THE HISTORY OF CATTARAUGUS
Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent
Philadelphia: L. H. Everts, 1879
CHAPTER on the TOWN of NAPOLI
Transcribed by Mary Anne Lee - August 2004
Napoli is an interior town, lying west
of the centre
of the county, in the eighth range of the Holland Survey. It
embraces all of township 3, and contains 23,063 acres. As erected
from the town of Little Valley, it embraced all of townships 1, 2, and
3, and in the eighth range, and bore the name of Cold Spring until
April 15, 1828, when it received the title it now bears. It was
reduced to its present area March 20, 1837, when townships 1 and 2 were
set off to form the new town of Cold Spring.
The surface of Napoli is elevated, and appears in
the form of broken upland. Some of the hills rise several hundred
feet above the general level, and the summit on lot 4 is nearly 700
feet above the valley, and is reported the highest point in the
county. Many of these hills are arable to their tops but the soil
of some is so cold that they are comparatively sterile; others are
clothed with a rich verdure, and yield abundant grazing. The soil
of the valleys is less clayey, and is generally a fertile, gravelly
loam; and the land here, though limited in area, is as productive as
any in the county. The town was originally covered with fine
forests of beech, maple oak, chestnut; hemlock and pine abounding in
limited quantities. A liberal supply of most of these yet remains.
The general drainage of the town is south, and is
afforded mainly by Cold Spring Creek and its tributary brooks. This
stream rises from a large cool spring, in the northern part of the
town, and flows south through its centre into the town of Cold Spring,
where it empties into Allegany River. Formerly the volume of
water in this stream was much greater than at present, and limited
water-power was afforded. It also contained an abundance of fine
fish. From the northeast and the east hills of the town flow
brooks, fed by numerous springs, into Little Valley Creek and SawMill
Run; and in the northwest are a few brooks, which flow into Elm Creek
PIONEER SETTLERS AND INCIDENTS.
More than sixty years have elapsed since the first
white man made his home in the dense forests of this town. In
1818, Major Timothy Butler came from Onondaga County, and located on
lot 27, a little east of the present Napoli Corners. We know
nothing concerning his antecedent life, but he removed to the State of
Virginia and from there to southern Indiana, where he died. While
in town he was an active man, and his place was widely known in the
county as a conspicuous pioneer landmark.
George Hill, the second white person in Napoli,
located on lot 29, in 1818. He set the first orchard in
town. Where he came from or went, we have been unable to learn.
In the spring of 1819, Sargeant Morrill located on
lot 50, on what is now the Jamestown road, southwest of Napoli
Corners. He was born in Vermont in 1755, and died in Napoli in
1835. Ruth, his wife, was born in 1760, and died in town, July 4,
1828. His son, Martin M., lives in Illinois, aged ninety
years. John is living at Napoli Corners, and Joanna, a daughter,
in Indiana. Mr. Morrill, Major Butler, and Timothy Boardman, in
1819, cut a road, seven miles long, from Little Valley to Napoli, these
three and their families being the only persons in town at that
time. When Mr. Morrill arrived in town, having no team, he
obtained the help of eight men and boys a day, who hauled logs with a
chain and rope, and put up the body for a house. He put on a
cob-roof and laid a log floor, and moved in. He was the first
deacon of the Congregational Church, in 1821. The first grist of
grain carried to mill from Napoli was three bushels of corn, taken on a
mule to the Quaker Mill, twelve miles away, by John, a son of Sargeant
Morrill. Soon after leaving the mill, on his way home, it became
dark, and John, being unable to follow the Indian path, mounted the
mule and was carried safely home, arriving some time in the
night. The next grist was three bushels of corn for each of the
three settlers. It was taken on an ox-sled to the same mill, the
men cutting the road as they went. After John Morrill was married
he wanted some cotton cloth in the house, so he took the job of cutting
1 1/2 acres of timber for $7.50, boarding himself. He took the
money, went to Batavia, a distance of over 60 miles, on foot, and
carried his goods home on his back. Sargeant Morrill and his son
for several weeks brought on their backs all the provisions for the
family from Little Valley, a distance of nine miles.
Timothy Boardman, from Onondaga County, located on
lot 43, in 1819. He was a native of Connecticut; born in 1781,
and died, in town, October, 1841. His wife, Rachel Hopkins, died
in town in April 1827. Their son Leicester died in town, July,
1841; Orson is living in Indiana; Judah is living at Napoli Corners;
Chauncy, in Cold Spring; Susan, in Illinois; and Fidelia, in Salamanca;
Fannie, who taught the first school in town, is living in Iowa.
Mr. Boardman had to get hands from some distance to raise his log
shanty. It was dark by the time they had it up, and having no
provision of any kind they camped for the night without supper.
Harvey Parmelee located on lot 51 in 1819. He
came from Ontario County. He moved to Chautauqua County, where he
died. His wife, Annie Harrington, is still living in that
county. Mr. Parmelee was a leading and an active member of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, and for many years a class-leader.
Lyman Parmelee, a brother of Harvey, settled on lot
52 in the year 1819. He was from Ontario County, and some years
later returned to that county, where he died.
John Warner, from Ischua, located on lot 19 in
1819. He built a small log house, in which was taught the first
school in town. There were but three families that had children
to send, - Mr. Warner's, Timothy Butler's, and Timothy Boardman's.
Harlow Butler, from Ontario County, settled on lot
51 in 1819. He moved to the Western Reserve, in Ohio.
Peter Beardsley, from Erie County, located on lot 38
in 1819. He was born in Delaware County, September, 1795, and
died in town, February, 1873. His wife, Maria Boardman, died in
Nebraska, but her remains were brought to this town for burial.
One daughter is living in town, and three sons and one daughter in
Loren Noble came from Ontario County in 1820, and
located on lot 33. He married Miss Fannie Boardman, and moved to
Iowa in 1854, where they now reside.
