A History of the Valley and County of Chemung
by Ausburn Towner, 1892
TOWN OF CHEMUNG
The Town of Chemung, the original Civil Organization of the County - Description of its Location - Its Products - Fruit and Tobacco Culture - Organization and early Officers - Curious Records -What attracted the early Settlers - Isaac Baldwin, the first Comer - His Family - " Sergeant Tom " and his numerous Exploits -Waterman Baldwin - His Life and Character -The Wynkoops, Bucks, McDowells, Burts, and Warrens-The Hon. John G. McDowell and his Family-Israel Parshall, the Beidlemans, and Thomas Keeney- Pioneers who lived to great Ages - An old patent for Land -Thomas Burt - Early Saw and Flouring-Mills --Lumbering Interests -- First Houses built in the Town Early mail Facilities -- Early schools and school Teachers -- Early Churches The Postoffice and its Postmasters -- Early and present Business places in Chemung Village - J. S. Holbert -- Churches of the Town -- The Methodists and their Pastors - Masonry in Chemung -- School Districts --Town Officers.
THE area embraced within the present boundaries of the town of Chemung is trifling compared with the vast domain constituting the original town as it stood in 1788, then included in Tioga County. Deriving its name from the Seneca term " Chemung," meaning " big horn," it embraced the territory now divided into most of the towns of this county with some of adjoining counties. It is situated in the southeast corner and within its present limits are 29,300 acres. The Chemung River flows in a southeasterly direction through the southern portion of the town, and receives the waters of Wynkoop Creek, the next largest water course within its limits. Baldwin Creek passes along its western frontier for a mile or two and Mallory Creek, commonly termed the " Mallory," empties into Wynkoop Creek in the northeast part of the town. The surface of the town, with the exception of a few broad flats close to the Chemung River, is upland broken by deep and sometimes narrow valleys. The soil in the valleys in the interior of the town is a sandy loam, but near the western boundary some clay is found. A distinct change in the soil is found immediately upon crossing Baldwin Creek. On the hills it is of a gravelly loam and well adapted to the growing of fruit, although this industry is as yet in its infancy. It is safe to predict that before many years the farmers of Chemung will have
TOWN OF CHEMUNG. 445
entered extensively into the growing of apples, pears, peaches, and grapes, and the result of recent experiments in this direction seem to predict a prosperous future. Dairying, which at one time was extensively carried on, is to some extent diminishing and many, farmers who kept great numbers of cows have reduced their dairies to a mere home supply. There are nevertheless two or three prosperous and flourishing creameries in the town.
As in Ashland and Southport the farmers of Chemung have within a quarter of a century begun and continued the successful cultivation of tobacco. For the growth of this plant the loam soil, or what is known as the first bench, is found the most productive. Tobacco is rapidly assuming first place as the first and best product of the town for money. Upon every hand are to be seen the fields devoted to its culttire and in nearly every farmyard the immense barns and buildings in which the staple weed is hung to be cured. Early in the fall the buyers circulate through the country, and the crop is often purchased and paid for long before it is in a fit state for market.
The following description of boundaries is given of the town of Chemung as it was first erected in Montgomery County, March 22, 1788 :
Beginning at the intersection of the partition line between this State and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and. the Pennsylvania line, and running from said point of intersection due north along said partition line to the distance of two miles north of Tioga River ; thence with a straight line to the Owego River, to intersect said river at the distance of four miles on a straight line from the confluence thereof with the Susquehanna. ; thence down the Owego and Susquehanna to the Pennsylvania line; and thence along the same to the place of beginning."
In the century following the formation of this town man changes and alterations in its boundary were made. The first change was in 1791, when, upon the erection of Tioga County from a part of Montgomery, the town boundaries were limited to Cayuta Creek on the east and extended northward to the county line. This line at that time was the same as the present northern boundary of the town of Hector in Schuyler County. With the exception of the years 1788, 1789, and 1790 the town records had been preserved intact until 1883 , when they were entirely destroyed by fire and much valuable data and interesting historical matter were thus lost forever. Certain extracts had been made from these records before their destruction which furnish to some extent an idea of the civil government of the town at that early day.
446 0UR COUNTRY And Its PEO PL E.
Innkeepers retailing liquors with I icense for the year 1788 were William Wynkoop, Joel Thomas, Anthony Rummerfield, and Ezekiel Brown. In 1789 they were Jacob Shinneberg, Christian Loop, Joseph Hinchman, William Wynkoop, and Moses Brown; in 1790, Joel Thomas, John Konkle, Messrs. Dunn & Hornell, Isaac Baldwin, Ezra Patterson, and John Love. Each seller paid a license of C 2 a year. Another extract shows that Ashkenaz Shappee was permitted to keep a ferry and retail strong and spirituous liquors, not to be drank in his own house, by the payment Of 2 pounds.
A quaint record is found, of which the following is a copy
Town of Chemung, March, 1788. "To 5amuel Tubby, Dr.
To twenty-two days spent in his office laying out roads in this town, it the rate and allowance of the State laws for such service per clay, 6s -- C6, I 2S. I I d."
In 1791 surveyors were sent through the valley to lay out the lines for the town of Chemung. Some of those men afterward settled there. A description of the several road districts in the town for that year is here given verbatim :
" 1st Dist. Begins at the town line called Kyuta, or Sheppard's Mill Creek, and ex- tends to William Wynkoop's Mill Creek. 2nd Dist. Begins in the middle of Mr. Wynkoop's Mill Creek and extends to Mr. Isaac Baldwin's Mill Creek, on the middle of the bridge. 3rd Dist. Begins oil the middle of the bridge at Mr. Isaac Baldwin's Mill Creek, and extends from thence to the middle of the bridge at Newtown Point, and extends from thence northwardly to the old town line, and westerly to Abisha Mark"s Ferry, including crossroads, etc 5th Dist. Begins at the said ferry and extends to the middle of Hendy's Narrows, and extends to Catherines Town and Seneca Lake. Districts south of the River Tyoga. -1st Dist. Begins at West Brook Ferry and extends to the middle of the narrow. 2nd Dist. Begins at the middle of the Narrows, from thence extending to the middle of Mr. Culver's bridge. 3rd Dist. Begins at the middle of Culver's bridge, and extends from thence to Mark's Ferry. 4th Dist. Begins near the graveyard and extends from thence west thro' to the Inhabitants on Seely's Creek."
