George Washington Cowles.

Landmarks of Wayne County, New York online

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the Dutch street school house until the present edifice, a frame struc-
ture was built at North Huron about 1844, at which time the society
was legally organized. It cost $1,200 and was dedicated by Rev. Hiram
Mattison. It was repaired in 1865 at an expense of $1,500. The first
minister in charge of the new church was Rev. Almon Cawkins, and
the first officers were: Trustees, Simeon Slaght, J. Seeber, Stephen
Seaman, R. L. Ostrander, Stephen Playford; stewards, Horace Dem-
mon, Simeon Slaght, William G. Brene, John McCarthy, Stephen
Playford; class -leaders, Horace Demmon, John Hyde, John McCarthy.
The Sunday school was first organized in 1832 with Horace Demmon
as superintendent. The society has about fifty members under the
pastoral care of Rev. P. Martin.

The Methodist Protestant Church of North Huron was organized
about 1840, and the same year their present edifice was erected and
dedicated. The society has twenty-five members with Rev. R. K.
Andrews as pastor. They also maintain a flourishing Sunday school



WAYNE COUNTY 457



CHAPTER XXIX.

HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF BUTLER.

Butler originally conprised tho southeast part of the old town of
Wolcott (which see), and was organized into its present limits on the
'20th of February, 1826. It is nearly six miles square, and has as area
of 21,918 acres. It forms the central township of the eastern part of
Wayne county, and is bounded on the north by Wolcott, on the east by
Cayuga county, on the south by Savannah and Galen, and on the west
by Rose and Huron. Its principal stream is Wolcott Creek, which
rises in the northeast part of the town, flows southwest through Butler
Center, thence westerly, northwesterly and northerly through Wolcott
village, and empties into Port Bay. Butler Creek is a small stream
that rises east of Butler Center and flows southwest through South
Butler and south into Crusoe Lake in Savannah. Both of these streams
formerly furnished good mill sites.

The. surface is broken into ridges and valleys running generally north
and south The soil is generally loam admixed with more or less clay;
on the lowlands considerable muck exists. It is very fertile and nearly
all adapted to cultivation. The principal industry is agriculture.
Grain, hay, potatoes, vegetables, fruit, etc., are grown in abundance.
During the past decade or two the production of tobacco has been given
especial attention, and has placed the town prominently among the
great tobacco growing sections of the State. Apples, pears, plums, and
small fruit are raised in considerable quantities. Originally the land
was covered with heavy timber, which long gave employment to sev-
eral saw mills, and which even yet supplies two or three with sizable
logs. Along Wolcott Creek, and in the northeast part of Butler, a
good quality of limestone exists and has been extensively burned into
lime for building purposes.

Devoid of railroad or canal the town has always maintained com-
munication with adjacent villages by stage and horses. The first
thoroughfare was the old Galen road opened about 1804 from the salt
works in Savannah to Sodus Bay. It entered this town at South Butler,



428 LANDMARKS OF

ran westwardly to Wheeler's Corners, and passed thence north and
northwest through West Butler to Port Glasgow (then Sloop Landing).
At South Butler it was intersected by the Musketo Point road from the
east. From West Butler an early road ran north to Wolcott village. The
first regular highway, leading south from Wolcott and now called New
Hartford street, was surveyed and established by Osgood Church on
November 2, 1810; Jacob Shook and Peres Bardwell were road com-
missioners. Nearly all the roads in Butler were surveyed after the
organization of the town. About 1825 a canal was projected from
Seneca River to Sodus Bay. A company capitalized at $200,000 was
formed and March 29, 1829, a charter was obtained. A survey was
made running through Butler, but finally changed to a point a little
west of Clyde.

