George Knapp Collins.

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three terms, and then entered the service of the well known
school book publishing house of A. S. Barnes and Burr, and
later with Taintor Bros, and Company. His field was
mainly the New England and Middle States. Mr. Knapp
has been closely identified with the Public Library in Skan-
eateles, his place of residence since 1870, and donated to
that institution a geological collection. In 1884 he was
elected School Commissioner, and was re-elected in 1887,
but declined the nomination for a third term, three years
later. The honorary degree of Master of Arts was con-
ferred upon him by Colgate University in 1887. He was
elected President of the Village of Skaneateles in 1892, but,
after having served in that capacity about six months,
resigned on account of ill health. He married in 1857 Miss
Loretta E. Wilson of Skaneateles, where they now reside.
Mr. Knapp has been an ardent Republican since the organ-
ization of that party, and takes a lively interest in State
and National questions, and in all local matters which affect
the community in which he resides. He has a well stored
mind on scientific subjects, and particularly in matters
relating to local geology. He has spent much time and
research in the prosecution of the latter study, and in refer-
ence to it his knowledge and opinions are deemed of great


Hon. Martin Augustus Knapp, son of Justus N. and
Polly P. (McKay) Knapp, was born in Cold Brook in this
town, and educated in Homer and Cazenovia Academies,.


and the Wesleyan University at Middletown, Connecticut.
After his graduation and the completion of his college
course, he entered the law office of Oliver Porter, Esq., at
Homer, N. Y., as a student, and afterwards accepted a
clerkship in the law office of Hall and Chamberlin in Syra-
cuse, N. Y., where he remained until he was admitted to
the Bar of the State of New York in the year 18 — . Soon
after Mr. Knapp was admitted to the Bar the latter firm
was dissolved, and by the retirement of the senior member,
and a new one organized, of which he was the junior and
Mr. Chamberlin the senior member; the latter firm con-
tinued for several years, doing a prosperous business, when
Mr. Knapp withdrew, and for seven or eight years continued
in business alone. The new firm of Knapp, Nottingham
and Andrews was then formed and has continued without
interrupation and with signal prosperity to the present day.

During Mr. Knapp's business career in Syracuse, he
has been City Attorney for one or two terms, has been
School Commissioner of the Ward in which he resided, has
once been a candidate for Mayor on the Republican ticket,
but defeated, and is now Interstate Commissioner, by
appointment under the General Government, an office which
he has held for upwards of eight or ten years.

Mr. Knapp possesses all the elements of busienss success,
being a fine scholar, a good lawyer, a fluent speaker, affable
in manner, and possessed of great industry and unexcep-
tionable habits. He was united in marriage, many years
ago, v.ith Marion H. Hotchkiss, of Middletown, Conn.,
whose acquaintance he made when attending the University
at that place, but by her has had no issue.


On the occsion of Dr. Jonathan Kneeland (son of Warren)
attaining his 50th year in the Onondaga Medical Society,
at a banquet held in the City of Syracuse, Dr. H. D. Didama
of Syracuse, N. Y., in speaking of the guest of honor, said :
" Dr. Jonathan Kneeland was born February 20, 1812, in
a log cabin in Marcellus Township, between Skaneateles
and Otisco Lakes. His father, Warren Kneeland, was an
accomplished Yankee Schoolmaster, vv^ho taught in district
schools for 30 years in Saratoga and Onondaga Counties —
training, in 1798-9, the twigs which grew into sturdy trees


on Pompey Hill. When but eleven years of age he (Jona-
than) was apprenticed to learn the art of healing to Jere-
miah Bumbus Whiting of Sempronius. Bumbus was a
college graduate, and agreed to reward Kneeland for faithful
services in ten years, with a horse and saddle-bags. This
delightful experience and prospect was rudely ended, by
the relapse of the learned Whiting to his old but relinquished
habit of quaffing the flowing bowl. Jonathan returned to
his father's log house, left home without leave when but
fifteen years old, attended district, select, and academic
schools, and taught for two winters at the encouraging
remuneration of $10 and $18 per month. After this he
went to Lane Seminary, where he taught for a while, and
then entered the Collegiate Department a year in advance,
under the old Presidency of Dr. Lyman Beecher. Prepar-
ing about this time to go as a medical missionary to Persia,
China, or Burmah, he attended m.edical lectures at the Ohio
Medical College. This was in 1832, the year when the great
epidemic of Asiatic Cholera devastated the country. Jona-
than was sent to Cincinnati to study the disease, and came
back to care for his fellow students at Lane Seminary,
working day and night without undressing, and witnessing
the death of ten of his associates. Then he was attacked
himself by the dire disease, and under the eminent treatment
of the learned Doctors Eberle and Drake, he became an
altered man, his shrinking nature manifesting itself to
such an extent, that his weight came down from 140 to 71
pounds. The doctor was brought home to Marcellus, a
distance of nine hundred miles, to die. For nine long years
he was an invalid. His intellect during all this time, and
ever after, remained clear and unclouded. He regained
health, and with four relapses, has exercised delightfully
ever since his faculty of fluent speech. In 1841 he gave up
his life plans to the practice of medicine in his native land.
He open an office in Vesper, then removed to Thorn Hill,
where he remained twelve years.

