History of LaFayette, 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


This town, named after the Marquis de LaFayette, was taken from Pompey and. Onondaga and organized April 15, 1825. That portion of the town taken from Onondaga was purchased by the State of the Indians in 1817, and sold to the white settlers in 1822. The town contains 28,200 acres of land, of which 6,400 acres, not taxable, belongs to the Onondaga Reservation. The surface of the town is hilly and broken, the high ridge between Butternut and Onondaga Creeks, the two principal streams, having steep declivities and rising from three to six hundred feet in altitude. The valleys on the east and west of this ridge-Sherman Hollow and Christian Hollow-extend the entire length of the town, and present an unusually rich and beautiful landscape when viewed from the summits. The soil of the town is generally a sandy and gravelly loam, a portion of it thickly covered with large water-worn pebbles. It is intermixed with vegetable mold and is rich and productive on the highest hills. The rocks abound in shells and other relics of the diluvian age; some specimens of coral and petrifactions are also found. In portions of the town there are deep chasms which appear to have been produced by an earthquake, and many springs emitting suiphureted hydrogen gas. In some places this has been collected in a vessel and burned by applying a torch or a match.


The first white settlement was made a little east of the Indian orchard on Haskin's Hill, in 1791, by John Wilcox, who boarded the surveyors when they laid out the lots in the townships of Pompey, Tully and Manlius. Mr. Wilcox owned the "Indian orchard" and sold much fruit from it to the settlers. It occupied twenty or more acres of ground; the trees were planted in regular rows and were very productive. This old orchard was a very great help in the way of supplying the pioneers with fruit before they had raised productive orchards of their own.

The next settler was Comfort Rounds, near the center of the town, in 1792. In the same year came William Haskins, and gave his name to Haskin's Hill; the next year, Solomon Owen and James Sherman. The latter settled in Sherman Hollow, which took his name. John Houghtaling, Amaziah Branch, James Pierce, Samuel Hyatt, Amasa Wright and Reuben Bryan, were all settlers in 1794, and Ebenezer Hill in 1795.

The first white child born in the town was Amy Wilcox, in 1791; the first marriage was that of Solomon Owen and Lois Rounds, in 1793, and the first death that of Moses DeWitt, in 1794.

Mr. Reuben Bryan had a son who became a noted public man, viz: Hon. John A. Bryan, once a member of the New York Legislature, Assistant Postmaster-General under President Tyler's administration, Charge d'Affaires to Peru, and Auditor of the State of Ohio, to which he removed and became a resident of Columbus, in that State.

In the north part of the town, Samuel Coleman, Clark Bailey, Nathan Park, Zenas Northway and Ozias Northway were first settlers; so also were John and Archibald Garfield, Graudius Cuddeback, Wm. Sniffin, John Hill and Hendrick Upperhousen. John Hill and Hendrick Upperhousen, were Hessians, who had been captured from the British army.

General Isaac Hall, Wm. Alexander, Amos Palmeter, Jacob Johnson, Jacob Johnson, Jr., Obadiah Johnson, Elijah Hall, Peter Abbott, Rufus Kinney, Abner Kinney, Captain Joseph C. Howe and others, were among the pioneers in the south part of the town.

Michael Christian, a Revolutionary soldier, first settled in Christian Hollow, in 1792, on Lot number eighteen, township of Tully, which gave to the Hollow its name. Daniel Danforth was the first settler in this Hollow within the present town of LaFayette, in 1798.

In addition to those already mentioned in the northern part of the town, was Asa Drake, a Revolutionary soldier, Elkanah Hine, Noah Hoyt, Ezekiel Hoyt, Joel Canfield, Job Andrews, Minnah Hyatt, Ebenezer Carr, Cologius Vinell and Joshua Slocum. Col Jeremiah Gould and Isaac Keeler lived towards Jamesville.

In the vicinity of LaFayette Square, were Thomas, Seth, Erastus and Sydenham Baker, Joseph Smith, Jeremiah Fuller and Dr. Silas W. Park. The latter was a practicing physician and had a wide field in which to pick up his scattering patients. His ride was from Liverpool to Port Watson, Cortland County, and from Skaneateles to Cazenovia, Madison County. Other early settlers who lived in this vicinity, were Daniel Share, Caleb Green, Joseph Stevens Cole, Paul and Orange King. Joseph Rhoades, Gershom Richardson, Daniel Cole and John Carlisle, were also among the early settlers of this town.

The first frame house in the town (then town of Pompey,) was erected by Col. Jeremiah Gould, in 1800. In 1801, Isaac Hall built the next. The first tavern was kept by Mr. Cheeney, the next by Orange King, who had his sign nailed to a tree, "0 King !" In 1801, the State Road from Cazenovia to Skaneateles was laid out through this town. Colonel Olcott, the Surveyor, was taken suddenly ill while engaged in the survey, and died at the house of Erastus Baker. About this time the inhabitants of this retired country were visited with that dreadful scourge, the small-pox, which in many instances proved fatal.

