History of The Village of Addison, Steuben County, NY
From: Landmarks of Steuben County, New York
Edited by: Hon. Harlo Hakes
Assisted By: L. C. Aldrich and Others
D. Mason & Company, Publishers,
Syracuse, New York, 1896

[Aslo see the Town of Addison]

THE VILLAGE OF ADDISON. - In the south part of the town of Addison, at the confluence of Tuscarora Creek with the Can isteo, is an enterprising and constantly growing incorporated village of about 2,200 population, named after the town in, which it is located. It has been said that Addison stands in much the same relation to Corning as Canisteo bears to Hornellsville. In truth there may be some force in this remark, for Canisteo and Addison have long been regarded as sister villages, settled originally by the same sturdy stock, and whose descendants appear to have been imbued with similar traits and like worthy purposes. Both villages have the advantages of the Erie Railroad; both have the Canisteo River, and while the western village has Bennett's Creek, Addison has the Tuscarora. Still, beyond the fact that every friendliness exists between the inbabitants of these villages, there is nothing in common between them.

William B. Jones was one of the pioneers of the town, also of the village, and kept one of the early hotels north of the river, on the "Pumpelly Lot," as commonly known. Solomon Curtis laid out a part of the village lots on this side, and William Wombaugh was another conspicuous factor in early history, though his lands lay south of the river. The latter was a man of means as well as enterprise. He built saw and grist mills, a log distillery, carding machine, and otherwise contributed largely to early village history. Yet, for several years the few mills and many public houses were about the only visible evidences of village settlement. However, Addison was a hamlet of much importance in the region, and so great was the volume of business that a postoffice was established here as early as 1804. Lumbering was for many years the leading industry, hence here was the rendezvous for buyers and dealers, while raftsmen were counted by hundreds. There were John Loop, Shumway & Glover, Wilcox, Birdsall & Wetherby, all lumbermen and merchants, and all in active business as early as 183o. Later on came John and Peter P. Loop, Caleb Wetherby and Reed A. Williams, who were partners in business and large operators. These were followed by Thompson & French, who built a store at the corner of Wall and Railroad streets. This firm sold out to William R. Smith and Eli Fitch. Later business men and merchants were Ransom Rathbone, S L. and Joel D. Gillett, A. Cone, C. E. Gillett, George Wells, E. L. and E. R. Paine, George Graham, N. W Mallory, Thomas and Benjamin Phillips, Merriam & Haynes, Dr. Bradley Blakeslee, Ezra J. Brewer, Hiram Sleeper, and others, whose names are now lost, but all of whom were active figures in town and village life and by their efforts contributed not a little to early local prosperity.

These men laid the foundation for the village and a later generation of inhabitants completed the municipal superstructure, and to day the joint efforts of both builders are rewarded in one of the most cosmopolitan villages of Steuben county; and it is no idle or fulsome compliment to say of Addison that it is now regarded as the best village of the county, interest for interest and resource for resource.

In 1854 the population and business interests of the village were so large and of such a character that it became necessary to partially separate it from the town at large; local improvements were necessary and the town, not being directly interested, was not willing to bear any part of the expense. Therefore the people of the hamlet availed themselves of the general laws relating to village incorporations, and in January, 1854 by an order of the Court of Sessions, Addison became a body politic and corporate, authorized to elect officers, inaugurate local improvements and levy and collect taxes to meet the expenses thereof. At the first election of officers the trustees chosen were Frederick R. Wagner, Bradley Blakeslee, Parley Guinnip, Stephen Lewis, White and Thomas Paxton. At the first meeting of the trustees Dr. Wagner was elected president, and I. V. L. Meigs, clerk.

This limited municipal government was found sufficient for temporary purposes, but as the village grew in population and business importance, broader powers and more thorough government became necessary, and the result was a special act of the Legislature, passed April 12, 1873, granting a charter to the "Village of Addison," including within its boundaries specified territory, and dividing the latter into two wards. The Canister was the dividing line The first officers under the charter were J. V. Graham, president; John W. Clark, clerk; Chauncey D. Hill, treasurer; Sanford Elmor, collector; Daniel D. Hickey and E. S. Mead, trustees of First ward, and Lorin Aldrich and James D. Goodley, trustees of Second ward.

