History of Wolcott, New York
FROM LANDMARKS OF WAYNE COUNTY
EDITED BY: HON, GEORGE C. COWLES
ASSISTED BY H. P. SMITH AND OTHERS
PUBLISHED BY D. MASON & CO. PUBLISHERS, SYRACUSE, NY 1895
For the first few years, or until 1826, the town meetings were held alternately at the houses of Obadiah Adams in Wolcott village, and Lott Stewart at Stewart's Corners. It is impossible to give a complete list of the supervisors owing to the records prior to 1867 being burned. Osgood Church held the office for four years (1810-13), and was succeeded by Adonijah Church (1814-17). Jesse Mathews, Arad Talcott, Norman Sheldon, and perhaps others down to 1826, when the town was divided. The first supervisor of the present township, in that year, was Dr. David Arne. March 5, 1867, the following town officers were elected: Edwin H. Draper, supervisor; Ezekiel K. Teachout, town clerk; Isaac Vought, John J. Van Aistine, George E. Due, Daniel C. Washburn, justices of the peace; William W. Phillips, assessor; Ashley Milliman and H. W. Burchard, overseers of the poor; Isaac Rice, highway commissioner; Harmon V. Becker, collector. The supervisors since then have been:
The town officers for 1894 are: George R. Miles, supervisor; Herbert Perkins, town clerk; E. H. Kellogg, E. H. Horton, O. J. Frost, Mills Douglass, justices of the peace; William H. Milliman, Nathaniel J. Field, George Johnson, assessors; Burgess Jenkins, highway commissioner; Hiram Snyder, collector; Rolla Stewart and Henry Schuyler, overseers of the poor.
Settlement in the present town of Wolcott commenced at Wolcott village as early as 1807. About 1806 Jonathan Melvin, Sr., who in 1795 had located on 500 or 600 acres of land on Melvin hill in Phelps, Ontario county, purchased lot 50, containing 500 acres, now included within the corporate limits. He began improvements in 1807 or 1808, but did not settle his family here until 1811. His tract was on Williamson's patent, which included the old towia of Wolcott. The actual sale of lands on this patent continued from June 16, 1808, to October 15, 1813, during which period 117 contracts, covering about 10,000 acres, were made, the prices ranging from $2.40 to $5 per acre. The first contract was taken by Abram Bunce for 144 acres, now the Van Vleet farm in Butler. - The sub-agents for Williamson's patent were Osgood Church and Frederick Wolcott. The latter did not live here, and the work devolved upon Mr. Church, who made the sales and accounted for the proceeds.
Adonijah Church, the first town clerk and a brother to Osgood, came to Wolcott with his family in 1807 and settled on lot 48. He was one of the early commissioners of common schools, supervisor from 1814 to 1817 inclusive, and died in 1842, aged forty-two. Osgood Church located on lot 49 in 1808. He was born in Berkshire county, Mass., in 1780, and being a surveyor he laid out all of the earlier roads in this town. He was a prominent citizen, an influential man, the first and for four years supervisor, and died March 15, 1815. October 27, 1809, he had deeded to him 855 acres of land here at $2.40 per acre.
Jonathan Melvin, Sr., and Osgood Church were closely associated with the business development of not only Wolcott village, but the old town as well, and for many years carried on a number of important industries. Melvin began improvements about 1808 and the following year had a grist mill in operation on the present Rumsey site. He also, and doubtless before this, built a saw mill, and about 1812 he sold both establishments to Obadiah Adams for $10,000. He donated a site for a school house or a church which would include the present Baptist church lot and public square in Wolcott village. He sold a lot below the saw mill to Daniel Mellin. who erected a fulling, cloth-dressing, and carding mill. He sold about three acres, then known as the swamp lot, to Dr. David Arne; this included the site of the new Presbyterian church. He built an ashery on the north side of Main street and a distillery on the west side of the road leading to the Beach grist mill. In 1811 he moved his family here and about 1813 he erected a dwelling house which he painted jet black. Mr. Melvin was a peculiar man. Upon being asked why he chose such an unusual color for his residence he replied: "I like to see things correspond; if my character is black, I paint the house so." He always wore a buckskin apron, one for work and another on Sundays to church. His farm and residence were widely known as the "Black House."
Extensive business interests like Melvin's required more capital than he could command, and so the banks at Utica and Geneva were called upon to furnish funds, for which - notes and mortgages were given as collateral. This involved Osgood Church, who became Melvin's endorser, and when their paper fell due they unfortunately found themselves without the necessary money. The banks were obdurate, and the sheriff levied upon everything the two men owned, including about 450 acres within the present limits of Wolcott village. The property was bid in by the Geneva Bank, or at least passed into the control of that institution, by which it was subsequently parceled out to individual purchasers, as noted further on. Melvin was a pensioner of the Revolutionary war, and after his failure here he returned to Phelps, where he died abput 1845.
