George Washington Cowles.

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and was born in Marlboro, Mass., April 8, 1806. Coming herewith
father in 1808 he lived to see the old town transformed from a wilder-
ness into beautiful homes and thrifty villages, and a few years before
his death he published in the Lake Shore News a number of articles


pertaining to the early history of this locality. He had two daughters
and a sen (William O.), and died here October 13, 1889.

Giles Fitch contracted for ninety-six acres of lot 352 July 20, L811,
and the same day Thaddens Fitch purchased a like amount of the same
lot. The former was the first mail contractor from Wolcott to Auburn,
carrying the mail on horseback once a week each way.

Eliab Abbott was a settler of 1808. < >n September 30 of that year
he contracted for fifty-nine and a half acres of lot 370. Among other
pioneers and prominent settlers in the old town of Wolcott were Lott
Stewart, inn-keeper at Stewart's Corners; Jarvis and Gardner Mudge;
Ransom Ward, Joseph Foster, father of Asahel; Jedediah Wilson, on
lot 66; Linus Hibbard, a blacksmith; Jonathan Runyon, a Revolution-
ary soldier, who drew a bounty of 600 acres; Levi Smith ; Samuel J.
Otis, on lot 352, an old Mason; Stephen D. Fowler, son of John P.;
Ephraim P. Bigelow; Isaac Otis, on lot 267; Daniel Dutcher, on lot 75;
Benjamin Brown, on lot 320, who died in June, 1871; John Mack,
father of Harrison, on lot 31; Luke Brinkerhoff, on lot 62; John Ford,
a soldier of the war of 1812; Daniel Patterson, also a veteran of 1812,
and the father of John; William Sax, Roger Olmsted, George I. and
Garrett Van Fleet, James M. Hall, Rev. Ira H. Hogan, William W.
Phillips, father of John M. ; and Robert McArthur, another soldier in
the war of 1812, and the father of John. June 24, 1812, Thomas Hale
contracted for 200 acres of lots 304 and 312 and August 26, 1813, he
purchased twenty -five acres more of lot 304. Charles Sweeet bought
fifty acres of lot 344 October 15, 1813.

Elias Y. Munson, born in New Jersey in July, 1703, removed to
Auburn, where he helped to lay the walls of the State Prison, and came
thence to Wolcott in 1820 as a clerk for Obadiah Adams. Upon the
failure of the latter he went to Waterloo, but soon returned to Wolcott
as agent in the store of Reuben Swift & Co., whom he soon bought out.
About 1821) he purchased of the Geneva Bank the old tavern stand and
farm of Adams's. The hotel was burned in the winter of 1836-7 and
in 1837 he built the Northern Exchange Hotel, which was the first brick
building in Wolcott. He subsequently bought a farm two miles south
of the village, but two years later returned and engaged in merchandis-
ing, a business he followed until shortly before his death, June 23,
L861. He was the second postmaster of Wolcott, and for several years
was a justice of the peace. He had three children.

Rev. Amos P. Draper was born in Dover, N. Y., in L791, and by


trade was a carpenter and joiner. He " went from the bench to the
pulpit" of the Baptist Church and beg'an his ministerial labors in Wol-
cott, subsequently officiating- in Phelps and Red Creek. He was the
father of Dr. Edwin H. Draper, a practicing' physician in Wolcott vil-
lage; he also had four children.

Thomas Snyder, born in Owasco, N. Y., in 1796, came with the
family in 1813 to Red Creek, where his father purchased 1,000 acres of
land. The latter built the first saw mill and grist mill in that village,
and during his life was a prominent citizen of the place.

John O. Wadsworth, from Vermont, settled in Butler with his father,
Elisha W., in 1819. In 1832 he removed to Wolcott, and was sheriff of
Wayne county four years. He was the father of Henry Wadsworth.

Capt. Horace L. Dudley, born in Guilford, Conn., February 25, 1803,
came to Wolcott in 1824, and in 1826 married Melinda Hendrick. He
was a progressive agriculturist, held several town offices, and was com-
missioned captain in the State militia August 22, 1829. He had nine
children, and died March 25, 1880.

