George Knapp Collins.

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has been served by Dr. Van Dyke Tripp and Dr. William
G. Bliss. Dr. Tripp was admitted to the Onondaga County
Medical Society in 1869, and represented his town in the
Board of Supervisors of the County of Onondaga in 1881-3.
He is now deceased. Dr. Bliss was a native of Georgia, in
the State of Vermont, and after a successful business career
at Borodino for a number of years, moved to Tully, N. Y.,
where he is now engaged in the pactice of medicine.

Several of Spafford's sons have gone forth from this,
their native place, to other localities, and risen to eminence
in the profession of medicine, among whom are Jonathan
Kneeland (spoken of above), Stephen Smith, who went to
Brooklyn, N. Y., and there became a leading physician and


surgeon; who was at one time Commissioner of Charities
there, was Commissioner of Lunacy in 1882, was selected
as a Delegate to the International Sanitary Congress at
Paris in 1894, and is especially remembered for his valuable
gift of a medical library to the medical department of the
Syracuse University.

J. Lewis Smith, who was a graduate of Yale Coilege,
became a prominent physician, and medical instructor in
the schools of the City of New York. He is also well known
to the profession as a medical writer and the author of
several medical works, particularly for a Treatise on the
Diseases of Children.

Dr. Edward Cox, son of Silas Cox, studied medicine with
Dr. Trumbull at Borodino, and then went to Michigan,
where he established a lucrative practice at Battle Creek.

Dr. Polaski Prindle, son of Moses Prindle, born near
Spafford Corners, studied with Dr. Morrell at Borodino,
and located first at Cashtown, and afterwards in Michigan,
where he died.

Dr. James R. Weston, son of Edmund C. Weston, studied
medicine with Dr. Collins at Spafford Comers, and finally
moved to Montana, where he became a successful physician,
a Bank President, a Judge of the Probate Court, and a
successful business man.

Dr. S. Elis Crane is a successful physician in Syracuse,
N. Y.

Dr. John E. Lyon, son of David Lyon, died soon after
coming into a lucrative practice ; he was buried at Spafford


There has never been a resident practicing lawyer in this
town; although there has always been some one skilled in
the practice of Justice Courts, and able to serve the people
in that tribunal ; among these were Captain Asahel Roundy,
Jonathan Johnson, James H. Isdell, Uriah Roundy, H. Linus
Darling, and Simon B. Wallace. The latter is the only
one now living; he resides in the Village of Borodino, and
is ready to serve the people when his services are required.

While there are no resident lawyers, there are several
persons born here who have settled in other localities, and
risen to eminence in their chosen profession ; among whom


are Hon. Mai-tin A. Knapp, Judge Elliott Anthony, Captain
George K. Collins, Hon. A. Judson Kneeland, late practicing
attorney in the Village of Homer, N. Y., William Smith, a
graduate of Yale College, an attorney and counselor at law,
but who died early in California; Lee Olmsted and Harley
J. Crane, each of whom is actively engaged in the practice
of law in the City of Syracuse ; Judge Charles Vandenburg,
a graduate of Yale College, an attorney at law, and a
Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Minnesota;
and Mr. Harmon, son of Elder Harmon, an eminent lawyer,
late of Washington, D. C.


Among the ministers who have gone from this town and
risen to prominence elsewhere, are Amasa Spencer Knee-
land, Stella Kneeland, Josiah N. Knapp (died a young man),
and David M. D. OTarrell.


The following, born in Spafford, have graced the
profession in other communities : Prof. Charles 0. Roundy,
first principal of the Syracuse High School, Prof. Silas M.
Betts, bom in Borodino in 1828, was at one time principal
of the High School in Niles, Michigan, for several years
principal of grammar schools in the City of Sryacuse, and
a teacher in the Normal School in the State of New Jersey ;
Prof. Alfred G. Harrington, at one time a successful teacher
in the high grade of schools in this State, now retired to
his farm in the town of Spafford; Prof. Joseph Addison
Prindle, at one time a successful teacher in one of the
Normal Schools of this State, now retired and residing in
the Village of Skaneateles, N. Y. ; and Prof. James Foster,
an old time teacher, moved to South Dakota, but now


Sanford Thayer, son of Sanford and Sally (Miner)
Thayer, Portrait and Landscape Painter, was bom July 19,
1820, and resided in boyhood in Cold Brook.