Obadiah Adams, a brother-in-law of Osgood Church, came here in 1810 and purchased forty acres on the east side, of New Hartford street in Wolcott village. He was a colonel in the State militia, and from about 1812 to 1824 was the chief business man in the town. Upon the site of the Wolcott HoUse he built a story and a half frame dwelling, which he opened as a tavern, and a year or two later he erected an addition, in which he kept a store, being the first merchant and tavern keeper in the town of Wolcott. He also built the first distillery and an ashery, and had a kiln in which he dried corn meal for shipment to Canada. He bought wheat and had a warehouse at Sloop Landing, where he speculated in land, laid out village lots, and erected several very good buildings. He owned a sailing vessel, which plied the waters of Lake Ontario, and he built the first frame barn in town, opposite his hotel. His tavern, being on the Oswego-Buffalo stage line, was a favorite and important stopping place. He erected a blast furnace a little east of the Beach mill and was about to start operations in the manufacture of plow castings when he failed (about 1824). The law then imprisoned for debt and Mr. Adams was taken by the sheriff to the jail limits at Lyons. He was soon liberated, however, and 1826 he moved to Rochester, where he opened a hotel, but died 'soon afterward, a poor man. The last town meeting of the old town of Wolcott was held at his house in April, 1825.
Dr. David Arne was a practicing physician and the first postmaster of the town. He purchased of the Geneva Bank the old Black House farm of 250 acres at $17 per acre. He was a conspicuous man, as was also Obadiah Adams, and the two were inveterate political opponents. Dr. Arne was justice of the peace, and on one occasion swore out and personally wrote several summonses against Adams for swearing on the street, securing of course the usual judgments, which the latter was obliged to pay. Mr. Adams retaliated by suing the doctor for false arrest and secured a verdict of about $50.
The war of 1812 checked immigration somewhat; the following were residents of the old town of Wolcott just prior to that conflict:
Dr. Denas Hyde came here in 1807, and November 5, 1811, he took a contract for eight and one-half acres of lot 26. He was the father of Harlow Hyde, who is now the oldest living supervisor of the town. The latter was for twenty years a justice of the peace and a member of Assembly in 1856-60. His son, James H., was lieutenant of Company A, 138th N. Y. Infantry.
Zenas Wheeler came to Wolcott about the same time and was a member of the General Assembly in 1837. He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and died in Phelps in March, 1879.
Lambert Woodruff bought and settled on about 500 acres'adioining the Black House farm, on the north, in 1808. He had five sons, John, Jesse, Charles, Luther and Andrew. His homestead subsequently became the, residence of Enos Reed.
Elisha Plank removed to this town in the spring of 1813, and on May 21 purchased 467 acres on lots 381, 383 and 385, for which he paid $4.25 per acre. He built a saw mill and grist mill on Mill Creek, about one mile north of the village; both establishments were carried away by a freshet November 1, 1814, carrying him and a son with them. The latter was drowned, but the father escaped with slight injuries. The following spring his house was burned. He erected another grist mill on the same site, and died September 25, 1852. His son, born in 1796, came here with the family in 1813, and died December 27, 1886. He taught school in early life and held several town offices.
Abijah Moore was the pioneer settler on New Hartford street. He came in 1809 and brought his family hither in 1810, and led the first dance held in the town. Stephen and Sylvanus Joiner, on March 1, 1811, purchased 1,050 acres for $4.00 an acre of Fellows & McNab; this was on lot 344, and upon it they built two frame barns.
Hiram Church was a son of Osgood Church, previously mentioned, and was born in Marlboro, Mass., April 8, 1806. Coming here with father in 1808 he lived to see the old town transformed from a wilderness into beautiful homes and thrifty villages, and a few years before his death be published in the Lake Shore News a number of articles pertaining to the early history of this locality. He had two daughters and a son (William O.), and died here October 13, 1889.
Giles Fitch contracted for ninety-six acres of lot 352 July 20, 1811, and the same day Thaddeus Fitch purchased a like amount of the same lot. The former was the first mail contractor from Wolcott to Auburn, carrying the mail on horseback once a week each way.
Eliab Abbott was a settler of 1808. On September 30 of that year he contracted for fifty-nine and a half acres of lot 376. Among other pioneers and prominent settlers in the old town of Wolcott were Lott Stewart, inn-keeper at Stewart's Corners; Jarvis and Gardner Mudge; Ransom Ward, Joseph Foster, father of Asahel; Jedediah Wilson, on lot 66; Linus Hthbard, a blacksmith; Jonathan Runyon, a Revolutionary soldier, who drew a bounty of 600 acres; Levi Smith; Samuel J. Otis, on lot 352, an old Mason; Stephen D. Fowler, son of John P.; Ephraim P. Bigelow; Isaac Otis, on lot 267; Daniel Dutcher, on lot 75; Benjamin Brown, on lot 320, who died in June, 1871; John Mack, father of Harrison, on lot 31; Luke Brinkerhoff, on lot 62; John Ford, a soldier of the war of 1812; Daniel Patterson, also a veteran of 1812, and the father of John; William Sax, Roger Olmsted, George I. and Garrett Van Fleet,' James M. Hall, Rev. Ira H. Hogan, William W. Phillips, father of John M.; and Robert McArthur, another soldier in the war of 1812, and the father of John. June 24, 1812, Thomas Hale contracted for 200 acres of lots 304 and 312 and August 26, 1813, he purchased twenty-five acres more of lot 304. Charles Sweeet bought fifty acres of lot 344 October 15, 1813.