Jedediah Wilder was born in Bristol, N. Y., in 1792, and came to
Wolcott village in 1816. He purchased of Samuel Millen the fulling
and cloth-dressing mill, which he conducted until 1826, when he sold
it to Roswell Benedict and bought a farm of Zenas Wheeler. He was
one of the earliest agents of the American Bible Society, for twenty
years a magistrate of the town, for ten years president of the Wayne
Sunday School Union, and a soldier in the State militia under Col.
Swift during the attack on Sodus Point by the British. He died
August 8, 1867.

William Olney Wood, son of Noah, was born in Otsego county, N.
Y., in August, 1809. He finally removed to Butler, and learning the
trade of a tanner came to Wolcott village. In 1831 he purchased a small
tannery in Red Creek and became one of the wealthiest and most in-
fluential men in the town. He built Wood's Hotel and opened a
private banking, office, and for several years was supervisor of Wolcott.
He had ten children, and died in March, 1879.

Hon. Isaac Leavenworth, a native of Watertown, Conn., born June
17, 1781, became a resident of Wolcott village about 1838, and during
the remainder of his life was one of the town's most prominent citizens.
He founded the Leavenworth Institute, and in 1819 was elected to the
Legislature. He was energetic, public spirited, enterprising, and gen-
erous, and died February 26, 1860.


Anson Drury, born in Vermont in 1799, came to Huron with his par-
ents Caleb and Jane in L816, and removed to a f arm in Wolcott in 1855,
where lie died in January, 1881. Jesse W. Williams was born in Bur-
lington, Yt., October 30, L797, served as a teamster, with his father, in
the war of 1812, and came to this town in 1834, where he died in- August,
L876. M. P. Foote, born in Newtown, Conn., in 1805, came here in
1840, was first a merchant and then a farmer, and died September 25,
L889. Capt. Thomas W. Johnson removed to Wolcott when a boy,
served in the Civil War and was brevetted major, and died in Novem-
ber, 188G. Jesse Mathews was supervisor of the old town in 1817 and
for several years was a justice of the peace; his daughter Amanda sue.
eeeded him on the homestead.

Prominent among other settlers and residents are George W. Brink-
erhoff, born in Wolcott in 1838, served in the 9th Heavy Artillery,
brevetted major, elected to the Assembly in 1891; George Doolittle,
supervisor, deceased; Joseph Ward, father of Reuben, died in 1882; R.
W. Vonnglove, of North Wolcott; Jesse Olmstead, the last of nine
children, died September 20, lss4; Deacon Cyrus Brockway, died in
October, 1875; John Turner, father of M. B., died in 1890; Isaac Rice,
father of Amnion, died in L893; John Dow, who purchased 300 acres of
land at North Wolcott for $5 per acre and died in 1884; Alanson Frost,
from Connecticut, father of Oscar J. ; Hamilton Hibbard, who died
April 29, 1894. Many others are noticed in Part II of this volume.

In 1858 the town had 12,995 acres improved land; real estate assessed
at $549,749; personal property, $55,300; 1,535 male and 1,478 female
inhabitants; 593 dwellings, G09 families, and 484 freeholders; 15 school
districts attended by 1,223 children; 073 horses, 1,327 oxen and calves,
882 cows, 4,296 sheep, 1,092 swine. There were produced that year
9, L03 bushels winter and 1 L2,751 bushels spring wheat, 1,714 tons hay,
10,854 bushels potatoes, 17,456 bushels apples, 79, 180 pounds butter,
2,452 pounds cheese, and 840 yards domestic cloths.

In 1890 the town had a population of 3,216, or 515 less than in 1880.
In 1893 the assessed valuation of land was $629,375 (equalized $644,-
831); village and mill property, $351,035 (equalized $344,149); rail-
roads and telegraphs, $102,638; personal property, $23,150. Schedule
of taxes for L893 : Contingent fund, $2, 984. 62 ; town poor, $200; roads
bridges, $634.42; special town tax, $5,800; school tax, $1,019.91;
count_\- tax, $2,440.25; State tax, $1,344.71; State insane tax, $346.91;
dogtax, $72:50. Total tax levy, $15,185.44; rate percent. .01372759.


