VILLAGE OF PULASKI
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Information was obtained from the History of Oswego County, N. Y., 1789 – 1877, published by Everett & Ferriss, 1878.
History of Pulaski
Importance always attaches to those courageous spirits who leave their homes, and, threading their way into the wilderness, first erect the standard of civilization. To Benjamin Winch the honor is inscribed of being the first white settler within the boundaries of the present thriving village of Pulaski. He located in 1804, and erected the first tavern on the site now occupied by the Palmer House. It was a log structure, but many a pioneer was cheered alike by his fireside, venison, and whisky. Mr. Winch subsequently sold the tavern to John Hoar, who was probably an itinerant, as nothing is known of him, who in turn disposed of it to J. A. Mathewson, a native of Scituate, Rhode Island, who settled in 1806. A son, Jeremiah A. Mathewson, resides in the village, and is without a doubt more familiar with the history of this village and town than any person now living. Five families located in 1805, viz, William Smith, who lived in a rude shanty near the point at the crossing of the railroads; Daniel Stone, who occupied a log house on the site of the present residence of Lucian Jones, which was a partnership affair, one end being the house of Jonathan Rhodes; Rufus Fox located on the site now occupied by the Baptist church; and Erastus Kellogg, a blacksmith, whose house stood a few rods north of the Frond block, and was the first frame building erected in the village.
Rufus Fox remained in the village a few years, and then located two miles up the river, at what is called Fox’s bridge. A son, Justus Fox died in this town at the advanced age of eighty years. A son of Justus Fox, named Hiram, resides near the old homestead. Rufus and Thomas Bishop were also early settlers. John Jones came from Oneida county in 1808, and still survives, at the age of eighty years.
Settlement rapidly increased in 1810. In that year Captain John Meacham moved into the town, and occupied the Rhodes and Stone house, and opened the first store, which occupied the site of the present mercantile establishment of C. R. Jones. Henry Patterson, a hatter, came with Mr. Meacham, and occupied a diminutive shop on what is now the east end of James A. Clark’s lot. In 1811, Silas Harmon became associated with Captain Meacham in the mercantile business, and this firm was soon succeeded by Milton Harmon, nephew of Silas.
One of the greatest inconveniences experienced by the pioneers was the want of mills for grinding grain. Long and tedious journeys were made on horseback with a bag of corn, and the pestle and spring pole were resorted to. J. A. Mathewson built the first grist-mill in 1808, and in 1810 the population of the village and town had so far increased that another grist-mill became one of the pressing necessities of the flourishing settlement, and in that year he erected the second grist-mill, which stood on the side of the present box-factory of Charles Tollner.
The settlement of this town had so far advanced with able-bodied men in 1812, that a company was raised, under Captain John Meacham, which was twice called to the defense of Sackett’s Harbor, and once to Oswego.
During this year Hudson Tracy and John S. Davis settled. The latter was a prominent citizen, and officiated as first sheriff of Oswego County. They built the first carding and fulling-mill.
One of the early merchants was Thomas C. Baker. He occupied a prominent position among the business men of the county, and has officiated as supervisor and county clerk. Mr. Baker still resides in the village, at the advanced age of eighty years. A daughter married D. A. King, Esq.
Charles H. Cross, a native of Madison county, New York, settled here in the fall of 1814. He became connected with the land-office in 1836 as a surveyor, and in 1851 assumed control of one of the agencies of the Pierpont estate, and still officiates in that capacity.
Other early merchants were as
Other early settlers in the village were: Gersham Hale, Jehiel Weed, and two sons Ezra and Joel, Jacob Weed and sons, Angus McFee, Henry Mitchell, Oliver Ramsdell, Joel Harmon, Amos Fellows.
The first school in Pulaski was held in a building erected by J. A. Mathewson for a blacksmith-shop, near the south end of the Palmer House, and was taught by Rebecca Cross, afterwards the wife of James Harmon. She was succeeded in the management of this primitive institution by Miss A. Hinman. Pliny Jones kept the next school, in the log house belonging to J. A. Mathewson.
The first building erected solely for a school stood on the premises now owned by William Hill, and near the front gate leading to his residence. Two months afterwards this building was destroyed by fire, and the school was opened in a building owned by Mr. Bush, which occupied the site of the present residence of George W. Wood. Pliny Jones then opened his house for the accommodation of the school, where it was held during one winter, when a school-house was erected on the present site of the land-office. It was subsequently removed to the present site of the Baptist church. The next school building erected was of brick, on the ground now occupied by the Congregational church. This was subsequently taken down, and school opened in the old Congregational church, which is now occupied as a graded school.
The first court in Oswego County was held in Oswego in October, 1816, when a number of persons presented themselves, and were admitted to the bar. This, however, was the only business transacted, and the first court at which a jury was drawn was convened at Pulaski in February, 1817.
Three years after the first court was held in the county, the court-house in Pulaski was erected, and a tablet set in the walls bearing the first inscription: “This building erected A. D. 1819. James Weed, builder; Simon Meacham, John S. Davis, Ebenezer Young, building committee.” The old structure was rebuilt and enlarged in 1859, and is a comfortable and commodious edifice.
1999, 2000, 2002 Laura Perkins