The following was copied from Vol. II, pp. 977-1015 of Onondaga's Centennial, edited by Dwight H. Bruce and published by Boston History Co., 1896.
Around the northern end of the beautiful lake that makes conspicuous and adorns the southwestern part of Onondaga county, there clusters a mass of interesting history, its beginning antedating even the era of white settlement. During its aboriginal occupancy this region was a favorite resort of the Indians, a hunting and fishing place often sought by the Onondagas from the east and the Cayugas and Senecas from the west. Its picturesque scenery and geographical advantages, together with the convenience of its situation on the famous Indian trail over which the great Seneca turnpike was afterwards constructed, made it a much traversed locality by the nearby Iroquois. These same attractions also called hither a most desirable class of white pioneers during the closing years of the eighteenth century.
The territory of Skaneateles was embraced in military township No. 9 (Marcellus), and in the civil town of the same name when Onondaga county was organized in 1794. It includes what were military lots Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, 30, 35, 36 37 38, 39, 44, 45, 50, 51, 52, 57, 58, 59, 60, 65, 66, 67, 72, 73, 84, 85, 86, and 87. These lots were drawn by the following persons for service in the war of the Revolution:
1, Stephen Baker; 2, John Shepard; 3, Edward Bear; 4, John Moore; 5, William Yarrington; 10, Benjamin Herring (ensign); 11, William Lodder; 12, John Gilbert; 13, John Gross; 18, Jerome Hogelandt; 19, reserved for gospels, schools, etc.; 20, Volkert Dow; 21, Thomas Moore; 22, reserved for gospel, schools, etc.; 27, Henry Burrance; 28, Samuel Higby; 29, Samuel Parsons; 30, Thomas Jones; 35, Kenneth Campbell; 36, John Simonds; 37, Capt. John Doughty; 38, Lieut. George Denniston; 39, William Gillaspee; 44, John Shultz; 45, Ephraim Blowers; 50 and 51, reserved for gospel, schools, etc.; 52, Lieut. Hiel Peck; 57, Benjamin Beebe (or Boanerges); 58, Peter I. Vosburgh (captain); 59, Capt. Jacob Reed; 66, Henry Luke; 65, Joseph Halstead; 66, David Pembroke; 67, Jacob Weeks; 72, Peter Sherman; 73, John Brown; 84, John Martin; 85, Robert Casey; 86, Dennis McPeck; 87, Lieut. Henry Dessendorph.
In common with those who drew lots in other towns of this county, only one or two of the grantees became settlers on their lands; nearly all sold their claims for trifling returns. To the few grantees who ever saw the region in its wilderness condition it probably presented few attractions of a practical nature; while it might have been beautiful to the lover of nature, the soldier fresh from the wars or the home-seeker in quest of a place where he could quickly secure a living could not have been very favorably impressed with the prospect. The region was covered with a heavy growth of pine and hemlock forest, which in the lowlands was intermingled with thick underbrush, demanding long and arduous toil to clear and fit it for cultivation. The soil was good, consisting largely of rich sandy and clayey loam, but its character was not well understood by the early comers. They settled mostly on the hills, believing the lowlands would prove to he unhealthy, and that the making of roads there would be difficult. The surface of the town is moderately hilly, rising from the lake shore to a height of from 200 to 500 feet. According to recent surveys the lake itself lies at an altitude of 860 feet above tide water, while Giles Hill rises 1,265 feet, Hoxie Hill 1,198 feet, and Seeley Hill 1,109 feet above sea level. Geographically Skaneateles is the southern town on the west line of the county. It takes its name from that of the lake, an Indian name, Skeh-ne-a-iles, which signifies "very long lake," but which by some authorities is said to mean "beautiful squaw," and is supposed to have been derived from the family of a powerful chief who, in legend, lived on the site of Mandana village with his six wives, several sons, and an only daughter. On very old French maps this lake is recorded as " Lac Scaneateatdle." The town was erected from Marcellus on the 26th of February, 1830, and on March 18, 1840, a small part of Spafford was annexed, making the present area 23,600 acres. The town records were burned in 1835, which fact precludes the possibility of quoting from them any items of interest respecting the earlier years of the town's history.
John Thompson, a Scotchman, has always received the credit of making the first permanent white settlement within the present limits of this town, but painstaking research has developed the fact that that honor probably belongs to Abraham A. Cuddeback, who arrived here with his wife and eight children from Minisink, N.Y. on July 14, 1794, after a journey of forty-three days. Clark and others state that Thompson came in with his family in 1793 and located on lot 18, on the Colonel Lamb farm, near the Cayuga county line, receiving his land as compensation for his services while employed in establishing the boundaries between New York and Pennsylvania and three successive summers spent in surveying on the Military Tract under Moses De Witt. He also paid five shillings sterling, and his deed is recorded in the county clerk's office in 1794, his tract comprising fifty acres, He was the owner of military lands in adjoining towns, as shown by the records, for several years following this date, and in all his deeds residence is given as being in Stillwater, Saratoga county. On October 12, 1801, he purchased a part of lot 88 in Camillus, which he sold on October 2, 1806. In 1810 is recorded: "John Thompson and Charlora Adams of Marcellus, administrators of the goods and chattles, rights and credits, of David Groom of Marcellus." June 15, 1819, "John Thompson, of the township of Stillwater," sold a tract of land to Nathan Thompson, of Galway. January 12, 1821, he entered his name for the first time as being "of the town of Marcellus," and sold to Joseph Foster, for $2,090, about 105 acres of lots 18 and 35, in what is now Skaneateles. This same tract was sold by Foster on March 2, 1825, to Joseph Porter and Samuel Jacacks for $2,300, and on April 7, 1836, Mr. Jacacks disposed of the land for $5,000 to David Hall, of Skaneateles. In all these deeds the wife of Thompson is not mentioned, a fact which indicates that he was then unmarried, and it is reasonably certain that he did not become an actual resident of this town until after 1800. E. N. Leslie, who has gathered a mass of valuable local history, states that Abraham A. Cuddeback first leased lands of Major De Witt on the west shore of the lake, finally purchased his original improvement, and to his grandchildren early said that his nearest neighbor lived at Onondaga Hill. Settlements, however, were made this same year (1794) in Marcellus and also in this town. Mr. Cuddeback brought with him three yoke of oxen, a two-year old colt, and twelve cows, and settled on the premises now occupied by the summer residence of Dr, Hurd. At that time there were five wigwams occupied by Indians where the John M. Nye house subsequently stood. Mr. Cuddeback built the first frame building in town, and the first wheat he raised he carried to Albany, exchanging a part of it for nails, bushel for pound. He was of Huguenot descent, and died October 22, 1831, aged seventy-three years.
The first settlers apparently preferred that portion of the town west of the lake and outlet. The pioneer east of this water division was Col. Elijah Bowen, who arrived with his family in 1794, settling in a log house which he had previously built on lot 39. He was born in Cheshire, Mass., in 1756, and died here in 1807. His children were Valentine, Sophronia. Elijah, jr., Hannah, Delina (who married Dr. David Kingsbury, of Clintonville, in 1802), and Lucina, all born in Cheshire, the latter in 1791. Benajah Bowen, a brother of Elijah, settled on the farm next east in 1795, bringing with him his wife, five sons, and three daughters. In 1817 he removed to Lysander and died there. Elijah Bowen, jr., born in 1787, died in Wisconsin January 5, 1861. Colonel Bowen was a prominent man in early years, and his house was for a time the first stopping place for incoming settlers, the highway passing it being called the "Bowen road." He was a soldier in the war of 1812. Another settler of 1794 was a Mr. Robinson, and still another was Bethuel Cole, who was both farmer and blacksmith. The latter lived on the road from Willow Glen to Auburn, about a mile west of the old "Red House."
Gen. Robert Earll removed from Whitehall, Washington county, to Onondaga Hollow about 1793, and a year later came to this town, where he died in 1834. He had six sons: Isaac, Robert, jr., Nehemiah H., Hezekiah, Hiram, and Ira. Julius Earll, son of Hezekiah, was long an influential business man and manufacturer, and died July 26, 1876, aged fifty-eight. Hezekiah Earll died here October 29, 1863, aged seventy-four years. Nehemiah H. Earil was born October 5, 1787, studied law with Daniel Kellogg, Thaddeus M. Wood, and George B. Hall, was admitted to the Common Pleas in 1809 and to the Supreme Court in 1812, served in the war of 1812, and became a prominent citizen of Onondaga county, serving as judge of the Court of Common Pleas from 1823 to 1831, as superintendent of the Onondaga Salt Springs in 1831-35, and as congressman in 1839-41. He died at Mottville August 30, 1872. The Earlls have been both prominent and numerous in this town and county, all coming from Washington county, N.Y., but originally from Massachusetts. Daniel and Nehemiah Earll, brothers, came to Onondaga Hollow about 1792. Daniel's sons were Jonas, Daniel, jr., Nathaniel, Nehemiah, Robert, Benjamin, Watson, and Abijah. Daniel, sr., died in Skaneateles in 1817, aged eighty-eight. Robert and Abijah finally settled in this town on lot 27, Benjamin and Robert on lot 11, and Jonas in 1802 on lot 19, where Mottville is situated. The latter's sons were Solomon, Jonas, jr., and David. Jonas Earil, sr., died in October, 1847, aged ninety-six. Jonas, jr., was elected sheriff in 1815, served as assemblyman in 1820 and 1821, and State senator from 1823 to 1826 inclusive, congressman in 1827-31, appointed canal commissioner in 1832, 1842, and 1844, and was postmaster at Syracuse from 1837 to 1841. Gen. Robert Earll probably built the first dam across the outlet at what is now Willow Glen. He erected a saw mill and grist mill there and also established a tannery, all in about 1797. He was the first tanner, currier, and shoemaker in town, and carried on quite a business for those days. About 1800 Robert and Jonas Earll built and operated the first distillery in Skaneateles a little northeast of the old Watson house, on the road from the "Red House" to the creek.
William Clift arrived from Vermont with his father in March, 1795, and settled at Clift's Corners. He died in 1862. His house was kept as a tavern for nearly sixty years and was burned in May, 1885. Jacob Annis, a relative by marriage of the De Witt family, also located in 1795 on the Lapham place on the west side of the lake. Dr. Hall came to Skaneateles as early 1796; in the same year Lovell Gibbs settled here and erected the first frame house on the village site. Dr. Hall built the second frame dwelling. James Porter came here in 1797 and erected and opened the first tavern in town, the timbers of which probably constituted the first raft of the kind ever floated upon the lake. The same year Winston Day, the pioneer merchant, opened the first store where the village of Skaneateles now stands, and John Briggs emigrated hither from Owasco, where he had settled in 1794. David Welch from Fort Ann, Washington county, located on lot 73 in 1798. He was a soldier in the Revolution, was wounded at the battle of Bennington, and built the first frame barn in Skaneateles in 1800. Benjamin Nye, the father of John M., was also a prominent settler of 1798, coming here from Lee, Mass. Being a brickmaker he established a brick yard on the four acres of land he had purchased within the present village limits and continued the business until 1802 or 1803, when he sold his property for $100 per acre, and moved to a 100-acre farm on the east shore of the lake, where he died in an unfinished brick house in 1829.
These early settlers came in by the Indian trail previously mentioned, or by the old Genesee road, which was opened soon after the first arrivals. Suffering from the hardships and privations incident to a new country, and especially from the miasmic conditions of the low, unbroken lands, they bore the many trials of frontier life with fortitude. Wolves, bears, and other wild animals were extremely troublesome. Domestic conveniences, too, were crude, and if the fire was allowed to go out a journey to the nearest neighbor for a "spark" was necessary. As years passed and the country became more thickly populated, better conditions prevailed, and the pioneers saw their section of country transformed from a forbidding wilderness to fruitful and pleasant farms.
