History of Wayland, 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 Wayland]

WAYLAND. - This town is one of the younger civil divisions of the county, and was formed from Cohocton and Dansville, April 12, 1848. A part of Fremont was taken off in 1854, and as now constituted Wayland contains 23,400 acres of land. Its surface is an upland, rolling in the north and moderately hilly in the south, yet possesses natural resources far superior to many of the interior towns of the county. The highest ridges approximate 1,800 feet above tide, and form a portion of the watershed between Lake Ontario and the Susquehanna. Loon and Mud Lakes are situated in the rich valley in the south part of the town, but their waters flow in opposite directions. Loon Lake has a subterranean outlet for half a mile and when it comes to the surface the volume of water is sufficient to form a valuable mill stream. The town was named not in honor of Rev. Dr. Francis Wayland of Rhode Island, as has been stated, but in allusion to the hymn called "Wayland," which Mr. Patchin sang at a fortunate moment.

Many of the early settlers in this town were Germans, the pioneer being Adam Zimmerman, who in 1806 settled where the railroad depot now stands in the village. The other pioneers were Capt. Thomas Bowles, Mr. Bowen and John Hume, who came in the year 1808, also Mr. Hicks, in 1810, and Thomas Begole in 1814, all locating in the north part. The Loon Lake vicinity was settled in 1813 by Salmon, James and Elisha Brownson, Isaac Willie, Osgood Carleton and Solomon Draper. The central portion was settled at the same time, its pioneers being Demas Hess, John Hess, Samuel Draper, Benjamin Perkins (for whom Perkinsville is named), Walter Patchin, founder of the settlement known as Patchin's Mills; and others whose names are now forgotten. Peter Shafer located on the road leading to Dansville, and for many years kept tavern and did blacksmithing.

Among the early settlers, as we have intimated, was a strong contingent of Germans; hardy, determined, and active men, not easily dismayed or discouraged by obstacles, for half hearted pioneers could never have gained a substantial foothold in Wayland, as we are told that this region was hard to settle and develop. In the early population was also a fair proportion of New Englanders and a few Pennsylvanians, and all seem to have worked earnestly and unitedly, and today the results of well expended energy is apparent, for in point of resources and general productiveness Wayland ranks well up among the towns of the county. Circumstances, too, have done much for our town, as the railroads have afforded facilities for the shipment of products which the majority of towns do not possess. Small wonder is it, therefore, that in this extreme northwest corner of the county we find as early as 1825 a stable and progressive settlement, with mills and fine farms in active operation and an era of prosperity prevailing on every hand.

Referring briefly to some of the early institutions of Wayland, we may state that the first saw mill was built by Benjamin Perkins; the first grist mill by Dugald Cameron and Abijah Fowler, in 1816. Samuel Taggart kept one of the first taverns, in 1827; the first storekeeper was James L. Monier, in 183o; the first school was taught by Thomas Wilbur, in 1811. Erastus Ames was the noted hunter of the region. Dr. Warren Patchin built a hotel at Patchin's Mills in 1824, and for him the hamlet was named. The grist and saw mills here he also built, and they were kept in operation by his son for many years. The saw mill was built in 1820; the grist mill two years later. The plank road from Patchinville to Dansville was constructed about 1842. Outside of these old industries Patchin's Mills, or Patchinville, has not attracted any considerable attention to the history of the town. The same may also be said of the locality known as Loon Lake, although in connection with the latter, during recent years, an attempt was made to establish a summer resort, but with indifferent success. Wayland in the north part, and Perkinsville near the center of the town, are thriving villages, and are the centers of rich agricultural regions. The town at large yields well in farm products, potatoes being the special crop grown and affording excellent returns.

In pursuance of the act creating the town the meeting for the election of officers was held at the house of Cameron Patchin, May 2, 1848, and resulted as follows: John Hess, supervisor; Samuel W. Epley, town clerk; M. M. Patchin, Amos Knowlton, Chauncey Moore and Gardner Pierce, justices; R. M. Patchin, David Poor and David Brownson, assessors. The statement may be made that Supervisor Hess and Justices Patchin and Knowlton were previous officers of the mother town, and were continued in the new creation under the erecting act.

The succession of supervisors in Wayland is as follows: John Hess 1848-50, 1852 and 1855-57; Daniel Poor, 1851; David Poor, 1853 M. M. Patchin, 1854; James G. Bennett, 1858-63, 1866 and 1875-76; James P. Clark, 1864-65 and 1867; James Redmond, 1868 and 1870-71; H. A. Avery, 1869; Martin Kimmel, 1872-73 and 1879-80; Jacob Morsch, 1874; F. E. Holliday, 1877; John M. Folts, 1878; G. E. Whitman, 1881-83; H. J. Rosencrans, 1884-85; J. P. Morsch, 1886-87; Andrew Granger, 1888; W. W. Capron, 1889; J. B. Whitman, 1890-92; H. S. Rosenkrans, 1893; John P. Morsch, 1894-95.

The officers for 1895 are John P. Morsch, supervisor; George Nold, town clerk; Peter H. Zimmerman, H. S. Rosencrans, Peter Didas, jr., and Wm. Schuts, justices; John E. Bennett, F. E. Holliday and Wm. Wolfanger, assessors; Henry Schumaker, collector; John A. Schwingle, overseer of the poor; Martin Kimmel, jr., highway commissioner; G. D. Abrams, Sylvester Dodge and C. S. Fults, excise commissioners.

Notwithstanding the fact that Wayland is regarded as one of the most progressive towns of the county, the truth remains that the population in 1892 was not so large as in 1860. Then the inhabitants numbered 2,809, as against 2,375 at the last enumeration. This somewhat unnatural condition is accounted for in the fact that the young men have left the farms for city life, and that all agricultural interests during the last twenty five years have materially declined; and whatever growth has been shown is confined chiefly to the villages of Wayland and Percinsville, both enterprising municipalities within the limits of the town.

During the war of 1861-65 Wayland contributed to the regiments of this State a total of 239 men, certainly a splendid record, though many of the volunteers enlisted in adjoining counties.

Previous to 1848 the schools of Wayland were a part of the history of the towns from which it was formed, and when this town was organized its territory was divided into nine districts, in each of which a school was provided. Then the school population was about 1,000 children. There are now eleven districts, with 400 children attending school, outside Wayland village. There are also employed fourteen teachers. In 1893-4 the town raised by tax for school purposes the sum of $3,104.83, and received of public moneys the sum of $1,635.85.


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