HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF SUMMIT -
HON. SEYMOUR BOUGHTON - THE LAKE - JOHNSON AND BRANT'S HALT - EARLY SETTLERS - BROWN AND OTHER BUSINESS MEN - CHARLOTTE VALLEY - SERVICE TRAGEDY - MURPHY'S OWN STATEMENT - MURPHY'S PURCHASE - ACT OF 1777 - ABRAHAM BECKER - SUIT GAINED - SERVICE'S AFFAIR CONTEMPLATED - SETTLEMENT OF THE WESTERN PART OF THE TOWN - SEMINARY - ITS HISTORY - FACULTY, ETC. - DAIRY INTEREST - ELISHA BROWN - ASSEMBLYMEN - SHERRIFFS - JOHN LAWYER - S. J. LAKE - ISAAC W. BEARD - JOHN H. COONS - CHURCHES - FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH - SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH - REFORMED CHURCH OF EMINENCE - METHODIST - FREE METHODIST - LUTHERAN OF LUTHERANVILLE - LUTHERAN OF BEARD'S HOLLOW - TOWN VOLUNTEERS - MEDICAL FRATERNITY - FIRST TOWN MEETING - RESOLUTIONS - REPORT OF 1880 - OFFICIALS - EMINENCE.
In reaching a point on the road from Richmondville to Summit village, the traveler may form an idea of the origin of the name given to the town by looking down upon the surrounding country that stretches a panorama of beauty and grandeur--before the eye, scarcely equaled. And when he ascends Mount Wharton, a little to the west, and gains the height of twenty-two hundred feet above sea level, the hills in the distance, that seemed of prodigious heights and precipitous sides, as traversed, appear to be miniature ones, of easy ascent, placed where they stand as obstacles, to vary the scene. Even the peak of Karker Mountain of Carlisle, from which, it was thought by the early settlers, nearly half of the hemisphere could be seen, vainly rears itself, like a small cone far below. The state surveying party under Horatio Seymour Jun., in the summer of 1880, placed a Stan Helio signal upon this mountain, and gave it the name of Mount Wharton, after the owner of the land--J. B. Wharton.
Here, the clouds which today, seem to be at as great height above us, as when we stand in the valley below, often rest upon this mountain as a hazy veil, shutting from view its venerable peak, to those in the valleys below, who often catch a glimpse of it, to prophesy the future weather in the absence--perhaps of a barometer or Webster's Almanac, as tradition has told them, the appearance of the peak will tell with as much accuracy as that renowned pamphlet. Upon the very check of this mountain, in a little furrow, is found one of those sheets of water, whose beauty makes it a libel to call a pond, and which is too small in acreage, to claim that of lake.
Pleasure and health seekers have found rare sport here in fishing and rowing seasons, as the water is kept lively by the finny tribe, and pleasure boats have been placed upon the silvery sheet, which add much to the attraction of the place; as to "dip the oar" has a peculiar fascination by which but very few refuse to be allured.
Our earliest recollection of this resort, is, when but a youth, we sat beside the late "Squire" Boughton, and vainly tried to force the obstinate "bullheads" to bite after our patience was exhausted in coaxing, while he, with ease and grace swung out and lured the largest to his well-filled basket. The Squire's inward chuckle occasionally found vent, and upon one of those (to us) mortifying times, his boast rang out long and loud, that his basket would hold no more. But not content, he swung out again and his successful hook, fearful, perhaps, it could do not better, caught the handle of the basket, and to the joy of our crushed feelings, basket and fish were thrown rods from the shore and disappeared to the bottom, while the Squire, without a word, sought his home.
Seymour Boughton was a venerable man. He removed to this place from Charlotteville, and represented the town in the Board of Supervisors in 1833-'34-'36 and '53, and the western district in the Assembly in the years 1840 and '45. Serving many years as Justice of the Peace and desirous of being competent to perform the duties of the office intelligently, he studied law earnestly, and became quite proficient in trying civil cases, after his term of office expired. Many cases were hotly contested by the Squire and his neighbor, Thomas W. Furguson, whose legal ability was nearly the same, which produced a vast amount of fun, and attracted large crowds to witness.
Mr. Boughton was a through business man, to whom one quickly became attached by his whole-souled hospitality and gentlemanly bearing. He was the youngest of nineteen children and removed with his father, Shubel Boughton, from Danbury, Connecticut, in the early part of the century, and settled at Charlotteville. The Squire built the present Van Buren house of that village as a "tavern" and was engaged in the business many years. All the houses of that day in this section, were built of logs and upon putting up a frame building the Squire was censured as being extravagant, and when he painted the same, his economical neighbors imagined he was bent on wasting his property. He ground the paint in a potash kettle with a large iron ball, and applied it to the building himself. It was the first framed house in the present territory of the town. Mr. Boughton died on the 11th day of June, 1872, at the age of eighty-one, leaving but two sons Harvey and Seymour Jun., to perpetuate his family name.
