History of Bath, 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

[ Also see the Village of Bath ]

BATH. - On the 15th of April, 1793, Charles Cameron and a party of pioneer woodsmen landed from their flat boats and made a camp near where the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western station now stands in the village of Bath. This was the advance guard of civilization in an uninhabited and comparatively unknown region, and the adventurers themselves were sent hither at the direction of Charles Williamson, the latter the owner of almost a principality, though in fact he was only the representative of a syndicate of capitalists whose only aim was personal gain. Yet Charles Williamson was vested with almost extraordinary authority and power and lavishly did he expend his principals' money in improving and developing the country in which he afterward lived for several years.

Captain Williamson reached Bath very soon after the arrival of Cameron and companions. They came from Northumberland, Pennsylvania, by water and brought supplies and provisions for both subsistence and the founding of a settlement. At that time we are told this region was a vast, dense forest, inhabited only by wild animals and a few scattered fragments of the once powerful Seneca Indians. The latter had signed away their domain to the Phelps and Gorham proprietary, and through a series of transfers the lands had come into the ownership of the Pulteney associates, whose agent Williamson was and under whose direction was now to be undertaken the development and sale of this vast estate.

If we correctly interpret his character there was nothing of the niggard in Captain Williamson, nor did he enter half heartedly into any of his many enterprises; and while he was ever mindful of the rights and interests of his principals, he also kept faith with his promises to settlers, thus gaining their respect and admiration. True, he was charged with prodigality and unnecessary expenditures in the use of the revenues of his principals,yet no person who knew the genial captain ever believed he acted or dealt solely for personal purposes or gain. The Pulteney associates, being foreigners and non residents, were never in a position to fully appreciate the situation of affairs on their territory in New York, nor the fact that their agent was engaged in an effort to settle quite undesirable land in competition with some of the most fertile and beautiful tracts for which Western New York is and ever has been noted. To accomplish this it became necessary for the agent to make outlays in building a principal thoroughfare of travel from far across the Pennsylvania border into the very center of the region sought to be disposed of at best advantage. And it became necessary, too, to found a new village in the region, and to this end, the pioneers were sent up the Conhocton and pitched their camps on the site of the village of Bath. Captain Williamson had previously made headquarters at Northumberland, from which point he did effective work, but the necessities of the occasion and the situation of the lands in New York demanded a change, hence his action in founding the settlement which soon afterward became the shire town of one of the largest and most important inland counties of this great State.

"The first comers," says Mr. McCall's address,' "were not romancers, but stern workers who braced themselves for the toils and privations before them. Thomas Rees, Br., the surveyor, with his corps of assistants, began at once to plot the village, locate the streets and squares, and number the lots, while Cameron and his helpers, after clearing the ground and making rustic cabins in which to shelter themselves, proceeded to erect a log building on the south side of Pulteney Square, of sufficient capacity for the accommodation of Captain Williamson's family and the transaction of his official business. On the north side of Morris street, about twenty rods west of the square, they erected a log structure for John Metcalf's hostelry. James Henderson, the mill wright; sought a mill site on the Conhocton (now owned by John Baker and occupied by his flour mill) and with his crew began building a saw mill to furnish boards for floors, doors and roof for the new land office, hotel and other structures being put up. It was the first saw mill in the town, and was completed on the 25th of August. . . . Captain Williamson in a few days was on the ground in person, superintending operations and cheering the faint hearted by his presence and stirring words."

In the Cameron party of pioneers and builders of a county town were these persons: Andrew Smith, familiarly called "Buckle" Andrew, in allusion to his remarkable size and strength, and grandfather to John L. Smith; William McCartney, the pioneer of Dansville; Hector McKenzie, who died in the West Indies and Henry Tower, an afterward prominent business man, all of whom came from the vicinity of Captain Williamson's home near Balgray, Scotland. There were also Thomas Corbett, pioneer at Mud Creek; Thomas Rees, jr., the surveyor who plotted the village and likewise made many surveys in the vicinity, all of which have ever been regarded as a standard; Alexander Ewing, who afterward settled at Mt. Morris; William Ewing, also a surveyor, who moved to Ohio; John Metcalf, the pioneer tavern keeper, and one of the village worthies; James Henderson, the millwright; Samuel Doyle, an old patriot of the Revolution, and whose descendants still live in the vicinity, and Joseph Arbour, Richard Armour, John Scott, Charles McClure, Peter Loop, Mr. Upton, Benjamin Patterson, the hunter, and Joseph Bivens, who kept the first tavern at Bloods, now Atlanta. Most of these were Scotch Irishmen from the West Branch, and came to the new settlement chiefly as laborers and mechanics, yet many of them became permanent residents, developed into useful and capable men, and were in all respects worthy citizens and upright men.

