GRIP'S HISTORICAL SOUVENIR
PAGES 78 - 84
Source: Historical Souvenir Series No. 20
Wolcott, N.Y. and Vicinity
Copyrighted June 1905, "Grip," 109 Corning Ave., Syracuse, N.Y.
The Carlton House, situated near the railroad station was purchased by L. H. Tague,
the present proprietor, March 1, 1905. Mr. Tague took the house, determined to make it
first class in every respect. He has spent considerable money in improvements inside and
out and this house is becoming a favorite stopping place for commercial men.
Johnson & King as a business firm was organized February 1, 1903, succeeding the firm
of F. S. Johnson & Co., which consisted of F. S. Johnson, C. E. Johnson and F. W. King,
the two latter having previously clerked for Mr. Johnson. The business consists of dry
goods, groceries, boots and shoes, carpets and wall paper.
Wolcott Christening - The earliest name given to this village was Melvin's Mills.
This was in 1809 when Jonathan Melvin erected the saw and grist mills. He was led hither
by the splendid water power afforded by the falls near the village and there the
settlement was begun.
Some years later when Obadiah Adams had opened hotel and store and was making large
shipments of meal, he erected large casks or puncheons for storage. It is said that at
one time he had a thousand of the casks along Main street. This gave to the place the
The village was later named after Governor Wolcott of Connecticut.
Benjamin & Clapper, manufacturers of cement block, started the business in the spring
of 1905. They have placed several large orders of block and are making them in considerable
numbers. These cement blocks are taking the place of brick, stone and wood in all sorts
of building. The older the blocks get the stronger they are. In molding the blocks the
best machine is used - the Hercules; and the face of the block is made to represent gray
or brown stone or a smooth front. This firm is the only manufacturer of these blocks in
this section of the state. This firm also deals in cement at wholesale and retail.
Bevier & Armstrong. This business was established on October 29, 1892, by Fred Bevier
in the Tyrell block, but soon outgrew its quarters and when the Johnson & Northrup block
was built Mr. Bevier had one of the stores fitted especially for his undertaking and
furniture business which he conducted successfully until March 12, 1901, when Clarence J.
Armstrong bought a half interest in the business of which the firm name is now Bevier &
Armstrong and ranks among Wolcott's best firms, doing a general furniture business,
upholstering and picture framing. They are general agents for school seats and church
furniture. "Their undertaking business always has their special attention, with lady
assistant, and first class rolling stock makes them among the county's best."
Cleared Land in the Village - John Grandy, who came in 1808, was employed by Obadiah
Adams and he cleared thirty acres now in the south part of the village and occupied by
village streets and homes.
Benjamin T. Moore began business in Wolcott in 1896, succeeding to the pharmacy and
grocery which his father, A. W. Moore, had conducted as sole proprietor since 1882, and in
connection with a partner since 1872. Mr. B. T. Moore was a clerk for his father some
years before buying the business. His lines of trade are groceries and drugs complete.
The Fire Department - In April, 1884, the village voted to raise by tax $2,500 for the
purchase of a fire engine and a suitable equipment, and in the fall of 1885 the present
frame engine house and village hall building was erected.
Henry A. Graves was president of the village at the time the organization of the
department was effected and he was made the first chief of the department, holding that
position several years.
Prior to that the village had a hand fire engine with a brigade organized to serve it.
Then a Hook and Ladder company was organized which was finally split up into two
companies. The hand engines, at one time there were two of them in use in the village -
were kept under the shed of the Presbyterian church on lower Main street. Great
difficulty was occasioned in getting water until the new department was created when the
village constructed reservoirs.
When a fire broke out men and women assisted in carrying water in buckets with which
to keep the tanks in the hand engines filled.
There are now three splendidly organized and drilled companies, the Hook & Ladder
Company, the Hose Company and the Steamer Company.
