History of the Town of Coventry

by Oliver P. Judd


CHAPTER VI.


Early Schools.


     The first school house in the town was a log structure located about ten rods north of the Frank PEARSLL blacksmith shop. Sherman PAGE the first teacher, then a young single man, was a resident of Unadilla and afterwards became somewhat distinguished as a lawyer and legislator.

     Among the first school girls were ROXY MILES, PATTY MILES, HANNAH YALE and SALLY MILES who afterwards became the wives of Russell WATERS, AMASA IVES, SETH BECKWITH and ----- JONES. Mrs. Waters died April 10, 1875, aged 85 years; her husband May 11, 1835, aged 48 years. Mrs. Ives died March 16, 1858, aged 84 years, and her husband Oct. 6, 1823, aged 60 years. The first school taught is believed to be as early as 1790. After a few years another school house was built in what is called the Warren district. It stood between the lands once occupied by Erastus and Joel JUDD families, known as the BENEDICT farm, and was afterwards removed to where Elam BARSTOW lived, where it remained until after that district was united with the Coventryville district.

Town Officers

The first town meeting was held in the school house near Burrige MILES', Coventryville, on Tuesday, March 4, 1806, and the following named offices were elected:
Supervisor-John MANDEVILLE.
Clerk-Roswell MARSHALL.
Assessors-Jothan PARKER, Moses ALLIS, Abijah BENEDICT.
Collector-Daniel WYLIE.
Overseerers of the Poor-Ozias YALE, Simeon JONES.
Commissioners of Highways-John STODDARD, Samuel MARTIN, Nathaniel MANWARRING.
Constables-Daniel WYLIE, Jabez MANWARRING.
Fence Viewers-Benjamin JONES, Record WILBER, Luther HOLCOMB.
Pound Keepers-Benjamin BURNETT, Nathaniel MANWARRING.
Overseer of Highways-George LOWREY, Joel GOODENOUGH, Peter BOWEN, John STODDARD, Simon JONES, Benjamin JONES, Wm. M. THOMAS, Nathaniel MANNING, Henry ALLEN.
Sealer of Weights and Measures-Oliver PARKER.
The following town officers were elected in February, 1880.
Supervisor-James M. PHILLPS.
Town Clerk-J. D. GUY.
Justice-J. S. PARKER.
Commissioner of Highways-D. B. EASTON.
Overseer of the Poor-Miles HARTWELL.
Constables-Frank PIERCE, Nelson COHOON, Charles LAMAN.
Inspectors of Election-District No. 1, Lucius MANWARRING, H. C. INGERSOLL, H. WILLOUGHBY; district No. 2, to be appointed.
Town Auditors-Romeo WARREN, C. D. NEWTON, John WYLIE.
Excise Commissioner-Henry ANDREWS.

Coventry Village

     Coventry is pleasantly situated a little north west of the center of the town, about seven miles east of Greene, and nine miles west of Bainbridge. At present it is connected with Greene by daily stage. It contains two churches, Congregational and Methodist. The Baptist church has been sold and has been taken down. A district school, a hotel the first in the village was built by Henry ALLEN shortly before 1812 and is now vacant; one general store, two grocery stores, a blacksmith shop owned and run by Eugene MALLORY; a large creamery owned and run by the Dairy Product Co.; a shingle factory owned and run by Oral DALTON; two good carpenters, George HAMILTON and Alva DALTON. The village has a population of about 100.

