History of the Town of Lyons
Wayne County, NY
By George W. Cowles
|Gilbert Howell, 1811||Ezekiel Price, 1815,|
|John Brown, 1812-13||Ezra Jewell, 1816,|
|Henry Hyde, 1814,||Oren Aldrich, 1817-19,|
|Robert W. Ashley, 1820,||Bartlett R. Rogers, 1859-61,|
|Oren Aldrich, 1821-22||Miles S. Leach, 1862-68,|
|Robert W. Ashley, 1823.||Nelson R. Mirick, 1869-74,|
|James P. Bartle, 1824.||Willialm Van Marter, 1875-77,|
|Oliver Allen, 1825-26,||George W. Cramer, 1878-79,|
|Robert W. Ashley, 1827-30.||Bartlett R. Rogers, 1880,|
|Abel Lyon, 1831,||Leman Hotchkiss, 1881-82,|
|Eli Johnson, 1832-33,||M. H. Dillenbeck, 1883-85,|
|John W. Holley, 1834-37.||R. A. Hubbard, 1886-88|
|Nelson Peck, 1838,||A. E. Burnett, 1889,|
|1839 to 1855, unknown,||William P. Mirick, 1890,|
|Miles S. Leach, 1856,||A. E. Burnett, 1891-93,|
|John Adams, 1857,||G. W. Koester, 1894.|
|C. Rice, 1858,|
[Note: the above is formatted exactly as in the book.]
The town officers for 1894 are: G. W. Koester, supervisor; John Mills, town clerk; J. B. Haynes, collector; Louis Deuchler, L. L. Dickerson, W. E. McCollun, C. D. Leach, justices of the peace; Ernst Berns, Daniel Barton, George F. Fellows, assessors; Samuel Cronise and Edward Claassen, overseers of the poor; F. H. Miller, highway commissioner; William Bailey, John H. Young, Louis P. Engel, excise commissioners.
The first settlers in Wayne county as well as the first in this town came in by boats or bateaux on the Clyde River to the junction of Ganargwa Creek and Canandaigua outlet, and there is now standing in Lyons village a celebrated landmark in the form of an elm tree, to which the pioneers fastened their craft. This venerable relic is appropriately preserved, and around it cluster many interesting events. The earliest records of road in Lyons were made in 1800, but the first thoroughfare laid out was the "Geneva road" from the village of Sodus Point in 1794, by Captain Charles Williamson, the cutting of which cost him over $250. Within two years this was extended to Geneva at an expense to Williamson of about $180, and subsequently for some time was maintained as a plank road, as was also the highway along the valley. Other roads were opened as settlers came in, and improved from time to time as necessity required. In 1811 the town was divided into thirty-one road districts; in 1817 there were fifty-one, in 1822 the number was fifty-one, and in 1824 there were eighty; at present there are forty-seven.
April 10, 1824, Eli Frisbie, Simeon Griswold, and James Dickson were appointed a committee to built(sic) a bridge across Canadaigua outlet (or Clyde River) at Lyons village "where the old bridge now stands, or as near as possible," and the supervisor was authorized to raise by tax $1,000 for the purpose. March 26, 1829, the supervisor was empowered to raise $2,000 to erect two bridges, one over the Clyde River on the road leading from the village to Hecox's mills, and another across Ganargwa Creek and Erie Canal. March 30, 1832, $700 were appropriated for the construction of a bridge over the Canandaigua outlet at Alloway. March 26, 1838, the supervisor was authorized to raise $2,000, of which $1,000 was for the rebuilding of a bridge across the Ganargwa near its junction with the outlet, and the balance for the reconstruction of the bridge over Clyde River near Kingman & Durfee's mill. These are the principal early bridges; subsequently all of them, and others, were superseded by substantial iron structures.
In 1825 the Erie Canal was completed and opened through the town and village, and the event was celebrated with appropriate ceremonies. It imparted a new impetus to the pioneer settlement, and ever afterward exerted a marked influence upon the development and commercial advancement of the community. Clyde River immediately lost its prestige as a water route, and gave up its commerce to the "great ditch."
In 1841 the canal aqueduct was built over Ganargwa Creek under the supervision of Zebulon Moore, who was afterward appointed superintendent of the Wayne county section.
