History of Fabius, NY
FROM: History of Onondaga County, New York
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches.
By: Professor W. W. Clayton
Published By D. Mason & Co., Syracust NY 1878


FABIUS was erected from Pompey in 1798. It included at that time two military townships- Fabius and Tully-embracing all the present towns of Fabius, Tully, Truxton and Preble, with parts of Spafford and Otisco, being ten by twenty miles in extent. Tully was taken from it in 1803, and in 1808, when the county of Cortland was set off from Onondaga, the town of Truxton was taken from the southern part of it.

This town has a general elevation of from 1,000 to 1,200 feet above the Erie Canal at Syracuse. The surface of the south half is broken by a series of ridges extending in a north and south direction and separated by narrow valleys. Their declivities are generally steep, their summits rising from three hundred to five hundred feet, South Hill, in the southwest corner being the principal elevation. The streams from the center flow south into the Tioughnioga, a branch of the Susquehanna, and those upon the east and west borders flow north into the Limestone and Butternut Creeks. At the foot of South Hill lies a small lake known as Labrador Pond.

The soil is generally a fine quality of gravelly loam intermixed in places with clay and sand, well watered and adapted to grass and pasturage. From this fact, dairying is the principal occupation of the people. In amount of dairy products, the town is the first in the county and among the first in the State.


The first settlers of Fabius were Josiah Moore and Timothy Jerome, from Stockbridge, Mass., in 1794. They erected their log cabins in the dense forest, and for the first year were entirely without neighbors. The next year was marked by the arrival of Col. Elijah St. John, also from Massachusetts, and soon others followed. The settlement was so rapid that in 1810 the population of the town was 1,900, although the immigration commenced at a somewhat later period than that into Pompey, Manlius and Onondaga.

Josiah Moore settled on the Chenango road. He died April 29, 1802. His son, Charles Moore, was the first white male child born in the town. He was born in 1796, and died in 1862.

The pioneers penetrated into the deep forest; heavy timber of hemlock, beech, maple, basswood, elm, ash, oak and pine, covered the face of the country. In this unsubdued wilderness they erected their cabins, with no traces to guide them save the marked trees or the curling smoke ascending from their rude chimneys or roofs. In the natural meadows along the valleys of the streams the herds were turned loose and fared sumptuously, the tinkling bell directing the sturdy woodman to the object of his search, when the obedient ox was needed as an auxiliary to labor, or the docile cow as an indispensable aid to sustenance.

The chief means of subsistence to last them through the first two years were brought by the pioneers from the east. Wild plums, blackberries and game were plenty, and these with milk and such stores as they had laid in, constituted the luxuries of their board. The first mills to which they had recourse, short of Herkimer, were Danforth's on the Butternut Creek.


The first town meeting for Fabius was held at the house of Joseph Tubbs, April 3, 1798. Timothy Jerome was chosen Supervisor ; Josiah Moore, Town Clerk; Benjamin Brown, Timothy Walker, and Elijah St. John, Assessors; Joseph Tubbs, James Cravath and William Blanchard, Commissioners of Highways; Ezekiel Dunham, Constable.

The second town meeting was held at the same place, April 2, 1799; Timothy Jerome was chosen Supervisor, and Benjamin Brown, Town Clerk.

The seventy-eighth annual town meeting was held February 20, 1877, in the house of Ira Smith, and the following officers were elected: Justices, James H. Wheelock, Elmore Wheaton, Eli S. Howe, Harance T. Jones; Town Clerk, Dillie R. Webster; Supervisor, Newel Rowley; Collector, John H. Sniffin; Assessor, Elijah Andrews; Overseers of the Poor, Ezra Goodrich and Charles W. Miles; Town Auditors, John C. Bailey, Wm. H. S. Green and Wm. Tibbits; Constables, John H. Sniffin, George W. Way, Stephen Chaffee. Grant 0. Andrews; Game Constable, Ransom Stringbam; Collector of Weights and Measures, A. W. Salesbury; Excise Commissioner, Alvin House.

Timothy Jerome was the first, and for a longtime the only, Justice of the Peace in this town, and for the surrounding country.

The first frame house was erected by Josiah Moore in i 8oo. Others soon followed. The inhabitants were enterprising, and soon supplied themselves with all the comforts and conveniencies of life.

Josiah Moore sowed the first wheat and caused the first farming implements to be brought into the town. The first surveys were made by Hon. Moses DeWitt. (See Town of DeWitt.) Major Joseph Strong built the first barn in 1799. It is still standing.

