THE TOWN OF RICHLAND.
Richland was formed from Williamstown on the loth of February, 1807, and at that
time included the present towns of Sandy Creek, Orwell, Boylston, and Albion, and a part of Mexico. Orwell (then
including Boylston) was set off February 28, 1817. March 31 of that year, lots 137 to 148 inclusive, of township
21 of Scriba's Patent, were annexed to Mexico. March 24, 1825, Richland was further reduced by the erection of
the towns of Sandy Creek and Albion. By chapter 264 of the laws of 1836, as amended by chapter 33 of the the laws
of 1837, lots 93, 94, 95, 96, 97 and 110 of the 21st township were annexed to Mexico. March 27, 1844, lots numbers
127, 137, 147 and 157 of township ten of the Boylston Tract were set off to Orwell, leaving the town with its present
area of 32,251 acres.
Richland is quite irregular in outline. and is bounded on the north by Sandy Creek and Lake Ontario; on the east
by Orwell and Albion; on the south by Albion and Mexico; and on the west by Mexico and the lake. The surface is
generally level or gently rolling and has a decided westerly inclination. The deep ravines through which the streams
find their way to Lake Ontario afford a variety of scenery at once wild and picturesque, and no town in Oswego
county surpasses this in natural beauty. The site of Pulaski village is 131 feet above the lake, while certain
points farther east reach an elevation of 250 feet or more. In various localities copious springs gush forth, increasing
in volume during the summer months, and giving the name to Spring or Trout Brook, which descends 150 feet in a
distance of three miles. Other streams are Deer and Grindstone Creeks, on both of which are falls of considerable
height. The principal watercourse of the town is Salmon River, which flows through the village of Pulaski and empties
into Lake Ontario near the center of the western boundary. Nearly all of these streams furnish abundant water power.
The soil is a sandy loam, mixed with clay in the southwest part, and the underlying rock is the Lorraine shales.
It is very fertile and generally easy of cultivation. Dense forests once covered most of the town and for many
years gave employment to numerous saw mills. In 1858 there were nineteen in operation, besides eight shingle mills
and other wood working establishments. The heavy timber was long ago exhausted, leaving only here and there a bit
of woodland to remind us of the former glory of the wilderness. As the forests fell fruitful fields were opened
to cultivation and the log house of our fathers was superseded by more comfortable and attractive homes.
The miscellaneous agriculture of early years has given way to dairying, which is now the chief industry. There
are several cheese factories in the town which turn out a large and choice product, bringing adequate returns to
the farmers. The crops grown are the grains, hay, fruit, potatoes and corn.
is not only rich in romantic scenery, but also in historic interest. Its picturesque surroundings and valuable
water power early attracted the attention of settlers, who promptly utilized many of the available sites. French
writers state that it was a favorite route for Indian war parties to the Mohawk Valley; its waters were long frequented
by both Indians and white men for its splendid fish, and very early in the present century measures were adopted
to preserve the salmon. On April 3, 1818, the Legislature passed an act prohibiting the wanton destruction of these
fish, and on May 4, 1835, another law was enacted authorizing the construction of dams provided they contained
fishways twenty five feet wide. Other laws followed from time to time, with the same object in view. On the 12th
of May, 1875, the Legislature prohibited the netting and spearing of salmon in the Salmon River between the Salmon
River Falls and the outlet; and in Deer Creek for a distance of one mile above its mouth. Afterwards $3,000 was
appropriated for building fishways in dams on the Little Salmon River in the town of Mexico, but the work was not
performed, and in 1888 the money reverted to the State. Unfortunately this legislation has failed to secure the
continuance of the visits of this noble fish to the waters of Oswego county.
Salmon River afforded another advantage to the settlers which was of great practical value. In times of highwater
it floated immense quantities of logs to the numerous mills along its banks, and from the earliest settlement it
carried on its waters the bateaux of the pioneers with their families and household goods. Before the opening of
passable roads it was the scene of considerable commercial activity, and afterward turned the wheels of many industries.
