George Washington Cowles.

Landmarks of Wayne County, New York online

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locality had undoubtedly been visited previous to 1794 by surveyors,
agents, hunters, and other white men, but it was not until that year
that Charles Williamson took his small army of choppers, builders and
surveyers, and began clearing lands and erecting buildings at Sodus
Point. He was not alone in the belief that he was there founding a
place destined to future commercial importance. In the year just
named and previous to Williamson's arrival, Daniel Russell in the^town
of Williamson is believed to have been the only permanent settler in all
the region north of Palmyra.

Among the first operations at the Point by Williamson was the erection
of a tavern. He also built a yacht and launched it on the bay. It is
said that his improvements made during about two years cost $20,000.
In this tavern he placed Moses and Jabez Sill as landlords. Williamson's
hopes and expectations of the locality were not realized.

The builders of this tavern were Hoylarts & Borrekens, who in L811
were assessed for "eleven lots in Troopville " and "twenty-six acres in
the Gore, buildings, etc., $908." During the war of 1812 it was attacked
by British soldiers (in June, L813). It was burned in May, 1!S81.


In 1795 Amos Richards, who had lived a short time with his wife
and daughter near Daniel Russell (before mentioned), removed to the
lake shore, seven miles west of Sodus Point, and built a log cabin on
land now owned by Charles H. Toor. After some years Richards left
his home and never returned; his wife afterwards married a Mr. Alcock,
who died, leaving a widow and daughter to continue the hardships of
pioneer life alone. Mrs. Alcock died in 1849, and her daughter, who
became Mrs. Jeduthan Morfat, in 18(39. Many of the friendly Indians,
explorers, and first settlers, as well as Charles Williamson himself, were
welcomed in their log cabin, and to Mrs. Morfat a monument has been
raised as a memorial to the last of the earliest permanent settler family
in town.

About 1796 Elijah Brown located on the Swales lot four miles west
of the Point, but soon removed to the mouth of Oak Orchard Creek, in
Orleans county and died at Irondequoit in 1805. Norman Mary also
settled at the Point the same time and Stephen Bushnell purchased the
farm occupied in recent years by Ephraim Leiter, and brought in his
family in 1803; Mr. Bushnell was commissioner of highways in 1801
and several terms overseer of the poor.

John Boyd and his son Frederick, from Maryland, came in 1798 and
settled on the east side of the bay and made a little improvement ; but
in the next year, being without near neighbors, they removed to the
other side and settled on Salmon Creek in what is called "Christian
Hollow." Two years later Thomas Boyd, a younger son of John, came
and lived in the cabin with his father until 1815, when he married and
located on the Geneva road. John Boyd died in 1817 and Frederick
returned to Maryland. Sons of Thomas were John A., and Reuben.
Other settlers on the Geneva road in 1797 were the Pollock families.
In 1800 Richard Sergeant came from Boston and boarded with them
for time. He settled a little later on what became the Kitchen farm,
and had sons, Artemas, Richard, George, Nathan, William, James and
Thomas, and three daughters.

In April, 1801, Ammi Ellsworth, from Connecticut, settled on the
Pulver place; Asahel Osburn, his brother-in-law, came with him and
built a log house and sowed ten acres of wheat on what has been known
as the Irwin farm. Ellsworth also built a log house. Mr. Ellsworth
said in later years that when he came in the only neighbors west of him
were Daniel Russell, Amos Richards, and Elijah Brown. Stephen
Bushnell was, however, a resident at that time. A log house that had


been built near the Thornton place was early opened as atavern. Mr.
Ellsworth lived long in the town and left many descendants, among them
Levi Ellsworth, a son, and Mrs. Samuel Hanford, daughter, both resi-
dents of Sodus. His daughter Aurelia, familiarly known as "Aunt
Aurelia, " was born here December 8, 1804, and died on the homestead
unmarried, October 29, 1889.

