Chapter XX

HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CORTLANDVILLE Part 2

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CORTLAND VILLAGE

A little to the north of the center of the town of Cortlandville , the diversified topography of which renders it a series of picturesque landscapes , is situated a broad plain a little less than two miles in average extent in either direction , apparently level , but descending very gradually to the eastward.Near its western boundary , but separated from it by a narrow portion of the plain itself , rises a rounded hill to the height of from one to two hundred feet ; this hill is somewhat longer from from east to west than in its north to south diameter. Along its foot on the western and northwestern sides , flows the clear , spring-fed stream called Otter creek. Across the plain from north to south and near its eastern boundary flows the Tioughnioga river , formed by its two branches ; one coming down directly from the northward , and the other (the west branch) flowing along at the foot of the high hill which forms the northern boundary of the plain , jutting down into it and separating the two valleys of the river branches. From seven different points of the compass valleys of varying widths , but all of them possessing features of natural beauty , open upon this broad plain. If there is a spot in the Empire State that is better adapted , either in practical advantages or natural attractiveness , for the site of a village or city , it is not known to the writer and here has grown , during the past eighty years , the present populous and thriving village of Cortland.

The first settlements within the present corporate limits of this village have already been referred to in the early pages of the history of the town. With the location and pioneer labors of such men as Jonathan Hubbard , Moses Hopkins , Obadiah Boies , William Mallory , David Merrick , Joshua Bassett , Oliver Wiswell , Henry Stephens , and scores of others to whom we shall herein refer , will forever be honorably associated the early growth and prosperity of Cortland ; and their noble example seems to have brought to life in the later days of unexampled advancement in the village the same qualities which inspired their hearts when the broad valley was forest-covered and the hill-tops echoed with the nightly howls of the wolf.

Jonathan Hubbard and Moses Hopkins were the pioneers of Cortland village ; and when in 1804 the former had become settled in his first dwelling--the first one built on the site of the village--on what is now the corner of Court and Main streets , there were but two other houses within the present corporation limits , unless , perhaps , a few had been erected at Port Watson. Mr. Hubbard lived only long enough to see the nucleus of a village rising around him ; but his work down to his death on Christmas day , 1814 , was of the greatest influence upon the future of the place.

Mead Merrill was one of the early settlers in what is now the corporation of Cortland. He lived near Port Watson and made many permanent improvements in that section. He built a saw-mill there which was in operation in 1816 and about the year 1820 , or earlier , erected the substantial house recently owned and occupied by Frederick Conable. Mr. Merrill is credited by Mr. Ballard , in his published Reminiscences , as being the leader of the Federal political party until its dissolution. He was appointed surrogate in the spring of 1810 and county clerk in 1813. Mr. Merrill was a strong Universalist in religious belief , and it was largely by his efforts that the cobble-stone church was erected here.

Josiah Cushman was a resident of Cortland village (or its site) soon after 1800 , and became well known through his building of the first court-house , as heretofore described. Nathan Luce was one of the earliest merchants in Cortland , and about the year 1818 built a hotel which , with subsequent enlargements , made the long famous Eagle Tavern , and which was burned in 1862.

Jacob Wheeler came here in 1812 and was , probably , about the first blacksmith in the village and a maker of edge tools. He was an industrious and enterprising man and did not purpose to fail in life through the delinquencies of creditors , as is shown by the following card , which appeared in the newspaper:--

" Dear Friends:--
     "All notes and accounts which remain unsettled on the
first day of August next will have to be paid to a justice or constable
without any reserve , for I will pay my debts.
                            "Jacob Wheeler."
         

His shop was on the site of the Freer foundry.        

Joshua Bassett was another of the first prominent citizens to locate on the site of Cortland village. His residence stood where Calvert block now is. He with his son , W.H. Bassett , were the first jewelers and silversmiths in the place.

William Bartlit settled in Cortland village not long after the beginning of the century. He was a saddle and harness maker , the first in the place , and long had a prosperous trade. giving employment to a number of hands. His advertisement appears in the local paper soon after it was started in 1815. Mr. Bartlit was one of the commissioners appointed to superintend the building of the court-house. He was elected to the Senate in 1842 , from the (then) seventh district.

The literary tastes of the people of Cortland village were exhibited as early as 1815 , when an association was formed for the establishment of "The Cortland Village Library ," the trustees being Levi Lee , John Burnham , Roger Edgcomb , Nathan Blodgett and Roswell Randall. The library was purchased , embracing a respectable number of the then standard works in historical and general literature. It was a circulating library and was kept in the office of the county clerk during its existence of several years. Roswell Randall is said to have been the moving spirit in this enterprise.[1]

Among other prominent citizens of the village who came here as early as 1815 , or earlier , were James Percival , the accomplished editor of the first newspaper printed here and already more fully noticed ; Benjamin S. and David Campbell , also printers and editors , who became proprietors of the Cortland Republican in February , 1817 , the former being then sheriff of the county ; and Asahel Lyman , who , about the year 1816 , erected the old brick building still standing on the corner of Main street and Groton avenue , and owned by John S. Samson. This is now the oldest brick building in the village. Here Mr. Lyman , and later the firm of A.P. & G.N. Lyman , did a prosperous business for a number years . Samuel Hotchkiss , also , settled in Cortland as early as 1815 and became a prominent citizen. He was made deputy clerk of the county by Wm. Mallory in 1815 , and held the office under him and two succeeding clerks , Joshua Ballard and Matthias Cook , until January 1st , 1823. He was elected clerk under the new constitution of 1822 and held office for twelve successive years. He was again elected for the term beginning in January , 1844 , and again in 1847. Mr. Hotchkiss lived in Cortland a respected citizen until 1883 , when he died.

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[1]We are compelled to record the fact that little has been done since the time of this first library (which was a very creditable one for that period ) towards establishing a library in Cortland village, until quite recently , when the ladies have taken the matter in hand. They should receive such support as will result in the speedy establishment of a large library which will be a credit to the village.

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Edward Allen came to Cortland in 1817 , and became a citizen of the village; he was universally respected and his life might well have served as a model for the young men of his time. He was a blacksmith ad purchased a lot on Mill street and adjoining on the east the corner premises of Samuel Nelson , now owned and occupied by Frederick Ives. Charles Collins has built his handsome brick dwelling where stood the one-story house of Mr. Allen. Mr. Ballard gives the following account of Mr. Allen's life: "His life is a striking illustration of manual labor dignified by nobility of character. His trade was that of a blacksmith. His pecuniary means were limited. He was endowed with robust health and freedom from personal vices. He was honest , industrious and intelligent , full of neighborly kindness and socially always welcome. He was attentive to all the public questions of that period and became influential ; filled the office of justice of the peace , and was one of the county superintendents of the poor for several years. Mrs. Allen is well remembered for unaffected dignity and serenity of manner , nobleness of person and Christian devotion. They had sons and daughters that adorned the household and who in after life reflected honor upon their parents." One of the sons (Edward) removed to Aurora , Illinois , where he became mayor of the city and State Senator. William also removed to that city and became wealthy and influential.

Judge Samuel Nelson came to Cortland in 1818. His eminent career has already been detailed herein. Between the years 1815 and 1820 the village grew apace and a number of new establishments were opened. The mercantile firm of Lyman & Blair was formed and did an extensive business for several years. Chas. W. Lynde opened a new store just south of where Union Hall block now stands. Grove Gillett opened a tavern where A. Sager's drug store is located. David Campbell built his dwelling on Main street , on the lot now occupied by Mr. Garrison. Joseph R. Crandall opened his carriage and sleigh manufactory , which is referred to in our record of the manufacturing interests.

