Eaton,1 located near the center of Madison county, is bounded on the north by Smithfield and Stockbridge, on the east by Madison, on the south by Lebanon, on the west by Nelson, and was organized Feb. 6, 1807, being set off from Hamilton. At its organization its area was called 28,000 acres, but in 1879 the assessed area is reported to be 25,547 acres. The surface, comprised largely in the valley of the Chenango river, which flows through the town diagonally from the northeast corner, gives a variety of slopes and bottom lands, the former of which bear clayey and gravelly soils, the latter a lighter loam. In the northern part the slope of the elevation is toward the north, and the drainage is into the St. Lawrence. The minerals of the town are not abundant or important; the stone ledges lie deep and are difficult of access. A brittle shale abounds in the south, large quantities of which have been used in the construction of roads. In the vicinity of Eaton are a number of surface mineral springs, whose principal ingredient is sulphur, and underground inlets give a sulphurous element to the waters of some of the small lakes. More valuable than the tinctured waters are the wheel of fortune for Eaton, --- the waterwheel. Next to the Chenango River, the town's chief stream is Eaton brook, known in literature as Alder brook.2 Finding its source in the town of Nelson, it flows easterly through the southern part of Eaton, expanded here and there into millponds, and empties into the river at Eaton village. Leland's Ponds, and Woodman's Pond, three picturesque bodies with a surface aggregating 325 acres and an average depth of 48 feet, have been utilized in modern times3 to supply the Chenango canal, which curves into the town for a short distance in the southeastern corner. To the same purpose is devoted the flow from Hatch's Lake and Bradley Brook Pond in the southwestern corner. These waters formerly were fruitful in fish of various sorts and the lakes still yield good bass and pickerel.
Maple is the prevailing timber, and it grows luxuriantly, yielding an abundance of sugar and syrup. For a half century dairying has been a leading industry, and at present it surpasses all other branches of agriculture in extent and profit. Until about 1850 cattle-raising was carried on extensively, and quite large tracts were sown with grain. Both these departments have lately declined and at present (1880) the wheat grown in the town is but a small fraction consumed.
Eaton has the distinction of having first introduced into the county the cheese factory and creamery system, which in the course of twenty years has produced a complete revolution in farm life, emancipating the women of the farmer's family from their heaviest labor. The first cheese factory in the county seems to have been built in the autumn of 1861 at Eaton village, by George Morse, son of Ellis, and it has been in operation ever since. There are at present in operation, making both cheese and butter, eight factories under the management of J. B. Wadsworth, located as follows: Morrisville, Williams' Corners, Hatch Lake, West Eaton, Eaton, Pecksport, Pine Woods, Pratt's Hollow, and one at Eaton operated by Albert W. Morse.
Eaton also was first in the field with hay rakes and mowing machines. The first hay rake was used by Elijah Morse as early as 1835. It was in principle the same as the wooden rake of the present day, and differed from the latter in form only in having the framework narrower and the parts made of bent wood instead of jointed. A large crowd assembled to see it started, and in the absence of instructions the opinion prevailed that it was to be operated with the teeth standing upright. The rake cost $15.
Elijah Morse and James McConnell brought the first mowing-machine into the county. They bought it of the inventor, Enoch Ambler, of Root, Montgomery Co., price $65. This was in June 1840 or 1841. The machine was known as the "Ambler." It possessed all the elements of the present successful machine- the gearing, the open cap-guard, except the scalloped knife. The knife being straight-edged, vibrating as in the present machine, performed its work as long as the keen edge remained, but on the slightest blunting it refused to cut at all. Parts of this original machine are still to be seen at the farm whereon it was used. (Hussey subsequently introduced the scalloped knife into this same combination of parts and succeeded with his invention.) It was not until 1852 that Eaton4 had another mowing-machine. This was brought from Buffalo by Albert W. Morse and used on the farm at present occupied by him. It was the "Ketchum" machine, manufactured by General Howard. It cost $110 and was in constant use ten seasons.
The farms of the town are generally kept in good condition, and good land is readily sold at $60 to $100 per acre. A farm of 242 acres was recently sold at $100 per acre, one-half mile east of Morrisville. Few farms in the town exceed 250 acres of improved land. The farmhouses and barns are mostly meat, commodious, and many elegant. The country is well wooded; groves of stately maples have been preserved on nearly every farm. In many localities the main highways are shaded by rows of trees. The road from Morrisville to Eaton presents a most picturesque appearance along the line of Mr. James McConnell's farm not inferior to the avenues of New Haven, famous for their arching elms. These trees were planted in 1839 by Mr. McConnell, and not one is missing for the space of a mile.
Agricultural products of Eaton in 1874: of hay, 9,742 tons from 7,001 acres; of wheat, 3,828 bushels, from 260 acres; of oats, 49,461 bushels, from 1,371 acres; of corn, 25,984 bushels, from 719 acres; of buckwheat, 1,382 bushels from 73 acres; of barley, 3,973 bushels, from 151 acres; of beans, 685 bushels, from 47 acres; of potatoes, 35,518 bushels from 256 acres; of apples, 30,278 bushels, from 23,144 trees; grapes, 329 pounds; cider, 462 barrels; maple syrup, 734 gallons; maple sugar, 12,339 pounds; hops, 410,459 pounds, from 664 acres; wool, 4,925 pounds, from 947 sheep.
Amount and value of farms and farm property, cost of fertilizers, value of products, etc., in 1875: improved land, 20,671 acres; unimproved land, 4,135 acres; other land, 1,193 acres; value of farms, $1,815,780; value of buildings, $264,190; value of stock, $235,768; value of tools, $62,035; value of products sold, $312,954; cost of fertilizers, $1,104.
Eaton's roads are well kept. The principal thoroughfares are the two turnpike roads, the Skaneateles turnpike traversing the southern end of the town and the Cherry Valley turnpike extending from Albany to Buffalo and passing across Eaton's northern half and through Morrisville. The former of these great enterprises was finished just before the close of the 18th century, and the latter was commenced in 1803, and completed through Eaton in 1808. The building of these roads gave to Madison county enterprise its greatest impulse, and the activity of the decade following is distinctly remembered by all who witnessed it. The oldest road in the county was the "old State road," referred to in legal papers, but now almost forgotten by the people. It entered the town near the Leland ponds, wended in a northwesterly direction over the hills, and entered the village of Morrisville, near the old Thos. Holt place. Passing between the millpond and the Cherry valley road, it went on over the west hillside, where traces of it may still be seen. Through the towns of Nelson and Cazenovia it is in places identical with the turnpike, and in other places it is entirely lost sight of for miles. It was by this road that all the early settlers came into Eaton. The "Peterboro road," running from Hamilton to Canastota north and south, almost directly through the center of the county, was laid out in 1812, and built by county aid. A charter was subsequently granted to a plank-road company, and after the lapse of this a stone-road charter was granted, which is still in force over a part of the line. The only tollgate remaining in the town is upon this road, near Morrisville.
In 1868 Eaton was bonded for $150,000, in aid of the N.Y. & O. Midland railroad which passes through the town in a line two miles eat from Morrisville, and a half mile east from Eaton village. Eaton received $7,000 for her shares on the sale of the road to the N.Y., Ontario & Western R.R. Co. The town is traversed for a short distance in the southeastern corner by the Utica, Clinton & Binghamton Railroad.
SCHOOLS .--- The first systematic instruction given in the town was commenced in December 1797, by Dr. James Pratt, who was also the first physician. In a double sense he was an itinerant, for he not only "boarded around," but carried the school also from place to place, month by month. The first month this school was held near Eaton, at Joseph Morse's, the next at Joshua Leland's, the next at Thomas Morris'. The first schoolhouse in the town was built near the residence of Dr. Pratt, at the "Center."
The first recorded apportionment of public school money was in 1818, when Eaton's share was $129.25. Eaton voted not to repeal the free school law in 1850 by 348 to 325. The school report for school year 1879 shows that school was held in nineteen districts twenty-eight weeks or more; number of licensed teachers employed, eight male and thirty-one female; whole number of children of school age, 1,109; whole number enrolled as regular attendants, 888; number of volumes in school libraries, 678; value of school property, $22,420; amount paid for other expenses, $867.88; total, $6,404.90; amount received for school purposes, $6,597.52. (See also "Schools" under "Morrisville" and "Eaton.")
SETTLEMENTS. --- Joshua Leland may be called the first settler in Eaton, though he was preceded a few months by John and James Salisbury, brothers, from Vermont, who, in the autumn of 1792, located within the borders of the town, on lot 94, and commenced a clearing, but were driven away in early winter by the intense cold and did not return.
Joshua Leland, great-grandson of Henry Leland, (Layland,) who came from England in 1652, was born in Sherburne, Mass., in 1741, and in 1793, migrated to Eaton, where he commenced clearing a farm. He was soon joined by John H. and Benjamin Morris, who assisted him in his work. In the autumn of that year he returned to Massachusetts, and in the spring of 1794 brought his family to the new homestead, which the Morrises had improved during the winter. This was on lot 94, the place now known as the Dunbar farm. His family consisted of his wife, Waitstill Greenwood- a lady of rare beauty, twenty years his junior- and five small children. The journey was most difficult, and when within a few miles of their destination the wheels of their conveyance stuck fast in the mud. Mr. Leland was obliged to go on in advance and obtain the assistance of the Morrises. The place in which the carts stuck, afterward (1795) became the family homestead, and the locality is known to this day as Leland's' Pond. Joshua was the first hotelkeeper in Eaton and one of the first in the county. His family residence, (now superseded by Mr. Dunbar's on the same site,) furnished a home for homeless settlers and for travelers during his occupancy of it, and immediately upon removing to the ponds he erected a large house, (the foundation of which may still be seen,) and opened it for public accommodation. Besides travelers this house attracted to itself hosts of Indians, who at times became so troublesome that the family were often obliged to feign absence from home to rid themselves of annoyance. After the death of the landlord these sometimes unwelcome guests manifested the deepest sorrow. It is related that one afternoon a company of eighty or more requested to be shown their dead friend's grave, and there mourned and cried as children. Besides keeping the first hotel in the town he built and operated the first mill, at the foot of the upper lake. This was in 1795, and the same year he added a sawmill. To obtain sufficient waterpower a dam was built which overflowed a large tract of low ground, causing it to breed malaria. After one or two seasons the town authorities bought the mills and destroyed the dam. Mr. Leland thereupon became the first manufacturer also, as for a period of five years he continued to amass wealth in the production of potash to Albany by the barrels containing it, which rolled upon him in descending a hill in Cherry valley. His body was buried in the family plot on the homestead, where his grave may still be seen.
Mr. Leland was well educated at Sherburne and had a taste for astronomy. He was fond of military science also, and was made colonel of militia in his native State. He served as a volunteer in the Revolution. To his family he left a large estate, about one-eighth of all the land in the town.
