by LAZELLE R. HOPKINS, A. M.
These facts were gathered and recorded by Professor Lazelle R. Hopkins, A.M., who passed to his reward December 28, 1932.
His purpose in collecting them, was to preserve for posterity such data as he believed would be of interest to the present generation and increasingly so to the generations which will follow.
In the preparation of this book, old journals, original records and documents, and sundry other trustworthy sources have been diligently consulted and freely utilized.
No man was better known or more highly respected than the author. For forty years (1881-1921) he served the people of Weedsport faithfully and well as Principal and instructor in the village school. Rarely can a person be found in the community who has not come under, and been benefited by, his influence. - HERBERT T. MORRISON
The family of Lazelle R. Hopkins desires to express its appreciation and thanks for the keen interest and valuable assistance of Herbert T. Morrison, E. H. Kerns and George W. Churchill which led to the printing of this book.
|Our Early History ----------------------------------||
|Six Great Depressions----------------------------------||
|Our Soldier Dead------------------------------------------||
|Weedsport At The Present Time--------------------||
OUR EARLY HISTORY
The gravel beds of smoothly rounded stone and the sand beds on the Putnam and Palmer farms east of Weedsport, and on the Sherrer, Ferrell, Denney and Radcliffe farms south of our village, seem to indicate clearly that all this part of the Seneca River Valley was once submerged by the waters of the glacial period. A ridge of land many miles in length, quite prominent on the farm formerly owned by Nathan W. Hopkins, on the Weedsport-Sennett road, and also on lands once owned by Charles Radcliffe, on the Weedsport-Auburn road, was probably formed by a Hypo-Iroquois glacial lake, of which Lake Ontario and Lake Erie were a part.
The glaciers coming from the north or northeast brought vast quantities of rock, loose earth, great masses of clay and conglomerate which were deposited in various places. These deposits are called hills. They are the unstratified drumlins of which Science Hill is so typical. Drumlins in this vicinity are generally elongated in a north and south direction. Their north end is somewhat steep or abrupt, the south end gradually sloping to the plain below. The glaciers brought from the far north huge boulders. (One of these was placed by the American Legion in 1930 on the lot owned by, and adjacent to, our village library on East Brutus Street).
Then, in the course of time, dense primeval forests overspread the whole valley and later--centuries later--into these woods came the Red Men. The original home of the Iroquois was in the far West. Coming east, they conquered the Algonquins, driving them down the St. Lawrence as far as Montreal. From thence the Iroquois turned back, or were driven back, to this state where they settled; the Cayugas, in this vicinity. This tribe, from their cultivated fields on the east shore of Cayuga Lake, journied thither frequently and pitched their tents on land between Science Hill and Seneca River. These Indians sold their claim to some 3,000 acres along Cayuga Lake for about $4,500. The state made a good bargain for this land, almost too good, as land then near the lake was selling for four or five dollars per acre. This transaction brings to mind what some one has said about our Pilgrim fathers when they landed at Plymouth: "They first fell on their knees and then on the aborigines."
THE FIRST SETTLERS
The first white man to settle within the limits of the town of Brutus was Aaron Frost, who built a home in the northwest part of the town about 1795. In 1808 or 1809 he operated the first grist mill in the southwest part of the town, having fashioned the millstones from rocks found in that vicinity. But the first settlers in the central part of the town were two men, William Stevens, from Massachusetts, and Sunderland Sweet. Stevens built a house on some land just south of our village, on the west side of the Weedsport-Auburn road, north of the present Lehigh Valley tracks. This was the beginning of the hamlet known, a hundred years ago, as Macedonia.
Jonah Rude settled on a lot afterward owned by Frank M. Mack and later by Fred D. Lanphere. His son, Nathan, lived with his father and died in the old homestead.
Abel Powers settled where Royal Mack lived later and where Allen L. Stickle now resides. Caleb Rude, brother of Jonah, settled on the farm once owned by Frank Mills and now by Clarence Rice.
Macedonia grew rapidly and in a few years became a thriving hamlet. It had a schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop and two taverns. The tavern built by Stevens, on the site of the Samuel J. Mack residence, was purchased by George Hudson and the larger part moved to Cottage Park where it is still used as a dwelling house. The old hotel kitchen, rebuilt and enlarged, is on or near the original site, standing between the former residences of S. J. Mack and F. M. Mack, and is now the residence of Willis Colvin. The hamlet was settled mostly by people from the East. They came by way of Syracuse and Jordan, past the homes now owned by Raymond Cottle and the Moore Brothers, traveling a road now abandoned, which in those early days ran south of our cemetery, then through the southern part of the Palmer farm and past the farm now owned by Clarence Rice, then followed Rude Street to Macedonia. The road continuing westward crossed Seneca Street north of the Samuel J. Mack residence and close to it, thence obliquely over the big hill west of Fred D. Lanphere's residence and through the Brockway farm to the Port Byron road, in front of Jay Hooper's residence. Someone in tavern or farm house always had ready a team or yoke of oxen to assist in hauling heavily loaded wagons over the big hill. Probably the road from the east over Brutus Street and through Centerport, even if laid out and cleared was impassable at that time.
Some of the early settlers came by way of Sennett, then called Brutus; but James Young came to Syracuse where he was informed that the best road to Macedonia was through the country north of the Seneca River. When he reached the crossing of the river on what is now the Weedsport-Cato road he found a ferry, but the ferryman was unwilling to carry a poor person across the river, saying "There are already too many poor men in Macedonia." He refused the use of the ferry. The pleadings of Mr. Young being of no avail to change the determination of the ferryman, he was obliged to retrace his steps as far as Jordan, where he crossed the river and came to the farm he had purchased, the first one east of the present Lehigh Valley station.
Bennett Stevens was the first child born in the hamlet--November 13, 1801. The first marriage was that of Peter Douglass and Polly Hamilton. Harriet Phelps taught the first school in 1806; and the first death was that of an infant child of Sunderland Sweet in 1800. The people of Macedonia buried their dead in the old cemetery in the south part of our village.
Life in Macedonia was not an easy one. Its people had calloused hands, its men were lean and muscular. The woods were dense, damp and dark; the roads were full of mud much of the time; the land was full of stumps and stones; and the houses full of flies; crops not only had to be grown but protected from devouring wild beasts. Life was a contest, almost a war, between man and nature. Indians entered homes unannounced. A housewife sometimes turned to behold an Indian who had been standing behind her. An incident is related of a girl going upstairs to retire and finding a drunken Indian in her bed. It is said she came downstairs making little use of the steps. Indians were always begging for whiskey and if refused this, they asked for food or wheat or corn.
CHURCH SOCIETY ORGANIZED
In 1816, a year before the Erie Canal--often spoken of as the Clinton ditch--was begun, five people of Macedonia, James Young and wife, Edward Wood and wife and John Sprague formed a Methodist Episcopal Church Society. A peculiar church society--the men outnumbered the women! The church services were held in the log schoolhouse located a little south of our village, probably a few feet south of the south line of the property now owned by Miss Grace E. Burpee and close to the Weedsport-Auburn road. Not long after this, the family of William McCreedy moved into a house on the place once owned by John Fuller, now by Dr. C. D. VanAlstine. The house was located on the south side of the cross road. The McCreedys extended an invitation to the little band of worshipers to meet in their house, and they did so till a frame schoolhouse was built on the site of the old one. Then the new schoolhouse was used as a place of worship. The McCreedys are buried on the VanAlstine farm a few rods south of the Doctor's residence. The inscriptions on their tombstones follow:
Died Mar. 4, 1824
Killed by the falling of a tree
Age 69 years.
Died Oct. 4, 1824
Age 74 years
In 1818 this M.E. Church had twelve members. Mrs. Susan Fox, daughter of
Rev. Samuel Bibbens, united with the church that year. The Presbyterians
also worshiped in the same schoolhouse and a revival which occurred there
in 1818 or 1819 led to the founding of the Congregational Church at Sennett,
then called Brutus. Some of the people of Macedonia attended church in Sennett
and it was in that village that they also received their mail. In going thither,
they proceeded south on Seneca Street, turned left where James Lamphere now
resides, traversed the crossroad and entered the Weedsport-Sennett road near
the residence of Albert J. Smith.
THE PASSING OF MACEDONIA
From 1800 to 1819 Macedonia prospered. In the latter year the middle section of the Erie Canal, extending from Seneca River near Montezuma to Utica, was completed. The opening of it to traffic was a death blow to the little hamlet of Macedonia and in time the settlers moved northward and became a part of our village. It was in the year 1820 that the people of Montezuma built a flatboat, which they named Montezuma, and on this a considerable part of the population of that place was conveyed by way of the canal to Syracuse. This was the first boat of any kind ever to traverse any part of the waters of the Erie Canal. Arriving at Syracuse the visitors patronized the restaurants and stores and probably the saloons also. Prior to this the people of Syracuse had been almost a unit in opposing the construction of the canal, but the visit of the people of Montezuma that day destroyed much of this opposition, so difficult is it for people to entertain views antagonistic to their financial interests.
HOW OUR VILLAGE WAS NAMED
Two young men, Elihu Weed and Edward Weed, sons of Smith Weed, a prominent merchant of Albany, came to our village in the year of 1821. They built a "basin" where the mill creek enters the canal. Here boats could be built, repaired, loaded or unloaded, moored or turned around for a return trip. This basin extended from the canal nearly to South Street. A post office was established in 1822 and Elihu Weed became the first postmaster. Then the name of Weed's Basin was changed to Weed's Port. These brothers erected warehouses in which merchandise for the surrounding country, especially for Auburn, could be stored. At that time Auburn had a population of nearly 2,500 and was growing rapidly. Weed's Port and Port Byron were sharp rivals for the honor of being the port of entry for the village of Auburn. Stages were run over both routes and a lively passenger and freight transfer was maintained in both villages for nearly twenty years.
We can get a glimpse of our village from an old paper once possessed by Charles F. Brooks--The Weedsport Advertiser--printed Oct. 1, 1828, and published by Frederick Prince at $2.00 per year. In this issue mention is made of the deaths of Edward Weed, brother of Elihu Weed, postmaster of Weed's Port; also of the death of Mrs. Lucinda Putnam, wife of Capt. Asa Putnam, in the 28th year of her age. In those days James Lucky kept the "Canal Coffee House," John Wood ran a bakery, Cooper and Gault were storage and commission merchants, having leased the storehouse of Smith and Fellows. Burt and Seward, Robert Oliphant and James Maltbie, each kept a tailoring establishment. Joshua Ward sold jewelry, Ezra Perry ran a brickyard, Walter Weed kept a general store, the first one in the place. Also in this paper N. P. Cooper advertised dry goods, groceries, crockery and drugs. Manning Henderson was a hatter and wanted an apprentice of good morals. R. M. Chamberlain advertised dry goods and whiskey; John Rice, dry goods and groceries; William Butler, hardware, stoves, cutlery and groceries; D. C. and H. VanTine, dry goods, grocery and woodenware. Samuel Henry kept the Weedsport Hotel--a new and spacious building on the north side of the basin. He also ran a daily coach to and from Auburn and was one of the proprietors of the daily Auburn & Oswego mail stage. Passengers from Auburn would reach Weed's Port in time to take the canal packet for the east. John W. Hulbert and Richard L. Smith announced a law partnership.
Printed in a book whose title is "The Tourists' Manual for Travelers on the Hudson River, the Western Canal, and Stage Routes to Lebanon, Ballston and Saratoga Springs," is this sentence--"Weed's Basin, fifteen miles from Syracuse, contains about sixty houses." This book was printed in 1830 by J. & J. Harper, 82 Cliff St., New York City. The author was R. J. Vanderwater. He states also that Syracuse was a place of about four hundred buildings at that time.