But these were not all, as well verified records, the results of untiring research, have preserved the name of still other pioneer town builders under the direction of the active agent of the Pulteney associates. In this connection may be named Hector McKay, William Lemon, Samuel Ewing, John and Samuel Ewart, George Moore, George Baittie, Francis Conway, William Carroll and Robert Biggars, the latter the tanner who in 1793 purchased thirteen acres on the south side of Morris street, west of the cemetery, whereon he built a tannery. Others of the same period were Obediah Osborn, the mill builder; George McCullough, the blacksmith; Robert Hunter, the schoolmaster; Jacob Glendenning, Andrew Shearer, Dr. Schott, Gottleib Dougherty and one Paul.

Henry McElwee, "a stalwart young Scotch-Irishman," as described by Mr. McCall, "(always called Harry) made his entry into the new town on New Year's day, 1794," and thus describes the condition of municipal settlement as he found it: "I only found a few shanties in the wood. Williamson had his house near the site of the present land office, and the Metcalfs kept a log tavern on Morris street nearly opposite the (present) Mansion House. I went to the tavern and asked for supper and lodging; they said they would give me neither, for their house was full. I could get nothing to eat. An old Dutchman was sitting there, and he said to me: Young man, if you will go with me, you shall have some mush and milk and a deer skin to lie on, with your feet to the fire, and another to cover yourself with. We went up through the woods to where St. Patrick Square now is. There the Dutchman had a little log house." In the following spring this same

McElwee made the first substantial clearing, being the Pulteney Square, also four acres in rear of the agent's house for a garden. (For the cultivation of this garden Williamson imported a gardener from England, named Dominic Quinn.) McElwee left a single pine tree in front of the agent's house for a "Liberty Tree." It was trimmed so as to leave a tuft at the top, and it "bid defiance to the elements until after 1820," and was soon afterward blown down.

The pioneers who came to the settlement during 1794 may be mentioned about as follows: George McClure and James Moore, from Northumberland; Isaac Mullender, with his wife, three sons and three daughters, direct from Scotland; Richard Cuyler, John Shearer, Richard Carpenter, Dr. William Petrie (the surgeon of the settlement), John Wyman, William McElwee, Frank Scott, Gustavus and Brown Gillespie, Joseph and Robert Dunn, Robert Sterret, James McFarland, Samuel and John Mettler, Samuel Baker, Amos Stone William Barney, William and Eli Read, and Samuel McKenzie. These settlers were both mechanics and farmers, the former seeking work in the little hamlet, and the latter selecting lands in the region on which they might establish houses and farms. All, however, before acquiring title, were of necessity compelled to repair to the land office and make their contracts. Williamson treated them with the greatest generosity, offering the land at reasonable prices and extending help to those not able to build for themselves. By his uniform kindness Williamson won the esteem of all who came to his settlement.

When Charles Williamson began his work of improvement and settlement there was little civil organization or jurisdiction attempted in this remote part of Ontario county. In 1791 the provisional district of Painted Post was formed, yet, being practically uninhabited, there was no need of the exercise of civil authority over the region. The district mentioned included all that is now Steuben county, and in 1793, Jedediah Stephens, of Canisteo, was elected supervisor. However, in 1794, at the January sessions, through Williamson's influence, a new district was created embracing all the territory west of the second range of townships, and was named Williamson. Bath was included in the new formation, but where or when the district meetings were held is not now known.

The now growing settlement was much in need of post and stage accommodations, for down to this time Captain Williamson had employed his own post riders to and from Northumberland, 140 miles distant; and the trips were made once in two weeks. A permanent postoffice, with all necessary facilities for transmission of mails, was established at Bath in 1800. This year, 1794, was eventful in still another direction, for the new yet now flourishing settlement was threatened with British invasion and subjection; but through the energetic and determined action of Captain Williamson, suggested by the governor of the State, the proposed invasion was stayed until the federal government took charge of the affair and effected a speedy settlement of the dispute. However, in protecting his rights and interests, Captain Williamson caused a block house to be built in Bath, while young McClure raised a company of militia for defensive purposes.