No account of his character would be complete without a list of his first six sons' names, the initials of which will strike the reader as forming a familiar series of letters: Amasa, Ezra, Isaac, Orrison, Uriah, and Yale. The seventh son was called Joshua and three daughters, Phebe, Sylvia and Juliette. Yale alone remains at this day; he is well known as an upright businessman in Madison. Amasa died in 1843, leaving one son; Ezra died in 1877, leaving Leonard and Ann J. (widow of Davis T. King) residents of Morrisville; Isaac died in 1816, unmarried; Orrison died at Northfield, Mich., leaving six children; Uriah left six daughters; Phebe died in infancy; Sylvia (Mrs. James Howard,) died in 1864, leaving nine children. The old Colonel's fame has been emulated by his many descendants, who have filled honorable places in society and his children down to the fourth and fifth generation are to this day proud of their ancestor from Sherburne, the first of Eaton's pioneers.
On the invitation of their townsman Leland, other Sherburne men, viz: Benj. Morse, Simeon Gillette, Levi Bonney, Elijah Haydon, Dan'l and Alby, came and took up land in the vicinity of Eaton's site. The same year (1795,) the settlement was reinforced by a birth- Sawn, son of Benj. and Deborah Morse. 5
The first death in the little community was that of Simeon Gillett, which occurred in 1796 and the same year witnessed the first marriage, that of his daughter Dorcas with one Lewis Wilson, a newcomer from the east. In 1796 came Samuel Sinclair, Joseph Moss, Wm. Mills, Humphrey Palmer, Deacon McCrellis and others whose names are now lost. Sinclair at once became prominent as a hotel keeper, succeeding Col. Leland at the old place. The Morse family has left a deep impress upon society. The descendants who have acquired most fame in Eaton are Ellis and Calvin, sons of Joseph, the former of whom, [1789-1869,] a scholar and a man of large business capacity, was one of the earliest public officers of the town and continued to hold an important position in society until his death. His fine old stone residence built in 1819, venerable but in no degree dilapidated and resembling closely some of the mansions of the old world, bears witness to the taste and activity which characterized him and all the family; the latter, (Calvin,) born June 3, 1799, at present the oldest native resident of the town, has been hardly less conspicuous in public affairs. Besides many local offices of less importance, he was in 1842 Member of the Assembly from Madison county. Among his intimate associates were Horatio Seymour and Sanford Church, both serving their first terms. Calvin Morse at this day is totally free from the decrepitude of age and retains the faculty of memory in a remarkable degree. A young brother, Joseph, went to Pennsylvania in 1826, resided first in Bradford county, and subsequently in McKean county, where he did a large business in iron manufacture and oil production. He was elected sheriff and county judge, and died about 1870. A sister, Eunice, was the wife of Dr. James Pratt, and after his death she commenced pioneer life again in Missouri, with her children. Bigelow moved to Onondaga county, (Fabius,) Alpheus resided in Eaton and accumulated a fortune in manufacturing, which was subsequently lost about 1873 by the failure of his large woolen mill at Alder brook, during the general panic. He is now a resident of Syracuse. These were the children of Joseph Morse, who died at his old home, Sherburne, Mass., while on a business visit there. Among his grandchildren are General Henry B. Morse, who enlisted as a volunteer in 1861, after the war went to Hot Springs, was elected Circuit Judge and died there in 1874; Alfred A., who while a student in Hamilton College, class of 1864, enlisted and fell in the Battle of Winchester [Virginia]; Rev. Andrew P., pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Wyoming, N.Y.; Walter, member of the firm of Wood, Tabor & Morse; Gardner, of Eaton village, manufacturer, miller, town clerk, who sat in the Assembly from Madison county in 1866; Belinda and Eliza, the latter assistant principal of Vassar College; Albert W., scientific farmer and inventor of important mow-machine improvements. Benjamin, of the two original Morse settlers, remained in Eaton during his lifetime and is buried here. Nearly all of his descendants have removed to the west, including Sawen, Eaton's first child.
Hezekiah came later, but in time to take an active part in the growth of the new settlement. He was elected supervisor in 1809, and held the position about 12 years. He was deeply interested in all movements for education, and it would have been gratifying to him to have foreknown that a granddaughter of his was to become the helpful wife of the President of Vassar College, the late Dr. John Raymond. Hezekiah moved to Oxford, N.Y., and spent his last days with his son Alpha.
The oldest resident of Eaton village is Thaxter Dunbar, who came with his father from the east in June 1799, and is 96 years of age. He likewise remembers the old times with great distinctness, and feels a youthful interest in the world of to-day. He has voted 75 years without omission.
Of the two Morrises, who came in 1793 with Joshua Leland, little is known. They probably removed farther south the first season. Their brother Thomas, who came in 1797, built his first log house where Dr. Mead's store now stands, and his first frame house on the site of Otis P. Granger's. Mr. Morris did not seek political influence or office. He died April 27, 1824. His wife survived him many years. No lineal descendants remain in the place who bear the family name, and the name seldom occurs in the county.
Another family of conspicuous pioneers were the Comans --- Benjamin, Windsor, Stephen and Ziba --- who came in 1797 and settled in the vicinity of the "Center," where they put forth every effort to centralize the growth of the town's prosperity, but finally yielded to the inevitable when it became evident that the business of the town must center at points on the turnpikes. They were cosmopolitan in their sympathies, and felt an interest in all the concerns of Eaton, in whatever locality. Their names appear frequently in the records in connection with politics, business and education. Benjamin died in 1852, aged 71; Stephen died Jan. 7, 1879, and was at the time of his death perhaps the oldest native born resident. Their graves and the graves of several members of the family are in the Morrisville Cemetery. Windsor and Ziba were buried at the Center, and no trace of their graves is now discoverable. The name is still perpetuated in a number of active citizens. Ellis Coman, son of Benjamin, died and was buried in Eaton in 1879.
A large number of names would have to be added if a complete catalogue of early settlers were intended, or even a complete list of those who entered the town before the beginning of the present century. The foregoing families are types of the various classes of people that came to subdue the forest and plant civilization. With the second decade of the 19th century, commenced the constructive period, and the men who came into the town from 1810 to 1830 were types of a somewhat different class.
Bennett Bicknell was the representative pioneer merchant and financier. He was born in Mansfield, Conn., in 1781. He received a good education, and at the age of about 25 started westward to make a home in the forests of New York. On his way from Albany he stayed a short time in Utica, which was a mere handful of houses, and engaged in the manufacture of combs. Arriving in Morrisville in 1808, he at once entered in to manufacturing, (the first comb factory was built by him,) merchandizing and hotel keeping. The wealth which he brought with him he used freely, not only in his own business and in public improvements, but in loans to his neighbors who were in need of capital. Though Morrisville was the special locality which claimed his citizenship and to whose growth he contributed most freely, the entire town felt the beneficial influence of his wisdom and activity. Four years after his arrival (1812) he was elected to the Assembly by a large majority in the county, and two years later he represented the district, comprising the present 22d, 23d, 24th and 25th Senatorial districts, in the State Senate. In 1836 he was elected to Congress from the 23d district, (Madison and Onondaga,) on the Democratic ticket. Among other offices which he filled was that of County Clerk for five years, first appointment and afterwards by election. In the State militia he held the rank of Captain, and was brevetted Major, which title became a fixed part of his name. He died June 16, 1841, and was buried in Morrisville cemetery. His son Moses succeeded to the vacant place in business and society, and was an influential citizen. He died June 2, 1869, aged 64. Other children died in early life.
The same year --- 1808 --- came the progenitor of the Darrow family, the members of which, while they have not risen to positions in office, have, as successful farmers in West Eaton, and as men of unflinching integrity, impress the community by their righteous example as well as benefiting it by active participation in all movements for the improvement of society. David Darrow descended from an old Scotch family, came to West Eaton from New Lebanon, N.Y., where he had received a good education and married. He was poor and had been unfortunate in the accumulation of a heavy debt to the physicians through a serious illness of two years. Being an admirer and a disciple of Benjamin Franklin, he heeded the old philosopher's "advice to those in debt," funded all bills by notes bearing interest, and set out to earn the money with which to redeem his notes. Twelve years were required to save the amount above the expenses of maintaining his family; but when the sum was secured he went immediately to the old home and paid every penny. This circumstance his descendants are proud to relate and they value the trait of integrity in their ancestor more highly than they would value a record of political achievement. His integrity and industry resulted in thrift, and at the time of his death, Nov. 5, 1870, he was the possessor of a large tract of good farmland, which he bequeathed to his sons and daughters, a good farm for each.
Another family of farmers known for thrift and integrity was that of Thomas Lumbard, who came from Hampden county, Mass., in 1803, and settled near Eaton village. He was a Revolutionary soldier, having served seven years. After five years' residence in Eaton he removed to Smithfield and died there April 30, 1813. His family of nine children have accumulated wealth by rigid industry. His oldest daughter, Polly, widow of the late Dr. W. P. Cleveland, is probably the oldest person in the town, being almost 98, lives a mile from Morrisville. She is now, (June 1880,) active and cheerful, with a vivid recollection of early experiences. Jacob, aged 92, resides in Cortland county; Daniel, aged 85, and Margaret, aged 84, resides in Chautauqua county. The present post-master in Morrisville is a great-grandson of Thos. Lumbard. 6
The first own officers were Robert Avery, Supervisor; David Gaston, Clerk; Martin Roberts, Collector; Josiah Wilcox, Pound-keeper; Ziba Coman, Benjamin Morse and John Hall, Assessors; Hezekiah Morse and Abram Ellis, Poor Masters; Seth Hitchcock, John Pratt and Robert Avery, Highway Commissioners; Martin Roberts and Nathan Mixer, Constables.
This election was held March 3, 1807, in the Center schoolhouse, and Simeon Gillett was made moderator. A resolution was passed (unconstitutional) prohibiting hogs from running at large on the commons, from May 15 until November 1, and rams from September 1 until November 15, under penalty of $5.
Windsor Coman, Supervisor, and David Gaston, Town Clerk, were elected the second year, (March 5, 1808). At a meeting held March 5, 1811, a resolution was passed (unconstitutional) compelling every farmer to cut all Canada thistles growing on his land in the "old of the moon" in the months of June and August, under penalty of $10, after three days' notice, and all Canada burdocks growing on his land under penalty of $10 fine, after having three days' notice of there being such burdocks growing on his land.
Officers of the town of Eaton for the year 1880-'81: ---
Supervisor --- Alex. M. Holmes.
Town Clerk --- Willie W. Palmer.
Justices of the Peace --- Arthur Foote, F. L. Briggs, E. C. Philpot, John H. Northrop.
Assessors --- Lewis R. Slocum, Thomas Duffy, Alvin Wadsworth.
Highway Commissioner --- Leonard Leland.
Overseers of the Poor --- Jesse Parker, Edwin O. White.
Constables --- Herbert G. Curtis, Edwin P. Storrs, Thomas Ferguson, Henry Westcott, Lewis Aldrich.
Collector --- Henry H. Goslee.
