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Historical Souvenir of Lyons, N. Y.


Two Copies Received

NOV 8 19U4

Cosyrigiii entry ,

/6/ ///


EDGAR L. WELCH. ("Grip")
Desi2;ner and Proprietor of "Grip's" Historical Souvenirs.

Historical Souvenir Series No* 18*

Lyons, ^^ Y* ^^^ V^^^^^'^^

Copyrighted, Sept. 1904
'Grip." 109 Corning Ave., Syracuse. N. Y

Russell, Photo



THE VILLAGE OF LYONS, one of the pret-
tiest in the State, boasts of two important
industries for which its^supremacy is unques-
tioned. From this village the whole world has
received the best oils of the peppermint that the
market affords. Here, for years past distilleries
have produced an oil which under the protection
of trade mark has gained a universal reputation.

Around Lyons in every direction fruit orchards
produce yields of peaches and apples that are
shipped by the carloads. The best of New York
State fruit comes from Lyons as the shipping-

Lyons in population and wealth has steadily
advanced by slow, healthy and natural process

all through its .long history. The people of the
village are progressive, thrifty and prosperous.
A large portion of the population is from the
good old German stock which came to this coun-
try soon after the close of the Revolutionary
war and settled upon farms or went into trade.
Most of them had only muscle, brain and pluck,
with which they were liberally endowed and
which they knew how to use to the best advan-
tage ; and many substantial fortunes were built
which to-day are largely invested in business or
reality in and about Lyons.

The location of the village is favorable for a
much farther expansion of business, being about
half way between Rochester and Syracuse —
more than an hour's ride by steam car to either
city, and consequently with an exclusive trade
territory, including all of the highly cultivated


county of Wayne and the northern townships in
Seneca and Ontario counties.

Its favorable location— "at the crossing of the
roads"— some years ago attracted the attention
of the New York Central Railroad Company with
the result that a railroad line leading directly
into the coal fields of Pennsylvania was secured
by that company, and by new construction work,
necessary repairs, and new, modern equipments
the line was raised to the standard of all of the
Central railroad properties. This Pennsylvania
division of the New York Central traverses
nearly the entire north and south extent of the
state, touching the important villages and cities,
between Lyons and the Pennsylvania State lines
as well as those in northern and middle Pennsyl-
vania, and is tributary to the finest agricultural

trains of the Central system, and is practically
as near those cities as Syracuse.

Lyons has been a chartered village for more
than half a century. Her streets are clean, well
macadamed and shaded with luxuriant foliage.
It is not an idle or vain boast to say that no
village of its size in this state has as many fine
residences and lawns as has Lyons. The pride
displayed in "keeping up" private grounds is not
confined to those of the more expensive sort.
Even the modest dwellings are kept freshly
painted and in good order.

The society of Lyons is well represented in the
several groups of those men and women taken
in photographs for this work, showing the people
who are the most active in social, fratei'nal and
church circles.

Russell, Plioto


and fruit sections of the two States.

At Lyons where this road forms a junction
with the main line— the great four ti-acks— of
the New York Central, that company built large
railroad yards which, from time to time, are
being increased in size.

With the enlargement of the Pennsylvania
division to a double track road, now contemplated,
and the construction of lateral lines that have
been promised, Lyons is bound to become an im-
portant railroad point. To-day, with the excep-
tion of a very few of the record breaking New
York and Chicago flyers, all of the fast as well
as the accommodation trains, stop at Lyons.

Her railroad facilities are such that the busi-
ness man has Boston, New York and Philadelphia
easy and quickly of access on the fastest through

Lyons is unusually favored with fraternities
and clubs, all of them prosperous and conducted
in an able manner. The village is uncommonly
well provided with churches, including two in
which every Sunday sermons are preached both
in English and German, and one where the
preaching and services are entirely in German.
Eight flourishing church societies have buildings,
and with one exception all of them are commo-
dious and fully meet the requirements of their
large congregations. The society not so well
favored has begun to erect a new building.
Five of the eight buildings are handsome and
imposing edifices. Two are comfortable and
meet present requirements of growing societies.