The first town meeting was held at the house of Jacob S. Viele on
Tuesday, April 4, 1826, at which Ebenezer Fitch was moderator, and
Thomas Armstrong "clerk for the day." The first officers chosen
were: Thomas Armstrong, supervisor; Ebenezer Fitch, town clerk;
Jesse Viele, Israel J. Clapp, and Orestus Hubbard, assessors; Ezekiel
Scott and Nathan Cook, overseers of the poor; Prentice Palmer, col-
lector; Morris Craw, Asaph Spencer, and Welcome Cole, highway
commissioners; Thomas Armstrong, Joseph A. Olmsted, and John R,
Taintor, commissioners of common schools ; Prentice Palmer and
William Wood, constables; Benjamin Tucker, Austin Roe, and Joseph
Watson, school inspectors; Simeon Merrill, Ezekiel Scott, Joseph A.
Olmsted, Welcome Cole, Paul H. Davis, Thomas Newell, and Eleazer
Smith, fence viewers; and twenty-nine pathmasters. The second
town meeting was held on April 3, 1827, also at the house of
Mr. Viele, and the third to the ninth at the house of Lucius
Hibbard. November 28, 1827, the following justices of the peace
were elected: Israel J. Clapp, four years; Ebenezer Fitch, three
years; Thomas Hall, two years; and Jesse Viele, one year. In 1827 it
was voted that pathmasters be fence viewers. The expenses of the
town during the first year were $139.41, and at the annual meeting in
L827 there was an indebtedness of $5.10. In 1827 the expenses
amounted to $113.23. Austin Roe was town clerk many years.
The supervisors of Butler have been as follows:

Thomas Armstrong, 1S26-33, Thomas Armstrong, 1838,

UriahG. Beach, 1834-36, Austin Roe, 1839,

Austin Roe, 1837, John Dratt, 1840-41,



WAYNE COUNTY. 429

Nathaniel W. Tompkins, 1842-43, Gibson Center, 1863,

Thomas Armstrong, 1844-45, Benham S. Wood, 1864,

John Dratt, 1846, Henry K. Graves, 1865,

Horatio N. Wood, 1847, Anson S. Wood, 1866,

Franklin Knapp, 1848, Andrew Spencer, 1867-69,

John Dratt, 1849, Joel Laberteaux, 1870-73,

Thomas Armstrong, 1850-51, John E. Hough, 1874-78,

Henry K. Graves, 1852-53, William Wood, 1879-80,

John Dratt, 1854, Eugene M. Walker, 1881-82,

Charles Mead, 1855, Joseph H. L. Roe, 1883-86,

Henry K. Graves, 1856, Isaac Lockwood, 1887,

Horatio N. Wood, 1857, Lyman H. Dratt, 1888-89,

C. D. Hadden, 1858, Gorham J. Wilson, 1890-93,

Abram Gibbs, 1859, Cyrus E. Fitch, 1894.
John E. Hough, 1860-62,

The town officers for 1894 are: Cyras E. Fitch, supervisor; D. P.
Mitchell, town clerk; Frank W. Fry, J. A. Craw, Noah Wood, A. B.
Newton, and D. Wallace Holdridge (after January 1, 1895), justices of
the peace; William P. Stiles, George E. Vincent, and Aaron Treat,
assessors; William R. Burghduff, collector; Lucius Douglass, highway
commissioner; A. M. Armstrong, overseer of the poor.

Settlement was commenced within the present limits of Butler as
early as 1803. Capt. Peter Mills, who located in the town about that
year, is regarded as the first actual settler. He was a Revolutionary
soldier and drew a bounty here of 500 acres of land for military services.
A part of this is now the L. H. Viele farm north of South Butler.
His wife, Sarah Mills, died November 26, 1809, aged sixty-five, hers
being the first death and burial in the town. Among the very first
settlers were John Grandy on the Orestes Hubbard farm and Henry
Bummell, two miles northwest of South Butler. The latter sold to
Eli Wheeler in 1808, and moved to Cayuga county. Abijah Moore
located on New Hartford street in 1805 and lived there until 1860.
Many of the earlier settlers were New Englanders endowed with
sterling characteristics and indomitable perseverance. Slowly but
steadily they converted the wilderness into productive fields and
pleasant homes. By degrees they surrounded themselves with the
comforts and luxuries of life, and transmitted to their descendants and
the present generation their noble traits and advanced ideas of civiliza-
tion. Primitive log cabins and rude churches and schools in time gave
way to commodious frame dwellings and better institutions.

