Richland was formed from Williamstown
on the 20th of February, 1807, and at that time included the present towns
of Sandy Creek, Orwell, Boylston, and Albion, and a part of Mexico.
Orwell (then including Boylston) was set off February 28, 1817. March
31 of that year, lots 137 to 148 inclusive, of township 21 of Scriba’s
Patent, were annexed to Mexico. March 24, 1825, Richland was further
reduced by the erection of the towns of Sandy Creek and Albion. By
chapter 264 of the laws of 1836, as amended by chapter 33 of the laws of
1837, lots 93, 94, 95, 96, 97 and 110 of the 21st township were annexed
to Mexico. March 27, 1844, lots numbers 127, 137, 147 and 157 of
township ten of the Boylston Tract were set off to Orwell, leaving the
town with its present area of 32,251 acres.
Richland is quite irregular in outline,
and is bounded on the north by Sandy Creek and Lake Ontario; on the east
by Orwell and Albion; on the south by Albion and Mexico; and on the west
by Mexico and the lake. The surface is generally level or gently
rolling and has a decided westerly inclination. The deep ravines
through which the streams find their way to Lake Ontario afford a variety
of scenery at once wild and picturesque, and no town in Oswego county surpasses
this in natural beauty. The site of Pulaski village is 131 feet above
the lake, while certain points farther east reach an elevation of 250 feet
or more. In various localities copious springs gush forth, increasing
in volume during the summer months, and giving the name to Spring or Trout
Brook, which descends 150 feet in a distance of three miles. Other
streams are Deer and Grindstone Creeks, on both of which are falls of considerable
height. The principal watercourse of th3e town is Salmon River, which
flows through the village of Pulaski and empties into Lake Ontario near
the center of the western boundary. Nearly all of these streams furnish
abundant water power.
The soil is a sand loam, mixed with
clay in the southwest part, and the underlying rock is the Lorraine shales.
It is very fertile and generally easy of cultivation. Dense forests
once covered most of the town and for many years gave employment to numerous
saw mills. In 1858 there were nineteen in operation, besides eight
shingle mills and other wood-working establishments. The heavy timber
was long ago exhausted, leaving only here and there a bit of woodland to
remind us of the former glory of the wilderness. As the forests fell
fruitful fields were opened to cultivation and the log house of our fathers
was superseded by more comfortable and attractive homes.
The miscellaneous agriculture of
early years has given way to dairying, which is now the chief industry.
There are several cheese factories in the town which turn out a large and
choice product, bringing adequate returns to the farmers. The crops
grown are the grains, hay, fruit, potatoes and corn.
Salmon River1 is not only
rich in romantic scenery, but also in historic interest.
1This river is named from the fish
which once swarmed in its waters. The Indian name of the mouth of
the river was Ostihatanque, while the French called it La Famine.
See Winsor’s Narr, and Crit. History of America, vol. 4, pages 234, 200
and 203. The bay now called Mexico Bay they called Famine Bay.
picturesque surroundings and valuable
water power early attracted the attention of settlers,
who promptly utilized many of the available sites. French writers
state that it was a favorite route for Indian war parties to the Mohawk
Valley; its waters were long frequented by both Indians and white men for
its splendid fish, and very early in the present century measures were
adopted to preserve the salmon. On April 3, 1818, the Legislature
passed an act prohibiting the wanton destruction of these fish, and on
May 4, 1835, another law was enacted authorizing the construction of dams
provided they contained fishways twenty-five feet wide. Other laws
followed from time to time, with the same object in view. On the
12th of May, 1875, the Legislature prohibited the netting and spearing
of salmon in the Salmon River between the Salmon River Falls and the outlet;
and in Deer Creek for a distance of one mile above its mouth. Afterwards
$3,000 was appropriated for building fishways in dams on the Little Salmon
River in the town of Mexico, but the work was not performed, and in 1888
the money reverted to the State. Unfortunately this legislation has
failed to secure the continuance of the visits of this noble fish to the
waters of Oswego county.
Salmon River afforded another advantage
to the settlers which was of great practical value. In times of highwater
it floated immense quantities of logs to the numerous mills along its banks,
and from the earliest settlement it carried on its waters the bateaux of
the pioneers with their families and household goods. Before the
opening of passable roads it was the scene of considerable commercial activity,
and afterward turned the wheels of many industries. The use of its
waters for later public improvement was contemplated, while at its mouth
an effort was made to establish a port, the “City of Port Ontario.”
This contemplated city was surveyed and platted and for a time promised
a growth equal to the most sanguine hopes of its projectors. On April
10, 1837, the Port Ontario Hydraulic Company was incorporated with a capital
of $100,000, its purpose being the construction of “a canal from the falls
below Pulaski to the village of Port Ontario, along the banks of Salmon
River.” This was intended to supply Port Ontario with water power.
On April 27, 1871, the Salmon River Improvement Company, capitalized at
$50,000 in shares of $100 each, was incorporated, with Calvert Comstock,
Samuel Dent, William Mahar, Edward Comstock, and Theodore S. Comstock,
directors. This corporation had for its object the clearing of the
river channel so that logs could float down unobstructed. On June
14, 1884, the Legislature appropriated $6,000 to remove obstructions from
Salmon River and Mad River for the same purpose, and appointed Washington
T. Henderson commissioner to supervise the work. In 1888 the project
of taking water form this stream to supply the city of Syracuse was seriously
contemplated, but was finally abandoned.
Almost contemporaneous with the
first settlement f this town, which occurred at the mouth of Salmon River
in 1801, was the opening of passable roads, but they were not worked to
any great extent prior to 1808. The first road was opened to the
outlet of Salmon River about that year and most of the highways were surveyed
between 1820 and 1825. In 1823 there were sixty-two road districts
in the town; the present number is eighty-seven.
August 14, 1847, the Salmon River
Plank Road Company was organized with the following directors: Frey
Lane, president; A.Z. McCarty, secretary; Ira Doane, J.B. Smith, J.A. McChesney,
George W. Stillwell, and S.A. Comstock. The road was finished in
1848 and ran from the mouth of the Salmon River through the towns of Richland
and Albion to Williamstown, seventeen miles, where it intersected the plank
road between Rome and Oswego. In 1850 the Rome and Watertown Railroad,
a branch of what is now the R., W. & O. Railroad, was built through
Richland Station, and in May, 1851, trains were running to Watertown.
As late as 1857 a line of daily stages was operated from Pulaski to Oswego;
from Pulaski to Syracuse; and from Richland Station to Oswego; the latter
route being established in January, 1852, by Peck & Crandall.
In the fall of 1865 the railroad between Richland Station and Oswego was
completed, giving Pulaski a station. In the autumn of 1871 the Syracuse
Northern Railroad began operations. At a later date one of the depots
at Pulaski was abandoned, the track through the village to Lacona was taken
up, and a junction with a single station established, leaving one track
to Richland, where it intersects the road from Rome. In 1872 the
project of constructing a railroad from Boonville to Port Ontario was agitated
and a company was organized, but it was abandoned. All of these improvements
have had a marked influence upon the development of the town.
The construction of bridges was
given early attention. April 6, 1825, the supervisors of Richland
and Sandy Creek were empowered to levy a tax of $850, to build a bridge
over Salmon River in Pulaski, and over Sandy Creek “where the Salina road
crosses it.” At Port Ontario a toll bridge was early erected across
Salmon River, and April 28, 1869 the town was authorized to purchase it
and thereafter to maintain it free of toll. One of the finest bridges
in the town is the iron structure over the river in Pulaski, the contract
for which was let in May, 1888, under direction of John M. Williams, commissioner.
It is 330 feet long, cost $8,835, and occupies the site of a former bridge.
The first town meeting in Richland
was held at the house of Ephraim Brewster, east of Pulaski village, in
the spring of 1807, and the following officers were chosen:
Joseph Hurd, supervisor; William
Hale, town clerk; George Harding, John Meacham, and Joseph Chase, assessors;
Isaac Meacham and Gershom Hale, overseers of the poor; Simon Meacham, Elias
Howe, and Jonathan Rhodes, highway commissioners; Elias Howe, collector
for townships 6, 10, and 11 (Sandy Creek, Orwell, Boylston, and the north
part of Richland); Pliny Jones, collector for townships 21 and 22 (Albion
and the south part of Richland); Elias Howe, Justus St. John, and Pliny
Jones, constables; Asahel Hurd, Joseph Chase, and Gershom Hale, fence-viewers;
George Harding, poundmaster; Nathan W. Noyes, William Robinson, Timothy
Balch, Elias Howe, Gershom Hale, Ephraim Brewster, Jonathan Rhodes, Timothy
Kellogg, and Isaac Lehigh, pathmasters.