The site of Skaneateles village, it will be noticed, was the earliest sought as a field for business enterprise. Its natural advantages and picturesque location, and the fact that it was situated on the great Indian trail, made it a desirable and convenient mercantile center, and around the primitive store of Winston Day and the tavern of James Porter there soon clustered a variety of shops and dwellings. Judge Jedediah Sanger, of Oneida county, very early recognized the future possibilities of the spot, and directed many of the first improvements. He purchased considerable land and a number of mill sites at the head of the outlet, across which he constructed a dam about 1797, a little above the present State dam. About the same time he erected a saw mill and a grist mill at this point. All these structures were built by Jesse Kellogg, into whose possession they subsequently passed. Judge Sanger also soon caused a tract to be laid out into lots, which were usually one hundred feet front by twenty rods deep. The Thayer lot, known as No. 6, was conveyed to Seth McKay, on January 16, 1801, for $5, and sold by him to Norman Leonard, an early merchant, on July 21, 1802, for $200. The latter finally sold it to John Legg. Judge Sanger sold lot 11 to Joseph Pearce for $20, and on October 12, 1801, conveyed a one-acre lot on the west side of the outlet to Warren Hecox for $10. As laid out these lots were termed "village plots on the north end of Skaneateles Lake."
Being one of the commissioners to lay out the Seneca Turnpike, Judge Sanger secured its passage through this village, and in 1800 the Seneca Road Company built the first bridge over the outlet. This structure was twenty-four rods long, twenty-four feet wide, and stood upon fourteen posts; when rebuilt in 1843 its length was reduced to twenty-four feet. The present iron bridge was erected in 1871 by the State, the outlet being a feeder to the Erie Canal. The Genesee Turnpike originally ran east and west through this town, crossing the outlet a mile and a quarter north of the village. The Seneca route, however, became the most popular. In 1807 the Cherry Valley Turnpike was finished, and ran southwesterly from Skaneateles village, where it intersected the Seneca thoroughfare.
As soon as a few families had taken up their homes in the wilderness efforts were made to establish educational facilities, and one of the foremost in this movement at that time was Gen. Robert Earll, who soon after his arrival was instrumental in erecting a school house on the west side of the creek. Here Miss Edith Williams was the first teacher. Clark states that Ebenezer Castle had a school in a private house in the village prior to 1798, in which year the first frame school house in town was built in Skaneateles village and in it the first teacher was Nicholas Otis. Dr. Munger, the first physician, was another early teacher; he subsequently moved to Wellington in Camillus, where he died. He was the father of Dr. Jesse Munger. In educational matters Skaneateles has always held a high rank; few towns in the State possess a better record in this respect.
On the 29th of October, 1801, the Skaneateles Religious Society was organized with sixteen members by Rev. Aaron Bascom. It was incorporated with Ebenezer R. Hawley, Joseph Clift, Judah Hopkins, Peter Putnam, and Daniel Cook as trustees, and was the first organization of the kind in Western Onondaga. Among the first members were Joshua and Aaron Cook, Simon Homer, Solomon Edwards, Asa Hanwood, Elizabeth and Ejecta Edwards, Mary and Rebecca Cook, James Porter, Lucretia Homer, and Martha Seamer. The society adhered to the Congregational faith until January 1, 1818, when the Presbyterian form of government was adopted under the pastoral charge of Rev. Benjamin B. Stockton. The first stated preacher was Rev. Thomas Robbins; Rev. Nathaniel Swift was the first settled pastor from September 14, 1811, to October 27, 1812; prior to these such missionaries as Revs. Osgoode, Seth Williston, Jedediah Bushnell, Amasa Jerome, and Mr. Crane labored here. The first church was built on the hill east of the village in 1807-08, and was dedicated March 1, 1809. This was subsequently sold to the Baptists. A new brick edifice was erected in 1830, at a cost of $7,300. The same year Rev. Samuel W. Bush became pastor and remained till 1844. Rev. M. N. Preston was pastor from October, 1862, to November, 1884. Among the deacons of this church have been Eli Clark, Joshua Cook, Samuel Bellamy, James Porter, Ebenezer Warner, Chester Moses, Philip Crosby, Foster and William Clark, Sereno Field, and Henry T. Hooker. On July 25, 1891, the corner stone of the present brick church was laid on the site of the old structure.
By the year 1800 a large number of settlers, beside those named, had arrived in different parts of the town, among them being Warren Hecox, Jonathan Hall, Zalmon Terrell (on lot 5), John Shepard (on lot 12), a Mr. Sabin (the first blacksmith, who finally sold out to John Legg), and one Lusk, the pioneer carpenter. The latter framed and built the "Red House," in which many of the early religious services were held. Mr. Shepard had settled on his farm about 1797. One morning he heard his hog squeal in the woods, near the house, and running to the door discovered a huge bear making the disturbance. Catching up a pitchfork instead of his gun he hurled it at Bruin, who turned ferociously upon his assailant and chased him up a tree. Mr. Shepard's cries soon brought his neighbor Terrell to the scene, who afterward maliciously stated that he found his friend (who was his brother-in-law) hugging the tree and trembling like a leaf, with no bear in sight. Mr. Shepard's first child, familiarly known as Major Shepard, was born here July 4, 1798. Warren Hecox came about 1797, had a shoe shop and tannery in the village on the west side of the mill dam, and died March 29, 1850. His old tannery was burned in August, 1870.
Jesse Kellogg moved his family here from New Hartford in the winter of 1799-1800, and soon afterward purchased Judge Sanger's mill property. He was born in Hartford, Conn., in 1758. In 1807 he removed to the Obediah Thorn farm, and finally to the hill, east of Marcellus village, where be died in 1811. Eli Clark came here on foot from Northampton, Mass., in October, 1800, and on January, 22, 1801, purchased fifty acres of lot 35, making a journey on foot to New York city for the purpose; he also bought fifty acres of John Thompson's land, paying $6 per acre for the whole. He was the father of Foster Clark, who was then six years of age. Asa Mason arrived from Berkshire county, Mass., in February, 1800, with his brother, Avery, and purchased 400 acres of lot 68. About the same year Robert Aldridge, Jacob and Rufus Bacon, Benjamin Brooks, William Bales, Aaron Bailey, Levi Clark, Joseph Carr, Christopher Brackett, and Joseph Cooper became settlers.
A man whose genius eventually influenced domestic affairs throughout the country made his appearance in this town about 1800 in the person of Amos Miner. He was a son of Dr. John Miner, was born in Norfolk, Conn., November 10, 1776, and learned the wheelwright's trade. In clearing land here he was accidentally injured, and while confined to his bed became imbued with the idea of improving the old-fashioned spinning-wheel, then in use in every family. The result was Miner's accelerating wheel-head, which was patented in 1803. On March 8, 1804, he purchased from Silas Bascom twenty-seven acres of land on lot 44, which included a mill site, and here he built a factory, fitting it with machinery of his own invention, and manufactured wheel heads, flails, fork handles, and other wooden utensils for the household and farm. The wheel head was a great invention in those days, a benefaction to all farmers' families, and was sold in every State in the Union. In 1805 Miner sold his real estate and mill to Daniel Waller. He afterwards established a wheel-head factory at Five Mile Point in company with Amasa Sessions and Davis Deming, but soon sold his interest there and erected a saw and grist mill about midway between Skaneateles and Otisco Lakes, a mill ever since known as the "pudding mill." About 1816 he located at Mottville, and subsequently at Jordan, where he manufactured pails, churns, etc. He invented most of the machinery he used, including a machine for making window sash, the Miner pump, etc. He was poor, but he made many rich, and his inventions had a powerful influence upon nearly every local industry. He finally moved to Illinois, where he died June 2, 1842. His sister Anna was the mother of Charles, Aaron, and Allen Pardee, of this town.
We now come to the financial founder of the village of Skaneateles, a man whose individuality and marked influence gave the place a decided impetus. This was Col. William J. Vredenburg, who was born in New York city, April 13, 1757. He was an officer in the Revolution and a merchant in the place of his birth, and as early as 1791 was a large dealer in soldiers' claims on the Military Tract, visiting this section first in 1799. He removed to Skaneateles village in May, 1803, with his wife, four daughters, and two sons, stopping first under a large elm tree near the corner of Jordan and Academy streets. He purchased the house and lot subsequently occupied by Charles J. Burnett, from Levi Sartwell, a carpenter, who had bought the site of Judge Sanger in January, 1800. built the dwelling and kept it as a tavern. Soon afterward Colonel Vredenburg purchased of Judge Sanger the unsold portions of military lot 36, upon which the village stands, and selected a commanding eminence of twenty acres for a future residence. This site was then the village cemetery, and contained about sixteen graves, all without headstones. The remains were transferred to the then private burying ground of John Briggs (whose wife was buried there in 1802), which was purchased by the Skaneateles Religious Society in 1812 for a public burial place. In 1804 the colonel began the erection of his mansion, which be finished about 1806. The floors were being laid on the memorable "dark day" (June 16) of that year. His dwelling was a veritable palace for those times, and the raising of the frame was the occasion of a vast demonstration. Invitations were sent to all the inhabitants for miles around. The colonel surrounded his house with one of the finest gardens west of the Hudson River, procuring first a Mr. Dullard, and afterwards Samuel Litherland, professional gardeners, for the purpose. He was a man of large means, a liberal, kind-hearted citizen, and an active promoter of the general welfare. At first he had to send to Marcellus twice a week for his mail, but, dissatisfied with this arrangement, he wrote to the postmaster-general and procured a post office in Skaneateles in April, 1804, in which he was appointed the first postmaster. He was a member of assembly in 1804-06, and died here May 9, 1813, leaving a large landed estate of several thousand acres in Central New York. His homestead passed to Daniel Kellogg, after whose death it was occupied by his daughter, Mrs. G. F. Leitch, until her decease. The house finally burned down in 1872. Colonel Vredenburg was succeeded as postmaster by John Ten Eyck, who was followed by Charles J. Burnett, who held the office from 1817 to 1843.
About the beginning of the present century quite a settlement had sprung up in the vicinity of what is now Mandana. David and Samuel Welch, the latter the father of Samuel, jr., and a soldier in the war of 1812, very early located in the neighborhood. A log school house was erected on the subsequent tavern site, and in it Daniel G. Burroughs was the first teacher. Later teachers were Misses Hall and Gleason. John G. Garlock, who served in the war of 1812, built and opened a store, in which he was followed by John P. Miles, Jacob Van Houten, Seth Morgan and others. Other early settlers in the vicinity were Israel Sabins (a blacksmith), Tunis Van Houghton, James Gardner, Samuel Robertson, Edward Greenman, and William Watts. Josiah Garlock was a tavernkeeper here as early as 1835, and in his house and at the taverns of W. H. Mershon at Mottville and Isaac W. Perry in Skaneateles elections were held in 1836, one day in each, successively.
On March 2, 1806, the Skaneateles Library Company was incorporated with Elnathan Andrews, Thaddeus Edwards, Warren Hecox, Samuel Porter and Daniel Kellogg, trustees. Mr. Edwards was chairman and Mr. Kellogg was treasurer and librarian, the latter holding these offices till 1816, when he was succeeded by Alexander W. Beebe, who served until 1824. He was followed by Phares Gould from 1824 to 1834, by James G. Porter in 1834-35, and by E. H. Porter in 1835- 41, when the library collapsed. No less than 115 subscribers joined the organization during its existence, and the first manuscript catalogue contained the titles of 308 volumes. On October 20, 1877, the Skaneateles Library Association was incorporated by Joel Thayer, E. Norman Leslie, Henry T. Webb, John H. Smith, Charles S. Hall, E. B. Coe, John C. Stephenson, George T. Campbell, S. D. Conover, Edwin L. Parker, C. W. Allis, Prof. A. M. Wright, Joseph C. Willetts, John Humphryes, and William Marvin. Rooms were opened in the Legg Block, and in 1880 the present handsome and commodious stone library building was erected. It is one of the chief attractions of the village, and was dedicated February 27, 1890, Hon. William Marvin presiding. Mrs. Lydia A. Cobane has been librarian for several years. The officers are William Marvin, president; J. C. Willetts, vice-president, and E. Norman Leslie, treasurer. In December, 1834, the Skaneateles Mechanics' Literary Association was formed, and continued in existence until 1842. On May 3, 1838, the Skaneateles Educational Society was organized by Phares Gould, president; Alfred Wilkinson and William Gibbs, vice presidents; Milton A. Kinney, secretary; Abner Bates, treasurer; Joseph Talcott, J. T. Clark, Stephen E. Maltby, William H. Greene, Dr. Evelyn H. Porter, Luther Pratt, and Archibald Douglass, managers. Committees were chosen to visit the twenty schools in town and report their condition, and by systematic work a new impetus was given to local education. Contemporary with this organization was the Skaneateles Anti-Slavery Society, whose officers were Alfred Wilkinson, president; Thaddeus Edwards and Daniel Talcott, vice-presidents; James C. Fuller, secretary; Stephen E. Maltby, treasurer; Smith Litherland, James Rattle, John Snook, Chester Moses, Abner Bates, and George Pryor, executive committee. The organization was an able auxiliary to the county society.
