GRIP'S HISTORICAL SOUVENIR
PAGES 58 - 63
Source: Historical Souvenir Series No. 20
Wolcott, N.Y. and Vicinity
Copyrighted June 1905, "Grip," 109 Corning Ave., Syracuse, N.Y.
J. E. Lawrence came to Wolcott in 1872 and started in the marble
business with A. B. Southwell of Oswego in the old flatiron block. Five
years later Mr. Lawrence bought Mr. Southwell's interest and erected the
building shown in the accompanying engraving. Mr. Lawrence has done a
prosperous business in the same place ever since. His work is sold all
over this section of the state and he has put up many large jobs in
The J. Weller Co.'s Pickle factory, located at Wolcott, N. Y., in 1902
is a striking illustration of the results, important to a community,
that me be accomplished by a large industrial institution locating there.
The J. Weller Co. is a World-Size House in its own line--pickles,
kraut, ketch-up, jellies, preserves, mince meats, and other condiments,
giving itself the reputation, par excellence, and establishing its
success in one alone of its many products--the celebrated Acme Pickles.
In the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and New York this
house has twenty-six factories--a business build up during a period of
about thirty years. It owns a line of tank cars for shipping pickles in
brine. The grit and energy of the business men who established and
control it have done this. These facts are essential to mention here to
give the reader a clear idea of the importance of this single business
enterprise in Wolcott alone.
The future of the Wolcott branch is very bright, because it has
obtained the confidence of growers hereabouts; and more than that,
because it is designed for a considerable local expansion and is also
intended as the eastern headquarters of the manufactured product, or
rather the supply house for the east. Then, too, the agriculturalists
hereabouts have begun to comprehend the value of raising produce to be
converted into pickles for money getting. Every season since the
Wolcott plant was established has been cold and wet--unfavorable for
raising pickle crops, yet beginning in 1902 with 150 acres the plant has
gradually increased its source of supply until now it is receiving from
200 acres and paying out during the season as high as $17,000, which going
to the farmers is by them distributed among the tradesmen of the village.
For the farmer this is of great value. He realizes largely per acre,
some here having obtained as high as $138 an acre. One farmer got $560
from five acres one year. This means the distribution of money for the
raw products in the town of Wolcott and vicinity, when the seasons again
become normal, amounting to as much as $21,000 for one year's produce
taken in at the Wolcott factory. The system of cash payment at the
factory on the delivery of the crop--the payment being made at a time of
the year before the agriculturalist gets his money out of the average
harvest, are strong inducements for putting a considerable acreage into
produce from which the J. Weller Co. manufacture so many lines of table necessities.
The firm upon opening the Wolcott plant placed in charge of it a
gentleman with a large experience in the management of pickle factories,
Mr. C. D. Walker. It is the policy of the firm to employ only that
class of men. Mr. WALKER has been fortunate in his dealings in this
community, and perhaps the house has been benefited by having a local
manager who pleases the public.
The Twitchell-Champlin Co.'s Canning factory was opened for operation
in 1903 and its production the two seasons is has been running, as well
as the promise of the current year, shows that this enterprise is taking
the lead in this part of the state over similar institutions. Its
output is about a million cans a year. The factory buildings and the
machinery are comparatively new, and its productive capacity is 30,000
cans a day. Here the principal canning products are vegetables, but a
considerable quantity of fruit is also canned, and no doubt in time
fruit will be handled in this factory as extensively as vegetables.
Last year 12,000 bushels of apples were canned by this one plant; and
both strawberries and raspberries were put up here. This season the
acreage being cultivated for this factory consists of 225 acres in peas,
100 acres in corn, 30 in string beans and 20 in strawberries.
The extent to which the village and adjacent farming section are
benefited is shown in the fact that last year The Twitchell-Champlin Co.
paid out at their Wolcott factory $20,000.
This Company are large wholesale grocers in Portland, Me., who are
operating outside of Wolcott five other canning factories, including
large canneries of fish in Maine. Their canning business alone amounts
to an enormous figure annually and Wolcott has been fortunate in getting
one of the branches of a company operating on so large a scale and
having the strong financial standing that this has. Local capital first
built the factory and partly equipped it about a year before The
Twitchell-Champlin Co. bought and opened it.