In the mean time the two brothers , William and Roswell Randall , who established themselves here as early as 1813 , had extended their business operations to a wonderful extent for so small a place and early a period. They had two large stores , one operated by Roswell where the squires block stands , and the other run by William in the Randall Bank building. They owned distilleries and asheries , two of the former being located on South Main street. They dealt in everything the farmers had to dispose of , from tow cloth to live stock , and early laid the foundation of the wealth they subsequently acquired.

The settlement of Dr. Goodyear in the village has already been alluded to. David Merrick came here just as the village began its growth and became a prominent citizen. He built what was the most pretentious hotel in the place , which stood just west of the site of the Cortland House. Here Samuel Nelson boarded when he first began the practice of law in Cortland. He had several sons. Danforth built the Cortland House and conducted it for many years. Marcus was a physician and removed to the west and Miner Merrick still lives in town.

William Elder was one of the early residents of the village and one of the first manufacturers in the vicinity. Abut the year 1824 he became the owner of real estate at Port Watson , where he built the well known tannery , which did a large business. He removed to the village at an early day and became conspicuous in all movements for the welfare and advancement of the village. He was a prominent member of the Presbyterian Church and was one of the building committee for the erection of the church edifice. He was trustee in the formation of the old cemetery , which was located in what is now the Normal School grounds , and was also a trustee for many years of the academy. He was one of the first boot and shoe merchants and manufacturers in the village and carried on a prosperous business for many years. Mr. Elder had four daughters , one of whom married the Rev. Lemuel S. Pomeroy ; another the Rev. Azariah Smith , of Manlius ; and a third married the Rev. Addison J. Strong.

Among the persons employed at an early day by W. & R. Randall was Eleazer W. Edgcomb , who acted in the capacity of clerk. He was industrious and possessed of excellent business capacity , which soon placed him in a foremost position in the village. Mr. Ballard wrote of him: " He was an efficient salesman behind the counter ; as a trader in produce in the towns along the Susquehanna river , in which he largely engaged , he was an accomplished pilot of boats from the wharf at Port Watson to Harrisburg , in Pennsylvania , and for about twenty years , beginning in 1830 , he was one of the most active and influential political managers in the county. In 1823 he formed a copartnership with Adin Webb in the mercantile business , occupying the store formerly used by W. & R. Randall , and becoming very prominent among early merchants ; an ashery was connected with their business. Produce was extensively purchased by them for transportation down the river. Their chief clerk for years was Hamilton White , who subsequently became a leading banker of Syracuse. It was in the employ of this firm that Marsena Morgan and ' Major ' Shapley gained imperishable renown as skillful river pilots. In November , 1837 , Mr. Edgcomb was elected sheriff. He was village magistrate several years and was one of the building committee for the erection of the present court-house. Mr. Edgcomb married the eldest daughter of Major Adin Webb. She is still a resident of the village."

We have already referred to the early settlement of Nathan Blodgett near the junction of the east and west branches of the river about a mile east of Main street. He died there at a good old age , leaving his son , Benjamin Franklin Blodgett , in possession of the homestead. We again quote from Mr. Ballard: "Benjamin adopted it as his home , adding to its value by the erection of a commodious new dwelling. On the 16th of April , 1832 , during the ministry of Nathaniel E. Johnson , he united with the Presbyterian Church , his wife having previously united with the same church in 1826

..........In all his relations with the church and society Mr. Blodgett exhibited marked loveliness of demeanor........One of his daughters married Dr. Theodore Pomeroy and another Rev. O.H. Seymour. His son , Alonzo , succeeded to the ownership of the homestead and his exemplary life reflects that of his revered father." Loren Blodgett , another son of Nathan Blodgett , was associated with Jonathan Hubbard in building the first mill at Blodgett's Mills in 1806. He was a prominent and useful member of the Baptist Church and an intelligent and enterprising citizen.

William Mallory , already mentioned , moved into the village before 1815 , and became a prominent and influential citizen and politician. He built his residence on the site of the Squires block. On the same lot was a small building which served the purposes of county clerk's office until the old brick building was erected in1819. Mr. Mallory had a distillery a little west of the Rock Spring cheese factory. He was sheriff from 1800 to 1810 ; county clerk from 1815 to 1819 , and in 1823 was appointed judge of the Court of Common Pleas , succeeding Judge Keep.

The life of Adin Webb has been alluded to in the history of the town of Homer ; but he was so long a prominent citizen of Cortland village that his career merits some attention here. He came to Cortland from Homer in 1823 , and became a member of the fir of Webb & Bishop. Previous to this time he had taught school for seventeen successive years in Homer. He was elected town clerk in 1809 , which office he held twenty years. In 1816 he was appointed surrogate and held that office for seven years. In 1829 he was elected sheriff ; in 1840 he was again appointed surrogate , holding the office four years , and in 1845 he was made town clerk of Cortlandville , which office he held for eleven years. He united with the Congregational Church of Homer in 1813 , and when he removed to Cortland joined the Presbyterian Church. For many years he was chorister and a few of the older inhabitants of the pace , who have listened to his voice Sabbath after Sabbath , will remember him , perhaps , in that capacity more vividly than in any other. It is sufficient praise of Mr. Webb to say that all of the public trusts to which he was called were deserved by him and their duties fulfilled with ability and loyalty to the public good.

Joshua Ballard was a cotemporary of Mr. Webb and came to Homer in 1797 , and for one season taught one of the first schools there. He removed to Cortland about the year 1819 , in which year he was appointed county clerk. He was one of the founders of the Cortland Academy and raised and commanded the first cavalry company in the county. Various town offices were conferred upon him and he was an eminently respected and useful citizen. Of these two men Mr. Ballard wrote: "The public confidence in the intelligence , integrity and fidelity of Joshua Ballard and Adin Webb , evidenced in their services in these various civil stations , is a sufficient encomium upon their memory as citizens. One reached in age almost eighty-one , the other eighty-five , and the pilgrimage of each was distinguished by the even tenor of a Christian example."

Early in the year 1818 the first steps were taken towards the organization of the first county agricultural society , Levi Boies , Chas. W. Lynde and Henry Stephens being the committee to draft the constitution. This society will be found described in another place in these pages.

We have spoken of Joshua Bassett as having been the first jeweler in the village. Of his family and others of his time we quote as follows from Mr. Ballard: "In the third number of the first village paper , and over the date of July 12th , 1815 , Joshua Bassett and his son , William H. Bassett , announce to the public that they are 'clock and watchmakers , gold and silversmiths and have lately opened their shop in Cortland , where they make to order all kinds of work in their lines , having recently received from New York a fresh supply of materials.' This shop was upon the same lot as the dwelling house of Mr. Bassett. Located on the west side of Main street and about in the center of the village , it was one of the handsomest as well as one of the most eligible sites in town. Part of it is now occupied by the Calvert block and the First National Bank.

The life of Adin Webb has been alluded to in the history of the town of Homer ; but he was so long a prominent citizen of Cortland village that his career merits some attention here. He came to Cortland from Homer in 1823 , and became a member of the fir of Webb & Bishop. Previous to this time he had taught school for seventeen successive years in Homer. He was elected town clerk in 1809 , which office he held twenty years. In 1816 he was appointed surrogate and held that office for seven years. In 1829 he was elected sheriff ; in 1840 he was again appointed surrogate , holding the office four years , and in 1845 he was made town clerk of Cortlandville , which office he held for eleven years. He united with the Congregational Church of Homer in 1813 , and when he removed to Cortland joined the Presbyterian Church. For many years he was chorister and a few of the older inhabitants of the pace , who have listened to his voice Sabbath after Sabbath , will remember him , perhaps , in that capacity more vividly than in any other. It is sufficient praise of Mr. Webb to say that all of the public trusts to which he was called were deserved by him and their duties fulfilled with ability and loyalty to the public good.

