Landmarks of Oswego County, New York; by John Charles (1821—1905). Churchill, H. P. (Henry Perry) Smith (1839—1925) and W. Stanley Child; 1895; pgs. 533—549
Originally transcribed by Sheila Strickland (2004).
THE TOWN OF HANNIBAL
An act passed February 28, 1789 (Chap. 44, Laws of 1789) authorized the Commissioners of the Land Office to direct the surveyor-general to lay out in the Military Tract hereinbefore referred to, townships of one hundred lots of six hundred acres each, enough to satisfy the claims to bounty lands of the officers and soldiers of the Revolutionary army from the State of New York, to which they were entitled under the previous action of the Legislature. The direction was at once given to the surveyor-general, and surveys were promptly made, and in 1790 maps of twenty-five townships were filed. The act directed that the first of the townships should begin on the western side of the Onondaga River (as the Oswego River was then called) "at the falls thereof." Two of these townships cornered upon the river at the falls, to the southern of which (township No. 1) was given the name of Lysander, and to the northern (township No. 2) was given the name of Hannibal.1 This survey township of Hannibal included all of the present county of Oswego lying west of the Oswego River, except the north thirty-three lots of the township of Lysander, which, when Oswego county was formed, were included in that county, and now form a part of the town of Granby.
When Onondaga county was formed in 1794, the town of Lysander was erected which included the three military townships of Hannibal, Lysander and Cicero. This continued until February 28, 1806, when the military township of Hannibal was separated from Lysander and made a town by the name of Hannibal in the county of Onondaga. When Oswego county was formed, March 1, 1816, the town of Hannibal and the north thirty-three lots of Lysander were taken from Onondaga county and made a part of Oswego county, and the thirty-three lots were annexed to the town of Hannibal, which thereby included all of Oswego county lying west of the river. On the 20th of April, 1818, an act was passed erecting the towns of Oswego and Granby and giving to Hannibal the boundaries it has ever since retained. Its area is 27,786 acres.
It lies in the extreme western part of the county and is bounded on the north by Oswego and Granby, on the east by Granby, and on the south and west by Cayuga county. The surface is gently undulating, and broken into ridges from thirty to fifty feet above the valleys. In the eastern and southeastern parts are several swamps, one of which covers an area of 500 acres; some of these have been partially reclaimed to cultivation by artificial drainage.
The soil, a rich sandy and gravelly loam, is generally well adapted to all kinds of agricultural pursuits. The chief productions are cheese, butter, grain, hay, fruit, tobacco, and vegetables. Considerable attention is also given to stock raising. In early days the dense forests made lumbering the leading industry and gave existence to numerous saw mills. In 1860 there were eighteen of these establishments and several other woodworking concerns in operation, furnishing employment to many workmen. All, however, have given place to purely agricultural pursuits. There are now two cheese factories, one at South Hannibal and another at Hannibal village, both owned by stock companies. A third was formerly conducted in the northeast part of the town by E. S. Tallman. In Hannibal village is a butter factory owned by C. E. Brinkerhoff.
In the northwest corner of the town is a salt spring from which salt was formerly manufactured in limited quantities, and in various other localities indications of brine have been discovered, but none have proved of sufficient strength to render their working profitable. The principal stream is Nine Mile Creek, which flows through the village of Hannibal; this and several brooks afford excellent drainage and some good mill privileges.
Reliable data respecting the earliest roads within the present limits of Hannibal are almost wholly inaccessible. It is known that many of the original surveys were made between 1820 and 1840; yet it is evident that several highways were laid out and opened long before the first named year. On April 3, 1823, the Legislature appointed three commissioners to lay out a road from a point on the west bank of the river below Oswego Falls, "opposite Hubbard & Falley's mill dam, from thence to the village of Hannibalville," and on to Wolcott, Wayne (then Seneca) county. Prior to this, in 1817, a road had been opened from Oswego to Auburn, for which $2,500 were appropriated, and the same year the Sodus Bay Turnpike Road Company was incorporated. The stage routes between Oswego and Auburn and Oswego and Rochester passed through what is now the village of Hannibal, where horses were changed, it being a regular and popular stopping place. The various thoroughfares of the town have kept pace in improvement with those of other localities. Substantial bridges and systematic grading have made them passable at all seasons of the year.
From 1798 to 1806 the town of Lysander, which included the military townships of Lysander, Hannibal and Cicero, constituted a single supervisor district. During this period Asa Rice, who came from Connecticut in 1797 and settled at Union Village in the town of Oswego, served as supervisor. In 1798 he reported the number of inhabitants in this territory as fifteen, and its taxable property was valued at $1,500.