In referring to Mr. Furguson, in connection with Mr. Boughton's legal career, we are led to here state that the former, although not enjoying the advantages of the latter in an official point of view, was an apt adept in pettyfogging, and gave the legal fraternity many warm receptions. The family removed to this place from Cortland county, N. Y., at an early day, and were intelligent and progressive citizens.
Tradition of the Lake.--- In turning our thoughts to the lake, which seems characteristic of all visitors at this place, an old legend is recalled that refers to the name of the body of water. It is indeed, not only a "thrice told tale" but a thousand, and in giving its substance we exceedingly regret that we do not possess that romance, which gives color and effect to the tale to make it interesting and impressive. It is said that Utsayantho was the name given to the miniature sheet, after an unfortunate Indian maiden, "whose untutored mind" was suddenly surprised at the disappearance of her "family cares." At a time anterior to the advent of the whites, that maiden with stalwart frame and uncombed hair, through indiscretion, became a mother, upon the bank of the lake. A consultation of the several chiefs was held and the little innocent was thrown into the lake, which received the mother's name by order of the godly chiefs.
Such is the simple narrative. The lake upon the southern border of the County, and head of the west branch of the Delaware river, is spoken of in old maps and documents as Utsayantha, while this one is not referred to; at least, not by the name of Utsayantho. Whether, in the Indian tongue the two words are the same, we are unable to say. For a long time it was called "Jack's lake" but owing to its elevation and the town to which it belongs it is well for the plain to give it the appropriate name of "Summit Lake;" while our modern "esthetes" now call it "Utsayantho" for the benefit of romance, and imagine Utsayantho, or the Jefferson lake, was named after the maiden's treacherous lover. Its outlet flows to the sough and empties into the "West Kill," in the town of Jefferson. An Indian path from the Charlotte, led to the lake and followed its outlet to the Schoharie creek, along which the Indian traversed for time unknown. Upon the banks of the Summit lake, tradition tells us, Johnson and Brant halted, in their march in 1780, to devastate the Schoharie valley. As they appeared at Breakabeen early in the morning of October 17th, undoubtedly they were here upon the 16th, and enjoyed a repast of fresh fish, to strengthen them for the occasion.
It was not until after the Revolution closed that this town was settled, and the eastern part a few years later than the western. Those settlers were mostly from the Hudson river counties and the eastern States, verifying the truth, that while the Germans and Dutch choose the low lands, the Yankee climbs upon the hills, and "pitches his tent." One of the early settlers of this locality, was a Mr. Brown, from Connecticut; who, while in his native town engaged in the manufacture of buttons. He as a shrewd business Yankee and turned his mind and hand to everything that had a tendency to gain money, and was called "Button Weaver Brown." In all local legal troubles he officiated as a pettifogger and business man, which gave to him a precedence in note, over other settlers. He died at an early day and left in his stead, a son Harvey, who engaged in the mercantile business and was for many years Justice of the Peace, beside being a Captain in the Militia service. Dexter Brown, of another family, built a log house and kept the first "tavern," in which all law suits were held for many years, beside giving "entertainment for man and beast" that strolled up the hills to replenish their stock of liquors. It must not be thought that those early settlers were content to delve daily among giant tree-stumps and stones without any other means of support, as they were too "Yankeefied." On the contrary, they engaged in other pursuits, such as making potash and whiskey. Who the first distiller was we are unable to learn, but Levi Ives did a large business in that branch as early as 1805. His customers were scattered over the country and drove the establishment to its utmost capacity, to meet their wants. An order from "Yankee Pete" Snyder was taken to Ives by his son, in 1812 for a "load of his best whiskey" at two shillings per gallon.
After Ives, followed Henry Rifenbark in the business, who came from Columbia county in 1802. His son Hiram is still living, having passed three score years and ten, bearing the marks of a scald from hot mash, while manufacturing "fire water." Benjamin Rider soon followed Brown in the inn business, upon the grounds now occupied by "Rider's Hotel." the first building was partly of logs and partly frame, the latter giving the establishment a superiority over Brown's.
As the country became more thickly settled and business more brisk, the times demanded better accommodations, and from tine to time the old log houses have disappeared and others at greater cost and convenience have taken their places. About the year 1840 a tavern was built upon the hill, in the west part of the village by ____Warner, and afterwards purchased by Wm. T. Moak, of Sharon, who continued until the year 1854, when the property changed hands, and was soon transformed into a private residence, and at a later date divided and partly removed.
The Charlotte Valley.---A short distance to the west of the village of Summit is a spring from which the Charlotte river proper takes its rise. Along its course several rivulets unite and form one of the main tributaries of the noble Susquenhanna. The ancient Indian path to the Susquehanna from the Hudson and Schoharie rivers followed this stream and during the Revolution many hundred hearts, laded with the deepest sorrow, were forced to follow it as captives, on their journey to Niagara and Canada, not knowing but each moment they would fall victims to the savages' cupidity or Tories' vengeance and knowing that each step was drawing them nearer and nearer the dreaded gauntlet and confinement.