Joshua Ballard was a contemporary of Mr. Webb and came to Homer in 1797 , and for one season taught one of the first schools there. He removed to Cortland about the year 1819 , in which year he was appointed county clerk. He was one of the founders of the Cortland Academy and raised and commanded the first cavalry company in the county. Various town offices were conferred upon him and he was an eminently respected and useful citizen. Of these two men Mr. Ballard wrote: "The public confidence in the intelligence , integrity and fidelity of Joshua Ballard and Adin Webb , evidenced in their services in these various civil stations , is a sufficient encomium upon their memory as citizens. One reached in age almost eighty-one , the other eighty-five , and the pilgrimage of each was distinguished by the even tenor of a Christian example."

Early in the year 1818 the first steps were taken towards the organization of the first county agricultural society , Levi Boies , Chas. W. Lynde and Henry Stephens being the committee to draft the constitution. This society will be found described in another place in these pages.

We have spoken of Joshua Bassett as having been the first jeweler in the village. Of his family and others of his time we quote as follows from Mr. Ballard: "In the third number of the first village paper , and over the date of July 12th , 1815 , Joshua Bassett and his son , William H. Bassett , announce to the public that they are 'clock and watchmakers , gold and silversmiths and have lately opened their shop in Cortland , where they make to order all kinds of work in their lines , having recently received from New York a fresh supply of materials.' This shop was upon the same lot as the dwelling house of Mr. Bassett. Located on the west side of Main street and about in the center of the village , it was one of the handsomest as well as one of the most eligible sites in town. Part of it is now occupied by the Calvert block and the First National Bank.

At this point it will be proper and interesting to quote from Mr. Ballard his comparison of the village in early days with its condition at the time of his writing but a few years since. Said he: "It is a pleasure to recount events in the history of the village. A few are still living who were familiar with its site when it was covered by a majestic forest , dotted only by half a dozen humble dwellings. It was not then imagined that in the circle of a lifetime it would become one of the handsomest towns in the Empire State. Standing upon the elevated ground just east of the village , at an hour when the morning sun is lighting up the distant , gently-swelling hills , covering the mists of the valley with a roseate hue , while beyond temple , tower and town reflect the radiance of the King of Day , with the foreground beautified by a sparkling , flowing stream , altogether compose a landscape not to be forgotten.

Take another stand-point on the elevation at the west end of Court street , at an hour when town and plain , river , valley , and distant hills are covered with a sunset glow , and gaze upon tat scene until it melts into the softened gray of twilight , and you have a panorama of surpassing beauty. The luxurious fields are adorned with grand old elms , whose strength and beauty have increased during the lapse of years until they have become monuments to perpetuate the memory of the founders of the village.

" Early residents occasionally return here from their distant homes in the West and look with delight upon the growth and beauty of Cortland. It possesses many natural advantages. To these were added the enterprise and energy of sagacious men. Quite early in its history advances began in its material prosperity and the cultivation of the morals of society. Although the date of its origin was about the year 1815 , scarcely a building of that period now remains of its original foundation. All have been taken down , all pushed aside , to be supplanted by loftier and more costly structures. The old yellow store , which stood for nearly forty years on the southeast corner of Main street , build and occupied by Wm. and Roswell Randall , the theatre of their fortunes , and once resonant with the voices of their far-famed clerks , Eleazer W. Edgcomb and Delos Moody , had to move from its position and take a place on a retired street. Jacob Wheeler's blacksmith shop has given place to the foundry , and the modest home of Daniel Laisdell , for years a furniture dealer , has been dismissed for the tasteful residence of Stephen Brewer. Luce's tavern has yielded the supremacy to the Messenger House. The squires block is upon the lot which for years was the cherished home of the Hon. William Mallory ; and upon the same lot was a small wooden building kept as a clerk's office as late as the summer of 1819. Nearly opposite these premises was the lot on which stood the residence and office of Oliver Wiswell. Judge Wiswell and Judge Stephens were law partners. It was the earliest law firm in the county and for years they stood at the head of the bar. But residence and office have gone into the past , and the grounds upon which they stood are now covered with beautiful flowers , which are suggestive of other things which are beautiful-of gentleness , faith and hope.

Passing along the west side of Main street , the corner is reached where once stood a tavern which for several years was the principal inn of the village-afterwards converted into a female seminary and finally crumbled away to make room for the Taylor Hall block.

"On the lot now owned by the Wickwire brothers stood a building in former years which was the store of Chas. W. Lynde , and afterwards of his brother , Geo. Lynde , both prominent and influential men , the former a State Senator , the latter an accomplished physician.

"The old store of Tercius Eels has moved back to allow the splendid Garrison block to come to the front. The corner lot where stands the noble brick edifice of Major Aaron Sager and the Dexter House , was once occupied by a tavern building of ordinary size , owned by Grove Gillett , with whom Samuel Nelson , afterward one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States , took board for a time.

"Almost the only landmarks of the early years in the way of buildings now left on their foundations are the Lyman stores , so called , and the dwelling house built by Samuel Nelson-the former owned by John S. Samson , the latter by Frederick Ives. They were both attractive buildings at the period of their erection and their durability proves the worth of the materials and the faithfulness of the workers. In that dwelling house Samuel Nelson spent the first three years of his married life , and in an upper room in that brick store he began the practice of law in the year 1817."

In referring to the business pursuits of the citizens of Cortland village at the beginning of the year 1821 , Mr. Ballard wrote as follows:-

"Then Truman Doud , Harry Griffin , Gideon Messenger , Rufus Jennings and others , were engaged in the purchase from time to time , of immense droves of cattle for the Philadelphia market. Joshua Ballard and Bela Pierce , from year to year , were purchasing horses of prime value , sometimes for market in Philadelphia and sometimes for market in the city of Hartford. In the month of March in the year 1821 , they started a procession of fifty horses from this village to Philadelphia , and the following year another drove to Hartford . At the same period our merchants and produce buyers were loading arks of forty tons burthen and boats of half that tonnage , with gypsum , salt , oats , potatoes and pork , and floating them in the seasons of freshet , from the wharves at Port Watson , for Northumberland and Harrisburg on the Susquehanna. Crowds of spectators were accustomed to assemble on the banks of the Tioughnioga , just above the bridge at Port Watson , to witness the start of the fleet of arks and boats on the swollen current of the river , accompanied with shouts and adieus to the merry crews as they darted done the stream."

It was on the 23d day of November , 1815 , that the local newspaper announced the opening of the dry goods store of Asahel Lyman-the first establishment of that character in the village. It was in the old brick building now occupied for the same purpose by John S. Samson , or on that site. Mr. Lyman was from Massachusetts , " possessed an intelligent mind , a handsome person and a agreeable address." Of his family and his business connections , Mr. Ballard says : " In the year or two he formed a copartnership with Sylvester Blair , The brother of Mrs. Lyman , and for many years the mercantile firm of Lyman & Blair existed , attended with success. Mr. Blair was endowed with an excellent capacity for business and in his early years was active and enterprising. He was fortunate in his marriage. His wife was Nancy Lyman of Newark. Beautiful in person , and lovely in character , she lent a charm to the domestic circle. In 1829 he originated a pottery establishment in this village and for years carried on an extensive trade in that line , in connection with his mercantile business. In after years Madison Woodruff became the proprietor of the pottery where stoneware of superior quality and workmanship is still manufactured."