The first town meeting for the town of Hannibal was held at the tavern of Matthew McNair in Oswego village on the first Tuesday in April, 1806, when the following officers were chosen:
William Vaughan, supervisor; Edward O'Connor, town clerk; Asa Rice, Barnet Mooney, and Reuben Sprague, assessors; Ezekiel Brown, collector; Daniel Hugunin and Peter D. Hugunin, overseers of the poor; Peter D. Hugunin, Barnet Mooney, and Thomas Sprague, jr., highway commissioners; Ezekiel Brown and James Hugunin, constables; David Hugunin and Peter D. Hugunin, fenceviewers; William Eadus, poundmaster; Joel Burt and Asa Rice, commissioners of gospel lots; and John Masters (district No. 1), James Hugunin (district No. 2), and Parmenus Sprague (district No. 3), pathmasters. The usual regulations relative to fences and stock were adopted.
The supervisors of Hannibal have been as follows:
William Vaughan, 1806—7; Peter D. Hugunin, 1808—10; Eleazer Perry, 1811; Asa Rice, 1812; Eleazer Perry, 1813—14; Barnet Mooney, 1815—16; Samuel Farnham, 1817—21; Daniel Hawks, jr., 1822; John Bullen, jr., 1823—28; Arvin Rice, 1829—30; Archibald Green, 183l; Abram Watson, 1832; Jonathan Eastman, 1833; Asa Dudley, 1834; William Bullen, 1835; Jonathan Eastman, 1836—7; Samuel H. Patchin, 1838; Isaac H. Ketcham, 1839; Arvin Rice, 1840; James A. Brackett, 1841; Thomas Skelton, 1842—3; Josiah Bidwell, 1844; Isaac H. Ketchum, 1845; Huet H. Bronson, 1846; Josiah Bidwell, 1847; John L. Kip 1848; Palmer Ketchum, 1849—50; John McClaughry, 1851; Benjamin N. Hinman, 1852; Orson Titus, 1853; Giles C. Barnes, 1854; Alfred Rice, 1855; John Forsyth, 1856; William J. Acker, 1857—58; Giles C. Barrus, 1859—1860; Rensselaer Matteson, 1861—64; Carson Wiltsie, 1865—70; Eli P. Barret 1871—76; Alexander H. Mitchell, 1877; Varnum P. Hill, 1878; Ezra L. Tallman, 1879—8l; Eli P. Barrett, 1882—88; Dillon F. Acker, 1889; William R. Wilson, 1890—95.
The town officers for 1894—5 were:
William R. Wilson, supervisor; George C. Cable, town clerk; Willard E. Wilber, George A. Leonard, Jasper Hopper, and Levi Brackett, justices of the peace; Henry H. Phillips, Elihu Gifford, and Charles Farnham assessors; William Gault, highway commissioner; Fayette Eldredge, overseer of the poor; Wilber F. Warren, collector; Eli P. Barrett, Ezra B. Tucker, and R. A. Powers, excise commissioners. The town is divided into sixty-five road districts.
The first settlement within the present limits of Hannibal was commenced on lot 95, in the extreme south part of the town, by Thomas Sprague, who moved thither with his family from Massachusetts in 1802. He built the first house, a log structure, and likewise made the first clearing. The first marriage was that of Daniel Thomas and Prudence Sprague in 1803. Carr Sprague, whose birth occurred in 1805, was the first white child born in town; the first death was that of another child, a daughter of the pioneer Thomas Sprague, in 1806.
During the years 1803 and 1804 the Sprague family seem to have been the only inhabitants of the present town. In 1805, however, a number of settlers arrived, prominent among them being Watson Earl, Joseph Weed, Israel Messenger, David Wilson, Samuel Barrow, Sterling Moore, and Oren and George Cotton, all of whom located at Hannibal Center. Being a millwright, Orren Cotton, in company with Mr. Earl, built there, about 1806, the first grist mill in town. He was a lineal descendant of Dr. John Cotton, the great Puritan preacher of Boston. Samuel Barrow was one of the first surveyors. For several years settlement was very slow. Doubtless a few more pioneers arrived, but the date of their coming cannot be ascertained, hence their names will be grouped together a little further on.
In 1809 Arvin Rice, a son of Asa the pioneer of Union Village, commenced a clearing on lot 67, near Hannibal village. He set out the first orchard; brought into town the first iron plow; and raised the first barn without the use of liquor. He married Polly Cotton on March 18, 1812, and became prominent in local affairs. When Granby and Oswego were set off in 1818 it was through his efforts that the name Hannibal was retained for this town. He was justice of the peace in 1829 and served as town clerk, supervisor, etc., several years. Dr. Alfred Rice was born here in 1817.
About 1810 Isaac Kinney settled at what is now Kinney's Four Corners. He was also justice of the peace in 1829 and a man of considerable prominence. James B. Adams built a cabin at Fairdale about the same year and soon afterward Gad Daniels erected a similar structure one mile east. During all this time the new country was infested with ferocious animals, mainly wolves, which created at times no little havoc among the fields and sheep-pens of the pioneers. In 1809 the authorities offered a bounty of $10 for each wolf scalp taken, a resolution that remained in force for several years.