There are four election districts and in 1893 the town polled about 690

In the war of the Rebellion the town of Wolcott sent to the front a
large number of her brave and heroic citizens, who did valiant service
in the suppression of that sanguinary conflict. Some of them rose to
the ranks of commissioned officers ; many gave up their life blood on
Southern battlefields or in rebel prisons. The survivors are few, and
with the dead they share the tender remembrances of a grateful people
upon each Memorial Day.

The first birth in Wolcott was that of Isaac Hopper, and the first
death in the old town was that of Sarah Mills, who died December 25,
1809, and was buried on the Viele farm. The two principal cemeteries
in the present town are those at Red Creek and Wolcott villages. The
oldest portion of the latter is known as Leavenworth cemetery, while
the annex, or new part, is called Glenside; the receiving vault was
built in April, 1887.

The first school house in town was a log structure built in 1810, in
Wolcott village, on the site of Dr. E. H. Draper's present residence.
Another log school building was erected two or three years later by
Jonathan Melvin, sr. , near the Knapp foundry. This was the first dis-
trict in the town, and was organized as No. 1 about 1812, the first
trustees being Osgood Church, Lambert Woodruff, and Eliakim Tup-
per. One acre, covering the site of the Baptist church, was donated
by Mr. Melvin, and soon a frame school house was built thereon; this
building was subsequently purchased by Obadiah Adams, who moved
it across the street and added it to his hotel. A new structure was
erected on the lot and known as the old red school house until 1843,
when it was removed and a two-story building put up in its place.
This employed two teachers, and was burned in 1865. Among the
earlier teachers in these buildings were Mary Lambert (daughter of
Lambert Woodruff), John Melvin (son of Jonathan), Daniel Butrick,
Huldah Seymour (daughter of Dea. Noah Seymour and afterward Mrs.
John Roe), Prudence Wells (afterward Mrs. Jedediah Wilder), William
Plank (son of Elisha), Loren Doolittle, Austin Roe, Harlow Hyde,
Levi Hendrick, Barabus Knapp, Willis Roe, and Samuel Colboth.

In 1859 Leavenworth Institute was incorporated and a brick building-
erected on New Hartford street in Wolcott village, through the mu-
nificence of Hon. Isaac Leavenworth, .who contributed one-half of the
funds, the balance being raised by subscription. It is two stories high


above a stone basement, and for several years contained the only pub-
lic hall in town. The first principal was M. J. Slee, and the first presi-
dent of the Board of Trustees was Dr. James M. Wilson, who was suc-
ceeded by E. N. Plank. Upon the destruction by fire of the public
school building a project was inaugurated to consolidate the two, which
was effected November 1, 1865, under the name of Leavenworth Insti-
tute and Cmion Free School, the former becoming the academic de-
partment, and the district being reorganized as Union Free School
district, No. 1, towns of Wolcott, Huron and Butler. November 4 the
following Board of. Education was elected: Dr. James M. Wilson,
Jedediah Wilder, E. N. Blank, J. Talcott, B. F. Peck, William H.
Thacker, W. W. Paddock, T. W. Collins, C. P. Smith, R. Sours, J. S.
Roe, L. Millington and R. Matthews ; E. N. Plank was president ; W.
\V. Paddock, treasurer; Chester Dutton, secretary and librarian. The
new organization paid a debt of $250 against the institute and refunded
$260 to the Leavenw r orth heirs. The first term opened December 12,
18G5, with John Teller as principal, and Miss Tappan as preceptress.
Among the successive principals have been Amos H. Thompson, Pro-
fessor Hutton, M. T. Brown, C. T. R. Smith, Jefferson W. Hoag, Pro-
fessor Baldwin, John T. Cothran, W. R. Vosburgh, Edward Hay ward,
E. B. Nichols, John W. Robinson and E. D. Niles. The preceptress
is Miss Agnes Ford.

