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. 550—570
Originally transcribed by Joyce Grant Fesler (2004).
THE TOWN OF HASTINGS
The town of Hastings, the thirteenth survey-township of Scriba's patent, was set off from Constantia on the 20th of April, 1825. It was originally called "Breda" by the patentee, George Scriba, from a town and fortress in the province of North Brabant, Netherlands, twenty-six miles southeast of Rotterdam, his native place. Upon its civil formation it took by common consent the name of Hastings, from Hastings Curtiss, its most distinguished citizen, a name which it has ever since borne. Mr. Scriba conveyed the title of the entire town to Arent P. Schuyler, who transferred it to Philip A. Schuyler, who in turn conveyed it to Jacob Mark. On April 15, 1800, Mr. Mark conveyed the title of three-fourths of the tract, or 22,546 acres, to Solomon Townsend and Samuel Jones as trustees; one-half of this was subsequently transferred to James I. Roosevelt. About a quarter of the whole town was finally conveyed to Gov. John Jay and another quarter to a Mr. Monroe. The subsequent transfers parceled the lands off in smaller tracts. In the south part of the town are two tracts known as the First and Second L'Hommedieu's Locations.
Hastings lies in the southern-central part of Oswego county and is bounded on the east by West Monroe; on the south by Clay, Onondaga county, with the Oneida River as the dividing line; on the west by Schroeppel and Palermo; and on the north by Mexico and Parish. The surface is level or gently undulating and inclines mainly towards the south, the northern part being about seventy-five feet above Oneida Lake. The underlying rock is the Medina sandstone formation, which is frequently impregnated with strong brine. Several salt springs have been discovered, the principal one being in the Coit neighborhood. About 1825 a company was formed for the purpose of boring for salt and in the spring of 1865 a similar enterprise was projected, but both attempts failed to produce practical results. In the northwest part of the town is a small tamarack swamp in which is a large spring, commonly called the "Bear's Wallow," extending to an unknown depth.
The soil is a clay, sand and gravelly loam, and is generally well adapted to diversified farming. A heavy growth of timber originally covered the entire town, and in early days much of it was converted into ashes, which were manufactured into blacksalts or potash. The sale of these latter products was for several years the principal means of procuring money. As the little clearings increased in area agriculture became the leading industry. Wheat and other grains, fruit, corn and potatoes were raised in abundance, while considerable attention was devoted to dairying and stock raising. More recently tobacco has been quite extensively cultivated, and hops, potatoes, hay and apples are grown and shipped in considerable quantities. The leading industry, however, is dairying, which dates its development from about 1860. There are four cheese factories in the town, one each at Hastings, Central Square, Mallory and Caughdenoy.
Lumbering for many years constituted an important industry, giving existence to numerous saw mills and other kindred establishments and employment to scores of workmen. The manufacture of barrels for the Syracuse salt market and Oswego flour trade was also extensively prosecuted. In 1860 there were eighteen saw mills in active operation; at present there are only five, viz: two at Mallory and one each at Carley, Bardeen's Corners, and Crippen's Pond.
The principal water course of the town is Oneida River, which forms its southern boundary. Other streams are Crippen Creek, Rose Creek, Shanty Creek, and South Branch Creek. These afford excellent drainage and formerly contributed several mill privileges.
On account of the imperfect condition of the earliest town records it is impossible to ascertain the exact date on which the first roads in Hastings were laid out. It is known, however, that many of the surveys were made between 1815 and 1830. On April 12, 1844, the Salina and Central Square Plank Road company was incorporated with a capital of $50,000, and with William D. Bennett as president and Richard Adams as secretary. The road was completed from Salina, Onondaga county, to Central Square in 1846, and was the first plank road in the United States. In 1848 it was extended through the town under the name of the Central plank road, with John Becker as president and Peter Devendorf as secretary. This was originally a State road leading from the fort at Onondaga to Sackett's Harbor. In 1848 the Central Square and Pine Hill Plank Road Company was chartered with a capital of $25,000; in 1851 the road was extended to Fulton by the Fulton and Central Square Plank Road Company, of which Sands N. Kenyon was the president and John J. Wolcott secretary. In 1849—50 the Oswego and Hastings Center plank road was constructed. These thoroughfares long enjoyed an extensive patronage, but finally an era of decline forced them into disuse as plank roads and about 1873 the worn out planks were removed and the toll gates abandoned. As late as 1860 a daily line of stages was maintained from Pulaski through Central Square to Syracuse. There are now seventy road districts in the town.
Prior to 1824 the mode of crossing the Oneida River at Fort Brewerton was by ferry. On March 16 of that year the Fort Brewerton Bridge Company was incorporated for the purpose of constructing a toll bridge "at the spot where the State road leading from Salina to Sackett's Harbor intersects the outlet of Oneida Lake." This bridge was frequently repaired and finally rebuilt. In 1882 the State appropriated $5,000 for the purpose of aiding the counties of Onondaga and Oswego in converting a section of the structure into a draw-bridge. A bridge was built at an early day across the Oneida river opposite Caughdenoy, and on May 6, 1872, the Legislature authorized its reconstruction at a cost not to exceed $10,000, two-thirds of which was to be defrayed by the counties of Oswego and Onondaga and one-sixth each by the towns of Hastings and Clay. John Youmans and Robert T. Sumner were appointed commissioners for the purpose.