About 1811 or 1812 Henry and Benjamin Wiltsie, natives of Dutchess county, settled on lot 47, and Robert Hall, from Ireland, located on lot 39. The Wiltsie family has long been a prominent one in the town and a number of the name are still respected residents. Cornelius Wiltsie, a son of Henry and the father of Frederick (who resides on lot 74), became a settler about 1813, while Martin Wiltsie very early located where C. Perry Campbell now lives on lot 48. Martin Wiltsie was town clerk in 1821. Silas Crandall built the first saw mill in town in 1811. In 1812 Benjamin F. Gifford, a surveyor and a very prominent citizen, became a permanent settler.
During the war of 1812—15 the little settlements were not materially augmented by new arrivals, but as soon as that conflict ceased immigration revived and steadily increased with each succeeding year. David B. Metcalf, a native of Keene, New Hampshire (father of David D. Metcalf, a lawyer of the village of Hannibal), came to North Hannibal in 1813 and bought three to four hundred acres of land and began a clearing and the erection of a log house. He returned to New Hampshire in 1814 and in 1815 returned to Hannibal with his family and occupied the house he had built. He continued to occupy a part of the land he bought until his death in 1848. He was one of the first settlers in the northern part of the town of Hannibal. In 1815 Hale Worster, a native of Cayuga county, came in and during the remainder of his life was one of the prominent men of the town, serving as clerk, justice of the peace, etc. The same year Cephas S. Kent, who was born in Vermont and who was the father of Jason Kent, commenced a clearing on lot 57, and in March, 1816, moved his family hither on an ox sled. Another settler of 1816 was James W. Jones, who came from Saratoga county and located on about 200 acres of lot 76, for which he paid $5 an acre. Powell Jones, his son, born here in 1825, lived and died on the homestead.
Alanson Blodgett came in 1817 from Onondaga county, where he was born, and settled on lot 50, where he died. He was a farmer and lumberman. Another pioneer of 1817 was Avery Green, also a farmer. In 1818 William Ames located on the farm (on lot 57) now owned by Buell Clark; he came from Windham county, Conn.
Sometime prior to this a family named Hawks settled in the town. In 1815 three of their number were married, namely, Daniel Hawks and Emily Field, William Hawks and Eliza Dunton, and Asa Dunton and Lois Hawks. Cyrus Hawks was born here in 1819 and Hiram F. in 1822. William Hawks was one of the justices of the peace in 1829.
George Farnham, a native of Onondaga county, settled in Hannibal in 1819, in which year John Farnham was born here. The latter was appointed the first postmaster at North Hannibal in 1867. Moses Farnham was the first carpenter in town. About 1818 Capt. Hector Gillis, a sailor on the lakes, an early settler of Oswego, and present at the capture of that place in 1814, located in Hannibal on the farm now occupied by his son James. He died in 1864. In 1820 Adrian M. Schoonmaker, a native of Long Island, settled near Fairdale.
In 1820 the inhabitants of the town numbered 935. Substantial improvements had been made; mercantile and manufacturing industries were active, and agricultural interests were developing with the receding forests. Among the settlers of the succeeding decade were Orville G. Adkins, Levi Brackett (long a justice of the peace), Norman Green, Isaac H. Peckham (born here in 1828), and Jonas Shutts. The latter was born in Columbia county in 1814 and came to Hannibal with his father, John, in 1829. John Shutts died in 1863, aged seventy-three. Nicholas Cox, and his sons Charles and Rev. John Cox, located on lot 51 about 1829.
Between 1830 and 1840 among others who came or were born here were Zenas Barlow (born in Oneida county in 1800), C. Perry Campbell, Benjamin S. Crofoot, D. D. Metcalf (born here in 1837), David W. Ames (born here in 1835), James W. Burt (subsequently mentioned), Martin H. Cox, Horatio Dunham, Erastus Glover (born in Hampshire, Mass., in 1799), P. G. Howe, William H. Johnson, Isaac Haws (born here in 1833), Harrison Matteson, Stephen Stark and Norman Titus. William Wiggins, the father of William H. Wiggins, of Hannibal, settled in that village in 1836 and died there in 1862.
From 1840 to 1850 many prominent settlers arrived, and among them may be mentioned Amos D. Cowles, Augustus S. and Sands D. Gardner, James W. Brackett (born here in 1846), Augustus Lester, Alexander H. Mitchell, John W. and Theodore L Mitchell (natives of Cayuga county), Hubert Dickinson, Lemuel P. Storms (afterward a custom house officer), Dr. Dillon F. Acker (born here in 1845), and William L. Williams (a native of Wales).
