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don, Luke Mason, Captain Geerman, Archibald Fairfield,
Sylvester Spencer, Greene Clark, Edmund and Levi Mat^
thew, and Miles Doolittle.

In the autumn of 1799, while the number of inhab-
itants was as yet very few, a distressing calamity befell them.
At this time Vera Cruz (which included Mexico Point and
Texas) was quite a promising place. At the mouth of the
creek Mr. Scriba had put up a hotel, a store, and about six
houses. Up the creek, and a few rods south of the Texas
hotel, stood the grist- and saw-mill. Farther down and
near a point Mr. S. had selected land as the location of a
park for the future city. Captain Geerman had a ship-yard.

There was a great scarcity of food in the vicinity, and
Captain Geerman and Welcome Spencer started in a small
schooner for Kingston, Canada, after provisions. They
arrived at that port, made their purchase, and set sail for
home, but were never heard of after. The occupants of a
boat pa.ssing Stony island soon after saw a light upon it,
and reported the same to the colony. A conference was
held, and it was concluded to send a party in pursuit.

Mr. Spencer (father of Welcome), who lived at the time
on the John Tiffany place, Mr. Wheadon, Greene Clark,
and Mr. Doolittle, all of whom lived near the Lamb school-
house, and Nathaniel Rood, who lived just east of Richard
Hamilton's present residence, were the persons selected to
go. Afler a fruitless search they left for home, but on
their return encountered a severe storm, and on rounding
Stony point the boat capsized, and all found a watery grave.
The scene was witnessed from the shore, but no help could
be extended. Wheadon was a very active man, and hung
to the boat for some time, and it was thought that he would
save himself; but no aid could reach him, and a heavy
wave finally washed him off.

But few can realize the extent of such a calamity in a
newly-settled country, sparsely inhabited. It was a loss of
numbers, where one man was a host. Among the surviv-
ing male members of the settlement were Calvin Tiffany,
Phineas Davis, and Colonel Parkhurst.

Soon after this calamity the number of families dwindled
down to six. Calvin Tiffany, one of the earliest and most
prosperous, had but one loaf of bread in his family for six
months, subsisting principally upon cracked corn and an
occasional piece of venison. A representative of one of
the most energetic and enterprising of the families of this
period related as a fact that " a sparseness of food was ofl
compensated by a substitution of slippery-elm bark, and



264



HISTORY OF OSWEGO COUNTY, NEW YORK.



that he and his early brothers have eked out many a meal
closing with a dessert of beech-nuts." Also that " the sov-
ereign remedy for all physical ills in the medicinal practice
of these days was butternut bark, — the one approved ca-
thartic. Sick or well, old or young, on the opening of
spring, drank copiously of a tea made from this bark, thus
regulating the system, purifying the blood," etc.

The primitive settlements in Mexico were confined to
that part of the town formerly known as Vera Cruz, now
as Mexico Point. This entire region, from the mouth of
Salmon creek as far back as Texas, was laid out in city lots,
and it was supposed for some time that this point could be
made one of the best harbors on the lake. The mouth of
the creek was piered out and an immense amount of labor
expended ; all has proved a total loss from the fact that the
bars of Mexico will not allow the passage of heavy-draft
ships. The renowned Robinson Crusoe is not the only
man who has built, at great expense, a craft too far inland
even to be launched ; he has many illustrious imitators
even down to the present day.

This point early became the resort of skillful and suc-
cessful smugglers. Its isolation facilitated their operations.
Tradition, we are sorry to say, implicates some of the early
settlers in this contraband business. A fire about 1820
destroyed the place.

Nathaniel Rood, an esteemed pioneer, and the first white
settler within the present limits of the corporation of the
village of Mexico, came into the Vera Cruz neighborhood
in the spring of 1799, built his log cabin, which was sit-
uated about thirty rods east of the residence of R. Hamil-
ton, and commenced improvements. As before stated, in
this year he became a victim with others to the lake calam-
ity. The first marriage was that of his widow and Richard
Gaff'urd, in 1800 ; and the first birth that of his son Tru-
man, August 19, 1799. Tlie latter died a resident of the
town in April, 1877.