Among the first settlers were William Clark and Simon Keeney. A daughter of the latter, Miss Lydia Keeney, was married to Mr. Abel Webster in 1798, and this was the first marriage in Fabius.

With respect to the first school in town, authorities seem to differ. Clark says: "The first school taught in this town was by Miss Jerome, wife of the late Judge James Geddes." He says it was in a log school house, a year or two before there was tany other in the town, but gives no locality nor date. Other local authorities say the first school was taught in Simon Keeney's neighborhood, by Benjamin Brown, in 1802, and give the names of the surviving pupils, as follows: Champion Keeney, Simon Keeney, Jr., and Esther Woodruff. Miss Jerome may have taught a school before 1802, and all the rest of the facts about the school in Mr. Keeney's neighborhood may be correct, except that it was thefirsi school in the town. We suggest this merely as a conjectural mode of reconciliation local authorities must settle the question.

Joel Daniels was the first blacksmith. The first store was opened by Morton & Cady. Joseph Simons kept the first tavern within the limits of the present town, though Josiah Tubbs, in 1797, was the first tavern keeper, near Tully, at whose house town meetings were first held.

The first grist and saw mills erected in this town were by Thomas Miles, on Butternut Creek, west of Apulia.

The first postoffice was at Truxton village, (then in Fabius,) established about 1804. At a much later period postoffices were established at Apulia and Franklinville.

Elijah Miles was the first State Senator from this town. The first Member of Assembly was Jonathan Stanley, in 1812.

The oldest native resident of the town is John Keeney, who is now living; he has attained the good old age of 81 years.

The town contains twenty-three School Districts. A tannery was constructed by Lyman Smith in 1805. It was in the open air, without any building or even shed to shelter it. The contrivance for grinding the bark was that of a large stone attached to a log or pole and drawn round in a circle by a horse. George Pettit afterwards owned the appliances, which were burned in 1812. He immediately rebuilt, and in connection therewith, put up a shoe shop said to have been the first one in town. Prior to this it was the custom for traveling cobblers to go from house to house repairing and making shoes. The above tannery was built on part of Mr. Keen ey's farm.


The Village of Fabius is pleasantly situated among the hills which form the most northerly spur of the Alleghany range of mountains. Along its western extremity flows a branch of the Tioughnioga, a beautiful stream whose waters flow southward and mingle with those of the Susquehanna. The surrounding scenery is pleasing and romantic. It is studded with beautiful groves, fruitful orchards and the neat and substantial homes of prosperous farmers, and is walled in upon every side with hills that swell softly in the distance to a clear cut outline against the deep blue sky. This village had its origin about the year 1812, at which time an ashery and dwelling house were erected near the east end. In the year 1814 a hotel was built and the same now stands, with enlarged dimensions, on the corner of the road, and is known as the Old Cadwell House. In 1816 the Hamilton and Skaneateles turnpike was constructed through this town, and in that year another hotel was erected. Ira Smith is the present proprietor.

The first store was kept by Aaron Benedict & Co., and erected on the corner now occupied by S. H. Corbin, as a fruit yard; in the same year the turnpike was constructed. The first physician was -Dr. Searles. The first Justice of the Peace was George Pettit.

The Baptist meeting-house was built in 1818, and rebuilt in 1870, the present pastor being Rev. Ira Taylor. The Methodist church was built in 1821, was moved to its present position in 1835, and rebuilt in 1860. The Free-Will Baptist Church was built in 1830, moved to the present location in 1845, removed and a new structure placed in its stead in 1868. The Universalist Church, now occupied by the Roman Catholics was erected in