In 1846 the town is thus described in "Historical Collections of the State of New York:" "Hannibal, originally taken from Lysander as part of Onondaga county in 1806; from Albany 168 miles. Pop. 2,275. Hannibalville, eleven miles south of Oswego and Kinney's Corners, six miles from Oswego, are small villages."
Prominent among the arrivals after 1850 were Dr. E. H. Boyd, H. M. Barrett (attorney), Eli P. Barrett (for several years supervisor), N. B. Brower (attorney), David Bothwell, Dr. R. N. Cooley, David Wells, and Orrin Henderson (farmer, miller, supervisor, and for several years president of the Oswego Falls Agricultural Society).
Among other prominent residents, of whom accurate data are lacking, are Noah Wright, Rensselaer Madison, John L. Kip, Samuel Farnham, John Bullen, jr., Isaac Sykes (who built the first house without the use of liquor), Archibald Green, Jonathan Eastman, Asa Dudley, William Bullen, Samuel H. Patchin, Isaac H. Ketchum, Thomas Skelton, Elihu Gifford, Huet H. Bronson, Josiah Bidwell, Job Perkins (died October 19, 1892), Palmer Ketchum, Orson Titus, Alpheus Loomis, Bernice R. Sykes, Alvah Worster, Eliab Scott, John W. Buck, John Watson, Abram Watson (died November 18, 1859), Truman Burroughs, Isaac E. Hull, B. N. Hinman, R. M. Rogers, Dr. William J. Acker (father of Dr. Dillon F.), B. P. Farnham, Henry Wheeler, John F. Byrne (father of Andrew J. and Bradford F.), Samuel Sanders, Elijah L. Ormsby, Osborn Purce, James D. Curtis (for several years a justice of the peace), Horatio Dunham (farmer and tanner where James Scanlon now lives), John P. Storms (a justice of the peace), Mr. Bradt (father of A. N. Bradt), Zenas Haven, Cephas Weed, Mason Pierce, Josiah King, E. C. Van Auken (for several years proprietor of the hotel at Hannibal village), Andrew W. Foster, Sidney Hulett, J. W. McFadden and Peter Schenck (two of the first surveyors), and many others.
April l0, 1860, the town was authorized to purchase a farm for $1,000 and to erect upon it suitable buildings for the accommodation of the indigent poor. This act was repealed March 26, 1862, and the money collected for the purpose was placed in the contingent fund.
At least five settlers of the town—Daniel Dunham, Silas Green (cousin of Gen. Nathaniel Green), Daniel Lewis, Daniel Robinson, and Epaphras Loomis—were Revolutionary veterans. Among those who participated in the War of 1812, and who were residents of Hannibal or became citizens afterward, may be mentioned Chester Anderson, Ziba and Levi Blodgett, Ira Brooks, Eli Collins, Asa Dudley, James Breed, Capt. Stephen Brace, James Burt, Alanson Blodgett, James D. Curtis, Julius Colton, Samuel Clark, John Cox, Capt. William Fullerton. Elijah Drury, John Elliott, William Dodd, Walter and Hector Gillis, William Hodgdon, John Gillis, John Keeney, William Hawks, Benjamin Lewis, Nathan Janes, Israel Messenger, Roswell Lane, John K. Parks, Levi Rudd. George Maxwell, William and James Stevenson, Arvin Rice, sr., Jesse Owen, Ira Smith, Solomon Whipple, James Schofield, Asa Winchell, Jesse Van Horn, Samuel Sanders, Abner Wood, and Abram Watson.
Many of the foregoing with others are noticed more fully in Part III of this volume.
The completion of the Oswego Canal in 1828 had considerable effect upon the growth and prosperity of this town. The construction of the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad, (now the R., W. & O.) through Hannibal village about 1874, was a more direct benefit. To aid the latter the town was bonded for $60,000 of which $6,000 remains unpaid. The railroad commissioners are Levi Brackett and H. M. Barrett.
The population of the town in 1830 was 1,794; in 1835, 2,204; in 1840, 2,275; 1845, 2,534; 1850, 2,857; 1855, 3,028; 1860, 3,246; 1865, 3,322; 1870, 3,234; 1875, 3,248; 1880, 3,173; 1890, 2,688.
The first school in town was kept at Hannibal Center in 1810, the teacher being Laura Kent. From that time to the present, educational matters have received special attention, and to-day no community in the whole county excels this in its public schools. The earliest record of school matters in the village of Hannibal dates back to April 13, 1813, when that district comprised sixteen lots, each a mile square. On October 30 of that year a meeting was held at Mr. Carter's at which Arvin Rice was made chairman and Abram Watson clerk. It was resolved "that there be a school house built in the highway near the dwelling house of Mr. Carter;" "that Arvin Rice, John D. Bradt, and Samuel Sanders be trustees;" "that the trustees lay a tax not to exceed $100 to build a school house;" and "that William Hawks be collector." This school house cost, complete, $60.48, and during three months of that winter the teacher's salary amounted to $14. Laura Kent taught school here two and one-half months in the early part of 1815 for $1.75 per week and boarded herself. During the summer and fall of that year Polly Dunton kept the school at the same salary. This primitive school house was also used for religious meetings.