Dr. William N. Lummis, from Philadelphia, settled in the town in
1801, and is noticed in the chapter on the medical profession. He built
the old Preston grist mill, a saw mill, a forge, and several dwellings,
and was the foremost citizen of the town. His son, Benjamin R. , died
at Sodus Point in June, 1882. Dr. Thomas G. Lawson came from
England and located at the Point at an early day.

Slavery was introduced into Sodus by Col. Peregrine Fitzhugh, who
had served in the Revolutionary war and held a position in Washington's
life guard. He migrated from Maryland to Geneva in 1800 and thence
to Sodus Point in 1803, bringing his family and thirty to forty slaves.
The slaves were freed in a few years and for some time composed a
colony of their own in the neighborhood of the Point; at one time they
numbered eighty persons.

Elder Seba Norton, the pioneer Baptist minister, came to the town
in 1804. He was a Revolutionary soldier and lived a short time in
Marion before settling in Sodus.

Joseph Hathaway made his settlement on the Thornton place in 1803 ;
and in 180G John Corey came from Warren county and settled at South
Sodus, while Elder Gerum located north of Wallington on the Geneva
road. About 1803 Matthew Clark settled near the brick meeting house
and at about the same time Isaac Mason began improvement on the
farm latterly occupied by D. Wilcox.

Several settlers came in 1807 — Jenks Pullen, from Phelps, who loca-
ted at South Sodus; Abner Torrey, from the west side of Lake Cham-
plain; Samuel Warren from New Hampshire, located at South Sodus
and in February, 1.S08, brought his family; Elijah and Clark were his
sons, the former becoming a Methodist preacher, and the latter a pilot
on Lake Ontario, where he served in several naval engagements and
also at the battle of Sandy Creek in 1812. Gardner Warren, father of
A. P. Warren, was also in the latter engagement.

In 1808 Silas F. Andrews, grandfather of Joseph Andrews, lived in a
log house at Sodus Center. About the same year William Young set-
tled south of the old Thornton limekiln; he was an old sea captain and


father of Joseph Young. In 1793 Drniel Arms moved from Chenango
county to Ontario county, and afterwards lived in Phelps, whence he
came to Sodus in 1808, settling- near a spring a little west from Wall-
ington station, north of the house of Edward Messenger. In his house
the first town meeting was held in 1811, after Sodus had assumed its
present limits. In 1809 Mr. Arms erected a saw mill, going to Phelps
for men to raise it. He held several town offices, and died November
11, 1830.

Dr. Elisha Mather settled in Sodus in 1810, coming from Jefferson
county, and originally from Connecticut. Locating first on the east
side of Salmon Creek, he removed in 1821 to Sodus Center, where he
practiced his profession. He had a son of the same name.

In township 13 in the southwestern part of Sodus, settlement began
in 1807, when Elisha Granger, Noble Granger, and Parson Hunn came
in. In March, 1808, John Granger removed from Phelps to Sodus, and
three days later Mark Johnson, from Pompey, Onondaga county, came
and settled at the "Corners" that took his name. In 1809 Flavel
Kingsley settled on the William Filkins farm. In this township (13)
Pierce Granger bought 800 acres of land at twenty cents an acre. His
tract was divided into four farms of about equal size and the locality
became known as " Granger's Settlement."

In 1811 Lyman Dunning, Nathaniel Kellogg, Joseph and Samuel
Green, Kitchell Bell, Robert A. Paddock, William Danforth (later a
justice) and others, from Williamstown, Mass., settled along the Ridge,
while on or near Morse Hill were the families of Bacon, Morse, and
Smith. Byram Green was educated in Williams College, and was long
one of the assessors, a justice, school commissioner, school inspector,
State senator in 1823-4, and supervisor in 1827, 1840 and 1842. His
widow, Elizabeth, died here in October, 1881. His father, Captain
Joseph Green, was an early settler. Mr. Danforth was supervisor from
1828 to 1832.

