George Washington Cowles.

Landmarks of Wayne County, New York online

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is; I by Rev: Charles L. M. Rimmels. Catholic services, however, had


been held in Lyons for many years prior to the formal organization.
The first mass in the town was said at the house of James Ford, and the
first priests were Fathers Gilbride and Towhay. In 1850 the German
Methodist Church was purchased for a place of worship. The present
pastor is Rev. D. W. Kavanaugh.

St. John's Lutheran Church of Lyons was organized May 4, 1877, by
Rev. G. Manz, who became the first pastor. The corner stone of the
present handsome edifice was laid July 10, 1877, and the structure was
dedicated January 2, 1878. It is of brick and cost $14,000. The society
has over 400 communicants and a Sunday school of 130 scholars. The
present pastor is Rev. H. Hartwig.


The town of Galen was organized by a division of Junius, in Seneca
county, February 14, 1812; on the 11th of April, 1823, it became a part
of Wayne county; on November 24, 1824, Savannah was set off, leaving
it with its present area of 35,299 acres. It is the second town in size in
the county, and is bounded on the north by Rose and Butler, on the
east by Savannah, on the south by Seneca county, and on the west by
Lyons. It comprises township number 27 of the old Military Tract,
and received its name of Galen from being reserved for the physicians
and surgeons of the New York regiments in the Revolutionary war ;
more definitely speaking, it was named in honor of the professional fol-
lowers of Claudius Galen (or Galenus), a celebrated Greek physician
who was born A. D. 130. With the other portions of this vast tract, it
was originally surveyed into farm lots of 600 acres each.

The surface is broken into high hills and level marsh, the latter cov-
ering a total of over one-fifth of the town. The soil of the highlands
is a sandy, gravelly loam, while that of the lowlands is a black muck.
It is very productive, and except the marshes is susceptible of easy cul-
tivation. Almost the whole area was originally covered with a dense
growth of hardwood timber, the sugar maple predominating, and during
the earlier settlements, a number of saw mills found profitable employ-


ment in manufacturing lumber. The principal drainage is afforded by
the Clyde River, formerly called the Canandaigua outlet, which enters
the town from Lyons, flows northeasterly to Clyde village, and thence
runs southeast into vSeneca county. It has several small tributaries, the
largest being Black Creek, which flows through the northwest part of
Galen and joins the river one-fourth mile east of Lock Berlin. Marsh
Creek courses southward through the east edge of this town and enters
Savannah near the New York Central Railroad. In 1872 a project was
instigated for the drainage of Black Creek with a ditch seven miles long,
ten feet wide, and four feet deep, costing $4000. This was the greatest
effort of the kind ever attempted in the town. Several appropriations
have been made by the State to drain and reclaim portions of the marsh
lands. In the spring of 1855 a freshet inundated the banks of the Clyde
River and other streams, and caused considerable damage to buildings,
bridges, and adjacent property. March 30, 1873, a similar flood occurred,
in which two brothers, Michael and Fenton Kelly, were drowned while
trying to reach land on a raft from the Fox malt house in Clyde.

Wheat long constituted the chief agricultural production, but within
recent years it has been largely superseded by mixed farming, the strength
and fertility of the soil, enabling the husbandman to raise a variety of
crops indigenous to this latitude. Fruitgrowing has been an important
industry from an early day, and the apples produced here have given
the town, as well as the county, a leading place in distant markets.
Raspberries are also cultivated with profit, and peppermint is extensively
grown, especially upon the wet or marshy tracts. The largest vineyard
in Galen is owned by A. F. Devereaux. In 1858 the town produced 31,-
178 bushels of winter wheat and 199,093 bushels of spring wheat; 3, Six;
tons of hay; 1.9,546 bushels of potatoes ; 4H,58S bushels of apples; 140,
558 pounds of butter; 10,278 pounds of cheese; and 1,271 yards of do-
mestic cloths. It contained 1,373 horses; 1,061 oxen and calves; 1,649
cows; 8,814 sheep; and 4,198 swine.