The first school house at Red Creek was a frame structure, twenty
feet square, on Canada street, and one of its first teachers was Abigail
Bunce. In 1837 the wooden building of the present academy was
erected, and the first teacher therein was Norman F. Wright. March
27, 1830, the Red Creek Union Academy was incorporated, and among
the first trustees were William (). Wood, Amos Snyder, Abel Lyon and
Francis Nichols. The first principal was N. F. Wright, A. M. ; second,
John W. Armstrong, A. M. ; third, Professor Hendrickson, associated
with Rev. E. C. Bruce, who remained until 1854. About this time the
first brick building, fifty by seventy feet, three stories high, was erected,
and Rev. William C. Mason was appointed agent; lie alone contributed
$500. The fourth principal was Rev. John B. Van Patten. In L858
or 1859 the brick building burned, and the citizens subscribed for
another. The contract was let to Jonathan P. Jones for $4,000, who
put up the present structure with a judgment against it of $1,500. The
property was sold, being bid off by William 1'. Jones, who took a
sheriff's <\<^-\\, and who disposed of the whole in 1865 to a stock com-


pany for $10,000, divided into shares of $25.00 each. The institution
was reorganized, a new charter was obtained, and the name was
changed to the Red Creek Union Seminary, which it has since born;
the trustees named in this charter were William P. Jones, president;
J. B. Decker, secretary; Jonathan P. Jones, Lewis Jones, Riley Z. Pat-
rick, Parson Cooper, Amasa Ouivey and George Coplin. Mr. Decker
has served continuously as trustee and secretary since 1865. The old
charter building is still standing, and occupied by the principal as a
residence. The Board of Education for 1891-5 consists of Parson
Cooper, president; J. B. Decker, secretary; Riley Z. Patrick, treasurer;
George M. Coplin, Abram Harris, Jay D. Frost, Amasa Quivey, Lewis
Jones and William T. Clark. The principal is Albert D. Whitney,
A. M., assisted by three teachers. The school is in a very flourishing

The first school house in the vicinity of North Wolcott was a log
structure erected about 1835 by John Dow. Prior to this a school had
been kept in "the shanty" near Little Red Creek by Margaret Shaft,
afterward Mrs. Elijah Edwards. A frame school house was built in
district No. 2 in 1840.

The town now has fifteen school districts with buildings, in which
twenty-six teachers are employed, and which are attended by about 920
scholars. Value of school buildings and sites in 1893, $20,220'; assessed
valuation of districts, $1,370,525; money received from the State,
$3,582,12; raised by local tax, $5,146.11.

Wolcott Village. — This is one of the pleasantest villages in Wayne
county. It lies in the extreme west corner of this town and partly in
the town of Butler, and on the south side of the R. , W. & O. Railroad.
Containing valuable mill privileges on Wolcott Creek, it was the site
of the first settlement and the first business interests within the present
town, and much of its earlier history has already been recorded in
previous pages of this chapter. Intimately connected with its growth
and development from a dense forest to a thrifty village are associated
the names of Jonathan Melvin, sr. , Obadiah Adams, Osgood Church,
Dr. David Arfie, Elias Y. Munson, and others heretofore mentioned.
The first improvements were inaugurated by Melvin, and the first
tavern and distillery were conducted by Adams. The latter also had a
cornmeal kiln, and his huge hogsheads, filled with meal for shipment,
early give the place the name of " Puncheonville. " Dr. Arne was the
first postmaster. About 1811 Jacob Butterfield, a tanner and shoe-


