By Vera Curtis
HOW LOG HOUSES WERE BUILT
The first thought of the early settler was a home for himself and family. The walls were of logs, notched and fitted and the openings between clinked and plastered with mud. The roof was made of bark, the floor of split logs. The door was hewed plank, hung upon wooden hinges. Glass and nails were difficult to purchase: greased paper often was used for the windows. The sleeping apartment was the loft reached by a ladder. Furniture and dishes were in harmony with the surroundings and was not infrequently the work of his own hands. Plain tables, flag-bottomed chairs; often blocks answered for seats. The shelves supported blue-edges plates and cups and saucers of pewter. In one corner sooner or later was installed the tall clock to take the place of the noon-mark. The high post bedstead with the cord bottom was seen, also the spinning wheel which was a necessity for every home. The women and girls knew how to card, spin and sew. Linen cloth was made by them and bleached to snowy whiteness. Wool cloth was made and dyed with the bark from the forest trees. The sap from the maple was gathered and boiled down for their sugar. Wintergreen and sassafras leaves were dried and steeped for tea.
Amusements were mingled with labor; there were corn-huskings and apple-parings, quilting parties, choppings and knittings for the destitute. There were barn-raisings and logging-bees, ending with a huge bonfire, pumpkin-pies, sweet cider and rye whiskey.
Sickness was very prevalent and good medical attendance almost impossible to obtain. Fever and ague gave the settlers their sick and well days, and they could work only when the well days came. Fever was very severe along the Ganargwa Creek and tributaries, because of its low rich lands and heavy timber. It took about four or five years for a settler to get acclimated. One settler said, "The first year I had the shakes, the next year I had the bilious fever, then the lake fever, and now I am closing up with the mud fever, and shall come out first rate."
Agriculture was in a crude state; many of the tools were made by the farmer or blacksmith as there was no place to purchase them near by and besides he had no money. A drag was made of two round sticks joined at one end and braced by a cross piece, forming an "A", one piece extending beyond the other. Seven heavy iron teeth were obtained from a blacksmith and put in, four on the longer and three on the other stick. The plows in use were heavy and clumsy. The blacksmith was the manufacturer.
What was gathered with the cradle and mowing was done with scythes. The need for clothing required sheep-raising but wolves killed so many that a bounty was paid by the town clerk to every man who brought him a wolf scalp. There was little use for horses, and oxen were used generally for farm work. There was only one mail between Canandaigua and Rochester in 1812, it being carried on horseback.
The manufacture of crude potash was a great industry. Small distilleries sprang up and took large quantities of the grain for whiskey. Grist mills were opened to dispose of the wheat crops. Wheat at this time was 75 cents a bushel, corn three shillings, butter 11 to 16 cents a pound, sheep 2 or 4 dollars a head, cows 16 to 25 dollars a head. A home made suit of clothes $4 to $5. Shoes were $1.75 to $2 a pair, whiskey 50 to 75 cents a gallon, horses $100 to $125 a span.
Many of the early settlers had to pay for their groceries by either work or produce. An old account book kept by James Galloway of Marion has the following entries: "Jason Sutton, To 4 bu. turnips to paid in tailoring. Elisha Lake, To 4 bu. of turnips to be paid in chopping. Julius Hutchinson, To 4 bu. of turnips to be paid in buck-wheat." Another item, "Lorin Simmons Dr. to James Galloway for 1 day lost time to the circus."
THE UPPER CORNERS
Before 1810 the settlement of the Upper Corners was in advance of that of the lower. The first tavern to be opened in Marion was in 1800 by widow Styles. This tavern was on the site of the home of the late Augusta Pulver. In 1807 the first grist mill was opened by Isaac Phillips near the site of the present mill. A carding mill was opened by Rufus Amsden where the Wayne County canning factory buildings are. Harkness Gifford ran a blacksmith shop where the late Charles Jaggar lived in Marion village. A tavern and distillery was conducted by James Huggins where Abram Ressue now lives at the Upper Corners. The first store was opened by Enock Turner where Glen Burden lives at the present time. At the Henry Allen house there was a blacksmith shop. Eliphalet Dean ran a tannery on the farm now owned by Charles Johnson west of Marion.