In the neighborhood of the Centenary church and towards Alton the
families of Bancroft, Barnard, Knapp, Axtell, Terry, and Warner
settled prior to 1812; and at Sodus Point Rodolphus Field, William P.
Irwin, and William Wickham located, the latter being a merchant.
Gamaliel Case was another settler of that date. About 1813 Enoch
Morse came to the town; from 1814 to 1824 inclusive he was supervisor,
and in 1826 was member of Assembly. Thomas Wickham and his
brother were also early and prominent settlers. Thomas, a son of the


brother, died here, November 3, 1882. Rodolphus Field served in the
war of 1812, cut the first tree on the site of Alton village, and died
October 11, L880.

Levi Allen, born in East Windsor, Conn., March 4, 1780, came to
Sodus in March, 1817, and died January 20, 1867. His son, Charles J.
Allen, a farmer, carpenter, and groceryman, was born here, March 14,
1820, and died October 12, 1888. Francis Reed, born in L809, removed
to Sodus with his parents about 1816, and died June 12, 1882. Austin
M. Richardson, a native of Genesee county, came here in 1829, and died
in February, 1881.

In 1815 William Delano came from Maine to Sodus, and settled op-
posite the Lefurgey burying ground. He had been here in 1813 in com-
pany with Enoch Carl, Richard Hayden, and John Butler; in 1815 also
came the Dennis and the Lane families, and soon afterwards the
Lightons. William, James, and Joseph Walling, William Champlin,
and the Pendell family were also early settlers. Lemuel Higgins,
about 1812; Henry Pulver, who died in March, 1853; Abner Arms,
younger brother of Daniel Arms; Mr. Wride, an Englishman and father
of Robert; Mr. Hanby, father of Charles Hanby; William Dolloway;
Thomas Granger, born in 1803, and died here, September 2, 1881; John
Preston, born in England in 1808, and died January 16, 1881; Pardon
and Jeremiah Harrington, brothers and noted Inmters; and others were
prominent among the earlier comers to Sodus.

Among others who became settlers down to about 1845 were: Merritt
Thornton in 1816, Robert Bean in 1817, Linus Coleman and Robert D.
Dennis in 1818, John R. Proseus in 1821, John Bates in 1825, George
W. Baker in 1827, John Harborton and John Toor, sr., in 1831, Sheldon
and John B. Gbodsell and Clement Harvey in 1832, Harry Pulver in
L833, Benjamin Rogers, Thomas Lund, and Rodolphus Dingman in
1835, Henry Ward in 1836, Daniel Bloomer, Anson Beebe, and Samuel
B. and B. B. Green in 1837, Lyman and P. P. Butts, and John Toor,
jr., in L838, John Mclntyre and B. B. Seaman (lawyer) in 1843. John
Toor, sr., was born in England in 1801, and died November 11, 1S82.

Solomon G. Smedley, a native of Vermont, born in 1798, came to
Sodus in 1846, and died Narch 27, L889. Gilbert Van Allen Hill, born
in North Chatham, N. Y., in IS 17, settled in this town in 1845, and died
January IS, 1889; he was father of John C, Noadiah, and Henry Hill,
and Mrs. T. H. Hathaway. Azel Carpenter came to Sodus in July,
L817, and died January 5, 1882. Noah W. Silver was born in New


Jersey in 1 S • » 1 , removed to Sodus about 1845, and died in Alton in
August, 1880. Stephen Tinklepaugh was born in this town April 14,
1810, and died at Sodus Point September 10, 1885. Rev. John Gates,
born in England in 178!), settled in the town north of the old stone
school house in 1830, and died a few months later; he was a Methodist
preacher, a teacher, and a farmer; his son John died in February, 1886.
Andrew A. Whitbeck, who was born at Kinderhook in 1808, came to
Arcadia at the age of twenty-one years, and a few years later settled in
Sodus, where he died April 23, 1885; he was a farmer and served as
supervisor in 1849. John G. Kelly, born in 1809, came to this town
with his father, Myric, in 1827, held several town offices, and died in
July, 1882. Jonas Miller, who came to Sodus village in 1841, was born
in Columbia county in December, 1817; he died March 19, 1881. Colonel
Enoch Granger aquired his title in the State militia; he was born in
Phelps, N. Y. , in 1801, removed here when eighteen years old, and died
in Joy in July, 1882. He was railroad commissioner during the con-
struction of the Sodus Point and Southern Railroad.

