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desire to dispose of Mexico, while retaining the harbor at
the mouth of Salmon creek, where he meant to build the
city of Vera Cruz. In May, 1836, the strip in question,
comprising five lots, was annexed to Mexico, since which
time New Haven has remained at its present size.

The town borders on the lake, and in area is the smallest
in the county, being five miles east and west, by five and
three-fourths north and south. The surface is rolling, but
generally smooth and well improved, there being only about
twenty-five acres of non-resident land.

The town is divided into one hundred and thirty-eight
lots (including the five taken oflF), which are numbered
from the west eastward, beginning on the lake-shore at the
northwest corner, and ending at the southeast corner, just
east of the village of Vermillion. Three small streams run
northward into the lake, viz.. Catfish creek, through the
centre of the town ; Butterfly, through the east part ; and
Spring brook, through the west part. There is quite an
extensive marsh near the mouth of the Butterfly, and
another in the southwest part of the town. The Rome and
Oswego railroad runs through the north part, about mid-
way between New Haven village and Lake Ontario. It
was put in operation about 1866, and is a great aid to the

The village formerly called Gay Head is the principal
place of business, and pleasantly situated near the centre of
the town.

Cheever's Mills, in the north part, is a place of some im-
portance, and is widely known. Gridley's Mills (now
Daggett'sj, three-fourths of a mile northwest of the village,
has a saw-mill and cider-mill. At an early day a wool-
carding and cloth-dressing mill was run there, but several
years since it disappeared.

Half a mile west of the village, on Catfish creek, is the
locality called the " Hollow," where there is a grist-mill.
The neighborhood formerly boasted of a saw-mill and tan-
nery, but both have gone to decay. There has been a
grist-mill in operation at this point since a very early

Cummings' Mills, in the south part of the town, also on the
Catfish, is a well-known locality. At this place is a saw-

mill and cider-mill. There is a grist-mill and saw-mill at
Cheever's, and a saw-mill on Spring brook, in the north-
west part of the town.


The first permanent settler of the town was Solomon
Smith, who located on lot 47, and built the first log house
in town, near where David Ru.sscll now resides. He also
put up, in 1812, the first frame building, which is Mr.
Russell's house, or a part of it. Soon after the house was
inclosed a dance was held in it, called a " house-warming,"
when a grand time was had. Colonel Sherman Hosmer,
now ninety years old, living in Mexico, being one of the
party. Mr. Smith died in the town of which he was the
first resident, November 28, 1824, aged seventy-five. He
had several sons, one of whom, John II., was killed at the
raising of Orris Hart's ashery, just east of the village, in
October, 1823.

This ashery was a framed one ; another had been built
of logs some time before. Another son of Mr. Smith was
Jesse, who lived a long time in town, and died but a few
years since, over eighty years of age.

The next settlers after Mr. Smith were Gardner Wyman
and Eleazer Snow, who came from Eaton, Madison county,
in 1804. Mr. Wyman was captain of the militia in the
war of 1812, being the first man in town who commanded
a military company. Mercs Wyman, now living in town,
at the age of eighty-seven, w;is a son of the captain.
Young Wyman, about 1810, thought he would like to
attend a dance at Mexico Point (then Vera Cruz), and
looked around for a horse to take his girl. He finally
heard of an unengaged one at what is now Colosse, about
nine miles distant. Thither he went on foot, obtained the
horse, mounted him. and rode back to Joseph Boynton's,
in New Haven. He took one of that gentleman's girls on
the horse behind him, as was the custom then, and pro-
ceeded to the party at Vera Cruz. The dance having been
duly participated in, the young man took the girl in the
same manner back to her father's, then rode the horse to
its owner's, at Colosse, and then walked home. By the
time he had made his round trip he had traveled over fifty

Mr. Wyman, Sr., built the second log in town, on
lot 57, at the east end of the present Barker farm. Mr.
Snow located on the north side of the Catfish, on the road
from the depot to Solomon White's. Mr. S. had at least
three sons, by the names of Charles, Lcbbcus, and Daniel.
The last named was but two years old when they came to
town, which was by the way of Oswego to the mouth of the
Catfish creek. Meres Wyman, then a boy of fourteen, met



them at the landing and carried the child in his arms to the
shanty prepared for the family.

That baby boy is now living in town, at the age of
seventy-five, and he and his faithful young bearer are the
two oldest residents.

Soon after the close of the war of 1812, Charles Snow
and his brother Lebbeus both commanded vessels running
on the lake between Oswego and Lewiston. During one of
the down trips a terrible storm came up, the vessel which
Charles Snow commanded was wrecked, and none of those
on board (about thirty in number) were ever heard of
The vessel came ashore near Sodus, was repaired, and after-
wards did good service. The other one, commanded by
Lebbeus Snow, was driven into the mouth of Genesee river
and saved.