The pioneers of lot 55 were Martin Kellogg, Joel Savage,
Asa Beebe, and Calvin Tiff'any. The former, in 180-1, pro-
cured a title to the place adjoining Peter Pratt's subsequent
farm. He spent .several months in clearing land and get-
ting in crops, boarding with " Esquire Hamilton," and
brought his family on in 1805. Joel Savage, three years
a soldier in the war for American Independence, was a
native of Middletown, Connecticut, where he was born in
1761.

Mr. Tiffany, a worthy pioneer from the same State, lo-
cating here in 1800, was the primitive settler of the lot.
He came in with Phineas Davis the year previous, and
until then had jointly occupied with him the rude log house.
His house was a nucleus for the beginnings of church his-
tory, as well as that of schools in the town. He kept a
tavern here as early as 1810. The old " Primitive Ceme-
tery," situated on the hill west of his place, was founded
at a very early date, Mr. Scriba having given the land
therefor, and Samuel Cole, who died in January, 1809,
father of the Rev. Samuel Cole, was the first victim of death
gathered in its now sacred dust. Mr. Cole was a Mason,
and was buried with Masonic honors. Tliis was the only
cemetery until 1838.

Mr. Tiffany and Mr. Davis, accompanied by their wives.



parted with friends and left their homes in Connecticut the
last week in January, 1799, arriving at Mexico the 21st
day of February. The journey was made on a sled drawn
by two yoke of oxen. Mr. Davis, an estimable citizen, died
in 1844, upon the place taken up by him, and now occupied
by his son Phineas. Mrs. Davis lived to the ripe age of
ninety-seven years.

Many of the pioneers of this town were from eastern
counties of this State, although Connecticut and Massachu-
setts were also well represented by those who turned their
backs upon the " land of steady habits," determined to make
new homes in the wilderness. In 1804, Ebenezer Everts,
accompanied by his sons Frederick and Philo (the former
locating on lot 27), came into town, and purchased quite a
tract of land in the northwest part of the town. His
brother Samuel and his family settled this year on the farm
which has continued in the possession of his heirs, and
which, with a vestige of the old house still standing upon
it, is well known as the " Uncle Walter Everts farm."
Elijah Everts settled on lot 18; his brothers, Walter,
Samuel, and Luther, also took up farms at an early day.

At this time " Esquire Hamilton" (Reuben), a prominent
citizen, who settled prior to 1798, was living in a log house
on the place known as the Lamb farm, and now owned by
I.saac Burlingham. Asa Davis was the first settler on lot
90, where he located in 1801. At this time he was the
only resident between Mexico vilhige and Lamb's Corners.
A son, Benjamin, occupies the homestead.

About this period, Joseph Lamb, a surveyor, became a
pioneer on the G. Wheeler place. Later, Samuel Emery,
Z. and L. Butterfield, and E. Grifiith settled in this neigh-
boriiood. John Lamb, a brother of Joseph, purchased a
portion of lot 91 in 1804. Most conspicuous among the
settlers in this locality was David Lamb, who emigrated to
this place from Connecticut in 1803. He was a good
farmer, and a well-qualified business man. At an early
day he kept a hotel here. A Mr. Ward was an early settler
on lot 32.

In 1804 the number of forest homes became considerably
increased. Among those who settled in that year were the
following' Noah Smith, who located in the Peter Pratt and
Joel Savage neighborhood ; Bailey Morton, brother of John,
on lot 65 ; Solomon Huntington, an esteemed citizen (father-
in-law of Hon. Avery Skinner), who became the proprietor
of lot 143, where he resided until his death ; his .son, Her-
bert, now a wealthy merchant in Wisconsin ; Oliver Rich-
ardson, a native of Oneida county, and an energetic pioneer,
who selected lot 95 as the place for his home, and there
raised a prominent family. His sons were Oliver, Reuben,
John M., Alvin, and Edward. John M. represented his
district in the legislature in 1 838, which honor was also
conferred recently upon his brother Alvin.