The first record made of a surveyed road was in 1807, and it ran from Owego to Elmira on both sides of the Chemung River. The commissioners at that time were Jacob Batterson, Thomas Burt, and John Kent. A record is found of a town meeting held April 3, 1792, at which it was unanimously voted that forty shillings be paid by the town for every wolf killed within its limits, the same to be paid in grain.
TO Wn OF CHEM UNG. 44 7
The following extracts are made from an ancient book kept by the overseer of the poor. They are copied verbatim:
"A complaint corn to me against Abrom jonson as a stragler fellow on April 9th, 1798. he, hearin the news, went ameaditly. THOS. KEENEY, Overseer of the Poor."
The Town of Chemung
" To Thos. Keeney, Dr.
To looking plases and riting up too pair of indenters for binding out too of Mitchel bennits children as apprentices, 0 pounds 12S. Od."
-The Town of Chemung, March the 12th, A. D. 1799.
" To Thos. Keeney, Deter.
To one (lay and a half going down to John Shepard's to warn the widow Moss out of this town, and findin g that she was not a resident hear, I warned her out. $ T. 00. "
,, Dec. the 28th, 1798. Received of Elias Meadow, six Shillings for breach of the Sabbath, by the hand of Esqur Buck.
" THOS. KEENEY, Overseer of the Poor."
Chemung can undoubtedly lay claim to priority of settlement from the fact that within and in the neighborhood of its present limits was the seat of defence of the powerful Iroquois, and to break this defence was the aim of the troops under General Sullivan, many of whom returned to the valley and settled. As early as 1783 the pioneers had crowded well tip in the Tioga country, and the object of the Indians was to make the Chemung Valley a keystone to the further progress of the whites in the north and west. That they signally failed is related in the story of the invasion of their country, the destruction of their crops, and the burning of their villages by the soldiers under the direction of General Sullivan. When these soldiers beheld before them the fertile valley of the Chemung they were delighted to witness the vast contrast when compared with the stony, unproductive soil of the New England hills, whence many of them had come. Others who had been tormented and partially driven from the Wyoming region by the inhospitable Pennamites of Pennsylvania gladly welcomed the thought that some day they might return and settle permanently in the new found Acadia. At that time, 1779, the soldiers found immense quantities of growing corn, pumpkins, beans, and melons. A field of 500 acres of corn was laid waste near the present farm of Miles C. Baldwin.
Much courage, patience, and endurance must the venturesome pioneers
448 OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE'.
have possessed who first traversed these valleys with an idea of permanently settling, as the Indians continued to commit frequent outrages many years after the Sullivan expedition. It has been claimed by some that no settlement was made until the year 1786. There are, however, good grounds to doubt this assertion. Although no written records are in existence to substantiate the statement it is probable that Isaac Baldwin came up the river as early as 1784. One fact that unquestionably gives strength to this claim is that Vine Baldwin, a son of Thomas Baldwin and a grandson of Isaac, was born in the year 1782 Or 1783 at Sheshequin, on the Susquehanna, while the family were on their way to Chemung.
Another well authenticated fact is that at the time of the arrival of the Wynkoop, Buck, and McDowell families, who came in the spring of 1786, Isaac Baldwin was in possession of 600 acres of the most fertile and productive land in the valley. This land, although not now included within the limits of Chemung, was in the neighborhood of the battleground of 1779, and is now occupied by several farms belonging to the Lowmans near the mouth of Baldwin Creek in the town of Ashland. This of course precludes the possibility of Isaac Baldwin being the first settler in the present town of Chemung, but does not detract from his priority in the settlement of the valley.
The Baldwin family have acted an important part in the history and development of the town and county. The name is familiar in almost every part of the Chemung Valley and the male members are noted as early mill builders. The elder Isaac had eight sons, among whom were Isaac, Thomas, Waterman, Rufus.. William, and Henry. Thomas was a sergeant in the Continental service and was wounded in the battle of Newtown. During the fight he stole alone to a place of hiding behind a clump of small trees and bushes. It was his object to fire upon the fleeing savages as they passed his place of concealment. After firing a number of times he was discovered by a running Indian, who aimed and fired at him as he ran. The ball hit " Sergeant Tom " in the knee, breaking his knee-cap and crippling him for life. Shortly after he was pursued by a fleet-footed warrior, and seeing that flight was impossible he dropped suddenly to the ground and laid himself lengthwise behind a large log. The Indian approached cautiously until within a few rods
TOWN OF CHE MUNG. 449
of the log, when the sergeant slowly raised his hat upon a stick just so the crown might be seen above the top of the log. The Indian, supposing the hat covered Baldwin's head, fired and struck it and jumped forward in great glee to secure the scalp of the pale face. If he felt surprise and chagrin at the upshot he had little time to show it, for the sergeant rose instantly and fired. The Indian threw tip his arms and fell back upon the ground dead.
Thomas Baldwin's son, Vine, named above as having been born at Sheshequin, is claimed to have been the first white child born west of the Allegheny Mountains. During the first year of the family's residence in Chemung Thomas pushed a canoe down the river to Barnum's mill at Wilkesbarre and back again. There were no mills of any kind in Chemung at that time. Rufus Baldwin is said to have killed the first Indian in the Sullivan campaign. He was placed in charge of some Indian prisoners and told to guard them at the point of his rifle. One Indian made a desperate break for liberty, and as he darted forward Rufus aimed, fired, and killed him oil the spot.
