History of Tully, 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


TULLY was originally one of the townships of the Military Tract. Upon the organization of the county in 1794, it was included with Fabius in the town of Pompey. Fabius, including the present town of Tully, was taken off March 9, 1798, and Tully was erected into a separate town April 4, 1803, A part of Otisco was taken off in 1806, and a part of Spafford in 1811.

Tully is the center town upon the south line of the county. Its surface is an upland, level in the center, but hilly upon the east and west borders. In the south part of the central valley are several small lakes, known as the Tully Lakes, the principal being Crooked Lake and Big Lake, only a few rods apart, yet dividing the waters of the St. Lawrence from those of the Susquehanna. Out of Crooked Lake, which is just eight hundred feet above the Erie Canal at Syracuse, flows the Onondaga Creek, northward, while Big Lake, four feet lower, gives rise to the Tioughnioga River, which flows south into the Susquehanna, and thence into Chesapeake Bay. The only swampy land in the town lies in the vicinity of these lakes. The prevailing soil is a sandy and a clayey loam, productive, and well adapted to grazing and agricultural purposes.


Settlements were first made in this town by New England people when it was included in the town of Pompey, from 1794 to 1798. The first settler was David Owen, in 1795. He erected the first cabin in the town, and was followed by James Cravath, William Trowbridge and others. The first white child born in the town was Peter Henderson, in 1796. Timothy Walker built the first frame house in 1797, and Moses Nash the second; both were built in the village of Tully. Moses Nash also opened the first store at the village in 1803. Previous to this trading had been done at Pompey Hill and at Truxton. John Meeker succeeded Mr. Nash in the mercantile business in 1805. He was one of the most extensive merchants in the coufttry, and took the lead in business and trade throughout this whole region.

Nicholas Lewis opened the first tavern in Tully Village in 1802. In 1807, he was succeeded by Jacob Johnson, and he, in turn, by William Trowbridge.

The first school established in the town was kept in Timothy Walker's barn, and taught by Miss Ruth Thorp, in 1801. We see here what is not noticeable in every town, that a school was the first public object to which the inhabitants turned their attention; thus placing before their children the means of making themselves useful members of society and distinguished citizens. A log school house was erected in 1804 at Tully Village, and was succeeded by a frame one in 1809. Others soon made their appearance in different parts of the town, and education in the common schools grew into an important and well organized feature of the intellectual life of the people.


The Hamilton and Skaneateles Turnpike was laid out in 1806, from Richfield through Brookfield, Hamilton and Fabius, to the outlet of Otisco Lake, thence to the outlet of Skaneateles Lake. Samuel Fitch, Samuel Marsh Elisha Payne, David Smith, Elijah St. John, Comfort Tyler, Samuel Tyler, Thaddeus Edwards and Elnathan Andrews, were the principal movers in procuring the act of incorporation and obtaining share-holders, and getting the road laid out, worked and finished. This enterprise opened through the town and others in its vicinity, a way of communication which added essentially to the business and prosperity of the country through which it passed. It was not long before its advantage and effects were realized and appreciated. It gave a spur to business, confidence to the community, and the results which have flowed from it have been salutary and satisfactory.

In 1815 the first postoffice was established at Tully; Nicholas Howell, Postmaster; Wm. Trowbridge was hid successor. Previous to this, mailmatter had been obtained from Preble Corners. The earliest settlers received their letters and papers at Pompey Hill. Vesper Postoffice was established in 1827, Wm. Clark, Postmaster; Tully Valley Postoffice in 1836, George Salisbury, Postmaster.

The first grist mill in town was erected by Peter Van Camp, in 1810; a saw-mill was built at the same time and place—about three miles west of Tully village. In 1845, there were four grist mills, five saw-mills, two carding machines and one woolen factory.