About this time, Elisha Huntington located on lot 139.
In 1801, Asa Davis, whose grandson and namesake (son of
B. D. Davis) fell a soldier at New Orleans, located on the
place where the latter now resides. Daniel Ames, Peleg
Brown, and Reuben Lay were also pioneers of that year.
Lot 79 was settled, in 1805, by Israel Slack, from Oneida
county. His son, Nathaniel, early located on lot 81. Sol-
omon Peck, accompanied by his sons Dennis, Solomon, Hop-




Residence of L.H.CONKLIN, Mexico. N. Y.




HISTORY OF OSWEGO COUNTY, NEW YORK.



kins, and Suniuel, and by George Rickard, came into town
in 1805. The lalter took up land on lot 67, which place
was soon after owned by George Kingsbury. David R.
Dixon and Deacon Root were early residents on lot 6G.

Dr. Tennant located near Colosse in 1806. lie was the
fii-st physician in that vicinity, and was succeeded by Dr.
Brewster. Jonathan Elderkin, who settled northeast of
Grafton Cornere, and Samuel Cole, on lot 54, were pioneers
of this year. Also Captain Stephen Douglass, on lot 120,
and Guerdon Cone, on lot 107. The title of the latter
remained in the family until recently. James, a son, sub-
sequently took up a form on lot 108.

Prominent among the settlei-s of 1806 was Colonel Sher-
man Hosraer. He is now the only surviving member of
the early settlement, and tells of going through an unbroken
forest to Oswego Falls, near Fulton, with a small company
of young ladies and gentlemen on foot and on horseback to
attend a ball, the ladies carrying their " finery" and putting
it on after their arrival there. Isaac Higby early located
on lot 145, and across the road from him, on lot 144, was
Lewis Meade.

In 1808 a Mr. Wing commenced improvements on lot
152. The place south of Colosse, now owned by Mr.
Jenny, was settled in 1798, by Colonel Jonathan Parkhurst,
long one of the most prominent citizens of the town. Jona-
than Williams settled on lot 105 in 1804. Sage Williams,
his son, early located on lot 118. Comfort Allen was a
pioneer on lot IGO, south of Colosse ; a Frenchman, by the
name of Ta.shcr, became an early neighbor. A Mr. Harvey
commenced improvements at an early day on lot 15.3, and
Mr. Cook on the place now owned by his grandson, Anson.
Lucius Webb was also among the enterprising spirits of
those times. He commenced his rustic home about two
miles south of Mexico village, but afterwards located on lot
86. Lot 35 was early settled by a Mr. Manwarren. Wil-
liam, his son, took up the farm adjoining on the north.

Judge Avery Skinner, a prominent man not only in the
town, but the county, and to some extent in the Stat«, was
also identified in the pioneer history of Mexico. He kept
the first hotel at Union Square, whore he erected his domi-
cile about 1810. Mr. Skinner afterwards held numerous
ofiicial positions, and was at one time a State senator. The
names of Benjamin Gilbert, Benjamin Winch, and Simon
King, at the mouth of Salmon creek, and of Isaac Bur-
liugham, Hezekiah Stanley, and John Miles, in other parts
of the town, appear upon the a.ssessment roll of 1798.

Other pioneei-s of Mexico were John Kingsley, Ephraim
Gates, whose daughter, Mrs. Oliver, now resides at Parish
Hill ; Daniel Locke, who removed from the town in 1820 ;
William Cole, Edmund Wheeler, whose descendants are
now well-known citizens of Mexico ; Wm. Goit, a name
still remaining in the list of living citizens; Dyer and David
Burnham, Jabin Wood, better known as Deacon Wood ;
David Easton, Dean Tubbs, David Williams, Warner
Mitchell, and Wm. S. Fitch, a pioneer merchant of Mexico
village.