The use of its waters for later public improvement was contemplated, while at its mouth an effort was made to establish
a port, the "City of Port Ontario." This contemplated city was surveyed and platted and for a time promised
a growth equal to the most sanguine hopes of its projectors. On April 10, 1837, the Port Ontario Hydraulic Company
was incorporated with a capital of $100,000, its purpose being the construction of "a canal from the falls
below Pulaski to the village of Port Ontario, along the banks of Salmon River." This was intended to supply
Port Ontario with water power. On April 27, 1871, the Salmon River Improvement Company, capitalized at $50,000
in shares of $100 each, was incorporated, with Calvert Comstock, Samuel Dent, William Mahar, Edward Comstock, and
Theodore S. Comstock, directors. This corporation had for its object the clearing of the river channel so that
logs could float down unobstructed. On June 14, 1884, the Legislature appropriated $6,000 to remove obstructions
from Salmon River and Mad River for the same purpose, and appointed Washington T. Henderson commissioner to supervise
the work. In 1888 the project of taking water from this stream to supply the city of Syracuse was seriously contemplated,
but was finally abandoned.
Almost contemporaneous with the first settlement of this town, which occurred at the mouth of Salmon River in 1801,
was the opening of passable roads, but they were not worked to any great extent prior to r8o8. The first road was
opened to the outlet of Salmon River about that year and most of the highways were surveyed between 1820 and 1825.
In 1823 there were sixty two road districts in the town; the present number is eighty seven.
August 14, 1847, the Salmon River Plank Road Company was organized with the following directors: Frey Lane, president;
A. Z. McCarty, secretary; Ira Doane, J. B. Smith, J. A. McChesney, George W. Stillwell, and S. A. Comstock. The
road was finished in 1848 and ran from the mouth of the Salmon River through the towns of Richland and Albion to
Williamstown, seventeen miles, where it intersected the plank road between Rome and Oswego. In 1850 the Rome and
Watertown Railroad, a branch of what is now the R., W. & O. Railroad, was built through Richland Station, and
in May, 1851, trains were running to Watertown. As late as 1857 a line of daily stages was operated from Pulaski
to Oswego; from Pulaski to Syracuse; and from Richland Station to Oswego; the latter route being established in
January, 1852, by Peck & Crandall. In the fall of 1865 the railroad between Richland Station and Oswego was
completed, giving Pulaski a station. In the autumn of 1871 the Syracuse Northern Railroad began operations. At
a later date one of the depots at Pulaski was abandoned, the track through the village to Lacona was taken up,
and a junction with a single station established, leaving one track to Richland, where it intersects the road from
Rome. In 1872 the project of constructing a railtoad from Boonville to Port Ontario was agitated and a company
was organized, but it was abandoned. All of these improvements have had a marked influence upon the development
of the town.
The construction of bridges was given early attention. April 6, 1825, the supervisors of Richland and Sandy Creek
were empowered to levy a tax of $850, to build a bridge over Salmon River in Pulaski, and over Sandy Creek "where
the Salina road crosses it." At Port Ontario a toll bridge was early erected across Salmon River, and April
28, 1869 the town was authorized to purchase it and thereafter to maintain it free of toll. One of the finest bridges
in the town is the iron structure over the river in Pulaski, the contract for which was let in May, 1888, under
the direction of John M. Williams, commissioner, It is 330 feet long, cost $8,835, and occupies the site of a former
The first town meeting in Richland was held at the house of Ephraim Brewster, east of Pulaski village, in the spring
of 1807, and the following officers were chosen:
Joseph Hurd, supervisor; William Hale, town clerk; George Harding, John Meacham, and Joseph Chase, assessors; Isaac
Meacham and Gershom Hale, overseers of the poor; Simon Meacham, Elias Howe, and Jonathan Rhodes, highway commissioners;
Elias Howe, collector for townships 6,10, and 11 (Sandy Creek, Orwell, Boylston, and the north part of Richland);
Pliny Jones, collector for townships 21 and 22 (Albion and the south part of Richland); Elias Howe, Justus St.
