The following was copied from Vol. I, pp. 738-767 of Onondaga's Centennial, edited by Dwight H. Bruce and published by Boston History Co., 1896.
In the twenty-five original townships of the Military Tract, No. 1 was called Lysander. It included what are now the civil towns of Granby and Hannibal in the county of Oswego. The erection of that county took away from Lysander thirty-three of its lots, numbered from one to thirty-three, leaving sixty-seven, numbered from thirty-four to one hundred. In the drawing of these lots for military service in the Revolution, they fell to the following persons, excepting numbers 34 and 35; the names of the grantees of these are not accessible:
36, Jonathan Palmore (Palmer); (Footnote # 1: These names are spelled as they appear in the records. Many of them are obviously wrong.) 37, John Space; 38, Chapman Davis; 39, Adam armstrong; 40, Lieutenant Christopher Hutton; 41, Abraham Dickerson, 42, John Stagg, 43, John Clark; 44, John Campbell; 45, Richard Robinson; 46, Michael Harrin; 47, Solomon Meeker; 48, Captain Edward Dunscomb; 49, Samuel Abby; 50, Joseph Clift; 51, Christopher Leach; 52, Captain James Stewart; 53, John Stockbridge; 54, Captain Jonathan Titus; 55, Thomas Taber; 56, Thomas Cannon; 57, Joshua Bishop; 58, William Boyd; 59, Lieutenant Benjamin Gilbert; 60, John Cronck; 61, Nicholas Schuyler, surgeon; 62, Zacheus Kilburn; 63, Joseph Carman; 64, Captain Joseph Thomas; 65, Samuel Streel; 66, Reserved for Gospel, etc.; 67, Lieutenant John Burnside; 68, Robert Daily; 69, Ensign Samuel Dodge; 70, Captain George Sytez; 71, Captain Charles Newkerk; 72, Lieutenant Francis Brindley; 73, George Rider; 74, Henry Hawkey; 75, Lieutenant Levi Stockwell; 76, Colonel Philip Van Cortlandt; 77, Captain Dirck Hansen; 78, Captain D. P. Ten Eyck; 79, Captain Jonathan Titus; 80, Richard Davis; 81, Captain Charles Parsons; 82, Nicholas Keltz; 83, Captain Dirck Hansen; 84, John Laflure; 85, Peter Scriber; 86, Reseved for Gospel, etc.; 87, General James Clinton; 88, Lieutenant-Col. Marinus Willet; 89, John Van Atter; 90, Timothy Bennet; 91, Joseph Evans; 92, Gen. Alexander McDougall; 93, David Smith; 94, Henry Ash; 95, William Benson, 96, Henry Spring; 97, James Robertson; 98, Thomas Jackson; 99-100, Reserved for Gospel,etc.
The situation of these lots and the shape of some of them are peculiar owing to the long and winding river line of the eastern and southern boundary of the town. The surface of the town is generally level or slightly rolling, and the soil is a fertile sandy or gravelly loam. The beautiful Seneca River, which for many miles forms the town boundary, has a fall of about nine feet at Baldwinsville, constituting a very valuable water power, which has been largely utilized from the first settlement to the present time. Cross Lake borders the southwestern part of the town, the town line passing through it, and the small Beaver or Mud Lake, with an area of 300 acres, is on lots 55 and 65. A few small streams exist in the northern and western parts, which in early years supplied power for saw mills; but they are now nearly dry in summer months.
With the erection of Onondaga county in 1794, Lysander kept its classical name and was given a large additional area of territory, including not only what are now Hannibal and Granby, but also what now constitute the civil towns of Cicero and Clay. The former of these was set off in 1807 and included the territory of Clay, which was not erected until 1827.
The town of Lysander came into being under somewhat untoward circumstances. The same causes, especially its comparative remoteness from the great east and west line of pioneer travel, which had prevented it from being a dwelling place or even a favorite resort for the Indians, contributed to postpone its settlement, while a period of extreme unhealthfulness in early years, caused some settlers to shun its borders. The Seneca and Oswego Rivers were often traveled by the Indians' canoes, and hunting parties of Onondagas and Cayugas came up into this region in summer months, but there is no evidence of their remaining here with any permanence. This part of the county escaped the distressing Indian wars, chiefly also on account of its situation, and after the arrival of settlers such Indians as were seen were generally friendly. The pioneers had to battle only with the wild animals, particularly wolves, which were very numerous and in many instances, ferocious. The dense forest of pine and other trees abounded with game and the Seneca River with fish, both of which helped to supply the tables of the early settlers, and the fishing in the river became a source of continuous revenue.
Almost nothing was accomplished toward settlement in Lysander until about the beginning of the present century. Major Rial Bingham, who had settled near Fort Brewerton in 1791, went to Three River Point in 1793, but he can scarcely be considered a permanent settler of this town, for he removed to Salina not later than 1796, where he was the first justice of the peace and was identified with early salt making. Upon the erection of the civil town of Lysander, when the county was formed, the first town meeting was ordered held at the house of Rial Bingham; but this was not done, and at the first town meeting in Onondaga Hollow the town was not represented. Neither was it at an adjourned meeting held at the house of Othniel Palmer, in the town of Onondaga on the 19th of August, 1794, but the board in its proceedings established the value of taxable property in the town at 400 pounds and assessed the tax at five pounds. The following resolution was adopted:
Resolved, That the clerk of the board notify the town of Lysander to organize themselves before the next session of the Court of Common Pleas to be held in and for the county of Onondaga on the last day of December, 1794, otherwise they may be deprived of the privilege of their sister towns, or perhaps the rigor of the law enforced upon them.
The next meeting was held at the house of Asa Phillips in the town of Scipio, on the first day of December, 1794, and again the town was not represented. The board thereupon ordered "the town to organize, on or before the next annual meeting agreeable to law, otherwise the penalty of the law shall be required of them." Without the fear of the law before their eyes the few settlers in the town still for a few years neglected to organize and sent no representative to the supervisors' meetings. On the 30th of May, 1797, a census was taken which showed the number of inhabitants in the then great town to be only fifteen and the taxable property with a value of $1,500. In the next year (1798) Asa Rice, who had settled at Union Village, a few miles west of Oswego, in 1797, was elected supervisor, but if he attended any meeting of the board the records do not show it. The earliest records of this town of which there is any knowledge are for the year 1808, when Elijah Snow was elected supervisor; he was father of Elijah Snow, jr., who was uncle of Wallace Tappan. In the meantime the town of Hannibal was set off in 1806, and in the following year all the territory east of the Seneca River was taken off to form the town of Cicero. By this time settlement had considerably progressed.
Aside from Rial Bingham, before mentioned, it is probable that Jonathan Palmer was about the first settler in what is now the town of Lysander. He was a Revolutionary soldier, as were his six brothers, and drew lot 36 on which a part of the little village of Jacksonville now stands. The early settlement at this point was given the name "Palmertown," afterward called Jacksonville, which name it retained until the post-office at Little Utica was removed there in the administration of James K. Polk, when it was named "Polkville." The post-office was removed back to Little Utica during the last administration of President Lincoln, where it now remains. Descendants of Jonathan Palmer still live in the vicinity. Nathaniel Palmer, one of the brothers of Jonathan, was an early settler in the same locality; as also the Bogarduses, Fanchers, and Bakers, of which family Ezra Baker was a physician and had an extensive practice; several of their descendants now reside there. Later on it became the residence of Dr. Andrew P. Hamil, a prominent man in town matters and a skillful practitioner in his profession.
Between the date of Jonathan Palmer's settlement and the year 1800 a few other pioneers located in the town, among them Col. Thomas Farrington, Adam and Peter Emerick, Elijah and Solomon Hall, Abner and Manly Vickery, Job Loomis, John P. Schuyler, Ebenezer Wells, James Cowan, Elijah Mann. Of most of these little is known. The first ten years of the present century saw large accessions to the population of the town.
The reader has already been told in the history of Van Buren (Chapter XXXIII) of the settlement of John McHarrie, probably in 1792 and certainly before 1794, on the south side of the river on the site of Baldwinsville. There he built a cabin and found a little business in helping ascending boats up the rapids as they passed by the lands of Lysander in quest of more attractive fields farther west. The place became known as "McHarrie's Rifts." Daniel Allen settled on the river a little farther up in 1793. A road came from the south in a northeasterly direction and ended at McHarrie's cabin, where a ford crossed the river; this road was surveyed in 1814, but was soon afterward abandoned. The State road from Onondaga to Oswego, laid out in 1806-7, crossed the river at these rifts, and was ordered improved between the river and Oswego in 1811. In 1806 a mail route was established between Onondaga and Oswego. This brings us to the consideration of a very important event in the history of the town.
