Dwight H. (Dwight Hall) Bruce.

Onondaga's centennial. Gleanings of a century online

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Baptist church of Tully with fourteen members, as follows : Uriel and
Sybil Smith, Ziba and Hannah Palmer, James B. and Nancy Stroud,
Lydia Chapman, Aaron Vail, Sarah Hughson, Eliza Fuller, Sarah Mc-
Collery, Susanna Brown and Elizabeth Van Tassel, Services were
long held in school houses in Christian Hollow, Tully flats and Vesper,
but under the ministrations of Elder Frederick Freeman in 1824 the
first church edifice in the town was built in Tully Center and dedicated
February 11, 1825. In 1848 a division occurred, several members with-
drawing to form a Baptist church in Vesper. The building was then
removed to, and rebuilt in Tully village at a cost of $2,500. In 1834
the society had a membership of 219, and at that time belonged to the
Onondaga association. The first pastor was Elder Squire Abbott, who
came in 1818. Among his successors were Revs. Frederick Freeman,
Randolph Streeter, John D. Hart, Reuben Winchell, Nelson Camp,
John Le Grange, Hiram Powers, Butler Morley, J. D. Webster, and
others. Two very early members were Matthias Outt and Mrs. J. B.
Hall. As early as 1820 a Methodist class held meetings in the Vesper
school house under the leadership of Durin Ferris, a circuit preacher.
Soon afterward classes were formed in other parts of the town, notably
one in the vicinity of Tully village, which, in 1828 was organized into
a society, the first preacher being Elder Sayers, who was succeeded by


Elder Puffer, familiarly known as old "chapter and verse," from his
frequent quotations of scripture. In 1832 this was reorganized into the
present church society, which, in 1834 erected their first edifice. The
structure was rebuilt in 1862 under Rev. John Barnard; again in 1877
under Rev. Fred Devitt, and for the third time in 1894 under Rev. Eli
Pittman at an expense of about $10,000. The first class leader of the
TuUy society was Silas Aylsworth, and among the early members were
Myron Wheaton, David Bouttelle, Sarah Vail, Esther Johnson, Mary
E. King, Cynthia Arnold, Polly Vail, and Mrs. Aaron Vail. In ' 1840
Sarah Vail donated the parsonage, being the building now owned by
W. R. Topp, which was exchanged for the present parsonage. The
Vesper church was of later inception.

By 1821 two fulling mills and a carding machine were in operation,
while 14,593 yards of cloth were produced in families during that year.
There were also six school districts in which schools were maintained
six months annually.

In 1824 the town contained three grist mills, five saw mills, two fulling mills, one
carding establishment, three distilleries, three asheries, "a small library," 310 voters,
6,141 acres of improved land, 1,397 cattle, 193 horses, 3,686 sheep, "no slaves," and
one free black. A person making the journey at this time from Tully to Hamilton,
a distance of forty miles, could count twenty-six taverns, all doing a brisk business.

The opening of the Erie Canal through Syracuse in 1825 had in a
measure a permanent influence upon the settlement and industries of
this town, but it was not until 1827, when, on April 16, the Tully and
Syracuse Turnpike Company was incorporated by Oliver W. Brewster,
Archie Kasson, and Mr. Howell, that the territory under consideration
received a general start upon, a new era of prosperity. This company
was rechartered in April, 1831, and for many years the road afforded
great convenience. It may be noted here, in view of the fact that
Tully lies on an almost direct line between Syracuse and the Chenango
valley; that on April 3, 1807, the Chenango and Salina Turnpike Com-
pany was incorporated and authorized to build ' ' a good and sufficient
turnpike road, beginning at the village of Salina, and running thence
south through the Onondaga Hollow to the north line of Tully," and
so on southward. Again on April 10, 1824, the 'Onondaga and Cort-
land Turnpike Company was incorporated for a similar purpose. Pub-
lic highways were laid out and opened largely before 1830.