Chauncey Drake settled near Cheever's Mills in 1804,
and worked in the first mill which was built there. In 1805,
Joseph Bailey, James Jerrett, Ira Hoat, David Easton, and
Andrew Place came into town. Mr. Bailey was from Ver-
non, Oneida county, and located on the present farm of
Andrew Coe. He held many offices of trust, and was the
first postmaster. He was an early justice of the peace, and
in 1814 had the privilege of performing the marriage cere-
mony for Colonel Ephraim Van Valkenburgh, the first
white child born in the present town of Volney.

]Mr. Jerrett was from Paris, Oneida county, and located
opposite to Mr. Bailey. The two were in middle life at the
time, as they were soldiers in the British army, and de-
serted from Burgoyne about the time of the battle of
Saratoga. Mrs. Polly Coe, now living in town, at the age
of ninety-two, was the daughter of Mr. Jerrett.

Mr. Hoat was from Kirkland, Oneida county, and settled
at Cheever's WiWs. He built the first saw-mill in town
there in 1805, and as men were very scarce at that time,
they had to have a great deal of whisky. To get it two
men were obliged to go to Rome, their means of conveyance
being nothing else than the crotched limb of a tree with a
yoke of cattle attached. They obtained one barrel in this
way, it is said, and drank it up before i-aising the mill, so
they had to get another before anything could be done in
the way of putting up the building.

David Easton located on the present Willis Johnson
farm, in the east part of the town. He was one of tlie
early great men, and held many offices of tnist. He was
appointed a justice of the peace for the town of IMexico as
early as 1807, and was elected supervisor of the same town
in 1809. He was an associate judge of the common pleas
in 1816, and supervisor of New Haven at the time of his
death, in 1823.

Andrew Place was also quite a prominent man in many
respects. He would go all lengths to befriend a person,
using time and money to accomplish the object, and at
another time exert iumself as much to punish some one
else. He was often heard to remark that he could treat a
person as well as any one, and, if need be, could abuse him
as bad as any one. He at first located on the Ira D. Smith
farm, and afterwards at May's Corner, about two miles east
of the village, where he kept a hotel at an early day. He
lived at the village in 1819, and at another time kept a
hotel where his son, A. G. Place, now lives. During the

last years of his life he resided at the village, and dropped
dead in his wagon November 15, 1852, at the age of sixty-

In 1806 we find as new-comers Roswell Harman, Daniel
Hewett, and Joseph Boynton. Mr. Harman was from
Vernon, Oneida county, and located about three-fourths of
a mile west of the present village. His son George was
born there in 1812, and has always lived in town. Mr.
Hewett was a grandfather of E. G. Hewett, and settled
southeast of the village. Mr. Boynton settled on the
present T. S. Doud farm, and kept a hotel there soon after
coming into town. Boynton hill, in the western part of the
town, was named after this early landlord.

In 1807-8, Ezra May, Jonathan Wing, Warner and
Anson Drake, Waldo Brayton, and Daniel Hall became
residents of the town. Mr. May settled at the present vil-
lage, and in 1810 opened the first hotel in town, just east
of the brick house, which was also built by him for a hotel
in 1824, and which is still standing. During the war of
1812, Mr. May was at one time in Commodore Chauncey's
fleet, on Lake Ontario, as a pilot. While on this service
one day, he saw that a terrible storm was about to burst
upon them, and went to request the captain of the vessel
on which he was to lash the guns. This officer happened
to be drunk in his berth at the time, and roughly told Mr.
May " to attend to his own business, and he would to his."
Mr. M. let down a small boat, and two or three sailors
jumped into it, but before he could get in it himself the
squall struck them and sunk the vessel. Mr. May jumped
into the lake, went down several times, and had given up
all hope of being rescued, but was finally picked up by the
men in the boat. They reached another vessel, but this
was soon after captured by the British, and May with the
rest was carried a prisoner to Kingston.

Here a guard was placed over them. When night came
on a bed was drawn up in front of the door of the room
in which the prisoners were confined, and after getting
" mellow" on whisky, the guard lay down to sleep. Mr.
May and one or two others bribed the sentinel at the
door, carefully pulled away the bed on which lay the
drunken guard, and escaped. May, finally, after a great
deal of difficulty, reached Sackett's Harbor in safety, and
was paid fifty dollars by Commodore Chauncey, on account
of his courage and shrewdness.