From 1808 to 1813 Osgood Church, of Wolcott, was the resident sub-



430 LANDMARKS OP

agent for Williamson's patent, a part of which was located in Butler.
He gave contracts for the land, and those falling within our limits
were as follows :

Robert Van Tassell, 144 1-2 acres, lot 54, June 16, 1808; Silas Munsell, 180 3-4
acres, lot 65, June 22, 1808; Aaron Hoppin, 165 1-2 acres, lot 45, September 30,
1808; Glazier Wheeler, 152 1-2 acres, lot 52, November 26, 1808 ; Thomas Hancock,
50 acres, lot 104, August 8, 1809; Elijah Hancock, 50 acres, lot 104, August 8, 1809;
William P. Newell, 85 acres, lot 144, August 9, 1809; Lucius Hibbard, 47 acres,
lot 104, August 12, 1809; Prentice Palmer, 156 1-2 acres, at $4, lot 62, October 21 |
1809; Thaddeus Collins, 99 acres, at $3.50, lot 141, October 23, 1809; Jacob and
Eli Ward, 100 1-2 acres, lot 122, at §3.50, February 18,1810; Milton Fuller, 98 1-2
acres, lot 182, December 25, 1810; Eliakim Tupper, 20 acres, lot 53, May 26, 1811;
Jacob Watson, 94 acres, lot 56, May 28, 1811 ; James Phillips, 99 acres, lot 92,
October 12, 1812; Eli Wheeler, 100 acres, lot 188, November 13, 1812; John South-
wick, 96 1-2 acres, lot 191, November 14, 1812; Joseph B. Grandy, 101 acres, lot
201, July 1, 1813; Asa Whitmore, 101 acres, lot 208, August 17, 1813; Samuel
Haskell, 102 acres, lot 163, September 11, 1813.

In 1807 Seth Crane settled north of Wheeler's Corners, but in 1812
removed to a farm two miles east of South Butler, upon which he was
succeeded by Ezekiel Scott. Mr. Crane was a justice of the peace and
a deacon in the Baptist Church. He was a Revolutionary veteran and
a very kind-hearted man. In 1809 Noah Starr and Seth Winans became
settlers. The latter was also a Revolutionary soldier. Prentice Palmer
located in the town in 1810, but the next year moved to Savannah to
take care of the old Galen salt works. It is said that in one winter, in
twenty-hve days, he killed twenty-six deer. Paul Wellman, a soldier
in the Revolution, came to Butler in 1810, accompanied by his father,
Jedediah Wellman, who died the next spring, aged eighty-four, and
whose death was the second in the iown.

Eli Wheeler was a settler of 1810. He was a prominent citizen and
died in 1847. His son, Highland Hill Wheeler, was born in Cairo, N.
Y., November 23, 1808, removed with his parents to Butler, and died
here July 1, 1894. When twenty-one he went to New York, studied and
practiced law, married and returned to his farm, known as Highland
Terrace, in 1860. He followed his profession and was a justice of the
peace here many years. He was a scholarly writer and a recognized
authority on local history, in which he took a deep interest, contributing
many letters bearing on the early settlement of the old town of Wolcott
to the county papers. He left four children.

Daniel Roe, when fifty years old, moved with his wife and five sons
and six daughters from Litchfield, Conn., to this town, arriving May