Elias V. Munson, born in New Jersey in July, 1793, removed to Auburn, where he helped to lay the walls of the State Prison, and came thence to Wolcott in 1820 as a clerk for Obadiah Adams. Upon the failure of the latter he went to Waterloo, but soon returned to Wolcott as agent in the store of Reuben Swift & Co., whom he soon bought out. About 1829 he purchased of the Geneva Bank the old tavern stand and farm of Adams's. The hotel was burned in the winter of 1836-7 and in 1837 he built the Northern Exchange Hotel, which was the first brick building in Wolcott. He subsequently bought a farm two miles south of the village, but two years later returned and engaged in merchandising, a business he followed until shortly before his death, June 23, 186L He was the second postmaster of Wolcott, and for several years was a justice of the peace. He had three children.
Rev. Amos P. Draper was born in Dover, N. Y., in 1791, and by trade was a carpenter and joiner. He "went from the bench to the pulpit" of the Baptist Church and began his ministerial labors in Wolcott, subsequently officiating in Phelps and Red Creek. He was the father of Dr. Edwin H. Draper, a practicing physician in Wolcott village; he also had four children.
Thomas Snyder, born in Owasco, N. Y., in 1796. came with the family in 1813 to Red Creek, where his father purchased 1,000 acres of land. The latter built the first saw mill and grist mill in that village, and during his life was a prominent citizen of the place.
John O. Wadsworth, from Vermont, settled in Butler with his father, Elisha W., in 1819. In 1832 he removed to Wolcott, and was sheriff of Wayne county four years. He was the father of Henry Wadsworth.
Capt. Horace L. Dudley, born in Guilford, Conn., February 25, 1803, came to Wolcott in 1824, and in 1826 married Melinda Hendrick. He was a progressive agriculturist, held Leveral town offices, and was commissioned captain in the State militia August 22, 1829. He had nine children, and died March 25, 1880.
Jedediah Wilder was born in Bristol, N. Y., in 1792, and came to Wolcott village in 1816. He purchased of Samuel Millen the fulling and cloth-dressing mill, which he conducted until 1826, when he sold it to Roswell Benedict and bought a farm of Zenas Wheeler. He was one of the earliest agents of the American Bible Society, for twenty years a magistrate of the town, for ten years president of the Wayne Sunday School Union, and a soldier in the State militia under Col. Swift during the attack on Sodus Point by the British. He died August 8, 1867.
William Olney Wood, son of Noah, was born in Otsego county, N. V., in August, 1809. He finally removed to Butler, and learning the trade of a tanner came to Wolcott village. In 1831 he purchased a small tannery in Red Creek and became one of the wealthiest and most influential men in the town. He built Wood's Hotel and opened a private banking office, and for several years was supervisor of Wolcott. He had ten children, and died in March, 1879.
Hon. Isaac Leavenworth, a native of Watertown, Conn., born June 17, 1781, became a resident of Wolcott village about 1838, and during the remainder of his life was one of the town's most prominent citizens. He founded the Leavenworth Institute, and in 1849 was elected to the Legislature. He was energetic, public spirited, enterprising, and generous, and died February 26, 1860.
Anson Drury, born in Vermont in 1799, came to Huron with his parents Caleb and Jane in 1816, and removed to a farm in Wolcott in 1855, where he died in January, 1881. Jesse W. Williams was born in Burlington, Vt., October 30, 1797, served as a teamster, with his father, in the war of 1812, and came to this town in 1834, where he died in August, 1876. M. P. Foote, born in Newtown, Conn., in 1805, came here in 1840, was first a merchant and then a farmer, arid died September 25, 1889. Capt. Thomas W. Johnson removed to Wolcott when a boy, served in the Civil War and was brevetted major, and died in November, 1886. Jesse Mathews was supervisor of the old town in 1817 and for several years was a justice of the peace; his daughter Amanda suc ceeded him on the homestead.
Prominent among other settlers and residents are George W. Brinkerhoff, born in Wolcott in 1838, served in the 9th Heavy Artillery, brevetted major, elected to the Assembly in 1891; George Doolittle, supervisor, deceased; Joseph Ward, father of Reuben, died in 1882; R. W. Younglove, of North Wolcott; Jesse Olmstead, the last of nine children, died September 26, 1884; Deacon Cyrus Brockway, died in October, 18Th; John Turner, father of M. B., died in 1890; Isaac Rice, father of Ammon, died in 1893; JoIth. Dow, who purchased 300 acres pf land at North Wolcott for $5 per acre and. died in 1884; Alanson Frost, from Connecticut, father of Oscar J.; Hamilton Hibbard, who died April 29, 1894. Many others are noticed in Part II of this volume.