INCORPORATED AS A VILLAGE
Weedsport was incorporated as a village April 26, 1831. By an act of the Legislature of New York State, passed Feb. 28, 1789, the Surveyor General was directed to lay out twenty-five townships of land in this part of the state. Eventually twenty-eight such townships were surveyed. Each township was to be ten miles square and to be divided into one hundred lots, each one mile square. All the lots in each township were to be numbered from one to one hundred. Each lot contained about six hundred forty acres of land. One of these twenty-eight townships laid out in the years 1789-1791 was named Brutus, and Weedsport village, when incorporated, comprised the whole of lot No. 65 in that township. Most of these lots of six hundred forty acres of land were given as a bounty or gratuity to soldiers of the Revolution, some of whom sold them for a few dollars or traded them for a suit of clothes or something else desired. So it came about that the land now covered by the village of Weedsport was drawn, by lot, by James Fairlie in 1791, as a reward for his military service as Lieutenant. In 1801 the entire lot was in the possession of Jedediah Sanger. The first settlements were made in 1802, and the years immediately following, by Jonah and Nathan Rude, Abegail Powers, Thomas Gould, Elezer Mosely, and William Stevens. These persons owned nearly all of the six hundred forty acres of lot No. 65. The boundaries of our village, then, are one mile each way.
The Hamiltons settled on lot No. 64, west of Weedsport; the Putnams on lot No. 66, east of us; and Allen Lamphere and others on lot No. 76, south of us. How the settlements in the south part of the village, and some to the south of the village, formed the hamlet known as Macedonia, and how many of these settlers moved northward and became a part of our village, has been recorded in the preceding pages.
About the time Weedsport was incorporated the business of transporting freight between the Erie Canal and Auburn had grown so large that a company was formed in Auburn and a charter obtained from the state to build a canal along the Owasco River from Owasco Lake to Port Byron. After expending $70,000 the project was abandoned. This was due to the construction of a railroad from Rochester through Auburn to Syracuse, which was begun in 1835 and completed in 1838. Prior to this, Auburn as a business center had suffered, stranded as it was eight miles from the canal, the great artery of commerce and travel. At the time the canal was built no objection to its location could be made by the residents of Auburn, because there had been an understanding when the prison was located in Auburn in 1818 that no opposition should be made if a decision were reached to build the canal north of the city.
WEEDSPORT A BUSY PLACE IN THE THIRTIES
The whole country suffered a severe financial depression in 1837 due to speculation in land values and unwise laws relating to banks. This depression continued for eight or ten years, but Weedsport prospered till the Auburn branch of the New York Central was completed and opened to traffic. Jacob P. Faatz writes about the early, prosperous days of Weedsport: "We had safe sidewalks in those days, a nice beaten path by the side of the road with a rail or slab over the mud holes; no street lamps. We had three wooden bridges crossing the canal, the busiest small stream of water that flowed in this state. Line boats and packets loaded with passengers passing constantly, day and night, generally with music on board. On these packets was operated the first express business known to exist in this country. William Fargo of Weedsport and Henry Wells of Port Byron organized the company which was later the world-famed Wells-Fargo Express Company. We had five dry goods stores, seven groceries, six hotels, a warehouse, drug store, Methodist and Presbyterian churches. We had two lines of four-horse stage coaches, the Pioneer and Sherwood's. The latter carried the mail. Many times the coaches could not carry all the passengers that came by canal, and they had to seek private conveyance. This was a great mart for receiving merchandise. A. L. Smith was the principal forwarding merchant and D. E. Havens was one of the canal grocery merchants. In those days pure old whiskey was sold for three cents a drink and if you had but two cents it was all the same. The six hotels were: The Striped Hotel on the tow path kept by Alpheus Rawson, The Red Tavern kept by Mr. Suits, The Eagle Hotel by Samuel Henry, The Farmers Exchange by Rice Carpenter, later by I. L. Upham and still later by Willard Sturge. The Mansion House kept by Mr. Hubbard, later by Henry Stickle, and the Coffee House kept by Robert Gault. This was the largest and best built of all. We had also a change stable for stage horses, a packet barn, two line boat change stables, two potasheries and a steam mill. The west side of the canal was designated as Dublin. It had as many buildings as Centerport with a much larger population."
How many buildings Centerport had then, the writer is unable to state, but in 1859 according to a map made by Dawson, assisted by S. W. Treat, it had forty-three. This number included two blacksmith shops, a grocery, a storehouse for grain about to be shipped on the canal, a carriage factory on the Weedsport-Port Byron road, a cradle factory south of the canal and a schoolhouse near the center of the village. But probably Centerport was much smaller at the time mentioned by Mr. Faatz, although Mrs. Diana Craddock Williams, a woman of strong intellectual powers and possessed of a good memory, said that at one time in her early life more people in Weedsport lived west of the canal than east of it. At that time the bakery owned by John Wood, father of Russell Wood, was situated on the west side of the canal.
THE COMING OF THE RAILROAD
Through traffic between Syracuse and Rochester on the Auburn branch of the New York Central began in 1841. The loss of the transfer and carriage of goods between Weedsport and Auburn was a severe blow to our little village. The principal public buildings were those erected to accommodate this business and many men were employed in the receipt, shipment, storage and transfer of goods between the two places. When the traffic was diverted to the railroad, the warehouses, once filled to their utmost capacity, stood empty; business was gone. In a day and night it had fled. The village looked deserted.
But the through traffic on the canal still continued for some years. Travel by packet was greatest in 1848. Packets traveled in that year 542,000 miles, but it had decreased by 1852 to 71,000 miles. It was always a slow mode of transportation.
A letter written by Miss Nancy Daniels, in October 1840, lies before me. She writes: "We went to Mr. Andrews' (on the Oaklands) and staid all night, and from there to Centerport in the morning to take boat; where we waited till the next morning there being a break in the canal, so that the boats could not pass up. We took passage on a boat of the Merchants' line about 9 o'clock Saturday morning; found that we had a very agreeable Captain but not very good company, the passengers being mostly foreigners. We passed through Montezuma sometime after noon, after which we crossed the Seneca Lake outlet over which there is a bridge about a mile in length. The marshes were spread out before us to the north and west for some distance. We passed through Lyons, a pleasant little village with two churches, about sunset. Saw the glass factory at Clyde. As night came on terror came with it, for here we were on a barge with about fifty passengers crammed into a room about twelve by twenty feet; and then to think of sleeping and on a shelf too. Those who could not get shelves found rest in their seats or on the floor. When we rose in the morning, we found ourselves within about twenty miles of Rochester. We passed the great embankment near noon, the road passing directly under the canal. I was shown the place where a boat ran out on dry ground about two years ago--the banking giving way and precipitating the boat down a bank of twenty feet. We arrived in the city (Rochester) in the afternoon."
More and more of travel and of transportation of merchandise was diverted to the railroad, especially after the completion of the direct line of the New York Central between Syracuse and Rochester, through Weedsport, in 1853.
Regarding these times, Mr. R. G. Adams writes in 1913: "The barns of the different transportation companies and the packet barn along the towpath, where changes of horses were made, were abandoned and the groceries on the heel-path, which had been open night and day, were closed for lack of trade."
RECOVERING FROM THE DEPRESSION
The depression occasioned by the loss of Auburn's trade continued till 1846 or 1848 when the farmland surrounding the village had become thickly settled and large quantities of farm products were sold to be shipped by canal. Then the warehouses were once more filled, other buildings were erected, stores were opened and Weedsport began to regain its former traffic. But its growth was slow and its business much like that of any other town on the line of the canal.
Regarding the early history of this time, I again quote Mr. R. G. Adams who writes: "Two generations have passed since I came to Weedsport in 1846. Jackson Street then had not been opened and there was no street between Franklin and North streets. South Street was laid out four rods wide and part of it was used for storing logs for a saw mill built on the site of the present Village Hall. The logs were afterwards forced into the mill pond. (This pond stretched along South Street on its east side from Furnace Street to Van Buren Street.)
"Trees were set out in the street along the bank of the pond by Nicholas Caywood then Street Commissioner. The Noah D. Caldwell house was on the north and the Skelton house on the south side of Liberty Street near South. O. K. Gault built the house now owned by S. N. Titus, and his brother Z. W. Gault, the Shurtleff house." The Caldwell house, the first one east of the Baptist Church is still standing (1932) and the Skelton house, much improved, is now occupied by Reuben Weeks.
Mr. Adams continues: "Weedsport, compared with its present appearance, was a sorry looking village. Sidewalks, if any, were made of two planks laid lengthwise. Cows and hogs ran at large in the streets which made it necessary for each owner to securely fence his premises. Cows became expert in opening gates, and many blooming gardens were found in the morning a barren waste. The story of told of Mrs. Christian's cow picking a lock."
"The four corners at that time appeared thus: On the northwest corner of Seneca and Brutus Streets was a small wooden building occupied by Asaph S. Kinne as a dry goods store, stairs leading up on the south outside of the building to a shoe store kept by Mr. Barlow. On this site the Putnam drug store now stands. On the northeast corner stood the Eagle Tavern. Henderson's store was on the southeast corner and A. L. Smith kept a drug store on the southwest corner. The Presbyterian Church stood where the Catholic Church now stands. It was burned in 1855 and a new edifice erected on the present site of the Presbyterian Church. Charles E. Avery was pastor and William I. Cornwell was leader of the choir. Mr. Cornwell considered his voice was adapted to soprano which he always sang, and his rendering of "Ye Christian Heralds Go Proclaim" has left a lasting impression on my mind. Sylvester Skelton played a sliding trombone in the Methodist choir and Jonathan Fox often sang "O Canaan, I'm bound for the land of Canaan."
The buying and shipping of grain by canal was the principal business of the town. T. S. Bentley built a grain storehouse in 1847 and Giles and McQuigg another in 1853. Now all that business has stopped and the storehouses are idle. No grain is now raised for shipment. The canal groceries have again disappeared and where as then the canal was crowded with boats, one now is rarely seen (1913) a condition that seems to illustrate the foolishness of the Barge Canal project."
For fire protection in those early days, dependence was placed on the Black Creek, a man-powered engine, that still survives as a reminder of old times. Over Henderson's store was Justice Filley's office. The justice was a unique character. It is said he once administered the oath to a witness in his court as follows: "Do you swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, as near as you generally tell the truth?" This form of oath is said to have caused the witness to be much more accurate, in his testifying at the trial, then he otherwise would have been.
The village clerk's salary in 1846 was $5.00, increased the following year to $10. The whole expense of running the village was not over $400. In contrast to this consider the budget for 1931-1932 which is thought not to be excessive although it amounts to $14,000.
THE GOLD RUSH OF FORTY-NINE
During the summer of 1848 one of the chief topics of conversation among groups of men in our eastern states was the discovery of gold in California. Marvelous stories were prevalent of suddenly acquired wealth of those who were fortunate enough to reach the placer mines of that state. It was reported that miners in the diggings were taking $3,000 to $4,000 worth of gold a month from the sandy reaches of the Sacramento Valley. The excitement caused a band of adventurous men in Cayuga county to form the "Cayuga Joint Stock Company" with the idea of purchasing a vessel and sailing round the horn to San Francisco. Each member contributed $500 and the amount paid in was $39,000.
By the advice of Captain Barney, a clipper, the Belvidere, of 500 tons was purchased and some $15,000 or $20,000 was invested in lumber, beef, pork, boots and shoes, iron, and molasses--all of which was placed on board the vessel with the intent of selling this merchandise at a good profit in San Francisco.
In the spring of 1849 the company set sail from the harbor of New York. Five men were left behind to make the journey across the Isthmus, reach San Francisco in advance of the party that sailed, and make arrangements for their reception there. The voyage round South America and up the western coast was accomplished in two hundred twelve days, and on October 8th, they entered the Golden Gate.
