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Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York
by John H. Selkreg, 1894; D. Mason & Co., Publisher
While it as true that the town of Ithaca is of comparatively recent formation, settlements within its present limits began very early--about a quarter of a century before Tompkins county was formed--and when all other sections of the present county were a wilderness, untrodden except by the Indians and the few white men who had been sent out to drive them from their ancestral homes.
The town of Ithaca as a separate organization has come down from the original town of Ulysses, through the following changes: Ithaca was formed from Ulysses, which was erected as one of the original towns of Onondaga county, March 5,1794. Its history is traced as Ulysses, Onondaga county, from March 5, 1794; as Ulysses, Cayuga county from March 8, 1799; as Ulysses, Seneca county, from March 29,1804; as Ulysses, Tompkins county, from April 17, 1817; and as Ithaca, Tompkins county, from March 16, 1821.
It is the central town of the county and contains thirty-six square miles of territory, of which nearly eight-tenths is under cultivation, the remainder woodland. The population, according to the census of 1890, is 12,343. Cayuga Lake reaches southward into the town about two miles, and its deep valley continues on two miles further, with a width of about one and one-half miles. Towards the great trough there is a general rolling and undulating descent from the outer borders of the town, until within about a mile of the lower plane, where the descent becomes very steep and continues to the bottom of the valley. In Chapter II the reader will find detailed description of the picturesque scenery produced by the peculiar land and water formations in this town, especially in the near vicinity of Ithaca city. No other locality in the State of New York, and few in the county, are more worthy of admiration from the lovers of nature in her most attractive moods, or of visits from the gifted artist. Nestled in the deep vale near the head of the lake, at the foot of the majestic eastern and western hills, the village gracefully lay through its many years of early growth, while in the last quarter century it has reached out upon the hillsides, where hundreds of beautiful residences adorn spacious and well kept grounds.
The soil of the town is chiefly a gravelly or sandy loam upon the high lands, excepting in the southern part, where it is in many places shallow and constituted of disintegrated shale or slate. The soil on the flats is a rich alluvium. Grain and stock growing has been the principal occupation in the agricultural districts, while on the slopes of the hills near Ithaca, peaches, grapes and other fruits are raised successfully.
The first settlers in this town found several clearings in the valley which had been made by the Indians, who had cut away the low hazel and thorn bushes and planted corn.
In another and earlier chapter of this work mention has been made of the eleven men who came on here from Kingston in April, 1788, with two Delaware Indians for guides; also the return in April of the following year of three of their number, Jacob YAPLE, Isaac DUMOND, and Peter HINEPAW, who made the first settlement in the town, on a four hundred acre lot, of which the west line of the present Tioga street in Ithaca formed the western limit. These pioneers planted corn on the Indian clearings , left their crops with John YAPLE, a younger brother of Jacob. and returned to Kingston for their families. They came back to their new homes in September, bringing a few farming tools, a little household furniture, and a number of horses, cattle, sheep and hogs.
The three families numbered twenty persons: Jacob YAPLE, his and three children (Philip, Mary and Peter, and John YAPLE, the brother, who was then twenty-four years of age); Isaac DUMOND, his wife and three children (Peter, Abram and Jenny), and John DUMOND and his wife, then lately married; Peter HINEPAW, his wife and children (whose names we cannot give, the eldest of whom was about twelve years of age).
The three families soon had built log cabins for each, situated as described in Chapter III, and began their toil in the wilderness. They encountered the usual hardships, as well as some that were so common. Rattlesnakes abounded, for one thing, and the tale has come down that about thirty were killed in a day where HINEPAW's cabin stood, near the site of the Cascadilla Mills, and that a populous den of the dangerous reptiles was discovered and cleared out. The few Indians remaining here were friendly and aided the pioneer to some extent. In the summer they occupied the hillsides, but when cold weather approached they pitched their wigwams in the gorge of the Six Mile Creek. But the larger portion left this section the second year after the coming of the settlers. The preparation of the food supply, too, was accomplished with great difficulty. The first crop of corn, with twenty-four bushels of wheat brought by one of the pioneers from a settlement on the Upper Nanticoke, had to be carried to Wilkesbarre to be ground. That was the nearest mill until the second year, when Jacob YAPLE built a small mill near HINEPAW's cabin on the Cascadilla, capable of grinding perhaps twenty-five bushels in a day. Mr. KING says that it had been claimed that the Indians had raised potatoes at Taughanic a few years previous to the coming of the white settlers; but this seems quite doubtful, for there is not the slightest reason for believing that the Indians would not have shared with their neighbors in anything so desirable and so difficult to obtain. Moreover, the Indians, as far as known, cared little for the potato.
Until the building of YAPLE's little mill much of the corn was pounded in the top of a fire-hollowed stump. The mill was called "the little pepper mill," and served the needs of many settlers for a number of years. Mr. KING states that when a man took a grist of two or three bushels from a considerable distance to be ground he often had to stay all night to get it. The mill stones, as well as the rest of the structure, were made by Mr. YAPLE himself, the stones being roughly formed from granite boulders. There was no bolting cloth and the bran was partially separated from the wheat flour with a sieve. As the settlers increased in numbers, considerable grain was taken to other towns, even long distances, to Owego and elsewhere, to be ground.
That other family necessity, salt, was easily obtained from the Indians, and it was universally believed in early times that there was a source of surface supply near at hand. But, if so, it has never been discovered by white persons. There are legends and stories innumerable of Indians going northward at various times and soon returning with a supply of salt; and one member of the SAGER family has stated that brine itself was brought by Indians near to his home and there boiled. As far as the writer is personally concerned, there is one great weakness in these tales, i. e., Why did not the whites learn the whereabouts of the source of supply from the last of the Indians just before they left the locality for good? A few trifling gifts at such a time would surely have caused the valuable secret (valuable no longer to the Indians) to be divulged. And there is another element of improbability in the matter scarcely less noteworthy; that is the fact that no white man watched the Indian or squaw when going for salt. Certainly no scruple of conscience could have prevented, and it would seem to have been a comparatively easy task, if, as represented, the salt spring was near at hand. And moreover, if there ever was a salt spring here, where was it? Is it not more probable that the salt came from the Onondaga Springs, either brought from there by the Indians who left the head of the lake for it, or obtained it between here and there from other Indians? The recent discovery of salt in the town of Lansing may possibly have some bearing upon this question.
The families of YAPLES, DUMOND and HINEPAW lost the land they had located here, through nonpayment of taxes at Albany by their agent, and the first two removed in 1795 to the northern part of Danby, while HINEPAW located near the site of Aurora. They were men of solid and respectable character and reared families of children. (Further allusion is made to them in the history of Danby.)
In the month of September, 1786, Robert McDOWELL, Ira STEVENS and Jonathan WOODWORTH moved with their families from Kingston, near Wilkesbarre, Pa., to Tioga Point and Chemung. The next summer Robert McDOWELL, Nehemiah and Charles WOODWORTH (sons of Jonathan), Abram SMITH, Joseph SMITH and Richard LOOMIS came from Chemung, by way of Catharine, to the head of Cayuga Lake, and there cut and put up a quantity of marsh hay, and then returned to Chemung. The ensuing fall Abram SMITH and the two WOODWORTHs again visited the lake flats, this time bringing cattle to winter them on the hay already prepared. In the spring of 1788 they went back to Chemung, when Mr. McDOWELL, accompanied by Jane, his eldest daughter, then about seven years, and two boys--one a negro--returned to the rude farm at the head of the lake, where Ithaca now stands, and planted a quantity of corn and sowed some spring wheat, and followed up this enterprise in the fall of the same year by bringing in his entire family, composed of himself, wife, and five children--Jane, Hannah, Euphius, John and Daniel.
Mr. McDOWELL was the first settler on the Abraham BLOODGOOD tract of 1,400 acres; since known as all that part of the corporation of Ithaca lying west of Tioga street. He put up his cabin somewhere near what is now the junction of Seneca and Cayuga streets, about where stands the fine residence of Samuel H. WINTON. Upon this spot, until 1874, stood a wooden building erected by Mr. Henry ACKLEY (father of Mrs. WINTON) in the year 1812 or 1813.
The descendants and near relatives of McDOWELL have been prominent in many ways in Tompkins county. He was a son of John McDOWELL, a Scotch immigrant. One daughter of Robert married Nicoll HALSEY and became the mother of ten children, several of whom were leading citizens.
Nehemiah WOODWORTH related that in June, 1788, Captain Jonathan WOODWORTH and his two sons, with five others, followed Sullivan's trail to Peach Orchard, then passed down Halsey's Creek to the Cayuga Lake, and encamped on the north side of Goodwin's Point, and on the following day went up to the head of the lake. In July the same party of six named in Mr. HALSEY's account (except that David SMITH is substituted for Abram) made hay on the lake flats, where they were joined by Peter HINEPAW and Isaac DUMOND. The WOODWORTH party brought provisions and two cows; and that fall drove in all their stock, about seventy head of cattle and horses. During the winter, Abram SMITH and a man named STEVENS (Ira?) had trouble with wolves, one of which they killed. They killed also a large bear on the lake, near Salmon Creel. The account further says that the WOODWORTH family "moved in, in the spring of 1789, and remained until 1793;" that they had a mortar made from a large stump standing "near the present court-house," and that Nehemiah assisted in bringing in the mill-stones on an ox sled. On the farm of the late Dr. J. F. BURDICK, in Lansing, within the memory of many residents of that town, one of these tree mills for grinding corn was still to be seen.
This is the only record we have concerning the settlement of the WOODWORTH family at Ithaca. The mill-stones alluded to were probably the first that were brought in--not the first used.
In 1791 John DUMOND, the pioneer, who had been married just before leaving his former home, became the father of the first white child born within the limits of what is now Tompkins county. The child was a daughter, was named Sally, and became the wife of Benjamin SKEELS, of Dandy, who removed to Indiana in 1846.
William VAN ORMAN came in about the time under consideration, the precise date being unknown. He first settled on two hundred acres, a part of military lot number eighty-two, where he lived about twelve years, but was one of the many unfortunate ones who lost his property through defective title. Walter WOOD succeeded him on the farm. Mr. VAN ORMAN then took a farm on lot eighty-three, then owned by George SAGER, who had purchased from a Mr. PANGBORN, who received it for military service. In 1824 Mr. VAN ORMAN built his substantial brick house near Buttermilk Falls. He was of considerable prominence and was assessor of Ulysses town in 1795.
George SAGER settled about 1793 on the tract he bought of PANGBORN (above noticed). He brought with him his mother and younger brother, Simon. George was unmarried and about thirty years old. He afterwards married Charity, daughter of Bezal HALLEY, and later settled in that vicinity and built a double log cabin and a frame barn, one of the first. This barn was afterwards used for Methodist meetings under Rev. Dr. BAKER.
