HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF PREBLE
The town of Preble was named in honor of Commodore Preble, and was formed from the military township of Tully upon the organization of Cortland county, April 8th, 1808. It embraced the south half of that township and also the present town of Scott. The boundaries are as follows: On the north by Onondaga county; on the east by Truxton; on the south by Homer and Scott; on the west by Scott.
The surface is largely broken and hilly, consisting of the valley of the west branch of the Tioughnioga river, which is nearly two miles wide, with high ridges rising on the east and west. Mount Topping is the most elevated portion of the town, being seventeen hundred feet above tide. North of Mount Topping a valley extends northward and opens into the valley of Otisco lake. The hills of Preble are steep and many of the summits terminate in sharp peaks.
The soil is a fine quality of gravelly loam. Several small lakes are situated in the town and are known as the Little York lakes. The following concerning Mount Topping is quoted from Goodwin's History of the County: "From the highest elevation of Mount Topping portions of Onondaga, Cayuga and Tompkins may be seen, with their varying scenery, blending the beauties of rich, productive fields with the more rugged features of nature. Standing on that lofty point the observer may have a fine view of Homer, Preble and Tully flats, lands that will compare favorably with any in the State; and there, too, he may view with admiration and wonder the works of the Deity, as exhibited in the numerous ridges and long sloping valleys, the rounded knolls and picturesque glades, all richly diversified and producing in abundance the various crops common to the country. Indeed, there are many magnificent views to be taken from this rugged point, as it looms up in its ancient grandeur. We were most agreeably surprised with our visit to this olden spot of Indian warfare, where the Indian man contested the right of inheritance with the wild beasts of the mountain glen or forest glade."
Preble Corners, situated on the Syracuse, Binghamton and New York Railroad, contains two churches, a hotel, two general stores, one hardware store and one drug store, and one cooper shop; a harness shop, two blacksmith shops, one wagon shop and other shops of various kinds, with about four hundred inhabitants. Preble Center and Baltimore are hamlets, the latter located near the center of the town, and was formerly a thriving little village, containing hotel, post-office, stores and a tannery.
The first settlement was made in the town of Preble in 1796 by James Cravath and John Gill. James Cravath bought lot 68 and paid $1 per acre for the land. He afterwards sold to his brothers, Robert and Samuel, three hundred acres of this land and the remainder to Garret Van Hoesen in 1805, for which last named part he received $12.50 per acre. After this transaction James Cravath moved to the Holland Purchase, in Genesee county, N.Y. His only daughter, Mrs. Blodgett, almost moved to that county. Robert and Samuel Cravath came to the town in 1797, and lived the remainder of their lives in the county and gained the reputation of being honorable, upright citizens and valuable members of the community. They were both earnest supporters of the early church in Preble. Samuel moved to Homer just prior to his death. James Cravath was a native of Connecticut, but migrated from Pompey Hill. Samuel and Robert came from Norfolk, Conn.
John Gill settled on a part of lots 76 and 77. He settled first in Scott and came to Preble soon after. It was at his house the first meeting was held in the town for the election of the town officers.
Harry Hill and Elijah Mason came in during the year 1798. The former was from Montgomery county, N.Y., and located on lot 87, which he drew for military services in the Revolutionary War. Elijah Mason settled on lot 78. Seth Trowbridge, from Montgomery county, located in the early part of 1779 on lot 59, and during the next year Samuel Trowbridge, Winnie Hyatt and Samuel Orvis settled on the same lot. Trowbridge served in the War of the Revolution and drew the lot. The Widow Trowbridge, of Homer, mother of Mrs. Oliver Glover, of Homer, was a daughter of Mr. Hyatt. Mr. Orvis was from Norfolk, Conn. He subsequently removed to Prattsburg, Steuben county, where he died in 1851 at the advanced age of ninety-eight years. Samuel Trowbridge was the first inn-keeper in the town of Preble.