Those who went from Weedsport were Frank Mills, William Evarts, Stephen D. Suits, James F. Cain, Silas K. Page, Daniel Krim, Samuel D. Mills, Enos Hubbard and Frank Maddy. There were others from our village who attempted the journey either overland or by way of the Isthmus. Joseph Streeter died on the Isthmus. John Evarts was killed there by the natives. Philander Remington returned home broken in health and with only a few hundred dollars in gold. Of those on board the Belvidere, Walter Tuttle died and was buried at sea.
When Captain Barney and his company reached the land of promise they found a poor market for the merchandise they had for sale. Some of the goods were sold at a loss and profits generally failed to materialize. Three buildings were erected out of the lumber transported thither. One of these was lost through a defective title to the land on which it was erected, one was rented as a hotel, and some of the party lived in the third. Nineteen of the men found work in mines, a few found employment as day laborers at $1.00 per hour. Some were sick. Some died. Finally a number of the more capable ones left the company and went into business for themselves. In time the company voted to disband as the undertaking was clearly a failure. The ship was sold for $2,500; it cost $15,000. Three dividends were declared--one for $208, another of $70.92, and a third one very small indeed. Few of the men returned to old Cayuga. Some remained in California; some settled in other western states. As most all who went were young, the trip was a great adventure, worth all it cost. Life is not to be measured in wealth accumulated, nor in length of days.
WEEDSPORT IN 1854
From a copy of the Weedsport Times dated Sept. 23, 1854, these items were taken by S. D. Lee, a former editor of this place. The Times was published by Charles T. White, the first issue being put out Feb. 2, 1854. Mr. White did not find Weedsport a profitable field for in 1857 he moved his office to Newark, N.Y.
The Times says its home was in the building three doors south of the Basin Bridge and directly opposite C. Carpenter's blacksmith shop; subscription $1.00 per annum.
The local news is headed with the railroad timetable which shows trains going east, 11 A.M. express; 5:53 P.M. mail; 4:00 P.M. freight; going west, 9:55 A.M. mail; 10:25 A.M. freight; 5:53 P.M. accommodation. The railroad had been built about two years, I believe.
One item says --"It seems a little strange that the Canal Board has not let the job of enlargement through this place. Almost every day we have a jam or a crowd of boats detained for want of water to navigate in." The canal when first built was forty-two feet wide and four feet deep.
Still quoting, the Times says "The Sodus Bay railroad does not seem to be in very good repute at this time, although strenuous efforts are being made to complete it from the Bay to the canal at Weedsport." Well, Weedsport had to wait about sixteen years longer for that road; for J. J. Dennis, George I. Post, and the backing of the Lehigh Valley.
Dan Rice's Circus was to come to town the next Monday. Dr. Lewis had become a resident with rooms at the Mansion House, and Dr. E. H. Boyd, of Hannibal, had located in the village. The large advertisers were L. H. Smith, drug store; Mr. Smith also advertises to buy and ship general produce; the foundry and machine shop of A. O. Remington and S. H. Close; the New Steam Planing Mill, by Howland & Baldwin; and the Farmers' and Mechanics' Protection Company of Weedsport, which advertises dry goods, groceries, crockery, cutlery, boots and shoes, ready made clothing and custom made clothing, Richard Whiteside having been hired as foreman of the tailoring department. This latter advertisement is signed by H. Giles, accountant; H. W. Bliss, agent; Kinne, Hine, Turner and Adams, clerks. This was the Community Store, a co-operative stock company, which built and occupied the large building on the west side of Seneca Street some distance north of Brutus Street about 1853. It was one of thousands of similar stores that sprung up all over the eastern states at that time and which in every instance failed, most of them in the panic of 1857, with little or nothing for creditors or stockholders. This store had a capital of $10,000. They bought produce and sold merchandise. It failed about 1861.
Other advertisers -- J. T. Durkee, dry goods, merchandise, clothing and groceries. O. W. Burritt, hardware; C. D. Jacobs, boots and shoes; William Watson, undertaker; Batchelor & Putnam, sash, blinds and doors; Whiting, marble factory; C. C. Hutchinson, books and jewelry; O. K. Gault, tailor; T. P. B. Hasbrook, livery stable; H. Newton, Mansion House; James Kiernan, clothing, one door north of Eagle Tavern (in building so long occupied by Frank Russell, and now by George La Plant); American Express, R. G. Adams, Agent; J. H. Christian, Daguerrean gallery; E. P. Johnson, barber shop; Weedsport Bank, L. Soule, President and R. L. Mack, Cashier. This bank was organized with a capital stock of $100,000. It began business July 3, 1854, and served the community well till its failure in July 1866.
In 1868, S. W. Treat came to Weedsport and began business as a member of the banking firm of Mack, Treat & Co., which in time became S. W. Treat & Co.; later still Mr. Treat became the sole owner of the bank. After his decease in 1913 the business was continued by his son E. G. Treat, till the organization of the First National Bank of Weedsport in 1917. This bank began with a capital stock of $25,000, and a surplus of $5,000. At present (1931) its resources are over $1,100,000 and its capital, surplus and profits are more than $125,000. The dividend is 12% and its 250 shares of stock have a value of several hundred dollars each.
THE BEGINNINGS OF NUMEROUS INDUSTRIES
Some time before the disastrous fire of 1871, in a small building located on the south side of Brutus Street near the present site of the Roberston Bazaar, A. E. Rheubottom began the manufacture of a patented hoop-skirt. While he owned but one machine and had but very little capital, yet with the persistence of a courageous business pioneer he lived to see his efforts crowned with success. From Mr. Rheubottom's meager beginning have emanated a succession of companies which furnished employment to hundreds of our people. Following are the names of those companies--A. E. Rheubottom, Rheubottom & Mack, Rheubottom & Teall, Mitchell & Mack, Crotty & Mitchell, The Security Company, Weedsport Skirt and Waist Co., Bush, Jackson and Bush, Bush & Bush, Bush, Skadan and Kerns, Skadan Kerns & Co., The Scanlon Co., and Ginsburg Bros., Inc. and the Vulcan Knitting Mills.
SIX GREAT DEPRESSIONS
Perhaps it would be in order to mention the various financial depressions that the residents of our village have experienced. Of course, all other dwellers in this favored land of ours experienced these same times. There have been six severe financial depressions besides many lesser ones since the first settlement of our village in 1800. The first of these popularly called "hard times" occurred in 1819. It was thought to have been caused by an inflation of our currency and the increase of our national debt due to the expense incurred in the war of 1812 and by the extraordinary extension of credit to business men and to corporations. In the panic of that year, farm land shrank in value to one half of its former price, in fact it was almost unsalable. City lots worth $1,000 or $2,000 could not be sold for more than $400 or $500. A bushel of oats worth seventy-five cents in the spring of that year, 1819, could be purchased for twelve cents in the fall. Wheat sold for forty cents per bushel, butter for six cents per pound.
The second panic occurred in 1837. The peak of a great boom was reached early in that year. This speculation in land values was in a large degree the result of the stimulus given to western settlement by the opening of the Erie Canal and by steamboat navigation on river and lakes. In May, 1837, a number of large banks in New York City suspended specie payments, and this was followed by similar action of the cotton-financing banks in New Orleans a little later. Perhaps the tariff of 1842 helped to relieve matters somewhat, but for the most part the "hard times" seem to have worn themselves out by the autumn of 1843--six years after the beginning of the depression.
The third financial panic came in 1857. Many thought this was caused by overspeculation resulting from the enormous production of gold by the mines of California and Australia. From a diary written by Mr. Cyrus D. Avery, a resident of Syracuse in 1857, and then a young man of twenty-four, we learn of general conditions prevailing throughout the country; banks failing, shipments from the east to the west falling off for the reason that shippers were afraid they could not collect for their goods; that New York Central railroad stocks were selling for twenty-five cents per share. At that time most banks were those chartered by the state. These had issued much worthless paper money. The writer of this article remembers clearly his father leading him, a child, from store to store till some proprietor was found who would accept the proffered money in exchange for goods the family needed, after a book one fourth the size of an unabridged dictionary was consulted to determine the value of the money offered. The financial depression was spoken of as a panic. Railroads could not pay their debts, factories were closed, merchants failed in business. All manufacturing was overdone. Prices fell rapidly. As nearly eighty per cent of the people were engaged in agriculture, farm products were very cheap--almost unsalable. Farmers were ruined financially, farm mortgages foreclosed, farms sold at sheriff's sale. This state of affairs continued for four or five years till the depression was brought to a close by the advent of the Civil War 1861-1865.
The fourth "hard times" began about 1873 as a result of the contraction of the currency in preparation for the resumption of specie payments. The country was once more to be put on a gold basis. During the Civil War paper currency had been issued in such an amount that a paper dollar was worth about thirty-four cents in gold. Farm land rose in price, selling at $100 to $150 per acre. The period from 1864 to 1873 had been one of great railroad extension, mostly built on bond issues sold in Europe. Trouble in financing a western railroad caused the failure of Jay Cooke and Company, a prominent banking house of Philadelphia. Then other banks suspended payments and the Stock Exchange closed. Never before had there been a more complete stagnation in industry. The commercial failures from 1873 to 1879 averaged over six hundred per year. It was thought at that time that more than three million men were out of employment in a population of forty million. Three hundred fifty iron and steel plants shut down; more than eighty railroads went into the hands of receivers. But crops failed in Europe in 1879 and as a consequence the price of wheat rose forty cents per bushel in six weeks. Gold from Europe poured in and prosperity was with us once more, thought not so very abundant till several years later. The price of wheat has always varied greatly from year to year; in 1884 or 1885 it sold in Weedsport for fifty-eight cents per bushel.
The fifth financial depression began in 1893. It was known as "Cleveland hard times" though it really began in the administration of President Harrison. People had been living beyond their means, imports had exceeded exports for several years and consequently gold had been leaving this country, the metal running out as water through a sieve. There resulted a scarcity of money in circulation, which reached the low average of $22 per capita. Prices fell as money rose in value. Men were begging for work though wages were but seventy-five cents per day of ten hours labor. The free coinage of silver was advocated by a large part of the people suffering from the fall in prices of everything produced in factories or on farms. But the gold standard was maintained and consequently the depression continued till the discovery of gold in Alaska, which resulted in a large addition to our supply of that metal. This restored prosperity once more.
The sixth great depression occurred in 1929. It came probably as an aftermath of the World War, when Europe bought large quantities of war material and food supplies in this country, raising the price of almost everything and increasing greatly the wealth of this country. This led to extravagant living on the part of people everywhere. The extensive use of the automobile contributed in no small way. Private extravagance led to public extravagance. Villages, cities, states and even the United States had accumulated huge debts, leading to heavy taxes that largely destroyed the value of real estate both urban and rural. In some cases property had become a liability instead of an asset. Speculation in real estate and in stocks resulted from the prosperity following the World War. The following table shows the high prices of some stocks in 1929 and the low in 1932.
|American Tel. & Tel.||
|Case J. L.||
|Atchison T. & S.||
|N. Y. Central||
|U. S. Steel||
|Western Union Tel.||
This bubble of speculation burst in November, 1929, and "hard times" resulted--a depression that has lasted till the present time, 1932. One man said that where he lived times were so hard that there was a depression in the depression.
Previous to the year 1855 most voters residing in our village had been members of either the Democrat or Whig parties. For a dozen years prior to this the agitation of the slave question had resulted in the building up and strengthening of the Democrat party and the gradual decay of the Whig party. For some time there had been a growing conviction in the minds of many men that there was need of a new party, devoted to the restriction of slavery and to the curbing of the arrogance and insolence of the slave-holding aristocracy. It was for the purpose of organizing such a party that a large and enthusiastic convention of prominent men, dissatisfied with their former political affiliations, met in the city of Auburn on September 15, 1855.
These men were filled with a distrust of both old parties. They were united in their opposition to the extension of slavery into our territories or into new states, formed there-from, without the consent of the inhabitants thereof. This meeting was to form a county political organization to affiliate later with the new Republican party, organized at Jackson, Michigan, July 6, 1854.