The first settlers of this town, Homer, Solon, Cincinnatus, Marathon, and those lying south, had to come to Jackson’s, Ward’s and Sanford’s mills to get their grists ground. They came with drays loaded with wheat or corn, drawn by oxen. These drays were made of the crotches of trees with boards pinned across. Ten bushels was considered a pretty large load to haul twenty or thirty miles on such a vehicle with one yoke of oxen, over such roads as then existed. This method of going to mill was a matter of necessity till mills were built in Tully, and the settlements, at first destitute of them, were supplied nearer home.

At the organization of Tully in 1803, the first town meeting was held May 1, at the house of Samuel Trowbridge. Phineas Howell was chosen Supervisor; Amos Skeel, Town Clerk; Jacob Johnson, Samuel Cravath, Solomon Babcock, Assessors; Floyd Howell, James Cravath, and Solomon Babcock, Commissioners of Highways. At the second and third town meetings, the same were reelected and held their respective offices.

Amos Skeel was the first Justice of the Peace in 1803; Job L. Lewis and Moses Nash were Justices of the Peace from 1808 to 1812. Mr. Nash afterwards removed to Indiana, where he became a distinguished man.


The village of Tully is situated on the Syracuse, Binghamton and New York Railway, twenty-two miles from Syracuse. It has a population of about five hundred and is a favorite resort for persons in pursuit of health and pleasure during the summer months, the principal attraction being a number of beautiful lakes in the immediate vicinity, which are well stocked with pickerel, bass and other choice fish. The fine large hotel, the Empire House, managed by M. G. Bennett, is another feature of attraction. The streets are ornamented with beautiful shade trees, and the residences present a cheerful and comfortable appearance, while the business houses are well stocked and seem to be managed in a manner that is creditable to the village and profitable to the proprietors.

The village is incorporated, and the present officers are the following: H. C. Tallman, President; H. V. B. Arnold, Clerk. The Trustees of the corporation are George W. Crofoot, H. B. Scammel and Wm. L. Earle; Treasurer, Judson Wright ; Collector, Daniel Vail.

The first settler in what is now the village of Tully was David Owen, who built the first log house. Nicholas Howell, Timothy Walker and William Trowbridge settled here before 1800. Seth Trowbridge came here in 1800, and his son Milo, now living here, was then five years old, having been born in 1795. He is now eighty-three years old, and seemingly hale and hearty. The oldest resident of the village is Salem Baker, being now ninety-two.

Henry F. King came here in 1818 from Suffield, Conn. In the year 1828 he set out a row of sugar-maple trees in front of his residence and grounds, bringing the whole number from the woods on his back. They are now immense in size, and beautiful to behold, affording a grateful shade. Mr. King was postmaster here for more than thirty years. He died in 1853.

Tully as a shipping point for all kinds of produce is not equalled by any other place in this part of the county, it being in the center of a large dairy country, and the towns of Spafford, LaFayette and Otisco sending their products here for shipment.

The churches of Tully are M. E. Church, Baptist, and Disciples.

The Commercial and manufacturing interests are as follows: Three dry goods stores, Tallman, Millan & Hoxsie, Bouttelle Bros. and Joseph Fletcher.

Two drug stores, J. W. Wright & Son and W. F. Jones & Co.

Two hardware stores, W. W. Hayford & Son and A. G. Dryer; one grocery store, L. Gowing; one furniture and undertaking establishment by W. L. Earle; one butcher shop, Coughey Bros. ; three cooper-shops, F. A. Vail, George Watson and 01ney & Smith; three blacksmith shops, James Williams, Zepheniab Mason and Andrew Strail; two carriage and repair shops, John B. Hall and Andrew Cately; two harness shops, Armenius Smith and John C. Davis,

There is one steam and water-power grist rnill,built by Timothy Walker about the year 1818. Joel Hiscock, uncle to Frank Hiscock, member of Congress from Syracuse, had charge of putting in the machinery. The mill was rebuilt and refitted for steam power in 1874, and is owned and operated by Ellis & Hodges. It has two run of stones. They manufacture flour and do custom work. There are two tailor shops, Henry Arnold and Myron Brown.

Two physicians, S M. Farnham and George W. Earle.