In 1823 Mr. SAGER built a stone house, where he passed the remainder of his life.
Of course, there was a woeful scarcity of "store goods" in those early days, and it was several years before a merchant was established; but a very enterprising man named LIGHTFOOT brought a load of goods up the lake in the year 1791, and began trade in a shanty which he built near the site of the steamboat landing. He had tea, coffee, a little crockery, small stock of dry goods, a little hardware, and gun-powder and lead, a barred or two of whisky.
Horace KING, in naming the early settlers who succeeded the McDOWELLs uses the following language:
Mrs. PHILES came to the "Flats" to reside in 1813, Mr. DUMOND then having a house on the southeast corner of Mill and Tioga streets. The first school she attended was kept by Mrs. BUEL (wife of Judge BUEL, and whose maiden name was ENOS), in a small house standing, until a very few years since, on the southeast corner of Mill and Aurora streets.
Governor CLINTON mentions Abram JOHNSON, whom he saw at Ithaca as formerly a sergeant in CLINTON's brigade, and the author of a song on the storming of Fort Montgomery, which was afterwards printed.
Of the foregoing, Nathaniel DAVENPORT, from New Jersey, settled with his wife and four children on lot eighty-seven, just north of the BLOODGOOD tract, and built his cabin on the site of the stone house recently occupied by Mrs. Walter P. WILLIAMS. Their youngest child, Abram, married in 1798 Mary JOHNSON, daughter of Abram JOHNSON, a pioneer of 1791; this was the first marriage in what is now the city and town of Ithaca. Abram JOHNSON was a native of Staten Island but came to Ithaca from the Mohawk Valley, and after a short stay in the village here settled on a farm a few miles south. He was the father of eight children, five of whom were sons. One of them, John, became an Ithaca merchant and was the second clerk of this county. Arthur S., another son, lived in Ithaca, where he was prominent as a lawyer and held a number of official positions.
Benjamin PELTON settled on lot ninety-nine, the Fall Creek property, about 1797, his dwelling standing in the middle of what is now Aurora street, at the top of a high spur of gravel since leveled down. He advertised in the Journal, March 4, 1819, that he had "opened a Scrivner's office at the Yellow House near Peter DEMUND's." Mr. PELTON's son, Richard W., became owner of a large farm on South Hill, now largely covered with residences. He was the first postmaster of Ithaca in 1804. Another son, Edmund G., was a prominent early attorney, and held the office of surrogate in 1821. Abram MARKLE came here before 1798, and in that year performed the first marriage ceremony, before noticed; he was then a justice of the peace.
David QUIGG was a settler at Ithaca as early as the first year of the century and was the first regular merchant. An old account book of LANSING & QUIGG shows that he was conducting a store in 1801. He probably came here from Spencer, where he had first settled. His first business was in a log building on the north side of the Cascadilla, near the intersection of the present Linn and University avenue. He soon afterwards removed his stock to a frame building on the corner of Seneca and Aurora Streets. His first goods came by way of the Mohawk Valley from Albany, and by Wood Creek, Oneida Lake, up the Seneca River and Cayuga Lake. He received little cash in his early operations, but his profits were large. The late H. C. GOODWIN wrote in 1853:
The late Josiah B. WILLIAMS, who came to this county in 1825, was early engaged in the transportation business over the route first alluded to. He often narrated to the writer his experiences on his trips, and vividly portrayed the arduous toil and extreme discomforts accompanying that occupation, which he followed for several years.
The first death in town occurred in either 1790 or 1791, the precise date being unknown. It was that of Rachel ALLEN, who was either seventeen or eighteen years old, the daughter of a man who was then passing through Ithaca. She was buried on the hillside, where the cemetery was afterwards located.
Abram MARKLE came to Ithaca soon after the settlement, and in 1800 built the first frame house in the place. There was then a carpenter here named DELANO, who had for an apprentice Luther GERE (who afterwards rose to influence and wealth), and they built the house. It was situated, and stood until recent years, just north of the Cascadilla, on the west side of the street, the second building from the mill. Mr. KING says that probably Mr. MARKLE brought up a small store of goods but could scarcely be considered a regular merchant.
Archer GREEN was in Ithaca before 1800, and it was probably in his log house, on the north side of the Cascadilla, that the first marriage was consummated, as before noted. Mr. GREEN was the first clerk of the county, and otherwise prominent in the community.
According to Mr. GOODWIN there were in Ithaca in 1806 about twelve houses, six being framed; and from that time onward the place grew and prospered, as further detailed in subsequent pages.
By the following personal notes it will be seen that those pioneers who have thus far been mentioned were called to fill town offices at an early day for the old town of Ulysses:
The town meetings of the town of Ulysses from 1795 to 1817 wore held within the limits of the present town of Ithaca, viz.: In 1795, at the house of Peter HINEPAW; in 1796, at the house of Nathaniel DAVENPORT; in 1797, at the house of Jabez HANMER; in 1798, at the house of --; in 1799, at the house of Abram MARKLE, from 1800 to 1803 inclusive, at the house of Nathaniel DAVENPORT; from 1804 to 1817, when Ithaca was set off, at the house of Moses DAVENPORT, son of Nathaniel.
The important features of history, as related wholly to the town of Ithaca, have been given in earlier chapters of general matter, or will be given a little further on in the continued history of Ithaca as village and city. It is sufficient here to say that the agricultural districts in this town were rapidly taken up after the beginning of the present century by a class of men and women who were possessed of the requisite energy and perseverance to establish comfortable homes amid new scenes, and the requisite morality and intelligence to gladly aid in founding early schools and churches, and to so rear their sons and daughters that they would continue, as they have done, the good work begun by their fathers and mothers.
The following lists of town officials include the names of many of the early settlers and the later dwellers in the town, who were more or less conspicuous as private and as public citizens. The town of Ithaca formed March 15, 1821, at the court house in Ithaca, and the following officers elected: Supervisor, Nathan HERRICK; town clerk, Isaac BEERS; assessors, Caleb DAVIS, William P. BURDICK, Richard PEW; col1ector, Ebenezer VICKERY; overseers of poor, Jesse MERRITT, Eliakim DEAN; commissioners of highways, Moses DAVENPORT, Joseph PEW, David CODDINGTON; constables (appointed), Ebenezer VICKERY, Amasa WOODRUFF; commissioners of schools, John WHITON, John JOHNSON, Andrew D. W. BRUYN; inspectors of schools, Benjamin PELTON, Reuben JUDD, Isaac BEERS; trustees of gospel and school lot, Luther GERE, Charles HUMPHREY, William T. SOUTHWORTH; pound-master, David CURTIS.
The town was divided into thirty-seven road districts. The first session of the town board, at which bills were presented, was held March 26, 1822, and the amount audited was $70.95.
Following are the principal town officers for the years 1894: Amos 0. HART, supervisor, Forest HOME; Hugh T. BURTT, town clerk, Ithaca; Lyle NELSON, collector, Ithaca; Lockwood F. COLEGROVE, justice of the peace, Ithaca; Alfred HASBROUCK, justice of the peace, Ithaca; Edgar MASTERS, constable, Ithaca; Mathew SHARP, constable, Ithaca; Charles BROWN, constable, Ithaca; William VAN ORDER, constable, Ithaca; Charles BOYER, constable, Ithaca.
STATISTICAL.--The bills for county expenses audited by the Board of Supervisors of 1893, and allowed, including the supervisors' service bill, amounted to $12,145.61. The gross amount of the town audits as allowed was $25,897.91. The whole amount expended for the care of the poor of the county for the year was $4,008.67. The total disbursements by the county treasurer were $107,355.34. Other statistical matters are noticed in the succeeding town histories.
We left our account of early Ithaca when, in 1806, it had about a dozen houses; but it had enjoyed a post-office then for two years and doubtless felt itself considerable of a settlement. One of the half dozen frame structures stood, according to Mr. KING, on the site of the village hall, and another where the old Tompkins House stood, and there a Mr. VROORMAN kept a public house which he called the Ithaca Hotel. Another was on the southeast corner of Aurora and Seneca streets, and in it Luther GERE afterwards kept a tavern. It was in the year just mentioned that the little village received its name, from Simeon DE WITT, after the ancient city of Ithaca in the Ionian Sea.
There were elements of growth apparent in and around Ithaca even at that early day, its location at the head of Cayuga Lake being one of them. In 1808 the turnpike to Owego was laid out and its improvement begun, and three years later the road to Geneva was constructed. These and the other early highways contributed to the prosperity of the place. The first religious society, the Presbyterian, had existed since 1805, and it is pleasant to record the fact that in 1805 the first library was established by the purchase of about $300 in books, which subsequently became the property of the "Ithaca Lyceum," and still later of the "Minerva Society," which was connected with the academy.
By the close of the first decade of the century, Ithaca was looked upon as one of the most thriving and promising villages in the State.
This little village was the hope and pride of Simeon DE WITT, who intended it for his future home, and who may appropriately be considered its founder. Before he gave it its name it had been variously called "The Flats," or "The City," or "Sodom," according to the choice of different commentators. Mr. DE WITT, as is well known, was a conspicuous figure in the early annals of the State. The remains of Mr. DE WITT were removed some forty years ago to Albany and reinterred.
He held among other high positions the office of surveyor-general of the State from the year 1794 to the date of his death, December 3, 1834. He became early possessed of a large tract of land covering a part of the village site, which be improved and sold off at various times.
Lot No. 92 of Ulysses, which became the site of a part of Ithaca village and Cornell University, was drawn by Benjamin GILBERT, a lieutenant. Lot 88, locally called "RENWICK," was drawn by Andrew MOODY, a captain of cavalry; and lot 81 by Major-General Alexander McDOUGALL. Derrick SCHUYLER, an ensign in the Second Regiment, drew lots 57 and 78, upon the latter of which his brother, John H. SCHUYLER, settled in 1811; it is on the Hector road on West Hill. John H. SCHUYLER was the father of George W. and Philip C. SCHUYLER.
The following is from SACKETT's Minutes of the Military Townships, in relation to lot 94, which formed that part of Ithaca bounded by Tioga street on the west, Eddy street on the east, and north and south by the north and south city lines:
This tract, as well as others of the early subdivisions, is clearly shown on the accompanying maps. [NOTE; THE MAPS WERE NOT REPRODUCIBLY, SO COULD NOT BE COPIED.]
The plot of the village was formed almost wholly by streets following nearly the cardinal points, and intersecting very nearly at right angles. This plot contained certain portions designated then, or subsequently, as parks, of which De Witt Park is most central. Mr. DE WITT encouraged settlement by the liberal terms offered in the sale of his lands. It was his long cherished desire to build a residence on the east hill overlooking the village; but he died before this was accomplished, and was buried near the spot, on the south bank of the Cascadilla, where a few pines still stand, through whose heavy fronts the wind makes ceaseless requiem. His grave was on the rear of the lot the front of which on Buffalo street is now occupied by residences of C. H. WHITE and Henry STEWART.