Mr. Wing settled in the eastern part of the town, near
Mr. Easton's, and, like him, was one of the early magnates
of New Haven. He was appointed a justice of the peace
as early as 1811, and in 1813 was elected the first town
clerk of the new town. Mr. Warner Drake located near
where his son, Butler S., now resides. Anson Drake settled
at the village, and opened the first store there, in 1809. Mr.
Brayton settled at Cheever's Mills, and put up the first
grist-mill in town there, in 1809.

Mr. Hall located near whore A. B. Tuller now resides.
He was one of the first officers of the town, and a promi-
nent man of the early days.

In 1810, Nathaniel Marvin, William Taylor, Almon
Lindsley, Herman Hitchcock, and Peleg Davis became
residents of the town. Mr. Marvin settled on the present
T. H. Austin farm, and afterwards at the " Hollow," where

Seth Severance.

Seth Severance was one of the earliest inhabitants of
New Haven township, having assisted in its organization.
Nearly three-fourths of a century ago he came to this region,
then an almost unbroken forest. Like all pioneers, he
struggled with the inconveniences and trials incident to the
settlement of a new country. But he lived to see cultivated
fields drive the forest to swamps and rock-crested hills ; to
see the beautiful farm-house, with its modern conveniences,
dot every hill and valley around him ; and to see villages,
one on either side of him, with their stores, mills, churches,
schools, and comfortable residences.

Mr. Severance maintained a character for unsullied integ-
rity in his intercourse with his fellow-men. He enjoyed
the implicit confidence of his neighbors, and for many years
occupied, by their suffrages, the responsible offices of the
township. He represented them in the board of super-
visors of this county twenty-two years. He took a deep
interest in the temporal welfare of this entire region. Him-
self a model farmer, he sought by example and precept to
induce thrift, good taste, and the highest success in that
department of human action. In this respect his death (he
died March 8, 1856) was a public loss, extending far beyond
his own neighborhood.

Mr. Severance was a reformer, — a friend of the drunkard,
— a hater of intemperance, of oppression, and political cor-
ruption. He longed to see his country free from those two

gigantic sins, intemperance and slavery. He was a -strict
observer of the Sabbath, a regular attendant at the house
of God, a supporter of the gospel and of gospel institutions,
a lover of the great benevolent operations of the American
church, and testified his feelings in regard to the latter by
bequeathing a handsome sum to their support.

Mr. Severance was twice married, first to Abigail S.
Wells, who died September 16, 1821, in her twenty-ninth
year. This union was blessed with four children, of whom
two survive : Decatur resides in Michigan, and Mrs. A. L.
Green, the generous donator of this tribute to her parents'
memories, now lives in sight of the old homestead. His
second wife was Fanny Wells, sister to his first spouse, who
survived her beloved husband some five years, and died full
of years and honors September 22, 1861, aged seventy-one
years and three months. The result of this marriage was
three children, but one of whom, the wife of German
Reynolds, of Granby township, survives.

The disease which closed the earthly existence of the
subject of this sketch came upon him without warning,
prostrating him instantly. He was aware of his situation,
but, sustained by a long-cherished hope in the Saviour, he
contemplated the approach of death with calmness and
Christian resignation. He left a large circle of friends,
besides his relatives, to cherish his memory and mourn his

k .V/. Severance .

Hon. Avery W. Severance, son of Setli and Abigail
S. Severance, was born in New Haven township, near the
place where he died, February 23, 1819. He departed
this life on the evening of February 15, 187-1, and at his
decease, consequently, was nearly fifty-five years of age.
For nearly half a century he was accustomed to walk the
streets of his township, and mingle with its people, socially
and in business relations, and never did malice or suspicion
whisper aught against his integrity. He was emphatically
an honest man, and the vacuum made by his loss cannot
be filled by another.

Possessing rare intelligence, capacity for and knowledge
of business, he was accustomed for many years to be the
arbitrator to adjust differences, the counsellor to advise in
trouble, and the trustee for the orphan and the widow in
all cases within the circuit of his acquaintance. It is re-
lated of him by his intimate friend, Mr. L. W. Tanner, of
Oswego, that at one time he has known him to be the guard-
ian of twenty-five minor children, and at the time of his
death held that relation to at least fifteen, involving some
twenty thousand dollars. Such was his business ability
that the settlement of all these estates, after his death, did
not cost any of them a dollar, and was eminently satisfac-
tory to all parties concerned.

During nearly his entire business life he was intrusted
with various oiSces in the municipal government of his
township, either in its material or educational interests.
He was many years its supervisor, and for a long time a
prominent member of the Oswego County board of super-
visors, frequently its chairman, and in all positions his
judgment was accepted and respected as superior to that

of others, and his honesty was above suspicion. For many
successive years lie held the position of president of the
Oswego County agricultural society. Himself a good
practical farmer and model cultivator, he took a deep in-
terest in all things pertaining to the advancement of agri-
culture and the betterment of stock, and rarely failed to
secure a premium on any products uf the farm which he
deigned to exhibit.