Inspectors of Elections --- District No. 1 --- Joseph Tooke; District No. 2 --- S. Allen Curtis, E. L. Miller, George White; District No. 3 --- H. W. Mann, W. L. Fleming; Wm. Dunbar.
Game Constable --- Morah M. Jones.
Excise Commissioner --- Dwight Colson.
The town paid a tax of $193.46 (of which $55.83 was for county expenses, $137.63 for town expenses,) the first year of its existence --- 1807. The total assessed valuation was $111,663. In 1808 the town expenses were the lightest ever known --- $84.66. The collector's fees amounted to $7.66, and the treasurer's fees, to $1.45. In 1868, before the bonding of the town for railroad stock, the town expenses were $2,152.65. In 1879 the town expenses were $15,547. The total debt by report of 1879 was $149,700. The first assessment of personal property was $21,804, in 1815. The present assessment is: Real estate, $1,308,750; personal estate, $313,550.
Until 1875 there were two election districts, separated by a line drawn east and west across the town. To accommodate the many factory employees of West Eaton, the southern district was divided by a north and south line. In 1850 the number of votes cast at the general election 2was 730, of which the Democratic candidates received 331 and the Whigs 351; since that time the Republican ticket has been elected, and in 1879 the total vote was 902.
The population since 1845 has been as follows: ---
|1845............. 3,444 | 1865............. 3,861|
|1850............. 3,944 | 1870............. 3,690|
|1855............. 4,066 | 1875............. 3,644|
|1860............. 3,871 ||
The continual decrease in population since 1855 is attributed to the large emigration westward that set in after the manufacturing interests began to decline; and that is encouraged still by the almost uniform prosperity of Eaton people who have gone into the western states.
WAR RECORD. --- Eaton furnished for the service of the Union in the war of the Rebellion 150 volunteer soldiers, whose names we give below arranged in the order of their enlistment by years.
Enlisted in 1861: --- Ebenezer White, Israel O. Foote, Lyman W. Kingman, Otis Tillinghast, A. F. Benjamin, John H. McQuien, L. H. Wald, Martin M. Abby, Mortimer Spring, W. W. Lockesbury, Thomas McEligot, Wm. Ryan, Ed. Ryan, A. Camero, Eli Laird, Lafayette Brigham, M. I. Moses, Wm. P. Grannis, Warren Stevens, John Owens, Oscar Cook, David Ross, Horatio E. Leach, Irving Erskin, D. Graham, Jonathan Wilcox, I. W. French, Peter Lent, H. E. Andrus, S. J. White, Henry Webber.
Enlisted in 1862: --- John M. McLean, Jas. N. Hockridge, Nelson W. Hockridge, Thomas Roberts, Wm. L. Johnson, John W. Roberts, John Bowen, Chancey Clark, Morris Spring, John Fletcher, Lewis Moses, Mordant Beebe, Wm. V. Jones, Francis Pellet, John Lowe, Barney Ryan, John H. Barrett, John Merritt, A. F. Childs, Amos Avery, E. P. Manter, Henry F. Bates, David E. Bristol, Henry D. Brigham, John D. Fry, Albert S. Norton, Charles H. Isbell, W. Erskin, B. Erskin, Charles A. Hatch, F. A. Leach, Joseph Hughes, Alfred A. Morse, Henry P. Loomis, Wm. Marden, P. A. Davenport, Henry D. Ayer, Wm. H. Reed, Watson Beebe, Jas. A. Tift, Albert Wescott, Charles C. Campbell, A. J. French, E. J. Thomas, John Carroll, E. H. Lewis, Wm. A. Titley, L. C. Wellington, Geo. M. Hockridge.
Enlisted in 1863: --- Denison Palmer, John Lines, Chancy E. Childs, Edward Fields, John McKerghan, Henry Jewell, Henry N. Mann, Lewis Carpenter, S. H. Payson, A. James, Bennett Bicknell, Harrison Bicknell, W. White, Byron Nash, Oliver Winslow, and Francis B. Johnson.
Enlisted in 1864: --- Oscar W. Stone, Wm. Turner, Charles Deott, Henry H. Graves, Jason Stevens, E. G. Bonney, A. J. Evert, G. C. Wilber, Henry Wootten, Stanley Westfall, John Fox, and Cyrus P. Howard.
Year of enlistment not learned: --- John O. Rourke, Geo. L. Choate, Joseph Knowlton, Chas. H. Fry, Richard L. Tooke, Edward L. Jones, Wm. E. Enos, A. M. Gear, O. S. Hudson, Fred. Boland, Henry Dizard, I. M. Throop, Wm. Neff, Geo. M. Bosworth, Geo. W. Reynolds, Andrew J. Carpenter, T. S. Smith, Wm. Durfee, D. D. Bartlett, W. W. Cokely, C. A. Hamilton, Geo. H. Bradley, D. D. Chase, Daniel Cary, P. D. Owens, A. W. Chase, J. Stockart, J. Stamfield, Gilbert Eastman, Daniel O'Connell, Robert A. Scott, Charles Dopp, Henry I. Isaacs, Joseph Lorringer, Joseph Farrington.
Morrisville,7 County seat since 1817, lies in the northwestern quarter of Eaton, not far from the geographical center of the county. Its main thoroughfare is the Cherry Valley turnpike. The number of houses is about 140. The population fluctuated between about 600 at the time of incorporation, and 900 which it reached in 1850, a time of unparalleled thrift. In 1850 it was only 500; in 1855, 715; in 1865, 650; in 1870 only 570, an unofficial canvass soon after returned 702. The village was incorporated by a special act of the legislature passed April 13th, 1819. The first village president was Deacon Abel B. DeForest, who states that the office was given as a reward for building the first sidewalk tin town. The other village officers are unknown, the records being lost.8 After ten years, during which time Mr. D. was repeatedly re-elected, the charter lapsed through indifference. The village was in 1848 re-incorporated under the general act for incorporating villages. The trustees elected were A. D. DeForest, B. Tillinghast, Franklin T. Maybury, Luman E. Cole, and E. Norton. The board chose A. B. DeForest, for President, and appointed Jas. Norton, Clerk, A. S. Sloan, Treasurer. The election was held July 18, at the house of B. B. Dewey. The officers for 1880 are Edwin R. Barker, President; Geo. Cross, Sam. S. Dunton, John E. Smith, Trustees; Geo. L. Robie, Clerk, B. Tompkins, Treasurer.
The commercial importance of the village is slight, but it furnishes a good market for farm produce, and has a fair local trade. The population is at present made up largely of retired farmers. In consequence of its official character, it is visited by many business men, and during continuance of court sessions the streets and hotels present a lively appearance. The main street is lighted by oil lamps and beautified by four strong fountains, supplied from springs on the hills. There are good sidewalks of plank, stone and asphaltum.
MERCHANTS, ETC. --- David Gaston was the first merchant in Morrisville. He opened a general store on the corner of the Peterboro road in 1804, and it was continued many years in connection with the hotel on the same site. Bennett Bicknell, arriving in 1808 from Utica, opened a similar store opposite, in the building now occupied by W. P. Chambers, and the business has been continued with few interruptions to the present day. Business changes have been comparatively few except as occasioned by death. The merchants at present (June 1880,) doing business are general merchandise, E. Townsend, Storrs & Seymour, W. P. Jones, Wm. P. Chambers, E. E. Shipman; drugs, Mead & Chapin, G. Jefferson Cross; meat markets, Reidy & Davis, Ambrose Moseley; jewelers, __ Hess, __ Baker; furniture and undertaking, H. S. Slocum, George Wilson, D. S. Grover; dressmaking, Mrs. A. E. Moseley, Mrs. J. C. Gurley, (and millinery,) Mrs. Mary Loftis, Misses Gregg; millinery, Misses Sanford, Mrs. Mary Irish; harness and trunks, Stevenson & Reidy; restaurants, Wesley Hockridge, William Nash, J. A. Gaul; barbers, Frederick Major and Irving Seidler; liveryman, Charles Albert; blacksmiths, S. S. Dunton, M. E. Madison, Henry Bingham, Hiram Tyler, Frank Bowers; telegraph agent, Sarah Madison.
POSTMASTERS. --- A post office was established at Morrisville about 1808 and located in Major Bicknell's store. It was subsequently moved across the road to the Farwell place, then to the Barker House. This removal gave rise to an angry dispute between the up-town and down-town residents which resulted in a compromise on the building occupied by Dr. Holmes. The next year it took a step farther down town, to the site of Storrs & Seymour's store, and the next year still farther, to Shipman's. In 1832 it settled in the Observer building where it has since remained. The postmasters have been (arranged chronologically): Bennett Bicknell, Moses Bicknell, John Farwell, Hiram Lewis, F. T. Newell, James Norton, E. Norton, J. W. Hatch, W. H. Pilch, M. M. Chubbuck, and W. P. Cleveland, the present incumbent.
HOTELS. --- A half mile east from the village stands the house which was used as a hotel and general public rendezvous long before Morrisville had taken shape. It is a handsome old farmhouse now, the Jones homestead, better known as the Runkel place. Abiathar Gates built the house, and it has been the scene of many an exciting county political convention. The earliest hotel in the village proper was John Farwell's, which was established in 1815 and kept in operation until the building was destroyed by fire in 1859. The rear portion was saved and is occupied by Thomas Farwell, son of the founder, as a residence. A part of the original fence still remains. The Bicknell House (American Hotel) was erected about the same time on the opposite corner. It has in course of time passed through many changes of proprietorship. The present landlord is George H. Alvord.
The Exchange, William Morris proprietor, was originally built for a store and residence by Samuel Shepard, but was converted into a tavern about 1826. Ezra Cloyes, who as Sheriff executed the notorious Antoine in 1823, was numbered among the landlords of this ancient house. He was succeeded by his son, Hiram, and his son-in-law, Stillwell. William Morris bought the property in 1865.
On the site of the present Barker House stood a hotel known as the Madison County Hotel. William Morris was the last proprietor. It was burned in 1868 by accident. The present handsome edifice was built in 1872 by the present proprietor, Edwin R. Baker, under the supervision of architect J. W. Tillotson. It was opened Dec. 9, 1872. It is one of the best hotels in the county, elegant, comfortable, sumptuous and well managed.
