HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CORTLANDVILLE Part 4Back to part 3
The R.C. Tillinghast Carriage and Cutter Works--A more recent , yet scarcely less successful , manufactory in the line of work under consideration is the one whose name is just given. In the latter part of 1881 a copartnership was entered into by R.C. Tillinghast and F.A. Warner , for the manufacture of carriages and cutters. The main building on Owego street was erected early in the year 1882 and under the immediate supervision of Mr. Warner , who is a thorough-going , practical carriage maker , manufacturing was begun. The first year between 300 and 400 carriages and about 100 cutters were made and sold. This number has now increased to about 1,500 carriages and 2,000 cutters. The works comprise six large buildings and their product annually now reaches a value of $150,000.
The Cortland Omnibus Company.--Raymond Smith came into the town of Homer in 1841 and began farming. In 1850 he removed into the village where he established a large wagon shop near the lower bridge. He continued the business successfully until 1863 , when he died. His son , W.T. Smith , succeeded in the shop , where he continued until the year 1881 during which period he had acquired an excellent reputation for building omnibuses. This branch of his business increased rapidly and led to his removal to Cortland and the organization of the Cortland Omnibus Company. From a hundred to a hundred and seventy-five omnibuses are now made by the company annually and are shipped to all parts of the United States. The popularity of these vehicles has gained chiefly upon their lightness and strength and their tasteful styles. In March , 1882 , a stock company was formed which took control of the works , with Mr. Smith as superintendent. This is , probably , the largest manufactory of omnibuses in the United States.
The Excelsior Top Company.--This important enterprise is closely affied with the wagon manufactories already described and is another of the young but very successful industries of Cortland. It had its origin in March , 1881 , when L.K. Tenney and Graham Straat rented a portion of the old Gee shop on Port Watson street and began the manufacture of carriage tops in a small way , under the above name ; they then employed but one man. he business rapidly increased and in November , 1882 , was transferred to Wm. R. Stoppard and Fitz Boynton. This firm continued until the last of the year 1883 , when the enterprise passed into the hands of W.H. Newton and Chas.E. Selover , under the firm name of Newton & Selover. The increase of their goods necessitated frequent extensions of their works , and in 1882 ground was purchased on Elm street for a new factory. This was occupied on the 10th of January , 1883 , and is a building three stories high , 96 by 40 feet in dimensions , with an adjoining structure 30 by 60 feet. Here about sixty-five employees find work and a product valued at $160,000 was turned out in the year 1883 , which was shipped from Maine to California. Carriage tops , dashes , cushions and backs are made , which give satisfaction to carriage builders wherever they are used. Whoever has read thus far of the wagon manufactures in Cortland village , and its allied interests , will not fail to be impressed with the fact that here are established some of the most important industries in the country ; and it will not be a difficult task to show that these are supplemented by others entirely different in character , but no less important to the village and of no less wonderful growth. For example , the wire works of the Wickwire Brothers , which is one of the enterprises that first gave an impetus to manufacturing at this point , is a marvel of success and of the deepest interest as regards the character of its work.
Previous to the year 1874 the Wickwire Brothers were engaged in the retail hardware trade in Cortland--a business which led them to the idea of establishing a woven wire factory in the village. They accordingly put in a small hand loom and began operations , producing about 150 square feet of wire cloth per day. This product was placed upon the market and the demand rapidly increased. More looms were added and the second year after beginning the new industry the firm abandoned the hardware trade to devote their entire energies to the other branch. Weaving wire by hand is a comparatively slow process , a fact which was early noted by the elder Wickwire , who determined to produce a power loom. He is possessed of a good degree of inventive ability , and with the opening of the year 1877 he had the satisfaction of seeing in operation a successful power loom of his design. These machines were put in place of the old hand process , reducing the cost of their product and thus still further extending their trade. Thus far the firm had purchased their wire of other manufacturers. Seeing the advantage it would be to them to draw their own wire , they erected the large wire mill near the depot of the U., I. & E. railroad in the year 1880 and began the manufacture of wire goods on a large scale--the only weavers of wire goods in the country who draw their own wire. This building is four stories high , of brick , and is 40 by 165 feet in dimensions , with a wing 40 by 70 feet and engine house 40 by 34 feet. Three large frame buildings in rear of 31 Main street are occupied with the weaving , wood-working , painting and shipping business. Forty-five looms are operated , and a force of 100 persons is employed. A forty-horse engine is used here while the wire mills demands two engines of 150 horse power each. The entire history of this great manufactory is but a recital of increased demand for goods , with proportionate extension of facilities and gradual cheapening of products. From a business of about $10,000 in 1874 , it has grown to more than $200,000 , and from an output of about 150 square feet of cloth per day , it has increased to 30,000 square feet. The price of fine wire cloth has been reduced by this firm from five cents a square foot , to two and a quarter cents. Such is a brief outline of this great industry , which has conferred and is conferring an inestimable benefit upon Cortland village as well as enriching its proprietors. It is such establishments that lay broad and strong the foundations of prosperity in any village where they are located. The working of iron in Cortland county has never been carried on very extensively , although in recent years it shows good evidence of prospective development. The village of Cortland in its early years had its complement of blacksmith shops , one of the first of which was that of Jacob Wheeler , who was in the business at a very early day. In those days the village blacksmith was a more important personage than at the present time , especially if he was a man of ingenuity and a good workman. This was undoubtedly the case with Jacob Wheeler , as he advertised in the local paper for journeyman who understood making axes. His shop was located on the site of Cortland Machine Company's buildings. From the early blacksmiths to the first foundry and machine shop was an easy transition. This was established in 1832 by Daniel Larned on the site of Cortland Machine Company's building. Five years after he transferred it to the Freers. Anthony and S.D. Freer were sons of John A. Freer who came from Duchess county and located on lot 74. For more than twenty years they conducted the foundry and machine shop and did a large business. From the year 1860 the establishment changed hands several times until it was finally acquired by the present company , which was incorporated in 1875. The Victor mowing machine is made by this company and also certain special wood-making machines , which bear an excellent reputation and have a large sale. The main building , at Nos. 14 , 16 and 18 Port Watson street , is a three story brick structure , 110 by 57 feet in dimensions , occupied by the storage and salesrooms and the office. In the rear are the foundry , machine shop and the wood-working shops , all well suppled with tools and conveniently arranged , with a sixty-horse power Buckeye engine for driving the machinery. The working force at present consists of thirty men , nearly all skilled mechanics. The officers of the Cortland Machine Company are C.S. Chamberlain , president ; A.T. Dickinson , vice-president ; S.B. Elwell , secretary and treasurer , and J.C. Yager , general manager.