One of the most interesting characters of the Baldwin family, or indeed of the whole valley from Wilkesbarre to Painted Post, was Waterman, the third son of the elder Isaac. His memory comes down to us from his far away time with that glamour that surrounds in a greater measure the knights and men-at-arms of the feudal times. Many incidents related of him, depending not at all upon mere hearsay, but preserved as cherished treasures in the records and memories of the family, stamp him as being, one mail in a thousand, brave, chivalrous, generous, tender hearted, prudent, trustworthy, the friend, confidant, and companion of the highest in the land, the protector and defender of the humblest. He was a silent man, speaking infrequently, and then with few words. What he did is remembered, not what he said. He possessed the exceedingly rare quality of never being in the way and never being Out of the way, every time being precisely where it was expected that he should be. He could be depended upon for doing every time precisely what he said he would do. The memory of such a man deserves to go upon permanent record and not merely to depend upon a line or two giving his name with the date of his birth and death. He was identified in more than one daring exploit in the Revolution and was three
450 OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE-.
times taken prisoner by the Indians. His numerous deeds of bravery and daring so impressed the Indians that he was held in awe by many of them. During his last capture it was decided that he must be burned and preparations were begun to that end. The terrible ceremony had proceeded so far that " Watt," as he was familiarly called, had shaken hands as a last farewell to many of the prominent braves and was about to grasp the hand of Cornplanter, the famous Indian chief. His wonderful coolness and intrepidity at such a moment so struck the great chief that he refused to allow the burning to take place and adopted Baldwin at once as his son. He was later on released and permitted to go to Philadelphia, then the seat of the United States government, to effect a treaty. He had in his possession a silver-mounted saddle, presented to him by General Washington, and a horse called Roanoke," which is credited as having performed astonishing and marvelous feats. On one occasion, being pursued by some Pennsylvania officers on account of some trouble growing out of the Pennamite difficulty in Wyoming, he fled over the hills toward New York State instead of taking the river road. His trail was sighted and the men of the law were " hot upon it." High tip on the mountains Baldwin came upon the home of a family whose chief wealth consisted of a number of cows and whose best building was the milk-house built on the side-hill over a spring. Watt had long before this performed some act of kindness for this family which be had forgotten, but which the wife, who happened to be alone on the premises, remembered. She saw as he rode up that he was troubled, and heard the galloping of the horses farther down the hill. She suggested that he ride into the milk-house and rest himself. It was at best a cooped-up place, but " Roanoke " went into it as though be knew why, never disturbing the gourds and pots laid about on the stone floor, and never once stirring or making the slightest noise until the pursuers, thrown off the track by the shrewd answers of the woman, galloped off, leaving Baldwin to pursue his journey into New York unmolested.
Baldwin was one of General Washington's messengers and was implicitly trusted by that great man. He never adopted fully the modes of modern civilization, however, preferring rather the wild outdoor life of the scout and trapper.
TOWN OF CHEMUNG. 451
When the surveying party was sent out to determine the line between New York and Pennsylvania one of their number was killed by an Indian. The tribe or band to which the murderer belonged was pursued and compelled to surrender the guilty Indian to the whites. The pioneers gathered together and counciled as to what disposition should be made of the prisoner. It was finally decided to send him to Niagara for trial, and a subscription was started to raise money to defray the expenses of taking them there. The total amount collected was fourteen cents ! Watt Baldwin together with a few others volunteered to take the Indian to Niagara for the fourteen cents, and started off early one morning, returning to Chemung without the Indian in the evening of the same day. It is one of the quickest journeys on record, covering on foot a distance of about 300 miles and back between " sun- up " and it sundown ! " Whether or not the party ever got as far as Niagara is not an uncertain matter, nor is it any more uncertain that the murderous Indian made a mighty quick trip somewhere, whence he never returned, his body having been buried in a rude grave not far from the present village of Chemung.
" Watt " Baldwin was very fond of children and always had one, two, or three of his nephews or grandnephews with him, tramping with them as he loved to do over the hills and through the woods of Chemung. He especially favored the vicinity of the scene of the battle of Newtown. On one occasion, and it was in the early years of this century, he was over by the " Hogbacks " with one of his nephews, and in the depths of the forest they came across a fallen tree prone so long upon the ground that it was nearly rotted away, yet preserving its shape. - Watt" looked about with interest and curiosity, finally saying to his companion : " Uncle Watt shot an Indian behind that log years ago. The bullet took him square between the eyes in the forehead. Let 's go look for him."
The two made search among the leaves and moss that had been collecting in the spot for many years, and after a time found a skull with a bullet- hole in the center of the forehead. It was taken, cleaned and polished, and for many years was a treasured relic in the family of the nephew who had helped " Uncle Watt" find it, sometimes a curiosity, sometimes a squirrel cage.
452 OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE.
Miles C. Baldwin, a son of Vine Baldwin, returned to Chemung in 18 6 after having lived with his father in Pennsylvania. he has now one of the sighthest homes in the valley, on a hill a mile or two west of the village, commanding a view unsurpassed in extent and beauty by few spots on the continent. He is one of the largest fruit growers in the valley, is a well-to-do and highly respected farmer, wearing with dignity and pride the name that his ancestors wore so worthily in the early history of the County. One of his sons, James, is a prominent railroad man in Kansas and a member of Assembly of that State.
Early in the spring of 1786 Maj. William Wynkoop, William Buck and his son Elijah, Daniel McDowell, Joseph Bennett, Thomas Burt, Enoch Warren and his son, Enoch Warren, jr., came up the Susquehanna and Chemung Rivers in canoes and Durham boats. These latter boats were generally about eighty feet long, three feet deep, and built with ribs shaped similar to a sleighshoe. They would carry from twenty to thirty and sometimes forty tons. One man stood in the stern and with a long rudder kept the boat in the proper channel, while four others, two on each side, pushed it forward with poles and oars. The families named above made a settlement extending from Wynkoop Creek west to the second Narrows Hill. Major Wynkoop was from Saugerties, N.Y., and located on what was afterward surveyed and patented to him as lot No. 1, containing 5 15 acres, lying near the mouth of the creek that bears his name. He died in 1827, aged seventy-four years, and his remains are buried near the Holbert settlement. His two sons, Alonzo 1. and Nile T. Wynkoop, were also identified with the advancement and development of the town. The former was a man of most generous impulse: he was always ready to give and not unfrequently suffered privation himself as a consequence. His heart and his hand were ever open to his fellow townsmen, and his memory lives fresh in the minds of those who knew him. Nile T. still resides in Chemung, about one mile south of the village, and is probably the oldest man in the town.
William Buck, a native of New Milford, Litchfield County, Conn., came to Chemung from the Wyoming Valley. His sons who came with him were Aholias, Asahel, and Elijah. The family settled on lots Nos. 2 and 3 next west of Major Wynkoop. William Buck died in March, 1799, aged seventy -seven- years, and his wife, Deborah, died August 23,
1785.His second wife, Rebecca, died May 30, 1798.
TOWN OF CHEMUNG. 453
Elijah Buck was a most marked and prominent figure in the town's early history, filling many positions of trust and honor. After a long, active, and useful life he died at the age of eighty- one on May 26, 1830. His son Asahel also commanded the respect of his fellowmen and was a man of varied attainments, an able lawyer, and a tireless worker. He died May 15, 1863, aged seventy-one years, and his remains are interred in the family lot in the cemetery east of the village.
