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. 606—626

Originally transcribed by Jan Turner (2004).


New Haven was the last town taken from Mexico before the organization of Oswego county.  It was formed on the 2d of April, 1813, (Laws 1813, Chap. 107), and as originally organized it included the entire nineteenth township of Scriba Patent and nothing more.  This township was originally called by Mr. Scriba Vera Cruz, which name he also gave to the city he caused to be laid out at the mouth of Salmon Creek, which was in this township.  By Chapter 264 of the Laws of 1836, as amended by Chapter 33 of the Laws of 1837, lots 24, 25, 26 and 27 of this township, which included the mouth of Salmon Creek and formed a strip of land about half a mile wide running along the lake shore and which separated the town of Mexico from the lake, were taken from New Haven and annexed to Mexico, to the great delight of the latter.  This left New Haven with its present area of 18,303 acres.  It is the smallest town in the county, being five miles east and west by five and three-fourths north and south, and is divided into 133 lots, which are numbered from the northwest corner eastwardly.

New Haven is situated near the center of the extreme northwestern part of the county, and is bounded on the north by Lake Ontario, on the east by Mexico, on the south by Palermo and Volney, and on the west by Scriba. The surface is gently rolling or nearly level, inclining toward the lake. The soil is principally a sandy and gravelly loam and is underlaid with gray sandstone, which crops out in many localities. Adequate drainage is afforded by Spring Brook and Catfish and Butterfly Creeks, which flow northwardly into Lake Ontario. At the mouth of the Butterfly there is quite an extensive marsh and in the southwest part of the town there is a similar swamp.

The early settlers of New Haven found a dense wilderness heavily timbered with pine, hemlock, beech and maple, and for many years the conversion of this into marketable lumber furnished profitable employment. Numerous saw mills were built on the streams, and the work of clearing the land went forward rapidly. In 1850 there were seven saw mills in town. In 1860 there were nine saw mills, two grist mills, and other manufacturing establishments in active operation. As the forests fell agriculture superseded all other industries. Stock raising in time was given considerable attention, and dairying became of paramount importance. The first cheese factory in town was built in 1864. Within recent years, fruit growing has become one of the chief industries, and at present New Haven ranks first in this respect in Oswego county. The Strawberry Growers' Association, organized a few years ago through the efforts of Sterling A. Newell, who served as secretary for seven years, has been largely instrumental in developing and fostering this industry. Blackberries, raspberries, currants, pears, peaches, apples and grapes are grown in large quantities, while the grains, hay, potatoes and corn, receive due attention.

The first road in the town was opened prior to 1806 and doubtless was the one leading to Scriba's proposed city of Vera Cruz at the mouth of Little Salmon Creek. Others were laid out and made passable as the population increased, and have generally been kept in good repair. In 1814 there were twelve road districts. The Oswego and Rome plank road, authorized in 1844 and completed a few years afterward, passed through New Haven and was a busy thoroughfare. The town now has sixty-six road districts with a pathmaster in each. In the fall of 1865 the Rome and Oswego Railroad, now the R., W. & O., was put in operation, running about midway between New Haven village and Lake Ontario with a station at Demster post-office. It gave a new impetus to the growth of the town and has ever since afforded excellent shipping facilities.

The first town meeting was held at the house of Ansel Snow, in the village of New Haven, on April 19, 1814, more than one year after the town was formed. Sixty-six votes were cast and the following officers were chosen:

David Easton, supervisor; Jonathan Wing, town clerk; David Easton, Nathaniel Marvin, and William Taylor, assessors; Joseph Bailey and Daniel Hall, overseers of the poor; Joseph Bailey, jr., Anson Drake, and Joseph Boynton, highway commissioners; Joseph Bailey, Jonathan Wing, and Nathaniel Marvin, commissioners of common schools; David Easton, Anson Drake, and Eliphalet Colt, inspectors of common schools; George C. Bailey, collector; George C. Bailey and Crandall Kenyon, constables; Daniel Hall and Nathaniel Marvin, fenceviewers; Almon Lindsley and Eleazer Snow, pound-masters; Elias May, Chauncey Drake, Jesse Smith, Robert Jerrett, William Taylor, Henry Hawley, Eliphalet Colt, Lyman Hatch, Daniel Hatch, Philip Delano, Crandall Kenyon and John Wolcott, pathmasters.

The supervisors of New Haven have been as follows:

David Easton, 1814—16; Orris Hart, 1817—20; David Easton, 1821—23; Seth Severances, 1824—29; William Bullen, 1830; Orris Hart, 1831; Seth Severance, 1832—38; Norman Rowe, 1839—40; Seth Severance, 1841—42; Hosea Cornish, 1843—45; Seth Severance, 1846; Norman Rowe, 1847; Lorenzo W. Tanner, 1848; Charles Nichols, 1849; L. W. Tanner, 1850; Seth Severance, 1851; Abram W. Hewitt, 1852; John C. Gillespie, 1853—54; Avery W. Severance, 1855—56; Lorenzo W. Tanner, 1857; Norman Rowe, 1858; L. W. Tanner, 1859; Avery W. Severance, 1860—71; Henry J. Daggett, 1872—76; Schuyler M. Barker, 1877; H. J. Daggett, 1878; S. M. Barker, 1879—80; Henry B. Allen, 1881; S. M. Barker, 1882; George W. Daggett, 1883—84; S. M. Barker, 1885; George M. Whitney, 1886—90; Lucian Snow, 1891; Frank W. Stevens, 1892—95.