Another extensive foundry and machine shop is that of the Cooper Brothers , which is located on the west bank of the Tioughnioga river , and occupies the old paper-mill buildings , a description of which has already been given. This property was purchased by the Cooper Brothers in July , 1881 , and fitted up in a modest way with machinery for repairing and general work. Their success was excellent from the outset and in 1882 they felt warranted in building a new foundry with a capacity for casting two tons of iron per day. They have also added largely to the machinery equipment of their establishment and are now prepared for almost all kinds of general work.
An industry of this village which merits especial attention from the historian , not so much from its magnitude as from its age , is that of Horace Dibble's carding-mill. In the year 1821 Mr. Dibble , then a young man who had not long before finished his trade of wool-carder and cloth-dresser , came through Cortland on foot. He spent the night at Merrick's Hotel , on the site of the Barber block , and next morning proceeded on his way through Homer in search of employment. Passing the old building on Otter creek in rear of which then stood a saw-mill , he was stuck with its favorable location , the excellent water power and its adaptability for a carding-mill , and resolved if it were possible some time in the future he would become its owner and establish his business there. It is claimed , but not upon very good authority , that the building was then occupied by Wm. Sherman , afterward the well known merchant of Homer , as a nail factory. However this may be , the building came into possession of Martin Merrick about the year 1824 , who fitted it up with wool-carding machinery. He conducted the business until 1833 , when it was offered for sale. Horace Dibble was in another county at that time , working at his trade. Learning that the object of his ambition was in the market , he came immediately to Cortland and bought it. Here he has remained , carding wool on the original machine , for a period of fifty-one years--an example of contentment and industry rarely met with. The great gnarled willows which line the banks of the race-way running from the old building have grown from little sprouts set by Mr. Dibble between the years 1847 and 1852. The old building remains nearly the same as when it was erected and is both a well known landmark and interesting as one of the oldest remaining structures in the village. Manufacturing in Cortland has been directed during the past ten years into numerous new and novel channels , the products of which have gone into successful competition with those of the largest cities in the Union. The business of wholesale chair-making has developed from the early methods followed in small cabinet works , scattered throughout the country , to startling dimensions through the medium of mammoth establishments , one of which is located in Cortland. The business was originally started as a general furniture factory on Port Watson street (on the premises now occupied by the Cortland Steam Mill Company) in the year 1874 , by the firm of Hayes & Dellow. It was transferred to Orchard street in the following year , where Lewis S. Hayes became sole owner. It was subsequently transferred to what was known as the Cortland Furniture Company , in which Mr. Hayes was a partner. In 1879 the works were removed to their present location on South Main street and South avenue , where new buildings were erected expressly for the manufacture of a line of folding chairs which Mr. Hayes had patented in 1878. The business has since been extended to embrace a large variety of folding and adjustable chairs , platform rockers , etc. , which are sold throughout the United States and in South Africa , Japan , Australia and the Sandwich Islands. This is one of the important industries of Cortland.
Another unusual industry which is helping to give Cortland its enviable reputation is that of the Sanford Fork and Tool Manufacturing Company , an organization which was effected principally through the efforts of De Forest Sanford , a son of the originator of the celebrated Sanford pitchfork. The company was organized and began operations in 1883. The works are on Elm street and comprise a main building 50 by 32 feet in dimensions , and the manufacturing building , 40 by 100 feet , in which is all of the machinery , driven by a 60-horse power engine. Robert Nixon is president of the company , and E.O Rickard secretary and treasurer , Mr. Sanford being superintendent. Although this industry is yet young , it begins under the most favorable auspices and can scarcely fail of being an important factor in the manufactures of the village.
A novel industry has been started since 1882 in the Cortland Box Loop Company's works. This comprises the manufacture of carriage loops , buckle and harness loops , which are pressed into perfect shape. The company is composed of E.H. Brewer and C.W. Stoker , two of Cortland's enterprising young men. Their business promises to increase largely.
The lumber interest of Cortland , both in manufacture and the sale of rough stock , is largely in the hands of Henry F. Benton. He established his yards and planing mills on the corner of Railroad street and the S.B. & N.Y. railroad in 1866 , a small planing-mill being put in the following year. The rapid growth of the village in later years and Mr. Benton's energy and determination to keep ahead of the demands of his patrons , has given him his now extensive establishment. Three acres of ground are occupied by him , about one acre of which is under cover. He handles from three and a half to four million feet of lumber annually , and manufactures large quantities of doors , sash and blinds. About thirty workman are employed. A glazing department has been added , which used 1,500 boxes of glass in 1883. A casual visitor to Cortland might overlook the Cortland Machine Cooperage , which is located at the corner of Mill and East River streets. This establishment was put in operation about the year 1870 by C.W. Kinne , who sold out to Todd & Wallace ; they were succeeded by Todd & Dolphin. This firm soon afterward dissolved , when John G. Dolphin continued the business three or four years. Thomas F. Brayton next took it for a time , and it is now in the hands Robert Nixon , who has greatly extended the business. A three story building with basement is occupied for the manufacturing , and another structure 15 by 30 feet for storage. The factory has a capacity for producing from 60 to 100 barrels , or 100 to 150 firkins per day , with a large number of pails and tubs. The goods are sold over a large area , extending as far west as Iowa , and bear the best reputation.
Marble Working.--The only establishment of this character in Cortland is that of S.M. Benjamin. He came to Cortland in 1850 and helped build the first baker's oven with Mr. Bancroft. In 1852 he entered the employ of Doud & Clark in their marble works. In 1860 he , with his brother , J.W. Benjamin , bought the establishment , under the firm name of Benjamin Brothers , which continued until 1882 , when J.W. Benjamin died. Since that time S.M. Benjamin has conducted the business alone. It is now a prominent industry of the town and county.
