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Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York
by John H. Selkreg, 1894; D. Mason & Co., Publisher
The town of Dryden lies on the east border of Tompkins, extending westward to near the center, and contains 54,567 acres, of which about 45,000 acres are improved. The town is bounded on the north by the town of Groton, on the east by Cortland county, on the south by the towns of Caroline and Danby, on the west by Ithaca and Lansing. It is the largest town in Tompkins county, and is number 23 of the townships of the military tract. It was named in honor of John DRYDEN, the English poet.
Dryden was taken from Ulysses February 22, 1803. A section was taken from Danby and annexed to this town in 1856 (see session laws of that year), and in 1886 seven of the eastern lots in the southern tier of the town were set off and annexed to the town of Caroline. These lots were numbered from 94 to 100, inclusive, and embraced an area of 3,840 acres.
The first town meeting was held at the house of George ROBERTSON March 1, 1803, at which time the town was a part of the county of Cayuga. The surface of this town is hilly or rolling. The eastern part forms the watershed between the Tioughnioga River and Cayuga lake. In the southeastern part is a lofty ridge which rises to 1,800 feet above the tide-water. Fall Creek flows southwesterly through the central part, and is the principal stream, affording several good water power sites. Cascadilla Creek and other minor streams rise in the southwest part and flow into Cayuga Lake. Dryden Lake, lying two miles southeast of Dryden village, is a small sheet of water, chiefly artificial, and caused by the building of a dam at its outlet. The Dryden Mineral Springs, near the village, are strongly impregnated with sulphur, magnesia and iron, and have wide-spread fame for the alleviation of disease. In the north part of the town is a swap covering several hundred acres.
The soil of Dryden is exceptionally good for agricultural purposes. It is a fertile, gravely loam on the highlands, while in the valley of Fall Creek a rich alluvium prevails. Grain and stock growing and dairying are the principal occupations of the farmers.
This town was formerly covered largely by forests of white pine, which in early years supplied timber for extensive lumber business and brought considerable revenue to the inhabitants. The census of 1835 reported fifty-one saw mills in the town, by far the larger part of which have disappeared. A large part of this town was awarded to soldiers of the Revolution in lots of 640 acres each, which were disposed of, often for ridiculously insignificant prices, to speculators or other buyers who intended to settle on their purchases. It is susceptible of proof that lots were sold often for from five to ten dollars; one, it is said, was disposed of for a coat, hat, drink of rum and one dollar; while another transferred lot number 9 for one great coat. Some of the lots were sold by unscrupulous persons to more than one person, which, with other causes, led to much costly and annoying litigation, an experience that characterized all sections of the military tract.
The purchasers of the lots in Dryden were more widely dispersed than those who settled other parts of Tompkins county, as well be noticed in the succeeding pages; but they enjoyed facilities for reaching their lands which, if not all they could have desired, were much superior to those in other localities. During the year 1792-95 Joseph CHAMPLIN, of the town of Virgil, cut out and constructed a rude roadway from Oxford, Chenango county, to Ithaca and to Kidder's Ferry. His contract only called for a road to Ithaca, but he disregarded its terms so far as to first open the road to the ferry (it being represented to him that more settlers lived there than at Ithaca). In consequence of this action the Legislature refused to settle with him until he fulfilled his contract. He accordingly continued the road from a point in the town of Virgil through Dryden to Ithaca. This was given the name of "The Bridle Road" in this town, which to some extent clings to it yet. Over this early highway came the pioneers of the town.
The first of these, as far as known, to settle permanently in the town was Amos SWEET, who in the spring of 1797 came in and settled on the site of Dryden village. There he built a long house teen feet square and began life in the wilderness with his wife and two children. He was accompanied also by his brother. About the year 1801 Mr. SWEET was compelled to leave his land, through some difficulty (as contended by some of the pioneers) with Nathaniel SHELDEN. Mr. SWEET died soon afterward and was buried on the opposite side of the road from the Dryden Springs Hotel, where lie also the remains of his mother and two children.
In the fall of 1798 a yoke of oxen drew a rude sled from the Chenango River, laden with household goods and a few implements, a distance of sixty miles to this town. With this team came on, some riding, but more walking much of the distance, Ezekiel SANFORD, his wife and son David FOOT, his wife and four daughters; and Ebenezer CLAUSON, his wife, son and two daughters, fourteen persons, who settled at "Willow Glen." SANFORD built his log house opposite where Elias W. CADY lived; FOOT opposite where Joshua PHILLIPS formerly lived; and CLAUSON on the opposite corner, formerly owned by Samuel ROWLANDS.
In the summer of that year (1798) George ROBERTSON began clearing on lot 53, which he had previously bought and paid for. He built a small long house, returned home to Saratoga, and early the following spring he brought in his wife and two small children, and was accompanied by his brother, Philip S., and Jared BENJAMIN, two young men whom he had employed. Mr. ROBERSON was a carpenter and earned the money to pay for his lot by working at his trade in Saratoga. They came westward up the Mohawk Valley to Utica, on to what is now Auburn, thence along Cayuga Lake to the site of Ithaca, and from there by the Chaplin road to their home. In the season of 1799 and the succeeding one, Mr. ROBERTSON raised crops of wheat, which had to be carried to Ludlow's Mill (Ludlowville) to be ground. Mr. ROBERTSON had the title of "Captain," and his father, Philip, was a soldier of the Revolution. George ROBERTSON was the first supervisor of the town, and for many years enjoyed the entire respect of the community which he was so conspicuous in founding. Mott J. ROBERTSON, his youngest son, succeeded to the homestead, and was on of thirteen children.