Of the works of Horace Kneeland as a sculptor, very little
is known by the writer.



This brief sketch of the professional men who were bom
or resided in.^pafford, would be incomplete without some
reference to the old time surveyor, who with compass and
chain divided farms, settled disputes, and fixed boundaries
betw^een contending factions. One of the most skillful,
accurate, and tactful of the old surveyors in this town was
Joseph Bulfinch. He was born in Boston, and when a young
man, as principal taught school in a young ladies' seminary
in the State of Vermont, and at an early date, when the
country was new and the land boundaries undefined, settled
in this town, just west of Spafford Corners. He was a man
who took pride in his calling, spared no pains for accuracy,
and for that reason his decisions were respected as in the
nature of a judicial conclusion. In Summer or Winter he
served his patrons as occasion required. He died at the
advanced age of 88 years in 1873, and was buried in
Spafford Cemetery.

After his decease he was succeeded for a time by his son,
Joseph H. Bulfinch; he moved years ago to South Dakota,
where he died ; and later came Cyrenus Woodworth, whose
decease is a matter of recent occurrence.


It would be unprofitable at this time, to make the neces-
sary search to obtain the names of all persons who have
held the impotant office of Post Master, at the different
postal stations in this town, but the following are given as
the major portion of those holding this important office
under the General Government, at Spafford Comers. Cap-
tain Asahel Roundy was the first to receive this appointment
in 1814, and he has been succeeded by the following: Isaac
Knapp, Joseph R. Berry, Thomas B. Anderson, Dr. John
Collins, William W. Legg, Uriah Roundy, Benjamin Mc-
Daniels, and Mr. Lieber, the present incumbent.


Ekaneateles Lake is about seventeen miles long, averaging
about one mile in width, and contains an area of not far
from seventeen square miles of water, two-thirds of which are
within the bounds of the town of Spafford. The water in


depth is from twenty-five feet, at the foot and head, to two
hundred sixty-five feet throughout the major portion of its
course. There are no marshes or swamps along its shores,
which are for the most part rocky and precipitous.

The Village of Skaneateles, of two or three thousand
inhabitants, comes down to the water's edge at the foot of
the lake, and extends for a short distance up the gentle slope
of the hills encircling its northern extremity. Passing
from the Village of Skaneateles and going southward up
the lake five or six miles, the hills on either side come down
to the water's edge, in a gentle decline, graced with culti-
vated fields, and picturesque farm buildings environed with
fruit and other shade trees. At Five Mile Point the lake
makes a change in course to a more easterly direction and,
passing this Point, there is suddenly presented to the eye
of the traveller an extended view of pure limpid water sur-
rounded by bold, ynld, and rugged highland scenery, such
as is seldom seen elsewhere or excelled in beauty and
picturesqueness. On the west side of the lake, at the
beginning of this highland district, is the hamlet of Man-
dana, and, on the east side, the pretty little village of Boro-
dino. Proceeding southward Point after Point successively
come into view, extending outward from either shore, with
their green verdue and graceful sweeping elm trees mirrored
in the placid waters of the lake. The view from every
steamer landing is most entrancing, and impresses the mind
of the beholder. From Five Mile Point upward the shores
of the lake become more and more precipitous, and the sur-
rounding lands increase in elevation, until reaching the
head of the lake at Glen Haven there is an amphitheater of
precipitous hills, rising to a height a twelve or thirteen
hundred feet above the surface of the v/ater. The follow-
ing is an abbreviated and adapted extract, taken from a
recent publication concerning this lake, by the well known
artist, John Barrow of Skaneateles, who for half a century
has studied and delightfully painted the woods, hills and
waters of Skaneateles Lake.

*' The water of Skaneateles Lake is of the clearest and
purest. I believe it has a color and beauty not reached by
any other lake in our land. All the other lakes of our
region have a clear and beautifully tinted water, each a
little different from any other. Ours has a delicate emerald


tint, less pronounced than that of the great lakes, a tint of
its own, I think it the fairest of all.

" We know how gracefully the shores rise from the lake
as far as Mandana, and then rise more precipitously, until
they pass around the head of the lake in a grand amphi-
theater of hills, still partially clothed with forests.