John, and Pliny Jones, constables; Asahel Hurd, Joseph Chase, and Gershom Hale, fence viewers; George Harding,
poundmaster; Nathan W. Noyes, William Robinson, Timothy Balch, Elks Howe, Gershorn Hale, Ephraim Brewster, Jonathan
Rhodes, Timothy Kellogg, and Isaac Lehigh, pathm asters,
The successive supervisors of the town have been as follows:
Joseph Hurd, 1807-8; John C, Pride, 1809-16; Simon Meacham, 1817-9; John C. Pride, 1820-1; Simon Meacham, 1822;
John C. Pride, 1823; Simon Meacham. 1824-5;(2) John C, Pride, 1825-6; Thomas C. Baker, 1827; Robert Gillespie. 1828-9; Isaac Stearns,
1830; Robert Gillespie, 1831-3; Isaac Stearns, 1834; L, D. Mansfield. 1835; Isaac Stearns, 1836; Robert Gillespie,
1837-8; M. W, Mathews, 1839-41; Bradley Higgins, 1842-3; Dr. H. F, Noyes, 1844; A, Crandall, 1845-6; Casper C,
West, 1847; E. M. Hill, 1848-51; Dr. H, F. Noyes, 1852; N. W, Wardwell, 1853; S. H. Meacham, 1854; James A, Clark,
1855-6; John T. McCarty, 1857-8; James A, Clark, 1859-60; Isaac Fellows. 1861-2; Sewell T. Gates, 1863-5; William
H. Gray, 1866; G. T. Peckham, 1867-9; Dr. James N, Betts, 1870; Henry H, Lyman, 1871-2; William B, Dixon, 1873-8;
Robert L, Ingersoll, 1879; Dr. James N, Betts, 1880; Lawson R, Muzzy, 1881-2; Thomas R, Ingersoll, 1883; Richard
W. Box, 1884-5; Lawson R. Muzzy, 1886-7; Isaac J. Rich, 1888-91; Richard W, Box, 1892-3; Isaac J. Rich, 1894-5.
The town officers for 1894- 95 were as follows:
Isaac J. Rich, supervisor; Thomas S. Meacham, town clerk; Isaac J. Rich, Burns E. Parkhurst, Latham D. Potter,
James C. Knight, and William E. Nelson, justices of the peace; John W. Rima, collector; John Calkins, Edward E.
Forman and John Nicholson, assessors; William M. Woods. highway commissioner; George W. Pond, overseer of the poor,
Wilfred I. Lane, Albert White and Wells De Graw, excise commissioners. Thomas S. Meacham has been town clerk since
1881, succeeding his father, Daniel B., who held the office almost twenty one years. Five justices of the peace
have been elected in Richland annually since 1872; prior to that only four were chosen.
Settlement was commenced in the present town of Richland by Nathan Tuttle and Nathan Wilcox, who came from Canada
and located at the mouth of Salmon River in 1801. The same year Benjamin Winch also settled near the outlet, and
Albert Bollannan at the mouth of Snake Creek. Mr. Winch soon removed to the site of Pulaski village, where he opened
the first tavern in town about 1806. Being a surveyor he aided in surveying the original Richland, and in various
ways was a useful and influential citizen. The first death was that of a child of Nathan Tuttle.
Reliable data of the early settlers in this town are, in many instances, lacking. It is quite probable that many
of the pioneers hereafter mentioned came in 1802 or 1803, but if so it is now impossible to determine the fact.
We subjoin first, however, the names of those the exact date of whose settlement has been ascertained.
