George Washington Cowles.

Landmarks of Wayne County, New York online

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of 375. The Rev. John Robinson was appointed for two years as first
pastor of the new society. From the organization in 1824 to 1833 the
church was in a circuit. The first regular appointment was in 1833,
when Philo E. Brown was pastor. The present pastor is Rev. David
Keppel. The Sunday school was organized in 1824, and now has an
average attendance of about 200; superintendent, J. W. Hinman.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Lock Berlin was organized in the
school house in 1835 with about twenty-five members. Prior to this,
however, services had been held in the place by Methodist preachers,
prominent among whom was Rev. Loren Riley. The church building-
was erected in 1838 and cost $1,200. Among the first pastors were Rev.
Silas Bolls, Joseph C. Chapman, and Rensselaer Harrington, the latter
of whom died recently in Lyons. The society has about forty mem-
bers, under Rev. W. C. Burbank.


St. John's Protestant Episcopal Church of Clyde was organized in the
High School building- September 26, 1840, the first officers being:
James C. Adkins, senior warden; Charles A. Rose, junior warden;
William H. Griswold, Josiah N. Westcott, William S. Stow, James R.
Rees, Daniel H. Allen, Henry Goodchild, Charles D. Lawton, and
William H. Adams, vestrymen. Rev. Benjamin W. Stone, D.D., was
the first rector. In 1842 the first church edifice, a wooden building,
was erected on the site of Harmony Hall at a cost of $1,200, and was
consecrated by Bishop William Heathcote De Lancy, D.D., in May of
that year. In 1845 it was moved to the north side of the public square,
west of the Clyde Hotel, on the site of Mrs. J. R. Muth's present
dwelling; here it was burned September 11, 1883. The present hand-
some stone edifice was built in 1884, and is valued at $18,000. The
corner stone was laid by Bishop Coxe of Buffalo, September 13, 1884,
and the church opened for service just one year from that day. The
parish has about eighty communicants. Rev. Richard T. Kerfoot has
been rector since January, 1892. The officers for 1894 are: Homer
Daboll, senior warden; De Lancey Stow, junior warden; Clark Potts,
Dr. J. N. Arnold, Robert Nichols, George B. Green way, and P. H.
Kenyon, vestrymen. The society owns a brick rectory east of the
church. The Sunday school has an average attendance of about fifty,
under H. Cady, superintendent. In the chapel of this church is a pipe
organ that is cherished as a memorable relic of the past. It was donated
to this parish by the Trinity church of Geneva in 184(i in consideration
of the fact that many of the members here formerly belonged to that
body. It was used until about 1890, when it was replaced by a hand-
some pipe organ costing $2,000. The old organ is said to have been
the first of its kind in this State and the first instrument purchased by
the Trinity church of New York city. Upon the solicitation of Rev.
Davenport Phelps it was secured as a gift by the Trinity church of
Geneva soon after the formation of that society.

St. John's Roman Catholic Church of Clyde had its inception in
services of that denomination which were held in Thomas Hickey's
building by Rev. Father Gilbride about 1845. Priests occasionally
visited the village until 1851, when the first edifice, a wooden building,
was erected at a cost of $1,300. It was in the Lyons charge and Rev.
Thomas O'Brien was the first pastor. In the spring of 1869 the corner
stone of the present brick and stone edifice was laid, and on Christmas
following midnight mass was celebrated therein by Rev. J. P. Stewart,


to whom great credit is due for its erection. It was consecrated in
August, 1870, by Bishop McQuaid and Father Stewart. The building
cost $22,500. The parish has 1,000 communicants. The present pastor
is Rev. Father J. J. Gleason. The presbytery south of the church was
built in 1872, and remodeled in 1891. The Sunday school was begun
in 1856; it now has an attendance of eighty scholars, under the super-
intendence of Father Gleason.