Merchants

     The first merchants in Coventry were: Henry ALLEN, Samuel SCOTT, Benjamin JONES and Zena HUTCHINSON, who kept store in part of Henry ALLEN's hotel, commencing in Oct. 1810. Dr. Diodate CUSHMAN opened a store in 1818 or '19 and continued as late as 1827, about which time he left the town. George RYDER was associated with him about a year. William CHURCH whose father, Josiah CHURCH, from Vermont, was an early settler in Church Hollow, which place derives its name from him; commenced business about 1830 in company with David EVERETT, who sold out soon after, the latter of whom died Feb. 5, 1832, aged 33 years. About this time the business was discontinued. Church returned to Church Hollow and opened a store there. CHANDLER, resumed business about 1834, with G. D. PHILLPS, to whom after about a year he sold his interest. Mr. Phillps came from Greeneville, Greene county, and settled three miles south west of Coventry on what is known as the John BEAL farm, where he engaged in farming, wagon making and running a foundry, which he continued until he engaged in mercantile business when he moved to the village, where he died Dec. 18, 1872, aged 82 years. His wife lived and died in Coventry at an advanced age. From 1840 to 1858 he was associated in the mercantile business with his sons, EDGAR A., and JAMES M. Phillips, under the firm name of G. D. Phillips & Sons. Amasa J. HOYT became a partner in 1851, and Frederick LeRoy MARTIN in 1858, in which year the name was changed to Phillips, Hoyt & Martin. James M. Phillips withdrew in 1852, and F. L. Martin in 1860, after which the business was conducted by Phillips & Hoyt, until the death of the former when it was carried on by Hoyt for a time, then by Hoyt & Kelley, and now is being conducted by Kelley & Son who keep a stock of general merchandise.

     Romeo WARREN, William CHURCH and Edwin BURGE bought out Dr. CUSHMAN. After about a year Rufus CHANDLER, bought out Burges' interest. The business was continued for about two years, when Chandler & Warren sold out to Church, who continued trading some four years. The grocery business was first conducted in the early sixties by Alvin CONVERSE who conducted it a few years and sold out to James SHOULS, who continued the business a year or two. Then M. D. FRENCH used the store for a cabinet shop for a while.

     J. S. PARKER and son commenced business in February, 1877, and continued it some eight or ten years. H. L. TOWER for three or four years and George LEWIS some five years or more. About nine years ago A. P. STANTON came there and is now doing a good business. He also has the telephone central in his store.

Postmasters.

     The first postmaster in Coventry was Dr. Tracy SOUTHWORTH, who was appointed about 1833, and held the office a number of years. G. G. PHILLIPS next held the office five or six years, and was succeeded by his son, Edgar A., who held it some four years. George CORNISH next held the office about two years, till his removal to Bainbridge. He was succeeded by William CHURCH, who was postmaster till about 1860, when his son Charles was appointed and kept it until June, 1861, when Amasa J. HOYT was appointed. Hoyt was succeeded by Mary A. KALES, Dec. 10, 1877. H. L. TOWER then took it for a few years; then by F. A. KELLEY, where it still remains.

Physicians

     The first physician was Diodate CUSHMAN, who commenced practicing in the eastern part of the town as early as 1813. He afterwards located in Coventry and practiced there until within a few years of his death, which occurred about 1838, while on his way to New York with a drove of cattle. He was also engaged in mercantile business here and also at Chenango Forks. The next physician was Tracy SOUTHWORTH, who came from New Berlin during the latter part of Cushman's practice as early as 1827, and practiced here for some ten years. Alfred GRIFFIN came in about 1830, and was succeeded by Ashabel WILMONT, who removed in 1843 to the western part of the State. George STURGES came from Coventryville in 1843, and practiced here some two years about 1845-6, and at a meeting of the County Medical Society, June 6, 1846, was made the subject of commendatory resolutions by reason of his contemplated removal. He went to Kansas having sold his practice to Wm. H. BEARDSLEY of Butternuts, who practiced here till 1869, when he removed to a farm three miles south of Coventry where he practiced till his death. R. OTTOMAN came from Pennsylvania in about 1845, but remained only about a year. Dr. PRINDLE came here about 1850, and practiced some fifteen years. Dr. Frank BEARDSLEY came here while a young man and studied with his uncle, Dr. William Beardsley, and became a prominent physician, a great lecturer on anatomy; spending many years lecturing. He also became a great eye doctor. He went to Binghamton, and I think from there to New Haven, Conn.