The prosperous years of the Hamilton and Skaneateles turnpike
gave considerable activity to the hamlet of Vesper, near the Otisco


town line, and in 1827 a post-office was established there with William
Clark as postmaster. Afterward Samuel Ashley and more recently A.
J. Estey and James E. Henderson held the office. The place contained
in former years a store or two, a tavern, and the usual complement of
artisans, etc. The turnpike likewise imparted a lively impulse to Tully
Center, but in this respect the Onondaga Creek perhaps contributed a
greater degree of activity. Peter Van Camp's saw and grist mills of
1810 formed the nucleus around which later industries of a similar
character assembled, and as late as 1845 the place and vicinity con-
tained four grist mills, two carding machines, and a woolen mill.
These enterprises, however, long ago went out of existence, leaving
the hamlet a mere country settlement without its old-time prestige.

In 1836 the town contained four grist mills, eight saw mills, a fulling
niill, one carding establishment, two asheries, a woolen factory, two
tanneries, twelve school districts, and 563 school children. The dis-
tilleries of former years had fully disappeared. In this year a post-
office was established at Tully Valley, near the La Fayette town line,
the first postmaster being George Salisbury, who was succeeded by
John Henderson. Recent incumbents have been A. Benjamin and
Clark Estey. This hamlet, like many others similarly situated, lost
much of its former activity after the completion of the railroad in 1854.

Attention is once more called to those settlers and residents of the
town who, prior to 1850, aided in no small measure in developing and
molding the several communities into prosperous, thriving, and note-
worthy sections of a fertile and attractive part of the county.

Among them were Edward Miller, Lyman Walker, John Gilbert, Aaron Vail, John
and Daniel Vail (sons of Aaron), Moses and Hiram Tallman, the Birney family,
Samuel Ousby, Matthew D. Cummings, Russell Chase (father of Hamilton and Frank-
lin), Miles and William Trowbridge. Henry Van Bergen, Colonel Johnson (tavern
keeper), Wilmot and Alvah Lake, John Potter, Aaron B. Goodelle, Henry F. King,
L. Harris Hiscock, Joshua C. Cuddeback (at one time county sheriff), Hiram Chapin,
Garrett Van Hoesen, William M. Allen, William C. Gardner, Avery R. and Allen
Palmer, Jared C. Williams, Justin Dwinelle, Lucius F. King, Hon. Samuel Willis,
and Frank M. Wooster (captain of Co. K, 133d N. Y. Vols., and killed in battle in
the Civil war).

Aaron Vail came to Tully from Herkimer county in 1810 and settled
in the village where his grandson David P., son of David, a justice of
the peace, now lives. He purchased 135 acres of land, covering the
best part of the village site, from which he sold oflf a few lots. He
died about 1845, leaving four heirs, of whom David bought the interest


of his brother James, thus becoming one-half owner. David Vail's
tract included the most desirable unsold lots, which he continued to
sell until his death in 1866. His brothers Daniel and John also dis-
posed of their property in small parcels. The Vail homestead, where
David P. was born in 1824, has never been out of the family. Aaron
B. Goodelle was the father of Hon. William P., a prominent lawyer of
Syracuse, who was born here May 35, 1838. Henry F. King arrived in
TuUy village from Suffield, Conn., in 1818, and held the office of post-
master for more than thirty years. In 1828 he set out a row of maples
in front of his residence, bringing them from the woods on his back.
He was long one of the foremost men in the town, and died in 1853.
William C. Gardner served the county as sheriff and Jared C. Williams
was both sheriff and superintendent of the penitentiary. Hon. Samuel
Willis was bom in Hamilton county in 1818, came here at the age of
seventeen, and with his father purchased a farm of Orange Smith. He
served as assessor for six years, was supervisor several terms, and rep-
resented the second district of Onondaga in the Assembly in 1878 and