The successive supervisors of the
town have been as follows:
Joseph Hurd, 1807-8; John C. Pride,
1809-16; Simon Meacham, 1817-9; John C. Pride, 18200-1; Simon Meacham,
1822; John C. Pride, 1823; Simon Meacham, 1824-51; John C. Pride, 1825-6;
Thomas C. Baker, 1827; Robert Gillespie, 1828-9; Isaac Stearns, 1830; Robert
Gillespie, 1831-3; Isaac Stearns, 1834; L.D. Mansfield, 1835; Isaac Stearns,
1836; Robert Gillespie, 1837-8; M. W. Mathews, 1839-41; Bradley Higgins,
1842-3; Dr. H.F. Noyes, 1844; A. Crandall, 1845-6; Casper C. West, 1847;
E. M. Hill, 1848-51; Dr. H. F. Noyes, 1852; N. W. Wardwell, 1853; S. H.
Meacham, 1854; James A. Clark, 1855-6; John T. McCarty, 1857-8; James A.
Clark, 1859-60; Isaac Fellows, 1861-2; Sewell T. Gates, 1863-5; William
H. Gray, 1866; G. T. Peckham, 1867-9; Dr. James N. Betts, 1870; Henry H.
Lyman, 1871-2; William B. Dixon, 1873-8; Robert L. Ingersoll, 1883; Richard
W. Box, 1884-5; Lawson R. Muzzy, 1886-7; Isaac J. Rich, 1888-91; Richard
W. Box, 1892-3; Isaac J. Rich, 1894-5.
1The organization of Sandy Creek
in 1825 left Richland without a supervisor or town clerk, as those officers
(Simon Meacham and E. C. Hart) both resided within the limits of the new
town; therefore, John C. Pride and Milton Harmon were appointed to fill
the respective positions, and were duly elected at the town meeting held
a few weeks afterward.
Isaac J. Rich, supervisor; Thomas
S. Meacham, town clerk; Isaac J. Rich, Burns E. Parkhurst, Latham D. Potter,
James C. Knight, and William E. Nelson, justices of the peace; John W.
Rima, collector; John Calkins, Edward E. Forman and John Nicholson, assessors;
William M. Woods, highway commissioner; George W. Pond, overseer of the
poor, Wilfred I. Lane, Albert White and Wells DeGraw, excise commissioners,
Thomas S. Meacham has been town clerk since 1881, succeeding his father,
Daniel B., who held the office almost twenty-one years. Five justices
of the peace have been elected in Richland annually since 1872; prior to
that only four were chosen.
Settlement was commenced in the present
town of Richland by Nathan Tuttle and Nathan Wilcox, who came from Canada
and located at the mouth of Salmon River in 1801. The same year Benjamin
Winch also settled near the outlet, and Albert Bohannan at the mouth of
Snake Creek. Mr. Winch soon removed to the site of Pulaski village,
where he opened the first tavern in town about 1806. “Being a surveyor
he aided in surveying the original Richland, and in various ways was a
useful and influential citizen. The first death was that of a child
of Nathan Tuttle.
Reliable data of the early settlers
in this town are, in many instances, lacking. It is quite probable
that many of the pioneers hereafter mentioned came in 1802 or 1803, but
if so it is now impossible to determine the fact. We subjoin first,
however, the names of those the exact date of whose settlement has been
In 1804 Thomas Jones came from Bridgewater,
N.Y., and located on Salmon River near Lake Ontario. He had five
sons and three daughters, the sons being Pliny, Israel, Horace, Chauncey
and Lyman. They settled ata what was long known as “Jones Corners”
and opened the roads intersecting there. Pliny Jones kept a public
house upward of fifty years, and also built the first frame barn in town,
which is now owned by J. S. Farmer. He was the father of Pliny H.
Jones and of Mrs. Cornelia Ledyard (who died in 1894) and held one or two
local wedding in the town was that of Joseph Spaids and Clara Jones, the
grandparents of Dr. F. J. Bradner, of Pulaski. Spaids was obliged
to go by boat to Oswego for a magistrate to perform the ceremony.1
Benjamin Bull and John B. Ingersoll
also became settlers in 1804. The first birth was that of Benjamin
Ingersoll August 28, 1804. In the next year Jacob Ellis, a trapper,
was the first to locate at Brown’s landing, a place on Salmon River that
received its name from the pioneer, Sylvester Brown. Joel Ellis,
a brother of Jacob, came to the town soon after. Jonathan Hooker
was an early comer to this vicinity and for many years owned the principal
part of its shipping. He was long a justice of the peace and a man
of influence and ability.
Among other early settlers was William
Smith, a farmer and fisherman, who ocated on the Ansel Brown farm.
While fishing and boating were of paramount importance Capt. John Vorce
came into the town. He was a lake captain and settled on the farm
now occupied by the widow of Edmund Brown, who was born in Richland and
died here in March, 1892. Daniel Brown was the first settler on the
place now owned by his son-in law’s widow, Mrs. Augusta Twitchell; his
wife was a daughter of Benjamin Winch. Thaddeus Harmon was the pioneer
on the land Subsequently owned by his son James and later occupied by his
grandson Calvin. Luman Hough and a Mr. Stowell were also early settlers;
the latter was killed while raising a barn, and the former
was poormaster for
1French’s State Gazetteer, a generally
reliable work, states that the first marriage in Richland was that of Samuel
Crippen and Ruth Tuttle (probably a daughter of Nathan Tuttle, one of the
first two settlers) in 1894, but an old resident of the town who has given
attention to local annals gives the honor to Joseph Spaids and Clara Jones.
About twenty-five years. John
Woods came from the eastern part of the State and built his log cabin on
property now owned by Ira and Gilbert Stewart. He died December 2,
1852. His widow is yet living and resides with her son George W.,
in Oswego. Other pioneers were Zisaac Lehigh, who settled where Thomas
Bull now lives, and who was drowned in Salmon River; Abram Bates, who located
in the Ingersoll neighborhood; Isaac Fellows and his son of the same name,
on the Spring Brook road east of Pulaski; Nathan Stoddard, Ezra Weed, and
Daniel Sykes, north of the village; and Moses Phillips.
Caleb Halsey, father of Don C.,
came to Mexico in 1807 and thence to Richland about 1820; he was born in
Oneida county and died in 1894; his widow lives in Mexico. Samuel
Calkins journeyed from Canada to Whitesboro in a bateau at the beginning
of the war of 1812, and came thence to Richland on foot in 1816, settling
on the farm now owned by John Price; he afterward moved to Ohio and died
there. With him came his eldest son, Russell, afterwards under-sheriff
and sheriff of Oswego county, who located on twenty-five acres owned by
John Bentley. He was born in Vermont in 1797, was one of ten children,
and became an active Democratic politician. He married Pamelia, daughter
of Colonel Rufus Price, had ten children, owned 350 acres of land, and
died in 1893. Rufus Price was a colonel in the Revolutionary army,
an aid on Washington’s staff, and a pensioner. He settled in Richland
in 1808, on the farm now owned by his descendants, and died here.
His wife, Ruth Grant, was related to the family of General Grant.
James Brown was born in Rhode Island
in 1788, came to Richland in 1809, and died in October, 1859. He
served in the war of 1812 and had ten children, of whom five are living.
About the same year (1809) William Marsden became a resident of the town.
He subsequently removed to Mexico and died there. He had seven sons,
of whom George, the oldest, was born in 1802 and died in 1894.
Ephraim Brewster located east of
Pulaski village in 1808, but afterward moved to Jefferson county.
In the same neighborhood the Frary family were early settlers. One
of them, Harry Frary, was born in Vermont in 1808, and died here March
4, 1885. Henry, Robert and Hugh Gillespie, brothers, located in an
early day at what is called Gillespie’s Mills, on Grindstone Creek, where
Henry Gillespie, a son of Henry, sr., still resides. Henry Gillespie,
sr., erected a saw and gristmill there and for many years did an extensive
milling business. Timothy Maltby, Joseph Spaids, Samuel Vorce, Russell
Rathbone, and Ralph and Isaac Price were among the first settlers on the
road leading to Port Ontario on the south side of Salmon River.
The pioneer on the State road running
south from Port Ontario was a Mr. McFarlin, while in the immediate vicinity
D. H. Litts became an early resident. At the junction of this thoroughfare
with Grindstone Creek William Fedder was the first settler, and at this
point also Benjamin Wright, Mr. Scriba’s agent, built one of the first
saw mills in town. The first saw mill in the town was built by John
Hoar in 1806. Walter Hewitt, Isaac Page, John Abel and Sanford Douglass
early located on the town line.
Feew localities along the lake shore
in Oswego county offered better natural opportunities to smugglers than
the mouth of Salmon River. During the pioneer period, and particularly
in the war of 1812, the illegal traffic attained extensive proportions.
Many persons were engaged in the hazardous business, one of the most active
being Samuel McNett, an early settler of this town. He repeatedly
fell into the hands of the custom house officials, but a plausible story
invariably obtained for him his liberty. As the country became more
thickly settled, smuggling decreased and finally ceased altogether.
In 1820 the town contained 2,728 inhabitants, but it must be remembered
that a number lived within the present limits of Albion and Sandy Creek,
which then formed parts of Richland.