Jonathan Wing served as town clerk from 1814 to 1816 inclusive, William Taylor from 1817 to 1818, Hezekiah Nichols from 1819 to 1824, Isaac Whipple from 1825 to 1829, Levi Rowe from 1830 to 1831, and Chester R. Wells in 1833. David Easton was appointed a justice of the peace in 1807, Joseph Bailey in 1810, and Jonathan Wing in 1811; these were the only justices who lived in New Haven while it was still a part of Mexico. The first justices appointed after the formation of the town were Jonathan Wing, Samuel Cherry, Lyman Blakesley, and Israel Ransom.

The town officers for 1894—5 were as follows:

Frank V. Stevens,1 supervisor; B. T. Armstrong, clerk; H. B. Allen, B. T. Armstrong, James E. Baker, and Newton W. Parsons, justices of the peace; L. J. Groves, highway commissioner; Edward M. Mond, collector; F. W. Mellon, overseer of the poor; William B. Searles, Clarence D. Smith, and William E. Booth, assessors; H. A. Stacy, jr., Silas Chesbro, and Frank Elmhirst, excise commissioners.

The first permanent settler,2 of New Haven was Solomon Smith, who located on lot 47 in 1800 and built the first log house in town, near the subsequent residence of David Russell. He also erected, in 1812, the first frame building, a dwelling, and soon after it was enclosed he gave a dance or "house warming." He died here November 28, 1824, at the age of seventy-five. Of his several sons, John R. was killed at the raising of Orris Hart's ashery in October, 1823, and Jesse died in town aged over eighty.

In 1804 Capt Gardner Wyman and Eleazer Snow came in from Eaton, Madison county. It would thus appear that Mr. Smith and family were the sole inhabitants of New Haven during a period of four years. Mr. Wyman obtained his title of captain in the war of 1812 and was the first man in town to command a militia company. His son, Meres Wyman, died here March 17, 1884, aged ninety-four. He once attended a dance at Mexico Point, going on foot to Colosse to borrow a horse, returning to New Haven for his girl, and traveling in all over fifty miles in making the round trip. Captain Wyman erected the third log house in town, on lot 57, at the east end of the old Barker farm. Leander Snow settled on the north side of Catfish Creek, near New Haven Station, on the farm which has always remained in the family. His son Daniel was born in 1803 and died here in October, 1881. He had five children, of whom Lucien, born in 1838, occupies the old homestead. Two other sons of Eleazer Snow were Charles and Lebbeus, both of whom commanded sailing vessels between Oswego and Lewiston. During a down trip a terrific storm partially wrecked the craft of Charles Snow and all on board, about thirty in number, were drowned. The vessel of which Lebbeus was captain was saved in the mouth of the Genesee River.

Chauncey Drake and John Ames also settled here in 1804. The latter built the second log house in town. Mr. Drake located near Cheever's Mills, and after the first mill was erected there he conducted it. Chester Drake, a cabinet maker, was born here in 1840.

In 1805 Joseph Bailey, James Jerrett, Ira Foot, David Easton, and Andrew Place became settlers. The first named, from Vernon, N. Y., located on the Andrew Coe farm west of New Haven village. He was the first postmaster in town, justice of the peace in 1810, 1814, and 1816 and performed the marriage ceremony for Capt. Ephraim Van Valkenburgh, the first white child born in what is now Volney. He was a soldier in the British Army, as was also Mr. Jerrett, who came from Paris, Oneida county, and settled opposite Mr. Bailey. Both deserted from Burgoyne about the time of the battle at Saratoga. Mrs. Polly Coe and Richard Jerrett were children of Mr. Jerrett. Ira Foot, from Kirkland, Oneida county, located at Cheever's Mills, where he built the first saw mill in town in 1805. Prior to raising the frame he sent to Rome for a cask of whiskey, which was drunk up, and a second trip for another cask had to be made before the building was raised. David Easton was one of the early prominent men and held several positions of public trust, was supervisor six years and justice of the peace, and held both offices at the time of his death in 1823; he was appointed justice in 1807, 1809, 1811, 1814, 1820, and 1823, and became an associate justice of the Common Pleas in 1816. He was the first justice of the peace in the present town and the first supervisor of New Haven, and was also elected to the last named office in Mexico in 1809. He located on the Willis Johnson farm one mile south of Butterfly Corners. Andrew Place was another early comer and a noteworthy citizen. He first settled on the Ira D. Smith farm and later at May's Corners, two miles east of New Haven, where he opened and kept a log tavern. Afterward he had an inn where his son Andrew G. subsequently resided. He also lived in Richland and in New Haven village, where he died suddenly in his wagon November 15, 1852, aged sixty-five. He was a shrewd man, a good speaker, and an active Jacksonian Democrat. Andrew G. Place was born here in December, 1819, and since 1837 has lived in this town.

Roswell Farman came from Vernon, Oneida county, in the spring of 1806, accompanied by his eldest son, Zadok, then fifteen years old. He settled three-fourths of a mile west of the present village of New Haven, opposite the place now owned by Charles Davis, and lived there until his death, in October, 1839. The country, on his arrival, was an almost unbroken forest, and he came the greater part of the distance from Oneida county by following a line of blazed trees. There were only two small clearings between the place where he settled and Oswego, one that of Mr. Bailey, now known as the Coe farm, and the other the Burt and Stone place at Scriba Corners. The first summer he cleared a few acres of land, planted and raised a small quantity of corn, built a log house, and went back, in the fall, to Oneida county. In the following winter he returned with a cow, a few sheep, a yoke of oxen, a sled, and his family, which then consisted of a wife and five children (one daughter and four sons), the youngest five years old.