It is said that beneath these pines he made his first encampment while prosecuting the survey (about the year 1796-97) for his map of the State. His remains lay long unhonored by a distinctive monument, and were finally removed from Ithaca to Albany.
The present corporation of Ithaca is composed of Lot 94, of the military tract, and the Abraham BLOODGOOD location.
Lot 94 of the military tract was allotted to a soldier of the Revolution, by name Hendrick LOUX, by whom it was conveyed to a Mr. VAN RENSSELAER, who conveyed to "Robert McDOWELL of Mohawk." McDOWELL conveyed the north part, 170 acres, to Benjamin PELTON in 1797, or thereabout. Mr. PELTON sold his portion to Phineas BENNETT. The southern portion, lying chiefly on the South Hill and south of the Six Mile Creek, became the property of the PELTONs. The middle portion, except about fourteen acres, was purchased by Simeon DE WITT.
Of the fourteen acres, ten were purchased by Gen. John SMITH, and embraced nearly all the lands on the flats lying east of the old Owego Turnpike (Aurora street) and south of the Jericho Turnpike, as first laid out; and four acres became the property of John McDOWELL, a son, and Richard W. PELTON, and Nicoll HALSEY, son-in-law of Robert McDOWELL. The four acres embraced the block on which now stands the Ithaca Hotel, and the small piece which has since become South Tioga street. The portion of State street on the north of the four acres was then village lot 32, the street not then existing. April 6, 1808, this four acres was conveyed by the three owners to Luther GERE and John M. PEARON for $100; and July 31, 1810, Luther GERE conveyed to Aurelia, widow of John M. PEARSON, one and one-half acres from the west side thereof. Subsequently said Aurelia (then the wife of Caleb B. DRAKE, esq.) conveyed what is now South Tioga street, to Simeon DE WITT, who opened it to the public, and conveyed to Aurelia, in payment thereof, village lot 62 next west. Lot 92 is bounded on the west by the west line of Tioga street in the village of Ithaca.
The Abraham BLOODGOOD tract lies west of the west line of Tioga street, and contains 1,400 acres, for which a certificate of location was issued to him November 1, 1789. The title passed to Gen. Simeon DE WITT who afterwards conveyed to Francis A. BLOODGOOD the 400 acres which lies south of the central line of Clinton street, and of that line continued. A small portion of this was sold to actual settlers by Mr. BLOODGOOD; the remainder was divided into lots, some of which passed to non-resident capitalists. The title was finally concentrated in Messrs. John McGRAW and Charles M. TITUS, who purchased the property in 1868.
In a letter dated at Albany, February 18, 1810, Mr. DE WITT wrote as follows:
A few months later, May 10, 1810, and after another visit to Ithaca, Mr. DE WITT wrote as follows of the place:
Governor De Witt CLINTON also evinced an intelligent interest in the village and believed that it was to become an important municipality. In his personal journal of 1810 he wrote as follows:
Salt is taken down the country from this place by water as far as Northumberland, Pennsylvania, 150 miles from Owego. It is 120 miles from here to the head-waters of the Alleghany. There is no road but a sleigh-road, in winter, by which salt is conveyed in small quantities; 8,500 barrels will be distributed from Ithaca this sea-son.
Flour will be sent from this place to Montreal, via Oswego, or to Baltimore, via Owego. There is no great difference in the expense of transportation. It will probably seek Montreal as the most certain market.
A boat carrying from 100 to 140 barrels will go to end return from Schenectady in six weeks. An ark carrying 250 barrels costs $75 at Owego. It can go down the river to Baltimore in eight, ten or twelve days, and when there it will sell for half the original price. The owner, after vending his produce, returns home by land with his money, or goes to New York by water, where, as at Albany, he lays out his money in goods. The rapids of the Susquehanna are fatal to ascending navigation.
Cattle are sent in droves to Philadelphia. Upwards of 200 barrels of beef and pork were sent from this place last spring, by arks, to Baltimore, from Owego, by BUEL and GERE, and sold to advantage. . . .
The situation of this place, at the head of Cayuga Lake, and a short distance from the descending waters to the Atlantic, and about 120 miles to the descending waters to the Mississippi, must render it a place of great importance.
And again he wrote as follows of the operations here of Luther GERE:
These extracts from the notes of men of good judgment, made from personal observation and knowledge, and at the period now under consideration, shed the clearest possible light upon the conditions and prospects of Ithaca village during its early years; but it must be admitted that midway in its existence it passed through a period of considerable length during which it scarcely seemed to justify the predictions of the prophets from whom we have quoted, and when, moreover, its slow rate of progress and development did not presage the rapid growth of the past ten years. In the early years the merchants, as we have seen, made liberal profits and were perforce given a large patronage; the exports from the immediate locality were comparatively large, consisting of stock, grain, potash, lumber, tar , etc., and the centering here of two important turnpikes caused transportation through the place of large quantities of the products of other localities, as well as cheapened the carriage on goods brought hither. The valuable plaster of Cayuga county was in great demand early in the war period of 1812-15, on account of the decline of foreign commerce and stoppage of the former Nova Scotia supply, and immense quantities were brought to Ithaca and sent on southward. It is recorded that 800 teams passed on the turnpike in a day on some occasions, and of course they all left their tribute in Ithaca. Coal, iron and merchandise were brought back by these teams on their return trips. The magnitude of this business was the moving cause of the later construction of the Ithaca and Owego Railroad. Travel was also large in the old stage coaches which have been described in Chapter VII, and many old citizens can remember with what eagerness the far-off sound of the stage horn was daily awaited by the loungers at "GRANT's Coffee-House,"the "Hotel," or the "Columbian Inn," or, earlier still, at "Gere's." At these famous inns did the weary travelers alight from the old-fashioned thorough-brace coach for a thorough bracing of the "inner man," at bar and board,--two days, only, from Newburg or Catskill!
We quote the following from the American Journal of December 15, 1819.
Through the politeness of a gentleman by the Newburgh Line from New York, we received on Saturday morning, a copy of the President's message, delivered on Tuesday, at 12 o'clock. It was received in New York in eighteen hours and a half from Washington--a distance of 340 miles; was there republished; and (allowing for the time of reprinting and delay in New York) was about three days from Washington City to this place--a distance of four hundred and eighty miles,--a rapidity of communication seldom surpassed in any country.
But what contributed more, perhaps, than anything else to the prosperity and prospective importance of Ithaca was the construction of the Erie Canal (begun in 1817 and finished in 1825). This great waterway gave direct and easy communication with the seaboard and limitless markets. Previous to that event the boats navigating the waterway between Ithaca and Schenectady were small, and propelled much of the distance with poles in the face of numerous obstacles. With the building of the large canal boats (though not at first nearly so large as now) were introduced new and more gratifying conditions and led to the remarkable development of the lake traffic, which became a source of large business interests and incoming wealth before the opening of railroads.
The enthusiasm that prevailed over the completion of the canal is indicated by the following letter written from Ithaca to the Columbian, a newspaper of New York city, in September, 1820:
The great advantage to this part of the county from the Grand Canal in the transportation of goods and produce is forcibly illustrated by the following fact:
Capt. W. R. COLLINS, of this village performed the passage from Utica to Montezuma (96 miles) with his boat drawn all the way by one horse, in three days, with a freight of 15 tons. From Montezuma to this place is a passage of one day or more according to the wind up the lake. Before the construction of the canal, six tons were a load for a boat at this season; and to transport that burden from Utica to this village would require from eight to twelve days and the labor of five hands at least.
Considerable has been written and more said about the condition of society in early years. A so-called "Moral Society" (the name of which would apparently indicate an exceptional degree of morality in its members) was organized at an early day and appears to have carried its ideas of punishing delinquents and hunting them down with a rather high hand. It is doubtful if any other locality ever produced a counterpart of this alleged organization. It was composed of leading business men, and its ranks were recruited from all classes of society. Uncle Ben DRAKE was the head, and he was designated "Old Tecumseh." From time to time, as occasion moved him, he issued his "proclamations," had them printed in "Captain Cudgel's" (James M. MILLER's) Castigator, a ten by eighteen-inch folio, and every member of the society responded; for no excuse was ever countenanced, or if evasion was attempted, a heavy fine was levied upon the offender and its collection enforced. Tecumseh's proclamations were promulgated whenever a show of any kind struck the town. If the proprietor of the exhibition was wise he perfected an arrangement with the society and paid five dollars into the treasury of the organization. Then Tecumseh recommended his fellow members to attend, and they came in such numbers that at times "standing room" only was obtainable. Entrance fees were paid by all at the door and no disorder was allowed, the society for the time being acting as a most efficient police; but woe to the exhibit who did not recognize the society claims and scouted its authority. One audacious fellow bid defiance to Tecumseh and proceeded with his show of wax figures, a performing monkey and other attractions. The ball room of the old Ithaca Hotel, corner of Aurora and State streets, was secured by this showman, who during the day unpacked and set up Napoleon BONAPARTE, Benedict ARNOLD, John HANCOCK, Daniel LAMBERT, GIBBS, the pirate, and other notables. The proprietor acted as ticket taker at the door, foot of the stairs, receiving for admission some few genuine coins, but an unusually large amount of broken bank and counterfeit paper currency. When he mounted to the ball room he found an audience of hundreds, who had saved him the trouble of opening the door, by placing a ladder at a window and entering without the formality of expending a farthing. Soon a fight broke out, the wax figures were stripped and crushed, the proprietor hustled down stairs, and the terrified monkeys escaped over the roof of an adjoining building. In the morning Tecumseh started on a hunting tour with gun on shoulder and returned in an hour dragging the monkey he had found in a tree in HILL's garden, on the corner of Green and Cayuga streets. He averred it was a dangerous wild beast of a new species, and he had shot it for his own safety and the safety of the people. The showman was furnished with means to pack up his shattered figures, and mourning the loss of his monkey, he left town never to return. When DRAKE died the society dissolved.
The proclamation of Tecumseh relative to this event is worth preservation and ran as follows: "His illustrious Eminence, the Grand President of the Moral Society of the profound city of Ithaca and the surrounding territory; to an subordinate institutions, and to all worthy associates, greeting: Whereas, a couple of Itinerants have presumed to wander up and down within our peaceful dominions, exhibiting a miserable congregation of Wax Figures, and making an abominable attempt at musical performances, on what we have by due inspection ascertained to be a leather Organ, which latter is particularly obnoxious to our refined nervous sensibility; and Whereas, they have affected to hold our authority in contempt; these are, therefore to command you, wherever you may be, either in Auburn, Owego, or elsewhere, to see that the laws and ordinances of our sublime institution are in due style enforced with respect to this vagrant establishment, and especially toward the aforesaid incontestable vituperable engine. All marshals, sheriffs, constables, coroners, and all other executive officers are categorically ordered to be aiding and assisting in enforcing this salutary regulation; and an judges, justices of the peace, and other judicial officers of any name, denomination or description whatever, or by whatever term they may be ycleped, are commanded, under the strictest penalties and pains, to refrain from licensing or permitting the aforesaid performance, or in any way countenancing the same. You are at all times to regard our homologous instructions in the light of express commands; and for so doing these presents shall be your sufficient warrant and authority.