George W. Buck, a son of Asahel, was particularly identified with the political history of Chemung. He represented Chemung County in the State legislature in 184o and 1867, and was supervisor of the town at different times, in all fifteen years. He was born June 7, 18 13, and died December 23, 1874. His wife Adaline died August 22, 1870, in the fifty-fourth year of her age. His brother, A. H. Buck, was also a well respected farmer of Chemung for many years.
Capt. Daniel McDowell, a Scotchman by birth, a soldier of the Revolution, and a man of indomitable perseverance and education, came up with the Wynkoops and Bucks and located on the land afterward designated as lots NOS. 4 and 5.
Hon. John G. McDowell, a son of Captain McDowell, was prominent in the War of 1812. He was born February 27, 1794, and at the time of his death was seventy-two years of age. He was first appointed first lieutenant and aid-de-camp, and subsequently captain and paymaster. He was prominent in political life when Martin Van Buren, Silas Wright, Governor Marcy, and Gen. John A. Dix were at the height of their fame, and Mr. McDowell was intimately associated with all of them. In 1830-31 he represented his district in the Assembly, and in the fall of 1831 was elected one of the four senators from the old Sixth Senatorial District composed of the counties of Delaware, Broome, Otsego, Chenango, Tioga, Cortland, and Tompkins. judge McDowell was appointed by Governor Marcy commissioner of. loans and was also appointed about this time president of the Chemung Canal Bank. He was presidential elector in 185 2, which was his last appearance in public life. One of the most striking characteristics of the man was his open hearted generosity toward the old pioneers and his faculty for creating strong and lasting friendships. Members of the McDowell family are now prominent in public and social life in Elmira, but no descendants are left upon the old homestead.
454 OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE.
Jacob Lowman McDowell, one of the sons named for his uncle of the Lowman family, is one of the best known of the citizens of the county and one of the most highly regarded of the men of Elmira city. He is and always has been prominent in the business, social, political, and religious life of his city. He represented his district in the Board of Education of Elmira several years and was county treasurer for two terms from 1882 to 1888, in both and in all positions proving himself a man of worth and of the highest principles and desires. Of the Hedding Methodist Church, in which he has been interested from an early period of its useful career, he has been a zealous and substantial member. A daughter of his married E. J. Baldwin, a young lawyer of Elmira who is earning the reputation of being a deeply read and learned member of his profession.
Maj. Robert M. McDowell, the other son of the Hon. John G. McDowell, is referred to in another portion of this record. A daughter was the wife of the Hon. Jefferson B. Clark, one of the former substantial and conspicuous citizens of this town who held a number of official positions and in 1856 was the member of Assembly of the county.
In 1787 Israel Parshall came from Long Island and located on the property now owned and occupied by his grandson, Asa Parshall, who is a well known and highly respected farmer. At the treaty held with the Indians at Newtown in I 790 Asa, one of Israel's sons and the father of the present Asa, ran a foot-race with one of the fleetest Indian runners and came off victorious. The same year came Samuel Beidelman from Easton, Pa., and located on land now constituting the farm occupied by the two sons of Gordon Snell. He was during his life well known and highly respected. Thomas Keeney also came in 1787 and located on the south side of the Chemung, and is remembered as being of the pioneers of the present town of Ashland. He was a soldier in the war of the Revolution and came from Hartford, Conn. He was overseer of the poor for the old town of Chemung on several occasions and lived until he was more than ninety years of age.
Another pioneer was Jacob Kress, also a veteran of the Revolution who came to Chemung from Ulster County, N. Y., together with his son, John Kress, and settled on lot No. 14. Jacob lived to be ninetyfour years of age.
TOWN OF CHEMUNG. 455
Among others early in the field was Jacob Lowman in 1788, who settled one-half mile west of the lower narrows. Coming at the same time, or in 1787, were Jonathan Griswold, John Squires, and Abijah Batterson, who were followed soon after by Ebenezer Green, James Wilson, Uriah Wilson, David Burt, Justus Bennett, Benjamin Wynkoop, John Hillman, Joseph Drake, Moses De Puy, Jacob Decker, and Samuel Westbrook.
Thomas Burt, who was one of the early settlers, coming at the same time as the Wynkoops, Bucks, and McDowells, came on horseback from Warwick, Orange County, N. Y., and married the sister of Thomas Welling, one of the surveyors who had located on lot NO. 7. This lot contained 660 acres and is the land now owned by Miles C. Baldwin. The patent for the tract is now in the latter's possession and was made to Thomas Welling on the 29th day of January, 1791, and signed by Robert Harper and G. W. Clinton for the State of New York. Welling sold this lot to Thomas Burt in the year 1796, and the following indenture is copied verbatim from this instrument':
" Tioga County, ss.: Be it remembered that on the ninth day of July in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-six. Before me, Elijah Buck, one of the Judges of the court of common pleas In and for said county, Came Benjamin Burt, one of the witnesses and being sworn as the law directs sayeth that he See Thomas Welling and Sibil Welling, the subscribers to the within Indenture Sign and Seal and deliver the same as their free act and Deed and that he also saw David Burt the other subscribing witness write his name as a witness to the same
And I having perused said Indenture do allow the same to be recorded.
4' ELIJAH BUCK."
Tioga County. I certify that the within deed of conveyance was recorded in the
clerks office of the said county in Book No. 8 of deeds page 172 &c, the 13th day of July, 1808 at 2 o'clock P. M. " MATT W. CARPENTER, Clk."
Thomas Burt reached the advanced age of ninety-four years. General Floyd came from Long Island prior to 1800 and was one of the early settlers. He located on the farm now owned by Peter Bennett on Dry Brook. Mr. Bennett came into possession of the Floyd farm about 1876. He is a prominent farmer.
Among other prominent families who came later on in the century were the Sayres, Joseph and Gabriel, brothers, who came from Orange County and bought 900 acres of Wynkoop and Fry about 1838.
456 OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE.
This land was known as the plains south of the depot in the bend of the river, part of it lying in Pennsylvania. None of the Floyd family are living in the vicinity at present. They cleared about 500 acres of the Pennsylvania land and started a large dairy connected with the farm. They traded this ]and to the father of Joshua Holbert, who came about 1848.
