GRIP'S HISTORICAL SOUVENIR
PAGES 24 - 29
Source: Historical Souvenir Series No. 20
Wolcott, N.Y. and Vicinity
Copyrighted June 1905, "Grip," 109 Corning Ave., Syracuse, N.Y.
Famous Giants - Goliah, Palestine, 11 feet high; Galbara, Rome, 9 feet, 9 inches; John
Middleton, England, 9 feet, 3 inches; "Frederick's Swede," Sweden, 8 feet, 4 inches;
Cujanus, Finland, 7 feet, 9 inches; Gilly, Tyrol, 8 feet, 1 inch; Patrick Cotter, Cork, 8
feet, 7 inches; Chang Gow, Pekin, 7 feet, 8 inches.
Seamans' Tragic Death. - A view of James F. Seamans in mid-air balancing on a rope in
front of the Wolcott House appears on page 8, and his figure can be seen plainly with the
aid of a reading glass. "Prof. S. J. Dare" was his professional cognomen. Some years
after, May 8, 1882, while performing at Flushing, L. I., the rope slipped and the sudden
tightening of the slack threw him to the pavement. From the injuries sustained he expired
in thirty minutes.
This was the second fall, the first being at Hollister, Cal., three
months prior to his death. Mr. Seamans' home was at Wolcott where he was a member of the
Masonic order, and a citizen in excellent standing. His widow was a Wolcott lady.
Seamans became a prominent figure in his performances, at times traveling with Barnum and
again giving exhibitions of his own. He was a temperate man, and had the esteem of all
who knew him.
The First Attorneys admitted to practice in the county of Wayne at the Court of Common
Pleas (first session) held at the Presbyterian church, Lyons, Tuesday May 27, 1823, Judges
Tallmadge, Sisson, Arne and Monax on the bench, were the following -
Wm. H. Adams, Frederick Smith, Orville L. Holly, Wm. J. Hough, Graham H. Chapin, Hugh Jameson, John
Fleming, Jr., Wm. Wells, Alexander R. Tiffany, Thomas P. Baldwin, Charles F. Smith, Edward
N. Coe, David Hudson, Jesse Clark, Nathan Parke, Lansing B. Mizner, Jared Willson, Lemuel
W. Ruggles, Mark H. Sibley, John Burton.
Fletcher S. Johnson for about thirty years was one of the best known and most highly
regarded of the Wolcott business men, contemporaneous with such men of character and
influence - all of whom passed away with the same brief period - as Hermen C. Creque,
Jeremiah Sebring, William H. Thacker, A. R. Tucker, Harlow C. Merrill, Chauncey P. Smith,
Abijah W. Moore, William H. Thomas, G. Melvin Knapp and Dr. Edwin H. Draper.
Mr. Johnson ranked high as a citizen whose unimpeachable character, honor, sincerity, earnestness and
Christian life, was ever an example inviting others to follow the way he had consistently
followed. Venturing largely in trade and enterprise Mr. Johnson was conspicuously
successful; and although his mind was fully occupied with business cares he found time to
devote much of his energy in doing good to the community, giving freely of his means to
calls for charity and devoting both personal attention and funds to religious purposes.
He was a deacon and trustee in the Presbyterian church and for eighteen yeas labored
arduously as superintendent of that Sunday school, which position he occupied at the time
of his death. Mrs. Johnson taught the infant class for about thirty years and she was a
constant inspiration to her husband in that field as in all others.
Mr. Johnson was born in Wolcott on May 11, 1840. His first business venture was that of partner in the drug
business with Samuel H. Foster. They were together two or three years in a store on the
present site of the electric light plant.
On December 24, 861, he married Miss Hattie, the
daughter of Spencer Chapin, a prominent farmer of Huron, and during two years he engaged
in farming. Then he entered into business with Martin E. Cornwell. It was while they
were in company that the big fire swept the north side of Main street cleaning them and
many others out. Together they erected the block in which each afterwards engaged
separately in business. The Cornwell store is that now occupied by Fish & Waldorf, and
Mr. Johnson's place of business for many years later is now that of Johnson & King. The
members of that latter firm were clerks with him whom he finally took into partnership.
They are Clarence E. Johnson and Fred W. King.