George KNAPP, who had first stopped in the town of Lansing, came to Dryden with his brother-in-law, Daniel WHITE, in 1798. Knapp settled on lot 14. Mr. WHITE's settlement had an important bearing on the condition of his fellow pioneers, for he gave them the first grist mill, thus saving them long and toilsome journeys. His mill was finished in 1802, and stood a little northeast of where the Freeville bridge crosses Fall Creek. He was a practical miller and made the grinding stones from a rock formed in a filed, which he split and dressed. These stones were in use until 1818, when they were displace during a reconstruction of the mill. Mr. WHITE was a prominent in the early Methodist church, and preached several years on the Cayuga circuit. He had a family of eleven children, most or all of whom are dead. His son Abel lived a long life at Freeville.
Aaron LACY, from New Jersey, settled a Willow Glen in 1799. He subsequently removed to the corner, afterwards owned by Jacob STICKLES, whose residence there gave the name of "Stickles Corners" to the place.
Lyman HURD came from Vermont in 1800 with his wife and several children, and settled on the corner opposite LACY. Mr. HURD brought the first span of horses into the town. He raised a crop of corn and oats that season. The story has come down to us that one of Mr. HURD's horses died early in the spring, and a man in his employ tramped through the woods to Tully and brought an ox, which was harnessed up with the other horse, and this ill-matched pair served for plowing, going to the mill and other farm work.
In the year 1799 Peleg ELLIS, who had previously settled in Herkimer county, traded his land there for lot 84 in Dryden, and removed here in 1800. When a call was made for troops in 1812, he marched out on the 26th of August, 1812, in command of the Dryden company for the frontier. The entire company, instead of waiting to stand the draft, volunteered, except one who was unable to go. This company took part in the fight at Queenstown, and Captain ELLIS was taken prisoner, but was soon afterwards paroled. He was afterwards commissioned major in the old militia. He died in 1859, aged eighty-four years. He had twelve children, the homestead descending to John J., his son. Warren D. was another son, and a daughter married John M. SMITH, of Dryden.
John ELLIS, brother of Peleg, settled early in the town of Virgil, but came to Dryden about the same time, or a little before, his brother, and settled near the site of Malloryville. They were from Rhode Island; and both became conspicuous in the affairs of this town. John ELLIS promptly advanced to a prominent business and official position. He was made one of the first judges of the Court of Common Pleas; like his brother, went to the frontier in command of a second company of soldiers in 1813, and served to the close of the war. It is said that after his company had departed there were only fourteen men left in the town, who were liable to military duty. Judge ELLIS was supervisor of the town for twenty-eight years, and in 1831 and 1832 served in the State Legislature.
Joel HULL was a settler in 1801, coming from Massachusetts. He located on land afterwards owned by the ROWLAND family. Mr. HULL was a practical surveyor, a man of intelligence, and was elected the first town clerk. He was made ensign of the first military company in the town, and kept a store, first in an addition built on his house. He subsequently removed to Pennsylvania.
Five brother, Richard, Thomas, Daniel, Benjamin and James LACY, came from New Jersey in 1801. Richard settled west of the village and was the first owner of the Dryden Springs. In early years the springs were known as "Lacy's Deer Lick," and it was believed that salt might be found there; but after considerable effort by the brothers its was abandoned. Thomas LACY settled half a mile south of the village, and Daniel a little farther south. The latter was the first school teacher in the town. Benjamin settled within the present village limits on the south side of the "Bridle Road," and James located in the vicinity of the lake. Four of the brother removed from the town, but Benjamin remained and became prominent in the community. John C. LACY was on of his sons. (See biography of John C. LACY).
Peter and Christopher SNYDER came into the town in the spring of 1901 from New Jersey and purchased lot 43 of William GOODWIN. Soon after he purchased it Henry SNYDER, son of Peter, and George DART, son-in-law of Christopher, came with the others, and the four chopped the timber on six acres and then returned to their former homes. In the fall the two brothers, with George SNYDER and DART, came back and cleared the land and sowed it to wheat, returning again to New Jersey. In the fall of 1802, Peter, with his family and household goods, came with two wagons to their new home. His sons, William, John and Abraham, drove twenty-five cows the whole distance. Christopher came also with his family, and Henry NAILE, wife and child, and Jacob CRUTTS and wife. The whole party included thirty-two persons. Their journey was replete with incident and covered eighteen days. Choosing each one-half of the land by lot, the eastern half fell to Christopher, the western to Peter. The latter subsequently purchased the whole of lot 42 (64 acres), of which he gave 106 acres to each of his sons and fifty-three acres to each of his daughters. They had numerous descendants.
William SWEAZY settled early half a mile north of Varna, and a Mr. COOPER located as early as 1801 half a mile south of Etna; Jesse BARTHOLOMEW, father of Caleb, settled at Etna in April, 1812, where he purchased 180 acres. Andrew SHERWOOD, a Revolutionary soldier, and his son Thomas, came from Poughkeepsie in 1802 and settled on lot 9 in the northeast corner of the town. Andrew lived to the age of ninety-nine years. Thomas served in the war of 1812, was a miller, and had a family of eleven children.
Edward GRISWOLD, another Revolutionary soldier, with his wife and son came from Connecticut to lot 39 in 1802. He became a prominent citizen. Charles GRISWOLD was born in the town in 1800. He was father of Leonard GRISWOLD, and was a soldier of 1812 and captain. He died in 1834.
Seth WHEELER and his sons, Seth, jr., and Enos, from New Hampshire, settled a little south of the village in 1802.
Jacob PRIMROSE, from New Jersey, settled at West Dryden (Fox's Corners) in 1803. He was father of Henry and Lewis. The latter was constable in the town nearly fifty years.
Joseph HART, from New Jersey, settled near Judge ELLIS's in 1805. His father was a Revolutionary soldier.
