George Washington Cowles.

Landmarks of Wayne County, New York online

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year, Daniel McMullen, Jacob D. Covert, George W. Flint, trustees;
John S. Smith, clerk; George Robertson, Parson Cooper, George D.
Barber, assessors; Amasa Quivey, collector; Patrick Malone, treasurer;
Daniel D. Becker, police justice; Amasa Q. Milliman, police constable;
James Hedges, street commissioner.

William O. Wood established the first banking business in Red Creek
and continued it about four years, being succeeded by his son, G. W.
He soon gave way to a younger brother and A. M. Green as Wood &
Green, who finally discontinued the business. In the fall of 1884 Becker
& Hall purchased Wood & Green's safe, etc., and started a private
banking establishment, which they still carry on in connection with a
large general store.

In the spring of 1874 the business portion of the village was almost
entirely devastated by fire. In September, 1878, the stave, saw, and
heading mill of James Van Voorhees & Co. was burned, with a loss of
$7,000. February 28, 1884, the post-office building and stores were con-
sumed, causing a loss of some $16,000. In March, 1894, fire destroyed
the brick block on the site on which PI. C. Van Alstine is now (August,
1894) building a handsome structure.


Red Creek village now contains three general stores, two drug- stores,
a meat market, two hotels, three liveries, a newspaper and printing of-
fice, one furniture and undertaking establishment, one jeweler, five
blacksmith and two wagon shops, two milliners, a photograph gallery,
one grocery, two lawyers, three physicians, a veterinary surgeon, two
warehouses, one lumber and two coal yards, a harness shop, a flour and
feed store, two grist mills, a cooperage, a hardware store, saw mill,
several fruit evaporators, four churches, the Union Seminary, district
school, and about 500 inhabitants. The postmaster is William M.

North Wolcott is a small hamlet on the east side of Little Red Creek
in the northern part of the town. Minott Mitchell purchased for spec-
ulation 3,000 acres, including lots 20, 21, 39, and 40, and in 183(1 he
built a saw mill on the creek on lot 3!). About 1841 Winslow Dodge
erected another, and in 1842 John Dow put up a third, which subse-
quently became known as the Casterline mill. The first steam saw
mill was built by Fowler & Conner in 1804. In 1844 Hiram Blanchard
opened a blacksmith shop and about 1865 George Delemater built a
store. In 1873 the post-office was established with Nathaniel J. Field
as postmaster, who held the office for nineteen years, being succeeded
by the present incumbent, D. J. Kyle. Mr. Field became a merchant
here about 1873. The first frame house in the locality was built by a
Mr. Hill in L837.

Furnack Village, one mile north of Wolcott, contains a saw mill,
bed-spring manufactory, and a few houses. A blast furnace was built
here about 1823 by Andrew Chapin and conducted under the firm name
of Chapin l\: Parks. They soon abandoned the iron ore bed near by and
secured ore from the Red Creek ore bed north of that village. The
business was continued until Chapin 's death, when the property passed
to their former employees, Hendrick & Seymour, who were succeeded
by Hendrick & Leavenworth. The furnace has long since been dis-

The First Presbyterian church of Wolcott was founded July 18, 1813,
by Revs. Charles Mosier and Henry Axtell, with twenty-three mem-
bers, and September 7 the society was legally organized "at the school
house near Obadiah Adams" by the election of these trustees: Lam-
bert Woodruff, Josiah Upson, Jarvis Mudge, Noah Seymour, Jonathan
Melvin, and John Wade. Adonijah Church was the first clerk, and the
corporation certificate was filed before Judge Jesse Southwick, of