The succeeding year, 1795, "opened brightly," using Mr. McCall's words, for the Genesee country, the doughty agent vigorously pushed improvements, and settlers came pouring in from all quarters. Among them were Robert Campbell, Alexander McDonald, John Morrison, Dugald Cameron, Daniel Cruger, Dr. D. B. Stockton and William Kersey, all of whom were prominently identified with subsequent events of local history, and some of whom, as well as their descendants, occupied positions of trust and importance.

In March, 1796, the county of Steuben was erected from the south part of Ontario, and was named in honor of Frederick William Augustus, Baron Steuben, through the influence of Col. Benjamin Walker, a close friend of Charles Williamson. The colonel had been the aide of Baron Steuben, who had just died, and Walker was residuary legatee under his will.

Through the undisputed influence of Captain Williamson, Bath was designated as the shire town of the new county, and forthwith, provision was made for the erection of county buildings. Fully mentioned elsewhere, no extended reference to them is necessary at this time. However, in accordance with the authority of the erecting act, the Court of Sessions divided the territory of the county into six towns, one of which was the town of Bath, the subject of this chapter. As constituted at that time, it was bounded on the north by the county line; east by Lake Keuka and Frederiektown; south by Painted Post and Middletown, and west by Dansville.

Bath was now the capital town of Steuben county, and was so named in token of respect for Lady Henrietta, Countess of Bath, the daughter of Sir William Pulteney, the chief owner in the land association, whose representative and agent was Capt. Charles Williamson. The first move of the land agent was to establish a newspaper, not only for the dissemination of news, but for the main purpose of properly advertising the new county and setting forth the desirable qualities of land and climate, in the hope of inducing settlement and increasing the revenues of his principals. (Even at this early day the owners were annoying their agent with demands for returns, and were indirectly charging him with unnecessary expenditures). William Kersey, the newly appointed judge, an attache of the land office, was sent to Pennsylvania to purchase the necessary equipment for a printing office, and the result was the issue October 19, 1796, of the first number of the Bath Gazette and Genesee Advertiser, the first newspaper printed in this State west of Oneida county.

In the same year, also, the colonel erected a frame building on the northwest corner of Pulteney Square for use as a public school, and so completed the race track that widely advertised fairs and races were held on the loth of September. A public hall or theater was likewise built in due season and Bath was brought into prominence as a desirable place for all kinds of entertainments; and to the present day the county town of Steuben is noted for the excellence of its annual fairs. The chief object of these improvements was, as Mr. McCall says, "to attract attention to the purchase and its new metropolis." He was anxious to make rapid sales of the land in his charge, and he knew that it was necessary to create some excitement which would draw strangers to look at them. Weld, an English traveler, visited the town in 1796, and described Bath as the "principal town in the western part of the State, containing about thirty houses, and increasing very fast."

Among the settlers in the town in 1796 were Dr. B. F. Young, Dr. Shults, Philip Gilman, George D. Cooper, William Cook, Daniel Curtis, James Edie, James Miller, Fisher Whitney, John Woodward, Josiah Wright, David Jones, James Love, Leonard Beaty, George Dixon and Finla McClure.

Organization and Officers. - The first town meeting in Bath was held at the house of John Metcalf, on the 4th day of April, 1797, at which time these persons were elected to office: Charles Cameron, supervisor; James Edie, town clerk; William Aulls. Patrick McKell, Hector McKenzie, commissioners of highways; Gustavus Gillispie, collector; Amos Stone, George Dixon and Abijah Peters, constables; Daniel Cruger, and Patrick McKell, overseers of the poor; Amos Eggleston, Joseph Inslie, William Read, John Woodward, Henry Bush, Henry McElwee and Jacob Phillips, overseers of highways; Eli Read, Andrew Smith, James McKell and Thomas Streeter, fence viewers; Robert Bigger, Samuel Miller and Samuel Baker, assessors; Samuel Baker and Silas Beers, poundmasters; George D. Cooper, John Sheather, Charles Williamson and Benjamin F. Young, commissioners of schools.