One or two incidents will suffice to show the wildness of the country. On the journey from Oneida county they stopped for a night at a log house, which served them as a "tavern." The cow, sheep, and oxen were placed in a log barn. In the night a pack of wolves, attracted by the animals, surrounded the buildings, and not only made the forests echo with their howlings, but also made an onslaught upon the doors of both the house and barn with such fury as to create serious alarm. On arriving at their rude cabin the sheep were put into a log pen, that had been prepared for the purpose the previous summer. It was covered with poles and brush, and supposed to be secure against wolves. The family went on, for the night, a mile farther, to the Bailey place. On their return, in the morning, they found their sheep pen had been broken into, and their little flock all killed by the wolves. Today, when the great majority of the people have an abundance of the necessaries of life, and live in comparative luxury, it is difficult to appreciate such a loss to a family, almost wholly dependent upon the fleeces of their flock for their clothing and bedding, in their new forest home.

George Farman, son of Roswell, was born in this town July 4, 1812, and is the oldest living native resident.

Among other arrivals of 1806 were Daniel Hewitt and Joseph Boynton. Mr. Hewitt settled southeast of the village of New Haven. He had two sons, Palmer and Elihu. Palmer Hewitt was a prominent man and a colonel in the old State militia. He had two sons, Abram W. and Mahlon. A. W. or "Wood" Hewitt, as he was familiarly called, was supervisor and justice of the peace, and has two sons living in town, C. B. and George. Mr. Boynton located on the T. S. Dowd farm, where he kept a tavern, the locality being named from him, Boynton Hill.

From 1808 to 1810 Jonathan Wing, Ezra May, Waldo Brayton, Daniel Hall, and Anson and Warner Drake came in. Mr. Wing, who settled near David Easton's, on the Warren Johnson farm, was the first town clerk and was appointed a justice of the peace in 1811, 1814, 1816, 1823, and 1827. Ezra May took up his residence in New Haven village, where he opened in 1810 the first tavern in the town; it stood just east of the brick house, which was also erected by him in 1824. He was at one time a pilot in Commodore Chauncey's fleet on Lake Ontario in the war of 1812, and during a severe storm, because of a drunken captain's refusal to attend to his duty, left the vessel, was rescued by another boat which was soon captured by the British, and was taken a prisoner to Kingston. With others he succeeded in bribing the sentinel and escaped; he finally reached Sackett's Harbor and was paid $50 by Commodore Chauncey on account of his courage and shrewdness. Warner Drake was the father of Butler S. Drake, a farmer and teacher. Anson Drake located in New Haven village, where he opened the first store in town in 1809. Waldo Brayton, who settled at Cheever's Mills, erected the first grist mill in New Haven the same year. Daniel Hall became a resident on the A. B. Tuller place and a very influential citizen.

In 1810 came Nathaniel Marvin, Almon Lindsley, Peleg Davis, William Taylor, Reuben Halliday, and Herman Hitchcock. Mr. Marvin lived at the "Hollow," where his son Orton O. afterward resided. With Hezekiah Nichols, he erected the second grist mill in town, at the "Hollow," about 1815. Orton O. Martin was born in 1816 and died November 15, 1892. A brother, Rozelle, aged eight years, was drowned about 1837.  Almond Lindsley located near Jonathan Wing in the eastern part of the town and held several important positions. George N. Lindsley was born here in 1838. Peleg Davis had three wives and twenty two children. His youngest son resides on the homestead on the State road. Mr. Taylor settled on the hill west of the "Hollow," on what later became the S. O. Wilmarth place, and was town clerk in 1820 and a justice of the peace the same year. Mr. Hitchcock located one and one-half miles south of New Haven village, and Reuben Halliday in the east part of the town. The latter was the first Methodist class leader and for many years a local preacher.

In 1811 Henry Hawley located south of the village of New Haven and was killed at the raising of Robert Jerrett's barn in 1815. He had three sons, Philander, John, and Henry, jr. Mrs. H. J. Daggett is a daughter of Philander Hawley; she has three nephews, Charles, Elmer and Henry Hawley, living in town.

Between 1810 and 1813 Seth Severance, Ezra Bromley, Mitchell Crandall, William Griffin, Ansel Snow, Crandall Kenyon, Dr. Eliphalet Colt, John Walcott, Elias May, Lyman and Daniel Hatch, Samuel Cherry, Israel Ransom, Philip Delano, and Lyman Blakesley became residents of the town. Seth Severance came from Leyden, Mass, and served as justice of the peace several years, beginning in 1821. He was supervisor seventeen years—longer than any other man in New Haven. He settled east of Butterfly and died there March 8, 1856. He was twice married, his wives being sisters, and had several children. Hon. Avery W. Severance, son of Seth, was born in New Haven on February 23, 1819, and died here February 15, 1874. He was elected justice of the peace in 1841, was for several years supervisor and chairman of the board, long president of the Oswego County Agricultural Society, and a member of assembly in 1865.

Dr. Colt was the first physician in the town, and remained until about 1830.