" Trees are standing and increasing around the Village
of Skaneateles and its adjacent shores, filling up gaps that
once were there. Nature still plants trees along the shore,
and already we see a great change in that respect in the
last twenty-five or thirty years. In some places the second
growth has reached the height of the old trees, and in other
places the saplings are covering the ground. There is still
a grand wood on the west shore, half way up the lake, that
keeps green the memory of the primeval forests.

" The Points that were barren a few years ago, are now
owned by men who own summer cottages there, and have
taken care to add to such trees as have been spared to them.
Ten Mile Point has a new and beautiful grove, freshly
planted a few years ago, and also a fine old group, marking
the end of the Point as it was since the lake was known.
Three Mile Point, owned by Mr. Hooker, has since his
occupancy become a charming spot. Fall Brook Point has
changed some since I knew it, but not to its detriment, with
its fine cottage, pleasant lawn of flowers, and summer houses
planted there. I notice with satisfaction the same improve-
ment at Nine Mile Point, Sycamore Point, Randall's Point
and others.

" There is a ravine and brook at every Point, for the
brook makes the Point, and some are very interesting and
beautiful. The gorge at Appletree Point is one of the finest
on the lake. It has a stream of water more copious than
the Inlet at the head of the lake. There are two fine falls
in its course, one seventy-five or eighty feet in height, the
waters falling over a cavern in the slaty rock beneath, from
a ledge of Tully limestone above. Another one lower down
the gorge, of forty feet in height, is most picturesque in
time of freshet. There are other ravines at Ten Mile Point,
Hall's Point, Jenny's Point, Collins' Point, Hooker's Point,
and Gregory's Point. All these and many other smaller
brooks, with their varied rocky architecture and plant life,
are of interest to the lover of Nature.


" Of the scenery of the lake much can be told. The
region in which this beautiful sheet of water lies is very-
rich in varied landscape; its hills, valleys and woods are
very beautiful; and the views from the hills bounding the
lakes are very charming. It would take too long to enum-
erate the different places where good views can be obtained,
but some of the best are from the head of the lake. There
are some excellent ones from, the hills back of Three Mile
Point, and from there down to Mandana. From the hills
south of Spafford Corners to the village of Skaneateles are
many charming views. Anywhere along the shores of the
lake it is very beautiful, but I think the finest views of all
are from Captain George K. Collins' cottage on Randall's
Point. This cottage commands splendid views up and down
the lake, the former being supplemented with the finest
view of the valley beyond Glen Haven. On the eastern
shore of the lake the summer sunsets can be seen in all their
variety and glory.

"There is a view from Ripley Hill, in the town of Spafford,
near the head of the lake, that ought to be famous. From
there the beholder has spread out before his vision a stretch
of county extending from the spurs of the Adirondack
Mountains on the east, to the hills of Seneca County on the
west, and from the mountains of Pennsylvania on the south,
to the waters of Lake Ontario on the north. One may well
be impressed with the beauty that is spread before him
here of our county and the setting of our lake We only
need great artists and poets to make the people understand
and appreciate how generous Nature has been, in giving us
this beautiful lake and surrounding hills."


The first steamboat on Skaneateles Lake was the " High-
land Chief," brought here from the Hudson River by Cap-
tain William Fowler, its owner. It came by canal, and
from thence was trucked to the lake by oxen. It was forty
feet in length, a side wheeler, and had a very uncomfort-
able habit of careening on slight provocation. According
to John Barrow it was introduced here about 1824 ; but we
have no record of it on the lake prior to 1831. As a steam-
boat it was not a success, and it was eventually remodelled
into a sail boat for carrying freight and wood.


The next boat was built here, was about one hundred feet
in length, a side wheeler, and was named " Independence,"
because launched on Independence Day, July 4, 1831. It
was built in part by public subscription, had a cabin partly
below decks, and, like its predecessor, was a losing venture.
After a brief struggle for business and meeting with indif-
ferent success. Captain Wells, its pincipal owner, converted
it into a sail boat for carrying v/ood to the village of Skan-
eateles. It is said that D. B. Hillis, afterwards District
Attorney of the County of Onondaga, and then a student
in the law office of F. G. Jewett, delivered the Fourth of
July oration at Skaneateles, the day this boat was first put
in the water.