" Dr. Kneeland has received the honorary degree of
M. D. from the Regents of the University of New York,,
and also from the Ohio Medical College. These were con-
ferred for well kno^vn merit, and were unsought by the
deserving doctor. Dr. Kneeland faithfully attended at the
various county. State and National Medical Societies to


which he belonged. He was a delegate to the State Medical
Society for four years, and an active member for twenty
years, serving many times as censor. He has been for
thirty-five years a member of the American Medical Asso-
ciation. Bright, witty, humorous, learned and instructive,
he has often awakened a dull and prosy meeting into one
of vigorous activity. He has written many papers on
various diseases and medical subjects. He held the office
of Coroner eighteen years, Superintendent of Onondaga
Indians twenty-five years, and for ten years was their
physician. He has many friends. He has observed strictly
the golden rule, and is generally loved for his affectionate

" Dr. Kneeland married Mariam Dwelle, February 7,
1845, and to whom were born three children : Frank Joel,
born December 10, 1845, married Etta Edwards at White-
hall, Wisconsin, December 5, 1883, died October 15, 1898;
Martin Dwelle, born September 24, 1848, married Sarah
A. Lord, and resides at Roxbury, Mass.; and Stella, born
February 20, 1854, graduated at Holyoke Seminary,
teacher in Syracuse High School five years, married Fred-
erick Colburn Eddy, Cashier of the Bank of Syracuse, and
resides at Syracuse, N. Y."

Dr. Kneeland died and was buried at South Onondaga,
N. Y., where he had been physician and surgeon for many


The following is an abstract from a published obituary
notice, appearing in the public press at the time of his
decease :

" Col. William W. Legg died at the residence of his son-
in-law, William H. Bass, near Borodino, on Sunday last,
in the 79th year of his age. He was born in Spafford,
February 18, 1814, and continued to reside in his native
town until his decease. He married Minerva A. Prindle,
daughter of Hon. Joseph Prindle, formerly of this town,
with whom he lived in happy marital relations for over
fifty years, her death preceding his own by about four years.
In politics he was originally a Whig, and subsequently
accepted the nomination of Sheriff on the Know-Nothing
Ticket, but on the breaking out of the Civil War joined the



Republican Party, with which he afterwards continued,
vigorously sustaining its principles and giving to it his full
support, in suppressing the rebellion and preserving the
Union. When a young man he joined the State Militia,
and continued his connection with it until he had risen from
rank to rank, to that of Brigadier General in that organ-
ization. At the time of the breaking out of the Civil War,
he was offered the Colonelcy of a regiment in the volunteer
service, but on account of age and sickness in his family,
was obliged to decline the flattering offer. Colonel Legg
was not an aspirant for political honors, yet occasionally
was induced to serve his town, by the acceptance of minor
offices within its gift; among these was Supervisor. He
also received the appointment of Postmaster from the
General Government, both at Spafford Corners and Boro-
dino. Col. Legg was a public spirited and useful citizen,
and he had many friends; his death was generally


Mr. Edward Smith, formerly Superintendent of Syracuse
Schools, in speaking of Prof. Roundy, said :