Artemus Houghton, from Niagara, located on lot 49 in
1820. He was elected one of the first deacons in the
Congregational Church, in 1821. He died at Willow Creek, Pa., and
his wife at Quaker Run.
Dr. Phineas F. Noble came from Ontario County in
1820, and located on lot 34. He was made a military captain,
being the first officer in town. Company trainings were then held
at Franklinville. He moved to Iowa, and now resides there.
Erastus, a son, resides in Ohio.
Levi Stevens was born in Cooperstown, Otsego County,
Aug. 4, 1794. He married Miss Sally Rice in 1819, and together
they came to Napoli in 1820, settling on lot 21, where L.H. Wilcox now
resides. Mr. Stevens was a man of remarkable industry. But
few men did as much to clear away the forests and bring Cattaraugus up
to its present cultivated state as he. His death occurred Nov.
18, 1877, and that of his wife in April, 1833. His oldest son,
Judge Wm. Stevens, resides on lot 13, in Napoli; Charles lives in
Cayuga County; A.G. in Michigan; S.H., a Free-Will Baptist minister, in
Nebraska; G.W. in Michigan; M.P. in Napoli; and J.D. in Little Valley.
A Mr. Hall came to Napoli from Ontario in 1819, and
had booked a piece of land on lot 59. He returned to Ontario, and
the same year two sons, Horace and Joe, came on to commence
improvements. Not liking the land located by their father, they
began on lot 50. They chopped a few acres, put up the body for a
log house, and in the fall returned to Ontario County. In the
spring of 1820, Horace and Erastus, younger brothers, came on and
finished the house, and moved in. He died at East Randolph in
1878, aged eighty-one years. In the year 1825, the father again
came to Cattaraugus County, but settled in Cold Spring, on lot 64,
where he died in 1856.
William Foy, a native of Vermont, came to this town
in 1819, and located on lot 57. His son John was the first white
child born in the town of Napoli. Mr. Foy died in Illinois.
Four brothers of Foy, Benjamin, David, Jonathan, and Samuel, settled on
the same lot in 1819, but all removed except Samuel, who now resides on
Joshua Boardman, a native of Onondaga County, came
from that county in 1819, and located on lot 42, where he put up a
small shanty until he could build a log house. He united with the
first Free-Will Baptist Church of Napoli, and was a leading citizen of
the town. He died in Kalamazoo, Mich. Rosena Barnes, his
wife died at Napoli in 1826. They had ten children, of whom
Sophronia is living with her son, C.D. Tuttle, in the town of
Connewango, Joseph in Michigan, and Joshua and Elizabeth in Randolph.
Walter Thorp, a native of Delaware County, came in
1820. He located on lot 61. Mr. Thorp was a man of fine
talents, possessing a genial nature, and always contending for the
right. His kindly nature sympathized in the woes, and his hand
was ever open to relive the wants, of suffering humanity. He was
a good speaker and fine writer, and worked to instruct and elevate the
young. But few men have been more missed than "Uncle
Walter." He died in Connewango, November, 1872, being nearly
eighty-one years of age. His wife, Elmira Maxon, was born in
Delaware County, January, 1796, and died in Connewango, December,
1840. The only son living, Morgan Thorp, resides in the town of
Great Valley; and Louisa is living in Connewango.
Lewis P. Thorp was born in Delaware County, in
March, 1801, and came to Napoli in 1820, locating on lot 61. He
was a leading citizen of the town, holding positions of trust, which he
ever filled to the satisfaction of his constituents, and with honor to
himself. He died at his old home at Napoli, February, 1868.
His widow, Mrs. Maria Thorp, is living in Randolph. They raised a
family of six children. George C., a son, is living in Napoli,
Sarah C., Caroline M., Mary M., and Frank S. are living in Randolph.
Daniel S. Thorp came in 1820, settling on lot
61. He was a native of Delaware County, and was born March 6,
1798. He died in Napoli, July 2, 1869. His wife Ruth Foy,
was born in Vermont, Oct. 20, 1797, and died in Napoli, April 24,
1874. Of five children, Walter F. lives on the old homestead in
Napoli, and Laverna in Randolph.
Hubbard Latham, a native of Long Island, came from
Sag Harbor in 1821, and located on lot 44. He was born Dec. 27,
1772. His father was of English birth, and was one of the favored
land-holders. He came to this country possessed of much
wealth. Mr. Latham died at the home of his son, in Randolph, Dec.
27, 1850. His wife, Mercy Bennett, was born in New Lebanon,
Conn., in 1769, and died in Randolph, February, 1858. A son,
Edward Latham, died in Illinois in 1877. Elisha died in Randolph
in 1857. Cornelius now resides in that town, and Abigail in
John L. Latham, a native of Sag Harbor, came to
Napoli, and located on lot 44, in 1822. In 1839, when riding on
horseback in Illinois, he and the horse on which he rode were killed by
lightning; and it is said by those who were near at the time that it
was perfectly clear, with no report of thunder. Hubbard L.
Latham, a brother of John L., came at the same time, settling on the
same lot. He died in Illinois, in 1858.
Leverett Richmond settled on lot 52 in 1821.
He came from Genesee County, to which place he returned.
Joseph Miller, from Cayuga County, settled on lot 20
in 1821. He built the first frame barn in town. He died at
the same place in 1827. His wife, Maria Boardman, died in
Nebraska in 1873, and was buried at Napoli Corners.
John Moran located on lot 27, 1821, but soon after
removed to the town of Connewango.
Benjamin Hillman came from Washington County in
1822, locating on lot 27. He was a shoemaker by trade. He
erected a frame house on the Jamestown Road, east of Napoli Corners,
and opened a temperance tavern. It created quite an excitement,
and the people far and near went out to see the first temperance house
go up. Mr. Hillman is now living in Monroe County.