For twenty years or more following the advent of white settlers, the
Clyde River was the avenue of considerable commerce; it conveyed the
bateaux of the pioneers, brought them merchandise, and carried their
produce to market. Previous to that its waters had long floated the
canoe of the aborigine, for it is evident on good authority that one or
more Indian villages existed within the borders of the town. On the
[oseph Watson farm numerous relics have been found and several deep
black spots in the earth, indicating fireplaces, were discovered. Half


a mile east, on the old Adrastus Snedaker place, were similar evidences
of an Indian encampment. In the road near the Catholic Cemetery is
now a stone five long-, two and one-half feet wide, and sunk deep into
the ground; its surface is dug out to form a basin, in which it is claimed
the Indians pounded their corn. In the immediate vicinity many arrow-
heads and other relics of wigwam days have been picked up.

The present site of the village of Clyde is historic ground. A little
east of the Central depot, during a part of the eighteenth century, there
stood a block house, so called from its construction. The date of its
construction is unknown, but it was used as a trading post by the French
prior to the French and Indian war in 1754. From that time until the
Revolution it was occupied by other traders; it then fell into the posses-
sion of the Tories, who used it as a station for smuggling goods from
Canada via Sodus Bay. But before the war closed the government
made a descent upon the place, arrested some of the smugglers and
drove the others away. In the mean time quite a number of lawless
characters had squatted in the immediate vicinity, and by hunting and
smuggling, by the aid of friendly Indians, carried on a profitable busi-
ness. They boldly kept out all persons unfavorable to their illegal
traffic and being distantly removed from any regular settlement they
prosecuted their trade with little fear of molestation. The best evidence
extant indicates that the block house was burned during or soon after
the government raid, notwithstanding the many assertions made that
it was seen by white men as late as 1820. Captain Luther Redfield once
said that when he and others were passing in a boat, about 1804, the
charred remnants of the old building were plainly visible; even its cor-
ners and shape could be distinguished. In 1811 Jonathan Melvin, jr.,
erected on the south side of the river the first log dwelling within the
present village limits. This was also known as a block house, which
accounts for the statement referred to above. The location of the
original block house has advanced the theory that this was formerly a
Jesuit mission, but this is incorrect. If this were true it would undoubt-
edly have been mentioned in the Jesuit Relations.

The Erie Canal opened in 1825, not only drew all the shipping busi-
ness from the Clyde River, but also aided materially in advancing the
settlements and promoting various industries. This was followed
several years later by a project to connect this waterway with Great
Sodus bay by a ship canal, locally known as the "Sodus ditch. " In 1841
General William H. Adams organized a company, obtained a charter, LANDMARKS OF

and began work a half-mile west of Clyde. After digging a portion of
the channel, the waters of the streams and marshes were turned in to
wash out the ditch. The general's property was alhexpended in further-
ing this enterprise, but it was never completed and the whole work was
finally abandoned. Evidences of the great ditch are still visible.

January 22, 1853, a company, capitalized at $150,000, was formed for
the purpose of building a railroad from Clyde to Sodus Bay; a survey
was made, but the clashing of individual interests caused the abandon-
ment of this project also.

In 1853 the New York Central Railroad was completed and opened
and added a new impetus to the development of the town. In 1872 the
Pennsylvania and Sodus Bay Railroad, from a point in Pennsylvania,
via Seneca Falls and Clyde, to Sodus Bay was projected; and to aid in
its construction it was proposed to bond this town for $70,000. Contracts
were let in 1873, but soon afterward the whole plan fell through. In
1884 the West Shore Railroad was completed and opened, with a
station at Clyde.