Thomas SOUTHWORTH, with his son John, then ten years old, came from Herkimer county, N. Y., and settled at Willow Glen in 1806. The father was a man of enterprise, bought a small farm, established an early tannery, and kept a tavern. He lived to ninety-four years. John SOUTHWORTH married a daughter of Judge ELLIS, and became a large landholder and one of the wealthiest men in this section. He died at the age of eighty-two. (See biography.)
It is, of course, impossible to follow all the later settlements in this town to later times. Those already mentioned were not only the earliest pioneers, but many of them and their descendants have been among the most prominent citizens of the town and contributed largely to its growth and prosperity. Many others are mentioned in personal sketches relating to the town. Between 1800 and 1810 settlement was rapid, more so than in some of the other localities, and among other names which appear in records during the period mentioned are the following: William GARRISON, Lewis FORTNER, Wm. HARNED, Joseph SCHOFIELD, Jacob SNYDER, Samuel HEMINGWAY, Amos LEWIS, Isaiah GILES, David LEWIS, Benjamin JENNINGS, Obadiah BROWN, John CONKLIN, Samuel CLARK, Wm. SMITH, Job CARR, Peleg CARR, Caleb CARR, Nathan LEGG, James McELHENY, Daniel OGDEN, Israel SOUTHWICK, Morris BAILEY, Peter BUSH, Nathaniel LUTHER, Enoch PIXLEY, Ichabod BARNES, Israel BROWN, John WALDRON, John WICKHAM, Richard WHITE, Jonathan LUCE, Asahel BOUTON, Obadiah BROWN, jr., Joel GEORGE, John VORNELIUS, Henry TEETER, Benjamin GENUNG, Ichabod PARMETER, Samuel GIRVIN, Zephaniah BROWN, Geo. GRAY, Stephen and James YEOMANS, Nicholas HILE, Abraham HOAGLAND, Benjamin FULKERSON, John MINEAH, John HORNER, Luther WEEKS, Abner CARPENTER, Aaron CASE, Wm. MILLER, Ithamar WHIPPLE, Elijah DIMMICK, Timothy OWENS, Abraham WOODCOCK, and others, many of whom are mentioned in Part III of this work. Most of these were in the town prior to 1807-8.
The war of 1812 caused a slight check in immigration, but succeeding that event the influx of population continued unabated.
John HILES, from New Jersey, came to the town in 1814, settled on Fall Creek, but afterwards located at the foot of Dryden Lake, where he built and operated on of the largest saw mills in this section. He was father if Andrew HILES, and died in 1865. David J. BAKER came from Homer, Cortland county, and located at Dryden village in 1816, and became somewhat conspicuous. Rice WEED, from Connecticut, settled in Chenango county, but removed to Etna in 1816 where he was postmaster and justice of the peace.
Elias W. CADY came in from Columbia county, N. Y., in 1816 and settled on the farm where he lived many years. He was of English ancestry. Mr. CADY became one of the most successful farmers in this county and owned about 700 acres. He was also prominent in all public affairs, was supervisor two terms, served in the State Legislature in 1850 and 1857.
Paul EWERS, a Revolutionary soldier, came to Dryden from Cayuga county in 1813 and settled where members of his family lived in recent years. He was father to Paul, jr., who spent a long life in the town. Other later settlers were Jacob LUMBARD, 1822; William HANFORD, 1823; Captain John GARDNER, 1823; Jacob STICKLES, 1833; George B. GUINNIP, James W. MONTGOMERY, Jeremiah W. DWIGHT and others.
Isaac and John TEERS, brothers, settled early in the part of Dryden called "Irish Settlement." Isaac was the father of Henry TEERS, a blacksmith at Mott's Corners, and at one time supervisor of Caroline. He went to Michigan and died there. John TEERS eventually moved to near Ithaca where he died. He was father of William TEERS.
About the year 1832-3 two brothers named ELLIOT (one of them being Henry) settled in Dryden, and in the spring of 1835 Horton HUNT settled in the same locality. Michael OVERACKER was about the first settler in that neighborhood, and all of these were from Rensselaer county. There were only two or three cleared fields in that section when Mr. HUNT came in.
John McGRAW was born in Dryden May 22, 1815, and in early life entered into business connection with his brother and John SOUTHWORTH. It has been written of him that he was distinguished for his rare business qualities and his comprehensive grasp of large and complicated enterprises. Careful planning, the most minute details were not overlooked in his estimates, and when he once formed his plan no ordinary obstacle could thwart him in its execution. As a merchant he was a success; as an extensive land owner and operator he had no rival. Early engaging, in connection with his father-in-law, John SOUTHWORTH, in the lumber business, he established extensive mills, and they became the owners of a large tract of pine timber lands in Allegany county, N. Y., from which they accumulated a very satisfactory estate for ordinary business me, but John McGRAW's resistless and untiring energy kept pace with his increasing financial prosperity and he invested and handled hundreds of thousands of dollars up to millions with the ease and sagacity and with less fret and wear to his evenly poised and balanced mind than usually attends the investment of a few thousand dollars by other men. He seldom became excited or hurried. He kept his business always in hand, and controlled and directed the largest operation with but slight friction. In a word, John McGRAW was, in military parlance, a financial general, and having formed his plan of battle he moved his troops with the skill of a field marshal, and usually to a successful victory over every obstacle intercepting his line of march. Discomfitures which would have disheartened other men did not seem to divert him or retard his more resolute action in his onward advance.
His marked characteristics were not demonstrative. He was kind, affable, bold, resolute, but cautious, of great force and sagacity, and with it all his heart was as sympathetic and tender as a woman's. Honest, prompt in decision and action, his presence inspired hope. He made few professions, but his fidelity to a friend was the test of a character anchored in truth and honor.