There were seven delegates from the town of Brutus who attended the Auburn convention, viz., Solomon Giles, E. W. Turner, Wm. Baird, Jr., George Cramer, Harvey A. Lamphere, John Smith and John O. Bostwick. After a county organization had been formed the delegates returned to their homes to form township organizations. So effective were these in the fall elections of 1855 that the new party was generally successful throughout the county, and in the following year Fremont carried Cayuga County by a majority of 3,300. Solomon Giles of this village was elected District Attorney.
All this was done, though times from 1845 to 1857 were never more prosperous, and the Democrat party claimed credit for making them so.
Gold from California had stimulated foreign trade, and the development of railroads had insured prosperity at home. But great prosperity is generally followed by great financial depression. There can be no crest to a wave without a depression in the sea. So the "good times" of 1845-1857 were followed by a commercial panic which overspread the whole country and was not checked, as previously stated, till the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.
Meanwhile, the Presidential election of 1860, a bitterly contested political campaign, occurred. The Republicans in this part of the state were much better organized than the Democrats. Republican marching clubs were formed in Weedsport and other surrounding towns. The members of the clubs wore caps and capes alike in form and color, and as each man marched he carried a torch--a blazing oil lamp suspended on a pole four or five feet long. Marching men, brilliantly lighted streets, and martial music attracted and won many voters from the opposing party.
In 1860 the northeast corner of Seneca and Brutus streets was a vacant space extending from Brutus Street to the Kiernan store, so long occupied by Frank Russell. This vacant space was the front yard of the old Eagle Hotel, which was located some distance east of the corner. Into this yard the marching clubs, coming down South Seneca Street, proceeded, winding round and round till the whole space was filled with men standing and holding blazing torches. Generally some leader of the club held aloft an image of a man standing on a miniature log. Strings attached made a small axe rise and fall, as happens in the splitting of rails. Lincoln, in his younger days, was a rail-splitter.
In the election of 1860 the Republicans carried every northern state except three--New Jersey, California and Oregon. Lincoln was elected, the South aroused, and Civil War followed shortly after the inauguration of a Republican President.
IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE
Citizens of Weedsport who have been honored by being selected to represent Cayuga County in the State Legislature are as follows:
In the Senate
William I. Cornwell, 1848-1849
In the Assembly
|Henry R. Filley -||1838-1839|
|Wm. I. Cornwell -||1846-1847|
|David Baldwin -||1858|
|Chas. H. Weed -||1868-1869|
|Ira D. Brown -||1872|
|L. F. Hardy -||1873-1874|
|Joseph H. Hamilton -||1883|
|Frank M. Parsons -||1886-1887|
|Charles C. Adams -||1892-1893|
|Ernest G. Treat -||1900-1903|
|Michael Grace -||1912-1913|
|C. D. Van Alstine -||1928-1930|
To dig the Erie Canal, the first spadeful of earth was turned with appropriate ceremonies on July 4, 1817, at Rome, N.Y. The construction proceeded rapidly and in July, 1820, boats began running from Montezuma to Utica. This middle division had been completed before either the eastern or western parts of the canal. The whole canal was open to traffic October 26, 1825. The canal as first built was 363 miles long, 40 feet wide and four feet deep. There were eighty-four locks, each ninety feet long. The first boats carried about thirty tons of freight. The enlargement of the canal was begun in 1835 or 1836 and completed in 1862. The length was reduced to 349.7 miles, the width increased to 70 feet and the depth to 7 feet. The number of locks was reduced to 74. This additional width and depth allowed the use of much larger boats. These carried from 200 to 256 tons. A few could transport 300 tons. Up to 1844 the largest boat registered was one of 90 tons.
Before the construction of the Erie Canal the cost of transporting a ton of freight from Buffalo to Albany was fifty to one hundred dollars. By canal the price fell to twenty dollars and in 1835 it was as low as five dollars. Tolls were abolished in 1882 and after that a ton was carried the length of the canal for one dollar.
The original cost of the canal was $7,143,789.86. Five miles per hour was the ordinary speed of packet boats, though their average rate was considerably less. It took time to pass locks and much delay was caused by running slowly in passing other boats.
In October, 1917, the Superintendent of Public Works at Albany ordered all boats off Section 7 of the Erie Canal so that the contractors--Scott Brothers--could remove the acqueduct across the Seneca River at Montezuma, this being necessary to complete the Barge Canal. Water was left in the Erie Canal during the season of 1918 as far west as Lock 52 at Port Byron. In the fall of 1918 a tug was built in the dry-dock at Port Byron by H. F. Tanner. This was the last boat to pass Weedsport--November 22, 1918. The last Superintendent of Section 7 of the Erie Canal was Augustus J. Wesley, who held that position from November 1st, 1918, to March 15, 1919.
The Barge Canal was begun in 1905 and completed in 1918. An official report places the cost up to and including June 30, 1930 at $176,655,249.85 and the annual maintenance cost between $3,000,000 and $3,500,000. The depth of the Barge Canal is 12 feet with a channel width of 200 feet in canalized water, 94 feet through rock cuts and 75 feet at other land cuts.
NEW YORK CENTRAL RAILROAD
The direct line of the New York Central railroad was opened May 1, 1853, and trains commenced running on schedule time. R. G. Adams was the first station agent at this place. No buildings for passengers or for freight had been erected but Myron Rude kept a restaurant on the south side of the tracks, and this was used for an office and as a waiting room for passengers. During that summer a station for passengers was erected on the west side of the highway and a freight house on the east side. The present depot was built in 1859 or 1860. In 1853 but one track was in operation. The rails were sixteen feet long with the ends spiked down--no connecting plates at that time. There was no telegraph system in connection with the railroad. Long piles of wood beside the tracks furnished fuel. It was not till 1870 that coal was used instead of wood on New York Central locomotives. In the railroad's early days, three trains were operated each way during the day--a mail train, a passenger, and a freight. At present, there are four tracks and a few years ago, about 1925, by actual count for three days there was an average of 180 trains per day--66 passenger and 114 freight trains; but at this time, 1932, the number is much smaller, due to competition of trucks and to severe financial conditions.
THE WEST SHORE RAILROAD
This railroad was constructed through our village in 1882 and 1883 and it became at once a competing line with the New York Central. As a result the latter road reduced passenger rates to one cent per mile and the West Shore was obliged to do the same. After a rate war for over a year, the New York Central effected a lease of the West Shore for a long period of time on exceedingly favorable terms, and since then both roads have been under the same management.
AUBURN BRANCH OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY
As early as 1852 an attempt was made to construct a line from Pugley's Station to Fair Haven. About $375,000 was expended in securing the right of way and in grading. This attempt at railroad construction failed for lack of funds to complete the road. In 1858 the effort was renewed, this time to build from the canal at Weedsport to Lake Ontario at Fair Haven. Some $450,000 had been expended when the work was interrupted by the Civil War. In 1865 there was a reorganization of the company, additional capital was secured, and the road, the Southern Central, was completed from Sayre, Pa., to North Fair Haven, N.Y. in 1869.
Some towns along the line of the road issued bonds to finance the construction. The town of Brutus did this to the extent of $50,000. The Lehigh Valley railroad advanced a large loan, taking a mortgage on the road which was foreclosed in 1887. The road was bid in by the Lehigh Valley of which the Southern Central became a part, and has been known since as the "Auburn Branch of the Lehigh Valley." The stockholders and the towns lost all their investment in the railroad.
Trains began running over the Southern Central in 1869. At first a large amount of business was done. The company used sixteen locomotives, nine passenger cars and a large number of freight cars, including 248 coal cars. Later when competing parallel roads were built, both on the east and west sides, business decreased greatly. Less and less freight was shipped over the road. The use of automobiles deprived it of passenger traffic. In 1932 only one passenger train each way was run over the line every twenty-four hours.
ROCHESTER AND SYRACUSE TROLLEY
This line was opened in 1906 from Rochester to Lyons and was completed to Syracuse and ready for travel Dec. 18, 1909. Bonds amounting to $5,000,000 were issued. In 1913 it was consolidated with the Auburn and Northern and the Syracuse, Lakeshore and Northern, under the name "Empire United Railways." These roads went into the hands of a receiver in 1915. On reorganization the Rochester and Syracuse was bonded for more than two million dollars. It never was a paying road. In 1931 the bondholders sold the road for $115,000, and in June of that year it ceased to operate. During the summer of 1932 the property along the right of way was being removed.
Fire ! Fire !! Fire !!! It was four o'clock, the morning of December 14, 1871, when the first alarm was given, and in three hours the central part of the business district of Weedsport was a mass of ruins.
Let us recall the location of some of the business places which were destroyed. Commencing from the east, on the south side of Brutus Street, were the building owned by William Watson, undertaker; N. D. Caldwell building, occupied by Mrs. Bigsbee, millinery, and the Good Templars Lodge; A. E. Rheubottom building, occupied by the Hoop-Skirt Factory; G. I. Stevens, furnace building, in which H. S. Tryon and C. B. & J. M. Gill had stores; B. B. Wiley building, occupied by Willis Watson, cabinet-ware, and Jacob Wise, shoe store. The George Craddock building and a saloon were on the southeast corner of Seneca and Brutus streets, with the offices of H R. Filley, justice, and D. C. Knapp, claim agent, upstairs. W. W. Porter, dry goods, and the Masonic block were just around the corner on South Seneca Street. The Atwood House was located on the west side of Seneca Street nearly across from Furnace Street and housed a glove factory. C. H. Weed owned a building south of the Atwood House where Jacob Faatz had a meat market. Other losses in the fire were Brown & Benedict, physicians; James Kirns, shoemaker; J. Rude, harness-maker; H. D. Hurley building, occupied by S. D. Eldredge, grocer, and J. E. Andrews, sample room; Hugh Riley building, occupied by A. Wesley, harness-maker, and Williams, cigar manufacturer; C. Stevens building, occupied by N. Bucher, shoe store, H. L. Burrill & Company, druggists, and C. W. Sprague, jeweler.
The fire originated in the Wiley block, occupied by Jacob Wise and Willis Watson. Upstairs Miss Ross had dress-making and living rooms. Mr. Wise, who slept in his store, was awakened by dense smoke, nearly suffocating him. He rushed to the street and gave the alarm. In a few minutes the fire engine, operated by men, was put into service on the canal bank near the Brutus Street bridge, with two lines of hose attached. In the meantime Craddock's building had caught and was burning so rapidly there was no possibility of saving it. Attention was at once directed to the Franklin Hall buildings, on the north side of Brutus Street, the window and door frames and cornice of which had already been ignited by flying brands. By great exertion of the firemen, who could only approach wrapped in wet blankets, and by the work of men on the roof who carried water and wet the cornice until their hair was burned and their faces seared, the building was saved.
Next east of the Wiley block was first the furnace then the hoop-skirt factory, and then a long row of wooden structures reaching to the Brutus Mills, none of which, it was thought, could be saved. Powder was obtained to blow up the buildings east of the hoop-skirt building, but not an inch of fuse could be found. However, the little old fire engine, which years before was cast aside because of its insignificance, but which fortunately had been kept in order, was brought out and set in the creek. A stream from this old engine, with the aid of men using axes and pikes, checked the fire's eastward progress.
It was still gaining in fury on Seneca Street where first Porter's and then the Masonic building crashed in. From there the flames spanned the street to the Atwood House. The engine had been moved up between Wilcox's carriage shop and Whiting's marble works, and again was being worked with effect. Hurley's, Riley's and the corner blocks were by this time in flames. Great fear was aroused for the safety of the long row of buildings south of the Atwood House. Had they caught, the fire would have involved the new Willard House together with other structures. Most heroic efforts were made on the south side wall of the Atwood House, where, in the narrow alley of three feet, men held the hose until suffocated by the heat, and plied pikes and axes until exhaustion compelled them to quit. But their labors had been effective. The south wall went in with a crash and the progress of the fire stopped. At this time the Jordan fire engine, drawn by four foaming horses, came thundering up the street. Although they were too late to render help in subduing the fire, every heart was filled with gratitude for the promptness with which our sister village answered our call for help, and cheer upon cheer went up for them.