W. A. Buckminster, the manager of the Wolcott factory has had an
experience of fifteen years in canning and it is fortunate for the
Wolcott people that a man of his experience is in charge of this plant.
He came the first year and it is to his credit that the factory has
obtained the good will and support of the community. Mr. Buckminster
was born in Stonington, Me., Nov. 16, 1863. He was married to Carrie F.
Crockett of the same place in 1887, and they have four children. He is
a member of the Masonic order and the A. O. U. W.
C. W. Smith, the artist on "Grip's" Historical Souvenir of Wolcott began
the photographic business in Wolcott in 1897 in company with Stanton
with whom he continued one year; afterwards with D. A. Foote three
years. Mr. Smith now conducts the large Wolcott gallery alone. His
work includes viewing as well as portraits, and he is an adept at
bromide enlargements. During the Spanish-American war Mr. Smith was
engaged in illustrating songs, that is making pictures from life to
represent the essential features of a song and then transfering the
views to lantern slides to be thrown upon a curtain as the singer
proceeds with the song. His work in that line went out with the best
known traveling companies all over the United States, and included the
most popular song writers' works. Mr. Smith was born in Summitville,
Coffee Co., Tenn., in 1873. He married Anna M. Michel of Huron and they
have three children, Durward, Corrine and Gladys. He is active in the
Odd Fellows' lodge and holds high positions in the N. P. L.
Dr. J. N. Robertson, the well known practicing physician of Wolcott,
has followed his profession successfully in this village for more than a
quarter of a century. Active in public matters the doctor has taken no
small interest in promoting the welfare of the community. As a member
of the Board of Education at the time the handsome public school
building was constructed he assisted materially in not only securing the
best construction of the new building but personally planned the
sanitary conveniences that have made the school a modern structure. He
was a member of the Board twelve years and served some time as president
of the Board. He also served as Health officer of the town and village
Dr. Robertson was born in the town of Wolcott June 10, 1853. Daniel
Robertson, his grandfather, a native of Scotland and a branch of one of
the old Scottish families, was an early settler in Wolcott and it was he
who cleared the land now known as the homestead, five miles east of
Wolcott village which is still in the family. Daniel also developed the
iron ore bed known as the Devoe, which supplied ore for the old furnace.
John, his son, who married Harriet Cooper, took the old farm and fully
developed and improved it.
Dr. Robertson received his early schooling in Union Seminary at Red
Creek. Teaching school and employing private tutors he prepared for
higher studies afterwards taking two years of college work. He began
reading medicine with Dr. F. M. Pasco of Red Creek and two years later
went into the office of Dr. R. N. Cooley of Hannibal Centre, N. Y.
Graduated at the University of Vermont in 1877 he first practiced
medicine at Sterling Valley, beginning in 1878 and continuing until 1879
when he located in Wolcott.
Dr. Robertson since completing his medical studies has taken a
post-graduate course in New York, where he had the advantages of
hospital practice and the most difficult cases came under his personal
observation; this he has followed by occasional trips to New York for
the purpose of keeping in touch with advanced ideas in medical knowledge.
On December 1, 1880, he married Anna May Howard of Sterling Valley and
they have one daughter, Eva Lucille, born July 23, 1885, and who is now
in Wellesley College. Dr. Robertson is now elder of the Presbyterian
church, elected in 1885. He is also a member of the Masonic order.
Reminiscences of Wolcott, 1817-'26; Chester Dutton's Writings Describing
the Early Families; Took Fourteen Days to Come from Auburn; Owners of
Wolcott Falls; Wool Carders.-
Extracts from a letter of Chester Dutton to Mrs. A. J. Hovey:-
"My wife's farm was the homestead of her grandfather, Lambert Woodruff.
He built the house in the summer of 1817. The "Black-House farm' was a
tract of 800 acres (lying east of the Russell and south half of Col. Wm.
Dutton farm), on which the village of Wolcott is located. The land not
sold for village residences continued to be used for farming, and the
tenant occupied the "Black House', which was built by the first owner,
Mr. Melvin. I think the 800 acre tract was known as lot No. 50 and was
the first lot sold in Cayuga county. There was no Wayne county then.
The lot was so laid out as to include the Wolcott Falls and the spring
near Mr. Merrill's place.