SCHOOLS. --- Dr. Pratt's original school belongs partly to Morrisville's history, one of its monthly seats having been Thomas Morris' residence. Several pupils of that school still reside in Eaton. In very early times a number of good private schools sprang up, in which branches higher than the English elements were taught. None of these schools, however, acquired prominence or permanence. Among them is mentioned an infant school kept by Miss Emily Chubbuck, (Fanny Forester,) previous to her study in the Utica Seminary. The districts, numbers 8 and 17 of the public school system, comprised the village. Number 8's school occupied the building now used by the fire department; number 17's building, in the lower end of the town, is absorbed in a dwelling house. In 1831, the Morrisville Academy was built by subscription. The amount subscribed was $2,000, and Judge Farwell donated the site. Of the original subscribers to this enterprise, (some 200 in all,) only three probably are living at this date in Morrisville: A. B. DeForest, O. P. Granger, and Elisha Topliff. The first board of trustees was composed as follows: O. P. Granger, B. Coman, J. F. Chamberlain, W. T. Curtiss, E. Holmes, B. Bicknell, U. Leland, A. Williams, J. Payne, C. Tillinghast, J. W. Avery, A. Cornell, and J. G. Curtiss. Rev. Eli Burchard, of Marshall, Oneida county was the first principal. He was succeeded after two or three years by his brother, Nathan. Other principals were Samuel Stebbins, __ Dinsmore, William W. Farwell, (Judge,) and N. K. Shephard.9 A frame building, three stories high, was erected by Isaac Lewis and Uriah Leland on contract. The school at once won popularity and at one time its pupils numbered nearly two hundred. The improvement of the public schools and the rise of higher schools in other localities lessened its patronage and after about ten years its attendance had dwindled to a few dozen pupils. Finally, in 1848, the two districts, 8 and 17, were consolidated, and the new district, number 8, purchased the property of the Academy company at a nominal price and devoted it to the uses of a Union school. Considerable money was expended upon it at that time, and the school has maintained a fair standing most of the time since. In 1867 the building was thoroughly renovated, cut down to two stories, the second of which is occupied by Union Hall, a room large enough to accommodate 400 or 500 persons, supplied with scenery and stage fixtures, and an addition for school uses erected on the west end. The entire cost of these changes was about $6,000. The property is at present valued at $10,000. Following is a list of principals of the Morrisville Union: 1848-'53, Jos. C. Arnold; 1853-'59, Allen H. Fort; 1859-'60, A. B. Scribner; 1860-'63, O. E. Wheeler; 1863-'64, Ira D. Nichols; 1864-'65, Wm. T. Lowry; 1865-'66, C. E. Babcock; 1866-'67, T. B. Stowell; 1867-'68, J. D. Conley; 1868-'69, George B. McIntosh; 1869-'70, J. R. Gordon; 1870-'71, Dr. E. Graves; 1871-'73, John Kelley; 1873-'75, Frank H. Hyatt; 1875-'77, C. E. Allen; 1877-'78, Lucien M. Underwood; 1878, Thomas B. Dates, the present principal. The average attendance of pupils is 150; annual expenses of the school, $2,500. The trustees for 1880 are E. Norton, E. Knickerbocker, and F. H. Hyatt.
LAWYERS. --- Morrisville's first lawyer was Andrew S. Sloan, of Mansfield, Ct. He was graduated from Williams College in 1813 and studied law in Waterford, Ct.; came to Morrisville in 1819, where he resided until his death, in 1857. He held the office of County Clerk six years, and was Chief County Judge. (The Board of Judges comprised five associates at that time.) He was a man of much learning, and for a while had a very large practice.
Hugh Halsey, from Long Island, was associated with Mr. Sloan three or four years as partner. He returned to Long Island, where he subsequently became County Surrogate, and died a few years ago. Two sons, lawyers, are living in Wisconsin. One of them as been president of the Elgin Watch Company.
Epenetus Holmes came to Morrisville about the same time that Mr. Sloan arrived. He was born at Amenia, N.Y., Dec. 1, 1784, of poor parents. His legal education was obtained in the office of Herman Knickerbocker, Schaghticoke, N.Y., and after admission to the bar he opened an office in that place, where he practiced until his removal hither. His first public office in Madison county was that of Justice of the Peace. For several years he was clerk of the Board of Supervisors, and ten years sat on the bench of Common Pleas. He died in 1861. His son, Sidney T. Holmes, succeeded his father in the profession and surpassed him as a politician. He was County Judge from 1851 to 1863, and was elected to Congress in 1865 by the Republicans. In 1871 he removed to Bay City, Michigan.
A. Lawrence Foster, who studied law at Vernon, N.Y., and came to Morrisville in 1827 or '28, for a number of years was a prominent attorney in the county. He purchased the residence of Mr. T. W. Brown and had his office in it. He was one of the most ardent Whigs in the county, and a special admirer of Henry Clay. In 1840 the Whigs elected him to represent the 23d district in Congress. He settled in Virginia after the expiration of his term, and has remained there since, not, however, in the practice of law. Once during the war he made a visit to his old home.
Otis P. Granger, born February 1796, at Suffield, Ct., was graduated from Williams College in 1816, and immediately commenced the study of law. Soon after being admitted to practice he settled in Morrisville (1821) and continued in active practice until about 1845. He was esteemed one of the best counselors in this entire region, and in his retirement is frequently consulted on important points. In 1827 he was appointed Surrogate of Madison county by Gov. Clinton, and held the office until 1840. At the age of 84 he retains the faculty of memory unimpaired, and manifests deep concern in all public affairs. His hair is but slightly gray, and his sight has never req2uired the aid of spectacles. He never was confined in bed by sickness; is the only living member of the class of 1816 of Williams College. He has always been a Democrat, and frequently represented his district in State and National conventions. In the church, the schools and the moral welfare of the village he retains a hearty interest.
William W. Farwell, son of Thomas, and son-in-law of Judge Granger, practiced about four years from November 1854 and removed to Chicago, where he has continued in the profession and been elected Circuit Judge. He was associated here with Z. T. Bentley, who removed to Oneida and subsequently died there.
Duane Brown came fro Brookfield about 1845 and bought out Mr. Foster. He continued in a successful practice until his death in March 1857. By his old associates he is declared to have been the most able and successful lawyer of his day. He was without political aspiration and held no office of importance during his life.
Alexander Cramphin, born July 2, 1828 in Prince George's county, Maryland, came north at the age of 15 and was educated in Oxford, N.Y. He studied law in the office of Timothy Jenkins, at Oneida Castle, and subsequently with Duane Brown, in Morrisville. Soon after his removal to this place he was made justice of the peace, and in 1868 he was elected district attorney, which office he held one term. He died Feb. 2, 1874, after a year's illness. Mr. Cramphin was one of the charger members of the Union League.
The present lawyers of Morrisville are Charles N. Kennedy, county judge since 1867, who studied with Duane Brown, admitted in 1847, removed to Chittenango in 1849 to form a partnership with Wm. E. Lansing, returned in 1858 as county clerk, and subsequ3ently formed a partnership with Judge S. T. Holmes, remaining with him till 1867; Nathaniel Foote, one of the oldest attorneys in the county, who came from Chenango county in 1845; Arthur A. Foote, his son, clerk of the board of Supervisors; Lucius P. Clark, who makes a specialty of pension business; J. E. Smith, district attorney since 1877; S. Perry Smith, E. F. Haskell, H. Barclay, and Henry B. Coman.
PHYSICIANS. --- Dr. James Pratt, for a few years was the only physician in the vicinity of Morrisville. Before 1810 he was joined by Dr. Isaac Hovey, who located in the village and practiced there for nearly a half century. He finally removed to Deansville, where he has since died. Dr. William P. Cleveland came about the same time and had an extensive practice for about 40 years. He died Feb. 18, 1844, from the effects of a fall on the sidewalk. Other physicians have been Drs. Barnett, Maybury, Marsh, Morey, Wells, Hayes, Curtiss, Loomis, Mason, Crowell, Phillips, and Brown. The present physicians are Drs. Chase, Smith, Mead and Nicholson. Dr. Alexander M. Holmes is the only dentist. He came in February 1849 and has mingled much outside business with his profession. Drs. William P. Grannis and N. B. Bacon have practiced dentistry here also since 1849 for a short period.
CEMETERY. --- As early as 1812 interments were made in the ground now known as the Morrisville cemetery. Thomas Morris donated about three-fourths of an acre for the use of the public, and plots were selected by families as they had occasion to use them. In 1857 the Rural Cemetery Association was formed, and the grounds extended to the west and north. Persons who held lots under the old donation were allowed to retain them, and a small price is charged for lots bought of the Association, of which Edward Norton is Secretary. The earliest interment was that of a child, whose name is not found. James Madison, son of Bennett Bicknell, whose death occurred March 19, 1814, was doubtless the next person buried, aged 11 months. The oldest person named on the tombstones is Sarah, wife of Francis Byer, who died Jan. 27, 1846, aged 100 years. She was the mother of Nicholas Byer, one of the oldest residents of Eaton village.
BANKS. --- The First National Bank of Morrisville was organized Dec. 26, 1863 and in 1864 the building was erected. The first trustees were Daniel Stewart, Franklin M. Whitman, John C. Head, Sidney T. Holmes, Alex. M. Holmes, Bradley M. Tillinghast, George E. Cummings (since replaced by Charles L. Kennedy), Henry Runkel, Reuben Harwood. The first officers were, President, Daniel Stewart; Vice-President, Sidney T. Holmes; Cashier, Lorenzo D. Dana; Teller, Brownell Tompkins, (elected Jan. 16, 1888.) Judge Holmes resigned in December 1871, on his removal from the State, and Alexander M. Holmes was elected to the vacancy Jan. 9, 1872. The president died in the autumn of 1872 and Alexander M. Holmes was elected to the vacancy, Jan. 14, 1873, and Henry Runkel, at the same time, was elected vice-president.
|Paid up capital||Dec. 26, 1863.........$ 65,000.00|
|" "||Mar. 2, 1864........... 100,000.00|
|Surplus funds,||May 7, 1880.............. 16,000.00|
|Undivided profits,||May 7, 1880................ 3,109.49|
|Total dividends since organization........ 138,000.00|
Charles L. Kennedy is now a director in place of George E. Cummings. In 1864 the building was erected.
MANUFACTURES. --- The most important interest at present in operation is tanning, which is carried on by Tillinghast & Son. The first tanning was done in the town in 1814 or '15 by Lanson Stillwell, who built a small tannery near the site of the present one, and manufactured shoes on the site of the present bank. Mr. S. removed to Manlius, Onondaga Co., where he built another tannery leaving the Morrisville concern in charge of his son. Dr. Isaac Hovey, druggist, and his clerk, Clark Tillinghast, bought the building and an acre of ground, and established an ashery, which they conducted with profit a number of years. Mr. Stillwell subsequently returned and built another small tannery across the brook, a short distance west from the first building. This was continued a number of years. In 1830 Bradley Tillinghast came from Mansfield, Conn., and bought out the ashery of his brother, (the sole proprietor,) and commenced the business which has grown steadily until at present it turns out 300 sides of heavy uppers every week, using 7,800 South American hides annually. For a period of 30 years he carried on a large trade in boots and shoes, supplying all the local demand. All the leather now made here is shipped to Boston.
About 1828 one of the Slocums carried on the tanning business a short distance up the brook, on the site of the Jones sawmill. Hiram D. Cloyes subsequently occupied the ground with an ashery for a short time. Abel B. DeForest built the presnt sawmill on the site about 1830, and constructed the dam ten years later. In 1861 he sold out to William R. Jones, his chief employee, and retired from business. Mr. Jones was succeeded at his death, in Feb. 1880, by his sons. The mill does planing and a variety of woodworking.