Among the heroes of the Revolution was Samuel Baldwin, son of a Boston clergyman. He was distinguished as well for his piety and benevolence as for gallantry in the army. He died at Windsor, Mass., at an advanced age. Jonas C. Baldwin, son of Samuel, was born in Windsor, June 3, 1768. He was educated at Williams College and finished medical study in Albany, where he also practiced a short time. While there he was appointed physician to the Inland Lock and Navigation Company, whose large force of laborers was then building the canal at Little Falls. There Dr. Baldwin remained until the work was finished. Meanwhile he married and in 1797 started with his family for Ovid, Seneca county, where he owned a military lot, on which he settled and lived until 1801-2, when he removed to Onondaga East Hill. Dr. Baldwin had bought and improved a comfortable home in Little Falls, which Mrs. Baldwin left with regret; she was conciliated by her husband with a promise that he would purchase the first place on their route westward which she might select. It may be believed that they passed many beautiful spots in the wilderness along the Mohawk, Wood Creek, Oneida Lake and River, and the Seneca; but none presented to Mrs. Baldwin the loveliness of the scene at McHarrie's Rifts as they rounded the bend into the beautiful bay just below the village site on a bright autumnal morning. The lady was charmed and remarked to her husband that if their property was situated there she would be content to dwell there for life, lonely and remote as it seemed. They carefully explored the vicinity while getting their boats over the rapids, both becoming still more pleased with the situation, and lodged that night with Mr. McHarrie. Of him Dr. Baldwin learned the name of the owner of the land, and in the following year he went to Philadelphia and purchased it. Dr. Baldwin lived at Onondaga East Hill until 1807, when in the spring he received a memorial signed by many of the settlers within a number of miles of McHarrie's location, asking him to improve his valuable water power by the erection of much-needed mills. Previous to that time the nearest mills to the residents north of the river were at Nine Mile Creek (now Camillus.) Although Dr. Baldwin intended to carry out this proposition at some future time, he yielded to the request and promptly began work. Gathering a force of workmen he proceeded to the proposed site of the mills where he had already provided for the erection of the log cabins for the workmen. On arriving he found nothing done but the erection of the log cribs, which were without floors or roofs. These were soon made habitable and were the first buildings in that part of the town. It was his expectation that the small stream emptying into the river there, with the addition of what water might be thrown into it by a wing dam extending some distance into the river, would give him sufficient power for a grist and saw mill. The work was vigorously prosecuted until in about the middle of August, when a most distressing sickness prevailed among the workmen; this has since been designated as "the sickly season." Within one week every workman was attacked with a malignant fever. Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin and a Revolutionary soldier called "Uncle Bill Johnson" were the only persons not stricken with the disease, and their whole time was devoted to caring for the sick, and burying the dead. A new corps of workmen was engaged as soon as possible, but they, too, were stricken down within a fortnight. The season being now far advanced the work was postponed until the following spring, when it was renewed with vigor, and before the sickness again came on the dam, mill and raceway were finished. Another difficulty now appeared. Through a mistake in laying out the level it was found that the water would not flow into the race, leaving only the small stream as a source of power. Dr. Baldwin faced the trouble with characteristic energy, and immediately began the extension of his dam clear across the river; but before it was completed the workmen were again attacked by the sickness, and it was not till in the autumn that the work was accomplished and the mill supplied with plenty of water. While it supplied a much-needed convenience to the settlers, it had been a costly work in personal sacrifice; and during several years the same fatal disease prevailed, carrying many to their graves and seriously retarding settlement. The Seneca was a public highway and constituted a part of the Inland Navigation Company's system, on which account Dr. Baldwin was forced to provide a passage for boats around his dam. In 1808 he petitioned the Legislature for permission to build a canal and locks. The State having already transferred such rights to the Navigation Company, could not grant his petition. He thereupon bought of the company their rights in the waters between the outlet of Oneida River and Cayuga Lake. In 1809 the State Granted his petition and the extensive improvements were effected. Dr. Baldwin was given the right to levy certain tolls on passing boats for a period of twenty years. This arrangement was abrogated when the State took the system of internal improvement under its own control. The completion of the middle section of the Erie Canal cut off all revenue from this source. In 1809 a heavy freshet carried away the dam and a new one was constructed in the year following, and ere long Dr. Baldwin had six saw mills in operation under one roof. The pine forests of the town supplied these with logs, in turn giving the settlers ample lumber for building their homes.
In 1809 Dr. Baldwin built a toll bridge on the site of the present bridge. Baldwinsville, thus founded, soon became an active frontier place. Soon after building the new dam Dr. Baldwin erected a new and larger grist mill near the site of the subsequent woolen factory; this was afterwards converted into a woolen factory and burned. The village continued prosperous until about 1820, when the diversion of business to the Erie Canal temporarily checked its growth. Dr. Baldwin continued until near his death the active and liberal promoter of all public affairs.
There was a service which he rendered during the war of 1812 which ought not to be overlooked. Baldwinsville being on the direct route to the frontier, and only twenty-four miles distant, he, perceiving the great want of effective firearms, procured a loan from Governor Tompkins of several hundred stand, which he issued to such as were not provided, and who were on their way to meet the enemy, who were daily expected at Oswego, taking for each stand so delivered a receipt. This duty he continued to discharge without pay, and at the close of the war returned the arms to the government. He also built a large flotilla of boats, which were in the service of the United States during most of the war. He commanded a company of soldiers at the battle of Oswego, where he received a slight wound.(Footnote #2: Clark's Onondaga, vol. II, p. 160)
In 1819-20 such parts of the village site as had not already been sold, passed to Stephen W. and Harvey Baldwin, the two elder sons of Dr. Baldwin, and from them to later owners. They made many important improvements in the village, rebuilt the toll bridge, which stood until about the close of the war; enlarged the canal and locks, rebuilt the dam, purchased land on the south side of the river which they divided into lots and sold; built mills on that side and otherwise carried out projects for the mutual advantage of the village as a whole. Dr. Baldwin died at Onondaga Hill, whither he had gone on a visit, on the 3d day of March, 1827.
When Dr. Baldwin arrived in 1807 the place, what there was of it, was called "Columbia," a name that clung to it until 1817, when a post-office was established with the name, "Baldwin's Bridge." This soon became shorted to the present name. Dr. Baldwin was the first postmaster, and among his early successors were Stephen W. Baldwin, Otis Bigelow, Austin Baldwin, Dr. L. B. Hall, Dr. Daniel T. Jones, E. B. Wigent, Irvin Williams, and David S. Wilkins. Prior to 1817 mail went through from Onondaga to Oswego, but any person visiting Onondaga brought home mail for his neighbors. Otis Bigelow related that he used to get his mail in 1816 at Three River Point, where it was left with a Mr. Sweet who then kept a tavern on the Lysander side. After the establishment of the post-office stages began running to Onondaga or to Syracuse. Stephen W. Baldwin at one time ran a small boat to and from Syracuse, by way of the river, the outlet and Onondaga Lake, carrying passengers.
The first apple trees that were set out in the town of Lysander were planted on lot 57 about three and a half miles northwest of Baldwinsville, on the margin of Beaver Meadow. They were put out by John McHarrie, about the year 1798. They stood where they were planted until about 1886, and were then cut down. The first grass was cut in Lysander on Beaver Meadow by John McHarrie in about 1796. It was "wild grass," there being no other grass to be found in this section at that period. The cured grass was drawn to Macksville through the woods by ox teams, and afforded wild hay for cattle and sheep, instead of brush fodder.
Dr. Baldwin opened a store at Baldwinsville in 1807 and continued in trade until 1813. In the latter year Otis Bigelow opened a store and continued in business until 1863. Otis Bigelow was a native of Worcester, Mass., born Feb. 1, 1785. His father was Asahel Bigelow, a Revolutionary soldier. At the breaking out of the war of 1812 young Bigelow joined the army and served a year at Sackett's Harbor. In the spring of 1813 he settled at Baldwinsville and opened his store. He was appointed justice of the peace in 1821; was appointed postmaster in 1828 and served twelve years. In 1828 he was appointed judge of the Court of Common Pleas and held the office ten years. In 1831 he was elected to the Assembly. He was a man of sterling character, excellent business capacity, and acquired wealth. He married in 1813 Mary Payne and they had ten children, among whom was the late Payne Bigelow, long a leading citizen of Baldwinsville. Judge Bigelow died June 21, 1864.
