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. 681—711
Originally transcribed by Luella Long (2004).
THE TOWN OF RICHLAND
Richland was formed from Williamstown on the 20th of February, 1807, and at that time included the present towns of Sandy Creek, Orwell, Boylston, and Albion, and a part of Mexico. Orwell (then including Boylston) was set off February 28, 1817. March 31 of that year, lots 137 to 148 inclusive, of township 21 of Scriba's Patent, were annexed to Mexico. March 24, 1825, Richland was further reduced by the erection of the towns of Sandy Creek and Albion. By chapter 264 of the laws of 1836, as amended by chapter 33 of the laws of 1837, lots 93, 94, 95, 96, 97 and 110 of the 21st township were annexed to Mexico. March 27, 1844, lots numbers 127, 137, 147 and 157 of township ten of the Boylston Tract were set off to Orwell, leaving the town with its present area of 32,251 acres.
Richland is quite irregular in outline, and is bounded on the north by Sandy Creek and Lake Ontario; on the east by Orwell and Albion; on the south by Albion and Mexico; and on the west by Mexico and the lake. The surface is generally level or gently rolling and has a decided westerly inclination. The deep ravines through which the streams find their way to Lake Ontario afford a variety of scenery at once wild and picturesque, and no town in Oswego county surpasses this in natural beauty. The site of Pulaski village is 131 feet above the lake, while certain points farther east reach an elevation of 250 feet or more. In various localities copious springs gush forth, increasing in volume during the summer months, and giving the name to Spring or Trout Brook, which descends 150 feet in a distance of three miles. Other streams are Deer and Grindstone Creeks, on both of which are falls of considerable height. The principal watercourse of the town is Salmon River, which flows through the village of Pulaski and empties into Lake Ontario near the center of the western boundary. Nearly all of these streams furnish abundant water power.
The soil is a sandy loam, mixed with clay in the southwest part, and the underlying rock is the Lorraine shales. It is very fertile and generally easy of cultivation. Dense forests once covered most of the town and for many years gave employment to numerous saw mills. In 1858 there were nineteen in operation, besides eight shingle mills and other wood-working establishments. The heavy timber was long ago exhausted, leaving only here and there a bit of woodland to remind us of the former glory of the wilderness. As the forests fell fruitful fields were opened to cultivation and the log house of our fathers was superseded by more comfortable and attractive homes.
The miscellaneous agriculture of early years has given way to dairying, which is now the chief industry. There are several cheese factories in the town which turn out a large and choice product, bringing adequate returns to the farmers. The crops grown are the grains, hay, fruit, potatoes and corn.
Salmon River1 is not only rich in romantic scenery, but also in historic interest. Its picturesque surroundings and valuable water power early attracted the attention of settlers, who promptly utilized many of the available sites. French writers state that it was a favorite route for Indian war parties to the Mohawk Valley; its waters were long frequented by both Indians and white men for its splendid fish, and very early in the present century measures were adopted to preserve the salmon. On April 3, 1818, the Legislature passed an act prohibiting the wanton destruction of these fish, and on May 4, 1835, another law was enacted authorizing the construction of dams provided they contained fishways twenty-five feet wide. Other laws followed from time to time, with the same object in view. On the 12th of May, 1875, the Legislature prohibited the netting and spearing of salmon in the Salmon River between the Salmon River Falls and the outlet; and in Deer Creek for a distance of one mile above its mouth. Afterwards $3,000 was appropriated for building fishways in dams on the Little Salmon River in the town of Mexico, but the work was not performed, and in 1888 the money reverted to the State. Unfortunately this legislation has failed to secure the continuance of the visits of this noble fish to the waters of Oswego county.
Salmon River afforded another advantage to the settlers which was of great practical value. In times of highwater it floated immense quantities of logs to the numerous mills along its banks, and from the earliest settlement it carried on its waters the bateaux of the pioneers with their families and household goods. Before the opening of passable roads it was the scene of considerable commercial activity, and afterward turned the wheels of many industries. The use of its waters for later public improvement was contemplated, while at its mouth an effort was made to establish a port, the "City of Port Ontario." This contemplated city was surveyed and platted and for a time promised a growth equal to the most sanguine hopes of its projectors. On April 10, 1837, the Port Ontario Hydraulic Company was incorporated with a capital of $100,000, its purpose being the construction of "a canal from the falls below Pulaski to the village of Port Ontario, along the banks of Salmon River." This was intended to supply Port Ontario with water power. On April 27, 1871, the Salmon River Improvement Company, capitalized at $50,000 in shares of $100 each, was incorporated, with Calvert Comstock, Samuel Dent, William Mahar, Edward Comstock, and Theodore S. Comstock, directors. This corporation had for its object the clearing of the river channel so that logs could float down unobstructed. On June 14, 1884, the Legislature appropriated $6,000 to remove obstructions from Salmon River and Mad River for the same purpose, and appointed Washington T. Henderson commissioner to supervise the work. In 1888 the project of taking water from this stream to supply the city of Syracuse was seriously contemplated, but was finally abandoned.
Almost contemporaneous with the first settlement of this town, which occurred at the mouth of Salmon River in 1801, was the opening of passable roads, but they were not worked to any great extent prior to 1808. The first road was opened to the outlet of Salmon River about that year and most of the highways were surveyed between 1820 and 1825. In 1823 there were sixty-two road districts in the town; the present number is eighty-seven.
August 14, 1847, the Salmon River Plank Road Company was organized with the following directors: Frey Lane, president; A. Z. McCarty, secretary; Ira Doane, J. B. Smith, J. A. McChesney, George W. Stillwell, and S. A. Comstock. The road was finished in 1848 and ran from the mouth of the Salmon River through the towns of Richland and Albion to Williamstown, seventeen miles, where it intersected the plank road between Rome and Oswego. In 1850 the Rome and Watertown Railroad, a branch of what is now the R., W. & O. Railroad, was built through Richland Station, and in May, 1851, trains were running to Watertown. As late as 1857 a line of daily stages was operated from Pulaski to Oswego; from Pulaski to Syracuse; and from Richland Station to Oswego; the latter route being established in January, 1852, by Peck & Crandall. In the fall of 1865 the railroad between Richland Station and Oswego was completed, giving Pulaski a station. In the autumn of 1871 the Syracuse Northern Railroad began operations. At a later date one of the depots at Pulaski was abandoned, the track through the village to Lacona was taken up, and a junction with a single station established, leaving one track to Richland, where it intersects the road from Rome. In 1872 the project of constructing a railroad from Boonville to Port Ontario was agitated and a company was organized, but it was abandoned. All of these improvements have had a marked influence upon the development of the town.
The construction of bridges was given early attention. April 6, 1825, the supervisors of Richland and Sandy Creek were empowered to levy a tax of $850, to build a bridge over Salmon River in Pulaski, and over Sandy Creek "where the Salina road crosses it." At Port Ontario a toll bridge was early erected across Salmon River, and April 28, 1869 the town was authorized to purchase it and thereafter to maintain it free of toll. One of the finest bridges in the town is the iron structure over the river in Pulaski, the contract for which was let in May, 1888, under direction of John M. Williams, commissioner. It is 330 feet long, cost $8,835, and occupies the site of a former bridge.
The first town meeting in Richland was held at the house of Ephraim Brewster, east of Pulaski village, in the spring of 1807, and the following officers were chosen:
Joseph Hurd, supervisor; William Hale, town clerk; George Harding, John Meacham, and Joseph Chase, assessors; Isaac Meacham and Gershom Hale, overseers of the poor; Simon Meacham, Elias Howe, and Jonathan Rhodes, highway commissioners; Elias Howe, collector for townships 6, 10, and 11 (Sandy Creek, Orwell, Boylston, and the north part of Richland); Pliny Jones, collector for townships 21 and 22 (Albion and the south part of Richland); Elias Howe, Justus St. John, and Pliny Jones, constables; Asahel Hurd, Joseph Chase, and Gershom Hale, fence-viewers; George Harding, poundmaster; Nathan W. Noyes, William Robinson, Timothy Balch, Elias Howe, Gershom Hale, Ephraim Brewster, Jonathan Rhodes, Timothy Kellogg, and Isaac Lehigh, pathmasters.