The manufacture of pottery is one of the oldest industries in the world , having been practiced by the Egyptians some thousands of years ago ; and the most wonderful feature of it is the fact that there has been very little improvement in the methods of manufacture since that time. To all intents and purposes , the same little revolving horizontal wheel is used to-day in connection with the human hands , for shaping jars and jugs that is referred to in the Bible. To come down to the present time , this is also one of the oldest industries in Cortland. In 1829 a small building was erected near Otter creek for this purpose , by Sylvester Blair. His clay was brought from Amboy , N.J. , to Syracuse on boats and drawn from there by horses , while the manufactured ware was shipped down the Tioughnioga river in arks or was sold from wagons about the country. This was the only pottery within a long distance of Cortland , and the business was a prosperous one for that period , reaching about $10,000 a year. In 1835 the pottery was sold to Mason & Russell who a few years latter transferred it to Chollar & Darby. These gentlemen increased the business to $12,500 a year and conducted it ten years. In 1849 they sold out to Madison Woodruff , who had then worked in the establishment eighteen years. He added new buildings and pushed the business with so much energy that it was increased in 1838 to $15,000 a year. He has conducted it ever since , but of late years he has devoted less attention to it. Mr. Woodruff has lived in Cortland more than fifty years and has witnessed its growth from about 400 inhabitants to its present extent.
Cigars are manufactured in Cortland by I.H. Holcomb , who established his business in 1873. He now employs five workmen and manufactures more than 200.000 cigars annually. His goods are nearly all sold in Cortland.
In January , 1884 , M.E. Holton and Henry Corcoran purchased the bottling works established by H.C. Harrington , now located at No. 34 Union street. All of the popular summer drinks , ales , lager and porter are bottled by this establishment , for family and other uses.
This brief sketch of the prominent manufacturing interests of this thriving village will , we think , amply fortify our statement that Cortland as a manufacturing center is destined to take a foremost position among the villages and cities of the Empire State. With a proper recognition of the importance of such establishments by the community and village officials , and liberal encouragement after they are established , such consummation will be doubly assured.
In conjunction with the manufacturing and mercantile interests which we have reviewed , has been built up in Cortland the necessary number of prosperous and wisely conducted financial institutions to accommodate the business community. The first of these was the Randall Bank , established by Wm. Randall , and continued with the unfailing confidence of the entire community and surrounding villages for many years. Upon the death of his father the banking business was continued by his son , William R.Randall , until it was finally closed. During all of that extended period the doors of this staunch institution were never closed to the public , who aways found ample accommodation for their business needs. The bank occupied the rooms now used by the Cortland Savings Bank , in the building on the corner of Main and East Court streets--a structure that has changed but very little since it was erected.
Hiram J.Messenger came to Cortland in 1860 , and to his subsequent efforts may be ascribed in a great degree the impetus in growth and business that was given to the village within the few succeeding years. In 1863 he erected the Messenger House block , then by far the most imposing brick structure in the village. In June , 1864 , he opened the Messenger Bank. In the spring of the same year he purchased the tract of land on the west side of Main street , beginning near the north side of the Smith & Kingsbury hardware store and running south to the corner of Court street. He reconstructed the old seminary building into the hardware store , as it exists to-day , and in 1865 built the Taylor Hall block ( then called Messenger Hall ). He next erected the wooden structures which extended to the corner of Court street , and which have been recently burned. In 1867 he erected the Masonic Hall block.
In the year 1864 Mr. Messenger began business in New York city and the greater portion of his time was thereafter passed in that place. The bank which he founded in Cortland did a very prosperous business for several years , but for reasons which need not be detailed here its doors had to be closed in 1868 , entailing considerable loses upon its depositors , and creating a good deal of feeling against the banker , as is common under such circumstances. Unfortunate as this event was for Cortland , it is still undoubtedly true that the spirit of enterprise infused into the business public of the village by Mr. Messenger's rapid and extensive improvements , produced an effect the benefits of which were almost inestimable and which continue to this day. Mr. Messenger has been for some years engaged in real estate and insurance business in Cortland. The next bank organized in Cortland was the First National Bank , which was incorporated under the national law in 1863 , and was organized in February , 1864 , with the following directors , the capital stock being $125,000 : Thomas Keator , president ; Garry Chambers , Arthur Holmes , Rufus Edwards James S. Squires , Lansing Carley , Nathan Bouton , Dan C. Squires and Leander Fitts. Thomas Keator , the organizer of the bank , died June 25th , 1879 , and was succeeded by S. Keator as president. The career of the bank has been a flattering one , and a continuation of the charter for another twenty years was applied for and granted February 24th , 1883 , when it was reorganized with the same board of directors. The bank has declared dividends of from ten to twelve per cent , free of taxes , every year , and the statement of July 23d , 1883 , shows a capital stock of $125,000 ; value of real estate $16,000 ; surplus and undivided profits , $95,000 ; deposits , $190,370.
The present board of directors and officers is as follows:--
Directors--Hon. A.A. Carley , M. Van Hoesen , Samuel Keator , Ransom Warren , T.H. Wickwire , Samuel Sager , Hon. O.U. Kellogg , R.B. Smith , E. Keator , H. Cowan , C.W. Stoker , Robert Purvis , E.C. Carley.
The National Bank of Cortland was organized March 1st , 1869 , as the bank of Cortland , with a capital stock of $100,000 and the following board of directors:--
James S. Squires , president ; Wm. H. Shankland , James A. Schermerhorn , H.P.Goodrich , Horatio Ballard , B.B. Woodworth (cashier) , F.H. Hibbard , SE. Welch , Samuel Sager , C.C. Taylor , Lucius Babcock , Jerome Hulbert , J.C. Pomeroy , S.R. Hunter , A.B. Lamont and George L. Cole.
It continued as the Bank of Cortland until the first day of January , 1875 , when it was chartered as the National Bank of Cortland , with a capital of $100,000 , and the following board of directors :
James S. Squires , president ;George L. Cole , Wm. H. Shankland , Ed. M. Hulbert , Hamilton Putnam , A.B. Lamont , Byron A. Benedict , Wesley Hooker , John S. Samson , Nathan Spencer , Samuel Sager and Stephen R. Hunter.