John Hamill opened a store in Baldwinsville in 1816; he was a prominent citizen, was supervisor at the time of his death in 1827 and held other public positions. Jonas C. Brewster was an early merchant, had a store in 1821, and at one period carried on business on both sides of the river.
Austin Baldwin, before mentioned, was a son of Dr. Jonas C., was postmaster at one time, and went to California during the gold excitement and was reported killed.
Reuben S. Orvis was the first lawyer to settle in Baldwinsville; he began practice in 1816, and his name appears in the list of Oswego county officers at the date of the erection of that county, 1816. In 1814 Dr. Cyrus Baldwin established himself as a physician, and two years later he was joined at the settlement by Dr. Silas Wallace.
During the period of growth enjoyed by Baldwinsville prior to the opening of the Erie Canal (1819-20) many other pioneers came there or settled in other parts of the town.
Jacobus De Puy arrived at Baldwinsville from Orange county in 1805, and bought a large tract of land just east of the village, for which he paid $1.25 per acre in cash; tradition says he had just half a bushel of silver dollars left. He began clearing on the hill, known as the Cramer farm, cleared fifty acres the first year and sowed it to wheat the second; this field he cut with a sickle. It is related, as indicating the number and ferocity of wolves in those days, that Cobas and John, sons of the pioneer, went one night from their home to Baldwinsville, and on their return had to run for their lives from a pack of the ravenous animals. The boy who gained the door first, threw his weight against it, broke it in and fell his whole length on the floor with his brother on top of him.
Levi Calkins removed from Rutland county, Vt., in 1808 or 1809, and settled on lot 89, where he built a log house. Many of his descendants are resident in this section. In 1810 Jacob Dykeman settled on lot 90, made a clearing and set two orchards. The remains of his old house are still visible near the school house in district No. 20. Later he removed to the farm now owned by Jonathan Peacock, where he died.
George White came in 1811 with his parents and several brothers and settled on lot 86, where he came into possession of 200 acres of land which he cleared, selling the wood on the bank of the river for 50 cents a cord. Five generations of his family are still represented in this vicinity. Eliphalet Frazee, grandfather of Eliphalet Z. Frazee, the present tobacco dealer, became a settler prior to 1811 on the west side of the river at New Bridge (Belgium). He came from Schoharie county, whither he returned for his family and stock; but on his way to his new home he stopped at Oneida Castle, where he met a Dr. Carson, who had practiced along the Seneca River, and he advised Mr. Frazee to not bring his family here. He accordingly rented a farm, and stopped where he was for a period, but came later. Lyman McHuron came in 1817, and had been preceded by his father. He walked the journey from Vermont, carrying his personal property in a bundle on his back. He related that he reached Green Point with only a shilling in money, with which he bought a card of gingerbread, and he slept in a salt block. A few years later he owned the farm on which he lived and died, leaving numerous descendants. His brother Hiram came to the town at a little later date probably. Thomas Doolittle came with his wife from Middlebury, Vt., before 1820 and located just west of the Evans corners.
James Slauson removed from the western part of the town in 1826 and settled on lot 89, where he built a log house a little west of the residence of the late Lewis Calkins. He ultimately became the owner of about 400 acres of land, most of which he cleared. What has been known as Drake's Landing, east of Baldwinsville, was settled early, and took its name from a family of that name, the members of which numbered fifteen. The head of the family was named Otis Drake, and as each of his children married he built a house for the young couple. The collection of dwellings took the name of "Drake's Settlement."
Among the earliest settlers on the site of Lysander village or in that vicinity were Richard Smith, Richard Lusk, Grover Buel, Abram Van Doren, John Slauson, and his brother Zalmon D. Slauson, John Halstead, George W. Brown, and Isaac and Alfred Smith.
One of the earliest of the arrivals (according to the reminiscences of Richard L. Smith) was a family named Starr, who settled near the site of Lysander village about the year 1804. They were possessed of peculiar characteristics, were guarded in their communications with neighbors, secretive in their affairs, and lived entirely to themselves. The head of this family was grandfather of John Halstead, who was born in Ulster county in 1800, was brought to Geddes by his parents and taken to Ohio in the spring of 1804, where his father, Jonas, died. Very soon thereafter the lad went to live with his grandfather Starr. The latter died at the age of eighty, when Halstead purchased a farm on lot 53, built a log house, and there lived a lonely self-centered bachelor's life, his whole energies given to making and saving money, until 1869; after that he removed to the residence of his niece, where he resided until his death. As far as success is determined by the gaining of wealth Mr. Halstead was successful, and at his death he willed his property for the benefit of the schools of the town; but the terms of the will were such and the succeeding litigation was so costly that the schools have not received the slightest benefit under the will.
Richard Smith, father of Richard L. Smith settled in Pompey at the beginning of the century, and located in Lysander in 1808, purchasing 100 acres about a mile from Lysander village, built a log cabin and proceeded to clear the land. He and his family passed through all the vicissitudes of the pioneer's life, were successful in the best sense of the expression, and lived on his homestead until his death in 1865; the farm is still owned by his descendants. His son, Richard L. Smith, has long been a prominent citizen of the town, and a sketch of his life will be found in its proper place in these pages.
About 1810-11 a family named Vickery (probably Abijah and Manly) settled near the site of Lysander village, and from them the place took the name of "Vickery's Settlement." Little now is known of this family.
Richard Lusk was an early settler and a farmer; his son, De Witt C. Lusk was in trade at Baldwinsville with C. H. Toll. On account of failing health he went to the Sandwich Islands and died there.
George Buell located on lot 43 at an early date, and might be properly said to be one of the pioneers. He was a man of no education, but of good natural ability and indomitable energy and a perserverance that enabled him to triumph over all obstacles, becoming the owner of 150 acres of land, cleared it off with his own hands, and at the time of his decease was the possessor of considerable wealth. He died February 18, 1874, aged seventy-nine years. His wife died September 22, 1879, aged eighty-two years. He had three daughters and a son, only one of whom is now living, Harriet, the wife of James Terwilleger. His son Simon was born on the farm in 1827, and died February 18, 1882.
Abram Van Doren was a successful farmer. Zalmon B. Slauson was blind, having become so at the age of seven years, but in the face of this great deprivation he carried on farming and cabinet making with success. In wood working he was an exceptionally fine workman, even in comparison with those who could see. John Slauson and George W. Brown were successful farmers, and lived a number of years near the village. Isaac and Alfred Smith were farmers north of the village.
In 1817 Chauncey Betts and his wife's brother Mr. Skinner, removed from Troy to Vickery's Settlement, and a year or two later Jared Betts, brother of Chauncey, and Nathan Betts, father of both and a Revolutionary soldier, located there. They were an energetic family and Chauncey Betts and Mr. Skinner built a log store, which was conducted by Mr. Skinner, while Mr. Betts built a potash manufactory, enabling the settlers to dispose of surplus wood and ashes. He also built a distillery to make the whisky that was then considered indispensable in most families. In Richard Smith's reminiscences it is stated that he had been told that the course followed in the distillery was to run off a pail of whisky during the day, bring it to the store in the evening, and the blow a tin horn to notify their customers that the article was on tap. The prominence of Mr. Betts in the little hamlet soon gave the place the new name of "Betts's Corners," which it remained until the post-office was established, when it was given its present name of Lysander. Mr. Betts was the first postmaster. He also was member of assembly in 1826-7.