Roads were opened in Galen prior to 1810, and as settlers increased
in numbers they were improved and extended. Probably the first one
was the military trail or State road, leading from the block house north-
easterly and easterly to Salina. The State road proper ran through the
north part of the town. The eastern plank road from Clyde to Port
Byron, running north of Savannah village past the salt works there,
was graded and opened at an early day, but it was planked eastward
only to a point south of Crusoe Lake in that town. Laomi Beadle, the
pioneer settler, was instrumental in constructing the Montezuma turn-
pike from Montezuma to Lyons about 1820. It ran through the south
part of Galen and became an important mail route and stage line. The
Clyde and Rose Plank Road Company for several years maintained a
plank road between those two villages, but discontinued it soon after
1877, at which time the officers were: P. J. Thomas, president; Seth
Smith, secretary, J. M. Nichols, treasurer. The highways in the
vicinity of Marengo were among the earliest opened in Galen. There
are now 105 road districts in the town.

In 1818 mail was brought from Geneva to Marengo on horseback, and
in 1820 the mail route was extended to Clyde. About this latter year
a line of stages was established, and in 1830, when the first newspaper
was printed at Clyde, the business was in full blast under the proprietor-
ship of James M. Watson. He ran a stage between these points thrice


weekly each way. In 1833 Mr. Watson sold to William F. Pierce of
Clyde, who disposed of the business a few years later to S. Salisbury.
In 1841 the latter sold to Adrastus Snedaker, who operated it until L844,
when the route between Rochester and Syracuse through Clyde was
discontinued. The travel between Clyde and Geneva necessitated a
daily stage, and Mr. Snedaker sold a one-half interest to Lewis & Colvin
of Geneva, who continued the route until 1854, when stages were aban-
doned. The mail route was kept up, however, and the business again
passed to Mr. Snedaker, who sold it in 1857 to B. Hustin. The latter
had several successors. Stage routes are now maintained between
Clyde and Junius in Seneca county. .

The assessed valuation of real estate in Galen in 1823 was $385,531,
and the personal property, $7,499. In 1858 these were $1,381,393, and
$367,578, respectively. In 1858 the town had also $24,301 acres of
improved land, 2,706 male and 2,475 female inhabitants; 924 dwellings,
995 families, and 490 freeholders. In 1890 its population numbered"
4,922, or 539 less than in 1880. In 1893 the assessed valuation of real
estate aggregated $1,360,347 (equalized $1,423,940) ; village and mill
property, $949,250 (equalized $988,806) ; railroads and telegraphs, $836,-
281; personal property, $173,950. Schedule of taxes, 1893: Contingent
fund, $3,388.01; poor fund, $750; special town tax, $2,820; school tax,
$3,131.77; county tax, $7,493.12; State tax; $4,129.11; State insane tax,
$1,065.23; dog tax, $97.50. Total tax levied, $28,196.01 ; rate percent.,
.00842853. There are five election districts, and in 1893 the town polled
976 votes.

The first town meeting was held at the house of Jonathan Mel vin, jr.,
in April, 1812, and Mr. Melvin was elected the first supervisor. The
records covering the years intervening between 1812 and 1862 have been
burned and therefore it is impossible to give the names of the other first
officers or a list of the successive supervisors. The town officers elected
March 4, 1862, were as follows: Albert F. Redfield, supervisor; Jacob
T. Van Buskirk, town clerk; Hiram P. Jones, justice of the peace;
Charles E. Elliott, assessor; Levi Lundy, commissioner of highways;
Ambrose S. Field and Timothy S. Brink, overseers of the poor; James
Murphy, collector. Supervisors since then have been : Albert F. Red-
field, 1862-63 : Porter G. Denison, 1866; Matthew Mackie, 1867 ; Ste-
phen D. Streeter, 1868; Edward B. Wells, 1870-71; Matthew Mackie,
1872; E. W. Gurnee, 1873; E. W. Sherman, 1874-75; Thomas P. Thorn,
1875; Elijah P. Taylor, jr., 1877-78; Adrastus Snedaker, 1879; Albert