His large investments in Western lands and productive property left an estate at his death (which occurred at Ithaca, May 4, 1877, at the age of sixty-two) of over two millions of dollars. But no tribute to his memory can add to the monument his munificent gifts to Cornell University erected on the campus - the McGraw Building, at an expense of $250,000. So long as a student attends the university, as the long roll of honor receives new accessions, each will bear to his distant home, with fondest recollections of his alma mater, the cherished name and memory of John McGRAW, the donor of that grand library building, within whose alcoves shall be accumulated the best literature of the world, and the fountain from which shall flow the grand streams of knowledge and the highest culture of the land.
Mr. McGRAW married Miss Rhoda SOUTHWORTH, eldest daughter of John SOUTHWORH, a lady of most amiable character, brilliant endowments of intellect, refinement and culture. She died in 1847, leaving an only daughter surviving her, Miss Jennie McGRAW became, at the death of her father, John McGRAW, the sole heiress of a princely fortune, which, during her life, she dispensed in most munificent charities. Of a most delicate and frail constitution, she sought health by foreign travel, and for several years spent a great portion of her time in England on the continent in pursuit of heath, but in all her protracted suffering the warmth of her heart never cooed, nor did she forget her home or the host of friends she left behind her. On her last visit abroad she was married to Professor Willard FISKE, of Cornell University, and after spending a year abroad returned home. It was hoped that her native air would restore her to health, but the fondest wishes of those who knew her best and loved her most were doomed to disappointment, and she died surrounded by the friends of her youth and in the midst of the scenes and associations where in life she most loved to dwell. Her remains repose beside the ashes of her father in Ithaca's sacred keeping.
The munificent gifts of the father and daughter to Cornell University and other charitable bequests will be a grander memorial than marble sculptured shaft or monumental urn. No words can add to their memory, while on their forehead has fallen the golden dawning of a grander day, and though friendship, when it recalls their names, gets no answer from the voiceless lips of the unreplying dead, yet faith sees their risen star, and listening love, standing by their graves, shall hear the flutter of a wing above their silent and honored dust.
In closing this hasty review, we will no omit the name of Hon. J. W. DWIGHT, another of the prominent citizens who , for many years, was one of the most prosperous and sagacious business men, conducting for years an extensive store and business with success, wielding a large and influential power in the prosperity of the town. Commencing his political life as supervisor of his town, he represented the county in the State Legislature in 1860 and 1861, and the twenty-eighth district in the forty -fifth Congress - 1877 to 1879 - and was returned to the forty-sixth Congress. He was elected for a third term to the forty-seventh Congress by a largely increase majority. (See biography).
Biographical and personal sketches of a great number of the prominent dwellers in this town, both living and dead, will be found in the second and third part of this work.
In comparatively recent times the town of Dryden has been one of the most progressive in this county. Its agricultural communities have been prosperous and quick to adopt improvements and advanced methods, while its business men have been generally conservative and successful. The opening of the Southern Central Railroad conferred upon the people as a whole large benefit, giving the producers easier access to markets and better facilities to business men for importing their wares. Educational and religious institutions have been established to meet the enlightened sentiments of the people.
I the war of the Rebellion this town was behind no other in its spirit of patriotism and its activity in response to the calls of the imperiled government for volunteers. One hundred and forty-nine brave men went forward to do battle for the Union, many of who gave their lives for the cause. The town paid about $90,000 in bounties.
The first town meeting was held at the house of George ROBERTSON, March 1, 1803, where the following officers were elected: Supervisor George ROBERTSON; town clerk, Joel HULL; assessors, John ELLIS, Joel HULL, Peleg ELLIS; constable and collector, Daniel LACY; poormasters, William GARRISON, Philip S. ROBERTSON; commissioners of highways, Lewis FORTNER, Ezekiel SANDFORD, William HARNED; fence viewers and overseers of highways, Amnah PEET, Ebenezer CLAUSON, David FOOT, Joseph SCHOFIELD; poundmaster, John MONTGOMERY.
Following is a list of supervisors of the town from its organization to the present, as far as they can be obtained. The town records were burned in 1877, and the list had, therefore, to be made up partly from other sources.
Following are the officers of the town for 1894: John H. KENNEDY, supervisor, Dryden; John M. ELLIS, town clerk, Dryden; Everett F. WEAVER, collector, Etna; George E. UNDERWOOD, justice of the peace, Varna; James C. LORMOR, constable, Dryden; Everett F. WEAVER, constable, Etna; Francis E. ELLIS, constable, Varna; Alonzo HART, constable, West Dryden; Herman A. STRONG, constable, Freeville.
STATISTICS. - The supervisors report for 1893 gives the number of acres in this town as $58,192; assessed value of real estate, including village property and real estate of corporations, $1,051,895; total assessed value of personal property, $75,054; amount of town taxes, $4,394.12; amount of county taxes, $4,272.92; aggregate taxation, $12,948.80; rate of tax on $1 valuation, .0113. Corporations - Southern Central Division Lehigh Valley Railroad Company, assessed value of real estate, $41,270; amount of tax, $466.35. E., E. & N. Railroad Company, $55,250; amount of tax, $624.33. D., L. & W. Railroad Company, $1,980; amount of tax, $22.38. American Telegraph and Telephone Company, $2,550; amount of tax, $28.82. W. U. Telegraph Company, $660; amount of tax, $7.46. N. Y. & P. Telegraph and Telephone Company, $450; amount of tax $5.08. Barnard Washing Machine Company, $500; amount of tax, $5.65. Farmers' Dairy Dispatch, $300; amount of tax, $3.39. Dryden Opera House Company, $100; amount of tax, $1.13.
The researches of Charles F. MULKS (now of Ithaca) five us the following memoranda of the four lots which included the site of Dryden village. They were lots 38, 39, and 48 and 49.
Lot 38 was drawn by Andrew FINK, captain in the First Regiment, and was claimed by him without contest.