The Oneida River at the foot of the lake was a famous crossing place of the great north and south trail leading from the mouth of Salmon River to the Onondaga country, and was also a favorite fishing ground of the Onondaga Indians, who had a fishing village here called Techiroguen. Le Moyne mentions it in 1654 as being on the south side of the river, while on a map of Charlevoix, published in 1744, it is located on the north bank. On the north side east of the old plank road, in this town, is a mound which must have been the sepulchre of thousands of human beings. Relics of war and human bones have been found there in large quantities. In 1759 a fort was built there by the English and named Fort Brewerton in honor of Captain Brewerton, an active and meritorious officer of that period. It stood a short distance northwest of the subsequent Fort Brewerton Hotel. It was garrisoned and used as a military depot until 1762, and during Pontiac's war it was again occupied for the same purpose. A quarter of a mile east a mole of huge rocks was built some ten rods out into the river, on the end of which was a sentry box, where a sentinel was placed to watch for enemies. About thirty rods east of the fort was a magazine, the two being connected by a tunnel. When the French abandoned the place to go to the rescue of Quebec they sunk their cannon in a swamp near by, as the heavy pieces were too cumbersome to admit of being hauled over the wooded roads. The fort was then left to decay. The one hundredth anniversary of the place was celebrated with military honors on September 30, 1859.
The first town meeting was held in the Hastings Curtiss Hotel in Central Square on March 7, 1826, more than a year after the town was legally erected. The officers elected on that day were as follows:
Hastings Curtiss, supervisor; Nicholas I. Roosevelt, town clerk; William Ford, Russell Ford, and Myron Stevens, assessors; William Ford and Rollin Blunt, overseers of the poor; Rollin Blunt, Horatio Vickery, and Russell Ford, highway commissioners; William Ford, Russell Ford, and Rollin Blunt, commissioners of common schools; Daniel Webster, Rollin Blunt, and Nicholas I. Roosevelt, inspectors of common schools; William Ford, collector; George Benedict, Heman Tanner, and Alonzo Rosebreaks, constables.
The supervisors of Hastings have been:
Hastings Curtiss, 1826—28; Gilson Dykeman, 1829—32; Russell Fitch, jr., 1833—34; Peter Devendorf, 1835—43; Thomas Warner, 1844—45; Peter Devendorf, 1846; James J. Coit, 1847—48; Peter Devendorf, 1849; Gaston G. Curtiss, 1850—52; George Campbell, 1853—54; Peter Devendorf, 1855; Charles Breed, 1856; Henry Emmons, 1857—58; William H. Rice, 1859—60; George Campbell, 1861; T. Wells Green, 1862—65; William C. Hanchett, 1866; Robert Elliott, 1867—68; Oscar Beebe, 1869—70; Avery T. Low, 1871—72; Charles E. Coville, 1873—74; Thomas W. Green, 1875; Oscar Beebe, 1876; George W. Woodin, 1877; George P. Elliott, 1878—84; John Hamilton, 1885—86; George P. Elliott, 1887—88; Jared Mallory, 1889—91; Jefferson F. Hopkins, 1892—95.
The town officers for 1894—5 were as follows:
Jefferson F. Hopkins, supervisor; Louis H. Traub, town clerk; William Church, Norman L. Wilson, James A. Ure, and E. G. Gale, justices of the peace; Philip Waterbury, Jason Kenyon, and Philip J. Metzger, assessors; Freeman Farrar, overseer of the poor; Wallace Coville, collector; James Penfield, commissioner of highways.
The first settlement in the town of Hastings was likewise the first in Oswego county, the pioneer being Oliver Stevens, who came to the abandoned Fort Brewerton in 1789, built a rude log house, and began trading with the Indians. He also kept a tavern for the accommodation of the numerous lake and river boatmen. He had many exciting adventures and some thrilling escapes from wild beasts and savages. The latter appeared so dangerous that he applied for and obtained authority from Governor Clinton in 1794 to build a block house at the expense of the State. The fort at this time was rapidly going to decay. The block house was erected on the site of the subsequent Fort Brewerton House and remained standing until a comparatively late day. It was enclosed with log pickets about twelve feet high and surrounded by a trench, and on the side facing the river a substantial gateway was built. It had no connection with the old fort, as many have erroneously supposed, but was used as a depository for arms and munitions of war and afterward as a dwelling until 1811. After Mr. Stevens vacated the structure for a more convenient residence in the vicinity, the government allowed it to go to decay, and until its final destruction it served as the temporary home of various early comers. Mr. Stevens was appointed the first clerk of the great town of Mexico in 1797. The death of his son Horatio in 1792 was the first death, and the birth of another son, John L., in 1802, was the first birth in the present limits of Hastings. John L. Stevens was a side judge and justice of the peace in Onondaga county for many years and died in 1874.
In 1791 Major Ryal Bingham leased some land of a Mr. Kaats and settled near the fort, but removed about two years later to Three River Point. The only other settler of that decade was Brainerd Emmons, who arrived in 1797 and for a time occupied the old block-house. Soon afterward Benjamin Emmons, who lived on the south side of the river, established a ferry and managed it for more than twenty years.
These three men, Stevens, Bingham, and Emmons, with their families, were the sole occupants of the town prior to the close of the eighteenth century. Even during the first decade of this century few settlers arrived, but throughout all this period there were many transients, principally boatmen and hunters. Timothy Vickery came at an early day to Fort Brewerton and in 1806 his daughter Betsey married Silas Bellows, which was the first marriage in Hastings. Mr. Vickery afterwards became proprietor of the "Block-House Hotel" and remained in charge until 1820.