F. Redfield, 1880-81; M.S. Roe, 1882; George G. Roe, L883-84; Will-
iam Gillette, 1885; Ward H. Groesbeck, 1886 ; Alexander Graham, 1887
ss ; Milton J. Blodgett, 1880; Charles H. Ford, 1890-01 ; Edwin Sands,
L892-94. The town officers for 1804 are: Edwin Sands, supervisor;
Frank A. Haugh, town clerk; Albert M. Van Buskirk, J. M. Lieck,W.
H. Gilbert, justices of the peace ; A. H. Gillette, W. A. Groescup, Har-
vey H. Benning, assessors; William E. Mead, collector; Archibald Bar-
ton, highway commissioner; Willard Crawford, overseer of the poor.
The town Board of Health was organized August 15, 1881.

Mention has been made of the hunters, trappers, and smugglers who
squatted in the vicinity of what is now the village of Clyde, and who were
driven away by the government soon after the Revolutionary War. The
squatters made no substantial improvements, and when the actual set-
tlers arrived it is said that not a sign of any former habitation save the
ruins of the original block house could be seen.

The first permanent white settler was Laomi Beadle, who located on
land which his father, Thomas Beadle, of Junius, owned at Marengo in
L800. He built the first log house in Galen, planted the first orchard,
and on the little stream at that point he erected the first saw mill. In
1801 the families of David Godfrey, Nicholas King, and Isaac Mills,
consisting of thirty-three persons, settled on lot 70. Dr. James Young,
the brother of Mrs. King's mother and a surgeon of the Revolution at
Albany, drew military lots 28, 37, 70, and 87, and offered 100 acres to
his nephew if he would settle thereon. The three men selected lot 70
in L800, built two log cabins that fall, returned to their home at Aurel-
ius, and brought their families hither the next spring. October 13,
L801, David Godfrey was accidentally killed, and in February, 1802, his
son Isaac was born, these being the first death and birth respectively in

These settlers were followed in 180.'5 by David Creager and J. King,
from Maryland. Mr. Creager built a log house in the northwest corner
of (ialen, wdiich became the oldest of the kind in town. He was a vet-
erinary surgeon and one of the first assessors, an office he held seven-
torn years; he died here in 1854. Isaac Mills was killed by a falling
tree; his son Nathaniel served in the war of 1812, and in 1835 he sold
the homestead to John and Manley Hanchett and moved to Ohio.

In 1804 Capt. John Sherman, Elias Austin, Mr. Payne, and Jabez
Reynolds came in. Captain Sherman and Mr. Payne, while coming by
way of Clyde River, encountered an insurmountable obstacle of logs


and brush in a bend of the stream, called " big wood reef." They
changed the course of the river, and lessened the distance half a mile,
by cutting' a channel twelve feet wide across the bend; this was long-
known as the "old canal." Jabez Reynolds and Polly, daughter of
Isaac Mills, were married in 1805, the first marriage in the town.

Among- the settlers of 1805 were Asaph Whittlesey, William Fore-
man, a Mr. Rich, Salem Ford (at Lock Berlin), Isaac Beadle (at Ma-
rengo), and Aaron Ford. In 1810 Abraham Romyen located south of
Lock Berlin, and Jonathan Melvin, jr., settled at Clyde. The latter in
1811 erected on the south side of the river a log dwelling, which was
known during its existence as the block house. In it was held the first
town meeting. Mr. Romyen had settled in Lyons in 1808. He died
here in 1830; his son Thomas T. died February 9, 1885.

In 1809 James M. Watson moved from Schoharie county to Junius,
Seneca county, whence he came with his family in 1810 to lot 95, near
Marengo, and finally became stage proprietor, as before stated. Joseph
Watson, his son, was born in 1800, came to Clyde in 1817, married a
daughter of Capt. Luther Redfield in 1822, and died March 22, 1881.
He was a mason, a merchant, and a farmer. Levi Watson, born in
Galen in 1835, died on his father's homestead November 18, 1890.