During the fire, while the firemen were planning to blow up one of the buildings, H. S. Tryon, with a keg of blasting-powder under his arm, the stopple out, was running through a shower of sparks and fire brands, the smallest one of which might have blown him and half a hundred others to atoms.
Dr. Brown was on hand with his little hydro-pult, and on Furnace Street put out a flame that had caught in the engine house. Then he played a stream of water with good effect on the barn of H. C. Beach.
How the fire started will forever be a mystery. General opinion inclined to the belief that it was the work of an incendiary. The village records were kept in the office of Squire Filley and, together with hundreds of valuable papers, were destroyed. The Odd Fellows and the Grand Army of the Republic were among the victims of the fire as were several adjoining property owners. Joseph Kaufler, clothier, Donovan & Co., John Petty, Ben Smith and A. B. Harmon were among those sustaining losses. The total loss, as estimated, was $64,250 and the total insurance was $26,300.
The day after the fire was general clearing-up day for those who had been burned out. Nearly everyone had a winter's supply of coal in his cellar. These were all on fire and burning slowly. Everyone was looking for new quarters and they were lucky indeed who first secured the few vacant rooms in town. Jacob Faatz had his meat market in the little building adjoining the Mansion House on the north. Porter had his stock of dry goods, a large share of which was saved, in Judge Whiting's marble shop. C. W. Sprague, jeweler, moved into the front part of Joseph Kaufler's clothing store. A. Wesley, harness-maker, moved in with Ben Smith. The first floor of the new bank building was at once fitted up for H. L. Burrill & Co., and the second floor was secured for an office by Drs. Brown and Benedict. S. D. Eldredge opened a grocery in the Rathbun building north of the post office. A. J. Sprague had the room in the Havens block vacated by the Southern Central engineers.
G. I. Stevens, W. W. Porter and George Craddock were among the first who planned to rebuild; and the opinion was that the fire ultimately would be of advantage to the village in various ways.
There had always been an odd-looking notch in Seneca Street, where Craddock's building projected, or seemed to project, for actually the encroachment was from the west side of the street. At this point the street was but thirty-six feet wide, whereas just north it was four rods wide, and the same for fifty rods to the south. The village trustees called a public meeting the next evening after the fire. S. G. Wilcox nominated Hon. W. I. Cornwell as chairman. S. D. Lee, editor of the Sentinel, was secretary. The first matter brought up was the straightening of Seneca Street, and resolutions empowering the trustees to take the necessary action were passed.
(In this portion of the book is an engraved plate of Weedsport, N.Y. 1885, stating "reproduced with the permission of the Burleigh Lithographing Co., Troy, N.Y., from an original lithograph now in the possession of Herbert T. Morrison.)
W. I. Cornwell advocated a perpetual supply of water at all points in the corporation, and spoke at length of the advantages of such water facilities. Dr. Brown presented a resolution which was adopted, prohibiting the erection of wooden buildings in the compact portion of the village. S. W. Treat presented the matter of establishing a permanent grade for sidewalks and roadway.
The following Monday evening, the Weedsport Fire Department was invited to a supper at the Willard House by Donovan & Co., Burritt & Bro., and Beach & Bro., whose building, the Franklin Hall block, was saved from destruction by the most gallant and laborious efforts. The firemen met at the engine house where O. W. Burritt gave them a formal invitation. Headed by the band they marched around in front of Franklin Hall, where C. J. Beach delivered a speech thanking the firemen and citizens for their part in subduing the flames. They then marched to the Willard House, where Mr. and Mrs. Sturge had prepared a splendid supper. Thus did Weedsport pass through its greatest disaster, and with courage undaunted, looked hopefully to the future.
OTHER IMPORTANT FIRES
On May 23, 1884, the Brutus Mills, owned and operated by Harrison LaDue and Son, were entirely destroyed by fire, with a loss of $15,000. Insurance was $5,000.
The Hotel Stickle, also known as the Mansion House, located on the present site of the Burritt Opera House, burned in 1893.
Once again our village seemed to be doomed, when the large Malt House, owned by Mr. Van Marter of Clyde caught fire. This building stood on the present site of the office of the Empire Gas and Electric Co. and the new Cayuga Chief building. On account of the close proximity of the Malt House to our business section, much anxiety was shown until it was evident that the flames were under control. This building burned in December, 1895.
In May, 1898, the Crotty & Mitchell Skirt Factory burned with an estimated loss of $40,000. At the time of the fire this firm was employing over one hundred and fifty people.
The barn of Patrick O'Neil on Watson Street was burned February 6, 1905. The remains of Harry Freeland, a Negro, were found in the ruins. Freeland had been working for Tryon & Faatz, proprietors of a meat market, meanwhile sleeping in this barn.
A clothing warehouse, located on the east side of South Street, just north of the West Shore tracks, and owned by Jacob Routstone, was burned November 19, 1909. Estimated loss $30,000. Insurance $18,000.
On May 20, 1923 a foundry owned by Crouse & Pope, and located just north of the New York Central freight house, was destroyed by fire. This was a growing business and its destruction was a decisive blow to our community.
The Kanaley store, owned by Edward Guyder, was totally destroyed by fire March 7, 1927, with heavy loss to the owner.
A large hitch barn, erected by L. M. Hackley, and later sold to Walter T. Smith and used by him as a store room for automobiles, burned in May 1928. At the time of the fire thirteen automobiles were stored in the building. Loss, $15,000.
A large milk station, owned by the Dairymen's League and situated on the Lehigh Valley railroad just north of the passenger station, burned in December, 1930.
Fire starting from an unknown origin consumed a section of Weedsport's business district early Friday morning, April 29, 1932. Two stores and a garage owned by Nick Scolaro were completely gutted by the flames, causing a loss of $10,000. A three story frame building with a brick front, owned by Peter Conolesio, was also badly damaged. These two blocks were on the west side of Seneca Street nearly opposite Furnace Street. Conolesio's loss was estimated at $5,000. There was a small insurance on each building.
We have already stated how the Methodist Episcopal Church Society was organized and how its meetings were held in a log schoolhouse in Macedonia. When this section of the Erie Canal was completed the Methodists of that place purchased a lot in Weedsport and began to make preparations to erect thereon a permanent house of worship. The lot purchased May 8, 1822, is a part of the one now owned. The edifice erected that year was of wood, in shape quite similar to the present one, though much smaller. The town clock placed in the tower is the one we have now. It was purchased by popular subscription taken by Dexter E. Havens, proprietor of a general merchandise store. The cost of the church was $1,500. There was a very high pulpit in the south end of the auditorium. A gallery extended round three sides of the room, and there were two box pews on the right and on the left of the pulpit. All pews had doors. When young ladies occupied the gallery, and the boys the pews below, the latter had no need of that old admonition--"Fix your thoughts on things above." The choir occupied seats in the north end of the gallery. The Methodists had no regularly appointed pastor till this church was completed, when Rev. Samuel Bibbens became the preacher in charge.
In 1884 the lot was increased in size by the addition of a strip of land on the west side and also one along the south side. The present brick edifice was erected in 1863 at a cost of $18,000. The galleries and a choir loft were added in 1873, costing $3,000. A pipe organ was installed in 1888, costing $1,300. The audience room was reseated and redecorated in 1919 when $4,500 was spent. The Recreation Hall was added in 1921 costing $7,500. The present membership is about two hundred eighty-five.
The first parsonage owned by the church was purchased of E. W. Turner. It was located where the home of Claude Sagendorf now stands. In 1852 the next house west of that one was purchased, and in 1864 the present parsonage was bought of Mrs. H. E. Burritt.
The Black River Conference was held in our local M.E. Church in 1855, and the Central New York Conference in 1873.
Miss Libbie Husk went from this society as a missionary to India in 1842. While there she married Rev. J. H. Messmore, also a missionary. She returned to Weedsport in 1862 for the benefit of her young son Frank, whose eyes were affected by a disease prevalent in India.
Burritt Harrington, a member of this society, went to India in June, 1913, to engage in missionary work, as a professor of English. His sister, Doris Harrington, also of this church, joined him in India in 1930 to take up the same work.
Besides the Rev. Samuel Bibbens, the first pastor, the following pastors
have officiated in this church: William M. Willett, 1827-'28; Roswell Parker,
1828-'29; Joseph Baker, 1829-'30; Seth Young, 1830-'31; Schuyler Hoes, 1831-'33;
W. W. Rundell, 1833-'35; Royal Houghton, 1835-'36; Charles Giles, 1836-'38;
Robert Everdell, 1838-'39; Anson Fuller, 1839-'40; C. W. Leet, 1840-'42;
Isaac Stone, 1842-'43; Benjamin Phillips, 1843-'44; Charles L. Dunning, 1844-'46;
A. E. Phelps, 1846-'48; Elisha Wheeler, 1848-'49; George Sawyer, 1849-'51;
C. H. Austin, 1851'-52; Darius Simons, 1852-'53; Charles L. Dunning, 1853-'55;
A. I.. Phelps, 1855-'57; Morgan D. Gillett, 1857-'58; W. I. Hunt, 1858-'59;
Wm. A. Nicholls, 1859-'61; W. S. Titus, 1861-'63; Ebenezer Arnold, 1863-'65;
Lemuel Clark, 1865-'66; F. J. Whitney, 1866-'69; S. P. Gray, 1869-'72; Benjamin
Shove, 1872-'73; J. B. Foot, 1873-'75; D. W. Bristol, 1875-'77; Wm. Reddy,
1877-'80; G. S. White, 1880-'83; M. S. Wells, 1883-'86; J. H. Rogers, 1886-'89;
D. M. Young, 1889-'92; Loren Eastwood, 1892-'95; C. T. Moss, 1895-'99; E.
L. Waldorf, 1899-1900; K. T. Cooper, 1900-'01; P. H. Riegel, 1901-'04; A.
J. Saxe, 1904-'05; L. S. Boyd, 1905-'09; George E. Hutchings, 1909-'16; A.
W. Battey, 1916-'20; A. D. Fisher, 1920-'23; H. G. Burley, 1923-'24; W. J.
Stearns, 1924-'28; G. M. Whiting, 1928-'32; Bradford G. Webster, 1932-
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The first Presbyterian Church of Weedsport was organized April 18, 1825, with fifty-one members, thirty-seven of whom were received by letter from the First Congregational Church of Brutus, now known as the First Presbyterian Church of Sennett, N.Y.
The first elders were John Hamilton, James Dixon, Peter Putnam, Alanson Smith and Peter Douglas. The first trustees were James Hamilton, Darius P. Rundle and Robert Hopkins. The year the church was organized, a wooden building was erected on the site where the present Roman Catholic Church now stands. It cost $3,000. This building was completed and dedicated October 12, 1825. Here the congregation worshiped till the building was destroyed by fire March 5, 1855. Then the site was sold to the Catholic Church, and another site purchased for $1,200, which amount was presented as a gift to the congregation by two devoted members--Peter Douglas and Moses Dixon. In consideration of their generosity, a pew or slip as it was then called was deeded to each of them and to their descendents. On this lot at the corner of Seneca and Watson streets, a brick building was erected in 1856 at a cost of $10,000. In 1871 $8,000 was spent in repairs. In 1908 a new organ was installed for $2,500 of which sum Andrew Carnegie contributed $1,000.
In 1855 there were one hundred twenty-three members; in 1870 one hundred seventy members; in 1904 two hundred sixty-four members. The present membership (1932) is about three hundred forty.