" Prof. Charles 0. Roundy, son of Captain Asahel Roundy,
was born in Spafford, Onondaga County, New York, May
23, 1823. He received his education in the public schools
of his native town and in Homer Academy. The degree of
A. M. was conferred upon him by Hamilton College in 1853.
Almost his entire active life has been spent in teaching,
beginning in his native town at eighteen years, soon after
leaving Homer Academy. He afterwards taught as Prin-
cipal in the Skaneateles and Baldwinsville Academies,
coming from the latter place to Syracuse in 1852, and taking
the Principalship of old No. 5, where he remained in charge
until the establishment of the Syracuse High School in 1855.
He was then installed as Principal of the latter school, and
remained as such until failing health compelled him to
resign, in the Spring of 1871. After a year or two of
travelling, combined with some light work, he again began
teaching as Principal of the Union Free School at Moravia,
N. Y., and remained there ten years. Leaving there he
spent a year or more in Dakota, and then returned to his
farm in the town of Skaneateles, N. Y. Mr. Roundy was


always noted for his zeal and enthusiasm as a teacher, and
when engag'ed as such spared no labor, however exacting,
that he might have something new to present to his classes
the coming day, illustrative of the principles to be eluci-
dated, or to awaken interest in his pupils. Until late at
night, with his books about him, he would continue to study
and investigate until he had mastered his subject, and then
would appear before his classes the next day, to inspire
them with something of his ovm spirit. His pupils in this
city, graduates of the High School, for sixteen years, will
never forget the love for study, and the ambition awakened
in them for learning by his eneregtic spirit."

One of his former pupils, and now a successful teacher
herself, in a recent publication, said of him:

"Professor Roundy's personality was wonderful. The
pupil must have been obtuse indeed who could successfully
resist his forceful logic. Other principals may have been
m.ore polished, but none were better loved than he. The
snows of many winters have fallen upon his grave, over
which has been erected a monument by his former pupils,
attesting a love that endures beyond the grave. Pupils who
through his teaching have attained eminence in the sciences,
on the rostrum, at the bar and in every walk of life.

" Professor Roundy was a student to the day of his death,
digging and delving as a day laborer in the rich mines of
abstruse sciences, and making himself a master of all he
sought. He died at his home in Skaneateles, September 30,
1892, and a fev;- days afterwards was buried in Indian
Mound Cemetery at Moravia, followed to the grave by many
of his former pupils, sincere mourners of a dear teacher
and friend."


The following are extracts taken from obituary notices
appearing in the public press, at the time of the decease of
Mr. Smith, September 10th, 1900.

" In the death of Sidney Smith, which occurred at his
residence on West Lake Street, in the village of Skaneateles,
Monday morning, September 10, 1900, this village lost one
of its oldest and most respected residents. He was born in
the town of Spafford, in the vicinity of Borodino, January
29, 1815, on the farm of which he was the owner at the


time of his decease ; he moved from this farm in 1870 and
come to this village, where he resided ever afterwards. His
ancestors were of New England patriotic stock, his grand-
father Job Smith, being an officer in the Connecticut Line
in the War of the Revolution, and his father Lewis Smith
being a Lieutenant in the War of 1812. His father was also
a Member of Assembly in the New York Legislature, and
at one time Sheriff of the County of Onondaga. Mr. Lewis
Smith came to the town of Spafford, (then Marcellus) , with
his father. Job Simth, about 1795, married Chloe Benson
of Owasco, and brought up a remarkable family of children
near Borodino, in the old New England way, among whom
was the subject of this sketch, Mary Smith of Skaneateles,
Dr. J. Lewis Smith of New York City, William Smith, Esq.,
an attorney at law, late of Sacramento, California, and Dr.
Stephen Smith, also of New York City.

" Mr. Sidney Smith first married Adelia E. Blodgett, who
died in 1843. He then married Miss Jennie A. Calkins,
by whom were born his only children : Adelia, wife of Prof.
H. F. Miner, Principal of the Skaneateles Academy, and
Anna W. Smith, both residents of Skaneateles. Mr. Smith's
last wife died in Skaneateles in 1887.

" Mr. Smith, while on the farm (in 1856), was elected a
Member of Assembly in the New York Legislature, and
after coming to this village was elected Justice of the Peace,
an office which he held for about ten years. He was fre-
quently called upon to act as executor and administrator, a
function which he performed to the satisfaction of every
one. He was made administrator, with the will annexed,
of the estate of the late Charles Pardee of this village, and,
after seventeen years of litigation, finally settled his
accounts to the satisfaction of every one concerned.

" During the later years of his life he lived quietly,
managing his Spafford farm, in which he took great
interest, and attended to his insurance business in this
village. He had a clear recollection of the early events of
his native town and vcinity, (and the writer of this work
is pleased to acknowledge his indebtedness to him for much
valuable information in the preparation of this work.)