" Mr. Blair built a brick dwelling house on the lot now occupied by Masonic Hall block , and a brick store adjacent , which he occupied up to the time of his death , which occurred in the city of New York , in October ,1839. The copartnership of Lyman & Blair was dissolved in the autumn of 1826. About the year 1840 , Mr. Lyman retired from business , and was succeeded by his sons , Asahel P. and Geo. N. Lyman , who continued in trade until about the year 1846 , and having disposed of their property here , they located in the west , Asahel in Sheboygan and George at Ripon , Wisconsin.

" About the year 1817 Samuel Blair , a brother of Sylvester , became a resident in Cortland. He was an intelligent man , affable and gentle in manner , leading a quiet life and pursuing the business of cooperage. Mrs.Blair was a women of decided worth......Her life was spared to witness a wonderful success in the acquisition of wealth attending her sons , Chauncey B. Blair , Lyman Blair and Wm. Blair. Chauncey , at an early day , emigrated to Michigan City and engaged largely in the purchase and sale of lands. He finally went to Chicago and became president of the Merchants' National Bank , and after the great fire his was the only banking-house that was not compelled to succumb to the great conflagration , but continued to meet its engagements and pursue its business.

Lyman Blair has amassed a fortune Chicago in the 'packing business,' so called , and is now somewhat retired from active employment. Wm. Blair has also gathered a fortune , and his firm is one of the foremost hardware establishments in Chicago. Ann Eliza Blair married Eleazer W. Densmore , of Chicago. Caroline Blair married Parker Crosby , formerly a resident of Cortland.

Another son , Samuel Blair , is a resident of Cortland , by occupation a farmer , in the enjoyment of a pleasant home surrounded in abundance with all that is needful in this life , a kind husband and a good citizen.

" Such is a brief retrospect of this remarkable family , affording a useful illustration of what can be accomplished by individual enterprise , beginning without money , but sustained by devoted industry , frugality , patience and an exalted moral worth. The mother reached the age of seventy-seven , and the father almost eighty-one.

" Asahel P. Lyman , in Sheboygan , Wis. , engaged in the mercantile trade and in the commerce of several vessels , and encountered the risks attendant upon such property.

" George N. Lyman , at Ripon , embarked largely in real estate enterprises and the purchasing of cattle for market.

" There is one other member of the family of Asahel Lyman who is worthy of remembrance. He had an only daughter , named Dolly Ann , whose name will sound familiar to many still residing here. About the year 1824 Mr. Lyman became the owner of , and resided in , the house built by Judge Nelson and now owned by Frederick Ives. There Dolly Ann passed happy years in the springtime of life. She was thoroughly educated , refined in taste , gentle and attractive in manner. In 1826 , and while William Bacon was the minister , and when the services were held in the old court-house on the hill , a remarkable addition to the recently formed church took place. While in the flower of youth , Dolly Ann Lyman , Ursula Webb , Sarah Boies Dayton , Pamelia Hubbard , Emeline Avery , Minerva Dayton , Stata Hotchkiss , Ada , Laura , Lavinia , Phebe and Esther Cravath , Daniel Wheeler , William Curtis Boies , Thomas Farnham and many others were enrolled as members. For years afterwards these were household names in Cortland , and they are yet hallowed in memory. To allude to them now seems like ' light from heaven's shore,' most of them having gone to there rest. In after years Dolly Ann became the wife of Ceylon North , of Ripon , Wis."

Thus beneath the laboring and governing hands of such men and women as have been briefly mentioned , the young village grew in wealth and numbers and strength , and waited patiently for the day when her turnpike stages should give place to railroads and her streets become busy with the hum of manufacturing machinery. We cannot follow the records of individual life and labor beyond the comparatively early settlers , except as they will further appear in these pages in the history of the professions and the industries of the place , where many names that will always be prominent in every reference to the advancement of the village will be found associated with the mercantile and manufacturing establishments that are the outgrowth of their enterprise.

The forefathers of Cortland loved amusement , as well as their descendants ; but in early days there was little to divert attention from the daily routine of work. General training and the old-fashioned celebration of the Fourth of July were about all the events towards which the inhabitants turned for amusement , except such other as they could devise themselves. The owners of fast horses in the village of today will find it difficult to believe that it was more than sixty years ago that racing was inaugurated in what was them considered grand style and which would not suffer in comparison with later events of that character ; yet such is the case , as appears from a newspaper announcement of Aug. 20th , 1820 , as follows:---

"Cortland Races.--The heats will commence at Cortland village on Tuesday , the 19th day of September next , and continue three days ; free for any horse , mare or gelding , carrying weight for age ; three mile heats.

"A purse of $100 will be awarded to the winning horse on the first day. $75 to the winning horse on the second day--first day winning horse excluded. "The five per cent. entrance money required on purses of the first two days to constitute a purse to be awarded to the swiftest three-year-old colt on the third day-one mile heat.

"The riders must dress in jockey style. No jockeying or running in company will be tolerated , and should it be discovered , the purse will be withheld.

"All differences will be settled by the judges.

"Truman Doud ,
"Chas. W. Lynde ,
"Stephen Knapp ,
"Roswell Randall ,
"Judges"

Mr. Ballard gives the following account of the first event of this kind:--

"At length the long wished for day arrived , and such a gathering in of people from this and adjacent counties , Cortland had not before witnessed. It was delightful autumnal weather. Far-famed horses had been practicing on the course for several days previous. Everything denoted a great trail of speed. The contestants were here from remote counties and adjacent States. Intelligence of the coming struggle reached throughout the adjacent county and for the week agricultural pursuits were suspended.

"The spot arranged for these races was a beautiful level easterly of the Ithaca and Elmira railway station. The course was circular , one mile around . On a natural mound nearly in the center , the judges' stand was build. The multitude encircled the field and were held in order by an appropriate police. As the hour approached the horses were led in. Soon the riders in full jockey dress appeared. In a few moments the bugle sounds , the horses ad their riders come to the scratch , and five in number contend for the prize. On no occasion since has there been an equal struggle of bottom and speed in Cortland. On this day the grey mare , 'Highland Polly,' won the purse. It was a memorable week in the history of Cortland. The races were repeated for a year or two afterward until a boy rider named Hiles , from Dryden , was thrown against a tree and instantly killed , to the dismay and horror of the crowd. Thus ended , from that day on , the running of 'heats' in Cortland. Soon the circus and the menagerie began to appear and they supplied the people with amusement. Meanwhile the race-course of former years is crossed by the railway , the bugle call for the courser is exchanged for the locomotive whistle and the running of horses for the rush of trains."

Meanwhile the " Cortland Village Library " was established [2] (1815) , the trustees being Levi Lee , John Burnham , Roger Edgcomb , Nathan Blodgett and Roswell Randall ; the first agricultural society was organized (1818) and its first fair held in November of that year ; the Presbyterian Church was erected (1826) as elsewhere detailed ; the Baptist Church was erected (1833) and dedicated on the 9th of October of that year ; the "Cortland Village Female Seminary " was founded (1828) , with Wm. Randall , Henry Stephens , Nathan Dayton , Wm. Elder , Danforth Merrick and Rev. Luke Lyons prominent among the early trustees ; the academy was opened (1842) and its long career of usefulness begun ; the railroad was completed (1854 ) causing rejoicing throughout the county , which was soon followed (1860) by the advent of Hiram J. Messenger and the era of extensive building operations inaugurated by him ; an era of manufacturing operations which has yet closed , and probably never will close , and has led up to the present exalted position of the village in all things bearing upon its material prosperity.

