TALES OF THE VILLAGE OF SAVANNAH
An excerpt from: History of Wayne County, New York; With Illustrations Descriptive of Its Scenery, Palatial Residences, Public Buildings, Fine Blocks, and Important Manufactories. Everts, Ensign & Everts, Publishers. Philadelphia: 1877. Page 163.
This village is located on the New York Central Railroad, and covers almost entirely Military lots 64 and 65, of township No. 27, each containing six hundred acres, and both reserved and set apart for the support of the gospel; although, until twelve years ago (Note: this would be @ 1865), no church organization existed within the limits of the town. Savannah village is, strictly speaking, a railroad town; not even a hamlet being in existence here prior to 1854, when the new station was erected. Thirteen years after its first beginning, in 1867, it had attained the dignity of an incorporated village, when the following officers were chosen, viz:
It now has three church societies, - the Presbyterian, Methodist Episcopal, and Roman Catholic, - a commodious two-story brick union school-house, costing five thousand dollars, one hotel, one large steam stave-mill, stores, shops, and quite an extensive and constantly increasing mercantile trade. Undoubtedly, it will in a few years become a point of considerable importance in commerce, as it is already the centre of a large circuit of very strong and productive farming lands. In the great freshet that occurred in the spring of 1865, which inundated the country on the line of Crusoe creek, and carried away all its bridges, much damage was done in this vicinity, and all the parts flooded, which caused much inconvenience to the inhabitants before the damage could be repaired. The first house erected here was put up by Archibald Munson, about 1825, when he settled on a farm at this place. The first store was built and kept by John Evans, in 1854. He commenced in a small way in the building now occupied by Dr. Smith, on the west side of the street, north of and near the railroad. After one year at this place, he removed, in connection with R. W. Evans, to a new building erected by Winans Winnegar, between the Savannah hotel and the railroad, where a larger business was carried on. It was afterwards kept by R. W. Evans and William R. Stults, and by W. G. Smith. Savanna hotel, the only public-house in the place, and the second one in the town, was erected by Archibald Munson in 1858, and opened on February 20, 1859, by Bela Smith and A. J. Squires, lessees. In October following, Mr. Smith sold his interest to a Mr. Burroughs. Stephen Compson superseded in ownership, and was followed by Peter Powell, Norris, John Fowler, and Wright & Bivins, the present owners. Joseph Remer built and ran the first blacksmith shop in 1854; and William B. Dodge recently erected the cider-distillery now in operation. The steam stave-mill, belonging to Hiram Diefendorff, was burned to the ground in the fall of 1866, and was rebuilt the following year.
Savannah Lodge, No. 764, F. and A. M., was organized about two years ago by the resident members of the order of Freemasons. At the last election, held December 21, 1876, the following officers were elected for the ensuing year, viz.: J. A. Munson, W.M.; A. E. Casey, S. W.; J.N. Westbrook, J. W.; J. B. Carris, Treasurer; A. S. Farnham, Secretary; H. E. Newton, S. D.; J. K. Bixby, J. D.; B. G. Clark; S. M. C.; D. E. Carncross, J. M. C.; and A. Gregg, Tyler. The lodge has ample rooms fitted up, regular meetings with good attendance, and is in a flourishing condition.
The Presbyterian Church of Savannah was organized in the district school-house in that village, in 1864, by Rev. Mr. Wilson and Rev. Mr. Young, a committee of ministers, both of Lyons, and with seventeen constituent members, viz.: Elisha Merriman, Carlotte Merriman, Daniel E. Campbell, Mary Campbell, John North, Sebel W. North, Moses Treat, Sarah Treat, Willis G. Smith, Almira Smith, Ogden Pearson, Julia Pearson, Mary Pearsall, Jane E. Kirkhuff, Nancy J. Broderic, Frances A. Wells, and Harriet E. Evans. The first minister was Rev. George W. Warner; and Moses Treat and John North were appointed the first bench of elders, and also to serve as deacons. The weekly services of the church continued to be held in the district school-house until the completion of their present church edifice, which was begun immediately after its organization. It is located in the central part of the village, forty-five by sixty feet in size, and cost about five thousand dollars. It was opened for services, and consecrated to Divine worship, on August 18, 1864, by Rev. Horace Eaton, D. D., of Palmyra. Rev. George W. Warner, the first minister, occupied the pulpit one year, and was superseded by Rev. George Smith, who also served one year. Mr. Smith was followed by Rev. Charles Anderson, who, after preaching two years, was succeeded by Rev. Lemuel S. Pomeroy, the present incumbent, now completing his sixth year. John North and Willis Sith are the present elders, and also serve as deacons; and the present church membership is forty-eight. The church has had a regular minister nearly all the time since its organization, though Rev. L. S. Pomeroy is the first regularly-installed pastor, - the preceeding serving as supplies. A revival occurred in the third year of its existence, under the ministration of Rev. Charles Anderson, also in 1872, and in 1876. The Sabbath school was organized in the same school-house, in 1862, and in unison with the members of the Methodist Episcopal intendent. The pupils who were children of Methodist parents were afterwards withdrawn and connected with the church of that denomination. The school now comprises seven teachers and about sixty pupils, under charge of Warren E. Knapp, present superintendent. It also has a carefully-selected library of three hundred volumes, with Edward P. Pomeroy, librarian. The church and school are both prosperous.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Savannah was the second religious organization established in the town, dating from about 1867; their church building was erected soon after. It was dedidated in November, 1870. Long before the organization of this church the Methodists held frequent services in the school-house. This church owes its foundation mainly to the late Archibald Munson; he contributed about a thousand dollars, donated also the ground upon which the church was built, and was a zealous supporter of everything connected with the organization up to the day of his death. The church is a commodious wooden structure, with a high basement for classrooms, Sunday school, etc. Both the society and school are in a prosperous condition.
The Saint Patrick's Church of Savannah (Roman Catholic) was commenced in the summer of 1875. It is located on the east side of the road, on the old Michael Curry farm, south of the railroad, and about one-fourth mile from the village. It is a wooden structure, twenty-five by fifty feet in size, and will cost when completed about two thousand four hundred dollars. The architects and builders are Grace & McCarthy, of Weedsport. The lot was donated to the church, in fulfillment of the wishes of Mrs. Michael Curry, by her daughter, Mrs. Andrew McDade, of Rochester. Savannah belongs to Clyde parish, and is consequently under the supervision and charge of Rev. Father P. W. O'Connel, D. D., pastor of St. John's in that village, who conducts the services of this church, and to whose energy and zeal, aided by the effective support of Edward Flinn, of Savannah, the present undertaking is due. For the past twelve or fifteen years mass has been celebrated and church services held in private houses, as priests would occasionally visit the village; most prominent among whom are Fathers J. P. Stewart and P. W. O'Connel. The Catholic congregation of St. Patrick's church is about one hundred and fifty.
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