WAYNE COUNTY. 431

24, 1812. He bought out one Hopkins, who had built a log house and
cleared some six or eight acres of land. He was vigorous and energetic,
and lived to see his farm of 170 acres pretty well cleared up and his
family all settled about him. He was an active Christian man and had
a marked influence in the community, and was instrumental in securing
from the old Genesee Conference the first Methodist preachers for that
locality or region. They held quarterly meetings in his barn, preached
in the school house on a corner of his farm, and he was an earnest sup-
porter of the church while he lived. He was one of the first magistrates
of the town and served many years, and was for several years postmas-
ter, the post-office being kept in his house. The mail was brought from
Auburn on horseback once or twice a week. He died at the age of
eighty-nine years and seven months. His wife preceded him in March,
1840, at which time the family cemetery now on the homestead was laid
out. His sons, who all settled near him, were men of influence. Dan-
iel was one of the pioneer settlers of the present town of Wolcott, and
was prominent for many years as supervisor, justice of the peace, etc.
He died at Butler Center, September 22, 1884, aged ninety-two years.
He was a life-long Democrat. Austin, another son, was member of
Assembly one or two terms. Willis W. was also prominent in town
and lived and died upon the homestead where his youngest son, J. H.
L. Roe now resides. Of the old settlers on the same street, now gone,
who have left descendants there, were Joseph Watson, Nathan Cook,
Azur Raynor and Lucius Hibbard, and a little to the east lived Thomas
Armstrong, for several terms a member of State Senate, and Paul H
Davis, a man of marked characteristics yet of sterling integrity.
Thomas Armstrong settled in Butler in 1813. He was long the super-
visor, served as sheriff of Seneca county, and was the first sheriff of
Wayne county. He was in the Assembly six years and in the Senate
eight, and was a popular public officer.

Roger Olmsted settled near Wotcott village, and with his son built
some years afterward a saw and grist mill on Wolcott Creek. Abijah
Moore and his son had a distillery and grist mill on the same stream.
Other early settlers in the neighborhood were Simeon Merrill, sr. , John
Ward and John Harmon.

Maj, William Moulton, a Revolutionary officer, settled in 1810 on
600 acres granted him for military services near the center of the town.
He was a decorous gentleman of the old school, and wore a powdered
queue, cocked hat, top boots, and white headed cane. His estate in-



432 LANDMARKS OF

eluded Armstrong Hill, the highest elevation in town. He was a land
surveyor, and gave special attention to the cultivation of fruit.

Horace and Noah Peck were early settlers, and in 1815 sold out to
Edward Bivins and his father-in-law, Benjamin Hall, who came in the
spring of 1816. Abner Bivins, the father and a Revolutionary soldier,
and James, a brother, removed hither a few years later, as did also
Joshua, Elias, Stephen and Peter Hall, brothers of Benjamin, and their
father, Thomas. The road from South Butler to Wolcott was first
called East street, and probably the first settler upon it was Capt. Peter
Mills, who was the first man to die in the town, and who was succeeded
by his son, Daniel Mills. John Foot lived near him, and about two
miles north resided Aaron Hopkins.

( >ther prominent settlers were David Sprague, the father of two chil-
dren, of whom Charles W. was one; James Davis, a tailor; Daniel Rog-
ers, a lineal descendant of John Rogers the martyr; Welcome Cole,
who died in March, 1883; Abram Gibbs, who died November 11, 1891,
aged eighty-one; Prentice Cushman, who lived in South Butler more
than forty years and died in May, 1801; James M. Jenkins, a local M.
E. preacher, who died in 1879; Horatio Wood, for twenty years a mag-
istrate and the father of Noah Wood, who died in 1860; Jason Under-
bill, sr. , who died in May, 1889; Deacon Isaac Miner, born in Connec-
ticut in 1792, settled in Butler early, and died in Rose in December,
1891 ; Micajah Aldrich, father of Edward A. ; Chester Lee, son of Lv-
man; Washington Ellinwood, son in-law of Lyman Lee; Joseph Brews-
ter, who died in Clyde; Samuel Thompson, who had six children and
died in 1852; Benjamin Kellogg, the grandfather of William B. ; Will-
iam McKoon, a typical pioneer and a local M. E. preacher, who was
succeeded on the homestead by his son Jairus; Milton Town, who died
in 1882, son of Silas; Samuel C. Pomeroy, who died in April, 1891;
Seth Craw and John Draft.