The west side of the lake was very early settled by members of the Society of Friends, who exerted a wholesome and permanent influence upon the subsequent development of the town. Bringing with them their quiet, ennobling characteristics, they impressed upon the community a lasting regard for institutions of an elevating nature, and firmly implanted their doctrines among the settlements. About 1812 a society was organized in the community; among its members were Joseph and Russell Frost, Abner Lawton (died January 20, 1855), Warren Giles, Silas Gaylord (died January 31, 1843), and William Willetts; soon afterward an edifice was erected near the octagon school house. In 1828 a division occurred, the "Hicksites" retaining this meeting house, and the "Orthodox" branch moving their services to Skaneateles, where a meeting house was built on the farm of Richard Talcott, who, with his two sons, Richard and Daniel, were prominent members. This building was torn down in 1873, and another erected. Sarah Talcott was the first minister of this society. The first minister of the Hicksites after the separation was Adin Gory. Other prominent Friends were Valentine Willetts, John Milton Arnold (who with Mr. Willetts engaged in the foundry business in Skaneateles in 1843), and Liva Peck.
A few years ago E. M. Leslie obtained a ledger which was kept here by John Meeker, merchant in 1806, and from it he gleaned the following names of residents (farmers, unless otherwise noted) of this section at that time:
Aaron Austin (farmer and clothier), Robert Aldridge, Jacobus Annis (tavern keeper), Jether Bailey, Richard Berry, Elijah Bowen, John Benscoten (on lot 84), Eli Barnes (miller in Col. W. J. Vredenburg's mill), John Burns, Silas Bascom, Benajah Bowen, Aaron Bailey, John Bailey, James Burroughs, Dr. Samuel Benedict, Peter Benedict (brother of Dr. Samuel, killed at Black Rock in the war of 1812), John Bristol (potash boiler for Winston Day), John Brown (stage driver for Sherwood), Asa Bacon, jr. (shoemaker and tanner), Robert Baker (father of R. J., shoemaker), Daniel Briggs (father of W. S.), William Burroughs, jr. (stage driver for Sherwood), Samuel Briggs, Sylvester Cortrite and son Wilhalmus, Samuel Chapman, Joseph Cross, Abraham Conklin, Peter Cuddeback 2d, Roger Carpenter, Joshua Covel, Abraham A. Cuddeback, Owen Cotton (millwright), Amasa Chapman, Timothy Copp, Sheldon Cook, Wareham Cook (inventor of Cook's Salve), Eli Clark, Silas Crandall (innkeeper), William Dascomb (tavernkeeper), Rowland Day (merchant, associated with Norman Leonard), Moses B. Dunning (clerk in Dascomb's tavern, constable, later clerk for John Legg), Asa Dexter (combmaker or peddler with Mr. Glass), Ira De Long, Ebenezer Edwards, Samuel Egglestone, David Earll, jr., Thaddeus Edwards, Nathaniel Eells (farmer and cooper), John Fitzgerald, Benjamin Frisby (chairmaker and painter), Reuben Farnham (school teacher, and later a lawyer at Elbridge), Hezekiah Gunn, Thomas Greves (tailor), Isaac Granger, Michael Gillett (farmer and owner of a saw mill), Edward Greenman (father of Samuel H.), Amasa Gleason (painter), David Granger, Abijah Gilbert (farmer and carpenter), Daniel Gardner, James Gardner, Benjamin Gumaer (came from Orange county in 1799, father of Harvey), Seth Hall (carpenter and wagonmaker), Timothy Hatch (farmer and tavernkeeper), Dr. Jonathan Hall, Isaac Hodges and Israel Hodges (near Mandana), Simeon Hosmer, Asa Hatch, Cyrus Hecox (brother of Col. Warren Hecox), Dr. Judah Hopkins, David Hall (arrived in March. 1806), Samuel Ingham (merchant and clerk for John Meeker), Henry Jones (constable), Elijah Jones (father of Henry), Amos Jones (at Mandana), Bela Kingsley, Amasa Kneeland (schoolmaster), Asa Kneeland (carpenter), Jesse Kellogg (agent for Judge Sanger, and father of Dorastus), Phineas Keith (tailor), Ezra Lee (owned a sail boat on the lake in 1807), Ezra Lane (school teacher in 1807), Timothy Miller and Elias Merrill (laborers), Ismael Moffett, Daniel McKay (farmer and mason), Henry Milhollen (well digger), Benjamin Nye (father of John), Samuel Niles (teamster for Elnathan Andrews), Elijah Price (law student with Daniel Kellogg), Jared Patchen, Alexander Price, Levi Pratt, Elijah Parsons (father of Moses and John), James H. Rathbun (at Five Mile Point), Thomas Reed, William Rose (on lots 35 and 37), Joseph Rhoades, Amasa Sessions, Peter Secoy, Nathaniel Seymour, Briggs Shearman, Phineas Stanton, Samuel Shaw (at Mottville), William Thomas (father of David), John Thompson, Daniel Veal, jr., John Van Arsdale (distiller), Samuel Winchester.
Seth Hall came here October 23, 1806, and died in 1833. Deacon Amasa Sessions died November 13, 1838. David Hall at one time owned a large tract of land at Glen Haven. His death occurred June 4, 1865. Thaddeus Edwards was born in Greenfield, N.Y., December 10, 1795, came with his parents to Skaneateles in 1798, and at his death a few years ago was the oldest resident of the town. Aaron Austin came here from Vermont as early as 1796, and established on the outlet, near the site of the present State dam, the first cloth-dressing and fulling mill in the county, continuing it until his death in 1836. His old family residence, built about 1810, is now the home of Franklin Austin. Several others were residents of Skaneateles about this period. Dr. Samuel Porter came in soon after Dr. Munger, removed to Wellington, and died June 14,1893. (See Chapter XXVII.) Dorastus Lawrence (son of Col. Bigelow Lawrence, of Marcellus) was a settler in 1801, coming here from Vermont. During the war of 1812 he marched to Oswego as captain of the militia company which comprised the able-bodied male inhabitants of the territory of Skaneateles and Marcellus. He died February 11, 1862, aged seventy-five. He served in the Assembly in 1830, and was sheriff of Onondaga county in 1834. Joseph Root came in with his son Henry in 1804. Elijah Parsons arrived from Massachusetts in 1805, and died October 25, 1862, at the age of eighty-three. Nathaniel Miller, born in Cherry Valley, N.Y., March 29, 1796, came to Skaneateles in February, 1807, and died March 16, 1875. James Ennis and Timothy Coleman were early settlers on lots 35 and 37.
The following were also living in the town in 1815 :
Reuben Austin, Miles Allen (mill owner), Isaac Briggs and David Hall (merchants), Abijab Benson (tanner and shoemaker on Benson street), Silas Belding (gatekeeper), Nathan Blodgett (potash boiler for John Meeker), Alexander M. Beebe (lawyer), Myrick Bradley, Amos Benedict, William Burroughs, Stephen Burnett, John Burroughs (father of Alvin), Almeron Bowen, Joseph Bentley, Amos Bacon (Warren Hecox's brother-in-law, shoemaker), Samuel Bellamy, Joshua Bates (farmer and blacksmith), Jonathan Booth (merchant, died in September, 1840, aged seventy-eight), Daniel Burroughs (farmer and carding machine maker), George H Cotton (millwright and mill owner in village), John Coe (painter), Noble Coe (tavernkeeper), Coe & Marsh (keepers of the Sherwood tavern), Palmer Cady (tavernkeeper in the "gulf"), Joshua Chandler, Ashbel Chapman, George Coon, Asaph Cleveland, Stephen Chase (blacksmith and hoe manufacturer, moved to Lysander and died there), James Curtis (carpenter), Ezra S. Curtis (law student with Daniel Kellogg), Elijah Cole (owner of the "Community" farm), Philo Dibble (harnessmaker, came in 1812), William B. Douglass, John Dorhance, Samuel Diffins, James Daggett (teamster between Skaneateles and Albany), Daniel Dennison, Solomon Davis, John and Moses Dayley (afterwards Mormons), Abraham Dodge ("had the best farm in Marcellus") Denie Cotton, Abner Edwards, Alanson Edwards, jr. (school teacher, county clerk in 1835-37, and county school commissioner of the southern district in 1843-47), Abijab Earll, William Earll, Earll, Cotton & Lewis (proprietors of the mill in Skaneateles), Horace Ells (cooper, son of Nathaniel), Watson Earll, Joseph Enos, Timothy Foote (father of Perry), Ebenezer Foote (brother of Timothy), Joseph Frost, John Gibson (carpenter), Charles Glynn (well digger), Samuel Green (tailor), Warren Hecox (tanner and shoemaker), Samuel Hecox (of Ludlow & Hecox, merchants in 1812, brother of Warren), Augustus Hecox (tinsmith), Barnabas Hall and son Eli, Gershom Hall and son Loami, Deacon John Hunt, Thaddeus L. Hurd, Nicholas Holt, Stephen Haynes, Henry Harwood (shoemaker for Warren Hecox), Warren Kneeland (almanac peddler), Horace Kneeland (son of Asa), Frederick Lesley (distiller), John W. Livingston (U.S. marshal in 1822), Noah Levins (keeper of the old Dascomb tavern) Salmon Lake (bedquilt weaver), Simon McKay (hatter and carpenter), Levi Mason (justice of the peace), Jeduthan Newton (distiller and proprietor of potashery), Alfred Northam (lawyer with James Porter and Freeborn G. Jewett, and justice of the peace several years), Spencer Parsons (cabinetmaker), Lovisa Pomeroy (milliner), Liva Peck, Perley Putnam (harnessmaker), George Riker (stage driver for Sherwood) Jehiel Rust, Josiah Root, Samuel Rhoades, jr. (father of Lewis), Christian Rice, Sylvester Roberts and Harry Briggs (blacksmiths), Ezra Stevens (shoemaker), David Seymour (brick manufacturer), Eleazer Smith, jr., Ephraim Smith, jr., Adam H. Shaver, Simeon Skeels (carpenters), Isaac A, Selover (carpenter, built the old meeting house for Elnathan Andrews, the contractor). Miles Sabin (at Mottville), Chester Tolles, Reuben Thomas, Andrew Thompson (son of John), John Ten Eyck (postmaster, merchant, and justice), Jacob W. Van Etten, Ebenezer Warner, Warren Wilder (carpenter at Mottville), Daniel Watson (tanner and shoemaker). and brother Isaac, Jonathan Weston, William S. Wood (goldsmith and watchmaker), Daniel Waller, Shubael Wilkinson (cousin of Alfred), Arunah Wightman.
David Seymour and his wife Martha located on lot 37, about 1804. He was a shoemaker, and with him Warren Hecox learned the trade. Barnabas Hall settled at Mile Point, which was first called, from him, "Barney's Point."
The first excitement among the early settlers occurred about the beginning of the present century, when, on a Saturday night, the mill dam partially gave way. It was repaired, however, before sunset on Sunday, under the direction of a missionary, presumably Rev. Isaac Rawson.