A large portion of the land on both sides of the river for a considerable distance above Chemung village was already cleared of its timber by the Indians when the whites first located upon it. The hills and uplands, however, were thickly covered with pine. This, as in many other towns in the county, furnished ample work for the new comers until well into the middle of the century. The first mill of any description within the present limits of the town was a gristmill erected by Maj. William Wynkoop. Later on many grist and saw-mills were built at intervals of a mile or half a mile along Wynkoop Creek. First among these was a sawmill built by Alonzo 1. Wynkoop about half a mile from the village. Joseph Swain then built another one-half mile farther up the stream, and William Jackson built one about half a mile still farther up. About 1833 William Foulke built a grist-mill half a mile above Jackson's mill. The next one farther up was a sawmill built by a Mr. Wolcott, who sold the property later on to Cornelius Quick. Yet above this was a mill built about I 840 by Alonzo Fry. In 1828 or ' 29 Sands Warren, an uncle of James Warren, built a saw-mill. On this site now stands a steam saw-mill operated by R. B. Warren. About half a mile above this a mill was built by a Mr. Weller, commonly known as the " brush mill." It afterward fell into Warren's hands and he conducted. them both. In 849 or possibly in I 850 Thomas Maxson built a saw-mill a few rods above the Warren mill, and still farther on, possibly a quarter of a mile, was a mill built by Hubbard Jackson, and yet farther another by Nelson Warren. The latter still runs a mill oil this site. It is a water-power mill. In 1835 Clark & Guthrie built a double mill, and still above that, ninety or one hundred rods, was a water mill built by Thomas Sweet. Above the Clark & Guthrie mill was a mill built by Zacariah Tarble and now owned and operated by Matthew Fincher. The first steam mill built in the town was that of Clark & Guthrie, built about 1835 half a mile east of the Tarble mill.
TOWN OF CHEMUNG. 457
The gristmill built by William Foulke was constructed of hewed timber mostly, and was a big square-framed mill. It stood about a mile and a half from the village, and no road had been made above it at that time that could be traveled by wagon. About 1837-38 a steam sawmill was erected on Dry Brook by Stewart, Davis, Floyd & Co. It stood in the east end of the town near the head of the brook. Several mills were erected on Mallory Creek, which was named after the Mallory family, of whom quite a number lived in that neighborhood. The first of these was an overshot mill built by Martin Tillman about 1840 It was afterward modeled into a steam mill by Alonzo and Nile Wynkoop, who ran it for many years subsequent to 185o. The mill has now entirely disappeared as have most of the mills in the town. In 1853 Sands Warren built a mill on the Mallory below the Wynkoop mill. It was a steam saw-mill and Warren operated it. He was a descendent in the third generation of Enoch Warren, jr., who came with his father, Enoch, sr., from Connecticut at an early day. Sands Warren was for many years a prominent man in the affairs of Chemung and died June 14, 1878, aged eighty-one years. His wife, Electa, died November 14, 1869, aged sixty-six years.
The busiest years for the lumbermen were down until 1855. UP to that time pine was principally cut, hemlock being of small value when pine was so plenty. The pine was of the very best quality ever cut in this part of the country. About 186o tanneries began to use hemlock bark and a great amount of this has been shipped from Chemung. In 1882 Charles Ruggles & Son shipped nearly 1,300 tons of hemlock bark in one season.
The first frame house was built by Maj. William Wynkoop, the boards and timbers for which were sawed with a whip-saw. About the same time the Buck house was built and also the McDowell house, which until recently stood just north of the James Owen residence, and the foundations can yet be seen. These three houses together with that of Thomas Burt were the first four frame houses built in the town, and only two of them are now standing, the Buck. house south of the Owen farm-house on the old Buck lot and the Thomas Burt house which stands about four rods west of the residence of Miles C. Baldwin. All four of the houses were built quite a hundred years ago.
45S OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE.
The first brick house was erected by Asa Parshall in 1829 and is still standing on the Parshall homestead west of the village. The first mail carried through this valley was made up of letters for the officers and men of General Sullivan's army, and was borne by a runner named Carey. The first regular mail carrier, however, was a Mr. Teater, who made a trip once a week. Stephen B. Leonard opened a stage line at an early day and Joseph Batterson was one of the first drivers. William Wynkoop opened and kept the first tavern in 1788. This tavern stood almost opposite the residence of J. S. Holbert about three quarters of a mile east of the village. The building has long since disappeared, but the place where it stood can be designated by a depression in the soil. About 1836 William Seward built a public house where Joshua Holbert now lives and carried on business there for several years. It was afterward modeled into a dwelling.
The first school in the town was taught by Samuel Walker, who was afterward killed by the Indians. Master Cooper was also a pioneer school teacher and for a time taught a few scholars in Israel Parshall's weaving room. A school was held in Master Cooper's house, which was built on land traded to Master Cooper by Thomas Burt. The site is now on the Nelson Von Gosback farm on the Wynkoop Creek road. Among those who went to school in this house were the children of the Buck and Wynkoop families, the McDowells, John G. and Sarah, and two or three other girls, Thomas and Hawthorn Burt, with their sisters Peggy, Sally, and Betsey, while from over the river were the children from the Westbrook family. Some of William Baldwin's family also attended school in this house. The next school was taught in a house built especially for the purpose on the old Daniel McDowell farm. It was constructed of logs and was probably the first school edifice erected in the town. Another school-house was afterward built of logs on the Wynkoop farm near the creek. It has long since disappeared. The third school-house was built in 1835 by Asahel Buck. It was the first frame school-house and is still standing just across the road from the present school in the village. It is now occupied as a dwelling.
The first church society was the Baptist, formed in 1789 under the leadership of Rev. Roswell Goff, and the first church edifice was built by the Methodists in 1838 near Wynkoop Creek. The first wedding was
TOWN OF CHEMUNG. 459
that of Guy Maxwell, who was married to Eleanor Van Steinberg, a stepdaughter of Major Wynkoop. The ceremony was marked by a peculiar incident. The justice of the peace who had been engaged to perform the ceremony was a resident of Tioga Point, Pa., and upon arriving at the house where it was to be performed he ascertained that he was out of his province and had no jurisdiction in the premises. The large party assembled at Major Wynkoop's house adjourned to the open field near the sixty-third mile-stone, across the line into the State of Pennsylvania; the ceremony was performed and all parties made happy.