" Mr. Smith was a Republican in politics, and attended
the Baptist Church in Skaneateles village. The writer of
one of his obituary notices says of him : " His life was one


of faithful service to dailj^ duties, a life of unusual good
health and genial disposition, a life of many friendships
and no enemies ; all men at all times found him reliable."


Sanford Thayer, Artist, son of Sanford and Sally Miner
Thayer, was born in Cato, New York, July 19, 1820, and in
early boyhood moved with his parents to Cold Brook. His
father, who was a wheelwright by occpuation, died at the
latter place, August 26, 1836, leaving him surviving a large
family of small children in indigent circumstances. Soon
after his father's decease young Thayer who was then about
seventeen years of age and the oldest of Sally Miner's chil-
dren, left home and sought emplojonent in John Legg's
wagon shop, in the village of Skaneateles; here he met
CharlesElliott, who was then engaged in painting pictures
on the back of the old fashioned high back sleighs and
cutters, then in use, and which were then being manu-
factured by Mr, Legg. The life of Thayer up to this period
had been spent in the woods and fields; he was an ardent
fisherman, and had become a lover of nature in all its forms
and features; it was therefore natural, when these two
artistic loving natures met, that an abiding friendship grew
up between them. In these early years, when Thayer was
in his prime and beauty, Elliott painted his celebrated
portrait of him, which was exhibited in this and foreign
countries, and first called attention to the latter, and estab-
lished his reputation as one of the great artists of the world.
Young Thayer, under the tutelage of Elliott, made rapid
progress in the use of pencil and brush, and his reputation
as an artist was also soon established in Central New York ;
from the time of the meeting of these two men the course
of Thayer in the realm of art was ever onward and upward.
At an early date he established himself in Syracuse as a
portrait painter, and retained a studio there until the time
of his decease. As a painter of portraits he had in early
years many flattering commissions, and after the decease
of Elliott, it can be truthfully said of him that in this field
of art he stood for many years without a rival in Central
New York. His inherent love of nature led him frequently
to visit the Adirondack Wilderness, and his numerous
sketches of that wild and rugged country have always been




sought after, and demanded a good price. Me was a true
lover of Nature, and always interpreted her in his pictures
in her happiest mood. The woods, the lakes, the fields, the
fiTiits and the flowers, seemed to inspire him with their
beauty and charms, and in his portrayal of them he appeared
at his best.

He married Nancy H. Smith in 1850, and by her had two
children: Mary Brownell, born in 1852 and died in 1853,
and Albert F. Thayer, born in 1858. The latter lived to
manhood, married a Miss Carrie Cook, but died without
issue. Mr. and Mrs. Sanford Thayer died in Syracuse, the
former in the Fall of 1881.


On the first Tuesday of April, 1812, one year after the
formation of the town, there was held a town meeting at
the house of Elisha Sabins, at which were elected the follow-
ing officers, constituting the first public officials of this

John Babcock, Supervisor; Sylvester Wheaton, Town
Clerk; Benjamin Stanton, Asahel Roundy and Elijah Knapp,
Assessors; Asahel Roundy, Jonathan Berry and Adolphus
French, Commissioners of the Poor ; Levi Foster, Constable
and Collector; Sylvanus Learned and James Williamson,
Commissioners of Public Land; Elisha Sabins, Pound
Master; Nehemiah Billings, Ebenezer Grout, Samuel
Holmes, Daniel Scranton, James Whitman, Joel Palmer,
Cornelius Williamson, Asahel Roundy, and Amos Reed,

From the foregoing the reader will discover the names of
some of the first residents of the town, and their status
among their fellows. It would be a very unprofitable
matter to give the names of all who have held office since
this first meeting, and besides any list would be more or
less imperfect, for the reason that some of the first officers
were appointed, and not elected, and no town record made
of them ; also some of the leaves in the first book of records
have been lost and destroyed, leaving the record incomplete.
The following is believed to be a perfect list of the Super-
visors elected in town, from the beginning to the present