However interesting for purposes of reference might be a complete succession of all town officers, such is deemed inadvisable in this work, and the reader will therefore be content with the list of supervisors clerks and justices of the peace, these being recognized as the chief offices in the town government.

Supervisors. - Charles Cameron, 1797-98; George McClure, 1799-1801; Henry A. Townsend, 1802; Samuel Baker, 1803-5; George McClure, 1806-7; Howell Bull, 1808; Henry Kennedy, 1809; James Faulkner, 1810; Cornelius Younglove, 1811; Thomas Aulls, 1812-14; Howell Bull, 1815; Elisha Hanks, 1816-17; William Woods, 1818; Samuel Baker, 1819-20; Elisha Hanks, 1825-26; Henry Wells, 1824; John W. Fowler, 1825-26; James G. Higgins, 1827-28; George C. Edwards, 1829-30; Reuben Robie, 1831-32; William J. Neally, 1833-34; Henry W. Rogers, 1835; William Hamilton, 1836-38; D. McMaster, 1839; Robert Campbell, jr., 1840-44; Chester Whitaker, 1845; John W. Fowler, 1846-49; John Ostrander, 1852-54; Paul C. Cook, 1852-54; David McMaster, 1855; William Howell, 1856-57; Alva E. Brown, 1858-60; H. H. Hull, 1861; William Howell, 1862; John L. Smith, 1863-64; David Rumsey, 1865-7i; Samuel Balcom, 1872; William Rumsey, 1873; G. H. Brundage, 1874-75; Henry Faucett, 1876; James Faucett, 1877; Orange Seymour, 1878-82; John F. Little, 1883-85; James Faucett, 1886; John F. Little, 1887; W. H. Nichols, 1888-90; J. F. Little, 1891; W. H. Nichols, 1892-95.

Town Clerks. - James Edie, 1797-98; Charles McClure, 1799; Henry A. Townsend, 1800-1; Charles McClure, 1802-3; Henry A. Townsend, 1804; Howell Bull, 1805; Henry A. Townsend, 1806; Howell Bull, 1807; Thomas Metcalf, 1808; Howell Bull, 1809-14; John Metcalf, 1815-18; William H. Bull, 1819-21; John W. Fowler, 1822-24; Reuben Robie, 1825-28; Lewis Biles, 1829; Reuben Robie, 1830; William S. Hubbell, 1831; William H. Bull, 1832; Franklin Metcalf, 1833; William Hamilton, 1834; Alex. Hess, 1835; N. W. Gardner, 1836-37; George Edwards, 1838-42; Alex. Hess, 1843; Peter Swart, 1844; Perry S. Donahe, 1845-51; James R. Dudley, 1852; John Palmer, 1853; Charles H. Howell, 18541 Peter Halsey, 1855; James Lindsay, 1856-57; James R. Dudley, 1858; James Lindsay, 1859-1884; William W. Lindsay, 1885-95.

Justices of the Peace. - Henry W. Rogers, 1830; Oliver Rice, 1831; William Hamilton and George Wheeler, 1832; George Wheeler, 1833; John D. Higgins, 1834; Oliver Rice, 1835; William Hamilton, 1836; George Wheeler and Henry Pier, 1838; Oliver Rice and A. D. Read, 1839; Ziba A. Leland, 1840; Chester Whitaker, 1841; George Huntington and William S. Muihollen, 1842; Nathan Barney, 1843; William S. Muihollen, 1844; Chester Whitaker, 1845; James Shannon, 1846; Arnold D. Read, 1847; William S. Mulhollen, 1848; Chester Whitaker and Luther R. Hopkins, 1849; Nathan Sawyer, 185o; Arnold D. Read, 185r; Henry Pier, 1852; Chester Whitaker, 1853; James Lindsay, 1854; Arnold D. Read, 1855; Henry Pier, 1856; Chester Whitaker, 1857; James Lindsay, 1858; Arnold D. Read, 1859; Henry Pier, 186o; E. W. Buck, 1861; James Lindsay, 1862; Joseph B. Westcott, 1863; Abram C. Bryan, 1864; Charles L. Bailey, 1865; Dwight Ostrander and James Lindsay, 1866; Augustus F. Barnes, 1867; Frank Hardenbroolc and Abram C. Bryan, 1868; Frank Hardenbrook and Henry J. Norris, 1869; James Lindsay, 187o; Hiram R. Hess, 1871; Hamilton Lan; 1872; Frank Hardenbrook and Henry J. Norris, 1843; James Lindsay, 1874; Hiram R. Hess, 1875; Horace L. Lewis, 1876; Frank Hardenbrook and Henry J. Norris, 1877; James Lindsay, 1878; Hiram R. Hess, 1879; Frank Orcutt, 1880; Frank Hardenbrook, Frank Wayland and Frank Orcutt, 1881; James Lindsay, 1882; Edwin R. Kasson, 1883; Otis H. Smith, Valentine Brother and Edgar Knight, 1884; Frank Hardenbrook, Edwin R. Fuller, William W. Lindsay and Daniel Brian, 1885; John S. Bosenbark, 1886; Otis H. Smith, 1887; William W. Lindsay, 1888; John K. Bancroft, Edwin R. Fuller and Frank Hardenbrook, 1889; John K. Bancroft, 1890; Clarence Willis, Frank Hardenbrook and Edwin R. Fuller, 1891; William W. Lindsay, 1892; Frank Hardenbrook and William H. Kearney, 1893; John K. Bancroft, 1894; John A. Adams, 1895.