Following is a statement of this bank dated January 5th , 1884 :--
|Bonds , (Circulation)............||$ 50,000.00|
|Cash , ....… ....$32,400.15|
|From Banks.......36,844.87||$ 69,245.02|
|Banking House , F. and F.||$ 16,500.00|
|Redemption Fund||$ 2,250.00|
|Capital stock , .................||$ 80,000.00|
|Surplus and Profits , ...........||$ 33,099.44|
|Circulation , ...................||$ 45,000.00|
|Deposits , ......................||$ 270,787.39|
Mr. Squires , after successfully filling the office of president of the bank until January 8th , 1884 , resigned , and Wesley Hooker was elected in his stead. The present board of directors and bank officers are as follows:--
Vice-president--Geo. L. Cole
Cashier--Chas. F. Selover
Directors--Geo. L. Cole , Wesley Hooker , Wm. H. Clark , Chas. H. Parker , F. Cyrus Straat , Robert Bushby ,B.A. Benedict , Chas. E. Selover , L.J. Fitzgerald , Hamilton Putnam , David F. Wallace , Chas. W. Collins , Geo. J. Mager , F.N. Harrington
The Second National Bank of Cortland was organized the 25th day of November , 1882 , with a capital of $100,000 , and the following directors ; J.S. Bull , Fitz Boynton , L.J. Fitzgerald , George C. Hubbard , J.R. Schermerhorn , George N. Bliss , Harsison Wells , John D. Schermerhorn , M.H. McGraw , D.F. Wallace , E.A. Fish , H.F. Benton , M.S. Pierce and W.B. Stoppard. The bank is proving a very successful institution , and the statement of July 23d , 1883 , shows a capital stock of $100,00 ; surplus $6,200 ; undivided profit $1,487.50 ; deposits , $94,000.
The Cortland Savings Bank was organized April 13 , 1866 , a charter being secured through the efforts of Hon. Stephen Patrick , of Truxton , and the original trustees were William R. Randall , president ; Hiram J. Messenger , Thomas Keator , Jedediah Barber , George W. Bradford , Perrin H. McGraw , Henry Stephens , Frederick Hyde , Horatio Ballard , Henry S. Randall , R. Holland Duell , Hiram Crandall , Horace P. Goodrich , James W. Sturtevant , Alphonso Stone , Silas Blanchard , Raymond P. Babcock , Nathan Smith , Daniel E. Whitmore and Stephen Patrick. The bank was opened September 25th , 1866 , in a small room on the second floor of Randall's Bank with Calvin P. Walrad as secretary and treasurer , and from this modest beginning its business gradually increased until it was necessary to secure the large room now occupied (formerly Randall's Bank) , and the deposits amount to nearly $500,000.
The trustees are now Frederick Hyde , president ; G.W. Bradford , R. Holland Duell , Henry Brewer , Horace P. Goodrich , Charles C. Taylor , Abram P. Smith , Calvin P. Walrad , James C. Carmichael , Morgan L. Webb (treasurer), Stephen Patrick , Madison Woodruff , Norma Chamberlain , Samuel E. Welch , Alphonso Stone , George N. Copeland , Henry McKevitt , William H. Twiss and A. Leroy Cole , and the statement of the bank , made January 1st , 1883 , shows the assets to be $449,151.43 ; liabilities , $426,477.43 ; surplus , $22,674.80.
During the seventy years which have elapsed since the first business establishments were opened on the site of this village , the mercantile interests of the place have kept pace with the demands of the community in whatever directions. The superstructure of these interests , laid by such men as the Randalls , Nathan Luce , the Bassetts , Samuel Ingalls and their contemporaries , was worthy in every respect of the emulation of their successors ; and today the mercantile houses of Cortland will compare favorable with those of any other village of its size in the country.
In early years all of the stores in the growing villages were such as are denominated " general stores ," selling almost everything needed by farmers and housekeepers ; and it is within the memory of many now living when the demand for special lines of goods first became sufficient to employ the time and effort of merchants in one particular direction. A brief review of the mercantile interests of this village will form a not unimportant part of its history.
No history of early times in Cortland could fail to make frequent mention of William and Roswell Randall , the pioneer merchants.These brothers came to Cortland from Brookfield , Madison county , where they had been engaged in business , in 1813 , and began trading on the corner now occupied by the Keator block. Roswell paid especial attention to the indoor business of the store , while his brother looked after their other extensive operations , embracing the building and operation of distilleries , asheries , buying and selling stock , farming , etc. They continued together for many years and finally dissolved partnership , when Roswell built the old " Eagle Store ," a pretentious building for that period , standing on the site of the new Squires block. In that building he did an extensive business for many years. William subsequently built the brick building on the corner of Main and Court streets and established the Randall Bank. Of these brothers Mr. Ballard wrote: " They amassed wealth , were public-spirited and essentially aided in various ways and at successive periods in the growth and beauty of the village. They have left their impress upon the topography of the village , which will not soon pass away--William as a successful financier , bank president and model agriculturist , exemplified in his splendid possessions ; Roswell as the finished merchant , faithful postmaster , accomplished brigade commander , the graceful host in the attractions of social life. These brothers gave enduring renown to Cortland." The family of William Randall consisted of Antoinette , Wilhelmina and William R. , the two latter now living in the village. The family of Roswell Randall were William P. and Henry S. The first named is still a resident of the village. The former died in 1877. He was educated as an attorney , became a prominent politician ; was a writer of decided ability and filled an eminent station in life.
Nathan Luce was a contemporary in business with the Randalls and conducted one of the first stores in the place. He later built the original hotel , which afterwards became the well known Eagle Tavern.
Asahel Lyman was a merchant before 1816 , in which year he built the block now owned and occupied by John S. Samson. Further reference will be made to his establishment and that of his sons a little further on.
Luman Rice was an early business man , became largely interested in freighting down the river , as already alluded to , and had a brewery at Port Watson before 1815 , probably the only one ever established in the town. In November , 1815 , he advertised his brewery , " near Sweet's Tavern , Port Watson ," saying , " considering the vast difference between the effects on mankind of ardent spirits and this cheap , whole-some and cheering liquor , it is hoped the community will find it to their advantage to patronize the establishment." For some unknown reason he offered the brewery for sale in the next issue of the paper in which the above advertisement appeared.
In reviewing the records of the present principal mercantile houses of the village , the names of many other early merchants will appear , with brief accounts of their stores.