Nathaniel Burbank settled on lot 13 in 1822,
coming from Genesee County. He was born in New Jersey, February,
1782, and died on the same farm, May, 1858.
Henry Earle, from Genesee County, located on lot 43
in 1822, and Silas Earle on lot 44.
Nathan Bennett came from Ontario County in 1822, and
settled on lot 59.
Ariel and John Wellman, with their aged father, came
from Schoharie County in 1822, and located on lot 53. The father
died in South Valley. Ariel moved to Minnesota, and died there.
John is living in Cold Spring.
Sands Bouton went on lot 34 about 1822. He
came from the town of Olean. He was county clerk of Cattaraugus
County in 1817, and was the first to hold that office.
Andrew Green came from Onondaga County in 1822,
settling on lot 28. He moved to Michigan in 1845, where he died.
Hardy R. Finch came from Genesee County in 1822, and
located on lot 6. He was born in Fairfield Co., Conn., Dec. 24,
1796. He is still living on the farm he took fifty-six years
ago. His wife, Rachel Porter, was born in Massachusetts,
November, 1797, and died August, 1878. Soon after Mr. Finch
settled, a large bear took a hog, weighing nearly 200 pounds, one dark
night from the pen, and was making off with it. Mr. Finch gave
battle, and compelled the bear to leave the hog, but in a mangled
Stephen Curtis, with his wife, Sally, came from
Schoharie County in 1822, locating on lot 55. They both died on
the same farm.
In 1822, Joseph Woodworth, a Revolutionary soldier,
came to this town. He died in the town of Connewango, in 1844.
Elijah Boardman from Onondaga County, settled on lot
27 in 1822. He was born in Connecticut, and died in Chicago, Ill.
Moses Cook settled on lot 34 in 1823. He came
from Ontario County. He kept the first store, in 1826. He
was also the first blacksmith. He returned to Ontario, where he
Ira Dunning settled on lot 34 in 1823. He was
a Presbyterian minister, and the first one who settled in town.
Oliver Paddack, from Schoharie County, moved on lot
55 in 1823. He was born in Connecticut, 1780, and died in Napoli
Wheeler Beardsley, from Erie County, located on lot
38 in 1823. He was born in Connecticut in 1788, and died in
Little Valley, December, 1872. Melinda Martin, his wife, died in
Little Valley in 1873. A daughter, Mrs. S. S. Marsh, is living at
Marshall Whitcomb, from Ontario County, located on
lot 58 in 1823. He moved to the State of Ohio about 1830.
Jeduthan Seely came from Genesee County in 1823, and
located on lot 45. He died in Illinois in 1832. Mr. Seely
had five sons, who came to this town with him. Their names were,
Ebenezer, Jeduthan, Alexander, Horace, and Norman. They were all
expert hunters, and gave much time to the chase. Once upon the
track of deer, bear, or wolf, there seldom was an escape for the
animal. In 1833, having driven two wolves into a piece of swampy
woods, they rallied as many of the neighbors as possible to surround
the swamp; but the wolves made their escape, and were pursued by Horace
and Norman Seely, who followed them nine days, passing through several
towns of Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties. One of the wolves
finally took shelter in a small low cave in the town of Napoli, at a
point called Cat Rock, from its having been the harbor for
wild-cats. The question now arose, "Who is to imitate the example
of General Putnam, and follow the wolf into the cave?" Horace
claimed this right. A strong hook was accordingly attached to the
end of a pole of sufficient length to reach from the bottom of the cave
to where the wolf was. Mr. Seely then firmly fastened the hook to
the wolf, and those at the mouth of the caf‚ drew the animal out over
the body of the adventurous hunter, as he lay flat upon his face.
The five brothers moved to Whiteside Co., Ill., and have never since
returned to the scenes of their hunting exploits.
Gorden Chesbrough came from Washington County in
1823, locating on lot 27. He moved to Chautauqua County, where he
Cale Adye, a Revolutionary soldier, came to this
town in 1824, and died here January, 1849, aged eighty-eight
years. Two sons, Hiram and Austin, live in town. Also two
daughters, Ann Eliza and Olive. A son, Ansel, is living in Little
Abel Merchant located on lot 56 in 1824. He
was from Madison County, and is still living on the farm first
taken. A son, Andrew J., is a Methodist minister at
Fredonia. James H. is also a Methodist minister in Ohio.
Amos Merchant, from Madison County, settled on lot
56 in 1824. He was born in 1797, and is living with a daughter
(Mrs. Smith Clark) in Napoli.
Eastman Prescott, from Genesee County, located on
lot 26 in 1824, and died at Napoli, March, 1866. Mr. Prescott
kept the first inn in town. He also carried the first mail from
Ellicottville to Randolph.
Ezekiel Fitch located on lot 50 in 1824. He
was born in Columbia County, and died in Illinois.
Samuel Healy came to this town from Washington
County in 1824, locating on lot 26, but removed to Chautauqua County.
Hiram Freeman located on lot 27 in 1825, coming from
Washington County. He was born December, 1798, and died in town,
August, 1857. Mrs. Freeman was born September, 1802, and now
resides in Napoli. A son, Manly, died in town in 1855.
Martin is living in town; also a daughter, Alida.
Timothy Everett, from Onondaga County, located on
lot 35, in 1825. He died in 1847, in Chautauqua County.
Tunis Van Tassel settled on lot 5 in 1825, and
opened a tavern in a small log house near the narrows, on the Jamestown
Jacob Lyon, from Schoharie County, located on lot 55
in 1825. He returned to that county, where he died.
William Palmer came from Genesee County in 1825,
locating on lot 6. He died in the town of Napoli, in 1843.
Two sons are living in the county, - Asa, at Cattaraugus, and Russell,
on lot 6, in Napoli. Asa, Russell, and Jason Palmer also settled
on lot 6 in 1825.