     James D. GUY was born in Oxford, N.Y., Dec. 23, 1840, and studied medicine at Harpursville, Broome county, with his uncle, Dr. Ezekiel GUY, and at Nineveh in the same county with another uncle, Dr. Timothy GUY. He entered Geneva Medical College in the fall of 1866, and was graduated Jan. 21, 1868, in which year he began to practice in Harpursville. He removed thence to Coventry November 28, 1869, when he practiced for about twenty-five years selling out to Dr. A. A. GUY, a cousin, who stayed here about two years.

     Dr. R. Lee DODGE came next and stayed about five years. Then Dr. EVANS was here four or five years, and at present we are without a doctor. There is a good chance for some young man to locate here.

     Dr. Jesse E. BARTOO was born in Jasper, Steuben county, Feb. 28, 1847. He studied medicine in Dansville, N. Y., with Dr. PRESTON and with Dr. R. P. CRANDALL in Greene. He entered the Electic Medical college at Cincinnati in the fall of 1875 and graduated May 19, 1876. He commenced the practice of medicine in Greene that year and continued until the spring of 1879, when he removed to Coventry. He practiced here for a few years and then returned to Greene, where he is now living.

Churches

     The Second Congregational Society of Coventry was organized December 9, 1822, at a meeting held in the school house near Plaig NICHOLS', in said town, which was attended by David BEEBE, Samuel PORTER, Oliver TRUMBULL, John MINOR, Parson BEECHER and many other inhabitants of the town of Coventry. Samuel MARTIN was chosen moderator and William A. MARTIN clerk. Parson BEECHER, Timothy B. BIDWELL and Samuel PORTER were elected trustees. The following named persons were members to January 5, 1824: Samuel MARTIN, David BEEBE, Ralph JOHNSON, Oliver PACKARD, Samuel BRONSON, Philo SCOTT, Artemas GOODNO [GOODENOUGH?], Paul BEARDSLEY, Gideon B. MINOR, Samuel PORTER, Calvin THAIR [THAYER?], Mark SCOTT, Juna HUMISTON, Ira S. BEARDSLEY, John B. HODGE, Lemuel BEARDSLEY, Jabez MANWARREN, George L. RIDER, Timothy B. BIDWELL, Gilbert D. PHILLIPS, Sheldon PORTER, Diodate CUSHMAN, Anson PACKARD, Justice DAYTON, Reuben J. WARNER, James SMILE, David LOWRY, Parson BEECHER, Enoch JOHNSON, Oliver TRUMBULL, John NIVEN, Daniel RIGBY, Chauncey SMITH, Abel M. BEARDSLEY, Elisha PORTER, Case LARKIN, D. PACKARD, Jonathan ATWATER, Nathaniel BLAKESLEE, Elnathan BEEBE, Henry CHANDLER, Reuben CARY, Luther STORK, Joel SMITH, Rufus CHANDLER, Loren B. PORTER, William A. MARTIN, David CHANDLER, Jeriah SEYMOUR, Zebah W. MATSON.

