History of Greenwood, 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

GREENWOOD. - This town was formed from Troupsburg and Canisteo, January 24, 1827, and included all that is now West Union as well as Greenwood. The former was taken off in 1845, and a part of Jasper was annexed in 1848. As at present constituted Greenwood contains 24,700 acres of land, the greater part of which is rolling upland. Bennett's Creek flows northerly through the east part of the town, in a valley from two to six hundred feet below some of the hilltops. The soil is a clayey and gravelly loam.

When the land proprietors began to develop this region, for the purpose of inducing settlement in what was then supposed to be an uninviting wilderness of forests, they cut a road up the creek through this town to the Pennsylvania line. However, no settlement was made immediately after the completion of the work, nor until after the construction of the highway leading from the Thomas neighborhood to the then famous salt spring in the town we now call Greenwood. The Indians made salt at this spring long before the advent of the whites and the locality was a favored spot in the aboriginal period; and the spring was no less prized by the white faced pioneers, and at an early day an attempt was made to manufacture salt here by Ezekiel Burger and a Mr. Matthews.

The second road was cut through in 182o, and in the spring of the next year we find Alexander H. Stephens and Anson Robinson clearing land and building a saw mill within the limits of the town. This was the pioneer settlement, though the family of our chief adventurer, Mr. Stephens, did not come till the mill was completed. Ezra and John H. Stephens next came up the valley to the town, after which settlement progressed rapidly, for the lands were cheap and well timbered, and the soil fertile. In 1823 the family of Deacon Daniel Manning came, and in the same year Eleazer Woodward became a settler, and built a small tannery near the Stephens mill. Both of them came from New Hampshire.

The next settlers were Dennis Sanford, Seth Norton, Stephen Powell, all along the ridge, and Hiram Putnam, John H. Hayt, Joseph and Josephus Batchelder and Jacob Manning, along and near the creek. Guy Wardwell settled on the strip annexed from Jasper. Collating and noting briefly some of the other early families we may recall the names of Levi Davis, Ira and Randall Pease, Christian Cobey, John Holt, James Henshaw, Daniel Ward, Benjamin Chamberlain, Hugh Carr (whose wife taught the first school), Phineas Stephens, Uriah F. Stephens, Col. John Stephens, Enoch Ordway, Ezra Lovejoy, Amos Lewis, Josiah Richardson, Stephen, Lyman, Amos and Jesse Wilmot. Lyman Wilmot built a grist mill at the place called Rough and Ready. Still later corners were George Updike, Benjamin Edwards, William Atkins, John Rogers, John J. Ducher, Enos Smith, John Baisby, Richard Krusen ( a pioneer tavern keeper and also land agent, and withal a man who did much to bring settlement into the town), Ezekiel and Hiram Burger, William Burrows, Joshua Goldsmith and others, all of whom were located in the town as early as 1830.

So rapid indeed was early settlement in this extreme portion of the county that the convenience of the inhabitants demanded a separate organization and a new town, and the result was the division of Canisteo and Troupsburg and the creation of Greenwood, comprising originally the territory we have previously described. The population of the new formation at that time did not exceed 700, notwithstanding the extent of territory, about 55,00o acres.

The first town meeting was held at the house of Levi Davis, on March 6, 1827, and the following officers were elected: Levi Davis, supervisor; Anson Cook, town clerk; David Murray, Randall Pease, and Uriah F. Stephens, assessors; Richard Kruzen, Uriah Ingley and Aden Lewis, commissioners of highways; Jacob Manning and Jacob Bess, overseers of the poor; Abram V. Olmsted, Joseph Batchelder, Thomas Johnson, commissioners of schools; Francis Strong, Josiah Haywood and Moses Clausen, inspectors of schools; John H. Stephens, collector. The town was named by Alexander H. Stephens, one of its most influential early citizens, and through his efforts the strip from Jasper was annexed to Greenwood. Referring briefly to some of the important early evens of town history, may be mentioned the first mill, built by Alexander Stephens in 1821-23; Levi Davis built a log house in 1824, and opened tavern in 1825. He also kept a small stock of goods, and dispensed good whiskey at twenty cents per gallon. The first postoffice was in Mr. Davis's store, and mail was brought from Hornellsville on horseback. This was about 1828 or '29 Mr. Davis was for a time partner with Ira Davenport. In 183o David Foote and Redmond Ferguson began the manufacture of furniture and coffins, and in the same year B. F. Brundage built a carding and fulling mill. This was burned in 1846, and was replaced with the flouring mill. In 1835 James ("High Jimmy") McCormick shipped to market the first butter from Greenwood. Alvin Mead is said to have brought the first wagon into the western part of the town, in 1827. Daniel McCormick built a grist mill at Rough and Ready about 1832. The first birth was that of Charles C. Stephens; the first marriage that of Hiram Putnam and Lucinda Stephens; the first death that of Ezra Cobey.

The supervisors of Greenwood have been as follows: Levi Davis, 1827-29 and 1831-32; Thomas Johnson, 1830; Randall Pease, 1833; Anson Cook, 1834-36; Jos. Davenport, 1837-38; John J. Holt, 1839-40; Alex. H. Stephens; 1841-47; Elijah Guyon, 1848-51; John Davis, 1852-54, 1856-59, 1864, 1869, 1872-73; Augustus Mallory, 1855; Israel M. Brundage, 1860, 1862-63, 1870; Daniel Manning, 1861; H. H. Mallory, 1865-66, 1875-8r; R. H. Sheffield, 1867-68; John S. Hartrum, 1871; Merrit F. Smith, 1874; P. A. Mead, 1882; Valentine Reiman, 1883-85; G. D. Woodward, 1886-87; N. E. Coston, t888. 1890; M. F. Smith, 1889; John S. Young, 1890-91; L. G. Burton, 1893-95.

Town officers, 1895: Lynn G. Burton, supervisor; Eugene Brundage, town clerk; John S. Young, George M. Woodward, John K. Miller and Edward H. Ferris, justices; H. W. Young, J. D. Northrup and W. H. Taylor, assessors; Willis Scribner, collector; John N. Hovey, overseer of the poor; Dudley B. Ersley, highway commissioner; Ira Clark, Reuben Stephens and Freeman Rogers, excise cornmisioners.

There has been little change in the population of Greenwood during the last half century, and the number of inhabitants has not increased or diminished to the extent of two hundred in the last thirty five years. In 1830 the town had 899 inhabitants, and 1,138 in 1840. Ten years later the population was 1,185, and in 1860 was 1,306. In 1870 the number was 1,394, and 1,386 in 1880. It was 1,312 in 1890, and 1,241 in 1892.

Three years after the separate organization of Greenwood, the people of the region were much disturbed and directly affected by the anti rent conflict and the discussions of its period. In the convention at Bath in January, 1830, we find as delegates from Greenwood a number of her leading men, among them Levi Davis, Thomas Johnson, Anson Cook, William J. Strong and Randall Pease. Mr. Davis was one of the committee appointed to prepare and present to the agents of the proprietary the memorial for the relief of the distressed settlers.

During the war of 1861-65, Greenwood furnished a total of seventy five men for the service. A history of the various companies to which belonged volunteers from the town will be found in another department of this work.

In the course of its history there has been built up and established one thriving and pretty little village, and also two hamlets of less not; known, respectively as West Greenwood and Rough and Ready. The first mentioned village, and its institutions, will be treated especially in the municipal history, in this volume.


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