A silk factory was built by F. F. Stevens and Jonathan Gurley about 1853. Sewing silk was the chief variety produced; from 40 to 50 hands were at one time employed. The business proved unprofitable, and was discontined about 1858. Stephen Coman purchased the buildings, and converted them into a cheese factory in the spring of 1862. H. E. Griswold was afterwards associated with Mr. Coman, and they in turn sold to V. M. Armour, was succeeded by Avery & Wadsworth. In 1880 J. B. Wadsworth purchased the entire interest. It operated from April 1st until the middle of November, and during the five best months produced daily from 1,200 to 1,599 lbs. of butter, and from 1,200 to 1,300 lbs. of cheese.
Bicknell's comb factory was continued by Jonathan Gurley about 25 years, until 1840; only horn combs were made. The number of hands employed did not at any time exceed twelve. It was discontinued on account of machine competition.
Bicknell, Coman & Norton's distillery was built near the millpond in 1836. It employed about ten men, and shipped its produce to New York. The firm was succeeded by Bicknell, Palmer & Norton, then by Bicknell & Son. It was discontinued in 1860, and the buildings have disappeared.
Benjamin Graham's gristmill was built in 1830, and it has been in operation ever since. Earlier than this a sawmill was built some distance above the gristmill. Mr. Shepard moved it down to the latter in 1855. It was discontinued about 1862.
Nathan Shepard established a woolen mill in 1836, which employed 50 hands, one of them being little Emily Chubbuck. Failed in 1850.
Torrey's machine shop, on the old distillery farm, was built in 1841. It produced the fist steam engine used in Eaton. The buildings were afterwards used a cooper shop for the distillery.
Among the industries of the past was the manufacture of Saleratus, carried on for a number of years previous to 1840 by Babbitt & Darling, three houses above Dr. Mead's residence.
The only manufacturing establishment besides the tannery that has been continued fifty years in Morrisville, the foundry of Cross Brothers. It was built in 1830 by Jefferson Cross for the making of cast iron plows. Stoves were soon after made, the Great Western, the common box stove, the Saratoga and the Excelsior (double oven). Mr. Cross died in 1850. His sons,, Jefferson and George, have been very successful in the business, and have continued to produce stoves, plow points, wagon and sleigh irons, stove fixtures, etc. A three-pounder gun was cast and bored in this foundry to salute the nomination of General Hancock for the Presidency. It is handsomely mounted on an iron carriage and wheels, and is a splendid piece of workmanship.
CHURCHES. --- The Congregational Church was organized June 26, 1805, at the house of John Mixer, Eaton Center. The members were: John Mixer, Thankful Mixer, Jehiel Chapin, Joshua Leland, Waitstill Leland, James Pratt, William Randall, Edward Bliss, Phineas Lucas, Polly Bennett, Louisa Gates, Sarah Anderson, Lydia Avery, Polly Holt, and Hannah Bliss --- 15. "The First Congregational Church of Eaton" was the name adopted and the Society was admitted to the Oneida Association Sept. 10, 1805. Of the two clergymen who officiated at the organization, - Rev. Joshua Knapp and Rev. Jonas Thompson,- the latter became the Society's first pastor and continued to serve it for twelve years. The Center school-house was used for Sabbath worship during that time until 1818. A charter was obtained March 18, 1817, but this lapsed through failure to elect trustees at the specified time, and when the next charter was obtained the Society had changed its character and was then, (June 18, 1818,) incorporated as the First Presbyterian Society. The Presbyterian discipline was adopted by vote August 27, 1819, and in the October convention of the synod the church was received into the Oneida Presbytery. Two years later, Sept. 13, 1821, it was decided to be governed by Congregational principles, but not to sever connection with the presbytery. Feb. 24, 1842, the Society voted to withdraw from the Oneida presbytery, and May 19, it was again received into the Oneida Association. Since that time it has continued to adhere to Congregational principles, though in name the church is still Presbyterian. The present seal was adopted Sept. 18, 1822, being a modification of one adopted two years earlier. The church erected its "meeting house" during the ministration of its first pastor, and was dedicated in March 1817. It was of the 18th century pattern within and without, exceedingly plain and uncomfortable, matching the austerity which characterized the religious ideas of the times. It cost $1,680.44. Extensive alterations were made in 1842 and still further in 1859. In 1871 the building was enlarged, the galleries were removed and the old choir's gallery over the vestibule enclosed for a room.
The membership of the church has received additions every year since organization, except in 1820, '36, '37, '38, '52, '53, '62, and '71. The largest number of accessions in one year was 70, in 1830. The total membership has been about 730; present resident membership, 100; male 30, female 70. Jehiel Chapin was the first deacon. The present deacons are Abel B. DeForest and Lorenzo B. Dana. A. B. DeForest and Margaret Norton are the senior members, both having joined in 1826.
The office of chorister was erected in 1824, and the compensation offered was free rent of a pew during term of service. Mr. Lucius P. Clark had held that position since 1851.
The pastors of this church have been as follows: Rev. Jonas Thompson, from June 26, 1805 to May 1, 1818; Silas Parsons, __ __ to Sept. 26, 1820; Washington Thatcher, from Jan. 9, 1823 __ __; Evans Beardsley, from March 12, 1826 to March 22, 1829; Nathaniel S. Smith, from May 2, 1830 to Feb. 10, 1831; __ Clarke, from March 26, 1831 to __; E. D. Willis, from __ 1833 to April 23, 1834; John R. Dodge, from Nov. __, 1835 to __ 1837; Moody Harrington, from June 1, 1839 to Aug. 30, 1847; H. L. Hammond, from May 28, 1848 to Nov. 24, 1850; William B. Richards, from Dec. 1, 1850 to Oct. 24, 1852; Moody Harrington supplied six months in 1853; Frederick S. Jewell, from March 19, 1854 to Sept. 3, 1854; Byron Bosworth, from Sept. 1, 1854 to __ 1856; William B. Hammond, from Aug. 31, 1856 to Aug. 30, 1863; John R. Lewis, from Sept. 6, 1863 to Sept. 6, 1866; Horace F. Dudley, from April 24, 1867 to Aug. 4, 1872; William Windsor, from March 1, 1873 to March 1, 1874; William W. Belden, D.D., from May 10, 1874 to Oct. __, 1974; William A. Smith, from July 1, 1875 to __ 1877; George A. Pelton, from July 1, 1877 to July 1, 1878; Ward Batchelor, from July 21, 1878 to present pastor.
The First Baptist Church of Eaton was formed in 1809, and a small house for worship built on the lot now owned by Eli Allen. The chief mover and most liberal contributor was Deacon A. Lamb. Bennett Bicknell gave the society a more suitable lot in 1826, and the building was removed to it and enlarged. In 1848 the church was found inadequate; a new one was erected and dedicated the 20th of February following, and has been used ever since. The old building was sold at auction for $400.
At present (1880,) the membership is 151, and the Sabbath school has a membership of 129. The church is a pretty, comfortable house, nicely furnished and decorated and has a good pipe organ, the gift of the late Mr. Burdwin. There is no debt upon the society. The deacons are (in 1880,) Lyman Dean, Otis Storrs, and Mr. Bellows; Sabbath school superintendent, J. H. Parker.
Emily C. Judson (Chubbuck) was a member of this church during her residence in Morrisville.
The Rev. William Dean, D. D., went from this church as a missionary to Siam. He was born June 21, 1807; ordained in June 1834, married Miss Matilda Coman, and sailed for the East in the fall of the same year. He is now residing at Bangkok, Siam. He is widely known as an author in the Chinese language and scripture translation. Among those who have entered the ministry are Joel and Willis Nye, Alfred Cornell, Henry M., Loonard J., William K. and Delavan D. Dean.
The pastors of this church have been as follows: Rev. Nathaniel Kendrick, D. D., settled in July 1817, resigned Jan. 15, 1829; Obed Warren, settled March 18, 1820, resigned May __, 1821; David Blakesley, ordained March 30, 1826, resigned Feb. 16, 1828; Silas Spalding, settled June __, 1834, resigned Oct. __, 1834; Nicholas Johnson, settled May 1835; resigned __; Edwin D. Reed, ordained Nov. 19, 1841, resigned __; Benjamin Putnam, settled Nov. __, 1841; resigned Nov. 10, 1844; Simon Davis, settled Oct. 11, 1844, resigned August __, 1845; Luke Davis, resigned __, 1847; John J. Teeple, four years' pastorate, resigned June 14, 1851; John N. T. Tucker, settled in the fall of 1852, resigned __; Reuben Winegar, settled July 20, 1854, resigned April __, 1856; Ira Bennett, settled Oct. 1, 1851, settled Sept. 19, 1857; Isaac E. Howd, settled in spring of 1859, resigned in 6 months; Edward Royce, settled in spring of 1860, resigned __, 1861; Norman C. Mallory, ordained August 20, 1863, resigned __ 1866; Samuel S. Utter, settled in spring of 1866, resigned July __, 1870; Stillman S. Bidwell, settled April __, 1871, resigned April __, 1878; William Ostler, settled Jan. 12, 1879, resigned Sept. 23, 1879; Eugene S. Gardiner, settled Dec. 7, 1879, present pastor.
During the intervals between the pastorates the pulpit was supplied by Joseph Cooley, __ Ransom, B. Sears, __ Moore, __ Newell, Daniel Haskell, Washington Kingsley, L. S. Livermore, Oran Beckwith, Prof. Ezra S. Gallup.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Morrisville was organized Feb. 24, 1834, in the court house, and Rev. William Worthing conducted the exercises. The trustees were John Pratt, Benjamin Morse, Adolphus Brown, and C. E. Topliff. During the following year the erection of a church edifice was commenced on a site given by Bennett Bicknell. The society made slow progress at first, but has grown steadily and is at present in a very fair condition, with a membership of about 100, and owning property to the amount of $5,000. The Sabbath-school numbers over 90 scholars. The trustees (1880) are: Albert S. Norton, Edward Gostling, D. S. Grover, E. C. Topliff, and O. D. Knox. The present pastor is Rev. A. D. Webster, who was appointed at the session of the Central New York Conference, in 1879.
SOCIETIES. --- Lodge No. 658, F. & A. M., was instituted July 31, 1867, and the following officers were elected: Andrew J. French, W. M.; Edward Tousley, S. W.; Edwin R. Coman, J. W. The lodge met at rooms in the Tillinghast building until December 1879, when they completed their new hall on Main Street. The charter members numbered 17. The present membership is nearly 100. Officers for 1880 are: A. N. Stevenson, W. M.; James S. Stewart, S. W.; Fred S. Harwood, J. W.; Henry Runkel, Treasurer; Frank H. Hyatt, Secretary; J. H. Parker, Chaplain; Ed. Tousley, S. D.; L. R. Aldrich, J. D.; I. H. Fleming, Tiler.