Seneca county, January 18, 1814. The first pastor was Rev. Daniel
S. Buttrick; he received an annual salary of $200 and remained about
two years. The second pastor was Rev. William Clark. For twelve
years meetings were held alternately at the Adams and Cobble Hill
school houses. An attempt was made to build a church by subscrip-
tion, but without avail, and the result was the erection of one at South
Huron and another in the village of Wolcott. The latter was built
where Dr. E. H. Draper's residence now stands in 1826, but re-
mained unfinished inside until 1832. The first trustees of this church
were Alanson Melvin, Abijah Moore, Elisha Plank, John Woodruff,
Andrew Chapin, and Merritt Candy ; the first pastor was Rev.
Nathaniel Merrill. The society had twelve members.' In 1852 during
the pastorate of Rev. Thomas Wright, a new edifice was built on the
site of Newberry & Burton's store; Rev. Mr. Wright preached the last
sermon February 11, 1883. The corner stone of the third and present
brick structure was laid by the pastor, Rev. William A. Rice, July 6,
1882. It was dedicated free from debt February 15, .1883, and cost
complete $16,814. The present pastor, Rev. H. B. wStevenson, as-
sumed charge in October, 1889. The society has about 275 members.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Wolcott. — Preaching b) r circuit
riders commenced in this section at a very early date. It was known
as the Sodus circuit, and the first quarterly meeting was held at the
barn of Daniel Roe on October 9, 1813. The first class in Wolcott was
formed in 1833 with these members: L. Millington, leader, Lovina
Millington, Nathan and Jerusha Pierce, and a Mrs. Southwick. In
1838 a church was built. This was replaced by the present edifice, the
corner stone of which was laid June 29, 1872. It is of brick, was dedi-
cated in 1873, and cost about $12,000. The society has about 290
members under the pastoral care of Rev. J. C. B. Moyer. The first
preacher located on the original circuit was Rev. Truman Gillett.

The First Baptist church of Wolcott was incorporated June 2, 1835,
with twenty-four constitutent members. The first pastor was Rev.
Isaac Bucklin, and among his successors have been: Revs. Hiller,
D. D. Chittendon, H. P. Stillwell, Barrel, Wadhams, C. A. Skinner,
Peter Irving, Garret, Smith, O. P. Meeks, A. H. Stearns, A. R. Bab-
cock, J. J. Hammer, Wm. Furgeson, C. E. Christian, and Abner Mor-
rill, the present pastor. The first church was a wood structure which
stood on the site of the present handsome edifice. The latter was built
in 1880 and dedicated March 4, 1881* by Rev. R. E. Burton. It is of


brick and cost complete $6,282. The society has about eighty mem-

The Methodist Protestant Church of Wolcott was organized by Rev.
Ira Hogan, the first pastor, in 1855, with seven members: Alanson
Millington (leader), Henry S. Cornwell (steward), Mrs. H. S. Corn-
well, Henry S. Nichols, John and Aurelia Cook, and Walter Paddock.
Services were held in a stone church that had been erected by a de-
funct Universalist society until 1863, when their present edifice was
built at a cost of $3,300; it was consecrated by Rev. James Smith.
The present membership is about thirty-five, and the pastor is Rev.
Mr. McChesney.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Red Creek. — Of this society the
record is as follows: "Red Creek, formerly the eastern part of Rose
circuit, was constituted by the appointment of the Rev. Royal Hough-
ton, of the Black River annual conference, preacher in charge, at their
session held in Syracuse, commencing the 19th dav of Julv, 1843. The
society of the station was organized at a meeting of official members
held at the church at Red Creek on Saturday, August 12, L843, and is
as follows, viz.: Royal Houghton, preacher in charge; Abiram Skeel
and Abel Lyon, local preachers; Aurelius Dykeman, exhorter; Amos
Snyder, Harvey Douglass, William G. Brown, John W. Miller, and
Anthony Prior, stewards; William G. Brown, recording secretary."
Eleven classes were formed, with a membership of ninety-eight. The
class leaders were Amos Snyder, Benjamin Jenkins, John Quereau,
James Cosgrove, Harvey Douglass, Henry Madan, John Ford, John
McArthur, William G. Brown, Silas Nichols, and Jesse Viele. Among
the pastors succeeding Rev. Mr. Houghton were Revs. John W. Coope,
P. S. Bennett, M. H. Gaylord, D. W. Roney, E. Wheeler, H. Kinsley,
John Slee, R. N. Barber, Isaac Turney, B. Alden, George C. Wood,
S. B. Crosier, R. Redhead, and C. N. Damen. The society has a neat
edifice and also owns a parsonage. They have a membership of about
150. Rev. D. B. Kellogg is pastor.