Among other settlers prior to 1830
were Conrad Ripson at Port Ontario; David Taylor, who, about 1824, located
on the farm now owned by his son, and who became well known as a musician
in the old militia trainings; Levy Tryon, who settled on the lake shore
north of Port Ontario; Alexander Valentine and his son, Noble, who took
up the farm recently owned by Clement Wallace, a settler of 1840; Abner
Hubbard, who located on the same road; Stephen Wade, in the east part of
the town; a Mr. Stimson, on lands afterwards owned by G. A. Fobes; Stephen
Tinker, father of Wilson Tinker; Joseph Carr, Daniel Pratt, Hiel Richards,
Ephraim and Justus Fox; Isaiah Holmes, Nelson Dewey, Israel Jones (on land
now occupied by the family of his grandson, Charles E. Jones), Hiram Hubbell
(who died in Oswego). Ansel Brown (in 1816), E. M. D. Baldwin, Lucius
B. Cole (for some time keeper of the lighthouse at Port Ontario), O. J.
Douglass, Charles C. Dodge, Stephen H. Fellows, Frey and Gilbert Lane (in
1815), D. McChesney, George F. Mellen, Ira G. Fellows, De Witt C. May,
E. D. Mowry, C. B. Pratt, C. R. Maltby, James A. McChesney, Chandler Salisbury,
L. S. Weed, L. R. Slater, Abner Vorce, L. M. Tyler, William Tyler, M. L.
Trumbull, Isaac Schermerhorn, and others.
The Mathewson family is one of the
oldest and most respected in town, and for more than two generations has
been prominently identified with the history of Pulaski village.
Jeremiah A. Mathewson, sr., settled there in 1806.
Samuel Bragdon, father of George,
was a Revolutionary soldier. He came to a farm north of Port Ontario
and died November 22, 1852. His son’s widow resides on the homestead.
Charles Gurley, son of Artemas, was born in Connecticut in 1811, and died
in Pulaski in May, 11890. Gilbert A. Bradner came here in 1817, when
seventeen years old, and died in July, 1890. Jonathan A. Burdick
was born in Albany county in 1798, came to Richland about 1829, and died
in 1865. Philip Minckler, a native of Columbia county, born in 1803,
removed to this county about 1830 and died here in 1885. He had lived
in New Haven some twenty years. Sewell T. Gates, one of the war supervisors
of the town, was born in Herkimer county in 1815, removed to Richland in
1829, settled in Pulaski in 1861, and died there August 21, 1894.
Shara Hardy, born in New Hampshire in 1800, lived for a time in Jefferson
county, and in 1834 located at Port Ontario, where he died April 3, 1888.
James A. Clark came to Mexico in 1844, but the same year removed to Pulaski,
where he died June 13, 1887. He was born in Unadilla, N. Y., in 1821.
William H. Gray was an early settler
of the town, and died here in January, 1889. He was born in Ithaca,
N. Y., in 1815. He was a prominent Mason, served as deputy sheriff
and supervisor, and for several years was proprietor of the Pulaski Hotel
and the Old Salmon River House.
Dewey C. Salisbury, born in Madison
county in 1811, came to this town with his father when thirteen years of
age, and the next year was apprenticed to Luther Smith to learn the tanner’s
trade in the latter’s tannery on Mill street in Pulaski. In 1836
he leased a tannery in Sandy Creek, but two years later was burned out
and returned to Pulaski village. He was prominent in business affairs,
and died in March, 1892.
Daniel B. Meacham was born in Vermont
in 1812 and removed with his brother Milo to Sandy Creek in 1827.
Twenty-two years later he came to Pulaski, where he died in June, 1891.
Five families of the name came from Vermont to Sandy Creek at a very early
date, and of their number John and Deacon Simon Meacham subsequently became
residents of Pulaski. Thomas S., son of Daniel B. Meacham, is a merchant
here and town clerk of Richland, succeeding his father in that office in
1881. Simon Meacham was prominent in local affairs and served as
supervisor and town clerk many years. John Meacham opened the first
store in the town in 1810.
John C. Pride was another very prominent
citizen as well as an early settler. He came from Otsego county and
located on lots 77 and 78, whence he subsequently removed to a farm near
Holmesville. He was the second supervisor of the town and held the
office in all thirteen years.
Capt. Ira Doane was born in Litchfield,
Herkimer county, June 10, 1807. His father, John Doane, was a soldier
in the Revolutionary army, enlisting immediately after the battle of Bunker
Hill and serving until the close of the war, being confined as a prisoner
eighteen months in a prison ship in New York harbor. In May, 1821,
the family settled in Orwell, whence they subsequently came to Pulaski,
where John Doane died January 9, 1831, and his widow in 1845. Their
children were Mrs. Olivia Mason, Isaac, Harvey, and Captain Doane.
The latter married, in 1830, Audria Vorce, and had seven children, of whom
Henry G. enlisted in the 35th N. Y. Vols. And died in Elmira. Mrs.
Doane died in 1853, and he married, in 1854, her cousin Julia, daughter
of Col. William Vorce. Captain Doane was a farmer, a carpenter, a
merchant in Pulaski, and a lumberman. He was president of the village,
collector, jailor, undersheriff, and inspector of customs in New York city,
and was a life-long Jacksonian Democrat.
Robert Leroy Ingersoll, son of Ebenezer,
was born in New Berlin, N. Y., June 5, 1819, and came to Albion with his
father in 1830. Educated in Mexico Academy, he purchased his time
(seven months) of his father for $50, and with Elijah Shumway commenced
the manufacture of carriages in Sandy Creek, but five years later removed
to Pulaski and engaged in the same business, which he conducted until 1872,
when he sold out to Ingersoll & Suydam. In 1854 he established
the Pulaski Bank, which continued until 1862, when he organized the bank
of R. L. Ingersoll & Co. He married Caroline E. Clark and
had six children.
Col. Henry H. Lyman, now of Oswego,
was for several years a hardware merchant in Pulaski, where he was educated.
Charles H. Cross, the oldest of
fourteen children of Moulton Cross, was born in Hamilton, N. Y., January
1, 1807, and came with his parents to Richland in 1814. Moulton Cross
early settled on a farm in Albion; he was a miller, and assisted in the
building of several sawmills. Charles H. Cross began business as
a surveyor and conveyancer in 1827, and in 1850 was appointed agent of
the Pierrepont estate, representing about 100,000 acres in the counties
of Lewis, Jefferson, and Oswego. He was a director and one of the
organizers of the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg, and Syracuse Northern
Railroad Companies. He married, in 1842, Melissa, a daughter of Gilbert
Lane, and had five children.
In the vicinity of Holmesville Salmon
Erskine, Avery Griffin, Lewis Conant, and the Perry family were early settlers.
Capt. Robert Muzzy, sr., a soldier in the Revolutionary war, located in
the town at an early day. His son, Lieutenant Robert Muzzy, jr.,
served in the war of 1812. Rev. Lawson Muzzy, son of Robert jr.,
is a superannuated Baptist minister and resides in Pulaski at the age of
eighty two. His son, Lawson R. Muzzy, is the editor and proprietor
of the Pulaski Democrat, to the files of which we are indebted for much
The first tavern in town bore the
striking appellation of the “Beehive,” and was located on what is known
as the Dewey farm. Another early public house was erected by Pliny
Jones one mile south of Pulaski village, as previously noted. Many
other pioneers are mentioned a little further on and more fully in Parts
II and III of this volume.
The population of Richland increased
from 947 in 1810 to 2,728 in 1820. In the latter year its agricultural
interests were in a state of steady development. The population in
1830 was 2,733; 1835, 3,461; 1840, 4,046; 1845, 3,758; 1850, 4,079; 1855,
4,012; 1860, 4,128; 1865, 4,137; 1870, 3,975; 1875, 4,018; 1880, 3,991;
Supervisors’ statistics for 1894:
Assessed valuation of real estate, $1,261,204; equalized, $1,468,749; personal
property, $44,772; railroads, 21.25 miles, $205,500; town tax, $9,015.44;
county tax, $8,475.72; total tax levy, $20,648.58; ratio of tax on $100,
$1.58; dog tax, $200. In the four election districts into which the
town is divided 906 votes were cast in November, 1894.
The town contributed 277 men to the
Union army and navy in the War of the Rebellion, several of whom attained
commissioned offices, notably James T. Outterson, captain in the 184th
Regiment; Henry H. Lyman, promoted to the rank of colonel in the 147th
Regiment; and A. A. Fellows, captain Co. B, 110th N. Y. Vols.
The earlier settlers of Richland
followed the precedent established by many other communities and consigned
their dead to a plat set aside for the purpose on the family homestead.
As the population increased and interments became more frequent, regular
burial grounds were set apart to that use, one of the first, if not the
very first, being a part of the beautiful cemetery in Pulaski. This
originally consisted of three acres, to which three more were subsequently
added, and afterward fifteen acres more were annexed. In February,
1893, the Pulaski Cemetery Association was incorporated with R. W. Box
(president), G. W. Douglass (secretary), Thomas S., Meacham (treasurer),
H. B. Clark, John Williams, and W. C. Peck as commissioners, who still
retain their respective positions.