In 1886 he formed a co-partnership with
Gardner H. Northup in the evaporated apple business, which became one of the largest in
the handling of fruit in the state. It is said that during the busiest period of their
activity more fruit was shipped from Wolcott in a single year than from any other place.
Messrs. Northup and Johnson's association in this enterprise continued down to the time of
the latter's death, although for a year prior thereto Mr. Johnson's health did not permit
him to actively engage in the business.
Speaking of his business relations with Mr.
Johnson for about eighteen years, Mr. Northup at a memorial service held after the death
of his partner, said that no articles of agreement were ever drawn up between them and
that nothing save a verbal bargain held them together. As a business man, Mr. Northup
said, there were not many men with whom he would venture into partnership on such terms.
In the early part of January, 1901, Mr. Johnson, by the advice of his physicians went to
Clifton Springs Sanitarium accompanied by Mrs. Johnson. But a short time after, Jan. 19,
1901, Mr. Johnson died from an attack of apoplexy. The next day, accompanied by the widow
and his daughter and family - Dr. and Mrs. C. H. Towlerton of Lyons - the remains were
brought to Wolcott.
On the following Wednesday the funeral was held at the family home in
this village and the remains were buried in Leavenworth Cemetery. That the death of Mr.
Johnson was felt to be a great loss to the community was shown by the general attendance
at the services of business men and others and the general closing of places of business
in the village during the hour of the funeral. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson had one son who died
when eight years old. Mrs. Dr. Towlerton, Nellie Johnson, was regarded by all as an own
daughter (sic). There is only one grandchild living, the son of Dr. and Mrs. Towlerton, who is
named after his grandfather, Fletcher Johnson Towlerton, and is now ten years old.
Lakes of New York State - Height above tide. - Avalanche, Essex Co., 2,900 ft.;
Colden, Essex Co., 2,851; Henderson, Essex Co., 1,936; Sanford, Essex Co., 1,826; Eckford,
Hamilton Co., 1,791; Fulton Chain (Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Lakes), Hamilton Co., 1,776;
Racket, Hamilton Co., 1,745; Fork-ed, Hamilton, Co., 1,704; Newcomb, Essex Co., 1,698;
Cattaraugus, Cattarugus Co., 1,665; Fulton Chain (Third, Fourth and Fifth Lakes), Herkimer
Co., 1,645; Long, Herkimer Co., 1,575; Cranberry, St. Lawrence Co., 1,570; Upper Saranac,
Franklin Co., 1,567; Tuppers, Franklin Co., 1,545; Rich, Essex Co., 1,545; Lower Saranac,
Franklin Co., 1,527; Pleasant, Hamilton Co., 1,500; Chautauqua, Chautauqua Co., 1,291;
Tully, Onondaga Co., 1,200; Schuyler, Otsego Co., 1,200; Otsego, Otsego Co., 1,193;
Cazenovia, Madison Co., 900; Skaneateles, Onondaga Co., 860; Crook-ed, Yates Co., 718;
Owasco, Cayuga Co., 670; Canandaigua, Ontario Co., 668; Seneca, 447; Cayuga, 387; Oneida,
369; Onondaga, 361; Ontario, 232; Champlain, 93.
Genealogy of Wayne County - All of this territory was first included in Tryon county
which was erected in New York province before the revolution, central and western New York
not then being opened to white settlements. Giving the dates of the erection of the
several counties and towns out of which the territory was finally whittled down to Wayne
county, may be figuratively stated as the genealogy of Wayne county: -
Wayne county; erected Apr 12, 1823; from Ontario and Seneca counties.
Ontario; erected Jan. 27, 1789;from Montgomery county; included western New York west to the foot of Seneca lake.
Seneca; erected March 24, 1804; from Cayuga.
Cayuga, erected March 8, 1799; from Herkimer.
Onondaga; erected Marcy 5, 1794; from Herkimer
Herkimer; erected February 16, 1791; from Montgomery. Montgomery substituted for Tryon April 2, 1784.
Tryon; erected March 12, 1722; from Albany.
Albany; erected Nov. 1, 1683; one of the ten counties first erected in New York province. The other were New York, Dutchess,
Kings, Orange, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester.