During the progress of these various settlements there centered in Skaneateles village a business which eventually made it a celebrated stopping place. This comprised the great stage lines and mail routes, of which Isaac Sherwood was the principal proprietor. Mr. Sherwood was born in Williamstown, Mass., October 12, 1769, and died April 24, 1840. It is not definitely known when he came to Skaneateles. His first work in this line was carrying mail on foot from Onondaga Hill westward, and from this he became one of the foremost stage proprietors of his day. He was long the "Vanderbilt" of the business, in which he was extensively engaged as early as 1818, his headquarters thenceforward being in this village, where he had a popular tavern where the Packwood House now stands, of which his son, John Milton Sherwood, was the active landlord. Mr. Sherwood had mail contracts throughout the State, and owned many of the stages which ran over the routes. He married a sister of Winston Day, the first merchant, and finally moved to Auburn, where he built the Auburn House. A practical outgrowth of the establishment of this immense stage business was a large carriage and wagon making industry, that for many years spread the name and fame of Skaneateles throughout the country. The place was also widely known for its blacksmith shops and mechanics. Among the carriage manufacturers were Hall & Miller (James Hall died October 24, 1857), James R. Gillman, George Van Dyke, Davey & Baldwin, Charles Hall, L. S. Worden (son-in-law of Capt. Thomas), John Legg, and John Packwood. The latter was born in England, April 2, 1824, and came with his parents to Auburn in 1830. He purchased the Packwood House site about l865, and in 1871 erected that popular hostelry, which he kept till 1874, when he sold to F. A. & E. A. Andrews. He died in Auburn, July 12, 1890, John Legg came from Northampton, Mass., to Skaneateles in 1804, and started a blacksmith shop on the site of the present Legg block. He attained success as a carriage manufacturer, and died here December 19, 1857, aged seventy-five.
Meantime, the almost unexcelled water power afforded by the outlet [Note #1: This stream was called by the Indians "Han-ant-too," or "Hananto," signifying "swift running water through thick hemlocks," or Hemlock creek.] of Skaneateles Lake had been profitably utilized by a number of mills and factories which had sprung into operation. This stream has always exerted a marked influence upon the growth of the town. From an early day it has been a source of protracted litigation between the mill owners and the State, and more recently between the former and the city of Syracuse. About 1840 the State appropriated the lake for a vast storage reservoir for the Erie Canal. The citizens were aroused over this action, and almost to a man determined to frustrate the plan. On August 10, 1841, one of the canal commissioners, two engineers, and several others came up to the village to force the gates of the new State dam and let the water off. They were confronted by an enraged populace with a cannon loaded to the muzzle; they departed, their errand proving futile. Ever since then, however, the State has used the waters of the lake for supplying the Jordan level of the Erie Canal, the entrance being at Jordan. When the waters of the lake were secured for the canal the State expended large sums of money in "chinking" with small stone and grout the bed of the outlet at Limestone ledge, and in turning the channel of the stream. Previous to this the water at this point would mysteriously disappear. The bill authorizing the city of Syracuse to obtain its water supply from Skaneateles Lake, was enacted June 4, 1889, and on June 29, 1894, the memorable project was realized, the waters being turned into the 30-inch iron conduit at 11.10 A.M. of that day. A long and bitter legal fight resulted over the damages to the numerous manufacturing interests along the outlet, involving several hundred thousand dollars, and is not yet ended.
The mills and factories gave existence to various other industries and three or four busy hamlets. Mottville, originally called "Sodom," and early written "Mottsville," was named from Arthur Mott, son of Mrs. Lydia P. Mott. He located here about 1820, had a woolen factory on the site of the old Coleman flouring mill, and was for some time a successful and prominent citizen. He finally succumbed to drink and died in Toledo, O., October 30, 1869, aged seventy-one. The pioneer on the site of Mottville was a "squatter" named Sabin Elliott. In 1836 the place contained about thirty dwellings, a post-office, one furnace, a grist and saw mill, and a tavern kept by W. H. Mershon. Among the merchants here were Earll, Watson & Co., Alanson Watson, S. L. Benedict, and Benedict Brothers (burned out in October, 1865). Here Putnam, Porter & Leonard built a wheel-head factory soon after 1816, and in 1831 were succeeded by S. C. Wheadon, Erastus Nye, and George P. Adams. George B. Harwood, formerly had a harness shop at this place. Skaneateles Falls also developed into quite a busy center and finally obtained a post-office. Other hamlets which sprung up were Kellogg's Mills, Willow Glen, and Glenside.
The war of 1812-15 caused considerable excitement in this community. On one occasion a detachment of cavalry on its way to the front arrived at the village of Skaneateles and employed John Legg to make a supply of horseshoes and horseshoe nails, an order that required the utmost dispatch. Mr. Legg had all the blacksmiths in the surrounding country working for him to complete the job. In August, 1814, a party of 168 British prisoners, captured at Fort Erie, passed eastward over the Seneca turnpike and bivouacked for a night on the lake shore on the subsequent Roosevelt property. In October following all the able bodied men in this military district were ordered to Oswego. Considerable attention was given after the war of 1812 to the training of the local militia, every healthy male citizen between the ages of eighteen and forty-five being obliged to report for duty annually. "General training" days became memorable occasions, especially to the younger element, who devoured cider and gingerbread as greedily as they participated in the military maneuvers. This district eventually comprised the 159th Regiment, of which Samuel C. Wheadon was the colonel. In 1839 he was made brigadier-general, and Augustus Fowler was appointed to the colonelcy. Peter Pell was long the prominent drummer; his drum was his solace, and he dignified his calling. About 1844 Captain Fowler organized the Skaneateles Guards, which had an armory, and which was one of the finest militia companies of its time. The militia system degenerated into a farce, and the trainings were discontinued about 1846.
Returning to the subject of schools it is pertinent to notice an institution which early gave character and influence to the subject of local education. This was the "Friends Female Boarding School," known as the "Hive," which was established on the Cuddeback farm on the west shore of the lake by Mrs. Lydia P. Mott, soon after her arrival in about 1818. She was a daughter of Joseph Stansbury, was born on the Atlantic Ocean on February 23, 1775, and being en route to Philadelphia was christened Lydia Philadelphia Stansbury. Reared in the Episcopal church, she subsequently became a prominent member and preacher in the Society of Friends, and was married to Robert Mott, of New York, in 1797. After his death in Whitestown, N.Y., she came to Skaneateles and purchased the Dowling farm, where she resided with her son Arthur, the founder of Mottville. She is described as a sweet, lovely woman, benevolent, sympathetic, and simple, of much refinement, and an admirable teacher. Upon beholding one of her scholars with her hair curled she exclaimed, "Why, Debby, has thee got horns growing?" The "Hive" was the earliest institution of learning for the education of young ladies in Western New York, and during its existence exerted a powerful influence in disseminating knowledge. Its pupils were not confined to the daughters of Friends. As early as 1823 she sold the school to Caleb Mekeel, who gave it the name of the Skaneateles Female Seminary. He was followed by George Pryor, and in the neighborhood of 1838 the institution ceased its usefulness. Mrs. Mott died in the Mott cottage in the village April 15, 1862.
The families of Gen. Robert Earll, Jonathan Booth, William J. Vredenburg, and Charles J. Burnett, all Episcopalians, early formed the nucleus of their faith in town, and it is believed that Rev. Davenport Phelps was the first missionary in Skaneateles village. Services were held in the Burnett homestead and the "Red House" as early as 1803. On January 4, 1816, St. James's Parish was incorporated with Messrs. Booth and Burnett as wardens, and Edward G. Ludlow, John W. Livingston, Zalmon Booth, Stephen Horton, John Pierson, John Howe, William Gibbs, and Samuel Francis, vestrymen. An attempt was made to build a church, but the enterprise was abandoned. On April 19, 1829, the parish was reorganized by Rev. Augustus L. Converse. In 1827 an edifice was erected, and from 1832 to 1844 Rev. Joseph T.Clarke was rector, his predecessors being Revs. Amos Pardee and Algernon S. Hollister. The building was enlarged in 1847, and in 1873 was torn down. The corner stone of the present stone church was laid May 30, 1873, by Bishop Huntington, and on January 6, 1874, the structure was consecrated. It cost complete over $28,000. Among the prominent members of this parish were:
John Daniels, Charles Pardee, Elijah P. Rust, John S. Furman, James M. Allen, Butler S. Wolcott, Timothy Baker, Augustus Kellogg, Samuel P. Rhodes, Spencer Hannum, John M. Aspinwall, Dyer Brainard, J. G. Porter, Nathan Hawley, Dr. E. H. Porter, Nash De Cost, John Snook, jr., Thomas Yates, William M. Beauchamp, Ransom Crosby, N. J. Roosevelt, Justin Redfield, D. T. Moseley, Robert I. Baker, James Bench, Samuel Harris, George Francis, Peter Whittlesey, and others, all before 1850. Charles J. Burnett was warden of this church for thirty-two years. E. N. Leslie served as vestryman and treasurer from 1856 to 1895, and resigned as treasurer.
The State Gazetteer of 1823 speaks of Skaneateles as containing 100 houses, stores, offices, etc., a library, several mills, and a good deal of business, and mentions the fact that the inhabitants of the town manufacture much of their clothing in a household way. The outlet at this time drove fourteen grain mills, four saw mills, three fulling mills, three carding machines, an oil mill, and two trip hammers. Thirteen years later (1836) the village had an academy, the previously described library, five grist mills, making 40,000 barrels of flour annually, four saw mills, as many carding and cloth dressing establishments, two woolen factories, two furnaces and foundries, two machine manufactories. four tanneries, two extensive carriage factories, a printing-office, two taverns, eight stores, four churches, and about 250 dwellings. The decade between 1825 and 1835 apparently marked the greatest growth of the village. At this time Mandana was merely an agricultural community, having a post-office, while Rhoades was a postal hamlet in the northeast corner of the town. This latter office was subseqently (sic) discontinued.
In 1835 the town had 396 militia men, 18,326 acres of improved land, real estate assessed at $581,125, a town tax of $1,563, and a county tax of $1,762. It contained 3,218 cattle, 1,196 horses, 8,870 sheep and 3,976 swine, and outside of the village several saw and grist mills, an oil mill, two distilleries, an ashery, woolen factories, etc., and fourteen school districts with 843 scholars.
April 24, 1828, the following business men agreed to pay Phares Gould, Samuel Porter, and John S. Furman the sums designated "to enable them to purchase a lot on the new [State] street laid out by Charles J. Burnett in Skaneateles, and to erect thereon a building with a view to keep a select school therein":
S. Horton, $50; Samuel Francis, $25; S. B Hopkins, $25; Nehemiah Smith, $25; Daniel Watson, $25; A. Douglass, $25; S. Porter Rhodes, $25; B. S. Wolcott, $25; S. Parsons, $75; William Gibbs, $50; Samuel Rhoades, $25; J. M. Allen, $15; William Clift, $25; John S. Furman, $50; David Hall, $100; Phares Gould, $100; F. G. Jewett, $100; John Legg, $50; Nicholas Thorn, $50; Samuel Porter, $100; Philo Dibble, $100; Daniel Kellogg, $200; Hezekiah Earll, $50; C. J. Burnett, $100; S. and J. Hall. $100; Lewis Cotton, $100; Charles Pardee, $25.
Several of these added from $10 to $50 to their subscriptions, providing the building was constructed of brick, which was done. This led to the incorporation of the Skaneateles Academy on the 14th of April, 1829. In September, 1831, classical and scientific deparments (sic), a good library, chemical and philosophical apparatus, collections of plants and minerals, etc., are advertised. The officers were Daniel Kellogg, president; John S. Furman, secretary; Phares Gould, Spencer Parsons, Samuel Porter, D.D., Stephen Horton, Charles J. Burnett, Philo Dibble, and Freeborn G. Jewett, trustees. Among the early principals were Robert Bradshaw, S. Rhoades, and Allen Fisk. The building was sold to the Union school district on June 3, 1854. In 1869 it was torn down, and in 1855 a new school house was built.