"Grandfather (Lambert) Woodruff had heard of these features from
hunters and hoped to secure them, but found the land already sold. He
then bought about 600 acres adjoining lot 50 on the north, securing the
spring brook for stock water and the lower rapids of Wolcott creek, which
his son John afterwards sold with ten acres of land to the Furnace
Company for $1,000. Mr. Jonathan Melvin, the purchaser of lot No. 50,
had a good farm in the township of Phelps, but Wolcott with its water
power was the logical metropolis of a promising farming district.
"A straight road was laid out to Sloop Landing, on Sodus Bay, whence
sloops sailed to Kingston, Canada.
"The Church brothers, Adonijah and Osgood, took the lots on the north
and south side of the road west of Black House farm. They were
neighbors of Grandfather (Lambert) Woodruff at New Marlboro', Mass.
Adonijah, who built the house where you live (the two-story part), had
no son, I think, but his daughter was the wife of Obadiah Adams, the
Pierpont Morgan of the occasion, and Wolcott developed rapidly. But the
Erie canal, which was completed in 1825, knocked the town out,
incidentally bankrupting Adams, and his father-in-law, Mr. Church, and
also Mr. Melvin who were his backers.
"Lambert Woodruff, born in Watertown, Conn., in 1763, was a son of
Capt. John Woodruff and Hannah Lambert of Watertown. Mr. Isaac
Leavenworth of Wolcott, who attended the funeral of Capt. John Woodruff
in 1799, said it was observed with military honors. Lambert Woodruff
married Mary (Polly) Nettleton. They bought a farm near the home of
their parents, but after a few years sold out and moved to New
"About 1807 they traded their New Marlboro' holdings (two farms and a
grist mill), for 1,428 acres in Williamson's Patent (some allotments
were in Butler), and a little later started with their five boys and two
girls and five yoke of oxen for their new home. Previous settlers had
come by way of Geneva, but he proposed to come by way of Auburn. He
hired men acquainted with the woods to help him through. They were
fourteen days getting from Auburn to the east bank of Wolcott Falls.
"Grandmother Woodruff used to detail their hardships and privations
during the first years, almost weeping, while he would laugh at the
recital, but at length would straighten his face and say, "I had my teams
paid for and $500 in my pocket; and when that was gone we suffered.'
FIRST AND LAST OF WOOL CARDING.
"Grandfather Woodruff's son-in-law, Mr. Mellen, and Mr. Mellen's
son-in-law, Cyrus Churchill, in 1843 or '44 built a little wool carding
and cloth dressing factory on the creek just below Leavenworth Cemetery.
The 'water privilege' had been first used for the same purpose by Caleb
and Samuel Mellen who sold the business to Esq. Wilder, and he sold it
to Mr. Galloway after whose occupancy it went into disuse. Mr.
Churchill lived for a time in the garret of the factory and afterwards
built a house near the cemetery and bought a road of Mr. Benedict. The
house was later occupied by Mr. Dempsey, and the factory was used for a
tannery when we came west."
Wolcott Lodge, No. 560, F. & A. M.-[By J. Byron Smith]. A charter was
granted to Red Creek Lodge, No. 560 F. & A. M. on June 19, 1865. The
lodge prospered until the spring of 1874 when a serious fire destroyed a
large part of the business places of Red Creek. The lodge lost
everything including books and charter, with no insurance. A new
charter was granted June 5, 1874. After this the lodge existed but was
never able to regain its former prestige; although the widow and orphan
are living who speak in its praise.
In 1880 a dispensation was granted for the lodge to move to and work in
Wolcott village for one year which was renewed from year to year.
On February 10, 1884, the lodge was again burned out, where it was
finely located in the west end of the third story of the Empire block.
This time the lodge was insured. Nevertheless its loss of valuable
antiquities was irreparable, including a charter for a Masonic lodge to
work in the village of Wolcott which was signed by DeWitt Clinton, who
was Grand Master of the Masons in the state of New York from 1806 to
1819 inclusive. This lodge was disbanded during the Morgan excitement.
The lodge soon secured rooms where it is now very pleasantly located.
In June, 1889, by consent of the Grand Lodge this lodge was permanently
located in the village of Wolcott.
On the 7th of June, 1894, the name was changed to Wolcott lodge, No.
560, F. & A. M. The lodge has enjoyed a wonderful period of prosperity
since coming to Wolcott. The membership now numbers 144.