In 1804 Thomas Jones came from Bridgewater, N. Y., and located on Salmon River near Lake Ontario. He had five sons
and three daughters, the sons being Pliny, Israel, Horace, Chauncey and Lyman. They settled at what was long known
as "Jones Corners" and opened the roads intersecting there. Pliny Jones kept a public house upward of
fifty years, and also built the first frame barn in town, which is now owned by J. S. Farmer. He was the father
of Pliny H. Jones and of Mrs. Cornelia Ledyard (who died in 1894), and held one or two local offices. Israel Jones
erected the first saw mill in Richland, The first wedding in the town was that of Joseph Spaids and Clara Jones,
the grandparents of Dr. F. J. Bradner, of Pulaski. Spaids was obliged to go by boat to Oswego for a magistrate
to perform the ceremony.(3)
Benjamin Bull and John B. Ingersoll also became settlers in 1804. The first birth was that of Benjamin Ingersoll
August 28, 1804, In the next year Jacob Ellis, a trapper, was the first to locate at Brown's landing, a place on
Salmon River that received its name from the pioneer, Sylvester Brown, Joel Ellis, a brother of Jacob, came to
the town soon after, Jonathan Hooker was an early corner to this vicinity and for many years owned the principal
part of its shipping, He was long a justice of the peace and a man of influence and ability,
Among other early settlers was William Smith, a farmer and fisherman, who located on the Ansel Brown farm. While
fishing and boating were of paramount importance Capt. John Vorce came into the town, He was a lake captain and
settled on the farm now occupied by the widow of Edmund Brown, who was born in Richland and died here in March,
1892, Daniel Brown was the first settler on the place now owned by his son in law's widow, Mrs, Augusta Twitchell;
his wife was a daughter of Benjamin Winch. Thaddeus Harmon was the pioneer on the land subsequently owned by his
son James and later occupied by his grandson Calvin. Luman Hough and a Mr. Stowell were also early settlers; the
latter was killed while raising a barn, and the former was poormaster for about twenty five years. John Woods came
from the eastern part of the State and built his log cabin on property now owned by Ira and Gilbert Stewart. He
died December 2, 1852. His widow is yet living and resides with her son George W., in Oswego, Other pioneers were
Isaac Lehigh, who settled where Thomas Bull now lives, and who was drowned in Salmon River; Abram Bates, who located
in the Ingersoll neighborhood; Isaac Fellows and his son of the same name, on the Spring Brook road east of Pulaski;
Nathan Stoddard, Ezra Weed, and Daniel Sykes, north of the village; and Moses Phillips,
Caleb Halsey, father of Don C., came to Mexico in 1807 and thence to Richland about 1820; he was born in Oneida
county and died in 1894; his widow lives in Mexico, Samuel Calkins journeyed from Canada to Whitesboro in a bateau
at the beginning of the war of 1812, and came thence to Richland on foot in 1816, settling on the farm now owned
by John Price; he afterward moved to Ohio and died there, With him came his eldest son, Russell, afterwards under-sheriff
and sheriff of Oswego county, who located on twenty five acres owned by John Bentley. He was born in Vermont in
1797, was one of ten children, and became an active Democratic politician, He married Pamelia, daughter of Colonel
Rufus Price, had ten children, owned 350 acres of land, and died in 1893 Rufus Price was a colonel in the Revolutionary
army, an aid on Washington's staff, and a pensioner. He settled in Richland in 1808, on the farm now owned by his
descendants, and died here. His wife, Ruth Grant, was related to the family of General Grant.
James Brown was born in Rhode Island in 1788, came to Richland in 1809, and died in October, 1859. He served
in the war of 1812 and had ten children, of whom five are living. About the same year (1809) William Marsden became
a resident of the town. He subsequently removed to Mexico and died there. He had seven sons, of whom George, the
oldest, was born in 1802 and died in 1894.
Ephraim Brewster located east of Pulaski village in 1808, but afterward moved to Jefferson county, In the same
neighborhood the Frary family were early settlers. One of them, Harry Frary, was born in Vermont in 1808, and died
here March 4, 1885. Henry, Robert and Hugh Gillespie, brothers, located in an early day at what is called Gillespie's
Mills, on Grindstone Creek, where Henry Gillespie, a son of Henry, sr., still resides, Henry Gillespie, sr., erected
a saw and grist mill there and for many years did an extensive milling business, Timothy Maltby, Joseph Spaids,
Samuel Vorce, Russell Rathbone, and Ralph and Isaac Price were among the first settlers on the road leading to
Port Ontario on the south side of Salmon River.