The first newspaper in this town, the Skaneateles Telegraph, [Note #2: Several numbers of this paper, a nearly a complete file of the Columbian, and many volumes of other newspapers have been collected, bound, and presented to the Skaneateles Library by E. Norman Leslie.] was started by William H. Child, with B. B. Drake as editor, on the 28th of July, 1829, and among the local advertisers during its brief existence were:
N. D. Caldwell and K. Wallis, proprietors of the Skaneateles House, formerly kept by S. & J. Hall; Porter & Pardee, general merchants; N. Smith & Co., tin and hardware; Dr. I. Parsell, physician; Wolcott & Porter, merchants and lumber yard; John Wetmore, barber; J. H. Benedict, jeweler in the shop lately occupied by A. W. McKenney; James Miller, barber; S. Francis. hatter, wholesale and retail; Daniel Talcott, proprietor of the Skaneateles furnace, recently enlarged; Isaac W. Perry, salt, provisions, etc.; Dibble & Miller, harnessmakers; A. Douglass & J. S. Furman, manufacturers of the Douglass threshing machine; Stephen Horton (died in 1832), Richard Talcott, Burnett & Rhoades, and Phares Gould, general stores; R. A. Hicks, "late from England," tailor; and Spencer Parsons, cabinet and chairmaker.
The Telegraph was absorbed by or became the predecessor of the Skaneateles Columbian, which was started by John Greves in the spring of 1831. About 1833 Milton A. Kinney became proprietor, and on October 28, 1837, he sold to Luther A. Pratt and Elijah S. Keeney, but continued as editor. On July 1, 1838, the firm of Pratt & Keeney issued also the first number of the Juvenile Depository or Youth's Mental Casket, the editor being Luther Pratt, father of L. A. Pratt. October 26 of that year they dissolved and Luther A. Pratt continued as publisher with Mr. Kinney as editor, and a year later the latter again became sole owner. The Juvenile Depository passed to Luther Pratt and W. M. Beauchamp, who soon after discontinued the publication. January 1, 1851, Mr. Kinney sold the Columbian to George M. Kinney, but still retained the editorial chair, and March 24, 1853, the paper was discontinued, the subscription list, etc., passing to H. B. Dodge. Milton A. Kinney died March 16, 1861, aged fifty-eight. He came here in 1833, and was elected to the assembly in 1853. The Skaneateles Democrat was started by William M. Beauchamp on January 3, 1840. About 1844 E. Sherman Keeney became the editor and proprietor, and a few years later was succeeded by William H. Jewett. He soon sold out to Jonathan C. Keeney, who was followed on April 1, 1849, by Harrison B. Dodge, who has ever since been its owner. In March, 1853, he purchased the business and good will of the Columbian and consolidated the two offices. E. S. Keeney died August 27, 1847, aged about thirty years, and Mr. Beauchamp's death occurred August 28, 1867, at the age of sixty-nine. On January 1, 1890, Mr. Dodge retired from the editorial chair and leased the Democrat to Will T. Hall, who makes an excellent and very popular newspaper. Mr. Beauchamp, on May 24, 1844, issued the first number of the Minerva, a small monthly, which he continued two years. Another paper, unique and short-lived, was the Communitist, which was issued fortnightly by the "Skaneateles Community, at Community Place, near Mottville, Onondaga County, N.Y.," and which bore the motto: "Free inquiry—general progression—common possessions—oneness of interest—universal brotherhood." Its chief promoter was John A. Collins; it was devoid of advertisements, and was started early in 1844. The Skaneateles Free Press was started by its present publisher, J. C. Stephenson, on March 21, 1874, who has since owned and edited it. It is one of the ablest and brightest weekly newspapers in the county. Among other advertisers in the first numbers of the Telegraph and Columbian between 1829 and 1834, were:
Ansel Frost & Co., who dissolved December 19, 1829, Arthur Mott, the "Co.," retiring, Ansel Frost continuing the business of the furnace at "Mottsville," manufacturing castings, stoves, potash kettles, the "Douglass patent threshing machines made to order by James McCray." and a number of "fine mill sites on the long credit"; notice dated November 24, 1829. that application will be made to the next Legislature for the division of the town of Marcellus into three towns; Jacob W. Van Etten, on March 12, 1830, offering six cents reward, for the return of an "indented apprentice boy at the farming business named John Ward Burtees," aged about eighteen; D. Watson, tannery, near the Skaneateles woolen factory; John H. Bishop, "late from the city of New York," steam clothing and cloth dressing establishment on the "west side of the old brick still"; John Harbottle and George Hutton, proprietor of the "Mottsville Woolen Factory," April, 1831, about to commence operations in their "elegant new building erected last fall in Mottsville," manufacturing woolens, cassimeres, etc.; Joseph Battin, announcing that he will sell out his general stock of merchandise, as he intends to "relinquish the country business"; Misses Mead & Cobb, in May, 1831, new millinery shop, opposite the Skaneateles Hotel; Isaac W. Perry, innkeeper: James H. Leonard, general merchant; Daniel Talcott and Howard Delano, form a partnership and assume charge of the Skaneateles furnace in 1831; Augustus Fowler, clothier and tailor, started in 1831; Richard Talcott and Henry W. Allen, form partnership in 1831, as general merchants, and removed to the new brick store, succeeded by Richard Talcott in December, 1832; Watson & Hitchcock, boot and shoe store; William M. Beauchamp, [Note #3: Father of Rev. Dr. W. M. Beauchamp, of Baldwinsville.] bookseller from 1834 to 1850; Porter & Pardee, merchants, dissolve October 30, 1834. business continued by Charles Pardee for many years; Nelson Hawley & Co.; Gibbs & Burnett, Richard Talcott & Co. (C. W. Allis), and James G. Porter, general merchants; R. I. Baker, and J. R. Becker, tailors, dissolve, February 26, 1835, business continued by Mr. Baker; Warren Hecox & Co. (Edwin Gould), dissolve February 5, 1835, and Mr. Gould and William Lawton continue the boot, shoe, and leather store; John Snook, jr., drugs, established in 1834; Truman Downer, Benjamin Nye, and John H. Earll, proprietors of the Mottville furnace in 1834, were building a brewery at this time; Butler S. Wolcott & Co. (Samuel H. Yates), general merchants, dissolve December 25, 1834, the business being continued by Mr. Wolcott; William H. Gaylord & Co., dry goods, in 1835; Alfred Hitchcock, boot and shoe manufactory.
Several of these just noted are worthy of more mention. Charles Pardee was especially prominent. He built a three story brick building in the village, west of the Phoenix block, in 1850, and during his life was actively identified with nearly every interest of the town. He died in Skaneateles, April 9, 1878, aged eighty-two. Col. Warren Hecox was long engaged in tanning and became a leading citizen. His tannery was burned February 20, 1848. John Snook, jr., came here with his father from England. The latter was a physician and the inventor of Snook's pills, and died in this town December 1, 1857. The son's death occurred in Utica, October 30, 1884, at the age of thirty-one. To them is due the introduction of the teasel in this section about 1835, a business which proved exceedingly profitable. The town was famous for many years for its large production of teasels, by far exceeding that of any other locality in the world. They were necessary to the proper finishing of fine woolen goods and were in great demand at remunerative prices until at last human ingenuity substituted mechanical appliances for them.
Charles J. Burnett, of Gibbs & Burnett, who was postmaster from 1817 to 1843, was born in London, England, and died January 15, 1855, aged eighty-three. Isaac W. Perry was for many years the proprietor of the "Indian Queen" Hotel. Anent the advertisement for a runaway apprentice boy, the following is taken from the Telegraph, and illustrates certain conditions at that period:
One Cent Reward.Ranaway from the subscriber on or about the 24th ult. an indented boy to the farming business, named Norman Hodges, aged 14 years. Whoever will return said boy to the subscriber shall receive the above reward. All persons are forbid harboring him or trusting him under penalty of the law.
Marcellus, Jan. 11, 1830.
In 1831 a Universalist church was built at Mottville on ground donated for the purpose and for a school by Ansel Frost. The building cost about $1,900, and the first regular pastor was Rev. Jacob Chase.
On the 19th of April, 1833, the village of Skaneateles was incorporated and the first election held May 14, of that year, at the tavern of Isaac W. Perry. The following were the first officers: Freeborn G. Jewett, president; Daniel Talcott, Phares Gould, William Gibbs, Lewis H. Sanford, trustees; Charles J. Burnett, treasurer; Henry W. Allen, collector; George Kennedy, street commissioner; James H. Allen, clerk. This was the fourth village incorporated in Onondaga county. The presidents have been as follows:
Freeborn G. Jewett. 1833; Daniel Kellogg, 1834; Freeborn G. Jewett, 1835; Phares Gould, 1836; George F. Leitch, 1837-38; James Hall, 1839; G. F. Leitch, 1840; Nelson Hawley, 1841; James Hall, 1842; John C. Beach, 1843; Spencer Hannum, 1844; Nclson Hawley, 1845-46; Alexander Horton, 1847; William H. Willetts, 1848; William H. Jewett, 1849; John Davey, jr., 1850; Charles Pardee, 1851-53: William Fuller, 1854; John Legg, 1855; John Barrow, 1856; Freeborn G. Jewett, 1857; Thomas Snook, 1858; Spencer Hannum 1859; C. W. Allis, 1860; Harrison B. Dodge, 1861-62; Charles Pardee, 1863; Joel Thayer, 1864-65: William R. Gorton, 1866; Newell Turner, 1867; Jacob C. De Witt, 1868; Charles Pardee, 1869; H. B. Dodge, 1870; James A. Root, 1871; Charles Pardee, 1872; Thomas Kelley, 1873-75; William Marvin, 1876; Thomas Kelley, 1877-80; Joel Thayer, 1881; Joseph Allen, 1882-84; William G. Ellery [Note #4: William G. Ellery was born in Skaneateles, July 25, 1832; was a merchant, school teacher, and lawyer; served as town clerk from 1874 to 1885, except one year, and died in November, 1887. ] (first president elected independently), 1885-87; C. R. Milford, 1888-89; Joseph C. Willetts, 1890; N. O. Shepard, 1891; Ezra B. Knapp, resigned May 30, and N. O. Shepard, appointed, 1892-93; Edson D. Gillett, 1894; E. Norman Leslie, 1895.
The charter was amended in 1849; the corporate limits were enlarged in 1870 to embrace about one square mile; and in 1855 the village was reincorporated under the new State law. In 1870 the site was resurveyed by Rhesa Griffin, assisted by James H. Gifford, of Mandana who had formerly surveyed the town and village.
The subject of fire extinguishment was considered long before the incorporation of the village, and in that act provision was made for an organized department and very soon afterward Fire Engine Company No. 1 was formed. The first record of its actual existence, however, appears in the Columbian February 20, 1835, when James G. Porter as foreman and G. W. Waring as secretary called a meeting for March 4 at the tavern of I. W. Perry. It is certain also that a second fire company flourished at this time, or shortly afterward. In 1858, when there was a fire company and a hose company, new life was infused into the department, and on March 14, 1866, the whole was reorganized, with forty-eight members, and with Jeremiah Shallish as chief engineer; Thomas Kelley was foreman of the fire company and Henry D. Huxford commanded the hose company. Probably the earliest fire engine used in the village was an old "goose-neck" machine, now in the possession of the department. About 1856 or 1857 a hand engine was purchased, and is still ready for emergencies; since the introduction of the present water works hose alone has been employed. In 1861 a reservoir was constructed for fire purposes on the academy corner. The fire department now consists of about forty members, organized into two hose companies and a hook and ladder company, with George C. Bench, chief, and J. R. Stacey, secretary.