The first school in town was taught
by Milly Ellis in the summer of 1808. The first school in Pulaski
village was held in a building erected by Jeremiah A. Mathewson for a blacksmith
shop, near the south end of the old Palmer or Mathewson’s Hotel, the teacher
being Rebecca Cross, afterward Mrs. James Harmon, who was succeeded by
Miss A. Cross, afterward Mrs. James Harmon, who was succeeded by Miss A.
Hinman. The next school in the village was kept by Pliny Jones in
the log dwelling of Mr. Mathewson. The first school house was built
on the premises now owned by William H. Hill, but two months after being
completed it was burned. School was then held in a building owned
by a Mr. Bush, which stood on the site of the subsequent residence of George
W. Wood. Pliny Jones, however, soon opened his house for school purposes,
and the next year a school house was erected on the site afterward occupied
by Cross’s land office. Later it was removed to where the old Baptist
church now stands. The next schoolhouse was a brick structure built
on the site of the Congregational church, and after it was demolished school
was held in the church edifice. Select schools have flourished at
different periods, notably those of M. W. Southworth “in Masonic Hall,”
in 1821, and of A. Bond, A. B., in 1848. The town now has twenty
two school districts, which bear the following appellations: No. I, Bragdon;
2, Hinman; 3, Hicks; 4. Manwaren; 5, Selkirk; 6, Brown; 7, Pulaski Village;
8, Farmer; 9, Chamberlin; 10, Richland Junction; 11, Champlin; 12, Port
Ontario; 13, Douglass; 14, Fox; 15, Page; 16, Woods; 17, Holmesville; 18,
Mowry; 19, Meacham; 20, Spring Brook; 21, Lamb; 22, Lehigh. In 1860
there were twenty-three school districts, in which 1,660 children were
taught. In 1893 thirty-one teachers were employed and 720 children
attended the several schools; value of school buildings and sites, $22,800;
assessed valuation of districts, $1,192.555; public money received from
the State, $3,405.86; raised by local tax, $4,008.29; number of trees planted,
The Pulaski Union School and Academy
was incorporated by the Legislature as the Pulaski Academy on June 4, 1853,
with the following Board of Education: Charles H. Cross, Anson R.
Jones, Hiram Murdock, George Gurley, Don A. King, and, as passed, consolidated
districts l7, 25, and 30, within the village, into one district to be known
as Pulaski School District No. 7. The first term was opened November
14, 1853, with Stephen C. Miller as principal. In April, 1854, the
present site, on the bank of Salmon River, was purchased for $500 and early
in May ground was formally broken for the present brick building, which
cost $7,100. It is three stories high and was appropriately dedicated
January 8, 1855. The lot, library, and philosophical apparatus cost
$1,385, making a total of $8,484. The building committee consisted
of George Gurley, Anson Maltby, Charles H. Cross, Don A. King, Samuel Woodruff,
Anson R. Jones, Dewey C. Salisbury, John T. McCarty, and William H. Lester;
general superintendent, Anson Maltby; master builder, William S. Carpenter.
In 1855 the school was placed under the Board of Regents, and ever since
then has ranked as one of the best academic educational institutions in
the State. In the fall of 1892 it assumed its present name.
The principals have been successively:
Stephen C. Miller, 1853-6; Henry
L. Lamb, 1857-9; R. B. Van Patten and A. Hoose, 1860; Pulaski E. Smith,
1861-3; Harvey II. Butterworth, 1864-5; Daniel D. Owen, 1866; Nathan B.
Smith, 1867; H. W. Congdon, 1868; Sebastian Duffy, 1869-79; E. M. Wheeler,
1880-5; John M. Moore, 1885-7; Henry A. Brown, 1887-9; William C. Gorman,
1889-92; S. R. Shear, 1892 to present time.
The present faculty (1894-5) is
composed as follows:
Academic Department—S. R. Shear,
principal, Physical Sciences, Political Sciences, and Training Class; Minnie
Walker, B. A., preceptress, Latin, Greek and Drawing; Alice Walker, B.
Ph., Mathematics and Literature; Frances King, A. B., Natural Sciences
and History; Harriet Hollis, Higher English and German; Professor Balestier,
Penmanship, Stenography, etc.
Grammar Department—Senior, Bessy
Perry; Junior, Frances Richardson.
Sophia Mattison; first primary, Caroline Maarcy.
Among the presidents of the board
have been George Gurley, Beman Brockway, Sidney M. Tucker, Charles H. Cross,
Dr. James N. Betts, George W. Woods, James Douglass, James W. Fenton, and
others. The board for 1894-5 consists of M. L. Hollis, president;
W. H. Austin, secretary; Charles Tollner, Oron V. Davis, Albert F. Betts
Thomas S. Meacham, D. C. Dodge, B. E. Parkhurst, and D. C. Maliaffy.
The school is divided into four departments,
primary, intermediate, junior, and senior. The academic department
affords three regular courses of study—English, Latin and English, and
Classical. The library comprises several hundred volumes of standard
books of reference and general reading, and the laboratory is well equipped
with modern chemical, philosophical, and physiological apparatus.
The standard of the school is high and ably maintained.
The Richland Union Free School was
incorporated September 25, 1888. The preliminary effort was an election
held October 1, 1886, at which the district voted to organize, as above,
by forty-five to twenty-nine, and the first Board of Education, chosen
at that meeting, was composed of E. D. Wells, president; N. B. Hine, secretary;
Albert Wright, Heman H. Richardson, James Beeman, William C. Orton, and
William A. Penney. In that year an addition to the district school
house (which was built in 1875), was erected. The first preceptress
was a Miss Ball. The school has two departments, primary and intermediate,
under the principalship of James C. Knight. The Board of Education
for 1894-5 consists of E. H. Kenyon, president, Charles H. Field, and John
Doneburg. Fred M. Moore is secretary, Harvey Joyce, collector, and
William H. Averill, treasurer.
Pulaski village.—The first settler
within the present corporate limits of Pulaski was Benjamin Winch, who
located here in 1804 and soon afterward erected the first tavern in the
town near the site of the old Palmer House. It was a log structure,
and its subsequent proprietors were John Hoar and P. A. Mathewson.
The latter came here in 1806. He was born in Scituate, R. I.,
and was the father of the late Jeremiah A. Mathewson, who was long recognized
as authority on local history. In 1805 came the families of William
Smith, who lived near the depot; Daniel Stone and Jonathan Rhodes, who
occupied jointly a log house standing on the site of the residence of Lucius
Jones; Rufus Fox, who settled where the Baptist church now stands; and
Erastus Kellogg, a blacksmith, who located a few rods north of the Froud
block, and whose house was the first frame building in the village.
Mr. Fox subsequently removed to a point two miles up the river at what
is called Fox’s bridge. His son Justus died in town aged eighty years;
Justus, jr., a son of the latter, resides two miles east of Pulaski.
Hiram, who lived near the old homestead, was another son of Justus Fox,
sr. John Jones, father of Charles, came from Oneida county in 1808.
Two other early settlers were Thomas and Rufus Bishop.
In 1810 a new impetus was given
to the infant settlement and thence-forward its growth was rapid and permanent.
The exceptional waterpower and natural advantages gave the locality a reputation
and settlers came in rapidly, several of whom have been mentioned.
Capt. John Meacham, who had located in Sandy Creek, moved that year to
the embryo village, took up his residence in the Stone and Rhodes log house,
and opened a store—the first in the town—on the corner of Bridge and Jefferson
streets. With him came Henry Patterson, a hatter. Silas Harmon
became a business partner of Captain Meacham in 1811, and soon afterward
the firm was succeeded by Milton Harmon, a nephew of Silas. It is
evident that a considerable settlement had been effected by 1812, for in
that year a militia company was raised, under Captain Meacham, which was
twice called to the defense of Sackett’s Harbor and once to Oswego.
During the year 1812 Hudson Tracy and John S. Davis became settlers.
Mr. Davis was prominent in both town and county, serving the latter as
its first sheriff. The first court at which a jury was drawn was
held in Pulaski in February, 1817, and two years later, in 1819, the court
house was erected, the building committee being Simon Meacham, John S.
Davis, and Ebenezer Young; James Weed was the builder. This structure
was rebuilt and enlarged in 1859; a jail annex was erected in 1887.
One of the most interesting recollections
associated with the early days of Pulaski is the general training, which
occurred annually on the village green in front of the court house.
These stirring events brought hither all the able-bodied men and crowds
of spectators for miles around, and ina themselves were legitimate occasions
for fun and frolic. The public square was then unoccupied to the
Methodist church, and afforded one of the best training grounds in the
vicinity. The commandant for many years was Col. Thomas S. Meacham,
whose personality lent a peculiar charm and enthusiasm to the military
spirit of the time. The officers were wont to regale themselves at
the tavern which stood on the site of the Salmon River House, while their
troops and visitors devoured gingerbread and cider with an appetite sharpened
by travel and drill.