The war of 1812, followed by the cold season of 1816, checked immigration, and for three or four years few settlers arrived. About 1815 the prominent arrivals were Orris Hart, Hezekiah Nichols, Luman Cummings, John Parsons, Dr. Stephen H. Kinne, Calvin Eason, Peter Kelsey, and Harvey Tuller. Mr. Nichols, from Oneida county, located west of New Haven village, and owned a grist mill at the "Hollow." He was a justice of the peace in 1819—21, and died here over thirty years ago, leaving three sons, Samuel, John, and Henry E.  John Nichols is living in Michigan and Henry E. is a prominent lawyer in Fulton. Samuel Nichols served as captain of Co. E, 110th N. Y. Vols., and is the proprietor of Pleasant Point, subsequently noticed.

Orris Hart was one of the leading men of the town and ably filled a number of important offices. He was appointed associate judge of the Common Pleas in 1817 and 1819, surrogate of the county in 1819 and 1845, and sheriff in 1821, and was elected to the latter office in 1822. He was also a justice of the peace in 1817 and 1831 and member of assembly in 1827—28. He built the first ashery in town, of logs, in 1816, and in 1823 replaced it with a frame structure. 1818 he started a distillery just east of New Haven village. He came from Paris, Oneida county.

Luman Cummings settled northeast of the village of New Haven, whence he removed in 1818 to the locality that took his name, Cummings Mills, on the Catfish, in the south part of the town, where he died October 29, 1876, aged eighty years. He built the mill at that place about 1861, and rebuilt it three times. This was the fourth saw mill in town. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and is survived by one son, Orlando R., who was born here in 1827, and who resides on the homestead.

Dr. S. H. Kinne was the second physician in New Haven and remained till about 1839. He was justice of the peace two or three years and prominent in local affairs. Peter Kelsey, John Parsons, and Calvin Eason settled near Butterfly. The latter came from Vermont and died in 1863, aged eighty seven. He served in the war of 1812, and was the father of Charles G., who was born here in 1839. Mr. Parsons was appointed a justice of the peace in 1819 and served as postmaster at Butterfly about twenty years. He was the father of John Parsons, of Mexico, and the grandfather of N. W. Parsons, of Demster.

Abiathar Millard and Simeon Wells were two settlers of 1816. Carmi Millard, a son of the former, is living here at the age of ninety-four, being the oldest resident of the town.

Norman Rowe removed from Paris, Oneida county, and settled northwest of New Haven village in February, 1817. He was born in Litchfield county, Conn., January 2, 1795, and came with his parents to this State in 1803. He was a self educated man and possessed a large amount of useful knowledge. He served a short time at Sackett's Harbor in the war of 1812. In 1836 he settled in the village, where he died October 28, 1887. In 1827 he was elected assessor and in 1828 a justice of the peace. He held the latter office almost fifty years. He was sheriff of the county six years from 1840 to 1842 and 1848 to 1851, justice of sessions in 1835, supervisor several terms, chairman of the board in 1839 and 1840, and town clerk for more than twenty years, holding office longer than any other man in Oswego county. He was first a Whig and later a Republican, and became lieutenant-colonel of militia in 1828. He was long a trustee and deacon of the Congregational church of New Haven, and ever an upright, influential, and respected citizen. He was married twice and had eleven children.

Among other settlers prior to 1820 were Theodore Gridley, Peter Tyler, Orrin Wilmarth, and B. G. Sherman. Mr. Gridley was from Paris, Oneida county, and settled northwest of New Haven village at a place long known as "Gridley's," now "Daggett's," where he built a saw mill and wool carding-mill, both of which long since ceased to exist. He was a justice of the peace several years, beginning in 1823, and was the grandfather of Lewis Gridley, who resides in this town. Silas O. Wilmarth was the only son of Orrin Wilmarth and now resides in the village of New Haven. He has three sisters in town, one of whom is the wife of A. F. Rowe. Mr. Sherman was a native of Herkimer county.

The population of the town at this period (1820) numbered 899 persons, but this included the half-mile strip along the lake shore in what is now Mexico. During the next five years Deacon Samuel Allen, Hervey Simmons, Simeon Gilson, Charles Nichols, William O. Guile, John M. Howard, Thomas H. Austin, Milo A. Mack, and Joshua Mark became residents of New Haven. Deacon Allen, long an active member of the Congregational church, came in 1821 and settled in the village. He had sons Warren, George W., Samuel, jr, Silas O., and Joseph H., all deceased. Henry B. Allen, a son of George W. is one of the present justices and lives at the "Hollow." Mr. Nichols, a brother of Hezekiah Nichols, previously mentioned, moved here from Oneida county and located north of New Haven village the same year. He was a deacon of the Congregational church from 1834 until his death on July 23, 1872, at the age of seventy-two. His grandson, C. H. Nichols, occupies the old homestead. Hervey Simmons came in 1823, settled in the east part of New Haven village, and died June 15, 1876, aged eighty years. His son Henry resides on the homestead at the age of sixty-one. Simeon Gilson was a native of Hampshire, Mass., and C. C. Gilson was born here in 1829; the former had four sons and three daughters, of whom two daughters and two sons are living. Milo A. Mack came here with his father, Joshua, when about seven years old. His son Fred A. was born in 1853 and has always lived on the homestead. William O. Guile came about 1820 and died August 12, 1876, aged seventy-six years. Four of his sons, O. O., P. K., Luke, and John are living in New Haven. Joshua Mark arrived prior to 1825. His children were Harmon, William, Norman, Milo, Wallace (all deceased except Norman, who resides in town), Charlotte (Mrs. Parkhurst), Lucinda (Mrs. E. G. Parsons), and Elizabeth.