The first fire of importance which the department was called upon to extinguish was the disastrous conflagration of September 28, 1835, when about thirteen stores, shops, etc., comprising the principal business part of the village, were burned, entailing a loss of over $50,000. In this fire the town records, which were in Spencer Parsons's office, were destroyed. Among the buildings burned were Parsons's cabinet shop, Nathaniel C. Miller's saddlery shop, W. M. Beauchamp's book store and bindery, John Legg's carriage manufactory (on the site of Legg Hall), M. A. Kinney's Columbian printing office, the dry goods stores of Charles Pardee, James G. Porter, Phares Gould, Gibbs & Burnett, Richard Talcott & Co., Nelson Hawley & Co., B. S. Wolcott & Co., and Dr. Samuel Porter's block, including Noadiah Kellogg's saddlery shop and a school house occupied by a Mr. Greene. With characteristic energy the lot owners soon rebuilt nearly all the burned district. The next serious fire occurred February 4, 1842, when Dorastus Kellogg's woolen mills, employing about sixty-five hands, Spencer Hannum's machine shop, and Earil, Kellogg & Co.'s flouring mill and storehouse were burned, causing a loss of about $43,000. Earll, Kellogg & Co. rebuilt the grist mill and placed it in operation early in 1843. On the site of Kellogg's woolen factory Spencer Hannum erected a foundry, which was burned January 6, 1850. He probably rebuilt the Skaneateles foundry, and operated it under the name of Hannum & Arnold; in 1850 it passed into possession of Samuel M. Drake. Mr. Hannum was born in Williamsburg, Mass., in 1799, came here about 1828, removed to Auburn in 1862, and finally returned to Williamsburg, where he died December 25, 1878. Dorastus Kellogg was born on the Obediah Thorn farm January 10, 1808, was engaged in early life in woolen manufacturing in Baldwinsville, settled in Skaneateles in 1834, and died in Oswego Falls, N.Y., February 1, 1885.
Notwithstanding the number of distilleries in operation, practical results grew out of the active temperance work performed in the various communities. The Skaneateles Temperance Society flourished before and after 1835, under the secretaryship of Milton A. Kinney. In August, 1856, the Skaneateles Temperance Association was organized, with Chester Moses, president; Richard Talcott and Thaddeus Edwards, vice-presidents; Horace Hazen, treasurer; and John Snook, jr., secretary. A fund of nearly $5,000 was subscribed, and vigorous measures were taken to enforce the law. These societies exerted a marked influence throughout the town.
About 1836 the Skaneateles Agricultural Society was formed by a number of the leading farmers of the town, and on October 22, 1839, the first cattle show was held in the village. This society was succeeded, on December 6, 1845, by another of the same name, which was merged into the Farmers' Club December 30, 1855. Among the leading members of this latter organization were William J Townsend, William M. Beauchamp, Peter Whittlesey, Chester Moses, Lewis W. Cleveland, William P. Giles, S Porter Rhoades, Frank E. Austin, E. H. Adams, Willis Clift, Martin C. De Witt, and J. Horatio Earll. The club has held many successful exhibits. In this connection the following statistics of 1844 may be added:
Acres of improved land, 20,866; bushels of barley grown, 25,572; peas, 4,592; beans, 409; potatoes, 34,164; wheat, 47,944; corn, 27,615; oats, 38,735; pounds of butter, 113,909; cheese, 28,527; number of sheep, 13,640; number of farmers, 544.
The Erie Canal, which had been opened in 1825, was now (1840-45) adding in a perceptible degree to the prosperity of every industry. But the completion of the Syracuse and Auburn Railroad inaugurated a new epoch and marked the beginning of another era of local enterprise. Unfortunately it passed just north of the north line of the town, about five miles from Skaneateles village, and in a measure, in later years, this thrifty center of population suffered from the withdrawal of trade. A project, however, was immediately instituted to preserve the fame and business of the place, and on May 16, 1836, the first Skaneateles Railroad Company was incorporated, with a capital of $25,000, the act naming Freeborn G. Jewett, Daniel Earll, David Hall (chairman), Richard Tallcott, Charles Pardee, and Lewis H. Sanford (secretary), commissioners. In 1838 the construction of a wooden railroad was commenced between Skaneateles and Skaneateles Junction, the nearest point on the Syracuse-Auburn route, and September 30, 1840, this line was opened for passengers, who were carried over it in a horse car. The first depot in the village stood opposite the Packwood House; this was subsequently abandoned, and a building erected on the site of the present station house. Storrs Barrow was superintendent for many years. This crude railroad was closed August 24, 1850, and gave place to a plank road, which was succeeded by the present steam railroad operated by the Skaneateles Railroad Company, which was organized in 1866 with Joel Thayer, president; Leonard H. Earll, vice-president; McKendree J. Dickerson, secretary; Eben Dean, treasurer. The road was completed and placed in operation in 1867. It is about five miles long and is probably the shortest railway line in the United States. Bonds were issued to the amount of $35,000 to aid in its construction.
Meantime three religious societies had sprung into existence in Skaneateles village. The Baptists had for several years alternated with their brethren of Elbridge in holding services. About 1832 they formed a separate church and purchased the old Congregational meeting house, which was moved down from the hill and refitted. In 1842 a new edifice was erected on the site of an old red blacksmith shop. Among the early pastors were Revs. Amasa Smith, Nathan Denison, Charles Elliott, and Henry Bowen.
Prior to 1832 the Methodists held services in a school house on West Genesee street, their preachers being the circuit riders. In that year and the next "Father" Bibbins held a successful revival, a society was organized, and in 1834, under the pastorate of Rev. Lyman R. Redington, a church was erected at a cost, including lot and improvements, of about $3,900. This was enlarged in 1853, and in 1859 David Hall built at his own expense a brick edifice and presented it to the society. The corner-stone was laid June 7, 1859, and the structure was dedicated January 12, 1860. It cost about $5,000. In 1869 it was enlarged and remodeled at an expense of $9,500.
In April, 1841, a Congregational church society was organized in pursuance of a call issued by Chester Moses and Thaddeus Edwards, and for several years occupied the Congregational (subsequently the Lyceum) hall. It finally became extinct.
The years 1838 and 1840 were memorable in the history of the town. Both were characterized by great political excitement. As a result of the so-called "patriot war" on the border of Canada, some of the citizens, it is said, were sent to Van Dieman's land in 1838. In 1840 occurred the eventful Harrison-Tippecanoe campaign. The Whigs raised their log cabin one day, and on the next an effigy of their candidate hung from a tall pole in a conspicuous part of the village, and it remained there several weeks.
At this point a number of prominent settlers and residents of the town may be appropriately noticed:
Among them were Moses Loss, who came before 1800 and died July 20, 1853; Luther C. Lawrence, died November 9, 1851; D. Kellogg Leitch, John Barrow, who died in 1874, father of John D., the artist, and George, a lawyer, at one time member of assembly, and delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1894; Peter M. Pell, whose death occurred in 1874: Peter Thompson, who, with John Billings, walked from Windsor, Vt., to Skaneateles in 1812, and died here in 1874; Nicholas J. Roosevelt, who arrived in 1831, and died in 1854; Colonel Humphrey, who died in 1850; George F. Leitch, son-in-law of Daniel Kellogg, died in 1855; William Hall, died in 1856; Capt. Nash De Cost, a sea captain, died in 1858; Nehemiah Smith, long a tinsmith in the village, died in 1859: Philander K. Williamson (harnessmaker), Peleg Slocum, and William H. Jewett (the latter the only son of Hon. Freeborn G. Jewett), all of whom died in 1859; James Tyler, stage agent, died in 1864; William Fuller, assemblyman in 1841 and 1842, died in 1864; Chester Moses, whose death occurred July 11, 1862: Samuel Francis, Sr.. died in 1865, aged ninety-four; Alfred Hitchcock and Russell Frost, who died in October, 1865: Daniel Platt, died in 1866; Ebenezer E. Austin, died in 1867; Alonzo Gillett, brick manufacturer; William Packwood, brother of John, died in 1883; Howard Delano, born in Rensselaer county in 1804, came here when young, was associated for several years with Spencer Hannum, removed to Syracuse and founded the Delano Iron Works, and died there March 3, 1883; John B. Furman ("Captain Jack"), son of John S., born here in 1816 and died in 1884; Heman Northrop, from Vermont, who died in 1884; Thomas Morton, born in Scotland in 1830, came to Skaneateles in 1858, was railroad commissioner several terms, and died at Mottville in 1884: Charles J. Elliott, artist; Holcolm Peck, served under Gen. Levi Lusk in the war of 1812, settled here in 1820; Lewis W. Cleveland, born in Massachusetts in 1796, came to this town in 1816, whose mother died here in 1861, aged 104; Ezra L. Stiles, born in Otis, Mass., March 11, 1796, came here in 1817, joined the Masons the same year, and became a woolen manufacturer; John M. Purcell, died in 1886; Andrew Blodgett, born in Cazenovia in 1808, died at Mottville in 1888; Christopher C. Wyckoff, born and lived in this town, died August 31, 1889, aged sixty-six; Edward S. Hoyt, died in April, 1891; Major Samuel Pierce, died in July, 1850; Alfred Wilkinson, died in July, 1852: George Francis, a long-time hatter, died in April, 1874; Stephen Horton, a leading merchant, died in New York while on business October 23, 1832; Dr. Hopkins, died October 7, 1837, being succeeded by Dr. Bartlett; Francis Flint (colored), who died December 15, 1837, aged 104; James C. Fuller, a Quaker, died here in 1847; Henry and Moses Cuykendall, the latter an early blacksmith; and Edward D. Murray, J. B. Stillson, Chester Clark, William L. G. Smith, James H. Fargo, Edward O. Gould, and Henry A. Adams.
Capt. Benjamin Lee settled on the Shotwell farm near Skaneateles village in 1821. He was born in England in 1765, became a sea captain, and died here in 1828. Between 1824 and 1827 he made a series of systematic soundings of Skaneateles Lake, computing its average depth at 120 feet. Among his computations were: Off One Mile Point, 78 feet; off Five Mile Point, 218 feet; off Mandana, 265 feet; off Nine Mile Point 275 feet. He also drew a chart or map, from observation, on which he made the lake resemble in outline a female figure, and which is now preserved in the library. Bishop Burnett, a retired British officer, was a patriotic man and fond of pyrotechnic display. At an early day he procured some fireworks and "the forests were in a blaze of glory, and wheels whirred, and rockets soared, and Mr. Burnett's coat took fire, and there was a grand time generally." He had a small fish pond back of the subsequent residence of the late Benoni Lee. James Sackett was another character of the times. It is said he came to Skaneateles with about $40,000, and being a bachelor lived a life of leisure. His residence, which he purchased of John Briggs, still stands, in a remodeled form, near the lake shore west of the bridge in the village. Irritable and profane he was Isaac Sherwood's equal, and for several years occasionally moved his barn to and from the front of the latter's tavern. On one occasion it is said he tore a chimney down to get a cricket out. George H. Earll, son of Hezekiah, previously mentioned, was born in this town May 28, 1829, and died October 30, 1873. Upon his father's death he succeeded to the old "Community" farm, and afterward bought the Carpenter farm of his brother Julius. He became one of the largest and best dairy farmers of the county, owning at one time over 800 acres and keeping upwards of seventy-five cows, and with his cousin, Andrew J. Earll, was also an extensive hop grower. He was president of the Hart Lot Paper Company, one of the first stockholders in the Skaneateles Iron Works, at one time owner of the Skaneateles Lime Works, and a director in the Skaneateles Savings Bank. In 1871 he built on the outlet one of the largest distilleries in the country.
Hon. Nathan Kelsey Hall was born in Skaneateles on the 28th of March, 1810, and became eminently distinguished in State and Nation. In 1826 he went to Aurora, N. Y., and commenced the study of law with Millard Fillmore, afterward president of the United States, with whom he moved to Buffalo in 1830, where he was admitted to the bar two years later. He was appointed first judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie county in January, 1841, and was elected to the State Legislature in 1845 and a member of congress in 1846. On July 23, 1850, he was appointed postmaster-general by President William Henry Harrison. In August, 1852, he received the appointment of judge of the U. S. District Court for the northern district of New York, a position he held for several years. Mr. Hall served in all these capacities with conspicuous ability, and attained high rank as a jurist.
