History of Greig, NY
FROM: History of Lewis County, New York and its people
By Franklin B. Hough
Published By D. Mason & Co. 1883


THIS town was formed from Watson under the name of Brantingham, March 1, 1828, and changed to its present name, February 20, 1832, and reduced to its present boundaries by the erection of Lyonsdale from its southern part, in 1873. It is named from John Greig, who was born in Moffat, Dumfrieshire, Scotland, August 6, 1779. His father was a lawyer, the factor of the Earl of Hopeton, and a landholder who ranked among the better class of Scotch farmers. He was educated in his native parish and at the high school in Edinburgh, and at the age of eighteen emigrated to America with John Johnstone, a Scotch gentleman who had previously been concerned in Mr. Williamson's settlements in Western New York. After spending a short time in New York and Albany he went to Canandaigua in April, 1800, and became a law student at the office of Nathaniel W. Howell. In 1804, he was admitted to the Bar, and becoming a partner with Judge Howell, continued in the practice of his profession until the death of the latter in 1820. In 1806, upon the death of Mr. Johnstone, he succeeded him as the agent of the Hornby and Colquhoun estate, and continued in that relation till his death. He was relieved of a portion of the duties of this trust, at his own request, in August, 1852, by the appoint ment of William Jeffrey as associate agent. In 1820, he became president of the Ontario Bank, and held this office until the expiration of its charter in 1856. In 1841, he was elected to Congress, but resigned at the end of the first session, and during several of his later years he was one of the managers of the Western House of Refuge at Rochester. In 1825, he was chosen a Regent of the University, and in 1851, he became ViceChancellor of that Board. He held many years the office of President of the Ontario County Agricultural Society, and was one of the founders and corporators of the Ontario Female Seminary. His death occurred at Canandaigua, April 9, 1858.

Through a long and active life, he discharged the duties entrusted to him with an industry, method and success, which earned him the implicit confidence of his employers, while his indulgent kindness towards those who settled under him, is remembered with gratitude by hundreds of the pioneer families. Of his private life, the village paper, in an obituary notice, remarks

"Mr. Greig, though sometimes drawn from home by necessary business relations and interests, was eminently domestic in his habits and predilections. His chosen enjoyment was found in the indulgence, amidst the treasures of his select and ample library, of a refined literary taste-in the cultivation and adornment of the grounds about his stately mansion-in the society of a numerous circle of personal friends, and in the dispensation of a generous and tasteful, though unostentatious hospitality. Almost to the close of his life, nearly every stranger of distinction that visited the place, found a welcome and a home at his hospitable dwelling. Indeed, our beautiful village, owes much of its reputation abroad, for social courtesy and refinement, and for a frank and liberal hospitality, to him and his generous hearted and worthy lady."

The first town meeting in this town (then including the present town of Lyonsdale, and at a time when the present town of Greig was almost uninhabited,) was held at the house of Dr. Simon Goodell, at which Mr. Goodell was chosen Supervisor; Joshua Harris, Clerk; Jedediah Plumb, George Pinney and Henry Harris, Assessors; Gilbert Ford and Ezbon Pringle, Overseers of Poor; Johannes Saut, Simeon N. Garratt and Otis Munn, Commissioners of Highways; Henry Harris, Collector; Henry Harris and Daniel T. Sears, Constables; William Parkes, Jedediah S. Plumb and John R. Myers, Commissioners of Schools; S. Goodell, E. Pringle and G. Pinney, School Inspectors; John Fisher, D. T. Sears and Milo Clark, Fence Viewers; John W. Southwick, Chancey Carroll and Judah Barnes, Pound Masters.

Supervisors.-1828, Simon Goodell; 1829-'33, Joshua Harris; 1834-'36, William Dominick; 1837-'39, Aaron Perkins: 1840-'43, Francis Seger; 1844, William Dominick; 1845, John I. Dominick; 1846, Dean S. Howard; 1847-'48, David Higby; 1849-'50, Lyman R. Lyon; 1851, Aaron Perkins; 1852, J. I. Dominick; 1853-'54, Adam Deitz; 1855 -'56, Thomas Rogers; 1857-'59, Henry S. Shedd; 1865, Francis Seger; 1866, Lyman R. Lyon; 1867-'71, F. Seger; 1872, Seymour Benedict; 1873-'76, Walter B. Foster; 1877-'78, John F. Dominick; 1879-'80, Luther C. Burdick; 1881, Jacob VanWoert; 1882, James Casler.

