Oren R. Earl
The town of Sandy Creek, lying in the extreme northwest
corner of Oswego county, was set off from the north part of Richland on
the 24th of March, 1825. Its boundaries have remained unchanged;
its area comprises 24,347 acres. Originally it was included in the
great Boylston tract and formed a part of the survey township of
“Rhadamant,” or No. 10, and at the time of its first settlement was the
the heirs of William Constable, of whom H.B. Pierrepont
was the principal.
It is bounded on the north by Ellisburg in Jefferson county,
on the east by Boylston and Orwell, on the south by Richland, and on the
west by Lake Ontario.
The surface is generally rolling and has a westerly inclination,
the eastern border being about 500 feet above the waters of the lake.
Dense forests originally covered the whole area, and for many years afforded
much remunerative employment. Large quantities of valuable timber
were converted into ashes, which in turn were manufactured into potash
which was long almost the only product which could be sold for money.
As late as 1860 there were eleven saw mills, two shingle mills, and
other kindred establishments in active operation. Now only remnants
of the primitive forests remain.
The soil consists of gravelly loam and disintegrated shale,
and produces excellent crops of grain, hay, corn, potatoes, and fruit,
and forms one of the most fertile sections in the county. It is drained
by several small streams, nearly all of which have rapid currents interrupted
by falls, and furnish valuable water power. The principal stream
is Sandy Creek, which flows westerly through the town into an arm of Lake
Ontario. This arm is nearly landlocked and has been known as Little
Sandy Pond, or as North and South Ponds, because of its irregular outlines.
It is the only considerable indentation of the coast of Lake Ontario in
Oswego county. This pond, so called, was known among its earliest
visitors as Wigwam Cove,(1) and those who have studied the locality generally
agree that an Indian village once existed on the adjacent shore.
Numerous relics have been discovered which substantiate this belief.
On the farm of Ira Allen perfect arrowheads were found last year
In 1615, five years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth
Rock, Champlain landed a body of French troops and about 300 Huron Indians
on the shore of Wigwam Cove. Hiding their canoes in the rushes he
marched to the Onondaga country, where he was defeated, and returning,
he embarked his forces and went up the River Trent in Canada.
(1) This is a much more euphonious name than the one commonly
applied and besides is historically correct. At the personal request
of two prominent citizens of the village of Sandy Creek, who have assisted
materially in procuring information for this volume, and who have taken
an active interest in the collection and preservation of local history,
the name Wigwam Cove is used in these pages instead of North Pond, and
South Cove instead of South Pond.
From this and subsequent events the indentation acquired the name of Wigwam
Wigwam Cove embraces over 1,000 acres, while South Cove
has an area of from 200 to 300. A line of sand, once considered worthless,
divides the coves from Lake Ontario, and extends along the shore for a
distance of five miles, being broken near the middle by an estuary or outlet.
This stretch of sand has long formed the base of operations against the
white fish which frequent the waters of the coves in large numbers.
As many as 13,000 have been caught in a single haul of the seine, but a
more common number is 5,000 to 6,000. In later years these fish have
decreased in number, yet the place still maintains its reputation of being
one of the best fishing grounds in the Empire State.
Outside of the villages of Sandy Creek and Lacona the chief
industry of the town is farming, with dairying as the principal branch.
There are several cheese factories in operation, the first one having been
built in Lacona by Samuel M. Blodgett, the present proprietor
being Irvin E. Finster. There are also three saw mills and
a shingle mill. Considerable attention is given to fruit raising.
Sandy Creek was the first town in the county to develop
natural gas fields, and their development is mainly due to the enterprise
of George L. Hydorn and Orson S. Potter. May 26, 1888,
the Sandy Creek Oil and Gas Company, Limited, was incorporated with a capital
of $5,000, and with
Oren R. Earl, president; Orson S. Potter,
vice-president; G.N. Harding, secretary; Albert Powers, treasurer;
Hydorn, general manager; and these and E. H. Sargent, A. R. Cook,
E. C. Upton, G. W. Hollis, William McConnell, Perry Bartlett, William S.
Goodrich and H. H. Cole, directors.
Drilling was commenced that year on land owned by O.
G. Staples, and gas was struck February 2, 1889, at a depth of 500
feet; the boring was continued to a depth of 1,240 feet. A second
well was sunk in the following winter, a third in the spring of 1890, two
more the same year, a sixth in 1891, followed by three others, three in
1892, and two in 1893, all in or near the villages of Sandy Creek and Lacona.
The highest pressure was 400 pounds per square inch, which was reached
in well No. 9. In both villages the gas is utilized
for heating and lighting. Not one of the wells has failed; all are
in use, the gas being drawn first from one and then another to keep up
the original pressure. The present officers of the company are:
E. H. Sargent, president; Payson F. Thompson,
vice-president; G. N. Harding, secretary; Oren R. Earl, treasurer;
L. Hydorn, general manager; and these and O. G. Staples and
W. Parmelee, directors.
The capital stock has been increased to $15,000, and the
company has about twelve miles of mains.