Other very prominent citizens of Skaneateles were Daniel Kellogg, and Hon. Freeborn G. Jewett, both of whom are noticed elsewhere in this work. Samuel C. Wheadon was born in Marcellus, October 19, 1802, removed to Mottville in 1824, and died in Skaneateles June 8, 1881. He engaged in the foundry and manufacturing business, kept hotel, served as deputy sheriff several years, and in 1848 became a merchant and continued until his death. His children were Orlando D., Edward D., James P., and Mrs. E. F. Barrow. Joel Thayer, born in Ontario county July 18, 1812, came to Skaneateles in May, 1835, and married Juliette, only daughter of his employer, John Legg. He was one of the organizers and for ten years president of the Skaneateles Railroad Company, built the present Legg block in 1866-68, was president of the Bank of Skaneateles and of the Trust and Deposit Company of Syracuse, vice-president of the Syracuse Chilled Plow and the Central City Railroad Companies, and was heavily interested in many other enterprises. His only child is the wife of Henry T Webb. Harmon B. Benedict, when he completes his present term, will have served as justice of the peace forty consecutive years, and will then be eighty years old. Mrs. Elizabeth T. Porter-Beach, a native of Skaneateles, attained considerable distinction in literature. She wrote "Pelayo; an epic of the olden Moorish time," in recognition of which the Queen of Spain and Empress Eugenie conferred upon her royal honors.
Among the merchants and business men of the village may he added the names of B. C. M. Tucker, cabinet maker; C. W. Allis, groceries; J. Day and L. S. Smith & Co., tailors and clothiers; L. P. Carter, groceries; Brinkerhoff & Porter and Phares Gould, general store; E. A. Sessions (successor to Nathaniel Miller), harness; David Hilliard, lumber; L. Little, successor to L. P. Carter; Dr. H. R. Lord, dentist; R. M. & S. H. Burnett, booksellers; Leyden Porter, Bench & Beau, hardware; Isom & Hall, general merchants; John Rossiter and Alonzo Gillett, brick and tile manufacturers; T. J. Gale, bookseller, successor to W. M. Beauchamp; James Bench, hardware; Edward Eckett, baker and cracker manufacturer; and R. M. Stacey, Foote & Nye, Charles N. Hatch, Lyman Hall, William Crozier, and others. Mr.Crosier (sic) came here in 1836, and for more than fifty years carried on a furniture and undertaking business. He died December 12, 1889.
Between 1825 and about 1850 several select schools were maintained in Skaneateles, notably by Thomas W. Allis from 1818 to about 1832; Revs. Mr. Brower and Mr. Lyman; Miss Pratt, who opened a "Young Ladies Seminary" in her father's residence in 1839; Miss Ann Eliza Humphrey about 1843; and Mrs. E. M. Haven, who opened the "Skaneateles Female Seminary," a private enterprise, about 1850. St. James Institute was started in 1852, under the auspices of Rev. A. C. Patterson, rector of St. James church, with E. N. Leslie, N. I. Roosevelt, Dorastus Kellogg, S. M. Drake, and John Snook, jr., managers, and William G. Lloyd, M. A., and Miss Mary Jane Drake, principals. This continued successfully for several years.
Community Place had its inception in a meeting held in Congregational Hall March 22, 1843, and continued in existence until about 1845. It consisted of thirty or forty men, women and children, all infidels, who lived in common on a farm of 300 acres, two miles north of Skaneateles. Collins was the principal man, and their dictator.
About 1845 the town had attained, probably, the height of its prosperity. It contained 867 voters, 386 militia men, six churches, eighteen common schools, which cost, with the real estate and improvements, $4,400, 903 school children, nine retail stores, four groceries, ten merchants, forty-four manufacturers, 308 mechanics, four saw mills, three woolen factories, two iron works, a trip hammer, two distilleries, an ashery, two tanneries, one brewery, five taverns, seven clergymen, six lawyers, and six physicians. Of Skaneateles the editor of the Columbian, on December 10, 1846, says:
It is gratifying to perceive, amidst the disasters that have befallen our village for several years past, by fires, removals, and the misfortunes of our business men, that there still remains some portion of its former energetic and thrifty character, and the frequent prophecies of its decrease of population and business there is reason to hope, were at least premature. Situated as we are, at some little distance from the main thoroughfare of travel and business, it cannot be expected that the increase in business and population should keep pace with towns on the line of the canal and railroad. But it would be difficult to give a reason why this village, surrounded as it is by a country unsurpassed in fertility and cultivation, and possessing every requisite for a sound and substantial increase in growth and business, should not at the least retain all its present numbers and thrift: In proof that we are not decreasing in numbers it appears that there is not a dwelling of any description at present unoccupied.
Prior to 1843 two school districts comprised the village of Skaneateles; in that year they were united under Union Free School District No. 10, and on November 6 the first term of school opened in the old academy building with Elijah W. Hager as principal.
For one full century Skaneateles Lake has exerted a direct, potent, and wholesome influence upon the growth and prosperity of the town, and especially upon the handsome village that bears its name. Its pure cold waters, gushing up from perpetual springs, originally afforded food to the aborigine and subsequently furnished the tables of white settlers and visitors. Large quantities of lake trout and other fish have been taken from its depths, its glistening surface has borne every variety of craft, while its waters have turned the wheels of numerous industries. The beautiful scenery adorning its shores, the purity of its atmosphere, the aquatic pleasures upon its surface, have spread its name far and wide, and attracted hither scores of summer residents. Within the last twenty-five or thirty years, and particularly during the past decade, it has become a favorite resort. Its velvety banks, in the village and the immediate neighborhood, have been beautified by a number of pretty cottages, villas, and country seats, while its upper shores are adorned in places with many handsome homes. The majority of travel passes through the village, where a large portion of it ends. This has given existence to a considerable summer business, which constitutes an important source of revenue, and which is destined to become greater as the region is more and more appreciated.
As late as 1800 or '10 the land in the village now occupied by the Legg block, Dixon House, and adjacent buildings was without a structure of any kind. Had this condition remained unchanged the value of the lake front would have been greatly enhanced. At a very early day, before a dam had blocked the outlet, the surface of the lake was bewteen (sic) eight and ten feet lower than at present. Before the first dam was constructed the land owners along the lake shores signed off all claims for damages which might result from the water overflowing its original banks. This was an individual matter, and was done for the benefit of the water power along the outlet, but one proviso was made, namely, that a carding mill and grist mill should forever be kept in operation in Skaneateles. Both of these enterprises, however, have been discontinued. The lake, according to the State engineer's reports, contains 8,320 acres, and lies 860 feet above sea level and 463 feet above the Erie Canal at Syracuse. The first steamer borne upon its surface was the "Independence," which made her trial trip July 22, 1831. This boat was not a success, and subsequently became the schooner "Constitution." Soon afterward the steamer "Highland Chief" was launched, but this, too, was made over into a sailing vessel. In 1848 the steamer "Skaneateles" was built and run by Hecox & Reed for a year or two. On May 24, 1849, the "Homer," Capt. Rishworth Mason, was floated. The steam propeller "Ben H. Porter," Capt. W. R. Bailey, was launched in 1866, and continued in use many years. The present steamer is the "Glen Haven." About 1840 annual regattas were inaugurated, and for many years furnished exciting amusement. Sailboats of every variety made the lake a scene of animation, and gave existence to quite a navy, with which Dr. H. R. Lord was permanently identified as secretary. For a short time, in 1853, it also gave birth to the "Naval Bulletin," which was issued from the Democrat office. Rev. W. M. Beauchamp, of Baldwinsville, brought together a series of artistic sketches, with descriptions, from his own pencil, showing the lake and village as they existed between 1840 and 1850, and presented them to the library in 1882. Our allusion to Skaneateles Lake may fittingly close with the following stanza:
"Happily named by our Indians bold,
Brave Onondagas, red men of the west,
Beautiful Squaw! and by connoisseurs old,
Fair Lake of Venus! haven of rest."
In 1850 and '51 a plank road was projected between Skaneateles and Mandana. Corinthian Lodge, F. & A. M., Skaneateles, received a dispensation March 26, 1852, but a few years later it was discontinued. Skaneateles Lodge, No. 522, F. & A. M., was chartered June 12, 1862, with John H. Gregory as W. M. On December 10, 1869, Charles H. Platt Chapter, No. 247, R. A. M., was organized with nine members under Henry J. Hubbard as H. P. There is also an Odd Fellows lodge of about 100 members in Skaneateles village.
About 1845 the Roman Catholics began to hold services in the village, and in May, 1853, a church edifice was commenced. It was dedicated September 7, 1856, and cost $2,500. Rev. William McCallion was pastor until his death in 1864. Rev. F. J. Purcell, the present pastor, assumed charge in June, 1865. Their church was burned May 23, 1866, and on June 30, 1867, another edifice, costing $11,000, was consecrated. This society is known as St. Mary's of the Lake, and connected with it is St. Bridget's chapel at Skaneateles Falls, which was organized and built by Father Purcell, cost $5,000, and was dedicated September 20, 1874. St. Mary's Temperance Society, founded January 7, 1869, has continuously exerted a practical and useful influence along temperance lines, and is one of the few organizations of its kind which have maintained an uninterrupted existence.
During the sanguinary war of the Rebellion the town of Skaneateles made a record of which she may well feel proud. At the very opening of the struggle war meetings were held and prompt responses were made. About 375 volunteers went from this section, or were born here and enlisted elsewhere, or subsequently resided in the town, and among those who distinguished themselves in the service were Dr. Benedict, surgeon; Van R. Hilliard, captain; Mortimer Kellogg, chief engineer U. S. Navy; Lewis H. Mower, captain; Edward E. Potter, brigadier-general; and Charles Willetts, lieutenant-colonel.
On June 25, 1862, the Ladies' Aid Society was organized with Mrs. Anson Lapham, president; Mrs. William H. Jewett, vice-president; Mrs. H. Platt, secretary; and Miss E. A. Lapham, treasurer, for the purpose of assisting soldiers at the front. They performed a noble work in forwarding clothing and supplies and ameliorating the hardships of army life. In July, 1838, a soldiers' monument association was organized under the auspices of Ben H. Porter Post, No. 164, G. A. R., with Henry T. Webb, president; F. G. Weeks, vice-president; and George H. Wicks, secretary and treasurer, and May 30, 1889, the corner stone of the present stone memorial in Lakeview Cemetery was laid with appropriate ceremonies. The monument was dedicated September 4, 1895, with appropriate ceremonies, in which G. A. R. posts of adjoining towns participated.
The era of the Rebellion also marked the institution of banking interests in Skaneateles. In March, 1863, the Lake Bank was organized with Anson Lapham, president; Charles Pardee, vice-president; H. J. Hubbard, cashier. It is claimed that this was the first bank in the State to organize under the United States National Banking Act. It was opened May 19, 1863, and in 1865 Mr. Pardee succeeded to the presidency. In 1866 it became the First National Bank, and finally it was merged into Charles Pardee's private banking business, which he continued until his death. The Skaneateles Savings Bank was incorporated April 16, 1866, with the following trustees: John Barrow, president; Richard Talcott, vice-president; Henry T. Webb, secretary and treasurer; Anson Lapham, Charles Pardee, Joel Thayer, Henry L. Roosevelt, Caleb W. Allis, Josias Garlock, Henry J. Hubbard, Leonard H. Earll, Ezekiel B. Hoyt, George H. Earll, and Joab L. Clift. The presidents succeeding Mr. Barrow have been Joab L. Clift from November, 1866, to January 14, 1879; John M. Nye to January 9, 1883; John E. Waller, incumbent. F. G. Jewett succeeded Mr. Webb as secretary and treasurer in April, 1867; in December of that year he was followed by Josias Garlock, and after him came John H. Gregory, under whom the office was separated, his son, Fred H., becoming secretary. J. H. Gregory died in September, 1894, and J. Horatio Earll was elected secretary and treasurer; January 1, 1895, Emerson H. Adams became secretary; the vice-presidents are William B. Lawton and Willis Platt. The trustees are John E. Wailer, William B. Lawton, Willis Platt, Newell Turner, Lewis B. Fitch, Joseph Allen, Emerson H. Adams, J. Horatio Earll, John C. Stephenson, Willis F. Cuddeback, John McNamara, Philo S. Thornton, George D. Cuddeback.
