GRIP'S HISTORICAL SOUVENIR
PAGES 52 - 57
Source: Historical Souvenir Series No. 20
Wolcott, N.Y. and Vicinity
Copyrighted June 1905, "Grip," 109 Corning Ave., Syracuse, N.Y.
Keesler Post, No. 55, G. A. R., was organized as Dutton Post. At a meeting of
veterans in the law office of Col. Anson W. Wood, Past Department Commander of New York,
Aug. 5, 1875, the Post was instituted. The following officers were elected and installed:
Commander, George B. Curtis; Senior Vice, James H. Hyde; Junior Vice, Stephen E. Bullock;
Adjutant, J. M. Henslee; Quarter Master, Anson S. Wood; Chaplain, Daniel Conger; Surgeon,
Eben W. Newberry; Officer of the Day, Thomas W. Johnson; Office of the Guard, Wesley Cole;
Quarter Master Sergeant, Robert Cole; Sergeant Major, H. F. Blackmore. The other charter
members were Lansere Porter, Elijah Angus, Ivring R. Seeley, Cassius M. Clapp, Albert
Carrier, John Miller, Ensign L. Calkins and Wm. H. Thomas. The Post grew from 18 to 200
members. Losses by death, transfers, etc., have reduced the number to fifty.
A few years after the organization of the Post the present name was adopted in honor of three sons of
Adam Keesler, all of whom enlisted at Wolcott and lost their lives in active service.
In 1894 Henry A. Graves, Fletcher S. Johnson, William Paddock, Homer L. Rumsay, George S.
Horton and U. G. Brewster presented the Post with a handsome memorial volume which is
valued highly. Among the distinguished members since deceased were W. H. Thomas, Stephen
DeVoe, "the fighting chaplain" of the 9th Heavy Artillery, Dr. T. S. Fish, Stephen E.
Bullock, Thomas W. Johnson, J. M. Henslee, John L. Phillips, Wm. Rogers and Ethan Kellogg.
This Post was distinguished by Col. Anson S. Wood who was Commander of the Department of
Logan Circle, No., 29, Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, was organized June
26, 1901, by Mrs. Mary E. Hancock of Fulton, Past President of the Department of New York,
with eighteen charter members. The following officers were elected and installed:
President, Mrs. J. E. Lawrence; Senior Vice, Mrs. Anna Hanford; Junior Vice, Mrs. Irving
McIntyre; Treasurer, Mrs. E. J. Peck; Secretary, Mrs. Fred Fitch; Chaplain, Mrs. Cyrus E.
Fitch; Conductor, Mrs. Charles Miller; Guard, Mrs. Helen Curtis; Assistant conductor, Mrs.
Geo. Mitchell; Assistant Guard, Mrs. Manly Cole. The Circle and Post have always worked
in harmony, most members of the latter being honorary members of the Circle and having a
voice in its deliberations.
Wolcott Legion, No. 305, N.P.L., was organized in 1899 with forty-five charter
members, including many prominent citizens of the village. Its growth has been steady and
in the past year the membership was increased 180, and there was paid out on policies that
had matured $24,000, during this one year. It has now the second year held the prize
banner of Wayne county. The officers are: President, Mrs. David Doolittle; Past
President, Mrs. Charles Trickler; Vice-President, Mrs. Edward Robbins; Secretary, C. W.
Smith; Treasurer, J. R. Waldorf; Chaplain, Rev. Jennie I. Pitts; Conductor, Mrs. Wm.
Reynolds; O. G., Sidney Jones; Organist, Mrs. Newton Michels.
Gas and Oil. - The Wolcott Gas and Mining Company sunk a well in the village of
Wolcott in 1887, to the depth of 2,700 feet and found both brine and natural gas.
The First National Bank of Wolcott, N. Y., was organized and opened for business Aug.
19, 1901. There were elected for directors, who are also the present Board of Directors
having since served continuously, Charles H. Palmer, George S. Horton, G. H. Northup, J.
G. Strait and E. D. Scott. Mr. Palmer, who is connected with the Traders' National Bank
at Rochester, was elected president, G. S. Horton, vice-president, and E. D. Scott,
cashier, all of whom constitute the present officers. Lewis M. Mead is the bookkeeper and
Lizzie Mead the assistant bookkeeper.
The opening of a National Bank, the first one in the
village, was an important step introducing Wolcott to a new business era. It made money
more elastic and rates better in the community and gave to the business interests a great
degree of confidence in a prospective expansion of trade. For public confidence in a
National Bank induces new enterprises to come to a village in preference to going where
there is none. Every person and business man having banking to do hereabouts is being
benefited directly and indirectly by the First National Bank. That the public appreciates
this fact is shown by the growth of the institution.
