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Aboriginal Traces.— In Rodman are still discernible traces of the Indian occupation. Near the residence of Edward
Dillon (formerly Jared Freeman, and so marked on the accompanying diagram) is an interesting aboriginal work. It
is located on lot No. 1, on the farm of the late Royal Fuller, in a gently sloping field near a small tributary
of Stony creek. A plan of this work was made in 1850 under the direction of Mr. Freeman, who was familiar with
it when every part was distinctly visible, and the following description was then made: It consists of a double
bank, with an intervening crescent-shaped space, and a short bank running down to the stream. The latter may have
been the remains of a beaver dam, or a covered way to the water. Beaver dams were common on the stream, but this
had not their general appearance. Within the enclosure there was plowed up a large quantity of corn, which was
found scattered over an area of about one rod by eight rods. It appeared as if charred by fire or exposure to the
elements. This spot must have been an immense cache, or place for concealing corn. In all several hundred bushels
were revealed by the plow. Charred corn was not found elsewhere, though adjoining fields furnished large quantities
of stoneware and earthenware fragments. Just inside the enclosure is a large bowider of gneiss rock, in which may
be seen two or three broad yet shallow depressions, doubtless worn by grinding stone implements. These smooth depressions
were twelve inches across, and from one to two inches deep. No other part of the mass presented a like smooth surface.
Directly upon the mound stood a pine stump three feet in diameter.
Another description of the same work made about the same time is as follows: The
work occupied a high oval-shaped hill, one side of which was very steep, while the other descended gently to the
level ground. An embankment extended in a semi-circular form around that part of the hill which was not naturally
protected. Originally the embankment was more than six feet high from the bottom of the trench, but now a slight
depression alone remains. Formerly there was an avenue leading to the westward, but this is no longer traceable.
A huge bowlder is at the base of the hill, and in it are several depressions, with several grooves, indicating
use for sharpening tools by rubbing them to the required edge or form. (“ Aboriginal Monuments of New York. by
B. G. Squier, published in 1849 in Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge.)
Traces of this work are yet visible by darker colored streaks of earth, and a richer hue to vegetation, and the
locality is known as “fort hill.” The stone bowider, with its depressions, still remains as a monument to the aboriginal
There are the remains of another ancient fortification on the farm of Albert Heath, on lot No. 25 in Rodman. This
work is situated on the north bank of the north branch, about half a mile above the confluence of that stream with
Sandy creek. The position seems to have been selected with much care, and was well adapted for defensive operations.
It lies upon a point of land elevated about twenty feet above Sandy creek, with a marsh in the rear, out of which
flows a small stream of water. This stream works its way through a ravine, about ten feet deep, into the north
branch. The work itself was about 90 rods in circumference, and enclosed about three acres of land. The soil has
been under cultivation about seventy-five years, and but few traces of the works now remain, though its general
course may be determined by a richer and more luxurient shade to the vegetation. The usual Indian relics have been
found strewn over the ground (which were exhumed by the plow), such as skinning knives, broken pottery, pipe bowls
and stails and the other et cetera of such encampments. Some of the pipe bowls found were quite finely carved with
images of animals, birds and fish. Human bones have also been exhumed from this place. A deposit of white sand
and clay is found in the marsh which is thought to have been used in the manufacture of pottery. It is said that
under the roots of a large maple in this enclosure was dug up the bones of a man of great stature and furnished
with entire rows of double teeth.
There was a tradition many years ago of money having been buried in this fort,
resulting in considerable digging for its discovery, some persons coming from a distance for that purpose.
Aside from its defensive position, this place was well calculated for an Indian encampment, as Sandy creek at this
point was in early times plentifully stocked with salmon, it not being an infrequent occurrence to take a barrel
of this fish from one hole.
The accompanying diagram is a fair representation of this work, and was made in 1802 by Rev. John Taylor while
on a missionary tour through the Black river country.