Among other earlier settlers in
the village were Gershom Hale, Jacob Weed and sons, Jehiel Weed and sons
(Joel and Ezra), Amos Fellows, Oliver Ramsdell, Henry Mitchell, Joel Harmon,
and Angus McFee. The first physician was Dr. Isaac Whitmore, who
came from Madison county and settled on the south side of the river in
1810; other medical practitioners were Drs. Allen Andrews, Gridley about
1815, and H. F. Noyes. The first to practice law was Benjamin Winch,
but the first regular lawyer was James A. Davis; among other early attorneys
were Chester Hayden, Abram P. Vosburg, J. W. Helme, James J. Pettit, and
Harvey J. Harmon.
The first grist mill was erected
by J. A. Mathewson on the site of Charles Tollner’s box factory in 1808.
Two years later he built a second mill. The original part of the
old “red mill,” which burned March 20, 1890, was erected in 1825; an addition
was made in 1834, and afterward it was repaired and improved. Its
successive owners were J. A. Mathewson, Arthur & Charles Mathewson
in 1840. Porter & Ellis, Porter & G. W. Fuller, Johnson &
Taylor, Johnson & June in 1860, Jeremiah A. Mathewson in 1864, George
Woods, Dunn & Hohman in 1870, and Mr. Dunn in 1877. G. W. Fuller
had also a potashery, which was destroyed by fire in November, 1847.
A. H. Stevens conducted a hat factory here many years, a part of the time
in what is now the dwelling of George Washington, and Hiram Lewis started
a similar establishment about 1831. Hudson Tracy and John S. Davis
built the first carding and cloth-dressing mill, which was subsequently
operated by Stearns & West, in whose possession it burned April 21,
The first newspaper printed in the
village was the Pulaski Banner, which was started in 1830, and a copy dated
November 8, 1831, contains the following advertisers: John H. Wells, notice
to delinquent debtors; D. Stillman, tin manufactory; County & Stage
House, James Wood, proprietor, “north side of Salmon River, fronting Public
Square;” Benjamin H. Wright, land for sale; Ralph French, patent medicines;
Hiram Lewis, “new hat store and manufactory;” Allen & Hale, merchants;
Charles E. Barkley, painting and chairmaking; Luke Wood, tannery and shoe
shop; M. W. Southworth, select school in Masonic hall (where the Congregational
church now stands); Wells & Hall, general merchants; John O. Dickey,
lottery agent; E. S. Salisbury, tailor.
The following description appears
in “Historical Collections of the State of New York,” published in 1846:
Pulaski village, half-shire town,
was incorporated isdn 1833.1 Centrally situated on Salmon River,
4 miles from its confluence with Lake Ontario, 39 north of Salina [Syracuse],
and 60 from Utica. The river at this place affords considerable waterpower,
on which are a number of grist and saw mills, and several manufacturing
establishments. There are about eighty dwellings, a number of churches,
a court house and prison.
1 Incorrect; it should be 1832.
The Pulaski Courier of August 22,
1844, contained the advertisements of
C. & J. A. Rhodes, A. Z. McCarty,
and John B. Watson, attorneys; Hiram Murdock, John M. Watson, J. V. Kendall
(“in office lately occupied by Dr. Noyes,”) and George O. Gilbert, physicians;
G. W. Fuller, general merchant; John David, wagon shop; Allen Crandall,
blacksmith; Eagle Tavern, A. McLean, proprietor; John Jones, blacksmith;
Pulaski livery stable; D. H. Fisk, dry goods; Dewey C. Salisbury, tanner
and leather manufacturer; Wardwell & Stillman, general merchants; Mrs.
Fisk, milliner; E. M. Hill, grocer; Henry Mitchell, tailor; Stearns &
West, woolen manufacturers; Sidney M. Tucker, harnessmaker; Samuel Hale,
boots and shoes; Edward S. Salisbury, tailor; Jacob Smith, hats and furs;
George Gurley, cabinet maker; John Box, jr., blacksmith; A. H. Stevens,
hats and furs and hat factory’ L. B. Norton, hardware.
The same newspaper in 1847, bearing
the name of Richland Courier, contained many of the above advertisers and
also the names of
Daniel McCarty and J. T. Stevens,
attorneys; Hiram Murdock & Son and H. F. Noyes, physicians; Box &
Robbins, blacksmiths; John C. Pride, cooper; Miss W. A. Gilbert, milliner;
Pulaski paper mill, Tallmadge, Wright & Co., proprietors, “foot of
Church street;” Eagle furnace, plow and stove manufactory, Snow & Dodge,
proprietors, corner of Mill and Furnace streets; Charles H. Cross, engineer
and surveyor; Sykes & Mathewson (succeeded this year by Sykes &
Goodwin), merchants; Mansvield & Doane, grocers and produce dealers;
D. S. Robinson and L. B. Rice, painters; William S. Carpenter, “successor
to E. S. Salisbury,” tailor; A. F. Mathewson, jeweler; William June, tailor;
Henry Emerson, hats, etc.; Meacham & Crandall, stoves and hardware;
A. C. Burton, harnessmaker; Mrs. E. Way, milliner; R. B. Boynton, machinist;
J. A. Clark, variety store; Charles G. Hinman, wagon shop; Barney Peck,
The Eagle Furnace (Pulaski foundry)
here mentioned was purchased by Benjamin Snow in 1832, and among its proprietors
were Snow & Greenwood, Snow, Brown & Simmons, Snow & Thomas,
Snow & Dodge, Snow & Fisher, Fisher & Norman Snow, Fisher &
Wood, and Fisher & Ling. John David was succeeded in 1848 by
Charles H. David. The firm of Tallmadge, Wright & Co. was composed
of D. P. Tallmadge, William E. Wright and William H. Gray. The partnership
was dissolved October 28, 1847, and Mr. Wright continued the manufacture
of paper alone. The firm also conducted a printing establishment
and a book bindery and turned out a number of books.
The Pulaski Banner was the first
paper established in the county outside of Oswego. It was started
in April, 1830, and published by Nathan Randall in the village until 1832,
when he sold it to A. A. Mathewson and G. G. Foster, who disposed of it
in 1833 to James Geddes. The latter suspended its publication in
1834. In 1836 Daniel Ayer purchased the material and began issuing
the Pulaski Advocate, which he sold in 1838 to a Mr. Dickinson, who at
that time owned the Port Ontario Aurora. Mr. Dickinson consolidated
the two papers under the name of the Pulaski Advocate and Aurora, and early
in 1840 sold out to Daniel Ayer, who discarded the last name and published
the Advocate until 1842, when it was discontinued. In 1843 William
H. S. Winans established the Pulaski Courier and on February 25, 1847,
sold it to A. A. Mathewson, who changed the name to Richland Courier and
continued the publication until September 25, 1850, when Joseph C. Hatch,
a brilliant writer and an able editor, purchased the establishment.
Mr. Hatch changed its name to the Northern Democrat and on July 21, 1853,
resigned the editorship to Beman Brockway, subsequently the founder and
editor of the Watertown Times, who changed the name to the Pulaski Democrat,
which it has ever since borne. December 8, 1853, Mr. Hatch resumed
the editorial charge and in 1855 was succeeded by Stephen C. Miller with
Don A. King at the financial helm. Professor Miller died in November,
1869, and the paper and material passed into possession of Lawson Reade
Muzzy, the present editor and publisher, who enlarged it to its present
size in January, 1894. The Democrat originally advocated the principles
of the Democratic party, but since 1869 it has been an independent sheet
with Republican tendencies. It has never missed an issue; immediately
after the great fire of October, 1881, an extra was published from one
of the churches. Mr. Muzzy is one of the ablest editors in the county.
He is prominently identified with the affairs of his village and town and
has served as postmaster one term and as supervisor several years.
Among the old-time merchants not
previously mentioned were:
Thomas C. Baker (father-in-law of
Don A. King), Douglass & Watson, Allen & Hale, Hale & Smith,
Baker & Preston, Jones & Clark, John H. Wells, J. Manning Hall,
Newell Wright, Luther Allen, John L. Dickinson, C. W. Smart & Co. (books),
D. W. Groat (harnesses), Newell Wright and James Crawford (partners), A.
R. Angell and Calvin Seeley (partners), C. R. Jones and J. T. McCarty (successors
to Jones & Angell), John H. and George O. Gilbert (drugs), G. W. Bond
& Co., James A. Clark & Co. Meacham & Cronk (successors to
Meacham & Norton, who succeeded Meacham & Crandall in 1848, hardware),
Charles Bishop (shoes), Allen Crandall (hardware), R. Allen (bakery, succeeded
by William C. Hempstead in 1848), Harmon Cronk (successor to Meacham &
Cronk in 1853), Norton & Fuller, L. A. Gaylord (jewelry), S. H. Meacham
(books), and E. Macomber (successor to Jones & McCarty).