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[2] "What is eminently needed in this village is a well-selected circulating or lending library , under the care and supervision of the Young Men's Christian Association. Such libraries exist in almost every considerable town throughout the State. Their usefulness is fully vindicated. What a refuge of rest and improvement it would afford after the weary hours of toil ! How many it would tend to wean from the resorts of idleness and vice ! It is almost a reproach to our town that , with its five thousand inhabitants , it has no circulating library. He would be a public benefactor who would start such an enterprise. It is only a question of time. It will come and it will triumph. The wealth of intelligence and virtue which it would add to the place would be more valuable and lasting than added gold. The growing capacity of the working classes would appreciate and improve the privleges conferred thereby."--Mr. Ballard's Reminiscences.

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Incorporation and Subsequent Public Measures.--For six weeks prior to the 1st of October , 1853 , the following notice was published in the columns of the Cortland Democrat , printed in Cortland village:--

"Take notice: That an application will be made at the next Sessions to be held at the court-house in Cortlandville , in and for the county of Cortland , on the second Monday of October next , at 10 o'clock in the forenoon of that day , or as soon thereafter as petitioners can be heard , for an order to incorporate the following described territory as a village by the name of Cortland , situate lying and being in the town of Cortlandville in said county , bounded and described as follows:--Beginning at the southwest corner of lot No. 65 , Cortlandville , south one and three-fourths degrees west , ninty-four rods , crossing the Dryden road , to a stake near the west bounds of the Virgil road , for the southwest corner. Thence south 88 and a half degrees east one rod twenty links , to the center of said Virgil road , 81 rods to the center of Main street , 219 rods to the center of Pendleton street , two hundred and twenty rods to a stone stake on lot No. 75 , for the southeast corner. Thence north one and three-fourths degrees east forty-four rods to the north line of said lot No. 75 , being the center of Port Watson street , two hundred and eighty-one rods eighteen links to the center of Main street , crossing the west branch of the Tioughnioga River , three hundred and twenty rods to an apple tree , for the northeast corner. Thence north eighty-eight and a half degrees west , eight rods to the center of the Truxton road , one hundred and seventy-eight and a half rods to the center of said river , two hundred and six rods to the center of the Syracuse and Binghamton railroad , two hundred and ninety-eight rods and twenty-three links to the center of the plank road leading from Cortland to Syracuse , three hundred and twenty rods to the west line of said lot No. 65 , for the northwest corner , in the center of the road leading by the premises of I.I. Adams to the Homer village. Thence south one and three-fourths degrees west , one hundred and forty-four and a half rods along the road and the west line of the lot No. 65 , to the center of the Groton road , two hundred and twenty-six rods to the place of beginning , containing 640 acres , or one square mile ; and notice is hereby given that an accurate survey and map of the above described territory and accurate census of the resident population of such territory as it was on the 23d day of August , 1853 , and the names of every head of a family residing therein on such day , and the number of persons belonging to very such family , have been left with Edwin F. Gould , a resident of said territory , at his office therein , subject to examination at all reasonable hours by every person interested in such application."

The application for the order of the court was signed by the following persons: Horace P. Goodrich , James W. Sturtevant , E.N. Doud , O.R. Robinson , W.A. Thayer , R.H. Duell , James S. Squires , M. Rowley , D.C. Cloyes , H.G. Buell , George S. Taylor , John Rose , N. McDaniels , H.F. Lyman , Carl Aug. Kohler , David Fisk , Danel Schermerhorn , J.S. Samon , Oliver Hitchcock , John L. Luce , Wm. Gager , Daniel P. Rounds , David Peck , Horace Buell , I.M. Seaman , J.B. Horton , A.G. Burr , Jeremiah Van Valen , Daniel Smith , Samuel S. Woodruff , Henry Woodruff , Edwin F. Gould.

This constituted the first step towards giving the village of Cortland a corporate existence. The population of the village on the date mentioned was twelve hundred and fifty-nine. On the 5th of November ,1853 , a meeting of the electors within the boundaries described was held at the town hall for the purpose of voting upon the question of incorporation. At this meeting 232 votes were cast , 130 of which were in favor of the application , and 102 against it. An election of village officers was held on the 26th of November , at which Joseph Reynolds , Horace P. Goodrich , William O. Barnard , James W. Sturtevant , William A. Thayer were elected the first board of trustees. Joseph Reynolds was elected president of the board , and Charles Foster clerk. Three assessors were elected , in the persons of Abram Mudge , David Fisk and David R. Hubbard ; Leavitt Cudworth was elected collector ; Wm. R. Randall , treasurer , and Henry Scutt , pound-master. Village bylaws were adopted at the meeting of the 8th of December , 1853. The yard in rear of the store of D. Schermerhorn was arranged for the village pound. On the 15th of December a resolution of the board was adopted , that an engineer be employed to take the level of Otter creek , to ascertain " if the water from said creek can in any manner be made more available to the use of the village." A report on this topic was made at the next meeting embodying the statement that the bed of Otter creek 270 rods above the Cortland House is three feet above the level of the sidewalk at the Cortland House. The water question was discussed , as it has been on so many occasions since , and " laid over." As far as Otter creek is concerned it has " lain over " until the present year (1884).

                  The first list of accounts audited by the village board was a bill of $2.50 in favor of A.Green ; of $2.50 to Stephen Brewer ; $3.75 each to Ancil Snow and Z.C. Allis ; and $9.40 to Charles Foster.

                  Under the administration of the new village government improvements were rapidly introduced. Provision was made for the purchase of adequate fir extinguishing apparatus , which was effected in the latter part of the year 1854 ; streets were improved and sidewalks ordered in various parts of the village. Among the latter were :--

                  " A plank walk upon the west side of Main street from W.R. Randall's corner opposite the post-office , north to the turn of the plank road at Welch's corner.

                  " A plank walk upon the east side of Main street from Doud & Clark's marble shop south to L. Reynold's store building ; the portions of said walk now laid with stone to be relaid with that or plank substituted therefor at the option of the owners of the respective lots.

                  " A plank walk on both sides of Port Watson street , from Main to Greenbush street.

                  " A plank walk on the north side of Mill street from Main to the railroad.

                  " A plank walk on the east side of Church street , from Mill street to Port Watson street.

                " A plank walk on both sides of Railroad street from Church to Greenbush street , and on the south side of Railroad street from Greenbush street to the railroad." When we reflect that it was only thirty years ago that these and many other similar improvements were needed , the rapid advancement of the village is vividly apparent.   

  At the meeting of the board held on the 5th of August , 1860 , the following preamble and resolution was adopted , which is self-explanatory:--

                   " Whereas , James A. Schermerhorn , of the village of Cortland , in behalf of himself and associates , has petitioned the constituted authorities of said village , for the purpose of introducing main and service pipes , that the various buildings , etc. , may be furnished with gas--

          " Now , therefore , we the subscribers , believing the said introduction of gas to be a public benefit to our village , by virtue of the authority vested in us as officers of said village , hereby authorize the said Schermerhorn and associates , or assigns , to lay said pipes and open said streets , agreeable to said petition , being exclusive privilege for twenty-years , the three first without tax."       

 This act concluded with the usual provision against injuring the streets and was signed by all of the trustees.

         Down to this time there had been progress made in the village in other directions than the introduction of gas. Numerous sidewalks had been laid , and they were gradually increasing in width , while the number of roving cows that found their way from the streets to the public pound constantly decreased. In 1861 the village by-laws then in existence were repealed entire , and new ones substituted , which were broader in scope and more stringent in the government of the place , and in 1864 a new charter was adopted.

         Gas pipes having been introduced through the village and the company's works being in operation , $130 was appropriated by the trustees of 1863 for the erection of ten gas street lamp posts , and $125 for gas for lighting the same. This was an improvement that was heartily appreciated ; Thos. Stephenson took the first contract for lighting the lamps , at fifteen cents a night.