"In witness whereof, we have caused our great seal to be hereunto appended on this 10th day of the first month of the twentieth year of our illustrious institution.
This somewhat remarkable document was adorned with a ghastly human profile.
The following proclamation succeeded the above, and clearly relates the same showman, as well as to others:
The doings of DRAKE and his society were not confined to traveling showman; for they assumed the right, and they certainly had the power, to duck an offending citizen in the Inlet; to conduct a trial on a chronic loafer and punish him by some peculiar method; to capture an intoxicated wayfarer from an adjoining town and shut him in some citizen's hog or cattle pen, there to pass the night. It has been assumed that the condition of society in early Ithaca was a degree less civilized than in other similar communities; but it is scarcely probable that such was the case. The fact is, the pioneers in such settlements as Ithaca always numbered among them many rough characters, among whom the license for acts that would hardly be tolerated in refined communities of to-day was quite free.
In the language of Mr. KING,
And now let us note the arrival of others who came to Ithaca in the first quarter of this century. It is manifestly impossible to speak of all, but it is hoped that those who left their mark in the community and became in any way conspicuous in public life or through their business relations will find somewhere in these pages the recognition they deserve.
David WOODCOCK came to Ithaca before 1810 and became eminent in political life and at the bar. His career is further noticed in Chapter X. He purchased lots on Owego (now State) street just west of Tioga and running through to Seneca street. One of his daughters married Benjamin G. FERRIS, and another Stephen B. CUSHING, both of whom were early lawyers of note. Mr. WOODCOCK died in 1835.
Caleb B. DRAKE became a resident of Ithaca about 1805, coming from Spencer. He bought of Luther GERE sixty-six feet on Owego street (now the southeast corner of Tioga and State streets), where he lived. He was justice of the peace for the town of Ulysses as early as 1819, and often held that office in later years. He was also an efficient police justice of the village. He reared a large family, and died about 1857.
Joseph BURRITT came to Ithaca in 1816, from Connecticut, bringing his wife and his jeweler's tools. The partnership of BURDICK & BURRITT was formed not long afterwards, and they opened a shop on the north side of State street. For more than fifty years Mr. BURRITT was identified with the business interests of the place, and died in the enjoyment of the respect of the community.
Isaac BEERS, coming to Ithaca in 1809, became one of the leading business men of the place, and erected a handsome block on State street.
Jesse GRANT came here in 1811, bringing with him his son, Chauncey L., who was destined to enjoy a long life of honorable business activity and to become thoroughly identified with public affairs, as will be noted further on.
Jeremiah S. BEEBE settled in Ithaca in 1817, as agent for Stephen B. MUNN, of New York city, a large land owner on the WATKINS & FLINT purchase, including thousands of acres in what is now Newfield. Mr. BEEBE purchased the store of goods of David QUIGG and for years carried on a vigorous and successful trade at what was termed "the west end," his most active opponent at the "east end" being William LESLEY, also long a successful merchant. Mr. BEEBE was later connected with the milling and manufacturing industries, as will be described in later pages.
David Booth BEERS located in the village in 1817, and lived for a time at the old Tompkins House while erecting his dwelling. November 4, 1817, he purchased from John A. COLLIER the ground on the northwest corner of Aurora and State streets, and there with Nathan HERRICK as partner conducted a successful mercantile business. Mr. BEERS died an untimely death December 22, 1819.
Stephen MACK was the pioneer printer of Tioga county, and died there in 1814. Very soon afterwards his three sons, Stephen, Ebenezer and Horace came to Ithaca. Stephen was a lawyer of good ability and honorable methods. He died January 7, 1857. Ebenezer learned the printer's art, was for a short time a partner in the publication of the Owego Gazette, but reached Ithaca in 1816, where he soon became conspicuous in the press of Tompkins county. He united the business of bookselling and publishing with printing, and later also that of paper marring. He held various political offices, and died in August, 1849. One of his daughters became the wife of Lafayette L. TREMAN. Horace MACK came to Ithaca in 1817, and was for many years a successful merchant, bank director, office holder, and identified with various enterprises tending to the development of the place. He died in 1855.
Charles HUMPHREY settled in Ithaca prior to 1820. He was a man of exceptional ability and became conspicuous in public life; was twice president of the village, member of assembly and of congress, and was otherwise honored by his fellow citizens. William R. HUMPHREY is a son of his.
Wait T. HUNTINGTON, whose name will be often found in connection with early local public affairs, settled in the village in 1818, and became partner in mercantile business with William R. COLLINS (another thorough-going business man of the place), carried on brewing and other business interests, and was in every way a valuable citizen.
Joshua S. LEE was an early druggist and a public spirited citizen; and George McCORMINK, Vincent CONRAD, Charles E. HARDY and others were conspicuous in business and public life, in the first quarter of the century and later. These and many other well known names will be found in connection with accounts of the various industries of that period.
Let us now review the business situation in Ithaca at about the year 1820-21, for by that means we shall be able to arrive at an intelligent estimate of the importance of the place in an industrial sense.
The lawyers who were then looking for business here were L. TOOKER, JOHNSON & HUMPHREY, Wm. LINN, Stephen MACK and A. VARICK. In the columns of the American Journal Amos LAY proposed to publish a map of New York and the greater part of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Upper Canada; scale, seven miles to the inch; price $10. MACK & SEARING were to receive subscriptions for it.
David AYRES advertised for sale 340 acres of land, four miles northwest of "the famed village of Ithaca."
MACK & SEARING announced a dissolution of their partnership, Mr. MACK continuing the business; and John DUMOND (the original John) was a bankrupt, as stated in the paper.
Ed. PRESWICK was dressing cloth at the Phenix Mills, Forest Home.
Mrs. AYRES was carrying on millinery, and LAWRENCE & HUMPHREY built carriages just east of the Ithaca Hotel.
Miles SEYMOUR was a blacksmith, located east of the hotel, and HOWARD & LYONS were bookbinders.
David AYRES announced that he was anxious for his debtors to "pay up," and he would take produce; and E. THAYER also wanted his pay for shoes or groceries "If debtors pay in lumber, it must be within twenty days."
William DUMMER advertised the removal of his barber shop to a room under ACKLEY & HIBBARD's store; he had for sale the newly invented oil for blacking.
Julius ACKLEY was ready to buy sheared and pulled wool and sold hat. A month earlier ACKLEY & HIBBARD were together in the hat trade. David AYRES advertised a general store in the Ithaca Chronicle in September, and Joseph BURRITT a jewelry store. (As is well known, the latter continued in business here until recent times).
Other advertisers in the Chronicle of the date under consideration were Mrs. TORREY, milliner. James CURRY had a horse stolen. Rev. Lawrence KEAN was to open a school. SPENCER & STOCKTON sold tickets in the New York Literature Lottery. Lyman COBB, before mentioned, published the copyright of "a just standard for pronouncing the English Language." Luther GERE had 500 acres of land on lot 26, Dryden, with mill sites on Fall Creek tract for sale; also 110 acres on lot 98, Ulysses. He also sold groceries, dry goods, crockery, etc. Abner W. HOWLAND had a chair factory at Fall Creek.
n the Chronicle was printed a bank note table in which New York bank notes were at par; Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Lansingburg and Newburg, "if last signed red," one-half per cent. discount. Joseph BAKER's bank, 85 to 87 per cent. discount. Bank of Niagara, the same, etc.
We will close this review by quoting the substance of a call for a meeting which appeared in the Chronicle of September 8, 1821. The meeting was for the purpose of consulting on the subject of roads and bridges. J. F. THOMPSON announced that John SMITH (aided by a monkey-faced pettifogger of this village), having circulated a report seriously affecting his (THOMPSON's) reputation, and wilfully and maliciously false, must permit me to honor him with the appellation of liar! THOMPSON was ready to meet SMITH before a court of justice.
From a letter written by W. T. EDDY, in 1876, we quote the following note, which is worthy of preservation:
Suppose we stop and count the aged persons that were in Ithaca and old enough to have families when the village was incorporated in 1821. Joseph BURRITT is the only male living; as for the then mothers we have Mrs. EDDY, the relict of Otis EDDY; Mrs. BRUYN, relict of A. D. W. BRUYN; Mrs. ACKLEY, relict of Julius ACKLEY; Mrs. ALLEN, relict of Moses MONELL; Mrs. DRAKE, relict of Caleb B. DRAKE; Mrs. HILLICK, relict of Humphrey HILLICK; Mrs. HILL, relict of Samuel HILL; Mrs. COON, relict of Levi COON; Mrs. JOHNSON, relict of Ben JOHNSON.
These are nearly or quite all passed away since the date under consideration (1876).
Some interesting reminiscence of this locality in 1820-21 have been preserved in writings by Anson SPENCER, who came to Ithaca at that time to learn the printing business with his brother, D. D. SPENCER. In the first year or two of his apprenticeship Anson acted as newsboy, or post rider, as they were called then. His route was through Enfield, to Burdette in Hector; thence down the lake to "Peach Orchard (North Hector); thence across "Hector's Back Bone" to Reynoldsville; thence by way of "Slab Harbor" (Waterburgh) to "Shin Hollow" (Trumansburgh); thence home on the turnpike, through "Harlow's Corners" (Jacksonville). Other similar routes were established for the delivery of papers and mail. He traveled in a one-horse wagon and usually carried a small mail. If the roads were bad he went on horseback. At that time there were four public houses; the Hotel was kept by Timothy EDWARDS, and a Mr. DWIGHT kept a public house in an old white building which was removed to make the site of the Wilgus Block; the other public houses were Grant's Coffee House and the Columbian Inn. A store was kept on Aurora street by BENJAMIN & DRAKE; on State street by Augustus PERKINS, Luther GERE, NICHOLS & LUCE, and by David QUIGG. Joseph BURRITT had a jewelry store on Aurora street; William LESLEY a grocery on State street. There were no stores below Tioga street. David WOODCOCK occupied a story and a half house on the corner of State and Tioga streets, and just below was his office (WOODCOCK & BRUYN). Next below that was the residence of Dr. INGERSOLL, and next below a small building occupied by Timothy TITUS as a residence and a wagon sloop. Next below TITUS had a residence and a millinery shop, and then came the residence of Mrs. CRANE, and then Grant's Coffee House. On the opposite side of the street, commencing with the hotel, the first building west was an old red storehouse, afterwards used by Mr. ESTY as a tannery; Pelig CHESBROUGH had a tailor shop next, and then came LINN's office; then the old Chronicle office. Below this was the hat store of ACKLEY & HIBBARD, with a large sign of a painted military hat and lettered; "Under this we prosper." In the same building was the printing office of Ebenezer MACK, with a barber shop in the basement by William DUMMER. Next was the office of C. B. DRAKE, and on the corner below was his residence. On the opposite corner was the public house of DWIGHT, with a low building, in which was the post-office. Below this was the dwelling of Dr. MILLER, and next the house of Isaac BEERS. Next below were the stables of the Coffee-House. This comprised about all there was of State street in 1821.