The Drug Trade.--It is only about twenty-five years since the ills of this community seemed to demand that sufficient drugs should be kept on sale to warrant a man in devoting his entire store and time to that interest. Previous to 1856 drugs and medicines occupied a share of the shelves of groceries and the general stores and the placards of Brandreth's Pills , Jayne's Expectorant and other popular preparations , hung conspicuously beside those of Java coffee , Young Hyson tea and mayhap silks and velvets. Then it was not necessary for the Cortland county housewife to go shopping from store to store in order to obtain her weekly supply of household necessities. On the other hand , she could enter any one of the several general stores in this village an purchase her sugar and tea , her calico and sheeting , her " Yankee notions " of whatever kind , her new bonnet and her confectionery for the little one , while her husband was investing in nails , crockery , farming tools , a new hat , a pair of boots , or what not. In 1847 the business portion of Cortland village was almost entirely confined to Main street between the Cortland House and the old Eagle Tavern , and nearly all of it was on the eastern side of the street. Daniel Bradford kept what was called a drug store then , but his stock was almost too comprehensive to deserve that exclusive title. J.W. Sturtevant & Co. had a general store , with a strong leaning towards dry gods ; and general stores were kept by W.O. Barnard , corner of Main and Mill streets , Orin Stimpson , Asa Lyman and James Van Valen ; Henry Brewer had a harness store ; J. Mc Farlan a furniture store ; Homer Gillett a grocery where C.F. Thompson is now located , and L. Cudworth and I.M. Seaman also sold groceries ; A. & S.D. Freer kept the only hardware store , and Andrew Dickson kept a dry goods store and the post-office in a building then standing where the Keator block is now located. These establishments embraced the business of Cortland village thirty-five years ago--a short period to witness the development and growth of what has since that time been added. They were the predecessors of the more pretentious establishments representing all branches of trade , which we shall proceed to notice as among the more prominent mercantile stores of Cortland village.
In the year 1847 G.W. Bradford , then a young man came to Cortland and entered the store of Daniel Bradford as clerk. He remained here nine years and in 1856 opened a drug store in the same store which he has occupied ever since--a period of twenty-nine years , the only example of a merchant remaining in one location and one line of business in this village , for so long a period. His store has been somewhat enlarged and improved , but otherwise is identical with his first place of business. Mr. Bradford is a respected citizen and successful business man.
The first store opened in Cortland for the exclusive sale of drugs and medicines was that of A. Sager , and was located near the corner of Main and Court streets , on the present site of the Schermerhorn building ; this was in 1857. In 1861 Mr. Sager responded to the call of his country , joining the 76th regiment and sold his business to Dr. T.C. Pomeroy. He was discharged on account of disabilities in May , 1863 , when he returned and again engaged in the same business in the old Barnard block , corner of Main and Mill streets.This was then and for many years previous , perhaps , the most prominent building in the village. It was of brick , three stories high in front and two in the rear , and was built by W.O. Barnard , who was for many years one of the leading merchants of the village and located on that corner. When Mr. Sager began business there L. Dexter had a billiard saloon in an old two story wood building adjoining the Barnard block , in the second story of which was Henry Woodruff's tailor shop. Mr. Sager continued business until the spring of 1865 , when he took Thomas Dalton in partnership ; the firm continued one year when Mr. Dalton withdrew. In April , 1866 , the buildings above referred to and their grounds were purchased by Mr. Sager and Mr. Dexter the former taking the corner building and the latter the wooden structure. In 1870 Mr. Sager became associated with W.A. Pierce , under the firm name of A. Sager & Co. This firm continued a year and seven months , when Mr. Pierce withdrew. In 1872 the owners of the corner rebuilt the structures into their present commodious and attractive form. The present firm of Sager & Jennings was formed by the admission of E.F. Jennings , in the spring of 1881 , and is doing a large and growing business. Mr. Sager's services in the army are referred to in the history of the 76th regiment , herein.
About the year 1868 a drug store was established by Abner L. Smith , who in course of time sold to Brown & Arnold , and the store then passed into possession of the late George H. Arnold. He sold in 1881 to Johnson & Barney and in 1883 W.B. Johnson bought out his partner and is now conducting the business alone at No. 6 North Main street.
In the year 1880 the present firm of Brown & Maybury was formed ; composed of Charles F. Brown and M.M. Maybury. Their drug store is located at No. 3 North Main street.
Dry Goods.--One of the first , if not the very first store in Cortland devoted to the exclusive sale of dry goods was that of J.W. Sturtevant & Co. , which was established in 1846 at the location now occupied by Dickinson & McGraw. The business was conducted there by that firm for more than twenty years and was favorably known throughout the county and surrounding towns. The firm was composed of J.W. Sturtevant E.H. Doud and was at first located where Dickinson & McGraw now are. They conducted the business there for more than twenty years and were very successful. E.A. Fish was admitted to partnership in 1861 , and the store was afterward removed to what is No. 19 North Main street. The general character of the store was abandoned about 1862 , and in 1869 Mr. Doud's interest was purchased by C.P. Walrad , when the firm name was changed to Sturtevant , Fish & Co. Mr. Walrad came to Cortland in 1856 as a clerk for Sturtevant & Doud. In 1872 Mr. Sturtevant interest was purchased by the junior members of the firm and Fish and Walrad successfully carried on the business , removing in 1879 to more commodious quarters in the new Schermerhorn building. On the 5th of March , 1883 , Fish & Walrad sold the establishment to Geo. J. Mager , and during the same month Mr. Walrad again became a member of the firm , which is now Mager & Walrad. Such is the history of this staunch house , one of the oldest in this line in the town.
S.E. Welch is one of the oldest dry goods houses in the county , having first begun in 1845 in Upper Lisle. Previous to that time he had obtained a thorough knowledge of the business by working in stores in McGrawville. In the fall of 1846 he opened a store in McLean , where he remained until 1853 , coming then to Cortland. He has been constantly in the business here since then. In 1869 he , in connection with J. Rose , built the Union Hall block in which he opened his store. This building suffered from the fire which destroyed the Garrison block in Feb. , 1884. At this time he began business at his present location on Port Watson street. Mr. Welch has been entrusted with different responsible public and private trusts and has been supervisor of the town for several terms.
The direct predecessor of the firm of Warren & Tanner was that of Wells & Mills , which began business about 1862. It was then changed to Mills & Kinney and in 1868 to Mills & Warren. In April , 1872 , the firm of Warren & Tanner was formed by a union of George L. Warren and James E. Tanner. The store was formerly located one door south of the present location , which was taken in 1882.