The successive supervisors of the town have been as follows:
Joseph Hurd, 1807—8; John C. Pride, 1809—16; Simon Meacham, 1817—9; John C. Pride, 1820—1; Simon Meacham, 1822; John C. Pride, 1823; Simon Meacham, 1824—52; John C. Pride, 1825—6; Thomas C. Baker, 1827; Robert Gillespie, 1828—9; Isaac Stearns, 1830; Robert Gillespie, 1831—3; Isaac Stearns, 1834; L. D. Mansfield, 1835; Isaac Stearns, 1836; Robert Gillespie, 1837—8; M. W. Mathews, 1839—41; Bradley Higgins, 1842—3; Dr. H. F. Noyes, 1844; A. Crandall, 1845—6; Casper C. West, 1847; E. M. Hill, 1848—51; Dr. H. F. Noyes, 1852; N. W. Wardwell, 1853; S. H. Meacham, 1854; James A. Clark, 1855—6; John T. McCarty, 1857—8; James A. Clark, 1859—60; Isaac Fellows, 1861—2; Sewell T. Gates, 1863—5; William H. Gray, 1866; G. T. Peckham, 1867—9; Dr. James N. Betts, 1870; Henry H. Lyman, 1871—2; William B. Dixon, 1873—8; Robert L. Ingersoll, 1879; Dr. James N. Betts, 1880; Lawson R. Muzzy, 1881—2; Thomas R. Ingersoll, 1883; Richard W. Box, 1884—5; Lawson R. Muzzy, 1886—7; Isaac J. Rich, 1888—91; Richard W. Box, 1892—3; Isaac J. Rich, 1894—5.
The town officers for 1894—95 were as follows:
Isaac J. Rich, supervisor; Thomas S. Meacham, town clerk; Isaac J. Rich, Burns E. Parkhurst, Latham D. Potter, James C. Knight, and William E. Nelson, justices of the peace; John W. Rima, collector; John Calkins, Edward E. Forman and John Nicholson, assessors; William M. Woods, highway commissioner; George W. Pond, overseer of the poor; Wilfred I. Lane, Albert White and Wells De Graw, excise commissioners, Thomas S. Meacham has been town clerk since 1881, succeeding his father, Daniel B., who held the office almost twenty-one years. Five justices of the peace have been elected in Richland annually since 1872; prior to that only four were chosen.
Settlement was commenced in the present town of Richland by Nathan Tuttle and Nathan Wilcox, who came from Canada and located at the mouth of Salmon River in 1801. The same year Benjamin Winch also settled near the outlet, and Albert Bohannan at the mouth of Snake Creek. Mr. Winch soon removed to the site of Pulaski village, where he opened the first tavern in town about 1806. Being a surveyor he aided in surveying the original Richland, and in various ways was a useful and influential citizen. The first death was that of a child of Nathan Tuttle.
Reliable data of the early settlers in this town are, in many instances, lacking. It is quite probable that many of the pioneers hereafter mentioned came in 1802 or 1803, but if so it is now impossible to determine the fact. We subjoin first, however, the names of those the exact date of whose settlement has been ascertained.
In 1804 Thomas Jones came from Bridgewater, N. Y., and located on Salmon River near Lake Ontario. He had five sons and three daughters, the sons being Pliny, Israel, Horace, Chauncey and Lyman. They settled at what was long known as "Jones Corners" and opened the roads intersecting there. Pliny Jones kept a public house upward of fifty years, and also built the first frame barn in town, which is now owned by J. S. Farmer. He was the father of Pliny H. Jones and of Mrs. Cornelia Ledyard (who died in 1894), and held one or two local offices. Israel Jones erected the first saw mill in Richland. The first wedding in the town was that of Joseph Spaids and Clara Jones, the grandparents of Dr. F. J. Bradner, of Pulaski. Spaids was obliged to go by boat to Oswego for a magistrate to perform the ceremony.3
Benjamin Bull and John B. Ingersoll also became settlers in 1804. The first birth was that of Benjamin Ingersoll August 28, 1804. In the next year Jacob Ellis, a trapper, was the first to locate at Brown's landing, a place on Salmon River that received its name from the pioneer, Sylvester Brown. Joel Ellis, a brother of Jacob, came to the town soon after. Jonathan Hooker was an early comer to this vicinity and for many years owned the principal part of its shipping. He was long a justice of the peace and a man of influence and ability.
Among other early settlers was William Smith, a farmer and fisherman, who located on the Ansel Brown farm. While fishing and boating were of paramount importance Capt. John Vorce came into the town. He was a lake captain and settled on the farm now occupied by the widow of Edmund Brown, who was born in Richland and died here in March, 1892. Daniel Brown was the first settler on the place now owned by his son-in law's widow, Mrs. Augusta Twitchell; his wife was a daughter of Benjamin Winch. Thaddeus Harmon was the pioneer on the land subsequently owned by his son James and later occupied by his grandson Calvin. Luman Hough and a Mr. Stowell were also early settlers; the latter was killed while raising a barn, and the former was poormaster for about twenty-five years. John Woods came from the eastern part of the State and built his log cabin on property now owned by Ira and Gilbert Stewart. He died December 2, 1852. His widow is yet living and resides with her son George W., in Oswego. Other pioneers were Isaac Lehigh, who settled where Thomas Bull now lives, and who was drowned in Salmon River; Abram Bates, who located in the Ingersoll neighborhood; Isaac Fellows and his son of the same name, on the Spring Brook road east of Pulaski; Nathan Stoddard, Ezra Weed, and Daniel Sykes, north of the village; and Moses Phillips.
Caleb Halsey, father of Don C., came to Mexico in 1807 and thence to Richland about 1820; he was born in Oneida county and died in 1894; his widow lives in Mexico. Samuel Calkins journeyed from Canada to Whitesboro in a bateau at the beginning of the war of 1812, and came thence to Richland on foot in 1816, settling on the farm now owned by John Price; he afterward moved to Ohio and died there. With him came his eldest son, Russell, afterwards under-sheriff and sheriff of Oswego county, who located on twenty-five acres owned by John Bentley. He was born in Vermont in 1797, was one of ten children, and became an active Democratic politician. He married Pamelia, daughter of Colonel Rufus Price, had ten children, owned 350 acres of land, and died in 1893. Rufus Price was a colonel in the Revolutionary army, an aid on Washington's staff, and a pensioner. He settled in Richland in 1808, on the farm now owned by his descendants, and died here. His wife, Ruth Grant, was related to the family of General Grant.
James Brown was born in Rhode Island in 1788, came to Richland in 1809, and died in October, 1859. He served in the war of 1812 and had ten children, of whom five are living. About the same year (1809) William Marsden became a resident of the town. He subsequently removed to Mexico and died there. He had seven sons, of whom George, the oldest, was born in 1802 and died in 1894.
Ephraim Brewster located east of Pulaski village in 1808, but afterward moved to Jefferson county. In the same neighborhood the Frary family were early settlers. One of them, Harry Frary, was born in Vermont in 1808, and died here March 4, 1885. Henry, Robert and Hugh Gillespie, brothers, located in an early day at what is called Gillespie's Mills, on Grindstone Creek, where Henry Gillespie, a son of Henry, sr., still resides. Henry Gillespie, sr., erected a saw and grist mill there and for many years did an extensive milling business. Timothy Maltby, Joseph Spaids, Samuel Vorce, Russell Rathbone, and Ralph and Isaac Price were among the first settlers on the road leading to Port Ontario on the south side of Salmon River.
The pioneer on the State road running south from Port Ontario was a Mr. McFarlin, while in the immediate vicinity D. H. Litts became an early resident. At the junction of this thoroughfare with Grindstone Creek William Fedder was the first settler, and at this point also Benjamin Wright, Mr. Scriba's agent, built one of the first saw mills in town. The first saw mill in the town was built by John Hoar in 1806. Walter Hewitt, Isaac Page, John Abel and Sanford Douglass early located on the town line.
Few localities along the lake shore in Oswego county offered better natural opportunities to smugglers than the mouth of Salmon River. During the pioneer period, and particularly in the war of 1812, the illegal traffic attained extensive proportions. Many persons were engaged in the hazardous business, one of the most active being Samuel McNett, an early settler of this town. He repeatedly fell into the hands of the custom house officials, but a plausible story invariably obtained for him his liberty. As the country became more thickly settled, smuggling decreased and finally ceased altogether. In 1820 the town contained 2,728 inhabitants, but it must be remembered that a number lived within the present limits of Albion and Sandy Creek, which then formed parts of Richland.
Among other settlers prior to 1830 were Conrad Ripson at Port Ontario; David Taylor, who, about 1824, located on the farm now owned by his son, and who became well known as a musician in the old militia trainings; Levy Tryon, who settled on the lake shore north of Port Ontario; Alexander Valentine and his son, Noble, who took up the farm recently owned by Clement Wallace, a settler of 1840; Abner Hubbard, who located on the same road; Stephen Wade, in the east part of the town; a Mr. Stimson, on lands afterwards owned by G. A. Fobes; Stephen Tinker, father of Wilson Tinker; Joseph Carr, Daniel Pratt, Hiel Richards, Ephraim and Justus Fox; Isaiah Holmes, Nelson Dewey, Israel Jones (on land now occupied by the family of his grandson, Charles E. Jones), Hiram Hubbell (who died in Oswego). Ansel Brown (in 1816), E. M. D. Baldwin, Lucius B. Cole (for some time keeper of the lighthouse at Port Ontario), O. J. Douglass, Charles C. Dodge, Stephen H. Fellows, Frey and Gilbert Lane (in 1815), D. McChesney, George F. Mellen, Ira G. Fellows, De Witt C. May, E. D. Mowry, C. B. Pratt, C. R. Maltby, James A. McChesney, Chandler Salisbury, L. S. Weed, L. R. Slater, Abner Vorce, L. M. Tyler, William Tyler, M. L. Trumbull, Isaac Schermerhorn, and others.