In 18G5 he represented the third district of Oswego
County in the State legislature, and was faithful in the
discharge of the duties of that position, and occupied in
all matters an influential place.

In public and private life ho was modest and una.ssuming
in his manners, courteous and gentlemanly in his demeanor,
sympathetic and benevolent to the distressed, and warmly
attached to his friends. He was firm and unflinching in
the discharge of his duty ; energetic and indignant against
all appearance of chicanery or fraud. Honest himself, he
could endure no deception in others.

In his death his family lost a kind and tender husband,
a loving and indulgent father, and the entire county one of
its most prominent and honored citizens, whose life and
influence were inseparably connected with every prominent
event in the history of Oswego County during the last
quarter of a century, and whose memory will be cherished
and respected more largely than that of almost any one
who survives him.

His widow re.sides in the village of Jlexico, and, like
her lamented husband, enjoys a warm place in the hearts
of many whom her benevolence has befriended or lier
Christian influence reached.



he located permanently, at the present residence of his son,
Orton 0. He was one of the first officers of the town, and
held many positions of trust.

In 1837 or '38, Mr. Marvin's little son, Rozcllc, aged
eight years, was drowned under the following circumstances :
He and a son of Mr. George W. Allen were crossing the
creek one afternoon, on a log above the pond, early in the
spring, when the boy, Rozelle, fell off, and went under the
ice. A crowd of the neighbors soon assembled, but the
boy could not be found that day. The next morning the
search was renewed, by cutting away the ice at the dam and
letting it float down the stream. As they were at work in
this way in the afternoon, the drowned boy suddenly shot
up half his length between the cakes on which some men
were standing, and was caught by one of the men before
he sank again.

Mr. Taylor located on the hill just west of the " Hollow,"
where S. 0. Wilmarth now resides. He was a prominent
man, and one of the first officers of the town.

Mr. Lindsley settled in the east part of the tnwii, and
was a near neighbor of Mr. Wing, joining him on the
north. He was one of the first sot of town officers of New

Jlr. Hitcheock .settled about one and a half miles south
of the village, near the Kibby farm, and Mr. Davis about
two miles east, on the State road.

Reuben Halliday settled in the east part of the town
about 1810. He was the first class-leader in
town, and for a great many years was a minister of the

Henry Hawley came to town in 1811, and settled about
one and a quarter miles south of the village. He was
killed at the raising of Robert Jerrett's barn, in 1815, by
the falling of a plate.

Among othei-s who came into town prior to 1813 were
Seth Severance, Mitchel Crandall, Ezra Bromley, Ansel
Snow, William Griffin, Eliphalet Colt, Elias May, John
Wolcott, Daniel and Lyman Hatch, Philip Delano, Samuel
Cherry, Lyman Blakesley, and Israel Ransom. The last
three, with Mr. Wing, were the first justices appointed for
the town of New Haven after its formation.

Mr. Severance came from Leyden, Ma-ss., and settled just
east of Butterfly, where he resided until his death. He
was another leading man of the town, and held the office
of supervisor longer than any other man, as will appear by
the list of officers.

Mr. Crandall settled at first just north of Butterfly, but
several years ago located just of the village, where he
now resides. Mr. Snow made his home at the village, as
did also Mr. Cherry. Mr. Blakesley settled one and a
quarter miles southwest of the village, and Mr. Ransom at
Cheever's Mills. Thus far, New Haven .should be under-
stood as belonging to the old town of Mexico, but as we
are now brought down to the formation of the new town,
it will be proper to speak of the first town-meeting.

This was held at the house of Ansel Snow (near where
the store of Rowe & Snow now stands), April 19, 1814.
There were sixty-six votes cast, and the following pereons were
elected: Supervisor, David Easton ; Clerk, Jonathan Wing;
Assessors, David Easton, William Taylor, and Nathaniel

Marvin ; Overseers of the Poor, Joseph Bailey and Daniel
Hall ; Commissioners of Highways, Joseph Bailey, Jr.,
Joseph Boynton, and Anson Drake ; School Commissioners,
Jonathan Wing, Joseph Bailey, and Nathaniel Marvin ;
Collector, George C. Bailey ; Constables, George C. Bailey
and Crandall Kenyon ; Fence-viewers, Nathaniel Marvin
and Daniel Hall ; Pound-masters, Alnion Lindsley and
Eleazcr Snow ; Inspectors of Schools, David Easton, Eli-
phalet Colt, and Anson Drake; Path-masters, Elias May,
Chauncey Drake, Jes.

Online LibraryCrisfield. cn Johnson... History of Oswego County, New York → online text (page 90 of 120)