Among the noted men of that time were Nicholas TOWNLEY, sheriff; Col. John JOHNSON, county clerk; Miles FINCH, his deputy; Arthur S. JOHNSON, justice of the peace. Major Comfort BUTLER had charge of the De Witt farm, as it was called, occupying all the territory north of Mill street to Fall Creek. Major RENWICK was postmaster, with Samuel GARDNER as deputy. Deacon Henry LEONARD operated the old Yellow Mill, with a distillery in connection. Phineas BENNETT was running the mill on the site of the Halsey Mill, and Archer GREEN owned a mill below the bridge, on the site of the later hotel barns. Miles SEYMOUR and John HOLLISTER were blacksmiths, the latter on the site of the TREMAN, KING & Co.'s stores. Dr. MILLER had a drug store in connection with his practice.
In writing of this same period W. T. EDDY states that the first menagerie he ever saw in Ithaca was a lone lion in a cage, exhibited in the stable yard of the Ithaca Hotel, and the second was a solitary elephant and a monkey in 1823. George HENNING started a hat factory in 1825; hats were then made of wool and real beaver. In 1826 John HAWKINS and J. S. TICHENOR were apprentices in this business with Mr. ACKLEY, and afterwards began in partnership on their own account. In 1818 Mr. EDDY and Thomas MATTHEWSON built the first paper mill in Tompkins county; they were partners. The mill was on Fall Creek, and in 1820 Mr. EDDY sold his interest to Chester WALBRIDGE, who sold in 1822 to James TRENCH. The property soon passed to MACK & ANDRUS.
In 1820 a severe hail storm passed over the village, which broke between four and five thousand panes of glass; the Presbyterian church had 245 panes broken, and the Methodist chapel on Aurora street 240. Crops and vegetation were destroyed, and there was a panic among the children in the school. Abner W. HOWLAND had the first chair factory in the place, and HOWARD & LYONS were the first bookbinders. Mr. EDDY built a brick building in 1820 for Joseph BENJAMIN, on the corner of State and Aurora streets, which was the first of the kind in Ithaca, excepting one immediately east of it which had a brick front and stone walls in rear. In writing of the "Flats," as they were termed, and their improvement, Mr. EDDY said:
At first these flats were difficult to improve. As the improvements have been going on the center of business has changed several times. The corners made by Aurora and Seneca streets were once headquarters. Luther GERE built a tavern on the southeast corner of these streets before he built the Ithaca Hotel. At that time State street did not go east of Aurora street, and some of the old inhabitants have told me of catching suckers in the Six Mile Creek at the east end of the building on the corner opposite and east of the first named hotel. The first settlers avoided the streams and swamp holes, so when they came from the east into the valley they made the road to turn north as soon as it came on the flats, close to the hill, and came into the east end of Seneca street, and for a time that was the principal place of business. There was also a tavern on the corner where the Tompkins House now stands, and the old "Bee Hive", which was on the corner of Buffalo and Aurora streets, remembered by many, was once a store. After the hotel was built, State street was finished east up to the foot of the hill. Then, and for a long time, the corners made by State and Aurora streets were the center of business. There was a store on each corner, except that where the hotel stood. In 1820 J. S. BEEBE moved his store from opposite the hotel down to the corner of Cayuga and State streets. For a long time there was opposition and competition between what might be called e two centers of business in Ithaca.
After Ithaca become the county seat there was put up on each of the roads going out of the village a post about six feet high with a white board nailed across it and on it was painted in black letters, "Gaol Limits." These denoted the limits outside of which debtors who had been confined in jail could not pass. After having been vouched for by a responsible friend, these prisoners could have the privilege of working in the village for their daily bread, and the posts stood until the law of imprisonment for debt was abolished.
The reader of the foregoing personal notes regarding many of the representative men of Ithaca in past years win find many more men mentioned m another department of this volume who have in various ways contributed to the growth and well being of the place. Of the former merchants of Ithaca, Lewis H. CULVER long occupied a conspicuous position. He was born in what is now Covert, Seneca county, August 15, 1808; learned the tanner's trade at Halseyville, in Ulysses, but abandoned it after four years on account of his health. With $100 capital he began the grocery business in Ithaca, and from that time on to 1842 his business increased rapidly. Previous to 1842 Mr. CULVER admitted William HALSEY and Charles V. STUART as partners, the firm being CULVER, HALSEY & Co. On the 28th of July, 1842, the store and all buildings west to Tioga street were burned. The firm was afterwards dissolved, the brick building now occupied by the BOOL Company being erected meanwhile. Mr. CULVER afterwards formed a partnership with Charles W. BATES. BATES died and Mr. CULVER associated himself with his sons, Lewis and Thomas. This firm afterwards dissolved, and at the time of Mr. CULVER's death he was sole proprietor. Mr. CULVER died July 18, 1876.
Josiah B. WILLIAMS, whose name has already been mentioned, was for many years one of the prominent business men of Ithaca. He was born in Middletown, Conn., in December, 1810. In 1825, when the Erie Canal was about to open Western New York to the advantages of eastern commerce, he left his eastern home with two brothers to take up his residence in this county. Upon the opening of canal navigation he took an active interest in devising plans and constructing boats suitable for lake and canal navigation, as well as to other internal improvements--the enlargement of the canal, the construction of roads, bridges, mill, manufactories, churches and schools; in the construction of railroads and establishing of telegraph lines. In these varied interests the brothers worked together until the death of the two elder brothers, one of which occurred in 1840 and the other in 1849, after which Mr. WILLIAMS continued alone. He early gave attention to the principles of banking, and in 1838 organized a bank in Ithaca. He was one of the incorporators and a trustee of Cornell University; was a member of the State Senate in 1851-56. He was also very efficient in the promotion of the cause of the Union during the War of the Rebellion. His death took place on September 26, 1883.
John RUMSEY, son of James, was a prominent business man of Ithaca many years. His father's family were early settlers in Enfield. In 1844 John RUMSEY came to Ithaca and entered the hardware store of L. & L. L. TREMAN as clerk; there and with E. G. PELTON he passed about ten years. In 1858 he purchased the store and interest of E. G. PELTON and continued the hardware trade with gratifying success until his death on March 22. 1882. The business has since been carried on by his son, Charles J. RUMSEY. John RUMSEY occupied several positions which showed that he possessed the confidence of his fellow citizens.
This list might be continued indefinitely with notes of deceased and living men who have been in active and successful business in Ithaca, but want of space renders such a course impossible, and the reader is therefore referred to Part II for further personal records.
VILLAGE INCORPORATION.--On the 29th of November, 1820, a notice appeared in the American Journal under date of November 22, that an application would be made to the Legislature at the ensuing session, for an act to incorporate the village of Ithaca. The notice was signed by Joseph BENJAMIN, David WOODCOCK, Edward EDWARDS, Benjamin DRAKE, Isaac BEERS, Henry ACKLEY, Ben JOHNSON, Jesse MERRILL, Charles HUMPHREY, Daniel BATES, Ebenezer MACK, Ira TILLOTSON, Benjamin PELTON, Luther GERE, and Jeremiah S. BEEBE.
The incorporating act passed April 2, 1821 (seventeen days after the formation of the town from Ulyses), and the territory of the corporation was bounded as follows: Beginning at a point sixty rods east of the intersection of the south side of Owego street with the west side of Aurora street; thence south fifty rods; thence west one mile; thence north two hundred rods; thence east one mile; thence one hundred and fifty rods to the place of beginning.
The survey was made by Wait T. HUNTINGTON, who found almost superable difficulty in getting through the miry jungle in the vicinity of the present fair ground . The accompanying maps of the village show the boundaries of the first corporation. The act provided for the election of "five discreet freeholder," resident in the village, to be trustees; empowered them to erect public buildings; to raise not more than $500 the first year, nor more than $400 for any one year thereafter for erecting public buildings (engine houses, markets, etc.), procuring fire engine and other utensils, repairs or improvements, and for making reasonable compensation to the officers of the corporation, etc. The act also made Cayuga Inlet a public highway; provided for the appointment by the village president of a company of firemen not exceeding thirty in number, and the usual other provisions for village government, collection of taxes, etc. (See session laws, 1821).
The first Board of Trustees under the charter were as follows: Daniel BATES, president; William R. COLLINS, Andrew D. W. BRUYN, Julius ACKLEY, George BLYTHE. The other officers were Nathan HERRICK, Henry ACKLEY, Isaac BEERS, assessors; Charles W. CONNOR, Miles SEYMOUR, Jesse GRANT, fire wardens; Charles W. CONNOR, treasurer; Augustus P. SEARING, clerk. The officers appointed were Thomas DOWNING, collector; Phineas BENNETT, pathmaster; David CURTIS, poundmaster.
Some of the early ordinances of the trustees are worthy of notice, and are often amusing to the younger generation. On the 31st day of May, 1821, it was enacted that after the 15th of June "no hog, shoat or pig, or other swine" (italics our own), should run at large in the streets, nor "on the open space of ground south of the court house and meeting house, commonly called the public square." The penalty for violation of this ordinance was fifty cents. To this penalty was added a fee to the poundmaster and if an animal taken up was sold, "any surplus unclaimed by the owner" should be paid to the overseers "of the town of Ithaca."
A penalty of one dollar was attached to the encumbrance of a street "with any carriage, plaister, salt, stone, brick, casks, barrels, millstones, grindstones, sand, lime, firewood, timber, boards, planks, staves, shingles, or any other thing." A comprehensive list, surely, and apparently wholly covered by the final word "any other thing." Our early law makers were prodigal of words.
The discharge within the village limits of "any fire arm, or setting off of any rocket, cracker, squib, or fireworks" cost the offender three dollars, and to fly a kite or play ball "in either of the two main streets commonly called Owego avenue and Aurora street," involved a penalty of one dollar. But perhaps the most astonishing provision was that prohibiting driving "faster than a trot, or to run horses in the streets or roads, or on the public square, under a penalty of three dollars." It might be interesting to learn what were the receipts for penalties under such regulations.