     At its organization the society consisted of twenty-seven members who withdrew from the First Congregational church of Coventry for that purpose. In the early part of 1824 they commenced building their church edifice, which was finished during the year and dedicated in the early part of 1825. In 1849 the original building being found too small for the accommodation of the society it was decided to enlarge and repair it, which was done at a cost of $1,000. The church proper connected with this society was organized June 21, 1845, as the Second Congregational church of Coventry. The original number was fourteen, viz: Calvin THAYER, Curtis STODDARD, William A. MARTIN, David BEEBE, Samuel PORTER, Lucy PORTER, Phebe MARTIN, Sally BEARDSLEY, Phebe CASE, Margaret BEECHER, Arzubak TRUMBULL, Esther SCOTT and Patty PORTER, all of whom were members of the First church. There has been but a few changes in the ministry. The church had but two settled pastors in the early days of its existence. The first of these was Rev. Ira SMITH, and the second Rev. Asa DONALDSON, but they served for only brief seasons, the church depending mostly on supplies. The first stated supply was Rev. Seth BURT, who labored successfully while the church manifested a steady increase for the space of three years. In 1829 Rev. John B. HOYT became the stated supply, dividing his labors between this church and the First Congregational church of Greene. He was installed pastor of this church June 19, 1833, and sustained that relation for thirty years. In 1860, owing to feeble health, Isaiah B. HOPWOOD, then a licentiate of Auburn Theological Seminary, was invited to labor with Rev. Hoyt a state supply during his summer vacation of that year. In the early part of 1861, Mr. Hopwood having finished his theological studies was invited to become the pastor of the church to which he assented, but his acceptance was afterwards modified by making the condition that of his being associated with Mr. Hoyt in the pastorate. This being agreeable he was ordained and installed July 15, 1861.

     March 20, 1861, the church resolved to raise $250 for the support of Mr. Hoyt as long as he remained with them. His long and happy pastorate closed by death July 4, 1862, at the age of 68 years. Mr. Hopwood closed his pastorial labors in January, 1863, and was succeeded by Rev. W. A. SMITH of Maine, who commenced his labors August 1, 1863, and continued them until January 9, 1865.

     Rev. A. J. BUELL sustained the pastorial relations from February 27, 1865, to January 6, 1869. A call was extended to Rev. Amos CROCKER, who entered upon a pastorate which continued until January 29, 1878. He was followed in January 1879 by Rev. Dr. William B. STEWART. Rev. George M. JONES succeeded him for nine years. Rev. J. B. MARIAM came next for five years. Then came Rev. Mr. MACBETH for four years who was succeeded by Rev. Mr. WILLIAMS for three years. Rev. Mr. CODY came next for a year or two. May 1908, Rev. S. R. WARRENDER, the present occupant came.

     In 1831 and '32 the church was visited by a most fruitful revival, 110 persons were received into the church on profession of their faith. Several marked seasons of revival occurred during the pastorate of Mr. Hoyt. In 1834 and '35, 1840, 1843, 1846, 1851, and lastly the winter of 1855, '56, as the fruit of which 340 were received on profession of faith. Following is a summary of its membership up to November 1, 1861, when its membership was 205:


  Original members                14 
  Received on profession         383 
  Received by letter             123 
                              ------ 
    Total                        520 
  Dismissed                           195 
  Deceased                             75 
  Suspended                            34 
  Withdrawn                             8 
  Excommunicated                        3 
                                   ------ 
    Total                             315 
  Number of members              205 

     The membership in June 1879 was 184. The average attendance at Sabbath school about 80.

The Coventry Baptist Church

     The first meetings by the members of this denomination was held in 1814, and the first organization was perfected the same year. It composed mainly the members of twelve families who were formerly members of the First Congregational church of Coventry, but believed in immersion. As the early records of the church were lost in the fire, which destroyed their house of worship in 1843, the number of original members cannot now be ascertained, but prominent among them the following are recalled: Oliver PARKER, William SPENCER, Percy GILMORE, Phineas NICHOLS, Levi PARKER, Oman GILMORE, David HODGE and Record WILBUR.

     The society connected with this church was organized September 27, 1819, at a meeting held in the school house near Weat SPEAR's, which was attended by Levi PARKER, Oliver PARKER, William SPENCER, Percy GILMORE, William STORK, and many other inhabitants of the town. Percy GILMORE was chosen moderator and Phineas NICHOLS, clerk. The Baptist society in the town of Coventry was adopted as the name and Levi PARKER, Oman GILMORE and Percy GILMORE were elected trustees. The first church edifice was built in 1819, and was destroyed by fire on the morning of January 1, 1843. The present one was soon after built.