No. 39 was drawn by Bartholomew VAN DENBURGH, ensign in the Second Regiment. Fifty acres were sold by the surveyor-general to William GILLILAND and claimed by him and John DICKINSON. Fifty acres sold by the surveyor-general to Robert McCLALLAN. The title is deduced by patent from the surveyor-general to William GILLILAND and John DICKINSON for fifty acres on southeast corner of this lot.
Lot 48, drawn by Walter BROOKER, Second Regiment; claimed by John LAWRENCE; certificate of patent for 600 acres. Deed from Walter BROOKER to Alexander McDOUGAL (major-general), November 24, 1785, recorded in secretary's office. Same title deduced to John LAWRENCE and awarded to him.
Lot 49, drawn by Elias LARRABY, Second Regiment; claimed by Samuel DESTER, jr. One hundred acres sold by the surveyor-general to James FAIRLIE, of Kinderhook. He sold his land to Stephen HOGEBOOM the year after the war for eight pounds. Certificate of patent 9th of July, 1790, 500 acres. There was litigation over this claim by LARRABY. Deed of 500 acres from Jeremiah VAN RENSSELAER and Abraham TEN EYCK to Samuel DEXTER, jr., 10th December, 1799. Deed for 500 acres from Elias LARRABY to Edward CUMPTON, December 23, 18=783, proved by Rymer VISCHER, who knew the grantor. Award not noted.
Lot No. 63 was drawn as a gospel and school lot. At the annual town meeting in 1818 it was voted that the whole amount of money belonging to this lot be applied to the common schools, except six cents, and that be paid when called for the support of the gospel.
The pleasant and enterprising village of Dryden is situated on the south branch of Fall Creek in the eastern part of the town and the Owego and Auburn branch of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. The village has always been prosperous, considering its size, and has been the home of several of the most distinguished citizens in Tompkins county. The site of the village was originally mostly owned by Benjamin LACY, Edward GRISWORLD and Nathaniel SHELDON, whose settlements here have been described. Amos SWEET built the first dwelling on the village site.
In the early years there was considerable strife as to whether this point or Willow Glen should be the site of the principal village of the town. Quite a number of prominent and enterprising settlers had located at the latter point, and it was, of course, important to them to build up the nucleus of a village there. To this end Joel HULL opened a store there in 1802, which was the first one in the town. He was a practical surveyor and a man of considerable influence in early years. By the energy and activity of the settlers on the site of the present village, shops, stores and taverns were established and the tide of settlement turned this way. So deeply interested in this matter was Edward GRISWOLD that it is said that he gave a blacksmith forty acres of land to locate his shop here. Mr. GRISWOLD was also instrumental in establishing a store which was managed for a time by Parley WHITMORE. The other early settlers before mentioned were equally zealous in efforts to bring business and population to this point. These improvements and the building of the Presbyterian church in 1821 settled the fate of Willow Glen. A school was opened in Amos SWEET's dwelling in 1802, and the Baptist religious society was organized in 1804. Nathaniel SHELDEN was a physician, the first one to locate here, and Dr. John TAYLOR came soon afterward. The first marriage is believed to have been that of Ruloff WHITNEY and Susan GLENNY, of Virgil, in 1800.
The growth of the young village was of course slow, but it was steady and encouraging. Ruloff WHITNEY had a saw mill in operation early, and Hooker BALLARD was keeping the tavern in 1816. Among others who had become resident in the village by the year 1816 were James H. HURD, cabinetmaker; Dr. John TAYLOR, David FOOTE, farmer, half a mile east of the village. Nehemiah TUCKER, farmer; Abraham GRISWOLD, farmer; Ruloff WHITNEY, saw mill; Thomas L. BISHOP, saw mill; Jesse B. BARTHOLOWMEW, distiller; Benjamin, Richard and James LACY, brothers, farmers. Deacon WHEELER, farmer, lived half a mile northwest of the village. Timothy STOVE, cabinetmaker; Edward GRISWOLD, farmer half a mile north of the village. Ebenezer TUTTLE, carpenter and builder; Daniel Z. VLEIT, farmer; Joshua HOLT, groceries; Parley WHITMORE, merchant and postmaster; Michael THOMAS, half a mile south of the village. Dr. John PHILLIPS; Nathan GODDARD, farmer; Jedediah PHELPS, brickmaker, and David J. BAKER. Selden MARVIN lived one mile north of the village.
Besides the numerous saw mills that were early established in the town, other manufactures were begun. The father of John H. and William KENNEDY established a large tannery in 1835, which has continued in operation ever since, being now conducted under the firm name of Kennedy Brothers, with John H. KENNEDY as surviving partner. The tannery was transferred from the father to the sons in 1867.
A woolen mill was started in the village at an early day, and was reestablished in 1862 by Erastus ROCKWELL. This mill long had an extended reputation for the production of fine cloths, and turned out 60,000 yards annually. E. S. ROCKWELL and George M. ROCKWELL are sons of Erastus, and the mill passed to their control in 1870, under the firm name of E. S. ROCKWELL & Brother. The senior of the firm purchased a large mill at Tiffin, O., in 1883, and the business in Dryden continued under the style of G. M. ROCKWELL & Co. (E. S. ROCKWELL constituting the company) until 1891, when the Dryden Woolen Company was incorporated; capital $50,000. In December, 1892, the business failed, owing to the depressed and uncertain condition of the trade.
Mercantile operations had meanwhile been extended in the village to meet the needs of the surrounding country. The reader will find among the personal sketches pertaining to this town, in another part of this work, the names of many past and present merchants who have carried on business with success in Dryden, and some of whom were well known throughout Central New York.
The post-office at Dryden was established about the year 1815, and in 1817 the mail was carried through from Oxford, Chenango county, over the Chaplin turnpike to Ithaca by a footman. The first stage began running between Homer and Ithaca, passing through Dryden, about the year 1824. The present postmaster is W. H. SANDWICK.