In this connection it is also proper to note the names of the officers of the village for the year 1895, viz.: George Crane president; George J. Aweigh, George Wetherby, George Allison and S. M. La Grange, trustees; E. E. Burdick, clerk; George J. True, treasurer.

According to the present disposition of business Addison is well provided with mercantile and manufacturing interests, with good churches, five in number, exceptionally excellent schools, two sound banking houses, and all other institutions which contribute to municipal welfare. There are also two good and representative newspapers, the Advertiser, a Republican paper, founded in 1858, and the Record, established in 188o, and the exponent of Democratic doctrines, general and local.

The present fire department comprises Phoenix and Wells Hose Companies, and Baldwin Hook and Ladder Company, all well equipped with good apparatus, and liberally supported by the village and people.

The Addison Water Works Company was established in 1889, the water supply being taken from a reservoir elevated above the village level. It is a private enterprise and owned by foreign capital.

In the month of December, 1847, twelve prominent men of Addison formed an association for the purpose of founding and building an academy. They purchased a four acre tract of land north of the village, on which, in 1848, the building was erected. The promoters of this worthy enterprise were Henry Wombaugh, Rufus Baldwin, Joel D. Gillett, Elihu Wittenhall, Erastus Brooks, Orange Seymour, William H. Gray, Bradley Blakeslee, William Bradley, James Baldwin, William R Smith, and Arthur Erwin. The original academy was in all respects a worthy institution and was well supported, but the building was destroyed by an unfortunate fire in October, 1856. Subsequently another association of citizens established a private academic school, and the latter continued in fairly successful operation until the organization of Union Free School District No. 1, in the year 1878. The first Board of Education comprised Jesse K. Strock, John F. Turner, George Farnham, John W. Dininny, James M. Wood, John Mitchell, David Darrin, Henry S. Jones and William A. Smith. In connection with this school was an academic department, and upon a substantial and generously supported basis it has ever since been maintained. At the public expense an excellent school building Was erected in 1888, and the Grammar School on Tuscarora street in 1889.

The present Board of Education is comprised of William T. Moran, president; Fred C. Tabor, W. O. Feenaughty, William A. Storey, Dr. George Crane, Daniel D. Hickey, Arthur P. Hill, H. W. Sanford, secretary, and S. V. Lattimer, treasurer.

The financial institutions of the village are the Addison Bank and the Baldwin Bank. The former was established by incorporation, May 17, 1856, with a capital of $50,000, and with William R. Smith and Charles H. Henderson as active owners and managers, the former president and the latter cashier. The corporation was dissolved about 1861, and from that time the bank has been conducted as a private enterprise. The bank building was erected in 1873. The Baldwin Bank began business in January, 1874, under the ownership of James Baldwin and Charles D. Williams, which proprietors were succeeded in April, 1880, by Henry Baldwin and Mrs. Sarah Weatherby. This bank is now operated by James Baldwin, and, like its cotemporary in the village is a safe financial institution.

The churches of Addison are also worthy of at least a mention in this chapter although a more detailed history of each will be found elsewhere in this work. Those at present existing are Protestant and Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian, Baptist and Roman Catholic, each holding regular services, well organized and instruments of good in the community.

All branches of mercantile business appear to be well represented, but lack of space prevents us from an individual mention of each merchant. However, it is pardonable that the manufacturers should be specially noted, for Addison enjoys the pleasant notoriety of having several industries of importance. In this connection we may mention the sash, door and blind factory, lumber yard and general wood working establishment of Park, Winton & True; the large foundry and machine works of E. S. Chatfield; the "A. & P." machine shops; John Schmitt's brewery; the Owen planing mill, and the extensive roller flouring mill of Curtis & Paxton. F. H. Wheaton owns the electric light plant, furnishes light for the streets and buildings, and also operates the pump house. The principal hotels of the village are the "American" and the "Wyckoff"


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