The Bank of Skaneateles was incorporated under the State law June 10, 1869, with a capital of $100,000, since reduced to $60,000. The first officers were Joel Thayer, president; Anson Lapham, vice-president; and Benjamin F. Stiles, cashier; Elias Thorn, Benoni Lee, William Marvin, Benjamin F. Stiles, Hiram C. Sherman, Jacob H. Allen, D. C. Coon, Abram Lawton, Augustus P. Earll, James A. Root, and F. G. Weeks, directors. Mr, Stiles, as cashier, was followed successively by C. W; Allis, Henry T. Webb, and (in June, 1880) B. F. Petheram, who has been connected with the bank since January 1, 1871. In 1881 C. W. Allis succeeded Mr. Thayer as president. The vice-president is Joseph C. Willetts, and the directors are Caleb W. Allis, Joseph C. Willetts, Elias Thorne, Jacob H. Allen, Abram A. Lawton, B. F. Petheram, James A. Root, William Marvin, Joseph S. Shotwell, Philip Allen, William G. Thorne, William B. Lawton.
Referring again to the manufacturing interests we find that a stone mill was built in the village in 1845 by the Skaneateles Mill Company (John Legg and Nelson Hawley). Two years before this Ransom Crosby had started a steam saw mill, and a year earlier still J. M. Arnold and W. H. Willetts purchased the Talcott foundry. The stone mill was operated by John Legg & Co., and Joel Thayer & Co., and Mollard & Irish, under whom it was burned in 1882. It was rebuilt in 1883 by William R. Willetts & Co., and is now used as a storehouse by Stephen Thornton.
The Hart Lot Paper Company was organized in August, 1868, the plant being erected in the north edge of this town by J. and G. H; Earll on the site of a distillery, which was built in 1855. The capital was $100,000, and among the owners were Julius H. Earll and John M. Nye.
The Glenside Woolen Mills, about four miles north of Skaneateles, were built by the Skaneateles Iron Works Company about 1869 at a cost of $108,000. In 1874 they were sold on foreclosure; in August, 1881, J. McLaughlin's Sons purchased the property for $6,000 and converted it into a woolen mill. They failed, and in December, 1888, the Glenside Woolen Company was incorporated, with a capital of $150,000.
The Skaneateles Lime Works were established in 1860 by P. C. Carrigan, whose later associates were George H. Earll, Eben Bean, and E. B. Coe; subsequent proprietors were E B. Hoyt & Co. (under whom it received the name of Marysville Lime Works) and P. C. Carrigan & Co. E. B. Hoyt and Thomas Morton erected a woolen mill at the Falls in 1867; in 1875 Mr. Morton became sole owner, and in 1879 the plant passed to his son, Gavin. The Earll distillery, near Mottville, was purchased by F. G. Weeks in 1875 and converted into a paper mill. A little south of this is the site of the oldest paper mill in town, among the proprietors of which were Reed & Case, Ray & Bannister, Bannister & Hubbard, and in 1871 F. G. Weeks. It was burned on February 9, 1877, and rebuilt on a larger scale.
What is known as Long Bridge was called "No God" when the "Community" flourished near by, and at an early day George Cullen had a blacksmith shop here. Afterward the place had a woolen factory, which was burned about 1861, and on the site F. A. Sinclair and Joseph Hubbard built the Union Chair Factory in 1866. In 1867 Mr. Sinclair became, and is still, sole owner. The old Cataract flouring mill was erected by Barnes & Co. in 1869, and among its operators were H. B. Benedict & Son, Nelson Martin, and William Sinclair.
At Mottville H. B. Benedict opened a general store in 1858, was joined by his brother in 1860, and was burned out in 1865. In 1866 they built a brick store Other merchants were David Hall, J. C. S. Spencer, S. L. Benedict, and John Gamble & Co. A brick school house was built here in 1871. Among the postmasters were Henry Hunsiker, S. L. Benedict, Alanson Watson, Mrs. Olive A. Eastwood. Edward Burgess was a shoemaker here in 1837. In 1862 Thomas Alexander, Gavin Morton, sr., and John Stephenson established the Mottville Woolen Mills, of which Thomas Morton finally became proprietor. In May, 1881, he leased them to his sons, John W. and Thomas, jr. About 1841 J. L. Case had a sash factory here, and here also existed a malt house and brewery, which was long run by Elias and Henry Hunsiker and later by Hunsiker & Hait. William Barber had a large rag warehouse at Mottville, which developed into an extensive business. The Mottville flouring mill was formerly a cotton factory. In 1880 it passed to H. C. Sherman. This foundry and machine shop was early operated by Morehouse & Hannum, Howard Delano, and in 1849 by E. B. and E. S. Hoyt, who were also general merchants here. Other owners were E. H. Hoyt, Delano & Hoyt, and John M. Nye. The plant was burned September 5, 1867, rebuilt, and is now operated by F. D. Hoyt. Here are also the chair factory of W. J. Moreland and grist mill of N. L. Martin. The Mottville Paper Company was incorporated August 12, 1886, with a capital of $30,000, and with the following directors: Dr. J. W. Brown, president; William Barber, secretary and treasurer; Harvey Brown, Byron Chatfield, and Nelson L. Martin.
Between Mottville and Willow Glen, at a place once called Earllville, a mill was built by Abijah Earll in 1818; it was burned in 1825, and rebuilt by Cotton, Lewis & Co. Near the site was successively a saw mill, a linseed oil mill, a grist mill, and a distillery, in each of which Mr. Earll was interested. In 1857 the large distillery was established and operated for about twenty-five years principally by Daniel Earll and his sons, Augustus P. and Leonard H. About 1882 the property was purchased by F. G. Weeks, who organized the Lakeside Paper Company, with a capital of $20,000.
The Skaneateles Paper Company was formed December 9, 1875, with a capital of $65,000. On this site a grist mill was built in 1830 by So1omon Earll. About 1840 it was converted into a distillery by Earll & Kellogg, and in 1864 Earlls, Thayer & Co. made it over into a paper mill, which was later conducted by Earlls, Palmer & Co.
Willow Glen was at one time the busiest manufacturing place in town. A large woolen mill was built here by Dorastus Kellogg, was later owned by Alexander Horton, M. D. Dickerson, and Bradford Kennedy, now of Bradford Kennedy, Sons & McGuire, of Syracuse, and was burned in May, 1880. Michael Meagher opened a grocery in the place in 1860.
On the east side of the lake Jesse Deland built a steam saw mill about 1872, which passed to Absalom Chatham, the boiler of which exploded September 12, 1875, killing B. R. and A. R. Chatham and Darwin Price. Paul & Chorley now own a saw mill in Skaneateles village.
During the last few years the boat building industry has given Skaneateles village quite a reputation, and the Bowdish Manufacturing Company and the Skaneateles Boat and Canoe Company are entitled to much credit in this connection. Both have turned out a number of handsome skiffs, canoes, and other small craft.
Reference has been made to early burial places, the first of which was on the John Briggs farm, near the "Red House." The second was located in the village on the site of the old Kellogg mansion, and from this sixteen bodies were removed in 1803 to the Briggs farm on lot 36, a half acre of which was purchased by the Skaneateles Religious Society, May 30, 1808, for $25. This society bought also an adjoining half acre of David Seymour, on January 27, 1812, and these plats constituted the cemetery for the village and vicinity until 1846. The Mottville burying ground was opened about 1819, when some of the bodies were removed thither from the Samuel Briggs farm. On August 21, 1846, Charles Pardee and F. G. Jewett purchased about one acre, adjoining the old burial place, of J. C. Fuller for $392, and laid it out into 224 lots, and on September 14, of the same year, bought of Samuel Fuller an undivided half acre for $360. In May, 1860, the Hall Grove Cemetery Association (named in honor of David Hall, who donated eight and a quarter acres of land on the creek road) was organized, with Richard Talcott, David Hall, Chester Moses, Eben Bean, John Gregory, and Thomas Snook, trustees; John Barrow, treasurer; and Thomas Isom, jr., secretary. On August 26, 1871, Lakeview Cemetery Association was incorporated, with William Marvin, chairman; P. Oscar C. Benton, secretary; and twelve trustees. They purchased seven and a half acres adjoining the old cemetery of E. R. Smith, and in September, 1872, secured a deed from the trustees of the Skaneateles Religious Society for the original plat.
About 1867 Methodist services were held at Skaneateles Falls, in the house of M. B. Bannister, class leader, and later in the school house and elsewhere. November 2, 1877, an M. E. church was organized and the same year an edifice was erected through the generosity of F. G. Weeks, at a cost of $1,500. It was dedicated February 6, 1878. Mottville had been a Methodist appointment for several years. In 1872 the old school house was purchased and fitted up for regular services and dedicated January 24, 1873. On September 10, 1885, a new edifice, which cost $4,800, was dedicated;
On July 19, 1870, the old Lake House, formerly called the Houndayaga House and originally known as the Indian Queen Hotel, was destroyed by fire. It was enlarged in 1858, and for many years contained the only public hall in the village. It occupied the site of the Shear block, on the corner of Genesee and Jordan streets, which was built in 1881-82.
Skaneateles was made a money order office August 6, 1866. The postmasters following Charles J. Burnett (1817-1843) have been: Joel Thayer, appointed July 5, 1843; John Snook, jr., appointed April, 1849; Josias Garlock, May, 1853; Capt. Horace Hazen, May, 1861; F. G. Weeks, May, 1869; John B. Marshall, 1873; Edson D. Gillett, February, 1885; J. Horatio Earll, January 24, 1894, incumbent.
The Skaneateles Water Company was organized August 11, 1887, by George Barrow, president; J. K. Knox, secretary; B. F. Petheram, treasurer. The supply of water is taken from the lake by pumping. In November, 1889, franchises were granted to the Central New York Electric Light and Power Company by the town and village. The electricity is transmitted to Skaneateles village from the company's plant near Elbridge, which also supplies the villages of Elbridge and Jordan. George Barrow is president and secretary. On September 27, 1890, the corner stone of the handsome brick and stone engine house and village hall was laid.
Glen Haven, at the head of Skaneateles Lake, and in Cortland county, is a well-known summer resort. Dr. Jackson established a "water cure" there many years ago under humble conditions. There is now a spacious hotel and many handsome cottages nestled under the high, wood-covered hill, from which a mineral spring amply supplies all with water. Dr. Thomas, associated with Mr. Mourin in the proprietorship, still maintains a "cure;" but the picturesqueness and pure air of the place, situated almost 900 feet above tide-water, are its principal attractions. Its patronage is almost wholly from Syracuse and Philadelphia.
The supervisors of this town since its organization in 1830 have been as follows:
Tunis Van Houghten, 1830-31; Dorastus Lawrence, 1832-33; Chester Clark, 1836-38; William Fuller, 1839-41; Samuel H. Greenman, 1842-43; James H. Gifford, 1844; Spencer Hannum, 1845-46; William H. Jewett, 1847-48; Aaron Brinkerhoff, 1849-52; Daniel T. Moseley, 1853-55; John Barrow, 1856; Dorastus Lawrence, 1857; John Barrow, 1858-60; Caleb W. Allis, 1861-64; John H. Smith, 1865-68; Edward B. Coe, 1869-70; George T. Campbell, 1871; George W. Earll, 1872; Thomas Morton, 1873; H. B. Benedict, 1874; Andrew J. Earll, 1875-77; John H. Gregory, 1878- 79; Dennis Bockes, 1880: J. Horatio Earll, 1881; Dennis Bockes, 1882-88; Stephen Thornton, 1889-96.
The population of this town in the years named has been as follows:
1830, 3,812; 1835, 3,575; 1840, 3,981; 1845, 3,827; 1850, 4,080; 1855, 3,976; 1860, 4,335; 1865, 4,128; 1870, 4,514; 1875, 5,035; 1880, 4,866; 1890, 4,662; 1892, 4,994.
Designed by a member of