The first town meeting was held at LaFayette Square in March, 1826. Charles Jackson was elected Supervisor, and Johnson Hall, Town Clerk.

Messrs. Rice and Hill were the first merchants at LaFayette Square in 1802 or 1803.

In 1805, Seth Baker made a settlement adjoining Erastus on the west, and Sydenham Baker located to the north of him. Thomas Baker, in 1803, settled a mile and a half southwest of the Square, in Sherman Hollow. The greater part of these lands remain in the hands of the Baker family to this day. Joseph and Lemuel Baker came in 1804, but made no permanent home. Joseph moved to Otisco and died there; Lemuel went to the far West, and, it is said, was finally killed by the Indians in Texas, while hunting for his cows.

Previous to 1800, Gen. Isaac Hall came from Great Barrington, Mass., and settled one mile south of the village upon a soldier's claim. He purchased ten or twelve hundred acres of land, and was the wealthiest man in the town of Pompey, as it then was. It is said he brought into town with him half a bushel of silver dollars. He gave his attention to the raising of stock,it being his custom to let cows, sheep, colts, &c., to his neighbors and other citizens, to double. He died in 1830, worth about $70,000.

The first and only licensed lawyer at the village of LaFayette was Samuel S. Baldwin, who had previously located at Pompey Hill. He remained several years in the practice of his profession and afterwards went to Geneva, N. Y., where he died.

Dr. Silas W. Park, who, as we have already said, was one of the first settlers at the village of LaFayette, cleared the Square of forest trees. He practiced medicine here during his life-time. A brother of his, Elijah Park, came in 1817 and studied medicine with him, and was afterwards his partner for three years, when the latter moved to Otisco, and after practicing there three or four years, removed to Adrian, Mich., where he died. Dr. Squires also resided at the Square about two years. After the death of Dr. Park, Dr. Ward Bassett, of Salina, came and made a stay of one or two years, and removed to Cazenovia, Madison County. Dr. Rial Wright, in 1825, became a physician in the place, remaining about six months. At this time Dr. Elijah Park, son of Dr. S. W. Park, who had previously studied medicine with his father and uncle, bought out the ride of Dr. Wright, paying therefor Dr. Wright then went to Pompey Hill, and as a partner of Dr. Jehiel Steam, practiced in that village and vicinity many years. Dr. Elijah Park remained in the village and practiced his profession for half a century, till his death in 1872 or 1873. Dr. Lyman Rose was also a resident physician for many years prior to his death, which occurred in 1867.

Lemuel Smith, father of Rev. Marcus Smith, was the first blacksmith at the Square, settling here in 1800, and remaining till his death in 1817. His shop stood on the site of the present church, the pulpit of which is said to be over the exact spot where stood his anvil.

Nathaniel Stearling, a carpenter and joiner, settled on the farm now owned and occupied by Luther Baker. He built the Baptist Church at Pompey Hill and the church now standing in LaFayette village. The latter part of his life was spent on a farm. He was a leading man in religious and educational matters. He died in Connecticut. Before his day, James, Asa and Joseph McMillen, brothers, who were carpenters and joiners, had settled about a mile northeast of the village. Joseph and James built the first frame hotel, and also the one now standing in the village. Stoughton Morse was landlord. A hotel had been built of logs prior to the first frame building above referred to, and was kept by James Higgins in 1808. The McMillens remained in town many years, and finally sold out and moved to the West.

Dorus Porter lived in the village as a cabinetmaker from 1820, and was Deacon in the church. He now resides in Michigan. Asahel King was for many years a prominent man as a mechanic at the village, being a tanner and shoemaker.

Caleb Green and Erastus Baker owned and gave (each half of) the lot now used for the Public Square. Asahel Smith, Charles Jackson and Gen. Hall, were Justices of the Peace. The latter served a number of years before LaFayette was erected into a town. Col. Johnson Hall, son of Gen. Hall, was Sheriff of the county and a member of the State Legislature. As a merchant, he carried on an extensive business at the village. Stoughton Morse first opened a little store in connection with his hotel in 1805. Then followed Asahel Smith in 1812-'14. He ran a distillery during the war of 1812, and bought cattle and provisions for the soldiers, which he sent to Sackett's Harbor and Grenadier Island. After the war Judge Hall was the merchant of the place.

Amos Palmeter settled one mile south of LaFayette Square about 1803.