It is needless to say that in such a church-
going community the school is of the up-to-date


plan, provided with a capable faculty and housed
in a large, modern building.

The industrial advantages that Lyons possesses
offer most favorable opportunities for manufac-
ture and there is room for more. There is water
powei', and the dii-ect railroad line to Pennsyl-
vania affords a ready and easily obtained supply
of coal for steam purposes.

The shipping facilities are all that could be
asked for. The Erie canal passing through the
village supplies the water rate freights, which
will be much more advantageous when the barjre
canal is built, as that is to follow the present
course of the canal at Lycrs.

Here there is a business men's association,
which was form xi for th ^ purpose of bringing
in new industries, and by communication with

the steel boot extension works ; the manufacture
of coal bagging and weighing apparatus, wagons,
silk gloves, stoneware, slippers and soles, to-
bacco implements, fanning mills, fruit barrels
and cigars.

Lyons has three prosperous and safe banking
institutions — National, State and private.

There are also three weekly newspapers, con-
ducted intelligently, ably edited and widely cir-

The social status ol Lyons is on a plane with
the best of communities. The ladies of the vil-
lage— ;hose of social standing— are active in
their efforts to make Lyons a desirable place
of residence. Some of them are organized
as a Civic club, the main object of which is to
promote local village improvement, beautifying

Ku!-sell. Plioto


which the most favorable terms may be obtained
by manufacturers looking for a site. The secre-
tary, to whom inquiries should be addressed, is
Mr. C. W. Knapp, and letters should state that
they were inspired by tLis publicaticn.

The industries of Lyons are varied, and all of
the manufacturers are prosperous. Besides the
peppermint oil distilleries, the silver works and
the beet sugar factory, there is one of three
institutions in this country which manufacture
mail pouches for the government. One of the
newest industries is the Lyons cut glass works,
which is growing steadily.

Then there are the big malt houses, three or
four in number ; the Lyons burial vault works ;
the manufacture of ledgers and moth proof
pouches ; the metal bound fruit crate factory ;

the streets and squares, and especially elevate
the tone of the community. As this work is
being compiled these ladies have won their first
important victory. They have secured final action
on the part of Board of Education by which a
department of manual training and sewing with
regularly employed teachers has been ordered
for the public school. For some time past the
Civic club employed a teacher in sewing at its
own expense. It is understood that Lyons is the
first village in the State to include manual train-
ing and sewing with its regular cirriculum of

The Civic club also gives intellectual treats to
the community by bringing hither lecturers and
other forms of literary entertainments. The
club has secured the platting of public squares


and has placed throughout the village receptacles
for watte paper and rubbish.

To encourage the beautifying of homes it
offers prizes to the ladies of the village for the
best flowei's cultivated, furnishing seeds for the
purpose an i giving an annual exhibit.

Lyons; The First White Settlers ; Experiences

of the Pioneers and How They Got Here ;

Graphic Pictures of Earl, Times in Lyons :-

On tie north bank of Clyde river just below

the jurclion of the outlet to Canandaigua lake

flowing in from the south and the Ganargua, or

Mud, river coming from the west, one bright

morning in May, 1789, twelve persons debaik.d

from 1 atteaux or flat boats and proceeded to

clear a i_ lace under the tall trets that swung

once more against the current.

Poling up Seneca river, they tvu-ned their craft
into Clyde river. At that point they were out of
their reckoning, for had they kept upon the other
stream they would have reached the country
which was to have been their destination— the
country of the Seneca Indians.

Ten years earlier one of the party, William
Stansell, had marched and fought under Gen.
Sullivan in his expedition into Western New
York against the S.-neccS. The party had trav-
ersed the beautiiul forests i.nd meadows which
tu-day are inc'.ud d in the counties of Genesee,
Ontario and Seneca, and like hundreds of his fel-
low campaigners, to whom that immense un-
deeded stretch of splendid country had been a
revelation as to what the pioneer had only to
reach after in order to acquire, Stansell had de-
termined on the first opportunity to take his
family hither, and his neighbc rs with them, and
pre-empt for themselves homes.