In 1808 Jonathan Parkhurst, a Revolutionary soldier from Vermont, located at the intersection of the military road from Rome to Oswego and the salt road from Salina to Watertown, where he engaged in lumbering. In June, 1812, he ran a raft into Quebec, and the war having broken out it was confiscated by the British, who gave him and his men three days to leave their territory. Returning home he enlisted and was first a captain and finally a colonel of militia. He was one of the first collectors of the original town of Mexico. His son Gilbert kept tavern several years and in 1832 built the first hotel in Hastings Center, where he died. William P. Parkhurst, a brother of Jonathan, is still living in the town.
Solomon Allen located on lot 26, east of Central Square, in 1809, and died while on his way to Florida in 1875, aged ninety years. His daughter married Gaston G. Curtiss. Other early settlers were Myron Stevens on the river bank near Caughdenoy; Chester Loomis, who came from West Monroe and located at Central Square; and Jacob Rice.
Between 1810 and 1820 Elijah Goodspeed, William Ladd, Daniel Chappel, Rial Hoisington, Leonard Fuller, and others became residents of the town. Mr. Goodspeed located on lot 26 in 1815 and was the first blacksmith in Hastings. Mr. Ladd was accompanied by his brother and settled on the "Salt road" on lot 22 in 1817, at which time there were on that thoroughfare only two houses, both taverns, between Mexico and Fort Brewerton; one was kept by a Mr. Briggs and the other at Central Square by Chester Loomis. Messrs. Chappel and Hoisington came about 1817 and made their homes on lot 22. Mr. Fuller located at Caughdenoy.
During the decade of 1820—1830 the population materially increased, prominent among the arrivals being Aaron Snow, Nicholas I. Roosevelt, Hastings Curtiss, Orris C. Orman, George L. Carley, Henry Waterbury, John H. Ostrum, Nicholas Keller, James J. Coit, Ambrose Hale, Thomas West, Shuber Button, Obadiah Cornell, Amos Burrows, 2d, Amos Jackson, Schooner Russell, Peter Carr, Robert Elliot, Benjamin Prescott, Dr. Chester Smedley, S. P. Munsel, Benjamin Mallory, John M. Case, and many others. Aaron Snow was a son-in-law of Major Solomon Waring, of Constantia, and came here in 1820. He sold his wheat and potatoes at that time for $2.50 per bushel. In 1822 he moved to Caughdenoy and in 1826 to the L'Hommedieu Location, where his son Leonard succeeded him on the homestead. Nicholas I. Roosevelt purchased the farm of Chester Loomis on lot 41, upon which two salt springs were early discovered and experiments made to produce brine.
Hastings Curtiss became the first supervisor and was long a leading and influential citizen. He was a member of assembly in 1824, associate judge of the Common Pleas, and sheriff of the county from 1828 to 1831. He came to Central Square in 1820 and built and opened a store on the corner now occupied by the Fancher House. He erected the first brick building in town, a hotel, kept the first post-office, and was a member of the company that established the first line of stages between Watertown and Salina about 1825. He was identified with various enterprises in the town and county and actively promoted every worthy project.
Orris C. Orman located near the fort in 1820, and four years later Robert Orman settled near him; the former purchased a farm of a Mr. Ray on Staat's location. George L. Carley came from Otsego county in 1822 and purchased 150 acres of James I. Roosevelt at $4 per acre, 50 acres of Mr. Monroe at $3, and 200 acres of David Parish at $1.50, the latter being in the town of Parish but adjoining the other tracts. In 1823 he moved his family here and built a saw mill on the south branch of Salmon Creek, which was burned in 1824. He rebuilt it and added a carding machine, which was managed by George Benedict about ten years. Afterward he erected two other saw mills there, and from him the place derived the name of Carley's Mills. Henry Waterbury removed with his family from Rensselaer county and settled at the head of the rapids near Caughdenoy in February, 1823, and the same year Nicholas Kellar located on lot 44, where he built the first house on the Fulton road west of Central Square. On this lot T. Paine was also an early settler. John H. Ostrum located in 1823 on a farm on lot 11, for which he paid the Roosevelts $3 per acre; his son, S. P. Ostrum, succeeded to the homestead.
James J. Coit, another very prominent citizen of early times, came from Connecticut in 1823 and located on lot 26, where he remained for forty-nine years and reared a family of eleven children. He was a member of assembly in 1860, and for over thirty years held office uninterruptedly, serving as supervisor, school commissioner, justice of the peace and assessor. He taught the first school in Central Square in the winter of 1824—25, and his wife the first in district No. 7. Ten of his children and both of his wives were teachers in public schools or seminaries. He was agent for Gov. John Jay's estate in this town from 1827 until the business was closed up some twenty-five years ago.
Ambrose Hale, Thomas West and Shuber Button located on lot 25, and Obadiah Cornell, Amos Burrows, 2d, Amos Jackson and Schooner Russell on lot 26, all as early as 1824. Deacon Amos Burrows died November 15, 1884.
Robert Elliott settled on lot 41 in 1824, moving into a part of the house occupied by Nicholas I. Roosevelt in Central Square. He was born in England, February 2, 1802, and came with his father, Joseph S., to Philadelphia, Pa., in 1822. In 1825 he built a wagon shop and dwelling combined, which stood on the site of the present residence of Samuel Sweet, and made wagons, sleds, carts, ox-yokes, etc., doing all the work himself from cutting down the tree to manufacturing the goods. He made the first vehicle, called the "old mud wagon," that carried mail over the old Salt road, and in his shop was also made the first stage coach used on the line between Watertown and Syracuse. This old structure was removed some time ago to Factory street and is now occupied as a tenement. Mr. Elliott also built a saw mill, which was burned after two years' use, and on the site he erected a tannery, which he conducted for a quarter of a century, and which was torn down recently to make room for the barns of his son George P. He held several public offices, supervisor, justice of the peace, assemblyman in 1859, and associate judge of the Common Pleas. He was land agent for the Roosevelt estate in Hastings until 1875, when he purchased the unsold territory. He was long a deacon of the Baptist Church, was married three times and had nine children, of whom the only survivor is George P. He died here May 6, 1894.