Clerks.-1828, Joshua Harris; 1829-'33, Henry Harris; 1834, Joseph Atkins; 1835, George W. Sharpe; 1836-'38, Adam Deitz; 1839-'40, H. Harris; 1841 -'44, J. Harris; 1845-'47, A. Deitz; 1848 H. Harris; 1850, Aaron Perkins; 1851, Adam Shell; 1852, Asa Beals; 185 3-'54, Chauncey Munson; 1855-'56, Seymour Benedict; 1857-'58, James Springsteed, Jr.; 1859-'61, Emmet Harris; 1862-'65, Aaron Perkins; 1866-'67, Joseph F. Jones; 1868, Francis S. Budd; 1869, Peter Conway; 1870-'71, Walter B. Foster; 1872, Luther C. Burdick; 1873, Colonel C. VanWoert; 1874, James Calhoun; 1875, John Foley; 1876, Chester A. Lonas; 1877-'78, Charles F. Stephens; 1879, Jonathan Palon; 1880, C. A. Lonas; 1881, J. Calhoun; 1882, William H. Manzer.

This town has since 1832, voted money annually for the support of ferries across Black river, upon the condition that the town's people should go free. The towns of Martinsburgh and Turin during several years, united in the support of these ferries. A bridge was built at Tiffany's Landing, in 1846, by the towns of Greig and Martinsburgh, and maintained till 1854, when it was cut away by the State authorities as hindering navigation. A ferry was then resumed, but since that time an excellent State bridge, with a draw, has been built by the State at this place, which has become the Village of Glensdale, on the west side of the river, in the town of Martinsburgh.


This is a small village, that owes its existence to the tannery built upon Crystaline creek, as elsewhere noticed. The business of the place, in the summer of 1882, was as follows :-

Hotel- A. H. Burdick.

Stores- J. Van Woert, F. G. Burdick, and Hill Brothers.

Wagon Shop and Blacksmith- A. W. Hopkins.

Blacksmith- John J. Lovejoy.

Toy Factory- Employing several persons, mostly children, in the making of children's toys.

Physician- Dr. A. A. Joslin.

Tannery- Employing about 25 men, and tanning 40,000 sides of sole leather a year; J. Van Woert.

This tannery was built in 1849, by John R. Williams, of Troy. It afterwards passed through the hands of various owners. It was rebuilt by Paige Burhans and Cyrus W. Pratt, the former owning three-fourths of the interest. About 1852-'53, Pratt bought out his partner. He afterwards sold a part to L. R. Lyon, and for a time it was run by Snyder & Lyon. In January, 1870, it was sold to VanWoert, by whom it has since been run.

The "Upper tannery," so called, on Fish creek, was built in the spring of 1849, by Cyrus W. Pratt, and has generally been run by the same owner. It is now given up. To distinguish it from the other, it was called the "Brantingham Tannery," which will probably not long be able to get supplies of bark sufficient to make it profitable to continue.

The population of Greig village, by the census of 1880, was 236.

Other Industries.
Upon Otter creek, in the eastern part of this town, is a mill for the cutting up of spruce timber into sounding boards for pianos. It is owned by Alfred Dolges, who also has a larger establishment at Brockett's Bridge, in Herkimer county. For this use, none but the best of timber can be used, and that of slow growth and very uniform texture is sought. The logs are first quartered, and then sawed by an upright gang, across the rings of annual growth, into boards fiveeighths of an inch thick. When planed, it is three-eighths of an inch thick, and each piece is squared upon the edges, as wide as it will allow, there being a use for every' piece down to those three inches wide and ten inches long. From seven to eight thousand feet are cut in a day.

A planing-mill for finishing the preparation, is run at Port Leyden, by Mr. G. W. Chase, upon premises formerly a tannery. Mr. Dolges also cuts flooring and other stuff, as materials come in not suitable for the finer uses, and employs some fifteen or twenty men.

Lower down, upon Otter creek, there is a saw-mill, owned by Charles Partridge, and still below this, a gang sawmill, formerly owned by A. C. Eaton, but now by Richard Carter, (formerly of Troy,) and run by Thomas J. Lewis. The lumber and other stuff made at this mill, is transported to the river bank, by a wooden tram-road, using horse power.