In 1857, when the population of the village had reached about 400, measures were inaugurated for its incorporation. A petition signed by Thomas J. McELHENY, I. P. FERGUSON, George SCHENCK, Lewis BARTON, Freeman STEBBINS, H. W. SEARS, W. W. TANNER, David J. BAKER, N. L. BATES, Abraham TANNER, J. W. DWIGHT, and fifty -eight others, was presented to Hon. S. P. WISNER, then county judge of Tompkins county, and on the 3d of June, 1857, he issued an order that all the territory incorporated village called Dryden village, if the electors should assent thereto. It was also ordered that Edwin FITTS, John B. SWEETLAND and S. D. HAMBLIN should be authorized to call an election and act as inspectors. The election was held July 7, 1857, and the whole number of votes cast was 112, of which seventy-eight were in favor of incorporation. The first election of village officers was held on August 15, when the following persons were chosen: David P. GOODHUE, Rochester MARSH, William W. TANNER, John B. SWEETLAND and Isaac FORD, trustees; Augustus H. PHILLIPS, Orrin W. WHEELER, John C. LACY, assessors; Godfrey SHARP, collector; Horace G. FITTS, treasurer; Thomas J. McELHENY, clerk ; Godfrey SHARP, poundmaster.
David P. GOODHUE was elected the first president of the village.
The charter of 1857 remained in force until 1865, when a re-incorporation took place under a special act of the Legislature. (See Session laws of that year, chapter 302).
The officers of the village at the present time are: President, George E. GOODRICH; trustees, Frank D. HILL, E. David ALLEN, George COLE, Charles B. TANNER, George H. HART; assessor, J. E. McELHENY; treasurer, J. H. PRATT; clerk, D. T. WHEELER; water commissioners, J. H. KENNEDY, George E. MONROE, A. M. CLARK.
Following is a list of the presidents of the village from 1857 to the present time:
1857-58. David P. GOODHUE. 1873. Rochester MARSH. 1859. Freeman STEBBINS. 1874-75. G. H. SPERRY. 1860. Lewis BARTON. 1876. Harrison MARVIN. 1861. Freeman STEBBINS. 1877. George E. GOODRICH. 1862. John C. LACY. 1878. John E. McELHENY. 1863. John PERRIGO 1879-80. John H. PRATT. 1864. John W. PHILLIPS. 1881. John H. KENNEDY. 1865-66. Rochester MARSH. 1882-83. Erastus H. LORD. 1867. Eli A. SPEAR 1884-85. Daniel R. MONTGOMERY. 1868. D. BARTHOLOMEW. 1886. Albert J. BAKER. 1869. George H. WASHBURN. 1887-88. John H. KENNEDY. 1870. Alvin COLE. 1889-90. Daniel R. MONTGOMERY. 1871-72. John KENNEDY 1891-94. George E. GOODRICH.
The first newspaper published in Dryden was called Rumsey's Companion, and was started in 1856 by Henry D. RUMSEY; this paper and its successors is described in an earlier chapter of this work.
For many years the educational facilities of the village were limited to the common schools. The town at large was divided into fourteen school districts by the school commissioners on September 24, 1814. These commissioners were Joshua PHILLIPS, Peleg ELLIS and John ELLIS. In all of the present school districts of the town there are comfortable school houses. In 1862 a building was erected by Professor GRAVES in the southeast part of the village, wherein the "Dryden Academy" was conducted with good success for about ten years. After the introduction of the Union Free School system in 1871, the building was purchased by the Board of Education. The Union School and academy are now under the principalship of Prof. M. J. FLETCHER, who has supplied the following brief comparative statistics for the years 1888-89 and 1893-94: The population of the district during this period has remained about stationary, and the school attendance in the lower grades has been generally uniform. In the academic department the fall term of 1888 opened with 23 pupils and without an academic assistant; the fall term of 1893 opened with 53 pupils, a teachers' training class and two academic assistants. The total number of pupils enrolled during the first two terms of 1888-89 was 35, of whom 13 were non-resident; total number enrolled the first two terms of 1893-94 was 75, of whom 41 were non-resident. Total non-resident attendance in whole school during first two terms of 1888-89 was 17; total during same time in 1893-94 was 50. The total of tuition bills for first two terms of 1888-89 from non-resident pupils was $208; during the same time 1894, $458. To this must be added an income of $190 for teacher' training class, while the Regents' literature fund has increased from $141 in 1888, to $232 in 1893. The number of students graduated during the six years from 1883 to 1888 was 13; the number during the six years from 1888 to 1894 inclusive was 27 (counting five graduates for present year - 1894.
The fire department is Dryden was established in 1874 by the purchase of a fire engine, and reorganized to adopt itself to the new water supply in November, 1893. There is now a fire company in three divisions, and with the following officers: chief engineer, D. K. MONTGOMERY; Foreman, J. Dolph ROSS; first assistant, George WICKHAM; second assistant, David ODELL; president, James C. LORIMER; secretary, Clarkson T. DAVIES; treasurer, John H. PRATT. There are, besides the engine purchased in 1874, three hose carts, 1,500 feet of hose, ladders, etc. The village hall building was erected on south street in 1876, and accommodates the fire apparatus, a lock-up, hall, etc.