During the year ending February 25, 1823, the town raised a total of $329.67 for school purposes; the commissioners of common schools were Martin Wiltsie, Sylvester M. Rose, and Waters Towsley. The next year John Bullen, jr., Roswell Knowlton, and S. M. Rose held these positions. The number of children taught in 1823 was 301; in 1825, 442; in 1830, 626; 1835, 673; 1840, 790. In 1840 there were fifteen school districts and the teachers' wages aggregated $720.12. In 1843 the schools were attended by 854 children and the first superintendent of common schools, Huet H. Bronson, was elected. He was succeeded in 1845 by C. R. Rose, who was followed the same year by Alfred Rice.
The second school house in Hannibal village was erected about 1820; in 1868 this was replaced by the present brick structure, in which four teachers are employed. The town now has fifteen school districts with a school house in each, which were attended during the year 1892—3 by 564 scholars and taught by nineteen teachers. The value of the school buildings and sites is $11,450; assessed valuation of districts, $728,597; public money received from the State, $2,337.25; received by local tax, $2,152.22. The districts are designated as follows: No. 1, Wiltsie; 2, Stark; 3, North Hannibal; 4, Hannibal Center; 5, Fairdale; 6, Kane's Corners; 7, Hannibal Center; 8, Rogers; 9, Carter; 10, Dexter; 11, South Hannibal; 12, Eldredge; 13, Gifford; 14, Rhodes; 15, Dennison.
The town of Hannibal promptly responded to the various calls for troops during the war of the Rebellion, making a record of which her citizens may well feel proud. More than 380 of her loyal sons went into the Union army and navy and served with fidelity. Among those who attained promotion or brevet rank were Capt. Isaac T. Brackett, Co. F, 110th N. Y. Vol.; Capt. W. H. Brackett, Co. H, 81st N. Y. Vol.; Capt. E. H. Boyd, Co. F, 110th N. Y. Vol.; Major Isaac H. Peckham, 110th N. Y. Vol.; Dr. Alfred Rice surgeon 110th N. Y. Vol.; Dr. Phineas T. Rose, assistant surgeon of volunteers; and Rev. F. D. Seward, captain 117th U. S. Colored Troops. Joseph Demott served in the Mexican war.
Company B, 48th Regt. N. G. S. N. Y., with headquarters in Hannibal village, was organized and mustered into the State service on September 4, 1864, with these commissioned officers: William H. Wiggins, captain; William O'Connor, first lieutenant; Seth Barrus, second lieutenant. Captain Wiggins resigned in 1865 and Mr. O'Connor was chosen to fill the vacancy, Dr. George V. Emens being elected first lieutenant. D. F. Acker became second lieutenant in August, 1870. In July, 1871, the company was reorganized and the following officers were elected: Dr. Dillon F. Acker, captain; Dr. G. V. Emens, first lieutenant; Lemuel P. Storms, second lieutenant. At this time nearly all the members were veterans of the Rebellion. Dr. Acker was promoted assistant surgeon of the regiment in November, 1872, and in February, 1873, L. P. Storms was chosen captain and Joseph Alberny became second lieutenant. The company was disbanded with the regiment in 1882.
Supervisors' statistics for 1894: Assessed valuation of real estate, $765,900; equalized, $1,077,831; personal property, $18,975; railroads, 5.21 miles, $52,600; town tax, $6,061.07 county tax $6.142.11 total tax levy, $14,491.21; dog tax, $81; ratio of tax on $100, $1.85. The town has three election districts, in which 600 votes were polled in November, 1894.
Hannibal Village.—This village is pleasantly situated in the northwest part of the town, is a station on the lake shore division of the R., W. & O. Railroad, and contains a population of about 450 persons. The first building here was a log structure erected in 1808; it stood very nearly on the site of an old Indian camp or wigwam, and was occupied as a tavern by Henry Jennings. Around this clustered farm houses and lumber cabins and business interests of various kinds, and in time it became a settlement of great activity. About 1815 Amos Field, from Vermont, built the first frame hotel, which he kept many years. In 1820 Towsley & Dunton established a fulling mill and John Brill a tannery, both being the first of the kind in town. Thomas West, John Toppen, and Trumbull Kent were early blacksmiths, while Moses Farnham was the pioneer carpenter. Field & Dunton and Jason Peck were proprietors of the first distilleries. In 1822 Thomas Skelton, afterward assemblyman, erected another tannery, which was burned December 3, 1875. It was rebuilt in 1876 and was operated by Skelton & Van Auken, Thomas Van Auken, and C. S. Chamberlain, who afterward converted it into a part of the present grist mill of C. S. Chamberlain & Son (James R.).