Another pioneer of Mexico, whose name deserves more

than passing notice, was Silas Town, a Revolutionary hero.

He resided for some time within the present village limits.

and afterwards went to Vera Cruz, where he died in 1808,

IS



and was buried on a small island near the mouth of tho
creek. At the breaking out of the Revolution, \m services
were .sought by the government as a spy, in which cjipaeity
he rendered very valuable service. He was a favorite
among the settlors, and a man of more than ordinary
ability.

PRATTVILLK.

The pioneci-s here, most conspicuous among whom were
Peter Pratt and Eii;is and Sardius Brewster, early laid the
foundations for wealth and prosperity. In advance of
Mexico village, which afterwards, owing to better natural
location, became the centre of population and business, it
began to foster the cause of religion, education, and malorial
improvement.

A woolen-factory was conducted by Mr. I'ratt and the
two Brcwsters. The former built the first saw-mill and dis-
tillery at this point, and was a partner with Elias Brewster
in the first variety store and tin-shop. Joel Savage kept the
first tavern, on the corner where E. Halsey now lives. Ed-
mund Smith established the first tannery and harncss-.shop
on the stream east of Prattville Corners, and Simon Leroy
carried on the pioneer cabinet-shop. George Finney, a
brother of Charles G. Finney, the celebrated evangelist and
president of Oberlin college, was the first blacksmith. Ho
afterwards became a minister.

The first frame house still remains standing near the
residence of Geo. Wheeler. Mr. Smith procured the first
stove ; the neighbors thought him unwise, and said it would
certainly prove a very unhealthy way of warming the hou.sc.

Prattville, named in honor of Judge Peter Pratt, is a ham-
let, situated about two and one-half miles east of Mexico
village. It contains a church, a cheese-factory, a school,
and about twenty houses.

UNION SQUARE (P. 0.)

is a hamlet and station on the Syracuse Northern railroad,
situated four miles east of Mexico village. It contains a
store, hotel, a cheese- factory, a blacksmith-shop, a school,
and about a dozen houses.

TEXAS (P. 0.),
situated in the northwest part of the town, near the lake-
shore, contains two stores, a hotel, a church, a blacksmith-
shop, saw-mill, school, and about twenty-five houses. Soon
aft«r the burning of Vera Cruz (1820) S. P. Robin.son
started a boat-yard at this point, where he carried on the
boat-building business for five or six years. A paper-mill
and store in connection with it was established here at ijuite
an early day, and kejit ujj fur many years.

COLOSSE,

situated in tho southeast part of the town, on the Syiacusc
and Wutcrtown plank-road, contains a hotel, two stores, two
harness-.shops, a cabinet-shop, a blacksmith-shop, a .school, a
church, and about thirty houses. It was believed at an early
day that this, on account of its favorable location, would
become an important place. The first sclth-rs were Perry
Allen, who located on lot 133, the northeast one of the four



HISTORY OF OSWEGO COUNTY, NEW YORK.



which corner here, and Elisha Huntley, who was accqmpa
nied by his sons, William, Lorenzo, Lyman, and Elisha.
The latter took up a large farm on lots 132 and 138, the
title of which has since remained with the descendants of
the family. William settled on lot 118. Lorenzo remained
on the homestead, and Lyman, a physician, purchased a
small piece of land on the northwest of the corners.

Judge Bates built a tavern one and a half stories in
height, on the southwest of the corners, where, after 1817,
the building having been enlarged and rebuilt, he was suc-
ceeded as host by many others. About 1810 Rufus Tif-
fany started a store adjoining the Bates tavern, which after
some time was sold to Milton Harmon, and in turn to
Leander Parkhurst. An ashery and distillery also com-
menced operations here about this time. The Baptist church
edifice was built in 1820, and the j'ear following Paul Allen
erected a second tavern, situated a short distance south of
the corners and on the east side of the road.