Henry C. Tallman is an attorney here; H. K. King, insurance agent and notary public.

The present postmaster is M. J. Bouttelle; he has held the office about two years.

H. C. Scammell and Son are packers and heavy shippers of eggs at this point, shipping as many as one hundred thousand dozen per year.


From the commencement of the settlement of Tully, religious privileges, as well as schools, occupied the attention of the people, who brought with them their New England predilections. Meetings were held in the several neighborhoods in barns, and, in cold, inclement weather, in private houses. It was thought no hardship in those days for a whole family to walk several miles to meeting, the father carrying the baby and the elder children trudging along on foot, aided by the mother in crossing the small streams and muddy places. Rev. Mr. Riddle, a Presbyterian Missionary from New England, was the first clergyman who officiated in the town. A large portion of the new settlers were of that persuasion. Mr. Riddle organized a Presbyterian society in 1804, which was reorganized under the ministry of Rev. Mr. Parsons. The society was kept up till about 1830, when it was discontinued. We believe no Presbyterian society has since been organized in the town.

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF TULLY.— A council of ministers and delegates from the churches of Ponipey, Fabius, Homer and Truxton, convened at the house of Uriel Smith, in the town of Tully, on the 28th of February, 1816, and after due consideration and examination, gave Urie] Smith, Ziba Palmer, James B. Stroud, Cibbel Smith, Lydia Chapman, John Brown, Aaron Vail, Sarah Hughson, Eliza Fuller, Nancy Stroud, Sarah McCollery, Susanna Brown, Hannah Palmer and Elizabeth Van Tassel fellowship asa gospel church. Services were held during a few years following at the school houses in Christian Hollow, Tully Flats and in Vesper Village. The first regular pastor was Elder Squire Abbott, who came in 1818 and remained two years; after whom came Elder Salmon Morton, in 1824; Elder Frederick Freeman, in 1827; and Elder Randolph Streeter; after whom came Elder John D. Hart, Elder R. Winchell, Elder Jeremiah Everts, Elder Supply Chase, Elder Pease, Elder J. Dill, Elder N. Camp, Elder J. La Grange, Elder Herman Powers, Elder B. Morley, Elder J. Webster, Elder D D. Brown, and Elder S. A. Beman. In 1824, under the pastorate of Elder F. Freeman, a church edifice was erected about one mile northwest of Tully Village, at Tully Centre. In 1848 the church building was removed to Tully Village and rebuilt, and $2,500 expended upon the building. During the early history of the church eight ministers were ordained and sent into the West. The present membership is eighty.five; attendance at the Sunday School one hundred and twenty-two.

METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF TULLY.— The present church was organized in the village about 1832, and in 1834 they erected their church edifice, incurring quite a heavy indebtedness, which, through the liberality of Mr. H. F. King, in 1837, they were relieved of, and thenceforward the society has prospered. The first class-leader was Silas Aylsworth. Among the earliest members we find Myron Wheaton, Mrs. Gifford, Miss Markham, Esther Johnson, David Bouttelle, Sarah Viall, Mary E. King, Cynthia Arnold and Mary Vial!. Most of the time until 1840 the church was supplied by itinerant preachers; since then this church and that at Vesper have usually employed the same minister. Among the most efficient were: Rev. J. Atwell, Rev. E. D. Thurston, Rev. Ephraim Hoag, Rev. Mr. Fox and Rev. J. D. Barnard. Under the pastorate of the latter the church in 1862 was rebuilt and rededicated, and also in 1877, under the present pastor, Rev. F. Devitt. The present membership is one hundred and fifty ; Sabbath School, eighty-five. The church received in 1840, from Mrs. Sarah Vial!, a donation of a parsonage, which was afterward exchanged for the present parsonage. The church building cost $5,000; parsonage, $3,000. The present Trustees are: Ellis V. King, Moses Schoonmaker and Samuel Willis.

CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF TULLY.— The first meeting was held one mile east of Tully, at the residence of H. A. Chase, on the 9th of May, 1840, and Russell Chase, Mother Fuller, H. A. Chase, Marvin Baker, Amasa Emmons, Amos Hodgeman, Kesiah Wilcox, Lydia Chase, Lydia Lansing, Betsey Fuller, Mary Hodgeman, Lola Emmons, organized a church society. Elders Calvin Thomas and Harry Knapp of Ponipey, officiating.

In 1845, this society, by the liberal assistance of Russell Chase and H. A. Chase, erected a neat and commodious church in the Village of Tully at a cost of $1,500. The first paStor was Eider J. M. Bartlett. Elder Hamilton A. Chase, for twenty years labored with the charge and has become a very prominent character in the history of this society. Elder J. D. Benedict, J. I. Lowell, Elder Milton Shepard, Elder Gardner, W. J. Lathrop, Elder Allen, Elder J. C. Goodrich, and Elder Moore have officiated. Elder O. C. Cutts is now laboring very acceptably for this church.

BAPTIST CHURCH OF VESPER— In 1848 the Tully Centre Baptist Church deemed it advisable to divide and establish themselves at Tully Village, and the members residing in the western part of the town withdrew, and in December, 1848, a new Society was organized at the residence of Josiah Smith, among whom were Deacon Uriel Smith, Deacon Joseph Daniels, E. V. B. French, Harry Rowland, Peter Henderson, Allen Palmer, E. J. Daniels, Sarah M. King, Nancy Darrow, Folly Williams, Betsey L. Palmer, Zuriah Rowland, Sally Henderson and thirteen others. At first this church employed a pastor alone. Among those who have officiated as pastors are: Eld. A. Galpin, Elder Thos. Brown, Elder William Jones. In 1860, Elder B. Morley, of Tully, assumed both charges, and generally since then both churches have employed the same pastor. The church building, (a fine frame structure,) was dedicated January 18, 1849. It cost about twelve hundred dollars. Present membership, 24; Sabbath School, forty.

METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF VESPER.— Meetings were held as early as 1820 in the school house under the leadership of Durin Ferris, who was class-leader and circuit preacher. In 1840 the society numbered about thirty-five; on the 7th of July, 1840, the church was duly incorporated. The class-leader at that time was Levi Highley. During that year a church was erected in the Village of Vesper at a cost of about $1,000. Among the most prominent members at that time were Enoch Bailey, Henry Stewart, Aaron Hollenbeck, Zenas Pickett, Asahel Nichols, Sanford Moon, Alvah Hodge, Rueben Aylsworth. This church has usually been under the same pastorate as the Tully church. Among those who have ministered at this place were Revs. Daniel F. Holcomb, D. Fancher, W. White, Ephraim Hoag, J. Foster, L. Bowdish, J. Stowell, A. L. Torrey, W. Fox, L. Nickerson, R. Fox, R. W. Clark, A. Bowdish, 3. W. Barnard and the present pastor, Rev. Fred. Devitt.

The present membership is forty, and a very fine Sabbath School is now a useful auxiliary in the church work.

YOUNG PEOPLE’S CHRISTIAN ASS0CIATI0N.— On the evening of June 8, 1877, an organization consisting of eleven members was formed, W. L. Earli, as Leader; Joseph Fletcher, Secretary, and J. H. Hoxsie, Treasurer. Their meetings were at first held in different churches, but during the early part of the winter they held a revival in a stable fitted for their meetings and now number one hundred and fifty—two members, and are at present the strongest religious organization in the town.

MORNING STAR LODGE No. 636, I. O. of G. T.— Lodge instituted at Vesper, April 30, 1877, with fourteen charter members. Charter officers— W. C. T., A. B. Daniels; W. V. T., Addie Carr; W. S., Geo. King. Present membership, thirty-eight. Meetings every Friday evening, at their Hall in Vesper Village. Present officers— W. C. T., Geo. King; W. V. T., Mrs. M. Ripley; W. S., Charles Barber.

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