The Mathewson family is one of the oldest and most respected in town, and for more than two generations has been prominently identified with the history of Pulaski village. Jeremiah A. Mathewson, sr., settled there in 1806.
Samuel Bragdon, father of George, was a Revolutionary soldier. He came to a farm north of Port Ontario and died November 22, 1852. His son's widow resides on the homestead. Charles Gurley, son of Artemas, was born in Connecticut in 1811, and died in Pulaski in May, 1890. Gilbert A. Bradner came here in 1817, when seventeen years old, and died in July, 1890. Jonathan A. Burdick was born in Albany county in 1798, came to Richland about 1829, and died in 1865. Philip Minckler, a native of Columbia county, born in 1803, removed to this county about 1830 and died here in 1885. He had lived in New Haven some twenty years. Sewell T. Gates, one of the war supervisors of the town, was born in Herkimer county in 1815, removed to Richland in 1829, settled in Pulaski in 1861, and died there August 21, 1894. Shara Hardy, born in New Hampshire in 1800, lived for a time in Jefferson county, and in 1834 located at Port Ontario, where he died April 3, 1888. James A. Clark came to Mexico in 1844, but the same year removed to Pulaski, where he died June 13, 1887. He was born in Unadilla, N. Y., in 1821.
William H. Gray was an early settler of the town, and died here in January, 1889. He was born in Ithaca, N. Y., in 1815. He was a prominent Mason, served as deputy sheriff and supervisor, and for several years was proprietor of the Pulaski Hotel and the Old Salmon River House.
Dewey C. Salisbury, born in Madison county in 1811, came to this town with his father when thirteen years of age, and the next year was apprenticed to Luther Smith to learn the tanner's trade in the latter's tannery on Mill street in Pulaski. In 1836 he leased a tannery in Sandy Creek, but two years later was burned out and returned to Pulaski village. He was prominent in business affairs, and died in March, 1892.
Daniel B. Meacham was born in Vermont in 1812 and removed with his brother Milo to Sandy Creek in 1827. Twenty-two years later he came to Pulaski, where he died in June, 1891. Five families of the name came from Vermont to Sandy Creek at a very early date, and of their number John and Deacon Simon Meacham subsequently became residents of Pulaski. Thomas S., son of Daniel B. Meacham, is a merchant here and town clerk of Richland, succeeding his father in that office in 1881. Simon Meacham was prominent in local affairs and served as supervisor and town clerk many years. John Meacham opened the first store in the town in 1810.
John C. Pride was another very prominent citizen as well as an early settler. He came from Otsego county and located on lots 77 and 78, whence he subsequently removed to a farm near Holmesville. He was the second supervisor of the town and held the office in all thirteen years.
Capt. Ira Doane was born in Litchfield, Herkimer county, June 10, 1807. His father, John Doane, was a soldier in the Revolutionary army, enlisting immediately after the battle of Bunker Hill and serving until the close of the war, being confined as a prisoner eighteen months in a prison ship in New York harbor. In May, 1821, the family settled in Orwell, whence they subsequently came to Pulaski, where John Doane died January 9, 1831, and his widow in 1845. Their children were Mrs. Olivia Mason, Isaac, Harvey, and Captain Doane. The latter married, in 1830, Audria Vorce, and had seven children, of whom Henry G. enlisted in the 35th N. Y. Vols. and died in Elmira. Mrs. Doane died in 1853, and he married, in 1854, her cousin Julia, daughter of Col. William Vorce. Captain Doane was a farmer, a carpenter, a merchant in Pulaski, and a lumberman. He was president of the village, collector, jailor, undersheriff, and inspector of customs in New York city, and was a life-long Jacksonian Democrat.
Robert Leroy Ingersoll, son of Ebenezer, was born in New Berlin, N. Y., June 5, 1819, and came to Albion with his father in 1830. Educated in Mexico Academy, he purchased his time (seven months) of his father for $50, and with Elijah Shumway commenced the manufacture of carriages in Sandy Creek, but five years later removed to Pulaski and engaged in the same business, which he conducted until 1872, when he sold out to Ingersoll & Suydam. In 1854 he established the Pulaski Bank, which continued until 1862, when he organized the bank of R. L. Ingersoll & Co. He married Caroline E. Clark and had six children.
Col. Henry H. Lyman, now of Oswego, was for several years a hardware merchant in Pulaski, where he was educated.
Charles H. Cross, the oldest of fourteen children of Moulton Cross, was born in Hamilton, N. Y., January 1, 1807, and came with his parents to Richland in 1814. Moulton Cross early settled on a farm in Albion; he was a miller, and assisted in the building of several saw mills. Charles H. Cross began business as a surveyor and conveyancer in 1827, and in 1850 was appointed agent of the Pierrepont estate, representing about 100,000 acres in the counties of Lewis, Jefferson, and Oswego. He was a director and one of the organizers of the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg, and Syracuse Northern Railroad Companies. He married, in 1842, Melissa, a daughter of Gilbert Lane, and had five children.
In the vicinity of Holmesville Salmon Erskine, Avery Griffin, Lewis Conant, and the Perry family were early settlers. Capt. Robert Muzzy, sr., a soldier in the Revolutionary war, located in the town at an early day. His son, Lieutenant Robert Muzzy, jr., served in the war of 1812. Rev. Lawson Muzzy, son of Robert jr., is a superannuated Baptist minister and resides in Pulaski at the age of eighty two. His son Lawson R. Muzzy, is the editor and proprietor of the Pulaski Democrat, to the files of which we are indebted for much valuable information.
The first tavern in town bore the striking appellation of the "Beehive," and was located on what is known as the Dewey farm. Another early public house was erected by Pliny Jones one mile south of Pulaski village, as previously noted. Many other pioneers are mentioned a little further on and more fully in Parts II and III of this volume.
The population of Richland increased from 947 in 1810 to 2,728 in 1820. In the latter year its agricultural interests were in a state of steady development. The population in 1830 was 2,733; 1835, 3,461; 1840, 4,046; 1845, 3,758; 1850, 4,079; 1855, 4,012; 1860, 4,128; 1865, 4,137; 1870, 3,975; 1875, 4,018; 1880, 3,991; 1800, 3,771.
Supervisors' statistics for 1894: Assessed valuation of real estate, $1,261,204; equalized, $1,468,749; personal property, $44,772; railroads, 21.25 miles, $205,500; town tax, $9,015.44; county tax, $8,475.72; total tax levy, $20,648.58; ratio of tax on $100, $1.58; dog tax, $200. In the four election districts into which the town is divided 906 votes were cast in November, 1894.
The town contributed 277 men to the Union army and navy in the War of the Rebellion, several of whom attained commissioned offices, notably James T. Outterson, captain in the 184th Regiment; Henry H. Lyman, promoted to the rank of colonel in the 147th Regiment; and A. A. Fellows, captain Co. B, 110th N. Y. Vols.
The earlier settlers of Richland followed the precedent established by many other communities and consigned their dead to a plat set aside for the purpose on the family homestead. As the population increased and interments became more frequent, regular burial grounds were set apart to that use, one of the first, if not the very first, being a part of the beautiful cemetery in Pulaski. This originally consisted of three acres, to which three more were subsequently added, and afterward fifteen acres more were annexed. In February, 1893, the Pulaski Cemetery Association was incorporated with R. W. Box (president), G. W. Douglass (secretary), Thomas S. Meacham (treasurer), H. B. Clark, John Williams, and W. C. Peck as commissioners, who still retain their respective positions.
