HISTORY OF CATTARAUGUS COUNTY, NEW YORK

 Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers.
Philadelphia:
L.H. Everts, 1879, Edited by Franklin Ellis

CHAPTER ON THE TOWN OF

SOUTH VALLEY

Transcribed from pages 468-475 by Cindi Clark

Portraits/Photos and Biographical Sketches  in this chapter:  Gideon Caskey, John Fenton,
Sally (Woodward) Fenton, Residence of John & Sally Fenton   
Note: Click on any image to view a larger version 


    This is the extreme southwestern town in the county, and when formed from Randolph and Cold Spring, April 2, 1847, embraced all of township 1, in the eighth and ninth ranges of the Holland Survey.  The following year, 1848, a part of township 2 was taken from Cold Spring and annexed to South Valley.  It now contains 37, 749 acres of broken and mountainous land.  Along the Allegany is a fine valley, which lies almost wholly within the Indian Reservation. A small valley extends along Quaker Run, on the east side of the river, and a larger one along Saw-Mill Run, on the west side of the river.  From its location in the southern part of the town, and containing the principal settlements, its name was bestowed upon the town.  Outside of these valleys there is a very little land susceptible of close cultivation.  On the hills the soil has a clayey nature; on the lower lands it is a rich gravelly loam, and as productive as any in the county.

    The drainage is afforded by the Allegany River and its tributary streams.  The river enters the town near the northeast corner, and flows through it in a southwesterly course, passing out of the town west of the centre.  It is wide, rapid, and, in low water, shallow.  Tunesassa, or Quaker Run, flowing from the southern part of Red House northwesterly, and Wolf Run, farther south, having thw same course, are the principal streams on the east side; and Hotchkiss, Bone, Pierce, Saw-Mill, and State Line Runs, all having a general southeasterly course, flow from the west side.  These streams were named from parties living on them, or from other circumstances, Saw-Mill Run from its having an Indian saw-mill about 1801.  Nearly all afford good water-power, which has been well utilized.

PIONEER SETTLERS.

    The Society of Friends at Philadelphia instituted the first settlement of the town, which was also the first settlement of the county.  In 1798 they established a mission on the Indian Reservation, in charge of Joel Swayne, Halliday Jackson, and Henry Simmons, of Chester Co., Pa.  They began their operations by giving the natives practical instructions in agriculture and the arts of civilized life.  The Indians could not understand the broad charity which actuated the Friends, and believed that if they permitted them to build houses and make other improvements on the Reservation, the Friends would some day claim the lands as their own.  Jealous of these interests, which had but recently been bestowed upon them, the Indians were loth to accept the friendly offices of the missionaries, and refused to give them that co-operation which was necessary to insure the success of the Christianizing project.  The managers therefore determined to secure lands outside of the Reservation on which to carry out their plans.

    In 1803 they purchased a lot of land containing 692 acres, on the stream called in the Indian Tunesassa, just outside the Reservation, on the east side of the Allegany.  Here their representatives—Joel Swayne, Jacob Taylor, John Pennock, and Jonathan Thomas—built a grist-mill and a saw-mill in 1804, though they were not completed till spring, 1805.  An orchard was also set out, and many of the trees then planted yet remain, some measuring thirty-two inches in diameter.  They belong to the Pennock variety.  This farm was the only land in town, in 1818, that did not belong to the Holland Company, and for years after was the only improved land.  At present, it contains about 470 acres, 100 of which are under cultivation.  Many of the fences are built of sawed hemlock rails, and all the improvements present an attractive appearance.  The farm-house is large and homelike, and the barns and other outbuildings are well appointed and comfortable.  The mills near by are still owned by the society, but are operated by parties who lease them.  The farm and the school, elsewhere noted, are carried on by the Friends, who appoint a manager for this purpose.   Since 1873, the superintendent has been A. P. Dewees.

    In 1821 land was owned in town by Alexander Van Horn, George W. Fenton, Joseph Russell, Reuben Owens, Matthias Bone, and Wm. Sprague.