Still lower down on Otter creek is a mill owned by Edwin Pitcher, and below this is another belonging to Duane Norton, for the manufacture of lumber and lath. This completes the list of lumber mills upon this stream at the present time. There was formerly another still lower down, but its dam was carried away some years since, and it is now in ruins.

The saw-mill of Richard Carter, on Otter creek in Greig, was destroyed by fire February 21, 1870. The mill was a valuable one, and contained a gang of thirty-six saws, and was insured for $4,000, which did not cover the loss. The origin of the fire was unknown.

On the 16th of December, 1876, A. C. Eaton lost 300,000 feet of lumber by incendiary fire. It was insured for $6,500.

Besides the saw-mills on Otter creek, there are at present the following, in the present town of Greig Jacob Van Woert has a steam sawmill on Fish creek, using circular saws, and employing about fifteen men. There are also on Fish creek, water mills owned by Joseph T. Northrup and Wessel Gallup. There is one cheese factory in town, owned by Fayette Van Aernam.

Upon Otter creek, near Partridge's saw-mill, there is an extensive tannery, formerly owned by the Botchford Brothers, but now by Charles W. Hersey, of Boston. It is run by G. M. Botchford & Company. Henry J. Botchford, who was for several years prominently engaged in tanning in this town and Lyonsdale, died at Port Leyden, February 22, 1882.

Brantingham Lake has been many years a favorite resort for picnic parties, being easy of access, and sufficiently rural and picturesque to answer every purpose. It is about a mile long, and has islands and points that give interest and variety to the scenery.


During the latter part of the war, and while measures were pending for filling quotas to avoid the draft, several special town meetings were held in this town, and the following action was taken :- January 2, 1864.-A bounty of $200 was offered by the town, by unanimous vote. At the annual town meeting in the spring of that year, Francis Seger and Thomas Rogers were appointed a committee to procure affidavits of residence of the volunteers credited to the town.

August 11, 1864.-At a special town meeting, Francis Seger, Thomas Rogers, Cyrus W. Pratt, John Perkins and Charles G. Springsteed were appointed a committee, and a bounty of $100 was offered by the town to fill the quota of 500,000 men.

August 31, 1864.-At a special meeting, it was resolved to borrow the money needed, and to ask that a tax of $15,500 be levied to repay. A bounty of $400 was voted, and the sum of $30 was to be paid to each person procuring a volunteer. Drafted men were to receive $430. Francis Seger, Lyman R. Lyon, Cyrus W. Pratt, Caleb Brown, Peter J. Sand, Joel W. Ager, Seymour Benedict, Kirkland Johnson and James E. Willard were appointed a committee to fill the town quota, and were empowered to borrow the money above mentioned.

December 11, 1865.-At a special town meeting, it was resolved to apply the sum of $5,783.28 received back on account of excess of quotas, as follows :-

1. To pay a balance of bounty due to James E. Willard and Kent Willard, each $280, for substitutes, and to David Dominick $200 for the same.

2. To apply the remainder to reduce the town tax of that year.


A Free Will Baptist church was formed in this town November 30, 1844, but never built a place of worship.

The Union Society of Greig, was incorporated August 2, 1856, with Alexander Hess, Waitstill Cleveland and Adam Shell, trustees. A small chapel was built and used for some years, but it has fallen into decay.

The church and Society of North Greig, was formed January 26, 1859, and Cyrus W. Pratt, Richard Carter, William L. Phillips, William Hiliman, Caleb Brown, Wellington Brown, A. F. Cole, Simeon Crandall and Stephen Burdick were chosen first trustees.

The first Methodist Episcopal church of Greig, was legally organized October 1, 1872, with James Burdick, William Taylor and LaFayette Lonas, as trustees.

The Methodist church of Greig village was dedicated September 27, 1876. A small Catholic church, known as "St. Thomas," was dedicated at Greig village, December 21, 1879, and the same day a fire occurred, as supposed from a defective chimney. Loss, $200. The first local trustees, were E. S. C. Foster and James Calhoun.

The first Methodist Protestant church of Braritingham Lake, was legally formed March 30, 1880, with W. D. Hubbard, Treasurer, James H. Lampman, Secretary, and George F. Houghton, Lewis Sabin, and Frank Lahah, as trustees. A small church was built in 1881. The Rev. Mr. Houghton preaches there, and at Greig village.

A Protestant Episcopal Mission was formed at Greig village, a few years since, by the Rev. Mr. Allen, then of Lowville. it has no church edifice, but holds occasional services in a hall.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

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

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

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