The first town meeting met at the house of Nathan Salisbury
on the first Tuesday in May, 1825, and the following officers were chosen:
Supervisor, Simon Meacham; town clerk, Edwin
C. Hart; assessors, Anson Maltby, Thomas S. Meacham and
Carpenter; commissioners of highways, Barnabas Munroe, Amasa Carpenter,
Ellery Crandall and Simon Hadley; overseers of the poor, George
Read and Truman Hawley; collector, John Pierce; constables,
Pierce, Peter Hinman and Nathan Salisbury; commissioners
of schools, Asa Carpenter, Alden Crandall and Charles Alton;
inspectors of schools, John G. Ayer, Oliver Ayer, Jr., and Joseph
M. Hooker; fence-viewers, Cornelius Hadley, Ammi Case and
Place; poundmaster, Luther Howe.
The supervisors have been:
Simon Meacham, 1825-28; John Jacobs, 1829-32;
Rice, 1833; Alden Crandall, 1834; Abel Rice, 1835; Orrin
House, 1836-37; Nathan Salisbury, 1838; Orrin House,
1839; Nathan Salisbury, 1840-41; Orrin House, 1842; Nathan
Salisbury, 1843; John P. Clark, 1844; Oren R. Earl, 1845-46;
L. Thompson, 1847-49; Oren R. Earl, 1850-55; Truman C. Harding,
1856; Allen L. Thompson, 1857-58;
Pitt M. Newton, 1859-60;
G. Robbins, 1861-62; Oren R. Earl, 1863-64;
1865-66; Henry L. Howe, 1867;
John Davis, 1868; Oren R.
Pitt M. Newton, 1872-73; Hamilton E. Root,
1874-76; Dr. Allen L. Thompson, 1877-78; George W. Davis,
1879-82; George N. Salisbury, 1883-85; Gilbert N. Harding,
1886; George N. Salisbury, 1887-88;
Edwin C. Upton, 1889-90;
J. Hollis, 1891-93; John R. Allen, 1894-95.
The town officers for 1894-95 were:
John R. Allen, supervisor; Orla S. Potter,
town clerk; Delos E. Wilds, J. Lyman Bulkley, Pitt M.
Newton and George L. Stevens, justices of the peace; Albert
R. Stevens, Abel R. Hadley and Edwin H. Smith, assessors;
W. Colony, overseer of the poor; Edwin C. Upton, highway commissioner;
L. Hadley, collector; Howard W. Pruyn, Frank E. Woodward
M. Potter, excise commissioners.
Nearly all of the earlier town meetings were held at the
house of Nathan Salisbury. In 1831 a bounty of twelve and
one-half cents was offered for every crow killed within the town; in 1834
this was in-
creased to fifty cents; but no bounties for wolves are mentioned in the
early records. For support of the poor the appropriations have varied
from about $50 at first to $190 in 1854, $600 in 1856, $1,300 in 1864,
and $1,700 in 1870.
In April, 1803, two men, William Skinner and Stephen
Lindsey, came through Redfield and Boylston into the present town of
Sandy Creek. The former, who was a man of considerable property,
settled in the eastern part of what is now Lacona village, where, on the
banks of Sandy Creek, he purchased 400 acres of land. Mr. Lindsey
went on to Ellisburg, but soon settled about half a mile from Wigwam Cove
in the extreme northwest corner of this town. His daughter, Eunice,
then about twelve years old, died that summer and was the first white person
whose death occurred in the town’s present limits. Mr. Skinner had
an adopted son, Levi, then five years of age, and was accompanied by two
young men named Butler and Moreton, who lived with him through the
summer and engaged in clearing land for themselves. The latter sold
out to Mr. Skinner in the fall, and both he and Butler returned to Oneida
county, whence the first settlers came. Mr. Skinner bought some land
in Ellisburg and moved back and forth no less than seven times in two years.
About 1807 he sold his Sandy Creek property to Peter Whiteside and
settled permanently in Ellisburg. Upon Mr. Whiteside’s tombstone
in the Sandy Creek cemetery is the following epitaph:
Here lies the body of Mr. Peter Whiteside, who departed
this life in 1825. Mr. Whiteside was an active and energetic man,
cherishing a live for the fine arts, and soaring sublimely above superstition
and ridicule; but he ceases to delight us with his counsels, and his afflicted
consort erects this monument to the memory of the man she loved.
Early in 1804 Joseph Hurd and Elias Howe
moved in from Augusta, Oneida county, and settled on the creek just below
Mr. Skinner. The former purchased Butler’s claim, and during that
summer erected, with William Skinner, the first saw-mill in town.
His daughter, Laura, born in February, 1805, was the first white child
born in Sandy Creek. She married Asahel Hale, of Pulaski,
moved to Peoria, Ill., and died there in April, 1886. Mr. Hurd was
appointed a justice of the peace for Williamstown in 1806, and for Richland
in 1808, and was the first supervisor of Richland in 1807-08. The
second birth in this town was
that of Polly, daughter of Elias Howe, on May 7, 1805; she married
Earl, and subsequently resided in Mannsville, Jefferson county.
Mrs. Howe died in 1807.
In 1805 several families came into Sandy Creek. George
Harding, father of Mrs. Pamelia Robbins, then fourteen years
old, located near Hurd and Howe. John and Simon Meacham, the
latter the first supervisor of the town, and Ephraim Brewster settled
near the Richland line and made the first clearings in that locality.