The German Lutheran Church of Clyde was organized in the old
M. E. edifice in 1859, and occupied it until 1864 on a lease. The first
pastor was Rev. Mr. Stahlsmith. Among his successors were Revs.
Thompson, Schmaltzel, Schapple, and Manns. The society purchased
a half interest in the old M. E. church building in 1864. Services were
maintained with some irregularity until a year or two ago, but the
society has become weak in numbers and is practically disbanded.

The Free Methodist Church of Clyde was organized in Harmony Hall
by Rev. William Cooley early in 1864. The first trustees were : Samuel
Fornecook, Henry Baker, Henry Cole, Harrison Holcomb, P. Grim-
shaw, Isaac Hammond, Philip Sours, and B. Griner. The first pastor
was Rev. J. B. Stacey, and the present pastor is O. M. Owen. The
church is in the Rose charge and the pastor resides at Rose Valley. In
1864 the society purchased the old Baptist building, but through a legal
technicality it passed back to that organization. The same year the
Free Methodists, jointly with the German Lutherans, bought the old
M. E. edifice, the former's half interest costing them $1,600. It was
dedicated in the fall of 1864. A Sunday school was organized in 1864.

The Universalists formerly maintained occasional services in Clyde,
but never effected an organization. From 1859 to 1864 they used the
old M. E. church buildingf on a lease.




The old town of Wolcott, comprising- the present towns of Butler,
Wolcott, Huron, and Rose, was set off from the north end of Junius,
Seneca county, on the 24th of March, 1807, but a legal organization was
not effected until April, 1810. June 11, 1814, a special town meeting
was convened to consider the question of uniting with the town of
Galen (then including Savannah). Sterling, Cato, Hannibal, and Ly-
sander in the formation of a new county to be known as Pern, but the
delegates appointed were instructed to vote against the proposition.
The subject was revived in 1815, but was soon abandoned. About
1823 it was once more agitated, and this time effectively, but not with-
out considerable difficulty in the adjustment of boundary lines. Among
the committeemen appointed for the purpose were Amos Snyder, Nor-
man Sheldon, Thomas Armstrong, and Elisha Plank. Huron and
Butler both wanted to include Wolcott village, while the settlers in the
vicinity of Red Creek were willing to accommodate either town so as to
make their village the principal point in the new township. The mat-
ter was finally settled and the three towns were set off, as at present
constituted, in 1826, viz.: Rose on February 5; Huron on February
25; and Butler on February 26, leaving Wolcott with its present assessed
area of 20,828^ acres.

The town lies in the northeast corner of Wayne county, and is bounded
on the north by Lake Ontario, on the east by Cayuga county, on the
south by Butler, and on the west by Huron and the lake. The surface
is undulating with a general inclination toward Lake Ontario. The soil
is a sandy and gravelly loam and susceptible of easy cultivation. Port
Bay, in the northeast corner of the town, extends inland several miles
and receives the waters of Wolcott Creek, which Hows from Butler
through Wolcott village, where it affords valuable mill sites. In the
northeast corner is Blind Sodus Bay, so named from the sand-bar which
stretches across its mouth from the west shore. Between these arc two
smaller bays, the east one of which receives the waters of Big and


Little Red Creeks, the former flowing through the village of Red
Creek. These and two or three other small streams, all flowing to-
wards Lake Ontario, afford excellent drainage and several good mill

Agriculture forms the chief industry of the inhabitants. The soil is
well adapted to all kinds of farming and fruit raising. Apples, pears,
peaches, plums, raspberries, etc., are grown with profit, and of late-
years the cultivation of tobacco has received more or less attention.
Originally the town was covered with a heavy growth of timber indig-
enous to this latitude, which furnished employment to a number of
saw mills, all of which, with the exception perhaps of a few portable
concerns, have long since gone down.

North of Wolcott village and along Big Red Creek are several beds
of iron ore. The bed near the village of Red Creek has been worked
in past years with considerable profit. In various parts of the town
evidence of salt water have been discovered. In 1887 the Wolcott Gas
and Mining Company, of which Jefferson W. Hoag was president, sunk
a well inside the limits of Wolcott village to a depth of 2,700 feet.
Brine and natural gas were found, the latter in considerabla quantities,
but neither was ever utilized.