The pioneer on the State road running south from Port Ontario was a Mr. McFarlin, while in the immediate vicinity
D. H. Litts became an early resident. At the junction of this thoroughfare with Grindstone Creek William Fedder
was the first settler, and at this point also Benjamin Wright, Mr. Scriba's agent, built one of the first saw mills
in town. The first saw mill in the town was built by John Hoar in 1806, Walter Hewitt, Isaac Page, John Abel and
Sanford Douglass early located on the town line,
Few localities along the lake shore in Oswego county offered better natural opportunities to smugglers than the
mouth of Salmon River. During the pioneer period, and particularly in the war of 1812, the illegal traffic attained
extensive proportions. Many persons were engaged in the hazardous business, one of the most active being Samuel
McNett, an early settler of this town. He repeatedly fell into the hands of the custom house officials, but a plausible
story invariably obtained for him his liberty. As the country became more thickly settled, smuggling decreased
and finally ceased altogether. In 1820 the town contained 2,728 inhabitants, but it must be remembered that a number
lived within the present limits of Albion and Sandy Creek, which then formed parts of Richland.
Among other settlers prior to 1830 were Conrad Ripson at Port Ontario: David Taylor, who, about 1824, located on
the farm now owned by his son, and who became well known as a musician in the old militia trainings; Levy Tryon,
who settled on the lake shore north of Port Ontario; Alexander Valentine and his son, Noble, who took up the farm
recently owned by Clement Wallace, a settler of 1840; Abner Hubbard, who located on the same road; Stephen Wade,
in the east part of the town; a Mr. Stimson, on lands afterwards owned by G. A, Fobes; Stephen Tinker, father of
Wilson Tinker; Joseph Carr, Daniel Pratt, Hid Richards, Ephraim and Justus Fox, Isaiah Holmes, Nelson Dewey, Israel
Jones (on land now occupied by the family of his grandson, Charles E, Jones), Hiram Hubbell (who died in Oswego),
Ansel Brown (in 1816), E. M. D. Baldwin, Lucius B. Cole (for some time keeper of the lighthouse at Port Ontario),
O. J. Douglass, Charles C. Dodge, Stephen H. Fellows, Frey and Gilbert Lane (in 1815), D. McChesney, George F.
Mellen, Ira G. Fellows, De Witt C. May, E. D. Mowry, C. B. Pratt, C. R. Maltby, James A. McChesney, Chandler Salisbury,
L. S. Weed, L. H. Slater, Abner Vorce, L. M. Tyler, William Tyler, M. L. Trumbull, Isaac Schermerhorn, and others.
The Mathewson family is one of the oldest and most respected in town, and for more than two generations has been
prominently identified with the history of Pulaski village, Jeremiah A., Mathewson, sr., settled there in 1806
Samuel Bragdon, father of George, was a Revolutionary soldier. He came to a farm north of Port Ontario and died
November 22, 1852, His son's widow resides on the homestead, Charles Gurley, son of Artemas, was born in Connecticut
in 1811, and died in Pulaski in May, 1890, Gilbert A Bradner came here in 1817, when seventeen years old, and died
in July, 1890, Jonathan A. Burdick was born in Albany county in 1798, came to Richland about 1829, and died in
1865, Philip Minckler, a native of Columbia county, born in 1803, removed to this county about 1830 and died here
in 1885. He had lived in New Haven some twenty years. Sewell T, Gates, one of the war supervisors of the town,
was born in Herkimer county in 1815, removed to Richland in 1829, settled in Pulaski in 1861. and died there August
21, 1894. Shara Hardy, born in New Hampshire in 1800, lived for a time in Jefferson county, and in 1834 located
at Port Ontario, where he died April 3, 1888, James A. Clark came to Mexico in 1844, but the same year removed
to Pulaski, where he died June 13, 1887. He was born in Unadilla, N. Y., in 1821.