About the same year James Hinman moved into what is now Sandy Creek
village, and in 1806 built the first grist-mill in town. Later he
had a log tavern there. Messrs. Noyes and Robinson located
in the Howe and Hurd neighborhood, and a Mr. Knickerbocker settled
about three miles northeast of Lacona. The latter’s wife died in
1806, and a minister was sent for and undoubtedly preached the first sermon
delivered in the town. In 1807, over the remains of Mrs. Elias
Howe, and in 1808, at the burial of a Mr. Brown, funeral sermons
were also preached. After that Elder Bishop, a Methodist,
Osgood, a Baptist, and other itinerants visited the settlements at
In 1806 Henry Patterson and Lucy Meacham
were married in the Meacham neighborhood, which was the first marriage
solemnized in town. Simon Meacham opened the first tavern
and the first store that year. The Meachams were very prominent in
the life and growth of the community, and long occupied positions of responsibility.
Wilder and Simon Hadley settled on the creek road west of the
village in 1806.
Jabez Baldwin located three miles west of Sandy
Creek village in 1809 and Daniel Ackerman and John Pierce
settled near him about the same time, as did also Amasa Parker,
one of the early school teachers. Asa Carpenter, a brother
of Amasa, came a little later, and for fifty years served as clerk of the
Congregational church of Sandy Creek.
In 1810 P. T. Titus, father of Mrs. Jotham Newton,
came with his family and settled on Pine Ridge, building a log house about
where Henry Seeley now lives. Soon afterward he erected the first
saw mill on Deer Creek, and during the war of 1812 he hauled supplies for
the government from Oswego and other points to Sackett’s Harbor.
He assisted in constructing the “Ridge road” and subsequently located
upon it. Mrs. Jotham Newton was born in 1800 and died
in 1882. Among others who became settlers prior to 1812 were John
Snyder, John and Abel Bentley, John Darling, Samuel
Goodrich, Amos Jackson, Seth Potter (who died April 19, 1885,
aged ninety-three), and a Mr. Broadway. In 1812 Samuel
Hadley and his son, Jesse F., the latter then ten years old,
located northwest of the village. At that time there were living
in town, besides those previously mentioned, the families of Harmon
Ehle, Peter Combs, John Spalsbury ---- Harris, ---- Picket,
---- Winters and ---- Sheeley, all near the Ellisburg line.
The war of 1812 probably had a greater effect
upon Sandy Creek than upon any other town in Oswego county. Lying
upon the route and about midway between Oswego and Sackett’s Harbor, the
two principal points of defense along the frontier, and itself affording
in Wigwam Cove an advantageous place for landing troops and munitions of
war, the settlements were in a state of constant anxiety and alarm.
Besides checking immigration the struggle had a tendency to drive away
the more recent comers. Nevertheless the settlers for the most part
withstood the fears and sufferings incident to the situation, and their
able-bodied men bore arms or aided in the movement of troops and warlike
supplies. Nearly all of this class of sufficient age performed military
duty. A company was formed of which Smith Dunlap was captain;
Gurley, lieutenant; Samuel Dunlap, ensign; and Reuben Hadley,
orderly sergeant. Col. Thomas S. Meacham led the troops in
this vicinity, and a number of the Sandy Creek men participated in the
transportation of the great five-ton cable of the “Superior” to Sackett’s
After peace was declared immigration revived. A Dr.
Porter had been here a short, but in 1815 Dr. James A. Thompson
became a permanent settler and the first resident physician. He located
at the village and remained until his death in 1859, when he was succeeded
by his son, Dr. A. L. Thompson. In this year Reuben Scripture
became a resident. His son Samuel was born in Nelson, N. H., October
11, 1812, and died in July, 1887. Soon afterward Smith Dunlap
opened a store in Sandy Creek, and about 1817 Anson Maltby established
a carding and fulling mill there. The latter was succeeded by Joseph
M. Hooker in 1821, who became a resident in 1820, and who continued
business for thirty-seven years. Other comers prior to 1820 were:
Thomas Baker, Nathan W. Noyes, Conrad Lester, and the
families of Rogers, Alton, Hibbard, Hawley and Monroe, all on the
Ridge road, and Jason D. Hadley, Albert Hadley, Isaac Morey, Martin
Morey (died in 1888, aged eighty-one), Ira Noyes (son of Captain
Noyes, died in 1887), Julius S. Robbins, John W. Sage (died
in 1885), and William E. Howlett.
The latter was born in Connecticut in 1813, came here with
his parents, and died in Lacona in June, 1885. Julius S. Robbins
was born in Palmyra, N.Y., October 18, 1816, came to Sandy Creek with his
parents in 1818, and in 1850 engaged in mercantile business in the village
with his brother, E. V. Robbins. He was postmaster several
years and also served as school commissioner, assessor, etc. Benjamin
G. Robbins was born here November 11, 1823, son of Valentine W.,
had six children, and died March 3, 1871. He was Sunday school superintendent
fifteen years, long a member and trustee of the Congregational Church,
supervisor four terms, town school superintendent some time, loan commissioner,
plank road inspector, and a member of the Republican county committee.