The first school in town was taught by Milly Ellis in the summer of 1808. The first school in Pulaski village was held in a building erected by Jeremiah A. Mathewson for a blacksmith shop, near the south end of the old Palmer or Mathewson's Hotel, the teacher being Rebecca Cross, afterward Mrs. James Harmon, who was succeeded by Miss A. Hinman. The next school in the village was kept by Pliny Jones in the log dwelling of Mr. Mathewson. The first school house was built on the premises now owned by William H. Hill, but two months after being completed it was burned. School was then held in a building owned by a Mr. Bush, which stood on the site of the subsequent residence of George W. Wood. Pliny Jones, however, soon opened his house for school purposes, and the next year a school house was erected on the site afterward occupied by Cross's land office. Later it was removed to where the old Baptist church now stands. The next school house was a brick structure built on the site of the Congregational church, and after it was demolished school was held in the church edifice. Select schools have flourished at different periods, notably those of M. W. Southworth "in Masonic Hall," in 1821, and of A. Bond, A. B., in 1848. The town now has twenty two school districts, which bear the following appellations: No. 1, Bragdon; 2, Hinman; 3, Hicks; 4, Manwaren; 5, Selkirk; 6, Brown; 7, Pulaski Village; 8, Farmer; 9, Chamberlin; 10, Richland Junction; 11, Champlin; 12, Port Ontario; 13, Douglass; 14, Fox; 15, Page; 16, Woods; 17, Holmesville; 18, Mowry; 19, Meacham; 20, Spring Brook; 21, Lamb; 22, Lehigh. In 1860 there were twenty-three school districts, in which 1,660 children were taught. In 1893 thirty-one teachers were employed and 720 children attended the several schools; value of school buildings and sites, $22,800; assessed valuation of districts, $1,192,555; public money received from the State, $3,405.86; raised by local tax, $4,008.29; number of trees planted, twenty-four.
The Pulaski Union School and Academy was incorporated by the Legislature as the Pulaski Academy on June 4, 1853, with the following Board of Education: Charles H. Cross, Anson R. Jones, Hiram Murdock, George Gurley, Don A. King, Anson Maltby, Newton M. Wardwell, Samuel Woodruff, and William H. Lester. The act of incorporation was drafted by Don A. King, and, as passed, consolidated districts 7, 25, and 30, within the village, into one district to be known as Pulaski School District No. 7. The first term was opened November 14, 1853, with Stephen C. Miller as principal. In April, 1854, the present site, on the bank of Salmon River, was purchased for $500 and early in May ground was formally broken for the present brick building, which cost $7,100. It is three stories high and was appropriately dedicated January 8, 1855. The lot, library, and philosophical apparatus cost $1,385, making a total of $8,485. The building committee consisted of George Gurley, Anson Maltby, Charles H. Cross, Don A. King, Samuel Woodruff, Anson R. Jones, Dewey C. Salisbury, John T. McCarty, and William H. Lester; general superintendent, Anson Maltby; master builder, William S. Carpenter. In 1855 the school was placed under the Board of Regents, and ever since then has ranked as one of the best academic educational institutions in the State. In the fall of 1892 it assumed its present name.
The principals have been successively:
Stephen C. Miller, 1853—6; Henry L. Lamb, 1857—9; R. B. Van Patten and A. Hoose, 1860; Pulaski E. Smith, 1861—3; Harvey II. Butterworth, 1864—5; Daniel D. Owen, 1866; Nathan B. Smith, 1867; H. W. Congdon, 1868; Sebastian Duffy, 1869—79; E. M. Wheeler, 1880—5; John M. Moore, 1885—7; Henry A. Brown, 1887—9; William C. Gorman, 1889—92; S. R. Shear, 1892 to present time.
The present faculty (1894—5) is composed as follows:
Academic Department—S. R. Shear, principal, Physical Sciences, Political Sciences, and Training Class; Minnie Walker, B. A., preceptress, Latin, Greek and Drawing; Alice Walker, B. Ph., Mathematics and Literature; Frances King, A. B., Natural Sciences and History; Harriet Hollis, Higher English and German; Professor Balestier, Penmanship, Stenography, etc.
Grammar Department—Senior, Bessy Perry; Junior, Frances Richardson.
Primary Department—Intermediate, Sophia Mattison; first primary, Caroline Marcy.
Among the presidents of the board have been George Gurley, Beman Brockway, Sidney M. Tucker, Charles H. Cross, Dr. James N. Betts, George W. Woods, James Douglass, James W. Fenton, and others. The board for 1894—5 consists of M. L. Hollis, president; W. H. Austin, secretary; Charles Tollner, Oron V. Davis, Albert F. Betts, Thomas S. Meacham, D. C. Dodge, B. E. Parkhurst, and D. C. Mahaffy.
The school is divided into four departments, primary, intermediate, junior, and senior. The academic department affords three regular courses of study—English, Latin and English, and Classical. The library comprises several hundred volumes of standard books of reference and general reading, and the laboratory is well equipped with modern chemical, philosophical, and physiological apparatus. The standard of the school is high and ably maintained.
The Richland Union Free School was incorporated September 25, 1888. The preliminary effort was an election held October 1, 1886, at which the district voted to organize, as above, by forty-five to twenty-nine, and the first Board of Education, chosen at that meeting, was composed of E. D. Wells, president; N. B. Hine, secretary; Albert Wright, Heman H. Richardson, James Beeman, William C. Orton, and William A. Penney. In that year an addition to the district school house (which was built in 1875), was erected. The first preceptress was a Miss Ball. The school has two departments, primary and intermediate, under the principalship of James C. Knight. The Board of Education for 1894—5 consists of E. H. Kenyon, president, Charles H. Field, and John Doneburg. Fred M. Moore is secretary, Harvey Joyce, collector, and William H. Averill, treasurer.
Pulaski village.—The first settler within the present corporate limits of Pulaski was Benjamin Winch, who located here in 1804 and soon afterward erected the first tavern in the town near the site of the old Palmer House. It was a log structure, and its subsequent proprietors were John Hoar and P. A. Mathewson. The latter came here in 1806. He was born in Scituate, R. I., and was the father of the late Jeremiah A. Mathewson, who was long recognized as authority on local history. In 1805 came the families of William Smith, who lived near the depot; Daniel Stone and Jonathan Rhodes, who occupied jointly a log house standing on the site of the residence of Lucius Jones; Rufus Fox, who settled where the Baptist church now stands; and Erastus Kellogg, a blacksmith, who located a few rods north of the Froud block, and whose house was the first frame building in the village. Mr. Fox subsequently removed to a point two miles up the river at what is called Fox's bridge. His son Justus died in town aged eighty years; Justus, jr., a son of the latter, resides two miles east of Pulaski. Hiram, who lived near the old homestead, was another son of Justus Fox, sr. John Jones, father of Charles, came from Oneida county in 1808. Two other early settlers were Thomas and Rufus Bishop.
In 1810 a new impetus was given to the infant settlement and thence-forward its growth was rapid and permanent. The exceptional waterpower and natural advantages gave the locality a reputation and settlers came in rapidly, several of whom have been mentioned. Capt. John Meacham, who had located in Sandy Creek, moved that year to the embryo village, took up his residence in the Stone and Rhodes log house, and opened a store—the first in the town—on the corner of Bridge and Jefferson streets. With him came Henry Patterson, a hatter. Silas Harmon became a business partner of Captain Meacham in 1811, and soon afterward the firm was succeeded by Milton Harmon, a nephew of Silas. It is evident that a considerable settlement had been effected by 1812, for in that year a militia company was raised, under Captain Meacham, which was twice called to the defense of Sackett's Harbor and once to Oswego. During the year 1812 Hudson Tracy and John S. Davis became settlers. Mr. Davis was prominent in both town and county, serving the latter as its first sheriff. The first court at which a jury was drawn was held in Pulaski in February, 1817, and two years later, in 1819, the court house was erected, the building committee being Simon Meacham, John S. Davis, and Ebenezer Young; James Weed was the builder. This structure was rebuilt and enlarged in 1859; a jail annex was erected in 1887.
One of the most interesting recollections associated with the early days of Pulaski is the general training, which occurred annually on the village green in front of the court house. These stirring events brought hither all the able-bodied men and crowds of spectators for miles around, and in themselves were legitimate occasions for fun and frolic. The public square was then unoccupied to the Methodist church, and afforded one of the best training grounds in the vicinity. The commandant for many years was Col. Thomas S. Meacham, whose personality lent a peculiar charm and enthusiasm to the military spirit of the time. The officers were wont to regale themselves at the tavern which stood on the site of the Salmon River House, while their troops and visitors devoured gingerbread and cider with an appetite sharpened by travel and drill.
Among other earlier settlers in the village were Gershom Hale, Jacob Weed and sons, Jehiel Weed and sons (Joel and Ezra), Amos Fellows, Oliver Ramsdell, Henry Mitchell, Joel Harmon, and Angus McFee. The first physician was Dr. Isaac Whitmore, who came from Madison county and settled on the south side of the river in 1810; other medical practitioners were Drs. Allen Andrews, Gridley about 1815, and H. F. Noyes. The first to practice law was Benjamin Winch, but the first regular lawyer was James A. Davis; among other early attorneys were Chester Hayden, Abram P. Vosburg, J. W. Helme, James J. Pettit, and Harvey J. Harmon.