Its resources when opened a month, as
shown by its first statement, Sept. 30, 1901, was $61,000. The statement Nov. 10, 1904, a
trifle over three years later, shows $261,000 resources. The bank pays taxes on about
$35,000. No enterprise here since the organization of this bank or for some years prior
to it has benefited the community more than this.
Through the enterprise and business
foresight of its organizers Wolcott has the prestige of a firm, expansive and progressive
National banking institution, which carefully safeguards the interests of its customers.
The successful business experience of the persons interested in this enterprise is a
guarantee of its absolute safely and continued financial success.
Amos Nash, who only a few days before his death which occurred June 22, 1905, gave
interesting reminiscences [see page 33], was town clerk seven years, supervisor one year,
road commissioner, overseer of the poor, president of the village and village trustee. In
his prime he was a large, powerful man and it is said a constable who was physically
undersized, was accustomed to call upon Amos to make arrests where a powerful man was
necessary. Amos loved a joke and could take one. The story is told that once while
pushing a prisoner ahead of him for main force Amos met his first "Waterloo." The
prisoner suddenly dropped and as Nash by his own momentum plunged forward, the prisoner
lying on his back raised his captor above him with arms and feet and tossed him to the
ground quite a distance ahead. Before Nash regained his feet the prisoner had taken leg
Slave Labor on Great Sodus Bay Cleared Land at Port Glasgow: Helmes' Plantation and
What Came of It: --
That beautiful section of shore overlooking Great Sodus Bay at Port
Glasgow was cleared by slave labor. In 1800 Thomas Helmes came from Maryland with seventy
slaves and took up two or three hundred acres of land. He put his negroes to work
clearing away the brush and cutting down the trees. They were not adept with the use of
the axe and Helmes, who had been at considerable expense in starting the undertaking with
so many slaves to feed where supplies could be obtained only at large cost, found his
dream of a new Maryland disappearing. He was not the best tempered man and the
incompetency of slave labor in clearing away virgin forest did not improve it. He found
it more expensive than free labor.
Then, when winter arrived the slaves could not stand the severe weather and were helpless
from suffering or died.
Helmes drove his slaves
severely in his efforts to make good his losses but it was useless. He found that the
scheme must be abandoned. One night three of his negroes took to an open boat and paddled
up the bay disappearing in the new country to the south. They were tracked only a short
The following day most of the negroes rose in revolt. Helmes and two white men
with guns succeeded in restoring order only after one of the negroes had been shot. His
body, it is said, was buried in a cove near the water a few rods north of Port Glasgow.
Helmes did not long survive the opening of his plantation. His slaves, with a few
exceptions - those who disappeared - were taken back to Maryland.
Railroad - The Lake Ontario Shore Railroad was completed through the town of Wolcott
in 1874, work on its construction being begun in 1871. The town was bonded to the amount
of $139,000 drawing 7 per cent. On February 1, 1882, the bonds were exchanged for 5 per
Edward H. Kellogg, a practicing lawyer prominent in the legal profession and in
politics throughout Wayne and adjacent counties, was born in Wolcott village December 22,
1855. His father, Dr. A. D. Kellogg, then a practicing physician of prominence here,
moved to Wolcott from Cato, Cayuga county, in 1845, at a period when men of the most
vigorous character had begun to push the village to the front of Wayne county villages.
Attorney Kellogg was educated in the Leavenworth Institute and after finishing an academic
course began the study of law with William Roe and Jefferson W. Hoag, being permitted to
practice at the bar in June, 1881. Mr. Kellogg married Mary Lillian, the daughter of
Wilson De Witt, an old Wolcott family then living at Rochester, in that city Jan. 18,
The practice of Mr. Kellogg, upon which he entered Jan. 1, 1882, has been extensive
and successful, which although general in scope includes negligence litigation as a
specialty. Two prominent cases in which Mr. Kellogg won resulted in two judgments for Mr.
Kellogg's clients aggregating $50,000. The cause was that of two insurance companies
against the New York Central Railroad Company of which one sued for loss of a malt house
at North Rose by fire and the other for loss of its contents. Mr. Kellogg has served as
Justice of the Peace twelve years and Police Justice nine years. He was four times
elected clerk of the Board of Supervisors, the first time in 1889. In 1894 he was elected
District Attorney of Wayne county, and in 1897 reelected to that office. He is a member
of the Board of Education and has been twelve years past; and he is active in the Masonic
Mr. Kellogg was a loyal Republican until the second McKinley campaign when he
broke away from the party because of its imperialistic policy.