Town Officers, 1895. - In the present connection may also properly be given the names of the town officers as the list stands at this time, viz.: William H. Nichols, supervisor; William W. Lindsay, town clerk; Frank Hardenbrook, of Savona, William W. Lindsay, of Bath, John Bancroft, of Sonora, William H. Kearney, of Kanona, and John A. Adams, of Bath, justices of the peace; John Hedges, Thomas Robinson, jr., and George K. Bowiby, assessors; Stephen Read, collector; James M. Thomas, highway commissioner; James Faulkner and Joseph Kleckler, overseers of the poor; William H. Davison, Jacob E. Bedell and Washington Sutherland, excise commissioners. Returning again to the events of early history, all authorities concede that the greatest growth and benefit accrued to the town through the designation of Bath as the seat of justice of the county, while the organization of the town itself was an important though auxiliary factor in promoting its early welfare. The name "County Seat" alone was a sufficient inducement to attract settlement, and professional men, merchants, mechanics and agriculturists alike hastened to the village, hoping to be first in their class and thus became early established in general favor and poularity.

The court house was completed in 1797, and during the same year Captain Williamson organized a splendid regiment of militia, he being appointed its lieutenant colonel, from which fact he was ever afterward styled "Colonel" Williamson. In 1798 the first bridge across the Conhocton was built at Bath, and in the same year a raft of lumber was safely sent down the river to Baltimore market. Among the settlers in this year were Henry A. Townsend, Joseph Grant, William Howe Cuyler, John Wilson, James Woodruff and Daniel Bennett. In March, 1800, Swing & Patterson built an ark eighty feet long by twenty wide, loaded it with wheat and lumber and shipped it to market at Baltimore. Other similar ventuies followed, with equal success, to the great satisfaction of Colonel Williamson and the entire towns people, and the result was the construction of several storehouses at convenient points along the river.

In 1801 the Legislature having passed an act authorizing aliens for three years to take title to land in this State, Colonel Williamson conveyed the unsold portions of the townships, previously held by him in trust, to his principals, and then resigned his agency position. In 1799 he had begun the erection of a grand country seat on his so called Springfield Farm, a mile and one half below the village, near Lake Salubria (now Lake Williamson). It was the largest private dwelling in Western New York, and when completed was placed in charge of Major Presley Thornton, a kinsman of General Washington and a former officer in the Revolution, who had just come from Virginia with a young wife of rare beauty and attainments. She was long known as "The Madam," from her graceful and commanding ways. The colonel made his home with them after he retired from the agency, and dispensed hospitality with a generous hand, and the place became famous for its brilliant assemblies. Major Thornton died in 1806, and Colonel Williamson soon afterward left for Europe and never returned. He died in 1808.