Reuben Wait settled on lot 39 in 1825, having come
from Washington County that year. He was a native of that county,
and was born in 1793. He died December, 1865, on the farm where
he first settled. One son is living in Cold Spring, one in town,
and one in the State of Kansas. Warden B., another son, resides
on the old homestead. Isaac, James, Peleg, Oliver, and William Wait
came from the same place as the above in 1825, and located on lots 36
In 1825, Asa Maynard, from Genesee County, located
on lot 5, and Horace Cowles, from Onondaga County, on lot 37.
Seneca Morton settled in this town in
1826. Darius Fish came from Washington the same year, and
located on lot 29, and Joseph Fish came from Olean, settling on lot
50. He died in Napoli, about 1830. Ephraim Fish, from
Washington County, located on lot 29. He died in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Amasa P. Darling, from Genesee County, located on
lot 46 about 1826. He was a mason by trade.
Ambrose Waterman, a native of Vermont, located on
lot 50 in 1826, and died in 1857, leaving four sons and two daughters.
William J. Wilcox was born in Hampshire Co., Mass.,
June 28, 1782, and his wife, Luranah Green, April 20, 1783. They
came to Napoli in October, 1826. He was a Congregational
minister. He died in this town, July 14, 1842, and Mrs. Wilcox
July 10, 1845.
William M. Champlain came from Chenango County, and
located on lot 47, in 1826, and died on lot 38, April, 1862. His
widow is still living on the same place where her husband died.
They had a family of thirteen children.
Joseph Morton was born in Massachusetts, November,
1770, and Mercy, his wife, October, 1767. They came to Napoli in
1826. Mr. Morton died January, 1843, and Mrs. Morton, March 1841.
Amasa Bushnell, a native of Connecticut, came to
Napoli from Herkimer County in 1826, settling on lot 54. He was
born June, 1765, and died on the same lot, August, 1841.
Prudence, his wife, was born February, 1774, and died May, 1858.
Of their children, James settled on lot 54 in 1822; he moved to
Michigan, where he died, in 1864. Josiah settled on the same lot
in 1822, and died there, February, 1841. Ashbel came in
1824. In company with his brother, Amasa, he kept a store on
Bushnell Flats. In 1831 he went on to lot 35, and opened a hotel
at Napoli Corners, where he now resides. Amasa came in
1826. He moved to Illinois in 1855, and died in September of the
same year. Chauncy is living on lot 12; and Elias at Napoli
Corners, where he has carried on blacksmithing nearly forty years.
Daniel Nichols, from Monroe County, located on lot
58 in 1826. He was born in Berkshire Co., Mass., Nov. 24,
1800. His wife, Lydia Bishop, was born in Hampden Co., Mass.,
September, 1793, and died in Napoli, Sept. 2, 1859. Mr. Nichols
is now living with a son, D.F. Nichols, on the farm first taken.
Ezra Glover came from Washington County in 1827, and
settled on lot 37. He died in Washington County.
Silas Miller, a native of New Jersey, came from
Cayuga County in March, 1827, locating on lot 20. He was born in
1799, and died December, 1876, on the farm where he first
settled. His wife, Nancy, was born May, 1800, and is now living
with her daughter near the old homestead. Two daughters - Ann
Eliza, born October, 1826, and Maria, born in 1829 - are now living in
John Champlin came from Genesee County in 1827,
settling on lot 47. He died in Illinois, to which State he had
Stephen Gladden was born in Hampshire, Mass., in
1805, and came from Onondaga County in 1827, settling on lot 38.
His wife, Mercy Beardsley, was born in Delaware County in 1797.
They are both living on the place first taken. An only son,
George A., is living on the homestead. Mary is living near her
parents. Sarah died in town in 1866.
Harney Janes and his father, Ebenezer, from Onondaga
County, located on lot 34 in 1827. He died in Napoli in
1867. He had two sons and four daughters, all now living.
Mrs. Janes now resides in Randolph.
Roswell Roberts settled on lot 23 in 1827, having
come from Onondaga County. He is now living on the same lot.
Jonas Glazier, a Calvinist-Baptist minister, and a
native of Massachusetts, came from that State to this town in 1828, and
died here in 1856. His wife, Sally Goodnough, was born in 1796,
and is living with a daughter in Napoli. Their only son was
drowned in Massachusetts.
Two brothers, John and Robert Balston, came from
Genesee County in 1828. John settled on lot 12, and Robert on lot
11, but both removed to Michigan.
Six sons and one daughter of William J. Wilcox
became residents of this town in 1828. Lansing is living on lot
21, in Napoli; Lysander is also living in town; Austin resides at
Union, Pa.; Mary died in 1844, at Napoli; Samuel has been a practicing
physician in town for many years; Gordon resides in Missouri.
Amasa Booth, a native of Massachusetts, came to this
town from Genesee County in 1818. He was born in 1787, and died
in 1848. Sarah Wait, his wife, was born in Washington County,
May, 1788, and died in 1860. Of the children, Orrin and Stephen
yet live in Napoli.
Richard Boardman, a native of Connecticut, came from
Onondaga County in 1828, locating on lot 42. He died in 1842, and
his wife, Lucy, in 1844, in Napoli.
Loren Burroughs came from Onondaga County in 1828,
and located on lot 42. He died in Nebraska.
David Brown came from Allegany County in 1829, and
settled on lot 58; Lewis Crane, from Cayuga County, on lot 21; Walter
Coe, from Montgomery County, on lot 8; and Asher and Joshua Boardman,
from Genesee County, on lot 42.
In 1830, Austin Davis became a resident of lot 5;
Enoch Chase, from Little Valley, on lot 46; Jeremiah and Lindsey
Morten, from Addison Co., Vt., on lot 57.
Calvin Doolittle came from the town of Little Valley
in 1829, and settled on lot 38. He was a Free-Will Baptist
minister. He moved to the State of Michigan.