    In 1832, Roswell Fenton had 4 acres of improved land on lot 1 and buildings valued at $170; Ira Green, 2 acres on lot 12 and buildings worth $150; Stephen Hadley, 5 acres on lot 5; Benjamin Marsh, 4 acres on lot 15; Smith Ott had buildings on lot 21, valued at $50; Samuel Ross, 6 ares on lot 32; William Springer owned land on lots 14 and 15; Merritt Hotchkiss had 3 acres improved on lot 15; and on the same lot Ephraim Morrison had buildings valued at $30.  The foregoing were in the ninth range.  On the east side of the river the improvements were still more meagre.  On lot 24 John Crooks, from Pennsylvania, was one of the earliest settlers.  He lived there until his death a few years ago, and on the same lot was Jonas Genung, also deceased.  Their families still occupy the homesteads.

    In 1831, Elzi Flagg, a native of Messina, N. Y., made a camp on Wolf Creek for the purpose of engaging in shingle-making.  He had a neighbor, Charles Smith, also engaged in this business.  In 1835, Flagg purchased a tract of land on Quaker Run, containing 626 acres, on which he made a clearing and built a frame house in 1836.  He added more land to his original purchase until he owned 3000 acres.  From this he sold off farms to settlers above and below him in the valley, and there are now 103 persons living within a mile of the homestead, which he still occupies.

    Norman Brown settled on lot 10 in 1845, but in a few years sold to Corydon Holmes, who is still a resident there.  

    Since 1848, David Flagg has lived on lot 3, and in 1849, Zabin Wright settled on lot 10.

    Leonard Barton came from Chautauqua County in 1838, to engage in lumbering.  He lived first on lot 4, but afterwards located on lot 2, where he has since resided and reared a family of eight children.  One of these, Francis M., resides on the homestead; James, the oldest son, lives at Rutledge, and a daughter is married to Gideon Caskey, who resides on the old Fenton place, on lot 14, range 9.  John Fenton settled there in 1840, and engaged actively in the manufacture of lumber, becoming, before his death, Sept. 10, 1869, one of the wealthiest men in the county.

    John J.  Stryker, a native of New Jersey, settled on lot 21, in 1835, making there many improvements.  He died about 1870, but his son, Jasper B., now occupies the homestead; and John  M., another son, lives in the same neighborhood.

    On the lot first occupied by Stephen Hadley, Warren H. Reeves settled in 1837.  Here his son, Warren L., is at present a resident.

    David Moore became a settler of the town about 1835, and F. K. Moore about 1840.  The latter lived on lot 6, where his son, L. L. Moore, now resides.  Other members of the Moore family settled early in the same locality.

    Benjamin Mason was an early settler on lot 37, and David Tucker on lot 45.  On State Line Run a man named Grover made the first settlement.  At Onoville, Ephraim Morrison, E. P. Haley, James Aikin, Smith Ott, and Wm. Webber were early settlers.

    Richard L. Stone, from Saratoga County, settled in 1848, and has since resided in this locality; and Frederick Aldrich, since 1857, has been a citizen of South Valley.  In 1838, he settled in Cold Spring.
 
    Several of the Indians living in town have been noted for their enterprise.  John Pierce was not only a good farmer, but he early built one of the finest
houses in the southwestern part of the county.  It was a large two-story frame, finished in the finest style of the carpenter’s art of that period.  Even now its commanding location and stateliness, in a condition of semi-decay, command attention.

    Opposite Wolf Run is an Indian hamlet, called “Old Town,” where are also some old Indian houses, and other of pleasing modern construction.  These is where the Quaker missionaries made their first settlement, in 1798.  

    The appended list shows who were the land-holders and actual residents in 1849.
       