As we have stated, Major Thornton came to Bath in 1801, and was placed in charge of Colonel Williamson's mansion. He brought with him Virginia customs and many of the adjuncts of southern life and manners. Among the family belongings were several house slaves, servants rather than laborers, yet bondmen and women. This is believed to have been the first formal introduction of slavery into Bath, although other and perhaps earlier settlers may have numbered a slave man or woman among their servants. And in this statement there is nothing surprising, not even unusual, for slaves were then the property of owners, the subjects of sale and traffic in the South and some other States, yet is understood as contrary to the statute laws of New Yotk. However, in the town of Bath slaves were treated as chattel property, and were bought and sold, occasionally under process of law and the apparent sanction of the courts. This practice, too, was continued for several years.

Capt. William Helm came to the town in 1806, from Prince William county, Va., with his family and a retinue of about forty slaves. He purchased a number of farms, and set his slaves cultivating them. He built a fine mansion on the site of the present First National Bank, and also rebuilt the old grist mill near the bridge. Captain Helm was unfortunate in business, his property was seized by the sheriff and several of his slaves were sold to satisfy executions. One was purchased by Dugald Cameron for $30, and was set free in 1819. This slave was Daniel Cooper.

This is only one of the many instances of slavery existing in this town during the early years of the century, and the fact reflects no discredit or stain upon any person or family. It was the recognized custom of the period, and that there were more slaves owned in Bath than in many other localities only shows that a large number of the aristocratic and wealthy early residents of the town came from slave States, as commonly called. In the year 1808 there were twenty two blacks in the county, and all were slaves. In 1810 the colored inhabitants numbered 116, of whom 87 were slaves. The early town records, noticeably from 1800 to 1820, contain frequent reference to slave ownership, as births, sales and acts of manumission were required to be recorded.

Among the other slave owners in Bath, there may be mentioned John Fitz Hugh, Samuel Hanson Baker, Howell Bull, Dugald Cameron, Henry McElwee, Capt. Samuel Erwin (of Painted Post), Ira Pratt, Daniel Cruger, Thomas McBurney and others.

From all that is stated on preceding pages the reader will discover that the town of Bath was early and rapidly settled, and with a class of pioneers who were in all respects desirable to a new community. Under the inspiring influences of Williamson the result was to be expected, and in the brief space of less than ten years he succeeded in building up a fine and substantial village, a county seat, while within its boundaries, and those of the town surrounding it, were accumulated nearly five hundred inhabitants. As shown by census statistics, the town of Bath, in 1800, had a population of 452, the result of only seven years colonization. In 1810 to the number had increased to 1,036, and in 1820 to 2,578. The inhabitants in 1830 numbered 3,387, and 4,915 in 1840. Ten years later there were 6,185 persons living in the town, and 5,129 in 1860. In 1870 the number was 6,236, and in 1880 was 7,396. The census of 1890 showed the town to contain 7,881 inhabitants, though the count of 1892 gave but 7,057 population.

As now constituted Bath is by far the largest in area of the civil divisions of Steuben county, containing by actual survey 57,100 acres of land. The original town was even larger, but, like many others, has surrendered portions of her territory to later creations. Pulteney was taken off in 1808, and parts of Howard and Cohocton in 1812. A portion was set off to form Wheeler in 1820, and another part to Urbana in 1822. Still another reduction helped to form Avoca in 1843, and and in 1852 Cohocton received an annexation from the mother town. Savona was organized as a town, December 30, 1859, and was consolidated with Bath, April 8, 1862.

The early history of Bath was uneventful except as the usual monotony of pioneership was varied by the rapid strides which marked the settlement of the region. The settlers were peaceable and law abiding, yet fond of entertainment and pleasure. Public houses and places of resort were numerous, and in the year 1824 no less than twelve persons were licensed to keep tavern and sell "strong and spirituous liquors;" the number of licensed places in the town in 1825 was fourteen.

The war of 1812-15 was an event of much importance in local annals, and the occasion of some excitement and alarm. Bath was the rendezvous for the newly organized companies and regiments raised in the county, and several of her citizens played prominent parts on the frontier. General McClure, Majors Cruger and Gaylord, Captain Read and Lieutenant Kennedy rendered efficient service. Two companies were drafted on Pulteney Square in 1813.