About 1820 Cornelius C. Hubbard, from Montgomery county, settled in the village and opened a store where he carried on a successful trade; he built also a potashery and was postmaster. Thomas Ambler came there early and built a grist mill on the small stream near the village, which was a great convenience. The first physician in the village was Dr. Dennis Kennedy, who also built and kept the first tavern; the building now constitutes a part of the present hotel. In the latter part of his life he gave up medical practice and purchased the mill property near Lysander. He was father of the late Dennis M. Kennedy, and of Bradford Kennedy, prominent hardware merchants of Syracuse. Dr. Kennedy died April 24, 1863, aged 73 years. Dr. George Morley located there early, from Pompey, and was justice of the peace. Some others who settled early in this section and whose descendants in many instances still live in the town were Charles Royce, who held the office of justice of the peace; Aaron F. Vedder, a carpenter and joiner, and many of the buildings in the village and vicinity are the work of his hands. Ralph Russ settled in 1827, father of Harvey H. and Chauncey Russ; the latter died in August, 1885; David L. Relyea, Alonzo North, George Curtis, Clark Berry, a wagonmaker, and at one time justice of the peace and supervisor, resided one and a half miles north at the place called Baird's Corners. Andrew W. Baird moved in there at an early day and put up a blacksmith shop, hence its name. Joseph P. Brown, a shoemaker, who held the office of justice of the peace; Willard P. Bump, who succeeded Cornelius C. Hubbard, and was at one time postmaster, and later on among those who held the office was George A. Allen, Barclay Wooster, H. W. Andrews, William Culver, Richard L. Smith, Sara C. Winchel, William C. Winchell, George S. Hayden, and James E. Decker, the present incumbent.
Samuel Richards was among the early settlers, who built a tannery and carried on the business for several years. Later on it was purchased and run by Leander Ballard & Co.
In the vicinity of what is now Plainville, in the southwestern part of the town, settlement was largely advanced during the period under consideration. Here William Wilson, the first of three or four generations of that name, settled in 1806, and the place took the name of "Wilson's Corners." Near by settled in 1810 Amasa B. and Silas Scofield; the former was a farmer north of the hamlet. Simon Town also settled in that year west of the village; he was father of J. W. Town. David Carroll was another pioneer of 1810 in that locality. In 1813 Peter Voorhees settled in that vicinity and died in 1816. His son, Col. James L. Voorhees, became a leading citizen and was prominently identified with the business interests of Baldwinsville and Syracuse; in the latter place he erected the Voorhees House, now the Empire House, of which he became sole owner in 1850. He held many town offices, Rulef (or Rulof) Schenck settled here in 1815, and was father of a conspicuous family. He died June 28, 1888, aged sixty years. His son, Dr. Benjamin Baird Schenck, was six years old when his parents settled in this town. Ill-health prompted him at the age of twenty-three years to take up the study of medicine, which he did with Dr. J. H. Skinner of Plainville; attended lectures at Fairfield, and graduated at Geneva in 1838. Until 1876 he practiced at Plainville, adopting homoeopathy in 1851. He was prominent in the militia; was postmaster from 1849 to 1853, was again appointed in 1863 and held the office at his death March 22, 1883. John was a brother of Rulef and a leading farmer. Abram Daily settled here in 1815, as also did John Buck, who was an early merchant many years and postmaster. Marvin Adams located in 1815 south of the village, and in that vicinity John Bratt settled in 1816. A post-office was established here in 1821 and a weekly mail was received from Camillus, going on to Lysander. The office was kept at first a mile and a half south of Plainville, with a Mr. Stoddard postmaster. Lyman Norton was an early merchant and postmaster succeeding Dr. Schenck's first term; he engaged also in contracting and acquired wealth, and was member of Assembly in 1852. He left descendants in this town and elsewhere.
When William Wilson, the pioneer at Plainville, made his settlement in 1806, he brought with him a son of the same name who was then six years old. He grew to manhood, was twice married and had eleven children, the eldest, a son, receiving the name William and occupying the homestead.
Benajah C. Upson settled in the Plainville region in 1812 and was a prosperous farmer, and died July 24, 1894, aged eighty-four years; he was father of James W. Upson, builder of the Upson block, the Seneca Hotel, and other structures in Baldwinsville. Thomas S. Martin was a farmer of a later date near Plainville, and died in 1893 at the age of ninety years. Edmund Mills, another farmer of that vicinity, died December 16, 1894, aged ninety-four years; his son occupies the homestead.
Frederick W. Fenner, a native of Pompey, born in 1811, was brought by his parents to this town in 1817. He married a sister of Dr. Schenck, was a prominent citizen and died in February, 1875, leaving descendants in the town.
Amasa Fuller settled early on a farm at the point that took from him the name of "Fuller's Corners." He was a carpenter, and from him his son, William L., learned the trade and they built many of the early buildings of the town. William L. was born in Columbia county in 1819, and in 1850 he removed temporarily to Fulton where he erected numerous buildings. In 1860 he located in Baldwinsville, built many structures, and in 1866 joined with C. N. Bliss in manufacturing sash and doors.
The vicinity of Little Utica was first settled by Reuben Coffin who was collector in 1812, and whose descendants still live in that section, one of whom now bears the name of the pioneer; his mother was a centenarian at her death; John Butler, Benjamin Rathbun, Sanford Dunham, John H. Lamson, Elijah Fairbanks, who was the first merchant there, Peter Earll, Samuel White, Lucius Gunn, B. M. Ells, Nicholas and Carmi Harrington, a prominent family, Dr. Ezra Baker, a mile from the hamlet, and others.
The post-office was established in 1832, with Noah Payne postmaster, under the name of "Paynesville;" several years later the name was changed to Little Utica. Mr. Payne was long a merchant there and carried on farming also. He was prominent in the local militia, held several town offices and was a good citizen. Under the administration of James K. Polk the post-office was removed to Jacksonville and the name changed to Polkville, where it remained until the administration of President Lincoln when it was removed back to Little Utica and is still continued there.
Other early settlers of whom only brief notes can be made were Peter Emerick, who settled at the beginning of the century two miles west of Baldwinsville on lot 78, coming with Col. Thomas Farrington. The Emerick homestead has been noted for its beauty. John Petley settled three miles east of Baldwinsville, near Belgium, and died July 14, 1883, at the age of eighty-one years; John L. Fenner, who died May 11, 1885; William Fancher, died at Jacksonville June 11, 1886, aged seventy-eight; Sanford Dunham and his son, N. C. Dunham; the latter was born in the town and died in 1886 at the age of seventy-eight; P. M. Houghtaling, a farmer, who died in April, 1888, aged sixty-seven; David Haynes, a pioneer, and his son, James; the latter died in March, 1889, aged seventy-two; Josiah Butts, an early settler, whose son, James L., died April 18, 1892, aged eighty-three; Lewis Van Doren, a farmer, died July 24, 1894, aged eighty-four; Jeremiah Dunham, a native of this country, born in 1802, died in 1874; he was father of Joseph Dunham who married a daughter of De Witt C. Greenfield.
What had these numerous hardy and energetic pioneers accomplished in the first quarter of the century? First and, perhaps, most important of all, many of them who settled on farms, cleared and cultivated their lands, improved their dwellings and other buildings and laid the foundations of the many beautiful homes that now belong to their posterity. Others built mills, especially saw mills, which sprang up in great numbers on the Seneca and a few on the small streams of the town. They were of great importance until the forests were largely cleared away, when most of them fell into disuse. Others engaged in trade, bringing their goods in early years from the east on long journeys by the well known water route, or in the winter by teams, and marketing such surplus products as the farmers could spare. And all labored to promote the general welfare.
At the first town meeting of which there are existing records, held on the first Tuesday in April, 1808, Cyrus Baldwin, moderator, the following officers were chosen:
Elijah Snow, supervisor; James Adams, town clerk; Henry Emerick, William Wilson, and James Clark, assessors; Thomas Clark, collector; Adam Emerick and Reuben Clark, poormasters; Job Loumis, (Footnote #3: The spelling found in the records is followed, though it is palpably wrong in some instances.) Abner Vickery, Adam Emerie, commissioners of highways; Fry Ferington, Thomas Clark, constables; William Wilson, Silas Scofield, Benjamin De Puy, fence viewers and poundmasters; Parmenis Adams, 1st ward, Adam Emerick, 2d ward, Thomas Farington, 3d ward, Reuben Clark, 4th ward, Abner Vickery, 5th ward, William Wilson, 6th ward, Job Loumis, 7th ward, Alexander Adams, 8th ward, overseers of highways; Adam Emerie, Cyrus Baldwin, commissioners of public lots.
It is worthy of notice that many of the names of the settlers heretofore mentioned are found in this list, and also that there were so few of them in the town that some had to accept more than one office, although the town was then much larger than now. In those days the office usually hunted for the man.
To give the farmers all possible opportunity to produce pork, their grain crops being then insignificant, the meeting voted that hogs should run at large; but in 1813 the order was so modified that if the hogs weighed less than 60 lbs., they should be yoked. It was also voted at this meeting that "any person taking cattle to run on the commons shall be liable to ten dollars fine for each head." The record shows that the amount of license money due the town for 1807 was $32.17. William Wilson paid a license of $2.50, and others about the same amount. For support of the poor in 1807 $60.00 were required, and $250 for roads and bridges.