Lot. Town. Range
James Aiken……………………… 5 1 9
John H. Aiken……………………. 27 1 9
Elijah Aiken……………………. 35 1 9
Fred. Aldrich……………………. 24 2 8
John Brown……………………. 11 1 9
Charles Brown……………………. 38 1 9
Benj. Brown……………………. 45 1 9
Rufus Brainard……………………. 44 2 8
John Babcock……………………. 21 1 9
Wm. Brown……………………. 12 1 8
Norman Brown……………………. 11 1 8
Asher Barton……………………. 1 1 8
Leonard Barton……………………. 2 1 8
Wm. Chandler……………………. 45 2 8
Amos B. Chapman………………… 2 1 9
Seth Cheney……………………. 34 1 9
John Covell……………………. 1 1 9
Stephen Cooper………………… 2 1 9
John Crooks……………………. 24 1 8
Duryea Covell……………………. 31 1 9
William Drayton…………………. 49 1 9
Elzi Flagg……………………. 4 1 8
Jeremiah Foster………………… 45 2 8
Howard Fuller……………………. 45 2 8
Levi Gould……………………. 34 2 8
Cyrus Glass……………………. 10 1 8
Edson Green……………………. 5 1 9
Jonas Genung……………………. 24 1 8
Anson Hotchkiss………………… 19 1 9
Isaac Hotchkiss…………………… 24 1 9
Merritt Hotchkiss………………… 24 1 9
Orlian Hotchkiss………………… 34 1 9
Corydon Holmes………………… 10 1 8
 

Lot. Town. Range
Wm. Hall……………………. 24 2 8
Wm. Johnson…………………… 15 1 9
Sherman Lock……………………. 39 1 9
James Murphy……………………. 28 1 9
Patrick McCooey………………… 29 1 9
Montgomery Morrison…………… 38 1 9
F. K. Moore……………………. 6 1 9
Alonzo Norton…………………… 35 2 8
Wm. Newman……………………. 45 1 9
Samuel Phillips……………………. 16 1 9
Asa Phillips……………………. 24 1 9
George Perry……………………. 53 1 9
Warren H. Reeves………………… 5 1 9
Wm. J. Reeves……………………. 13 1 9
John M. Strickler………………… 12 1 9
John J. Strickler…………………… 21 1 9
Richard Stone……………………. 21 1 9
David Tucker……………………. 54 1 9
John Van Valkenburg……………… 4 2 8
Marinus Van Vlock……………… 17 1 9
Wm. Webber……………………. 38 1 9
Abel Wilcox……………………. 19 1 9
P. Wilcox……………………. 5 1 9
Napoleon R. Wilcox……………… 33 1 9
John D. Woodward……………… 6 1 9
John Weeks……………………. 31 2 8
Horace Whitehouse……………… 27 1 9
Ebenezer Worth………………… 19 1 8
Uriah Wellman…………………. 21 1 8
George Young…………………. 24 1 8
George Ziegler…………………. 6 1 9
John Ziegler……………………. 5 1 9
  
The population in 1860 was 718, and in 1875, 872.

                  CIVIL GOVERNMENT.

    The first annual meeting of the town was opened by Warren H. Reeves, who had been designated by the act forming South Valley for this purpose May 4, 1847.  Arad Rich and John F. Fenton acted as moderators.

    The officers elected were as follows:  Supervisor, John Crooks; Town Clerk, Fred K. Moore; Justices, Arad Rich, John Covell, Warren H. Reeves, Chester Barton; Assessors, Patrick Linn, Samuel Wilder, Arad Rich; Collector, John D. Woodward; Constables, John D. Woodward, William D. Johnson, Asher Barton; Superintendent of Schools, Chauncey Carrier; Commissioners of Highways, John F. Fenton, John J. Stryker, Leonard Barton; Overseers of the Poor, Warren H. Reeves, Albert M. Thorton; Inspectors of Elections, Amos B. Chapman, James Moon, John Covell.
    Since 1847 the following have been the
 

Supervisors Town Clerks
1848……………………. John Crooks Fred K. Moore
1849…………………….    "          "
   "          "
1850…………………….    "          "    "          "
1851……………………. Stephen P. Wilcox
John Converse
1852…………………….    "          " E. D. Fenton
1853……………………. John Crooks Clark R. White
1854…………………….    "          "    "          "
1855…………………….    "          "    "          "
1856……………………. Samuel Phillips
Warren L. Reeves
1857……………………. Stephen P. Wilcox    "          "
1858……………………. David Tucker S. P. Wilcox
1859……………………. Leonard Barton Warren L. Reeves
1860……………………. John F. Fenton    "          "
1861…………………….    "          "   Stephen P. Wilcox
1862…………………….    "          " Warren L. Reeves
1863…………………….    "          "   Wm. Aldrich
1864…………………….    "          " George W. Reeves
1865……………………. Austin J. Morrison Warren L. Reeves
1866…………………….    "          "   "          "
1867……………………. David Tucker    "          "
1868…………………….    "          "  A. G. Barton
1869……………………. Gideon Caskey W. L. Reeves
1870……………………. David Tucker Napoleon R. Wilcox
1871……………………. E. C. Topliff Fred. Aldrich
1872……………………. Wm. H. Aldrich Warren L. Reeves
1873……………………. Warren L. Reeves
R. S. Stone
1874……………………. Gideon Caskey Ephraim Palmer
1875…………………….    "          "    "          "
1876…………………….    "          "    "          "
1877…………………….    "          "    "          "
1878…………………….    "          "    "          "