James W. Humeston, James Dickson, Henry Archer, D. Southwick,
Arza Lewis, and E. Dean also settled at or near Clyde about 1810.
Soon afterward Edward Wing, Benjamin Shotwell, Nathan Blodgett,
and Samuel Stone located near Marengo. Mr. Humeston died in Michi-
gan in May, 1893. Mr. Blodgett engaged in the manufacture of pot-

The war of 1812 checked the tide of immigration, and w r e find few set-
iers to notice until 1815. In that year, in March, Simeon Griswold, sr.,
purchased of Judge Nicholas, of Geneva, 300 acres of wood land on lot
09, and settled his family upon it. Aaron Griswold, his son, was born
in Fairfield, N. Y., December 1, 1799, came to Phelps, and thence to
Galen with his parents, taught school, and died in February, 1883. In
1822 father and son built and floated on the Clyde River and afterward
on the canal the first canal boat (the "Gold Hunter") ever owned in
town. In 1826 Aaron Griswold built two other canal boats at Lock Ber-
lin, and for a time was associated in the business with Stephen Fergu-
son. In 1828 the two contracted to build three sections of a canal on
the Juniata River in Pennsylvania, and in 1831 a half mile section on
the Camden and Amboy Railroad in New Jersey. In 1831 he started a



mercantile business at Lock Berlin with William Ford, who sold his in-
terest in L832 to Alfred Griswold, a brother of Aaron. Inl836 he came
to Clyde, and in L 840 bought the Clyde Hotel. He subsequently en-
gaged in milling, banking, merchandising, and manufacturing. April
:!<), 18:25, Mr. Griswold joined the Lyons lodge of Masons, and was
deputy grand master of the State in L864-65. He was candidate for
county clerk in 1855, for member of the State Legislature in 1857, and
tor member of Congress in L858. He held several other positions of
trust and responsibility.

Sylvester Clarke came to Galen prior to 1820, for on November 5 of
that year his son, Sylvester H. Clarke, was born here, and is now the
oldest native of the town. The latter is a writer of marked ability, and
an authority on local history. He has in his possession the initial num-
ber of the first newspaper (the Standard, January 0, 1830), ever pub-
lished in Clyde. The house in which he lives on the south side of the
river, in Clyde, was built by his father for a store; the upper story was
occupied by the Masons and by the Presbyterian Church Society.

Among the settlers between 1815 and 1825 were Luther Redheld,
Abraham Knapp, William S. St<>w (mentioned in the legal chapter), Dr.
John Lewis, John Condit, James B. West, Rev. Jabez Spier, Levi and
David Tuttle, Daniel Dunn, Harry West, Moses Perkins, Rev. Charles
Mosher, Elias R. Cook, Melvin and J P. Pailey, William Hunt, Samuel
M. Welch, Eben Bailey, Lemuel C. Paine, George Burrill, and others.
Thomas J. Whiting was born in New York city in 1801, came to Clyde
in 1825, and died here February 22, L881. He was a shoemaker and a

Henry Van Tassel, who was born in September, 1807, became a
farmer and later a merchant in Rose, settled in Clyde in 1864 and en-
gaged in the dry goods business, and died January 7, 1875. David E.
Garlic, the son of a captain in the Revolutionary war, came to Galen in
1814, and erected two and one-half miles east of Clyde the first frame
house in the town. He died May 6, L884. Captain Chester Smith, born
in 1801, came hereabout L860, and died September 9, L892. Stuckley
Ellsworth, who became prominent in State politics, was his neighbor.
Isaac Wiley was a pioneer settler at Marengo, where he died in fanuary,
L889. He lived for a time in Clyde and was a justice of the peace two
terms. J. Stevens, a blacksmith, and Bryant Hall, a carpenter and
hotel keeper, died at Marengo in L887. Both were early settlers and
the former was the inventor of a ditching machine and cider mill.