Nearly four miles down the valley from the County line, upon the farm, in part owned by Philip Mitchel, lived the man Service, against whom the patriots made the charge of being an agent of the Crown, and a dangerous enemy to the colonists. Service, with other families, settled there several years previous to the war, and were prosperous farmers.
He owned a large tract of land, and when hostilities commenced he refused to take sides in the contest, fearful of losing his lands. The outspoken Whigs accused him of disloyalty to their cause, and a complaint to that effect was made by them to the Committee of Safety, sitting at Kingston, also to that of the Schoharie settlements. The British agents knew his intention of neutrality and undoubtedly imposed certain offices upon him to give a shade of loyalty to the crown. Being situated upon the trail, almost daily used, and at a point, where supplies for the subsistence of squads would prove convenient, he was called upon quite often to furnish them, by both the British and Patriots.
But each faction was, as political parties are today, "delicate to a fault" and he, who by a single act or word, however trivial, displayed the least favor to their enemies, was at once condemned, and scarcely any after act could atone for so doing.
An order was given for his arrest and Captain Long, Murphy, Elerson and Tufts were entrusted to carry it into execution. Various stories have been related of the affair and published from time to time, but none of them were dictated by Murphy or his companions, and were simply reiterations of gossip subject to the usual additions that the imagination of the speaker and writer is disposed to make for the pleasure of his auditors. As we before intimated, Sigsby's pamphlet purporting to be the life of Murphy, was made up of erroneous statements, without doubt, supposed to be facts by the writer. Our informants, the children of Murphy, with minds as vigorous, at their advanced ages, as if but forty, assured the author that their father felt aggrieved at the erroneous tales that were related of him, and many hundred times repeated the facts of the Charlotte tragedy to them, as we are about to relate them.
To verify their statement, we have abundant proof, gleaned from other families that were daily conversant with both Murphy and Elerson, of their truthfulness. Upon the arrival of the party at the house of Service, they at once made the object of their visit known, as he was standing beside his door. Service replied that the accusation was ill-founded and refused to accompany them to Schoharie. They produced a letter written to him that had been intercepted (it being an order for Service to provide a party of Tories with bread upon a certain day,) to prove his disloyalty to the Continental cause, and then assured him if he would give himself up and accompany them to Schoharie without any trouble, they would pledge themselves he would not be hurt. But their orders were to take him dead or alive, and they were going to do it. A parley of words followed, when Mrs. Service and two daughters rushed out and took an active part. Service caught up a broad-axe lying near and hurled it at the party who assured him they would shoot if he repeated the act. The women undoubtedly became fearful of such consequence, and caught hold of the men and exclaimed, "Run, father! Run father!" upon which he ran around the corner of the house towards the brook. Tufts and Murphy soon followed, and when in clear view of him assured him they would shoot if he did not return. Not heeding their warning, as he crossed the brook and was ascending the bank, Murphy and Tufts fired together, upon which he fell and soon expired. They did not examine the body to see if both balls took effect, and consequently could not tell whether one or both caused his death. The case as thus recited, is very different from that of Sigsby's and others, as will be at once seen by those readers that are familiar with his pamphlet. As told by him, the shooting of Service was but a cool murder, which in this day and age is condemned, and not considered as adding heroism to our acts. Mr. Sigsby was a young man of promise, with intentions the most commendable, and chronicled the case as related by hundreds, but was imposed upon by many-tongued tradition in his efforts to perpetuate the valor of a worthy patriot.
In the year 1787, the lands of Service were confiscated and the property passed into other hands. It has been said and the impression seems to be firmly made, that Murphy received a portion of those lands for the shooting of Service, but it was a mistake. Murphy purchased a farm in after years in the Schenevus valley but it was not a part of the Service land. It will be noticed in the Fulton Chapter of this work that Murphy married a Feek, an only child, and that the family were in fair circumstances, financially, for those days, and upon the death of Mr. Feek, the sum of seven hundred dollars was left by him for his widow, as pocket money, to purchase small comforts that the care of the daughter and son-in-law might not apprehend. Mrs. Feek being one of the true daughters of economy and gain, as all were at that time, and solicitous for the future of her grandchildren, insisted upon Murphy taking the money and investing it in land for the children's benefit. The lands along the Schenevus being low in price and attractive to him, he made a purchase, and in after years, settled his daughter, Mrs. Sands, upon the farm, with whom he lived at times.