In 1825 at the Lower Corners there was a grist mill, a saw mill, distillery, an ashery, blacksmith shop, a post office, tavern, store, and a school. There were four houses on the west side of Main Street and seven on the east side. The upper corners had a blacksmith shop, a cabinet shop, the office of Dr. Seth Tucker, and about ten houses. In 1831 a saw mill was built by James Wright and Mr. Wing on the hill above Marinus Moose's house. It was called the ox-mill because its power was obtained from a treadmill driven by oxen.
Among the early settlers of Marion there were several soldiers who had served during the War of the Revolution. Noles Negus was a private from Rhode Island and is buried in the Negus family cemetery which is in the orchard on the hill of Peter VanHall's farm east of Marion. A road which is now unused passed these graves. There are no markers standing, for about twenty years ago they were taken down by the farm owner.
William Rice enlisted at the age of 16 from Massachusetts in the Revolutionary War. He also served three years in the War of 1812. He came to Marion in 1832 and died in 1835 at the age of 70. He was buried at Cory Corners on the farm now owned by Arthur Young. The marker from his grave was set in the wall of the hall of the Presbyterian Church when it was built in 1912.
Obidiah Archer was born in Hebron, Connecticut, Feb. 1 5, 1760. He served two years in the Revolutionary War. He came to Marion in 1835 and died April 8, 1851, at the age of 91 years. His grave is well marked on the Archer lot in Marion Cemetery.
Durfee Hicks was another resident of Marion who served in the Revolutionary War. He was born March 1757. He enlisted in 1775. In 1776 he served as a marine on the ship Providence. He died Feb. 12, 1844, at the age of 86 years and is buried south of Marion, in the town of Palmyra, on the farm now owned by John Cleason. The grave has a good marker.
Solomon Leonard had been a private in the Connecticut Continental troops. He died about 1848 and is buried in the Marion Cemetery on the James Leonard lot; there is no marker on his grave. Albert C. Leonard of Newark, N.Y., is his grandson and has the bayonet he carried during the war.
William Cory was born in 1753. He enlisted on January 6, 1776, in Elliotte Regiment at the age of 23, and was corporal in Captain John Karzien's Company. His name was on the muster roll of Warwick-on-the-Hudson, near New York City, February 15, 1778. He died on September 26, 1838, at the age of 85. Colonel William Prescott Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, placed a marker on his grave in the cemetery at Marion, with dedication ceremonies, on October 16, 1930.
WAR OF 1812
The War of 1812 took nearly all the men of the town. Micajah Harding of Marion, who raised a company of sharpshooters and went to the front, said that there were more soldiers from Marion than families. The official record of those to whom awards were given at the close of the war mentions Oliver Atwell, William Cogswell, Seth Curtis, Benjamin Mason, Samuel Negus, Reuben Parks, Cornelius Simmons, Earl Wilcox and Israel Springer. Other soldiers were Reuben Smith, Solomon Leonard, Reuben Adams, Jr., Jacob Crane, Weston Briggs, Thomas Cory, Thomas Congdon, Amos Phelps, Pardon Durfee, Joshua Terry, Silas Barton, Paul Phelps.
The War of 1812 stopped immigration. People who lived in the better protected eastern states were not disposed to endanger their lives and property on the frontier. The high prices for which farm produce sold during the war were some compensation for the hardships and anxieties of the people. In 1816 the price of wheat was $3 per bushel. Corn was $2 a bushel.
About this time improvements were made in roads and bridges, and schools and churches were built. A school had been built on the Robinson Farm, opposite Mrs. George Lookup's orchard. This schoolhouse burned in 1814, and the people of Marion built two new schools. One was built at Marion Lower Corners near the home of the late Brainard Curtis, now the residence of Lester Nevil. This was known as the Central School. The second school was located at Marion Upper Corners near the site of the schoolhouse which was known as District 4, until its consolidation with District 1. The last school meeting to be held in this school district was in 1916, when Vera Curtis was elected trustee; Charles Cook, Clerk; Roy Curtis, collector.