In 1801 Augustus Thorp located on lot 78. In 1802 John Osgood, Silas Topping, Samuel C. Buckelow and Jabez Phelps came in and settled in various locations. Jabez Phelps was originally from Hebron, Connecticut, but came to Preble from Cazenovia. He located on lot 88, and for the first few years he practiced medicine and was honored with the title of Doctor; but he subsequently turned his attention to politics and was at different times elected to important positions, creditably filling the office of associate judge, surrogate and Member of the Assembly. He died Dec. 20th, 1850, aged seventy-four years. His widow lived upwards of four score years. They had seven children, as follows: The daughter Sophronia became the wife of Charles Clark, of Groton; Laura Jane the wife of Dr. Burdick; Augusta the wife of Harry Hobart of Truxton; Lydia, the wife of Dr. Alfred Hall, of Navarino, Onondaga county; Amanda the wife of Ezekiel Chew, of Richard, Ohio; Abram J., of Newark, in the same State; Calvin B., of Chrysoline, Ohio.
Osgood settled on lot 77; Buckelow on lot 67, and Topping on 96.
In 1802 Lyttle Ferguson from Montgomery county located on lot 65.
In 1803 Amos Skeel and Jason Comstock came in from Schenectady county, and selected locations. The former settled on lot 59. He was an industrious and valuable citizen. He died in 1842, at the age of seventy-five years. His widow survived him eleven years and died at the age of eighty-eight. He was the father of Hon. Ira Skeel, and William W. Mr. Comstock located on lot 58. His daughter Saloma is the wife [of] D.G. Duncan. In 1804 John Collyer, Dr. Robert D. Taggart and Edward Cummings selected locations. Collyer, father of Casper Collyer, came from Greene county and settled on lot 58. Taggart came from Colerain and located on lot 59. He was an exceedingly active and prominent man. Cummings came in from Peterborough, N.H., and settled on lot 59. He purchased 100 acres, and reared a respectable family of thirteen children.
James Crofoot was one of the prominent early settlers and probably emigrated from Connecticut about the year 1806, arriving in Preble during the latter part of that year. He settled on lot 88 and was one of the very first to locate in Baltimore. Joseph Crofoot was postmaster of that hamlet for a number of years. His son, David Crofoot, was a tanner and currier and became wealthy. He was a skillful mechanic and carried on that business at Baltimore for forty years. The old stone building, still standing in that place and occupied for that especial purpose during the time Mr. Crofoot was engaged in that pursuit, was afterward used for various purposes, such as blacksmith shop, shoe shop, etc., but has been virtually abandoned for many years. This building was erected about the year 1810, and was the first tannery in the town. David Crofoot must have turned his attention in part of politics; the records of the town show him to have been supervisor in 1823, '24, '25, '30, '32, '33, '34, '39, '40, '43, '44, '45, '46, '52, and '53 -- fifteen years in all, but extending over a period of thirty years of time.
The first grist-mill in the town of Preble was erected in the year 1806, by Samuel C. Woolston, a native of Montgomery county. In 1827 the building was taken down and the main part of the present mill erected on the original site. The mill was run until about the year 1850, and then passed into the hands of Uriah Philley. In 1853 W.E. Tallman purchased the mill property, comprising 200 acres of valuable land. He was an enterprising citizen of Tully, who, after coming here, thoroughly renovated and improved the mill, adding new bolts and another run of stone. He also extended shafting to his barn, a distance of 360 feet, where he used the power for thrashing, separating grain, elevating straw, shelling corn and sawing wood, thus saving him by using the surplus power, half the usual number of hands necessary to do the same amount of work. Mr. Tallman also purchased a water power below his mill about thirty-eight rods distant, and by the use of shafting 627 feet in length, was enabled to operate another extra run of stone. He thus used a portion of the water a second time. This valuable mill privilege is now owned by Elijah Stanton. A saw-mill is also connected with it.
By the year 1806 some improvements had been made in the town. The few farms had made considerable progress in felling the forest, and Elijah Mason and Samuel Trowbridge had erected the first frame houses. These were soon followed by that of John Collyer, who built between the Corners and the river, on the site now occupied by Henry Haviland. In this building Mr. Collyer kept hotel in an early day and as late as 1813, in which year Moses B. Howard moved into the town.
Captain Church also had a tavern near Woolston's mill at an early day; but the date of his proprietorship is not now available.
In 1804 John Osgood opened a store at Preble Corners and in 1807 Wm. Vandenberg began keeping a tavern there. Ashabel Frost opened a store on lot 78 about 1812 and Noah Parsons one on lot 68 in 1818.