About 1820 Lindall Wilder and his father came in
and settled west of the village. The former died in Scriba in December,
1885, aged ninety-two. The year 1820 also marks the settlement of
the Salisbury family in Sandy Creek, where three generations have
been prominent and influential. The first comers of the name were
Reuben, sr., and his son, Reuben, jr. The later, born in Vermont,
December 21, 1799, built a mill at Hadley’s Glen and another at Lacona,
and moved thence to near Petersburg, Va., where he purchased a farm.
He was a deacon of the Baptist church. Hiring slaves, he allowed
them in the room while he read the Bible and prayed, and in consequence
excitement ran high. His neighbors, organizing a party, searched
his house and ordered him to leave the country, which he did, leaving his
farm from which he never realized anything. He returned to Sandy
Creek and died March 4, 1874. Mason Salisbury 2d, born in
1810, was active in the “underground railroad,” was a miller, served as
justice of the peace several years and as assemblyman, and died in March,
1877. His son M. J. served two years in the Rebellion and now conducts
the grist mill in Sandy Creek, which he rebuilt in 1885. Near the
site his father remodeled an old mill, which finally passed to M. J.
Salisbury and was burned in December, 1884. Dea. Enos Salisbury,
Vermont in 1806, came here at an early day, married first, Rebecca Tuttle
and second, Esther W. Alton, and died December 13, 1894. He
was a member of the Baptist church fifty-seven years and served most of
the time as deacon. Benjamin F. Salisbury, son of Nathan,
was born here in 1824 and died September 16, 1885. His father was
an early tavernkeeper on the north side of the creek in the village and
was succeeded by his son. The hotel was burned in 1884.
In 1822 Dr. John G. Ayer arrived here and practiced
medicine many years. His father, Rev. Oliver Ayer, became
at that time the first settled pastor in town. February 6,
of the same year, Capt. Stephen Lindsey was born where the Lindsey
Hotel now stands. He was a brother of Asa Lindsey and the
father of Guilford Lindsey and Mrs. Frank Harmon, and died
in January, 1895. In 1823 Jotham Newton, father of Pitt
M. Newton, who was born in 1825, moved into the town and settled on
fifty acres adjoining P. T. Titus. Mr. Titus finally sold
his farm and moved into the village, where he built a furnace just below
the grist mill.
Between 1820 and 1830 was the transition period from the rude
log cabin to comfortable frame dwellings. Passable roads had been
surveyed and opened in the most thickly populated portions of the town,
and new thoroughfares were laid out as necessity demanded. The Ridge
road at this time was a busy highway. At the first town meeting the
sum of $250 was appropriated for roads and bridges, and the usual road
districts were designated. In 1825 the town contained about 1,615
inhabitants. Among the settlers of this decade were Leman Baldwin,
Miles Blodgett, William H. Bettinger, Hiram M. Stevens, Leander Tifft,
John Wilder and others. Mr. Blodgett, about 1836, built a tannery
in the southeast corner of the town and conducted it nearly half a century.
M. Stevens died June 1, 1885.
Of the settlers during the years from 1830 to 1840 mention
should be made of John Edwards and his son Alfred, Hon. Andrew
S. Warner, William H. Cottrell, Joel Morey, Ira Oyer, William Stevens,
and Newton M. Thompson. Dairying, and especially cheese-making,
had become an important industry, particularly in the south part of the
town in the Meacham neighborhood. In 1835 it made the locality famous.
Thomas S. Meacham was a man of enthusiastic temperament and
fond of remarkable things, and in that year he conceived the idea of making
a mammoth cheese as a gift for President Jackson. He had 150
cows, and for five days their milk was turned into curd and piled into
an immense cheese-hoop and press constructed for the purpose.
The cheese weighed half a ton, but was not large enough, so the colonel
enlarged his hoop and correspondingly enlarged the cheese until it tipped
the scales at 1,400 pounds. It was then started on its journey to
Washington. Forty-eight gray horses drew the wagon on which it rested
to Port Ontario, whence it was shipped November 15, 1835, the boat moving
away amid the firing of cannon and the cheering of the people. Colonel
Meacham accompanied it. It was conveyed by water by way of Oswego,
Syracuse, Albany, and New York, and along the entire route its projector
was given a series of ovations. Reaching Washington the huge cheese
was formally presented to the President of the United States in the name
of the “governor and people of the State of New York.” In return
Jackson presented Colonel Meacham with a dozen bottles of wine.
The mammoth production was kept until February 22, 1836, when the President
invited all the people in the capital to eat cheese. The scene is
thus described by an eye-witness:
This is Washington’s birthday. The President, the
departments, the Senate, and we, the people, have celebrated it by eating
a big cheese! The President’s house was thrown open. The multitude
swarmed in. The Senate of the United States adjourned. The
representatives of the various departments turned out. Representatives
in squadrons left the capitol – and all for the purpose of eating cheese!
Van Buren was there to eat cheese. Mr. Webster was there
to eat cheese. Mr. Woodbury, Colonel Benton, Mr. Dickerson,
and the gallant Colonel Trowbridge were eating cheese. The
court, the fashion, the beauty of Washington, were all eating cheese.