IN 1853 the New York Central Railroad was opened with a station at Lyons village, and again an important impetus was inaugurated. The first passenger train passed over the route on May 30th of that year. The present brick depot was built in 1890. May 17, 1872, the town issued bonds to the amount of $135,000,and on February 18, 1874, another lot amounting to $15,000, in aid of the Sodus Bay and Corning Railroad, and up to January 1, 1804, all had been paid and canceled except $17,000. This is now the Fall Brook Railway,and was built only as far as Lyons. The railroad commissioner is D. S. Chamberlain. The West Shore (originally the New York, West Shore and Buffalo) Railroad was constructed and formally opened through the town January 1, 1885.
The first settlers in Lyons and the first in Wayne county were Nicholas and William Stansell, brothers, and John Featherly, their brother-in-law, with their families, numbering in all twelve persons. In the spring of 1789 they built and launched a boat on the Mohawk River, and with an Indian trader named Wemple as a pilot the party came the entire distance by water, arriving at the junction of Ganargwa Creek and Canandaigua outlet, the head of navigation and the site of Lyons village, in May, 1789. They settled on what is now the Dunn farm, and their first log house stood on the site of the present residence. They brought with them a number of swine, which were allowed to roam the forests and, becoming wild, were hunted as other game. Mr. Stansell, père, evidently comprised one of the party, for he soon died after their arrival and "was buried without funeral rites," which was doubtless the first white death in town. Nicholas Stansell is said to have been their leader. He was born in Springfield, Mass., September 11, 1755, and while a youth moved with his parents to the Mohawk valley. He was a noted hunter and a typical pioneer, being endowed by nature with a wonderful physique. Uniting their forces with three or four men who had settled in Phelps, Ontario county, a few months previously, they cut a road through the forests to the grist-mill at Waterloo. Nicholas Stansell was very prominent in the early settlement, and was one of the first trustees of the M. E. Church. He had ten children, and died December 11, 1819; his remains were interred in the Newark cemetery. John Featherly sold his farm to Daniel B. Westfall and moved to Rose, where he died in 1843, aged eighty years. Daniel Cole died August 25, 1855.
From 1789 to 1794 there is no account of other settlers coming into this town, but in the latter year Capt. Charles Williamson, through his local agents, Charles Cameron and Henry Towar, began improvements at Lyons village and Alloway respectively, and it is said that he expended a total of about $12,000 in the two places. Daniel Scholl was his millwright at Alloway, where a good grist-mill was built.
In 1796 James Otto came to Lyons from Pennsylvania and assisted in building the mill and a warehouse at Alloway; the latter was finally moved to Lyons and became a Presbyterian church and afterward a cabinet shop. In 1798 Mr. Otto married a daughter of Capt. Samuel Dunn, which was the first marriage in town. They had sixteen children, of whom Samuel was murdered in Rose. He settled on a farm three miles southeast of Lyons village, which he sold after attaining the age of eighty, and removed to Michigan.
In 1797 Rev. John Cole, a native of England and a local Methodist preacher, came to Lyons, and was joined in 1799 by his sons Thomas and Joseph, a daughter Mary, and a son-in-law, Samuel Bennett. Mr. Cole was the first preacher in the town. He bought 263 acres at $5 per acre, which was the first individual purchase in Wayne county east of Lyons village. He had a large library, was a great student, and died here in 1808. His daughter married Rev. William Ninde, an Episcopal clergyman, and after his death took up her residence here with four sons and two daughters, one of whom was Thomas, who married a daughter of Evert Van Wickle. Joseph Cole moved to Galen in 1837 and his son Samuel J. inherited the homestead. The latter died in April, 1883.
George Carr settled on a farm of twenty-five acres now within the village limits in 1798. He came from Maryland, was a stone mason, and died January 30, 1841. Adam Learn moved here from Pennsylvania as early as 1800. He was a brother-in-law to James Otto. His eldest son John located in Galen on lot 42 and died in 1864.
Amos Gilbert was born in 1757, served in the Revolutionary war, came to Lyons with his family in October, 1806, and died in Sodus in 1832. He was a carpenter, and had four daughters and six sons, of whom John, David, and Solomon served in the war of 1812. Solomon died in the service. Deacon John Gilbert, the eldest son, was born in Salem, Mass., December 30, 1789. He settled in the village in 1810 and died there July 22, 1882. He was a sergeant in Captain Hull's company on the Niagara frontier, became captain of militia, was an elder in the Presbyterian Church from 1817 until his death, and served as constable and collector from 1819 to 1829.
Gabriel Rogers started a tannery at an early date in Palmyra, where he married in 1804 a daughter of Samuel Clark, and whence he moved in 1809 to Lyons. He purchased the tannery of William Bond, which he sold in 1817, and in 1818 removed to South Sodus, where he was appointed the first postmaster. He served in the cavalry in the war of 1812, and died in 1847. Hon. Bartlett R. Rogers was long a very prominent citizen of Lyons. He was a captain in the 106th Regiment in the Civil War, supervisor several years, county treasurer, sheriff, and member of Assembly. He died in June, 1880.