William H, Gray was an early settler of the town, and died here in January, 1889. He was born in Ithaca, N. Y.,
in 1815. He was a prominent Mason, served as deputy sheriff and supervisor, and for several years was proprietor
of the Pulaski Hotel and the Old Salmon River House,
Dewey C, Salisbury, born in Madison county in 1811, came to this town with his father when thirteen years of age,
and the next year was apprenticed to Luther Smith to learn the tanner's trade in the latter's tannery on Mill street
in Pulaski. In 1836 he leased a tannery in Sandy Creek, but two years later was burned out and returned to Pulaski
village. He was prominent in business affairs, and died in March, 1892,
Daniel B. Meacham was born in Vermont in 1812 and removed with his brother Milo to Sandy Creek in 1827. Twenty
two years later he came to Pulaski, where he died in June, 1891. Five families of the name came from Vermont to
Sandy Creek at a very early date, and of their number John and Deacon Simon Meacham subsequently became residents
of Pulaski. Thomas S., son of Daniel B. Meacham, is a merchant here and town clerk of Richland, succeeding his
father in that office in 1881. Simon Meacham was prominent in local affairs and served as supervisor and town clerk
many years, John Meacham opened the first store in the town in 1810.
John C. Pride was another very prominent citizen as well as an early settler, He came from Otsego county and located
on lots 77 and 78, whence he subsequently removed to a farm near Holmesville. He was the second supervisor of the
town and held the office in all thirteen years.
Capt. Ira Doane was born in Litchfield, Herkimer county, June 10, 1807. His father, John Doane, was a soldier in
the Revolutionary army, enlisting immediately after the battle of Bunker Hill and serving until the close of the
war, being confined as a prisoner eighteen months in a prison ship in New York harbor. In May, 1821, the family
settled in Orwell, whence they subsequently came to Pulaski, where John Doane died January 9, 1831, and his widow
in 1845. Their children were Mrs. Olivia Mason, Isaac, Harvey, and Captain Doane. The latter married, in 1830,
Audria Vorce, and had seven children, of whom Henry G. enlisted in the 35th N. Y. Vols. and died in Elmira. Mrs.
Doane died in 1853, and he married, in 1854, her cousin Julia, daughter of Col. William Vorce. Captain Doane was
a farmer, a carpenter, a merchant in Pulaski, and a lumberman. He was president of the village, collector, jailor,
undersheriff, and inspector of customs in New York city, and was a life long Jacksonian Democrat.
Robert Leroy Ingersoll, son of Ebenezer, was born in New Berlin, N. Y., June 5, 1819, and came to Albion with his
father in 183o. Educated in Mexico Academy, he purchased his time (seven months) of his father for $50, and with
Elijah Shumway commenced the manufacture of carriages in Sandy Creek, but five years later removed to Pulaski and
engaged in the same business, which he conducted until 1872, when he sold out to Ingersoll & Suydam. In 1854
he established the Pulaski Bank, which continued until 1862, when he organized the bank of R. L. Ingersoll &
Co. He married Caroline E. Clark and had six chidren.
Col. Henry H. Lyman, now of Oswego, was for several years a hardware merchant in Pulaski, where he was educated.
Charles H. Cross, the oldest of fourteen children of Moulton Cross, was born in Hamilton, N. Y., January 1, 1807,
and came with his parents to Richland in 1814. Moulton Cross early settled on a farm in Albion; he was a miller,
and assisted in the building of several saw mills. Charles H. Cross began business as a surveyor and conveyancer
in 1827, and in 1850 was appointed agent of the Pierrepont estate, representing about 100,000 acres in the counties
of Lewis, Jefferson, and Oswego. He was a director and one of the organizers of the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg,
and Syracuse Northern Railroad Companies. He married, in 1842, Melissa, a daughter of Gilbert Lane, and had five
In the vicinity of Holmesville Salmon Erskine, Avery Griffin, Lewis Conant, and the Perry family were early settlers.
Capt. Robert Muzzy, sr., a soldier in the Revolutionary war, located in the town at an early day. His son, Lieutenant
Robert Muzzy, jr., served in the war of 1812. Rev. Lawson Muzzy, son of Robert jr., is a superannuated Baptist
minister and resides in Pulaski at the age of eighty two. His son. Lawson R. Muzzy, is the editor and proprietor
of the Pulaski Democrat, to the files of which we are indebted for much valuable information.