JUSTICES OF THE PEACE.

1848. Chester Barton 1863 Robert Johnson

Rufus C. Brainard 1864 Wm. Marsh
1849 John Covell
Harrison Morrison

Leonard Barton 1865 Warren H. Reeves
1850 John D. Woodward
Corydon Holmes
1851 Arial Wellman
William L. Marsh
1852 Rufus C. Brainard 1866 John Fenton

William C. Webber
L. Barton
1853 William R. Johnson 1867 Asher Bliss

Leonard Barton
Fred. Aldrich
1854 John Covell
Corydon Holmes
1855 Warren H. Reeves 1868 Harrison Covell

Asa Phillips 1869 Fred. Aldrich
1856 Isaac Baker 1870 Arza O. Stone

Austin W. Needham 1871 David Blinn
1857 Harrison Morrison 1872 Corydon Holmes

Richard L. Stone
Asher Bliss

Elzi Flagg 1873 James Freeman
1858 Jackson Sample 1874 Fred. Aldrich

Corydon Holmes
L. L. Moore
1859 Warren H. Reeves 1875 Asher Bliss, Jr.

Jedediah Hiller 1876 Corydon Holmes

Alonzo Norton
S. M. Bliss
1860 Stephen P. Wilcox 1877 James Freeman

Charles Fuller
William H. Aldrich
1861 Richard S. Stone 1878 Fred. Aldrich
1862 Wm. L. Marsh
Asa Flagg

Alonzo Norton


THE HIGHWAYS.

    The oldest road is that on the Indian Reservation, along the right bank of the Allegany.  It was built and for many years kept in repair by appropriations from the State, and is now kept in a passable condition by the town.  Other roads were located as the settlements demanded them.

    In 1848 twelve road districts were formed with the following overseers:  No. 1, James Aikin; 2, Samuel Phillips; 3, Patrick McCooye; 4, Rufus C. Brainard; 5, Jones Genung; 6, Norman Brown; 7, Merrill Barton; 8, Amos B. Chapman; 9, Joseph Hall; 10, Abel Wilcox; 11, Robert Creeks; 12, D. Covell.

    In 1878 there were twenty-six road districts in town.

    Formerly the Allegany River was forded and crossed by ferry.  The latter means is yet employed at Onoville.  The ferry which was formerly operated at the Quaker Mill settlement had been provided by the Friends and given to the Indians to work for the tolls arising therefrom.  At this point, in 1867, was erected a fine bridge nearly 600 feet long.  Its cost was defrayed by a tax for forty cents an acre on the lands lying east of the river.  The State also appropriated $1000, and appointed Leonard Barton as a commissioner to erect the bridge.  The approaches having been injured by a flood, the State made an additional appropriation of $1500 in 1874 to repair it, and it is now a very substantial structure.  At low stages the river may readily be forded at a number of points in the town.  Communication with outside points was formerly afforded by barges on the river, or the ruder forms of rafts and canoes.  Since 1860 railway communication may be had at Steamburg, six miles distant from the centre of the town.

THE LUMBER INTERESTS

    Of South Valley have always constituted the principal features of its business, and have given occupation to nearly all its inhabitants.  Only since the forest have been denuded of their finest trees has attention been directed to other industries.  The lumber was drawn to the river and formed into rafts, which were floated to Pittsburgh or points still lower on the Ohio.