The first grist mill was erected by J. A. Mathewson on the site of Charles Tollner's box factory in 1808. Two years later he built a second mill. The original part of the old "red mill," which burned March 20, 1890, was erected in 1825; an addition was made in 1834, and afterward it was repaired and improved. Its successive owners were J. A. Mathewson, Arthur & Charles Mathewson in 1840, Porter & Ellis, Porter & G. W. Fuller, Johnson & Taylor, Johnson & June in 1860, Jeremiah A. Mathewson in 1864, George Woods, Dunn & Hohman in 1870, and Mr. Dunn in 1877. G. W. Fuller had also a potashery, which was destroyed by fire in November, 1847. A. H. Stevens conducted a hat factory here many years, a part of the time in what is now the dwelling of George Washington, and Hiram Lewis started a similar establishment about 1831. Hudson Tracy and John S. Davis built the first carding and cloth-dressing mill, which was subsequently operated by Stearns & West, in whose possession it burned April 21, 1852.
The first newspaper printed in the village was the Pulaski Banner, which was started in 1830, and a copy dated November 8, 1831, contains the following advertisers: John H. Wells, notice to delinquent debtors; D. Stillman, tin manufactory; County & Stage House, James Wood, proprietor, "north side of Salmon River, fronting Public Square;" Benjamin H. Wright, land for sale; Ralph French, patent medicines; Hiram Lewis, "new hat store and manufactory;" Allen & Hale, merchants; Charles E. Barkley, painting and chairmaking; Luke Wood, tannery and shoe shop; M. W. Southworth, select school in Masonic hall (where the Congregational church now stands); Wells & Hall, general merchants; John O. Dickey, lottery agent; E. S. Salisbury, tailor.
The following description appears in "Historical Collections of the State of New York," published in 1846:
Pulaski village, half-shire town, was incorporated in 1833.4 Centrally situated on Salmon River, 4 miles from its confluence with Lake Ontario, 39 north of Salina [Syracuse], and 60 from Utica. The river at this place affords considerable waterpower, on which are a number of grist and saw mills, and several manufacturing establishments. There are about eighty dwellings, a number of churches, a court house and prison.
The Pulaski Courier of August 22, 1844, contained the advertisements of
C. & J. A. Rhodes, A. Z. McCarty, and John B. Watson, attorneys; Hiram Murdock, John M. Watson, J. V. Kendall ("in office lately occupied by Dr. Noyes,") and George O. Gilbert, physicians; G. W. Fuller, general merchant; John David, wagon shop; Allen Crandall, blacksmith; Eagle Tavern, A. McLean, proprietor; John Jones, blacksmith; Pulaski livery stable; D. H. Fisk, dry goods; Dewey C. Salisbury, tanner and leather manufacturer; Wardwell & Stillman, general merchants; Mrs. Fisk, milliner; E. M. Hill, grocer; Henry Mitchell, tailor; Stearns & West, woolen manufacturers; Sidney M. Tucker, harnessmaker; Samuel Hale, boots and shoes; Edward S. Salisbury, tailor; Jacob Smith, hats and furs; George Gurley, cabinet maker; John Box, jr., blacksmith; A. H. Stevens, hats and furs and hat factory; L. B. Norton, hardware.
The same newspaper in 1847, bearing the name of Richland Courier, contained many of the above advertisers and also the names of
Daniel McCarty and J. T. Stevens, attorneys; Hiram Murdock & Son and H. F. Noyes, physicians; Box & Robbins, blacksmiths; John C. Pride, cooper; Miss W. A. Gilbert, milliner; Pulaski paper mill, Tallmadge, Wright & Co., proprietors, "foot of Church street;" Eagle furnace, plow and stove manufactory, Snow & Dodge, proprietors, corner of Mill and Furnace streets; Charles H. Cross, engineer and surveyor; Sykes & Mathewson (succeeded this year by Sykes & Goodwin), merchants; Mansfield & Doane, grocers and produce dealers; D. S. Robinson and L. B. Rice, painters; William S. Carpenter, "successor to E. S. Salisbury," tailor; A. F. Mathewson, jeweler; William June, tailor; Henry Emerson, hats, etc.; Meacham & Crandall, stoves and hardware; A. C. Burton, harnessmaker; Mrs. E. Way, milliner; R. B. Boynton, machinist; J. A. Clark, variety store; Charles G. Hinman, wagon shop; Barney Peck, livery.
The Eagle Furnace (Pulaski foundry) here mentioned was purchased by Benjamin Snow in 1832, and among its proprietors were Snow & Greenwood, Snow, Brown & Simmons, Snow & Thomas, Snow & Dodge, Snow & Fisher, Fisher & Norman Snow, Fisher & Wood, and Fisher & Ling. John David was succeeded in 1848 by Charles H. David. The firm of Tallmadge, Wright & Co. was composed of D. P. Tallmadge, William E. Wright and William H. Gray. The partnership was dissolved October 28, 1847, and Mr. Wright continued the manufacture of paper alone. The firm also conducted a printing establishment and a book bindery and turned out a number of books.
The Pulaski Banner was the first paper established in the county outside of Oswego. It was started in April, 1830, and published by Nathan Randall in the village until 1832, when he sold it to A. A. Mathewson and G. G. Foster, who disposed of it in 1833 to James Geddes. The latter suspended its publication in 1834. In 1836 Daniel Ayer purchased the material and began issuing the Pulaski Advocate, which he sold in 1838 to a Mr. Dickinson, who at that time owned the Port Ontario Aurora. Mr. Dickinson consolidated the two papers under the name of the Pulaski Advocate and Aurora, and early in 1840 sold out to Daniel Ayer, who discarded the last name and published the Advocate until 1842, when it was discontinued. In 1843 William H. S. Winans established the Pulaski Courier and on February 25, 1847, sold it to A. A. Mathewson, who changed the name to Richland Courier and continued the publication until September 25, 1850, when Joseph C. Hatch, a brilliant writer and an able editor, purchased the establishment. Mr. Hatch changed its name to the Northern Democrat and on July 21, 1853, resigned the editorship to Beman Brockway, subsequently the founder and editor of the Watertown Times, who changed the name to the Pulaski Democrat, which it has ever since borne. December 8, 1853, Mr. Hatch resumed the editorial charge and in 1855 was succeeded by Stephen C. Miller with Don A. King at the financial helm. Professor Miller died in November, 1869, and the paper and material passed into possession of Lawson Reade Muzzy, the present editor and publisher, who enlarged it to its present size in January, 1894. The Democrat originally advocated the principles of the Democratic party, but since 1869 it has been an independent sheet with Republican tendencies. It has never missed an issue; immediately after the great fire of October, 1881, an extra was published from one of the churches. Mr. Muzzy is one of the ablest editors in the county. He is prominently identified with the affairs of his village and town and has served as postmaster one term and as supervisor several years.
Among the old-time merchants not previously mentioned were:
Thomas C. Baker (father-in-law of Don A. King), Douglass & Watson, Allen & Hale, Hale & Smith, Baker & Preston, Jones & Clark, John H. Wells, J. Manning Hall, Newell Wright, Luther Allen, John L. Dickinson, C. W. Smart & Co. (books), D. W. Groat (harnesses), Newell Wright and James Crawford (partners), A. R. Angell and Calvin Seeley (partners), C. R. Jones and J. T. McCarty (successors to Jones & Angell), John H. and George O. Gilbert (drugs), G. W. Bond & Co., James A. Clark & Co., Meacham & Cronk (successors to Meacham & Norton, who succeeded Meacham & Crandall in 1848, hardware), Charles Bishop (shoes), Allen Crandall (hardware), R. Allen (bakery, succeeded by William C. Hempstead in 1848), Harmon Cronk (successor to Meacham & Cronk in 1853), Norton & Fuller, L. A. Gaylord (jewelry), S. H. Meacham (books), and E. Macomber (successor to Jones & McCarty).
The next hotel after Benjamin Winch's primitive tavern was built in 1807 and stood near the site occupied by the old Pulaski House. It was erected by P. A. Mathewson. On the site a small inn was erected in 1810, and to it an addition was made in 1812. In 1829 the main part was built "at a cost of $1,884.58." Among its earlier landlords were:
P. A. Mathewson, E. Young, Silas Harmon, Anson Maltby, Robert Kelley, Dr. Lewis, J. A. Mathewson (from 1840 to 1863), Joseph Curtis, Huggins & Taylor, Mr. Baldwin, Mr. Helmer, N. Johnson, Mr. Stacy, W. H. Gray, G. L. Hubbs, S. A. Palmer and Mr. Van Patten.