A lodge of the Ancient Order of United Workingmen was instituted Jan. 27, 1879. first officers: Ward Batchelor, P. M. W., James S. Stewart, __; D. E. Shipman, Foreman; D. S. Grover, Overseer; Frank L. Esmay, Recorder; W. P. Cleveland, Financier; Hezekiah P. Mead, Receiver; H. Curtiss, G.; W. Mattison, I. G.
Officers in 1880: James S. Stewart, P. M. W.; W. P. Cleveland, M. W.; D. E. Shipman, Foreman; D. S. Grover, Overseer; James G. Richards, Recorder; Otis Storrs, Financier; Frank I. King, G.; A. E. Mattison, I. W.; William Holmes, O. W. Membership has increased from 19 to 30. Meetings held alternate Monday evenings.
Croton Fire Company No. 1 has a membership of 44. It has charge of a Button engine No. 1, kept in a building near the Tillinghast tannery. Foreman, George Tillinghast. The company took a trophy in 1878, a beautiful silver trumpet, in a contest with all the fire companies of the same grade in the county. A hose company of ten men, with E. G. Richardson as foreman, manages the 700 feet of hose.
In the time of Morrisville's greater thrift and prominence it was the seat of many conventions and associations, including the Agricultural Society of Madison county, whose Fair Grounds, located near the village, were long ago abandoned. It was the headquarters of the 42d Regiment of State Militia, and of Brigadier-General Z. T. Bentley. The State built an armory in 1855 for the use of the militia, and supplied it with arms, including two pieces of brass ordnance. The militia system having been abandoned, the armory stores were removed in 1870, and the building and grounds lapsed to the original owner of the site.
The last public execution of a criminal in Madison county was Sept. 12, 1823 when Abram Antoine, an Indian adventurer, was hanged for the murder of John Jacobs. The execution took place in the open field directly west from the Morrisville cemetery. The gallows, having been erected in the hollow could be viewed by the entire throng of spectators numbering several hundred, perhaps 2,000. The fears of the authorities lest an insurrection of Indians might be made, and the ferocity of Antoine, who is represented as a most wily and unprincipled savage, have been exaggerated by traditions and history. It is known that the prisoner deliberately refused to escape from jail when an opportunity was offered, and that he also had many noble traits of character. Sheriff Cloyes performed his duty with reluctance, more from affection for Antoine than from fear of revenge.
Robert Avery, 1807; Joseph Morse, 1808-'09; Hezekiah Morse, 1810-'15; Bennett Bicknell, 1816-'17; Windsor Coman, 1818; Bennett Bicknell, 1819; Rufus Eldred, 1820-'21; Samuel W. Osgood, 1822; Stephen Fitch, 1823; Artemas Ellis, 1824-'25; David Gaston, 1826-'27; Robert Henry, 1828-'31; Uriah Leland, 1832-'35; Perley Munger, 1836; George Ellis, 1837; Windsor Coman, 1838; Ichabod Amidon, 1839-'41; Moses Bicknell, 1842-'43; Windsor Coman, 1844; Yale Leland, 1845-'46; Ellis Morse, 1847-'50; Hiram D. Cloyes, 1851-52; Ambrose Y. Smith, 1853-'54; Calvin Morse, 1855-'56; Francis H. Stevens, 1857; Albert W. Morse, 1858-'59; Benj. F. Coman, 1860-'61; Edward C. Philpot, 1862-'63; Horace M. Kent, 1864; George E. Morse, 1865-'66; Alexander M. Holmes, 1867-'80.
West Eaton is a manufacturing village of 520 population, on the Skaneateles turnpike, 2½ miles west from Eaton station, 3½ miles south from Morrisville. Georgetown station, on the Syracuse & Chenango Valley railroad, is 3 miles southwest.
MERCHANTS, ETC. --- Following are the firms engaged in business in 1880: Henry C. Palmer, general store; L. L. Hamilton, drugs and general merchandise; James Mitchell, groceries; A. L. Howe, groceries and meats; C. D. Tracy, hardware and tin; J. E. Darrow & Son, clothing; Mrs. M. S. Pennock, millinery; M. S. Pennock, C. F. Own, G. W. Johnson, shoe shops; George Harris, bakery; H. H. Hamilton, meat; H. W. Copley and J. W. Mowry, wagon makers; John Pennock and H. M. Collis, blacksmiths; Isaac Hopkins & Son, flour and feed; J. E. Cross, physician; J. H. Northrup, Justice of the Peace, H. M. Brownell, proprietor of West Eaton Hotel.
POSTMASTERS. --- West Eaton post-office was established in 1852. The post-masters have been: Joseph Darrow, Isaac Hopkins, Erastus Wellington, Marion Beebe, Albert Tayntor, Harvey Miller, and L. L. Palmer. Mr. Palmer was appointed in 1867 and is still the incumbent. The receipts for 1879 were $687; receipts in 1878, $375.
MANUFACTURING. --- The Monitor Mills of Henry C. Howe make a fine grade of woolen cloth, and employ at present ninety operatives. The goods are mostly shipped to New York city. This mill had its origin in a small "clothier's works," built before 1820 by Abner Isbell, who carried on a small business until 1840 when A. Y. Smith & Son bought the property and enlarged the works and at once commenced a flourishing business. In 1852 the mill was burned; in rebuilding, Messrs. Smith received liberal assistance from the villagers, and the machinery was very soon running again. The panic of 1857 crippled the owners, and the firm of Churchill, Gilmore & Co., of Utica, came into possession of the mill. In 1860 Dr. S. B. Mowry was admitted to the firm. During the next two years there were frequent transfers of the concern, and finally in 1862 it was again burned. The last proprietors were Mowry & Huntoon; they were succeeded by Green & Co., who rebuilt, with the aid of the citizens, on a much more extensive scale and improved plan, at a cost of $100,000, and called the new works the Monitor Mills. Henry C. Howe bought them out in 1879. The mills are run by waterpower supplemented when (occasionally) needed, by steam.
The Eureka Mills, employing in 1880 about forty hands in the manufacture of woolen cloth, originated in a carding mill which Barnes, Mitchell & Co. erected on the brook about the year 1845. In 1860 Otis Barnes became sole proprietor; in 1862 J. W. French purchased an interest and under the management of Barnes & French the mills were enlarged and the name "Eureka" was adopted. James Mitchell subsequently succeeded Mr. French, and Henry C. Howe was admitted also. Later still Otis Barnes & Sons became proprietors and in July 1880 John E. Lewis, Richard R. Jones and Gary E. Barnes succeeded with the title of Lewis, Jones & Barnes. At present the mills are doing a profitable business; their goods are sold in New York, where they have a very good reputation.
The mill of Isaac Hopkins & Sons was built in 1865 by Hiram Shuman for a gristmill. The present proprietors bought it in 1868 and added much to its size and machinery. It now does sawing, grinding and cider making; has four wheels and circular saws large enough to handle the largest timber. Aside from the cheese factory of J. B. Wadsworth, these are the only manufacturing establishments operated in 1880. As long ago as 1808, a gristmill was in operation about 300 feet from the Hopkins mill. A distillery was built near the site of Mr. Wadsworth's present residence in 1815 by Joseph Enos, and operated about three years. In 1830 John Brown, now of Pierceville, commenced the manufacture of augers in a small factory on the site of D. M. Darrow's present residence and the business was continued bout fifteen years.
HOTELS. --- The West Eaton Hotel, kept by H. M. Brownell, was erected before 1840. Previous to that time the old house built by Barry Carter and Isaac Sage and located on the lot west from Mr. Brownell's, was the only public house in the village. It was built in 1811 or 1812 and was a favorite resort. Among the early proprietors were Carter and Sage, C. Brown, Stephen Cornell, D. Enos, Jos. Enos, Dr. Slater, Samuel Stowe, Philip Lee, (after whom the village was called until recently "Leeville,") Major Stone, S. and A. Judd, V. Kibbe, Calvin Wellington. It was burned about 1850. For a short time a hotel was kept by Asa Walden where Mr. Mitchell's store now stands.
SCHOOLS. --- School district No. 3 comprises the village. The school was changed to a Union school under the general law in 1874, and the present very pretty building erected. The building cost $3,600; the building committee were Ira B. Tayntor, J. J. Darrow and Joshua Wells. The first teachers were Mr. and Mrs. Fearon. Present teachers, Misses Libbie Mackin and Lottie L. Darrow. The attendance is 120; annual expenses, $900. Present board of education: Henry C. Howe, John J. Darrow, Otis Barnes, Elias Thomas, Albert Tayntor, John Northrup.
The first school house in this district was built before 1816 and probably as early as 1810, and the first teacher was Thomas Hubbard. Twice the district has lost its school house by fire.
SOCIETIES. --- West Eaton Lodge No. 94, I. O. G. T., was chartered August 29, 1866, with about forty charter members. The first officers were: W. C. T. Edward Davis; W. V. T., Lucy Medbury; Sec., E. D. Mott; Treas., E. Tousley; Chap., D. Stillon; Mar., Charles Knowles; Dep. Mar., O. A. Knowles; G., Mary Sault; Sent. L. Lewis; P. W. C. T., Robert Wheelhouse. The total enrollment of members has been 493; highest membership at any time 200. Meetings are held every Friday evening in the lodge rooms over Mitchell's store. Present officers: W. C. T., John A. Lewis; W. V. T., Marcus Shipman; Sec., Robert Taylor; Treas., Mary North; Chap., Mary Montena; Mar., E. Palmer; Dep. Mar., Kitty Darrow; G., Benj. Phelps; Sentinel, Ella Sabine; P. W. C. T., E. Tousley.
CHURCHES. --- In 1820 the Baptist Church of West Eaton was organized by Elder Shaw, who was the first pastor, and services were held in the school house. The members were principally "six principal Baptists," but a dispute arose regarding methods of baptism and masonry and fourteen years after the organization a division occurred and a rival society known as the Baptist Society of Leeville was formed which worshiped a short time in the school house and was finally merged with the Eaton church. The original society was continued at least nominally until 1853, when a reorganization was effected (April 30,) with a membership of 45. Elder Daniel Putnam was called to preach and a church building was erected at a cost of $2,000; it was dedicated Oct.27. The church has continued with varying prosperity to the present time, and its prospects are more encouraging than for many years before. The church has had nine pastors, as follows: Daniel Putnam, P. L. Hakes, S. M. Westcott, (27 years,) O. Tayntor, (4 years,) M. L. Bennett, Judson Davis, (6 years,) W. J. Quincy, ___ Smith, J. Davis, (10 months,), G. B. Simons, present pastor, who has charge of the church at Eaton also. A Sabbath School has been sustained many years; A. J. Tayntor is the superintendent in 1880.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of West Eaton was organized as a class March 14, 1841, by James Tooke, a local preacher. The members were: Joseph Darrow, Phebe Darrow, David Darrow, Thankful Darrow, George Darrow, Caroline Darrow, and Henry Bigelow. Elder Yarrington was the first pastor and Elder Tremaine followed him. A small church was built in 1843, a plain frame structure. In 1869 it gave place to a handsome edifice, the finest church building in the town, which cost $15,000, and together with the parsonage, a neat, classic building erected in 1870, is valued at $18,000. The Society is composed of substantial members and stands very high in the community.