Drum Corps. - The Wolcott Military Drum Corps was organized in 1896 and has fifteen
instrumentalists. A. T. Phillips is the musical director, Clark Lefevre the president,
and C. W. Smith the secretary and business manager.
O. M. Curtis in 1896 brought into the village of Wolcott what it had long needed and
no up-to-date village can dispense with, an electric lighting plant, and the success his
venture has met with is both creditable to the community that patronizes liberally modern
methods and to Mr. Curtis, whose conduct of the enterprise deserves good patronage. The
plant includes an Atlas-Corliss engine, besides a reserve engine and double boilers, and
the necessary dynamos, and has the capacity for handling 3,000 lights. It is the largest
and best of electric lighting plants, newly equipped throughout, and is kept as clean and
in as good order generally as competent hands and close attention can give it. While
there are wired in 2,000 lights the service is steadily increasing, lighting the new
buildings that are going up and the old ones that are being improved. The street lighting
is with the General Electric enclosed arcs that were put in new four years ago.
In connection with the electric lighting Mr. Curtis owns and operates the foundry which was
established in 1845 and is widely known throughout this section. Here he manufactures the
popular Giant fruit evaporator and the Giant heating furnace, both inventions of his own
patented in the United States and Canada and sold very largely in both countries. These
have been developed to the most practical point, and are giving excellent satisfaction,
giving to Wolcott a high reputation in that line. Mr. Curtis started in with a crude
sheet iron evaporator which sold largely to fruit growers when it was customary for them
to evaporate their own fruit and in small quantities, and by elaborating the original idea
he secured a highly practical evaporator to use on a large scale.
This foundry is one of
the old time institutions of Wolcott. It was established in 1845 by Allen Rice and Joseph
Vernoy. The next owners were Rice & Taylor who were succeeded by Wm. Hamilton and
afterwards by George B. Curtis and Jerome P. Sheldon. Mr. G. B. Curtis continued his
connection with the foundry until it finally passed into the hands of his son. Those who
succeeded Jerome P. Sheldon as Mr. Curtis' partners were Chauncey P. Smith, B. F. Peck, E.
J. and John Peck and Nathan Knapp. In the fire of 1876 which swept off the east side of
Mill street this foundry was totally destroyed. A much better building was erected with
brick, and is much larger; replacing the old wooden structures with modern and more
O. M. Curtis was born in the village of Wolcott May 9, 1867, and was
educated in the public schools of Wolcott, Sodus and Albany. For a time he was bookkeeper
for Conrad Ruso at Albany, then he farmed at Sodus three years. In 1887 he took the
Curtis & Knapp foundry. Mr. Curtis married Corilla A. Borradaile of Sodus Center December
12, 1888, and they have two children, Helen Lucille and George Graydon.
Senators from Wayne Co.: -- Armstrong, Thomas 1830-'7; Clark, William, 1854-'5;
Cuyler, Samuel C. 1856-'7; Green, Byram 1823-'4; Robinson, Thomas 1884-'5; Sherwood, Lyman
1843-'4; Saxton, Charles T. 1890-'4; Williams, Alexander B. 1858-'61; Williams, Stephen K.
Early Settlers Described by an "Old Timer": now Deceased; Men Who Bought the Land
Hiram Church has written of some of the early settlers as follows: -
Jesse Mathews was elected Supervisor in the town in 1817, and held the office of Justice
of Peace for several years.
Daniel Roe, Sr., came in and bought Aaron Hoppen's land contract in 1812. [See "Land Contracts" another page].
Lot Stuard settled on the lot previously purchased by Alpheus Harmon, and he built a double
log house and kept a tavern.
The town meetings were alternately held at Lot Stuard's and Obadiah Adams' until the
division of the old town of Wolcott.
SLAUGHTER OF BEARS.
James Wisner settled on the lot that Robert Vantassel had
previously contracted for and moved in about 1813. He and his two sons were noted as
being great hunters - more particularly in killing bears, which were at that day often
seen when passing through the forest. Carpenter Wisner stated that his father, himself
and brother John had killed nine large black bears in the old town of Wolcott.
Moses Wisner, a brother of James, settled on the lot that Obadiah Adams had previously
contracted about two miles east of Sloop Landing in 1816.
Nathan Cook settled on the farm previously brought of Elikam Tupper, about 1818.
WEDDED SCHOOL MARM.
Jedediah Wilder purchased of Samuel Mellen the fulling mill and
the present site of the Methodist church in 1815. He carried on cloth-dressing and
carding for several years. His purchase was previous to his marriage - his intended was
teaching the district school at Wolcott at that time. She was the daughter of Henry Wells
of the town of Sodus. They were married soon after the close of the summer school. Mr.