This church has been distinguished by the length of its pastorates, three of the ministers serving sixty-four of the one hundred six years of the church's history. Rev. Almon R. Hewitt's pastorates of thirty-nine years is the longest and most notable. The list of ministers who have served this church is as follows: Justice Hough, 1825-'30; D. C. Hopkins, 1830-'33; M. Harrington, 1833-'34; M. Redington, 1834-'35; Moses Ingles,
1835-'37; M. Williams, 1837-'40; Geo., W. Warner, 1840-'42; Joseph R. Page, 1842-'43;
Chas. E. Avery, 1843-'50; Geo. W. Warner, 1850-'62; T. R. Clark, 1862-'65; Almon R. Hewitt, 1866-1905; I. W. Ketchum, 1905-1916; Chas. J. Wood, 1916-'20; W. W. McWilliams, 1920-'23; S. N. Genung, 1923-'26; A. D. Stearns, 1926-'31; P. H. Riegel,
1931-'32; A. W. Dockter, 1932-
THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF WEEDSPORT
This church was organized December 4, 1837, with thirty-one members--eleven men and twenty women. William Beach, Adolphus St. John, and Robert Putnam wre elected trustees, and Rev. T. Adsit, Jr. was the first pastor. During a revival the first year, forty-two were added to the church by baptism and by letter and this gave encouragement for building a suitable place of worship. This was done in 1839 at a cost of $2,660 and the building was dedicated in June, 1840.
Pastor Adsit resigned in 1841 and Rev. J. S. Ladd was appointed in his place. He served six years which was one protracted season of revival and religious interest, the result of which was an increase in membership to two hundred twenty-seven. September 19, 1869, Rev. J. W. Harris began a pastorate continuing seven years. In 1870 the church edifice was rebuilt at a cost of $10,000. In 1877 the Woman's Missionary Society was organized. Mrs. S. W. Treat served as president of this society for twenty-two successive years. Miss Evelyn Rathburn, a member of this church, accepted by the Missionary Union, sailed from New York for Rangoon, October 6, 1877. She died in Rangoon in 1889. A pipe organ was installed in 1880. In 1882 Laura Faatz, the last surviving charter member, passed to her reward. While Rev. E. B. Rogers was pastor sixty-four were added by baptism, making the membership at that time two hundred fifty-two.
Electricity was installed in the church edifice in 1900. In 1909-'10 memorial windows were installed in the auditorium, the organ moved to the rear of the pulpit, a new kitchen built and the auditorium redecorated. In 1912 Mabel Lee, a member of this church and a great niece of Miss Evelyn Rathburn, went to China as a missionary. In 1916 the Brown property was purchased for parsonage at a cost of $2,500. In 1917, $1,500 was received from the Van Tyne estate. In 1921, the Fellowship Building was erected at a cost of $20,997. Mrs. D. S. Wright's death occurred Feb. 14, 1922. She left an endowment fund of $2,500 to the church, the income only to be used.
A list of the pastors follows: T. Adsit, 1838-'41; J. S. Ladd, 1841-'47; A. W. Valentine,
1847-'51; Jonathan Baldwin, 1851-'53; Ira Bennett, 1853-'55; J. S. Ladd, 1855-'57; J. E. Reynolds, 1857-'58; Johnson Howard, 1858-'61; William Remington, 1861-'64; T. T. Fillmore, 1864-'67; J. W. Spoor, 1867-'68; J. P. Bates, 1868-'69; J. W. Harris, 1869-'76;
T. R. Peters, 1876-'82; Wm. Morrison, 1882-'85; E. B. Rogers, 1885-'88; C. H. Dodd, 1888-'90; W. C. Carr, 1890-'97; Francis Tuck, 1897-'99; F. S. Kenyon, 1899-'03; L. A. Pickett, 1903-'11; L. B. Johnson, 1911-'14; Wm. Larue, 1914-'17; B. H. Eddy, 1917-'19; R. D. Williamson, 1919-'24; G. H. Hobart, 1924-'26; R. D. Williamson, 1926-'27; D. T. Erickson, 1927-'32; Delos E. Sprague, 1932-
ST. JOSEPH'S CHURCH
The first priest known to have held divine service for the Catholics of Weedsport was the Rev. Father Thomas O'Brien who came here from Clyde in 1852. Subsequently, the Rev. Father Michael Walsh, also from Clyde, ministered to them.
As the Weedsport Section of the Erie Canal was then being enlarged many families of the Catholic faith began to locate here. Father Koons of Auburn suggested the advisability of erecting a church as services had heretofore been held in private houses. In accordance with this suggestion, a lot on the south side of Green Street, near Willow, was leased from Elihu Weed, and a small rough boarded structure was erected in the spring of 1854. The exterior was never painted, the interior was unfinished, and the Church was scantily furnished. Although the Rt. Rev. Timon, Bishop of Buffalo, administered the sacrament of Confirmation in this Church, there is no record indicating that he dedicated it. The little House of God was named "St. Joseph's Church" in honor of the foster father of our Lord. Among the Catholic pioneers who lived here at that time and contributed to the erection of this Church were the following: James Bell, John Cloonan, Joseph Coogan, Patrick Daley, John Fitzpatrick, John Fitzsimmons, John Griffin, Patrick Hines, Robert Moriarty, Patrick O'Neil.
The Rev. Father Dominic Geimer served here in 1856, and also the Rev. Father Patrick J. Byrne in 1857. In 1858 the site at the corner of Seneca and Hamilton streets was purchased of the Presbyterian Society, and a new Church built the same year. It was dedicated in 1859. The first resident priest was the Rev. Father David Moore. His successor, Rev. Father Joseph Albinger, purchased a house for a rectory at the corner of Bell and Horton streets in 1863. Rev. Father John C. Kenny served from 1872 till 1875. At this time the transept, vestry and vestibule were added to the Church, and the interior was improved with a choir loft. The Rev. Father Charles H. Horan was priest from 1875 to 1881, when the Rev. Father David M. O'Donohoe took charge. Under his leadership a debt of $2,200 was paid off, land for a cemetery bought in 1883 for a consideration of $1,200, and a new rectory built in the rear of the Church in 1884 at a cost of $1,800. Michael Grace had the contract. In 1898 the house and lot adjoining the Church on the north was purchased. Father O'Donohoe's pastorate extended over a period of twenty-six years. He died Feb. 9, 1907.
From the membership of the Church two young men were ordained priests--the Rev. Father James A. Hickey of Rochester, and the Rev. Father Francis Kanaley of Buffalo. Both are now deceased. The Church now has a membership of about three hundred adults.
A list of the Priests follows: Rev. Fathers Daniel Moore, 1862-'63; Joseph Albinger, 1863; James Leddy, 1863-'64; C. Wensierski, 1864; N. Byrnes, 1864-'66; Michael Purcell, 1866-'68; James O'Connor, 1868-'69; Anthony Cassessi, 1869-'72; John C. Kenny, 1872-'75; J. A. Conolly, a few months; C. H. Horan, 1875-'81; David M. O'Donohoe, 1881-1907; J. J. Ruby, 1907-'29; F. J. Walker, 1929-.
During Father Ruby's protracted illness, Father Irving Sullivan and Father George Bruton wre here as administrators.
ST. JOHN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
This church society was organized February 27, 1866, with sixteen members. Rev. John H. Rowlins was the first pastor. Meetings were held in a wooden building that stood just west of where the library now stands on East Brutus Street. It was used until the brick edifice was completed. The corner stone of the brick structure was laid in October, 1883, and the church was dedicated Oct. 28, 1884. In time many members of this society moved away and it was found to be impossible for the remaining ones to support the church. After services had been discontinued for a few years the society sold the property to the Weedsport Library in 1929.
FREE METHODIST CHURCH
This organization was created in 1892. Meetings were first held in the Good Templar's Hall, which was situated in the Havens block. In 1893 the members erected a small church on the southwest corner of South and Liberty streets. Rev. C. E. Balch was the first pastor. This was never a large society and gradually grew less until services were discontinued entirely in 1925. The property was sold and the building converted into a dwelling in 1932.
As previously stated, the first schoolhouse in the town of Brutus was located on the Weedsport-Auburn road, a few rods south of the village limits. The second schoolhouse, constructed of brick, was erected on the corner west of the Levi T. Hamilton farm, now owned by Jay Hooper. This was used largely by pupils living in that part of the town. That part of our village living east of the canal used a schoolhouse located on Furnace Street, on property now owned by the Baptist Society, and near the present site of the Fellowship Building. There was also a schoolhouse north of our village, attended by pupils in that part of the town.
Weedsport Academy was incorporated by the Legislature April 18, 1838, but no action by the people resulted from this legislation. In 1846 several districts were united to form District No. 8.
The schoolhouse of this district, used from 1846 to 1909, was erected on the lot now occupied by the residence of D. C. Jones on Jackson Street, at the head of Franklin. The old lot was deeded to the trustees of District No. 8, October 13, 1846, for a consideration of $150. The deed was a transfer of the lot from Elihu Weed to trustees Dexter E. Havens, Orlando Gault, and Nathan Chadderdon. The building erected was a plain substantial brick structure two stories high, with a wooden addition in the rear containing stairs, storage room below and a library room above. The main building contained four schoolrooms seating about sixty pupils each. There were large folding doors between the two rooms in the second story.
Under special act of the Legislature of April 14, 1858, certain corporate powers were vested in a Board of Education of District No. 8, and the school was organized as "Weedsport Union School." To the brick structure a third story was added in 1871 to accommodate the high school, a department which did not exist prior to that time.
There is in the possession of the writer a catalog and register of this school for the year ending July 2, 1852. From this we learn that the trustees of the school were Wm. I. Cornwell, Solomon Giles and James T. Hamilton. The librarian was Alonzo D. Hendrickson. M. McNeil Walsh was Principal and teacher of the fourth department. The names of three hundred eighty-eight resident pupils and twenty-four foreign* (*Referring to non-resident) pupils are recorded, a total of four hundred twelve. The faculty consisted of five teachers--four women and a man. The school year was divided into three terms, and each foreign pupil was required to pay $3.00 per term. School began the first Monday in August and closed the last of June. There were forty-two weeks of school.
The course of study embraced the common branches together with algebra, civil government, higher arithmetic, bookkeeping, astronomy, chemistry, geometry, surveying and trigonometry.
Among the names of foreign pupils are these: Catherine Andrews, Louisa Eaker, Ella G. Remington, Judson Hapeman, David Follett, Boardman Whitman, and James Weyant. Resident pupils: Melissa Brooks, Alice Bryant, Susanna Craddock, Ellen W. Filley, Eliza Horton, Mary Mills, Mary Travers, Clinton C. Adams, Weed Bibbens, Charles Beach, Edgar Bryant, Alfred Bentley, Wesley Cady, Oliver L. Gildersleeve, Charles Underwood and Augustus Whiting.
The lot and the old building that had served as a schoolhouse since 1846 were sold to W. M. Howe in 1907 and the erection of a more modern building started on a lot of more than three acres located farther north on Jackson Street. The new building, two stories high, is modern in every respect. It contains spacious halls, many cloak rooms on both floors, a teachers' rest room, Principal's office, a library, eight grade rooms, a large study hall for the high school, fine laboratories well equipped for teaching agriculture, music, physics, chemistry and biology, a commercial room fitted for instruction in business courses, and class rooms in which are taught other subjects of a high school course. This building was erected in 1908 at a cost of $30,862.35 including lighting, heating system and architect's fees. A bonded indebtedness was incurred, the last of which was paid in 1928.
A most noteworthy example of capable and efficient service is the record of Miss Mary A. Barnes, who taught in this school for fifty successive years from 1871 to 1921.
The expense of conducting the school in 1887 was $4,653.48; in 1900, $6,027.14; in 1909, $12,491.27, including three bonds of one thousand dollars each and interest; in 1930, $36,078.15; and in 1921, $38,170.77. Expenses of schools in neighboring villages, some of even less population were about the same.