About 1829 the following quaint essay was written and read by a lad of nine years, and is regarded as a true sketch of the village at that time:
The village of Hannibal contains two churches, two schools, two taverns, two stores, two asheries, two tailors, two blacksmiths, two shoemakers, two wagon-makers, two carpenters, two brickyards, and two pretty good dwelling houses, two ministers, two doctors, two lawyers, and but one hatter. One church is Presbyterian, the other is a Baptist; one has a bell, the other a clock; one school is a select school, the other is a common school; one tavern is a temperance tavern, the other is not; one ashery is in use, the other is at liberty; one brickyard is in use, the other is at liberty; the tailors live opposite each other.
In those days the village was an important stopping place on the great daily stage routes between Oswego and Auburn and Oswego and Rochester. The two doctors mentioned above were probably Dr. Ure and Dr. Arden Allen, although a Dr. Moore is said to have been "one of the earliest physicians in the town." Dr. Ure built, about 1817, what has since been known as the Dunham house, which was one of the first frame dwellings in the place. The two lawyers were doubtless Riggs and Abrams. The first store was opened by Benjamin Phelps in 1815. Among the early merchants was Hastings Bullen, who kept a store in the building now occupied by M. H. Van Auken, which then stood where B. R. Bothwell's hardware establishment now is. In 1836 he was succeeded by S. W. Brewster and George Deming, and the same year Norman Titus opened a store on the present Brewster site; he closed out business in 1837. S. W. Brewster soon became sole proprietor and continued until 1869, when he took his son W. J. into partnership under the firm name of S. W. Brewster & Son. Mr. Brewster died in September, 1882, and was succeeded by Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Brewster as W. J. Brewster & Co. This is one of the oldest, largest, and most successful general stores in the county. It bears a close resemblance to the mammoth establishments of the big cities. It utilizes nearly 5,000 square feet of floor space. Connected with the concern is a large banking and exchange business, the whole occupying a commodious brick building, which contains also a spacious public hall.
Other merchants were Alvah Worster, a Mr. Powell (where A. S. Guthrie's furniture store now is), Andrew Beecher, Huet H. Bronson (at one time a partner of S. W. Brewster), William W. Brackett (who also had a store in Hannibal Center), W. W. Gage & Smith, and A. C. Bent. Charles C. Blackman started a hardware store about 1860; he was followed successively by Hamilton Cox, R. M. Rogers, jr., Burt & Bothwell, Cooper & Warson, Bothwell & Wiggins (from 1887 to 1892), David Bothwell, and B. R. Bothwell, the present proprietor. About 1860 Alvah Worster erected the main part of what is now the Brewster block; he failed and S. W. Brewster purchased the property. L. F. Cooper, upon his retirement from the firm of Cooper & Warson, established his present drug business. David E. Johnson and Patrick O'Mara were blacksmiths and Harrison Madison was a wagonmaker here many years.
As early as 1836 Samuel Phelps kept a tavern in a long wooden building which stood nearly on the site of Mr. Cox's store. Among his successors were James H. Horton, Levi Stevens, Giles C. Barrus. Norman Titus, George A. Leonard, and Richard Van Auken, under whom the building burned. The American House, now a two and a half story building, was originally a one story structure. Its landlords have been William Earle, James Patrick, a Mr. Clark, Peter Powell, Norman Titus, Stowell Hutchins, John Hoff (under whom it was rebuilt), Samuel Wiggins, J. W. Burt, and Eli C. Van Auken.
A grist mill was owned at an early date by members of the Bullen family, who sold it to Otis Skinner. The latter was succeeded by his son-in-law, J. Z. Smith, who was followed by Williams & Misen, Albert Williams, and C. S. & J. R. Chamberlain, who have converted it into a butter factory, which they have leased to a stock company. A saw mill was formerly connected with the establishment. In 1866 William R. Cox built a saw mill which is now owned by R. M. Rogers, jr. The same year Andrew Beecher erected a stave and barrel factory which has long been discontinued. Worster & Parsons formerly owned another saw mill and W. Dada & Son a steam cheese-box factory, both of which have gone down. R. M. Rogers built the saw mill now owned by George A. Leonard. Job Williams also has a planing mill in the village.
The post-office was established as Hannibalville November 4, 1816, with Asa Dunton, postmaster. The successive postmasters, with the dates of their appointment, have been:
William Henry, May 21, 1818; Elnathan Bassett, October 10, 1820; Alfred Nellis, June 4, 1821; John Bullen, jr., July 23, 1822; under him, in 1827, the name was changed to Hannibal, which it has ever since borne; Thomas Skelton, September 21, 1836; Alfred Rice, June 2, 1849; Alexander McInroy, February 14, 1853; Palmer Ketchum, April 6, 1853; Edwin H. Boyd, March 11, 1859; William H. Wiggins, March 12, 1861; Alfred B. Worster, February 7, 1865; James W. Burt, October 15, 1868; Archibald S. Guthrie, February 13, 1882; Dr. Dillon F. Acker; and C. B. Brower, incumbent.