In March , 1864 , Adolphus F. and Abram T. Tanner came to Cortland from Dryden , and opened a dry goods and notion store in the Messenger House block. The firm was successful and remained there until 1868 , when they removed to the Moore block. When the new Garrison block was finished in 1878 they removed to a commodious store in that building , and added carpets , etc. to their stock. In June , 1883 , Abram T. Tanner died , causing not only an irrepairable loss to the surviving brother , but leaving a vacancy in the community and in the hearts of many friends. After the burning of the Garrison block recently Adophus F. Tanner fitted up a handsome store in the new Standard building , where he is now located.
In the 1879 P.R. Brewster , of Syracuse , removed to Cortland and began the dry goods trade. He was joined by C.N. Blowers in 1882 , and the firm continued until the death of Mr. Brewster in June , 1884 , since which time Mr. Blowers has conducted the business alone. His handsome store is in the Standard building.
J.S. Samson's father came into the town of Homer in 1811 , bringing his son with him. John S. was elected sheriff of the county in 1855 , since which time he has lived in Cortland. He is now the owner of the old Lyman building , where he carries on the dry goods business.
Books , Stationery , Musical Instruments , etc.--The first store in
Cortland devoted to the exclusive sale of books , stationery , wall paper and kindred goods , was that of the Apgar Brothers , which was opened in the Taylor Hall block about the close of the last war. The business was moderately successful , and in 1868 was sold to A. Mahan , an enterprising young man who had been engaged in the produce business in Virgil for several years previous. Mr. Mahan is a man of exceptional business capacity and under his enterprising and discreet management the trade of the establishment was rapidly extended and the range of stock enlarged. Musical merchandise was added , and subsequently sewing-machines and other specialities. In 1870 D.F. Wallace entered the firm where he remained a member until 1874 , the business meanwhile becoming largely increased. In the year last the firm divided their interests , Mr. Wallace retaining the book and stationery branch and Mr. Mahan taking the musical merchandise and sewing-machine interest into the new building which was erected on Court street , Nos. 9 and 11. During the ten years since that date , he has devoted his best energies to the building up of a large trade in musical instruments , sewing-machines , etc. , which he has extended throughout central New York. He is also a member of the firm of F.A. Bickford & Co. , dealers in guns and sporting goods , in the same building. Mr. Mahan's business and his general character as a citizen is fully recognized by the community , as evidenced in their selection of him as president of the village for the year 1883 , an office which he filled with the most satisfactory results. In 1881 he erected one of the finest residences in the village , in spacious grounds on North Main street.
Since the dissolution of the firm of Mahan & Wallace , the latter has carried on the book and stationery , and wall paper business in his store in the Taylor Hall bock , in which he has achieved the most flattering success , there being but two or three firms in the country who handle more wall paper than he , outside of the manufacturers. About a year ago he became the owner of the valuable property on the corner of Main and West Court streets , the buildings upon which were recently burned. Mr. Wallace will erect on the site a block which will be a credit to the place.
The firm of Bushby & Robinson was formed in 1883 , and a stock of books , stationery , wall paper etc., was added to the railroad ticket agency which had previously been established by Mr. Robinson. After a year the firm separated , Mr. Robinson taking the book and stationery trade to No. 24 Main street , and Mr. Bushby retaining the other branch of the business at the former location.
Furniture.--John McFarlan is one of pioneers of Cortland , at least in a business sense. He came from New York city whence he had gone from his home in Montgomery county and worked at the trade of cabinet-maker three years. During the cholera epidemic of 1832 he went to Canada , coming from there to Cortland in 1834. He was the first furniture manufacturer in Cortland , his shop being located for a short time on Church street in the building now used as a dwelling by Mrs. Edgcomb. He remained there nine months and removed to Port Watson street , where he continued in the business about seventeen years , as the leader in that line in the county. At the end of that time , in 1851 , J.C. Carmichael became a member of the firm , which remained as McFarlan & Carmichael until 1866 , when the junior partner bought the entire establishment and conducted it until Albert W. Edgcomb purchased an interest in the business. On September 1st , 1883 , Mr. Carmichael's interest was purchased by S.M. Ballard , the firm becoming Ballard & Edgcomb. The store was removed to No. 32 South Main street where an extensive business is now carried on.
R. Beard began the furniture trade in Cortland in 1874. In 1879 he took R.B. Fletcher into the business , which firm continued until 1883 , since which time it has carried on the business as R. Beard & Son. The establishment is now located on Port Watson street.
Harness making.--Harness making and selling was probably established here by Wm. Bartlit , on Main street in a building which stood near the site of the Schermerhorn residence. Henry Brewer , one of the pioneer business men of the village , came into the place when he was sixteen years old and learned his trade with Mr. Bartlit. After finishing his apprenticeship he formed a partnership with Oliver Glover and purchased the stock of Mr. Bartlit. The firm continued for only a short time , when the first proprietor repurchased the goods , but soon sold out to Almy & Curtis. The stock was again transferred to Henry Phillips , who was the last proprietor at the original stand. Mr. Brewer began business on his own account in 1834 , renting a room in the second story of the small building then standing on the site now occupied by E.H. Brewer. In January , 1864 , when he took the first floor and part of the second in the new brick building erected on the original site. He subsequently admitted his son , Henry L. Brewer , to a partnership , under the title of H. Brewer & Son , but upon the failure of the junior member's health this partnership was dissolved and Mr. Brewer continued the business alone until 1874 , when he sold to E.H. Brewer & Co. , and retired from active service. E. H. Brewer & Co. conducted the establishment until 1877 , when J.A. Schermerhorn was admitted , and the firm name was changed to Brewer & Schermerhorn , who continued in partnership until 1879 , when , by the death of Mr. Schermerhorn , E.H. Brewer became sole proprietor. E.H. Brewer is also the senior member of the Cortland Box Loop Company.
I. & M. Edgcomb began harness making here in 1856 , at the location now occupied by Mr. Van Alstine as a shoe store (then the old Barnard block). They came to their present location in 1860. There has been no change in this firm in all these years , except the absence of Martin Edgcomb about three years in the army.
Nathan Peck carried on harness making in Cortland a long time , but stopped some twenty years ago.