Peter Carr settled on lot 5 in 1825 and raised a family of nine children. Benjamin Prescott located on lot 1 and Dr. Chester Smedley on the L'Hommedieu Location in 1826. The farm of Mr. Prescott was noticeable for having upon it a miniature prairie of about four acres. Dr. Smedley came from Connecticut and was accompanied by his son Ephraim. He practiced as a physician for over thirty years and died in 1862 aged eighty-one. S. P. Munsel and Benjamin Mallory arrived in 1817; the former located on lot 43 and the latter on lot 27. Mr. Munsel's farm was on the Fulton road in what was then called the eight-mile woods, and it is related of him that he once chopped an acre of heavy timber for a bushel of corn, a log chain, and his board while doing the work. Mr. Mallory, soon after his settlement, married a young wife and brought her to his pioneer home, where he lived for forty years, when he moved to Central Square and died there in 1877. John M. Case located on lot 27 in 1829.
Among other pioneers of the town were two men named Hall and Patterson on the river bank near Caughdenoy; Bishop Hoyt, Alvin Briggs, and Messrs. Tiffany and Daggett on lot 23; John Young and John Klock on lot 43; John Jackson, who died August 11, 1877; Charles Coon, who died in 1844; Deacon Joseph Perrine, who came in 1826 and died June 30, 1861; and Richard E. Sill, a merchant, who settled here in 1828 and died April 7, 1889.
From 1830 to 1840 Hon. Peter Devendorf, Henry Myers, William Caldwell, Lyman Anderson, Dr. D. L. Drake, Dr. H. D. Drake, B. G. Lewis, Jared Mallory, John Youmans, and others became residents of the town. Hon. Peter Devendorf arrived in 1831 and settled on lot 10. He was one of the leading and influential men and served as justice of the peace about twenty years, was supervisor many terms and frequently chairman of the board, and was member of assembly in 1841 and 1842. He died in July, 1867. His son, Rudolph H., died at Central Square in January, 1894, aged sixty-three. Another son, H. C., is a prominent citizen and long time merchant of that village, and was a major of the 110th New York Volunteers Regiment in the Rebellion. Henry Myers came to Hastings about 1832; his son Jacob was a captain in the war of 1812 and died in Mexico in 1860. William Caldwell settled on the old Curtis farm, now the Gunther place, two miles west of Central Square, in 1836, and died there in 1863. He had three sons: James, who died in Fulton in 1892; A. B., a prominent lawyer in Syracuse; and William, jr., who owns two stock farms in town, is prominently identified with the New York State Agricultural and various Holstein-Friesian Stock societies, and resides in Syracuse. Lyman Anderson, after living on his homestead for fifty-seven years, died October 6, 1894, at the age of eighty-one.
The following brief description appears in a volume entitled, "Historical Collections of the State of New York," published in 1846:
Hastings, taken from Constantia in 1825; from Albany 150, centrally distant from Pulaski S. seventeen miles. Pop. 1,989. Opposite to Brewerton village, at the head of Oneida River, are the remains of Fort Brewerton. Central Square and Hastings are post-offices.
Prominent among other residents may be mentioned the names of Huntington Fitch, Mars Nearing, and Lewis F. Devendorf, who served as associate judges of Common Pleas or as justices of Sessions; William H. Carter, who was a member of assembly in 1861; William H. Rice, who held the same office in 1867, and Thomas W. Green, an assemblyman in 1872 and 1876; Henry S. Conde, who was county clerk from 1855 to 1858 and subsequently an extensive manufacturer in Oswego; William S. Pierce, father of George M. and Lewis A., who settled in town in 1850 and died July 13, 1894; John Beebe and Dr. N. W. Bates, who are still living here; Daniel Rowe, Aaron Benson, W. P. Parkhurst, George W. Woodin, and Porter Warn; Avery T. Low, the present postmaster of Central Square; Gabriel Traub, one of the oldest undertakers in the county; Jacob Beebe, John Curtis, Gaston G. Curtiss (son of Hastings Curtiss), the Eggleston family, John Harrington, Peter Woodin (the father of George W.), Thaddeus Waterbury, Lott Fuller, John Crippen, William Briggs (for many years a deputy sheriff and now living on the Gunther farm), and many others subsequently noticed. John Crippen, from whom the name of Crippen Creek is derived, built what are known as Crippen's mills about four and one-half miles northwest of Central Square. They are now owned by Eugene Smith. On the same stream Luther Gilson at an early day had a four-story grist mill and a carding, saw, and stave mill combined, all of which have long since disappeared.
As instances of human longevity it is worth while to add the names of Mrs. Catharine Priest, who was born at German Flats, Herkimer county, October 8, 1776, came to Caughdenoy in 1862, and died in September, 1878; Francis Pero, who died in July, 1882, aged 100 years; and Mrs. Keeler (colored), and Mrs. Snow, who are living in town (January 1, 1895), aged 106 and 104 respectively.
Many other prominent and respected residents of Hastings are mentioned more fully in Part III of this volume.