In 1852 there were five teachers; in 1887, nine teachers; in 1900, nine teachers; in 1909, ten teachers; in 1931, eighteen teachers. The number of pupils from 1852 to 1931 has remained about constant--400--except in the year 1883 when on account of the construction of the West Shore Railroad, there were five hundred forty-one pupils registered.
The assessed valuation of the district was $1,532,370.00 in 1930.
The members of the Board of Education at present are: C. F. Sloan, President, C. M. Adams, H. C. Hinman, A. N. Hoyt, Dr. C. E. Goodwin, Geo. D. Cusick, D. C. Jones, H. W. Dusinberre, and Fred Klumpp.
Since the academic department was organized in 1871, the following have served as Principals of the school: A. W. Morehouse, 1871-'77; Wm. H. Bradford, 1877-'79; D. D. Van Allen, 1879-'81; L. R. Hopkins, 1881-1910; R. O. Brundage, 1910-'11; C. W. Potter, 1911-'13; R. O. Stephens, 1913-'16; B. B. Bean, 1916-'21; A. D. Oliver, 1921-'29; L. M. Hethering, 1929-'31; William F. Lampman, 1931-.
WEEDSPORT PUBLIC LIBRARY
On March 4, 1915, Mrs. William H. Rockwell, Jennie Lamont, George D. Cusick, Daniel S. Wright and Rev. Irving W. Ketchum met and organized what was to be known as the "Weedsport Public Library." The library's first home was located on the second floor of the Sentinel building, southwest corner of Seneca and Brutus streets. Miss Jennie Lamont was the first librarian. Later the library occupied a room in the Palmer block on the west side of Seneca Street.
In the year 1929 the Episcopal Church, situated on the north side of East Brutus Street, was purchased for a permanent home, and after needed alterations were completed, the library was moved into its new quarters, and Miss Maude Sprague was placed in charge. Choice books have been added from time to time. At present there are nearly 6,500 volumes and many magazines at the disposal of the public. Weedsport boasts of having as fine a library as most villages of its size.
OUR FIRE DEPARTMENT
Records of organization of the Weedsport Fire Department can not be found, but it existed prior to 1822, for we have records of having purchased a hand-pumper, Neptune, also called the Black Crook, in that year. This pumper was operated by ten men, five on each side, and the whole force was relieved every few minutes. This pumper still stands in the fire house, as a relic of bygone days.
A stream pumper was purchased of Silsby & Co., of Seneca Falls, in the year 1879 and was in constant use until 1925, when the village election authorized the purchasing of the Sanford 500 gallon motor pump at an expense of $5,950. An allowance of $950 was given for the old steam pumper, and the balance of $5,000 was raised in two annual installments, without issuing bonds.
The department first held its meetings in the house on the northwest corner of South and Furnace streets; later in the house which stands east of the Hazzard barn on the north side of Furnace Street. A lean-to attached to this building afforded shelter for the pumper.
Those who have been elected chief of the department since 1871 are--Sylvester Skelton, Warren Wilcox, George A. Beach, Ira D. Brown, H. D. Brewster, A. B. Harmon, George Stickle, Charles Hudson, Edward Fuller, William Statham and Amos Clark, the last named being chief at the present time.
OUR PRESIDENTS AND MAYORS
As the village records were destroyed in the fire of 1871 we can name the Presidents only from that time to the present.
|H. S. Tryon ------------------||1873-1874|
|O. W. Burritt-----------------||1874-1875|
|A. W. Shurtleff--------------||1875-1876|
|Sylvester Wright ----------||1876-1877|
|H. D. Brewster -------------||1877-1884|
|Henry Stickle ---------------||1884-1885|
|A. D. Putnam----------------||1885-1887|
|A. W. Shurtleff--------------||1887-1890|
|A. H. Tebo -------------------||1892-1893|
|Michael Grace -------------||1893-1895|
|Harrison La Due, Jr. -----||1895-1896|
|J. H. Hamilton --------------||1896-1898|
|T. A. Mitchell----------------||1898-1899|
|W. M. Howe-----------------||1899-1900|
|D. H. Durston---------------||1900-1901|
|Charles S. Caywood-----||1901-1903|
|F. M. Parsons--------------||1903-1904|
|W. A. Warner---------------||1904-(resigned)|
|C. F. Brooks----------------||1904-1907|
|E. G. Treat------------------||1907-1911|
|B. D. Hilton------------------||1911-(resigned)|
|F. M. Parsons--------------||1911-1916|
|E. G. Treat------------------||1916-1918|
|W. A. Traver-----------------||1918-(resigned)|
|Isaac Chadderdon---------||1919-(died in office)|
|E. C. Skadan---------------||1919-1921|
|D. C. Jones-----------------||1921-1924|
|E. G. Treat------------------||1924-1930|
|W. T. Smith----------------||1930-1931|
|C. W. Merriman----------||1931-(died in office)|
|Frank C. Purce-----------||1931-|
In 1929 an act passed by the State Legislature made it mandatory that the office of President of a village, "Shall hereafter be termed as Mayor." Hence, Ernest G. Treat was our first Mayor under this law.
The Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York is under the jurisdiction of a Grand Lodge which meets once a year in New York City. This Grand Lodge of competent jurisdiction issued to Brutus Lodge No. 324, August 18, 1819, a charter that was surrendered a few years later--time and cause unknown.
In 1824, another charter was granted to Erie Canal Lodge No. 385. This lodge surrendered its charter and dissolved about 1826, due probably to the anti-masonic feeling aroused by the disappearance of William Morgan of Batavia.
The present lodge, Weedsport Lodge No. 385, was organized June 13, 1856. The first officers were Andrew Sittser, Master; Calvin Carpenter, S. W.; William Watson, J. W. It was probably the early meetings of this lodge which were held in the second story of the Baptist parsonage on Liberty Street. There were fifty-four members in 1879. The present membership is one hundred ninety. The lodge, strong and prosperous, meets the second and fourth Tuesday evenings of each month. In 1926, a block on the southeast corner of Brutus and Seneca streets was purchased at a cost of $6,750. At that time a building fund of $1,400 had accumulated and a "fair" held in 1925 had netted $2,810. Later the lodge received $3,000 by the will of Mrs. Harrison La Due, Jr. With these resources the lodge was able to pay for the block and in 1928 make extensive improvements. A dining room and kitchen were equipped on the second floor, a metal ceiling placed in the lodge room, and other rooms were redecorated and otherwise improved. The officers at the present time are: E. M. Bradley, W. M.; L. E. Partlow, S.W.; Cecil Colvin, J. W.
Southern Central Lodge No. 249, I.O.O.F., was organized with nine members on September 19, 1870. The first officers were Ira D. Brown, N. G.; William I. Cornwell, V.G.; Wm. Watson, Sec.; J. R. Rheubottom, Treas.
In 1879 there were fifty-one members. The lodge meets every Monday evening. For about fifty years these meetings were held in Sturge's Hall. In 1920 the Smith block was purchased for $2,000 and fitted for lodge purposes at an expense of $2,500. There are club rooms as well as lodge rooms. Two members of this lodge have been elected Grand Masters, William I. Cornwell holding that office in 1879-'80, the Grand Lodge being held in Watertown, and G. Edward Coon being Grand Master in 1928. John Rosa of this lodge has made a record, having attended every meeting for eighteen years. At present there are sixty members, and the officers are as follows: Charles Elliott, N.G.; Harmon Rude, V.G.; Clarence Ely, Sec.
Weedsport Grange, Patrons of Husbandry, No. 48, was organized at the home of M. C. Remington on June 13, 1874, with twenty-four charter members. Milton Rude was elected as the first Master. The members of this organization could not agree on the advisability of starting a general store, so the grange was disbanded.
On December 9, 1903, a reorganization was brought about and Weedsport Grange No. 995 was instituted and George Wood elected Master. This society was incorporated April 8, 1916, and the papers were filed in the Town Clerk's office June 3rd of that year.
A substantial loan, secured from J. A. Traver, enabled the Grange to purchase the hotel property known as Congress Hall on October 30, 1920, and remodel it to suit their convenience. Through the persistent efforts of their entertainment committee headed by John Baker and assisted by Edward Kopp and others, sufficient funds were raised to enable them to pay off their debt and the mortgage was burned October 30, 1926, just six years after purchasing the property. The present membership of the Grange is about one hundred seventy-five.
THE WHITTLERS CLUB
The Whittlers began their whittling in Adelbert McWethey's woodwork shop. At first only those who were interested in the art of whittling used to assemble, but later all who were sociably inclined were welcome to join their ranks. So interesting did their gatherings become that in March, 1914, an organization was formed, which took the name of "The Whittler's Club." Wilbur M. Howe was the first president and he also wrote the by-laws.
The gatherings are purely social; neither business nor politics are discussed in the meetings, which are unique in character. The Whittlers have no regular date or place for their meetings--always subject to the call of the president and secretary. The meetings usually end with a good dinner or an automobile ride and often with both. No, it is not a secret society; the only secrets they have are kept from their own members--where they are started for, when they will get there, and what they are going to have for dinner. These perplexing questions are very apt to insure nearly one hundred per cent attendance. The present membership is about one hundred eleven. Clarence Klumpp has been president for the last fourteen years.
The Weedsport baseball team has always been known as the Watsons since it was organized nearly seventy years ago. It is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, amateur ball team in the United States. It was first organized in the spring of 1865 and there has never been a year since that date when there has not been a local organization of ball players under the name of the Watsons. Most of the facts regarding the early history of the club are taken from an article prepared by Eugene Beach, with the assistance of Fred E. Smith, and published in the Cayuga Chief of March 18, 1905.
In the spring of 1865 a team was organized to play in a district league composed of four or five clubs. About 45 responded to the call and from these a first team was chosen as follows: Catcher, Murray Duncan; pitcher, James Kiernan; first base, James Weed; second base, Alonzo S. Fellows; third base, George A. Beach; short stop, Julius I. Turner; left field, Charles Robinson; center field, Andrew Hine; right field, O. C. Hinman.
From the outset, William Watson, more familiarly known as "Uncle Billy" was greatly interested and frequently closed his undertaking and furniture establishment to go to the games. He was chosen president and the team was named "The Watsons." It was the recollection of some of the early players that the first game was against Throopsville, which was defeated, the second game against Baldwinsville and the third against Auburn. Other teams met were the Haymakers of Cato and the Alerts of Rochester. In 1868 the team made its best record under the original organization and was undefeated. In 1872 or 1873 it won a silver ball at a tournament in Skaneateles, defeating some of the best clubs in the state. The team had another season with an unbroken record in 1873, defeating teams from Syracuse, Rochester, Auburn, Oswego, Binghamton and Buffalo. Smith Sheldon did most of the pitching during the early seventies. At that time the ball was pitched, not thrown as it is now. In 1877 the team reorganized, with William Watson still president and the following line up: Catcher, Charles Faatz; pitcher Jay Faatz; first base, Clarence Sheldon; second base, George Faatz; third base, C. E. Wright; short stop, Barney Coyle; left field, J. Alkinbrack; center field, John Sittser; right field, F. Freeman; substitute, Will Glass.
The year 1895 will be remembered as an outstanding year for the Watsons, not only for the record of games--won 19, lost 6, tied 1 -- but for the coming of William Dineen of Gere's Lock. All of the other members of this remarkable team, it should be added, were local residents and as an example of their strength as a team it may be noted that E. G. Treat ended the season with a record of .500 at bat. Dineen was discovered, as far as Weedsport is concerned, by Jay Faatz who recommended him to Manager Fred E. Smith. Later Barney McManus and Louis E. Paul saw him pitch for Marcellus and secured him to pitch for the Watsons the next week in the deciding game of a series with Wolcott. The Wolcott team came with several professional players and got two safe hits, the Watsons winning 12 to 0. Late that season Toronto of the Eastern League played an exhibition game in Weedsport, defeating the Watsons 16 to 8. They induced Dineen to sign a contract and soon he was on his way up through the Eastern League to the Boston Americans, and with the latter to the position of star pitcher in a world's series. He is now an umpire in the American League.