The following is the list of those who have been Worshipful Master of
the lodge, the names appearing in the order in which they were elected:-
Rev. S. P. Croshier; James H. Cooper; E. F. Mosher; F. M. Pasco; D. D.
Becker; G. M. Coplin, Jr.; W. W. Lyttle; Charles Cromwell; J. Byron
Smith; G. G. Salsbury; J. W. Hoag; J. Alden Hale; F. A. Prevost; John D.
Otis; George W. Roe; R. H. Kelley; A. M. Jurden. The first four of this
list are dead.
The Present Officers:- W. Master, A. M. Jurden; Senior Warden, J. A.
Murphey; Junior Warden, F. L. Watson; Secretary, G. G. Salsbury; Treasurer, N. W.
Merrill; Chaplain, Dr. D. B. Horton; Senior Deacon, Dr. H. W. Day;
Junior Deacon, M. H. Fenn; Senior and Junior Masters of Ceremony, Dr. S.
W. Houston and C. D. Walker; Senior and Junior Stewards, M. VanPatten
and H. R. Lyle; Marshal, W. W. Lyttle; Organist, B. T. Moore.
Jonathan Melvin as Described in Historical Sketches Written by Hiram
Church; An Eccentric yet Loveable Character:-
Jonathan Melvin, the first settle in Wolcott, is spoken of in one of
the late Hiram Church's newspaper historical sketches, as first having
located his family in an old log house. His first clearing was about
ten acres and he set out the first apple orchard in the town; it was
very choice fruit and he procured it from Phelps, N. Y., his former home.
"Other early settlers planted the apple seeds they procured from the
old Castle farm near Geneva. Mr. Melvin had a fine young orchard in
Phelps and he frequently furnished those who wanted apples.
OLD MILL SITE.
"A year or two after Mr. Melvin came in he sold to Obadiah Adams his
grist and saw mills, which now include the privilege and land owned by
Mr. Rumsey and Mr. Middaugh; consideration $10,000. [See "Wolcott;
Earliest Industries," etc., page 4 for other sales of Melvin's].
"About the year 1813 Mr. Melvin built a large two story frame house,
and moved in the same year, on the rise of ground now owned by Willis
Roe. It was a very substantial structure and his peculiar fancy was in
painting. He painted the house black- as black as lampblack and oil
could make it. It was the great wonder of all who saw it why he should
fancy such a color. He was very peculiar about many things. He was
asked how he could fancy such a color. He reply was, 'Like to see
things correspond; if my character is black I paint the house so.'
MELVIN'S SUNDAY APRONS.
"The dress he wore was about as singular. His hat, the old Yankee
style, and to complete his suit always wore buckskin aprons- one for work
and also one for Sunday-go-to-meeting; was very regular in attending
religious meetings on the Sabbath.
"He was a kind and good man, always ready to help those that were
worthy, and was a man much loved by those of his acquaintances.
"He was possessed at that time of a large property, had a splendid farm
in Phelps of 500 or 600 acres on what was called Melvin Hill and
considerable personal property. The first settlers in Wolcott felt
under great obligations to Mr. Melvin for the help they at that time
received from him. He moved back to Phelps on his farm about 1822; his
son Alanson managed the farm at Wolcott."
Croquet Played by a Wolcott Club.- Some years ago several business men
of Wolcott maintained a croquet club which frequently amused the public
with games, good, bad and indifferent, on grounds in the rear of
Turpenning's store. The read windows in the business row along there
afforded "reserved seats" for the ladies, many of whom were occasional
witnesses of the game. That is to say, finding time heavy on their
hands and desiring a bit of the spectacular the ladies would now and
then throng windows overlooking the grounds where they could get points
on the comparative virtues and weaknesses of the sterner sex which were
sure to be disclosed in a game of croquet.
Willis Roe, George Roe, William Roe, A. B. Thacker, Stearnes Williams,
Clinton Terpenning, George H. Russell, George S. Horton, George Graves,
J. S. Terrill, F. S. Johnson and M. E. Cornwall were members of the
club. The grounds were level and well cared for. They used small
rubber balls and the mallets were tipped with rubber. As the passage
through the wickets was narrow considerable skill was required to
"carry" a ball any great distance. The records of those games were not
preserved. A phonographic reproduction of what could have been heard on
the grounds during one of the games would draw a large crowd of
listeners in Wolcott to-day.