David Crofoot began his tannery business about the year 1810, in Baltimore, and Isaac Crofoot, his cousin, some years later, opened a tavern there; this passed through different hands and was finally kept by Geo. Haines, who closed it as a public house about 1854. A post-office was located here in 1812 which was continued about 1832.
Preble Center was a thriving little hamlet at an early day, where business was done and some manufacturing in a small way; but the place long since became scarcely worth of note.
Jabez Phelps and Joseph Crofoot were early identified with the interests of Baltimore; but when the post-office was removed from there to the Corners in 1832, the place lots its business activity, until now it is merely a neighborhood of contiguous dwellings.
The first annual town meeting of the town of Preble was convened at the house of John Gill on the 3d of May, 1808, when the following officers were elected: --
Supervisor - Amos Skeel.
Town Clerk - Albert Collyer
Assessors - Garret Van Hoesen, Peleg Babcock and John Gill.
Commissioners of highways - William Gillett, Samuel Trowbridge and Samuel Babcock.
Overseers of the poor - Elijah Mason, Wm. Vandenberg.
Constables - Samuel Taggart and Wm. Tefft.
Commissioners of roads - Elijah Mason and Paul Babcock.
Collector - Henry Vandenberg.
Sealer of weights and measures - Joseph Bingham.
Pound masters and fence viewers - Robert Cravath, Wm. Vandenberg, Henry Burdick.
Overseers of the highways - John Huntington, Nathaniel Gay, Leonard L. Conine, Richard Whitbeck, Timothy Brown, Ebenezer Harrington, Moulton Craw, Gad Merrill, Abraham Rulofsen, John Gillett, John Raymond, Seth Trowbridge, Levi Johnson, Bela Harsmar.
The first enactment passed by this board of officers was that "hogs shall be free commoners, with yokes and rings."
The following resolution was also adopted at that meeting: "That any inhabitant of this town, who shall kill any wolves or panthers, shall be entitled to a bounty from the town of ten dollars, provided said wolf or panther shall be killed within the bounds of the town."
It was decided that the next town meeting shall be held at the house of John Gill.
In 1863-64 Moses and William Palmer erected the Preble cheese factory, south of Baltimore, and carried on the manufacture of butter and cheese very extensively. Their buildings were very large, two stories in height, with capacious engine room; the vats were heated by steam and the milk of hundreds of cows used. The dairy business of the town of Preble, like other portions of Cortland county, has received a large share of the attention of farmers in late years, increased interest being felt in it since about 1860. The rich Preble flats are scarcely surpassed for fertility and beauty by any section of the county, and the farms are admirable examples of the best methods of agriculture. The hopes of the inhabitants of the town that they would soon have railroad communication with Syracuse and with other portions of this county, were excited as early as 1826, when the charter was granted by the Legislature for a road from Syracuse to Binghamton; but they were destined to disappointment until the year 1854, which witnessed the completion of the Syracuse and Binghamton railroad running directly through the Preble valley. This was an era of rejoicing and the road, although its advent may have been the reverse of beneficial to the growth of the village, has been of incalculable benefit to the town at large.
Preble Center was a point of deep religious interest at a very early day. Here the Presbyterians first assembled as early as 1804, at which time there was a membership in this creed of eleven persons. It became a thriving organization. At a later date, Jedediah Barber, of Homer, who married a Miss Tuttle living near the Center, presented the society with a lot for the erection of a church building; but there was a provision attached to the gift, that if the church was ever removed the lot should revert to him. The church was removed to Preble Corners in 1840, chiefly through the instrumentality of Elam Dunbar, and Mr. Barber took the lot into his possession.
The names of the first town officials have already been given. The first marriage was that of Amos Bull to Sally Mason, in 1799. The first birth was that of Nancy Gill, October 25th, 1796. The first death was that of John Patterson, in 1798. The first permanent merchant was Noah Parsons, at Preble Center in 1818. The first grist-mill that of Samuel Woolston, erected in 1806; and the oldest living native resident of the town is Matthias Van Hoesen, who is now seventy-nine years old. Mr. Van Hoesen has held every office in the gift of his town and has been its supervisor for nearly a quarter of a century. He was prominent in the agitation which resulted in erecting the new county clerk's office, and he was a leader in the work of arranging and erecting the present county poor-house buildings, which are among the finest in the State.