Wilder, who was successful, sold his fulling mill and house to Roswell Benedict about the
year 1826 and the same year purchased and moved on the farm of Deacon Zenas Wheeler.
Zenas Wheeler came to Wolcott in the spring of 1808, a young and single man, and was a teamster
for the Churches when they came from Massachusetts to Wolcott. He was ninety-five years
old when he died.
Lambert Woodruff came as early as 1808 and purchased about 500 acres,
400 of which joined the Black House farm on the north and extended to Furnace village.
James Alexander came about 1809. He was a prominent man, serving as highway commissioner
and in several other offices.
KEESLER POST, NO. 55, G. A. R. (Smith, Photo.)
Lower Row (left to right): -- Isaac Vanderpool, Truman E. Manson, Samuel Bancroft, Irving Scott, Rev. Mr. Terwilliger
of Port Byron, Abram Egnor, Joseph Reamer, Cyrus E. Fitch, Frank Lutes, Judson Boynton.
Middle Row: -- Joseph E. Lawrence, John Cowles, Aaron Chapman, Nelson Taylor, Benjamin
Sharp, Charles Sharp, Eron J. Peck. Upper Row: -- Walter Scott, Irving McIntyre,
Nathaniel J. Fields, Robert Wolven.
LOGAN CIRCLE, LADIES OF THE G.A.R. (Smith, Photo.)
Lower Row (left to right): -- Mrs. Abram Egnor, Mrs. Helen Curtis, Mrs. J. E. Lawrence, Mrs. Cyrus E. Fitch,
Mrs. Anna Hanford. Middle Row: -- Mrs. Charles Miller, Mrs. Maria Vanderpool, Mrs. E. J.
Peck, Mrs. Helen Burt, Mrs. Irving McIntyre, Mrs. Irving Scott, Mrs. Manley Cole, Mrs.
Milton B. Wadsworth. Upper Row: -- Mrs. Hiram Taylor, Mrs. Charles Richards, Mrs. George
Waterman, Miss Ada Van Alatyne, Mrs. Charles Sharp, Mrs. Benjamin Sharp.
WOLCOTT LEGION, NO. 305, N. P. L. (Smith, Photo.)
Lower Row (left to right):
-- Mrs. Lemuel Wadsworth, Miss Jennie Reynolds, C. W. Smith. Middle Row: -- Charles W.
Walker, Miss Bertha Mott, Mrs. Wm. Reynolds, Mrs. Daid Doolittle, Miss Belle Mott, Charles
Lawrence, Newton Greenizen. Upper Row: -- Lewis W. Knapp, J. R. Waldorf, Miss Edith
Vanarsdale, Mrs. Augustus Lovejoy, Miss Pearl Doolittle, Halsey Lovejoy, Mrs. Newton
Michel, Lemuel Wadsworth, Harvey Chapin.
LADIES' AID, METHODIST PROTESTANT CHURCH. (Smith, Photo.)
Centre of Lower
Row: -- Mrs. Jennie I. Pitts. At her right hand: Mrs. Wealthy Campbell and Mrs. N. Stage.
At her left: Mrs. Bertha Wicks and Mrs. Celia Miller. The girl: Mabel Brown. Upper Row
(left to right): -- Mrs. Nellie Curtis, Mrs. C. Merrill, Mrs. E. Bennett, Miss Matie
Kitchen, Mrs. Libbie Cole, Miss Lulu Wicks, Mrs. Rose Brown, Mrs. Julie Pringle, Miss
Minnie Sherman, Miss Grace Pitts, Mrs. Cora Porter.
Page 54 - THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF WOLCOTT. (Borrowed Photo)
Page 55 - EDWARD H. KELLOGG. (Borrowed Photo.)
Page 55 - VILLAGE BORAD OF TRUSTEES. (Smith, Photo.)
GEO. S. GRAVES.
Page 56 - O. M. CURTIS. (Smith, Photo.)
Page 57 - THE ELECTRIC LIGHT PLANT; SHOWING BIG CORLISS ENGINE. (Smith, Photo.)
Typed by Sandi Jagger Gauthier of Falls Church, VA.
"The main town my ancestors came from was Palmyra -
and E. Palmyra. Surnames in my line from Wayne County are Jagger, Culver, Reeves, Andrew, Williams, Terry, Cronise,
Beale, Harrison, Clark, Plimpton. Many of my Wayne County relatives were part of the early migration of folks from
Southampton, Long Island, NY in the early 1790's."
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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