Major Ezekiel Price was born in New Jersey and obtained his title in the State militia. He came to Lyons in 1802, was appointed the first postmaster and held the office nearly thirty years, and died in 1845, aged eighty years. He was one of the earliest landlords, and built and kept a frame tavern where Congress Hall now stands, prior to which he had an inn on the east side of Broad street. His son, Ephraim Barton Price, was a prominent citizen, had twelve children, and died in January, 1885. His second son, William H. Price, became a civil engineer, and died in 1870.
Jacob Leach came to Lyons from Litchfield, Conn., in 1809, and operated a distillery on the north side of Ganargwa Creek until the site was wanted for the Erie Canal in 1824. He then became a merchant with Joseph M. Demmon on Water street. He was a canal contractor, and erected a mill on the Ganargwa that was burned and rebuilt in 1837. He was a justice of the peace several years, member of Assembly in 1823, and at one time president of the old Lyons Bank with Thaddeus W. Patchen as cashier. He had ten children ,and died in 1853, aged seventy-five years.
Judge Daniel Dorsey commanded a company of volunteers in the Revolutionary war, and was a planter in Frederick county, Md. In 1797 he visited this section, and purchased of Captain Williamson 1,048 acres of land adjoining the village on the south. The next year he moved hither his large family and about forty slaves, and with some goods which they had bought he began trading with the Indians, who camped in large numbers in the vicinity. His mansion stood upon an eminence at the end of a lane leading west from the Geneva road, and on both sides of this lane were the slaves' houses, a store, and an office. Mr. Dorsey was a magistrate, a physician, a member of Assembly, judge of the Ontario County Court, and a Methodist, and in his barn was held the first meeting of the Genesee Conference in this place, the presiding officer being Rev. Francis Asbury, the first Methodist bishop in America. Judge Dorsey died in 1923, aged sixty-five years, and his widows moved to the village, built a house on Broad street, and died there. They had five sons - Upton, Thomas E., Nelson, Andrew, and Caleb - and seven daughters. Thomas E. Dorsey died December 27, 1870, aged seventy-eight years.
The tax or assessment roll dated October 9, 1802, for the "Town of Sodus," contains eighty-four names of freeholders, enumerates sixty-nine dwelling houses, places the total valuation at $174,312, and calls for a tax levy of $327.29. The items filing within the present town are as follows: William Beaty, 141 acres, assessed 67 cents. George Carr, 25 acres (first farm north of the village), 35 cents. Richard Ely, 223 acres, $1.04 (Mr. Ely sold out and moved to Sodus about 1812). William Bryant, 109 acres, 46 cents. Samuel Brown, 80 acres, 31 cents. Judge Daniel Dorsey, 1,048 acres (between Clyde River and Alloway), $9.53. David Gilson (a river boatman), one house and seven village lots, 28 cents. William Gibbs, one house (the tavern stand, afterward the "Old Museum") and seven village lots, 36 cents. Richard Jones, 188 acres 87 cents. Samuel Mummy, one house and four acres, 82 cents. John Perrine, 553 acres, $4.44. James Walters, 60 acres, 40 cents. William Paton, 101 acres, 54 cents. John Riggs, two houses and 299 acres, $1.77. John Van Wickle, 224 acres, $1.03. Evert Van Wickle, house nad lot, 39 cents. Thomas Cole (son of Rev. Cole), 50 acres, 31 cents.
Among those living in Lyons village and vicinity in 1808 are: Captain David Gilson, Major Ezekiel Price, Dr. William Ambler (the first physician), John Riggs, Richard Jones (saddler and harness maker), William Bond, (shoemaker and tanner), Joseph Hathaway (proprietor of "The Lick" tavern), Samuel Mummy, George Carr, Henry Beard, Captain John Perrine, Thomas Story, William Duncan, the Stanton brothers, Rev. John Cole and sons, Samuel Bennett, Peter Walker, James Coats, a Mr. Wales, Judge Daniel Dorsey, Benjamin Brink, James Walters, Henry Stansell, John Featherly, Richard Ely, Major Amos Stout, Benjamin Hartman, John Van Wickle, Elisha Sylvester, Captain William Paton, and Simon Van Wickle.