In 1858 the town had 12,995 acres improved land; real estate assessed at $549,749; personal property, $55,300; 1,535 male and 1,478 female inhabitants; 593 dwellings, 609 families, and 484 freeholders; 15 school districts attended by 1,223 children; 673 horses, 1,327 oxen and calves, 882 cows, 4,296 sheep, 1,692 swine. There were produced that year 9,103 bushels winter and 112,751 bushels spring wheat, 1,714 tons hay, 10,854 bushels potatoes, 17,456 bushels apples, 79,186 pounds butter, 2,452 pounds cheese, and 840 yards domestic cloths.
In 1890 the town had a population of 3,216, or 515 less than in 1880. In 1893 the assessed valuation of land was $629, 375 (equalized $644,831); village and mill property, $351,035 (equalized $344,149); railroads and telegraphs, $102, 638; personal property, $23,150. Schedule of taxes for 1893: Contingent fund, $2, 984.62; town poor, $200; roads and bridges, $634.42; special town tax, $5,800; school tax, $1,019.91; county tax, $2,440.25; State tax, $1,344.71; State insane tax, $346.91; dogtax, $72.50. Total tax levy, $15.185.44; rate per cent. .01372759.
There are four election districts and in 1893 the town polled about 690 votes.
In the war of the Rebellion the town of Wolcott sent to the front a large number of her brave and heroic citizens, who did valiant service in the suppression of that sanguinary conflict. Some of them rose to the ranks of commissioned officers; many gave up their life blood on Southern battlefields or in rebel prisons. The survivors are few, and with the dead they share the tender remembrances of a grateful people upon each Memorial Day.
The first birth in Wolcott was that of Isaac Hopper, and the first death in the old town was that of Sarah Mills, who died December 25, 1809, and was buried on the Viele farm. The two principal cemeteries in the present town are those at Red Creek and Wolcott villages. The oldest portion of the latter is known as Leavenworth cemetery, while the annex, or new part, is called Glen side; the receiving vault was built in April, 1887.
The first school house in town was a log structure built in 1810, in Wolcott village, on the site of Dr. E. H. Draper's present residence. Another log school building was erected two or three years later by Jonathan Melvin, sr., near the Knapp foundry. This was the first district in the town, and was organized as No. 1 about 1812, the first trustees being Osgood Church, Lambert Woodruff, and Eliakim Tupper. One acre, covering the site of the Baptist church, was donated by Mr. Melvin, and soon a frame school house was built thereon; this building was subsequently purchased by Obadiah Adams, who moved it across the street and added it to his hotel. A new structure was erected on the lot and known as the old red school house until 1843, when it was removed and a two-story building put up in its place. This employed two teachers, and was burned in 1865. Among the earlier teachers in these buildings were Mary Lambert (daughter of Lambert Woodruff), John Melvin (son of Jonathan), Daniel Butrick, Huldah Seymour (daughter of Dea. Noah Seymour and afterward Mrs. John Roe), Prudence Wells (afterward Mrs. Jedediah Wilder), William Plank (son of Elisha), Loren Doolittle, Austin Roe, Harlow Hyde, Levi Hendrick, Barabus Knapp, Willis Roe, and Samuel Colboth.
In 1859 Leavenworth Institute was incorporated and a brick building erected on New Hartford street in Wolcott village, through the munificence of Hon. Isaac Leavenworth, who contributed one-half of the funds, the balance being raised by subscription. It is two stories high above a stone basement, and for several years contained the only public hail in town. The first principal was M. J. Slee, and the first president of the Board of Trustees was Dr. James M. Wilson, who was succeeded by E. N. Plank. Upon the destruction by fire of the public school building a project was inaugurated to consolidate the two, which was effected November 1, 1865, under the name of Leavenworth Institute and Union Free School, the former becoming the academic department, and the district being reorganized as Union Free School district, No. 1, towns of Wolcott, Huron and Butler. November 4 the following Board of Education was elected: Dr. James M. Wilson, Jedediah Wilder, E. N. Plank, J. Talcott, B. F. Peck, William H. Thacker, W. W. Paddock, T. W. Collins, C. P. Smith, R. Sours, J. S. Roe, L. Millington and R. Matthews; E. N. Plank was president; W. W. Paddock, treasurer; Chester Dutton, secretary and librarian. The new organization paid a debt of $250 against the institute and refunded $260 to the Leavenworth heirs. The first term opened December 12, 1865, with John Teller as principal, and Miss Tappan as preceptress. Among the successive principals have been Amos H. Thompson, Professor Hutton, M. T. Brown, C. T. R. Smith, Jefferson W. Hoag, Professor Baldwin, John P. Cothran, W. R. Vosburgh, Edward Hayward, E. B. Nichols, John W. Robinson and E. D. Niles. The preceptress is Miss Agnes Ford.
The first school house at Red Creek was a frame structure, twenty feet square, on Canada street, and one of its first teachers was Abigail Bunce. In 1837 the wooden building of the present academy was erected, and the first teacher therein was Norman F. Wright. March 27, 1839, the Red Creek Union Academy was incorporated, and among the first trustees were William O. Wood, Amos Snyder, Abel Lyon and Francis Nichols. The first principal was N. F. Wright, A. M.; second, John W. Armstrong, A. M.; third, Professor Hendrickson, associated with Rev. E. C. Bruce, who remained until 1854. About this time the first brick building, fifty by seventy feet, three stories high, was erected, and Rev. William C. Mason was appointed agent; he alone contributed $500. The fourth principal was Rev. John B. Van Patten. In 1858 or 1859 the brick building burned, and the citizens subscribed for another. The contract was let to Jonathan P. Jones for $4,000, who put up the present structure with a judgment against it of $1,500. The property was sold, being bid off by William P. Jones, who took a sheriff's deed, and who disposed of the whole in 1865 to a stock company for $10,000, divided into shares of $25.00 each. The institution. was reorganized, a new charter was obtained, and the name was changed to the Red Creek Union Seminary, which it has since born; the trustees named in this charter were William P. Jones, president; J. B. Decker, secretary; Jonathan P. Jones, Lewis Jones, Riley Z. Patrick, Parson Cooper, Amasa Quivey and George Coplin. Mr. Decker has served continuously as trustee and secretary since 1865. The old charter building is still standing, and occupied by the principal as a residence. The Board of Education for 1894-5 consists of Parson Cooper, president; J. B. Decker, secretary; Riley Z. Patrick, treasurer; George M. Coplin, Abram Harris, Jay D. Frost, Amasa Quivey, Lewis Jones and William T. Clark. The principal is Albert D. Whitney, A. M., assisted by three teachers. The school is in a very flourishing condition.
The first school house in the vicinity of North Wolcott was a log structure erected about 1835 by John Dow. Prior to this a school had been kept in "the shanty" near Little Red Creek by Margaret Shaft, afterward Mrs. Elijah Edwards. A frame school house was built in district No. 2 in 1840.
The town now has fifteen school districts with buildings, in which twenty-six teachers are employed, and which are attended by about 920 scholars. Value of school buildings and sites in 1893, $20,220; assessed valuation of districts, $1,370,525; money received from the State, $3,582.12; raised by local tax, $5,146.11.
WOLCOTT VILLAGE.- This is one of the pleasantest villages in Wayne county. It lies in the extreme west corner of this town and partly in the town of B.u.tler, and on the south side of the R., W. & 0. Railroad. Containing valuable mill privileges on Wolcott Creek, it was the site of the first settlement and the first business interests within the present town, and much of its earlier history has already been recorded in previous pages of this chapter. Intimately connected with its growth and development from a dense forest to a thrifty village are associated the names of Jonathan Melvin, Sr., Obadiah Adams, Osgood Church, Dr. David Arne, Elias Y. Munson, and others heretofore mentioned. The first improvements were inaugurated by Melvin, and the first tavern and distillery were conducted by Adams. The latter also had a cornmeal kiln, and his huge hogsheads, filled with meal for shipment, early give the place the name of "Puncheonville." Dr. Arne was the. first postmaster. About 1811 Jacob Butterfield, a tanner and shoemaker, purchased of Mr. Church three acres on which he built a tan. nery and conducted business many years. William M. Nurss and Merritt Candy from Oneida county, came here in 1823 and erected a distillery and ashery on the east side of the creek; they purchased Elisha Plank's grist mill, and also established a store. Mr. Candy died in 1828 and Nurss closed out their business, being succeeded by Alanson Melvin, whom his father, Jonathan, Sr., had left here to wind up his affairs. E. Y. Munson, as previously noted, succeeded to the Adams tavern and all the land on lot 50 which Adams had purchased of Melvin. He sold to Stephen P. and Chester A. Keyes all that tract across Main street from the Wilder lot to the gulf and moved the old barn and sheds over to his tavern stand. The Messrs. Keyes occupied Munson's old store. Nathan Pierce, son-ifl-law of Levi Smith, built a hotel opposite his stone building and kept it several years; it was later known as the old White Hotel. A Dr. Tripp, from Montgomery county, purchased from the Geneva Bank the Melvin mill property and repaired and conducted it some time. The present Wolcott House, standing on the site of Adams's pioneer tavern, which was burned and replaced by the Northern Exchange, was rebuilt by Julius Whiting in 1880 and passed from him to the present proprietor, S. A. Williams, on February 1, 1887; the latter has also made additions. Abram Cuyler settled here in 1833; his son, John H., was the first producer of barrel staves in the village.
Wolcott village was incorporated February 24, 1852, and re-incorporated in February, 1873. March 18, 1873, the following officers were chosen: Asa D. Kellogg, president; B. Franklin Knapp, Horace L. Dudley, Nelson Moore, trustees; Henry A. Graves, treasurer; Hiram Silliman, collector; William 0. Church, clerk. The presidents since then have been:
The village officers for 1894 are: G. H. Northrup, president; J. E. Lawrence, B. J. Worden, H. A. Loveless, trustees; Joel Fanning, clerk; F. A. Prevost, treasurer; William Borden street commissioner; E. H. Kellogg, police justice; the trustees, assessors; N. W. Merrill, collector.