Hardware.--The business in hardware now carried on by Newkirk & Hulbert is an outgrowth of the original foundry and machine shops established by Daniel Larned in 1832 , which was afterward conducted by the Freers for many years , and since transferred to the Cortland Machine Company. The Freers sold to Chamberlain & Benton in 1861. In 1865 Benton's interest was purchased by H.C. Smith , and Chamberlain & Smith conducted the business until 1873 , when they erected the three-story brick building at No. 14 Port Watson street , and engaged in the hardware trade. The business was divided in 1874 , the stock company known as the Cortland Foundry and Machine Company taking the foundry and machine shops , and the Cortland Hardware Company succeeding to the hardware business. H.C. Smith then bought out the Cortland Hardware Company and conducted the business for a tie , and sold to C.F. Chamberlain , who was succeeded in turn by Floyd Chamberlain. In a short time , however , C.F. Chamberlain again purchased the business , and forming a co-partnership with C.F. Huntington , under the title of C.F. Chamberlain & Co. , continued the business a year and then organized the Chamberlain Manufacturing Company. In 1879 W.S. Newkirk and Ernest M. Hulbert , forming the firm of Newkirk & Hulbert , succeeded the Chamberlain Manufacturing Company. Upon the completion of the new Standard building the firm removed to extensive quarters in that block.
The hardware , stove and tinware business now conducted by Smith & Kingsbury at No. 12 North Main street was established in 1859 by E.D. Mallery , in the old Lyman building , corner of Main street and Groton avenue. This was the second tin and hardware store in the village , and was started on a very small scale , the storeroom now occupied by C.H. Gaylord's grocery being devoted to the sale of hardware , and having a small tin shop in the rear. Soon after the business was established and during the same year (1859) , Mallery sold to the firm of Mills & Goodrich , who carried on the business four years , in 1863 or 1864 securing the frame building then standing on the corner of Main and Court streets (and which had been occupied many years as a seminary) , and removing it to the present site turned it into a hardware store and tin shop. Mr. Goodrich then retired from the firm , Myron H. Mills continued as sole proprietor for two years , when he sold an interest to Josiah Stephens. The business was conducted by Mills & Stephens about two years , and upon the retirement of Stephens , in 1867 or thereabouts , Mills continued the business alone until 1869 , when he sold the hardware department to Theodore Perkins , retaining the tin shop. In February of 1870 he formed a copartnership with F.D. Smith , under the firm name of Theodore Perkins & Co. , and the tinware business was again included. W.S. Newkirk succeeded Perkins in 1871 , and Newkirk & Smith conducted the business until 1875 , when the present copartnership of Smith & Kingsbury was formed.
H.M. Kellogg began the hardware business with Frank Place , and purchased his partner's interest in 1879. He was entirely burned out in the disastrous fire which destroyed the Garrison block on the 20th of February , 1884. He is now established at No. 28 North Main street.
Nelson & Call are engaged chiefly in the sale of carriage maker's supplies at 19 S. Main street.
Boots and Shoes.--In the Cortland Journal of 1824 we find Norman Curtis advertising the boot and shoe making business , at his shop a few rods east of Lyman & Blair's store. He kept on hand a good assortment of leather and stated that his work was all made by the good old fashioned method of sewing. John Bement was also a shoemaker at that period and was located opposite the Methodist chapel. It is not probable that these men were the first shoemakers in the place , though they may have been ; but we have no earlier records. Wm. Elder and Wm. Fisk were long engaged in the business at a later date , on the site of Dickinson & McGraw's store. The latter gentleman was bought out by Dickinson & McGraw in 1864 , since which time they have carried on a successful trade at the same location.
As far back as the year 1861 C.Van Alstine began shoemaking in Cortland in a small building then standing on the grounds of the Schermerhorn residence on South Main street. A few years later this building was removed to the rear of the lot an Mr. VanAlstine went into the old Lyman building for two years when he engaged in the livery business. In 1869 he formed a partnership with Henry Purdy and in 1873 removed to the Calvert block and began a wholesale and retail business in boots and shoes. Mr. Purdy died in 1874 and the stock was closed out , but Mr. Van Alstine again engaged in the business in 1875 , in the Calvert block. From 1876 to 1878 he occupied the old wooden building that stood on the site of the Schermerhorn block and then went into the building recently burned on the corner of Main and Court streets. He remained here until 1880 , when he took his present store in the Dexter House block.
A.R. & Jay Peck began the business in 1883 and have a handsome store at No. 21 South Main street.
Sackett L. Wright began the shoe trade in 1875 and still continues a successful business.
Jewelers.--An account of the Bassett family , who were the first jewelers in the village , has already been given. The next workmen and dealers in this line as far as we have been able to learn , was the firm of Boon & Ormsby , located two doors south of the Eagle Tavern , whose business was transferred in August , 1834 to G.K. Stiles. Many people now living in Cortland will remember the building of the small wooden store now occupied by M. Michelson , some forty years ago in which Mr. Stiles carried on his business more than twenty years. Mr. Stiles removed to Brooklyn about the year 1859 and a few years ago committed suicide by jumping into the East River.
M. Michelson began the business here in 1862 and has continued it ever since. Delos Sanders opened a jewelry store a number of years ago and in 1882 sold out to J. B. Capron. He in turn transferred the business to C.W. Barney in August , 1883. He is now located in a part of A. Mahan's store.
C.F. Baldwin & Co. began the jewelry trade at 22 North Main street in May , 1882. In January , 1884 , Mr. Baldwin bought out his partner and has since conducted the business alone.
J.C. Gray came to Cortland and established himself in this business in the year 1872 which he has successfully followed ever since. He is located at 5 North Main street.
Ready-made Clothing.--The methods of clothing the masses of the people have undergone radical changes within the past twenty years , and the consequent growth of the ready-made clothing business is one of the marvels of American trade. The first store in Cortland for the exclusive sale of clothing was that of Kent & Sperry ; which opened in the Messenger House block nearly twenty years ago. The establishment was purchased by the Burdick Brothers in 1878 and sold by them to Reid & Wallace in 1881. In March , 1883 , the firm became E.M. Reid & Co. , and in October of the same year F.W. Collins became a member. This continued until April , 1884 , when Collins bought out his partner and now conducts business alone. His store is located at 8 North Main street.
The other clothing houses of the village are F.N. Harrington & Co. , who has successfully conducted the business for a number of years ; I. Whiteson , 20 North Main street , who began in 1882 , and A. Rosenbaum , 30 North Main street , who began in 1883. Samuel S. Woodruff and John Morris are tailors , both of whom have had long and honorable business careers in the village.