In 1845 there were in TuUy 125 militia, 378 voters, nine common schools, 435 school
children, 10,909 acres of improved land, four grist mills, five saw mills, two carding ma-
chines, a woolen factory, one trip-hammer, two asheries, two tanneries, four churches
(a Baptist, one Seventh-Day Baptist, and a Methodist), four taverns, four stores, 190
farmers, 60 mechanics, three physicians, and one lawyer. Fifteen years later (1860)
the town contained 12,270 acres of improved land, 352 dwellings, 352 families, 289
freeholders, seven school districts, 633 school' children, 562 horses, 863 oxen and
calves, 1,102 cows, 2,176 sheep, 763 swine, and real estate assessed at §866,355 and
personal property at 598,400; while the productions aggregated 1,425 bushels winter
wheat, 66,626 bushels spring wheat, 1,797 tons hay, 8,059 bushels potatoes, 2!4,115
bushels apples, 108,654 pounds butter, 30,900 pounds cheese, and 323 yards domestic

Meanwh^ile Methodists living in the vicinity of Vesper were sustain-
ing regular services, a church having been incorporated July 7, 1840,
with about thirty-five members, among whom were Enoch Bailey,
Aaron HoUenbeck, Henry Stewart, Zenas Pickett, Asahel Nichols,
Alvah Hodge, Sanford Moore, and Reuben Aylsworth, all under Levi
Highley as class leader. In the same year a church edifice was built
at a cost of about $1,000, which was recently repaired under the pas-
torate of Rev. Frederick Keeney. The pulpit has generally been sup-
plied by pastors from the mother church at Tully. On May 9, 1840,
the church of the Disciples of Christ was organized at the" house of
Hamilton A. Chase, one mile east of Tully village, by Elders Calvin


Thomas and Harry Knapp of Pompey, the first members being Hamil-
ton A. and Russell J. Chase, Marvin Baker Amasa Evans, Lola Em-
mons, Amos and Mary Hodgman, Keziah Wilcox, Lydia Chase, Lydia
Lansing, Matthew Fuller and wife, Harriet Kingsley, Betsey Fuller,
and Daniel Rice and wife. The first pastor was Elder J. M. Bartlett.
H. A. and R. J. Chase were leading members of the society, and
through their liberality an edifice was built in the village in 1845 at a
cost of $1,500. Prior to 1848 the Baptists in the west part of the town
affiliated with the Tully Center church, which was at this time removed
to Tully village. In December, 1848, the Baptist church of Vesper
was organized at the house of Josiah Smith with such members as Dea.
Uriel Smith, Dea. Joseph and E. J. Daniels, E. V. B. French, Harry
Rowland, Peter and Sally Henderson, Allen and Betsey L. Palmer,
Sarah M. King, Zuriah Rowland, Nancy Darrow, Polly Williams, and
thirteen others. In 1848 they erected a church edifice at a cost of about
$1,200, which was dedicated January 18, 1849. Among the early pas-
tors were Elders A. Galpin, Thomas Brown, William Jones, and B.
Morley. Since the latter's incumbency in 1860 the society has been
supplied mainly with preachers from Tully.

The construction of the Syracuse and Binghamton Railroad in 1854
inaugurated a new impetus to general prosperity, but proved injurious
and in a measure disastrous to the village of Tully, Tully Center, Tully
Valley, and Vesper, drawing from those previously thrifty centers a
large volume of trade and directing it to Syracuse or Cortland. Tully
village, however, having the benefit of the only station in town, suc-
ceeded in retaining much of its old time prestige, and became a ship-
ping point of great prominence. In more recent years large quantities
of milk and farm produce from the surrounding territory have been
shipped to New York and other cities. The railroad also caused the
abandonment of the plank roads and turnpikes, thereby destroying the
vital business of country taverns and stores, as well as rendering use-
less many local manufacturing establishments.

During the Civil war, from 1861 to 1865, the town contributed a
large number of her brave and patriotic sons to the Union army and
navy, and nobly responded with unfailing promptness to the various
calls for troops. Tully's record in that sanguinary struggle is both
brilliant and imperishable, not only because of her heroic soldiers who
fought the nation's cause and laid their lives on their country's altar,
but also because of the universarl patriotism and public spirit which
characterized the inhabitants — men and women.