The completion of the turnpike in 1816, was the signal for the systematical laying out and building in this central part of the town a village upon this thoroughfare, and henceforward, for forty years, it sustained uninterrupted growth, prosperity and wealth, and was the scene of stirring business activity. It soon extended three-quarters of a mile along the turnpike, had one parallel side street and four cross streets, with a population of 6oo, with numerous dry-goods, grocery, boot and shoe, and clothing stores, cabinet and wagon shops, with the usual minor branches of business and trade. Prominent among the early land-holders and founders of this place may be mentioned Abijah Otis, Mark and Lucas Andrews, and Aaron Benedict, while to Jerry Benedict and John Wilson may be ascribed the original conception of the village and plan of the streets. The opening of the Syracuse and Binghamton Railroad in 1854 was a damaging blow to the business enterprise of the place. Since that date this avenue has conducted a large percentage of the most valuable trade to the heavy stores and shops of Syracuse. And now the p lace of the business men of a former day is filled with a laboring class, retired farmers and men of leisure. Still the town is not devoid of life. It has a population of 500. It numbers 125 dwelling houses, 4 churches, 3 mixed stores, 1 grocery store, 2 restaurants, 1 tin and hardware store, 1 hotel, 4 shoe shops, 2 carriage shops, 4 blacksmith shops, 1 large flouring mill, 1 undertaking establishment and 4 physicians, together with one graded school, employing 3 teachers in charge of 100 pupils, in the large and commodious house formerly built for an academy and subsequently converted to the use of a district school, and was recently improved and enlarged by the addition of the edifice formerly occupied by the school of district No. 8, which, at the time of this addition with three of the other large districts in the central part of the town, was consolidated with the present district No. 9. One of the present teachers, Miss Mary E. Persons, has held a position in this school for the last three years.

The principal store of the place is conducted by Hotaling & Case. George H. Gallinger, the former partner of Mr. Hotaling has recently retired from the firm. Their sales amount to $35,000 annually. The postoffice is kept at this store. 0. Hulbert, Postmaster.

The carriage manufacturing and repair shop of Ellis & Barnes has a conspicuous position on one of the corners at the west end of the village.

Among the physicians is Dr. Milford L. Pine, who has recently established his office in this place.

Rev. C. L. F. Howe has recently entered upon the first year of his services with this people.

Rev. I. H. Beman has charge of the Free-Will Baptist church.

Fabius Evergreen Cemetery is an important adjunct to the village. The Association was organ. ized March 22, 1864. The first Trustees were, 0. Hills, H. F. Williams, A. Bramer, J. E. Pettit, S. Cadwell, E. Andrews, L. S. Thomas, H. Adams and D. S. Sprague. The present Trustees are H. F. Williams, D. H. Johnson, D. S. Sprague, S. H. Corbin, H. C. Phillips, E. Wheaton, 0. Pope, E. Peck and Lyman Osborn. H. F. Williams was the first President of this Association and has held the position of Trustee since its organization. The cemetery occupies six acres of land near the east end of the village. Its great variety of ornamental trees and shrubs make it a very attractive rural cemetery.

BAPTIST CHURCH OF FABIUS. - On the 24th of August, 1803, when there were no roads through this town east and west, and it was all forest where the village now stands, the Baptist Church of Fabius was recognized by a council composed of delegates sent from Hamilton, Cazenovia, Pompey, and DeRuyter. Elder Ashbel Hosmer was chosen Moderator, and Dr. James Pettit, Clerk. This council, composed of six ministers and nine laybrethren, convened in a barn three miles south of the village, owned by Samuel Webster, and there recognized this little band of disciples, numbering less than twenty, as a " true church of Jesus Christ." Some of the original members were Thomas Keeney, Samuel Stone, Elijah Keeney, Gurden Woodruff and Samuel Webster.

The house of worship of this church was erected at Fabius Village, in the year i8i8, and cost about $5,000. This year was an eventful one to the church. They engaged Elder Eliada Blakesly for three years for one thousand dollars, and went with their teams to Connecticut to bring his family and goods; they built their meeting house, and baptized one hundred and twenty-three converts.

The following are the names of pastors:
Rufus Freeman, 1805; Peter P. Roots, 1807; John Upfold, 1811; Salmon Morton, 1815; Rufus Freeman, 1816; Eliada Blakesly, 1818; Ottis and Bell, 1822; Horace Griswold, 1823 ; Wheeler I. Cram, 1831; ----- - Brisbin, 1832; Jirah D. Cole, 1833; Oreb Montague, 1834; A.Wheelock, 1836; H. V. Jones, 1838; Enoch Dye, 1842; Luke Davis, 1843; Peter P. Brown, 1844; Walter G. Dye, 1847; Lark L. Livermore, 1853; Elijah G. Blount, 1858; J. D. Webster, 1864; - Olney, 1866; J. M. Tolman, 1867; Ira Clark, 1873; - Cram, 1875; Ira A. Taylor, 1877.

The church was incorporated August 24, 1819. At that time the following Board of Trustees was elected: Elijah St. John, Stephen Tripp, Jonathan Stanley, Simon Keeney, Aaron Benedict, John Phelps, Benj. Lewis, Geo. Pettit, Nathaniel Bacon.