The next hotel after Benjamin Winch’s
primitive tavern was built in 1807 and stood near the site occupied by
the old Pulaski House. It was erected by P. A. Mathewson. On
the site a small inn was erected in 1810, and to it an addition was made
in 1812. In 1829 the main part was built “at a cost of $1,884.58.”
Among its earlier landlords were:
P. A. Mathewson, E. Young, Silas
Harmon, Anson Malthy, Robert Kelley, Dr. Lewis, J. A. Mathewson (from 1840
to 1863), Joseph Curtis, Huggins & Taylor, Mr. Baldwin, Mr. Helmer,
N. Johnson, Mr. Stacy, W. H. Gray, G. L. Hubbs, S. A. Palmer and Mr. Van
The Pulaski House, formerly the Palmer
House, under the proprietorship of S. A. Palmer, was destroyed by fire
March 11, 1890. Other taverns were Brainard’s Hotel, Levi Brainard,
proprietor, changed to the Salmon River House in May, 1849, by J. A. Ford,
landlord; Pulaski Temperance House, corner of Jefferson and Furnace streets,
Henry Emerson, proprietor; and California House, O. B. Macy, proprietor.
Of the various enterprises that
have had an existence in Pulaski may be mentioned those of Lafayette Alfred,
sash and blind factory, started machinist and millwright; David Bennett,
jr., and Albert Maltby’s Empire machine shop; and the old Eagle oil mill,
which was leased for a time by G. B. Griffin, who was succeeded in April,
1854, by A. B. Collins and A. M. Duncan. The Ingersoll planning mill
property was purchased by the Wilder Carriage Company in October, 1891,
and has since been utilized as a carriage factory.
The most important manufacturing
industry, however, that ever flourished in the village or town is the large
fancy box factory of Charles Tollner. Beginning with no capital save
that of his trade, Mr. Tollner has established one of the most extensive
business enterprises in Northern New York, an enterprise which has brought
thousands of dollars into the community and furnished remunerative employment
to hundreds of people. January 14, 1886, the entire establishment
was destroyed by fire, entailing a loss of about $30,000. With commendable
public spirit the citizens and employees immediately joined in rebuilding
the plant, which is one of the finest in the country. Mr. Tollner
is foremost in all matters pertaining to the village, liberally encouraging
with his large wealth and personal activity every movement having for its
object the improvement of the community.
The first post office was established
January 1, 1817, under the name of Richland, with Henry White as postmaster.
Following him came Orville Morrison in 1818, Hiram Hubbell in 1819, Daniel
H. Fisk in 1842, Henry N. Wright in December, 1844, Joseph T. Stevens in
1849, Benjamin Rhodes in 1851, and Newell Wright in 1852. January
27, 1853, the name was changed to Pulaski. July 14, 1853, William
C. Hempstead was appointed; Henry N. Wright in 1856; John B. Watson in
1861; Henry N. Wright in 1866; and John B. Watson in 1867. It was
made a presidential office in 1871 and on March 28 of that year John B.
Watson was appointed postmaster; following him came John T. McCarty in
1881, Don C. Bishop (five months, appointment not confirmed), Lawson R.
Muzzy, John T. McCarty again, and Don C. Bishop since November, 1888.
Mr. Muzzy, at his own expense, placed the present handsome and convenient
cabinet in the office, which occupies the lower story of his brick building.
Pulaski village was incorporated
April 26, 1832; in 1849 the limits were enlarged to the present area.
April 18, 1838, the charter was slightly amended, and May 25, 1858, a re-incorporation
was effected. March 24, 1871, the charter was amended relative to
granting licenses, and March 29, 1883, it was further amended by placing
the cemetery under the control of three commissioners, who were to hold
office, each three years. April 10, 1884, it was again amended, and
on June 3, of the same year it was voted to incorporate under the laws
of 1870. The first officers, chosen in 1832, were:
Abner French, president; Isaac H.
Stearns, Hiram Hubbell, Benjamin H. Wright and John H. Wells, trustees;
John L. Dickinson, clerk; Thomas C. Baker, John L. Dickinson and Casper
C. West, assessors; L. B. Cole, collector; Isaac Whitmore, treasurer.
The officers for 1894-95 were
Albert F. Betts, president; Dwight
C. Dodge, George W. Douglass and Charles F. Woods, trustees; William B.
Dixson, treasurer; Latham D. Potter, collector; Burns E. Parkhurst, clerk
(since 1882); Lorenzo Ling, Oron V. Davis and Charles Tollner water commissioners;
Silas W. Holmes, street commissioner; Latham D. Potter and B. E. Parkhurst,
justices of the peace.
Few communities in the State have
suffered more severely from the ravages of fire than Pulaski. Thirteen
years ago nearly the entire business portion was destroyed yet, phoenix
like, it rose from the ashes a better and more attractive village, a fact
that speaks volumes for the courage, enterprise and public spirit of its
inhabitants. April 21, 1852, the woolen factory of Stearns &
West, the tannery of George T. Peckham, and two or more dwellings were
burned, causing a loss of $16,000. In August, 1853, a Button hand
fire engine was purchased at a cost of $850, which appears to have been
the initial effort to establish an organized fire protection. May
9, 1873, Ringgold Fire Company No. 1 was incorporated by Richard W. Box,
Nathan B. Smith, B. D. Salisbury, A. N. Beadle, Dwight C. Dodge, Sidney
F. Doane, George H. Fuller and Lewis J. Macy.
On October 6, 1881, occurred the
great conflagration which proved so disastrous, and by which more than
sixty persons or firms suffered loss of property. The burned district,
comprising the entire business part of the village, extended from North
Park to the iron bridge and from Salmon River to the west side of Broad
street. The principal sufferers, with their estimated losses, were
Dr. James N. Betts, $20,000; H. B. Clark, $18,000; W. H. Gray (Salmon River
House), over $12,000; George W. Douglass, $9,000; Pulaski National Bank,
$10,000; Democrat office, $5,500; John F. Box, $17,000; Sidney M. Tucker,
$10,000; and the Ringgold Fire Company’s house. The Betts opera house
was built in 1883, and in 1884 a new engine house was erected at a cost
of $2,175. January 15, 1886, Charles Tollner’s box factory and residence
were burned, entailing a loss of $45,000, and in March following the Austin
block was destroyed, the loss being about $50,000. In that year the
present system of water works was constructed, the village being bonded
in the sum of $25,000 for the purpose, payable in twenty years. The
water is obtained from a large spring on Spring Brook, about four miles
east of Pulaski, whence it is conveyed by the gravity system to a reservoir
of three acres in area, situated inside of the corporate limits.
The plant is owned by the corporation and controlled by a board of three
The fire department, of which R.
W. Box is chief, consists of Ringgold Fire Co., F. G. Whitney, president;
Tollner Fire Co., Charles Tollner, president; Hose Co., No. I, R. D. Box,
foreman; and Hose Co., No. 2, S. W. Holmes, foreman.
The Pulaski Gas and Oil Company,
Ltd., was organized in 1889, with L. J. Clark as president, and immediately
began to drill for natural gas on Mill street within the village limits.
Gas was struck at a depth of 980 feet, and during the night blew the drill,
rope, and 500 feet of casing through a four foot opening in the derrick,
causing a tremendous explosion. The well was plugged and work suspended,
but the franchise remained in possession of the company until the spring
of 1894, when it was purchased by Charles Tollner, who has since put down
several wells, and whose family was the first to use natural gas in Pulaski.
He has laid eight or ten miles of gas mains for the purpose of supplying
patrons in the village.
In November, 1885, Charles Tollner
placed an electric plant in operation in his box factory, which was destroyed
by fire the next year. The new factory was similarly equipped, the
system was soon extended to others, and October 2, 1893, the village by
vote decided to become a patron.
The first bank established in Pulaski
was the Pulaski Bank, which was started in September, 1853, by R. L. Ingersoll
and S. R. Ingham, who occupied respectively the positions of president
and cashier. Its nominal capital was $100,000. In 1862 the
name was changed to R. L. Ingersoll & Company’s Bank, which it retained
until about ten years ago, when it wound up its affairs and went out of
The Pulaski National Bank had its
beginning in the State Bank of J. A. Clark & Co., which was organized
September 1, 1862, with J. A. Clark as president and Charles A. Clark as
cashier, and which was permanently discontinued about 1871. The first
named institution was chartered July 31, 1865, with Charles A. Clark as
president and James A. Clark as cashier. It had a capital of $100,000,
of which $50,000 was paid up. In 1874 Lewis J., a son of James A.
Clark, was appointed assistant cashier. The present board of directors
is composed of Ella M. Clark, president, L. J. Clark, Charles A. Peck,
Mrs. Nellie T. Peck, and Mrs. O. H. Peck. The present brick bank
building was erected in 1882.