Samuel King settled on 300 acres northeast of the village in 1805. He was the father of Samuel, jr., Esau, Thomas, Jesse, Joseph, and Leander King. Benjamin Brink bought sixty acres of William Gibbs, which he sold to Levi Geer in 1825, and moved to Galen, where he died. Daniel B. Westfall came to Lyons about 1810, and purchased 117 acres of John Featherly, and forty-seven of Matthias Clark, near Alloway, where he lived until his death. He had four sons and two daughters, the former being Benjamin, Abraham, James and Cornelius; the latter inherited the homestead. Simon Westfall settled three miles south of Lyons, and died there. He had eleven children, of whom the sons were Jacob, Lewis, William, and John.
William and Benjamin Ennis, brothers, migrated hither from New Jersey in 1806. The former died about 1822; his son Robet was a canal contractor, and in 1847 purchased the homestead and saw-mill of Capt. Henry Towar at Alloway, and died in 1860. Benjamin Ennis went to Ohio in 1832 and died there. George Ennis was a prominent farmer near Alloway and a president of the Wayne County Agricultural Society. He died in December, 1883.
Thomas D. Gale, brother-in-law of Judge Sisson, came to Lyons in 1809 and bought of Joseph Hathaway the tavern on the west side of Broad street that was subsequently known as the "Old Museum." Besides this he had a store and ashery and butchered cattle for the Canadian market. At his house the first town meeting was held in April, 1811.
There was a militia company in Lyons, attached to the 71st Regiment, as early as 1808, the officers of which were William Paton, captain; Peter Perrine, lieutenant; and James Bound, ensign. Elias Hull was colonel, and his hotel was a favorite rendezvous.
John Barrick came from Maryland about 1805 and died in 1851. John Close settled here in 1810, but removed to Lock Berlin about 1830 and died the next year. Samuel Minkler, a tanner, located in Lyons in 1808. Peter Eisenlord was a resident of the town as early as 1806; he finally sold his farm and moved to Michigan. Jeremiah Brown came to Lyons prior to 1808. He was a cooper, had a distillery, and also went to Michigan. Jonathan Clark, sr., removed hither from New Jesey about 1810. He had four sons, two of whom were David and Abraham. William Paton was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, came to America in 1794, when twenty-four years of age, and settled in 1800, where he died in 1843. He was an ardent admirer of Robert Burns. Henry Beard, a pioneer from Pennsylvania, was both a pettifogger and jockey.
John Perrine came from New Jersey. He built the first dam across the Canandaigua outlet, erected the first saw mill in town a mile south of the village, and was one of the founders of the Presbyterian Church, whose services he often conducted in the absence of a minister. With John Van Wickle, William Paton, and others, he obtained from the land office in 1806 a grant of land long known as the Parsonage farm, which was designed as a permanent endowment of the church. He organized a Sunday school in 1818, and owned with Paton and Van Wickle a number of village lots on Queen street between William and Broad. He was a justice of the peace and supervisor, and prominent in all local affairs. He finally moved to Michigan and died in 1836. His sons were Henry, William, Ira, and David W. The latter was a lieutenant in the war of 1812 and succeeded to the paternal homestead.
Dr. Robert W. Ashley, a native of Massachusetts, came to Lyons in 1804 and afterward began housekeeping in Samuel Mummy's old house on the east side of Broad street. He was long a practicing physician, supervisor in 1827-30, candidate for the Assembly in 1830, and died in 1853. He was the father of Samuel J., Robert, and William F. Ashley, and Mrs. H. G. Hotchkiss.
Milton Barney was born in Massachusetts in 1796. In 1818 he transported a wool-carding and cloth-dressing machine to "Arms Cross Roads" (now Wallington in Sodus), which he sold to Elisha Bushnell, and in 1819 came to Lyons. He carried on his trade here, bought a saw mill of Judge Dorsey, erected a new dam across the outlet and built a wool-carding and cloth-dressing mill, and in 1825 with Samuel Wilcox and William E. Perrine put up a flouring mill on the present site of the Shuler mill in the village. Afterward he purchased the grist mill of Jacob Leach and added a clothier's shop, but finally resold the establishment to Leach and went West.
Stephen H. and John Hartman settled two miles southwest of Lyons village in 1816. The former died in 1872. Dr. Joseph Varnum came here in 1817, and died in 1822, being buried with Masonic honors. Levi Geer removed to Lyons the same year and first purchased of Abraham Clark the original Stansell farm for $7,000. He had eight children and died December 15, 1853, aged seventy-eight years. Cyrus Avery, a Montezuma turnpike contractor, settled in this town with $1,500 in cash. He was a typical Connecticut Yankee, and died in January, 1868, aged eighty-four years. He secured his deed from the Pultney estate, and was succeeded on the homestead by his son, A. G. Avery.