Fire of 1876. - On the evening of August 26, 1876, a fire broke out in the upper
story of Paddock & Tuller's hardware store and swept a part of the east side of Mill
street, north from Main street. Six business firms were burned out. Paddock & Tuller's
building stood near the corner of Main street. Next - on the corner - was the small shoe
shop of Calvin Moore. Going north from Paddock & Tuller's were the buildings occupied,
respectively, by Fish & Peck, druggist, U. G. Brewster, flour and feed, F. J. Phillips,
tin shop, and Curtiss & Knapp, foundry. On the second floor of Paddock & Tuller were
Beach & Newberry, undertakers. Mr. and Mrs. Stiles lived in the rear. All the above
named were burned out.
Supervisors of the Town of Wolcott: -- Osgood Church 1810-'13; Adonijah Church
1814-17; G. L. Nicholas 1818; Thomas Armstrong 1818 (served a part of his predecessor's
term); Jesse Mathews 1819; George B. Brinkerhoff 1820; Norman Sheldon 1821-'2, '24 '5; Arad
Talcott 1823; David Arne Jr. 1826-'8, '36; Daniel Roe Jr. 1829-'34; Abel Lyon 1835,
'37-'9; James M. Wilson 1840-'1, '46, '50, '52-'3, '58-'9; Wm. O. Wood 1842-'4, '47-'9,
'62-'5; Aaron H. Boylan 1845; E. L. Leavenworth 1851, '54; W. J. Preston 1855; John Boylan
1856; Andrew Preston 1857; Thaddeus W. Collins 1860; Amos Nash 1861; Edwin H. Draper
1866-'70, '72-'7; James W. Snyder 1871; Marion Conklin 1878-'81; Myron Wood 1882-'4,
'87-'9; George W. Snyder 1885-'6; George R. Miles 1890, '94-'7; Alanson Church 1891-'3;
Theodore F. Metcalf 1898; Geo. W. Brinkerhoff 1899-1902; Charles Madan 1903-'5.
The Civic Club was organized June 27, 1904, at the home of Mrs. G. H. Northup by Miss
Harriet May Mills of Syracuse. The officers elected were Mrs. J. E. Lawrence, president;
Mrs. O. M. Curtis, 1st vice-president; Mrs. E. H. Kellogg, 2nd vice-president; Mary
Talcott, secretary; Mrs. G.H. Northup, treasurer; Mrs. W. H. Thacker, auditor. The study
of Civics has been in charge of Principals L.H. Carris and G. B. Gurley of the High
school. The meetings are held fortnightly at the homes of the members. Addresses have
been made before the club by Mrs. Ella Hawley Crossett, State President of Woman's
Suffrage Association; Principal Gurley; Rev. J. L. Gillard; Rev. Charles R. Allison; Rev.
Jennie Pitts; Rev. J. S. Nasmith; Mrs. Edward T. Brown; Mrs. A. C. Brink; and others. The
society motto is "The Noblest Motive is the Public Good."
Country Clerks: Terms of those Who have Held that Position, [Alphabetical Order]:
Barber Jr., John, 1826-'31; Bixby, Abel J. , 1879-'81; Cuyler, John L., 1832-'4; Chapman,
Daniel, 1842-'6; Collins, Thaddeus W., 1867-'9; Cuyler, Ledyard S., 1894-(present
incumbent). Foster, Cullen, 1835-'9; Gavitt, Saxon B., 1852-'7; Gates, Alfred H., 1873-'5;
Hawley, James, 1840-'1; Lyon, Lyman, 1858-'63; Mason, Clark 1864-'6; McGonigal, 1882-'4.
Peacock, Fred, 1891-'3; Richardson, Israel J., 1824-'5; Redfield, Albert F., 1870-'2;
Sweeting, Volney H., 1876-'8; Thomas, Byron, 1885-'7; Williams, Alexander B., 1847-'51;
Wells, Edward B., 1888-'90.
Earliest Land Owners in the Village of Wolcott: -- Jonathan Melvin in 1807 purchased of
the Pultenay estate lot No. 50, 500 acres; as did also Adonijah Church in 1807, lot 48,
and Osgood Church in 1808, lot 49. Obadiah Adams in 1810 purchased of Mr. Melvin 40 acres
of land on the east side of New Hartford street and the north side of Main street from
Lake avenue to the creek. This stream is now covered by Main street. These four men were
the first to open Wolcott village for settlement.