The first newspaper was started by Dr. George V. Emens October 1, 1866. It was a small monthly sheet called the Hannibal Reveille; January 1, 1872, he changed it to a semi-monthly and in January, 1873, issued it as a weekly. July 3, 1873, it was purchased by A. N. Bradt, who conducted it until June, 1879, when he purchased the Hannibal News and consolidated the two papers under the title Reveille and News. The News was started December 20, 1876, by Charles H. Parsons and Clarence B. Brewer, and April 1, 1877, it passed into the hands of the last named proprietor, who with his father, N. B. Brower, published it until June, 1879. In 1880 A. N. Bradt sold the Revielle and News to his brother, A. P. Bradt, who six months later transferred the establishment to C. B. Brewer,2 the present editor and proprietor. It is a bright twenty-eight-column weekly, and ably represents the business and social interests of the village. The Union Appeal was started by the Y. P. S. C. E. of the Presbyterian church of Hannibal and issued during the years 1892 and 1893. It had a large circulation for a sheet of its character.
In June, 1865, Hannibal Lodge, No. 550, F. and A. M., was instituted with sixteen members and with Albert B. Worster as W. M. About $1,200 was spent in fitting up one of the finest lodge rooms in the county. On July 3, 1873, this building and others were burned, entailing a loss of several thousand dollars.
Hannibal village was incorporated April 7, 1860, at which time it contained 416 inhabitants. The corporate limits comprise an area of 732 acres and 110 rods, being parts of lots 58 and 67. The first officers, elected May 15, 1860, were as follows:
Trustees, Robert M. Rogers (president), Joel Z. Smith, George A. Anderson, Nicholas B. Brower, and Martin Larzalere; assessors, C. C. Blackman, William J. Acker, and John P. Storrs; treasurer, E. M. Rice; clerk, Alfred B. Worster; collector, Rufus S. Byington; poundmaster, Richard Van Auken.
The presidents have been:
R. M. Rogers, 1860; George G. Anderson, 1861; Alfred Rice, 1862; R. S. Byington, 1863; Alexander McInroy, 1864; Martin Larzalere, 1865; Alvah Worster, 1866; C. S. Chamberlain, 1867; George A. Leonard, 1868; John Wiltsie, 1869; Garrett Louis, 1870—71; Cyrus Burns, 1872; Girard Clark, 1873; Henry Weed, 1874; D. J. Van Auken 1875.
February l0, 1876, the village voted to re-incorporate under the laws of 1870, and since then the presidents have been elected by the voters. March 8, 1876, at a special election, Alfred Draper was chosen president and John A. Cox, D. F. Acker, and Garrett Lonis, trustees; at the regular election on March 21 of that year Garrett Lonis was elected president. Since then the presidents have been:
Alfred Rice, 1877; Robert M. Rogers, 1878; Garrett Lonis, 1879; David Bothwell, 1880; Martin Pierce, 1881; Garrett Lonis, 1882; C. S. Chamberlain, 1883, failed to qualify, and James H. Morehouse elected; he resigned and C. S. Chamberlain was appointed; George A. Leonard, 1884; James W. Burt, 1885—87; A. N. Bradt, 1888; Arthur Wiltsie, 1889; David Bothwell, 1890; George A. Leonard, 1891; James W. Burt, 1892; C. B. Brower, 1893; George A. Leonard, 1894.
The officers for 1894—5 were:
George A. Leonard, president; Dillon F. Acker, J. R. Chamberlain, and W. J. Brackett, trustees; John A. Cox, treasurer; Edward Wheeler, collector; H. A. Blodgett, street commissioner; J. B. Burt, clerk.
The village was made a separate road district March 26, 1861.
Hannibal Center, a little hamlet on Nine Mile Creek, near the center of the town, had its beginning in the year 1806, when Orren Cotton and Watson Earl erected the first grist mill there. About 1830 W. W. Brackett opened the first store in the place, and continued in business until his death, November 23, 1876. He also built a peppermint distillery, and was the most prominent man the settlement ever had. A post-office was established as early as 1865. The present postmaster is Dr. R. N. Cooley, who succeeded Rienza R. Knowlton. A former incumbent was Hubert Dickinson, who was also a merchant. Judson S. Kellogg commenced the business of blacksmithing here in 1877.
North Hannibal was formerly called Wheeler's Corners. A post-office was established there in 1867 with John Farnham postmaster. He was succeeded in 1872 by John A. Cox, who was followed in 1873 by M. H. Cox. The latter held the office several years and at the same time conducted a store which he erected in 1865. The present incumbent is George Farnham, who succeeded Rufus Day.