House Furnishing.--In the year 1860 the firm of Garrison & Collins was formed , for carrying on the grocery trade. Mr. Garrison had been in the business for some years previous , and when Mr. Collins entered the firm , crockery and some other house furnishing lines were added. The firm continued together four years , when it was dissolved , Mr. Collins continuing the business and gradually going out of the grocery trade , to make way for his present large house furnishing business. This is the only store of the kind in the place.
Grocers.--The limits of our space will not permit of a detailed history of all the establishments that have sold groceries in the village ; their number is legion. One of the earliest dealers of whom we find mentioned was Homer Gillett , an estimable citizen , who was in trade before 1829. Horace Jarvis was a grocer here for many years and afterward held the office of postmaster for seventeen years ; he was a citizen who was respected by the entire community. In those days and for years afterward all of the merchants in the place aided in supplying the tables of the community , and exclusive grocers did not exist until long afterward.
I.M. Seaman came to Cortland from Madison county in 1840 and began business in 1843 ; he was afterward associated with L. Cudworth (Cudworth & Seaman ) until 1846 ; they had a grocery and meat market , the only one of the kind in the village. This firm was succeeded by B.K. Aldrich , G.N. Copeland and D.C. Cloyes. The latter came to Cortland from Oneida county in 1852 , bought out Mr. Copeland and continued the business until 1878. He was succeeded by W.B. Stoppard , who now conducts the store.
The grocery now occupied by C.H. Price & Co. was for sixteen years used by Daniel Bradford , who for many years before was located where Wm. Riley now is. Mr. Bradford was succeeded by A.C. Carr and he by the present firm.
L.D. Garrison has already been mentioned as having been associated with C.W. Collins. The grocery firm of L.D. Garrison & Co. was located in the Garrison block until it was burned in Feb. ,1884. C.H. Gaylord began business in 1875 and the Sherwood Brothers also began in the same year , succeeding Miller & Sherwood. R.S. Randall & Co. began in October , 1880 , succeeding Smith & Meyers , and W.H. Bradford in 1882 , occupied the store formerly used by John and George Bennett. The firm of E.F. & James Squires , the former having previously been associated with C.W. Stoker in the same business. They are located at 23 South Main street. H.B. Hubbard has a store at 24 South Main street , and is the successor of Givens & Hubbard. These are the principal firms in the village in this line of trade.
Photography.--Cortland village has been for many years favored with photographic artists of excellent capabilities , the first of whom we find mention being Prof. Beck , who for a long period had a gallery in Homer. He established one in Cortland in 1852. The business is now well represented by E.M. Santee , who succeeded Page & Santee , and is a first-class artist.
Bakers.-The first brick baker's oven built in this village was by Benjamin & Bancroft , in 1845 ; but they were too early to find a sufficient demand for their goods and closed out in about a year. The Cortland steam bakery was established in 1873 by Eggleston & Cobb , who put in steam power in 1875. About this time Mr. Eggleston retired and the firm became Cobb & Perkins. In January , 1881 , the confectionery business of L.D. Garrison was purchased and the works largely extended , until now it is one of the important business houses of the village.
Hotels.--Readers have already become more or less familiar with the early hotels of Cortland and their proprietors. The first one was established by Samuel Ingalls in 1810 and was long a popular house. Moses Hopkins , the leading pioneer , was the second landlord , his house standing where the Taylor Hall block is now located. Then followed the tavern built at Port Watson by the company of eastern men who believed that was to be the site of the future village and city. About the year 1818 Nathan Luce built the tavern that first stood on the site of the Messenger House and which was afterwards enlarged and known for many years as the popular Eagle Tavern. This was burned down in January , 1862 , and the present hotel erected on its site. Relative to the building of this hotel the Hon. Horatio Ballard spoke as follows at the dedication ceremonies of Messenger ( now Taylor ) Hall in February , 1866 : "In January , 1862 , the "Eagle Tavern," a name cherished in the memory of thousands of guests , was destroyed b fire. It was a calamity to or town and a loss to the public. But there were agencies at work beyond the penetration of human imaginings , which more than restored the loss. Just before the opening of our railway , a citizen ( Hiram J. Messenger ) then engaged in a limited mercantile trade in an adjoining town , removed to another county and entered upon a large field of action. He was successful. In the year 1860 he returned to this , his native county , endowed with a fortune and a public spirit. He was not slow in discovering the sure evidences of an advancing trade centering here. One of the first exhibitions of his good will and devotion to the public interests was his unexpected announcement that if the site of the old "Eagle" was tendered to him , he would cover it with a hotel not surpassed in central New York. The offer was accepted and rising above the smouldering ashes was soon seen the stately pile , alike an ornament to the town and a boast of the county.
Such was the origin of the Messenger House , which has ever since been kept as a first class hotel. It was long under the experienced care of Wm. S. Copeland and is now conducted by Mr. Barry.
David Merrick , as has already been recorded , built a hotel just west of the site of the Cortland House , in an early day , which he kept , and at a later date his son , Danforth , erected the Cortland House , the one of the largest public houses in the vicinity , and which burned but a short time ago. It passes through several hands until it came into possession of D. Bauder , who has kept t since that time. He is at this writing engaged in the erection of a splendid house on the burned site.
The old Center House , which stood on the site of the Arnold House , came into possession of Enos Stimson about the year 1840. He sold out to C.J. Etz , of whom J.S. Samson purchased it about 1850. He kept it one year as a temperance house and sold to Daniel Rose. Following him in the proprietorship came Messrs. Winston , Mills , Curtis , Samuel Plumb , Cornelius Brown , Fairchild and probably others. In 1865 D.J. Sperry took the property , subsequently taking in as a partner his son-in-law , W.F. Burdick. They rebuilt the house in its present form in 1870. It next passed into possession of E.F. Butterfield , who sold it to Arnold & Carr in 1881.
The building of the Dexter House by L. Dexter in 1866 has already been mentioned. He kept a popular house , which is continued at the present time and since 1881 , by S.A. Williams.
The Farmer's Hotel is a smaller house , located on Port Watson street , owned and kept by Bernard Doud.
Please continue on to the fifth section ...
You are our 9217 visitor -- since the counter was installed on Jan 27, 2001