Mr. James Sherman, who, together with Solomon Owen, first settled in Sherman Hollow, was the father of Dr. J. DeBlois and Joseph Sherman. The former was at one time a prominent physician at Pompey Hill; the latter, a Justice of the Peace from 1830 to 1840. Reuben Bryan, Amasa Wright, Samuel Hyatt, James Pierce and Amaziah Branch have been referred to as old settlers. The last named was the first school teacher in the Hollow and at LaFayette Village. He died of nightmare at Dr. S. W. Park's about 1818. He came from Massachusetts, was poor but well educated, and in character one of the best of men.

Charles Johnson, at Sherman Hollow, carried on blacksmithing for over fifty years, working industriously at his anvil to a short time prior to his death in 1876.


This little hamlet lies about one mile west of the Syracuse, Binghamton and New York Railroad at Onativia, or LaFayette Station. It contains about twenty dwellings, a postoffice, a church, a hotel, three stores and two blacksmith shops.

Among the oldest settlers are C. W. Hoyt, Caleb B. Jackson, James Baker, Luther Baker and L. O. Hill.

Mr. George W. McIntyre, the present Supervisor and Postmaster, is also a merchant in the village; so also is Mr. Timothy Newell, who is doing a prosperous business.

This village is adjacent to the station, Onativia, and is very pleasantly situated in the midst of a picturesque and productive country.

UNCAS LODGE No. 121, I. O. O. F., was chartered July 4, 1851. The charter members were Dr. Elijah Park, Anson A. Avery, Ambrose Sniffin, Henry Pierce, A. H. Share and Justin Rhodes. Meetings held every Thursday evening in their hail in LaFayette. Present officers, N. G., William M. Gage; V. G., Charles I. Davis; R. S., John H. Northway.

ENTERPRISE LODGE, K. of P., organized March 9, 1874. Charter officers, C. C., E. J. Stearns; V. C., F. J. Farrington; K. of Records, James H. Sniffin; M. A.. R. S. Park. Meetings held every Saturday evening in Pythias Hall, Cardiff. Present officers, Charles Morgan, C. C. ; E. G. Wright, V. C.; E. E Angel, K. of R. and P.; B. L. Wright, Prelate; S. W. Wright, Post C. C.

CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF LA FAYETTE.- At an early day meetings were held in private houses by Mr. Arnaziah Branch, assisted occasionally by missionaries and traveling ministers. The result of these meetings was the organization of the Congregational Church by Rev. Benjamin Bell in October, 1809, at the public house kept by Stoughton Morse. The church comprised the following persons, viz: Deacon Noah Hoyt, Deacon Nathan Abbott, Apollos Hewitt, Esq., Ezekiel Hoyt, Philander Hoyt, Anna Baker, Polly Hoyt, Mary Hoyt, Esther Maxwell, Sally Danforth, Anna Hewitt, Rebecca Bates, Sally Baker, Corrinna Abbott and Acsah Johnson. Since that time the following preachers and pastors have served this charge: Revs. E. J. Leavenworth, three years; - Hopkins, three years; Martin Powell, seven years; Rev. Childs of Auburn, Rev. A. H. Corning, four years; Rev. Seth Smalley, two and a half years; Rev. Absalorn K. Barr, two years; Rev. Parshall Terry, three years; Rev. George Delevan, Revs. Moody Harrington, H. Frasier, M. M. Wakeman, R. C. Allison, Charles Jones, C. A. Ruddock, George A. Miller, and Lewis Jessup. In 1819-'20 a commodious church edifice was erected in the Village of LaFayette, which was repaired and modernized. In 1846 a session house was erected at a cost of $600, which was used until 1861, when the building was sold and the present session house erected at a cost of $1,000. This ball is used for lectures and as a town hail. The church building, session room, cemetery and parsonage are the property of the Columbian Society, which was organized in the year 1804, composed of the citizens of the village and vicinity, not necessarily members of the church. The property owned by this society, aside from the cemetery, is valued at six thousand five hundred dollars.

The officers of this society are LeRoy S. Baker, Luther Baker and Philander Hoyt, Trustees, and D. F. H. Baker, Clerk. The church Deacons are Caleb B. Jackson, and L. R. Gaylord; Clerk, G. L. Hoyt. The present membership of the church is seventy-one. Sabbath School attendance one hundred and twenty-five.


The village or hamlet of Cardiff lies on the Syracuse and Tully turnpike, in the western part of the town of LaFayette. It is two and a half or three miles west of the railroad station at Onativia, and contains about thirty houses, three stores, one church, a hotel, a grist mill, a postoffice and two wagon shops. R. S. Park, merchant and postmaster. Mr. Park is also Justice of the Peace. William H. Hoyt, dealer in merchandise and produce. The Cardiff Hotel, (temperance,) is kept by Edward Crownhart. A shop for the manufacture of wagons, carriages and sleighs has been carried on here since 1860 by Mr. Volney A. Houghton.