South Hannibal post-office was established prior to 1866. The present postmaster is Edwin Wilcox; a former incumbent was I. H. Meeker. The hamlet is locally known as Hull's Corners.
Fairdale, in the eastern part of the town, has a post-office with William Gallagher as postmaster, his predecessor being J. A. Barrus.
Kinney's Four Corners, so named from the Kinney family previously mentioned, is a post-office in the northwest corner of the town. Mrs. Alice Eaton is postmistress. Willis Wiltsie, and before him Mrs. Eliza Shutts formerly held the position.
Churches.—The earliest religious services in this town were held in the little log school house that was built in Hannibal village in 1810. For several years this rude structure performed a double duty, as did also its successor. December 4, 1816, the Presbyterian church of Hannibal was organized by Revs. David R. Dixon and Henry Smith, with eleven members, viz.: Alexander M. and Trumbull Kent, William Grant, Cephas S. Kent, Polly Rice, Barzaleel Worster, Laura Kent, Betsey Curtis, Phoebe Fellows, Marilla Stevenson, and Betsey Worster. Cephas S. Kent was the first deacon and Alexander M. Kent the first clerk. This society not only has the distinction of being the first regular religious organization in the town, but also has the honor, conjointly with the Masonic fraternity, who occupied the second floor as a lodge room, of building the first house of worship. This was in 1826, and the edifice cost $2,000. In 1860 the present frame structure was erected at an expense of $4,000. February 20, 1822, the society changed its form of worship to Congregational, and adhered to that faith until July 25, 1870, when Presbyterianism was again adopted. Among the earlier pastors were Revs. John Alexander, William Clark, Martin Powell, William P. Ells, James T. Hough, Lemuel Dady, Edward Reynolds, John N. Hubbard, and others. The present pastor (1894) is Rev. Duncan McPhie. The ruling elders are Albert F. Allen, Eliab Scott, and Isaac H. Peckham.
The Baptist Church of Hannibal had its beginning in the Baptist Church of Sterling, which was organized early in the year 1817. Among the members were John and Sarah Lake, Amos and Annie Wiltsie, Mr. and Mrs. Wilmouth, Mary Dumass, Mrs. Esther Devine, and Mrs. Joshua Lake. No regular pastor was had until the organization was changed to the Sterling and Hannibal Baptist Church in 1825, when Rev. Mr. Carpenter was installed. Subsequently the present name was adopted. In 1827 a frame house of worship, 36 by 40 feet in size, was erected at a cost of $2,200. About 1865 it was extensively repaired, the expense being about $1,000. The society has about ninety-three members and property yalued at $3,000. The Sunday school consists of 100 officers and scholars with A. H. Lund as superintendent. The church clerk is J. S. Stevenson. At present the society is without a pastor, the last one being Rev. Mr. Woodbury, who left in December, 1893.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Hannibal was originally a part of the Granby circuit. A class was formed in 1835 and on February 26, 1839, tile society was duly organized, the certificate of incorporation being filed in the county clerk's office March 13. There were twenty-five constituent members with Rev. John Whitcomb as pastor. From 1840 to 1842 Rev. Benjamin F. Brown officiated as minister in charge and conducted a series of fruitful revivals, the result being the erection in 1841 of a handsome brick edifice at a cost of $1,150. In 1864, under the pastorate of Rev. H. Skeel, about one-third of this structure was removed and a new church built on the front of the remainder, the entire cost of the two buildings and lot being about $9,000. The pastor is Rev. Jabez Stallwood, who was installed in April, 1893, his predecessor being Rev. B. D. Brown. The society has about 220 members, property valued ot $11,000 (including two churches and two parsonages), and two Sunday schools with an average attendance of 130 scholars. Connected with this charge is the M. E. Church at Hannibal Center, which was organized as a class as early as 1830 with James A. Brackett as leader. A church edifice was erected about 1862.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of South Hannibal was built about 1860, and is valued at $2,000. The society has forty-five or fifty members, with Rev. Charles L. Peck as supply. The Sunday school has an average attendance of forty scholars.
The Baptist Church of South Hannibal was organized on the 7th of August, 1851, with fourteen members. The first deacon was John Chapman. The first clerk was J. B. Chapman. Their church edifice was built in 1851—2 and dedicated May 7, 1852.
1. The act of February 28, 1789, made it the duty of the commissioners of the
land office to give names to the towns to be laid out under that act. They
assigned that duty to Simeon De Witt, for half a century (1785—1835)
surveyor-general of the State, and it is to him that we are indebted for the
names of Roman, Greek and Carthaginian notables that are attached to the
military townships of Central New York.
2. C. B. Brower is a son of N. B. Brower, a lawyer in Hannibal since 1859, and was born in Forestville, N. Y., September 16, 1856. He has served as town clerk, village clerk five years, village president one year, and postmaster since May 22, 1893.
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