KusscU, Photo


their branches above the water, for shelter.
They comprised three families who, after a
week's arduous journey p )ling their cumbersome
craft through narrow and shallow waters— always
against the cui'rent- or steei'ing a course by
means of improvis.^d sail, here and there over a
large body of water, had finally reached a chosen
spot for their new nome in the midst of the
"Western Wilderness." They had come from
Albany piloted by a Mohawk river boatman,
Wemple by name. On the headwaters of the
Mohawk river— near the present city of Rome,
N. Y. —they had placed their boats on roughly
built carriages for transportation to Wood creek",
the distance of a half mile.

Floating down that narrow stream they
emerged from the curtain of dense foliage under
which they had passed and continued the journey
down the boisterous Oneida lake. Next thej^
entered Oneida river and a few miles west, at
Three Rivers, turned the stem of their boats

At the junction of the Clyde and Seneca rivers
Stansell's party took the wrong stream, but upo"
reaching the next "forks" they were satisfied
with their bargain. Acres upon acres to the
south of meadow and woodland, and magnificent
groves with bright openings of land easily to be
tilled, on the north, greeted their vision. This
was the site of the present village of Lyons.

The party consisted of three men, three women
and five children besides Wemple, whose boats
had brought them and their worldly possessions
hither. They were William and Nicholas Stan-
sell, brothers, their brother-in-law, John Feth-
erly, their three wives and children.

They had poled their boats most of the way
for over 200 miles, having the current with them
only from the "draw" into Wood creek to Three
Rivers. But they had chosen the least of two
evils. By land they could have reached their
journey's" end only over trails and bridle paths,
or imperfectly broken roads.


Such is the narrative of the arrival of the first
white people to settle on what is now the site of
the village of Lyons— the very first settlers in
the county of Wayne.

Erecting a log house — a home in common for
the first year— they spent the ensuing summer
in preparing for permanent occupancy. For
years after the exact site where they stepped
ashore was marked by a large tree, which within
the last few decades has been known as the
"council tree. "

One of those Indian villages common to the
Seneca Indians, which were so frequently moved
about as the population found it to their advan-
tage in seeking game, fish and the berries in the
woods, appeared at the Stansell's plantation in
the course of the summer and raised their wig-
wams on the flat south of the river. The whites
and the i-eds got together for a confab and Stan-
sell knew how, fi'om his expei-ience in the Sen-
eca expedition, to make peace with his neighbors.

Smith, but he was living on what he could get
out of the Indians and what game he could kill.

So the Stansells found themselves veritable
"Robinson Crusoes, " dependant upon their own
resources, with what the earth might yield from
the seeds they had brought with them.

Bear's mill at Skoiyase. (Waterloo) where the
settlers at Lyons afterwards got their grist
ground, was not put up until three years later,

But the Stansells had some supplies and a few
things for trading with the Indians, while deer
and pigeons were numerous, easily to be shot
along the river from which fish also could be ob-
tained in abundance.

A few months later another small fleet of
scows ari'ived bringing three more families, the
Deckers, the Robinsons and the Oaks. There
was room for all and they were received with a
gracious welcome.

The next year five log dwellings went up south

Russell. Photo


Under the "council tree" they had the talk.

At that time the nearest place at which grain
could be ground, or obtained, was many miles to
the east and so the Senecas, who had grain of
their own, in small quantities, were induced to
help out the Stansells. An old trail led off to
the southeast striking the foot of Cayuga lake
where a few frontiersmen had at long distances
apart set up their rude cabins. Among the num-
ber was old man James Bennett's, on the west
shore of that lake nearly opposite the present
village of Seneca Falls. He had arrived about
the same time as the Stansells, thirty miles north,
and neither knew of the other. But his was not
a place to obtain supplies for he had come to
trade with the Indians ; and to accommodate the
trickling in of travel, which had just begun from
the east by the way of the salt springs at Onon-
daga. Bennett had constructed a flatboat and
started a ferry over the lake. Up at the falls
(Seneca) one white man had put up a cabin— Job

of the river— merely squatter sovereignty — and
the nucleus of a big village was there.