Other settlers prior to 1830 were:

William M. Cheever, Job Dowd, Deacon House, Uzel M. Barker, Stephen Luce, Chester R. Wells, B. J. Hale, T. S. Daviel, Michael Fenneron, Archibald Forbes, Cyrus L. Head, Oramel Law, G. L. Lyons, William Bullen, Capt. G. A. Smith, A. J. Stacy and E. A. Taylor.

William M. Cheever, from Whitestown, N. Y., located at Cheever's Mills, in the north part of the town, about 1827. He was a wealthy man for those times and gave each of his children a farm or its equivalent. He was also a land agent, and died in 1843 aged nearly seventy years. He had seven daughters, and sons William, Edward, Charles S., and Henry J.; the latter died September 30, 1893, aged about sixty-eight. Charles S., the youngest of the family, was born in 1818 and died on the homestead, where his son William M. now resides. Job Dowd came here in 1828 with his family of nine children, and settled on the farm now owned by a grandson. His three sons were Albert J., Titus S., and Thomas, of whom the last two have children living in town. Titus S. Dowd was born in 1819 and died in 1883. Deacon House settled near Boynton Hill, and has a son Benjamin residing near the old homestead.

Uzel M. Barker, born in Albany county in 1791, located in 1829 a mile and a quarter southeast of New Haven village. He served as poormaster many years, and died March 28, 1879. Of his four sons, James, Avery, John and Schuyler M., the latter, born in 1828, is a farmer and surveyor, and has been supervisor, and justice of the peace. Chester R. Wells came in about 1830, and for many years was chorister of the Congregational church. He was a plane maker by trade, and served as town clerk four years and as justice of the peace some time. Mr. Hale was an undertaker here for about fifty-five years, and is still living. He was born April 22, 1812. E. A. Taylor, son of Cyprian, was born in Chenango county in 1827 and came to this county with his parents while a babe. Stephen Luce was for ten years a merchant at the "Hollow," town clerk in 1833, deputy sheriff under Norman Rose, and finally moved to Oswego. William Bullen was first a clerk and later a partner of Orris Hart, whose daughter he married. He was supervisor in 1830 and justice of the peace in 1827 and 1830.

During the period between 1830 and 1840 the following, among others, became residents of the town:

Alexander H. Barton, Abram Bartlett, Samuel G. Merriam, John Barlow, Lincoln Battles, Richard Cross, Nathaniel Ball, Lyman B. Legg, Nicholas Chesbro, the Tanner family, Abram Fones, A. S. Greene, G. L. Jones, Arthur Keefe, Alonzo Lee, Joseph Patten, Charles Rosseter, S. H. Reed, and M. G. Stevens.

The Tanner family, William, Lorenzo W., and Charles A., came to this town in 1832, as did also Lyman B. Legg. William Tanner died August 18, 1839, aged twenty-five, from a broken back caused by wrestling. Lorenzo W. lives in Oswego and Charles A. died April 25, 1851. Mr. Legg was impressed into the British service in the war of 1812, escaped and enlisted in the U. S. army. He died December 14, 1879. Richard Cross died here in 1885, aged eighty years. His son Henry was born in New Haven in 1836, in which year Nathaniel Ball and Nicholas Chesbro located in town. Mr. Ball was long one of the leading men; his son Charles resides on the homestead. Mr. Chesbro served as assessor, justice, etc., and died here in 1872; he was the father of Schuyler Chesbro, who was born in Otsego county in 1827.

Samuel G. Merriam settled in the village of New Haven in 1832 and the next year was appointed commissioner of deeds. He was a very prominent and highly respected citizen, and died April 13, 1889. He served as town clerk in 1836 and 1837, and was elected a justice of the peace in 1837. William H. Merriam was town clerk in 1854, 1855 and 1856.

Alexander H. Barton came into the town for the second time and settled permanently in 1838. He was born in Marshall, Oneida county, June 1, 1805, and died here April 27, 1854. He was a farmer, nursery-man, justice of the peace eight years, school teacher, and one of the first to engage in growing strawberries for market in Oswego county. He has two sons, Henry L. and David, living in Mexico.

Prominent among other early settlers of New Haven may be mentioned here the names of James H. Wright, who served as justice of the peace in 1841 and 1849 and as superintendent of common schools; Charles, Nelson, and Albert Davis, of whom the former is still a resident at the age of eighty; Levi Booth, and Nehemiah and Rhodes Sheldon, all of whom have children living in town; Alanson May, a millwright, a soldier of the war of 1812, and the father of Erastus and Charles; Stanton P. Wheeden, who was justice of the peace in 1835 and 1847; John C. Gillespie, who was elected to the same office in 1842, moved to Fulton about 1870, where his widow and son now reside, and who died there April 13, 1886, aged seventy-five; Levi Rowe and George S. Thrall, town clerks, the former in 1830—31 and the latter in 1838—42, and 1845—47; John J. Ayer, who held the same position in 1834—35; Edmund E. Wells, likewise town clerk two years; Robert S. Kelsey, who held the office in 1850—51 and 1857—58; A. M. Andrews and James Talmadge, justices of the peace; Rev. W. C. Johnson, a native of New Haven, son of Seth, and born in 1829; Henry Stacy, who died in 1862, and whose son Henry, born here in 1828, lives in town; Sterling Newell, who died in Mexico in 1888, and whose son, Sterling A., born in New Haven in 1848 married a daughter of Milo A. Mark, served as secretary of the New Haven Strawberry Growers' Association for seven years, and was one of the originators and incorporators of the New Haven Cheese and Butter Association, of which he was secretary and president, each, five years; and Wright Sherman, originally from Rhode Island, a soldier of the war of 1812, and a very early settler, whose son, Samuel S. Sherman, was born in 1824 on the homestead on which he still resides, and where he has always lived, being one of nine children.