The record book gives information showing that in 1805 Elizur Brace was supervisor and he paid $50 excise money to the town. In the proceedings of the meeting in 1809 it was voted to impose "ten dollars fine for cattle brought into town to feed in our woods." There was voted, also, a premium of "ten dollars on every wolf's scalp caught in town by an inhabitant of the town," indicating that the freeholders cared as much for keeping the revenue at home as they did for having the wolves exterminated. This wolf bounty was raised to $20 in 1815, and $5 on bears. A penalty was imposed in 1809 of $5 "on any man letting Canada Thistles or burweed go to seed on his farm."
The meeting for 1810 was to be held at "Widow Emerie's," but nothing of importance is found in the proceedings. In 1811 the people met at the house of Abram and Peter Emerick. By this time the question of road construction was becoming an important one. The overseer of highways in those days had an exacting time if he did his duty. There were in 1811 thirteen road districts, with an overseer for each. This number was gradually increased to fifteen in 1812; nineteen in 1813; twenty-four in 1814; twenty-six in 1816; twenty-eight in 1822; thirty in 1823; thirty-four in 1824; thirty-nine in 1825; forty-one in 1836; forty-five in 1827; forty-eight in 1828; fifty-one in 1830; fifty-nine in 1831; sixty-three in 1834; sixty-six in 1835; sixty-eight in 1836; seventy-two in 1838; the number continued to increase to ninety-one in 1860. In 1880 there were 100 districts. The records show that eight roads were surveyed in that year; three in 1810; five in 1811; twelve in 1812; eight in 1813; two in 1814; five in 1816; five in 1817; four in 1818; four in 1819; ten in 1822; twelve in 1823; seven in 1824, and four in 1825. A few were surveyed in nearly every year until about the beginning of the Civil war, since which time there has been little change in this respect. In 1818 the inhabitants were assessed for 974 days' work on the roads. Among the early surveyors of roads in the town are found the names of R. Burlingame, Joseph White, Asahel North, Henry B. Turner, William Moor, Elijah Colson, Amos Adams, Asa Baker, Jireh Baker, and George W. Robinson. Some of these were well known residents of the town.
Early in the history of the town, officials chosen for the purpose took up the matter of providing facilities for educating the children. School records in the early years are very meager. As far as indicated by them the first school inspectors (as they were then termed) were elected in 1814; Cyrus Baldwin, William Wilson, William Wilson, 2d, and John Butler. At the same time Cyrus Baldwin, William Wilson, 2d, and Seth Cushman were chosen commissioners of school funds. In 1815 these last named three persons are called commissioners of schools for the first time, and Thomas Rockwell, Stephen Tappen, and Jared Rundel were elected school inspectors. The school expenses in 1815 were about $100. In 1817 eight inspectors were elected, and in 1820 the town voted to raise for schools double the sum paid by the State, a policy that prevailed many years. The earliest schools were taught in diminutive log houses and sometimes in dwellings, and undoubtedly the first ones in the town were established at or near Baldwinsville. In the reminiscences of Bradley Abbott he says that district No. 1 was organized very early in the century, and that district No. 20 was organized in 1833 or 1834, taking in a part of No. 1. In 1819 a school house was built at Plainville, in which Amos Adams was the first teacher and Samuel Richards his successor. Between 1830 and 1835 a reorganization of school districts was effected. In 1845 the number was twenty-one and there has been little change since then, except to alter district boundaries. District No. 25, organized in 1834, comprising lots 74, 75, and parts of 63, 73, 76 and 84 was dissolved in 1849 and part annexed to No. 5, part to No. 8 and part to No. 9. District No. 10 (Clay and Lysander) was dissolved and part annexed to No. 20 and part to No. 1. The legislative act of March 30, 1864, erected the union school district in the towns of Lysander and Van Buren and created a board of education; it comprised districts No. 2 in Lysander and No. 18 in Van Buren, and was called Baldwinsville Union Free School District. James Frazee, John P. Shumway, Abel H. Toll, Henry Y. Allen, Silas H. Nichols, Payne Bigelow were made a corporation, the "Board of Education for the Baldwinsville Academy and Union Free School." Henry Y. Allen was chosen the first president of the board, with L. H. Cheney, clerk; Irvin Williams, treasurer; John J. Widrig, collector; J. C. B. Wallace, librarian. Tuition for non-residents was fixed at $4 for the primary and intermediate departments, and $5 for the higher department; classical studies, $6. L. H. Cheney was appointed principal and superintendent at a salary of $1,000, succeeding Dr. J. H. French, who had been principal before the new order. Seven teachers were appointed. In the application for visitation by the Regents, July 18, 1864, it is stated that "the academy stands on a lot 19 by 99 feet, which was purchased in 1846 by the trustees of Union school district number 2, town of Lysander, for $600, the title of which is now vested in the Board of Education of Baldwinsville Academy." A further description of this school property it is stated that the academy building was 40 by 60 feet in size, two stories high with a basement, and valued at $6,000. There were 416 books in the library, and the total value of academy property is given as $7,371.40. In 1865 the principal was instructed to prepare a code of regulations and a course of study for the school. At a meeting held April 1, 1867, Wallace Tappan offered a resolution which was adopted, that a special act of legislature be procured under which $17,500 should be raised on bonds, $2,500 of which should be used in repairing the school house on the south side, and the remainder to buy a site and build a large and modern school house on the north side. The site now in use was purchased at a cost of $7,000, toward which about $1,000 was subscribed by citizens. The last of the bonds issued for this purpose was due and paid in January, 1884. In 1883 the upper room of the academy was finished for use at a cost of $1,500. In the same year a resolution was adopted that application be made to the Legislature for passage of a bonding act under which $10,000 could be raised for the erection of a new school building in the district on the south side. The building was erected in 1884 at a cost of $8,000.
The following is a list of the presidents of the Board of Education and the dates of their election:
James Bolton, January, 1869; S. C. Suydam, 1870; John T. Skinner, 1873; S. C. Suydam, 1875; John T. Skinner, 1876; S. C. Suydam, 1877; W. F. Morris, 1879; F. A. Marvin, 1882; A. T. Hotaling, 1892; J. F. Williams, 1894-5. Other members of the present board are Otis M. Bigelow, S. J. Lonergan, Elijah P. Clark, John W. Petley, William McGann, N. E. Bartlet; M. H. Smith, clerk.
The school districts of the town at large in 1879 were thus described:
No. 1, Cold Spring, lot 42; No. 2, Little Utica, lot 38; No. 3, Hortontown, lot 56; No. 4, Spragueville, "Cross Lake," lot 92; No. 5, Plainville, lot 73; No. 6, John Halstead's (brick school house), lot 43; No. 7, Jacksonville, lot 46; No. 8, Fenner, lot 55; No. 9, Plank Road, lot 77; No. 10 (recorded, not organized), joint district, Lysander and Granby, lot 36; No. 12, joint district, Lysander and Cayuga county, lot 52; No. 13, Smoky Hollow, lot 68; No. 14, Stone Quarry, lot 67; Lot 15, Chestnut Ridge, lot 82; No. 16, Baldwinsville, lot 85; No. 17, Lysander, lot 43; No. 18, Baird's Corners, lot 34; No. 19, Togg, lot 98; No. 20, Cold Spring (brick school house), lot 90; No. 21, Dingle Hole (Lamson's), lot 39; No. 22, Wright's Corners, lot 40; No. 23, lot 60, on lot 60; No. 24, West Phoenix, lot 42. There are in 1895 in the town twenty-one whole and two joint districts.
While these efforts were in progress to provide for the secular education of the young, no less efficient measures were early adopted for the organization of Christian churches and the inauguration of public worship among the inhabitants of the town. It was natural that the first church organization should be in the Presbyterian faith, as a missionary was sent into the town by an eastern Presbyterian association in the person of Rev. Ebenezer Lazelle, who held his first service in a barn near the north line of Baldwinsville village. A society was organized by him on July 13, 1813, which was comprised of the following fourteen members: Cyrus and Susan Baldwin, Thomas and Betsey Farrington, George and Mary White, Eunice, Sarah, and Lucy Porter, Levi Manasseh and Levi, jr., Mary Calkins, and William Van Fleet. Cyrus Baldwin, Thomas Farrington and George White were chosen elders November 12, 1813. After the building of the school house in the village, meetings were held there many years. A union church building, afterwards Herrick's Hall, was finished in 1830. The building became the Presbyterian church. The present church edifice was built of brick in 1865, at a cost of about $20,000.