The Presbyterian Church of Red Creek was regularly organized May
13, 1818, by Rev. William Clark with these members: George B. and
Luke T. Brinkerhoff, William Wood, Ebenezer Nale, Samuel Van Fleet,
Martin and Saffarine Courtright, John Turner, Jane and Netty Brinker-
hoff, Catharine Wood, Hannah Courtright, and Richard Van Fleet.
The first officers were : G. B. Brinkerhoff, Luke T. Brinkerhoff, and
William Wood, elders; Ebenezer Nale, deacon. The first session was


held September 12, at the house of George B. Brinkerhoff and Daniel
B. Wheeler was received as a member and baptized ; thirteen persons
also joined by letter. The first church edifice was erected in 1838, and
the first meeting- in it was held February 2, 1839. The society owns a
parsonage, which the}'' built, and has a membership of sixty-five. The
present pastor is Rev. A. Nelson.

The Baptist Church of Red Creek was organized in 1841, with about
thirty members. The first trustees were William O. Wood, Abram
Teachout, and Daniel Dutcher, and meetings were held in the school
house several years. About 1847 a church edifice, thirty-two by fifty-
six feet, was erected, and subsequently a parsonage was secured.
Among the earlier pastors were Revs. J. S. Everingham, Kinney,
Amasa Curtis, Ira Bennett, and Ira Dudley. The society has about
forty-five members under the pastoral charge of Rev. J. M. Shotwell,
whose wife is superintendent of the Sunday school.

St. Thomas's Roman Catholic Church of Red Creek was built in
1875 at a cost of $3,000, the corner stone being laid by Rt. Rev. Bishop
McQuaid on October 26, of that year. It is a frame structure and
stands on Main street near the depot. The first pastor was Rev.
Father King; the present one in charge is Father Ruby, who resides
in Cato, Cayuga county. The parish has about sixty families.

The Methodist Protestant Church of North Wolcott was built in
1863, the first pastor being Rev. Philip Swift. The first meetings of
the society, which was organized about 1838, were held in " the shanty "
and afterward in the school house. The church subsequently passed
to the control of an M. E. society, but later returned again to the Metho-
dist Protestants. There are now about 100 worshipers and Rev. W.
H. Church is pastor and superintendent of the Sunday school.




Williamson was set off from the town of Soduson February 20, L802,
and until the organization of Wayne county in 182-5 comprised apart of

the county of Ontario. It was originally known as township No. 11,
and its formation included also within its limits the present towns of
Marion, Walworth, and Ontario. Ontario (including Walworth) was
sel off March 27, L807, and Marion on April is, L825, leaving William-
son with its present assessed area of 20,256 acres. It is nearly six
miles square, and was named from Capt. Charles Williamson, the first
agent of the Pultney estate. ( >riginallythe town was divided into three
tracts, viz. : The Pultney estate, comprising the north, west, and south-
west portions, the Hornby tract, the southeast portion, and the Hudson
the east part. The land sold for ten shillings an acre.

Situated on the northern border of Wayne county, west of the cen-
ter, this township is bpunded on the east by Sodus, on the sonth by
Marion, on the west by Ontario, and on the north by Lake Ontario.
From about the center of the town northward, the surface is generally
level, sloping toward the lake; on the sonth it is broken by low ridges.
The soil is an alluvial formation. In the northern part it is mainly a
sandy loam while in the south it consists largely of clay. Salmon
Creek, emptying into the lake at Pnltneyville, Mink Creek, in the east-
ern part of the town, and a small brook west of these, with a few tribu-
taries, afford excellent drainage.