Amos King, a ship carpenter, came from Jefferson county to this town in 1840. He was married three times and had seven children, of whom George R., born in 1824, is also a ship carpenter by trade, and resides in New Haven. The same year Jacob Marshall, father of Jacob L., became a resident.

Capt. Henry J. Daggett, son of Henry and Mary Daggett, came to Oswego village (now city) with his parents in 1838, and in 1842 removed with them to New Haven, where the father died in April, 1870, and the mother in September, 1871. Captain Daggett, born in Boston, Mass., August 16, 1826, early became a sailor on the lakes and rose to commander, from which he retired in 1863. He served his town in various capacities, was chairman of the Board of Supervisors in 1876, and in 1875 represented his district in the Assembly. A brother, George W. Daggett, is deceased.

Solomon White became a resident of New Haven as early as 1844. He was a general in the old State militia, and died in town July 17, 1857. His son, Solomon resides on the homestead with his son Charles. He was formerly a merchant and postmaster. Daniel B. Van Buren and Avery O. Brown were settlers of the town in 1845. During the same year the former built, with John D. Reed, the first stave mill in New Haven, at the "Hollow." He was the father of ex-Sheriff John Van Buren and of Ernest Van Buren, and died May 6, 1891, aged seventy, survived by his widow. Mr. Brown moved to Oswego city, where he died May 22, 1885, leaving there two sons, Frank L., and Horace. Philetus Lee settled near Cheever's Mills in 1846, and died in September, 1882, aged seventy-five. Two sons, A. C. and Edward Lee, reside in town.

Zadoc W. Stevens, born in Hillsborough, N. H. in April, 1793, was a schoolmate of Franklin Pierce, came to Oswego county in 1835, and in 1845 settled in New Haven, where he died February 26, 1858. His sons, William, M. G. and Calvin J. reside in town, the former on the homestead. M. G. was the father of Frank V. Stevens, the present supervisor.

The following notice appears in Barber and Howe's Historical Collections of the State of New York, 1846: "New Haven, taken from Mexico in 1813; from Albany 157 miles. Pop 1,735. New Haven, 10 miles E. from Oswego, and 12 S. W. from Pulaski, has about 20 dwellings. Butterfly is a post-office."

Pierce Squires removed from Madison county to Martinsburg, N. Y. in 1838, and in the spring of 1846 came thence with his family to New Haven, settling one and one-half miles northeast of the village. He died January 11, 1861, at the age of over seventy-five. W. W. Squires, his son, occupies the homestead. Francis W. Squires, another son, was born in Lebanon, Madison county, October 22, 1820, followed the fortunes of the family to their settlement in this town, and early engaged in teaching school. October 9, 1851, he married Sarah R. Rice, and in the spring of 1853 removed to North Volney, where he officiated as postmaster from October, 1861, till about August 21, 1883, when he returned to New Haven. He enlisted in Co. A, 184th N. Y. Vols. in the Rebellion, and served as clerk of the company. He has been justice of the peace, in all twelve years, beginning in 1859, and was elected justice of sessions in 1874. His wife died March 8, 1860, leaving three children, and on August 29, 1875, he married Mrs. Maria L. Coe. Mr. Squires is a local historian of recognized ability. He has kept a daily diary since January 1, 1843. Visiting every town in the county, he has searched records and collected valuable data, much of which is incorporated in the present volume. He is accurate and painstaking, and has preserved a large amount of information which would otherwise have passed into oblivion. Since August 20, 1883, he has resided at Demster.

Jonathan E. Robinson came here in 1852, and died October 14, 1872. His father, Rev. Ralph Robinson, was a preacher for half a century.  Daniel L. Nichols was born in this town in 1828, and has held several offices of trust. William B. Searles was born in 1827, removed with his parents in 1837 to Williamstown, and finally became a resident of New Haven. N. W. Parsons was born in Mexico in 1843, served in the Civil war four years, and was long a mail carrier between Mexico, East Palermo and Fulton.

This brings us down to about 1850, when the population numbered some 2,000 persons. It is impossible to trace the career, however briefly, of every newcomer. A few more are mentioned in succeeding pages of this chapter and a number more fully in Part III of the present work.

The population of the town at various periods was as follows: In 1830, 1,410; 1835, 1,551; 1840, 1,737; 1845, 1,707; 1850, 2,015; 1855, 2,012; 1860, 2,073; 1865, 1,948; 1870, 1,764; 1875, 1,728; 1880, 1,713; 1890, 1,557. It will be noticed that a steady decrease has been going on for the past thirty years or more.

The first school in town was taught by Harriet, daughter of David Easton, in 1806. In 1808 Sherman Hosmer kept a school at Butterfly. In 1860 there were eleven school districts, which were attended by 730 children. There are now twelve school districts with a school house in each, in which thirteen teachers are employed, and which were attended during the year 1892—93 by 335 scholars. The school buildings and sites are valued at $7,350; assessed valuation of districts, $633,304; public money received from the State, $1,562.97; raised by local tax, $1,470.52. The various districts are locally known as follows: No. 1, Butterfly; 2, North Butterfly; 3. Mullen Hill; 4. Stone school house; 5, New Haven village; 6, Cummings; 7, Howlett; 8, Dowd; 9, Kingdom; 10, South New Haven; 11, Vermilion; 12, Town Line.