In the vicinity of Lysander village were many early Presbyterians and some of the Dutch Reform faith. On the 20th of October, 1820, the "Second Presbyterian Church of Lysander" was there organized under direction of Rev. John Davenport, all uniting. The following were the first members: William Townsend, Aaron F. Vedder, Margaret Safford, Harvey Smith, Altie Voorhees, Thomas Ambler, Catharine Ambler, Henry Perine, and Charlotte Smith. Services were held in the school house and private dwellings. In the mean time the numbers of those who adhered to the Dutch Reform faith increased and on the 1st of March, 1828, the "First Protestant Dutch Church" was organized by Rev. James Stevenson. In the same year both these organizations united and erected a church. Difficulties arose, litigation was entered upon regarding the church property, and after several years the Dutch Reform organization were awarded the church. This society continued prosperous many years; but by 1877 its membership and efficiency had greatly decreased. The Presbyterians built a church for their use in 1833 and prospered many years, its membership at one time reaching about 300. But in course of time this society also became very much weakened and in 1877 under an order of the court the two organizations were united under the name of "The Congregational Church and Society of Lysander." This society is still in existence. The first pastor was Rev. Henry T. Sell; his successors have been Revs. John L. Franklin, Charles H. Curtis, Charles E. Hoyt and John L. Keedy, who is the present pastor.
The Baptist services began at Cold Spring in 1813, and in 1818 under Rev. Dudley Lamb, a society was organized called "The Second Baptist Church of Christ in Lysander." Services were held in the school house, but the society did not gain rapidly and in 1840 it removed to Baldwinsville; on the 3d of October of that year it took the name of "The Baldwinsville Baptist Church." A church edifice was built and dedicated on January 1, 1841. The present brick church was dedicated in December, 1871.
Methodist services were first held at Baldwinsville in 1821 on the south side of the river, by James Baldwin, an exhorter, where he formed a class. In 1828 Baldwinsville was transferred to the old Cayuga district and Lysander circuit. In 1829 Baldwinsville and Lysander circuits were transferred to Oneida Conference, while in 1836 Baldwinsville and Lysander appear in the Oswego district of that conference. In 1838 the Baldwinsville class had twenty-five members, and in the next year meetings were held in the school house on the north side of the river. In 1840 Baldwinsville was placed in the Clay circuit and in 1843 was made a station, having then forty-five members, but no church property. On the 29th of August of that year, at a meeting called for the purpose, E. Hickok, A. Dayton, B. Nichols, T. Nichols, and D. Derbyshire were elected trustees of the First Methodist church. A lot was bought, a wooden church erected and dedicated in December, 1844. In June, 1869, the society having outgrown the old church, measures were taken to build a new one. The present building was dedicated October 20, 1870, and cost about $32,000.
In 1830 or 1831 the Rev. Elijah Barnes and Rev. Benjamin Rider were appointed to the Lysander circuit, and through their efforts a class was organized at "Betts's Corners," as Lysander was then called. Previous to 1844 services were held in the school houses or in dwellings, but in that year a wooden church was built; in 1849 a parsonage was purchased. This church has several times been repaired and enlarged.
The origin of the Methodist church at Little Utica was a class formed in September, 1832, called the "Palmertown Class," with George Kellogg leader. A church was built in 1834, which was repaired and improved in 1857 and in 1875.
The White Chapel, at Cold Spring, takes its name from George White, under whose efforts services were held early in the century. A church was erected in 1861.
The Christian church at Plainville originated under the labor of Elder Obadiah E. Morrill in 1820. He continued with his flock about twenty years. A frame church was erected in 1831, which was burned in 1852, and was replaced by the present brick structure.
Grace Church (Episcopal), Baldwinsville, was organized July 27, 1835, with Rev. Richard Salmon, of Geddes, presiding. James D. Wallace and Norman Kellogg were elected wardens; Stephen W. Baldwin, Clarence S. Bayley, Nehemiah B. Northrop, Benjamin C. Jeffries, Isaac T. Minard, Horace Baldwin, E. Austin Baldwin, and Walter D. Herrick, vestrymen. Services had been held by Mr. Salmon as early as the latter part of 1833, and were continued by him in the Union church, later Herrick's Hall, on the third Sunday of each month. With Mr. Salmon's removal, services were interrupted nearly three years, and were renewed in 1838 by Rev. George B. Engle, missionary, who held services on alternate Sundays. There were then only three communicants, one of whom was Mrs. Eliza M. Baldwin, to whom the parish was afterwards deeply indebted. Rev. Mr. Engle removed west in 1841, and again services were interrupted five years. Rev. Samuel G. Appleton officiated a short time in 1846, from which time to 1850 the only services were three visitations by Bishop De Lancey. In that year Rev. Theodore M. Bishop began holding services in a school house on the south side of the river, and continued until 1854. The corner stone of the present church edifice was laid in August, 1853, but owing to the falling of the frame in a high wind and other obstacles the building was not finished until 1860, when it was consecrated on the 13th of November. Rev. Henry Gregory, D. D., officiated in the pulpit until 1864, and on the 1st of July, 1865, Rev. W. M. Beauchamp, S.T.D., was chosen rector, and has officiated to the present time.
St. Mary's (Catholic) church, Baldwinsville, was built and consecrated in 1851, mainly through the efforts of Rev. Samuel Mulloy. Prior to that year services had been held in the village by Rev. Michael Hackett and Rev. Joseph Guerdet. The church property is now valuable and the membership large.
Slavery was abolished in this town in 1821, but all slaves were not free until 1830. There were quite a number of slaves brought into the town, and the last of them has not yet passed away. Two were brought in by William Renus Willett, a Methodist preacher who came from the South and settled after 1820 near Belgium, where he bought 1,000 acres of land and erected a typical southern homestead, which is still occupied.
By the year 1830 the population of the town had reached 3,228, its increase having been steady and healthful during the preceding decade. In 1835 it had grown to 3,838, and from that time to 1850 the increase in population was more marked than at any other period in the history of the town. In 1840 it was 4,306, and at the half century had reached 5,833, a figure that has never been exceeded. While general prosperity prevailed during most of this period, the several village communities of the town experienced their seasons of "hard times," particularly those of 1837-8 and 1857, in common with larger commercial centers; but the situation of the town at a distance from the main thoroughfares of travel, which in its earliest years operated against its rapid settlement, now saved it from the consequence of expanded values and over-speculation; moreover the town possessed within itself natural resources which, with its manufacturing industries, rendered it largely independent of the business fluctuations that were disastrous to many places.
In the summer of 1839 the inhabitants of the town were pleasantly agitated by the formation of a company and the survey for a railroad to pass through Baldwinsville and the heart of the town. Syracuse already had a railroad running through it east and west, which was successful beyond the most sanguine expectations of its projectors, and which was of great benefit to the towns along its line—benefit from which Lysander was to a great extent excluded. But the railroad was not to come for several years, and it was not until 1847 that the company was finally formed and ready to begin work on the road bed. So energetically was the work prosecuted that the road—the Syracuse and Oswego—was opened for traffic in October, 1848. The tendency of railroads to sacrifice small villages to the building up of large ones and cities is well understood; but this is offset in large measure by the advantages of nearer and more active markets and the consequent general expansion of production. Baldwinsville and its vicinity has undoubtedly been benefited by the railroad passing through it. Besides the station at Baldwinsville, another was made called Lamson's (from a prominent family of that name) in the north part of the town. The large hotel at that place was built by Harvey Slauson.
At about the time when the railroad was approaching the town, another factor of prosperity was developing, the local influence of which was to prove inestimable. In 1845 the culture of tobacco was begun in a small way at Marcellus by Chester Moses and Nathan Grimes. In 1846 Mars Nearing had ten acres in Salina, and others followed in the work to such an extent that in 1855 there were 554,987 pounds grown in this county. The culture of tobacco in Lysander began in 1850, and during the succeeding quarter of a century it grew to a great industry, and continues so to the present time. Lysander and Van Buren are now the leading towns of the county in this industry. Among the many who have been large and successful growers in this town are James Selleck, E. W. Tucker, Daniel Cramer and his brothers, J. B. Munn, John Palmer, William Wilson and his son (producers of the celebrated Wilson hybrid), James Decker, Millard Smith, John H. Monroe, Charles Selleck, and many others who are perhaps equally worthy of mention.