SCHOOL RECORDS FROM 1814 - 1914
There is a book in the Town Clerk's office in which is recorded the minutes of the school meetings of the Upper Corners school district from 1814 to 1914. The first records states, "Record of school district number 4 in Williamson frm April 11,1814 - proceedings of organization being unfortunately lost. James Smith, clerk." At this meeting they chose a site for a new schoolhouse, "To be near the four corners on the south of the new laid road, through Reuben Adams' and Micajah Harding's land." The school house was not built and comleted until September, 1819, on David Mason's land. In 1824 there were 105 children of school age residing in the Upper Corners district. At a special meeting on February 15, 1833, the highway commissioners made application to lay out a public highway from the old Sodus road near Samuel Springer's past the schoolhouse and through the land of the district to the road running east from the Pultneyville road to Ezra Phelps'. This is the short road that now runs from the present schoolhouse to Wayne Witherden's corner.
The Center schoolhouse was used until 1834, when the property was bought by James Harvey Curtis. He moved the schoolhouse back on the lot and built his blacksmith shop there. Then a district schoolhouse of stone was built on the site of the Bilby house across from the present Grange Hall. This property was purchased by Joseph Bilby.
In 1838 Morrison Huggins opened a select school in the upper part of the stone schoolhouse which stood on the Bilby site. There was also a select school at the Young's home taught by ladies.
On March 27, 1839, the Marion Academy was incorporated and that year a cobble stone building was erected on the site of the present Grange Hall. The first principal was Ornon Archer, a graduate of Williams College, who made it a success. There is, in the possession of Miss Mira Crane of Marion, a catalog of the Academy for the year 1841. It gives a list of over 218 pupils including the names of three Indians from the Buffalo Reservation, William Jemerson, Cephas Two Guns, and Peter Wilson. After the retirement of Mr. Archer the school died out and the charter was given up in 1851.
This left Marion without a preparatory school, so Macajah Adams and Edger Galloway secured a young man by the name of Collier from Oberlin College to prepare some of the young people for college. The first class consisted of thirteen, who were taught in the stone building which had been built as the Academy. The Marion Collegiate Institute was a result of this venture, and when that was started, the old stone academy was used as the district school until the wooden building, which is now the Grange Hall, was built in 1893 by Albert Smith.
THE COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE
The Marion Collegiate Institute obtained its charter in 1855, and a school was started with 90 pupils in an upper room over a store, now Clark's block. In 1856 the three-story brick building was completed with an indebtedness of $6000. The trustees of the institute offered to give sectarian control of the institution forever to any church that would assume this indebtedness. The Marion Baptist Church came forward and raised the money. After forty-nine years as the Marion Collegiate Institute it was taken over by the Board of Education of the Union Free School in 1904.
In 1924 a new school building was erected at a cost of $140,000 on the old site enlarged. The new schoolhouse was large enough to accommodate the consolidated school district, which included ten districts, eight from Marion and two from Palmyra. The town of Marion then had only five school districts.
SCHOOLS OF MARION
All of the districts in the township of Marion were centralized into one central school district on July 1, 1932. This organization was brought under the provisions of Article 6-B of the Educational Law of the New York State. This change has gained many advantages for the people of the district. We have better school buildings, and equipment; a greater breadth of subject matter; a wider variety of recreational, and social experiences; more teacher-time; the help of special teachers; and better supervision, and personal guidance.
The specific courses, and services, which have been added in Marion Central High School are: Commerical Department, in 1930; School Nurse, in 1931; Physical Education, in 1932; Music and Band, in 1936; Homemaking, in 1936. Art, Agriculture, and Industrial Arts, will be added in the fall of 1937.