The town was settled with a class of hardy, resolute men and women,
who were endowed with sterling traits of character and remarkable
powers of endurance, and whose keen perception, habits of thrift, and
personal characteristics are inherited by their descendants and perme-
ate the communities in which they lived. The pioneers, with very few
exceptions, have passed away, but the fruits of their labors are visible
on every hand. The fertile fields, the beautiful orchards, the pleasant
and commodious homes, the thriving villages — all are living monu-
ments to their hardships and privations, while the numerous schools
and churches attest the standard of their ideas of civilization.

The town derived its name from Oliver Wolcott, governor of Con-
necticut, from which State and Massachusetts many of the first settlers
originally came. It lies wholly within the old Military Tract. The
original town extended south to Galen and Savannah and west to the
new pre-emption line, and when the latter boundary was established
all of the present town of Huron, nearly all of Rose, and the western
parts of Wolcott and Butler were made over to the Pultney estate as
compensation. From that estate Capt. Charles Williamson, the founder
of Sodus Point, received title to the entire tract in payment for money


advanced in the purchase of previous patents. It thus became known
as Williamson's patent.

During the earlier settlement of Wolcott the chief means of trans-
portation was by way of Sloop Landing, an important port on the east
side of Great Sodus Bay, between the present sites of Port Glasgow
and Bonnicastle. Thither all produce was drawn, whence it was shipped
to Canada or down the St. Lawrence. It promised a brilliant future
and maintained a wide prestige for many years. But the Erie Canal
drew nearly all the commerce southward, and Sloop Landing gradually
fell into decay. The New York Central Railroad, through the south-
ern part of the count}', had a marked influence upon the settlement and
development of this section, but its most important acquisition was the
Lake Ontario Shore Railroad (now the R. , W. & O. ), which was com-
menced in 1871 and completed through the town, with stations at Wol-
cott and Red Creek, in 1874. At Red Creek the old settlers, on August
23, 1871, made the occasion memorable by formally breaking ground
for the line with appropriate ceremonies. To aid in the construction
of this railroad the town was bonded at seven per cent., the bonds be-
ing exchanged February 1, 1882, for five per cent, bonds, amounting to
$139,000, of which about $95,000 remain unpaid. The railroad com-
missioner is Wesley Hall.

The first highway in Wolcott was the "old Galen road,'" running
from the salt works in Savannah to Capt. Helms's place at "Floating-
Bridge" (now Port Glasgow); this thoroughfare was opened by the
Galen Salt Company prior to 1808. The first regular road was sur-
veyed and established November 2, 1810, by Osgood Church ; Jacob
Shook and Peres Bardwell,' highway commissioners; this is now called
the New Hartford road leading south from Wolcott village. Air.
Church surveyed nearly all of the early highways, and Messrs. Shook
and Bardwell were long the road commissioners. In 1810 the old town
was divided into nine road districts, the commissioners filing their re-
port March 19, 1811. The present town contains sixty-three.

The first town meeting was held at the grist mill of Jonathan Mel-
vin, sr., in Wolcott village on April 3, 1810, a little more than three
years after the old town had been set off from Junius. The first officers
were as follows :

Osgood Church, supervisor; Adonijah Church, town clerk; Obadiah
Adams. Osgood Church, John X. Murray, assessors; Ezra Knapp and
Jesse Mathews, overseers of the poor; Isaac Shook, Peres Bardwell,



Noah Starr, highway commissioners; Levi Wheeler and John Grandy,
town viewers; Glazier Wheeler, William P. Newell, James Alexander,
Roger Sheldon, overseers of highways.