The town is mainly devoted to agricultural pursuits, and in point of
productiveness is one of the best in Wayne county. The raising of
-rain, which formed the chief product in earlier daws, has largely been
superseded by mixed farming. Large apple orchards, set out a gen-
eration ago, still bear abundantly, while pears, peaches, quinces,
grapes, etc., are cultivated with considerable profit. During the last
decade the growing of raspberries has developed extensively, the acre-
age in is 1 .):; being estimated at over (ion. The fruit industry has
brought into existence numerous evaporators or dry houses, scarcely a
farm of any size being without one.


In several parts of the town iron ore has been produced in paying
quantities, but the business of digging it has never been prosecuted to
any extent. From the present farm of John P. Bennett, his father,
Dr. Josiah Bennett, once took $200 worth of bog ore.

The first thoroughfare in Williamson was the Sodus road running
from Geneva via Palmyra and Marion to Sodus Point. It crossed the
southeast corner of the town, passed through East Williamson village,
and was opened by Capt. Williamson in 1794. The second highway
was a road leading through Marion and Williamson villages to Pultney-
ville, over the old Indian trail or " post road," and was later known in
this town as Jersey street from the fact that many of the settlers along
its lines came from New Jersey. The ridge road, running east and
west through Williamson, was opened at a later date. Most of the
highwa)^s were surveyed between 1800 and 1820. Moses Still and
Abraham Pratt were road commissioners in the first named year.

Until the completion of the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad (now the
R. W. and O.) in 1876 the only means of transportation and travel were
by stage or by water from Pultneyville ; the advent of this route gave
to the town a commercial importance that it has ever since maintained,
and opened for its .products the best markets of the world. To aid in
the construction of this railroad the town was bonded for $60,000.
These bonds are practically all paid off , and to-day Williamson enjoys
the distinction of being the first town along the route to extinguish the
indebtedness incurred for this purpose, the credit for which is mainly
clue its veteran supervisor, Hon. John P. Bennett.

The first town meeting convened at the dwelling of Timothy Smith
in Marion village in March, 1803, when Daniel Douglass, David Hard-
ing, Leonard Aldrich, and Henry Lovell were elected assessors;
Leonard Aldrich and Stephen Bushnell, commissioners of highways.
The tax levy this year was $145 and the wolf bounty aggregated $52.

March 6, 1804, the second town meeting was held at the residence of
Daniel Powell in Marion and these officers were chosen: Luke Phelps,
supervisor; Daniel Douglass, town clerk; Micajah Harding, Samuel
Millett, Samuel O. Caldwell, assessors; Abraham Pratt, constable and
collector; S. O. Caldwell and Micajah Harding, overseers of the poor;
Jonathan Hill, Henry Lovell, William B. Cogswell, highway commis-
sioners; Micajah Harding and Moses Blakesley, fence viewers; Moses
Blakesley, pound keeper. Five dollars were voted for every wolf


killed, four dollars for each bear's head taken, and fifty dollars were to
be reused by tax for the destruction of noxious animals in the town.
The following license was issued to John Fuller, June 1, 1801 :

A. 1 >. 1807, — Be it known that we, the commissioners of excise of the town of
Williamson, in the county of Ontario, Irave licensed, and in pursuance of the statute
provided in such case do hereby license and permit John Fuller, of the town of Wil-
liamson, distiller, to sell by retail any strong or spirituous liquors under five gallons,
provided the same be not drank in his house, outhouse, yard, or garden, from the
date of these presents until the first Thursday in May next. Given under our hands
and seals this first day of June.

Caleb Lyon.
Pardon Di rfee,
William Rooeks,

Executive Committee.

The name of the first supervisor (1803) cannot be ascertained, and it
will also be noticed that the first town meeting was held more than a
year after the town was organized. The supervisors since 1804 have
been :

Luke Phelps, 1804-0. Daniel Grandin, 1845.

Caleb Lyon, L807. John Cottrell, 1846-48.

Luke Phelps, 1808. William Stautenburg, 1849.

Jacob Hallett, 1809-11. Hiram Gallup, 1850-51.