The establishment of the various institutions and enterprises noticed in preceding pages, the development of agricultural interests throughout the town, the business needs of the several hamlets described, all of which depended for many years upon Baldwinsville for their supplies as well as for a market for surplus products, and the great value of its water power, combined and contributed to give that village a commanding position in the northwestern part of the county—a position which it still retains. Its progress has been gradual and steady from the time when it recovered from the adverse effects of the Erie Canal (about 1825), and the village has never given stronger evidence of thrift, enterprise among its citizens, and future growth than at present. The early stores and mills of the village established by Dr. Baldwin and his pioneer contemporaries have been mentioned. They were rapidly followed by other mills that were demanded for the reduction of the valuable forests. In 1824 Start & Mott built a mill with two saws and carriages. Two years later James Johnson erected one with four saws, and Stephen W. and Harvey Baldwin built one with a gang of fifteen saws. Start & Mott's mill burned in 1834 and was rebuilt in 1847 by Richard M. Beach. In 1839 Thomas P. Campbell built a mill with two saws and in 1848 Howard & Cook erected one of the same capacity. In 1836-7 Sandford C. Parker built a grist mill 100 by 60 feet and four stories high with basement, for ten runs of stone, six of which were at first put in operation. The mill was burned in 1861 and rebuilt in the next year by Johnson, Cook & Co. In 1870 it passed to G. H. & A. T. Hotaling, who changed the mill to the roller process and otherwise improved it. The present firm is Hotaling & Co. on the site of the present Amos mills was erected what was known as the red mill in about 1835 by James Johnson. The present mill was built by Jacob Amos in 1868 and is now owned by his son, Jacob. The red mill was burned with the first woolen factory in 1842. W. L. Wilkins built a flour and feed mill in 1854, which he operated more than twenty years; it is now run by John Bellen. The mill now operated by the James Frazee Milling Company (incorporated 1892) was built in 1859-60 by James Frazee, and has a capacity of 500 barrels per day. (Footnote #4: James Frazee is a son of Jacob, who came to Lysander in 1822 and died at the age of 90. James Frazee settled in Baldwinsville in 1845, and built his mills in 1859, which he remodeled in 1893 and increased their capacity. Mr. Frazee is a prominent citizen of the town and was a member of the Legislature in 1857.) What was long known as "the Farmers' Mill of Van Buren" is on the south side and was formerly operated by D. & G. Morris, from whom it passed to E. P. Clark and in 1880 to Clark, Mercer & Co.; it has a capacity of 100 barrels.
In writing of the village in 1849, Clark says:
There are at present over two thousand inhabitants in the village of Baldwinsville, seven stores, four taverns, seven lawyers, seven physicians, three clergymen, three meeting houses. There is an extensive woolen factory, called Kellogg's Woolen Factory, two tanneries, a set of planing machines and sash factory, two furnaces, two plaster mills, four carriage making shops, seven blacksmith shops, etc.
In 1866 Fuller & Bliss established a planing mill and sash, door and blind factory, the partners being William L. Fuller and C. N. Bliss. This is a large industry and still in operation by Bliss & Suydam. In 1862 Johnson, Cook & Co. built a structure for use as a distillery in connection with their grist mill. In this in 1874 Schoonmaker & Co. (Andrew S. Schoonmaker, now deceased, Theodore Haines, and Jacob C. Kenyon), began the manufacture of straw wrapping paper. This mill is now in operation by the Kenyon Paper Company and manufactures tissue paper only.
In 1850 Ezekiel Morris, an edge tool maker, removed from Little Falls to Baldwinsville and established a factory for his business. He died in 1869 at the age of sixty-five years, and was succeeded in the business by his sons, H. D. and William F. Morris, in 1860, and in 1869 William F. withdrew from the business and was chosen cashier of the First National Bank. In 1870 he bought out the centrifugal pump manufactory of Heald, Sisco & Co., which had established a successful business, and later bought up the entire establishment. A large business was done, and the manufacture of steam engines and general machine work added. In 1892 the works were taken by the Morris Machine Works, which was incorporated with a capital of $300,000. It is a very large and prosperous industry.
In June, 1876, White, Clark & Co. established the centrifugal pump works in the building in which was formerly the axe factory. The pump works were subsequently removed to Syracuse.
The only saw mill in Baldwinsville at the present time, of all those that have been erected, is operated by Fairbanks & Taggart.
The New Process Rawhide Company was organized by Syracuse men and occupies a factory built for their purpose. It is a successful industry and manufactures various articles, among which are superior pinions for electric motors.
The knitting mill now conducted by J. C. & J. C. Miller, was established in 1876 by J. C. Miller. About 200 hands are employed chiefly in the production of white underwear.
Mercantile operations in the village kept pace with these manufactures. In the same year that John Hamill opened his store (1816), Parker & Wallace began trade, and were followed by Jonas C. Brewster in 1821, Luther Badger in 1823, Robins & Wells in 1832, Sandford C. Parker in 1835 (president of the village in 1853-54), John H. Tomlinson & Co. in 1838, D. C. Lusk & Co. in 1846, and John Tomlinson, 1838, on the north side. All this time and for nearly twenty years later Otis Bigelow was a leading merchant. Others who have been prominent in business in later years are S. M. Dunbar, Isaac Dixon, M. Donovan, Alanson Fancher, John Hax, Irvin S. Williams, Alex. Hamill, G. N. Luckey, S. C. Suydam, Wallace Tappan.
The professions received accessions to their representatives in the persons of Samuel H. Hammond in 1826, Cornelius Pugsley soon afterward, Col. Isaac T. Minard, 1833, and De Witt C. Greenfield in 1848; the latter still in practice. These were attorneys, and in later years lawyers Le Roy Morgan, George Hall, N. M. White (late police justice of Syracuse), F. A. Marvin, J. R. Shea, C. M. West and others settled here. In 1814 Dr. Cyrus Baldwin began practice, and Dr. Silas Wallace in 1816. Dr. Philip Sharp settled a little west of the village as early as 1823, and later physicians have been Drs. H. J. Shumway, ___ Farnsworth, ___ Lee, Elijah Lawrence, John Briggs, Henry B. Allen, J. V. Kendall (still in practice), J. C. B. Wallace, J. F. Wells, A. H. Marks, L. V. Flint and others.
To provide financial facilities for these various business interests, the First National Bank of Baldwinsville was organized February 2, 1864, with James Frazee, president; D. C. Greenfield, vice-president; Irvin Williams, cashier. In 1866 the bank erected its own building at a cost of $8,000, which it has since occupied. The capital of the bank was made $140,000. It has been successfully conducted and on a plan of liberality which has received the commendation of the public. In 1879 Mr. Frazee having resigned, Richard L. Smith was chosen president; W. F. Morris, vice-president, and Walter McMullin, cashier, who are in office at the present time; the capital stock was reduced to $100,000 in 1880.
The Baldwinsville State Bank was organized in May, 1875, with a capital of $50,000, with George Hawley, president; G. A. Bigelow, vice-president; S. S. Quivey, cashier. On the death of George Hawley, Payne Bigelow was chosen president, and at his death Otis M. Bigelow was chosen and holds the position at the present time; G. A. Bigelow being vice-president and S. S. Quivey cashier. The capital stock has been increased to $60,000.
The proximity of Baldwinsville to Syracuse undoubtedly delayed the publication of a newspaper in the village until a comparatively recent date. The first paper was started in the spring of 1844 by Samuel B. West, and was called the Baldwinsville Republican. In October, 1846, it passed to C. Mark Hosmer, who changed the name to the Onondaga Gazette. In January, 1848, the publishers were Shepard & Hosmer, who sold to J. M. Clark. He was a successful editor and during many years his paper was popular. He sold out to J. F. Davis, but ere long repurchased the establishment and in 1869 sold to X. Haywood, who enlarged the paper. In 1871 George S. Clark purchased the business, and on the lst of January, 1878, it was again sold to John F. Greene, who changed the name of the paper to the Baldwinsville Gazette. Under Mr. Green's management the paper rapidly improved in both make-up and news matter. In 1888 Mr. Greene admitted as partners Charles B. Baldwin and James A. Ward, and the title of the firm was changed to the Gazette Publishing Company, Mr. Greene largely devoting his attention to other affairs. In January, 1894, Greene sold his interest to W. F. Morris, and in May Ward retired from the firm. In May, 1895, the Gazette business was incorporated with a capital of $30,000, under the title of the W. F. Morris Publishing Company, with the following officers: William F. Morris, president; Charles G. Baldwin, vice-president; Willard W. Lewis, secretary and treasurer.