In the year 1777 the Continental Congress passed an act to the effect, that if an owner and occupant of land should prove disloyal to the colonial cause, by giving aid to the enemy and bear arms against the patriots and vacate such lands during the struggle, they should become the property of the government, but if possession was retained, the owner should not be molested in his title. Hence, we find many inveterate Tories still held their lands after the war closed, while less active ones were stripped of their homes. Service was buried upon his land within a few feet of the boundary line, and in after years, when the fact became known to the late Abraham Becker, of South Worcester, he instituted a suit for the recovery of the property, under the act of 1777, claiming, that possession was held by the burial of Service. After a long litigation the lands were recovered, and sold by the heirs of Service, who are of the best families of that section. As would naturally be supposed, the family smarted long under the opprobrium of Tory given to Service, and looked upon the transaction as murder without a cause. He was accused of being with Brant in the Cobleskill valley in 1778, and participating in other invasions, which the family from first to last denied and to many proved conclusively, to be false. But that he gave or sold supplies to invading forces and parties with prisoners, going to Niagara cannot be denied, as the captives upon their return, verified the truth. Patriot scouts, also, many times replenished their rude haversacks at his house in the fore part of the war, but were refused, as the troubles increased. There was perhaps a just reason for the latter act, as the scouts were destitute of money and seldom, if ever, paid for what they obtained. Service was fearful of losing his lands like thousands of others, if he chose the colonial cause, and situated as he was, upon the trail daily traversed, he could, or dare not refuse the King's subjects, and without doubt was well paid for every morsel of eatables, as the British government was lavish with its gold where it would cast a shade of loyalty.
He might have been honest in his intention of neutrality in the beginning but, as we of today, he saw perhaps an opportunity of making riches, and step by step was led along in feeding Indians and Tories until orders were sent ahead for him to supply while the patriots watched him more and more, and at last reported him to the Committee of Safety. The times and situation of the border made stern measures a necessity, and as the war progressed the border actors of both sides became less civilized---unused to the promptings of charitable, social etiquette, they often strangled mercy, under the pleas of necessity, while their vulgar passions were let loose to do brutal work. Many times, no doubt, the patriots gave their enemies as much reason to look upon them with abhorrence, as did the Tories, as we find equally as harrowing tales told by their descendants, against the patriots. The western part of the town was settled by the Van Burin, Van Hosanna and Bought families, about the year 1797, and previous to the formation of the town by act passed April 13, 1819, was a part of Jefferson.
Nothing of importance occurred in this part until the year 1850, when the New York Methodist Conference erected by subscription a donations a large building for school purposes, to accommodate nearly three hundred boarding students, under Rev. Alonzo Flack, as Principal, and Miss Helen Flack, Preceptress, with eleven assistants.
After two years of unparalleled success, an examining committee reported to the Conference that "the institution has had a career of unexampled prosperity." "Though it was opened only two years since, it had during the past term more than three hundred and fifty students in actual attendance." "The number would have been still grater if accommodations could have been furnished." "As a new building has just been erected, more than five hundred can be provided for next term." The building was placed upon the north side of the street, nearly in the center of the village, and was an oblong of three stories in height. Additions were build upon each end in 1852, running back, and were no sooner furnished than occupied by five hundred students.
Being over-crowded and extremely prosperous, in the season 1855, a building four hundred and eighty feet in length, four stories in height, with basement, was erected upon the sough side of the creek, upon the hill-side. The new structure was intended for a college, and at one time eight hundred students were in attendance in both buildings.
The faculty in 1852 was increased to seven-teen teachers beside the principal and preceptress. An incendiary laid the north building in ashes in 1856, and in the year 1867, the sough structure also was reduced to ashes. Not being daunted by misfortune, a large hotel was purchased and fitted conveniently for a school, under the management of Professor Solomon Sias and six associates. The school closed some time in 1875 and was not revived. Dr. William Lamont during the last years of school was the principal.
The question will naturally be asked years hence, as is frequently done now, "Why were structures for such purposes, built in back places, away from public thoroughfares?" The idea was prevalent that vice, such as lures away the youth, only existed along the thoroughfares; and their catalogues and other advertisements made a special point to that effect, assuring parents that their "children would be free from the evils that clustered along them."