    On the east side of the river, on the lot of land purchased by the Friends, a grist-mill was put in operation early in 1805, to grind corn for the Indians.  On this stream, Quaker Run, they had previously built a saw-mill.  Both mills have been kept up till the present day, and occupy the original sites.  The grain mill is at present provided with one run of stones for grinding corn and feed.  Both did work for the whites on the same terms as other mills, and were a great convenience to the early settlers of the southwestern part of the county.  A small tannery was also here operated soon after the mills were built, but was discontinued before 1830.

    Saw-Mill Run has furnished the power for a number of mills.  On lot 12, Ira Green had a saw-mill, which was allowed to go down, but near by John M. Stryker is now operating saw- and shingle-mills.

    About 1830, Smith Ott put up a saw-mill on lot 21, which became the property of the Stryker family in 1835.  Their grist-mill in this locality was built in 1857, and is the only complete mill in town.  It is supplied with three run of stones, and has a good capacity.

    On lot 30, Patrick Quinn put up a saw-mill in 1846; David Walsh at present operates a mill on this site.

    Whitman & Newman got in operation a saw-mill on lot 45 about 1850, which is now owned by David Tucker.

    On lot 46, Stephen G. Wilcox and James Aikin erected a mill in 1850, and while raising the frame, John Townsend, the carpenter, was accidentally killed.  The power is at present unemployed.

    Quinn & Murphy put up a mill on lot 28, which became the property of A. & A. Crowley, and is now owned by James Murphy.  On the same lot Richard Orr built a  mill, which Baker & Whitney converted into a steam mill, which is now operated by J. Brannan.  Farther up, on lot 43, Fenton, Frew & Scowden had a good steam mill which has been removed; and on lot 51 was Wyman’s mill, from which the machinery has also been taken away.  In this locality shingle-mills have been operated by W. Wyman, Willard Littlefield, and Mark Murphy.

    On Bone Run, on lot 1, Roswell Fenton put up a water power saw-mill, about 1835, which was rebuilt by A. M. Thornton, and was last operated by Wheeler & Aldrich.

    On the same stream, on lot 6, Fred. K. Moore put up a mill about 1845, which was operated by the Moore family many years, but has been abandoned.

    The next site above, on lot 14, was first improved by John Fenton about 1846, and here were operated saw- and shingle-mills of large capacity.  The Fenton family operated these mills until 1873, since which Gideon Caskey has here carried on the lumber business, running his lumber-mill by steam, and using the water-power to operated a stave-factory.  Both are supplied with good machinery and have a large capacity.

    On lot 32, John Fenton put up a mill in 1837, which has been abandoned.  It was one of the first in the town.

    On lot 41, Isaac L. Smith had a steam mill, which has been removed; and, on lot 15, on a branch of Bone Run, H. A. Phillips had a saw-mill, which has been supplied with shingle machinery, and is operated by A. Colburn.  Another shingle-mill in this locality was operated by the “Fenton Mill Co.”

    On Pierce’s Run, on lot 9, Barzilla Kent & Co., and other had mills, which have been abandoned.

    On Hotchkiss’ Run, Hotchkiss & Foster put up a mill, on lot 24, which Varnum Godfrey and others owned, but which has been abandoned; also, a mill on lot 34, which had been put up by Ira Hotchkiss; and another on lot 46, built by John D. Wheat, in 1850, has also gone to decay.

    Near the State line, on the Allegany, Guy C. Irvine had in operation a mill from 1841 to 1855.  It is said that Irvine built the dam in five days and prided himself much on the accomplishment of the feat, which, considering the work done, was truly remarkable.  The mill was supplied with a gang of fourteen saws and three shingle saws, capacitating it to cut an immense quantity of lumber per year.

    On the east side of the Allegany, Elzi Flagg put up the first saw-mill above the Quaker mill, on the same stream, in 1838.  It stood on lot 10, near Mr. Flagg’s residence, and had a capacity of 5000 feet per day.  In 1845, he erected another mill below the same dam, and operated both about twelve years.

    On lot 9, Leonard Barton put up a saw-mill in 1841, which was operated many years.  The site is not unimproved.

    After 1870, a steam mill was put up above this point, and is at present operated by J. Beemer.

    In 1857, Elzi Flagg erected a steam mill on lot 4; and on the same lot, Flagg had several shingle-mills.  In this locality Robert Kane is now operating a steam mill, put up in 1873.  On lots 11 and 25, Charles Fuller and Abbott & Co. had steam saw-mills after 1858, which were operated a number of years, then removed.