The first tavern in town bore the striking appellation of the "Beehive," and was located on what is known
as the Dewey farm. Another early public house was erected by Pliny Jones one mile south of Pulaski village, as
previously noted. Many other pioneers are mentioned a little further on and more fully in Parts II and III of this
The population of Richland increased from 947 in 1810 to 2,728 in 1820. In the latter year its agricultural interests
were in a state of steady development. The population in 1830 was 2,733; 1835, 3,461; 1840, 4,046; 1845, 3,758;
1850, 4,079: 1855, 4,012; 1860, 4,128; 1865, 4,137; 1870, 3,975; 1875, 4,018; 1880, 3,991; 1890, 3,771.
Supervisors' statistics for 1894: Assessed valuation of real estate, 81,261,204; equalized, $1,468,749; personal
property. $44,772; railroads, 21.25 miles, $205,500; town tax, 89,015.44; county tax, 88,475.72; total tax levy,
$20,648.58; ratio of tax on 8100, $1.58; dog tax, $200. In the four election districts into which the town is divided
906 votes were cast in November, 1894.
The town contributed 277 men to the Union army and navy in the War of the Rebellion, several of whom attained commissioned
offices, notably James T. Outterson, captain in the 184th Regiment; Henry H. Lyman, promoted to the rank of colonel
in the 147th Regiment; and A. A. Fellows, captain Co. B, 110th N.Y. Vols.
The earlier settlers of Richland followed the precedent established by many other communities and consigned their
dead to a plat set aside for the purpose on the family homestead. As the population increased and interments became
more frequent, regular burial grounds were set apart to that use, one of the first, if not the very first, being
a part of the beautiful cemetery in Pulaski. This originally consisted of three acres, to which three more were
subsequently added, and afterward fifteen acres more were annexed. In February, 1893, the Pulaski Cemetery Association
was incorporated with R. W. Box (president), G. W. Douglass (secretary), Thomas S. Meacham (treasurer), H. B. Clark,
John Williams, and W. C. Peck as commissioners, who still retain their respective positions.
The first school in town was taught by Milly Ellis in the summer of 1808. The first school in Pulaski village
was held in a building erected by Jeremiah A. Mathewson for a blacksmith shop, near the south end of the old Palmer
or Mathewson's Hotel, the teacher being Rebecca Cross, afterward Mrs James Harmon, who was succeeded by Miss A.
Hinman. The next school in the village was kept by Pliny Jones in the log dwelling of Mr. Mathewson. The first
school house was built on the premises now owned by William H. Hill, but two months after being completed it was
burned. School was then held in a building owned by a Mr. Bush, which stood on the site of the subsequent residence
of George W. Wood. Pliny Jones, however, soon opened his house for school purposes. and the next year a school
house was erected on the site afterward occupied by Cross's land office. Later it was removed to where the old
Baptist church now stands. The next school house was a brick structure built on the site of the Congregational
church, and after it was demolished school was held in the church edifice. Select schools have flourished at different
periods, notably those of M. W. Southworth "in Masonic Hall," in 1821, and of A. Bond, A. B., in 1848.
The town now has twenty two school districts, which bear the following appellations: No. 1, Bragdon; 2, Hinman;
3, Hicks; 4, Manwaren; 5, Selkirk; 6, Brown; 7, Pulaski Village; 8, Farmer; 9, Chamberlin; 10, Richland Junction;
11, Champlin; 12, Port Ontario; 13, Douglass; 14, Fox; 15, Page; 16, Woods; 17, Holmesville; 18, Mowry; 19, Meacham;
20, Spring Brook; 21, Lamb; 22, Lehigh. In 186o there were twenty three school districts, in which 1,660 children
were taught. In 1893 thirty one teachers were employed and 720 children attended the several schools; value of
school buildings and sites, $22,800; assessed valuation of districts, $1,192,555; public money received from the
State, $3,405,86; raised by local tax, $4,008.29; number of trees planted, twenty four.