The population of the town at various periods has been as follows: In 1830, 1,494; 1835, 1,828; 1840, 1,989; 1845, 2,113; 1850, 2,920; 1855, 3,069; 1860, 3,345; 1865, 3,008; 1870, 3,058; 1875, 2,929; 1880, 2,866; 1890, 2,364.
The New York, Ontario and Western (Midland) Railroad was completed through the town east and west in the fall of 1869, and gave a new impetus to the whole territory under consideration. Prior to this the only means of communication was by stage, or by water on the Oneida River and Lake. This road has stations at Central Square and Caughdenoy. In the fall of 1871 the Syracuse Northern, now the R. W. & O. Railroad, was opened north and south through Hastings, crossing the Midland at Central Square, and affording stations at that village and at Mallory and Hastings. These railways have had a marked influence upon the growth of the town and especially upon the development of the villages through which they pass. To aid in the construction of these roads the town was bonded for a large amount, of which about $56,000 remains unpaid. H. C. Devendorf, William B. Parkhurst, and Alexander Grant are railroad commissioners.
During the war of the Rebellion nearly 260 patriotic citizens of Hastings enlisted in the Union army and navy and served with fidelity. Of this number several were meritoriously promoted, prominent among them being Avery T. Low, H. C. Devendorf, Curtis A. Fargo, George W. Woodin, Charles E. Coville, Barber Kenyon and Dr. Nelson W. Bates.
The first school in the town of which there is any accurate knowledge was taught at Caughdenoy by Patrick Vickery in 1820. In 1824 districts 4 (Central Square), 5 and 6 were organized. In No. 5, Philo W. Carpenter was the first teacher and G. W. Smith served as trustee for twenty five years. Miss Lois Pierce was the first teacher in No. 6. At Central Square Hastings Curtiss, Aaron Snow, and Rollin Blunt were the first trustees and James J. Coit the first teacher, the latter receiving $12 per month. A school house was erected there in 1824.
In the spring of 1825 district No. 7 was formed and a log school house built, largely through the efforts of Mr. Coit. The first teacher was Miss Augusta S. Porter, afterward Mrs. J. J. Coit. The present brick school house at Central Square was erected in 1873 at a cost of $6,000. On February 16, 1887, the district was reorganized as the Central Square Union Free School and Academy with the following Board of Education: Thomas Smith (president), Avery T. Low, Myron Coville, John Hamilton, and D. D. Drake. The same year Mr. Drake moved away and George W. Woodin was elected to the vacancy. Frederick A. Walker, who had been connected with the school about thirteen years, was appointed the first principal, and was succeeded in the fall of 1887 by A. G. Bugbee, who remained until June, 1894, when he was followed by C. D. Du Bois, the present incumbent, who is assisted by three teachers. The Board of Education for 1894—5 consists of Thomas Smith, president; G. W. Woodin, A. T. Low, Myron Coville, and John Hamilton.
The town now has sixteen school districts with a school house in each, in which schools were taught in 1892—3 by nineteen teachers and attended by 580 scholars. The school buildings and sites are valued at $15,425; assessed valuation of districts, $850,750; public money received from the State, $2,446.63; raised by local tax, $2,737.45. The districts bear the following local designations: No. 1 Caughdenoy; 2, River; 3, Snow; 4, Central Square; 5, Bardeen's; 6, Carley's Mills; 7, Coit; 8, Allen; 9, Hastings Center; 10, Hastings; 11, Mallory; 12, Little France; 13, Crippen; 14, Brewerton; 15, Burdick; 16, Connell.
Supervisors' statistics of 1894: Assessed valuation of real estate, $713,925; equalized, $829,538; personal property, $52,325; town tax, $7,401.86; county tax, $4,938.43; total tax levy, $14,179.92; ratio of tax on $100, $1.85; dog tax, $106; value of railroads, 16.84 miles, $155,060. The town has three election districts, in which 528 votes were cast in November, 1894.
Central Square village is situated at the intersection of the roads between Fulton and Constantia and between Watertown and Syracuse and at the junction of the R., W. & O with the Midland Railroad, in the southeast part of the town. The place had its inception in the tavern which Chester Loomis built about 1815. It was destroyed by fire and rebuilt by him in 1818, and in 1820 passed into the hands of Nicholas I. Roosevelt and was occupied by him as a dwelling. It stood on the site now owned by Samuel Sweet. In 1820 Hastings Curtiss erected and opened a small store and in 1823 he built a brick hotel, which became a favorite stage station, town meeting place, etc. This was burned in 1839, was rebuilt by Robert Elliott and John Beebe, and is now the hospitable Johnson House. Among its landlords from first to last were George Ives, John Harding, George Campbell, W. G. Robinson, a Mr. Hart, William Champlin, William Wilson, William C. Hanchett, Gehiel Noble, Sylvester All, H. R. Vrooman, W. H. Slocum, Emery Pierce, and Willard H. Johnson since November, 1885. About 1824 Rollin Blunt, a surveyor, built a saw mill here, and afterward Mr. Curtiss erected a brick dwelling, in which he died. Robert Elliott was the first wagonmaker and had a saw mill and subsequently a tannery, as previously noted. Among the blacksmiths were Joseph Bishop, a Mr. Ainsworth, John Beebe, jr., Judson Skillings (died in 1893), and Frank De Lorm. Masonic lodge, No. 479 was chartered here June 10, 1826, with Hastings Curtiss as W. M.; it was revived in 1867 as No. 622, with G. H. Strong as W. M.