By this time the primitive forests had largely disappeared, and with
them nearly all the old saw mills, woolen establishments, asheries, etc.
Agriculture was paramount to other interests and flourished with a
degree that did credit to the fertile soil. Dairying rapidly developed,
and assumed extensive proportions, yet the grains, hay, potatoes, corn,
fruit, cabbages, etc. , were not neglected.

Various mercantile and other interests in Tully village, besides those
previously noticed, contributed materially to its growth and prosperity.
What is known as the "King corner" was for many years the leading
store, and for a time the only one in the place. It was built by Henry
F. King, one of the most prominent merchants of his day. Among
others who traded just west of the Slayton House were David Arnold,
John B. Hall, Lavosha Gowan, and Joseph Fletcher. In May, 1873,
this entire corner, consisting of a tavern and the stores of Messrs.
Wright, Fletcher, Scammel, and Gardner, was destroyed by fire. Other
merchants of the village, past and present, are J. W. Wright & Son,
W. F. Jones & Co., Tallman, Miller & Hoxsie, Bouttelle Brothers, W.
W. Hayford & Son, A. G. Dryer, E. B. Lincoln & Co., J. L. Lawrence,
M. Meara, C. P. Remore, H. B. Scammel & Son, J. S. Wright, Thomas
Butler & Co., F. C. Hayford, and others. Among the postmasters
were Henry F. King, Hiram Chapin (also justice of the peace), John

B. Hall, M. J. Bouttelle, Joseph Fletcher, William H. Brown, William
L. Stone, and William A. Dewey, incumbent. Shepard W. Cately was
for many years a prominent and an extensive wagon and carriage man-
ufacturer here, having a shop on the premises now occupied by the
dwellings of W. H. Brown and Mrs. Ranier Wright. His wagons were
known and used throughout Central New York. Pike & Welch and
Andrew Strail were long engaged in blacksmithing.

In 1875 the village was incorporated, and at the first charter election
held January 26, 1876, these officers were chosen: John Outt, president;
George Smith, Henry C. Tallman, and Henry Crofoot, trustees; Henry
V. B. Arnold, clerk; H. B. Scammel, treasurer; Nathan W. Fuller,
collector; George W. Gardner, street commissioner.

The succes.sive presidents have been John Outt, 1876 ; Edward Miller, 1877 ; Henry

C. Tallman, 1878 ; Haskell B. Scammel, 1879-81 ; William H. Hotaling, 1882 ; William
L. Earle, 1883; Charles A. Gardner, 1884; Dr. George W. Earle, 1885-87; George E.
Barker; 1888-89; William L. Stone, 1890-91; Frank C. Caughey, 1892-94; William H.
Leonard, 1895.

William L. Earle was for nine years a trustee or president, and it is
to him that incorporation was largely due. He was born in Truxton


on June 15, 1845, came here to study medicine with his brother, Dr.
George W. Earle, in 1873; succeeded George Warren in the furniture
and undertaking business in 1874, and organized the present Tully
Furniture Manufacturing Company in 1887, becoming its first presi-
dent. He was also interested in the manufacture of the Earle & Strail
patent buggy; was the prime mover in organizing the New York State
Undertakers Association in 1878, and has served as its president, and
organized Tully post, No. 593, G. A. R., in 1887, which chose him its
first commander. For a time he was very active in evangelistic work,
and is now also interested in the undertaking business in Syracuse.
Dr. George W. Earle was born in Truxton in 1849, and about 1872
came to Tully as a practicing physician.

Other interests of the village are the novelty works of George A.
Dorman & Son and two hotels, the Empire House and the Slayton
House, the latter being built by Reuben Slayton,- father of James M.,
the present proprietor.