Daniel McMillen settled near South Sodus at an early day, and built
the first log house and later a frame dwelling ; the latter burned in May,
1887, at which time it was occupied by the four McMillen sisters — Mrs.
Betsey Weaver, Mrs. Mary Knapp, Mrs. Rosana Reynold, and Miss
Eunice McMillen. Major W. H. Sentell, who died in December, 1887,
was the first commander of Dwight Post No. 109, G. A, R., and several
years was collector at Sodus Point.

Dr. William D. Cooke, who was born in Geneva, October 18, 1807,
studied medicine and began practice at Penn Yann. In 1835 he pur-
chased 200 acres of the old Lummis farm. He was active in the promotion
of the Sodus Point Railroad, and was its president and a director for a
time. He did not practice his profession here, and died in Vineland,
N. J., October 13, 1885.

Major General Gordon Granger was a son of Gaius Granger, and was
born in Joy in 1818. In 1841 he was appointed a cadet at West Point,
and upon his graduation in 1845 he joined the 2d Infantry for garrison
duty in Michigan. In the Mexican war he was promoted captain, and
from then until the late war began he served mainly on the Indian
frontier. During the Civil War he rendered gallant service, and in
March, 1865, was made brevet major-general of volunteers. In July,
1866, he was appointed colonel of the 55th Regiment of Regulars, of
which he took command in December, 1870, and held the post until his
death in January, 1876.


Thomas H. Potwine was born in East Windsor, Conn., August 5,
lsii.'), and came to the Sweet Settlement in Sodus in 1835. He was a
respected farmer.

Eli Clark came from Massachusetts to this town in 1816, and settled
on a farm on lot 9, which he owned until his death in 1871. Here his
son, Professor Lewis H. Clark, was born, September 11, 1827. Professor
Clark was educated in the common and select schools of this town, and
in the Walworth and Macedon Academies, studied law in Chicago, and
has devoted most of his life to teaching - . He has been principal and a
trustee of Sodus Academy several years, and long an elder and prom-
inent member of the Presbyterian church. In 1873 he was librarian of
the Assembly, and in 1876-77 was executive clerk in the State Senate.
Professor Clark is a scholarly writer and has assiduously labored in pre-
serving local history. He has published several volumes, among them
being his invaluable Military History of Wayne County.

Major A. B. Williams began business in Sodus as a dry goods
merchant in the firm of Warner & Williams. In 1840 he was elected
supervisor, and in 1841 was appointed collector of customs at Sodus
Point. He resigned, and in 1845 was elected county clerk, and again
in 1848. In 1855 he was defeated for State treasurer on the Whig
ticket, and in 1858 was elected State senator. During the Rebellion he
was appointed paymaster with the rank of major. He finally removed
to Chicago and died in April, 1873.

David Poucher was several times supervisor of Sodus; he settled here
in 1836, and was for a time superintendent of the Erie Canal through
the county. In 1880 he was appointed collector of customs at Sodus
Point. He died August 11, 1893.

Many other settlers and residents of the town are noticed a little
further on in this chapter and in Part II. of this volume.

At the town meeting in 1814 the following resolutions were adopted:

Resolved, That this'town being most exposed to the enemy, it is deemed best to
provide ourselves for the defense of the frontier.

Resolved, That William N. Lummis, William Wickham, John Fellows, Thomas
Wafer, and Ashur Doolittle be a committee of safely for the town of Sodus.

Resolved, That said committee offer a subscription to the good people of Sodus for
funds to defend said town, and that such subscription be demanded only in case of
the enemy obtaining command at Lake Ontario.

Nothing of importance came of these proceedings, as the necessity
for action did not arise.