About 1827 Rufus Tiffany erected what is still known as the "Yellow store". The village has had a number of merchants of whom the following is believed to be a complete list. Henry S. Condé carried on trade here seventeen years, but upon being elected county clerk removed to Oswego in 1853, where he died in 1878. He purchased the store built and opened by Gaston G. Curtiss and subsequently occupied by A. T. Low & Co.; it stood on the Devendorf corner and was finally destroyed by fire. Mr. Condé was succeeded by Emery Pierce, who sold to Wood & Campbell, who were followed by Colton & Hoisington, who in turn gave place to Wood & Woodin. Mrs. Holmes then took the business and conducted it under the name of W. P. P. Woodin. She sold to Anderson & Allen, who were succeeded by Martin Anderson, who was followed in 1867 by H. C. Devendorf. Mr. Devendorf had started business here in 1856, taking a store previously occupied by Jonathan Parkhurst. About 1860 his brother-in-law, Charles Breed, purchased an interest under the firm name of Devendorf & Breed. Mr. Devendorf enlisted in the army in 1862, and in 1866 he sold out to Henry Ramsey, the firm becoming Breed & Ramsey. In 1867 it again became Devendorf & Breed and in the spring of 1869 the store burned. In 1867 Mr. Devendorf became a member of the firm of A. T. Low & Co., and in May, 1882, succeeded them as sole proprietor. In the spring of 1880 their old store building was burned and soon afterward the present brick block was erected on the site. About 1848 a "company" or "community" store was started in a building, since burned, which stood just north of the present establishment of George Gorsline; it continued until about 1855 and failed. In the old yellow store C. E. Coville began trade about 1865 and was succeeded by the present proprietors, Coville Brothers, Myron and George. John Beebe and J. C. Powell early had a tinware shop, which was converted into a hardware store by James H. Wood, who subsequently took in D. L. Wood as Wood Brothers. P. L. Lane purchased the latter's interest and the firm became Wood & Lane. Afterward J. H. Wood sold out to E. L. Wood and the firm was changed to Lane & Wood. The latter sold to George P. Elliott and the business is now conducted under the name of Elliott & Lane. Amos Richardson at one time had a store where C. A. Bates and Charles D. Smith now are. Dr. N. W. Bates, Dr. H. L. Drake, and Dr. D. D. Drake were formerly druggists here, the latter where G. T. Boyington now is. Other merchants and tradesmen were A. T. Low, E. T. Conterman, J. P. Dix, Samuel Henry, L. B. Campbell, D. C. Wood, P. L. Woodin, T. B. Parker, E. O. Lewis, and Charles Nann, B. G. Lewis, Thomas Warner, Cole Brothers, Russell Fitch, Adams Brothers, John Carp, E. W. Sprague, William Ford, and Tucker Brothers, some of whom are still in business. Gabriel Traub has been a cabinetmaker and undertaker here for many years.
The business portion of the village is situated about three-fourths of a mile north of the station at the junction of the two railroads. The completion of these railways caused some minor business interests to spring up around the depot. A Mr. Rhines erected a frame hotel there, which he sold to Hamilton & Cushing, who were succeeded by John Hamilton. In the village proper a second hotel was opened many years ago and kept for a time by Sylvester All. George Campbell used it for a dwelling, and some eight years since it was purchased by Lewis Fancher and again conducted as a hotel under the name of the Fancher House.
The post-office was established in 1822 at Loomis Corners, but in December of that year the name was changed to Central Square. Hastings Curtiss was the first postmaster, and among his successors were Henry S. Condé, Daniel Owen, Barber Kenyon, George Coville, Avery T. Low, and James H. Wood. The present incumbent is Avery T. Low.
The cemetery was deeded to the public by James I. Roosevelt, and the first burial in it was that of Mrs. Anna Goodspeed in April, 1822. Through the efforts of Mrs. H. C. Devendorf it was incorporated during the Rebellion under the name of the Hillside Cemetery Association, and by subsequent purchase the plot comprises about five acres. In 1893 a receiving vault was constructed.
The first journalistic enterprise in Central Square was the New Era, which was started by Webb & Wilson who were succeeded by Frank Webb. It was sold to B. G. Lewis and conducted by his sons Frederick and E. L., and in January, 1877, passed into the hands of Willis G. Bohannan, who changed it to the Central Square News. He was followed by Bates & Connelly, who changed it from a folio to eight pages. E. D. Bates became proprietor and gave place to John H. Gridley, who was succeeded by William Sainsbury, who changed it back to a folio. He discontinued the publication May 29, 1890, and removed the outfit to Black River. At the same time Blankman & Hicks started the Central Square Review, which had a brief existence. On October 1, 1892, William H. Vrooman, the present editor, revived the Central Square News, which he has twice enlarged. It is now an eight-page sheet and independent in politics. Mr. Vrooman was born in Pulaski on January 23, 1861, and is the son of George W. Vrooman, a native of Hastings, and a grandson of Tunis Vrooman, an early settler of the town.
The Village of Central Square was incorporated January 13, 1890, the first officers being David L. Wood, president; John Hamilton, George Coville, and Dr. Nelson W. Bates, trustees; Gabriel Traub, treasurer; Jacob Farrington, collector; and J. H. Gridley, clerk. Mr. Wood was president in 1891 and 1892 and Dr. Bates in 1893 and 1894. The officers for 1894 were:
Dr. N. W. Bates, president; George T. Boyington, William Church, and John O'Reilly, trustees; Gabriel Traub, treasurer; William A. White, collector; John Burdick, street commissioner; H. D. Coville, clerk. The population is about 500.