John Arms came from Genesee County in 1831, and
settled on lot 40. He died on the same lot, November, 1867.
A son, Luther Arms, is living on the farm first settled on.
Orris Marsh was born in Windham Co., Vt., July,
1806. He came to this county in 1826, and settled in Cold Spring
in 1828, and in Napoli in 1832, of which town he has been supervisor
for twenty-three years.
John Peaslee was born in Dutchess County in 1779,
and came to Napoli from Schoharie County in 1732, locating on lot
62. He died on the same lot, March, 1863. A son, Orsemus,
died in town, August, 1877. Joseph is living on lot 62.
In 1835 there were 5436 acres of improved land in
town. The population in 1865 was 1231; in 1875, 1094. Of
this number 1058 were natives, 559 males and 535 females. There
were 322 voters and 216 land-owners. In June, 1878, there were 78
men in town over 60 years of age, and 259 persons under age.
MEMORANDA OF PIONEER EVENTS
The first birth was that of a son of William Foy, in
June, 1820. He was named John A., and died in Illinois in
1877. The first death was a son of Timothy Butler, in 1820, who
was buried in the cemetery at Napoli. The second death was a son
of Joshua Boardman, in 1821, who was buried in the same cemetery.
The first marriage was that of Dr. Noble, to Statira
Canfield. Dr. Noble died in Ontario County, where his wife still
resides. These parties went out of town to find an officer to
perform the rites. The first marriage, the ceremony of which was
performed in the town, was that of John Morrill to Miss Sophronia
Seward, a cousin of the late William H. Seward, by Rev. Ira Dunning, in
1824. This couple having lived together fifty-four years, yet
reside at Napoli Corners in fair health, and their memories are but
little impaired by the weight of years.
The first school was taught in the dwelling-house of
John Warner, in the summer of 1819, by Miss Fannie Boardman, who now
resides in the State of Iowa. The first school-house was a small
log building on lot 42. The first school in it was taught by
Phineas Noble, and the second by Sophronia Seward.
The first apple-orchard was set by George Hill, on
lot 29, in 1830. He brought the trees several miles on his
back. The first fruit of which we can obtain any account grew in
the nursery of Horace Hall, on lot 59, in 1823, when he found about a
half-dozen apples. He mashed them, and squeezing out the juice,
put it in a vial and sent it to his old friends in Ontario County,
informing them the town of Napoli was raising apples and making cider.
The first frame building erected was a barn by
Joseph Miller, on lot 22, in 1822; and the first frame house by Harvey
Parmelee, on lot 51, 1826.
The first inn was kept by Eastman Prescott in 1831,
at Napoli Corners.
The first town-meeting was held at the house of
Henry Noble, Feb. 11, 1823, when the following officers were elected:
Supervisor, Henry Noble; Town Clerk, Daniel S. Thorp; Assessors, Andrew
D. Smith, Harvey Parmelee, James Bushnell; Overseers of the Poor,
Elijah Boardman, Artemas Houghton; Commissioners of Highways, Walter
Thorp, William Foy, Joseph Elkinton; Commissioners of Schools, Andrew
D. Smith, Harlow Butler, Daniel S. Thorp; Inspectors of Schools, Henry
Noble, Harlow Butler, Andrew D. Smith; Constable and Collector, Phineas
Since 1823 the principal officers of the town have
been as follows:
[ Table 1 ]
[ Table 2 ]
At the first town-meeting resolutions were adopted
regulating the taking up of estray animals, and the same year we find
"Taken up by Erastus John (Indian), a gray mare about two years old,
long tail, with no other particular marks about her; had a poke on when
"Dated Cold Spring, July 12, 1823.
"Attest: Daniel S. Thorp,
In 1823, it was voted "that ten dollars bounty be
allowed to every white person who shall kill a full-grown wolf in the
town of Cold Spring."
"That the next town-meeting be held at the West
schoolhouse, or, if there should be a house built for public worship,
then the town-meeting to be held at said house."
"Spirituous liquors are not to be sold on election
The third town-meeting was held in the church.
In 1825, a bounty of $5 was voted for every
full-grown bear, and $2.50 for every cub.
In 1826, it was resolved "that every person be
subject to a fine of $50 who shall suffer Canada Thistles, white or
yellow daisies, or Tory weeds, to grow on his lands or on the public
highways adjoining the same, after three days' notice of their
A special meeting was held, Jan. 30, 1828, to elect
a clerk in place of Harlow Butler, who removed. Horace Hall was
elected to fill the vacancy.
Double the bounty on wolves allowed by the State was
voted this year.
"Resolved, That there be a committee appointed to
take into contemplation something to ameliorate the militia law.
That Walter Thorp, Joseph Elkinton, Timothy Everett, Elijah Boardman,
Harvey Parmelee, John L. Latham, and Horace Hall, as said committee,
report at the next meeting or sooner, if in their opinion it shall seem
ROADS AND CEMETERIES
The first road surveyed in town began at a stake on
the line between lots 34 and 35, in township 3, range 8, and in the
centre of the north and south road, near Timothy Butler's; thence ran
east 18 chains; thence north to the Jamestown road. It was
surveyed April 22, 1823, by James McGlashen; the commissioners were
Walter Thorp, William Foy, and Joseph Elkinton.
The same year ten more roads were surveyed or
altered by the above commissioners. There are, in 1878, about 65
miles of highway in town, divided into 49 road districts. Before
Napoli was settled, there was an Indian trail entering the town on lot
41, and following the Cold Spring Creek, passing into the town of New
Albion; thence, to the north, to Buffalo and Canada. Governor
Blacksnake, the famed Seneca chief, claimed to have traveled over this
trail on foot from the mouth of Cold Spring Creek to Buffalo and
returned in twenty-four hours, making a distance of 126 miles.