In November, 1894, the Pulaski Business
Association was organized with J. L. Hutchens as corresponding secretary.
It is composed of the enterprising business men of the village, and was
formed for the purpose of fostering and encouraging local manufacturing
and commercial interests.
Pulaski village has a thrifty population
of 1,517. Since 1850, when the railroad was commenced, it has gone
forward with substantial growth and steady development.
Port Ontario, “a city of unrealized
possibilities,” situated at the mouth of Salmon River, has an early history
which almost rivals that of Oswego, of which place it became an active
rival for shipping and other lake interests. It was the site of the
first permanent settlement in Richland, and from an early day was regarded
as a natural harbor. Some time prior to 1836 John L. and Asa C. Dickinson,
Elias Camp, and Colonel Robert Nickles, conceiving the idea that a city
must spring up here, organized the Port Ontario Company and immediately
surveyed a large tract of land into building lots, “the usual size” of
which was “67 by 174 feet.” Colonel Nickles was the surveyor, and
in that year he made an elaborate map of the “Village of Port Ontario,”
which is now in the possession of L. R. Muzzy, of Pulaski. Beginning
at the lake it describes the property in substance as follows: On
the left is Selkirk Lake, and a few rods above a slip with piers on either
side is indicated. The mouth of Mill Creek is designated “Mill slip.”
On the right are three slips, Nos. 3, 2, and 1 respectively, and opposite
No. 1 are Kewana and Meadow Islands, while between these is Great Day Island.
Then comes Salmon Island, over which a bridge connects the two shores.
Just below is Bird Island, and opposite this, on the south bank, is the
hydraulic canal, running up and parallel with the river. Above the
bridge are Susan F., Genesee, Maryann, Martha, Surveyors, Maria, Crab,
Julia, and Adcane Islands. Two public squares, one on either side
of the river, are indicated on the plat, while on the south side is a lot
reserved for school purposes.
The new city was announced with
a flourish of trumpets, and lots sold at exorbitant prices. April
24, 1837, the village was incorporated, and May 16 the Legislature chartered
the Salmon River Harbor Canal Company, which was organized for the purpose
of constructing a canal “from the original lake to the village of Port
Ontario.” The capital stock aggregated $350,000. In November,
1837, the Port Ontario Aurora was established. It was “printed for
the proprietors by L. W. Cole at the corner of Bridge and Pulaski
streets.” It was a large four-page sheet, edited by E. J. Van Cleve,
and a copy dated December 6, 1837, contains the following advertisements:
O. E. Dwight, painter; Mercy Clark,
tailoring and mantua making; Libbeus Marshall, cabinet maker; J. O. Olcott,
blacksmith; K. Manwaring, lime, etc; Robert Nickles, “village lots in First
ward, Port Ontario, for sale;” Robert Nickles and A. H. Lawrence,
agents for lands in Jefferson, Lewis and Oswego counties; Port Ontario
House (4th ward), S. Mason proprietor; Selkirk Hotel (1st ward), J. M.
Stacy and B. Ripson proprietors; J. S. Nickles and Smith & Potts, general
merchants; J. Palden, boots and shoes; H. L. Allen and J. Conover, carpenters;
H. M. Cross, marble, etc.: Isaac Young, grocer; Stephen L. West, blacksmith;
James Gore, jeweler; Mitchell & Pride, tailors; Caleb Wells, shoemaker.
Afterward N. W. Fisher became a
general merchant and John Meacham & Co. and Shepard & Gillespie
established a forwarding and commission business.
In 1838, after an existence of about
six months, the Aurora was purchased by a Mr. Dickinson and moved to Pulaski,
when it was united with the Advocate under the name of the Pulaski Advocate
In 1838 a lighthouse was built and
in 1855 it was refitted. The contractors of the original structure,
which cost about $8,000, were Joseph Gibbs and Abner French. For
several years it remained unused, but recently it has been relighted and
is now maintained. A postoffice was obtained and is still continued,
the present postmaster being Perry Hardy, who succeeded S. A. Smith in
May, 1887. The sanguine hopes of the enterprising progenitors were
never realized. Trade and commerce were diverted to other centers
and Port Ontario was left a quiet rural hamlet, beautified, however, by
a wide expanse of water.
Richland Station (Richland post-office),
a small village in the northeast corner of the town, from which it derives
its name, is principally noted as a railroad junction and transfer point
in shipping coal, etc. It dates its existence from the completion
of the railroad, before which it had only a saw mill and a house or two.
Among the merchants here have been a Mr. Aldrich, Ira Doane, Captain Sprague,
S. C. Davis, Monroe Wright, William Averill, James C. Van Epps, Lafayette
Erskine, O. D. Moore (father of the present postmaster, Fred M.), and Charles
Field. Those now in business are G. H. Mellen, William D. Streeter,
and J. P. Washburn. Henry H. Mellen, a cousin of G. H., was for several
years a prominent business man here, being postmaster, hotel keeper, and
station agent. Mr. Field established and for a number of years actively
conducted a trout farm near the village. Among the hotel proprietors
may be mentioned O. D. Moore, where John Doneburg now is; Albert Wright,
the oldest landlord in Richland Station; Mr. Frost, who was succeeded by
his family; and Henry H. Mellen, who built the Trout Brook House in 1853.
Holmesville (South Richland post-office)
is a station on the Syracuse division of the R., W. & O. Railroad,
south of Pulaski and was named in honor of the large family of Holmes who
settled in the vicinity at an early day. Of their number was Jabin
Holmes, a native of Cherry Valley, N. Y., and a pensioner of the war of
1812, who lived to over 100 years old. He was the father of Norton
P. Holmes. A tannery flourished here until March 14, 1886, when it
was burned. The present postmaster is George L. Varney, who succeeded
Isaac L. Rich.
Daysville is a post-office and station
on the Oswego and Richland division of the R., W. & O. Railroad.
Its principal business interests are the saw, cider, and shingle mill and
evaporator of D. E. Huff and the general store of Brown & Co.
Florence L. Brown is postmistress.
Churches.—The first religious organization
in this town was the First Congregational society and church of Richland
(in Pulaski), which was organized at the house of Erastus Kellogg on the
22d of January, 1811; the certificate of incorporation was filed in the
county clerk’s office February 25 of that year. The society had its
beginning, however, in a preliminary association of nine persons in Pawlet,
Vt., namely, Thaddeus Harmon, John Meacham, Levi Meacham, Joel Harmon,
Simon Meacham, Lucy Meacham, Olive Hall, Polly Meacham, and Ruth Harmon,
who met for the purpose before their departure for Richland, their future
home. The first trustees of the church society, elected January 22,
1811, were Timothy Maltby, Silas Harmon, Rufus Pierce, John Meacham, Erastus
Kellogg, Dr. Moses R. Porter, and Simon Meacham. Until 1817 this
little band of worshipers held services in private dwellings. In
that year they established their spiritual home in the school house which
then stood on the site of the old Cross land office in Pulaski. Later
they removed to the vicinity of the present Baptist church, and after the
court house was erected in 1819, meetings were held therein. In 1827
the first edifice, a frame structure, with galleries, was erected at a
cost of about $2,000. It stood on Church street and was subsequently
converted into a school house, the last service being held in it July 9,
1865, by Rev. David Spear, then in his eighty-fifth year. He had
also preached the first sermon in the building after its completion and
the first communion to the congregation. A new church was built in
1866-7 and dedicated April 24, 1867, by Rev. Laurens P. Hickok, D.D., LL.D.,
president of Union College. It cost $15,000, of which sum $1,500
were contributed by Deacon Simon Meacham. The first pastor, Rev.
Oliver Leavitt, accompanied the little colony from Pawlet to Richland and
was installed December 24, 1811. He remained until August 27, 1818,
and among his successors were:
Rev. Oliver Ayer, February 20, 1822,
to April 12, 1826; Rev. George Freeman, December 7, 1827, to January 22,
1830; Rev. Ralph Robinson, March 23, 1830, to January 28, 1846; Rev. Thomas
Salmon, August 2, 1846, to June 15, 1847 (died December 4, 1854); Rev.
Fayette Shepherd, May 19, 1855, to April 19, 1858; Rev. Lucien W. Cheney,
October 20, 1858, to November 10, 1864. The successor of the latter
was Rev. James Douglas.1 The present pastor is Rev. A. S. Emmons.
In 1817 the first Sunday school was
organized with Dea. Simon Meacham as superintendent, and during the next
year a library was established.
The Methodist Episcopal church of
Pulaski had its beginning in a series of meetings of this denomination
which were held in the dwelling of John Ingersoll and the tavern of Pliny
Jones as early as 1811. The society was probably organized as a class,
if not as a church about 1813. Besides private houses and the tavern
of Mr. Jones, services were held with more or less regularity in the school
house in Pulaski until the erection of the court house, when the members
shared the hospitalities of that building in common with other religious
organizations. In 1832 the church edifice was erected on Salina street
on the site of the subsequent residence of Charles Hubbard. Many
years afterward the present structure was built, which was remodeled and
repaired at a cost of $2,600 and reopened for service December 18, 1888.