It is believed that those who participated at this town meeting, and
who, of course, were residents of the old town of Wolcott, were :

Osgood Church,
Adonijah Church,
Aaron Hoppin,
Franklin Ward,
Alpheus Harmon,
Obadiah Adams,
Seth Craw,
John Hyde,
William P. Newell,
Noah Starr,
Dr. Zenas Hyde,
John Hyde,
Roswell Fox,
Zenas Wheeler,
John Woodruff,
Lambert Woodruff,
Charles Woodruff,
Peres Bardwell,
Silas Munsell,
James Alexander,

Ezra Knapp,
Abijah Moore,
Jacob Shook,
Eliab Abbott,
John Grandy,
Roger Olmsted,
Gardner Mudge,
Alpheus Collins,
Abram Bunce,
Lyman Whitney,
Robert Van Tassell,
Stephen Herrick,
Jacob Ward,
Eli Ward,
Caleb Mills,
Jonathan Melvin, sr. ,
Nathaniel Williams,
Glazier Wheeler,
Eli Wheeler,
Levi Wheeler,
Roger Sheldon,

George Sheldon,
Harvey Mudge,
Moses Gillett,
Thomas Hancock,
Elijah Hancock,
Lucius Hubbard,
Jacob Frober,
Wareham Sheldon,
Consider Herrick,
Prentice Palmer,
Ashley Goodrich,
Thaddeus Collins,
Milton Fuller,
Pender Marsh,
Eliakim Tupper,
William Hallett,
Jarvis Mudge,
Lott Stewart,
Jabez Stewart,
Jesse Mathews.

For the first few years, or until 1826, the town meetings were held
alternately at the houses of Obadiah Adams in Wolcott village, and
Lott Stewart at Stewart's Corners. It is impossible to give a complete
list of the supervisors owing to the records prior to 1867 being burned.
Osgood Church held the office for four years (1810-13), and was suc-
ceeded by Adonijah Church (1814-17). Jesse Mathews, Arad Talcott,
Norman Sheldon, and perhaps others down to 1826, when the town was
divided. The first supervisor of the present township, in that year,
was Dr. David Arne. March 5, 1867, the following town officers were
elected: Edwin H. Draper, supervisor; Ezekiel K. Teachout, town
clerk; Isaac Vought, John J. Van Alstine, George E. Due, Daniel C.
Washburn, justices of the peace; William W. Phillips, assessor; Ashley
Milliman and H. W. Burchard, overseers of the poor; Isaac Rice, high-
way commissioner; Harmon V. Becker, collector. The supervisors
since then have been :


Edwin H. Draper, 1867-70. George W. Snyder, 1885-86.

James W. Snyder, 1871. Myron Wood, 188.7-89.

Edwin II. Draper, 1872-77. George R. Miles, 1890.

Marion Conklin, 1878-80. Alanson Church, 1891-93.

Myron Wood, 1881-84. George R. Miles, 1894.

The town officers for 1894 are: George R. Miles, supervisor; Herbert
Perkins, town clerk; E. H. Kellogg, E. H. Horton, O. J. Frost, Mills
Douglass, justices of the peace; William H. Milliman, Nathaniel }.
Field, George Johnson, assessors; Burgess Jenkins, highway commis-
sioner; Hiram Snyder, collector; Rolla Stewart and Henry Schuyler,
overseers of the poor.

Settlement in the present town of Wolcott commenced at Wolcott
village as early as 180?. About 1806 Jonathan Melvin, sr. , who in 1705
had located on 500 or 600 acres of land on Melvin hill in Phelps, On-
tario county, purchased lot 50, containing 500 acres, now included with-
in the corporate limits. He began improvements in 1807 or 1X0S, but
did not settle his family here until 1811. His tract was on William-
son's patent, which included the old town of Wolcott. The actual sale
of lands on this patent continued from June L6, 1808, to October 15,
L813, during which period 117 contracts, covering about L0, 000 acres,
were made, the prices ranging from $2.40 to $5 per acre. The first
contract was taken by Abram Bunce for 144 acres, now the Van Yleet
farm in Butler. The sub-agents for Williamson's patent were Osgood
Church and Frederick Wolcott. The latter did not live here, and the
work devolved upon Mr. Church, who made the sales and accounted for
the proceeds.