C.D. WALKER (Smith, Photo)
J. WELLER CO.'S WOLCOTT PICKLE FACTORY
J.E. LAWRENCE'S MARBLE AND GRANITE WORKS (Borrowed Photo)
THE TWITCHELL-CHAMPLIN WOLCOTT CANNING FACTORY (Smith, Photo)
C.W. SMITH, the Souvenir Photographer
J.N. ROBERTSON, M.D.
DR. J.N. ROBERTSON'S RESIDENCE
WOLCOTT TENT, NO. 248, K.O.T.M. (Smith, Photo)
Lower Row (seated: left to right) - E.J. Lasher, Hiram McQueen, George Bush, Ira Campbell, Lewis Wright,
Lester Medan. Second Row: Charles Hurter, Alfred Michael, A.M. Jurden, Wm. Palmer, L.W. Knapp, J.R. Waldorf,
Dr. S.W. Houston, Daniel Bennett. Third Row: Rufus Wadsworth, Wm. Silliman, Wm. Brown, Roe Madan, Devereaux
Cleveland, Andrew Thomas, Walter Messenger, Henry Wellet, Charles Miller, M. Cline, Dr. D.B. Horton, Charles
Pitts, Fred Bevier, R. Emmens Abbott, Wm. Bennett, Albert Richardson, George Fox, Lucien Oathout.
WOLCOTT LODGE NO. 560 F. & A.M. (Smith, Photo)
Lower Row (left to right): Dr. Houston, Prof. Gurley, E.T. Phillips, Eugene Seymour, Newton Dusenbury, Herbert
Wolvin, C.D. Walker. Next Row: Norton Merrill, U.G. Brewster, Dr. D.B. Horton, Dr. L.C. Jones, Arthur M. Jurden,
J.E. Murphy, Gerry Salisblury, Wm. Lyttle. Third Row: George Hoffman, James Merrill, James Van Valkenburgh, E.H.
Kellogg, Roy Hendrick, Merritt Fenn, Dr. Day, Wm. Olmstead, Charlie Nichols, B.S. Worden, W. Olmstead, Lemuel Sopher,
Charles Graves, Ira Foster. Upper Row: Alden Hale, E.A. Wadsworth, E.J. Cornwell, B.T. Moore, Charles Woodruff, Robert
De Witt, Jr., Fred King, Philip Hammer, Charles Hammer, Wm. Palmer.
THE PASTMASTERS, WOLCOTT LODGE NO. 560, F. & A.M. (Smith, Photo)
First Row (seated: left to right): - J. Byron Smith, D.D. Becker, J.A. Hale, W.W. Lyttle, J.D. Otis. Upper Row:
George W. Roe, G.G. Salsbury, R.H. Kelley, A.M. Jurden.
Typed by Dorathy Hardie of Thousand Oaks, CA
Dorathy and Alan Hardie are researching the Coleman, Adams, Smith, Landon & Roe families of Sodus and Newark.
They would love to hear from others researching the same surnames. Read about their local family in the feature
section "Coleman Clippings"!
"We are looking for info on great-grandfather Thomas J. ADAMS, supposedly buried Brick Church Cemetery, Sodus,
married 29 Dec. 1869 to Louise E. "Libby" LANDON. They had 10 children (only 4 lived) 1) Joseph Egbert (Bert) Adams
1873-1948; 2) grandmother-Frances Harriet Adams b. 11 Mar 1875 Auburn, Cayuga Co., d. 31 Aug 1916 Newark, Wayne Co.,
buried ?Sodus?, married 2 Mar 1898 Sidney BELLINGER COLEMAN b. 16 Nov 1842 Coleman Mills, Oneida Co, d. 14 Jan 1912
Sodus Center, Wayne Co., buried Brick Church Cemetery, Sodus Center. Sidney B. Coleman had the Empire Mill in
Sodus Center. 3) Nancy (Anna) Nannie Adams married 14 July 1909 Albert Sidney (Bert) Coleman; 4) Thomas Ward Adams.
Children of Frances Harriet Adams & Sidney Bellinger Coleman: Howard APPLETON Coleman 1898-1967; William (?Roe or Adams?)
Coleman 1900-1923; Mary Coleman 1902-1998; Harriet Irene Coleman 1904-1916; and
Seward A. Bellinger Coleman 1905-1916."
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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