Joseph Devendorf started a tannery and shoemaking es-
tablishment in 1 822, which was soon purchased by Truman
Rood ; and Marshall Fairchilds commenced the manufac-
ture of hats. Alvin Richardson and D. Markham were
early blacksmiths. The post-office at Co!osse was among
the first established in the county, it being on the old mail-
route between Syracuse and Watertown. The mail was
carried each way once a week.

MEXICO VILLAGE.

This village was originally called Mexicoville ; subse-
quently it received its present name. The first settlements
of the town were in other portions of it, but at a very early
day this became the nucleus of a busy colony. Nathaniel
Rood, as before stated, was the pioneer of Mexico village.
In 1812 there were situated within its present limits seven



Matthias Whitney, in February of that year, having pur-
chased seventy-five acres of land on the east side of what is
now Church street, and of a line extending north in pro-
longation of that street, moved into a log house situated' on
the site of Sharra's blacksmith-shop. His nearest neigh-
bor was Rufus Richardson, whose frame house, the second
in the village, stood on the site of the present residence of
James Driggs. Phineas Davis' log house was situated
about thirty rods northeasterly from the present residence
of his son Phineas, and John Morton, a settler of 1801,
had located on the village lot now owned by Jos. Simons.
Mr. Aldridge's cabin stood on the village lot now owned by
J. Whyburn, and the house of Leonard Ames on the site
of the present residence of Mrs. Samuel Smith.

On the village lot now owned by his grandson. John
Alfred, Shubael Alfred had built the first frame house in
]\Iexico village. Its dimensions were twenty by twenty-
four feet. Mr. A.'s house and barn must have been sancti-
fied in after-years by many precious associations and memo-
ries, as they were both made sanctuaries. An old resident
informs us that he distinctly remembers of seeing the Lord's
Supper administered in the former. The barn was occu-
pied as a place for schools at different limes ; and in one
instance the little educational inslitution in it had to be



moved from the main part into the stable, because the floor
was needed for the thrashing of grain. How the children
succeeded in keeping their thoughts on their studies we are
not informed. Twenty years ago a former resident of the
town, visiting from the west his old friends here, went
about among the dear haunts of his boyhood, and said that
the only really " familiar spot he found in Mexico was Shu-
bael Alfreds kitchen." It was built in 1807, and is still
standing.

About 1813 George King.sbury built the third frame
building in the village, which was occupied by him both as
a residence and as a cloth-dressing establishment. John
Morton built a saw-mill in 1804 where " Goit's mill" now
stands, and a few years later rigged up a run of stone in
one corner for grinding corn. This was quite an improve-
ment upon the stump method of smashing grain, and was
largely patronized. People came from Scriba and even
from Oswego to get their grinding done, bringing their
grists upon their backs and leturning in the same way.

In 1811 this property was purchased by M. Whitney,
who put in another run of stone, and about 1827 by Den-
nis Peck. The latter was succeeded in the business first by
William and afterwards by David Goit, who in turn sold to
its present owner A. C. Thomas.

T. S. Morgan and Matthew McNair, of Oswego, as early
as 1818 built a store, distillery, and ashery. The latter with
an oil-mill occupied the west bank of the stream on the north
side of the road. The store was situated on the village lot
now owned by L. F. Alfred, and run by Wm. Fitch, an early
postmaster ; afterwards by James Lamb and Eiias May. Mr.
Fitch about 1827 built the second store, which, having been
remodeled, is now the billiard-saloon kept by Wm. Simons.
The distillery of Morgan & MoNair was run by Simon Tal-
ler until 1838, when it was succeeded by that of Lamb,
Webb & TuUer.

The first hotel was built by M. Whitney, in 1823, on the
present site of the Mexico House. Jabin Wood started a
tannery in 1825, and soon after built the first shoe-.shop.
He was succeeded in the tanning bu.siness by Archibald
Rftss, and the latter by William Merriam. The southwest
corner of the present Church and Main streets was early
owned by Daniel Murdock, and at his death its title was
purchased by Nathaniel Butler, the first jeweler.