The present pastor is Rev. J. W. Wilson, who commenced his term in 1877. The charge in 1846 (then part of a circuit,) had for its pastors, as traveling preachers, three men who have since become noted in the denomination, Rev. A. L. Eddy, Rev. Daniel Whedon, now editor of The Methodist Quarterly Review, and Rev. E. G. Andrews, now Bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church; this was Bishop Andrews' first year in the ministry. J. J. Darrow is superintendent of the Sabbath School.
A Roman Catholic Society was recently organized, a branch of the Hamilton church, and an edifice has been commenced on the site of the old Methodist Episcopal church. The Society at present meets at Pierceville.
Morrisville Station, a depot on the N. Y., O. & W. Railroad, is located two miles from the village, at the intersection of the track and the Cherry Valley turnpike. George H. Matthews is station master and telegraph operator. Z. A. Todd has a general stroe at this point, and the Cross Brothers have a coal yard.
The small hamlet bearing this name, located in the northeastern corner of the town, five miles from Morrisville, was in the early part of the century a much more stirring and thrifty place than the latter. Its settlement was made by the Pratt Brothers, (John and James,) of Vermont, who were contemporary with Joshua Leland. As early as 1809 they had built a gristmill, a sawmill and a distillery, and soon afterwards they established a woolen mill that employed twenty hands. They added merchandise to their other lines of business, and supplied all the region around them with general provisions. Another woolen mill was built in 1809, by J. F. Chamberlain. In company with other eastern men, Mr. Chamberlain built an extensive cotton mill in 1824. This mill employed 130 hands, and the entire population of Pratt's Hollow at that time was not far short of 450. The beginning of the village's decline was the dissolution of partnership existing between the Pratt Brothers, and the closing of their works, which for some time had been losing money. They eventually lost all the wealth they had accumulated by hard labor, and left the place almost as empty handed as they entered, and moved farther west.
In 1839 Mr. Chamberlain died. His son carried on the business successfully until 1852, when he was ruined by the burning of his large mill. There was no insurance on it, and he could not rebuild. About one-half the population moved away, causing the stores and boarding houses severe loss, and Pratt's Hollow from that day has been nothing more than a quiet hamlet. The present business of the place consists of a hotel, a store, a saw- mill, a carriage shop, one of Mr. Wadsworth's cheese factories, and a post-office.
The Methodist Episcopal church was established in 1808 as a "class." Three or four years later a society was organized and admitted to the Oneida Conference. The Society worshiped in the public school-house until 1838, when a church building was erected, largely through the liberality of John Pratt, one of the most active and devoted members. The present pastor is Rev. W. H. Childs. At the time of the church building the pastor was Rev. Daniel Whedon, D. D., now editor of the Methodist Quarterly Review, New York and Cincinnati.
A collection of six or seven houses, a tavern built in 1834 by James Madison, now kept by __ Sanderson, a blacksmith shop, originally built for a carriage shop in 1835 by Messrs. Howard & Markham, at the junction of the Cherry Valley turnpike and the Munnsville road, four miles southeast from Morrisville, derives its name from the wooded hills above it on the east. It is a place of no importance, but is interesting as being the scene of the early settlement by Joshua Leland, and the resting place of that distinguished family. A few strangers visit the place to fish in the pond.
The only importance attached to the locality which the family of Comans and others vainly endeavored to erect into the metropolis of the town, is found in the machine shop of Dwight, Graham & Co., who moved from Morrisville in 1869 for the sake of the superior waterpower. Their shop was opened as a custom and repair shop, but during the years 1879-'80 they have been manufacturing the "New Safety Agricultural Steam Engine," whose claim to superiority is based on the coil boiler used. The firm employs from eight to ten men.
At this point on the river was established one of the first woolen mills of the county by Perly Ayer. The capacity of these works was enlarged by Clarke Tillinghast in 1851. For a few weeks work was carried on until the large dam newly constructed was destroyed by autumn floods and again destroyed after rebuilding.
Eaton, five miles south from Morrisville, on the Skaneateles turnpike, a half mile west from the New York, Ontario & Western Railroad, and seven miles from Erieville, the nearest station on the Syracuse & Chenango Valley Railroad, is surrounded by the richest faming lands of the town. The village was for many years known as Log City, and its founding was the result of rapid immigration to settlement first made by Leland in 1793, and the excellent waterpower afforded by the Eaton brook. The village is prettily built, some of the best residences being of the latest style of architecture, with large, well-kept lawns. The village has never been incorporated. Population about 475. There are (1880) in Eaton two hotels, the Exchange, kept by George D. Richardson since 1875, a restaurant kept by John Burden, with billiard parlor. Of general merchants there are: Morse Brothers, commence in 1872, (formerly Charles Burritt); Mrs. Catherine Leavenworth, dry goods (successor to Ellis Coman); E. A. Holmes, groceries, started about 1878; Mead & Hamlin, drugs (formerly Will Lyndon); Charles Blakeman, hardware (formerly Will Leete); Frank Everts, meat market; Andrew Pellet, harness shop; Nicholas Bence and Michael Lynch, boot and shoe shop; and John Gage, tin shop. Mrs. Dwight H. (Arbella) Colson is the milliner of the place. The blacksmiths are Wm. L. Clark and Stephen Chapman. Wagon-makers, Charles Gilbert and Robert Gilbert, successor to Abel Boot. Cabinet shops are kept by Allen Norton and Orrin Medbury. Adelbert D. Head and Edgar L. Miller are the physicians. Leander J. White is the only lawyer in 1880. A number of others have commenced business here at various times and found it unprofitable.
MANUFACTURES. --- The business which gives to Eaton its chief importance at this day and makes its name familiar in the great agricultural regions is the agricultural works of Wood, Taber & Morse. These works originated in 1848, when Enos and Allen N. Wood erected buildings and commenced the manufacture of machinery for woolen and cotton mills and all descriptions of castings. The productions of this establishment became very popular, and for a while a good business was carried on. As the woolen and cotton manufactories in the immediate vicinity began to decline, and the demand for machinery shrank, the Messrs. Wood closed their works (1857) and went to Utica, where they found a better shipping point and more general business. In company with Mr. Charles A. Mann, as special partner, under the title of A. N. & E. D. Wood & Co., they made steam engines of an improved pattern. In 1859 A. N. Wood sold out his interest and returned to Eaton. The firm of Wood, Tabor & Morse was at once organized and the old works refitted for the building of portable steam engines. The capacity of the works has been steadily increased, and the Wood, Tabor & Morse engines have become very popular. The total number produced in the twenty-one years since 1859 has been not less than 3,000, and the demand at presnt is greater than at any time before, except, perhaps, for a short period during the excitement in Pennsylvania occasioned by the discovery of oil. Fifty men are employed steadily, and a large share of the work is done by special machinery, which greatly reduces the number of hands required. The force of men includes some who have been in the firm's employ eighteen or twenty years. The foreman., H. R. Hamilton, helped build their first engine twenty-eight or twenty-nine years ago, and has been foreman twenty years. Mr. Wood attributes the success of the engine very much to the policy of steadfastness pursued and the employment of men who by long practice have come to know their business thoroughly. From the first there has been no suspension of the works from lack of business. The Utica firm continued in business fifteen years.
C. H. Hatch has established bottling works in Eaton, where for a number of months he has done a good business in bottling lager and small beer, mineral water, etc.
Joseph Morse, the virtual founder of Eaton village, was the first to utilize the power of Eaton brook. He built the old mill in the village, which commenced running in the spring of 1800. Theodore Burr, millwright, erected it on contract for $1,200. The single run of stones, and hauled them from Albany with carts. These stones are still at work in the mill, which is the property of Mr. Gardner Morse, and has been increased in capacity. Near the mill is a distillery, built about 1812 by Ellis Morse. Its capacity was little by little increased until, about 1840, it used 350 bushels of grain daily, instead of six bushels as at first. A number of buildings were erected for the use of this establishment and it is related, as illustrating the change of sentiment toward the distillery business in modern times, that at the raising of one of these structures, prayer10 was offered by Rev. Dr. Kendrick, first president of Madison University. This establishment was kept in operation until 1857, shipping its product chiefly to New York. Its suspension was owing largely to the inability to procure grain, as dairying superseded grain farming. It is a noteworthy fact that this distillery consumed more wheat in 1840 than was raised in Madison county in 1879, and there were in the town of Eaton at that time fourteen other similar establishments. A part of the distillery property is at present unoccupied by a cooper shop and one of the buildings is used by the owner, Mr. Gardner Morse, for the manufacture of wooden water pipes and the Morse wooden suction pump. Mr. Morse has a lumber yard also on the place.
In 1807 a small tannery was erected in the village by B. Carter, and carried on my him, and subsequently by Messrs. Ward and Milmine, for about a half century.
Among the industries of the past now defunct was the manufacture of cast iron plows, the first in the town, by Messrs. Alpheus and Ellis Morse, who built a small foundry at a very early date. The plows made were as rude and inconvenient compared with the improved plows of modern times as were the old wooden-mold-board plows previously in use compared with those first cast plows; yet the new implement was hailed by the farmers with utmost delight as the climax of invention and the precursor of a new era in agriculture. The business was continued a number of years, but was never extensive, for in those days there was a foundry in every village and hamlet to supply the local demand for plows, stoves and grates, a condition of things which has wisely been superseded by the centralization of manufacturing in the cities.
A small powder mill was built by James McConnell on the river bank on the Gillett place, in 1806. It proved unprofitable and was soon discontinued. The ruins of the building may be seen where it was destroyed soon after abandonment by the explosion of some powder left in it.
Near the powder-mill site the Eaton Woolen Manufacturing Company, composed of Dr. James Pratt, Joseph Morse, Curtis Hoppin and others, erected in 1817 a small mill. Gilbert Jones subsequently leased the property, and was soon succeeded by David Rogers, who changed it to a cotton mill. In the hands of these and succeeding proprietors it proved unprofitable. The company was eventually dissolved and the property fell in to the hands of Pettis and Hoppin, who greatly enlarged it and had hopes of making it succeed. Upon the completion of the enlargement the entire concern was destroyed by fire in October 1845. It was never rebuilt, and Eaton has had no other woolen or cotton factory to take its place. The loss to the village was very great, for the number of operatives employed had been as great as sixty, and that number would have been nearly doubled in the new works. The loss especially afflicted the place inasmuch as the building of the Utica & Syracuse Railroad had already commenced to attract all enterprises northward.