maker, purchased of Mr. Church three acres on which he built a tan-
nery and conducted business many years. William M. Nurss and Mer-
ritt Candy from Oneida county, came here in L823 and erected a dis-
tillery and ashery on the east side of the creek; they purchased Elisha
Plank's grist mill, and also established a store. Mr. Candy died in
L828 and Nurss closed out their business, being succeeded by Alanson
Melvin, whom his father, Jonathan, sr. , had left here to wind up his
affairs. E. Y. Munson, as previously noted, succeeded to the Adams
tavern and all the land on lot 50 which Adams had purchased of Melvin.
He sold to Stephen P. and Chester A. Keyes all that tract across Main
street from the Wilder lot to the gulf and moved the old barn and sheds
over to his tavern stand. The Messrs. Keyes occupied Munson's old
store. Nathan Pierce, son-indaw of Levi Smith, built a hotel opposite
his stone building and kept it several years; it was later known as the
old White Hotel. A Dr. Tripp, from Montgomery county, purchased
from the Geneva Bank the Melvin mill property and repaired and con-
ducted it some time. The present Wolcott House, standing on the site
of Adams's pioneer tavern, which was burned and replaced by the
Northern Exchange, was rebuilt by Julius Whiting in isso and passed
from him to the present proprietor, S. A. Williams, on February 1,
L887; the latter has also made additions. Abram Cuyler settled here
in 1833; his son, John H., was the first producer of barrel staves in the

Wolcott village was incorporated February 24, L852, and reincor-
porated in February, 1873. March IS, 1873, the following- officers were
chosen: Asa D. Kellogg, president; B. Franklin Knapp, Horace L.
Dudley, Nelson Moore, trustees; Henry A. Graves, treasurer; Hiram
Silliman, collector; William O. Church, clerk. The presidents since
then have been :

Anson S. Wood, is; I, Benham S. Wood, L882.

William W. Paddock, is;:,. Noah Wood, 1883.

George I'.. Curtis, 1876. Henry A. Graves, 1884.

Thomas W. Johnson, is;;. Martin E. Cornwell, 1885-87.

Martin E. Cornwell, 1878. Alanson Church, 1888.

David H. Mann, 1879. F. S. Johnson, 1889 92.

Henry A. Graves, 1880 si G. II. Northrup, L893-94.

The village officers lor IS'.U arc: G. 11. Xorthrup, president; J. E.

Lawrence, 1!. J. Worden, II. A. Loveless, trustees; Joel Fanning,

F. A. Prevost, treasurer; William Borden street commissioner;


E. H. Kellogg, police justice; the trustees, assessors; N. W. Merrill,

The village has been visited by a number of conflagrations, impor-
tant among which are the following: In 1874, destroying a large amount
of property; July 20, 1875, eight business houses from the Wolcott
House to the "Arcade" building, loss about $12,000; August 28, 1876,
six business places on the east side of Mill street; November 11, 1879,
the old landmark, the " Arcade," which was owned by the Presbyterian
church and leased for stores; February 10, 1884, eight business blocks
including the Lake Shore News office, rendering homeless twenty-three
business concerns and fourteen families, less about $150,000; and
February 19, 1887, Campbell's block.

In April, 1884, it was decided to raise by tax $2,500 for the purchase
of a fire engine and suitable equipment, and in the fall of 1885 the
present frame engine house and village hall was erected. In Novem-
ber, 1886, a new hook and ladder truck for Independent Company No.
1 was purchased. The fire department is now constituted as follows :
Chief, Henry A. Graves; first assistant, Rolla Stewart; second assist-
ant, J. G. Cook. Independent Hook and Ladder Company No 1, Cy-
rus E. Fitch, foreman. Wolcott Fire Company No 1, B. J. Worden,
foreman; Wolcott Hose Company No 1, William Olmsted, foreman.

The first banking business in Wolcott village was instituted in a
small way by James V. D. Westfall. Roe & Ellis's private bank was
started by Roe, Ellis and Pomeroy in 1875, in the present bank build-
ing, which was erected for the purpose. In the spring of 1884 Mr.
Pomeroy sold his interest to the present firm, consisting of Willis S.
Roe and A. D. Ellis.

Wolcott village now contains four dry goods stores, three groceries,
four drug stores, two hardware stores, three clothing stores, two furni-
ture and undertaking establishments, a boot and shoe store, four
jewelry stores, three milliners, a newspaper and printing office, a bank,
three hotels, three liveries, two meat markets, a bakery, two harness
shops, a music store, four churches, five physicians, seven lawyers, two
dentists, two insurance offices, a variety store, two grist mills, two
foundry and machine shops, two lumber and three coal yards, a box
factory, a fruit warehouse, one grain elevator, a laundry, marble and
monumental works, a photograph gallery, two public halls, two wagon
and four blacksmith shops, _ and about 950 inhabitants. The present
postmaster is C. F. Van Valkenburg.