Within the past few years the citizens of Dryden village have shown an enthusiasm and public spirit which might well be emulated by other similar places. The project of supplying the village with water had received considerable discussion prior to 1892, in which year it took on definite shape. The project involved bringing a supply of pure spring water by gravity through a pipe from a point about two and a half miles northeast of the village, the piping of the streets and erection of hydrants. A commission was formed in the spring of 1892, with John H. KENNEDY, president (an office which he has since held), and the enterprise was rapidly and successfully pushed ahead to completion. The cost was about $25,000, and at the present time there is scarcely a building in the corporation that is not protected from fire by a hydrant, while the citizens and their families have an ample supply of excellent water for all necessary purposes. The other members of the water commission are George E. MONROE and A. M. CLARK. In this connection, it should be stated that the public square is being handsomely improved, and a fountain is to be erected at a cost of $1,250, the generous gift of Andrew ALBRIGHT, a former resident of the town, and one of a family who have long been prominent.
Another important addition to the attractions of the village is a new opera house, built in 1893, by a stock company, in which most of the leading citizens became members.
SOUTHWORTH LIBRARY-This beneficent institution is the result of a gift made in 1881 by the late Jennie McGRAW FISKE, of $30,000, for the erection of a suitable building and maintenance of a public library. The following were named as the trustees: Jeremiah W. DWIGHT, J.J. MONTGOMERY, M. D. McELHENY, J. E. McELHENY. The library was incorporated April 25, 1883, under the name of the Southworth Library Association, with the following officers: J. W. DWIGHT, president: J.E. McELHENY, vice-president; H. B. NAPIER, secretary; H. B. LORD, treasurer. In 1884 the trustees bought the Merritt BAUCUS property, which they remodeled for a library building. This was used until 1893, when the trustees purchased the H. W. SEARS property on Main street, and contracted to have erected a handsome stone structure, to cost $15,000, including the cost of the real estate. The present board of trustees are J. E. McELHENY, president; J. J. MONTGOMERY, vice-president; John W. DWIGHT, G. M. ROCKWELL, D. R. MONTGOMERY, D. E. BOWER, D. Willard FISKE. H. B. LORD is treasurer, and Cora L. HOLDEN, librarian. The building will be completed during 1894. The library is of inestimable benefit to the village.
At the noted Dryden Sulphur Springs a sanitarium has been conducted more than a quarter of a century by Miss S. S. NIVISON, M. D., where a large and well appointed building has been the temporary home for invalids from all parts of the country, and large numbers have gone from it cured of obstinate maladies.
MERCANTILE INTERESTS-The village of Dryden has always liberally supported several good stores, the proprietors of which have carried on business in an enterprising and at the same time a prudent manner. Business failures have therefore been of very rare occurrence. The former firms of SEARS & BAUCUS, Edward FRITTS, BOWER & MILLER, and others, have in past years furnished excellent examples of successful country merchants. At the present time D. T. WHEELER & Co. carry on a large trade in the store formerly occupied by SEARS & BAUCUS. J. B. FULKERSON and O. J. HILL are successful general merchants. Cyrus FRENCH, who long conducted an extensive hardware trade, recently sold out to FRENCH Brothers; and the BAKER Brothers are large dealers in groceries.
A manufacturing business which promises success has recently been inaugurated by BARNARD & ALLEN for the production of the Barnard washing machine.
The old Dryden House, which was successfully conducted for a great many years by Peter MINEAH, is now in the hands of Henry WAVLE. In the year 1870 J. H. COLE built the Grove House, and successfully conducted it ever since.
AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY - The Dryden Agricultural Society was organized in 1856, and its success has been much more pronounced than that of most similar town organizations. A spirit of emulation has been developed among the farmers of the town which has brought forth excellent results in the raising of stock and the growing of various products. The first officers of the society were: Elis W. CADY, president; Jeremiah SNYDER, vice-president; David P. GOODHUE, treasurer; Otis E. WOOD, secretary. The grounds are situated in the eastern part of the village and comprise eighteen acres, with suitable buildings.
Following is a list of the principal officers of the society from the beginning:
Dryden Lodge, No 471, F. and A. M., was organized March 20, 1859. This lodge has always had a large membership among whom have been numbered most of the leading citizens of the town. The officers for 1894 are as follows: W. M., J. Dolph ROSS; S. W., Adelbert M. CLARK; J. W., Frank S. JENNINGS; treasurer, Isaac P. FERGUSON; sec., O. H. HILL; S. D., Jesse B. WILSON; J. D., Chester D. BURCH; chaplain, M.E. TRIPP; tiler, Chas. B TANNER.
Dryden Lodge No. 390, I. O. O. F., was organized May 15, 1875. The officers for 1894 are: N. G., Wm. McKEE; B. G., D. Clark BALLARD; sec., C. D GRISWOLD; treasurer, R. M. WEST; permanent sec., H. F. PRATT; chaplain, Daniel BARTHOLOMEW; past grand, Dr. G. L. ROOD.
This small village is situated on Fall Creek, al little west of the center of the town, and is a station on the E., C. & N. Railroad. It was known in early years as "Miller's Settlement" from William MILLER, who settled here about the beginning of the century. Later it was called "Columbia," and retained that name until the post office was established. A grist mill and saw mill have been in operation here many years, and now carried on by George H. HOUTZ. There are two hotels in the village, one of which is under proprietorship of John E. COY, and the other of Hiram A. ROOT. A store is kept by COGGSWELL Brothers. There are the usual complement of shops, and a church noticed elsewhere.
This is a small incorporated village on Fall Creek and at the junction of the E., C. & N. and the Southern Central Branch of the Lehigh Valley Railroads. A small mercantile business, a mill, and ordinary shops, with a hotel, constituted the business of this place until the building of the railroads, when a period of greater activity began. Otis E. WOOD became the owner of a large tract of land and other property here and made great efforts to bring on a period of growth which might result in a prosperous village. It cannot be said that his anticipations have been fully realized. Mark E. HOLTON built and has long conducted the Junction House, a prosperous hotel, and the older hotel, for many years in the hands of the SHAVER family, is now conducted by George I. SHAVER. Stores are now kept by Albert L. WILLEY, as successor of Samuel B. WILLEY, the first merchant; Roe & Stufin established a store in 1889 ( H. W. ROE and W. E. SUTFIN).