The Tully Times, one of the brightest and most influential weekly
newspapers in the county, was started December 39, 1881, by Raymond
Wright, for the purpose of advertising his father's business. It con-
sisted at first of four pages each six inches square, and was issued occa-
sionally and later monthly. In 1883 the late Frank S. Slayton pur-
chased the outfit anH made regular weekly publications. He soon sold
an interest to Richard R. Davis, who in time became the sole owner,
and who still continues its very successful publication.

In July, 1891, St. Leo's Roman Catholic parish was organized by
Rev. Daniel Dood)', although for nearly twenty years mass had been
said occasionally by Father McLaughlin. On July 35, 1893, Father
Doody completed and dedicated the present church edifice and has
since remained as pastor. In the fall of 1895 the village voted to put
in a water system and in December an electric light plant, and named
William L. Earle, William A. Dewey, Judson S. Wright, William' H.
Dwinelle, and James M. Slayton as commissioners for the purpose.
The water works are now (January, 1896) practically completed.

Educational affairs throughout the town have ever received that close
and constant attention which elevates individuals and communities
and forces them into a front rank in modern life. In 1846 there were
nine school districts, in 1860 seven, and at the present time eight. In
1878 the school house in Tully village was rebuilt, and in 1893 a move-
ment was inaugurated which resulted in the organization of the Tully


Union School, the first Board of Education being Adelbert Butler,
president; Dr. W. H. Leonard, secretary; and George A. Beeman.T. S.
Cowles, and S. Z. Lake. In 1894 it was placed under the board of Re-
gents of the University of the State of New York, and has recently had a
training school for teachers connected with it.

By the development of two local resources the town has been brought
during the past decade into wide and growing prominence. The first
and foremost of these is the somewhat famous Tully Lake Park, situated
on what was formerly known as Big Lake, which was called by the
Indians "Sacred Waters" and held in great veneration by them.
Tradition says that the Indians would never allow a fish to be taken
from its crystal depths nor a canoe to float upon its glassy surface; yet
they considered an accidental drowning therein to be an especial desire
of the Great Spirit. The celebrated Tully Lakes, forming an unbroken
chain of natural water gems, consist of Tully (Big), Green, Crooked,
Jerry's and Mirror Lakes, of which the first named is the largest and
most prominent. Here upon the shores camping parties were wont to
pitch their tents and revel in the beauties of nature during the hot
weeks of summer, but the first decisive step towards converting a de-
sirable spot into a park was taken by M. J. French, R. C. Morse, and
Ur. George W. Earle, who accidentally met on the fair grounds in
Syracuse in 1887. This resulted in the immediate organization of the
Tully Lake Park Association, which was incorporated May 7, 1888, the
first officers, elected May 12, being M. J. French, of Syracuse, presi-
dent; Dr. George W. Earle, of Tully, vice-president; and J. Will Page,
of Syracuse, secretary and treasurer. The association purchased of
Oliver Schell sixty-four acres of land, which was laid out into lots,
walks, and drives. The first cottage and a part of the hotel were
erected in 1889 ; other cottages and villas followed until now upwards of
fifty adorn the once wild site. In 1892 the Central New York Assembly
established Assembly Park on the east side of the lake, where annual
sessions of an educational nature, similar to those at the celebrated
Chautauqua, situated on the lake of that name, have since been held.
The rare picturesqueness of the locality and its privileges bring hither
hundreds of summer visitors each year who contribute materially to
the varied interests of the town and especially to those of Tully vil-

Another resource was developed about 1888, when the Solvay Process
Company, of Syracuse, began prospecting for what was believed to be


a bed of rock salt in the TuUy valley. Some 600 acres of land were
purchased and since then twenty-nine wells have been sunk to depths
varying from 1,300 to 1,500 feet, at the bottom of which a bed of salt
was discovered fifty feet thick. The Tully Pipe Line Company, incor-
porated in April, 1889, laid a twelve-inch main to Syracuse, a distance
of about eighteen miles, during the following summer. These wells
are flooded with fresh water, which is drawn out thoroughly impreg-
nated with salt.