For a long time, however, this small colony
lived remote from civilization. The third sum-
mer the Indians brought them the first word
they had received from the outside world. A
Dutchman, they said, had come up from the
south — this was in 1791— and built a cabin at
Fish Wiers. It was the appearance of Samuel
Bear, the Pennsylvanian, en the Seneca river
twenty miles south, where the Senecas and
Cayugas had wiers set in the shallows for their
winter supply of fish. This was good news be-
cause the little colony were informed that Bear
was staking ofi" ground for a mill. And so be-
tween harvest and planting the people at "The
Forks," as the new settlement was then desig-
nated, began to cut through the woods a path
wide enough to enable them to go over to the
Wiers. And the following summer, 1792, they
began taking grist to Bear's.


The next four years was a season of peace
at "The Forks," where time was divided between
clearing, planting, hoeing and cutting, and jour-
neyings on foot or horseback to the south.

But in 1796, seven years after the Stansells
had made the first white man's track at "The
Forks," a new factor appeared. He was Mr.
Charles Williamson, the manager or director of
the Pultney land interests. He came with a
legal notice which all people must respect, that
all of this magnificent country belonged to a sin-
gle landed gentleman. How the matter was
patched up between the pioneers and Williamson
does not appear. As he very much needed the
good will of the earliest comers at that time, it
is probable that it was satisfactorily adjusted.
But it is nevertheless the fact that thirty years
later the occupants of land for miles around
Lyons arose in wrath and decided that the claims

ference— under the same council tree— and set-
tied matters with them.

The advent of Judge Daniel Dorsey, however,
the following year, 1797, was the occasion for
renewed life in the little colony. He came from
Maryland with his family and forty slaves and
bought the flats and woods on the south side of
the I'iver. The rigors of the noi'thern country
made the use of slaves impracticable and so he
went into trade in the new settlement. Judge
Dorsey was really the commanding figure at
Lyons. The viila'.4e had been named (as appears
in "Lyons, Why So Named") and Judge Dorsey
gave it character for trade. His home was a
great centre of hospitality. The Indian village
was usually pitched near by and Dorsey so treated
the Indians that he had great influence with
them. His death occurred in 1823.

The same year Dorsey arrived Rev. John Cole,

Rus.vcll, Photo


of the Pultneys were un-American and unten-

Charles Williamson's party included one named
Cameron whom he was to leave for directing the
new settlement and to act as the resident agent.

A site on the north shore of the river— a vacant
canal grocery close to lock .55 now occupies it —
v/as selected for a warehouse which was built.

The building is still intact, standing nearly a
mile from where it was built, on Jackson street.
That was the beginning of Lyons as a place of
business. A saw mill, grist mill and blacksmith
shop v/ere also put up at the same time. The
saw mill was put up by John Perrine. There
was also a "landing" on the river. In the mean-
time Williamson, like all other of the agents of
large American patentees of those days, had to
deal with the Indians, and after he had got Cam-
eron busy with building plans, and before starting-
back east, he got the roving red men into a con-

a Methodist preacher, located on the farm which
is still occupied by his descendants, a half mile
east of the village. The ensuing few years new
families came in, George Carr, Samuel King,
Jacob Leach, William Paton and Daniel B. West-

The growth of Lyons from that time on is de-
scribed and pictured more fully in the succeeding
pages of this work.

Lyons; The Village Surveys; Earliest Settle-
ment :-

Charles Williamson, the general agent for the
Pultney estates, which oi-iginally comprised the
site of Lyons, in 1796, caused a survey for the
village and laid out the streets with acre lots,
reserving a thousand acres about the site he had
chosen for the village. Under his direction
Cameron, his local .agent, erected a warehouse.


distillery, a residence and a barn. The streets
which WilHamson laid out were Broad. William
and Butternut, Water, Pearl, Church and Queen.
They were opened along surveyed lines, but not
improved except to cut down the trees that stood
most in the way.

East of William street— including all of that
part of the present village — was the farm which
John Riggs bought of the Pultneys. His farm
house stood nearly on the site of the present
Sturges Block. The first few years that settlers
came in he gave them tavern accommodation-.
This house was formally converted into a tavern
and enlarged.