The first birth upon record is that of Morris Catlin, a son born to Israel and Ditha Catlin, and the first death was that of William Bosworth, who was an uncle of Elijah Buck and who died in 1790. He was a native of Connecticut. Elijah Buck kept the first store and his son, Asahel Buck, was the first resident lawyer. The first physician who settled within the present limits of the town was Dr. Hovey Everitt. Prior to his arrival the people had called on the services of Drs. Hopkins and Spring, of Tioga Point. Nathaniel Goodspeed was the first commissioner of highways in 1788.
The site of the village of Chemung was among the first if not the first settled localities in the town and probably in the County. The village is situated. in the south part of the town about three-quarters of a mile from the Chemung River. The ground upon which it is located is mostly a level and fertile plain and stretches out toward the north for a half mile or more. This land was originally owned by Daniel McDowell and Elijah Buck, and in the early days the place was known as " Buckville." Being situated within a mile and a half from the mouth of Wynkoop Creek the village was early made the nucleus for the lumbering interests, and has grown slowly but steadily since its first settlement. It was here that Asahel Buck built a hotel early in the century, known as the " Great Western." From time to time it received additions to its structure until its architectural appearance was peculiar indeed. It covered nearly a quarter of an acre of ground and was afterward kept by George W. Buck for many years. The original building was burned in 1874 and the present one built, which is known as the Chemung House and conducted by James Warren, who is also a cigar manufacturer.
460 0 UR CO UN T Y A ND I TS PEOPL E.
Another hotel, known as the junction House, located near the Eric Railroad depot, was built shortly after the completion of that road through Chemung. S. T. Reynolds, of Elmira, has been the proprietor for about four years.
The postoffice was first established at Chemung, April 1, 1801, the first postmaster having been Elijah Buck. His successors not otherwise and heretofore mentioned, with the dates of their appointments, are as follows: Henry Baker, June 18, 1853 ; George W. Buck, November 23, 1858 ; Mrs. Mahala Brown, January 28, 1862 ; Charles Ruggles, February 14, 1867; Ebenezer Gere, October 1, 1886; Wilson Ruggles, May 31, 1889.
Chemung Center, another post town of Chemung township, was established July 19, 1854, with the appointment of Daniel Bean as postmaster. His successors and the dates of their appointments are as follows : John L. Shockey, April 9, 186o; Daniel Bean, April 15, 186,2; Alva Hicks, May 14, 1864; Ira Dodge, September 18, 1865 ; Frank Sayre, June 6, 1866; Ira Dodge, November 17, 1870; Thomas Sweet, November 1 1, 1872 ; LaFayette Inman, August 3, 1874 ; Edward F. Bean, October 8, 1877; Matthew Fincher, May 29, 1890.
The postoffice in Chemung village was kept for a time on the Owen farm at the stage-house, and was located there in 1831, when Homer Ruggles with his son, Charles Ruggles, came from Colesville, Broome County, N. Y., and located in the woods about a mile and a half north of the village. According to Mr. Ruggles lumbering was at that time the all-absorbing industry, and millions of feet of pine have been carted down Wynkoop Creek and made into rafts on the river. Charles Ruggles opened a small grocery in the village in November, 1865, three or four rods east of his present location in a building owned by George W. Buck. After remaining there a year he moved to more commodious quarters and was appointed deputy postmaster in the place of Mrs. Mahala Brown in 1863, and continued as Such until February 14, 1867, when he received the regular appointment, which he held for nearly twenty years. He moved into a store on the corner in 187o and carried on business there for thirteen years, when, on August 10, 1883, the building was completely destroyed by fire, entailing a loss outside of insurance of $5,500. Wilson Ruggles, son of Charles, was town clerk at
TOWN OF CHEMUNG. 461
the time and the town. records were consumed, nothing being saved except the mail in the postoffice. The fire started in a building used as a hall just east of the Ruggles store, and spread rapidly-, destroying everything in its path. The present store was built immediately upon the site of the old one and was finished ready for occupancy in less than six weeks from the time operations began. The firm now consists of Charles Ruggles and Wilson Ruggles and is known as Charles Ruggles & Son.
Directly across the street from the Ruggles store is the oldest store building now standing in the village. It was built by Abner Buck, an uncle of George W. Buck, about 1833 or '34, but was not used as a store until 1838, when J. M. Baldwin, familiarly known as " Morg." Baldwin, opened the place with a stock of groceries and carried on business there for about five years. It passed into several different hands and for some time prior to 1868 was kept by Sawyer & Nichols. Martin Wood then purchased the store and continued it until 1885, when he disposed of it to Charles Murphy, who was in possession for two years. In 1887 Reeser Brothers took charge of the store and continued there until the death of Willis Reeser, after which F. A. Reeser carried on the business until bought out in April, 1890, by George C. Baldwin, the present proprietor.
The Chemung creamery was built Some twenty-seven ears ago by J. S. Holbert, and is still standing as originally built with the exception of ordinary improvements and repairs. It was operated by J. S. Holbert until about one year ago, when his son, John H. Holbert, became the proprietor and active manager. The capacity of the creamery is about 400 pounds of butter and 500 pounds of cheese per day during the season of eight months. It is intended to introduce machinery and appliances by which the creamery can be operated the year round without intermission. The milk product of 500 cows is used daily. The Holbert family are identified with industry and thrift, and are well known and highly respected throughout the valley.
The present school-house in Chemung village is a frame structure built in 18 5 1, and has two large and well conducted departments. It is in Chemung district No. 2.