Melvin Estate; What became of It - Joel Fanning making a search of the old cemetery
title found as follows: Sir John Lawton Johnson of Webster Hall, County of Durfrus,
England, transferred to lot 50, Williamson's patent, 8481/2 acres to Jonathan Melvin,
September 3, 1811. Then when Melvin became involved Thomas Armstrong, sheriff,
transferred 600 acres to the Utica Bank, December 21, 1830. The Utica Bank transferred
the property to David Arne December 24, 1833.
Leavenworth Institute; First Anniversary, (See view Old Building page 31): Those who
participated in the exercises, July 6, 1860, were D. Chichester, the orator of the
occasion; E. Reynolds, salutatorian; M. Darling, Miss C. Chatterson, G. C. Cosad, Miss G.
Chipman, Miss S. Reynolds, S. Colvin, F. Webb, Miss M. Leavenworth, H. Arne, Miss C.
Briggs, Miss W. Talcott, B. Van Auken, J. Burr, Miss H. Stark, W. Westfall, Miss A. Stark,
Miss C. Norton, E. Dickson, J. Merrill, Miss A. Van Auken, B. Arms, F. S. Johnson, J. Roe,
Miss J. Pepper; W. H. Valentine, valedictorian.
Wolcott Lady Honored - The Ladies of the G. A. R., Wolcott Circle, were highly honored
at the Department Convention, State of New York, held at Syracuse June 22, when Mrs. J. E.
Lawrence was elected president of the Department, which she will represent at the National
Convention which is to be held at Denver, Sept. 1st, this year.
Early Highways: Opening of the Roads Between Wolcott, the Lake and the East:-
The first highway laid out in the town of Wolcott was what was called the old Galen
road, which was cut through from the old salt works in Savannah to Sodus Bay. The bay
terminus was at Capt. Helm's place then called the "floating bridge," now Glasgow. The
road was opened by the Galen Salt Company to get its productions to the bay where they
could be loaded on schooners.
In 1804 Grover Smith, John Swift and John Ellis were named commissioners to lay out a
military road four rods wide from Salina to the north-west corner of the old military town
of Galen, thence on through Palmyra and Northfield to the mouth of the Genesee river.
The New Hartford road leading south from Wolcott was opened by Noah Starr, Jacob Shook
and Peres Bardwell, the first highway commissioners. The survey was completed Nov. 2,
1810, and was made by Osgood Church.
The road from Rose Valley to Clyde was surveyed March 10, 1811. This was maintained
several years for a plank road which was discontinued in 1877.
Two roads between Wolcott and Clyde were surveyed May 10, 1910. They were that on
the east side of Mill creek south from Rumsay mill and the road via of Stuard's Corners.
These were to clear the way to the county (Seneca) seat at Waterloo.
The road from Sloop Landing to Melvin's Mills (Wolcott) was surveyed June 8, 1810.
A road was surveyed through to Port Bay June 29, 1810.
The Galen road to Cato was surveyed May 23, 1810, and to Sodus Bay June 28, 1810.
These were the direct roads from the Bay to Auburn.
Olivit Bros. & Cunningham - The firm of Olivit Brothers consists of three members,
George W. Olivit, who was born in Dutchess County, New York in 1841; Ambrose Olivit also
born in Dutchess County in 1849; and James P. Cowper born in Isle of Wight County,
This firm has been in business in N. Y. City for forty years, so is one of the oldest
original Houses now doing business in that city, and is well known all over the United
States, Canada, Bermuda Islands, also the West Indies, and has the esteem and confidence
of every one with whom it does business.
Olivit Brothers have been buying fruit in Wolcott, N. Y. for 25 years, and their
business in that vicinity has been managed for the past eleven years by W. C. Cunningham;
and is at present under the name of Olivit Bros. & Cunningham.
The store house shown in the view was erected in 1901, and is supplied and equipped
with every improvement. Near the building is a cooper shop where the firm have barrels
made for their business.
Olivit Brothers have paid out in the Wolcott business as high as $75,000.00 in one
season. They handle apples (green fruit) and onions.