James M. CARR is postmaster. A manufactory of cathedral window glass was established a few years ago by C. TONDEUR, which is now in operation, and has met with a fair degree of success. The following village officers were elected March 20, 1894: President, W. J. SHAVER; trustees, A. L. WILLEY (two years), S. S. HOFF (one year); treasurer, F. W. WILLEY; COLLECTOR, David ROBINSON; police justice, N. H. THOMPSON.
This is another hamlet on Fall Creek, near the western border of the town, and a station on the E., C. & N. Railroad. A grist mill has been in operation here many years and passed through many hands. It is now operated by the CRUTTS Brothers, sons of Jacob CRUTTS, one of the early settlers. A grocery is kept by P. W. MYNARD, and Robert SMILEY is postmaster. A general store is kept by Eugene VAN DUZEN.
Malloryville is a hamlet in the northeast part of the town on Fall Creek. It is not a post village. The old red mill is located a little below the place, and a pail factory is now operated by Elijah WATSON. A firkin and tub factory is carried on by Elder E. R. WADE, and another was established by his son, G. M. WATSON.
West Dryden is a small hamlet in the western part of the town with a post office.
The First Baptist church of Dryden was organized February 29, 1804, at the dwelling of William MILLER in Etna. The little hamlet was know as "Miller's Settlement." Samuel HEMMINGWAY was chosen deacon, and John WICKHAM, clerk. Among the original members were Francis MILLER, Elijah DIMMICK, Silas BROWN, Ebenezer BROWN, Nathaniel LUTHER, Job CARR, Ziba RANDALL, Timothy OWENS, Jonathan DUNHAM, Henry DUNHAM, Joshua JAY, Abraham WOODCOCK, Nathan DUNHAM, Joel WHIPPLE, Samuel SKILLINGER, Morris BAILEY, Orpha LUTHER, Asher WICKMAN, Mehitable CARR, Betsy BROWN, Abigail DIMMICK, Mary OWENS, Lucy DUNHAM, Katie WOODCOCK.
Services were held in various places until 1831, when a union edifice was erected. This society has had no services for some time past, but they are to be renewed soon.
On the 17th of February, 1808, the Rev. Jabez CHADWICK, assisted by Elder Ebenezer BROWN, organized the Presbyterian church on Dryden village. The names of the corporate members were James WOOD, Stephen MYREH, Benjamin SIMONS, Derick SUTFIN, Abraham GRISWOLD, Juliana TURPENING, Aseneth GRISWOLD, Isabell SIMONS, Rebecca MYREH, Sarah WOOD, Elizabeth TAPAPEN, Jerusha TAYLOR (as they appeared in the record). During the first nine years there was no regular pastor or stated supply, but various ministers and missionaries occupied the pulpit. In 1816 Rev. Jeremiah OSBORN became pastor. The first meetings were held in Thomas SOUTHWORTH's barn at Willow Glen, and in 1818 in Elias W. CADY's barn. The church building was begun in 1821, and when it was finished Rev. Reuben HURD was installed pastor. It has been changed and improved in later years. About this time the society changed from the Congregational to the Presbyterian form. The present pastor of the church is Rev. Fred L. HILLER.
A young Methodist itinerant, who was passing through Dryden in 1816, stopped and was induced to hold services in the school house. He did so, and went to several dwellings, exhorting the people. This was the beginning of Methodism in the town. His name was Rev. Alvin TORREY, and his zeal soon resulted in the organization of a class. Selden MARVIN, Edward HUNTING, and Abraham TANNER were among the original members. The conference of 1831 organized a new circuit from the Cayuga, Caroline and Berkshire circuits, naming it the Dryden circuit, and Revs. Mr. COLBOURN and M. ADAMS were appointed preachers. A great revival followed and the house of worship was built in 1832. The next conference made the circuit a station, and Rev. J. T. PECK became the first pastor in charge. The pastorate has, of course, changed numerous times since, and Rev. J. W. TERRY is the present pastor. The church built in 11832 was burned in December 22, 1873, and the present edifice was erected in the following year at a cost of about $11,000.
The First Methodist church of Etna was organized April 13, 1835, and the meetings were held for a time in the village school house. In 1837 the church edifice was built at a cost of about $2,000. The first trustees were James FREEMAN, Alvah CARR, Michael VANDERHOOF, Richard BRYANT, Thomas J. WATKINS, Oliver BAKER and John H. PORTER. The present pastor is Rev. P. J. RIEGEL.
The First Methodist church of Varna was formed January 5, 1842, at the village school house. Hoffman STEENBURG, William COBB, Robert C. HUNT, Benjamin DAVENPORT, George EMMONS, John MUNSON and Isaac SEAMANS were chosen the first trustees. At the next regular meeting it was determined to build a church. A subscription paper was circulated, and in 1843 the building was finished at a cost of $1,500. It was repaired in 1874 at a cost of $400. The present pastor is Rev. P. J. RIEGEL.
The Methodist church of West Dryden was organized from a class which had been formed in 1811. This class was composed of Samuel FOX and his wife, David CASE and wife, Selden ANDRUS and wife, and one other person. The first meetings were held in the house of Samuel FOX, and later in the large school house at Fox's Corners. Circuit preacher occupied the pulpit. In 1832 the church was built at a cost of $2,200. The first trustees were Lemuel SPEERY, Thomas GEORGE and William GEORGE. The present pastor is Rev. Thomas C. ROSKELLY.
The Methodist church at Freeville was formed at an early day, but a reorganization was effected in 1876. The church was built in 1842 and a parsonage in 1878. Rev. Thomas C. ROSKELLY is the present pastor.
Landmarks - Chapter XV
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