The Methodist Church of Chemung had its origin during a religious
462 OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE.
revival in the year 18ig. At that time the class contained some thirty members, among them being Jerry Holland and his wife, James Ribble and his wife, Epenetus Owen and his wife, Philip McConnell and his wife, William Kellogg and his wife, Stephen Vanderlip and his wife, Nancy Floyd, Julia Wynkoop, Katie Floyd, Betsey Swain, and Treadway Kellogg. Their first meeting was held in the old log school-house near Wynkoop Creek, Rev. Horace Agard being the presiding elder and Rev. Sophronus Stocking one of the first circuit preachers. The first resident pastor was Rev. William H. Pearne. Until 1838 the society had held their meetings in the school-house. In that year they built a small but modest church edifice a short distance east of Wynkopp Creek, in which meetings were hold for a space of about ten years. The Erie Railway's right of way passed through here in 1849 and the company bought the property of the church society, and the latter at once began the erection of the present church building in the village. It cost $1,500 and was completed in 185o. The church will accommodate 450 persons. The pastors of the church since 1864 have been : 186465, E. H. Cranmer; 1866-67, M. C. Dean; 1868-69, Harvey Lampkin; 1870, Uriah S. Hall; 1871-72, R. L. Stilwell ; 1873-74, C. M. Gardner; 1875-76, D. C. Dutcher ; 1877-79, Ira B. Hyde ; 1880-8 1, P. J. Bull; 1882-83, S. A. Chubbuck ; 1884-85, J. A. Roberts; 1886, C. E. Ferguson, of Elmira; 1887, 0. D. Davis; and 18go, H. A. Carpenter, who still fills the pastorate. The charge consists of Chemung village, Oak Hill, Williwanna, Pa., and Middle Chem ung. The number of members on the whole charge is now about one hundred and at the village twenty-six. The Sunday school has fifty registered attendants.
The First Baptist Church of Chemung, which prior to their organization at Dry Brook, February 3, 1855, had been a branch of the FactoryVille church, first built a small church building at Dry Brook about the year 1848. Upon organization as an independent body the society embraced a membership of seventy-three persons, prominent among them being Phineas Rogers, Reuben R. Tooker, Stephen Vanderlip, William H. Bassett, William F. Rogers, Zelotus G. Carpenter, Samuel H. Rumsey, Stephen Hoover, Hawley B. Rogers, John H. Hicks, Samuel Carey, Abraham H. Knight, C. D. Hill, Ruth Rogers, Hulda Bowling, Emma M. Knight, Phebe H. Bennett, Mary A. Saunders, and
TOWN OF CHEMUNG. 463
others. After occupying the Dry Brook Church for more than a score of years the society in 1870 completed the present church edifice in the village. It cost $5,000 and will seat 400 people. Rev. J. M. Coley was the first pastor.
The Chemung Lodge, No. 350, F. and A. M., was organized August 23, 1854, with the following charter officers: Asahel Buck, master; Henry Baker, senior warden; William Guthrie, junior warden ; Jacob L. McDowell, secretary. They held their meetings in the old hall until its destruction by fire August 10, 1883. A new hall was immediately built upon the site of the old one and is owned by the lodge. It is valtied at about $2,500. The present officers are Judson Campbell, W. M.; Jared Marvin, S. W.; Henry C. Snell, J. W.; Sutherland T. Everett, treasurer ; Wilson Ruggles, secretary ; Rev. John D. Bloodgood, chaplain; Urial W. Burt, S. D.; William C. Edgerton, J. D.; Francis M. Walker, S. M. C.; H. B. Lowery, J. M. C.; George W. Foulke, tyler. The trustees are Wilson Ruggles, Jared Marvin, and Sutherland T. Everett. The trustees were incorporated in 1874.
The Chemung Grange, NO. 204, was chartered in May, 1874, and had forty inaugural members. The first officers were Joshua S. Holbert, master ; Miles C. Baldwin, overseer; Peter Bennitt, lecturer; Willard Doolittle, treasurer; M. C. Gardner, chaplain; John M. Crispin, secretary. The hall in which the grange held meetings stood next to the store of Charles Ruggles and was burned in 1883. It was owned by Miles C. Baldwin and William Holbert, and their loss was about $500. Since the fire no meetings of the grange have been held and no officers elected. There is a. grange at Williwanna, Pa., which includes as its members a number of farmers living in the town of Chemung.
Besides the postoffice in Chemung village there are others in the town. One is at Owen's Mills, where Harry and Jesse Owen & Co. built a mill in 186o. The postoffice remains, but the mills have disappeared. The office was established April 8, 1872, with Jesse Owen as postmaster. His successors with the dates of their appointments are as follows George W. Drake, April 30, 1872; Lorin Grace, February 25, 1878 Clarence E. Hubbard, March 7, 1888.
The postoffice of Arnot in this town was established June 10, 1886, with the appointment of Augustus Bartholomew as postmaster.
464 OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE.
In this township there were two other postoffices that had brief existences. Wynkoop, with Isaac D. Simpson for postmaster, was a postoffice from July 25, 1883, to November I 5th of the same year. Wynkoop Creek became a postoffice on March 26, 185 1, with Thomas Sweet as postmaster. He was succeeded by Daniel Bean, December 23, 1852, and James J. Jones, June 18, 1853. The office was discontinued March 31) 1854.
There are seventeen school districts in the town of Chemung with fifteen school-houses valued at about $7,000. On July 14, 1885, by order of A. P. Nichols, school commissioner for Chemung County, the school district formerly known as district No. 6 of said town, also commonly known as the " Double Mills District," was changed and called district No. 17. joint district lying partly in the town of Chemung and partly in Baldwin, and Barton, Tioga County, were designated as joint school district No. 6 in each of the above named towns. The town received an apportionment of $2,021.29 from the State in 1891 and the total attendance was reported at 3 [,15 9 days.
The building of the suspension bridge across the Chemung River about half a mile south of the depot was one of the most beneficial enterprises to the town that has been undertaken in many years. An act of the State legislature passed May 4, 1869, and amended May 14' 1875, authorized the construction of the bridge, and Mijamin Griswold, Jesse Owen, and Henry Baker were appointed commissioners to locate and construct the same at a cost not to exceed $18,000. The graceful structure which now spans the river is the outcome of their efforts, and is of great convenience to the residents on both sides of the river.
The fourth town meeting of Chemung was held at the house of George Hornell, April 5, 1791. The following named persons were then and there elected as town officers :
Abner Kelsey, supervisor ; John Konkle, town clerk ; Brinton Paine, Bezaleel Seeley, and Lebeus Hammond, commissioners of highways Conrad Smith, jr., constable and collector; Christian Loop, John Parkhurst, Daniel De Witt, and James Cameron, comstables; Joseph Hinchman, Phineas Catlin, and Caleb Baker, assessors; Abraham Miller, William Jenkins, Samuel Seeley, Thomas Keeney, Elijah Buck, Thomas Baldwin, Brinton Paine, Cornelius Lowe, and Caleb Gardner, fence viewers; David Burt, Thomas Baldwin, and William Jenkins, pound-keepers.