Among the early preachers were Revs. Calkins, Bibbens, McNine, Fuller,
Whitcomb, Chapin, G. C. Woodruff, Bowdish, Hawkins, A. J. Phelps, Orlando
C. Cole, William Jones, S. B. Crosier, and others. The present pastor
is Rev. Anson D. Webster, who is also the conference treasurer. The
society has about 230 members. The church property, including
the parsonage, is valued at $9,200. The church is in the Oswego district
of the Northern New York Conference. The Sunday school has an average
attendance of 120 scholars.
The Baptist church of Pulaski was
organized at the court house June 9, 1828, in compliance with a resolution
adopted at a conference held May 17, of that year. Prior to that
time Rev. Nathaniel Gitteau, “a very acceptable preacher,” who died in
1827, formed the Baptists of the vicinity into a class for religious
worship, and presided over them in the capacity of a temporary minister.
The recognition services creating the new society were solemnized by Rev.
R. T. Smith, Rev. Enos Ferris, and Rev. timothy Brewster, and T. C. Baker
was elected church clerk. On July 12 Benjamin Snow, sr., and T. C.
Baker were chosen deacons.
Rev. James Douglas, son of Amos,
was born in Franklin, N. Y., May 7, 1823, and died at Oberlin, Ohio, April
11, 1891, his remains being brought to Pulaski for interment. Amos
Douglas was born in Stephentown, N. Y., June 21, 1779, and died March 19,
1857. He was descended from the New London family of that name and
was graduated from Williams College in 1798. Admitted to the bar
at Albany in 1801, he began practice at Franklin, N. Y., in 1802, where
he became the county judge and surrogate, and where he was active in founding
the Delaware Literary Institute, of whose board of trustees he was secretary
twenty-two years. Rev. James Douglas was graduated from Hamilton
College in 1845 and from Auburn Theological Seminary in 1850. For
three years following he was professor of Latin and Greek at Genesee College,
N. Y. August 15, 1853, he was ordained and became pastor of the Congregational
church at Rutland, whence he removed to Pulaski and was installed pastor
of the First Congregational church December 1, 1864, a position he filled
with extraordinary ability until January 9, 1883, when he resigned.
In 1886 he accepted a lectureship in the Theological Seminary of Oberlin
College, where he remained until his death. He was an eloquent sermonizer,
a profound thinker, a lucid writer and a sympathetic friend.
The constituent members were:
Jason Lothrop, Benjamin Snow, T.
C. Baker, R. Clyne, Eli Greene, Horace Phillips, John Hendrickson, Sylvester
Hills, Oliver Allen, Mrs. Allen and daughter, Mrs. William Hale and daughter,
Sibyl S. Baker, Lavina Snow, Delia Doane, Betsey Jones, Polly Hendrickson,
Charlotte Way, Amanda Weed, Susan Phillips, Lovina Meacham, Ann Fellows,
Cynthia Bass, Eliza Bragdon, and Fanny Manwarring.
At a meeting held August 31, 1829,
the project of building a church was inaugurated, but the edifice was not
finished and occupied until the summer of 1834. The pastor during
this period was Rev. Jesse Elliott. Several years later, and during
the pastorate of Rev. S. J. Decker, the structure was repaired, enlarged,
and for the first time dedicated. The last sermon was delivered in
this edifice July 22, 1894. Upon the original site, fronting on the
south park, the society has erected a new frame building at a cost of about
$7,500. The corner stone was laid September 11, 1894, and the edifice
was dedicated in May, 1895. The first pastor was Rev. Jason Lothrop;
his successors have been:
Revs. Jesse Elliott, I. N. T. Tucker,
C. B. Taylor, A. Webb, Charles Marshall, Thomas Bright, W. I. Crane, Lawson
Muzzy, S. J. Decker, M. V. Wilson, G. A. Ames, M. B. Comfort, J. J. Townsend,
D. D. Owen, J. N. Steelman, and D. J. Bailey, the present incumbent.
The deacons are J. W. Wood, E. F. Smith, and Ephraim Averill. Benjamin
Snow, jr., is church clerk. The society has about 165 members, and
a Sunday school of nearly 200 scholars, with J. L. Hutchins as superintendents.
St. James Protestant Episcopal church
of Pulaski was organized at the Court House August 10, 1846, Hon. Andrew
Z. McCarty presiding at the meeting, with the following vestry: John David
and Andrew Z. McCarty (wardens); John Box, jr., Daniel McCarty, Jerome
B. Smith, Joseph T. Stevens, John A. Rose, Alden Crandall, Frey Lane, and
J. C. Rhoades, vestrymen. The founder and life-long warden of the
parish, and one of its most influential members, was John David, who maintained
lay-reading whenever a vacancy in the rectorship occurred. The church
was finished and consecrated February 27, 1850, by Rt. Rev. William H.
De Lancey, bishop of Western New York, at a cost of $2,500. It was
then regarded as one of the handsomest edifices in the diocese. It
is 30x90 feet and was designed by Upjohn, of New York. To aid in
the erection of this structure Hon. William C. Pierrepont, of Pierrepont
Manor, Jefferson county, contributed $500 and for the rectory he gave $1,000.
The earlier rectors of the parish were: Rev. Edward De Zeng, Henry
Stanley, Gordon M. Bradley, Andrew Oliver, Joshua L. Harrison, Moses E.
Wilson, Peter B. Morrison, Milton B. Benton, Gilbert B. Hayden, and others.
The present rector is Rev. Robert Paul.
St. John the Evangelist’s Roman
Catholic church of Pulaski was built in 1888, the corner stone being laid
on August 28, of that year. It stands on the corner of Park and Niagara
streets, cost about $2,500, and was consecrated January 16, 1889.
The first pastor was Rev. Father Barrily.
The Baptist church of South Richland
was organized at the house of Col. Robert Gillespie on the 7th of October,
1817, and four days afterward Rev. Enos Ferris was installed the first
pastor. He served many years and during the earlier existence of
the society meetings were held in private dwellings or barns. In
1840 the church edifice was completed, the first service therein being
held on April 11 of that year. The society now has about thirty-five
resident members, under the pastoral care of Rev. Jabez Ford, supply.
The last regular pastor was Rev. G. W. Lewis, who closed his labor there
March 1, 1894. The value of the property is $2,800. The superintendent
of the Sunday school is B. D. Burdick.
The Methodist Episcopal church of
South Richland was organized by Revs. G. C. Woodruff and Gardner Baker
in June, 1840, with the following constituent members Solomon and
Betsey Erskine, Phoebe Erskine, Betsey Dickinson, Rhoda Stewart, Sebern
Dickinson and wife, George H. English and wife, Timothy Steele and wife,
Levi Cary and wife, and Jonathan Sherwood and wife. For eighteen
years services were held in the school house, the charge being at first
a part of the Pulaski circuit, subsequently (1844) a part of the Mexico
circuit, and finally (1851) a separate station. In 1858 the present
edifice was built and dedicated, the meeting on the latter occasion being
conducted by Rev. George Sawyer, presiding elder, and Rev. J. H. Burnett,
the pastor in charge. The structure cost $800. The society
is now under the pastoral care of Rev. H. R. Northrup. The Methodists
at Daysville and vicinity maintain services in a Union church at that place,
which was erected many years ago, at an expense of $400. The congregation
is connected with the South Richland charge. The two societies have
a membership of about 170. The entire church property, including
a parsonage, is valued at $3,100.
The First Methodist Episcopal church
of Richland station was organized as a society at the school house in that
village on November 15, 1886, with about twenty members, by Rev. B. Day
Brown, the first pastor. It was incorporated and in 1887 the present
frame edifice was erected, the dedication of which took place April 24,
1888; it cost about $1,500. The first board of trustees consisted
of H. H. Richardson, James Beeman, and E. D. Wells. The present trustees
are E. D. Wells, James C. Knight, and A. D. Bonner. The pastors have
been Revs. B. Day Brown, Truman Weed, W. J. Hancock, and W. H. Jago, the
present incumbent. This church is connected with the Orwell charge.
The Church of Christ (Disciples)
of Richland Station had its beginning in the labors of Elder John Encell,
who came there May 1, 1874, and held a series of meetings in the vacant
store of H. H. Mellen. A society was organized June 16, 1874, with
about thirty-six members, and on August 1 their present edifice was commenced;
it was dedicated June 16, 1878, and is valued with lot at $1,200.
The first pastor was Rev. W. T. Newcomb, who was succeeded by Rev. C. E.
Wells. The present incumbent is Rev. Gilbert L. Harney. This
was the first church at Richland Station and has always maintained a steady
At Port Ontario religious services
were held at an early day and have been maintained with considerable regularity
down to the present time. An outgrowth of the work was the erection
of Bethel church, which was dedicated January 9, 1850. Baptist services
are conducted here by Rev. D. J. Baily, pastor of the Baptist church of