The Pulaski Union School and Academy was incorporated by the Legislature as the Pulaski Academy on June 4, 1853,
with the following Board of Education: Charles H. Cross, Anson R. Jones, Hiram Murdock, George Gurley, Don A. King,
Anson Maltby, Newton M. Wardwell, Samuel Woodruff, and William H. Lester. The act of incorporation was drafted
by Don A. King, and, as passed, consolidated districts 7, 25, and 30, within the village, into one district to
be known as Pulaski School District No. 7. The first term was opened November 14, 1853, with Stephen C. Miller
as principal. In April, 1854, the present site, on the bank of Salmon River, was purchased for $500 and early in
May ground was formally broken for the present brick building, which cost $7,100. It is three stories high and
was appropriately dedicated January 8, 1855. The lot, library, and philosophical apparatus cost $1,385, making
a total of $8,485. The building committee consisted of George Gurley, Anson Maltby, Charles H. Cross, Don A. King,
Samuel Woodruff Anson R. Jones, Dewey C. Salisbury, John T. McCarty, and William H. Lester; general superintendent,
Anson Maltby; master builder, William S. Carpenter. In 1855 the school was placed under the Board of Regents, and
ever since then has ranked as one of the best academic educational institutions in the State. In the fall of 1892
it assumed its present name.
The principals have been successively:
Stephen C. Miller, 1853-6; Henry L. Lamb, 1857-9; R. B. Van Patten and A. Hoose, 1860; Pulaski E. Smith, 1861-3;
Harvey H. Butterworth, 1864-5; Daniel D. Owen, 1866; Nathan B. Smith, 1867; H. W. Congdon, 1868; Sebastian Duffy,
1869-79; E. M. Wheeler, 1880-5; John M. Moore, 1885-7; Henry A. Brown, 1887-9; William C. Gorman, 1889-92; S. R.
Shear, 1892 to present time.
The present faculty (1894-5) is composed as follows:
Academic Department - S. R. Shear, principal, Physical Sciences, Political Sciences, and Training Class; Minnie
Walker, B. A., preceptress, Latin, Greek and Drawing Alice Walker, B. Ph., Mathematics and Literature; Frances
King, A. B., Natural Sciences and History; Harriet Hollis, Higher English and German; Professor Balestier, Penmanship,
Grammar Department - Senior, Bessy Perry; Junior, Frances Richardson.
Primary Department - Intermediate, Sophia Mattison; first primary, Caroline Marcy.
Among the presidents of the board have been George Gurley, Beman Brockway, Sidney M. Tucker, Charles H. Cross,
Dr. James N. Betts, George W. Woods, James Douglass, James W. Fenton, and others. The board for 1894-5 consists
of M. L. Hollis, president; W. H. Austin, secretary; Charles Tollner, Oron V. Davis, Albert F. Betts Thomas S.
Meacham, D. C. Dodge, B. E. Parkhurst, and D. C. Mahaffy.
The school is divided into four departments, primary, intermediate, junior, and senior. The academic department
affords three regular courses of study - English, Latin and English, and Classical. The library comprises several
hundred volumes of standard books of reference and general reading, and the laboratory is well equipped with modern
chemical, philosophical, and physiological apparatus. The standard of the school is high and ably maintained.
The Richland Union Free School was incorporated September 25, 1888. The preliminary effort was an election held
October 1, 1886, at which the district voted to organize, as above, by forty five to twenty nine, and the first
Board of Education, chosen at that meeting, was composed of E. D. Wells, president; N. B. Hine, secretary; Albert
Wright, Heman H. Richardson, James Beeman, William C. Orton, and William A. Penney. In that year an addition to
the district school house (which was built in 1875), was erected. The first preceptress was a Miss Ball. The school
has two departments, primary and intermediate, under the principalship of James C. Knight. The Board of Education
for 1894-5 consists of E. H. Kenyon, president, Charles H. Field, and John Doneburg. Fred M. Moore is secretary,
Harvey Joyce, collector, and William H. Averill, treasurer.
[Continued in Richland, NY History part 2]