The Pulaski House, formerly the Palmer House, under the proprietorship of S. A. Palmer, was destroyed by fire March 11, 1890. Other taverns were Brainard's Hotel, Levi Brainard, proprietor, changed to the Salmon River House in May, 1849, by J. A. Ford, landlord; Pulaski Temperance House, corner of Jefferson and Furnace streets, Henry Emerson, proprietor; and California House, O. B. Macy, proprietor.
Of the various enterprises that have had an existence in Pulaski may be mentioned those of Lafayette Alfred, sash and blind factory, started in 1848; Ingersoll & Osgood's carriage manufactory; Benjamin Dow, machinist and millwright; David Bennett, jr., and Albert Maltby's Empire machine shop; and the old Eagle oil mill, which was leased for a time by G. B. Griffin, who was succeeded in April, 1854, by A. B. Collins and A. M. Duncan. The Ingersoll planing mill property was purchased by the Wilder Carriage Company in October, 1891, and has since been utilized as a carriage factory.
The most important manufacturing industry, however, that ever flourished in the village or town is the large fancy box factory of Charles Tollner. Beginning with no capital save that of his trade, Mr. Tollner has established one of the most extensive business enterprises in Northern New York, an enterprise which has brought thousands of dollars into the community and furnished remunerative employment to hundreds of people. January 14, 1886, the entire establishment was destroyed by fire, entailing a loss of about $30,000. With commendable public spirit the citizens and employees immediately joined in rebuilding the plant, which is one of the finest in the country. Mr. Tollner is foremost in all matters pertaining to the village, liberally encouraging with his large wealth and personal activity every movement having for its object the improvement of the community.
The first post office was established January 1, 1817, under the name of Richland, with Henry White as postmaster. Following him came Orville Morrison in 1818, Hiram Hubbell in 1819, Daniel H. Fisk in 1842, Henry N. Wright in December, 1844, Joseph T. Stevens in 1849, Benjamin Rhodes in 1851, and Newell Wright in 1852. January 27, 1853, the name was changed to Pulaski. July 14, 1853, William C. Hempstead was appointed; Henry N. Wright in 1856; John B. Watson in 1861; Henry N. Wright in 1866; and John B. Watson in 1867. It was made a presidential office in 1871 and on March 28 of that year John B. Watson was appointed postmaster; following him came John T. McCarty in 1881, Don C. Bishop (five months, appointment not confirmed), Lawson R. Muzzy, John T. McCarty again, and Don C. Bishop since November, 1888. Mr. Muzzy, at his own expense, placed the present handsome and convenient cabinet in the office, which occupies the lower story of his brick building.
Pulaski village was incorporated April 26, 1832; in 1849 the limits were enlarged to the present area. April 18, 1838, the charter was slightly amended, and May 25, 1858, a re-incorporation was effected. March 24, 1871, the charter was amended relative to granting licenses, and March 29, 1883, it was further amended by placing the cemetery under the control of three commissioners, who were to hold office, each three years. April 10, 1884, it was again amended, and on June 3, of the same year it was voted to incorporate under the laws of 1870. The first officers, chosen in 1832, were:
Abner French, president; Isaac H. Stearns, Hiram Hubbell, Benjamin H. Wright and John H. Wells, trustees; John L. Dickinson, clerk; Thomas C. Baker, John L. Dickinson and Casper C. West, assessors; L. B. Cole, collector; Isaac Whitmore, treasurer.
The officers for 1894—95 were as follows:
Albert F. Betts, president; Dwight C. Dodge, George W. Douglass and Charles F. Woods, trustees; William B. Dixson, treasurer; Latham D. Potter, collector; Burns E. Parkhurst, clerk (since 1882); Lorenzo Ling, Oron V. Davis and Charles Tollner water commissioners; Silas W. Holmes, street commissioner; Latham D. Potter and B. E. Parkhurst, justices of the peace.
Few communities in the State have suffered more severely from the ravages of fire than Pulaski. Thirteen years ago nearly the entire business portion was destroyed yet, phoenix like, it rose from the ashes a better and more attractive village, a fact that speaks volumes for the courage, enterprise and public spirit of its inhabitants. April 21, 1852, the woolen factory of Stearns & West, the tannery of George T. Peckham, and two or more dwellings were burned, causing a loss of $16,000. In August, 1853, a Button hand fire engine was purchased at a cost of $850, which appears to have been the initial effort to establish an organized fire protection. May 9, 1873, Ringgold Fire Company No. 1 was incorporated by Richard W. Box, Nathan B. Smith, B. D. Salisbury, A. N. Beadle, Dwight C. Dodge, Sidney F. Doane, George H. Fuller and Lewis J. Macy.
On October 6, 1881, occurred the great conflagration which proved so disastrous, and by which more than sixty persons or firms suffered loss of property. The burned district, comprising the entire business part of the Village, extended from North Park to the iron bridge and from Salmon River to the west side of Broad street. The principal sufferers, with their estimated losses, were Dr. James N. Betts, $20,000; H. B. Clark, $18,000; W. H. Gray (Salmon River House), over $12,000; George W. Douglass, $9,000; Pulaski National Bank, $10,000; Democrat office, $5,500; John F. Box, $17,000; Sidney M. Tucker, $10,000; and the Ringgold Fire Company's house. The Betts opera house was built in 1883, and in 1884 a new engine house was erected at a cost of $2,175. January 15, 1886, Charles Tollner's box factory and residence were burned, entailing a loss of $45,000, and in March following the Austin block was destroyed, the loss being about $50,000. In that year the present system of water works was constructed, the village being bonded in the sum of $25,000 for the purpose, payable in twenty years. The water is obtained from a large spring on Spring Brook, about four miles east of Pulaski, whence it is conveyed by the gravity system to a reservoir of three acres in area, situated inside of the corporate limits. The plant is owned by the corporation and controlled by a board of three commissioners.
The fire department, of which R. W. Box is chief, consists of Ringgold Fire Co., F. G. Whitney, president; Tollner Fire Co., Charles Tollner, president; Hose Co., No. I, R. D. Box, foreman; and Hose Co., No. 2, S. W. Holmes, foreman.
The Pulaski Gas and Oil Company, Ltd., was organized in 1889, with L. J. Clark as president, and immediately began to drill for natural gas on Mill street within the village limits. Gas was struck at a depth of 980 feet, and during the night blew the drill, rope, and 500 feet of casing through a four foot opening in the derrick, causing a tremendous explosion. The well was plugged and work suspended, but the franchise remained in possession of the company until the spring of 1894, when it was purchased by Charles Tollner, who has since put down several wells, and whose family was the first to use natural gas in Pulaski. He has laid eight or ten miles of gas mains for the purpose of supplying patrons in the village.
In November, 1885, Charles Tollner placed an electric plant in operation in his box factory, which was destroyed by fire the next year. The new factory was similarly equipped, the system was soon extended to others, and October 2, 1893, the village by vote decided to become a patron.
The first bank established in Pulaski was the Pulaski Bank, which was started in September, 1853, by R. L. Ingersoll and S. R. Ingham, who occupied respectively the positions of president and cashier. Its nominal capital was $100,000. In 1862 the name was changed to R. L. Ingersoll & Company's Bank, which it retained until about ten years ago, when it wound up its affairs and went out of existence.
The Pulaski National Bank had its beginning in the State Bank of J. A. Clark & Co., which was organized September 1, 1862, with J. A. Clark as president and Charles A. Clark as cashier, and which was permanently discontinued about 1871. The first named institution was chartered July 31, 1865, with Charles A. Clark as president and James A. Clark as cashier. It had a capital of $100,000, of which $50,000 was paid up. In 1874 Lewis J., a son of James A. Clark, was appointed assistant cashier. The present board of directors is composed of Ella M. Clark, president, L. J. Clark, Charles A. Peck, Mrs. Nellie T. Peck, and Mrs. O. H. Peck. The present brick bank building was erected in 1882.
In November, 1894, the Pulaski Business Association was organized with J. L. Hutchens as corresponding secretary. It is composed of the enterprising business men of the village, and was formed for the purpose of fostering and encouraging local manufacturing and commercial interests.
Pulaski village has a thrifty population of 1,517. Since 1850, when the railroad was commenced, it has gone forward with substantial growth and steady development.