Civil History.— During the months
of April and May, 1796, Benjamin Wright surveyed the boundaries of the eleven towns, and at the same time briefly
noted the natural physical features of each. As is well known, the present town of Rodman was then distinguished
as township No. 8 of the Black river tract, concerning which Mr. Wright wrote as follows: “The north line of this
town is very fine soil, and in general pretty level; some hills and some gentle ascents, all of which are very
fine. It is well timbered with maple, bass, ash, elm, beech, birch, butternut, and some few hemlock, which are
near the banks of the streams. There is some pine on this line, but not plenty. On the east there is a pretty good
country, excepting it is cut in pieces much with the streams, all of which make large gulfs, which are from 40
to 150 feet deep. On the south line is a pretty good country, very finely watered with streams. The timber in general
is maple, beech, bass, elm, hemlock, spruce, ash, birch, soft maple and some iron wood. On the west line there
is very fine land,, which is timbered as the east. The north branch of Big Sandy creek. passes through this town,
near the N. W. part, and makes very fine intervales along its course. This is a tine mill stream, and has a sufficient
quantity of water for all seasons. There are also some other streams, which run through this town, on which are
fine mill seats. Some pine timber on this town, but not in abundance.”
More than a hundred years have passed since Benjamin Wright and his assistants made this survey and description
of old township No. B, and while the configuration of the land surface has not since materially changed, Rodman
of to day presents few indeed of its old time natural features. The ever active hand of man has wrought many changes
during this century of history, and has developed the resources of the town to almost their fullest extent, but
all subsequent examinations have shown that the conclusions of surveyor Wright were reliably correct. The northern
portions of the town have proven to be excellent lands for all general agricultural pursuits, while the southern
localities are less productive and not as easily cultivated. The valuable forest growths have substantially disappeared,
yet the town still contains fair timber tracts.
As is fully narrated in another chapter, the town now called Rodman was originally a part of the historic Macomb
purchase, and of that portion thereof afterward known as the Black river tract, the proprietors of which caused
the survey and description to be made for the purposes of facilitating settlement. In the general division of the
towns among the owners (August 5, 1796), No. 8, with 1, 4, 5 and 10 (or Rodman, Hounsfield, Champion, Denmark and
Harrisburgh), were apportioned to Richard Harrison and Josiah Ogden Hoffman, commonly mentioned in history as Harrison
& Hoffman, under whom this town was settled through the agency of Silas Stowe, of Lowville; These proprietors
were tenants in common until May 1, 1805, but later on an instrument was executed, “securing certain interests
of Hoffman to Thomas L. Ogden and Abijah Hammond, and on January 5, 1810, Hoffman conveyed to Harrison his interest
in the towns” (N-os. 5, 8 and 10). In 1802 Simeon De Witt published a survey and map of New York state, east of
the pre-emption line, in which he designated this town as Orpheus. In 1801 the proprietors caused the town to be
resurveyed and divided into fifty-six lots, which, in turn, were subdivided into quarters and offered for sale
to settlers at an average of $3 per acre.
In the spring and summer of 1801 agent Stowe induced settlement in the town by Anson and Ebenezer Moody, Jonathan,
Noah, Asa and Aaron Davis, Simeon Hunt, Benjamin Thomas and William Rice, all of whom built log dwellings, cleared
small parcels of land for crops and thus prepared the way for the arrival of their families. The wife of Ehenezer
Moody came in September of this year, and was the first white woman in the town. Her son, Walter Harrison Moody,
born a few months later, was the first white child born in the town; and the death of that son, three years afterward,
was also the first event of its kind in Rodman. Proprietor Harrison had previously promised a gift of a hundred
acres to the first child born in the town, and afterward conveyed fifty acres to Ebenezer Moody, though not till
after the child’s death. The Moody family were for years prominently connected with local history, but the name
now has few representatives in the lccality.