Adonijah Church, the first town clerk and a brother to ( >sgood, came
to Wolcott with his family in 1807 and settled on lot 4S. He was one
of the early commissioners of common schools, supervisor from 1X14
to 1817 inclusive, and died in 1842, aged forty-two. Osgood Church
located on lot 40 in 1808. He was born in Berkshire county, Mass., in
list), and being a surveyor he laid out all of the earlier roads in this
town. He was a prominent citizen, an influential man, the first and
for four years supervisor, and died March 15, 1815. October 27, 1809,
lie had deeded to him 855 acres of land here at $2. Hi per acre.

Jonathan Melvin, sr., and Osgood Church were closely associated
with the business development of not only Wolcott village, but the old
town as well, and for many years carried on a number of important
industries. .Melvin began improvements about 1808 and the following


year had a gristmill in operation on the present Rumsey site. He also,
and doubtless before this, built a saw mill, and about 1812 he sold both
establishments to Obadiah Adams for $10,000. He donated a site for
a school house or a church which would include the present Baptist
church lot and public square in Wolcott village. He sold a lot below
the saw mill to Daniel Mellin. who erected a fulling, cloth-dressing,
and carding mill. He sold about three acres, then known as the swamp
lot, to Dr. David Arne ; this included the site of the new Presbyterian
church. He built an ashery on the north side of Main street and a dis-
tillery on the west side of the road leading to the Beach grist mill. In
1811 he moved his family here and about 1813 he erected a dwelling
house which he painted jet black. Mr. Melvin was a peculiar man.
Upon being asked why he chose such an unusual color for his residence
he replied : "I like to see things correspond ; if my character is black,
I paint the house so." He always wore a buckskin apron, one for
work and another on Sundays to church. His farm and residence were
widely known as the " Black House."

Extensive business interests like Melvin's required more capital than
he could command, and so the banks at Utica and Geneva were called
upon to furnish funds, for which notes and mortgages were given as
collateral. This involved Osgood Church, who became Melvin's en-
dorser, and when their paper fell due they unfortunately found them-
selves without the necessary money. The banks were obdurate, and
the sheriff levied upon everything the two men owned, including about
450 acres within the present limits of Wolcott village. The property
was bid in by the Geneva Bank, or at least passed into the control of
that institution, by which it was subsequently parceled out to individual
purchasers, as noted further on. Melvin was a pensioner of the Revo-
lutionary war, and after his failure here he returned to Phelps, where
he died about 1845.

Obadiah Adams, a brother-in-law of Osgood Church, came here in
1810 and purchased forty acres on the east side of New Hartford street
in Wolcott village. He was a colonel in the State militia, and from
about 1812 to 1824 was the chief business man in the town. Upon the
site of the Wolcott House he built a story and a half frame dwelling,
which he opened as a tavern, and a year or two later he erected an ad-
dition, in which he kept a store, being the first merchant and tavern
keeper in the town of Wolcott. He also built the first distillery and an
ashery, and. had a kiln in which he dried corn meal for shipment to



Canada. He bought wheat and had a warehouse at Sloop Landing,
where he speculated in land, laid out village lots, and erected several
very good buildings. He owned a sailing vessel, which plied the waters of
Lake ( )ntari<>, and he built the first frame barn in town, opposite his hotel.
His tavern, being on the Oswego-Buffalo stage line, was a favorite and
important stopping place. He erected a blast furnace a little east of the
Beach mill and was about to start operations in the manufacture of plow
castings when he failed (about 1824). The law then imprisoned for
debt and Mr. Adams was taken by the sheriff to the jail limits at Lyons.
He was soon liberated, however, and 1826 he moved to Rochester,
where he opened a hotel, but died soon afterward, a poor man. The
last town meeting of the old town of Wolcott was held at his house in
April, 1825.