"Captains" of Wolcott in Early Days (See Frontispiece)
Isaac Leavenworth. - Born June 17, 1781; Died Feb. 29, 1860. He was for many years
the most prominent and influential business man in Wolcott. He was associated with Mr.
Hendrick, and his son Elisha Leavenworth, in the Blast Furnace. Mr. Leavenworth was very
liberal in his gifts to and in support of the Presbyterian church and the Leavenworth
Institute. The grounds of the present school buildings were given by him. His
grandchildren, Mrs. Benjamin Wilson, Mrs. James Westfall and F. A. Leavenworth now reside
in Rochester, N. Y.
Jedediah Wilder. - A successful and prominent man in Wolcott; Died Aug. 8, 1867, aged
75 years. He was father of Mrs. Elisha Leavenworth and Mrs. C. P. Smith, and other
children not so well identified with the history of Wolcott.
Dr. James Wilson. - Born May 16, 1807; Died Aug. 17, 1881. He was for a long period
the leading physician in Eastern Wayne and very prominent in politics. He served as
member of the Legislature.
Dr. E. H. Draper. - Born Jan. 7, 1830; Died July 15, 1900. He studied medicine with
Dr. Wilson and was for years associated with him; became a leader in his profession, and
the acknowledged leader of the Democratic party in his town. He served for many years as
Supervisor of the town of Wolcott, was very active in business, and at his death, having
no children, he left a large bequest to both the Baptist and Presbyterian churches.
Chauncy P. Smith. - Born 1826; Died 1900. He was for many years up to 1883, the
leading and most enterprising merchant in Wolcott. He built two brick stores - the first
erected of brick in the village. For something over twenty years he was superintendent of
the Sunday school and an elder of the Presbyterian church. His moving to the west in 1883
was a great loss to Wolcott. He died in Duluth, Minn.
Jonathan Melvin. - Very little is known of him outside of his operations in Wolcott.
An account is given on page 4 and a pen-sketch on page 63.
Dr. David Arne. - A sketch of him will be found on page 5 under caption "Black House
Farm," and on page 64 under caption, "Post Rider."
Rev. Thomas Wright. - A distinguished clergyman in the Presbyterian church for 16
years; now living at Detroit, 86 years old. He preached the last sermon in the old
Presbyterian church on lower Main street. He was a native of Vermont.
W. C. T. U. - In the summer of 1877 "Dr." Bacon, the blue-ribbon temperance reformer,
hired Graves Hall and began a temperance crusade. The pastors of the village were in the
audience and listened to a strong tirade against ministers of the gospel and their
sympathy with the liquor evil. After the meeting closed Rev. W. L. Page of the
Presbyterian church went on the platform, shook hands with the "Dr." and said: "I am not
afraid of you or any man living." Thereafter Dr. Bacon called Mr. Page "Peter
Cartwright." In the weeks that followed all the pastors worked in harmony with Dr. Bacon
who, with all his eccentricities and roughness, did a mighty work for righteousness the
results of which are felt to this day in the healthy temperance sentiment in Wolcott
Out of this movement there was organized by Rev. W. L. Page and Rev. B. W. Hamilton a
Women's Christian Temperance Union, with Mrs. O. P. Meeks, wife of the Baptist pastor, as
president. She left town within a year and Mrs. F. S. Johnson filled out the term of
office and was re-elected twice. Mrs. W. H. Thomas served as president eight years, Miss
Lida V. Kellogg four years, Mrs. E. H. Reed six years, and Miss Mary A. Talcott has now
served seven years.
There are at present about thirty-five members, with eleven departments of work:
Evangelistic, Mother's Meetings, Parlor Meetings, Press Work, Literature, Non-alcoholic
Medication, Anti-Narcotics, Flower Mission, Sunday School, Sabbath Observance,
Parliamentary Usage. They contribute annually $2 to the Frances Willard Memorial Fund,
spend many dollars in literature at home, and in various meetings seek to educate public
sentiment toward the utter extermination of the legalized liquor traffic, for temperance
in all things helpful and abstinence from all things harmful.