The Baldwinsville Era was established in November, 1885, by its present publisher and editor, Charles P. Cornell. After six months in the Fitzgerald block, the office was removed to M. H. Smith's block, where it remained five years and six months, when it was removed to the new Nettleton block. Mr. Cornell has made the Era successful in a business way and influential in the community.
Baldwinsville was incorporated on June 3, 1848, and the first election thereafter was held on the 24th of that month. Le Roy Morgan was chosen president of the village; E. A. Baldwin, Elisha Hickok, Irvin Williams, and Almon Farr, trustees; E. B. Wigent, clerk. The usual by-laws and ordinances for the government of similar villages were adopted. On the 18th of June, 1850, a police constable was elected in the person of D. C. Toll, and Hiram Hull, Irvin Williams, and Henry Y. Allen were elected street commissioners. At the same meeting the trustees were authorized to build a watch house, or to lease one, and $75 were appropriated for the repair of the fire engine and the purchase of hose. A board of health was created in June, 1850, and in the next year $100 were voted for making a village map; the map was made by John A. Crawford. In 1853 a watch house was leased for $40 for the year.
Down to the time under consideration the facilities for extinguishing fires in the village had been rather meager. On the 18th of March, 1853, Isaac T. Minard, Seth Dunbar, and S. C. Fancher were appointed a committee to procure a fire engine, and on the 22d of September Colonel Minard was made a committee to buy 200 feet of hose. On the 1st of April, 1854, John E. Todd, James G. Smith and James F. Wells were appointed a committee on hose cart, with Colonel Minard, James B. Wells, and James G. Smith, committee on engine house. In April, of that year Colonel Minard was sent to New York, where he paid for the new engine and 248 feet of hose. A special meeting was held on May 17, 1854, to act upon the matter of appropriating $200 for a lot for an engine house, watch house, etc., $600 for erecting such a building, $50 for a hose cart, and $130 for additional hose. Definite action was not concluded at this meeting, but on June 10, $300 were appropriated for buying a lot, $700 for a building, $25 for hooks and ladders, and the other sums as above mentioned. On the 27th of May a fire company was formed consisting of forty-four members. On the 29th of June a lot was purchased of Stephen W. Baldwin on Canal street, on which was a building, at a cost of $600. This building was converted to the purposes intended and with some modifications is still in use. The second story was not finished until 1857. In February, 1875, a steam fire engine was purchased for the village, and in 1889 the department was equipped with 1,000 feet of hose and an extension ladder. John M. Scoville was chosen chief engineer of the steamer. Since the establishment of the water works the fire apparatus with the exception of the hose carts, is almost useless. The water system is one of the best in the State, and hydrants are so located that danger from fire is very small.
Baldwinsville and the town of Lysander responded promptly to the calls of the government during the civil war, as related in Chapter XXII. The local newspapers of that period are filled with accounts of patriotic meetings held in Baldwinsville and the various smaller villages, the prevailing enthusiasm, and the generous acts of hundreds of citizens in aid of the Union cause. Measures were adopted in special town meetings for raising the large sums of money paid in bounties to volunteers, of whom the town sent out her full complement, many of whom gave up their lives for their country, or came home maimed and disfigured.
Since the war no town in the county, probably, has met with a great degree of general prosperity than Lysander, while the village of Baldwinsville has, particularly in quite recent years, advanced with rapid strides. Among the important improvements made during this period are the rebuilding of the iron bridge across the Seneca River in 1866-67 substantially as it now appears, at a cost of about $18,000; the rebuilding of the dam in stone in the most substantial manner, by the State, in 1895, at a cost of more than $60,000; the building of the Howard Opera House in 1881 by H. Howard, and the erection of a large number of handsome modern brick blocks during the past ten years.
About the year 1886 the question of a better water supply for Baldwinsville became a subject of discussion among leading citizens, and various plans were proposed. Action was finally taken by the purchase of two acres of ground of Reuben Ham, the employment of a civil engineer, and the sinking of a large well, from which water of excellent quality and unlimited in quantity is pumped into a stand pipe situated on Cramer Hill east of the village. The first board of water commissioners was appointed June 18, 1889, composed of C. N. Bliss, C. B. Baldwin, J. E. Connell, R. Kratzer, J. C. Kenyon, G. G. Mercer, and E. Fairbanks. Mr. Bliss was chosen president of the board. The village was bonded for $50,000 and work on the plant was commenced August 19, 1889, by Brown Brothers of Mohawk. The works were tested on January 27, 1890, and accepted by the village authorities. The issue of bonds was not quite sufficient for the undertaking and an additional loan of $8,000 was procured. A pumping house and requisite machinery were erected and William Rodgers chosen chief engineer and superintendent at a salary of $50 a month. All of the principal streets were piped and sufficient hydrants put in to provide adequate fire protection.
The village is now lighted by electricity. A special election was held on October 13, 1887, to act upon two propositions which had been received from lighting companies, and to appropriate $500 for street lighting. The Edison company's proposition to supply eighty-five incandescent lights to run all of every night for $1,000 was accepted and the plant installed.
The centennial of the county was appropriately celebrated on May 30, 1894, Lysander and Van Buren joining for the purpose. E. P. Clark was chosen chief marshal of the exercises, and full committees were appointed. Dr. J. V. Kendall was president of the day. Interesting historical papers were read by Rev. W. M. Beauchamp, Richard L. Smith, Wallace Tappan, Justus Stevens, Edwin F. Nichols, Bradley Abbott and others. A poem was read by C. B. Baldwin.
Following is a list of the village presidents from the date of incorporation to the present time:
1849-51, Henry Case, jr.; 1852, Samuel Bisdee; 1853-54, Sandford C. Parker; 1855, E. B. Wigent; 1856, John Boley; 1857, D. D. Norton; 1858, Samuel Avery; 1859, D. C. Greenfield; 1860, Stephen W. Baldwin; 1861, James Hamill; 1862, J. O. Slocum; 1863, Eli Perry; 1864-65, W. W. Perkins; 1866, L. H. Cheney; 1867, J. P. Shumway; 1868-70, J. J. Kaulback; 1871-72, Wallace Tappan; 1873, I. M. Baldwin; 1874, Erwin Fairbanks; 1876-78, William F. Morris; 1879, Wells A. Allen; 1880-81, J. R. Blanchard; 1882, E. Fairbanks; 1883-84, W. W. Downer; 1885, Michael Donovan; 1886, Marcellus Johnson; 1887, W. W. Downer; 1888, F. P. Suydam; 1889, J. R. Blanchard; 1890, Willard H. Tappan; 1891, E. P. Clark; 1892-94, L. F. Buck.
Following is a list of village officers in 1895:
Hiram Howard, president; Marcellus Johnson, clerk; Newton E. Bartlett, treasurer; John H. Russell, chief police; William J. Bellen, village attorney; trustees: Homer Failing, Martin Handle, Joseph H. Sawyer, Stephen F. Wilcox, William B. Trowbridge, William J. Sullivan; assessors: Andrew R. Failing, Eliphalet Z. Frazee, Charles J. Kruesse; water commissioners: Charles N. Bliss, president; James E. Connell, treasurer; Gardner G. Mercer, secretary; Erwin Fairbanks, Jacob C. Kenyon, Rumont Kratzer, Kirby C. Munro; William Rogers, superintendent of system; street commissioners: Edward T. Smith, John C. King; fire department: Alexander Hosler, chief engineer; fire wardens, Andrew Larkin, John T. Wilkins, Herbert Rogers; board of health: Hiram Howard, president; M. Johnson, clerk and registrar; Dr. G. M. Wasse, physician; commissioners, Edward Huntoon, Richard Platt, Charles Casper.
Figures showing the population of Lysander from 1830 to 1892:
1830, 3,228; 1835, 3,838; 1840, 4,306; 1845, 4,506; 1850, 5,833; 1855, 5,060; 1860, 4,741; 1865, 4,813; 1870, 4,944; 1875, 4,990; 1880, 4,903; 1890, 5,163; 1892, 5,012.
Designed by a member of