His mission was deemed an important one at a critical period during the
war of 1812. It will be remembered that the Seneca Indians were
friendly to the English and fought under the British flag in that
The Napoli Cemetery has been used as a public
burialground since 1820. Timothy Butler gave the land that
year, but no society was organized till about 1858. The present
trustees are Orris Marsh, Joseph Hazard, Nelson Morrill, Justus Harris,
and Harrison Brink. The grounds are substantially fenced and well
The Union Cemetery Society of Elm Creek was
organized July 15, 1844, to provide a cemetery, which is situated on
lot 60. The trustees were Samuel Farlee, Lewis P. Thorp, Edward
Fairchild, D.O. Peaslee, Walter Thorp, John Fairchild, and Nathan Snow.
The North Napoli Cemetery was set apart and used for
that purpose about thirty-five years since. The grounds were
given by William Champlin. It is on lot 38, neatly fenced, with
stone posts, and well kept. The present trustees are Amenza
Sibley, George A. Gladden, Luther Arms, Charles Cary, Hiram Swift, and
Maple Grove Cemetery, on lot 21, was opened in
1836. Silas Miller and Nathaniel Burbanks were the first
trustees; the present trustees are William Stevens, George Thorp,
Marshall and Judson Sibley.
MILLS AND OTHER INDUSTRIES
The first saw-mill was built about 1826, on Cold
Spring Creek, by James Wait. David Brown erected a saw-mill on
the same stream in 1830 on lot 42. Mr. Davis built one on lot 5,
and Otis Pratt one on lot 16, which is still running. Lyman Giles
erected one on Cold Spring Creek, on lot 17, about 1840, but it has
gone to decay.
A tannery was established on lot 59 in 1821 by
Nathan Bennett. He afterwards moved it to Napoli Corners, when it
was sold to Thomas Carter, who operated it a few years and then
The Napoli Creamery, on lot 38, was erected in 1870
by Eben Sibley, by whom it is now owned and run. It is 25 by 75
feet, three stories high, with an engine of five horse-power. It
receives the milk of about 800 cows, and in 1877 worked up 1,832,590
pounds of milk, making 147,959 pounds of cheese and 61,663 pounds of
butter. The sales were $15,234 7/100 for butter and $11,827
25/100 for cheese. The patrons realized 12 48/100 mills per pound
of milk furnished.
South Napoli Creamery was built by Anson Goodspeed
in 1875. It is 32 by 60 feet, and three stories high, with an
engine of eight horse-power. It is owned and operated by Eben
Sibley, having about 500 cows, and making 16 cheeses and 300 pounds of
butter per day.
There is considerable private dairying aside from
the factories. Probably there are about 2000 cows in town.
There are some fine orchards in town, and large
quantities of apples are shipped to New York, Buffalo, and other
markets. In 1878 the product was nearly 60,000 bushels.
In 1875 nearly 20,000 pounds of maple-sugar were
manufactured in town.
The only hamlet in the town, is situated on lot 35,
about a mile south of the centre of the township. It contains a
good store, a grocery, a hotel, several shops, school-house, public
hall, and three church buildings, whose aggregate capacity is 800, and
the cost about $10,000; there are also about fifteen
dwellings. The hotel has been kept many years by Ashbel
Bushnell, and for more than forty years Elias Bushnell has followed the
blacksmith's trade in the place. A wagon-shop is carried on
by George Shannon.
The post-office at this place was established in
1827, with Timothy Everett, postmaster. Ten years later, Ashbel
Bushnell was appointed, and held the office four years; in 1841, Orris
Marsh; 1845, Bushnell; 1849, Marsh; since that period the officials
have been Silas Miller, George Shannon, Silas Earle, A.T. Palmer, John
Damon, O.S. Booth, and William McHerron.
In the northern part of the town a post-office was
established about 1825, with the name of Owensburgh, and had Abel B.
Hobart as postmaster. John A. Kinnicutt was the mail-carrier, the
office being on the route which he supplied. In 1827 it was
removed to the Seelysburgh neighborhood, and took that name. John
Latham was here appointed postmaster. It was afterwards held by
Amasa Bushnell, Cyrus Thatcher, Erastus L. Bassett, Lewis Thorp, and
Samuel Farlee. The latter carried the office to Elm Creek, in
Connewango, where it was discontinued.
The first physician was Elijah Hammond, who came
from Erie County, and located on lot 35. Henry Noble, one of the
first settlers, practiced medicine several years, and Dr. Blodgett
began about 1827. For many years the present Dr. Samuel S. Wilcox
has followed his profession in town, although not now in active
practice. Dr. Wm. C. Peaslee is the present practitioner.
No attorney has ever been able to engage in his profession in Napoli.
The only schools in the town are those provided by
the general system of the State, but an effort has been made to elevate
the standard of scholarship and secure a better class of teachers.
On the 13th of September, 1823, the school
commissioners of the old town of Cold Spring reported that the town had
been divided into districts, the territory included being almost
entirely in township No. 3. The following year these districts
were subdivided, and thereafter other changes took place. In 1838
there were six whole and four fractional districts. The terms of
school were from three to eight months in a year, and 420 pupils were
in attendance. The amount paid for the support of these schools
was $385.45. In 1878 the commissioners reported six whole and one
fractional districts, in which there were 328 children of school
age. There were 204 weeks of school taught, in which the average
attendance was 128. The teachers were paid $1183.41, of which
amount $751.77 was apportioned by the county. The school
buildings were valued at $1880, and the 260 volumes in the libraries at
The early pioneers of this town, amidst their toils
and privations in building up homes, did not forget their New England
training, - they never once forgot the God of their fathers.
Probably not a family failed to carefully bring the old family Bible,
and take counsel from its sacred pages; and almost the first act was to
rear the family altar, from which ascended praises to the Most High,
ringing through the grand old forests. As early as 1821, less
than three years from the time of the first settlement.
THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF COLD SPRING
was organized with the 11 following members: Timothy
Butler and wife, William Fox and wife, Phineas Noble and wife, Nathan
Bennett and wife, Peter Beardsley, Harlow Butler, and Betsey
Moran. The meeting was held at the house of Timothy Boardman, by
the Rev. John Spencer, the pioneer missionary. Sargeant Morrill
and Artemus Houghton were elected the first deacons. Father
Spencer continued his missionary labors among this people, and measures
were instituted in a few years to erect a church building. To
this end the "First Congregational Society in the town of Cold Spring"
was formed April 21, 1823, with the following trustees: Elijah
Boardman, Artemus Houghton, Isaac Morrill, John Hendrick, Harlow
Butler, and Peter Beardsley. The ensuing year a log meeting-house
was erected on lot 42, on the farm now owned by Wm. A. Weeden, by the
society, which was used as a place of worship many years. In
1825, the society was dissolved, and on the 9th of November, 1826,
reorganized with Philemon Hall, Amasa Bushnell, and Timothy Everett as
trustees. The church at this time has 21 members; three years
later it had 60; and in 1834 had 107, much of the latter membership
having resulted from the labors of the evangelist, S.G. Orton, in 1833.
From June 2, 1824, till Oct. 13, 1825, the Rev. Ira
Dunning was the pastor of the church; 1826-31, the Rev. Wm. J. Wilcox;
1834, Rev. Sylvester Cowles; 1835-37, Rev. Wm. Waith; 1841-42, rev.
John Ingles; 1842-43, Rev. Justin Marsh; 1837-40, Rev. A.D. Olds;
1844-45, Rev. Wm. Goodell; 1846-50, Rev. H.A. Taylor; 1851-52, Rev.
John Scott; 1852-54, Rev. C.H. Baldwin; 1856-62, Rev. H.D. Lowing;
1862-65, Rev. Luther Newcomb; 1866-71, Rev. N.H. Barnes; 1871-73, Rev.
S.T. Anderson; 1874-76, Rev. Dwight Dunham; since that period the Rev.
J.D. Stewart has been the pastor. The present deacons are S.A. Newell
and Jairus Burt.
The present church edifice at Napoli corners was
erected in 1868, at a cost of $4000. It presents an inviting
appearance, and will seat 300 persons. The tower contains a good
bell. The church has at present 66 members, and maintains an
interesting Sunday-school, having an attendance of from 80 to 100
persons of all ages. George Gladden is the superintendent, and
Theodore Hazard secretary.
On the 5th of October, 1869, at the annual meeting,
it was decided to change the name of the society from Cold Spring to
Napoli; and it is now duly incorporated as such. Besides
the church, the society owns other property to the amount of $2000.
THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF NAPOLI
Calvinistic in belief, was formed in 1826, of 13
persons, namely, Stephen Curtis and wife; Jacob Lyon and wife; Stephen,
James, and Peleg Wait, and their wives; George Wait, Mrs. Reuben Wait,
and Lyman Lyon.
George Wait was elected the first deacon, and Philip
Lyon clerk. The Rev. Jonathan Balek was the first minister, and
soon after the church was formed baptized Mrs. Gurdon Chesbrough, who
united in church fellowship, and was the first accession. Soon
after, Mrs. Hiram Freeman and Mrs. Levi Stevens were baptized by the
Rev. W. Winsor, also an early minister, and united with the
church. From 1828 to 1831 the Rev. Bartemas Brayman was the
pastor of the church, and while he was connected in this capacity the
meeting-house was erected. It is a frame structure, and is the
oldest house of worship now standing in the county.
In addition to the foregoing pastors, the Rev. E.
Going, J.J. Trumbull, Elisha Tucker, Jay Handy, and Jonas Glazier
ministered to the members of the church, the latter about 1840 and the
Jan. 21, 1840, the Napoli Baptist Society was
formed, and James Wait, Orrin Booth, Reuben Wait, B.H. Hillman, Joseph
McCollester, and Amasa Booth, elected trustees. This society was
reorganized March 18, 1870, with a board of trustees composed of W.B.
Wait, Thomas Vidall, Orrin Booth, John Montyne, and William McHerron.
The church has at present nearly 60 members under
the pastoral director of the Rev. George W. Porter. Worden Wait
and Orrin Booth are the deacons, and Thomas Vidall the clerk.
THE NAPOLI METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
A class of Methodists was formed at the Milk's
school-house about 1826, having, among other members, Silas Earle and
wife, Almira Thorp, Ruth Foy, David Foy, and Jonathan Foy. The
first class-leader was Silas Earle; later ones were Harvey Parmelee and
Nathaniel Hall. The early preachers were the Revs. John Kent and
The Curtis school-house class was formed in 1844,
the members being from the Haywood, Lyon, Wade, Merchant, and Thatcher
families. Among the leaders of this class were Cyrus Thatcher,
Abel Merchant, Horace Cross, Joseph Davis, and Truman Merchant.
In 1873 the class was transferred to Napoli Corners. At that
point a class of Methodists was formed about 1830, which had an
existence of alternate prosperity and adversity for nearly forty
years. On the 2d of September, 1868, the Rev. J. S. Stocker
formally organized these members, numbering nearly 40, into the present
church, and for its use the house of worship was erected the same
season, at a cost of nearly $3000. It was appropriately dedicated
Jan. 14, 1869, by the Rev. W. F. Day. From this time on the
church has been very prosperous, numbering at present in the
neighborhood of 100 members. The pastoral connection of these
Methodist classes is shown in the history of the East Randolph
Methodist Church, to which the reader is referred, the list being here
omitted to avoid repetition.
"The first society of the Methodist Episcopal Church
in Napoli," was organized, Jan 17, 1834, at a meeting over which Nelson
Henry presided. Thomas Carter, Benjamin Foy, Nathan Snow, Lewis
P. Thorp, Ariel Wellman, and Nathaniel S. Hale were elected
trustees. Besides the above church, the society controls
other property valued at $1000.