S. II. Caldwell, 1812-16. Hayden W. Curtis, 1852.

David Eddy, 1817-1820. John S. Todd, 1853.

Russell Whipple, 1821-22. Henry W. Brownell, 1854.

Freeman Hart, 1823. Elias Cady, 18.-),-).

Russell Whipple, 1824-34. William H. Rogers, 1856-59.

Daniel Poppino, 1835-36. Benjamin J. Hance, 1860-74.

John Borrodaile, 1837-38. Washington S. Throop, is;;, 78

William Johnson, 1839-40. John P. Bennett, 1879 to 1894 iu-

Jedediah Allen, 1841-44. elusive.

Town officers for 1S ( .)4 are : John P. Bennett, supervisor; Frank S.
Wilder, town clerk; H. N. Burr, J. A. French, Samuel Lyon, Amasa
Cady, justices of the peace; Joseph Hanby, Amos F. Selby, Charles S.
Adams, assessors; William A. Coutant, collector; Charles B. Hoag-
land, highway commissioner; John J. Lucknor, overseer of the poor

In 1858 there were in Williamson 14,796 acres of improved land, real
estate valued at $69,632, 2,552 inhabitants, PC) dwellings, 529 families,
128 freeholders, fourteen school districts, and 791 schoolchildren. Agri-
cultural statistics, L858: 994 horses, L,278 working oxen and calves,
l,n:;; cows, 7,509 sheep, 1,519 swine, 8,803 bushels winter wheat, 93,-
l\C bushels spring wheat, 2,943 tons of hay, L3,835 bushels potatoes,


32,702 bushels apples, 91, 822 pounds butter, 36,175 pounds of cheese,
and 845 yards domestic cloths.

The assessed valuation of real estate in the town in 1893 was $694,-
879 (equalized, 664,079); value of village and mill property, $196,925,
(equalized $167,445); value of personal property, $115, 000; total as-
sessed valuation, $1,092,292, (equalized $1,032,012). Schedule of taxes
for 1893: Contingent fund, $751.65; poor fund, $500; roads and
bridges, $250; schools, $944.24; county tax, $2,259.19; State tax,
$1,244.94; insane tax, $321,17; dog tax $119. Total tax levied, $6,025.41 ;
rate per cent, .0060056. The town had a population in 1890 of 2,670,
and in 1893 polled 603 votes. In August, 1890, it was redistricted into
three election districts; in July, 1891, it was again formed into two
election districts.

Settlements were commenced at Pultneyville and Williamson villages
following the year 1804. The pioneers were a sturdy class of New
Englanders, and as the town filled up they imparted to the community
sterling characteristics, which are largely traceable to their descendants
and the present inhabitants. By toil, frugality and hardships they
cleared off the dense forests, transformed the wilderness into produc-
tive farms, and built for themselves and their successors pleasant
homes, substantial churches, good schools, thriving villages.

The first white settler in Williamson was "Yankee Bill" Waters,
who squatted in 1804 at " Appleblossom Point," on the lake shore, a
place that took its name from a few apple trees which he planted. By
sailors it was known as "Apple-boom Point " from its resemblance to
the boom of a vessel. A hunter living only for the sake of mere living,
he remained a few years and suddenly and mysteriously disappeared

It was about 1800 that the first permanent settlers came into town,
but accurate data concerning them are deplorably lacking. In fact it is
almost impossible to name and locate any comers prior to 1807, in which
year Amasa Gibbs, John Sheffield, James S. Seeley, Gardner and Joel
Calhoun, Andrew Stewart, and William Rogers came in. Mr. Gibbs
bought 300 acres of lots 61 and 02, which upon his death passed to his
heirs. Seeley located on fifty acres west of Williamson village, and a
few years aftewards moved west. Joel Calhoun settled on lot 61 on
the Ridge, and his brother Gardner located on lot 25. Reuben, a grand-
son of Joel, now resides in town. Andrew Stewart came with his wife
and twelve children. A native of Scotland, he first settled in Herki-


mer county, whence he moved here and located on lot 3. He finally

sold to .Major William Rogers, an Englishman, who had settled at the
Corners. Major Rogers served in the war of 181*2, and until 1816 kept
hotel here. Some years afterwards he moved to Palmyra, but returned
and died in Williamson village. His children, Sophia, Lucy, Harriet,
William, jr., and Franklin, survived him. His grandson, George F.,
lives in town. Major Rogers was very active in inducing his country-
men to locate in Williamson.