Following is a list of the supervisors and town clerks of the town of Preble, the supervisor's name in each instance being given first and the clerk's immediately after: --
1808, Amos Skeel, Robert Taggart. 1810, Amos Skeel, Joseph Bingham. 1811 to 1815, inclusive, Amos Skeel, Garret Van Hoesen. 1816 to 1832, inclusive, Jabez B. Phelps, Garret Van Hoesen. 1823, David Crofoot, Jabez B. Phelps. 1824, David Crofoot, Martin Lyon. 1825, David Crofoot, Martin Phelps. 1826 to 1829, inclusive, Martin Phelps, Erastus Downs. 1830, David Crofoot, Christian Etz. 1831, Martin Lyon, Christian Etz. 1832 to 1834, inclusive, David Crofoot, Christian Etz. 1835 to 1837, inclusive, Elihu Mix, Francis Gilbert. 1838, Michael Frank, Jabez B. Phelps. 1839, David Crofoot, Michael Frank. 1840, David Crofoot, Edmund Stevens. 1841, Christian Etz, John H. Kiersted. 1842, Abraham Woodward, James Crofoot. 1843, David Crofoot, Seth Kelsey. 1844 to 1846, inclusive, David Crofoot, Andrew Spence. 1847, G.A. Woolston, Jabez B. Phelps. 1848, Abel Washbrouck, Jabez B. Phelps. 1849, David Hardy, Jabez B. Phelps. 1850-51, _________. 1852, David Crofoot, Fredus Howard. 1853, David Crofoot, Leonard Hardy. 1854, Lyman G. Frost, Matthias M. Out. 1855, Seth Aldrich, Walter Jones. 1856, James Baldwin, Matthias Out. 1857, Edmund Stevens, Fredus Howard. 1858, James Baldwin, John D.F. Woolston. 1859, W.E. Tallman, Daniel Burdick. 1860, W.E. Tallman, John J. Out. 1861, Matthias Van Hoesen, John J. Out. 1862, M. Van Hoesen, Robert Conine. 1863, M. Van Hoesen, John L. Ferguson. 1864, M. Van Hoesen, Lyman Gay. 1865, Silas Baldwin, Horatio M. Van Buskirk. 1866, M. Van Hoesen, Caleb D. Kinner. 1867, M. Van Hoesen, J.S. Cornue. 1868, M. Van Hoesen, L.M. Conine. 1869, James Baldwin, J.H. Burdick. 1870-71-72, M. Van Hoesen, Alonzo C. Spore. 1873, M. Van Hoesen, A.C. Carr. 1875, F.T. Van Hoesen, A.C. Carr. 1876, Anderson Francisco, A.C. Carr. 1877-78, A.C. Carr, Myron J. Muncy. 1879, John D.F. Woolston, A.C. Carr. 1880-1881, M. Van Joesen, Frank P. Conine. 1882, David O. Crofoot, Frank P. Conine. 1883, Wm. W. Wright, F.P. Conine.
The officers for the year 1883 are as follows: --
Supervisor - Wm. W. Wright.
Town Clerk - Frank P. Conine.
Justices of the peace - John S. Cornue, J.D.F. Woolston, Seth Hobart, H.J.B. Tully.
Commissioner of highways - Henry F. Harter.
Assessors - John L. Haviland, A.H. Van Buskirk and Roscoe Butler.
Collector - Christopher Long.
Inspectors of election - A.M. Loomis, David H. Foltz and J.H. Cummings.
Constables - Christopher Long, Richmond Klock, A.V.H. Cummings and Ryan Green.
Overseer of the poor - Eben Daley.
Game constable - H.M. Van Hoesen.
Excise board - A.G. Aldrich, Robert Conine and Miles Tully.
The town of Preble practically exhibited its patriotism during the late war, by furnishing its quota of men called for by the government, notwithstanding the town had more children than money, as compared with many other towns in the county. Following is a list of all the enlistments from the town of men who were paid bounties, with the amount of money thus expended:--
Call of October 17th, 1863. Bounty, $300. Total, $6,600.--Rice Graham, Benajah A. Wilmot, Oliver Ingram, Joseph R. Ragan, James Phillips, John E. Ladd, Robert Walker, Chester Huntington, John M. Corry, Jacob King, George W. Gates, Edward Hunter, Charles P. Johnson, John A. Lee, Andrew Craft, James W. Wood, John Strong, John R. Cain, John Camel, John Hodges, James Smith, John Baker.