The cost of the new school and equipment is now $28,000. To the original cost, improvements were added in the years of 1933, and 1934, that cost $65,000. In 1937, an addition, costing $75,000, was built. All of this was done with very little extra cost to the people of the district, because the centralization created a larger tax base for financial support. This meant greater territory for local real-estate tax, and increased allotments from State taxes.
All of these improvements were brought about under the able leadership of Prof. Lewis W. Bradley, who became principal of the school September 3, 1929.
The first religious worship was held in the homes of the settlers. In 1802 Elder Seba Norton came once in two weeks from Sodus to preach. Elder Fairbanks, who was induced to come from Connecticut and was presented with 100 acres of the Pultney estate on condition that he would come and preach two years in the town of Williamson, came to Marion occasionally. Rev. John Case preached for many years. He was ordained a minister of the Christian Church on September 20, 1826, at the age of 39.
The settlers from Rhode Island were mostly Baptists, as was Roger Williams, the founder of Providence, R.I. The First Baptist Church of Marion was organized on February 29, 1804, with Reuben and Anna Adams, Luke and Elizabeth Sherman, David, Abby and Margaret Harding, Ezra and Phebe Phelps, Sally Harding, Betsy Adams, David Foster, Sally Teal and Mehitabel Adams as charter members. For twenty years the services were held regularly at the Upper Corners schoolhouse. The salary paid in 1808 was $25 a year. In 1829 the first edifice was built and was used until 1850. The first pastor was Elder Seba Norton. The church is now used for stores and is know as Clark's block. The second building was dedicated Nov. 25, 1850 by Elder Bennett of Hamilton, N.Y. The present edifice was built in 1904.
There is an old deed, dated Septemer 11, 1829, to pew number 40 in the old Baptist Church. The pew was deeded to Stephen Rowley, James Curtis and David Crane for 999 years in consideration of $16. The deed was signed by four trustees of the church, Seth Eddy, Gardner Hicks, William Skinner, and Garner Wait, and is at present in the keeping of Mira Crane of Marion, a descendant of both David Crane and Gardner Hicks.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 1808
The Presbyterian Church of Marion was organized in 1808 as the Congregational Church. The eight original members were Luke Phelps, Timothy and Ruth Smith, David Sweezey, Zadack and Thankful Huggins, Samuel and Sarah Waters. Meetings were held in the Center School house and private homes until 1831, when the first church was built. The present structure was built in 1912.
There is in the Marion Library a very interesting and valuable history of the Presbyterian Church from 1808 to 1896, written by Nancy Henion and Carrie Butler. These records were hand bound by Henry Lewis Bullen of Jersey City, N.J., because of his interest in Rev. Merritt Gally, pastor of the church from 1865 to 1868.
The Christian Church of Marion was organized on November 1, 1820, as the Church of God, with the following charter members: A.R. Galloway, Daniel Wilcox, Calvin Briggs, Zebina Crane, Ruth Wright, Noah Davenport, Anna Simons, John Atwood, Jerusha Springer, Charles Parsons, Sapphira Barton, Sally Briant, Nathan Sherman, Phebe Galloway, Harriet Cooley, Southard Potter, William Markweather, Isaiah Booth, Dorcas Hadsall, Betsy Brockway, James Foster, Oliver True, Rebeckah Person, James Sawyer, John Case, Orpha Adams, Pamilia Crane, Nancy Lake, Heriah Clark, John Potter, Sally Arnold, Lucinda Clark, Piama Sawyer, Henrietta Dexter, James Smith, Hannah Crane, Cynthia Sherman, Jepe Mason, Ephraim Hollister, Luilla Springer, Claripa Hollister, Rememb Coggshall, Edgar M. Galloway, Mary Galloway, Freeman Cobb, Mrs. Ketcham, J.W. Brockway, Thankful Dexter, Daniel Dean, Seth Crandall, Hannah Wilcox, Mary Brockway, Rhoda Davenport, Sally Lucop, Ruth Coggshall.