Joseph M. Demmon was born in Rensselaer county, N. Y., October 30, 1790, came to Phelps with his parents in 1801, and removed thence to Lyons in 1813, where he died in March, 1886. He brought the first stock of goods to this village, and besides being a merchant was also a tavern keeper, a liveryman, and a contractor. He was the first town clerk, and except four years held either the office of overseer of the poor, town clerk, or village treasurer until his death. He was a highly respected citizen.
Michael Vanderbilt, from New Jersey, settled in Lyons in 1812, and died March 16, 1874, aged eighty-eight years. Josiah Wright, a brother-in-law of Joseph Farwell, removed to the village about 1814 and built a tavern in Joppa. About 1828 he exchanged this for the Lyons Hotel (later the Graham House), and finally died in Buffalo. William Patrick purchased of David W. Perrine a farm north of Lyons village about 1816. A carpenter by trade he was master workman during the construction of the long bridge across Seneca River on the Montezuma turnpike. He was the father of Frank, William, and Pierce Patrick. Robert Holmes, sr., settled in Lyons in 1818, made brick and potash, and died in 1848. His sons were: John, Gilman, Abram, William F., and Robert, jr. The latter was born in 1803, and died in February, 1881.
Ziba Lane, born in Bedford, Mass., in 1756, removed with his wife to Maine, and came thence to Lyons in 1814. He located on lot 80, built a log cabin and afterwards a commodious residence, accumulated a handsome property, and died at a good old age. His son Levi was born in Amherst, Mass., in 1806.
Newell Tafat and Farnum White removed to Lyons in 1816 and engaged in manufacturing chairs; afterward the partnership was dissolved and White continued the business alone. Mr. Taft became a contractor and builder, and with Henry Seymour began casting plows, making the first of the kind in town. Taft later built a foundry which he sold in 1866 to Wickson & Van Wickle. The establishment was burned in 1869, and rebuilt. Mr. Taft had twelve children. He was a prominent member of the Presbyterian church from 1822 until his death. December 8, 1874, aged nearly eighty-one years.
Philip Dorscheimer was the first miller in Lyons village. He afterward kept the old Wayne County Hotel and then the Lyons Hotel, and finally moved to Buffalo. He was a respected citizen, and through his influence a large number of sturdy Germans were induced to settle in the town. Elijah P. Taylor, born in Massachusetts in 1805, came to Lyons in 1822, and after compleiting his trade carried on the tanning business till 1838, when he removed to Sodus and engaged in dealing in boots and shoes. Returning to Lyons in 1850 he again became a tanner. Columbus Croul became a blacksmith in the village in 1821. He was an elder in the Presbyterian church from 1841 until his death in April, 1881. Jonas Parker, a cooper, came to Lyons about 1820. He was at one time keeper of the county poorhouse, and eventually moved to Indiana. Oliver Penoyer, born in Columbia county, N. Y., in 1806, settled in this town in 1837, and died in March, 1881. Thompson Harrington, a settler of 1826, was a partner or proprietor of the Lyons pottery until his death in October, 1874. James Pollock came here early and died November 18, 1872, aged eighty-two years. James McElwain, a wagonmaker and captain in the State militia, was a resident of Lyons from 1827 until his death in December, 1868. Ephraim Jefferson Whitney came here on foot from Ontario county in 1822 to learn the printer's trade in the office of the Lyons Advertiser. He also had a book store, and died in 1856. Robert and John Stanton, Englishmen, early settled on the hill that took their name; they subsequently moved to Geneva.
Hon. Van Rensselaer Richmond, born in Preston, N. Y., in 1812, became resident canal engineer at Lyons in 1837. In 1842 he had charge of the middle division, a position he resigned in 1848. He was a member of the canal board, and in 1850 was made division engineer of the Syracuse and Rochester direct railroad. In 1852 he became engineer of the middle division of the Erie Canal, and in 1857, 1859, 1867, and 1869 was elected State engineer and surveyor. He settled permanently in Lyons in 1852 and died in November, 1883.