Call of July 18th, 1864. Bounty, $1,000; except $700 to two, and $600 to two. Total, $21,600. Brokerage, $575.--William Howard, Charles Card, Franklin D. Carpenter, Edward L. Smith, Henry K. Watrous, Albert Arnold, Andrew V. Austin, George W. Briggs, William R. Brown, Marcus B. Durkee, DeWitt H. Eldrige, Lucian Haskins, John B. Knapp, Henry G. Wakefield, James Wakefield, William W. Wakefield, Ellis Willson, Horace C. Wood, John Martin, James Wright, John Cain, Gabrael Allen, Franklin C. Crowell.
Call of December 19th, 1864. Bounty, $600. Total $7,800. Brokerage, $105.--John Osborn, Daniel O'Brien, James Hayden, Patrick Kelly, Henry Jackson, George Dougherty, James Cole, James Capot, Alfred Marion, James Smith, Hiram Lango, John Ryan, Anton Tichter.
Recapitulation.--Paid for filling quotas, calls October 17th, 1863, February and March 1864, $6,600; paid for filling quota, call July 18th, 1864, $22,175; paid for filling quota, call December 19th, 1864, $7,905. Grand total, $36,680.
The village of Preble Corners received its first inhabitant in the year 1802, in the person of John Osgood, before alluded to, who moved in at that time and erected the first log house in the place during that year, and two years later opened the first store. The dwelling house stood on the ground now owned and occupied by John Gay.
When Garret Van Hoesen moved to the town in 1806 there were two frame houses in the town--that of Elijah Mason and another occupied by Samuel Trowbridge, both of whom settled on lot 78. The first frame house built at the Corners was erected by William Vandenberg, and is the house in which John Gay now resides. Vandenberg kept a tavern in this building for a time; but having failed to obtain a good title to his land, and after becoming reduced from wealthy circumstances to poverty, he removed away. Elisha Williams succeeded to this estate. The land was afterward claimed by John Toole, whose right to the title was undisputed; but fortune did not favor the possessor, as there happened to be two of that name, both soldiers in the war of the Revolution, one of whom was then deceased, and both entitled to the military bounty. After considerable litigation the State allowed Mr. Williams to keep the farm.
Matthias Van Hoesen came to the village in 1830 and from the spring of that year until the year 1831 kept the hotel where it is now located. John Fowler was then in a tavern on the south side of the road. The next proprietor of the present hotel was Jabez B. Phelps, who came about the year 1832; the building was at that time considerably smaller than at present. The post-office at Baltimore had been removed to the Corners during this year and business at that time began to center at this point. Andrew Spence next supplied the traveling public with tavern fare, and under his proprietorship the house was burned on September 14th, 1840. He immediately rebuilt it in its present size and accommodations. Following Spence in the proprietorship of the house came Anson Kenyon, Lewis Wilcox, John Bouton, George Heffron, Robert Conine, who kept it in 1852, and repaired the building; Daniel Van Auken, who took it in 1865 and kept it until 1878; G.S. Van Hoesen, Albert Van Hoesen and the present proprietor, John Klock, who came in 1880.
Previous to the establishment of the post-office in the town of Preble, about the year 1812, the then central point of the township of Tully, the settlers received their letters, papers, etc., from Pompey Hill. This post-office was located at the hamlet of Baltimore, and was kept by Jabez Phelps, who retained the office a number of years. The Cortland Journal, under date of October 1st, 1824, advertises letters at the post-office in Preble for William Ridgway, Alexander Elliot, Wm. W. Skeel, Wm. Parker, John I. Hamilton, Chauncey Cummings; and Joseph Crofoot was then postmaster. In 1827 he advertised the following list of letters remaining in that office: Abijah Durkee, Barber & Tickner, Ebenezer Harris, Moses H. Green, Garrett Van Hoesen, Samuel Orvis, Elias Van Camp, John A. Johnson and Henry Stebbins.