Officers in Washington, foreign representatives in stars and garters, gay,
joyous, dashing, and gorgeous women, in all the pride and panoply and pomp
of wealth, were there eating cheese. It was cheese, cheese, cheese.
Streams of cheese were going up in the avenue in everybody’s fists.
Balls of cheese were in a hundred pockets. Every handkerchief
smelt of cheese. The whole atmosphere for half a mile around was
infected with cheese.
Colonel Meacham also sent a cheese to Vice President
Van Buren, another to Gov. William L. Marcy of Albany, a third
to the mayor of New York, and a fourth to the mayor of Rochester, each
weighing 700 pounds. In return he received from the latter a huge
barrel of flour containing ten ordinary barrels. Subsequently he
conceived the idea of erecting an agricultural hall on his farm in which
fairs, lectures, etc.,
might be held. It was a long two-story frame structure with the head
of the Rochester flour barrel built into the front, but the idea of using
it for its original purpose was soon abandoned.
Hon. Andrew S. Warner, previously mentioned, was
born in Vernon, N.Y., January 12, 1819, came to Sandy Creek in April, 1837,
and died here December 26, 1887. He was member of assembly in 1855
and 1856, State senator in 1860-61, and colonel of the 147th N. Y. Volunteers
in the Rebellion.
Prominent among the settlers between 1840 and 1850 were
Oren R. Earl, William Bishop, Nathan Davis, William McConnell, Simon Pruyn,
Henry Wright, and others. Mr. Earl was born in Ellisburg, N.Y.,
November 2, 1813, came to Sandy Creek in 1844, and from 1857 to 1858 operated
the tannery there. He was vice-president of the Syracuse Northern
Railroad, served many years as supervisor, is the father of Sandy Creek
Agricultural Society, and in 1847 was elected to the Assembly. He
is now a banker in the village and one of the most prominent men in town.
Other residents of Sandy Creek, many of whom were
or are prominently identified with the town, may be here mentioned as follows:
Ebenezer and Nathaniel Jacobs, Abel Rice, Samuel and Jacob
Hadley, Calvin Sargent (about 1822, father of Edmund H.), Peter Coon, the
Gurley family, George and Sidney Baldwin (Sidney died in 1894), Jabin Cole,
John Tuttle, Nicholas P. Gurley, Azariah Wart, Joseph and Newman Tuttle,
Lucius A. Warriner, Danforth E. Ainsworth and his father Henry, John H.
Bentley, Ezra Corse, Manford M. Tucker (harnessmaker), Richard M. Knollen,
William T. Tifft, Hamilton E. Root, Joseph N. Robbins, Judah Roberts, Luther
C. Sargent, Enos and Rufus Salisbury, Charles Scripture, Martin A. Allen
(son of John R.), Charles Alton, Hymeneus Cole, Edwin C. Hart, Orrin House,
John B. Smith, Andrew C. Earl, Stephen Fitch (father of Ephraim), Grove
W. Harding, William Hale, Elias Hadley, Andrew Place, Caleb Tifft, Calvin
Seeley, Barnabus Monroe, Monroe Sargent (died in 1868), George Smith, sr.,
John Smith (father of Edwin and grandfather of Ferdinand Smith), Mason
Salisbury 1st, Elijah and James Upton, William Wood, Levi Woodard (died
in 1893), Hiram Young (whose father died at the age of ninety-nine), Martin
H. Thomas (father of Fayette), Smith E. Walch, Elisha Woodruff, William
C. Weaver, Jerome Skinner, James V. Wimple, who married a daughter of Jotham
Newton and died in December, 1894; William Hinman, born in Richland in
1814, died March 24, 1888; Samuel Sweetland, son of Seth, born here in
1810; Lorenzo D. Cole, born in Vermont in 1813, died here in 1885; and
Salmon Harding, grandfather of Gilbert N. Harding, who settled on the Ridge
road at an early day, and owed a large tract of land.
Ezra Corse, just mentioned, born in 1803, came from
Vermont and located near where he now lives. His ancestors emigrated
from England to Greenfield, Mass., in 1696. His wife was a daughter
of John Pierce, who very early had a store where James K. P.
Cottrell’s shoe shop now stands. Rev. Albert E. Corse,
eldest son of Ezra, was born here April 25, 1829, was an active member
of the Northern New York M. E. Conference from 1857 to 1894, and has held
several positions of honor and trust.
The completion of the Rome and Watertown Railroad in May, 1851,
was the occasion of a number of new enterprises in the villages of Sandy
Creek and Lacona. This was followed in the fall of 1871 by the Syracuse
Northern Railroad, which connected with the above line at Lacona, and which
was operated until 1878, when that portion lying between Pulaski and Sandy
Creek was abandoned. Junctions were then formed at Pulaski and Richland
as at present. To aid in constructing this line the town was bonded
for $80,000. March 1, 1890, this debt was refunded at 3 ½
per cent, interest per annum, and bonds issued amounting to $78,500, of
which $68,000 remains unpaid. The railroad commissioner is Edmund
In 1851 the sum of $250 was voted for a town hall, and
accordingly a room was fitted up for the purpose in Sandy Creek village.