The first board of trustees was divided into three classes. Of the first were:--- Jacob Hoffman, James S. Wood, Amos Smith, Hiram Van Buren, Abram Becker. Of the second were:--- James Howie, Peter H. Mitchell, Hiram Warner, Aaron Rifenburgh, Stephen Stillwell. Of the third were:--- Thomas W. Lamont, M. D., Luther F. Hartwell, William H. Adams, John D. Multer, Amasa Dingman. The officers of the board were:--- Thomas W. Lamont, President. Luther F. Hartwell, Secretary. Jacob Hoffman, Treasurer. James S. Wood, Steward.For many years the farmers of this town have been engaged extensively in dairying, and have supplied the markets with butter that will cope with any other. Upon the lofty hills, the most succulent grasses grow and from their sides are springs of the purest water, that add materially to the quality of the dairy products, while the dairymen spare neither pains nor expense to produce a choice article. For many years Elisha Brown of this town was a large dealer in such products, and gained the reputation in the New York market, of furnishing the best quality of butter, the year through, of any buyer in the State. Its keeping qualities were highly spoken of and it is said to improve, through the use of modern conveniences upon scientific principles. Mr. Brown was long known as "Butter Brown" and was considered one of the most expert judges of the article to be found. He removed from Connecticut to the town of Jefferson, and from thence to this place. Mr. Brown was Supervisor of the town in 1862, and held the office of Justice of the Peace for several years. He died highly respected as a Christian, and business man. Mr. Brown was followed by his son James a a produce dealer, who still holds the butter trade, which exceeds that of any other place in the County. Mr. Brown represented the town in the Board of Supervisors in 1873, 1874, 1875 and 1876, and was elected to the assembly in 1877, which position he filled satisfactorily to his constituents, and creditably to himself as a legislator. Mr. Brown was preceded in that body by Samuel Bald win in 1828, and Watts Or, in 1834, Seymour Boughton, in 1840, and 1845, James S. Wood, in 1854, and William C. Lamont, in 1859 and 1862, from this town, each of whom were sagacious, yet honorable representatives, through whose political career, none spoke of guile.
Beside furnishing such worthy representatives, the town has not been backward in adding to the list of officials such men as Treat Durand, John Moran, John Sawyer as sheriffs of the County, whom we remember as far back as 1850, as being the business and progressive men of summit village. The former was a dealer in horses and real estate, while Mr. Moran was connected in the manufacture of wagons, with an old resident as "Jackson and Moran," and near by, Sheriff Sawyer made the anvil ring by his vigorous strokes. While we recall those days of honest labor, that made the village prosperous and pleasant, and wove a net of union and happiness around the hearthstones, the thought of the sudden death of Mr. Sawyer casts a gloom over the mind and chills the pleasant musings of "the times that were." While returning to his home in Richmondville, from a visit to the village with a sister, in May, 1879, in descending the hill a short distance below, the horse became unmanageable through a defect in the harness and ran off a steep bank throwing Mr. Sawyer upon the ground with great violence, dislocating the spine and otherwise injuring him internally. He lived but a short time and was buried at Richmondville by the Masonic Brotherhood and a host of friends, with imposing marks of honor and respect.
With Sawyer, have also gone two others that were prominent business men of the village at that time, S. J. Lake and Isaac W. Beard who were engaged in the mercantile business, the former at the corner and the latter, in the building occupied as a wagon shop upon the hillside. Mr. Lake was in business for many years, and none enjoyed a better reputation as a strict, honest business man than he. He identified himself with the best interests of the place, and when he retired it was with the regret of the community. Isaac W. Beard also kept a general assortment of merchandise, and did a large business. He was twice elected supervisor of the town beside holding other local offices and was a faithful official. The County Clerk's office has also been officially supplied by Loring Andrews, generally considered to have been without a superior in the performance of the duties of that office, always courteous and systematic, and who took especial pains in the collection and preservation of old documents. John H. Coons was also elected to that office from this town and proved a very efficient officer.
Churches.--- The oldest organization in the town is the First Baptist Church situated a short distance from Charlotteville. Through the kindness of Mr. W. C. Hicks, whose father was long an officer of this church, we were furnished with the following sketch, taken from the published "minutes of the forty-ninth anniversary of the Worcester Baptist Association," held on the 11th and 12th of June, 1879. "The Baptist Church of Jefferson and the First Baptist Church of Summit occupied the same field and used the same church-book from 1805 until 1827. When it ceased to be called Jefferson and took the name of summit the records do not say. "A council was called at the house of Elam Northrup in Jefferson, by Baptist brethren of south Hill and Charlotte River to advise and counsel them in manners of importance, September 26, 1805.