        Cortland village was re-chartered by the Legislature of 1864 , and the first election under the new charter was held on the 3d day of May of that year. Chas. Foster was elected president. Theodore Cornwell and Abram Mudge were elected trustees to serve two years ; A. Leroy Cole and Henry Bates for one year. Harlow G. Buell was elected treasurer. Moses Rowley was elected assessor ; and Joseph T. Bates , collector. Meetings of the board were set down for the first Monday of each month. The by-laws were amended and new ones adopted to meet the growing requirements of the village and the new government began its work with energy.

         In February , 1866 , resolutions were adopted empowering Chas. Foster to apply to the Legislature for power to borrow money with which to pave Main street , and to amend the charter so as to allow the appointment of police constables for the village , not exceeding four in number. The first named resolution referred to the first piece of paving done in the village. The sum to be borrowed was not to exceed $4,000. The contract for the work was executed in June ,1866 , at a cost of $3,500 , for which amount the village bonds were issued , payable in four equal annual installments. When we reflect that it was only thirty years ago that these and many other similar improvements were needed , the rapid advancement of the village is vividly apparent.   

  At the meeting of the board held on the 5th of August , 1860 , the following preamble and resolution was adopted , which is self-explanatory:--

                   "

Whereas , James A. Schermerhorn , of the village of Cortland , in behalf of himself and associates , has petitioned the constituted authorities of said village , for the purpose of introducing main and service pipes , that the various buildings , etc. , may be furnished with gas--

          " Now , therefore , we the subscribers , believing the said introduction of gas to be a public benefit to our village , by virtue of the authority vested in us as officers of said village , hereby authorize the said Schermerhorn and associates , or assigns , to lay said pipes and open said streets , agreeable to said petition , being exclusive privilege for twenty-years , the three first without tax."       

 This act concluded with the usual provision against injuring the streets and was signed by all of the trustees.

         Down to this time there had been progress made in the village in other directions than the introduction of gas. Numerous sidewalks had been laid , and they were gradually increasing in width , while the number of roving cows that found their way from the streets to the public pound constantly decreased. In 1861 the village by-laws then in existence were repealed entire , and new ones substituted , which were broader in scope and more stringent in the government of the place , and in 1864 a new charter was adopted.

         Gas pipes having been introduced through the village and the company's works being in operation , $130 was appropriated by the trustees of 1863 for the erection of ten gas street lamp posts , and $125 for gas for lighting the same. This was an improvement that was heartily appreciated ; Thos. Stephenson took the first contract for lighting the lamps , at fifteen cents a night.

        Cortland village was re-chartered by the Legislature of 1864 , and the first election under the new charter was held on the 3d day of May of that year. Chas. Foster was elected president. Theodore Cornwell and Abram Mudge were elected trustees to serve two years ; A. Leroy Cole and Henry Bates for one year. Harlow G. Buell was elected treasurer. Moses Rowley was elected assessor ; and Joseph T. Bates , collector. Meetings of the board were set down for the first Monday of each month. The by-laws were amended and new ones adopted to meet the growing requirements of the village and the new government began its work with energy.

         In February , 1866 , resolutions were adopted empowering Chas. Foster to apply to the Legislature for power to borrow money with which to pave Main street , and to amend the charter so as to allow the appointment of police constables for the village , not exceeding four in number. The first named resolution referred to the first piece of paving done in the village. The sum to be borrowed was not to exceed $4,000. The contract for the work was executed in June ,1866 , at a cost of $3,500 , for which amount the village bonds were issued , payable in four equal annual installments.

CHURCH HISTORY

                  

Methodist Episcopal Church.--In the year 1804 there were but three dwellings within the present boundaries of Cortland village , one of which was that of Jonathan Hubbard , and stood on the northeast corner of Main and East Court streets , where the National Bank of Cortland is now located. A religious society had been partially organized in Homer , but as far as known no services had been held on or very near the site of Cortland village. At this time the Rev. William Hill , who had formerly been a Baptist preacher , came to Cortland. Mr. Hubbard was a Presbyterian , but his Christian faith was broad enough to enable him to welcome any minister of Christ. He accordingly took Mr. Hill into his home , assisted him in sending notices to all of the families within reach , and the first meeting was held in his house. Mr. Hill went away , leaving an appointment for his second service , and so continued doing until the winter of that year , when he received into the church Jonathan and Mary Hubbard , James Hubbard , Abigail Hubbard , Elijah Batchelor , Martha Batchelor , Isaac Bassett , Polly Bassett , William Bassett and Catherine Sherwood , and formed a class , with Mr. Batchelor as leader. This was the germ of the Methodist Church in Cortland. It was then attached to the Cayuga Circuit , Genesee District , of the Philadelphia Conference.

         Preaching was continued with regularity once in two weeks , later by Elder Batchelor , while he remained here ; after which prayer and class-meetings were held. In the year 1810 the first quarterly meeting was held in Cortland , in an unfinished barn. The work went on with sufficient good results to inspire the little body of Christians with faith in the future , until 1812 , when Rev. James Kelsey was appointed to the charge. There were then twelve or fifteen families in the little hamlet and others in the vicinity. Mr. Kelsey was a man of much power and a great revival followed his ministry , almost every family , or some members of it , joining the church. Solomon Cogswell , one of the early settlers at Port Watson , was then class-leader.

         The meetings during this early period were held in private houses ; in the school-house after it was built and later in the upper room of the academy. Often in summer , when the congregation was too large for the most available building , the people would repair to the woods , and there , under the thick foliage , offer their adoration to God.

                  Thus matters went on until the year 1821 , when , on the 13th of March , a meeting of the male members of the church was held at the house of John Stillman. Rev. Mr. Kelsey was chairman and Solomon Cogswell clerk. At that meeting was formed the " First Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Homer." John Stillman , Jonathan Hubbard and Isaac Basset were chosen trustees. Mr. Cogswell and Amos Norton were added a little later. At this meeting it was decided to make an effort to build a church edifice.

For about ten years Cortland village had boasted a court-house and a jail , but no house of worship graced its streets. To their honor , be it said , the inhabitants of the place gave the movement their undivided assistance. A building committee was appointed consisting of Chas. W. Lynde , Roswell Randall and Samuel Nelson. It was made a condition that no debt should be contracted in erecting the building , and the work of obtaining subscriptions went on. The corner-stone was laid on the 4th of July , 1821 , with imposing and somewhat peculiar ceremonies.The entire community was invited to participate in the event. The meeting was held in the forenoon in the old Baptist meeting-house , north of the village , where services were opened by a prayer by Rev. Alfred Bennett. Major Adin Webb , with his choir from Homer , conducted the music , and Rev. George W. Densmore delivered the discourse. Then , at the close of the services , a procession was formed under the marshalship of Gen. Daniel Miller and Martin Keep , which marched through the beautiful grove of forest trees that skirted the northern part of the village and down Main street to the site of the church.The stone was laid by the building committee , and addresses were made by Rev. Mr. Kelsey and Rev. Mr. Baker of Auburn. After these ceremonies the procession marched to the hotel of Nathan Luce , on the site of the Messenger House , where a dinner was served " at thirty-one cents each." After the cloth was removed , toasts were drank to the number of twenty or more , among them being such subjects as " our country," " the dough-faces ," " the army and navy," "slavery," " our donors," " the ladies," etc. All this seems strange at this day , as a part of the ceremonies of laying the corner-stone of a Methodist church ; but at that time it was considered an appropriate and fitting programme.

          The church building was not finished until the year 1823 , on account of a scarcity of money. It was finally consecrated by Rev. Geo. W. Densmore. A revival was experinced in 1829 and another memorable one in 1839.