Within the confines of a single chapter it is difficult to mention all of a long list of outstanding names connected with the team. Barney McManus was the most successful pitcher from the record of games won. While he and Louis Paul were the battery they never lost a game for the club. Barney will also be remembered for his coaching ability. Later he was a professional in the Middle West. Jack Riley was another famous pitcher, remembered for his great speed, quick curves and endurance. Although attractive offers were made, he never entered professional baseball.
Probably the first Watson to enter the professional field was Jay Faatz, first baseman, who played with Syracuse, Toronto and Cleveland and was manager of the Buffalo Player's League in 1891. His brother, Charles Faatz, played with Oswego in the State League and with Grand Rapids.
An incomplete list of others would include: Dan Sweeny with Louisville; Marty McQuaid, St. Louis; Billy Stroh, Boston Nationals; Dillon and Mulligan, Jersey City; George Stroh, with A. J. & G. of the State League; Villeman, Denver of the Western League; Charles Kanaley, Auburn and Cortland of the State League; Fred Stevens, and Jack McNary, Newark and Auburn of the State League; and last but not least Harry Northrup who was a pitcher with the Cuban Giants for three seasons.
A whole chapter and more could be devoted to that picturesque player, Harry Northrup, who played on the team except when he was away from Weedsport, over a period of ten years. During this time he never lost more than three games in any one season. Usually he pitched but he could play any other position and did on occasion. And woe to the opposing pitcher who expected to toss up three lightly pitched strikes when Harry came to bat. Other players of the early nineteen hundreds would include Billy Coyle, the three other Kanaley brothers, Byron, James and John, the three Bibben brothers, Frank, Sheldon and La Verne, Fred O'Neil, Harry Stickles and Fred Hopkins. No one who attended the games in the first decade of the present century will forget the battery of Northrup and O'Neil. The latter was the team's master of strategy and from his position behind the plate controlled the team play quite in the modern manner. His throw to second had the aim of a rifle bullet and opponents who knew O'Neil took few chances.
This condensed summary would be incomplete without mentioning an enthusiastic follower of the game, who kept the official score for a long period and years and wrote many an account of the play for the Chief--Charles Townsend. As for the business management of the team, this important side was in the capable hands of Fred E. Smith for fifteen years. He kept the team going when, oftentimes in the spring, it seemed as if the needed funds would not be forthcoming for another season.
During recent years the Watsons have been a member of the New York State
Newspaper League. Edward Guyder is the present manager.
Note: During the season of 1933 the Watsons were a member of the Finger Lakes Division of the above League. They finished in third place, the Rock Salts of Myers, N.Y., taking first place and later defeating the leaders of the other divisions to become state champions. The Finger Lakes Division was probably the strongest division in the State.
OUR SOLDIER DEAD
Records show that a local organization of Civil War veterans was burned out in the fire of 1871, with a loss of $250 in equipment. They had no insurance. It was about eight years later when a group of veterans, with a desire in their hearts to perpetuate the feeling of fellowship created during the war, met on the ninth of June, 1880, and organized a post of the "Grand Army of the Republic."
They named this organization the "Whiteside Post" in honor of one of their comrades who had given his life in the service. Those assembled at that meeting, becoming charter members of the post, were the following: O. J. Forman, Chas. Billows, F. H. Coppernoll, J. W. Welch, D. F. Court, C. M. Stevens, A. W. Shurtleff, Ira Carl, Charles Cowell, T. S. Barker, John Schmieder, Charles Wilkes, A. B. Hoyt, and John Coles. This membership increased for a few years until it reached about 90. Then the grim work of time began its slow but steady thinning out process until they ceased to meet in 1928. Francis M. Hunting, born in 1843, is now the only remaining member.
Following is a list of veterans whose remains are interred in Weedsport cemeteries. Nine fought in the War of 1812; 209 were veterans of the Civil War; two of the Spanish American War, and twelve of the World War.
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VETERANS of the WAR OF 1812
|Norman Bradey----||No dates|
|Michael Niver -------||1773-1858|
|Rev. Anson Tuller--||1794-1879|
VETERANS of the CIVIL WAR
|George H. Allen----||1837-1869|
|George W. Ball-----||1843-1916|
|Thomas S. Barker-||1844-1932|
|Edward Barlow------||No dates|
|Frank D. Barnard--||1842-1928|
|Charles J. Bishop---||1846-1925|
|Joseph M. Bowen----||1840-1912|
|D. L. Brink-------------||1842-1919|
|Roswell R. Brooks--||1814-1893|
|James H. Cady------||1843-1911|
|Alonzo G. Caster---||1840-1932|
|Justus A. Chaffee---||1833-1911|
|W. H. Christian-------||No dates|
|George W. Clark----||1809-1897|
|George W. Cowell--||1834-1909|
|John D. Drake--------||1836-1862|
|Charles L. Dunning-||1842-1864|
|Ira J. Emmons--------||1820-1891|
|James W. Forman--||1844-1865|
|Orlando J. Forman--||1838-1926|
|Michael Franey-------||No dates|
|J. A. Gibb--------------||1843-1864|
|C. S. Greenfield-----||No dates|
|J. H. Harrington-----||No dates|
|Jack Harrington-----||No dates|
|Stephen Hedges----||No dates|
|Almon R. Hewitt-----||1833-1917|
|Richard La Due---------||1816-1892|
|Lewis McCarty-----------||No dates|
|Morgan McCarty---------||No dates|
|James H. Mills------------||1837-1907|
|Carlon B. Osburn---------||1826-1906|
|George W. Pidge---------||1828-1905|
|W. H. Radford--------------||No dates|
|Edgar A. Rawson---------||1843-1894|
|Orlando O. Remington---||1811-1902|
|George M. Rhoades------||1839-1922|
|S. F. Riley--------------------||No dates|
|James E. Rude-------------||1846-1905|
|John A. Scott----------------||1843-1923|
|William A. Scott------------||1844-1918|
|A. W. Shurtleff--------------||1833-1907|
|Alfred J. Sprague----------||1842-1912|
|Philip Sturge-----------------||No dates|
|E.. P. Terwilliger------------||No dates|
|Jno. Terwilliger---------------||No dates|
|Ausmer O. Titus-------------||1844-1932|
|Calvin B. Tracy---------------||1840-1915|
|Capt. Anson Tuller----------||1834-1904|
|James Van Schaick--------||1833-1924|
|Frank Washburn-------------||No dates|
|John C. Whiteside-----------||1863-1880|
Veterans of the Spanish-American War
|Lewis Rose------------------||No dates|
Veterans of the World War
|John Daley------------------||No dates|
|Edward D. Frisbie--------||1895-1926|
|Charles Hearn--------------||No dates|
|Claude W. Merriman----||1892-1931|
The charter of "Clarence Clark Post of Department of New York, No. 568 of the American Legion," was granted October 17, 1919.
The charter members were Daniel I. Farber, Martin Dutton, Claude A. LeFever, Carl A. Hunter, Harold A. Kykendall, George D. Petrie, William Twombly, Lewis Drable, Frank A. Drable, Jerome Lee, Jr., Grover C. Petrie, Lester E. Leyburn, Stanley W. Tyler, J. B. Graney, Warren E. Durston and Ralph H. St. John.
The total number on the honor roll is eighty-six. Those killed in action or died in service were the following:
Clarence L. Clark, Priv. U.S. Marine Corps. Entered service May 5, 1917, killed in action November 2, 1918.
Dewey Exner, Priv. lst Class, Co. C, 108th Inf. Entered service April 22, 1917, killed in action September 29, 1918.
James B. Flynn, Priv. 3rd Co. Reenforcement Detachment. Entered service July 3, 1918, died of pneumonia October 8, 1918.
Edward F. Pease, Priv. Co. G, 108th Inf. Entered service May 31, 1917, killed in action September 29, 1918.
Glenn A. Hall, Priv. Co. B, 312th Am. Tr. Entered service July 23, 1918, died of pneumonia October 10, 1918.
The Legion has taken a foremost part in community interests. In landscaping and beautifying the grounds about the public library it has erected a memorial which will endure for all time. The members have taken full charge of Memorial Day programs, decorating the graves of soldiers of all wars.
For several years the Legion has sponsored the Boy Scout movement in Weedsport and has taken an active part in local welfare work at Christmas and at other times.
Commanders who have served the local post are the following:
C. E. Goodwin, 1919; Alfred Gierke, 1920; Fred G. Sturgis, 1921; Stuart Parkman, 1922; Clarence Schwarts, 1923; Ralph St. John, 1924; Kenneth Floyd, 1925, Ellis Robillard, 1926; Lewis W. King, 1927; James H. Dumary, 1928; Claude Merriman, 1929; Earl Scott, 1930-'31; Guy H. Lanphere, 1932; Frank J. Cunningham, 1933.
WEEDSPORT AT THE PRESENT TIME
Weedsport now is a most delightful little village in which to live. Situated as it is, less than an hour from Syracuse by auto, less than two hours from Rochester and only a few minutes from Auburn, our people have many of the privileges possessed by the residents of those cities, while retaining all the pleasures of village and country life.
In a small place like Weedsport there is a community of interests, a kind regard for individual welfare that of necessity cannot exist in a large city. At the same time we have many advantages possessed by residents of larger places--paved streets, electric lights, a fine water system, garbage and ash removal, a good school, fine churches, and the services of a public health nurse.
Seneca Street, the longest and our main street, was paved with brick in 1916 at a cost of $15,000. The pavement is forty-two feet wide for fifteen hundred feet in the business section and sixteen feet wide in the residential section. Brutus Street is a street with cement pavement recently put down.
Our water system was constructed in 1896 at an expense of about $30,000. Later it was extended and greatly improved and finally sold to the village in 1925 for $45,000. Not only have all the accruing bonds been paid, but a fund of more than ten thousand dollars has accumulated and this has been accomplished although water rates are lower than at the time of the purchase.
No perpetual franchise has even been granted to an electric light company. Consequently whenever we desire we can install our own electric lighting system.
Year by year our streets have been improved and through the mutual interests of owners the residences and private grounds have been made more beautiful. Progress is slow but there is no accumulating debt with its increasing burden.
The people own their homes, in quiet serenity here they abide, and though the village is small, they love it.
Consider for a moment the period of our incorporation, the one hundred years of our existence as a village. As a part of cosmic history this period of time is almost negligible, as a part of authentic human history it is exceedingly small. Yet what a change in social life, in economics, in political life. In this short period of time there has been more change, more improvement in means of travel and of communication, in the construction of homes and in the comforts of home life, in medicine and surgery, in clothing and adornment, in art and in literature, in fact in every thing that pertains to civilized life and the enjoyment of it, than was made in all previous time.
Ought we not to give thanks to the Giver of all good, that we live in these latter days?
This book set up and printed by The Livingston Press, Operated by patients at The Potts Memorial Hospital, Livingston, Columbia County, New York. Printed in 1933 without notice of copyright.
The information on this website page was typed and shared by
Dorothy Komp Baker
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1900 Church Bulletin From Weedsport M.E. Church
Weedsport Rural Cemetery Handbook of 1895
1861 Weedsport NY Bank $5 Note
H. L. Burrill & Co. Trade Card Weedsport NY
Weedsport High School 1909 - 1910 Catalogue And Announcements
Weedsport High School Golden Anniversary Catalogue of 1925
Weedsport NY 1885 Panoramic Map
The 'Old Brutus Historical Society' in Weedsport NY Homepage resides at: www.rootsweb.com/~nycayuga/obhs/
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