In the war of the Rebellion the town made a brilliant record, more
than 4(H) of her citizens participating' in the service, and over a hundred
losing their lives in the long" struggle. The organizations in which
these volunteers went out have beenmoticed in an earlier chapter.

The first burials in this town were on the lake bank at Soclus Point.
The brick church and the Bushnell burying grounds were opened at an
early day, while the old graveyard south of the Whitney House in Soclus
village was laid out soon after settlement began. Through the labors
of Professor Clark this has been cleaned up and put in respectable con-
dition; it contains the remains of Dr. William N. Lummis, and many
other pioneers. The burial plat near the Whitbeck school house was
opened about 1812, but prior to this several interments had been made
on the north side of the hill, from which the remains have not all been

Tradition asserts that the first school in this town was taught by Mrs.
Armsbury, a sister of Daniel Arms, on the Geneva road north of Wal-
lington. Another early and short lived school house was built on the
northeast corner of Nathaniel Merrill's farm, and among its first teach-
ers were Dr. Gibbs and Huldah Ter^ry. Elder Seba Norton built a
school house near his dwelling, and at an early date another was erected
at the forks of the Lyons road, called " Merchant's." In 1812 a school
house was built at Sodus Center, and on September 28 of that year it
was voted to build another at Sodus village. Among early teachers are
recalled the names of Dr. Elisha Mather, Enquire Colbath, Capt. Will-
iam Champlin, Otis C. Knapp, Willard Bancroft Morley, Josiah Rice, a
Mr. Lovejoy, Ann Strong (Mrs. Sanford Williams), Clarissa Snow (Mrs.
Austin Rice), Mrs. Young, Miss Stone (Mrs. Josiah Hayward), James
Rogers, Zenas Horr, Bethuel Reed, and Charles Kellogg.

At the annual town meeting in 1813 it was decided to divide the town
into eleven school districts, and three school commissioners — Byram
Green, John Holcomb, and William Wickham — and six school inspec-
tors — Thaddeus Bancroft, Enoch Morse, William Danforth, Dr. Will-
iam N. Lummis, Peter Failing, and Daniel Arms — were chosen. In
June following the commissioners formally laid out the eleven districts,
among them being No. 1, Sodus Point; No. 4, Sodus village; No. 8,
Arms Cross Roads (now Wallington) ; No. 9, Sodus Center; No. 10,
South Sodus ; the others embraced the parts of the town not named.
A series of select schools were taught at Sodus village by A. M. Win-
chester in 1838-39 ; Charles L. Curtiss in 1840-41 ; Jesse Andrews in



1842-43; Rev. Hosea Kittredge in 1844-45; Rev. William Hall about
L849; and Lewis H. Clark in 1851-52. In the winter of 1851-52 Profes-
sor Clark wrote and posted a notice for a meeting to consider the ques-
tion of establishing an academy at Sodus village. The meeting was
held February 3, 1852, with William Tillotson as chairman; and A. M.
Winchester secretary. Dr. Levi Gaylord drew resolutions providing
for the formation of an academy association, which were adopted Feb-
ruary 28. The first Board of Trustees comprised Michael O'Keefe,
John White, Jerry C. Rogers, Dennis Lefurgey, Miles L. Landon,
Lewis H. Clark, Anson Proseus, Enoch Granger, Jesse H. Green, An-
drew C. Williams, William Sergeant, and Silas P. Hulett. April 30 a
site was chosen, the building was erected in the summer of 1853 and the
school opened October 18 of the latter year. In the fall of 1854 a library
and scientific apparatus fund was raised, and on January 11, 1855, the
Regents of the University of the State incorporated it as an endowment
academy. In the winter of 1858-59 the sum of $800 was raised by sub-
scription to extinguish the indebtedness, which left the institution un-
embarrassed. The principals of the academy have been as follows:

A. B. Johnson, 1853-4. B. F. Dake, is:,; s

Dexter E. Clapp, 1854-5. Lewis H. Clark, 1858-64.