    On Wolf Run, Gideon Marsh and Uriah Wellman put up a mill about 1845, and afterwards put up a shingle-mill near the same point.  Here is at present a good steam mill operated by Bemis & Ostrander.  On the same stream were formerly operated other saw- and shingle-mills, which were discontinued years ago.  These mills annually cut millions of feet of lumber, and gave many localities a busy appearance.

ONOVILLE,

    The only hamlet in the town, was the centre of the lumber trade, and a depot for supplies for men working in camps.  It was formerly locally known as “Jugville,” because, it is said, every lumberman carried from here a jug of ardent spirits when he went into the woods in the fall.  It received the present name about the time the post-office was established, which it was proposed to call by the name of the town.  But there being another South Valley in the State, it became necessary to select some other name.  A meeting for this purpose was held, but the citizens could not harmonize upon a suitable term.  One after another was declined, generally with the remark “Oh, no, that will not do.”  The wag of the hamlet, William Webber, heard the various names in silence, and then suggested, “Well, call it Oh, no, ville, then, and be done with it.”  The quaintness of the idea pleased people, and the term was adopted with a modified orthography,--Onoville.

    The hamlet is situated half a mile from the west bank of the Allegany River, in the southern part of the town, in what is properly the South Valley.  It contains a Catholic church, several stores, post-offie, shops, and about 20 dwellings.
 
   Some time after 1840, John Covers opened the first store at Onoville, in a building which is yet used for mercantile purposes.  In this house have traded Warren H. and Warren L. Reeves, Frederick Aldrich, David tucker, William Worth, and since 1877, Fred. N. Aldrich.  Near by is another business stand, where, since 1870, R. L. Stone has been in trade.  On the Reservation Daniel Zibble has a grocery store.

    The post-office was established about 1859, and had E. D. Fenton as the first postmaster.  The office has since been held by Wm. H. Aldrich, Stephen Wilcox, David Tucker, and R. L. Stone.  Mail is carried from Steamburg to Warren, Pa., tri-weekly each way.

    Ephraim Morrison was an early innkeeper at Onoville, having a public-house soon after 1830.  James Aikin built a house for tavern purposes in 1848, and kept it a few years.  Other landlords here have been Stephen P. Wilcox, N. R. Wilcox, Fred. Aldrich, Joseph McCollister, Joseph Hall, Henry Morrison, and R. L. Stone.

    In the northern part of the town a tavern was kept, before 1830, by a man named Bovee.  In 1832, William Earle was the keeper.  Other landlords have been Daniel D. Grout, Barzilla Kent, Warren H. Reeves, John Morrison, Marcus Johnson, and the present, Mrs. E. Johnson.

SCHOOLS AND RELIGIOUS SOCIETIES

    The first school district was formed in 1829, and embraced all of the township 1 in range 9.  In 1878 there were seven districts, each containing a school building, the aggregate value of which was only $965.  The number of children of school age was 307, and the average attendance, 135.  Eight teachers were employed to teach 196 weeks of school, and received as wages $1334.94.  The number of books in the several libraries was 354, and their value was reported at $125.

    The Indians have several good school-houses, in which instruction is imparted by white teachers.  Some of the pupils make commendable progress.

    An early attempt to gather these Indians into a school was made by Friend Joseph Elkinton, who came from Philadelphia for this purpose in 1816.  A log house was erected below the mouth of Cold Spring Creek, but was unsupplied with seats.  To construct these he hunted up boards, and began his school under many other equally discouraging circumstances.  Many were opposed to educating the Indian youth, but others of the Senecas favored the project, and not only sent their children, but sometimes came themselves and encouraged the pupils by a friendly talk.

    At Old Town another school was taught by the Friends about 1830, and the years following.  After this a frame school-house was built near the present bridge, in which instruction was given several years, when it was moved to the farm-house and mills, and the present.

FRIENDS’ BOARDING-SCHOOL FOR INDIAN CHILDREN

    Established about 1848.  This system of training the Indian youth has proved more satisfactory than a day-school, as the influence which is constantly exercised over them thends to draw them more fully from their old customs to the manners of the whites.

