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Addison

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HISTORICAL GAZETTEER

Steuben County, New York

FIRST PART

Compiled by: Millard F. Roberts

John Single Paper Company, Ltd., Syracuse, N.Y., 1891

This was typed and contributed by Gloria Banks Kirkwood

ADDISON page 92

"Addison, originally a part of the old town of Painted Post, was organized as Middletown at the time of the organization of Steuben county in March, 1796. The name was changed to Addison, in honor of Joseph Addison, the English author, on April 6, 1808. The early settlers called it also "Tuscarora". It is an interior town, situated southeast of the centre of the county, and lies upon both sides of the Canisteo river. It is bounded north by Thurston and a part of Campbell, east by Erwin, south by Tuscarora and west by Rathbone.

The surface is hilly upland, broken by the valley of the Canisteo and its branches. The principal valley is about one mile wide and is bordered by steep hillsides rising from three to four hundred feet. The chief streams are the Canisteo river, Tuscarora and Goodhue creeks. Goodhue lake, in the northwest corner of the town, covers an area of about fifty acres. The alluvial soil of the valleys is rich and productive; on the hills it is clay mixed with the 'debris' of broken shale, and compares favorably with the average farming lands of the county. The population of the town in 1890 was 2,884."


Addison - First Settlement - pages 92,93,94,95,96,97 (added - 5/31/1999)

"The first settlement was made by SAMUEL RICE in 1791. Mr. Rice was born about fifteen miles from the city of New Haven, Conn., and when but fifteen years of age entered the war of the revolution and served about six months. From Connecticut he moved to the state of New Hampshire, thence to Chenango county in this state. His settlement in Addison was made a short distance up Tuscarora creek, near the Wombough mills, where he built the first house erected by a white man in this town. He married LUCRETIA MARTIN. Their son, STEPHEN RICE, born April 5, 1791, was the first white child born in the town. Mr. Rice moved with his family to Troupsburgh in 1805, of which town also they were the pioneers.

Of those who soon followed Mr. Rice in the settlement of Addison were REUBEN AND LEMUEL SEARLES, OLIVER MILLER, GEORGE GOODHUE, who had previously settled near Painted Post; JOHN MARTIN, JONATHAN TRACY, ABLE WHITE, ISAAC AND JAMES MARTIN, JAMES BENHAM, ASAHEL STILES, SILAS MOREY, ELISHA GILBERT, LEMUEL STILES, WILLIAM WOMBOUGH and MARTIN YOUNG. The latter came into the country with COL. ARTHUR ERWIN. He subsequently settled on the road to Rathboneville, just within the present western boundary line of the town of Addison. He moved to Minnesota, where he died not many years since, having almost attained the age of one hundred years.

LEMUEL SEARLES was the next resident below Mr. Young. He occupied the GEORGE UNDERWOOD farm. JOHN MARTIN, with a numerous family, lived next below; then some years later JAMES BALDWIN settled on the next farm east, and at the B. JENNING'S place lived JAMES JONES, who built the hotel at Cameron about 1823.

ASAHEL STILES built a log house near the present site of the Erie depot, and there are apple trees still standing upon the bank in rear of that depot that Mr. Stiles set out. His mother, a very aged woman, came here with the family. On one occasion she was left at home alone, and upon the return of the family she informed them that "a big black dog" had been sitting for some time on the ice in the river. Younger members of the family, with better eyesight than she possessed, soon discovered that what she had mistaken for a dog was in reality a bear. "Uncle" SAMUEL RICE, who was calling at the Stiles house at the time, took up a club and approaching the bear, struck him. Bruin resented such a salute, and, with a deep growl, turned on his assailant. Mr. Rice retreated as fast as he could, which was not very rapid as he had to adopt a peculiar sliding gait in order to avoid raising his heels to near the snout of the infuriated beast, which was close upon him. Mr. Stiles at this juncture came to the rescue with a heavy hoe, such as in those days were made by the local blacksmiths, and striking the bear a stunning blow upon the head, felled him, after which he was killed and dressed. The Stiles family, with some others of the first settlers, used to attend church in Canandaigua, eighty miles distant."