William Rice, one of the pioneers mentioned, built the first saw mill in the town, in 1804, and the first grist
mill in 1806. Both were on Sandy creek, but at just what point is not now accurately known. Mr. Rice was otherwise
associated with the pioneer history of Rodman for about fifteen years, when he removed from the town. Simeon Hunt
passed his days here, and died about 1830. He kept a public house and is remembered as a very pious man and worthy
citizen. He was a member of the first religious society formed in the town. Of the brothers Davis, of which there
were four, recollections are meagre, yet as pioneers they are deserving of at least a passing mention in these
annals. They came from Salem, Mass. Noah, Asa and Aaron after. ward removed to the western part-of the state, but
Jonathan spent his life in Rodman. George L. Davis, of Watertown, is the grandson of Jonathan Davis.
After this primitive beginning the way for more rapid settlement was prepared. In 1801 passable roads were built
along both sides of Sandy creek, one of them extending north to Burrville (Burr’s Mills), thus affording easy communication
with the settlement at Watertown. About the same time a road was opened to Adams, from which direction came a majority
of the settlers. Among the arrivals in 1802 were Timothy Greenly, Reuben Smith, Daniel Todd, Thomas White and Ariel
Edwards, all prominent persons in early Rodman history. Greenly came from Litchfield, N. Y., and paid eighteen
shillings per acre for 2,669 acres of land in the southeast part of the town. These lands were not considered as
good as those further north, but pioneer Greenly made a substantial improvement, and was a prominent man in Rodman
until his death, February 19, 1852. Todd and White were neighbors, living on Sandy creek. David, Daniel and Enoch
L. Todd were sons of pioneer Daniel Todd, The latter built a tannery on the creek in 1806, and was both tanner
and shoemaker. White was founder of the little hamlet on Sandy creek, in the northeast part of the town called
Whitesville, and for several years acted as sub-agent for Mr. Stowe. He removed from Rodman in 1810. Edwards came
from Haddam, in Connecticut, and settled on lot No. 14. He died in 1853. He was twice married and raised a large
family of children, several of whom became prominent in the southern part of the county. Reuben Smith was a New
Hampshire Yankee, and an enterprising, go ahead settler. He settled on the south side of the creek, just below
the Fassett bridge, where he built a dam, saw mill and other buildings. He was grandfather to R. Z. Smith, present
supervisor of the town. In his family were ten Sons and daughters.
One of the prominent settlers in 1803 was William Dodge, an old revolutionary patriot, and one of the founders
of the Congregational church in Rodman. In his family were eight children. John Peck came from New Hampshire the
same year and settled on lot No. 15. John Fassett and Caleb Woodward also came in 1803, the former from New Hampshire,
and the latter, a Scotchman, from Herkimer county, though an earlier resident of Dutchess county. Jonathan Wyman,
Ziba Buell and Jesse Wright made settlements in Rodman about 1805, and possibly some of them as early as 1804.
This year also undoubtedly witnessed the arrival of still other settlers, though no present record informs us just
when the purchasers of land in that year actually came here. The land agency books show that in 1804 contracts
for land were made by about fifteen prospective settlers, and among them were a number of names well known in Rodman
in later years.
They were Aaron Moody, Jesse Smith, Horace Townsend, Joseph Nichols, Nathan Whitman, Arnold Stone, Titus King,
Joseph Dana, Avery Woolworth, Thaddeus Case, Leonard Farwell, John Vaughn, Joshua Tinney and Leonard Barker. Among
the purchasers in 1805, whose names appear qn the record, were the surnames Mead, Wright, Lamson, Hawks, Pierce,
French, Buell, Freeman and Westcott, several of whom are still recalled by the descendants of pioneers, but all
of whom cannot now be accurately located in the town.
Through the same means, and having access to important papers and records, the names of still other settlers may
be recalled, though not perhaps among the pioneers. However, all are believed to have been in Rodman previous to
the closing years of the war of 1812—15.