An ordinance of June, 1822, was adopted requiring the owner or occupant of a lot "to sweep, collect and remove all filth and rubbish as far as the center of the street opposite said lot, on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month of the year, except December, January, February and March." A wise regulation and one that is to this day in operation with good results in some villages of this State with populations among the thousands, one of them being, we believe Johnstown, Fulton county.
In September, 1821, two, hundred dollars were voted, a part of it to be paid for ringing the bell, and the remainder for "bringing water into the village to extinguish fires." A public well was dug in that autumn, but it was not sufficient and in September, 1822, a contract was made with Messrs. BENNETT to construct an aqueduct from Six Mile Creek, "near their mills," to the corners of Owego, Aurora and Tioga streets. In the same month a further sum of one hundred and fifty dollars was voted to extend the aqueduct to Cayuga street. It was a wooden tube about a foot square, laid under ground, with penstocks and tubs at street corners. This was the inception of public water supply in Ithaca. The fire ordinance then required each building to be supplied with leather buckets and a ladder.
A public meeting was held in the court house July 24, 1824, at which the trustees were given authority to build and control a public market. In pursuance of this action a building 20 by 40 feet in size was erected at the junction of Tioga with Green street, under supervision of Lucius WELLS and Nathan HERRICK. It was finished on the 25th of August and the stalls were sold for the first year as follows: No. 1, Jacob WOOD, $16.75; No. 2, Job BECKWITH, $19.00; No. 3, Eutychus CHAMPLIN, $13.81; No. 4, Jack LEWIS, $14.25; No. 6, David CURTIS, $14.25, No. 7, Eutychus CHAMPLIN, 13.75; No. 8, Samuel HILL, $12.25, total $104.06. Every day excepting Sunday was "appointed a public market day," and after 10 A. M. any stalls not let were used by others with provisions, etc., to sell. A little later a market was erected on what is now the northeast corner of Mill and Tioga streets.
On the 6th day of April, 1824, a record appears of the first action of the village trustees relative to a burial ground, when $100 was voted "for clearing and fencing" the lot. This cemetery was used by the first settlers, probably by consent of Mr. DE WITT. On the 26th of April, 1826, a law was passed by the Legislature amending the village charter and changing the boundaries of the village as follows: Beginning at the northeast corner of lot No. 94 (Ulysses, now in the town of Ithaca), and thence west to the northwest corner of said lot, thence south to the northeast corner of De Witt's Location, thence west to the west line of said Location; thence south along the west line of said Location to the southwest corner of the same; thence due east to the east line of lot No. 94; thence north along the east line of said lot to the place of beginning. Two additional pieces of land have been made, and these additions with the original make the present cemetery.
On the 6th day of June, 1823, the trustees resolved to purchase a fire engine, the first in the village. It was obtained in New York at a cost of $300. The following persons were then appointed firemen:
Otis EDDY, Charles HUMPHREY, John JOHNSON, Julius ACKLEY, Henry HIBBARD, Samuel L. SHELDON, Robert J. RENWICK, Joshua S. LEE, Nathan COOK, Henry K. STOCKTON, John TILLOTSON, Ebenezer THAYER, Samuel REYNOLDS, Ira PATTERSON, Lucius WELLS, Horace MACK, Newton GUNN, Jonas HOLMAN, Edward L. PORTER, Edward DAVIDSON, Amasa WOODRUFF, Samuel BUCHANNAN, Ephraim PORTER, James CHAPMAN.
On the 1st of July of the same year the following fourteen persons were added to the company, the eight whose names arc in italic in the above paragraph being at the same time relieved from duty:
Joseph ESTY, Willard M. TABER, George P. FROST, Frederick DEMING, Charles HINCKLEY, Henry S. WALBRIDGE, Henry H. MOORE, Daniel PRATT, Joseph BURRITT, Stephen B. MUNN, jr., Henry W. HINCKLEY, Gifford TRACY, Jacob WOOD and Andrew J. MILLER. Not one of this entire company is now living.
May 12, 1828, a fire company was formed by the appointment of the following persons to be firemen attached thereto: Sylvester MUNGER, J. Newton PERKINS, Sylvester HUNT, George HOLLISTER, Adolphus COLBURN, John R. KELLY, John M. CANTINE, Benjamin G. FERRIS, Hunt POMEROY, William D. KELLY, Elias COLBURN, Uri Y. HAZARD, Ithiel POTTER, Elbert CANE, Daniel YOUNG, Ira BOWER, Isaiah HUNT, R. A. CLARK, Anson SPENCER, Urban DUNNING, James WYNANS, Elisha H. THOMAS, Charles COOLEY, David ELLIOTT, George McCORMINK, David AYRES, Jacob YAPLES, John COLSTON, Stephen TOURTELLOT, James W. SOWLES. This company took the old engine, and was thenceforward known as "Red Rover Company, No. 1." The original company took the new engine purchased at that time, and became "Rescue," No. 2.
At a meeting of the trustees, held January 31, 1831, it was resolved that Benjamin DRAKE be authorized to raise a fire company of sixteen men to take charge of fire-hooks, ladders, axes, etc., to be known as "Fire Company, No. 3."
The following persons reported February 4, 1831, and constituted the company: Benjamin DRAKE, Erasmus BALLARD, David WOODCOCK, Hart LEE, George P. FROST, Peter DE RIEMER, Oristes S. HUNTINGTON, William HOYT, John CHATTERTON, Jonathan SHEPARD, Ira TILLOTSON, Daniel T. TILLOTSON, John HOLLISTER, William COOPER, Asaph COLBURN, Isaac B. GERE.
On the 16th of April, 1834, the village charter was again amended relative to the prompt and proper filing of assessment rolls; prohibiting the erection of wooden structures within 100 feet of Owego street, between Aurora and Cayuga streets, with some other minor changes. This was the first step towards establishing fire limits.
Again in May, 1837, further charter amendments gave the trustees power to raise $1,000 for building and repairing bridges in the village; $800 for contingent expenses, and $600 for lighting the streets. Provision was also made for more thorough assessment of taxes on property.
In the years 1834-5 Ithaca was visited by an intelligent man who was apparently a devoted apostle of the pen, with a desire to give to new scenes visited by him names to suit his own fancy. This was Solomon SOUTHWICK, and he wrote a series of sketches of Ithaca and its surroundings, which were gathered into a small pamphlet and thus preserved. The pamphlet is now very rare, and we quote from its pages to show the conditions at the time under consideration. After paying a high tribute to Simeon DE WITT, and giving an elaborate description of the natural scenery in the vicinity, Mr. SOUTHWICK briefly noticed the existing five churches in the village, the academy, then under direction of William A. IRVING, and the three newspapers, proceeds to describe the business interests of the place as fallows:
MECHANICAL ESTABLISHMENTS.--There are at least thirty-six of these, and from a statement published under sanction of the meeting of the mechanics of Ithaca, in July last, of which Ira TILLOTSON was chairman, it appears that the number of mechanics was then as follows:
Tanners, 12: boot and shoemakers, 31; tailors,13; carpenters and joiners, 46; blacksmiths, 26; harness makers, 12; coach and wagon makers,17; silversmiths,11; gunsmiths, 5; copper and tin smiths, 12; machinists, 10; furnace men, 9; hatters, 14; millers, 7; cabinetmakers,14; turners,3; coopers,10; chairmakers, 6; printers,12; painters, 14; bakers, 7; bookbinders, 4; papermakers, 7; manufacturers, 30; brewers, 4; plowmakers, 4; stone-cutters, 6; buhr stonemakers, 3; weavers, 5; rope-makers, 1; millwrights, 2; patternmakers, 2; boatbuilders, 6; lastmakers, 3; soap and candle makers, 2; masons, 20; milliners, 5.
It will be noted that many of these trades have since been crowded out of the place and several of them out of existence by the industrial changes caused by the introduction of machinery.
Continuing, Mr. SOUTHWICK notes the following details of various industries:
MILLINERY ESTABLISHMENTS.--There are five of these, two of which do business the amount of about $4,000 each.
PAPER MILL.--The one within the village is that of MACK, ANDRUS & WOODRUFF is situated at the foot of the tunnel stream on Fall Creek. The amount of paper manufactured annually is $20,000. The same gentlemen employ in their printing office, bookbinders and bookstore, twenty-three hands.
OLYMPIC FALLS FLOURING MILL.--J.S. BEEBE, proprietor. This mill has two run of stone; employs from two to five hands. and can turn out from eighty to nines barrels of flours daily. It is conducted by Ezra CORNELL, and ground last year 40,000 bushels of wheat.
PLAISTER MILL.--Situated the same place. J. S. BEEBE, proprietor. Turned out 800 tons of plaister last year.
MACHINE SHOT.--Situated at the same place. Building owned by J. S. BEEBE. Proprietor of the business, Lucas LEVENSWORTH. The principal articles manufactured here are pails, tubs, keelers, measures, etc., of which, in the aggregate, from 20,000 to 30,000 articles are turned out yearly. This establishment employs twelve hands.
CHAIR FACTORY.--At the machine shop at the foot of the Olympic Falls, 2,000 chairs are manufactured yearly by BARNABY & HEDGES.
ITHACA FURNACE.--DENNIS & VAIL, proprietors, situated at the foot of the tunnel stream, at the Olympic Falls. This is an extensive establishment where all kinds of castings but hollow ware are turned out; especial all kinds of mill gearing, rail- road castings and finished. About 175 tons of iron fused in a year and a large quantity of wrought iron used up in finishing. It has been in operation six years. [This last statement would give the year of the founding of the furnace as 1828.]
There is another furnace near this which melts about seventy-five tons yearly.
PLOW MANUFACTORY.--Silas MEAD, at the same location, manufactures yearly about 200 plows.
WOOLEN FACTORY.--S. J. BLYTHE, proprietor. This factory dresses from 500 to 700 pieces of cloth annually, from eight to fourteen yards per piece, and cards from 12,-000 to 14,000 pounds of wool yearly.
The woolen factory of James RAYMOND is of the same description as that of Mr. BLYTH, and does business in its various branches to a large amount.
ITHACA IRON FOUNDRY AND STEAM ENGINE MANUFACTORY.--Proprietors, COOK & CONRAD. Does pretty much the same kind of business as the Ithaca Furnace of DENNIS & VAIL, and turns out in the aggregate a large amount of work annually.
SAW Mill DOG FACTORY.--HARDY & RICH, proprietors. This dog is a patented article; sells at $150 a set. Total business, 87,500 annually. Lumber sawed with this dog brought fifty cents extra per 1,000 feet.