CARDIFF MILLS. The Flouring Mills were erected in 1839, at a cost of $5,000 by J. F. Card, who ran it for many years with water-power. About sixteen years ago it passed into the hands of Edward Voigt, who erected a saw.mill and put in gang-saws, also added steam power at a cost of $4,000. In March, 1877, it was purchased by George Dermon, and.run by him until April, 1878, when the entire property was consumed by fire.

EBENEZER METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF CARDIFF.- Meetings were held at the house of Zenas Northway as early as 1825, about which time a class was organized. Among the prominent workers at that time were John Spencer, Uriel Coleman, D. Sniflin, Grandus Cuddeback, Reuben Wright, Annanias Wescott and John Bottle. In 1825, the first church, built at Cardiff on the site of the present church was erected at a cost of $1,000. But in 1857 the church was burned and the same season the present church was built at a cost of $2,400, being dedicated in December, 1857, under the ministration of D. W. Bristol, D. D. Rev. Benjamin D. Sniffin and Joseph Cross, D. D., began their religious life in this church. The present membership is one hundred and twenty, and Sabbath School attendance, one hundred. The present pastor is Rev. L. Northway, under whose ministration large accessions to the church have been made and deep religious feeling awakened. -

THE COLLINGWOOD MILLS, in the town of LaFayette, situated on Butternut Creek, owned and managed by J. D. Palmer, consist of a grist and fiouring mill, built about thirty-five years since by the late Calvin Cole, at a cost of about $6,000, and a saw mill. The mill property was purchased by A. R. Palmer in 1862, and repaired in 1874 atan expense of $2,700. In 1875 the present proprietor purchased the mills and water-power, and in 1876 rebuilt the saw mill and lath works at an additional cost of $1,800. The capacity of the saw mill is, (with three hands,) about 1,000 feet of lumber an hour, and the grist mill has three run of stones, and the other necessary machinery for a first class business. The mills are driven by water-power.



The subject of this sketch was born in the town of LaFayette, Onondaga County, N. Y., February 9, 1814. His father, Seth Baker, came from Northampton, Mass., in 1805 and settled in Onondaga County. Luther was brought up on the farm, attending the district school winters and assisting his father on the farm summers. He married in 1840, Miss Diana M., daughter of Eli and Susan Bryant, of Hampshire County, Mass. They had one child, Flora D., who was born June 7, 1850 and died August 27, 1871, mourned by a large circle of friends, who esteemed her for many noble qualities of mind and heart.

Mr. Baker has always followed farming as an occupation, and is regarded as one of the best farmers in his town. He is a Republican in politics and has always earnestly labored for the success of Republican principles. For many years he has been an active member of the Congregational Church, liberally subscribing to every benevolent object worthy of his support. He is enjoying good health, and is apparently surrounded with every comfort which tends to brighten his declining years.


Mr. Baker was born in Northampton, Mass., Dec. 22, 1804, is a son of Seth Baker. He received a good business education, and began farming when quite young. He married Julia A., daughter of Eli Bryant, February 11, 1833, by whom he had three children, viz: Nelson Morris,, born May 7, 1836, graduated from Hamilton College in 1862, read law in Syracuse, and was admitted to the bar April 7, 1864, and died March 18, 1872; Anna Minerva; Byron Watts, born Dec. 15, 1842, graduated from Hamilton College in 1866 with high honors, but died soon after coming home.

Mr. Baker strove as every father should to give his children a liberal education, and has always taken a deep interest in raising the educational standard of his town. He has been a member of the Congregational Church for fifty-four years, and a Republican in politics since the organization of that party. He is classed as one of the most prominent and influential citizens of LaFayette. Few men have been more upright in their business transactions with the world.


Homer Case was born in the town of Pompey, August 5, 1828, and is a son of Norris and Olive Case. In early life Mr. Case obtained a good business education at the common schools; and in 1854 married Miss Louisa E., daughter of Benj. Adams. Immediately after marriage he commenced farming and continued that pursuit uninterruptedly until Dec., 1861. At this date he entered the service of his country as a volunteer in the 12th New York Regiment of Infantry, in which he served fifteen months, or until August 30, 1862, when he was wounded resulting in the loss of one of his limbs. Upon his return home, he was appointed stationagent at LaFayette Village, which position he still retains, being considered one of the most courteous and trustworthy officials on the road.

His first wife died June 21, 1856, and he married for his second wife, Miss Emily I., daughter of Jay and Ann Morgan, Feb. 5, 1872. Mr. Case is an old Jeffersonian Democrat, and was one of the most loyal supporters of the Union during its hour of greatest peril.

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