In this connection may be mentioned Asa Cooley, a prominent figure in early town history; the Gates family in
the west part of the town; also Stephen Cook, John Burton, John Butterfield, Nathaniel Harrington, Jacob Heath,
the Priest family (Joseph, Job and Solomon), Willard M. Winslow, Aipheus Nichols, Judge Abel Cole (in the assembly
in 1818), Nathan Strong (in the assembly in 1832), William Sill, James Loomis, Roswell Blanchard, Bazabel Gleason,
Cyrus H. Stone, Luther Eastman, Beloved Rhodes, Nathaniel Crook, Peter Yandes, Isaiah Post, Richard I)ye, George
Thomas, Calvin Clifford, Enoch Murray, Eliah Russell, Caleb Woodward, Zachariah Walsworth, Abel Loveland, Timothy
Underwood, D. Eastman, Abijah Kellogg, Stoddard Eastman, Nathaniel Tremain, Amariah Babbitt and Gren Kellogg, In
the same manner may be reca.lled and mentioned Nathaniel Nichols, Nathan Whitman, Lyman Lawrence, Thomas Harrington,
James Wright, David Corey, John Hackett, Reuben Tremain, Ebenezer Blackstone, Aaron Loomis, Bernard Warren, Titus
King, Luther Woodworth and Heman Swift, all of whom were settlers of the period and’ identified in some way with
the early history of the town. Among their cotemporaries, and just as earnest and devoted in the work of settlement
and development, were Winslow G. Tracy, Daniel Field, William A. Flint, John Burr. Harry Wagoner, Joseph Pratt,
James Ralph, Alanson Cummings, Charles Palmeter (or Parmeter), Alvin Buck, Ansel Brainerd, Samuel Kelsey, Benoni
Edwards, Return Russell, Philo Booth, Asa Hill, John Glass, and still others whose names are worthy of mention
but have been lost with, long passed years, the period of which we write being all of four score years ago.
Among the prominent early families was that of which Moses Washburn was the head. He came from Stafford, Conn.,
and settled on the farm afterward occupied by Squire Strickland, in the southwest part of the town. His Sons were
Jacob, Moses and Roger, and his daughters Phebe, Eunice, Triphena and Betsey. John R. Washburn, county superintendent
of the poor, is the grandson of Moses Washburn, the pioneer.
Not one of the pioneers remain to tell the story of early life and history with its vicissitudes and hardships,
its pleasures and comforts, for with these early developers of the region all was not privation and struggle for
existence, In their primitive and frugal way the pioneer families enjoyed the good things of life, but their greatest
pleasure was in laying a firm and lasting foundation for the benefit of their children and descendants. The names
of many of those mentioned indicate New England birth and parentage, and some of them to be of Puritan descent.
Such was the case. The land agents drew largely upon New England’s population in settling the Black river townships,
and Rodman was not an exception to the rule,
Between the years 1803 and 1806 the lands of township No. 8 were settled rapidly, and in the next year Rodman contained
236 legal voters, having requisite property qualifications. In the same year the neigh boring town of Rutland also
had 236 qualified voters, these towns thus standing in the lead in this respect in the county. At that time Watertown
had only 231, and Hounsfield 226, legal voters. In view of the large number of inhabitants thus indicated, it was
not surprising that a new town should be created from the mother territory of Adams.
Organization.— The creating act
was passed by the legislature March 24, 1804, at which time the number of inhabitants was estimated at 350. The
territory of the town included township No. 8 and a part of No. 9, of the Black river tract, then otherwise known
as Orpheus and Handel, as designated by Simeon De Witt’s map, but they were, in fact, a part of Adams, the latter
having been created from Mexico, April 1, 1802. In 1808 township No. 9 was annexed to Lewis county and was erected
into a separate town by the name of Pinckney. The original name of this town (Rodman) was Harrison, so called in
honor of its proprietor, Richard Harrison, a lawyer of eminence in New York city and the owner of several vast
land purchases in the northern part of the state. However, from the similarity of the names Harrison and Harrisburgh,
both Black river towns, on April 6, 1808, the name of the new creation was changed to Rodman, and so called in
allusion to Daniel Rodman, of Hudson, N. Y., who was clerk of the Assembly in 1808—9, when the change was made.