Elisha Harris, 1855-6. Elisha Curtis, 1864-5 to 1891-2.

Charles D. Dann, 1856-7. Lewis H. Clark, 1892-3 to present time.

In 1858 the town had twenty-three districts, in which 1,880 children
were taught. In 1894 there are the same number of districts with a
school house in each, taught during the year 1892-3 by twenty-seven
teachers, and attended by 1,014 scholars. The school sites and build-
ings are valued at $19,890; assessed valuation of districts, $2,286,830;
money received from the State, $3,535.42; amount raised by local tax,

Statistics of 1858: Valuation of real estate, $1,085,811 ; personal prop-
erty, $116,089; there were then 2,331 male and 2,207 female inhabi-
tants, 908 dwellings, 932 families, 777 freeholders, and eleven churches
in the town.

In 1890 the town had a population of 5,151, or 128 less than in L880.
In 1893 the assessed valuation of real estate was $1,244. 14 (equalized
$1,309,096); village and mill property, $484,939 (equalized $448,481);
railroads and telegraphs, $257,259 (equalized $25:i, 12<>); personal prop-
erty, $246,425. Schedule of taxes, 1893: Contingent fund, $3,654.87;
roads and bridges, $250; special town tax, $10, II L.83; school tax, $2,-



065.11; county tax, $4,041; State tax, $2,722.76: State insane tax,
$702.42; dog- tax, $178.50. Total tax, $26,209.14; rate per cent.,

Sodus Village. — This thrifty village is situated on the R. W. & ( >,
Railroad, a little northwest of the geographical center of the town.
Most of its pioneer history has been noticed in the foregoing pages. The
first settler was John Holcomb, who built here in November, 1809. In
1812 the place contained, besides Holcomb's log house, a tavern, a frame
school house in front of the site of the Whitney House barn, and five or
six other log dwellings. The post-office was established at an early day
as " East Ridge," and its name was eventually changed to Sodus. The
present postmaster is M. W. Gurnee.

E. A. Green started the first banking business in the village between
I860 and 1870 (he was born in this county in 1826). He failed in 1876
and soon afterward E. W. Gurnee & Co. opened what was called Green's
Banking Office in the store now occupied by A. E. Buckler. The in-
direct successor of that institution was the Bank of Sodus, of which C.
K. Knapp is proprietor. This was established in 1883, and is continued
in connection with Mr. Knapp's drug and notion store.

The present banking business of C. D. Gay lord was founded October
1, 1881, by S. P. Hulett and Mr. Gaylord. Mr. Hulett died in July,
1884, and since then Mr. Gaylord has been sole proprietor. The bank
building was erected by E. W. Gurnee & Co. , and has been occupied by
the present incumbent since 1885.

Fish & Hulett's basket factory was started by Granger, Golding & Co.
in 1886. In 1887 they sold to B . J . Case, who sold out to the present
firm in the fall of 1891. During the summer they employ forty-five
hands making fruit baskets, crates, etc., and in the winter operate a
custom steam saw mill .

The Norris Fruit Evaporator was built in 1880 by Felker, Danfords
& Co. In 1881 Willis C. Teall purchased the interests of Mr. Felker
and the two Danfords and with Mr. Norris enlarged the establishment
to a daily capacity of two tons of dried apples. In 1887 Mr. Teall sold
his interst to E. B. Norris who, with W. R. Norris, organized the firm
of E. B. Norris & Co., which was dissolved in August, 1894, by the
admission of Byron J. Case. This is one of the largest fruit evapora-
tors in Wayne county and during the busy season gives employment to
twenty hands.


The Whitney House is one of the oldest hotels in the town and is so
called from a long time landlord of that name. The present proprie-
tor is E. N. Snider.

Sodus village now contains two private banks, a newspaper, three
churches, an academy, a graded school, five general stores, two hard-
ware stores, two drug stores, two jewelry stores, three milliners, a
clothing store, a variety store, three meat markets, two hotels, two har-
ness shops, a bakery, three physicians, two dentists, four lawyers, two

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