, 1887, the company was divided and Lincoln Hook and Ladder Company, No. 1, was formed from its members. The department was incorporated in January, 1888. The first chief engineer was Oscar S. Randall. The present officers are Geo. F. Sherwood, chief, and Dr. R. S. Fellows, assistant engineer. The officers of the social organization are J. T. Joslin, president; D. C. Hand, secretary; John O. Roberts, treasurer.

Newark Valley lodge, No. 614, F. & A. M., was chartered June 26, 1866, and from that time has been one of the substantial institutions of the village. Its membership at this time is about 70. Oketa lodge, No. 685, I. 0. 0. F., was instituted with five charter members, January 3, 1894. The present members number 57.

The First Congregational church of Newark Valley, as now known, is the direct outgrowth of the little society formed during. the early years of the century through the devoted missionary labors of Rev. Seth Williston, that famed old christian worker under the direction of the mother church in Connecticut. Through his efforts on Nov. 20, 1803, a society was formed, and in the same year a church edifice Was built in the north part of what is now Newark Valley, then known as Brown's settlement. (The second edifice on the same site was built in 1817.) The constituent members were Dr. Waldo, Nathaniel Ford, Jesse Gleazen, Levi Bailey, Beulah Brown, and Caroline Ford. April 4, 1805, the first officers were elected, and October 23 following the Society of Western was fully organized. Dec. 24 of this year Rev. Jeremiah Osborn was called, and began his pastorallabors Jan. 11, 1806. Sept.11, 1811, the church was admitted to membership in the Cayuga Presbytery, a relation which was maintained until July 2, 1869, when the full Congregational form was adopted. January 12, 1823, eight members from the old church were dismissed to form a new society in what is now Richford, and September 14 following fourteen other members withdrew to form a church at West Newark. Still later July 24, 1833, the Berkshire church was organized and took from the mother society seventy-two more of her members. In September, 183 1, it was decided to remove the base of operations of the church from the north part of the town,. which was immediately done and a new edifice was then built in the village on land donated to the society by Otis Lincoln. This building in turn gave way to a more commodious structure in 1867, the latter being dedicated Jan. 14, 1869. The chapel was built in 1895, and cost $1,500. Notwithstanding the fact that. three churches have been formed from the mother society the latter is stifi one of the strongest churches in the north part of the county and now has a membership of 283. This church has been noted for its long pastorates, which fact will be shown by reference to the succession of pastors, viz.: Jeremiah Osborn, 1806-18; Marcus Ford, Dec. 3, 1820,-April 27, 1859; Samuel F. Bacon, 1866-71; Samuel Johnson, 1871; Jay Clizbe, Jan. 14, 1872-Dec. 1886; J. S. Ellsworth, Sept. 1, 1887,-Jan. 1, 1896 ; A. Y. Wilcox, June 25, 1896.

The West Newark Congregational church was formed Sept. 16, 1823, and in 1832 the church edifice was erected. Rev. Zenas Riggs was the first pastor. A complete church organization has ever been maintained here and in a measure auxiliary to the society at the Valley. However, the branch society has been without a pastor for two years.

The first society of the M.1E. church of the town of Newark was set off from Berkshire and made a station in 1842, although in its history in the town Methodism dates back to the year 1822, when Rev. George W. Densmore included this village in his circuit and preached here regularly. The society and class were organized in 1833 and in that year a church home was erected. It answered the purposes of the society until 1884, and was abandoned for the large brick edifice built in that year, the latter one of the best structures of its kind in northern Tioga. Auxiliary to the society in the village is that at East Newark, which was estab lished in 1849. The edifice was built about the same time. This society is under the village pastorate, but has an independent officiary. The early ministers who preached on this circuit before Newark Valley was made a separate charge were Revs. G W. Densmore, Herota P. Barnes, Fitch Reed, and David A. Shepard. The pastors, in succession, have been: Moses Adams, 1833; Jesse Peck, 1834; Hanford Colburn, 1835-6; Morgan Ruger, 1837-9; C. W. Giddings, 1840-1; H. L. Rowe, 1842-3; Benajah Mason, 1844-5; Darius Simmons, 1846; Sylvester Manier, 1847-8; H. Colburn, 1849; P. S. Worden, 1850-2; N. S. D. Davison, 1853-6; George H. Blakesley, 1857-8; 0. M. McDowell, 1859-60; Nelson Rounds, 1861-2; C. V. Arnold, 1863-4; King Elwell, 1865-7; Leonard Cole, 1868-9; G. K. Peck, 1870-2; C. S. Alexander, 1873; G-. H. Blakesley, 1873; George Comfort, 1874-6; Wm. S. Wentz, 1877-8; W. J. Judd, 1879-81; H. M. Crydenwise, 1882; T. P. Halstead, 1883-5; Wilson Treible, 1886-9; H. L. Ellsworth, 1889; C. H. Sackett, 1890; F. A. Chapman, 1891; A. D. Decker, 1893; J. B. Cook, 1894.

This church in connection with that at West Newark numbers about 320 members. Another M. E. church has an organization in the town, on East hifi, which is a part of the Maine charge.

The Baptist church of Newark Valley was organized Oct. 27, 1857, with twenty-six members. The first edifice was built in 1868, and the second, the present large brick structure, in 1869. This church numbers 111 members. The pastors in succession have been as follows: Revs. D. T. Leach, John Branch, Ranson T. Gates, John Ball, Henry T. Leach, Jacob Gray, B. H. Spafford, W. N. Tower, Adam H. Todd, J. S. Aineslie, G. E. Weeks, Ezra Crowell, D. F. Leach, J. G. Dyer, G. E. BennandE. D. Hammond.

St. John's church, Roman Catholic, at Newark Valley was built in 1880, although mass was said in the village at an earlier date. This parish and church are an out-mission from Owego.

A Free Wifi Baptist church had an abiding place in Newark Valley vifiage as far back as the year 1820, and a meeting house was built at the corner of Main and Silk streets. The society, however, passed out of existence many years ago.

The first election of vifiage officers in Newark Valley resulted as follows: President, Edward G. Nowlan; trustees, Dr. Cornelius R. Rogers, Eli D. Tibbitts, and Levi S. Burch; treasurer, Edgar E. Chapman; collector, Fred. W. Barber. The board appointments were: Street commissioner, Daniel H. Miller; police justice, Lorenzo F. Rockwood; clerk, Dewitt A. Mifien.

The second president was Dr. Hiram L. Knapp, elected in 1895, succeeded in 1896 by Sherwood B. Davidge.

Also see the Town of Newark Valley

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