Within its present limits Rodman contains 25,208 acres of land; and as good land for general agricultural purposes
as can be found in the Black river tract, except, possibly, certain small stony areas in the southern portion.
Butter and cheese have for many years been the chief staple products, indicating this to be an excellent hay and
grass region (in which respect it is doubtful if the county has a better town), but at the same time in the thoroughly
cultivated localities potatoes, corn, oats and other cereals yield abundantly and profitably. The lands bordering
on Sandy creek are especially fertile, some of the farms ranking among the best south of Black river. The land
surface is quite hilly, and is considerably broken by the deep ravines of Sandy creek and its branches, Fish and
Gulf creeks. The soil generally is a stony, gravelly loam, a character in a measure indicated by the presence of
at least three sulphur springs, but the latter are of no special importance among the natural features of the town.
The first town meeting was held March 5, 1805, at the house of Simeon Hunt. The officers then elected were as follows:
Thomas White, supervisor; George H. Thomas, town clerk; Osias H. Rawson, Cyrus Stone and William Rice, assessors;
David Nichols, Simeon Hunt and Calvin Clifford, commissioners of highways: Peter Yandes. collector and constable;
Jonathan Davis and Robert Stewart, poormas. ters; George H. Thomas and John Fassett, fence viewers; Simeon Hunt,
Previous to the meeting for the election of officers, and on November 4, 1804, the inhabitants assembled in a special
meeting to elect three persons to represent the town at a conference held at Denmark to discuss the new county
project. The committee appointed comprised William Rice, Cyrus Stone and Sim eon Hunt. The record contains the
proceedings of a meeting specially called for February 8, 1806, to elect three justices of the peace, and Titus
B. Willard, Titus King and Jonathan Davis were chosen. This may have been the way in which the inhabitants expressed
their preference as to the persons whom they would have serve in the office, but at that time justices were appointed
by commission from the governor.
The records also indicate a disturbed feeling in the town during the years preceding the war of 1812, when the
embargo laws went into effect. Of course the inhabitants were seriously affected by the restrictive provisions
of the law, for pot and pearl ashes were then among the chief productions of the locality. On January 12, 1807,
a meeting was held and William Rice, Cyrus Stone and Ebenezer Moody were appointed a committee to represent the
town at a convention held in Watertown, at the house of Joseph Clark, “on the 13th inst., to take into consideration
the military situation of the county.” The records further disclose incidental action by the town during the period
of the war, and while this territory was not threatened with British invasion the same patriotic feeling existed
here as elsewhere. All able bodied men were among the enrolled militia, and some of them saw service at Sackets
Harbor and elsewhere on the frontier.
Notwithstanding the depression of the period, Rodman continued to grow in number of inhabitants and industries.
As early as 1810, there were 214 families in the town (Township No. 9 had previously been set off) and the inhabitants
numbered 1,277. At that time there were four grist and six saw mills, a fulling mill, a carding mill, and three
dis. tilleries. There was no regular meeting house, yet a Congregational society was in existence and held services
in the school house, Ten years later the inhabitants numbered 1,735, and 7,890 acres of land were cleared and under
cultivation. The industries then included seven grist and eight saw mills, three fulling mills, two carding machines,
six asheries, and five distilleries.
The farmers of that period raised large quantities of wheat and corn and considerable rye. They had no market for
their surplus product, and the erection of ‘several distilleries along Sandy creek offered the means of converting
the surplus into whiskey, a readily salable commodity, and then an article of diet and refreshment on nearly every
family table. Among the early owners of distilleries on the creek were Hiram Slocum, Asa Davis, W. J. Nichols and
C. W. McKinstry. At the present time the town has not one distillery, while the saw and grist mills number not
more than four or five. In 1820 nearly 18,000 yards of domestic cloth was made in families in the twon, but it
is doubtful if in the past year so much as a single yard was manufactured. However, as otherwise indicating the
growrh and changes in the population in Rodman, recourse may be had to the census report, from which is taken the
In 1810 the population was 1,277; 1814, 1,484; 1820. 1,755; 1825, 1,719; 1830,
1,901; 1835, 1,798; 1840, 1,702; 1845, 1,694; 1850, 1,784; 1855, 1,752; 1880, 1,808; 1865, 1,654; 1870, 1,604;
1875, 1,466; 1880, 1,517; 1890, 1,287; 1892, 1,220.