In 1825, Basaliel Thayer started a wool-carding and cloth-
dressing establishment, situated on the site of the eastern
one of the two mills owned by A. C. Thomas.

Peter Chandler built and kept a brick store, at an early
day, situated on the site of the dry goods store of Stone,
Robinson & Co. Here Mr. Chandler carried on an exten-
sive business. Samuel and Benjamin Stone, formerly bis
clerks, are now prominent merchants in the place. George
and Ransom Butler aKso kept a store here at an early day.
John Martin built the Park Hotel, which is still standing.

Jlexico, located as it was in the centre of a wealthy
agricultural region, rapidly rose in importance, until to-day
it is one of the most thriving and pleasant towns in the
county. Below are given its most prominent business
interests :

JtJilhrs, A. C. Thomas, proprietor of the Toronto and
State mills, Bul.biM.s & Son.



HISTORY OF OSWE(iO COILNTY, N1-:\V YORK.



Planing-mill, Homer Ames.

Planing- and saw-mill, Edward Ames.

Tub-manufactory, S. N. Gustin.

Sash, blind, and door factort/, Williams.

Foundry and machine wurhi, Robert Bews.

Tannery, J. McKennelly.

Carriage-manufacturers, Lewi.s IMiller, George Ponfiold.

Hardware merchants. Stone, Hood & Co., successors to
B. S. Stone; T. G. Brown.

Dry goods merchants, H. C. Peck & Son, J. R. Norton,
Stone, Robinson & Co., Becker Bros., E. Rulison.

Druggists, John C. Taj-lor, E. L. Huntington.

Grocery and crocl-ery stores, Fred. Tuller, Goit & Cas-
tle, Cobb & Woodruff.

Produce-dealer, Judson Hoose.

Baker and grocer, J. Whyburn.

Grocer and butter-dcakr, L. G. Ballard.

Boolcs, stationery, and news-room, L. L. Virgil.

Furniture store, C. P. Whipple.

Undertaker, William Ely.

Boots and shoes, L. L. Alexander, S. Parkhurst, C. T.
Croft.

Jewelers, R. L. Alfred, George G. Tubbs.

Ifarness-shops, George Pruyne, Jacob Brown.

Postmaster, L. F. Alfred.

Besides, the place contains the banking-office of L. H.
Conklin, three hotels (Mexico House, Empire House, Bar-
rett House), an academy, three district schools, five churches,
a cheese-factory, and the number of shops and markets com-
mon to a place of its size.

Mexico was incorporated January 15, 1851, and the
following trustees elected for the ensuing year: 0. H.
Whitney, C. D. Snell, James S. Chandler, David Goit, and
Asa Sprague. The corporate bounds contain six hundred
and thirty-five and sixty-one one-hundredth acres of land,
and its population is about fifteen hundred. The Mexico
Independent, a handsome and prosperous sheet, is published
here, and also the Deaf Mutes' Journal, both of which are
mentioned more at length in the chapter on the press.

MEXICO VILLAGE CEMETERT.

This cemetery was established in 1838, and the first
burial therein wa.s that of Luther S. Conklin, in September
of that year. It includes eleven acres of land nicely loca-
t3d and beautifully laid out in winding walks and drives,
ornamented with shade and evergreen trees.

The first trustees were James S. Chandler, John Ben-
nett, and Calvin Goodwin. The first addition was made
May 11, 18G1, by L. H. Conklin, including lots from 1(15
to 265, inclusive. April 1, 1873, lots from 2GU to 494,
inclusive, were added by the corporation.

E A RLY SICK NESS — RO.VDS — FIR ES.

The early settlers did not escape the usual diseases con-
sequent upon opening the lands to the sun, the decomposi-
tion of vegetable matter, and the existence of miasmatic
swamps. During the year 1812 there was a .sweeping
epidemic through this whole region, in some of its symp-
toms strongly resembling Asiatic cholera; so fatal was this
disease and so wide i^prcad were its ravages that many diid



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