Calvin D. Palmeter, a native of Berkshire, Mass., came to Sodus in 1816, whence he removed to Lyons about 1821. He was a tanner and currier, and was engaged in that business with Cyrus Hecox. He was constable, deputy sheriff, and in 1831 sheriff of Wayne county. He was also a keeper of the county poorhouse, and a Democrat and Presbyterian. His sons were Edwin, Ira F., Frank S., and Calvin S. David Gilson was an early cooper in Lyons village, and ran a Durham boat on the Clyde river, being engaged in the salt trade. Jonathan Colborn settled very eary on a farm one-half mile northeast of Alloway, and moved thence to Rose. Edward S., Matthew A., Augustus, and John Stewart came to Wayne county as pioneers; Edward S. was a lawyer in Lyons village, and the others located in Galen. William McGown was for twenty-four years a magistrate, and died at Alloway in January, 1885. Coll Roy, a Scotchman and the father of James Roy, settled south of Lyons and kept a hotel several years.
Thomas Bradley became a distiller with Capt. Henry Towar at Alloway. About 1820 he removed to a farm and died in 1835. In 1812 Beri Foote came to Lyons from Massachusetts, but soon located in the northeast corner of Galen.
Samuel Hecox came here in 1817, and was a merchant and county treasurer. Eli Hecox, his brother, was a carpenter and soldier in the war of 1812, and located in Lyons in 1831. Another brother, Cyrus, was a prominent merchant and tanner in the village. Cullen Foster was a politician in his younger days, held several town offices, and was both county sheriff and clerk. He died March 29, 1870. Smith A. Dewey, born in Whitestown, N. Y., December 7, 1814, came to Lyons in 1839, engaged in business as a merchant, and upon the death of John Adams in 1862 was appointed county treasurer, to which office he was elected in 1865 and again in 1868. He was highly esteemed, and died in November, 1875.
William Wallace Sandford, who came to Lyons in 1836, was first a merchant and later proprietor of the Wayne County Hotel. He was supervisor in 1853, and died in April, 1883. John Sparks, a farmer, settled in this town in 1836 and died in June, 1883. Stephen Marshall, born in Connecticut in 1807, removed to Lyons in 1832. He was a shoemaker and a lumberman, and was appointed one of three commissioners to build the present court house. He died in April, 1883. Nelson R. Mirick was born in Rose in 1831 and died here in March, 1886. He was a miller and malster, and served as supervisor several years. Dr. Hugh Jameson, long a practising dentist in the village, was born here in 1835 and died January 4, 1890.
Prominent among other early settlers of the village and town may be mentioned E. G. Thurston, long a successful merchant, who died November 8, 1857; John Evenden, a native of Kent, Eng., who died in February, 1863; John Knowles, sr., whose death occurred here November 19, 1864; Daniel Ford, who died May 2, 1861, and was buried with Masonic honors; David June, who died April 6, 1861; George Alexander who died about 1820; John Layton, the father of Daniel W., who died in February, 1885; George W. Cramer, merchant, who died in May, 1882; Thomas Cotter, a tailor noted for his miserly habits; who died in March, 1886; John Riley (son of Rev. Lawrence Riley), who died March 1, 1887; George M. Hatter, a prominent merchant here after 1851, who died in January, 1888; and Andrew Failing, Hugh Brown and John Paton.
James Dunn purchased 418 acres of the Dorsey farm in 1834, and died here in May, 1850. Alfred Hale settled in Alloway in 1823, and began growing peppermint in 1832. In 1854 he built a small mint still, after whch he erected five or six others. In 1862 he formed a partnership with a Mr. Parshall for the manufacture of essential oils in Lyons village, and the firm built up an enormous business. In 1827 Mr. Hale married a daughter of Levi Geer and has had three daughters and a son (Alfred S.)
Hiram G. Hotchkiss, the founder of the great peppermint industry of Wayne county, was born in Oneida county, N. Y., June 10, 1810, and moved to Phelps with his parents about 1817. His father, Leman, was a merchant, and the son began life in the same business. He became a miller, and in 1837 removed to Lyons and devoted his entire attention to the business. He married a daughter of Dr. Ashley and had twelve children, of whom Lemon, Calvin, and Hiram G., jr., succeeded to the business founded in Lyons by their father.
Dr. E. Ware Sylvester, born in Cazenovia, N. Y., in 1814, graduated at Union College in 1836, and at Auburn Theological Seminary in 1840, and after studying dentistry practiced in Lyons and elsewhere for twenty years. He finally abandoned his profession and established the Lyons nurseries.