The town and village of Bath were also the chief seat of operations and discussion during that period in which took place the anti rent controversy, and although the people of this immediate vicinity were but little affected by the tumult and excitement of the occasion, this was the central point and the place of meeting of the disaffected element. The town was represented in the convention of January, 1830, by William Woods, James Warden, John Corbitt, Peter Hunter, Melvin Schenck, Caleb P. Fulton and Elisha Hawkes. However, this embryo strife was soon passed into history and peace and general prosperity prevailed. Nothing further of importance occurred to disturb the serenity of domestic life until the outbreak of the war of 1861-5, and during that long and disastrous struggle the town of Bath made a record which stands through all time as one of the brightest pages in her history. Still we cannot in this place reefer at length to the military records of the town, the subject being fully covered in another chapter of this work. Yet, the statement may be made that during the war the town furnished for the service a total of 500 men.

Before closing this chapter it is appropriate that at least passing mention be made of the schools of the town at large, although much that might be said in a general way will be found in the history of the village of Bath in another part of this volume. However, on this important subject the old records afford little reliable information, and of the character and condition of the districts previous to 1847 nothing is known. At the first town meeting in 1797 George D. Cooper, John Sheather, Charles Williamson and Benjamin F. Young were elected commissioners of common schools, yet, in 1793, the year in which the town was founded, a school was opened in Bath and Robert Hunter was the master. The first school house stood on the northwest corner of Pulteney Square, and was built previous to 1800. The first conveyance of land for school purposes was that of October 4, 1803, by Sir William Pulteney to Samuel Baker, William Read and Eli Read, being fifty acres in Pleasant Valley. That region then formed a part of Bath. On February 1, 1815, the Duke of Cumberland and others conveyed to the trustees of District No. 5 two acres of land in lot 33, now in the town of Wheeler. On December 29, 1812, Henry A. Townsend conveyed to the trustees of Bath school a lot on the north side of Steuben street, and here a school house was built in 1813.

The territory of Bath was divided by the first board of commissioners into five school districts, and each district had three trustees. Later records are imperfect and defective, but from the results of Mr. Kingsley's research we learn that a school was early established at Kanona, and that in the "White School house" in old district No. 2, William Howell taught in 1826. The first school house in the southeast part of the town was built of logs, near the four corners, where the Marshall Stewart house stands. John Wicks was one of the earliest teachers in that section. In 1847 the number of school districts in the town was twenty seven, of which sixteen were entire and eleven joint with districts of other towns. As at present constituted the districts number twenty five, located and known, respectively, as follows: No. 1, Savona, organized 1891; No. 2; Harrisburgh Hollow; No. 3, Irish Hill; No. 4, Unionville; No. 5, Bath; No. 6, East Union; No. 7, Chamberlain's; No. 8, Kanona; No. 9, Mt. Washington; No. to, Wolf Run; No. 11, Babcock Hollow; No. 12, Eagle Valley; No. 13, Spaulding's Bridge; No. 14, Sonora; No. 15, Freeman Hollow; No. 16, Veley District; No. 17, no distinguishing name; No. 18, Oak Hill; No. 19, Cossville; No. 20, Campbell Creek; No. 21, West Union; No. 22, Knight's Settlement; No. 23, Buck's Settlement; No. 24, Moore Settlement; No. 25, Bowlby District.

The total value of school property in the several districts is estimated at $56,745. During the last current year the town received public moneys to the amount of $5,660.51, and raised by local tax for school purposes $6,547.13. Sixty trees were planted by pupils in 1894.

The villages and hamlets of the town are subjects of special mention in another department of this work. However, we may state in this connection that the town has two incorporated villages, Bath and Savona, both conveniently situated on the line of the Erie and Delaware and Lackawanna Railroads, and well known among the municipalities of the county. Kanona is in the northwest part of the town, also on the railroads and a place of importance in the region. Unionville is a small hamlet situated about three miles southwest of Bath.

In the department of this work devoted specially to ecclesiastical history, will be found a record of each of the church organizations of the town.


Return to [ NY History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ]


NY Counties - Albany - Allegany - Broome - Cayuga - Chatauqua - Chenango - Clinton - Columbia - Cortland - Dutchess - Erie - Essex - Franklin - Fulton - Genesee - Herkimer - Jefferson - Lewis - Livingston - Madison - Montgomery - Niagara - Oneida - Onondaga - Ontario - Orange - Orleans - Oswego - Putnam - Queens - Rensselaer - Richmond - Rockland - St. Lawrence - Saratoga - Schenectady - Steuben - Suffolk - Tioga - Tompkins - Tryone - Ulster - Washington - Wayne - Yates


All pages copyright 2003-2012. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy