THE TOWN OF CHAMPION.
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In the spring of 1706 Benjamin Wright made a general topographical and outline
survey of the vast tract of land commonly mentioned in the early history of northern New York as the “Eleven Towns;”
and in his field hook description of town No. 4, now called Champion, originally Howard, the worthy explorer said
the region had “no steep ascents or descents of consequence ;“ that it had several good streams and excellent mill
seats, and that the country was timbered with maple, beech, bass, ash, elm, butternut, and some pine and hemlock;
that the township had exceedingly good soil, and while he had not “traversed the interior parts’ all appearances
indicated a region of rare fertility. Subsequent events proved the accuracy of Mr. Wright’s description, and a
century of development has placed Champion among the best agricultural towns of the county; a standing early gained
and faithfully maintained.
Township No. 4 of the Black river tract, as otherwise called, was sold by the proprietary to Gen. Henry Champion,
of Coichester, and Col. Lemuel Storrs, of Middletown, Conn., and under their ownership settlement was begun in
1798, although during the preceding year Noadiah Hubbard, the pioneer, visited the region in company with Col.
Storrs and Silas Stow (afterward Judge Stow), and made an examination of the land for the purpose of future settlement.
Between them an agreement was made by which Judge Hubbard became the owner of a considerable tract of land in the
town, and also became the agent for the sale of other tracts, but Colonel Storrs failed to keep faith with his
promises, and as the result the pioneer was for a time holding under uncertain title, and was only quieted and
confirmed in his possessions after much anxiety and expense.
The story of Judge Hubbard’s trials, hardships and ultimate success in making a permanent home in this then vast
uninhabited region was originally written by the pioneer himself, and first made public in Dr. Hough’s valuable
historical record, and all later chroniclers of county history have copied more or less from that work until the
narrative, however interesting, is now a well worn tale; hence in the present volume the writer is content with
the brief statement that on July 1, 1798, pioneer Hubbard, Salmon Ward and David Starr, with fifteen head of cattle,
left Steuben and started up the French road toward High Falls on their journey to this town. After several days
of hardships and sufferings, traveling both by land and water, driving the cattle before them, the party at last
arrived at Long Falls, or what is now West Carthage, where they met surveyor Wright and his men. They then cast
about for a desirable location, and soon Mr. Hubbard selected the land near the center of the town, where he afterward
lived many years, one of the foremost men of the county in his time, highly respected by the people, honored with
some of the best offices in their gift, and in all respects worthy indeed to be called, as he in fact was, one
of the first permanent settlers in Jefferson county, and one whose residence therein antedated the creation of
the county by almost seven years.
After spending the summer in constructing buildings, clearing land and planting crops, the party returned home
in the fall by way of Long Falls, thence to Lowville and on up the river to Steuben, driving back the cattle with
them. In the following spring, 1709, the pioneer sent two men to the town to make maple sugar and prepare for his
arrival, but during the process of sap boiling, while the men were absent, the cabin took fire and was burned.
They also found that during the winter the Indians had stolen all the utensils from the cabin and the potatoes
which were buried in the earth for the season’s planting and use. However, Mr. Hubbard soon arrived at the settlement,
and in the same spring also came Joel Mix and family, John and Thomas Ward, Ephraim Chamberlain, Samuel and David
Starr, Salmon Ward, Jotham Mitchell, David Miller and Bela Hubbard. In the same year Henry Boutin made a settlement
on the site of Carthage village. It was during this summer that Col. Storrs met with business reverses, which event
nearly cost Mr. Hubbard and some other of the settlers their improvements and property, and also delayed further
settlement during that season. However, a compromise was effected and in the fall of 1799 Mr. Hubbard’s family
came to the town. During the next few years settlement increased rapidly, among the arrivals of the period being
that of Egbert Ten Eyck (afterward Judge Ten Eyck), Olney Pearce and wife, Wolcott Hubbell and wife, Moss Kent
(afterward judge of the common pleas), Henry R. Storrs (afterward a lawyer of much prominence), Doctors Baudry,
Durkee and Fancy, and others whose names have been lost with passing years, and were not recalled by the pioneer
in his reminiscences.
Indeed, it is a fact of history that about the beginning of the present century a new county organization was suggested
for this part of the state, and the opinion became current, and based on good foundation, that Champion was to
be designated the shire town, hence the somewhat unusual influx of lawyers and physicians, as well as settlers
in other avocations in life, all imbued with a common spirit of enterprise and a desire to be first in a new field.
However, the new county scheme was delayed several years, and when finally consummated the seat of justice was
designated elsewhere than in Champion, hence the removal of several prominent personages from the town about that
time. But notwithstanding that, the population of Champion continued to increase, the lands were rapidly cleared,
the little hamlet in the center of the town was permanently established, a school was opened, and religious services
were regularly held after about 1804, and especially after Deacon Jonathan Carter and Rev. Nathaniel Dutton came
into the settlement. The latter was a missionary worker from the east and lived in Champion until.his death in
September, 1852. He founded and was for many years pastor of the Congregational church at the village of Champion.
In his reminiscences of early life in Champion Judge Hubbard gave to later generations a valuable record of events,
and by it we learn that among the pioneers of that old town were men of unusual strength of body, mind and character;
men who were an honor to any jurisdiction and whose descendants have ever been proud to honor and preserve their
memory. That they should found a town and village and establish a church within the brief space of six years from
the time settlement began is a thing not common to the history of the region, hence these were events of importance
in the annals of Champion. As early as 1800 the inhabitants met and resolved to build a school house, 16 x 20 feet
in size, to be erected on the hill near the settlement and on the road between Noadiah Hubbard’s and Daniel Coffeen’s
dwellings. On the “square” the school house was built in 1806, and in the mean time, under the influence of Nathaniel
Dutton and Jonathan Car. ter, a Congregational society was formed in 1805.
However, the settlers who have been mentioned in preceding paragraphs were not alone the pioneers of the town,
although they were the only persons mentioned in Judge Hubbard’s narrative. Having fortunate access to an old and
time worn record, the present writer is able to furnish a resonably accurate list of the more prominent heads of
families in the town previous to the war of 1812-15; but in explanation it may he said that some of the names noted
therein were sons of pioneer parents, and came into prominence on attaining their majority. Therefore, in addition
to the names already mentioned, we may recall these other early settlers:
Eli Church (appointed justice in 1804), Timothy Pool, Daniel Coffeen, William Hadsall, Timothy Townsend, Ephraim
Chamberlain, Benjamin Pike, Heuber Rockwood, Amaziah Parker, Elihu Jones William Crowell, Moses Goodrich, Levi
Barnes, Matthew Kemp, Peter Woerner, Joseph Crary, John A. Eggleston, Zebulon Rockwell, Abner White, Michael Fisher,
Comfort Ward, Isaac Collins, Asa Harris, Calvin Collins, Thomas Brooks, Amos Colburn, Joshua Stearns, Darius North,
Harrison Moseley, Constant Miller, Levi Barnes, Abner Hubbard, Fairchild Hubbard, John Durkee, Jonathan Miller,
Ozias Holcomb, Steven Johnson, William Davis, Jacob Simmons, Allen Kilburn, Enos Rice, John Canfield, Benjamin
Saunders, Arnold Lewis, Laomi Holcomb, Solomon Perkins, jr., David Starr, Joseph Martin, Daniel Barber, I)avid
Stone, Joseph Tuft, Joseph Hopkins, Asa Carter, Jonathan Loomis, George Thomas, Freedom Wright (innkeeper), Asher
Williams (appointed justice in 1804), Stoel Warner, Joseph Paddock, James Brown, James McNett, Reuben Whitney,
Jacob Crook, Nathan Brundage, Isaac Brizzil, Asher Wilmot, Daniel Jackson, Gardner Chapin, Rowland Hall, Daniel
Rood, Roger Phelps, Sprague Perkins, David Coffeen, James Thompson, Miner Merrill, James F. Chamberlin, Daniel
Buell, Lewis and Cornelius Wheeler, Samuel Loomis, William Rockwood, Thomas Francis, Joshua Martin, John Parks,
Dorastus Wait, John Hastings, Nathan Rudd, Sirneon Butler, Joseph Townsend, John Pardee, Andrew Warner, Wilkes
Richardson, Harvey Mustin, Roswell Hayes, Otis Earl, Joseph Goodwin, Andrew Dorain, Constant Crandall, Jared Miller,
Thomas Hopkins, Henry Gardner, Elijah Fulton, John Prentice, Amos Graves, Moses C. Merrill, David Young, Jabez
Reed, Simeon Stewart, Armissa Barber, George L. Coughlin, John Hadsall, William Derbyshire, Elam Brown, Thomas
Studley, Ethan Newton, John Wood, Nicholas Lewis, Eliphalet Smith, Jeptha Wilcox, John Henderson, Eliphalet Alby,
Eseck Lewis, Samuel Maxham, Adam Boshall, Philip Crowner, Amos Dorwin.
These settlers were all located in the town previous to the outbreak of the second war with Great Britain, and
it is believed that few indeed who were then here are omitted from the list, or from a previous mention in this
chapter. They were chiefly Yankees, showing that the proprietors were energetic in disposing of their lands and
inducing settlement. Indeed, in the very early years of the town’s history Noadiah Hubbard’s log house was turned
into a tavern to accommodate the constant stream of settlers and prospectors from New England who came to find
a place of location in the new region; and during the first ten years of history in Champion no less than four
of the settlers had turned their dwellings into taverns, and the town granted them license to dispense liquors
as well other comforts to the weary stranger. In 1800 there were about twenty heads of families in the township,
or about 75 actual inhabitants exclusive of the few Indians who still remained in the vicinity, hence it was not
surprising that in view of the fact that a county seat was contemplated by the settlers that a new town organization
was sought to be effected.
Organization.— On March 14, 1800,
the legislature passed an act creating the town of Champion from the older town of Mexico, and including within
its boundaries all that part of Denmark lying north of Deer river. A part was set off to Harrisburgh in 1803. In
accordance with the creating act the first town meeting was held at the house of Joel Mix, on April 1, 1800, at
which time officers were elected as follows:
Supervisor, Noadiah Hubbard; town clerk, Eli Church; assessors, Timothy Pool, Daniel Coffeen, William Hadsall;
constable and collector, Ephraim Chamberlain; overseers of the poor, John Ward, Heuber Rockwoocl; commissioners
of highways, Salmon Ward, Amaziah Parker, Elihu Jones; overseers of highways, William Crowell, Daniel Coffeen,
Timothy Pool, Moses Goodrich; fence viewer, Levi Barnes; poundkeeper, Bela Hubbard.
The officers charged with the duty of laying out highways found the work which fell to their lot to be indeed burdensome
and much time was required to be spent by them in constructing roads leading from the center to the remote localities
of the town, yet within two or three years suitable highways were provided for the settlers. It was found, however,
that persons coming to the town were more inconvenienced by lack of roads outside the town, and particularly by
the fact that all were compelled to travel from the east through the Mohawk valley thence up Black river to Long
Falls, whereas by a road built from the Long Falls direct to Albany, and parallel with the Mohawk route, settlers
from all New England would be greatly convenienced; therefore a petition was presented to the legislature, dated
July 3, 1801, praying for the construction of a state road from the High Falls to Johnstown. thence directly to
Albany, lessening the old route by about 40 miles. The settlers in Champion who signed this “memorial” were Noadiah
Hubbard, Benjamin Pike, jr., Eli Church, Harrison Moseley, Timothy Townsend, Joel Mix, Samuel Foster, Abner White,
Matthew Kemp, Bela Hubbard, jr., Elisha Jones, William Davis and William Crowell. Notwithstanding this earnest
appeal by the inhabitants of Champion in the interest of a new state road, the desired end was not attained until
several years afterward, but in the meantime settlement in the towns east of Champion had increased rapidly and
through the combined efforts of all settlers good roads were built all through the Castorland region and to the
country further south.
The special interest in the shorter line of travel so zealously advocated in this town was in a great degree occasioned
by the fact that the people here hoped that Champion was to be the county seat, and the interests of all land owners
naturally prompted the petition. The lottery act of 1803 provided for a highway through the town, but as the avails
of the scheme were only $10,000, where $41,500 had been expected, Champion was not directly benefited by the measure.
However, in 1798, Jean Baptiste Bossuot established a ferry and tavern at the Long Falls and thus afforded ready
access to this town from the east side of the river.
From all that is stated on preceding pages, the reader will discover that the early settlers of Champion were men
of determination and energy and in fact possessed all the native traits of the typical New England Yankee. They
were earnest and rapid colonizers and in all their acts were required to ‘‘ build from the stump,” but they also
built fIrmly and permanently, and the institutions founded by them during the earliest history of the town have
endured to the present day. True, during the last score and more of years all interests in towns like this have
suffered from general depression and the other disturbing causes prevailing in purely agricultural districts in
the east, yet statistics confirm the statement that in this town, whatever depreciation in values may have been
experienced by property owners, there has not been the noticeable reduction in population suffered in other localities
where conditions and surrounthngs are similar to those in Champion. In witness of this we may have recourse to
the federal and state census reports and note the growth in population in the early history of the town, and then
the stability of population and institutions when both were fully established.
In 1801 there were 76 legal voters, with property qualifications, in Champion,
and in 1807 the number had increased to 182. From that to the present time the changes in number of inhabitants
as shown by the census reports havebeen as follows: In 1810 the number was 1,481; 1814, 1,691; 1820, 2,080; 1825,
2,028; 1830, 2,342; 1835, 2,490; 1840, 2,206; 1845, 2,146; 1850, 2,085; 1855, 1.946; 1860,2,132; 1865,2,062; 1870,
2,156; 1875, 2,237; 1880, 2,259; 1885, no count; 1890, 2,191, and according to the unofficial enumeration of 1892,
the town’s population was 2,199.
After the settlers in Champion had become reconciled to the fact that the town would not be the seat of justice
of a new county, they turned themselves quietly to the work of clearing the land for agricultural purposes and
developing its natural resources, and the disappointments of the period passed away with no more serious loss than
a number of inhabitants who preferred to live in the shire town. But hardly had the events been forgotten than
the people were agitated by rumors of a second war with Great Britain, and when Gov. Tompkins notified Noadiah
Hubbard that the legislature had designated Champion as a depository for arms and ammunitions of war, public excitement
was again aroused and Champion village promised to become a central point of military operations. This was in 1808—9,
but before the supplies were brought an order changed their destination and they were delivered at Watertown. However,
the war period furnished much interest for Champion, and while no hostile foot was set on its soil, many of the
enrolled militia, were armed and sent to the front, and all the other able-bodied men of the town were prepared
for immediate service.
The period passed with little loss or injury to its interests, and with peace restored there followed a long and
uninterrupted era of progress, during which the town took equal rank with the foremost of the county’s divisions;
and when in 1837 the Patriot war with all its amusing incidents was begun along the Canadian frontier, the event
only furnished a subject for discussion at the accustomed resorts. However, in 1861 the loyalty and patriotism
of the town were tried, and were found true. The old martial spirit of the revolution which so strongly dominated
the New England settlers was revived in the great struggle and was transmitted from the pioneer sire to the son
and grandson, in the war of the rebellion. The record of the town’s soldiery need not be repeated in this place,
as the story is told at length in another chapter, where regiments and companies and their services are treated
as an entire body. From the close of the war to the present time no unusual event has disturbed the progress of
the town. Indeed, during this time little change has been noticeable other than the gradual passing of the old
generation and the succession of the new.
Energy and thrift have made Champion a leading agricultural town in the county. Long before the war it was noted
for the quality of domestic cheese made to a limited extent only, but with an increasing demand several factories
were built, and cheese making soon became and has since continued a fixed industry and a source of profit to the
farmer and the manufacturer. In 1862 the Babcock cheese factory, one of the first in the county, was built about
two miles north of Champion village. Two years later George C. Freeman built a similar factory at the village,
and in the same year (1864) Nathaniel Whitney started a similar industry at South Champion. In 1870 the McNitt
brothers built a good factory in the south part of the town, and in 1871 the famous Hadsall & Moore factory
was started three miles west of the centre. The “0. K.” cheese factory was erected in 1889 by E. H. Olmstead and
F. A. Knapp.
In the department of this work devoted to personal chronology will be found a record of the old and many of the
more recent families of the town, wherefore this branch of the present chapter may appropriately be closed with
a list of town officers for the year 1897, followed by the succession of supervisors from the year of organization.
Officers, 1897.— Supervisor, Edward
H. Olmstead; town clerk, Leander E. Bossuot; justices of the peace, Edward Payne, Obed W. Pearce, Oliver Dodge,
George W. Wood; assessors, Wesley Briggs, Emerson Peck, Fred H. McNitt; commissioners of highways, Chauncey A.
Loomis, Herbert H. Arthur, William Pennock; overseer of the poor, Orville L. Cutler.
Supervisors.— Noadiah Hubbard.
1800—14; Wilkes Richardson, 1815; Stoel Warner, 1816—17; Noadiah Hubbard, 1818—20; Eseck Lewis, 1821; Noadiah Hubbard,
1822—26; Samuel Dean. 1827; Eseck Lewis, 1827; Henry D. Cadwell, 1828—29; Otis Loomis, 1830—33; Richard Hulburt,
1834—38; David Smith, 1889—40; John Pool, jr., 1841—43; Eseck Lewis, 1844; James C. Lynde, 1845; David Smith, 1846;
John Pool, jr., 1847; William Van Hoesen, 1848; David Smith, 1849; William Van Hoesen, 1850; Benajah A. Lewis,
1851—53; A. S. Babcock, 1854—55; Nelson Rulison, 1856—58; Joel A. Hubbard. 1859; William J. Bentley, 1860; Daniel
Potter, 1861—63; Wesley Barr, 1864—67; John F. Peck, 1868; Fred H. McNitt, 1869—70; Albert W. Hadsall, 1871; Miner
C. Merrill, 1872—74; James Sterling, 1874 (vacancy); James Sterling, 1875—79; Marcus P. Mason, 1880; George D.
Hewitt, 1881—82; D. A. Goodrich, 1883; George D. Hewitt, 1884—87; Wesley Briggs, 1888—90; George D. Hewitt, 1891;
Charles A. Beyer, 1892—95; Edward H. Olmstead, 1896—99.
Champion Village.— Just one hundred
years ago Noadiah Hubbard first came to Champion and made an improvement near the center of the town, and the next
year (1798), he laid the foundation fora permanent village settlement. For almost half a century following the
worthy pioneer was closely identified with the growth and development of both town and village, holding many offices
of trust and responsibility. He was both merchant and innkeeper. There were others, too, whose names are mentioned
on preceding pages who also contributed to the village settlement, and by their united efforts Champion early became
a conspicuous point in county history. Salmon Ward, David Starr, Wolcott Hubbell, Moss Kent, Drs. Baudry, Durkee
and Farley and several other prominent persons were well established here about 1800, when it was confidently hoped
to make the little hamlet the seat of justice of a new county. In that year preparations were made for erecting
a school house, and the building was in fact completed as early as 1806. In 1805 a Congregational society was formed,
and about tile same time pioneer Hubbard opened his dwelling for the accommodation of travelers. On March 26, 1807,
Champion lodge, No. 146, F. & A. M., was organized at the house of Zelotus Harvey. The first officers were
Mr. Harvey, master; John Pardee, S. W.; Reuben Tread. way, J. W.; Noadiah Hubbard, T.; Jinson Clark, S.; William
Coffeen, S. D.; Timothy Jackson. J. D.; Asa Harris and Aaron Palmer, stewards; Daniel Coffeen, tyler. The organization
of this lodge had an important relation to the early, history of the village, and was one of its substantial institutions
for many years; and through the influence of the leading members, and with lodge funds, an academy was built in
1S34, under tile supervision of brothers Noadiah Hubbard, John P. Johnson, Levi Ellis, Solomon Hopkins and Hubby
Dorwin. The lodge was rechartered in 1830, and numbered 29, showing it to be one of tile oldest masonic bodies
in the state. The meetings were held in tile second story of the academy building. However, the old academy as
an institution of learning has passed away, and the lodge, too, as a local organization is numbered among the things
of the years long gone. The business interests of fifty and more years ago are also gone, and now the village lives
almost wholly in history. True, three church societies have places of worship here, but the members are few and
with difficulty keep up their organization and support a pastor. A small store is kept here, a temperance hotel
offers shelter to tile occasional traveler, and a district school stands in the neighborhood.
The Congregational church of Champion was organized May 7, 1805, and included nearly all the families then living
in the vicinity. The first trustees were Jonathan Carter, Abel Crandall, Joel Mix, Joseph Paddock, Noadiah Hubbard
and John Canfield. In 1807 Gen. Champion and Col. Storrs gave to the trustees two acres of land for a meeting house,
on which, in 1810, Mr. Hubbard erected an edifice. Gen. Champion donated a bell to the society as a token of respect
shown him in naming the town. The old house of worship stood many years on tile hill, a bleak, dreary location
in winter, hence the society removed tile building to the village proper in the summer of 1841. This was the mother
of churches in this part of the county, and the societies formed from it so sapped its strength that the few who
remain can ill afford to pay a resident pastor. Rev. Nathaniel Dutton founded the church and was its pastor until
his death, in 1852.
The Methodist Episcopal church of Champion was organized as a class and society, December 30, 1825, and then included
nearly all the families of that faith in the central part of the town. The meeting house in the village was built
in 1853, and a separate society for its occupancy was formed a short time previously. In 1893 the edifice was materially
repaired. This is now a large and strong church in the Adams district, numbering 185 full members and 30 probationers.
The pastor is Rev. S. G. Carley.
St. John’s church (Episcopal) of Champion was organized in 1868 and occupied for several years the old academy
building. The present chapel was erected in 1888. The first rector was Rev. Jedediah Winslow. The Parish is small,
the number of communicants few, and services are held irregularly. The parish is now supplied from Copenhagen.
Great Bend is a pretty little hamlet in the extreme northern part of the town, on Black iiver, and was so named
in allusion to tile somewhat unnatural course of the stream at that particular point. In this locality Egbert Ten
Eyck and Olney Pearce were among the earliest settlers, and to them is also given the credit of having made the
first improvements here, laying tile foundation for the hamlet by constructing a darn across the river, the work
being done in 1806 by Mr. Tubbs, also an early resident. A saw mill was built the same year which was carried away
by high water, but was at once replaced. Henry G. Gardner built the second mill. A distillery was erected in 1809,
and by still other improvements and milling enterprises built between 1815 and 1824 by Watson & Gates and Charles
E. Clark, Great Bend became a place of considerable importance even in the early history of the town. However,
the village suffered seriously by a destructive fire March 5, 1840, but the industries then burned were soon replaced
with others more substantial and modern.
Among the other early prominent residents in this part of Champion were several members of the Martin family,
who were associated in various ways with its best history. There were also James Colwell and Samuel Fulton, likewise
early settlers. The first bridge across the river was built in 1804, carried away in 1807, and replaced with the
old covered bridge which was burned in 1840. Among the several past and present industries of this hamlet perhaps
the most important was the pulp and paper mill, now owned by Watertown capital but nevertheless an important factor
in local prosperity. The merchants are Chauncey Clark, feed store; H. H. Clark, general store, and Bignall &
Reynolds, also general dealers.
The Baptist Ecclesiastical church at Great Bend was organized in 1842, in which year a church was erected, but
a society of this denomination was in existence in the town as early as 1818; and the Ecclesiastical society itself
was formed in October, 1826. The meeting house was erected in 1842 by members in both this town and northern Rutland.
The church has no regular pastor at this time.
Trinity chapel, Episcopal, at Great Bend was built in 1875 chiefly through the liberality of Mrs. M. B. S. Clark,
and is virtually an out mission from Watertown, having no resident rector.
West Carthage Village.— In 1798
Jean Baptiste Bossuot came to the Long Fails and very soon aferward built a ferry and maintained himself by carrying
passengers across the river and keeping a tavern. Six years later, David Coffeen came to the place and built a
mill on the west bank of the river, and for the purpose of best utilizing the water power he constructed a dam
from his mill diagonally up and out into the stream. This was tile beginning which led to founding a settlement
on the west side of the river, but the splendid water power here was not fully developed until 1834, when Joseph
C. Budd, William Bones and Benjamin Bentley erected a blast furnace and began the manufacture of iron and a few
small implements from iron. The enterprise proved unsuccessful and in 1836 the plant was abandoned. In the meantime
tile proprietary sold to New York capitalists a 320 acre tract of land along the river, including all that is now
West Carthage, and caused it to be laid out into lots for village purposes, for by this time Carthage, east of
tile river, had become a hamlet of some note and many business men there preferred to live on the high lands on
tile west side, while at the same time the water power here was equally valuable though perhaps not as extensive
in its possibilities of development as on the east side. The land speculators, however, failed in their scheme.
The property reverted to General Champion and by him was sold to Vincent Le Ray de Chaumont. About this time Henry
D. Cadwell opened a general store on the west side and later corners increasing the population and business interests
of the hamlet the name of West Carthage was adopted. In 1857 the district trustees secured a lot and built a schoolhouse.
Twelve years later the building was en larged and remodeled. While fully warranted in such action the trustees
have never sought the supervision of the state regents, yet the local school has ever been generously supported
by district tax. The present trustees are Wilbur A. Porter, Wesley Briggs and James H. Burhans, to whom much credit
is due for the present high standing of the West Carthage school. The village has no separate post-office, as a
majority of the business men are daily engaged in Carthage, hence prefer to receive mail at that place. The Park
house, built in 1859 by Guy C. Early, with several other buildings, was burned November 15, 1895, since which time
no hotel has been kept in the village.
Incorporation.— In April, 1889,
a majority of the electors of tile second election district of Champion voted in favor of a proposition to incorporate
the village, and after all preliminaries had been settled, officers were elected as follows:
President, Marcus P. Mason; trustees, L. W. Babcock, Philip Hull and S. G. Van Pelt. The other officers were W.
B. Van Allen, clerk; Philip Hull, assessor; Charles Jones, collector; Charles A. Beyer, treasurer; Harry Depuyster,
street commissioner; B. T. Austin, police constable.
The village presidents, in succession, have been as follows Marcus P. Mason, 1889; George D. Hewitt, 1890; Samuel
B. Rice, 1891; Lysander W. Babcock, 1892; George D. Hewitt, 1893—94; Scott M. Gibbs, 1895; W. B. Van Alien, 1896;
R. S. Hillman, 1897.
The municipal history of West Carthage village from the time of incorporation has been substantially as follows:
June 21, 1889, and again March 15, 1802, the electors rejected a proposition to light tile streets with electricity.
On the first Tuesday in August, 1891, at a special election the voters refused to dissolve the corporation. At
the annual village election March 15, 1892, a resolution asking that $1,500 be raised for a village hail was voted
down, and at a similar meeting held in March, 1896, a proposition to purchase the Philip Hull lot for village purposes
was likewise rejected. At tile same meeting the sum of $2,700 was asked for a village and fire department building,
which was also refused by the voters, At a special election held July 2, 1892, to vote on a proposition to raise
$17,546 for a water supply system, tile electors voted 49 for and 82 against the measure, but at a meeting of the
trustees held August 14, 1895, the proposition was so modified as to read $14,700 for water works, $300 for a lot,
$2,700 for a fire department building, and $1,000 for hose carts and apparatus; and at a special election held
August 29 the measure was adopted. Later on it was discovered that an error had been made in giving-notice of the
election, therefore another election was necessary. It was held November 7, 1895, and again the proposition prevailed.
In the meantime a contract for constructing the water works had been made, and in January, 1896, the system was
completed and accepted by the board of commissioners. The water supply is obtained from Carthage, the main pipe
being extended across the river and through the village streets. For the water the local board pays the Carthage
commissioners $500 annually.
The West Carthage fire department comprises two companies, known, respectively, as the M. P. Mason and W. B. Van
Allen hose company. Each has a good hose cart and sufficient supply of serviceable hose on its reel.
Notwithstanding the difficulties required to be overcome to attain the complete municipal character, and regardless
of the fact that tile village has been slow in progressing to its present condition, the people here have ever
been regarded as thrifty and generous. Serious fires have destroyed many attractive buildings, and in the manufacturing
district, along the river front, several large factories have been lost through like disaster. But in this locality
the old burned buildings have been replaced with new, and to-day West Carthage is a place of much importance in
commercial industry. Briefly noting them, mention may first be made of the Carthage lumber company whose large
mill and property stands above the railroad bridge and generally gives employment to several men. First down the
river, below the drive bridge, is the pulp mill owned by Augustus Maxwell, and then, in the order mentioned, Kelsey
Coffeen’s tub factory, Edward Brace’s furniture factory, Hutchinson & Clark’s large flouring and feed mill
(established 1872), William Farrar’s saw mill, Farrar & Myers’ sash, door and blind factory and planing mill
(old and new buildings), Haney Farrar’s tub factory (established 1856), Howard & Buck’s hosiery knitting mill,
and M. P. Mason’s extensive handle factory and planing mills. Up the bill, in the mercantile and residence locality,
the business interests comprise Charles A. Beyer’s grocety and drug store, R. S. Hillman’s general store, and A.
M. Hawkins’ bakery. This apparent lack of mercantile interests is caused by the proximity of the village to Carthage,
where purchasers may choose from the larger stocks kept by business men of that enterprising municipality.
The first Congregational church of West Carthage was organized by Rev. Nathaniel Dutton, March 31, 1835, and was
the direct offshoot from the mother society at Champion. There were twelve constituent members, and the early meetings
were held in the old school building. The church edifice was built in 1852, and was enlarged in 1893. The present
pastor, Rev. Jesse B. Felt, came to the church June 11, 1893. Under his pastorate the members number 182, with
120 children in the Sunday school.
The Free Methodist church at West Carthage was organized June 6, 1894, with 16 members, under the charge of Rev.
E. N. Jinks, pastor. The society Is small and only occasional services are held.