Port Ontario, "a city of unrealized possibilities," situated at the mouth of Salmon River, has an early history which almost rivals that of Oswego, of which place it became an active rival for shipping and other lake interests. It was the site of the first permanent settlement in Richland, and from an early day was regarded as a natural harbor. Some time prior to 1836 John L. and Asa C. Dickinson, Elias Camp, and Colonel Robert Nickles, conceiving the idea that a city must spring up here, organized the Port Ontario Company and immediately surveyed a large tract of land into building lots, "the usual size" of which was "67 by 174 feet." Colonel Nickles was the surveyor, and in that year he made an elaborate map of the "Village of Port Ontario," which is now in the possession of L. R. Muzzy, of Pulaski. Beginning at the lake it describes the property in substance as follows: On the left is Selkirk Lake, and a few rods above a slip with piers on either side is indicated. The mouth of Mill Creek is designated "Mill slip." On the right are three slips, Nos. 3, 2, and 1 respectively, and opposite No. 1 are Kewana and Meadow Islands, while between these is Great Day Island. Then comes Salmon Island, over which a bridge connects the two shores. Just below is Bird Island, and opposite this, on the south bank, is the hydraulic canal, running up and parallel with the river. Above the bridge are Susan F., Genesee, Maryann, Martha, Surveyors, Maria, Crab, Julia, and Adcane Islands. Two public squares, one on either side of the river, are indicated on the plat, while on the south side is a lot reserved for school purposes.
The new city was announced with a flourish of trumpets, and lots sold at exorbitant prices. April 24, 1837, the village was incorporated, and May 16 the Legislature chartered the Salmon River Harbor Canal Company, which was organized for the purpose of constructing a canal "from the original lake to the village of Port Ontario." The capital stock aggregated $350,000. In November, 1837, the Port Ontario Aurora was established. It was "printed for the proprietors by L. W. Cole at the corner of Bridge and Pulaski streets." It was a large four—page sheet, edited by E. J. Van Cleve, and a copy dated December 6, 1837, contains the following advertisements:
O. E. Dwight, painter; Mercy Clark, tailoring and mantua making; Libbeus Marshall, cabinet maker; J. O. Olcott, blacksmith; K. Manwaring, lime, etc; Robert Nickles, "village lots in First ward, Port Ontario, for sale;" Robert Nickles and A. H. Lawrence, agents for lands in Jefferson, Lewis and Oswego counties; Port Ontario House (4th ward), S. Mason proprietor; Selkirk Hotel (1st ward), J. M. Stacy and B. Ripson proprietors; J. S. Nickles and Smith & Potts, general merchants; J. Palden, boots and shoes; H. L. Allen and J. Conover, carpenters; H. M. Cross, marble, etc.: Isaac Young, grocer; Stephen L. West, blacksmith; James Gore, jeweler; Mitchell & Pride, tailors; Caleb Wells, shoemaker.
Afterward N. W. Fisher became a general merchant and John Meacham & Co. and Shepard & Gillespie established a forwarding and commission business.
In 1838, after an existence of about six months, the Aurora was purchased by a Mr. Dickinson and moved to Pulaski, when it was united with the Advocate under the name of the Pulaski Advocate and Aurora.
In 1838 a lighthouse was built and in 1855 it was refitted. The contractors of the original structure, which cost about $8,000, were Joseph Gibbs and Abner French. For several years it remained unused, but recently it has been relighted and is now maintained. A postoffice was obtained and is still continued, the present postmaster being Perry Hardy, who succeeded S. A. Smith in May, 1887. The sanguine hopes of the enterprising progenitors were never realized. Trade and commerce were diverted to other centers and Port Ontario was left a quiet rural hamlet, beautified, however, by a wide expanse of water.
Richland Station (Richland post-office), a small village in the northeast corner of the town, from which it derives its name, is principally noted as a railroad junction and transfer point in shipping coal, etc. It dates its existence from the completion of the railroad, before which it had only a saw mill and a house or two. Among the merchants here have been a Mr. Aldrich, Ira Doane, Captain Sprague, S. C. Davis, Monroe Wright, William Averill, James C. Van Epps, Lafayette Erskine, O. D. Moore (father of the present postmaster, Fred M.), and Charles Field. Those now in business are G. H. Mellen, William D. Streeter, and J. P. Washburn. Henry H. Mellen, a cousin of G. H., was for several years a prominent business man here, being postmaster, hotel keeper, and station agent. Mr. Field established and for a number of years actively conducted a trout farm near the village. Among the hotel proprietors may be mentioned O. D. Moore, where John Doneburg now is; Albert Wright, the oldest landlord in Richland Station; Mr. Frost, who was succeeded by his family; and Henry H. Mellen, who built the Trout Brook House in 1853.
Holmesville (South Richland post-office) is a station on the Syracuse division of the R., W. & O. Railroad, south of Pulaski and was named in honor of the large family of Holmes who settled in the vicinity at an early day. Of their number was Jabin Holmes, a native of Cherry Valley, N. Y., and a pensioner of the war of 1812, who lived to over 100 years old. He was the father of Norton P. Holmes. A tannery flourished here until March 14, 1886, when it was burned. The present postmaster is George L. Varney, who succeeded Isaac L. Rich.
Daysville is a post-office and station on the Oswego and Richland division of the R., W. & O. Railroad. Its principal business interests are the saw, cider, and shingle mill and evaporator of D. E. Huff and the general store of Brown & Co. Florence L. Brown is postmistress.
Churches.—The first religious organization in this town was the First Congregational society and church of Richland (in Pulaski), which was organized at the house of Erastus Kellogg on the 22d of January, 1811; the certificate of incorporation was filed in the county clerk's office February 25 of that year. The society had its beginning, however, in a preliminary association of nine persons in Pawlet, Vt., namely, Thaddeus Harmon, John Meacham, Levi Meacham, Joel Harmon, Simon Meacham, Lucy Meacham, Olive Hall, Polly Meacham, and Ruth Harmon, who met for the purpose before their departure for Richland, their future home. The first trustees of the church society, elected January 22, 1811, were Timothy Maltby, Silas Harmon, Rufus Pierce, John Meacham, Erastus Kellogg, Dr. Moses R. Porter, and Simon Meacham. Until 1817 this little band of worshipers held services in private dwellings. In that year they established their spiritual home in the school house which then stood on the site of the old Cross land office in Pulaski. Later they removed to the vicinity of the present Baptist church, and after the court house was erected in 1819, meetings were held therein. In 1827 the first edifice, a frame structure, with galleries, was erected at a cost of about $2,000. It stood on Church street and was subsequently converted into a school house, the last service being held in it July 9, 1865, by Rev. David Spear, then in his eighty-fifth year. He had also preached the first sermon in the building after its completion and administered the first communion to the congregation. A new church was built in 1866—7 and dedicated April 24, 1867, by Rev. Laurens P. Hickok, D.D., LL.D., president of Union College. It cost $15,000, of which sum $1,500 were contributed by Deacon Simon Meacham. The first pastor, Rev. Oliver Leavitt, accompanied the little colony from Pawlet to Richland and was installed December 24, 1811. He remained until August 27, 1818, and among his successors were:
Rev. Oliver Ayer, February 20, 1822, to April 12, 1826; Rev. George Freeman, December 7, 1827, to January 22, 1830; Rev. Ralph Robinson, March 23, 1830, to January 28, 1846; Rev. Thomas Salmon, August 2, 1846, to June 15, 1847 (died December 4, 1854); Rev. Fayette Shepherd, May 19, 1855, to April 19, 1858; Rev. Lucien W. Cheney, October 10, 1858, to November 10, 1864. The successor of the latter was Rev. James Douglas.5 The present pastor is Rev. A. S. Emmons.
In 1817 the first Sunday school was organized with Dea. Simon Meacham as superintendent, and during the next year a library was established.
The Methodist Episcopal church of Pulaski had its beginning in a series of meetings of this denomination which were held in the dwelling of John Ingersoll and the tavern of Pliny Jones as early as 1811. The society was probably organized as a class, if not as a church about 1813. Besides private houses and the tavern of Mr. Jones, services were held with more or less regularity in the school house in Pulaski until the erection of the court house, when the members shared the hospitalities of that building in common with other religious organizations. In 1832 the church edifice was erected on Salina street on the site of the subsequent residence of Charles Hubbard. Many years afterward the present structure was built, which was remodeled and repaired at a cost of $2,600 and reopened for service December 18, 1888. Among the early preachers were Revs. Calkins, Bibbens, McNine, Fuller, Whitcomb, Chapin, G. C. Woodruff, Bowdish, Hawkins, A. J. Phelps, Orlando C. Cole, William Jones, S. B. Crosier, and others. The present pastor is Rev. Anson D. Webster, who is also the conference treasurer. The society has about 230 members. The church property, including the parsonage, is valued at $9,200. The church is in the Oswego district of the Northern New York Conference. The Sunday school has an average attendance of 120 scholars.