"The delegates were as follows:--- "From Kortright:--- Elder Warner Lake, Elisha Sheldon, Samuel Grenell. "From Worcester:--- Elder Miah French, Charles Round, Thomas Hudson, Joshua Woodsworth. "From Bristol:--- Elder Levi Streeter, Edmund Richmond, John Hicks. "Organized by electing Elder W. Lake, moderator, and John Hicks, clerk. After mature deliberation the council unanimously judged it for the honor and glory of God, and the convenience of said brethren, to give them the hand of fellowship as a sister church. The articles of faith were those of the Worcester church. "Extract from their Covenant:--- We solemnly covenant, each one of us, in the presence of God, angels, and men, to give ourselves renewedly to God without reserve. that we will do all that in us lies to oppose sin in ourselves and all others, viz., all evil whispering or backbiting, or taking up a reproach against any person, especially those who profess Christianity. Avoid all recreation, as spending your time idly at taverns or elsewhere." "Trustees elected Jan. 26, 1806. "The first names on the record are:--- Carpenter, Brown, Lincoln, Braman, Fuller, Cleveland, Lavelly, Northrup, Knowlton. The following were the pastors:--- J. French, -- Carr. J. Winis, E. Crocker, J. Mead, J. Beaman, -- Barrett, E. Spafford, J. Ingalls. "How long each one preached for the church is not known. Elder Mead was with them some time. "First mention of salary is in 1815-- for Elder Mead, $50. "The following served as Deacons:--- Chase Hicks, Levi Lincoln. "The following served as Clerks:--- J. Carpenter, E. Northrup, H. Albert, S. Stillwell, M. Beaman, R. Lavelly, E. Osborn, Jr. "For twenty-seven years meetings were held in dwelling-houses, school-houses and barns. "The minutes of the Rensselaerville Association say that the Jefferson church was a member of that body up to 1818. "The Summit church belonged to that Association in 1820. "The town of Summit was formed from Jefferson and Cobleskill in 1819. "Probably, therefore, the old Jefferson church took the name of summit church immediately after the organization of the township." In a foot-note they say:--- "Thirty-nine members were dismissed from the Summit church to join the new constituted church in Jefferson." In another foot-note they say:---"The Jefferson church joined the Association this session," (1828). So the old Jefferson church was the parent of the Summit church, and the Summit church the parent of the present Jefferson church, inasmuch as thirty-nine of her constituent members were from the Summit church. "April 15, 1826, a council was called to ordain James Ingals. "The Summit church was a member of the Worcester Association in incipient organization, October 14, 1830. "Incorporated under the name of the First Baptist Church of Summit. Recorded in County Clerk's book, at page 1 of Religious Corporations, December 14, 1831. "In 1832 the meeting-house was erected, and a general meeting was appointed for its opening the third Wednesday in November. "Reckoning 1840 as the first decade the smallest number of members were fifty-seven; largest, one hundred and seven; average, eighty-nine. "The following were the pastors:--- J. Smith, E. Spafford, A. Butler, I. Powers. "The following served as Deacons:--- Joseph Lincoln, J. S. Martin. "The following served as Clerks:--- E. Osborn, E. Northrup. "The first Licentiate:--- Harvey Cornell, July, 1837. "Second decade from 1840 to 1850:--- "Our history is incomplete. The largest number ascertained is one hundred and twenty-one in 1843. In 1844 a notable difficulty occurred which sorely tried the lovers of Zion. Church action began in January and continued to August, 1845. "In 1850 voted that we raise $100 to paint and repair our house. "The following were the pastors:--- I. Powers, H. Maine, C. Preston, C. Purrett. "The following served as Deacons:--- H. Van Buren, J. S. Martin. "The following served as Clerks:--- E. Northrup, D. L. Rider. "In 1845, December 10th, C. Preston was ordained. "Third decade, from 1850 to 1860:--- "Our information is meager. The number reached one hundred and twenty- seven; average, ninety-five. "The following were pastors:--- F. Jones, E. Spafford, W. Covey, R. H. Spafford, H. Cornell. "The following served as Deacons:--- J. S. Martin, H. Van Buren. "The following served as Clerks:--- D. L. Rider, A. Fancher, H. Lincoln. L. J. Lincoln was licensed, July 25, 1855. "Forth decade, from 1860 to 1870:--- "The church gained in numbers and influence. Average, one hundred and nine. "The following were the pastors:--- H. Cornell, J. Lyon, D. Corwin, W. M. Hallock. "The following served as Deacons:--- L. H. Robbins, A. Fancher. "The following served as Clerks:--- H. Lincoln, D. G. Mann, B. F. Wilcox. "From 1870 to 1879:--- "The following were the pastors:--- W. M. Hallock, J. Smith, I. Powers. "The following served as Deacons:--- L. H. Robbins, B. W. Gage. "The following served as Clerks:--- B. F. Wilcox, W. C. Hicks.
"Meeting-house rebuilt in 1878, and dedicated November 27th, same year. Present pastor, I. Powers. Present number, one hundred and thirty-one; average, one hundred and twenty. Whole expense of building, $2,500.
"Her dead outnumber her living. Of the pioneers on this field (clergy and laity) not one remains. Of twenty original names on present record, one only (E. Osborn) is known to be living. Of the forty-seven baptized here between 1840 and 1843, twenty-seven only are living. Twenty gone to swell the chorus of the skies. On this field they struggled for the right, fought for the true, have won and wear the crown.
The Second Baptist Church was located at Summit village, and was organized in 1839 with twenty members, principally resident members of the Jefferson or parent church. The now deserted edifice was built in 1840, and regular meetings were there held for several years, but the society becoming small, in 1878 they were discontinued. But very few of the original members are now living. The first pastor was Rev. Ingraham Powers, who was thereafter connected in pastorate with the First Baptist Church of Charlotteville.