Ransom Loveless, sr. , born in Johnstown, N. Y., in 1791, came to
Butler in 1816, and died in August, 1864. His son, Ransom, jr., born
here in 1818, succeeded to the homestead. Another son was Columbus
Loveless. Nathaniel W. Tompkins became a merchant in Wolcott in
1835, but in 1841 settled on a farm in Butler. William H. Peck was
born in L821, located in Galen in 1840, removed to Wolcott in 1883, and
died there in October, 1886. Joel B. Bishop, the father of Benjamin,
came to Rose about 1812, but later moved to Butler and died in March,
1875, aged seventy-five. Abijah Upham, born in Saratoga county in



WAYNE COUNTY. 183

L795, served in the War of L812, and removed hither from Victory,
X. V., in L825. He died in February, 1881. John Kellogg, a native of
Massachusetts, came to Butler when nine years old and died on the
homestead May 25, 1876, aged seventy-four. Israel J. Clapp settled
here in 1822 and died in December, 1802. He was born in Massachu-
setts in June, 1796, served in the War of 1812, and was a carpenter by
trade. He was prominent in town affairs. About 1829 Ransom Ward
opened a store in a frame building a half mile west of West Butler,
which was the first mercantile establishment in town, but it was soon
discontinued.

Hon. Thomas Johnson, born in Saratoga county in 1814, came to
Butler from Mexico, N. Y. , when twenty years of age and lived with
his uncle, Thomas Armstrong. He was a school teacher, farmer, and
town superintendent of schools, and served in the Assembly in 1856-
57. Two of his sons enlisted in the 9th Heavy Artillery. Mr. John-
son died January 23, 1890.

Ezekiel Scott, previously mentioned, served six years in the Revolu-
tionary War, and settled on the Scott homestead in this town in 1812.
Upon the formation of the township he was one of a committee of three
to choose an appropriate name, and Butler was selected in honor of
Gen. William Butler, an officer of the Revolution. A. C. Scott, a
grandson of Ezekiel, died February 28, 1890, in the house where he
was born.

Jacob S. Viele purchased a farm of 300 acres near the center of the
town in 1819 and erected at Butler Center a saw mill that did a large
business for more than forty years. About the same time Simon S.
Viele, a brother, located on a farm a mile or so north ; his eldest son,
Stephen S., a lawyer, was murdered at Seneca Falls in 1860.

In 1858 the town had 15,316 acres of improved land, real estate as-
sessed at $580,494:, personal property at $21,850, 1,126 male and 1,099
female inhabitants, 414 dwellings, 438 families, 360 freeholders, twelve-
school districts and 815 school children, 981 horses, 1,766 oxen and
calves, 1,024 cows, 4,898 sheep, and 1,647 swine. There were produced
16,462 bushels winter and 140,631 bushels spring wheat, 2,557 tons hay,
i;,li()6 bushels potatoes, 51,981 bushels apples, 97,571 pounds butter,
15,112 pounds of cheese, and 1,750 yards domestic cloth.

In 1890 the population was 1,836, or 425 less than in 1880. In 1893
the assessed value of land was $690,620 (equalized $728,949) ; village
and mill property, $72,119 (equalized $81,609); personal property,



434 LANDMARKS OF

$44,820. Schedule of taxes, L893: Contingent fund, $912.77; town
poor, $150; roads and bridges, $100; school tax, $782.61; county tax,
$1,872.48; State tax, $1,031.83; State insane tax, $266.19; dog tax,
$54.50. Total tax levy, $5,733.69; rate per cent., .00710002. The
town has two election districts and in 1880 polled :i"»4 votes.

The tirst school in the town was taught in the summer of IS 11 by
Miss Mary Woodruff a little north of West Butler. In the winter fol-
lowing Wheeler Wellman, son of Paul, taught the second school in a
log school house standing between his father's house and that of Eli
Wheeler's. The town now has ten school districts with a school house
in each, which were taught in L892-3 by twelve teachers and attended
by :544 scholars. The school buildings and sites are valued at $5,875;
assessed value of districts, $577,290; public money received from the
State, $1,454.69; raised by local tax, $1,674.65. The principal of the
South Butler Union school is Prof. H. A. Maynard.

During the War of the Rebellion the town of Butler sent 135 of her
brave and loyal citizens to fight the nation's battles. All of them did
valiant service. The organizations to which they belonged are detailed
in a preceding chapter.