     The first ministers were two brothers named HOLCOMB, who were succeeded in the order named: Revs. GRAY, SAWYER, KELLOGG, TUCKER, ROBINSON, BIRDSALL, PARKER, LITCHFIELD, BUSH, CHURCH, PORTER, M. M. EVERETT, N. R. EVERETT, MERRILS, TURNBULL, BEEBE, E. T. JACOBS; 1880, Rev. Daniel REESE; 1884, L. J. DOUGLASS, supplied; 1886, Rev. T. A. MATTERSON; 1890, Rev. George BOWLER, ordained in October, 1893; Rev. C. F. BENJAMIN; 1896, Rev. J. H. WATROUS; 1898, G. A. STARKWEATHER; 1899, Rev. DARBY, supplied. For the last fifty years the church has suffered largely from a loss in the membership by the removal of many of its prominent members from its borders and who have gone to help swell the membership of churches in the far west and elsewhere. The membership was 34 in 1880, the attendance at Sabbath school 45.

     The church has ordained and called to the ministry: Aaron PARKER, Daniel ROOT, F. M. BEEBE and N. R. EVERETT. The latter became pastor of a prominent Baptist church at Sing Sing, N. Y. The church was sold and taken down in 1911.

Methodist Episcopal Church

     The first organization of the Methodist society in Coventry dates back to April 20, 1819, in which year a meeting was held in the school house in district No. 6, at which meeting Michael ELDER and B. YOUNG, preachers, both of the regular ministers of said society, were chosen to preside, and the First Methodist Episcopal society in Coventry called Union was formed. Philo CLEMONS, Ransom ADKINS, Samuel I. THOMAS, Whiting CORNISH, Apollos FOOTE and William M. THOMAS were elected trustees.

     The West Coventry society of the Methodist Episcopal church, formed in 1829, seems to have been a reorganization of the above society. It was organized in the same place, and if we substitute the name of Apollos TUTTLE for that of Ransom ADKINS, the official board was the same. A house of worship was erected in 1830, three miles south west of Coventry and occupied a good many years. It has been taken down and I think it was moved to Belden.

     The center of Methodism in Coventry in now in Coventry village. The Coventry Methodist Episcopal church of Coventry village was organized as a separate station in 1849 and their house of worship was built in 1853. The following named pastors have officiated here since 1849: E. D. THURSTON, L. D. BRIGHAM, who died shortly after coming here; ---- NICKERSON, Hiram GEE, who was here in 1853 during the building of the church which he labored to consumate; W. M. SPICKERMAN, Wesley PECK, 1854; M. W. Wells, 1855-6; E. H. ORWIN, 1857; S. G. GREENE, 1858; T. M. WILLIAMS, 1859-60; E. PUFFER, 1861-3; L. BOWDISH, 1864-5; H.R. NORTHROP, 1866-7; D. BULLOCK, 1868-70; David DAVIS, 1871-2; George E. HATHAWAY, 1873; A. T. ROSKELLEY, 1874-5; L. A. WILES, 1876-7; William BURNSIDE, 1878-9; A. E. LOOMIS, 1880; S. STEPHENS, 1881-2; J. T. WELLS, 1883-4; S. H. WOOD, 1885-7; A. E. THURSTON, 1888-92; L. D. PALMER, 1893-4; D. L. MEEKER, 1895-6; J. G. HENRY, 1897; W. H. HORTON, 1898-1900; D. SWEATLAND, 1891-4; Austin MOONEY, supply for September and October; then D. F. UNANGST, supply for five months; Charles C. VOLZ, 1905; J. B. WILSON, 1906-7. A. W. COOPER supplied three Sundays in June; G. COOK supplied July and August; George P. MARKHAM finished the year. A SUMMERSON, the present pastor, commenced his labors in the spring of 1909.

     The membership reported in the pring (sic) of 1879 was 82, the attendance at Sunday school was ten teachers and 75 scholars. The estimated value of church property is, church $2,000, parsonage $1,000.

End of Chapter VI pg 37-44


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