The village has been visited by a number of conflagrations, important among which are the following: In 1874, destroying a large amount of property; July 20, 1875, eight business houses from the Wolcott House to the "Arcade" building, loss about $12,000; August 28, 1876, six business places on the east side of Mill street; November 11, 1879, the old landmark, the "Arcade," which was owned by. the Presbyterian church and leased for stores; February 10, 1884, eight business blocks including the Lake Shore News office, rendering homeless twenty-three business concerns and fourteen families, less about $150,000; and February 19, 1887, Campbell's block.
In April, 1884, it was decided to raise by tax $2, 500 for the purchase of a fire engine and suitable equipment, and in the fall of 1885 the present frame engine house and village hail was erected. In November, 1886, a new hook and ladder truck for Independent Company No. 1 was purchased. The fire department is now constituted as follows: Chief, Henry A. Graves; first assistant, Rolla Stewart; second assistant, J. G. Cook. Independent Hook and Ladder Company No 1, Cyrus E. Fitch, foreman. Wolcott Fire Company No 1, B. J. Worden, foreman; Wolcott Hose Company No 1, William Olmsted, foreman.
The first banking business in Wolcott village was instituted in a small way by James V. D. Westfali. Roe & Ellis's private bank was started by Roe, Ellis and Pomeroy in 1875, in the present bank building, which was erected for the purpose. rn the sprirg of. 1884 Mr. Pomeroy sold his interest to the present firm, consisting of Willis S. Roe and A. D. Ellis.
Wolcott village now contains four dry goods stores, three groceries, four drug stores, two hardware stores, three clothing stores, two furniture and undertaking establishments, a boot and shoe store, four jewelry stores, three milliners, a newspaper and printing office, a bank, three hotels, three liveries, two meat markets, a bakery, two harness shops, a music store, four churches, five pyhsicians, seven lawyers, two dentists, two insurance offices, a variety store, two grist mills, two foundry and machine shops, two lumber and three coal yards, a box factory. a fruit warehouse, one grain elevator, a laundry, marble and monumental works, a photograph gallery, two public halls, two wagon and. four blacksmith shops, and about 950 inhabitants. The present postmaster is C. F. Van Valkenburg.
RED CREEK- This village is situated in the east part of the town, on the stream of the same name, and on the .R., W. & 0. Railroad, and in an early day was called Jacksonville in honor of Gen. Andrew Jackson. A post-office was established, the name of which as well as that of the village was changed to its present designation in 1836. The first settler, tradition says, was a hunter and fisherman named Beman, who built a rude hut on the banks of Red Creek, some forty rods east of the Presbyterian Church. The second corner was a Mr. Babbitt. Neither of these remained more than a few years. In 1811. Noadiah Childs came in, built a log house, and made other improvements. Then followed Jacob Snyder with his ten children: John, Peter, Thomas, Amos, Noah, Betsey, Polly, Catharine, Nancy and Jacob, jr. He built a log house and later a frame one on the site of the dwelling of the Plate W. O. Wood. This was the first frame house in the village. Mr. Snyder was a Methodist preacher and often officiated at local meetings. The next settler was Isaac Easton, with eleven children, of whom the sons were William. John, Mahion, Chiflion, David, Abram and Walter. This was in 1816, and soon afterward Isaac Hoppin, Philip Bien, Abraham Teachout and James S. Brinkerhoff came in.
The first store was opened about 1832 by Stephen P. and Chester A. Keyes, who came hither from Wolcott village. Lyon & Hawley started another the same year. Isaac Easton was the first blacksmith, and following him were Messrs. Bunce and Gage. Noah Sffyder opened the first tavern about 1829; it was twice burned and rebuilt. The first brick buildings were the academy and the store of Underhill & Lyon, the latter being built in 1854. - The first physician was a Dr. White. The first lawyer was John W. Carey, who practiced here for six years prior to 1849, when he removed to Wisconsin, where he was State senator two terms; he is now in Chicago. and has been general attorney for the C., St. P. & M. Railroad for over twenty-five years. J. B. Decker was town superintendent of common schools for four years. He-was admitted to the bar of this State in 1850, has been district attorney three years, and a notary public ever since that office was created in the town. He was a student in the Red Creek Academy the first year it started, is a graduate of Union College, receiving the degrees of A. B. .and A. M., and for several years was admitted to the United States Courts.
R. C. Hoff, the father of Hubbard Hoff, became a merchant here in 1834. The first saw mill on Red Creek was erected by Jacob Snyder in 1814; this was carried away in a freshet March 17, 1820;. another was built in 1826, and has given place to the present one, owned by William Camp. Mr. Snyder erected the first grist mill on the same stream in 1816, which was subsequently occupied by G. M. Wood. A tannery was built here about 1820 by a Mr. Hale. M. and W. G. Wood also operated a tannery for many years; their old building is now used for a fruit evaporator. The present owners of the two grist mills are Wallace Benedict and Homer Campbell.