Caughdenoy is a station on the N. Y. O. & W. Railroad west of Central Square and dates its settlement from 1797, when Myron Stevens built the first house in the place. Other early settlers there were Alanson Seymour, a Mr. Heacock, and Timothy Vickery. The first named erected a saw mill about 1825, and for many years following 1837 Robert M. Pelton carried on a large lumber business. Mr. Heacock had an early grist mill and carding machine, which were finally burned. In 1827 William Lee and Samuel Britton built a saw mill at the intersection of the railroad and creek which they sold to A. D. Gibson soon afterward. The latter came here in 1837 and was also engaged in the boot and shoe business. John Youmans was an early blacksmith and wagonmaker and subsequently a submarine diver. Ralph Warner was also a blacksmith and Charles Smith, his son-in-law, a wagonmaker. James Dutcher started a brick yard there about 1857. The village has long been noted for its lumber and eel trade and boating interests on the Oneida River. The eel business formerly constituted an important occupation, as many as 1,000 eels being taken daily for four months every year. The present merchants are O. E. West and Jefferson F. Hopkins, the latter being also supervisor. The grist mill is conducted by Addison Hard. The first hotel was erected by Orson Emmons and Peter Neal, who were succeeded by P. B. Oakley; a subsequent proprietor was Charles C. Burghart. The postmaster is Richard P. Burghart, who succeeded Orrin E. West. The place contains about 200 inhabitants.
Mallory is a station and post office on the R., W. & O. Railroad, north of Central Square, near the line of West Monroe. As early as 1810 Edward Smith built a saw mill on the east branch of Big Bay Creek. It finally passed to George W. Smith and thence to his son Jerome. From them the place was long known as Smith's Mills. In 1826 Peter and Cornelins Van Alstyne erected a grist mill which afterward passed into the possession of Isaac W. Brewster and D. C. Smith, who built another saw mill. The establishment was burned in 1855 and the site came into the hands of Daniel Bowe, who erected a saw mill and conducted it for fifteen years, selling it to Mr. Wilcox. It was afterwards purchased by Joseph A. Courbat, the present owner, who has rebuilt the whole plant and now has a large stave, saw, and planing mill. For a time the place was known as "Brewsterville." Another saw mill was built by William Hobart and after many changes passed into the hands of Jared Mallory in 1857. The next year it was burned, but was soon rebuilt, and since then Mr. Mallory has prosecuted a thriving business. The first store was kept by Russell Winchester, and among the blacksmiths were Amariah Ricker, Newton S. Bowne, and Andrew J. De Bow. George Piguet and John Wyant are general merchants. The place also has a cheese factory owned by Jared Mallory, a grist mill, hotel, the usual shops and artisans, and about 150 inhabitants. It was named in honor of Jared Mallory, one of the prominent men of the town, through whose efforts a post-office was established there in 1858, the first postmaster being Bishop Hoyt. He died in 1866 and since then Jared Mallory has held the position.
Hastings Center, situated three miles north of Central Square, was originally a lumber locality and had its beginning in a saw mill erected by Rollin Blunt in 1822. In 1838 Pierce & Cornell built another, and about 1849 a post-office was established with Jonathan Parkhurst as postmaster, who succeeded Harvey Devendorf as a merchant there. Among the later postmasters have been Martha Holmes, Ernest C. Tourot, and James Penfield, the present incumbent. M. M. Salisbury was for many years a blacksmith in the place. A little west of the village is a burial ground comprising an acre of land which the heirs of Gov. John Jay deeded to Gilson Dikeman, as supervisor of the town, on November 12, 1869.
Hastings is a postal hamlet in the north part of the town six miles from Central Square. In 1821 it comprised a log house occupied by a Mr. Widger and a frame dwelling on the site of the cheese factory in which William Ford resided. The former was converted into a grocery store as early as 1830. The first tavern was built by Willard Hunt, who was also the first postmaster and a merchant. At one time this place had two hotels, one of which was kept many years by "Uncle Den" Wightman, who was succeeded by Charles Ingersoll, under whom it burned. The other was conducted at various times by Davis Barrett, John Carney, Willard H. Johnson, Lewis Fancher, and Joseph Hewitt. The first blacksmith was George Stores, who had a shop a little south of the village in 1822. In 1854 a Mr. Corning built a steam saw mill in the same neighborhood which in 1863 passed into the possession of Aaron Benson, who with his brother invented the famous Benson waterwheel. John H. Storer had a store and ashery there about 1835. Among other merchants of the place were Rudolph Devendorf, Lewis F. Devendorf, H. C. Devendorf, William Carney (now the oldest tradesman in Parish), Richard E. Sill, Strickland & Sill, H. P. Bort (about 1864), Bort & Warn, George Baker, Charles Avery, Charles Matthews, John Gorman, and Louis Tourot. N. A. Clute, R. E. Sill, Louis Tourot, and Frank Avery, the present incumbent, have been postmasters. Dr. R. J. Dimon is the present physician.
Little France is a post-office in the northeast corner of the town and derives its name from the colony of French Canadians who have settled in the vicinity. It contains a hotel kept by Levi Pattat and two stores kept by Augustus Pattat and A. A. Besanson. John Brickheimer is postmaster, succeeding Charles Besanson in that position.
Carley's Mills, so called, contains a saw mill and wool carding establishment.