Dr. David Arne was a practicing physician and the first postmaster of
the town. He purchased of the Geneva Bank the old Black House farm
of 250 acres at $17 per acre. He was a conspicuous man, as was also
Obadiah Adams, and the two were inveterate political opponents. Dr.
Arne was justice of the peace, and on one occasion swore out and per-
sonallv wrote several summonses against Adams for swearing on the
street, securing of course the usual judgments, which the latter was
obliged to pay. Mr. Adams retaliated by suing the doctor for false
arrest and secured a verdict of about $50.

The war of 1812 checked immigration somewhat; the following were
residents of the old town of Wolcott just prior to that conflict :

James Kellogg,
Sylvanus Joiner,
Jonathan Mayo,
Daniel Lounsbury,
Isaac Lounsbury,
Jonathan Wilson,
Henry P. Mead,
Andrew Petabone,
Luther Aldrich,
Micajah Aldrich,
Jacob Watson,
Seth Mead,
Ira Smith,
Samuel Southwiek,
Thaddeus Fitch,
Giles Fitch,
Charles S.weet,

Asa Town.
Silas Town,
John R. Laraway,
Nathan Parker,
Norman Sheldon,
Orlando Seymour,
Nathaniel Graves,
John Burns,
Abram Palmer,
Stephen Betts,
Thomas Avery,
Loren Doolittle,
Thomas Hale,
fames Phillips,
John Southwiek,
Eli jali 1 low,
Asahel Gillett,

Chester Andrews,
Joseph B. Grandy,
James Van Aukcn,
Robert Mason,
Daniel Roe,
Asa Whitmore,
Michael Vandercook,
Samuel Harskell,
William Moulton,
Aaron Shepard,
Ralph Sheldon,
Samuel Millin.
Elisha Benjamin,
Simeon T. Viele,
Solomon Chapin,
Palmer Lovejoy,
Worcester Henderson,


Isaac Gillett, Elisha Plank, Elijah Olmstead,

Elihu Spencer, C. Avery, SimeonBissell,

John Calkins, Stephen Joiner, John Wade,

Seth Shepard, Jeduthan Wilson.

Dr. Denas Hyde came here in 1807, and November 5, 1811, he took
a contract for eight and one-half acres of lot 20. He was the father of
Harlow Hyde, who is now the oldest living" supervisor of the town.
The latter was for twenty years a justice of the peace and a member of
Assembty in 1856-60. His son, James H., was lieutenant of Company
A, 138th N. Y. Infantry.

Zenas Wheeler came to Wolcott about the same time and was a mem-
ber of the General Assembly in 1837. He was an elder in the Presby-
terian Church, and died in Phelps in March, 1879.

Lambert Woodruff bought and settled on about 500 acres adjoining
the Black House farm, on the north, in 1808. He had five sons, John,
Jesse, Charles, Luther and Andrew. His homestead subsequently be-
came the residence of Enos Reed.

Elisha Plank removed to this town in the spring of 1813, and on May
21 purchased 467 acres on lots 381, 383 and 385, for which he paid
$4.25 per acre. He built a saw mill and grist mill on Mill Creek,
about one mile north of the village ; both establishments were carried
away by a freshet November 1, 1814, carrying him and a son with
them. The latter was drowned, but the father escaped with slight in-
juries. The following spring his house was burned. He erected
another grist mill on the same site, and died September 25, 1852. His
son, born in 1796, came here with the family in 1813, and died Decem-
ber 27, 1886. He taught school in early life and held several town

Abijah Moore was the pioneer settler on New Hartford street. He
came in 1809 and brought his family hither in 1810, and led the first
dance held in the town. Stephen and Sylvanus Joiner, on March 1,
1811, purchased 1,050 acres for $4.00 an acre of Fellows & McNab;
this was on lot 344, and upon it they built two frame barns.

Hiram Church was a son of Osgood Church, previously mentioned,

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