The first grist mill in town was built at Alloway about 1794 by Henry Towar, agent for Captain Charles Williamson. John Featherly was the miller here, and when the structure was burned in 1804 Mr. Towar rebuilt it on the same site. Subsequent owners were George Ennis, Lawrence Riley, and Isaac Roy. The next grist mill was the one erected by Jacob Leach, one mile south of Lyons. In 1825 Samuel Hecox, Milton Barney, and William E. Perrine built a large mill in Lyons village on the site of the Shuler flouring mill and cut a raceway to it from Canandaigua outlet. It had four runs of stone, and the first miller was Philip Dorscheimer. The mill was burned about 1870 and the present one erected. In 1823 Henry Towar built a flouring mill four miles west of the village. It passed to William Young, and lacking a sufficient water supply was taken down and the frame brought to Lyons. The Leach mill on the outlet was finally burned and rebuilt by Mr. Towar, and passed into the hands of Shuler Brothers.
The first saw mill was built by John Perrine in 1880. It stood one mile south of the village, on the west side of Canandaigua outlet, and after running several years was dismantled. Simeon Van Wickle had another early mill three miles northwest of Lyons village, but both mill and stream have long since passed away. Judge Dorsey built a saw mill near the Shuler flouring mill, which in 1825 was removed to a better water power. Henry Towar erected several saw mills in various parts of the town.
About 1810 Gabriel Rogers erected in Lyons village a tannery, which he operated for twenty years. Samuel Minkler built a second one on Water street, and Cyrus Hecox a third. The latter was purchased by the Rogers brothers. Among other tanners here were Colonel Bartlett R. Rogers, Henry Teachout, and E. P. Taylor.
Numerous distilleries existed in the town at an early day, notably that of Jacob Leach, which was built in 1810 at the junction of the outlet of Ganargwa Creek. Joseph Farwell had another on the site of the old warehouse in Lyons village.
Henry Towar and Thomas Beals erected a clothiery at Alloway on the west side of the outlet at an early day, and Milton Barney and Judge Dorsey had another in Lyons village. Mr. Barney did an extensive business in this line for many years. He married a daughter of Judge Dorsey. The first ashery started in Lyons was operated by a Mr. Hessinger west of the Lutheran church. Others were conducted by Joseoph Farwell and Robert Holmes.
In 1822 William Clark & Company built a pottery in Lyons village that was managed by T. Harrington. It passed to Thompson & Harrington and later to J. Fisher & Company.
In 1858 the town had 15,917 acres of improved land, real estate valued at $1,355,531, personal property at $313,950; there were 2,604 male and 2,601 female inhabitants, 874 dwellings, 676 freeholders, 978 families, 13 school districts, 1,849 school children, 1,320 horses, 1,610 cows, 7.722 sheep, and 2,406 swine. There were produced 27, 357 bushels winter and 134,753 bushels spring wheat, 3,430 tons hay, 17,473 bushels potatoes, 51,526 bushels apples, 89,472 pounds butter, 4,128 pounds cheese, and 660 yards domestic cloths.
In 1890 the town had a population of 6,228, or 466 less than in 1880. Statistics of 1893: Assessed value of land, 4882,107 (equalized $1,054,381); village and mill property, $1,221,600 (equalized $1,204,192); railroads and telegraphs, equalized, $436,209; personal property, $ 301,750. Schedule of taxes, 1893: Contingent fund, $ 5,152.53; town poor fund, $2,200; roads and bridges, $250; special town tax, $3,107; school tax, $2,741.61; county tax, $6,559.61; State tax, $3,614.70; State insane tax, $932.52; dog tax, $111.50. Total tax levy, $27,071.06; rate per cent., .00982474. The town has five election districts and in 1893 polled 1,175 votes.
During the war of the Rebellion the town of Lyons contributed large numbers of her brave citizens for the Union Army and gave liberally of both money and supplies to aid the soldiers and ameliorate their condition at the front. Being the shire town of Wayne county many of the more important events that transpired during that long struggle occurred within these borders, and all are properly detailed in a preceding chapter.
The first school house in Lyons village and probably the first in town was a primitive structure that stood on the hill on the west side of Butternut street, at the head of Queen. It was there as early as 1804 or 1805, but was burned soon afterward. In June, 1813, the town was divided into twelve school districts; J. W. Gillispie and John Brown were school commissioners. Another school house was built of logs on the northeast corner of the Presbyterian church lot, and a third school was kept in the old Glover house in 1808-9, while a fourth was held in an old building where the German church now stands. Still another was situated on Church street, and was purchased by the Catholics for a house of worship. Among the earlier teachers in the various schools were: Thomas Rogers, Capt. James Hill, Mr. Fuller, Andrew Hull, Mr. Trowbridge, Mr. Starr, and Rev. Jeremiah Flint. At Alloway schools were opened at an early day, and two of the first teachers were Rev. Mr. Flint and Abner Brown. In 1852 a large brick school house was erected and the first teachers therein were Professor Ballou and Miss Julia Dorsey. In 1831 Miss Clarissa Thurston opened a "School for Young Ladies" on Geneva street, nearly opposite the old Joppa House. She finally discontinued it and went to Geneva.