Mr. SOUTHWICK then gives a lengthy description of BENNETT's patent steam engine, of which sufficient is said, perhaps, in a description of the "smoke boat" of Mr. BENNETT in Chapter VII. Mr. SOUTHWICK, like many others, appears to have been most enthusiastic over the engine, for he says, "that it will save nine-tenths of the fuel now employed, we are well convinced." It was also to "immortalize its ingenious and persevering inventor," and "redound to the honor of Ithaca as the seat of the invention." It of course did neither.
Of the hotels Mr. SOUTHWICK wrote as follows:
HOTELS OR PUBLIC HOUSES.--Of these there are a number in Ithaca, such as the Clinton House, the Ithaca Hotel, and the Tompkins House, etc., and without intending to disparage any of the others, there is a sufficient reason for taking a particular notice of the Clinton House. . . The proprietors of this house arc Jeremiah S. BEEBE, Henry ACKLEY and Henry HIBBARD. It is a noble structure and cost from $25,000 to $30,000.
The Clinton House is kept at present by Mr. Thaddeus SPENCER a very obliging landlord, and is well furnished and well provided with the best of furniture and the choicest viants.
Concerning the exports and imports of the place, Mr. SOUTHWICK says:
He says further:
LUMBER AND SHINGLES.--We have been furnished by a respectable Lumber Merchants with a statement of the lumber and shingles exported from Ithaca during the present year (1835), from which it appears that the quantity of lumber shipped by thirteen dealers, exclusive of a few small shipments, was 15,040,000 feet, worth in market $270,000 The shipment of shingles by the same dealers was 38,000 bunches, worth in market $61,750.
Who shall say that it was not a promising period for Ithaca? The whole number of families in the town was then 925, and the number of inhabitants 6,101; males, 3,079; females, 3,022. Number of voters, 1,084. Grist mills in the town,6; valuation of raw material used and manufactured therein, $127,200; valuation after manufacture, $152,350.00 Number of saw mills, 13; valuation of raw material, $6,905.00; after manufacture, $13,810.00. Number of fulling mills, 4; valuation of raw material, $8,000.00; after manufacture, $11,700.00. Number of carding mills, 4; valuation of raw material, $3,700,00; after manufacture, $4,200.00. Number of cotton factories, 1; valuation of raw material, $15,293.00; after manufacture, $22,000.00. Number of woolen factories, 1; valuation of raw material, $1,000.00; after manufacture, $3,000.00. Number of iron works, 3; valuation of raw material, $12,500.00; after manufacture, $25,000.00. Number of asheries, 1; raw material, $500; after manufacture, $700. Number of rope factories, 2; material, $550; after manufacture, $1,050. One paper mill; raw material, $13,000; after manufacture, $25,000. Four tanneries; valuation of raw material, $21,600; after manufacture, $30,700.
The village corporation then contained 3,923 inhabitants, an increase of 831 in the preceding five years. In summing up the future prospects of the village, Mr. SOUTHWICK quotes from the language used by Charles HUMPHREY before the State Legislature in 1834, as follows:
The village of Ithaca is compactly built, mostly inhabited by respectable and thriving mechanics, and almost all the various articles required by the surrounding country are here manufactured. It has several handsome public buildings. As an evidence of its comparative importance I can state that on some days of each week fifteen mails are opened and closed, five daily stages arrive and depart, besides several three times, twice, and once a week; a steamboat also traverses the lake daily.
The prosperity which seems to have been enjoyed in Ithaca from 1830 to 1835, as partly indicated by the foregoing few pages, was destined to meet with a severe check. Something has already been written of the disastrous panic of 1837, the effects of which were especially severe in Ithaca. The death of Gen. Simeon DE WITT in 1834, the division of his property by Commissioners Ancel ST. JOHN, Richard Varick DE WITT, and William A. WOODWARD, who mapped and put on the market the entire estate, fostered the spirit of speculation before unknown and never since experienced. The marsh, from the steamboat landing to the head of the lake on both sides of the Inlet was platted, and the 400 acres of the BLOODGOOD tract south of Clinton street was laid out in 50 by 100 feet lots. This last 400 acres had been purchased by ten persons, some of whom resided here and some in New York city, who paid $10,000 per share. The DE WITT estate was divided into two equal parts. A syndicate of ten purchased one of these parts for $100,000. The other half was sold by Richard Varick DE WITT, as executor, to Levi HUBBELL, for $100,000, taking in payment a mortgage for the full amount. This mortgage was sold to the Baltimore Life and Trust Company for $80,000. The company failed and under orders of the court, George F. TALLMAN became owner, and his deeds are now held by hundreds of citizens of Ithaca.
Not only were house lots marked off all over the corporation limits, but farms outside were thus utilized. The Jacob M. McCORMICK farm, now owned by Solomon BRYANT, on the Mitchell road, was mapped and sold off in lots; the Jacob BATES farm, one and one-half miles on the Danby road, was on the market in the same shape; the Nathaniel DAVENPORT farm, one and one-half miles from the village on the Trumansburgh road, the same, and many other large estates around the village were mapped and platted, in the confident belief that the lots would soon be sold for large price; and it must be acknowledged that there was, during the height of the fever, ground for the largest of expectations, if the receipt of enormous sums for land could be accepted as a safe guide. The prices asked were often startling. A half block near the Inlet, between Seneca and State streets, now occupied partially by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Station, and partly by Fulton street, was owned by Henry ACKLEY who refused $20,000 for his interest; and there were numerous similar cases.
The moving cause of this fever of real estate speculation, outside of the general operation of like causes elsewhere, was the supposed certain construction of the Sodus Bay Canal between Cayuga Lake and Lake Ontario, which was to constitute a waterway of ship-carrying capacity which, with the Ithaca and Owego Railroad, reaching to the Susquehanna River at the latter place, were to make Ithaca the great central city of the State. Real estate purchased one day was resold on the next often at double the former price, and then retransferred the succeeding day at an equally increased valuation. Some well known wealthy and conservative citizens insisted all through the earlier stages of this speculative era, that there was no basis for such a condition of the market; but they finally became imbued with the enthusiasm of the hour, went in on the crest of the last wave and were left by its subsidence stripped of property and financially ruined . Under execution against some of the owners, the BLOODGOOD tract, before mentioned, finally fell under the auctioneer's hammer.
It was only natural that this great speculative movement in Ithaca should find sympathy in and extend to the outer towns bordering upon it; not to the extent prevalent in the village, but, nevertheless, in a marked degree. These outer towns suffered, but as the wave was less in height, so the end was less disastrous, although its effects remained for years.
The years following 1837 were characterized by unusual business depression, which was supplemented and intensified by the disastrous failure of the Ithaca Woolen Mills at Fall Creel, stock in which had been pressed upon and was held by residents of nearly all, if not all, the towns of the county, and which proved utterly valueless.
In 1842 the general bankruptcy law was taken advantage of by many debtors, who, under its provisions, relieved themselves of immense liabilities. In years following very low prices for labor and real estate prevailed. In regard to labor, as an example, the Board of Trustees of the village of Ithaca, by resolution, fixed the pay of laborers for the corporation, in 1847, at 62½ cents per day.
Nothing interrupted the progress of Ithaca for many years after the period which we have just had under consideration, with the exception of the great flood of 1857, and the place seemed surely destined to fulfill the most sanguine of the early prophecies. It was a stirring, active community, with few idle and unproductive inhabitants. Writing in 1847, Mr. KING said; "Situated in a fertile section of country, and possessing natural advantages for communication with the eastern markets, at an early day it promised the realization and results which we now behold." But from about 1847, to 1855 the growth of the place was slow, the cause for which probably existed in the influence of various railroad lines which gave advantages, even though but little superior, to other points. This influence, which is one of the most potent in deciding the destinies of particular localities, could not be estimated by the early inhabitants, nor very closely even by those of the later years. But during the six or eight years just preceding the last war another period of more rapid growth and greater prosperity seems to have begun. The population rose from 6,843 in 1860, to 10,107 in 1870, and the increase in business and permanent improve-ments far exceeded those of the previous twelve or fourteen years.
The great flood of 1857 passed into history as a remarkable one, both in destruction of property and loss of life, and is worthy of notice as the most disastrous of the several similar events that have visited Ithaca. Previous to the 17th of June of that year there had been constant yet moderate rains, which filled the streams to a somewhat unusual degree. About 12 o'clock, noon, of the day last named a fearful thunder storm arose, an immense bank of low-lying clouds passed over the village and settled in the Six Mile Creek valley, where it remained for four hours, discharging terrible sheets of water. The stream in the valley in the town of Caroline swept away dams, the accumulating waters reaching Ithaca about seven o' clock in the evening. Halsey's mill dam, just east of the present electric car power house, succumbed to the pressure, and the timbers composing it crushed the plaster mill, swept out the foundations of the grist mill and carried two barns on the flood down against the stone arch bridge on Aurora street, where they were crushed like egg shells. This bridge had a height of about twenty-two feet and a span of nearly thirty feet, with a race waterway on the north side of the main structure. Stoddard's tannery, above the ridge, on the north side of the stream was swept away, as was also the creek banks on South Tioga street near to the line of Green street. Before the stone bridge gave way, about eight o'clock, water flowed down State street, then planked before it was paved, floated off the planking, filled all the cellars in the main part of the village, swept down Aurora street, reaching the top of a picket fence corner of Buffalo and Aurora streets, and, spreading out, finally reached the lake.
In the barns above mentioned, Matthew CARPENTER and Daniel REEVES were engaged in attempting to save some horses. REEVES jumped to the bank when the building struck the bridge and thus escaped; CARPENTER was drowned. When the arch of the bridge collapsed, David COON and Moses REEVES went down with the wreck. COON was drowned, REEVES escaping by being swept into the swamp just east of the present fair ground. PUTNAM, the owner of the brewery, attempted to cross the Clinton street bridge, was caught by the flood, climbed a huge poplar tree which was washed out, and was drowned. The bodies of CARPENTER and PUTNAM were recovered the next day and COON's three days later. Every bridge on the stream was swept away, and no communication was established across until the succeeding afternoon, when a rope and a small boat were utilized for the purpose. The volume of water was so great that all the north and west parts of the village were submerged until the succeeding November. STODDARD's steam boiler was carried nearly a quarter of a mile down stream. A large stove used for drying wool floated about half a mile, and the 8-horse engine was dug out of the gravel forty rods below the old tannery. But the balance wheel, weighing 600 pounds, was never discovered. A stake standing in the bed of the creek was found to be a wagon tongue, the body and wheels of which were entirely submerged; the wagon was recovered by being dug out. The money loss reached nearly $100,000.
In March, 1865, the melting of an immense body of snow swept out all the railroad bridges between Ithaca and Owego, and suspended operations on the road for six weeks.