The greatest population was attained in 1830, after which for a period of about
thirty years there was a gradual though not material decrease in number of inhabitants. Beginning about 1865 there
was a marked decline which has been continuous to the present time; and it is a fact, if the census reports are
reliable authority, that the number of inhabitants now in the town is less than in 1810. This condition is in a
meas ure accounted for in the fact that during the period of early history there were numerous small farms in the
town, which in later years were joined with other parcels and owned by husbaudmen who worked on a larger scale,
and in fact were compelled to do so to secure the best results. There are in Rodman at this time about sixty farmers
owning and working tracts of more than 130 acres, and some of them between 200 and 300 acres in extent. Therefore
the greatest material loss to the town has been in number of inhabitants rather than in established agricultural
pursuits. In this respect Rodman has not suffered more seriously than other towns similarly situated.
During the period of its history, there have been established within the limits of the town several hamlets or
trading centers, principal among them being Rodman, Unionville and Whitesville, located from west to east along
Sandy creek. The other settlements are Whitford’s Corners (West Rodman, sometimes called Toad Hollow), in the west
part, near the Adams line, and Tremaine’s Corners, in the southeast part of the town.
Rodman village is located on Sandy creek just below the mouth of the Gulf stream, as commonly known, and is the
most important of the settled localities of the town. About 1803 Simeon Hunt built a log house at the point where
these streams unite, and opened it as a tavern, thus establishing the trading point. The settlers, however, in
making improvements were not at all influenced by the action of others who preceded them and built wherever the
best opportunity offered. Thus the store which Michael Henster and Joshua Priest opened (about 1809) was located
on Dry Hill, near what is now called Dillon’s Corners. It was at this place that Nathaniel Harrington laid a wager
to lift a hogshead of whiskey with two men seated upon it, and readily accomplished the feat.
About 1810 Nathan Strong built a grist mill at Rodman, near where the present mill stands. He operated it for many
years and then sold to Moses Slaughter. The next owner was 0. M. Cooley, who bought the property in 1861, and in
1879 sold a half interest to Egbert Cooley. In 1881 the mill was burned. Then the Rodman milling company was organized,
rebuilt the mill and have ever since operated it with a fair degree of success. The officers are O. M. Woodward,
president; 0. R. Porter, secretary and treasurer. In 1840 Joseph Brown built the Rodman tannery, which was soon
afterward bought by Hiram Herring and by him operated until his death, in 1881. The Hiram Herring tanning company
succeeded, but two years afterward sold to Levi Washburn. The buildings were burned about 1888.
These industries, and others up and down the creek, had the effect to draw considerable trade to the village, and
thus established a business center of some prominence in early years. Now, the grist mill, the cheese factory and
one or two small industries comprise the manufacturing interests, while the surrounding farming country contributes
to maintain the village stores. The merchants are Paul Bauhi, E. M. Bullock and W. J. Wyman, general stores; E.
A. Cooley, grocer and jeweler, and A. C. Hughs, hardware. The hotel, the Washburn house, is kept by M. G. Wilson.
The public buildings comprise the Con gregational and Methodist Episcopal churches and the district school.
The Rodman union seminary was one of the old and well known institutions of the village and town, and one which,
in its way, was the source of much good to the people. The frame building, two stories high, was erected in 1840,
and stood on land which was conveyed in trust to the trustees of the Harrison society, for the purpose of a school
by the heirs of Nathan Strong. The structure was built by voluntary subscription, and cost about $1,200. On December
8, 1840, the name Rodman union seminary was adopted, and thirteen trustees were appointed to control its affairs.