The Reformed Church of Eminence.--- This society was organized by the classes of Schoharie in 1831, and re-organized January 30, 1855, under the pastorate of Rev. W. G. E. See. the church edifice was commenced in 1833 by the Reformed Society, and for its completion and interest on the debt incurred it was sold to the Methodists, by whom it was finished, and occupied by both societies until 1854. At that time the Methodists built a new one across the street in Blenheim, and the Presbyterians repaired the old building and have occupied it since. The first pastor was Rev. William Salsbury, of Jefferson, and was followed by Revs. Lee, Shaver and Miller.
The Methodist Episcopal church of Summit is a spirited organization, but we have been unable to procure a historical sketch of the same, from the fact that upon each visit the records were not accessible, owing to absence of the official in whose keeping they were placed, and the forgetfulness of those who were entrusted with the task of giving the points of history.
The Free Methodist Church of Charlotteville.--- This society has the honor of being the first organization of the kind in the County. The fist meeting for the election of trustees was held March 16, 1878, and the following were chosen:---
D. L. Rider, George Berner, William N. Eckerson, Sylvester Truax.
William A. Hawks was the first pastor, and was succeeded by the present incumbent, Rev. R. M. Snyder.
The edifice was built the same year of the organization, and is a neat structure that adds much to the appearance of the place. It is to be hoped that the societies of this order will exert such an influence over other denominations as to cause their church seats to become free, that all the poor and well as the rich, may enter the house of God and sit to worship without paying "tribute to Caesar," inasmuch as that Christian idea is the ground-work of their organization.
The Lutheran Church of Summit.---The edifice in which this society worships is at Lutheranville in the west part of the town, in the midst of an industrious and prosperous community. The organization was effected in 1823 through the labors of its first pastor, the worthy George Lintner. In 1836 the church building was erected and remodeled in 1858, and will seat three hundred and fifty. The first officers were from the Neer, Lape, Fredindal and Morrison families, the first settlers of the neighborhood. The pastors were as follows:---
Rev. George Lintner, P. G. Cole, --- Slimser, Nicholas Van Alstine, Benjamin Diefendorf, (eighteen years), Samuel Bruce, J. S. Paul, S. W. Young, at present officiating.
The Lutheran Church of Beard's Hollow.---This church is under the Frankean Synod, and was organized May 6, 1865. The edifice was built in 1862, by the Baptists and Lutherans in union, but was purchased by the latter February 16, 1867. The first deacons were David Dox, and George Lape, and at the time of the purchase of the property, Samuel Hodson, Robert S. Fuller and David Dox, were trustees. The only regular pastors that have performed service here were Samuel Bruce and Jacob S. Paul. Other pastors have occasionally preached as supply.
While here, we will refer to this place, as having been the first settled in the eastern part of the town. Killian Ritter we are assured settled here as early as 1794, and was soon followed by Jacob Beard, who settled in that portion of the valley, now lying in the town of Richmondville. We will speak of the whole in connection with Summit. Jacob Beard was a German and settled upon the farm now occupied by Hiram Mann about the year 1795. Here he reared a family of four sons, John, Andrew, Jacob and Philip, and it was from this family the valley derived its name. In 1802 Michael, the father of the present David Dox and progenitor of the different families found in the hollow, settled, being a son of George Dox, Sr., who settled at Richmondville, as stated in that chapter of this work. In 1800 an extensive business was carried on in the manufacture of grindstones upon the hills east of the hollow, which were taken to all parts of the country. the enterprise slackened and but little was done for several years, when it was again revived and as late as 1825, large numbers were manufactured, but the business was at last abandoned as the immediate country was supplied and they were too heavy to cart to distant points for profit.
This hamlet was for a long term of years called "Tar Hollow." We are assured by Jacob Wilcox and others, although we have no official proof of the fact, that a Deputy Sheriff by the name of Whittaker, during the anti-rent troubles of 1844 and 1845 was here taken by the anti-rent settlers, while in the performance of official duties, in the collection of a debt, and treated to a good coat of tar and feathers. Our informants assure us, the tar and feathers were placed upon a stone-boat and taken to a convenient place, where the deputy was stripped of his clothing and besmeared with the tar, from head to foot, and then covered with feathers. We believe it was the only instance in the County, where such measures were taken and carried out. Since those exciting times, no place can be found, where more law-abiding citizens reside, than throughout this neighborhood.
During the late Rebellion, eighty-two enlisted in the Union cause, mostly in the 44th and 46th Regiments, and braved the hardships of camp and field, with but eight desertions, mostly to re-enlist and draw the heavy bounties, that were given to induce a speedy repletion of the volunteer ranks. Many fell in battle but more by the destructive typhoid fever that continually lurked around the encampments, and caused four-fold more deaths, than were reported by gun and sword.