These two disastrous failures in the steamboat business
seemed to deter any further ventures in that line for many
years ; but the opening of the Water Cure Establishment at
Glen Haven, at the head of the lake, and a hotel and bowl-
ing alley at Fair Haven on the opposite side, each connected
by daily stages with the village of Homer, gave fresh encour-
agement to men who were anxious to open lake transporta-
tion ; so in 1848, about the time of the opening of the Water
Cure, the side wheel steamer " Skaneateles " was placed on
the lake. This boat was owned or managed by Thomas
Hecox, a son of Warren Hecox, one of the promoters of the
Water Cure Establishment at Glen Haven.

On July 4, 1848, a rival steamer named " Homer," made
its maiden trip up the lake in company with the Skan-
eateles, each soliciting and carrying passengers on that
occasion. The " Skaneateles " appeared to be a steady and
safe boat, but the " Homer " was top heavy and had an
uncomfortable way of careening from side to side, alter-
nately lifting one after the other of its side paddle wheels
out of the water; in windy weather this was particularly
noticeable, and people for that reason were afraid to ride
on the boat.

Whatever increased trade the Water Cure Establishment
may have contributed to lake transportation, it certainly
was not sufficient to sustain two boats; so one evening,
after returning to Skaneateles from an unsatisfactory
voyage to Glen Haven, Captain Hecox, with a full head of
steam, ran the Skaneateles on to the western shore of the


lake, vv^here he subsequently removed her machinery and
boiler, and then converted her hull to other uses.

The Homer was never popular, and after making a valiant
fierht for three or four years, gave up the struggle and sub-
mitted to the inevitable transformation into a sailing craft
for hauling wood.

The Ben. H. Porter, built soon after the close of the Civil
War, was a propeller modelled after an ocean steamer, and
altogether too slow and clumsy to meet the requirements
of lake travel. This, after a few years, went the way of
the others, and about twenty-five or thirty years ago was
supplanted by the small but very serviceable steam propeller
" Glen Haven," still in use. The latter boat is now owned
by the Skaneateles Railroad Company, which in 1901 put
upon the lake the " City of Syracuse," modelled after its
sister boat but much larger in size.

No steamboat has ever paid running expenses here until
after the erection of summer cottages on the lake, since
which time traffic has steadily increased, so that now, during
the summer months, one or both of these boats are con-
stantly required to meet the demands of travel.

A number of years ago a small steam yacht was placed
on the lake by private parties, and named "Ossahinta," but
by reason of commutation tickets and cut rates on rail-
roads connecting with the regular boat, this opposition line
was put out of business ; what the effect of trolley lines of
railroad running into Skaneateles may be on lake transpor-
tation, is yet to be seen.

Sailing yachts for pleasure have for years been a special
feature of the lake, and during recent times numerous
steam and gasoline launches have been introduced to its


In the winter of 1847-8, a Water Cure Establishment
was opened by Dr. Jackson at Glen Haven, on the west
side, near the head of the lake. The first building used
was a large white house, with a chimney at each end, built
in 1846. by Deacon Hall of Skaneateles. The soft water
for the Water Cure was taken in pipes, from a large spring
issuing from the steep and almost inaccessible mountain
side, in rear and several hundred feet above the house. At


the beginning of its career the rules and regulations of the
"Water Cure were stringent and exacting, and many who
were ill, or thought they were, flocked to the new Sanitar-
ium. Among other regulations the patients were required
to wear skull-caps, kept constantly moist by dipping in
water, to partake of a rigid coarse diet, drink copiously of
the cool soft water of the establishm.ent, take baths once or
twice a day, exercise frequently in the open mountain air,
and all women patients were to wear bloomers.

The skull-caps, bloomers, and coarse diet of the old regime
eventually passed away, and this old time Water Cure under
the liberal management of Dr. Thomas and John Mourin,
who have been in charge for the last twenty-five or thirty
years, has at last become well known throughout the
United States as a popular Sanitarium and Summer Resort,
for the latter purpose its reputation has long been

The first house was destroyed by fire about 1850, and a
new and more commodious building erected in it s place.
The new building was soon outgrown, and numerous cot-
tages from time to time were added to supplement the main
establishment. After the lake became popular, by reason
of private parties erecting summer cottages at different
places along its shores, a large and commodious hotel build-
ing was added to the other structures of the Water Cure
property, to meet the demands of summer trade.