The population of Tully has been, periodically, as follows:
In 1810, 1,100; 1820, 1,194; 1830, 1,640; 1835, 1,618; 1840, 1,663; 1845, 1621; 1850,
1,559; 1855,1,619; 1860,1,690; 1865, 1,583; 1870, 1,560; 1875, 1,473; 1880, 1,476;
1890, 1,380; 1892, 1,378.



The settlement of the town of Spafford and the legal formation of
the county of Onondaga were very nearly contemporaneous. Both
occurred in 1794, the latter in the spring, the former in the autumn.
Previously, however, the territory under consideration was often the
scene of Indian gatherings and hunting expeditions, game being abund-
ant in the heavy forests which canopied the fertile soil. Lying between
the beautiful lakes of Skaneateles on the west and Otisco on the east,
whose waters swarmed with fish and whose banks furnished many fa-
vored deer-licks, its varying landscape of hill and dale acquired renown
among the Onondagas, the Cayugas, and the Senecas, and subsequently
among emigrants from Eastern New York and New England. After
the Revolutionary war had closed the present town became parts of the
great Military Tract, and in common with all other portions was di-
vided into lots of about 600 acres each. These lots, as detailed in a
previous chapter, were drawn by soldiers as bounty lands for services
in that sanguinary struggle. Very few of the grantees ever saw their
claims, and fewer still became actual settlers ; on the contrary, as in
other towns, nearly all sold their grants for mere pittances, and in
many instances the titles were transferred over and over again, a course
that eventually involved them in protracted litigation,


Spafford, as now constituted, comprises thirteen lots of the south
part of the original military township No. 9, Marcellus, viz. : Nos. 68,
69, 70, 71, 74, 75, 76, 77, 88, 89, 90, 91, and 96; eight lots of township
No. 13, Sempronius,' viz. : 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 33 and 32; and sixteen
lots of the northwest part of No. 14, Tully, viz. : Nos. 1, 3 (part), 11,
12 (part), 21, 22, 23, 24, 31, 32, 33, 34, 41, 43, 43, and 44. These were
' drawn by Revolutionary soldiers, as follows :

Township No. 9, Marcellus — Lot No. 68, Ebenezer Haviland, surgeon's mate; 69,
Daniel Ludlum; 70, Elijah Price; 71, Burdice Campbell; 74, Frederick Dayton; 75,
John Factor; 76, Lieut. Thomas Ostrander; 77, Henry Wynford; 88, Philip Fields;
89, Frederick Wybert; 96, Philip Steves; 91, Capt. Peter I. Vosburgh; 96, Henry
Davis. Township No. 13, Sempronius — Lot No. 10, Major Nicholas Fish ; 11, Aaron
De Witt; 12, Daniel Ogden; 13, Solomon Barnes; 14, John Tucker; 21, John Wyatt;
23, Samuel Wheeler; and 32, Cornelius Ammeerman. Township No. 14, Tully — Lot
No. 1, Joseph Savey; 2, Joseph Ball; 11, John Cherry; 12, Benjamin Lawrence; 21,
Caleb Sweet, surgeon; 22, Richard Wh ailing; 23, George Allen; 24, Abraham Liv-
ingston, captain; 31, reserved for Gospel and schools; 32, John Pierson; 33, John C.
Ten Broeck, captain; 34, Shorter Smith; 41, John Frederick; 42, Ellas Wilcox; 43,
Joseph Smith ; and 44, Nathaniel Brock.

None was settled by the soldiers named.

The town as thus formed is about ten miles long by three broad, and
runs northwest and southeast in lines nearly parallel with Skaneateles
and Otisco Lakes, the former of which washes the entire western
boundary. Otisco Lake and the towns of Otisco and Tully lie on the
east, portions of Marcellus and Skaneateles on the north, and Cortland
county on the south. This town enjoys the distinction of having more
lake front than any other town in the county, and its scenery is beauti-

Online LibraryDwight H. (Dwight Hall) BruceOnondaga's centennial. Gleanings of a century → online text (page 98 of 101)