We have groped somewhat in the dark in obtaining an accurate list of the physicians that have settled and practiced within the limits of the town, and find none previous to Doctor Birch who was here in 1830. He was succeeded by Doctors Eastman, Hynds, Loucks and Miner, who we believe was contemporary with Dr. C. W. Havens, who settled in 1840 and still continues to practice. After Miner, came Dr. Cornell who was followed by Dr. Spaulding and the present acting Dr. Beard, while Dr. Tibbetts is located at Eminence. While Summit village or "Four corners," as it was for a long time known, stood thus independent of sister towns and villages, in the medical profession, yet at Charlotteville, Dr. Wm. Lamont settled in 1825 or 1830, and in connection with Dr. Van Alstine of Richmondville often encroached upon the territory, rightfully belonging to the above, and carried away the palm in many intricate cases. Doctors Near and Smith, during Dr. Lamont's residence, were also located at that place and were succeeded by the present Dr. George Berner and Dr. Sperbeck.
The early settlers of this locality were of Dutch descent, and their Yankee neighbors distinguished it as "Dutch Hill," by which it was known until the post office was established in 1851, when it was named "Eminence." Peter Harder was one of the first settlers and was the father of the present Harders of the County, whose enterprise as successful businessmen places them in the front rank. Reuben and Minard Harder commenced the mercantile business here when they were young men. The latter was appointed the first postmaster. Harder brothers sold their stock in trade to J. M. Cornell, who sold to Wood and Curtis. Curtis purchased Wood's interest, and in 1866 sold to J. L. Burrows, the present occupant of the "lower" or north store. It was the only store up to the year 1869 or 1870, when T. O. Burnet commenced the upper one and was in trade for a while, and closed out, leaving but one again to furnish goods for a large territory. James A. Burnett purchased the property and still remains, keeping a general assortment, as does Mr. Burrows, of goods usually found in a country store. Upon the formation of Summit, the road passing through the hamlet from north to sough was taken as the east line at this point, and thought to be near the old Tryon and Albany county line.
First Town Meeting.--- The first town meeting was held at the house of Martin Hoffman, in March, 1820.
It was resolved, "That sheep shall not be free commoners and if rams are allowed to ramble at large between the first of September and the first of December, they shall be forfeited." A bounty was voted for the killing of bears and wolves, ranging from five to ten dollars per head. By the vote of the people, we find upon a schedule of the town's indebtedness bearing date 1821, the sum of twenty dollars was raised for the support of the poor. Fence viewers and school inspectors received twenty five cents per day for actual service, and we suppose were then docked, for time wasted.
We will here give the schedule of taxes for the year 1880, which will undoubtedly be as amusing to the tax-payers sixty years from now, as the foregoing of sixty years ago is to us. We copy from the Supervisors report of 1880.
To amount raised for roads and bridges, $ 150.00 To amount raised for support of poor 250.00 To amount audited by board of town auditors $543.99 To amount audited by board of Supervisors 248.60 To amount dog tax 90.50 TOTAL 883.09 Supervisor's fees 8.84 To amount payable to Supervisors 891.93 To amount state tax 1,252.88 To amount school tax 10.45 To amount county tax 1,720.48 To amount due poor department 43.80 Dr. To County Treasurer 9.94 Total 3,043.55 To amount payable to County Treasurer 3,043.55 Grand Total $ 4,335.48 No. names on tax list, 372. SEWARD GALLUP, Collector."
The early records of the town are not accessible, having been carelessly "lent out" and not returned, therefore we can only trace the list as follows:---
1831---Jacob Hoffman. 1832---Jacob Hoffman. 1833---Seymour Boughton, Sen. 1834---Seymour Boughton, Sen. 1835---Letolia Bruce. 1836---Seymour Boughton, Sen. 1837---Daniel Baldwin. 1838---Edmond Northrup. 1839---John Loucks, Jun. 1840---Thomas W. Lamont. 1841---Thomas W. Lamont. 1842---Isaac W. Beard. 1843---Isaac W. Beard. 1844---Jacob Hoffman. 1845---Jacob Hoffman. 1846---Hiram T. Comstock. 1847---Parley Brown. 1848---Parley Brown. 1849---Joseph S. Wood. 1850---Joseph S. Wood. 1851---Robert Crapser. 1852---Minard Harder. 1853---Seymour Boughton, Sen. 1854---David L. Rider. 1855---John H. Coons. 1856---James Barger. 1857---James Barger. 1858---Samuel Near. 1859---David C. Jackson. 1860---Samuel R. Griggs. 1861---William Lamont. 1862---Elisha Brown. 1863---Charles W. Havens. 1864---Miles Hartwell. 1865---Parley Brown. 1866---Parley Brown. 1867---James Terpenning. 1868---Howland Baker. 1869---James Barger. 1870---James Barger. 1871---William Lamont. 1872---William Lamont. 1873---James H. Brown. 1874---James H. Brown. 1875---James H. Brown. 1876---James H. Brown. 1877---Stephen Stilwell. 1878---Seymour Boughton, Jun. 1879---Seymour Boughton, Jun. 1880---David Crowe. 1881---David Crowe. 1882---F. P. Beard.