The First Death in the town of Wolcott after it was erected was that of a son of
The First Town Meeting in Wolcott was held in Jonathan Melvin's grist mill in the
village of Wolcott, April 3, 1810. The town officers elected were as follows: --
Supervisor, Osgood Church; Clerk, Adonijah Church; Assessors, Obadiah Adams, Osgood Church
and John N. Murray; Overseers of the Poor, Ezra Knapp and Jesse Matthews; Highway
Commissioners Isaac Shook, Peres Bardwell and Noah Starr; Town Viewers, Levi Wheeler and
John Grandy; Overseers of Highways, Glazier Wheeler, Wm. P. Newell, James Alexander and
Principal Summits in the State. - Mount Marcey, Essex Co., 5,467 feet high; Dix Peak,
Essex Co., 5,200; Mount McIntyre, Essex Co., 5,183; Mount McMartin, Essex Co., 5,000;
Mount Sandanoni, Essex Co., 5,000; Mount Nippletop, Essex Co., 4,900; Mount Whiteface,
Essex Co., 4,900; Mount Pharaoh, Essex Co., 4,500; Mount Tailor, Hamilton Co., 4,500;
Mount Seward, Frnaklin Co., 4,100; Mount Emmonds, Hamilton Co., 4,000; Mount Crain, Warren
Co., 3,000; Round Top, Greene Co., 3,804; High Peak, Greene Co., 3,718; Pine Orchard,
Greene Co., 3,000; Mount Pisgah, Delaware Co., 3,400; Rockland Mount, Sullivan Co, 2,400;
Ripley Hill, Onondaga Co., 1,983; Walnut Hill, Sullivan Co., 1,980; Mount Toppin, Cortland
Co., 1,700; Pompey Hill, Onondaga Co., 1,743; Beacon Hill, Dutchess Co., 1,685; Old
Beacon, Putnam Co., 1,471; Bull Hill, Putnam Co., 1,586; Anthony's Nose, Putnam Co.,
1,228; Butter Hill, Orange Co., 1,529; Crow's Nest, Orange Co., 1,418; Bear Mount, Orange
Famous Dwarfs - Count Borowlaski, Warsaw, 39 inches high; Tom Thumb (Charles S.
Stratton) New York, 31 inches; Mrs. Tom Thumb, NewYork, 32 inches; Che-Mah, China, 25
inches; Lucia Zarate, Mexico, 20 inches; General Mite, New York, 21 inches.
New Leavenworth Debaters. - In December 1897, a few of the High school young men
conceived the idea of forming a debating society for the purpose of training its members
in thinking and speaking. Shortly thereafter they met, drew up their constitution, a few
by-laws, etc., and bound themselves by a solemn oath to do all in their power to make the
undertaking a success. It was decided that any boy taking at least one academic study
might become a member by a two-thirds vote of the society.
At once the society sprang into popularity as it has since remained. Nearly every boy connected himself therewith and
very soon the leading questions of the day were being ably and eloquently discussed.
Thus the society developed and grew until 1903 when for good reasons it was discontinued for one year.
In October, 1904, it was re-organized with forty-three names on its membership
roll. This has been the banner year in its history. From its organization it has had the
hearty support of the school principals, especially of the latter two, Mr. Carris and Mr.
The Methodist Protestant Church was organized March 18, 1857, at the residence of
Lansing Millington. The first trustees were E. H. Nichols, H. S. Cornwell and Lansing
Millington. A class formed consisted of Mr. and Mrs. H. S. Cornwell, Mr. and Mrs. Lansing
Millington, Mr. and Mrs. Ephraim Nichols, Mr. and Mrs. John Cook and Walter Paddock. Rev.
I. H. Hogan was first pastor. An unused Universalist church building on New Hartford
street, known as "the old stone church," was rented and occupied by the society for a few
years. During the winter following organization, a revival was held, which resulted in an
addition of over seventy members. On March 1, 1864, Mr. and Mrs. Edson Benedict deeded
the society the present site of the church on Cemetery street, and also the site for
parsonage. The trustees at that time were Jeremiah Sebring, Soloman Loveless, and Lansing
Millington. The church edifice was erected between the years of 1860-'68. As soon as the
building was roofed and enclosed it was seated temporarily and used for church purposes.