Churches.—The Baptist church in Hastings was first organized at the house of Nathan Raymond on August 25, 1826, and was duly recognized by Council at a school house in West Monroe on September 20 of the same year, the original members being Charles Smedley, Nathan and Maria Raymond, Stephen Richmond, Ferrin B. Wheelan, Abigail Russell, Cordelia Fuller, and Rachel Merchant. Elder G. B. Davis gave the hand of fellowship. Meetings were held in various places, principally at Central Square and Caughdenoy, until 1842, when a church edifice was built at the last named village and dedicated by Rev. Peter Woodin. On June 30, 1849, the church formally disbanded.
The Baptist church of Central Square was organized by Rev. Peter Woodin on June 14, 1845, and duly recognized by Council on the 25th of the same month. There were twenty-two constituent members with Philip Carter as deacon and T. H. Waterbury as clerk. A frame edifice was built in 1846 and dedicated December 18 of that year. The institution of this church was mainly due to the persistent labors of Rev. Peter Woodin, the first pastor, who remained until 1850, when he went to California and organized a Baptist church there. He returned to Central Square in May, 1852, and served as pastor of this church until April 1, 1872, when he resigned, being succeeded by Rev. D. D. Owen. He was a man greatly respected and possessed rare executive ability. The society has about 115 members and property valued at $3,000. Mrs. J. P. Dix is superintendent of the Sunday school.
A Methodist class was formed at Hastings Center about 1825, and consisted of William Ford and wife, Richard Ford, Truman and Daniel Wooster, and others. About 1833 another class was organized at Mallory, to which forty or fifty members were added during a revival in 1842. In 1851 a church was erected and dedicated there, the first trustees being Titus Bowe, David Baird, and Titus Bowe, jr. A Sunday school was organized about 1841, of which Milton Flowers was long the superintendent.
About 1850 the Methodists of Caughdenoy purchased the old Baptist church, which they used until 1881, when they moved it back. It is now occupied as a store. On the old site a new edifice was erected in 1881—2, under the pastorate of Rev. G. G. Dains, at a cost of $2,000. The class has about fifty members and is under the leadership of Harvey A. Youmans.
A Methodist class was formed at Central Square about 1830, and in 1846 a house of worship was built at a cost of $1,000. This society has about sixty members and is connected with the Caughdenoy charge, Rev. C. W. Brooks being the pastor. A class was organized in School District No. 5 at an early date and reorganized in 1874 with fifteen members. The Methodist pastors have been as follows:
Revs. Anson Fuller, assisted by Joseph Cross; Lewis Bell, assisted by John Thompson; Truman Van Tassel, assisted by Isaac Covert; Isaac Hall, C. C. Mason, Augustine C. Munson, Alonzo Chapin, Joseph Smedley, William Peck, Daniel Barnard, William Morse, Thomas D. Mitchell, Isaac Turney, Francis A. C. Farrell, Dennison D. Parker, Reuben Reynolds, Horatio Arthur, Silas Bell, Nathaniel Salisbury, David Stone, Hiram Nichols, William B. Joice, Henry S. Holmes, E. Arnold, R. O. Beebe, R. Webster, W. F. Brown, Charles E. Beebe, W. S. Titus, G. G. Dains, A. E. Corse, D. E. Marvin, jr., H. M. Church, A. M. Child, S. M. Crofoot, R. F. Whipple, and C. W. Brooks.
A Wesleyan Methodist church flourished at Central Square for several years, built a house of worship, and disbanded during the war. The old edifice is now private property and is used for town meetings and other like purposes.
A Freewill Baptist church was organized at Carley's Mills in 1832 with the following members:
David Linsley, Mr. Cotton, Peter Carr, Mary Carr, Mrs. Delaney Ostrum, William Nutting, and Joseph Maford. Joseph Maford was elected the first deacon; he afterwards became a preacher, when Mr. Burrows and Mr. Perine were chosen deacons. Meetings are held in the school house.
The First Presbyterian church of Central Square was organized May 20, 1828, by Revs. Oliver Ayer, Oliver Leavitt, and others, with twelve members, viz.:
Daniel Webster, Julia Ann Webster, Jotham Goodspeed and Rebecca his wife, David Lockwood, Rollin Blunt, Lucy Allen, Christopher Hyde and wife, Flora Durfee, and Nabby Porter. Messrs. Webster and Goodspeed were selected as ruling elders, and Mr. Goodspeed as deacon.
On October 10, 1835, William Jay deeded to Daniel Wadsworth, Caleb Case, and J. J. Coit, as trustees of the First Presbyterian Church and Society of Hastings, fifty-seven acres of subdivision 7, lot 5, for the promoting of gospel worship. The membership of the church decreased and on June 14, 1856, their last regular meeting was held. J. J. Coit, as the sole remaining trustee, cared for the property and divided the revenue among the various denominations represented in town until 1874, when he sold it and invested the proceeds in U. S. bonds, which he transferred to the trustees of the Presbytery of Syracuse, by whom they are now held.
A Methodist Protestant Church was organized with twenty members at Bardeen's Corners in 1868. The first pastor was Rev. Charles Beardsley and the first class leader was Horace Ladd. No edifice has ever been erected.
A Presbyterian church was organized at Hastings a few years ago and the corner stone of a house of worship was laid on September 30, 1888. The structure was completed and dedicated January 31, 1889, Aaron Benson and Dr. R. J. Dimon are the ruling elders, Dr. Dimon being also church clerk.
A French Catholic church was instituted at Little France a few years since, and a church edifice erected, to accommodate the French Catholics of that community.
Return to Town of Hastings Page
Return to Main Page
© 2018 Oswego County Genealogy