John Babcock, 1812; Asahel Roundy, 1813-19; Peleg


Shearman, 1820-22; Erastus Barber, 1823-4; Peleg Shear,
man, 1826 ; Asahel Roundy, 1826 ; Phineas Hutchens, 1827 ;
Asahel Roundy, 1828-9; Daniel Baxter, 1830-2; John R.
Lewis, 1833-36; Charles R. Vary, 1837-8; John R. Lewis,
1839-41; Joseph Bulfinch, 1844; William O'Farrell, 1845;
Joseph Bulfinch, 1846; William W. Legg, 1847; Russel M.
Burdick, 1848; William W. Legg, 1849; Oscar E. Moseley,
1850; Thomas B. Anderson, 1851; James H. Isdell, 1852;
John L. Mason, 1853-55 ; Reuben T. Breed, 1856 ; Samuel S.
Kneeland, 1857-59 ; David Becker, 1860 ; Edwin S. Edwards,
1861-3; Orrin Eddy, 1864-6; Uriah Roundy, 1867-69;
Samuel H. Stanton, 1870-1; Justus N. Knapp, 1872; John
McDowell, 1873-74; Henry Weston, 1875-7; Benjamin Mc-
Daniels, 1878-80 ; Van Dyke Tripp, 1881-3 ; Perry F. Wood-
worth, 1884-6; Harry J. Haight, 1887; William H. Bass,
1888 ; Willard Norton, 1889 ; William H. Bass, 1890 ; Marcus
Patterson, 1891-3; Willard Norton, 1894-5; John Unckless,
1896-7; Caleb E. King, 1898-9-1900; Marcus Patterson,


From a very early period the American people have been
accustomed to the use of firearms. Nearly every household
in the town of Spafford, in early times, had a gun of some
sort for the purpose of defense ; and in fact a man, entering
the primeval forests which at first covered these hills, would
have been foolhardy without a trusty rifle at his side.

Our emigrant ancestors had hardly landed on American
soil, before they discovered they had not only to deal with
the wild beasts of the forests, but the American Indian was
disposed to contest every advance made by them in the
occupation of the land ; so, almost at the beginning of their
settlements about Massachusetts Bay, they were called to-
gether for military drill and Company organization. This
first organization is now known as the " Ancient and Honor-
able Artillery Copmany of Boston." When new colonies
were established other military organizations were formed,
so that, eventually, every community throughout the inhabit-
able portion of these United States had its separate military
company or organization, which was fully armed, equipped,
drilled, and ready for any emergency that might arise.

This universal military organization, known as the



Militia, was continued in the town of Spafford down to a
period subsequent to the War of the United States v/ith our
Sister Republic of Mexico. Every man in town capable of
bearing arms, not exempt by law, was enrolled in some
Company or military organization and obliged, under
penalty of Court Martial to keep himself armed and
equipped, and to attend Company and battalion drill when

There was generally at least one battalion drill, known as
" General Training," in each year; these were holiday occa-
sions, looked forward to by old and young as periods of
general festivity and enjoyment.

A man holding a commission as an officer, in one of these
early m.ilitary organizations, was generally looked up to
and respected in the community where he resided, for the
distinction conferred upon him, and was generally addressed
by his military title.

Soon after the Mexican War compulsory service in the
State Militia was discontinued, and that organization ever
since has been maintained by volunteering.


Among the Soldiers of the American Revolution who
settled in the town of Spafford were the following:

Paymaster Job Smith Oliver Hyde

Captain Samuel Holmes Elias Jackson

Stephen Albro Peter Knapp

Allen Breed Joseph Lewis

Thompson Burdick Jesse Manly

James Churohell David Owen

John Churchell Gilbert

Elias Davis Samuel Prindle

Robert Fulton Job Smith

John Green Isaac Town

James Hiscock Benjamin Wallace

Samuel Holmes Henry Wentworth

Among those who served in the War of 1812 were :

Captain Asahel Roundy Jabez Melvin

Lieut. Phineas Hutchens Isaac Mills

Lieut. Lewis Smith Moses Norton

Stephen Applebe Samuel Parker

Samuel Barber Silas Randall



John Beelar Samuel G. Seeley

Thompson Burdick, Jr. Russell Tinkham

Kelley Case Cornelius Williamson

William Dedrick Samuel Gale

The town of Spafford contributed the following soldiers
to the Union Army, during the War of the Rebellion of

Lieut. George J. Foster
William B. Allen
George C. Anderson
William H. Brown
John M. Churchill
Porter Davis
William Derbin
Ensign D. Filkins
William E. Fisher
Horatio Harrington
George L. Hines

Online LibraryGeorge Knapp CollinsSpafford, Onondaga County, New York → online text (page 10 of 32)