Present Trustees, 1877 - Lorenzo Heffron, Duportal S. Sprague, Jr., Albert G. Bacon, Orlando Hulbert, Elmore Wheaton, Dillis R. Webster.

FREE-WILL BAPTIST CHURCH, Fabius Village. - The first meetings of this denomination in the town were held in a school house, near Stephen Tripp's, in October, 1826. In 1827, the church was organized, consisting of David Coats, Charles Moore, Rolen Sears, Joshua Sanders, John Smith, Elizabeth Coats, Hannah Moore, Experience Sears, Sallie Sanders, Polly Smith, Polly Coats, Celestia Annable and others.

The present church edifice was erected in 1869, at a cost of $5,000.

Elders Waidron and Bates preceded the present Pastor, Rev. I. H. Beman, who settled over the church in the Spring of 1877.

The church has about 75 members and a Sunday school numbering 50.

FIRST M. E. CHURCH, of Fabius. - The earliest meetings were held in a school house. The church edifice was erected in 1821. Among the original members of the church were Anson Cadwell, David Porter, Daniel Porter, Carison Hodgson, Sallie Cadwell and Catherine Hubbard. The cost of the church edifice was $6,000. The names of the following pastors have been furnished us:

Rev. Moses Adams, Dr. Luke Hitchcock, Rev. John E. Robie Dr. D. A. Wheadon, Rev. Thomas Harrow, Rev. P. H. Wiles, Rev. C. L. F. Howe, A. M., Ph. D., present Pastor.

Present membership 105; Sunday school, 147.

BRAMER & BENNETT, Foundry, Machine and General Repair Shops, Fabius Village. Established in the Spring of 1877. Building of wood, three stories, cost $2,000, erected in 1866. Manufacture lumberwagons, sleighs and agricultural implements; business prosperous.

E. A. FOSMER, Cabinet and Undertaking Rooms, Fabius Village. Business established in 1872. Wooden building-not costly. Mr. Fosmer has made steady progress in building up a good business.

IRVING SMITH, Custom Mills, Fabius Village. Mills started by Oregin & Griswold in 1817. Cost of buildings $5,000. Water-power - 14 ft. breast wheel. Capacity, 20 bushels per hour; two millers employed. Capital, $10,000.

ELLIS & BARNES, Carriage and Sleigh Factory, Fabius. Wooden building, erected in 1837. Business established in 1856.

C. S. CHAFFEE & BROS., Saw and Shingle Mill and Cheese-Box Factory, Fabius. Established in 1837. Water-power; employs five hands and do a large business.


Summit Station is a young but brisk and active village. It is located in the western part of the town, five miles distant from Fabius Village, and on the line of the Syracuse and Binghamton Railroad, to which it owes its existence. There was not a building on its site when the road was built in 1854. Since then it has become a center for marketing and shipping the produce from a large surrounding territory, and at the present time a larger tonage of dairy products is shipped from this station than from any other point on the line of the road. It presents a neat and attractive appearance to the traveler, its buildings being new and reared in the style of modern architecture. As the old village of Apulia is dying away, its business and population are accumulating about this point. It now has a population of something over one hundred; and maintains one district school with an average attendance of twenty pupils, one church of the Methodist denomination, Rev. A. D. Webster, Pastor; two well supported, well appointed and orderly conducted hotels-the Summit House on the western side of the track kept by John H. Sniffin, the Colby House on the east side controlled by O. F. Gilbert; one dry goods and grocery store,. conducted by C. F. Gay & Co.; one house for the sale of general groceries and farm implements, kept by J. Jay Blaney, who is also Postmaster; one extensive steam manufacturing establishment, Green & Sturdevant, proprietors. It also contains a cheese factory, one blacksmith shop, one carriage factory and two custom flouting mills. It also has two dealers in farmer's and dairymen's stock and produce. Each year adds new industry, wealth and importance to the place.

GREEN & STURDEVANT'S SAW MILLS, at this village were established in 1871. The manufacture of chairs was added to the saw mill in 1874. employs twelve hands and $8,000 capital.

Organized in the fall of 1869. The following have served the church as pastors: Rev. Timothy W. Owen, two years; Rev. J. Fletcher Brown, two and one half years; Rev. Edmund M. Mills, two years; Rev. Anthony C. Smith, three years; Rev. Ansop D. Webster, present pastor.

The church edifice was built in 1869-70, at a cost of $2,200. The church has now thirty-nine members and a Sunday School of about thirty.

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