Phineas Burdick was postmaster at the time of the removal to Preble Corners in 1832, and was the first postmaster at that village. Matthias Van Hoesen kept it for a time in the hotel, beginning in the spring of 1831; then Jabez Phelps, after whom came Andrew Spence, who distributed mail at the hotel, both before and after it was burned, in 1840. Judge Phelps took the office again about the year 1848 and kept it until the beginning of Lincoln's administration, in 1861. Chester Markham succeeded, remaining in the office until 1875. John J. Out took the office and is the present incumbent; the office is kept in his harness shop.
The first store at Preble Corners was established by John Osgood, in 1804. He seems to have traded in the place but a short time. Other transient merchants followed in a small way, until the year 1830, when Frank Gilbert established a permanent place of mercantile trade; he was followed by several successors; after Frank Gilbert came Wales & Kirsted in 1830; Frost & Wood, Frost & Gregg, Geo. Elmore, Kinner & Norton, Lewis Carlisle, J. W. Roe, Hobart & Cummings and the present enterprising merchants, Conine & Cummings.
The new and complete store now under the successful management of E.M. Van Hoesen was established by Markham & Ferguson in 1861; they were succeeded by E.M. & F.T. Van Hoesen, who were followed by the present proprietor.
The drug business here was begun during Fillmore's administration by William L Barrett; he was succeeded by A.C. Carr, following whom came the present proprietor, J.W. Roe. He carries a stock sufficient for the needs of the place.
Zelotus Hannum supplied the citizens with furniture, and had the only stock in that line in the town.
James Crofoot was the first shoemaker in the town. He located on lot 88. The present shoemaker of the village is Robert Conine.
The harness and saddlery business was begun probably as early as 1835, by Isaac Bishop. James Plumb worked at this trade a short time, and J.J. Out, a skillful mechanic, has done business in this line since 1847.
The first manufacturing of wagons in the town was carried on by Daniel Lamphire, who located on lot 78, where he remained for twenty-five years. He was from the town of Coxsackie, N.Y.; he did custom work wholly, and his shop finally went down. In 1877 Richard Brayton and Fred. Bennett located in a shop on lot 77, but remained only a year or two. A.H. Vandenberg has a wagon and sleigh repair shop which he has occupied about fifteen years, and for many years previous at Baltimore. His father was Lambert Vandenberg, who was an early resident at the Corners.
The first blacksmith shop in the town of Preble was established by Moses Kent on lot 57. Martin Phelps next located on lot 87, in 1809. James Sager, Isaac Van Buskirk, Hosea Bennett and Benjamin Baker were blacksmiths in an early day. Albert W. Morgan is now the leading blacksmith in the place. Jerome Fulton and Harrison Kingsley are also blacksmiths doing good business.
The first physician in the town of Preble was Robert D. Taggart, who located on lot 59 in the north part of the town. He came about the year 1810 and removed to Byron, Genesee county, about the year 1825. Dr. Norris located on lot 77, in 1812. He built one of the earlier frame houses in the village. Judge Phelps was, during the first few years of his stay in Baltimore, a practicing physician; but he subsequently turned his attention to politics, as before stated. Dr. Geo. W. Bradford located at Preble in 1820. He was a native of Otsego county, and after receiving an academic education, studied medicine with Dr. Thos. Fuller, of Cooperstown, N.Y.; he was licensed in 1820 by the Otsego Medical Association, and during the same year came to Preble. He remained here but a short time, however, and then removed to Homer. Further mention of Dr. Bradford's eminent career will be found in the history of the County Medical Society.
Dr. Phineas H. Burdick settled in the town in 1834, locating at Preble Corners. He received an academic education and began the study of medicine in 1823, with Dr. Hubbard Smith, of De Ruyter, and in the office of Dr. Jehiel Stearns, of Pompey. He attended lectures at Castleton, Vermont, in 1826, and was licensed by the Medical Society of Onondaga county in 1828, beginning practice in Scott the same year. In 1834 he removed to Preble, where he practiced successfully many years until his death. He was given the degree of M.D. by the State Medical Society and became a permanent member of that body in 1853. Dr. Burdick was highly esteemed, both as a physician and a man. Dr. D.W. Burdick, of Homer, is his son.
The present physicians of Preble are Dr. Herman D. Hunt, who came to the place in 1880, and H. Johnson, who located here in 1881. The former is allopathic and the latter homeopathic.