Few towns in the State responded more promptly or contributed more liberally of their brave and patriotic citizens than did this. About 175 went to the front, of whom forty-four were killed or died of wounds. To the memory of these heroes the residents, in 1870, erected a handsome monument in the beautiful cemetery in New Haven village, which was appropriately dedicated May 30, of that year. It is of Italian marble, about eighteen feet high, and bears the names and ages of the forty-four soldiers, and also this inscription; "Erected to the memory of New Haven's gallant sons who died for their country." Among those who received deserved promotion were George Wetmore, Chauncey L. Gridley, William N. Taylor, John N. Gilman, and George E. Lansing. Doyle Post, No. 591, G. A. R., of which N. W. Parsons was the commander in 1894, was permanently organized in July, 1886. Relief Corps, No. 163, was formed in December, 1890; Eliza Parsons is president for 1895.

Supervisors' statistics for 1894: assessed valuation of real estate, $522,469; equalized, $633,058. Personal property, $38,210; railroads, 5.32 miles, $53,550; town tax, $1,499.57; county tax, $3,759.10; total tax levy, $6,659; ratio of tax on $100, $1.20; dog tax, $57. The town is divided into two election districts and in November, 1894, polled 397 votes.

New Haven Village.—This is the largest and most important business place in town. It is centrally situated, one mile south of the railroad station at Demster, and contains about 300 inhabitants. In early days it was called Gay Head, but since 1819 it has been known by the present designation. The first store in the town was opened here in 1809 by Anson Drake, who was succeeded in 1816 by Orris Hart. The latter was followed in 1833 by Samuel Cherry, and at the same time Samuel G. Merriam became a merchant in the place. He continued in business until 1873, a period of forty years, when he was succeeded by Rowe & Wilmarth. The senior member of this firm, A. F. Rowe, had several partners, and in May, 1882, became sole owner of the establishment. About 1860 a store was opened in the stone hotel building by Hewett & Goodsell, who were succeeded in November, 1867, by Bohannan & Bennett. For several years following 1850, Solomon White, jr., and Silas Allen conducted a general mercantile trade. In 1835 B. J. Hale established a coffin wareroom and undertaking establishment and carried on an extensive business for nearly half a century. He was the first in Oswego county to keep ready-made coffins, and made (March 6, 1838), one of the first caskets covered with velvet. He retired from the undertaking business about 1885, selling out to Whitney Brothers, and at that time was the oldest active undertaker in the State. For a while he was associated with his son. The first drug stone was opened about 1862 by Dr. James Austin. The first and only foundry in town was operated here between 1836 and 1840, first by Richard Eason and later by him and Hosea Cornish. Ezra May opened the first tavern in New Haven in this place in 1810; it was a log building, and in 1824 he replaced it by a brick structure. About 1826 Jesse Smith built a hotel in the rear of the old stone one, and in 1828 Samuel Allen opened another on a site west of the Congregational church. Richard Eason erected the stone tavern about 1850. All these old-time inns have been discontinued and at present the village is without hotel accommodations. Among other business interests which have been carried on in the place may be mentioned, the agricultural implement and carriage warehouse of G. M. Whitney, the fruit evaporator of C. H. Taylor (established in 1882), and the harness shop of F. D. Whitney.

About 1850 the Odd Fellows organized a lodge which soon disbanded. In July, 1877, it was revived under the name Beacon Light Lodge, No. 464, with Dr. George G. Whitaker as noble grand.

The post-office, the first in town, was established as West Mexico on January 19, 1813, with Joseph Bailey as postmaster, at whose house about two miles west of the village the office was kept. On December 25, 1819, the name was changed to New Haven, Orris Hart became postmaster, and the office was moved to the village. Mr. Hart was succeeded on February 8, 1833, by Samuel G. Merriam, who was followed on July 23, 1853, by Solomon White, jr. On January 30, 1858, Silas Hart was appointed and on June 28, 1861 S. G. Merriam again became the incumbent. He was succeeded on January 2, 1873, by Augustus F. Rowe, who served until May 25, 1893, when he was succeeded by the present postmaster, Charles B. Hewitt. Mr. Hewitt was born in New Haven in 1854 and has always resided here. He is a son of A. W. Hewitt, and has held several town offices.

Demster post-office (New Haven Station), situated about one mile north of the village of New Haven, dates its existence from the completion of the railroad. It is the second important business place in town. For about thirteen years O. N. Woodworth conducted a general mercantile trade here, being succeeded in 1884 by Charles Gero. Mrs. Woodworth also had a millinery and fancy goods store. The post-office was established at Demster on August 25, 1883, with O. N. Woodworth as postmaster. His successors with the dates of their appointment have been as follows: Charles Gero, August, 1884; H. G. Cheever, December 1888; Newton W. Parsons, March 27, 1889; Benjamin W. Mott, incumbent, July 31, 1893. The Grange, or Patrons of Husbandry, No. 52, of which Mrs. Delia Lewis is master, and which was organized January 16, 1874, meets here every week, as does also New Haven Grange, No. 588, organized June 25, 1889.

Butterfly is a postal hamlet in the eastern part of the town and the second oldest post-office in New Haven. The office was established January 31, 1828, and John Parsons was appointed postmaster. He was followed successively by Sterling Newell September 14, 1844; John Parsons again November 23, 1848; John Parsons, jr., June 13, 1849; and Avery W. Severance February 13, 1858. January 13, 1870, the office was discontinued and in 1880 it was re-established with Aurelia A. Baker as postmistress, who still holds the position. She is the wife of James E. Baker, who came to New Haven with his parents in 1859.