During the Rebellion the town contributed over 220 of her
sons to the Union army and navy and raised upwards of $35,ooo for bounties
to volunteers. Among those who attained official positions were:
William De W. Ferguson, Henry B. Corse, Byron Hinman, Moreau
J. Salisbury, Delos Watkins, Edward S. Gillett, Ephraim P. Potter, Solomon
S. Harding, Joseph K. Crandall, Andrew J. Barless, William H. Wheeler,
Charles E. Thomas, Granville S. Thompson, Solon W. Martin, William F. Mosier,
Yates W. Newton, Jams K. P. Cottrell, Robert C. Austin, Elijah S. Crandall,
Thomas Roberts, William S. Morey, Samuel Mahaffy, Andrew S. Warner, Harvey
E. Chapin, Elhanan C. Seeley, Sylvester J. Taylor, Joseph A. Robinson,
Lyndon J. Cole, Edwin Crandall, George Wart, Elbert E. Ward, Henry Munderback,
Hiram Grant, Henry Lighthall, Benjamin Hastings, John H. Olmstead, James
L. Knollin, John Lindo, Henry C. Martin, Hollon M. Porter, Minott A. Pruyn,
and Hamilton Pruyn. Many others were noticed more fully in Parts
II and III of this volume.
The population of the town has been as follows:
In 1830, 1,839; 1835, 2,100; 1840, 2,431; 1845, 2,257; 1850, 2,456; 1855,
2,273; 1860, 2.431; 1865, 2,423; 1870, 2,629; 1875, 2,734; 1880, 2,878;
Supervisors’ statistics for 1894: Assessed valuation of
real estate, $750,570; equalized,
$941,356; personal property, $37,700; town tax, $6,615.32; county tax,
$5,482.71; total tax levy, $14,150.42; ratio of tax on $100, $1.80; dog
tax, $69; valuation of railroads, 9.87 miles, $100,000. The town
has two election districts, in which 547 votes were polled in November,
The first school in town was taught in the house of George
Harding in the winter of 1806-7; the teacher was his daughter, Mamrie
Harding. In the fall of 1807 a log school house was built at
Lacona and prior to 1812 a similar structure was erected near John Spalsbury’s
on the northern road. Down to 1871 nothing but the ordinary district
schools existed in town.
April 15, 1871, it was voted to consolidate districts 9
and 10, comprising the villages of Sandy Creek and Lacona, into one Union
school district, and the following Board of Education was chosen: Hamilton
E. Root, president; S. H. Barlow, secretary; W. A. Harding,
treasurer; William T. Tifft, Henry L. Howe,
Rev. H. H.
White, Pitt M. Newton, E. L. Nye, and Dr. A. L. Thompson.
Four acres of land on Academy street, lying partly in each village, were
donated for the purpose by Oren R. Earl, and upon it a fine two-story
brick building was erected in 1872, at a total cost, including furnishings
($2,000), of $10,000. The first term was held in the winter of 1872-3
with Rev. B. E. Whipple as principal. He was succeeded by
G. Williams, who was followed by J. Edman Massee, R. J. Round, T.
C. Wilber, Robert A. McDonald, William C. Tifft, and Ransom H. Snyder,
incumbent. The school has sent forth nearly 100 graduates, and maintains
primary, junior, and academic departments. The present Board of Education
consists of S. H. Barlow, president; F. Dudley Corse, secretary;
J. Hollis, E. H. Smith, C. W. Colony, and A. E. Sherman.
M.M. Earl is the treasurer and C.Y. Wimple the collector.
The town now has fourteen school districts with a school
house in each, in which twenty-one teachers were employed and 469 children
taught during 1892-3. The value of school buildings and sites is
$17,950; assessed valuation of districts, $827,722; public ;money received
from the State in 1892-3, $2,556.22; and raised by local tax, $3.488.73.
About 1820 half an acre of land near the present village of Sandy
Creek was purchased by subscription and opened for burial purposes.
It was deeded to the Presbyterian church, and about 1850 another half-
acre was added. On May 26, 1866, a public meeting was held in the
town hall and the organization of the Union Cemetery Association of Sandy
Creek under the statute passed April 27, 1847, was effected with the following
trustees; Almon Chapin and Henry L. Howe, three years;
G. Robbins and George S. Buell, two years; and Pitt M. Newton
and Oren R. Earl, one year. Almon Chapin was chosen president;
B. G. Robbins, vice-president; P. M. Newton, secretary; and Oren
R. Earl, treasurer. An adjoining five acres were purchased, and about
this time the trustees of the Presbyterian Society deeded the old plot
to the new association. October 14, 1885, two and one-half acres
more were added, and in 1889 a brick receiving house was built at a cost
of $778. The present trustees are Albert E. Sherman, president;
K. P. Cottrell, secretary; Oren R. Earl, treasurer; Hamilton
E. Root, Smith H. Barlow, and Minott A. Pruyn. This is
the principal cemetery in town.
Sandy Creek – This village derives its name from the town and
from the creek which flows westerly through its center. In 1812 it
comprised only two or three frame houses and a few log buildings.
By 1825 its population had considerably increased and the inhabitants conceived
the idea of giving the place a name worthy of its promising future.