   The school-house and boarding-hall has accommodations for 30 pupils; and this quota is generally maintained in the proportion of 25 girls to 5 boys, whose ages range from 7 to 16 years.  The school year consists of 2 terms of 22 weeks each, during which time the pupils are expected to remain in school, and are taught, boarded, and provided with books at the expense of the society.  No conditions of admission are required except an early attendance and a willingness to conform to the rules of the school.  Pupils are expected to come provided with good plain clothing, but the want of proper apparel does not prove a barrier to admission, when there is a desire to become a pupil.

    Instruction is given in the school-room in the rudimentary branches, some classes having thoroughly mastered Practical Arithmetic.  All are capable of learning to write, and many become good penmen.  The pupils go to and from the school-room in order; and system and precision of habit is studiously inculcated.  Generally, these Indian children are teachable, although not so quick to comprehend as the whites.  They are submissive and usually quite tractable, and appear to have a proper regard for their benefactors.  The present teacher is Miss Louisa Smith, of Keokuk, Iowa, who has been engaged here the past eight years.  The superintendent is Aarom P. Dewees, who has been charged with the interests of the society here since 1873; and it is largely through his energy that the school has attained its present excellent standard.  Mrs. Aaron P. Dewees is the matron of the school, and, with the aid of several assistants, gives instruction in cookery and household work; and as far as practicable manual labor is combined with school duties.  Half a day each week is devoted to instruction in plain sewing and dress-making.  The boys assist on the farm and in the garden, and lessons of industry are taught on every hand.  Every pupil must keep himself scrupulously clean, and required to visit the bath-room regularly.

    Religious instruction is imparted in meetings held according to the custom of the Friends, on the first and fifth days of the week; and on the afternoon of the first day instruction is especially given in the Scriptures.  All the pupils are assembled in the evening before retiring, and listen to the reading of the Bible or some religious book, and the duties of each day are begun with household worship.  In short, the way of conducting a Christian home is unfolded to them, and everything is made as commendable and attractive as possible by the teachers, to wean these simple children from their semi-civilized habits and customs.

    The effects of the training received here are apparent in the homes of those who were attendants, there being an increased amount of neatness and order, and an ambition to reach after the more excellent things of life.  This undoubtedly is the proper way to civilize and evangelize the Indians of our county, -- to bend the twig as we would have the tree incline,-- and much credit is due to the Friends who have so unselfishly maintained their mission here three-quarters of a century.  Each pupil is supported at the expense to the Society of nearly one hundred dollars per year.

    The Presbyterian mission had an extensive range among the Indians on the Reservation, and at Old Town a fine house of worship was erected.  The pioneer missionary, the Rev. William Hall, lived in the town many years, and did good service in the cause of Christianity and civilization.  In later years this work has not been so actively prosecuted.

    Methodist meetings have been held in various localities, and in District No. 2 regular services are at present maintained,  the preaching being supplied by ministers who also serve the societies at Corydon and Kinzua, Pa.  There is a class of 20 members under the leadership of Jasper B. Stryker.

    Occasionally preaching is also held in the school-houses on Quaker and Wolf Runs, by the Methodist and other denominations.

SAINT MARY’S CHURCH (ROMAN CATHOLIC)

    Is the only organized body in town.  Catholic meetings were first held in the school-house, at Onoville, by Franciscan brethren from Allegany, and were attended with so much interest that a church was built in 1875.  It is an attractive frame 25 by 40 feet, with a front tower 65 feet high.  The cost was about $1200, and the house was formally dedicated in 1877.  At this time Father J. J. Baxter was the minister, but as present the officiating priest is the Rev. R. R. Coyle, of the Jamestown parish.  Twenty-five families belong to the church, which also owns a neat burial ground on lot 28.  This is the only regular cemetery in town.  Other interments are made on private grounds, or in cemeteries at Corydon and Randolph.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

GIDEON CASKEY

tn_caskey.jpg    This gentleman is the oldest son in a family of three sons and two daughters of James and Rebecca (Chrisman) Caskey.  He was born in Worcester, Wayne Co., O., Nov. 29, 1833.  His parents were natives of Westmoreland Co., Pa.  Gideon remained at home with his parents until he was eleven years old, when he commenced working in a saw-mill in Medina County, in his native State.  This business he has followed, more or less, ever since, being connected with others in the proprietorship of several large timber tracts in this county, and in the State of Pennsylvania.  His means of procuring an education were rather limited, his father being in poor circumstances, and unable to purchase for him the needful books, in lieu of which his father learned him his alphabet from a wooden paddle!