For several years the institution was maintained as a select school, but later on the increasing advantages of
the ‘common school system had the effect to diminish the attendance at the seminary and cause its ultimate downfall.
Union lodge, No. 397, F. & A. M., of Rodman, was organized March 24, 1824, with forty-three members, and Levi
Heath, master; William P. McKinstry, senior warden; Philo Parker, junior warden. Mr. McKinstry was the second master,
but in 1827 the lodge was dissolved on account of the masonic troubles of that period. The jewels and other lodge
property were distributed among the members. After the period had passed the lodge was revived and resumed work
under the old name and number, but the records covering this time (previous to 1860), are not to be found. In August,
1860, a reorganization was effected under the designation of Rodman lodge, No. 506, F. & A. M., which from
that time has been one of the most worthy institutions of the town. The members now number 104 persons. Since 1860
the masters have been Hermon Strong, Orson M. Cooley, Arnold C. Hughs, George C. Parker, John R. Washburn, John
N. Parker, Richard M. Maloney, Julius B. Lyon, S. S. S. Spink, Chester W. Snow, Oliver R. Porter, Delbert J. Washburn,
Lewis F. Richmond and P. W. Simmons.
The Congregational church and society of Rodman is one of tile oldest religious organizations in the county, dating
its history to the primitive meetings for worship held as early as 1802, when Rev. Mr. Woodward, a missionary worker
from the east, was in tile field. On September 22, 1805, the society was formed by Rev. Ebenezer Laselle, of
Watertown. The original members were Reuben and Laura Tremaine, Aaron an’d Sally Loomis, William and Lydia Dodge,
Nathaniel Nichols, David Cory and Nathaniel Crook. No regular services were held until 1808, when the Rev. David
Spear was employed to preach for the society. He was installed as pastor in September, 1809, and served in that
capacity until the fall of 1865, a period of fifty-seven years. The Harrison society was organized in connection
with this church July 17, 1809, Reuben Tremaine, James Loomis, Asa Davis, Simeon Hunt, Jonathan Wyman and D. Eastman
being the first trustees. In 1815 the society caused a neat frame meeting house to be built in the village. On
April 24, 1834, the Harrison society changed its name to the Congregational society of Rodman. A new church edifice
was built in 1850, and was dedicated in March, 1851. The building was substantially remodeled in 1877. The present
number of members is eightynine. The pastor is Rev. John Kincaid. The Sunday school was organized in 1820. Its
membership now is 152; E. J. Rider, superintendent.
The Methodist Episcopal church of Rodman dates its history to the year 1804, when a class was formed, including
in its membership Ebenezer and Anson Moody, Richard Dye, John Fassett, Thomas White, Alpheus Nichols, Ebenezer
Blackstone and Peter Yandes. Early meetings were held in log school houses, and also in John Fassett’s dwelling.
Among the earliest Methodist preachers to visit the town were Isaac Puffer, George Gary, Elisha Wheeler, Lewis
Whitcomb and John Dempster. In 1829 several classes were formed and a circuit was organized in the town. In 1847
the first meeting was held in Rodman village, in the old red school house which stood on the site of the present
school building. In that year a meeting house was begun, and was finished in 1849. In March, 1848, the first Methodist
Episcopal society of Rodman village was regularly organized with Elam Cooley, Hiram Buell, Winson D. Allport, James
W. Brown, Alanson Kinney, Isaac Jenks, Almanson Tibbitts and Truman Tuttle, trustees. In 1876 the church edifice
was enlarged and repaired. The village church forms a part of a circuit of M. E. societies, and is perhaps the
strongest of the three. The total membership is 160, with three probationers. The pastor is Rev. Henry Ernest.