“Washingtonville” was suggested by Dr. Ayer and Anson Maltby,
and for many years it bore that appellation, but the more easily pronounced
title of Sandy Creek eventually prevailed. In 1825 a fulling and
carding mill, which was built by Mr. Maltby about 1817 and purchased by
M. Hopper in 1821, was in active operation, and in 1826 John B.
Smith established a tannery, which was burned about 1828. He
rebuilt it and in 1857 sold it to Oren R. Earl, who carried it on
until 1868, when L. J. Brown became the superintendent with Boston
parties as owners. It burned September 1, 1883, with a loss of about
$150,000, and never rebuilt. About 1835 the settlement contained
two stores kept by Lyman Mallory and Orrin House, the taverns
of James Curtiss and Nathan Salisbury, two grist mills, two
churches, two blacksmith shops, two shoemakers, a tannery, one distillery,
and a woolen mill. Orrin House was in business for twenty-two
years, being succeeded by Julius S. Robbins and Edmund H. Sargent,
Robbins and Sargent, who were followed by Pitt M. Newton. E.
V. Robbins began
trade on the north side of the creek about 1848; later he moved to the
south side and entered into partnership with Calvin Seeley; still
later he was associated with Julius S. Robbins and E. H. Sargent,
and finally went to Chicago and became president of the Board of Trade.
A. Pruyn, upon returning from California, with William Alton
bought out Robbins & Sargent and built the present store of E. H. Sargent
& Son. Julius S. Robbins and Mr. Sargent purchased
Alton’s interest in 1855, and in 1861 the business was closed up.
In 1867 E. H. Sargent and W. A. Harding began a mercantile
trade, from which the latter retired in 1877 and Mr. Sargent’s son Fred
N. became a partner. They sold to J. S. Robbins & Son in
1879 and moved to the House block, since burned, but two years later they
returned to their present location. Other merchants have been J.
W. Potter, Edwin C. Hart, Mason Salisbury and Oren R. Earl, Byron
Allen (succeeded by E. C. Williams), E. S. Harding, S. R.
King, L. A. Baldwin, C. W. Colony, C. V. Harbottle, J. K. P. Cottrell,
N. M. Mouton, and E. L. Sargent. Dr. Solomon J. Douglass
was a druggist here for many years, and at his death was followed by Dr.
Cooke, Dr. J. Lyman Bulkley, Almon Chapin, George N. Salisbury (in
business now), and others.
In the fall of 1845 subscriptions were taken and Oren
R. Earl was sent to Albany to purchase what has ever since been known
as the “old town bell.” It was brought by canal to Oswego, by lake
to Port Ontario, and drawn thence by John Nichols and Samuel
Salisbury to “Washingtonville,” where it was hung on timbers in front
of O. R. Earl’s present bank. At that time the village was
strongly divided into the north and south “clans,” the creek being the
dividing line, and each side desired the honor of having the bell.
It was taken back and forth until 1851, when it found a home in the new
town hall. It was finally cracked, and in 1862 sent back to be recast.
It again became cracked, and June 14, 1867, a third bill was brought into
the town. This was finally placed in the Baptist church, where it
The Salisbury grist mill, burned in 1884 and rebuilt by the present
proprietor, M.J. Salisbury, in 1885, and the iron foundry of P.T.
Titus just below it, have already been noticed. The machine shops
of Leman Baldwin and A. C. Skinkle have been operated by
them for several years; the latter business was started in 1862, and that
of Mr. Baldwin
in 1863. The private bank of which Oren R. Earl is proprietor
and M. M. Earl is cashier, was established by Earl & Newton
in March, 1870. The steam granite and marble works of Sherman &
Hollis were started by Warriner & Soule in 1864. Lucius
A. Warriner became sole proprietor, and finally Warren T. Wright
and Albert E. Sherman purchased the business. In March, 1883,
B. Allen bought Mr. Wright’s interest and afterward Mr. Hollis
a part ownership. Mr. Sherman’s father, Elijah Sherman, was
an early blacksmith here, having a shop near where the post-office now
stands. Henry Soule afterward conducted a marble and granite
works alone. The Sandy Creek Wood Manufacturing Company, Ltd., began
business October 1, 1884. They manufacture pie plates, hardwood veneer,
and butter dishes, and the present officers are Oren R. Earl, president;
T. McKenzie, vice-president; and William P. Sandford, secretary,
treasurer and general manager. The capital is $12,000, and the works
occupy the old tannery site.
Nathan Salisbury, widely known as a cattle buyer
and as a man having but one leg, built and kept a tavern at an early day
in front of Earl’s bank, and was succeeded by his son, Benjamin F. Salisbury.
The hotel became a familiar landmark and was finally destroyed by fire.
The opera house block and hotel were burned in April, 1890. The present
hotels are the Watkins House and the Sandy Creek House, both good hotels.
The first newspaper was the Sandy Creek Times, which was
started by F. E. Merritt in December, 1862, and was continued until
the fall of 1864, when its editor removed to Governeur, N. Y. Edwin
established a job printing office in 1865, and in 1871 sold a partnership
interest to Alvaro F. Goodenough. In April of that year they
began the publication of the Sandy Creek News, and six months later Mr.