Cayuga Indians at Wolcott. - Prior to 1789 the lands about Wolcott were the property
of the Cayuga Indians and these were no doubt the Indians of our local traditions. No
permanent camps seem to have been located hereabouts but there were frequent hunting
expeditions down Wolcott Creek to Port Bay, and there is a tradition that each year in the
autumn a tribe visited Port Bay hunting and herb gathering.
Evidences of their camps have been found on the farms of Edward Waldruff, Samuel Jones
and Hezekiah Easton on the east side of the Bay and from these farms numerous arrow heads,
fleshers, spear heads and relics have been gathered. By the treaty of Albany February 25,
1789, the Cayugas ceded their rights in the lands of this section to the State of New York
and except for an occasional visit the aboriginal history of Wolcott came to an end.
Settlers from New Hartford. - Jesse Mathews came to Wolcott in 1810, was elected
supervisor in 1817 and held the office of justice of the peace several years. Others who
came with him from New Hartford, Ct., were Abijah Moore, William P. Newell, Roswell Fox
and Roger Olmstead. They settled on farms in the south environs of Wolcott village.
Roger Olmstead conducted a distillery east of the New Hartford road as it was called.
Earliest Presbyterian Preachers. - Rev. Daniel S. Butterick was preaching at Geneseo
among the Indians in 1813 when he was sent to the Sodus circuit. He was afterwards
missionary among the Cherokees.
Rev. William Clark came as a missionary to the churches at Huron and Wolcott. He died
at Ira, N. Y.
Rev. Nathaniel Merrill came from New Hampshire (Lyndeborough). He died at Georgetown,
Mass., in 1839.
Rev. Darwin Chichester died at Hammondsport in 1875.
Clyde and Sodus Bay Railroad. - The organization of this railroad company was effected
at a meeting of the citizens of Galen, Rose and Huron, held at the Clyde Hotel January 22,
1853, at which the following officers were elected: President, Leander S. Ketcham;
Vice-President, John F. Curtis of Huron; Treasurer, Eron N. Thomas of Rose; Secretary,
Joseph A. Pain of Clyde; Directors, Wm. H. Lyon and Wm. M. Lummis of New York, John F.
Curtis, James T. Wisner and James Wride of Huron, Henry Graham, Chauncey B. Collins and
Eron N. Thomas of Rose, Isaac Miller, Aaron Griswold, Leander S. Ketcham, Charles D.
Lawton and Joseph Watson of Clyde. The length of the route surveyed, from Clyde to Sodus
Bay, was ten miles, and the estimated cost of construction was less than $150,000. It was
intended to form one of three links in a railroad system to be constructed between Ithaca
and Toronto. In July it was announced that $110,000 in stock was guaranteed, but the road
was never built.
State Road, - the Earliest Rout of Travel into Western New York. - On March 24, 1794,
three commissioners were appointed to lay out a road from Utica to Cayuga Ferry on Cayuga
Lake, thence on to Canandaigua. The road was 100 feet wide. The Legislature
appropriated $3,000 for the road through the military tract and $7,500 to defray the
expense of the construction of the rest of it.
Stages began running as far west as Cayuga Ferry September 3, 1897.
Work on the construction of a bridge at that point began in May, 1799, and was competed so
that it was first used in the fall of 1800. The length of the bridge was a mile and an
eighth and the width was sufficient for three wagons abreast. The cost of the structure
was $150,000. Stages were then run through to Canandaigua.