Unionville, or Zoar, is a small
hamlet on Sandy creek, about a mile above Rodman. In the present history of the town it is of little note, but
three-quarters of a century ago was a place of some consequence. In this vicinity Howe Nichols built a grist mill
as early as 1809. In the same locality, also, and about a mile above the settlement, was the old Reuben Smith saw
mill and potashery. In early days this hamlet could also boast of a hotel, a small cabinet shop and two stores,
but for the last twenty-five years the place has been without either of these interests. The last merchant was
Whitesville (East Rodman post-office),
is the name of a hamlet in the the extreme northeast corner of the town, and was named in allusion to Thomas White
who settled here in 1802, and in the next year built the first grist mill in Rodman. White was sub-agent for the
sale of lands in this locality, and the prominence he thus gained, together with the convenience of his grist mill,
led to the settlement. The old Benjamin Stiliman tavern was built on the creek road below this place, near where
Win. Dodge now lives, probably as early as 1812, and was a famous resort in its day. The early town meetings were
held there. At what time or by whom a store was opened is not known, but one has been kept in the vicinity many
years. The present merchant and postmaster is S. R. Moore. The saw mill and hotel here were owned by W. D. Waite,
who was accidentally killed in the mill in the spring of 1897.
In this part of the town a Methodist society was organized, and at Boynton’s corners, below the settlement, the
old meeting house was built about 1829. About twenty years later the Rodman village society withdrew and built
a house of worship at their village, whereupon the class in the Whitesville locality also took steps to build for
themselves. The old edifice was out of repair, and in 1858 a new structure was erected at this village. This church
is a part of the Rodman circuit.
Tremaine’s Corners is a post hamlet in school district No. 10, where a cheese factory has been operated several
years. The place is without other industries or business interests. A Methodist class has been in existence here
for some time and forms a part of the Rodman circuit. Meetings are held in the school house.
In the western part of the town, on the creek south of the locality known as Whitford’s corners, also as West Rodman
and Toad Hollow, is tile Moses Slaughter grist mill. It was here that the so called Union company began making
and distilling whiskey about 1828. A set of stones were placed in the building and grinding was done. Later on
the distillery part was changed into a tannery by Joseph Davis, and both were run by him about ten or twelve years.
In 1865 another “run of stone” was added. Mr. Slaughter was the next owner. The mill is not run continuously. Among
the ether early industries were Heath’s saw mill, and Abram Burr’s cloth mill which was carried away by high water.
The West Rodman cheese factory was started in 1870 by A. H. Heath. The only factory now in this part of the town
is the North Rodman, of which Fuller; Dillon & Sill are proprietors.
Among the proprietors of cheese factories twenty and more years ago were A,. H. Heath, Anson Miller 0. G. Heaton
(1864). The old butter makers on a large scale were C. C. Vrooman, Milan A. Fassett, E. L. Simmons and H. C. Spencer.
Supervisors.— Thomas White, 1805;
Jonathan Davis, 1806—9; Enoch Murray, 1810— 11; Samuel C. Kanady, 1812—13; Abel Cole, 1814; Nathan Strong, 1815—30;
William M. Winslow, 1831—32; Ora Cooley, 1833—36; George Gates, 1837; Nathan Strong, 1838; Thomas Waite, 1839—40;
Ora Cooley, 1841; Henry C. Strong, 1842; Herman Strong, 1843; Henry C. Strong, 1844—45; William Sill, 1846; Dennis
M. Waite, 1847; Benjamin F. Hunt, 1848—49; Alanson Tibbitts, 1850; George Gates, 1851—52; Ora Cooley, 1853; John
Pauling, 1854; Gaines Tremaine, 1855; William Gilbert, 1856; Ora Cooley. 1857; Oliver C. Wyman, 1858-59; Nathan
Strong, 1860—63; Hiram H. Taylor, 1864—65; Oliver C. Wyman, 1866—67; William Christie, 1868—72; Orin D. Hill, 1873—74;
George A. Gates, 1875—78; J. R. Washburn, 1879—82; Simeon H. Gates, 1883—84; William J. Wyman, 1885—90; Harrison
S. Dean, 1891—95; Reuben Z. Smith, 1896—99.