South Butler village lies near the center of the extreme south part
of the town of Savannah. Prior to 1830 it was known as Harrington's
Corners. William Shedd opened a small store just over the line in
Savannah about 1830 and was soon succeeded by Oman King, who gave
the place the name of King's Corners. Through his efforts a Sunday
school and a Presbyterian Church were organized. Mr. King died in
L841, and was succeeded by Sylvester Pomeroy, with whom his kinsman,
Samuel C. Pomeroy, afterward United States Senator from Kansas,
was associated. Sylvester Pomeroy died in 1845 and was followed by
Henry K. Graves, who died January 1, L879. Mr. Graves was super-
visor several years and a member of Assembly. In 1839 O. H.Wheeler
and Samuel B. Tucker built a saw mill, which finally passed to Brad-
way & Crofoot, who also had a stave and shingle mill and a cooperage.
Soon afterward a post-office was established under the name of South
Butler and the name of the village was made to correspond. Dr.
Clarendon Campbell was the first postmaster. Another founder of the
place was John Smith, who opened streets, laid out and sold building
lots, and erected a store, etc. In the latter he placed his son, who soon
died, and was succeeded by Zebulon Ross, who was followed by John E.
Hough, About L850 a grist mill was removed hither from Pineville by



WAYNE COUNTY. |:;;.

John Seymour, who sold to J. Richmond. It passed to David R.
Hamilton and son William, then to Lyman H. Dratt, and in ls'l I to
Mr. Hinds, in whose possession it was burned February 9, L875. The
present grist mill is owned by C. A. Coleman. Samuel West was an
early blacksmith, having a shop that was burned where Frank Maguire's
shop afterward stood. In 1846 Griffin Green started a tannery that
went down several years ago. A hotel was built and opened at an
early day, of which Abram Dratt was proprietor.

About 1877 Thomas S. Law established the bluing manufactory now
conducted by his son Arthur E. Azel C. Hough recently began the
manufacture of a cash recorder, of which he is the inventor and patentee.
In 1867 Dr. Jerome Hibbard commenced making cheese boxes here,
and established the present extensive Hibbard basket works, in which
at one time more than 100 hands were employed, the present number
being from twenty-five to thirty. He was also the inventor of the
Hibbard farm gate in 1868. Dr. Hibbard was born in February, 1830,
and died here April 4, 1888. He was a graduate in 1861 of the College
of Physicians and Surgeons of New York city and an assistant surgeon
in a Virginia hospital during the war.

South Butler village now contains, besides the above, a hotel, two
general stores, a drug store, a post-office and confectionery store, two
blacksmith shops, a hardware store, three milliners, two wagon shops,
one grist mill, a district school, four churches, two or three physicians,
and about 360 inhabitants. The postmaster is George W. Pangburn,
who succeeded De Witt C. Wheeler.

Butler Center, so called from its geographical position, had its
nucleus in the saw mill of Jacob S. Viele in 1819. Afterward a fulling
and carding mill was built, but was long since discontinued. The pres-
ent saw and feed mill is owned by Joseph H. Potter. Besides this the
place contains two stores, a blacksmith shop, school, one church, post-
office, and small cluster of dwellings. Abel Wing, a long time mer-
chant here, was postmaster for several years and was succeeded recentl}'
by A. M. Armstrong.

West Butler, in the western part of the town, was originally called
Murray's Corners, and is now frequently termed Cider Hill. It formerly
had a post-office, which was discontinued in June, 1881. It is merely a
small rural hamlet.

Churches. — A Baptist church was organized in Butler as earlv as
1824. In 1825 Rev. Luther Goodrich was installed as pastor, and about



436 LANDMARKS OF

L830 was succeeded by Rev. Isaac D. Hosford. June 26, L834, the

Baptist church of Butler and Savannah was regularly constituted at
South Butler by Rev. Rowell Osborne with about fifteen members.
Rev. Mr. Hosford was the first pastor and Ames Winnegar the first
clerk. The first and present frame house of worship was erected in
1850 at a cost of $1,200, and in that year a Sunday school was organized.
The society has about eighty members under the pastoral charge of
Rev. Levi R. Reynolds. The superintendent of the Sunday school is
Mrs. James Foster.

The Presbyterian church of Butler was organized in 1831 under the
Presbytery of Geneva. In 1836 they built at South Butler the first
church edifice in the town. Among the earlier pastors or supplies were
Revs. William Clark, Gelston, Samuel R. Ward (colored), Lewis C.