Finally came the first gun of the great rebellion, and the nation was precipitated into a bloody war, which for five years was to command the energies and means of the whole country. Its immediate effects in Tompkins county have been described in Chapter IV, and all that remains to be said here concerning it is, that from the beginning to the close of the struggle Ithaca, as the headquarters for the county, was a center of military enthusiasm and activity. Public meetings followed each other rapidly, at which the most generous and patriotic action was taken for the good of the great cause, while the ranks of the several regiments raised in this vicinity were swelled by volunteers who were rewarded with liberal bounties. The inflation of the currency and the material demands of the war gave a powerful impetus to the business of the whole north. Every community felt it. Money was plenty, and while public improvements in the village stagnated during that period, private enterprise was active, particularly towards the close of the contest, as will be noticed in the succeeding pages; and when peace finally settled upon the country, the returning soldiers, with a facility of adaptation to circumstances that was marvelous, fell into the ranks of workers, and for several years the whole country rose upon a wave of prosperity.
It will be interesting and valuable for comparison with the foregoing lists of business establishments, to note those that were in existence at the close of the war. The location of the various merchants and mechanics is made quite clear to the reader of to-day, by giving the names of present occupants. It is believed the following list is complete with the exception of some very small concerns; as far as possible the then existing establishments are located, with reference to the present occupants of the various stores and shops, for the benefit of those who cannot remember as far back as 1865:
On the 30th of March, 1861, an act was passed by the Legislature consolidating the village laws. The principal provisions that need to be noticed where those in relation to the raising, grading and leveling of sidewalks, the cost of which was to be paid by the owners of abutting land; the improvement of streets, and the construction of aqueducts, reservoirs, etc., and what part, if any, of the cost should be paid from the highway fund; providing for the collection of assessments for local improvements; giving fire wardens admittance to premises for inspection and to enforce their orders relative to making such premises safe from fire On the 22nd of April, 1862, an act gave the trustees power to act as commissioners in the draining, diking and reclaiming swamp and marsh lands in the village, as their judgment might deem advisable, with power to appoint a surveyor; to assess damages to land and expenses incurred on citizens according to benefits received. Two years later Josiah B. WILLIAMS, T. P. ST. JOHN and Edward S. ESTY were empowered to act as superintendents of such improvements of marsh lands as are noted above. In the appropriation bill of 1863 $1,800 were devoted to the improvement of the Inlet, to be expended by the canal commissioners; and $1,600 in repayment for the building of two bridges over the Inlet.
On the 21st of April, 1864, the boundaries of the village were extended by act of Legislature, and the village divided into three wards. The boundaries of the wards were as follows:
Changes were made in the village officers, two trustees to be elected for each ward; one assessor; one or more police constables; a collector; a chief engineer and two assistants; treasurer, clerk, street commissioners, pound master, cemetery keeper, and one fire warden in each ward. (See session laws, 1864.)
On the 27th of March, 1871, the charter was again amended, relative to the eligibility of citizens to office; meetings of trustees; abatement of nuisances, health officials, parks, safety of buildings, actions for forfeiture under the street and sidewalk regulations before referred to; powers of police constables; authorizing the board to raise not to exceed $30,000 to pay all the annual expenses of the corporation. On the 1st of April of that year the fire department was incorporated, as hereafter described. In 1847 the system of graded schools was established as will be described a little further on.
The past twenty years of the history of Ithaca have developed the most encouraging prospects. This is especially true of the past decade. Very much of this gratifying condition must undoubtedly be credited to the influence of the great institution of learning which the munificent liberality of citizens of the place and of other localities established here in 1868, a full history of which is given in this work. Cornell University has made the name of Ithaca familiar throughout the world, and now brings annually to its doors nearly two thousand students, and pours into its lap a steady stream of wealth. Under this influence and the enterprise of her citizens the village and city have in recent years made rapid advancement. Public improvements of a metropolitan character have been introduced in the form of electric lights, electric railways, paving, etc., and there is every indication of continued prosperity.
With these various advantages came the desire for a city government, which assumed tangible shape as early as 1882, when a new charter was drawn by Messrs. ALMY and BOUTON by request of the Board of Trustees. The charter was a carefully prepared document and vastly better than the one that had been in existence; but much opposition to it developed in various quarters. Soon afterward an attempt was made to merge the differing ideas into a new charter but that attempt also proved futile. In the third effort the representatives men of the place, acting in harmony and above all personal feelings, and in pursuance of an appointment by the Board of Trustees, prepared the document which, with some change, became the city charter. The committee into whose hands this important duty was placed was appointed March 16, 1887, and constituted as follows: E. S. ESTY, D. B. STEWART, Elias TREMAN, H. A. ST. JOHN, H. B. LORD, F. C. CORNELL, A. H. PLATTS, E. K. JOHNSON, R. B. WILLIAMS, C. M. TITUS, C. B. BROWN, H. M. HIBBARD, C. L. CRANDALL, D. H. WANZER, J. D. BENNETT, Isaiah ROBINSON.
This committee was composed of an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. They met and organized and divided the work among sub-committees from their number, and began work. It was a labor involving considerable time, and the community became very impatient; but the committee determined to do their work thoroughly, and left nothing undone to bring about the best possible results. After the substantial completion of the task it was discovered that there was no person on the committee who was a member of the bar. The committee therefore called in the aid of Judge BOARDMAN, Samuel D. HALLIDAY and Perry G. ELLSWORTH, who revised the document and made various valuable suggestions. After this the committee passed the charter through the hands of Prof. C. A. COLLIN, of the law department of the university for his revision. He gave it ample consideration and made numerous suggestions for changes, which were adopted and incorporated. The charter was then submitted to the Board of Trustees, and it was unanimously adopted.
The charter was then placed in the hands Hon. F. J. ENZ, representative in the Legislature who promptly secured its passage, without a dissenting voice, through the Lower House, and the Hon. W. L. SWEET was equally efficient in the Senate.
When it reached the executive department it was found that there was a conflict with a general law relative to excise. The suggestion of the governor in that respect was cheerfully approved; but his objection to the election of aldermen on a general ticket caused some disappointment and regret. Still the governor insisted that the rights of the minority and democratic usage required the amendment of that provision; and in order to secure his approval of the charter the aldermen are to be elected from the wards as has been the custom heretofore in electing trustees. The charter became a law on the 2d of May, 1887.
The charter is a remarkable one from the fact that it places in the hands of the mayor the appointing power, in which he is superior to the council. In this respect it is believed that the Ithaca charter stands alone in this State, and the results have shown the wisdom of those who drew it.
The new charter divided the city into four wards with the following boundaries: First Ward, all west of the center of Corn street; Second Ward, all east of the center of Corn street, and south of the center of State street; Third Ward, all east of the center of Corn and Varick streets, and west of Tioga and north of State streets; Fourth Ward, all east of the center of Tioga street, and north of the center of State street.
With the inauguration of the city government, there met at the trustees' room, Village Hall, at noon of June 1, 1888, the following, were then occupying the offices designated: President, David B. STEWART; clerk, Charles A.IVES; trustees, George W. BABCOCK, Clayton CRANDALL, J. W. TIBBETTS, James A. McKINNEY, J. A. LEWIS, Jesse W. STEPHENS, A. B. WOOD, J. E. VAN NATTA; police justice, Myron N. TOMPKINS; treasurer, Edgar 0. GODFREY; collector, Frank DANS; corporation counsel, James L. BAKER; assessors, John E. BROWN, J. W. BROWN, Comfort HANSHAW, Samuel BEERS; chief engineer fire department, Edmund E. ROBINSON; first assistant, Frank COLE; second assistant, A. B. OLTZ; policemen, A. NEIDECK, John DONOVAN, John CAMPBELL, jr., P. D. ROBERTSON, Richard EMMONS; street commissioner, John TERWILLIGER; cemetery keeper, George W. EVARTS; pound master, Robert WALKER; health commissioner, William MACK; health officer, Edward MEANY; Board of Education, E. S. ESTY, J. J. GLENZER, F. C. CORNELL, A. B. BROOKS, C. M. WILLIAMS, E. K. JOHNSON, Elias TREMAN, Cornelius LEARY, A. M. HULL, H. A. ST. JOHN, B. F. TABER, R. B. WILLIAMS.
There were also present the officers of the village to be superseded by the city officers, the charter committee (elsewhere named), and others.
The ceremonies of inaugurating the new management were opened by President D. B. STEWART calling the meeting to order. The mayor then delivered an address reviewing the action that had led up to the change and congratulating the people upon the happy consummation of the undertaking This was followed by prayer by Rev. Charles M. TYLER. The various officials then took the oath of the office, and Judge LYON announced the mayor and aldermen as duly installed. The following resolution was then offered by Alderman WOOD:
Resolved, That the maximum salaries of the officers to be appointed by the mayor, be as follows: City clerk, $300 per annum; collector, the legal fees to be collected as per statute; treasurer, $200 per annum; city attorney, $100 per annum for counsel fee, and taxable costs and reasonable fees for conducting actions or proceedings in behalf of the city; city superintendent, $200 per annum; assessor; $240 per annum; five policemen, $14 per week each; poundmaster, the fees provided by the city charter.
This resolution was adopted.
The oath of office was then administered to the several appointees, and by resolution the bond of the recorder was fixed at $2,000 After this the mayor concluded his address, and Mr. HALLIDAY made the following suggestion, which was adopted by resolution:
Following is a list of the presidents and trustees of the village, and the mayors and aldermen of the city from the year 1821 to the present time:
1821, president, Daniel BATES; trustees, William R. COLLINS, George BLYTHE, Julius ACKLEY, A. D. W. BRUYN.
From 1828 to 1853, inclusive, seven trustees were elected annually, who elected their president.
In the winter of 1853-54 the village charter was amended, dividing the village into three wards, electing the president by the people and electing the trustees for two years each.
[In the remainder of this list only the names of the three trustees elected annually will be given, the other three, of course, holding over from the previous year.]
In 1874 four wards were made, and thereafter four trustees elected each year.
1874, president, A. S. COWDRY; trustees, Francis O'CONNOR, F. K. ANDRUS, Isaiah ROBINSON, George F. HYATT.
The following are the principal officers under the city government:
The following officers were elected in Ithaca at the March election of 1894:
Mayor (held over), C. D. BOUTON; recorder, Eron C. VAN KIRK; justice of the peace, Fred. L. CLOCK; commissioners of education, Arthur B. BROOKS, F. C. CORNELL, Albert H. ESTY, John J. GLENZER; supervisors, First Ward, Charles F. HOTTES; Second Ward, Leroy G. TODD; Third Ward, Thaddeus S. THOMPSON; Fourth Ward, William P. HARRINGTON; aldermen, First Ward, Clinton AYRES; Second Ward, Samuel G. WILLIAMS; Third Ward, Charles GREEN; Fourth Ward, Robert H. THURSTON.
Landmarks - The Town and Village of Ithaca - Part II
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