[Typist's note - The above names should read: Jepe Mason = Jesse Mason, and Claripa Hollister = Clarissa Hollister. In the handwriting convention of the times, double "esses" were written as the "long s", and appear to the unaccustomed contemporary reader to be the letter "p." This convention is often seen on early census records, causing errors in census indexes. It's obvious that these names were typed up in 1937 from an early document, so other spellings may be off as well. Sally Lucop should more likely be interpreted as Sally Lucas(s), and Rememb Cogshall would be an abbreviation for Remembrance Cogshall.]
The Christian Church was first organized in the United States in 1793, and was called "Republican Methodist." It acknowledged no head over the church save Christ, and no creed but the Bible.
The first church of stone was built at the Upper Corners in 1832 on the site of the present home of Peter Moose. The second edifice was built on the present site in 1856, and was re-modelled and dedicated in 1905. The evangelistic work of Rev. David Millard and Rev. Joseph Badger brought about the organization of the church.
Religious services were discontinued in 1913. The church property was bought by Miss Love Seymour of Rochester and presented to Marion Masonic Lodge for the use of the Lodge and Eastern Star Chapter.
The First Methodist Church of Marion was organized in 1845 with 12 charter members: Jacob Crane and wife, Jacob Garlock and wife, Sylvester Soper and wife, Peleg Sanford and wife, Mrs. Jacob Norris, A.B. Williams, Mrs. Zepheniah Howell, Mrs. Sally Van Ostrand. The first trustees elected were Israel Springer, William Lookup, Jacob Baker, J.G. Crane, Moses B. Russel and Jacob Garlock. The building was erected in 1855. This church discontinued services in 1919.
FIRST REFORMED CHURCH
The First Reformed Church of Marion first held services in 1860 in a building which stood on the present site. It was organized in 1870, and on March 19, 1873, the present building was dedicated. The old building was moved and is now known as "Clark's Hall" on Maple avenue.
The charter members of 1870 were: John Cornelius and wife, Jokoba Schotsman; Isaac Gilman and wife, Johanna Wara Shufelt; Jacob Fortries and wife, Jane Jores; John Callward and wife, Jacomoina Merson; James Boekhout and wife, Frances Gilman; Peter Morel and wife, Maria Michelsen; William Kouwe and wife, Magdalena Bogart; John Jores and wife, Jane Sara Cuvelier; Maria Tellier, widow of J. Jores; Isaac Van Bortel and wife, Susan Levina Wage; Herbert Fisher and wife, Elizabeth Youngman; Adrian Daanson and wife, Cornelia De Vey; Isaac Malgee; John Bogart and wife, Sarah Youngman; Jacob Baylard; Marenus Schoonerman and wife, Maria De Smith; simion Bonte and wife, Sarah Gilman; William J. Morrison and wife, Janet Leenaar; Cornelius Verbridge; Jacob Verbridge; Abram Wagemaker and wife, Cornelia De Witt; John Van Hee and wife, Johanna M. Lybart; Solomon De Bois and wife, Jane De Smith; Jokomina Van Cruyningham; Pieternella Burgemeester; John Mullie and wife, Sarah Samon; Jhn Samon and wife, Johanna Den Engleson. These members brought letters from their churches in Holland. John Vanderbough and wife, Cornelia Malgee; William Youngman and Isaac Morrison joined on confession of faith.
The first pastor of the church was Rev. J.W. Warnshuis of Cleveland, Ohio. The first report to the Classis of Geneva in 1872 stated that there were 124 families, with 244 in communion.
The Second Reformed Church of Marion was organized in 1910 with a membership of 101. The church was built and dedicated in 1911.
ST. GREGORY'S CATHOLIC
St. Gregory's Catholic Church of Marion began to hold service in Maccabee Hall in 1908. A fine church was erected and dedicated in 1914 with a membership of 65.
Privately printed in Marion, New York, MCMXXVII, The Cosmos Press, Cambridge, Mass.
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