         A Sunday-school was established in 1831 , and a female missionary society the same year. The present handsome church edifice was erected in 1866 , at a cost of about $30,000 and the society is now and has been for many years in a thriving condition. Following is a list of all pastors who have served the church and the dates of their ministry:-- 1804-05 , William Hill ; 1806 , Joseph Polhemus ; 1807 , J.P. Weaver ; 1808 , Joseph Scull ; 1809 , Elijah Batchelor ; 1810 , Anning Owen ; 1811 , Elijah Batchelor ; 1812 , James Kelsey ; 1813 , Dan. Barnes ; 1814 , Palmer Roberts ; 1815 , Jonathan Huistus ; 1816 , Loring Grant ; 1817-18 , James Kelsey ; 1819 , J. Kimberlin ; 1820 , James Kelsey ; 1821 , Geo. W. Densmore ; 1822 , Elias Bowen ; 1823 , John Dempster ; 1824 , Seth Mattison ; 1825-26 , Geo. W. Densmore ; 1827 , Zenas Jones ; 1828 , C.N. Flint ; 1829-30 , Geo. White ; 1831 , W.W. Ninde ; 1832-33 , J.S. Mitchell ; 1834-35 , Robert Fox ; 1836 , P.M. Way ; 1837 , Joseph Cross ; 1838 , Selah Stocking ; 1839-40 , H.F. Rowe ; 1841-42 , Selah Stocking ; 1843 , Fred Humphreys ; 1844-45 , Moses Adams ; 1846-47 , Hanford Collins ; 1848 , J.B. Benham ; 1849-50 , W.N.Pearne ; 1851-52 , Daniel Cobb ; 1853-54 , L.D. Davis ; 1855-56 , A.S. Graves ; 1857-58 , G.W. Bridge ; 1859-60 , E.C. Brown ; 1861 , A.J. Grover ; 1862 , E. Hoag ; 1864-65 , E. Owen ; 1866-67-68 , E.C. Curtis ; 1869-70-71 J.T. Crippen ; 1872-73-74 , A. Roe ; 1875-76 , J. Alabaster ; 1877-78 , G.W. Izer ; 1879-80 , Elijah Horr ; Rev. W.H. Annable is the present pastor.

The Presbyterian Church.--On the 25th of November , 1824 , pursuant to previous notice , a meeting of the citizens of Cortland was held in the court-house , for the purpose of forming a Presbyterian church and society. Daniel Budlong was called to the chair and David Joline appointed secretary. A constitution was reported for consideration and , it having been read , further action was deferred , on motion of William Elder , until the next meeting , which was held on the 2d of December , 1824 , on which day the constitution was adopted and the society former. On motion of Hon. Samuel Nelson , seconded by Hon. Henry Stephens , six trustees were chosen , as follows:-- Wm. Randall , Wm. Elder , Prosper Cravath , Salmon Jewett , Moses Kinne and Lemuel Dady. In the following spring a church was organized and the Rev. Wm. Bacon began his ministry , with a membership of only six , and a salary of $600.

         Before two years had elapsed the society numbered one hundred and thirty-seven , embracing nearly one-fourth of the entire population of the village. The church edifice was dedicated January 1st , 1828. The sermon was preached by Rev. D.C. Lansing , of Auburn , from the text Gen. xxviii. 17 , " This is none other but the house of God , and this is the gate of Heaven." In October , 1827 , Rev. Luke Lyon succeeded Mr. Bacon , and remained until June , 1831.

Mr. Lyon was succeeded by Nathaniel E. Johnston , who remained until November , 1834 ; then he resigned , and Rev. Joseph Q. Foot became pastor. In October , 1837 , Rev. Peter Lockwood succeeded Mr. Foot , and remained until July , 1842. Mr. Lockwood was succeeded by Rev. H.R. Dunham , who continued into the year 1856. He was succeeded by Rev. O.H. Seymour , who remained until 1863 , when Irving L. Beman became pastor , and continued until May , 1866. After Mr. Beman the pulpit was supplied by Rev. S.F. Bacon , A.G. Hopkins , and Dr. Condit. In October , 1869 , Rev. Samuel H. Howe became pastor , and remained until September , 1872. In May , 1873 , he was succeeded by Rev. Thomas Street , and under his auspices the semi-centennial celebration of the church was observed in April , 1875. It wa then announced by Mr. Street that the membership of the church " from six , in 1825 , had reached the number on its rolls of one thousand two hundred and two." Mr. Street was succeeded by the Rev. Alfred J. Hutton , and he by the Rev. J.L. Robertson in August , 1882. The trustees are James C. Carmichael , Alonzo D. Blodgett , Calvin P. Walrad , Samuel Keator , Leavitt D. Garrison , Edward H. Brewer , Marcus McGraw , Dr. F. Hyde , J. Milne , superintendent of Sabbath-school.

         The Baptist Church--The First Baptist Church of Christ in Cortlandville was organized , and publicly recognized as such , on the 3d day of October , 1801 , and was the first Christian church organized in Cortland county , then a township ten miles square in Onondaga county.

         The church thus organized consisted of sixteen members , viz.,males,--John Keep , Joseph Beebe , Daniel Crandall , Peleg Babcock , Cornish Messenger , Roderick Beebe , and James Wheeler: females --Frances Keep , Rhoda Beebe , Submit Keep , Rhoda Miner , Martha Messenger , Mary Bishop , Susannah Crandall , Esther Wilcox , and Molly Wheeler. The officers were : John Keep , clerk , which office he filled for twenty-seven years , or until the church was divided ; Joseph Beebe was appointed deacon , who died about seven months subsequent to his appointment , and was succeeded by Prince Freeman , of Virgil.

The church had no settled pastor until June , 1807 , when the Rev. Alfred Bennett was ordained to the work of the gospel ministry , having been licensed to preach the gospel in April , 1804. There seems to have been no regular salary paid , or agreed to be paid , to him by the church. The first meeting-house built by this church was a wooden structure , commenced in 1811 , and cost two thousand dollars ; the size of which was fifty-two by thirty-six feet , with a gallery on three sides. It was dedicated in June , 1812 , and was located one-half mile north of the old court-house , on the road leading from Cortland to Homer. [3]

         The Rev. Alfred Bennett remained pastor of the church until the year 1827 , at which time the church was divided , a portion forming the church at McGrawville , another a church at Homer , and he became the pastor of the Homer branch.

         The second meeting-house built by the church was a wooden structure , and was built in the village of Cortland , on the site of the present one , at a cost of about three thousand dollars , and was dedicated October 9th , 1833. Their present brick church edifice was commenced in the autumn of 1872 , and was completed in 1874 , at a cost of thirty-two thousand five hundred dollars. It was dedicated February 22d , 1874. It is sixty-five feet wide and one hundred and ten feet long , with a seating capacity in the audience-room of eight hundred persons.

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[3] Further details of this first church will be found in the history of the town of Homer , preceding.

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         The following is a list of pastors , commencing in 1827 ; Rev. Peleg Card , from 1827 to 1830 ; Rev. Nathan Peck , from 1830 to 1833 ; Rev. Zenas Freeman , from 1833 to 1836 ; Rev. Ozeb Montague , from 1836 to 1840 ; Rev. J.P. Simmons , from 1840 to 1851 ; Rev. Henry Bowen , from 1851 to 1861 ; Rev. Thomas Goodwin , from 1861 to 1870 ; Rev. William N. Tower , from 1870 to 1874 , and was succeeded by the present pastor , Rev. J.W. Putnam

         Trustees.--James S. Squires , E.P. Slafter , Frank Hastings , F.H. Cobb , N. Chamberlain , F.S. Capen , C.F. Brown , E.A. Fish. E.A. Fish , superintendent of Sunday-school.