Sodus Bay Canal. - In 1827 a charter was obtained for the construction of a canal
connecting the Erie canal near Montezuma with Great Sodus Bay. Surveys were made but no
work was done. In 1836 a new charter was obtained by John Greig of Canandaigua and in
1841 another was secured by Gen. W. H. Adams. The route named in the last charter was
from Sodus Bay to the Clyde river a little west of Clyde, to be continued from that point
to Cayuga lake. Gen. Adams with remarkable perseverance followed up this enterprise until
the time of his death, getting the charter renewed after it had once expired. Many people
believe that had he lived he would have succeeded in his purpose.
Representatives in Congress from Wayne County - Blackmar, Ebson, (vice Holly, deceased), 1849 (beginning in
March); Butterfield, Martin, 1859-'61; Cowles, George W., 1869-'71; Camp, John H., 1877-'83; Green, Byram,
1843-'4; Holly, John M., 1847-'8, (died at Jacksonville, Fla., March 8, 1848); Strong, Theron R., 1839-'40.
Great Waterfalls - Krimbs Falls, upper Prinzgan river, 1,148 feet high; Verme Foss, Scandinavia 984 feet; Vettis
Foss, Scandinavia, 853 feet; Rjuken Foss, Scandinavia, 814 feet; Velmo Falls, 591 feet; Tessa Falls, 541 feet;
Gastein Falls, 469 feet; Skjaggeda Falls, 424 feet; Victoria Falls, Zambezi river, 391 feet; Niagara Falls, 177 feet.
CARLTON HOUSE, L.H. TAGUE, PROPRIETOR (Smith, Photo)
JOHNSON KING'S GENERAL STORE (Smith, Photo)
BENJAMIN & CLAPPER, CEMENT BLOCK WORKS. (Smith, Photo)
BEVIER & ARMSTRONG, UNDERTAKERS AND FURNITURE DEALERS. (Smith, Photo)
KEESLER POST, NO. 55, G.A.R. (GROUP NO. 2). (Smith, Photo)
Lower Row (left to right):- J.G. Strait, B.J. Worden, James Boyd, Capt. James H. Hyde, G.B.
Curtis, E.W. Newberry, Judson H. Dowd, Samuel Bancroft, Wm. Snyder, Isaac Vanderpool. Upper Row:
Irving McIntyre, Wm. Merrill, D.C. Green, A.H. Seavey, ___ Fowler, Nathaniel Fields, Cyrus Fitch,
Irving Scott, Jas. A. Merrill, Geo. Johnson. Albert Wamsley.
B.T. MOORE'S PHARMACY AND GROCERY. (Smith, Photo)
WOLCOTT HIVE, NO. 318, L.O.T.M. (Smith, Photo)
Lower Row (left to right): - Matie Kitchen, Mrs. Marion Murphy, Mrs. Ethel Sabin, Mrs. Mabel Metcalf,
Mrs. Estelle Sabin. Upper Row: Mrs. Lodema Abbott, Mrs. Emma Wells, Mrs. Myrta Green, Mrs. Carrie Doolittle,
Mrs. Flora Tague, Mrs. Jennie Olmstead.
OLIVIT BROS. CUNNINGHAM'S STORE HOUSE.
BOOK NOW COMPLETE! Cheers to the team of four talented women who produced it over the winter: in order of appearance - Sandi Gauthier, Faye Brown,
Dorathy Hardie and Kathleen Simmons!
Typed by Kathleen H. Simmons. Kathleen has been contributing to this site over
the past few years, both as a donor of material and volunteer. Her information and photos about the Wykle
and related families were the first large family donation that Wayne County GenWeb received. Kathleen is also the author of
"Spanish-American War Veterans From Nebraska," which came out in 2000, and can be ordered from Willow Bend Books.
This is a 414 page book, alphabetical listing of many, many veterans, with index! Description - A compilation of material from the microfilm record of service card file
located at the State Historical Society in Lincoln, Neb. and from the book "The Roster of Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Who Served
in the War of Rebellion, Spanish-American War and World War" published in Lincoln in 1925.
For information about individuals, businesses and organizations mentioned on this page, please direct all inquiries to the Office of the County Historian.
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