In 1852 the village was incorporated with an area of one square mile. In the spring of 1874 the records were burned, and the earliest officers obtainable are those elected in 1876, when William 0. Wood became president and A. T. Delling clerk. The presidents since then are:
The officers for 1894 are: Charles Longyear, president; George Longyear, Daniel McMullen, Jacob D. Covert, George W. Flint, trustees; John S. Smith, clerk; George Robertson, Parson Cooper, George D. Barber, assessors; Amasa Quivey, collector; Patrick Malone, treasurer; Daniel D. Becker, police justice; Amasa Q. Milliman, police constable; James Hedges, street commissioner.
William 0. Wood established the first banking business in Red Creek and continued it about four years, being succeeded by his son, G. W. He soon gave way to a younger brother and A. M. Green as Wood & Green, who finally discontinued the business. In the fall of 1884 Becker & Hall purchased Wood & Green's safe, etc., and started a private banking establishment, which they still carry on in connection with a large general store.
In the spring of 1874 the business portion of the village was almost entirely devastated by fire. In September, 1878, the stave, saw, and heading mill of James Van Voorhees & Co. was burned, with a loss of $7,000. February 28, 1884, the post-office building and stores were consumed, causing a loss of some $16,000. In March, 1894, fire destroyed the brick block on the site on which H. C. Van Aistine is now (August, 1894) building a handsome structure.
Red Creek village now contains three general stores, two drug stores, a meat market, two hotels, three liveries, a newspaper and printing office, one furniture and undertaking establishment, one jeweler, five blacksmith and two wagon shops, two milliners, a photograph gallery, one grocery, two lawyers, three physicians, a veterinary surgeon, two warehouses, one lumber and two coal yards, a harness shop, a flour and feed store, two grist mills, a cooperage, a hardware store, saw mill, several fruit evaporators, four churches, the Union Seminary, district school, and about 500 inhabitants. The postmaster is William M. Milliman.
North Wolcott is a small hamlet on the east side of Little Red Creek in the northern part of the town. Minott Mitchell purchased for speculation 3,000 acres, including lots 20, 21, 39, and 40, and in 1836 he built a saw mill on the creek on lot 39. About 1841 Winslow Dodge erected another, and in 1842 John Dow put up a third, which subsequently became known as the Casterline mill. The first steam saw mill was built by Fowler & Conner in 1864. In 1844 Hiram Blanchard opened a blacksmith shop and about 1865 George Delemater built a store. In 1873 the post-office was established with Nathaniel J. Field as postmaster, who held the office for nineteen years, being succeeded by the present incumbent, D. J. Kyle. Mr. Field became a merchant here about 1873. The first frame house in the locality was built by a Mr. Hill in 1837.
FURNACE VILLAGE, one mile north of Wolcott, contains a saw mill, bed-spring manufactory, and a few houses. A blast furnace was built here about 1823 by Andrew Chapin and conducted under the firm name of Chapin & Parks. They soon abandoned the iron ore bed near by and secured ore from the Red Creek ore bed north of that village. The business was continued until Chapin's death, when the property passed to their-former employees, Hendrick & Seymour, who were succeeded by Hendrick & Leavenworth. The furnace has long since been discontinued.
The First Presbyterian church of Wolcott was founded July 18, 1813, by Revs. Charles Mosier and Henry Axtell, with twenty-three members, and September 7 the society was legally organized "at the school house near Obadiah Adams" by the election of these trustees: Lambert Woodruff, Josiah Upsoh, Jarvis Mudge, Noah Seymour, Jonathan Melvin, and John Wade. Adonijah Church was the first clerk, and the corporation certificate was filed before Judge Jesse Southwick, of Seneca county, January 18, 1814. The first pastor was Rev. Daniel S. Buttrick; he received an annual salary of $200 and remained about two years. The second pastor was Rev. William Clark. For twelve years meetings were held alternately at the Adams and Cobble Hill school houses. An attempt was made to build a church by subscription, but without avail, and the result was the erection of one at South Huron and another in the village of Wolcott. The latter was built where Dr. E. H. Draper's residence now stands in 1826, but remained unfinished inside until 1832. The first trustees of this church were Alanson Melvin, Abijah Moore, Elisha Plank, John Woodruff, Andrew Chapin, and Merritt Candy; the first pastor was Rev. Nathaniel Merrill. The society had twelve members. In 1852 during the pastorate of Rev. Thomas Wright, a new edifice was built on the site of Newberry & Burton's store; Rev. Mr. Wright preached the last sermon February 11, 1883. The corner stone of the third and present brick structure was laid by the pastor, Rev. William A. Rice, July 6, 1882. It was dedicated free from debt February 15, 1883, and cost complete $16,814. The present pastor, Rev. H. B. Stevenson, assumed charge in October, 1889. The society has about 275 members.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Wolcott.-Preaching by circuit riders commenced in this section at a Yery early date. It was known as the Sodus circuit, and the first quarterly meeting was held at the barn of Daniel Roe on October 9, 1813. The first class in Wolcott was formed- in 1833 with these members: L. Millington, leader, Lovina Millington, Nathan and Jerusha Pierce, and a Mrs. Southwick. In 1838 a church was built. This was replaced by the present edifice, the corner stone of which was laid June 29, 1872. It is of brick, was dedicated in 1873, and cost about $12,000. The society has about 290 members under the pastoral care of Rev. J. C. B. Moyer. The first preacher located on the original circuit was Rev. Truman Gillett.