Red Creek — This village is situated in the east part of the town, on
the stream of the same name, and on the R., W. & O. Railroad, and in
an early day was called Jacksonville in honor of Gen. Andrew Jackson.
A post-office was established, the name of which as well as that of the
village was changed to its present designation in 1836. The first set-
tler, tradition says, was a hunter and fisherman named Beman, who
built a rude hut on the banks of Red Creek, some forty rods east of the
Presbyterian Church. The second comer was a Mr. Babbitt. Neither
of these remained more than a few years. In 1811 Noadiah Childs
came in, built a log house, and made other improvements. Then fol-
lowed Jacob Snyder with his ten children: John, Peter, Thomas, Amos,
Noah, Betsey,. Polly, Catharine, Nancy and Jacob, jr. He built a log
house and later a frame one on the site of the dwelling of the late W.
O. Wood. This was the first frame house in the village. Mr. Snyder
was a Methodist preacher and often officiated at local meetings. The
next settler was Isaac Easton, with eleven children, of whom the sons
were William. John, Mahlon, Chillion, David, Abram and Walter.
This was in 1816, and soon afterward Isaac Hoppin, Philip Bien, Abra-
ham Teachout and James S. Brinkerhoff came in.

The first store was opened about 1832 by Stephen P. and Chester A.
Keyes, who came hither from Wolcott village. Lyon & Hawley
started another the same year. Isaac Easton was the first blacksmith,
and following him were Messrs. Bunceand Gage. Noah Snyder opened
the first tavern about 1829; it was twice burned and rebuilt. The first
brick buildings were the academy and the store of Underbill & Lyon,
the latter being built in 1854. The first physician was a Dr. White.
The first lawyer was John W. Carey, who practiced here for six years
prior to 184!), when he removed to Wisconsin, where he was State
senator two terms; he is now in Chicago, and has been general attor-
ney for the C, St. P. & M. Railroad for over twenty-five years. J. B.
Decker was town superintendent of common schools for four years.
lie was admitted to the bar of this State in 1850, has been district at-
torney three years, and a notary public ever since that office was cre-
ated in the town. He was a student in the Red Creek Academy the
first year it started, is a graduate of Union College, receiving the de-
grees of A. B. and A.M., and for several years was admitted to the
United States Courts.

K. C. Hoff, the father of Hubbard Hoff, became a merchant here in
is:! I. The first saw mil] on Red Creek was erected by Jacob Snyder


in 1814; this was carried away in a freshet March 17, 1820; another was
built in 1826, and has given place to the present one, owned by William
Camp. Mr. Snyder erected the first grist mill on the same stream in
1816, which was subsequently occupied by G. M. Wood. A tannery
was built here about 1820 by a Mr. Hale. M. and W. G. Wood also
operated a tannery for many years ; their old building is now used for
a fruit evaporator. The present owners of the two gristmills are Wal-
lace Benedict and Homer Campbell.

In 1852 the village was incorporated with an area of one square mile.
In the spring of 1874 the records were burned, and the earliest officers
obtainable are those elected in 1876, when William O. Wood became
president and A. T. Delling clerk. The presidents since then are :

S. H. Hamlin, 1877-78, E. Becker, 1888;

James Keesler, 1879, William H. Milliman, 1889,

S. H. Hamlin, 1880, Abram Harris, 1890,

J. P. Jones, 1881, C. O. Peterson, 1891,

B. H. Benedict, 1882, George D. Barber, 1892,

J. D. Frost, 1883, Patrick Keegon, 1893,

Abram Harris, 1884-85, Charles Longyear, 1894.
G. M. Coplin, 1886-87,

The officers for 1894 are: Charles Longyear, president; George Long-

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