South New Haven post office, in the southwest part of the town, was established in the spring of 1877 with George H. Patten as postmaster. He was succeeded by the present incumbent, Clarence D. Smith, in 1884. The latter is a native of New Haven and a son of William Smith.

Sala is a post-office in the Reed district, about three miles south of New Haven village, and was established in 1893 with Mrs. Hannah Potter as postmistress.

Cheever's Mills, so called from William M. Cheever, is located in the north part of the town, and was formerly a place of considerable importance. A saw mill was built here by Ira Foot in 1805 and a distillery—the first in New Haven—by John White in 1810. Mr. White also opened a store about the same time. A grist mill was erected here at an early day, and for many years the place was widely known. At one time it had a second saw mill and a pump factory.

Daggett's, formerly Gridley's Mills, is situated three-quarters of a mile northwest of New Haven village. At a very early date a wool-carding and cloth-dressing establishment flourished here, but it has long since disappeared. The third saw mill in town was erected here about 1816.

The "Hollow," so called, is situated on Catfish Creek half a mile west of the village of New Haven. About 1811 Timothy Norton built at this place the second saw mill in town, about 1818 a Mr. Hutchins started the second ashery, and in 1820 Barton & Doolittle erected here the third and last distillery in town. There were also at an early date a tannery, a saw mill, and a grist mill in operation. The latter is still in use, but the others have gone to decay.

Cummings Mills is a well-known locality on the Catfish in the south part of New Haven, having at various times quite extensive milling interests.

Pleasant Point is a pretty summer resort on the lake shore about two miles northwest of New Haven station. It was formerly called Smith's Landing, from Jesse Smith, an old time resident. In 1865 the property passed into the hands of Capt. Samuel Nichols, the present proprietor, who has developed and improved it into quite a romantic spot. Captain Nichols was born in New Haven in 1827 and is a son of Hezekiah Nichols, previously mentioned, who died in 1855. He enlisted as first lieutenant in Co. E, 110th N. Y. Vols., served three years, and became captain.

Demster Beach has acquired considerable renown as a pleasant summer resort. It is situated on the shore of Lake Ontario about two miles northeast of Demster post-office, and contains a hotel and several cottages.

Demster Grove has long been famous as a camp-meeting place, and is located three-fourths of a mile from New Haven village. Near it is the New Haven union cheese factory and creamery, which was built by a stock company in 1878.

The Congregational Church of New Haven was organized as a society on June 30, 1817, and as a church on July 30 following, by Revs. John Dunlap and David R. Dixon, with thirteen members, viz:  Dr. Stephen H. Kinne, Daniel and Esther Hitchcock, Ori and Wealthy Rowe, Norman and Mary Rowe, Atwood and Hannah Aikens, Polly Harman, Rebecca Hitchcock, Esther Delano, and Seth S. Sweetland, of whom Norman Rowe was the last survivor. Daniel Hitchcock, Seth S. Sweetland, Seth Severance, William Taylor, Norman Rowe, and Roswell Harman were the first trustees elected, and Rev William Williams, who began his labors here in 1820, was the first settled pastor. Among his successors were Revs. Ralph Robinson,3 Oliver Ayer, Ichabod A. Hart, Isaac Headly, Samuel Swezey, John Reid, Thomas Bayne, Lewis Jessup, and others. Their church edifice, a frame structure, was built in 1824; it has received repairs at different times and is still in use. The present pastor is Rev. Samuel Johnson.

The Baptist Church of New Haven was organized about 1820, but never became strong in members. In 1825 a brick edifice was erected. The society enjoyed only occasional preaching and finally discontinued their services altogether and disbanded. The church was eventually sold and taken down. One of the leading members of this society was Capt. Cyrus Severance, who stood by it until his death.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of New Haven had its beginning in a class which was formed about 1833 with Reuben Halliday as leader. Soon afterward this class disbanded, and in 1839 another was organized under the leadership of Henry K. Marvin, who officiated in that capacity many years. The first members were Nelson Davis and wife, David Field and wife, Nicholas Chesbro and wife, and Ezekiel Lewis and wife; the first board of trustees consisted of Nicholas Chesbro, David Field, Ezekiel Lewis, Alvin Buell, and Nelson Davis; and the first ministers were Revs. Charles Northrop and Joseph Craggs. Prior to 1853, the circuit being very large, two preachers visited this locality, alternately, once in four weeks each. The first church edifice was built in 1848; it was finally converted into a shop and afterward destroyed by fire. In 1876 the present building was erected under the pastorate of Rev. Charles Manson. It is of frame veneered with brick and cost $5,650, and contains a thousand pound bell, the gift of two members of the society. It was dedicated November 29, 1876, by Rev. B. I. Ives. The society has about 100 members under the pastoral care of Rev. Chamberlain Phelps.


1. Frank V. Stevens was born in New Haven in 1857, has served as assessor two terms, and for three years was a member of the life saving crew at Salmon Creek station.
2. French's State Gazetteer, 1860, states that the first settlement was commenced by Messrs. Rood and Doolittle at New Haven in 1798, but F. W. Squires, who is recognized as authority on local history, gives this honor to Solomon Smith. Rood and Doolittle doubtless settled at what is now Texas or Mexico Point.
3. Rev. Ralph Robinson preached for fifty years. He died in New Haven in May, 1863, aged eighty.



Return to Town of New Haven Page

Return to Main Page




© 2018 Oswego County Genealogy