The First Baptist church of Wolcott was incorporated June 2, 1835, with twenty-four constitutent members. The first pastor was Rev. Isaac Bucklin, and among his successors have been: Revs. Hiller, D. D. Chittendon, H. P. Stillwell, Barrel, Wadhams, C. A. Skinner, Peter Irving, Garret, Smith, 0. P. Meeks, A. H. Stearns, A. R. Babcock, J. J. Hammer, Wm. Furgeson, C. E. Christian, and Abner Morrill, the present pastor. The first church was a wood structure which stood on the site of the present handsome edifice. The latter was built in 1880 and dedicated March 4, 1881, by Rev. R. E. Burton. It is of brick and cost complete $6,282. The society has about eighty members.
The Methodist Protestant Church of Wolcott was organized by Rev. Ira Hogan, the first pastor, in 1855, with seven members: Alanson Millington (leader), Henry S. Cornwell (steward), Mrs. H. S. Cornwell, Henry S. Nichols, John and Aurelia Cook, and Walter Paddock. Services were held in a stone church that had been erected by a defunct Universalist society until 1863, when their present edifice was built at a cost of $3, 300; it was consecrated by Rev. James Smith. The present membership is about thirty-five, and the pastor is Rev. Mr. McChesney.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Red Creek.- Of this society the record is as follows: "Red Creek, formerly the eastern part of Rose circuit, was constituted by the appointment of the Rev. Royal Houghton, of the Black River annual conference, preacher in charge, at their session held in Syracuse, commencing the 19th day of July, 1843. The society of the station was organized at a meeting of official members held at the church at Red Creek on Saturday, August 12, 1843, and ts as follows, viz.: Royal Houghton, preacher in charge; Abiram Skeei and Abel Lyon, local preachers; Aurelius Dykeman, exhorter; Amos Snyder, Harvey Douglass, William G. Brown, John W. Miller, and Anthony Prior, stewards; William G. Brown, recording secretary." Eleven classes were formed, with a membership of ninety-eight. The class leaders were Amos Snyder, Benjamin Jenkins, John Quereau, James Cosgrove, Harvey Douglass, Henry Madan, John Ford, John McArthur, William G. Brown, Silas Nichols, and Jesse Viele. Among the pastors succeeding Rev. Mr. Houghton were Revs. John W. Coope, P. S. Bennett, M. H. Gaylord, D. W. Roney, E. Wheeler, H. Kinsley, John Slee, R. N. Barber, Isaac Turney, B. Alden, George C. Wood, S. B. Crosier, R. Redhead, and C. N. Damen. The society has a neat edifice and also owns a parsonage. They have a membership of about 150. Rev. D. B. Kellogg is pastor.
The Presbyterian Church of Red Creek was regularly organized May 13, 1818, by Rev. William Clark with these members: George B. and Luke T. Brinkerhoff, William Wood, Ebenezer Nale, Samuel Van Fleet, Martin and Saffarine Courtright, John Turner, Jane and Netty Brinkerhoff, Catharine Wood, Hannah Courtright, and Richard Van Fleet. The first officers were: G. B. Brinkerhoff, Luke T. Brinkerhoff, and William Wood, elders; Ebenezer Nale, deacon. The first session was held September 12, at the house of George B. Brinkerhoff and Daniel B. Wheeler was received as a member and baptized; thirteen persons also joined by letter. The first church edifice was erected in 1838, and the first meeting in it was held February 2, 1839. The society owns a parsonage, which they built, and has a membership of sixty-five. The present pastor is Rev. A. Nelson.
The Baptist Church of Red Creek was organized in 1841, with about thirty members. The first trustees were William 0. Wood, Abram Teachout, and Daniel Dutcher, and meetings were held in the school house several years. About 1847 a church edifice, thirty-two by fiftysix feet, was erected, and subsequently a parsonage was secured. Among the earlier pastors were Revs. J. S. Everingham, Kinney, Arnasa Curtis, Ira Bennett, and Ira Dudley. The society has about forty-five members under the pastoral charge of Rev. J. M. Shotwell, whose wife is superintendents of the Sunday school.
St. Thomas's Roman Catholic Church of Red Creek was built in 1875 at a cost of $3,000, the corner stone being laid by Rt. Rev. Bishop McQuaid on October 26, of that year. It is a frame structure and stands on Main street near the depot. The first pastor was Rev. Father King; the present one in chargeS is Father Ruby, who resides in Cato, Cayuga county. The parish has about sixty families.
The Methodist Protestant Church of North Wolcott was built in 1863, the first pastor being Rev. Philip Swift. The first meetings of the society, which was organized about 1838, were held in "the shanty" and afterward in the school house. The church subsequently passed to the control of an M. E. society, but later returned again to the Methodist Protestants. There are now about 100 worshipers and Rev. W. H. Church is pastor and superintendent of the Sunday school.