In addition to the foregoing, a body of Free-Will
Baptists was formed at the Morrill school-house, June 14, 1831, by the
Rev. Hiram Whitcher.
The members uniting in church covenant were Jotham
Metcalf and wife, Abigail Joice, Sophia Hovey, Freeman and Miranda
Dart, Alvah and Sylvia L. Prescott, and Philetus S. Doolittle.
During the following summer and fall many others were baptized and
united with the church. Among this number were two young ladies,
- Anna Babcock and Sally Tukesberry, - who related their experience at
an evening meeting, Aug. 4, 1831, and were baptized that night, at
nearly twelve o'clock, in Cold Spring Creek, by the Rev. Hiram
Whitcher. On the 15th of October ensuing, Jotham Metcalf was
elected the first deacon and Freeman Dart clerk.
The meetings were held in private houses, and in
different school-houses in Napoli and Connewango, the preachers being
the Revs. Whitcher, A.C. Andrews, F. B. Tanner, and others, and were
attended with variable interest. But not having a fixed place of
worship, the society did not enjoy as full a measure of prosperity as
it would, had it been the owner of a permanent home. Hence, on
the 10th of June, 1848, it was decided that the future name of the
organization should be "The First Free-Will Baptist Church of East
Randolph," and that a church edifice be erected in that village.
The building was put up that season, and first occupied by the church
for a covenant meeting, Feb. 10, 1849.
The subsequent history of this body may be found in
an account of the churches in the town of Randolph. Other
denominations have held meetings in the town of Napoli, but so far as
we have been able to learn, no permanent organization followed in
consequence. It may be noted to the credit of the town that it
has always enjoyed an exalted moral position, and that it has
accommodations in the several houses of worship for nearly every man,
woman, and child living within her bounds, - a provision not found in
any other town in the county, and very seldom in any other section of
A grange of Patrons of Husbandry was organized at
Napoli, May 21, 1874, and had as its first officers, Judson Sibley,
Worthy Master; W.D. Huntington, Overseer; Clay Card, Sec.; Samuel
Allen, Treas.; George Thorp, Lecturer; H.H. Sackrider, Steward; Charles
Sackrider, Assistant Steward; Mrs. David Sackrider, Lady Assistant
Steward; Mrs. W.D. Huntington, Ceres; Mrs. H.H. Sackrider, Pomona;
Carrier Sackrider, Flora.
The grange at once entered upon a career of
prosperity, which yet continues, but its exact status cannot be here
In the trying hours of the Rebellion, from 1861-65,
the people of Napoli never faltered nor allowed their love for our
country to grow cold, but with patriotic devotion rallied to the
defense of the dear old flag.
At the annual meeting, in 1864, it was unanimously
resolved to levy a tax to provide a bounty for all men who had enlisted
up to that date, and who might in future enroll themselves to the
credit of the town. About $19,000 was thus provided, in addition
to many generous individual contributions for the support of the
families of enlisted men.
A list of volunteers credited to Napoli appears in
another part of this book.
Photos. By J.M. White, East Randolph.
was born at Quaker Hill, Dutchess Co., N.Y., Oct. 7,
1779, and is of English descent, three brothers having come over about
the middle of the eighteenth century. One of the brothers was
killed at the battle of Bunker Hill, having enlisted in the American
army. Isaac Peaslee, father of John, died in Albany, N.Y., about
1820. His wife, Elizabeth Wing, of Welsh descent, also died in
Albany County. John, the subject of this memoir, was married to
Miss Hannah Sage, July 6, 1797. She was a daughter of Benjamin
Sage, a Revolutionary soldier of English origin. She was born in
Rensselaer County, Oct. 7, 1779, and ever proved an affectionate
companion, always cheerful and kind to all who approached her.
They came to Napoli from Schoharie, in 1832. Mr. and Mrs. Peaslee
from early life were devoted, exemplary members of the Methodist
Church, to which they were ardently attached, and ready at all times to
render service, as far as lay in their power. They bequeathed to
their children an untarnished Christian character, having lived a life
Mr. Peaslee died in Napoli, March 17, 1863; his wife
having died at the same place, Dec. 20, 1857. Of the two sons and
five daughters, Elizabeth was born in Albany Co., N.Y., Aug. 11, 1799,
died at Napoli, April 7, 1868; Omery was born in Albany County, Oct.
25, 1802, died in Connewango, Sept. 21, 1862; Cynthia M. was born in
Albany County, May 29, 1805, died in Napoli, May 23, 1869; Daniel O.,
born in Albany County, May 19, 1807, died in Napoli, Aug. 21, 1877;
Jane A., born in Schoharie Co., N.Y., Nov. 9, 1810, is now living in
Randolph, N.Y.; Adaline S., born in Schoharie County, March 23, 1821,
died in Napoli, Jan. 7, 1865.
Joseph Peaslee was born in Schoharie, May 13,
1816. When sixteen years of age he came with his parents into the
town of Napoli, then a new country. Receiving a good
common-school education, he taught eight terms. He was four times
elected supervisor of the town of Napoli. He has entered upon a
four years' term of the office of justice, which, if he serves to the
end, will make thirty-two years he has filled that office. The
long term of years he has held this office is a practical test of the
equity of his judicial action. He is of unassuming manners,
uncompromising integrity, unsullied character, and of a strong
intellectual cast. In politics he is a firm Republican; in
religion a consistent Methodist, without a particle of bigotry.
He is decidedly friendly to the cause of temperance.
On Dec. 27, 1864, he married Miss Martha Miller, a
lady of much worth, who was born in Chautauqua Co., N.Y., Nov. 11,
1844. They now reside on the old homestead in the town of Napoli.
|JOHN & HANNAH (SAGE)
PEASLEE of NAPOLI
|JOSEPH HAZARD of NAPOLI