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 other states.

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 several years.

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 Marlboro', Mass.

"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.'


"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.


"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.'


"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.


Page 58
C.D. WALKER (Smith, Photo)

Page 59

Page 60
C.W. SMITH, the Souvenir Photographer

Page 61:
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.

Page 62:
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.

Page 63:
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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Created: 3/6/01
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Copyright © 2001 Wayne County NYGenWeb
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