        The Universalist Church.--The first Universalist Society in Cortland was formed November 16th , 1813 , at the court-house. The following persons were elected trustees : Moses Hopkins , Allen Baney , John Chamberlain , David Merrick , Mead Merrill and Roger Edgcomb ; John Chamberlain , clerk.

         The Cayuga Association of Universalists convened at the Baptist Church in Cortland June 7th and 8th , 1815. June 19th , 1829 , a meeting was held at the home of David Merrick , when a society was formed by the name of the " First Universalist Society of Homer "(Homer at that time comprised the present towns of Homer and Cortlandville). David Peck , Jacob Badgley and David Mallery were elected trustees , and Lewis Boies , clerk. Since 1833 the society has held regular annual meetings , electing its officers , etc. The present neat church-edifice was completed in 1837 , at a cost of about six thousand dollars. The lot upon which it is located was donated by Calvin Bishop. Since the building of the church the organization has been called the " First Universalist Society of Cortlandville; " and on the 9th of January , 1872 , the church and society was organized , adopting the Articles of Faith of the Universalist Association of the State of New York. Its prosperity has varied at different periods of its history , but at all times having some faithful , earnest , Christian members , who have borne its standard through evil as well as good report. The church has secured an annual income from a legacy bequeathed to it by Roswell Craw , of the town of Virgil. The following are some of the pastors who have officiated for the society : Doolittle , Saunderson , Bullard , Strickland , Whitcomb , Brown , Corgill , Fish , Crain , Austin , Peck , H.W. Hand and Rev Geo. Adams , who is the present pastor.

         The trustees are Josiah Hart , H.J. Messenger , Rev. and Mrs. H.W. Hand , W.W. Kelsey , W.T. Blanchard.

Grace (Protestant Episcopal) Church.--In 1817 missionaries of the Protestant Episcopal Church from Manlius and Onondaga Hill officiated in Cortland county , but it was not until after the organization of a congregation at Homer , in June , 1831 , that services were held at Cortlandville. The Rev. Henry Gregory , then missionary at Homer , officiated and preached in the Presbyterian church. This was probably the first public use of the liturgical worship in Cortlandville. As there was no convenient place for the people to met , and the the distance to Homer was only two miles , those who were attached to the communion usually went to the latter place to worship , and remained many years destitute of regular services.

         In 1833 the Rev. H. Gregory officiated and preached once , and in 1835 eleven times. Upon the settlement of Rev. Samuel Goodale in Homer , in 1844 , he held a third service on Sundays in Cortlandville , and this was continued until June , 1846. A Sunday-school also was successfully kept up the same time.

In 1847 the Rev. Geo. M. Skinner ,   from Homer , officiated nineteen times and conducted a bible-class. In October (26th) of that year Bishop De Lancey preached in the Presbyterian Church. The services more commonly were held in the large room of the academy , or in the stone meeting-house.

         In 1848 a society was incorporated under the name of Grace Church , and asked admission into union with the convention. On account of some supposed informality in the paper , however , it was not at that time received. From November , 1848 , to 1852 , the Rev. Charles E. Phelps had charge of Grace Church in connection with Homer , but seldom officiated , on account of the difficulty of finding a suitable place of worship. About this time the ladies of the congregation very zealously and successfully solicited subscriptions for the building of a church edifice , but the work was postponed.

         In June , 1850 , the use of the court-house was obtained , and Rev. Mr. Phelps held a Sunday afternoon service there every fortnight.

         In 1852 Mr. Phelps was succeeded by the Rev. Reuben Hubbard , who , in the following year officiated four or five times , the services being help in the Baptist Church.

           In 1854 the missionary at McLean , the Rev. George L. Foote , assumed charge of Grace Church , and officiated at Cortlandville one-fourth of the time. By him the holy communion was first administered there in public to eleven persons.

         At Easter , in 1855 , the Rev. H.V. Gardner , Rector of Calvary Church , Homer , was associated with Mr. Foote in missionary services , and by this arrangement services were held , for a time , every Sunday afternoon at Cortlandville. Mr. Gardner removed from this mission in April , 1857 , and in the following August the Rev. Peyton Gallagher entered upon it , officiating at Cortlandville once a fortnight , --the services being held in the session-room of the Presbyterian Church. This arrangement after about one year was broken off by the ill-health of Mr. Gallagher , and Cortland county was left without services , except that the Rev. Edward Pidsley from McLean officiated once a month in Cortlandville.

         In 1859 fresh efforts were made for the erection of a church edifice , and were crowned with complete success. Since then its pastors have been as follows , tHe date at which each was called only being given -- 1860 , Rev. T.G. Meacham ; 1863 , Rev. Thomas Applegate ; August 1865 , Rev. George S. Teller ; July , 1868 , Rev. John Boyle ; January , 1869 , Rev. Albert Danker ; August 1869 , Rev. J. M. Benedict was called. In February , 1872 , Rev. J. P. Foster was called. August , 1875 , Rev. J. A. Robinson was called , and is the present rector.

         The present vestry are Henry B. Hubbard , Henry L. Rogers.        

Wardens , S. M. Benjamin , E. M. Hulbert , A. Mahan , Wm. Newkirk , H. C. Caney , Wesley Hooker , Chas. H. Parker , Edward D. Webb.

Catholic.--The first Catholic Church in Cortland was erected in 1855 , by Rev. Mr. Callen. It was a wooden structure , and located on Washington street. The rapidly increasing Catholic population soon necessitated the building of a more spacious edifice , and the present fine church-building on North Main street was erected in 1868 , by Rev. B. F. McLoghlin , who is the present pastor. The building is still unfinished , lacking a tower , which , when built , is to contain a chime of bells. The church has about one thousand members.

         The First Congregational Church.--In the year 1881 steps were taken towards forming a Congregational society and the erection of a church edifice in Cortland. An active interest was soon aroused , different means were adopted for the raising of funds and the project of church building was soon fairly under way. The corner-stone of the edifice was laid on the 5th day of September , 1882 , in presence of a large audience.

         The exercises were opened with singing by the congregation , led by the choir , Col. F. Place , Mrs. B. T. Wright , Miss Lina Palmer , Messrs. W. D. Lord and Geo. H. Briggs.

         Rev. J. A. Robinson , pastor of the Episcopal Church , read from the 16th chapter of Matthew , also the 100th Psalm , and was followed with an earnest prayer by Rev. J. W. Putnam , pastor of the Baptist Church , after which Rev. J. L. Robertson , pastor of the Presbyterian Church , gave out the hymn , which was sung by the congregation.

         Rev. C. M. Tyler pastor of the Congregational Church of Ithaca , delivered an interesting and appropriate address.

         Mr. Peter Burns , of Syracuse , placed the corner-stone in position in the southwest corner of the building.

         Rev. H. T. Sell , the pastor of the church , read the following list of articles , which were inclosed in the tin box placed in the cavity in the stone: " A copy of the Bible ; copies of recent date of the Democrat , Standard , News and Congregationalist ; proceedings of the Board of Supervisors of Cortland county , from 1814 to 1825 , as published in the News ; manuscript history of the church , including names of the officers and members of the church , and of the superintendent , teachers and members of the Sabbath-school ; names of the architect , builder and building committee of the church ; photograph of the pastor , Rev. H. T. Sell ; Roy's Manual of Congregationalism ; and a collection of coins of the present time."

         The exercises were closed with singing by the congregation and benediction by Rev. C. M. Tyler.

          Rev. Mr. Sell has remained in charge of church from the first. The trustees are ; George B. Jones , James H. Blanchard , Frank Place , Edward H. Bates , Alonzo W. Gates , L. Mervin Loop , Ira W. Watkins , Geo. W. Davenport , R. C. Tillinghast. A. E. Buck , superintendent of Sunday-school.

 

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