The Baptist church of Pulaski was organized at the court house June 9, 1828, in compliance with a resolution adopted at a conference held May 17, of that year. Prior to that time Rev. Nathaniel Gitteau, "a very acceptable preacher," who died in 1827, formed the Baptists of the vicinity into a class for religious worship, and presided over them in the capacity of a temporary minister. The recognition services creating the new society were solemnized by Rev. R. T. Smith, Rev. Enos Ferris, and Rev. Timothy Brewster, and T. C. Baker was elected church clerk. On July 12 Benjamin Snow, sr., and T. C. Baker were chosen deacons. The constituent members were:
Jason Lothrop, Benjamin Snow, T. C. Baker, R. Clyne, Eli Greene, Horace Phillips, John Hendrickson, Sylvester Hills, Oliver Allen, Mrs. Allen and daughter, Mrs. William Hale and daughter, Sibyl S. Baker, Lavina Snow, Delia Doane, Betsey Jones, Polly Hendrickson, Charlotte Way, Amanda Weed, Susan Phillips, Lovina Meacham, Ann Fellows, Cynthia Bass, Eliza Bragdon, and Fanny Manwarring.
At a meeting held August 31, 1829, the project of building a church was inaugurated, but the edifice was not finished and occupied until the summer of 1834. The pastor during this period was Rev. Jesse Elliott. Several years later, and during the pastorate of Rev. S. J. Decker, the structure was repaired, enlarged, and for the first time dedicated. The last sermon was delivered in this edifice July 22, 1894. Upon the original site, fronting on the south park, the society has erected a new frame building at a cost of about $7,500. The corner stone was laid September 11, 1894, and the edifice was dedicated in May, 1895. The first pastor was Rev. Jason Lothrop; his successors have been:
Revs. Jesse Elliott, I. N. T. Tucker, C. B. Taylor, A. Webb, Charles Marshall, Thomas Bright, W. I. Crane, Lawson Muzzy, S. J. Decker, M. V. Wilson, G. A. Ames, M. B. Comfort, J. J. Townsend, D. D. Owen, J. N. Steelman, and D. J. Bailey, the present incumbent. The deacons are J. W. Wood, E. F. Smith, and Ephraim Averill. Benjamin Snow, jr., is church clerk. The society has about 165 members, and a Sunday school of nearly 200 scholars, with J. L. Hutchins as superintendents.
St. James Protestant Episcopal church of Pulaski was organized at the Court House August 10, 1846, Hon. Andrew Z. McCarty presiding at the meeting, with the following vestry: John David and Andrew Z. McCarty (wardens); John Box, jr., Daniel McCarty, Jerome B. Smith, Joseph T. Stevens, John A. Rose, Alden Crandall, Frey Lane, and J. C. Rhoades, vestrymen. The founder and life-long warden of the parish, and one of its most influential members, was John David, who maintained lay-reading whenever a vacancy in the rectorship occurred. The church was finished and consecrated February 27, 1850, by Rt. Rev. William H. De Lancey, bishop of Western New York, at a cost of $2,500. It was then regarded as one of the handsomest edifices in the diocese. It is 30x90 feet and was designed by Upjohn, of New York. To aid in the erection of this structure Hon. William C. Pierrepont, of Pierrepont Manor, Jefferson county, contributed $500 and for the rectory he gave $1,000. The earlier rectors of the parish were: Rev. Edward De Zeng, Henry Stanley, Gordon M. Bradley, Andrew Oliver, Joshua L. Harrison, Moses E. Wilson, Peter B. Morrison, Milton B. Benton, Gilbert B. Hayden, and others. The present rector is Rev. Robert Paul.
St. John the Evangelist's Roman Catholic church of Pulaski was built in 1888, the corner stone being laid on August 28, of that year. It stands on the corner of Park and Niagara streets, cost about $2,500, and was consecrated January 16, 1889. The first pastor was Rev. Father Barrily.
The Baptist church of South Richland was organized at the house of Col. Robert Gillespie on the 7th of October, 1817, and four days afterward Rev. Enos Ferris was installed the first pastor. He served many years and during the earlier existence of the society meetings were held in private dwellings or barns. In 1840 the church edifice was completed, the first service therein being held on April 11 of that year. The society now has about thirty-five resident members, under the pastoral care of Rev. Jabez Ford, supply. The last regular pastor was Rev. G. W. Lewis, who closed his labor there March 1, 1894. The value of the property is $2,800. The superintendent of the Sunday school is B. D. Burdick.
The Methodist Episcopal church of South Richland was organized by Revs. G. C. Woodruff and Gardner Baker in June, 1840, with the following constituent members Solomon and Betsey Erskine, Phoebe Erskine, Betsey Dickinson, Rhoda Stewart, Sebern Dickinson and wife, George H. English and wife, Timothy Steele and wife, Levi Cary and wife, and Jonathan Sherwood and wife. For eighteen years services were held in the school house, the charge being at first a part of the Pulaski circuit, subsequently (1844) a part of the Mexico circuit, and finally (1851) a separate station. In 1858 the present edifice was built and dedicated, the meeting on the latter occasion being conducted by Rev. George Sawyer, presiding elder, and Rev. J. H. Burnett, the pastor in charge. The structure cost $800. The society is now under the pastoral care of Rev. H. R. Northrup. The Methodists at Daysville and vicinity maintain services in a Union church at that place, which was erected many years ago, at an expense of $400. The congregation is connected with the South Richland charge. The two societies have a membership of about 170. The entire church property, including a parsonage, is valued at $3,100.
The First Methodist Episcopal church of Richland station was organized as a society at the school house in that village on November 15, 1886, with about twenty members, by Rev. B. Day Brown, the first pastor. It was incorporated and in 1887 the present frame edifice was erected, the dedication of which took place April 24, 1888; it cost about $1,500. The first board of trustees consisted of H. H. Richardson, James Beeman, and E. D. Wells. The present trustees are E. D. Wells, James C. Knight, and A. D. Bonner. The pastors have been Revs. B. Day Brown, Truman Weed, W. J. Hancock, and W. H. Jago, the present incumbent. This church is connected with the Orwell charge.
The Church of Christ (Disciples) of Richland Station had its beginning in the labors of Elder John Encell, who came there May 1, 1874, and held a series of meetings in the vacant store of H. H. Mellen. A society was organized June 16, 1874, with about thirty-six members, and on August 1 their present edifice was commenced; it was dedicated June 16, 1878, and is valued with lot at $1,200. The first pastor was Rev. W. T. Newcomb, who was succeeded by Rev. C. E. Wells. The present incumbent is Rev. Gilbert L. Harney. This was the first church at Richland Station and has always maintained a steady growth.
At Port Ontario religious services were held at an early day and have been maintained with considerable regularity down to the present time. An outgrowth of the work was the erection of Bethel church, which was dedicated January 9, 1850. Baptist services are conducted here by Rev. D. J. Baily, pastor of the Baptist church of Pulaski.
1. This river is named from the fish which once
swarmed in its waters. The Indian name of the mouth of the river was
Otihatanque, while the French called it La Famine. See Winsor's Narr. and Crit.
History of America, vol. 4, pages 234, 259, 260 and 293. The bay now called
Mexico Bay they called Famine Bay.
2. The organization of Sandy Creek in 1825 left Richland without a supervisor or town clerk, as those officers (Simon Meacham and E. C. Hart) both resided within the limits of the new town; therefore, John C. Pride and Milton Harmon were appointed to fill the respective positions, and were duly elected at the town meeting held a few weeks afterward.
3. French's State Gazetteer, a generally reliable work, states that the first marriage in Richland was that of Samuel Crippen and Ruth Tuttle (probably a daughter of Nathan Tuttle, one of the first two settlers) in 1804, but an old resident of the town who has given attention to local annals gives the honor to Joseph Spaids and Clara Jones.
4. Incorrect; it should be 1832.
5. Rev. James Douglas, son of Amos, was born in Franklin, N. Y., May 7, 1823, and died at Oberlin, Ohio, April 11, 1891, his remains being brought to Pulaski for interment. Amos Douglas was born in Stephentown, N. Y., June 21, 1779, and died March 19, 1857. He was descended from the New London family of that name and was graduated from Williams College in 1798. Admitted to the bar at Albany in 1801, he began practice at Franklin, N. Y., in 1802, where he became the county judge and surrogate, and where he was active in founding the Delaware Literary Institute, of whose board of trustees he was secretary twenty-two years. Rev. James Douglas was graduated from Hamilton College in 1845 and from Auburn Theological Seminary in 1850. For three years following he was professor of Latin and Greek at Genesee College, N. Y. August 15, 1853, he was ordained and became pastor of the Congregational church at Rutland, whence he removed to Pulaski and was installed pastor of the First Congregational church December 1, 1864, a position he filled with extraordinary ability until January 9, 1883, when he resigned. In 1886 he accepted a lectureship in the Theological Seminary of Oberlin College, where he remained until his death. He was an eloquent sermonizer, a profound thinker, a lucid writer and a sympathetic friend.
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