No spirituous liquors have ever been sold on the Sani-
tarium grounds, a fact which no doubt has contributed to
its popularity as a place of resort for women and children.
This institution, during its long career, has at times been
subject to adversity, and probably justly open to criticism
for unsatisfactory management, yet on the whole there is
much to be said in its favor. Its future seems established,
and its many pleasant surroundings ought to make it bright
and prosperous.


In the Spring of 1881 the writer erected on Randall's
Point, now knov^Ti as Spafford Landing, the first summer
cottage on Skaneateles Lake; this at the time produced a
mild sensation among the people residing in the vicinity,
and scores of people visited the place to look upon the new


innovation. No one before had even suggested Skaneateles
Lake as a place for private summer homes, and certainly
no one had ever ventured an outlay of money in that direc-
tion. The general comment of those who visited this un-
pretentious first effort, in the direction of a summer cottage,
was that it was a foolhardy thing to do, and summer
cottages on the lake would never amount to anything. This
first building is now in use, as it was designed at the begin-
ning, as a dining room and kitchen ; the family of the writer
were then sleeping in tents.

The writer had one guest that first summer, however,
who came, stayed over night, said he never enjoyed himself
better in his life, in the morning bought a piece of land on
the lake shore, and soon after commenced the erection of
a cottage of his own; that was E. M. Ford of Syracuse.
That property and cottage is now owned by his daughter,
Mrs. Weed, of Brooklyn, N. Y.

Soon after Mr. Ford's purchase, in 1881, he sold a part
to Mr. James H. Blair of Syracuse, who erected the third
cottage on the lake; this property is now owned and
occupied by Mr. Cronell, of Skaneateles.

In a year or two after his first venture, the writer supple-
mented his belonging on the lake by erecting his main
cottage, on the bluff or elevation just north of his first

From this time forward, the following cottages were
erected in quick succession upon the lake : Mr. Allen built
" Rockland " Cottage, on the high rocks just south of Mr.
Blair; a Mr. Ford built on Barber's Point the cottage now
owned and much improved by Col. James Manning of
Syracuse; Dr. Pease erected the cottage now known as
Jenny's, on Havens' Point, and Mr. Hall and Mr. Bench,
both of Skaneateles, built cottages farther down the lake.
All that have been now mentioned were in the toAvn of

On the opposite side of the lake, in the County of Cayuga,
about this time were erected four cottages on Pray's Point
(Glen Cove) , by three Gregory Brothers of Skaneateles, and
by Prof. R. Bruce White (a brother-in-law) of Syracuse.
Mr. Carpenter and Mrs. Casper erected two elegant summer
and winter homes on Appletree or Sawmill Point. The last
two were soon supplemented by ten or twelve other tasty


summer cottages on the gentle declivity of the shore south
of Carpenter ; these are known as the New Hope Colony.

From this time forw^ard the popularity of the lake as a
summer resort was established, and year after year elegant
summer cottages were added, until there are now about a
hundred in all, distributed along the shores and points of
the highland poi-tion of the lake. Among the most note-
worthy of these, in addition to those already mentioned,
are the following: Two owned by Mr. Pennock and Mr.
Cooper in Pine Grove, one by Mr. E. C. Stearns on Wheat
Point, four owned by Mr. Salem Hyde, Mr. Maslin, Mr.
James Eager, and Dr. Marlow on the shore between Wheat
and Ten Mile Point, three owned by Dr. Wright, Mr. Stone
and Mr. Willett on the shore between Ten Mile and Hall's
Point, one owned by A. C. Chase on Barber's Point, one
owned by Rev. Samuel Calthrop on Stag Horn Point, one
owned by Dr. A. C. Mercer on the shore further south. In
addition to these there are five or six others belonging to a
Homer Colony perched on the high rocks south of Rockland
Cottage. All of these are in the town of Spafford.

On the western side of the lake the following have been
added to those already mentioned : One by Mr. Allen, near
the grounds of the Glen Haven Water Cure, and one by
each of the f ollov/ing named persons on the shore and points
on the west side of the lake: Mr. Olmstead, Dr. Guilford,
Dr. Darby, Mrs. Fields, Mr. Paul, Mrs. Bennett, Mr. Van

Online LibraryGeorge Knapp CollinsSpafford, Onondaga County, New York → online text (page 8 of 32)