    March 4, 1857, he removed to the town of South Valley, Cattaraugus Co., where he commenced his career with but ten shillings in his pocket.  Nothing daunted by the low state of his exchequer, he commenced the battle of life bravely, and resolved to make himself a home and a competence.  He commenced lumbering.  He built a mill on Quaker Run, for Charles Fuller, and continued in his service for a year, and for various other parties until 1864, when he purchased his first lot of lumber in Pennsylvania, running in debt for the same.  This, however, proved a very successful venture.  He afterwards took a contract from messrs. Scowden, Frew & Fenton, of Frewsburg, N. Y., for the milling of three million feet of lumber.  In 1870 he removed West, and purchased a farm of one hundred and twenty acres, in Fairfield, Bureau Co., Ill., where he remained one year, when, receiving an offer from M. L. Fenton & Co., of Jamestown, N. Y., to mill their lumber in South Valley, he returned thither; he contracted with the parties named for the milling of twenty-four million feet of lumber.  He purchased his present residence in 1873, it being the John Fenton homestead, and located o the original tract of four hundred and eighty-five acres.  He has on his farm at present, besides a stave-mill, a circular board- and lath-mill, employing fourteen men.

    Mr. Caskey was married, June 30, 1858, to Elizabeth D., eldest daughter of Leonard and Evelina (Fargo) Barton, of Carroll, Chautauqua Co., N.Y., of which place she was a native, being born Jan. 4, 1840.  Her parents emigrated to South Valley in the year 1841.  Her father and mother are natives of Wyoming Co., N.Y., and Huntington, Vt., respectively.  The family of Mr. and Mrs. Caskey numbers six children, of whom three (two sons and a daughter) died in early childhood, viz., Leonard M., born Feb. 15, 1859, deceased; James Bertrand, Aug. 2, 1860, deceased; Jennie Maria, Jan. 18, 1862, deceased; Roland Ernest, born Jan. 21, 1864; Bertha Evelina, born Nov. 29, 1870; and Berenice Mabel, Jan. 3, 1873.
    Mr. Caskey is a member of the Democratic party.  He was elected supervisor of the town of South Valley in 1869, again elected after his return from Illinois, in 1873, and re-elected each successive year, being the present incumbent of the office.
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JOHN F. FENTON

tn_fenton.jpg    Fourth son of George W. and Elsie (Owen) Fenton, was born in Carroll, Chautauqua Co., N. Y., Oct. 30, 1816.  His brothers were Roswell O. (deceased), George W., Jr., William H. H., and Hon. Reuben E. Fenton.

    He passed his early life on the farm where he was born, attending the district school, where he obtained a fair education, which in after-years he put to good practical use.

    He was married Aug. 11, 1836, to Sally M. Woodward, by whom he had eight children:  Minerva M., who first married marcellus Phillips and after his decease, H. O. Burt; George W., who died young; Emma, who married Melvin A. Crowley (now deceased); Loderna (deceased), who married Alvin Scudder; Louise, who married Charles C. Rich; George W., who married Louraine A. Dockstader; Mary, unmarried; Erie W., who married Addie M. Crowley.
 
   In early life, before he arrived at majority, he commenced to purchase and ran lumber to market, investing the proceeds in timber lands in Cattaraugus Co., N. Y., near the Allegany River, where he soon removed, and continued to purchase lands, manufacture lumber, and run to market, till, at the time of his death, he owned about five thousand acres of land, for which he had been offered two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

    He held the office of supervisor for four years; he also held the office of assessor and of highway commissioner in his town.  In politics he was a Republican, in religion a Protestant.  In all business transactions he was upright and obliging, and by perseverance and industry his every effort was crowned with success.     Mr. Fenton died Sept. 10, 1869.  Sally M., his wife, died Jan. 22, 1874.
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Sally (Woodward) Fenton
Wife of John Fenton
Residence of John and Salley Fenton
of  South Valley