Matthias Van Hoesen was the first practicing lawyer in the town. He was never admitted to the bar, but became one of the most successful lawyers in the county in justice's court, in minor cases. He is still living in Preble at the age of seventy-eight years, possesses a clear brain, excellent judgment, and powers of concentration of thought that are unusual. John F. Van Hoesen, his son, born May 11th, 1833, began the practice of the law in Preble in 1856, but in 1859 removed to Cortlandville, where he died in 1860. He studied with Judge Kingsley and Major Hiram Crandall, and was admitted to practice in May, 1856, coming directly to Preble Corners. In the month of October following he removed to Minnesota, landing at Hastings a flourishing city on the Mississippi, where he practiced his profession to some extent and also engaged in land speculation, by which he realized a considerable fortune. Mr. Van Hoesen finally returned to Preble in May 1857, where he resumed practice, securing a good business, which continued until his removal to Cortland two years later.
Churches.--Of the origin and early history of the Methodist Episcopal Society in Preble, nothing more than what follows is now definitely known: On the first Monday in May, 1824, the male members of the first M.E. Church Society of the town met according to previous notice in order to incorporate. James Selkrig was called to the chair and Jabez B. Phelps was appointed secretary. The society was then organized on a motion. James Selkrig and Frederick Wilcox were appointed returning officers; and James Selkrig, Almon Tickner and Benjamin Le Roy were appointed trustees.
It was resolved at this meeting that the corporate seal of this society be a cross. It was also decided that the annual meetings should thereafter be held on the first Monday of each year. The M.E. Church edifice was begun in the year 1820; was finished in 1824 and dedicated by the Rev. Seth Mattison in the fall of the last mentioned year. Alterations were made in the pulpit and stairs in 1838, and other repairs were made and a bell procured in 1845. In 1859 the church building was moved eastward and about twelve feet added to its western end; the audience room was newly seated and the exterior painted, involving an expense of about $1,400.
The membership of this society is at the present time (1884) nearly one hundred. The Rev. W.H. York took charge of the church in 1883. The trustees are Robert Van Buskirk, Richard Squires, Seth Hobart. The stewards are John Manchester, Robert Van Buskirk, Seth Hobart and Abram Manchester.
Robert Van Buskirk is Sabbath school superintendent.
The Baptist Association was organized into a society under the direction of Elder Abbott in a very early day; but the date is not now available. The original number of the members was fourteen. The church seems to have prospered for a time, but has ceased to exist.
On the 27th of August, 1804, a church of eleven members was organized by two missionaries named Theodore Hinsdale and Joel Hayes, from the Hampshire Missionary Society of Connecticut. It was at first called the Congregational Church of Tully; but subsequently took the name of the First Presbyterian Church of Preble. During the years of its existence it was connected with the middle association, which was afterward dissolved, when the church was assigned to the care of the Onondaga Presbytery, and subsequently to the Cortland Presbytery. The church edifice was erected at Preble Center, but was removed to the Corners in 1840.
The first pastor of this church was the Rev. Matthew Harrison, who began his work in the year 1812 and continued until 1822, when he was dismissed. The Rev. Enoch Bouton then acted as stated supply until 1824, and following him the two succeeding years Rev. L. Weld preached to the congregation one-half of the time. Rev. Abner P. Clark followed him, being installed as pastor in 1827, in which capacity he acted during the next six years. The Rev. Gardner K. Clark was installed in 1833 and continued his labors during six years. After this time the congregation was supplied by Rev. Mr. Jones for a few months, and then by Rev. B.T. Foltse two years. Rev. Elliott H. Payson began his labors here in 1840. In 1842 he was installed as pastor and dismissed in 1844. At this time the society numbered over one hundred members. In 1841 a large number of the members separated themselves from the church and organized a society called the First Free Church of Preble. At the time of this division the building was removed to Preble Corners. Whatever may have been the disturbing element, the results have been to diminish the size of the society, which now numbers only about one hundred members. The Rev. W.C. McBeth took charge of the society April 8th, 1883, and served nine months. There is, at the present time (1884), no pastor. The elders are Nicholas Van Hoesen, Harry Cummings, Lewis Frederick, Clark Van Hoesen and Abram Severson. The trustees are John Haviland, Nicholas Van Hoesen and Clark Van Hoesen.
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