It was not until the Joppa Land Company
(described elsewhere) surveyed and opened up
to settlement the Riggs farm that the village
extended east of William street.

The earliest places of business were small,
.single story structures. Richard Jones had his

four corners at the junction of Broad and Water
streets. On Water east of Broad street was the
cooper shop and residence of David Gibson. A
small cabin occupied the southwest corner of
Leach and Water streets. On the north bank of
the river at the foot of Broad street stood the
Pultney warehouse (now the "Old Glover
House" in use as a cabinet shop; see "Glover
House" on another page.)

Maj. Ezekiel Price occupied a log house with
a frame lean-to on the northwest comer of Broad
and Water streets. It was a tavern, store and
the postoffice.

Dr. William Ambler lived in a log house on
the present site of the Hotel Baltzell.

What is now the public park, thickly shaded
by large trees, was then an open common. On
the south side of it— near the present police sta-
tion—stood the log residence of Richard Jones,
the saddler. On the west end of the common.

Russell, Photo


saddler's shop on Broad street and near him
lived George Carr.

Daniel Dorsey brought along goods for barter
and taking up the tract of land south of the
river built him a residence where he entertained
hospitably. He also opened a store.

In 1808 Lyons had two taverns and a store, a
tailor, saddler, shoemaker and blacksmith. Ten
Methodists worshipped at Judge Dorsey's house
and the Presbyterians at John Perrine's. To
the north of Queen street was comparatively
open country dotted with thin groves of trees
and small patches of cultivated ground. To the
east along the river, and on both sides of it, were
a heavy growth of timber and patches of morass,
flanked to the north by Riggs' cultivated acres.
The present course of Canal street is through
his meadows and pastures. The three or four
business places were on Broad street and the

just back of the Lutheran church site, a shoe-
maker named Bond had his residence and shop.
Joseph Hathaway had a tavern on Broad street
north of the common.

About that time the Methodists put up a log
church on the east side of Broad street— about
on the present site of Dr. Sheldon's residence,
and opened ground for a cemetery which finally
became thickly occupied with graves.

Just north of it was Mummy's log house and
around the corner on Queen street— close to the
west end of the present Methodist church— stood
a log schoolhouse.

In 1811 Judge Evert Van Wickle made a sur-
vey of the village and plotted it with new build-
ing lots.



Russell, Plioto.


Wayne County; Its Erection: the Petition
first Started at Lyons; theSignei's; the Coun-
ty Buildings: —

The earliest local movement to set off from
Ontario a new county, which resulted in the
erection of Wayne county, was the circulation
of a petition in the village and town of Lyons
known as the "Lyons petition. " It was dated
Nov. 15, 1822, addressed to the Legislature, and
asked that the new county should be composed
of the towns of Lyons, Sodus, Williamson, On-
tario, Palmyra and a part of the town of Phelps,
in Ontario county, and Wolcott and Galen in Sen-
eca county. The original signers were Orren
Aldrich, Joseph Luce, John
Sihhilts, WilHam Patrick,
Ezekiel Price, Daniel Dor-
sey, Joseph Cole, Ananias
Wells, Abraham Knapp,
David Cr eager, Daniel
Dunn, Abraham Romyen.
Josiah Upson, Oliver Whit-
more, Lambert Woodruff,
Lyman Mudge, Andrew
Chapin, Elisha Benjamin,
Gabriel Rogers, Jenks Tul-
len, Enoch Turner, Henry
Towar and Levi Geer.

The petition was pre-
sented to the Legislature
on Jan. 8, 1823, and reported
favorably Feb. 3. The bill
for the erection of the coun-
ty of Wayne was passed
A{)ril 11, and included the
towns named in the Lyons
petition as comprising the
county of Wayne.

The" bill named as com-
missioners for determining
the site for the county Russell. Photo,
seat WiUiam D. Foi-d broad ST.

of Jefferson county, Samuel
Strong of Tioga county and

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Online LibraryEdgar Luderne] [WelchGrip's historical souvenir of Lyons, N. Y → online text (page 1 of 14)