SCHOOLS. --- All that is remembered concerning the first school of the village (aside from DR. Pratt's temporary school) is that it was taught in 1804 by a Miss Osmond, that some of the boys and many of the girls attended during the whole year. The house sttod upon the cemetery grounds, and was burned about 1806. School was next kept in a private house (log) a mile below the village by Mr. Roberts. The house had two rooms and in the one used for the school was the oven. The pupils of that school who remain to this day remember more distinctly an incident relating to that oven than anything taught in their studies. Instead of carrying books to school each boy took his sled, his fishing line or his dog, and some times the number of dogs in the room would exceed a half dozen. One morning teacher Roberts interrupted his teaching to draw the brad from the oven, and while he carried it into the other room a boy tossed a small dog into the oven and closed the door, Recalled by the furor created, Mr. Roberts released the dog and seized a boy for punishment. His instinct directed him to the true culprit. That boy in later years was President of Oberlin College, Ohio, Rev. Charles Phinney, the noted revivalist.
The burned house was replaced by a two-story house on the site of Ellis Coman's residence. It was a two-story brick building (the first brick structure in the town,) and the bricks were made from clay dug from the foundation. The upper story was intended for town purposes, but was actually used for weaving. The ground on which it sttod was donated by Esquire Eldred, and it was supposed by some who disliked the nearness of the school to their property, that if it was to be removed, the land would be turned into a public square. For several years pretexts were sought for the removal of this school, and finally the building was taken down in 1834 or '35, the technicality that the letting of the upper story for purposes not originally designed having been a leading pretext for this measure. The ground did not revert to the village, and very soon afterwards the foolishness of the measure was acknowledged by all. During the building of this house occurred the notable "dark day," The first teacher was Daniel Pomery; Deacon Joseph Tayntor and __ Chapin were teachers subsequently. The complete list of teachers and trustees is not to be found. As many as 75 pupils were sometimes in attendance. After the demolition of the brick school-house a new one (frame) was erected (1836,) the building at present used by W. L. Clark as a blacksmith shop. The first trustees were J. G. Curtiss, F. B. Hoppin and Henry J. Sherrill. Among the teachers of this school were Ralph Thompson and Henry J. Sherrill. In 1852 the building now used by the school was erected at a cost of $1,800. First trustees: Ellis Morse, Alpha Brown, Nicholas Burch. Mr. Perkins was the first teacher, from Utica, and he was assisted by his daughter. Among the subsequent teachers have been Prof. Blakeman, now of Brookfield, and G. Evans. The present principal is Mr. Babcock. His assistants are Mrs. Babcock and Miss Elizabeth Torrey. The trustees for 1880 are: Charles Gilbert, E. A. Richardson, and E. S. Bonney. Attendance about 100. The district t is No. 2.
Many years ago there was a very good select school in the village, east from the Baptist church, and afterwards (1836) Ellis Morse opened a private academy in the building now occupied by Charles Clark. This was continued ten years and among the teachers whom Mr. Morse employed were Dr. James Eels, now of Lane Theological Seminary, M. M. Marsh, Rev. Dr. Kendall, now of New York, Rev. Samuel Rawson, Rev. Henry Nelson, D. D., and Benjamin F. Taylor, the poet. A number of Eaton's school pupils have availed themselves of their advantages for higher education.
POSTMASTERS. --- A post-office was established in __, and the postmasters have been, in the order of their appointment: Dr. Charles W. Hall, John G. Curtis (County Judge), Sylvester Thayer, Calvin Morse (two or three terms in all), Alpheus Morse, John Whitney, Charles Burritt, and Frank Morse, who received his commission Aug. 15, 1871.
Previous to the establishment of the post-office the mail was delivered by Lyel T. Foote, who made trips from Plainfield to Skaneateles.
The post-office receipts for the fourth quarter of 1871 were $178.48; for the first quarter of 1880, $268.32.
CHURCHES. --- The Second Baptist Church of Eaton was organized in 1816. The pastor in charge was Elder Joseph Cooley, who was succeeded the next year by Rev. Nathaniel Kendrick. Services were held in the brick school-house until 1820, when a church building was completed that at present, considerably enlarged, is valued at $4,000. Dr. Kendrick served the church until 1833, when he became President of Madison University. The church has fluctuated in prosperity. At present, under the pastorate of Rev. George B. Simons, who was installed in April 1879, it is recovering from a period of apathy that resulted from frequent changes of pastor and other causes. From 1874 until 1879 the pastorate was vacant. The deacons are: Abel Booth, Alvah Cole and Charles Blakeman; Sabbath School Superintendent, Allen Merton.
The Congregational Church was informally organized Nov. 22, 1831, with a membership of eight. The 27th of December (the same year) it was reorganized as the Congregational Society of Eaton. The original members were: Alpheus Morse, Ellis Morse, John M. Rockwell, Ambrose Dutton, Jesse Brown, Charles W. Hall, Chester Collins, Cornelius Griffin, Elijah Morse, William S. Rockwell, David Maydole, and Jacob Maydole. The first deacons were David Hitchcock and Jesse Brown. The next year a church building was erected at a cost of $2,000. The property is at present valued at $3,000, and has been kept in good condition. The first settled pastor was Rev. John Foote, who served one year - 1833. Of the ten who have followed him only one has been installed, Rev. Erastus D. Willis, whose term was nine years; and three of them have been Presbyterians. The present pastor, Rev. Thomas Wilson, has held the position since 1877. The deacons at present are: Walter Morse, Jonas White, and Daniel Storrs. The pastor is Sabbath school superintendent. The membership of the church at present is sixty-one, and of the school, one hundred.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Eaton Village was organized in 1856, by members of the West Eaton society who resided in Eaton. The same year a church building was erected and dedicated. The Rev. __ Hall was the first pastor. The society has had its share of tribulations, etc., but is at present in a condition of thrift. The charge is connected with that of Morrisville, under the pastoral care of Rev. A. D. Webster, who is assisted in his labor by H. R. Hamilton, local preacher.
SOCIETIES. --- Early in the history of Odd Fellowship a lodge was instituted at Eaton, and was well sustained for a short time, but the charter was surrendered in 1858. In 1872 the lodge was re-instated with seven members. The first officers were: Jonas White, N. G.; George W. Robie, V. G.; Honorable G. Morse, Sec.; David M. Darrow, Treas. The membership at present (spring of 1880) is 45 in good standing. Present officers: W. E. Enos, N. G.; B. G. Whipple, V. G.; Jonas White, Sec.; Dr. A. D. Head, Treas. Of the charter members only Lewis S. Sherrill has been lost by death.
A lodge of the Knights of Pythias was organized in November 1874 with seventeen charter members and the following officers: W. S. Lete, C. C.; E. D. Tousley, V. C.; E. D. White, P.; I. Hunton, P. C.; E. A. Richardson, M. E.; G. A. Brown, M. F.; W. W. Winchester, I. of R. & S. Officers for 1880: W. W. Winchester, C. C.; E. G. Bonney, V. C.; G. D. Tuckerman, P.' E. A. Richardson, M. E.; R. Williams, M. F.; J. M. Fitzgibbons, K. Of R. & S.; H. Brown, P. C.
As earlty as 1817 a lodge of F. & A. M. was in existence, with a moderately large membership and a good lodge room. Its charter was surrendered in 1827.
A small hamlet on the Eaton brook and the Skaneateles turnpike, one mile west of Eaton, containing about ten houses, one store and a carding mill. It was named for J. O. Pierce, who in 1844 formed a company, purchased a larfge tract of ground and erected works for the manufacture of woolen goods. This establishment did a very prosperous business until 1850, when Mr. Pierce died. He was succeeded by his son and the firm was changed from J. O. Pierce & Co., to Pierce, Cady, Crocker & Co. The financial depression of 1857 caused the failure of the firm and the works were abandoned. Previous to 1844 considerable work had been done in a cotton mill built in 1825 by David Rogers, and by George Dunbar's planing and carpenter shop, built ten years later. These works were included in the Pierce purchase and were rented to the Wood brothers for making the machinery for the large factory. The Woods remained three years and then moved to Eaton. A hotel had been built by Samuel Chubbuck some years before 1825 and did a good business in the days of turnpike travel.
Mr. Pierce spent a large amount of money in the beautifying of the place, and it acquired far and near a reputation for beauty and splendor. Even in its present condition, it retains a certain charm of picturesqueness, notwithstanding the spectral presence of silent machinery and crumbling walls ever reminding of a prosperity departed.
A few dairymen, living near Hamilton, Madison county, have originated an enterprise that we predict will crown their efforts with success, and also confer a great blessing upon the dairy interests of the country. The found by long experience that the greatest drawback to the dairy business was the natural depletion of dairy stock. This depletion had to be met in some way, and these dairymen or farmers, not satisfied short of perfection, tried Holstein grades with highly satisfactory results. Their success was so marked that they decided to form an association for the breeding of Holsteins, and if possible their improvement. The massive and wonderful symmetry of their frames, the striking contrast of their colors, and the excessive development of their milk secretions, captivated these dairy farmers. But not until they had tested their qualities did they embark in the enterprise.
In the summer of 1878, Messrs. Burchard and Cole purchased of the "Unadilla Valley Stock Breeder's Association," four heifers that have more than realized their expectations. And as a result of this experiment an association was formed Jan. 1st, 1880, consisting of five members: W. J. Buell, C. R. Payne, Sylvester Burchard, A. F. Cole, and O. R. Cole.
In making their selection of stock, they have neither spared pains nor expense, but have visited various herds and selected twenty-five as good animals as could be found. The stock is located on the farms of Burchard & Buell, two and one-half miles north of Hamilton village, lying in the town of Eaton. These are to be the stock farms of the company.
The qualities of the Holsteins must be acknowledged as remarkable. The other milk breeds have hitherto acknowledged no superior; yet they have found in these new strangers to our solid a breed with which they can scarcely compete. The Holsteins have been long bred and cultivated with a view to develop their lacteal productions to the utmost. They are quick feeders, and physiologically constituted to turn their food readily into milk. When not in milk, they take on flesh very rapidly, proving them to be good beef animals, if desired for that purpose. And it is asserted by writers in Holland that for upwards of two thousand years, they have been bred with a view to a practical combination of the milk and flesh-producing qualities. It is supposed by some that the quantity being so great, the quality must be poor; but the opposite is the result, as has been proved by analysis and by many practical experiments. It is rich in both butter and cheese.
Maid of Twisk, of which this company has several descendants, ahs given on one day ninety pounds of milk, and in one year 15, 960 pounds, and a pound of butter has been made from 19 3/7 pounds of milk. Jacoba Hartog has given one year 12,347 pounds of milk with the same result as to butter. Sejtji Bleeker has given 14,508 pounds, and Clifden has given 16,274 pounds in one year. The cow Texelaar, imported by Winthrop W. Cheney about the year 1850, has made 17 pounds, 14 ounces in six days. Thus we conclude from thse statistics, which might be greatly multiplied, that these cows produce not only large quantities, but a very good quality of milk.
The herd now consists of two cows, five and six years old, three heifers three years old, and six two year olds, all of which are in milk; eleven yearlings recently imported, and two bulls, besides young calves. There are now in the herd eighteen imported animals as good as could be found in Holland, The others are all bred from imported stock.