The overseers of highways were Epenetus Owen, first district ; Elijah Drake, second district ; Thomas Baldwin, third district ; Joshua Carpenter, fourth district; Phineas
TOWN OF CHEMUNG. 465
Catlin, fifth district; Thom as Hen dy, sixth district; and Elisha Brown, "Big Fl at" district. The overseer-on the south side of the river were Thomas Keeney, first district; Abner Kelsey, second district; William Jenkins, third district ; and Abner Hatfield on Seeley Creek.
The records for the years 1788, '89, and 'go were lost prior to the fire of 1883 and no data can be obtained for the compilation of civil history for those years. The names of the supervisors and the years during which they held office from 1791 to the year of the erection of Chemung County are as follows:
1791-92, Abner Kelsey; 1793-94, Daniel McDowell ; 1795-96, Elijah Buck ; 1797-1803, Enoch Warren; 1804-09, Jacob Lowman ; 1810, Thomas Floyd ; 1811, Benjamin W nkoop 1812, Thomas Floyd; ISM, Jacob Lowman; 1814-16, Benjamin Wynkoop;1817, Thomas Fl oyd; 1818-29, Asahel Buck; 1830-31, Isaac Shepard; 1832-33, Ninolia T. Wynkoop; 1834-35, Alpheus H. Tozer ; 1836, Isaac Shepard.
The following named have held the office of town clerk from 1790 to the present with the exception of the years 1879 and 1 880, the town records for which years having been destroyed :
1790, Daniel McDowell; 1791-92, John Konkle; 1793--98, John Kress; 1799-1800, Daniel McDowell ; 1801-02, John Kress; 1803, Elijah Buck: ; 1804-06, Joseph Green
1807-10, Elijah Buck ; 1811-12, Jacob Kress ; 1813-19, Elijah Buck ; 1820, John G. McDowell; 1821, Benjamin Wynkoop; 1822-25, John G. McDowell; 1826-27, Benjamin Wynkoop; 1828, William Foulke ; 1829, Joseph Foulke ; 1830, Benjamin Wyn-koop ; 1831-32, Harry N. Floyd; 1833, Jacob Snell; 1834, William Seaward; 1835-38, Ninolia T. Wynkoop ; 1839-43, Oliver D. Boyd ; 1844, John Pickering ; 1845, Daniel F. Pickering ; 1846, William Lowman; 1847-48, Wilson Gamage; 1849, -Noble Weller; 1850-54, Henry Baker ; 1855, Wilson Gamage; 1856, Hari-is Peck, Asahel Buck; 1857, Elias B. Doolittle; 1858-59, Andrus Gere; 1860, Elias B. Doolittle ; 1861- C. C. McKinny ; 1864, Allen W. Smith ; 1865, James -M. Sawyer; 1866, Charles Ruggles 1867-68, John 11. Orcutt ; 1869, James M. Sawyer; 1870-72, Ulysses W. De Witt1873, William C. Buck ; 1874-78, Martin Wood; 1881-87, Wilson Ruggles; 1888, Charles S. Gere 1889, Wilson Ruggles 1890, Francis A. Reeser 1891, George C. Baldwin.
justices of the peace, with the omission of the years 1879, '80, '81, '82, and '83, have been as follows:
In 1791, Brinton Paine, Bezaleel Seeley, John Miller; 1793, Elijah Buck; 1830, William McKinstry ; 1832, Jacob Batterson, Milo Smith; 1833, Sabin Hatch, Phineas Squires; 1834, Ninolia T. Wynkoop, M. Griswold 1835, George Landis, Levi Little; 1836, Isaac M. Griswold, Milo Smith; 1837, Ninolia T. Wynkoop, Martin Lowman, Joseph K. Coleman; 1838, M. Griswold, William Guthrie; 1839, Anthony Collson; IS 40, William Guthrie; 1841, John Benedict; 1842, Mijamin Griswold; 1843, William McComber; 1844, William Guthrie ; 1845, John Kent ; 1846, Belden Burt
466 OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE.
1817, William Lowman, Wells Newton; 1848, Gershom 11. Guthrie; 1849, Elijah Kress, Asa Parshall; 1850, George W. Roberts: 1851, Noble Weller 1852, Zachariah Tarble; 1853, James F. Jones; 1854, George AV. Roberts; 1855, Asahel Buck, Robert Cassidy; 1856, George P. West, Gordon Snell; 1856-571, Noble Weller; 1858, Gordon Snell; 18.59, M. S. Robbins; 1860, D. D. Harnden, George P. West ; 1861, Andrus Gere; 1862, Noble Weller, Gordon Snell; 186:3, Noble Weller - 1864, Daniel Cornwell ; Simon B. Lathrop, John A. Carey; 1866, Andrus Gere; 1867, Noble Weller, Albert P. Maxwell; 1868, John A. Carey, John Benedict ; 1869, Thomas B. Hanyon; 1870, James F. Harlow; 1871, Gordon Snell; 1872, Andrus Gere, A. D. Carey; 1873, John A. Carey 1874, Mason Harrington; 1875, George Decker; 1876, George W. Drake, Phineas S. Roberts 1877, Noble Weller ; 1878, Andrus Gere, Elijah Smith.
The justices of the peace still in office when Urial W. Burt was elected in 1884 were:
Andrus Gere, James H. Dickinson, Loren Grace, and Mason Harrington; 1885, Martin T. Rogers; 1886, Andrus Gere; 1887, Loren Grace; 1888, Guy M. Bosworth; 1889, A. W. Hamilton ; 1890, Andrus Gere; 1891, Loren Grace and Jared Marvin.
The town officers of Chemung elected February 10, 1891, are Wilson Ruggles, supervisor; George C. Baldwin. town clerk; Frank Monroe, asses-sor; Clarence Hubbard, commissioner of highways Loren Grace, Jared Marvin, Guy M. Bosworth, and A. W. Hamilton, justices of the peace; G. M. Straiter, collector
A. B. Raynor and George Bartholomew, overseers of the poor; Charles
M. Young, jr., and Gilbert Harris, inspectors of election, first district;
Henry Miller and Willard Guild, inspectors of election, second district
; John Al. Burt, Charles A. Woodruff, Daniel Casterline, Clarence Guild,
and Alexander Burnaby, constables; Sylvester Decker, game constable George
W. Foulke, excise commissioner.