In 1806 J; W. Hallett was appointed deputy land agent for this town
and for his services was given 1,000 acres on the lake shore, includ-
ing the site of Pultneyville. He built a log house in that year on a lot
recently occupied by Mrs. Samuel Cuyler. He settled in Macedon in
J 824. Capt. Samuel Throop located on the site of Pultneyville in 1806,
removing thence from Farmington. He navigated Lake Ontario until
1819, when he was drowned from the schooner Nancy while entering
Sodus Bay during a gale. He was originally from Connecticut, was a
paymaster in the war of 1812, and sailed the first vessel owned at Pult-

Jeremiah Selby, a millwright from Connecticut, settled at Pultney-
ville soon after 1806 and built there the first saw and grist mill in the
town. His sons, Jared, Dyer, and Brainard went west. A grandson,
Joseph Church, born in Palmyra, came to live with him when thirteen
years old. He was a carpenter here many years.

Matthew Martin settled on the first lot west of Hallett's reservation,
which his grandson, Evelyn Cornwall, afterwards owned. Martin was
a Pennsylvanian. He was one of the earliest settlers of this town and
brought with him the first sheep, cattle and horses. He also planted
the first corn and sowed the first wheat in Williamson.

Elder Fairbanks was presented with 100 acres of land by the Pnltney
estate on condition that he would come here and preach the gospel two
years. He came in 1810 and located on his lot in the northeast corner
of the town, and thus became the pioneer minister. Upon similar con-
ditions Rev. George D. Phelps, an Episcopal clergyman, received a lot
and settled just west of Fairbanks. He held two slaves who were
emancipated by the law abolishing slavery in this State. From 1813
he continued to preach until a few years before his death. In 1810
William Ilolling settled the lot next west and John Abel located on the
II allett reservation.

In 1808 Anion Pratt settled on the northwest lot in the town, where


he died, and which was long - owned by his descendants. The father of
Egbert B. Grandin located on the second farm west of Hallett's reser-
vation. Egbert B. Grandin was once the editor of the Wayne Sentinel
and the publisher of the "Book of Mormon."

On Jersey street the first settlers were a Mr. Conk, who located on
the farm afterwards purchased by William Shipman; John Mason, who
was drowned at Pultneyville, and who was the father of Charles and
Joseph Mason; David Fish and Luther Bristol, who moved west;
Joseph Lewis; Thomas Cooper, who died on his homestead; Stephen
Fish, who came with his children, David, Isaac, Zolovicl, Thomas,
Perns, Stephen, jr., Harriet, Charity and Phoebe (Mrs. Stephen Ger-
rolds), in 1811; Lyman Seymour, who died in Sodus; Jacob Wilber;
Joseph Landin; John White; Silas Nash; Nathan Arnold; Abraham
Peer, father of Mrs. Remington Kiny on; Benjamin Waters, who died
and was buried on his farm; John Lambert, who went west; Ebenezer
Seymour, who sold to Enos Sanford; and Josiah Wilber, James Web-
ster, Daniel Hart, Andrew Stewart, William and Joseph Johnson,
Timothy Culver and Whitford Hatch.

Ansel Cornwall, who was born in Chatham, Conn., in 1789, came to
Williamson in 1812. He was twice married and by trade was a carpen-
ter. He built the first church (Union) and contributed $1,000 towards
the erection of the M. E. Church in Pultneyville. At his death he was
the oldest man in town and the oldest Free Mason in the county.

Zimri Waters was born in Pultneyville in 1811, and died in Septem-

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