"The first properly authorized town-record now in existence bears the date October 20, 1799, and commences its history by publishing certain strayed animals, and by whom taken up or cared for:

'Taken up by JOHN MARTIN, Sept 7th, 1802, a chestnut brown horse three years old.

Taken up by LEMUEL BENHAM the 10th day of May 1803, a red roan horse, three years old, and had a bell on, and a dog 'tended him'

Come to the plantation of SAM'L COLE, about the first of October in the year of 1805, a small ram sheep with horns, has a crop on left ear.'

The first town meeting in April, 1797...voted..that town-meeting be held in schoolhouse, in said town for the year ensuing...this item is a very important feature in the early history of the town of Middletown and augured that rapid progress in civilization would be the result, as this in all probability was the first school house ever built in the county of Steuben. If it did not have a right to the honor of being the first institution of learning, ever erected in the county, it must have been nearly so.....

...'Middletown, January 20th, 1801.--Recorded two slaves for the widow Lace. The age of NANCY four years, the age of SAMUEL HAWKINS three years and three months,

...'Middletown, the 9th day of March, 1801,--Recorded two slaves for THOMAS THISSEL, the age of LUCE 15 years, the age of WILL 11 years..

...In the year 1793 GEORGE GOODHUE erected the first sawmill, followed in 1805 by one erected by WILLIAM WOMBOUGH, combined with a gristmill...As soon as proper appliances could be obtained for manufacturing and delivering lumber, the valley of the Canisteo was soon known far and wide as a very desirable field for the development of mercantile and lumbering business, and the WEATHERBYS, SHUMWAY, BIRDSALL and many others operated largely in this new country at this time. In the year 1834, Messrs. THOMPSON AND FRENCH built a store on the site known now as the old Smith Block, which was sold in 1838 to the Messrs. WILLIAM R. SMITH and AI FITCH.

..In 1831 Dr. F. R. WAGNER drew up a petition for a mail twice a week, which was sent to Hon. JOHN MAGEE, then a member of congress. It was granted by the department and WILLIAM B. JONES, who took the contract, carried the mail from Painted Post to Addison in a two-horse coach...

The Eagle Hotel occupies the site of a public house kept by WILLIAM BASKIN JONES at a very early day. JONATHAN ROWLEY kept a hotel near where the Methodist church stands. This house was afterward kept by JAMES BALDWIN and by a man named LOCKERBY. It was finally destroyed by fire. CALEB WETHERBY also kept a hotel on the north side. JAMES VAN VLECK built the first hotel on the south side on the site of the American House. As late as 1819.. there was a clearing at the HENRY WOMBOUGH place at the south end of the suspension bridge, where then lived WAREHAM WARD. Upon the creek lived a widow named CATLIN, and the family of HEZEKIAH DOLPH. Farther up was WOMBOUGH'S sawmill, near which lived MATTHIAS MARLATTE, who afterward moved to Woodhull, and SAMUEL COLGROVE. These lived at the upper end of the village, and above them was the BREWSTER farm. Down the river near CURTIS & PAXTON's mill lived REUBEN NEWMAN in a small framed house. Next below, in a log house, lived EBENEZER SWARTWOOD and his father JACOBUS. The latter familiarly called 'COBY' was a good hunter. Next below, on the COWLEY farm was a tavern kept about this time (1819) by SAMUEL COLGROVE. Near the site of the GOODHUE tannery lived ISAIAH JONES. He died about 1819, and his widow continued to live there many years. NATHAN GILLAN, an Irishman, was the last resident east until we reach the Erwin town line."


  1. Maple Cemetery - (ad1a) (6/30) - updated: 11/23/99

  2. Rural Cemetery - (ad1b) (9/23/00) - updated: 1/06/02

  3. St. Catherines Cemetery - (ad1c) (12/5) updated: 12/8/99

  4. Old Catholic Cemetery - (ad1d)

  5. Baldwin Cemetery - (ad2) (10/20)

  6. Jones-Erwin Cemetery - (ad3) (10/20)

Other Addison links:


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