March 29, 1837, the Lyons Academy was incorporated, and was merged into the present school on September 23, 1843, by the organizatioin of Union school district No. 6. At the meeting held on that day Jacob Leach was chosen moderator; John M. Holley, Eli Johnson, and Jabez Green, trustees; and Daniel Chapman, clerk. In 1844 the Vernon lot was purchased and a brick building, containing seven rooms, was erected at a total cost of over $10,000. There were four grades of study, and the first term, which opened the new structure on May 4, 1845, was attended by 519 pupils. The first teachers were Nathan Brittan, A. M., principal; E. B. Elliott, A. B., Mr. Delia Rogers, M. C. G. Nichols, Miss Hermans, Mrs. L. G. Blount, Miss E. H. Allen, Mrs. E. W. Redgrave, Miss Cornelia Haight, Levi S. Fulton, William C. Wright, and M. M. Rogers, M. D. July 6, 1847, it was decided to purchase the Newell Taft lot adjoining and erect an addition, and $5,000 was voted for the purpose. The new building contained, besides other rooms, a laboratory, a geological cabinet, and a chapel, and the whole, including furnishing, etc. cost about $14,000. In 1855 the school house was repaired at an expense of $2,000, and the school was placed by legislation under the regulations governing incorporated academies. December 7, 1855, a project was considered to make the school free, but resulted adversely, and on December 19th a committee was appointed to procure a law changing the board of trustees to a board of education and authorize graduate education. The law was passed and took effect in May, 1856. The new board consisted of Saxon B. Gavitt, J. T. Mackenzie, Morton Brownson, Lyman Sherwood, Zebulon Moore, C. Rice, George W. Cramer, A. D. Polhamus, and William H. Sisson. In 1860 the number was reduced to three and another grade was established. In December, 1862, a free school system was adopted and legislation secured for the purpose. In 1865 a German department was added with Jacob T. Eitelman as teacher.
July 25, 1889, the citizens voted in favor of building a new school house, and on October 10th ground was formally broken and the corner stone laid by William Kreutzer, president of the board, for the present handsom and commodious brick and stone structure. Joseph Blaby was the architect and the contract was let to William C. Long for $44,500, the heating and ventilating to cost $5,500 more. The new building was opened November 21, 1890. The principals of the old school, with the dates of their service, were as follows.
Nathan Brittan, May, 1845, to February, 1849; John T. Clark, February, 1849, to July, 1851; Rev. Wm. A. Benedict, August, 1851, to July, 1854; Francis B. Snow, August, 1854, to July, 1858; Howard M. Smith, August, 1858, to July, 1860; William Kreutzer, August, 1860, to November, 1861; James C. Benschotten, November, 1861, to July, 1862; Cicero M. Hutchins, September, 1862, to July, 1866; Alexander D. Adams, September, 1866, to April, 1871; Edward A. Kingsley, April, 1871, to July, 1873; Timothy A. Roberts, September, 1873, to April, 1876; Rev. William H. Lord, July, 1876, to July, 1877; J. B. Fraser, September, 1877, to April, 1878; J. H. Clark, July, 1878, to July, 1887; William G. White, July, 1887, to August, 1888; W. H. Kinney, August, 1888. The Lyons Union school was one of the first of the kind established in this State. It has always maintained a foremost position among similar institutions.
In December, 1853, the Lyons Musical Academy was started by Rev. L. H. Sherwood and for many years was a prominent feature of the village. It gained a wide and respectable reputation and offered rare advantages to those desiring a musical education. Rev. Mr. Sherwood's successor was O. H. Adams. Both were eminent teachers and thorough scholars. Its popularity waned, however, and the institution was discontinued a few years ago. Its last home on Queen street was built during the winter of 1881-2, and first occupied in April, 1882.
The town now has thirteen school districts with a building in each. In 1892-3 these were attended by 1,348 scholars and taught by thirty-two teachers. The value of school houses and sites is $72,575; assessed valuation of the districts, $2,751,360; public money received from the State in 1892-3, $4,986.49; raised by local tax, $14,253.63.
(original pages 221-237)
Source: Landmarks of Wayne County, New York, by George Washington Cowles. Syracuse, N.Y.: D. Mason. 1895. Chapter XVII.
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