Revivals were held before the completion of the building, which added materially to the
strength of the society. The society had seasons of great prosperity, also many severe
reverses but struggled bravely through them. The present pastor, Rev. Jennie I. Pitts, is
serving the church for the fifth year, and has been successful in building up the society,
and has raised funds for extensive repairs which are in progress. The building has been
lowered several feet, rooms on first floor taken out, the old tower will be removed and a
corner tower added. A furnace will be put in. The interior is being remodeled. The
windows will be replaced by stained glass; a bell hung and the entire building will be
redecorated and painted; also new furniture added. The work is expected to be completed
during the present year (1905). The Ladies' Aid Society is doing efficient work in the
cause. The present trustees are E. N. Brink, T. J. Reed and A. Miller; class leader, A.
Miller; S.S. Supt., Edwin B. Pitts. Following is a list of pastors from organization: --
J. H. Hogan, N. R. Swift, M. Prindle, Chas. Smith, E. Withey, C. W. Beardsley, J. H.
Richards, H. F. Snow, A. R. Seaman, T. Dodd, L. Smith, M. L. Baker, L. J. Cooper, H. L.
Bowen, A. F. Beebe, W. H. Tryon, H. Vre, H. Troop, W. McChesney, W. H. Church, T.
Kiesinger, Libbie Van Horn, L. J. Reed, Jennie I. Pitts.
The First Postmaster in the town of Wolcott was Dr. David Arne.
FLETCHER S. JOHNSON
MRS. FLETCHER S. JOHNSON'S RESIDENCE (Smith, Photo)
MAIN ST., NORTH SIDE, LOOKING WEST FROM DRAPER ST. (Smith, Photo.)
MISS BESSIE FISH'S S.S. CLASS, BAPTIST CHURCH
Lower Row (left to right): -- Grace Vincent, Vera Nasmith, Miss Bessie Fish, Alice Kelley, Ethel Miller.
Upper Row: -- Olive Coleman, Alta Luffman, Blanche Metcalf, Mildred Metcalf, Laura Hall.
Lower Row (Left to right): -- Mrs. George Reed, Miss Lydia Kellogg, Miss Mary Tallcott, Mrs. Henry Paddock, Mrs. Amos Nash.
Upper Row - Mrs. Enos Reed, Mrs. Clark Lefevre, Mrs. Hursey, Rev. Mrs. Pitts, Mrs. James Cook.
POSTMASTER AND R.F.D. CARRIERS
A. C. Brink Postmaster; Lee Dowd at the left and Eugene Seymour at the right.
Standing (left to right): Mr. Wicks, Thomas Curr, Wallace Phillips, Charles Plumley, Oliver Bennett.
"Doc." [note: the dog]
WOLCOTT H. & L. CO. NO. 1
Standing (left to right): -- Clarence Prevost, Fred Curtis, L. W. Knapp, R. King, Jr., I. J. Foster, C. Palmer, A. Clark, W. H. Brown, N. C. Vought, F. Edwards.
On the Truck (left to right): -- H. King, Lawrence Prevost, L. L. Madan, Fred Milliman, John Merrill, Fred Baker, D. E. Bennett, Wm. Silliman, Mascott, George Silliman.
NEW LEAVENWORTH DEBATING SOCIETY (Winsor, Photo.)
Top Row (left to right): -- Willie Lynch, B. Wells, R. J. Knapp, Ralph Kellogg, Benjamin Wood, Fay Tanner, Ed. Pitts, Leaton Seeley, Ralph Weeks, George Catchpole, R. B. Gurley, John Taylor. ___ Seeley, Edgar Thomas, Halsey Lovejoy, Ross Tibbitts, Willie Jones, Earl Horton, Roy Calhoun, Marion Beach, _____ Hibbard.
Middle Row (left to right): -- George Van Vleck, Roy Schenck, ___ Shattuck, Harry Woodruff, Charles Lyttle, Ned Kellogg, Floyd Conklin, Merwin Boynton.
Lower Row (Left to right): -- Willis Rathbun, Claude Mitchell, Leon Bidwell, Earll Brown, Porter Brockway , Clayton Seaber, Arthur Fish.
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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