General William H. Adams, the instigator of the famous Sodus ditch,

and a lawyer of eminent ability, occupied while a resident of Galen the
old house standing a few yards west of the present residence. of Hon.
Thomas Robinson; in the cellar he had Henry Robinson (father of
Thomas) build four wine vaults of solid masonry. He also owned 600
acres surrounding' the place, most of which is now included within the
village corporation. Prior to General Adams's occupancy and during
the anti-Masonic excitement this old house is said to have been stoned
by a mob which had gathered to wreak vengeance upon a number of
Masons who had taken refuge therein, and who had prepared it for the
occasion by' making loop holes through the walls and barricading the
doors and windows. General Adams had four sons, one of whom,
Alexander D., became captain of Company B, 27th Regiment, in the
war of the Rebellion. The property passed from General Adams to
Alexander Duncan, his chief financial backer, and in 1872 the home-
stead was purchased by Mr. Robinson.

Between 1810 and 1815 a number of Quakers settled in the vicinity
of Marengo, among them being David Beadle, Stephen T. Watson,
Daniel Strang, James Tripp, Henry Donnell, and Mathew Rogers.
Cyrus Smith, a member of the Hicksite branch of this denomination,
located in Clyde at an early day and finally moved to the farm after-
ward occupied by Joseph Crawford.

Thomas J. Marsh, born in Massachusetts in 1816, came to Galen with
his parents in 1820, and died May 1, 1887. Franklin Humphrey, a
native of Phelps, N. Y., born in 1808, moved here with his father's
family in 1812, was engaged in the foundry business forty-one years,
and died in June, 1877. Horace Barnes and Jacob Y. Brink both died
here in November of that year. Matthew Mackie, who was born in
England in 1811, removed to Galen with his father, Thomas, in 1818,
and died here June 3(ยป, 1873; he was a farmer and nurseryman, and
supervisor two years. William Aurand, born in Bucks county, Pa., in
1803, came to this town with his parents in 1819, and died in Septem-
ber, 1884. Peter Vanderbilt, a native of Romulus, N. Y., born in 1800,
moved to Galen when a lad, and died August 23, 1891 ; John Yosbiirgh,
who settled here in 1835, died July 30, of the same year. Lendal Put-
nam Powers, a harnessmaker, was born here November 7, 1828, en-
listed in the 9th New York Heavy Artillery, and died in town June
30, 1S92.

Richard Wood settled in Clyde in 1820; he was a stone mason,


groceryman, village constable, and proprietor of the Indian Queen
Hotel, which stood near the corner of Glasgow and Columbia streets.
vSeth Henry Wood, who died January is, 1886, came to Galen with his
father, Israel, in 1830; he was a cabinet maker, and in 1868 established
with his brother, Sidney W., the present engine manufactory in Clyde
of S. W. Wood & Son.

George R. Mason (died July 2, 1886) and Oliver Stratton (died Sep-
tember 3, 1886) came to Galen in 1824 and L820 respectively. JohnM.
Blodgett settled with his parents in Marengo in 1818, removed to Clyde
in is-.*;, and died February 23, 1888. George Closs located at Lock
Berlin in 1813; his widow died there August 28, 1875.

Anions the settlers of the town and village from is: 1 )!) to 1850 were:
Tobias Forbes, carpenter, died January 13, 1891; Prosper S. Sloan,
died in March, 1891 ; Porter G. Denison, son of George P., owner of the
Clyde Hotel in 1850, merchant, supervisor, died in March, 1890; Henry
Schindler, died August 22, 1887; James M. Nichols, dry goods mer-
chant with Albert Frisbie, died the same day; Peter Fmigh, shoemaker,
farmer, died November 26, 1SS7; Thomas Smith, father of Arthur H.,
died in December, 188'.); George W. Moon, blacksmith, died in Novem-
ber, 1887; Samuel S. Morley, born in England, served as postmaster
from L862 to 1871; John Schindler, died in March, 1*74; Jacob Scott,