Goodenough sold to Henry Soule, father of Edwin, the firm becoming
Henry Soule & Son. April 1, 1877, they sold out to Munger
& Washburn, who were succeeded by F. E. Munger and F. E. Lum,
and they by F. E. Munger alone. January 8, 1885, the later
sold to F. Dudley Corse, the present editor and proprietor.
The News is an eight-page, six-column, non-political sheet, filled with
bright, newsy matter, and is all printed in the office from which it is
issued, which is
one of the best equipped in the county. Mr. Corse is a son of Rev.
Albert E., and a grandson of Ezra Corse, both previously mentioned,
and was born in Potsdam, N.Y., September 16, 1859. He was graduated
from Ilion Academy in 1880 and from Syracuse University in 1884, and received
the honorary degree of A. M. in 1887. In January, 1885, he settled
permanently in Sandy Creek, where he has served as a member and secretary
of the Board of Education since August, 1889, and was elected president
of the village in 1894. October 4, 1888, he married Ella B.,
daughter of John L. Nichols.
The Satellite was started in 1892 and is issued monthly
during the school year by the Literary and Debating Society of the High
For several years the village has maintained a successful
lecture course by an organized association, and has enjoyed hearing such
notable men as Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, Bayard Taylor, Rev. T. DeWitt
Talmadge, Robert Burdett, John F. Parsons, M.P., Schuyler Colfax and
Among the postmasters have been Edwin C. Hart, E.M.
Howe, Azariah Wart, Emma C. Johnston and Gilson D. Wart, incumbent.
In 1878 the village was incorporated and the following
officers were chosen:
Hamilton E. Root, president; Oren R. Earl, Pitt
M. Newton and Edmund H. Sargent, trustees; Danforth E. Ainsworth,
clerk; C. E. Thomas, collector.
The presidents have been:
Hamilton E. Root, 1878-79; Pitt M. Newton, 1880; Albert
E. Sherman, 1881;
George C. Kaulback, 1882; J. Lyman Bulkley, 1883; Oren R. Earl. 1884;
George N. Salisbury, 1885; O. R. Earl, 1886-87; John R. Allen, 1888-90;
Newton Cook, dis-qualified, and Samuel J. Crockett appointed and resigned,
and John R. Allen appointed, 1891; Eugene F. Nye, 1892-93; F. Dudley Corse,
The village officers for 1894-95 were:
F. Dudley Corse, president; Gilbert W. Hollis, Hugh Birdslow,
and Alvin C. Skinkle, trustees; William L. Hadley, treasurer; Minott A.
Pruyn, collector; Clarence E. Peck, street commissioner; Azariah Wart,
police justice, succeeded January 1, 1895, by William T. Baker.
The fire department consists of Ainsworth Hose Co. No.
1, M. J. Salisbury, foreman; and Alert Hose Co. No. 2, Hugh Birdslow,
foreman. The department was organized in October, 1885, and at that
time comprised one engine and one hose company, but since the completion
of the water works, hose attached to the hydrants has been used.
The chief of the department is Joseph E. Wright and the assistant
The system of water works was constructed by the village
corporation in 1891 and cost about $17,000, the village being bonded for
$16,000 for the purpose. Water is taken from the Hamer springs on
the David Hamer farm, now owned by Zabin Moor, about two
miles east, and conducted in pipes into a reservoir just outside the corporation
limits, the site for which as well as the riparian rights were donated
by Mr. Hamer. The water commissioners are M. J. Salisbury, Albert
E. Sherman and Hamilton E. Root.
The village of Sandy Creek has a population of 723, or
228 less than in 1880 and 300 more than in 1860. It maintains a high
standard for thrift and as a business and social center.
Lacona has grown from a sparsely settled farming community
into an incorporated village since the completion of the railroad in 1851.
It enjoys the advantage of being the only railroad station in town
and owes its prosperity mainly to that fact. Situated on the banks
of Sandy Creek, which flows westerly through its center, it possesses a
good water-power, and lying immediately adjacent to the eastern boundary
of the village of Sandy Creek it enjoys and aids in supporting the same
excellent schools, churches, and other institutions. The grist mill
was originally built at Hadley’s Glen by Dea. Reuben Salisbury,
who moved it to Lacona and was succeeded by Salisbury & Boomer.
He was also associated with A. N. Harding and later with Parley
H. Powers. Upon the deaths of Salisbury and Powers the mill passed
to Harding & Hollis and five years afterward, or in 1886, to
N. Harding, the present proprietor. It was rebuilt in 1881-82.
The first store was started by Truman C. Harding, father of Gilbert
N., who continued business a few years and died in 1857, being succeeded
by his partner, Ansel N. Harding. The stock was finally sold
to William W. Alton, who conducted trade for a time under the firm
name of Alton & Tobey. About 1860
Julius S. Robbins
a store and continued it until 1866, when G. N. Harding became his
partner; they closed out in January, 1874, and the store was reopened by
Hedden, who were succeeded by William T. Tifft. The
first drug store was opened by Dr. Woodruff & Mann, from
Camden, who were followed by D. L. Mann, whose successor was
J. L. Archampaugh. The latter sold out in 1877 to W. B. Fuller,
now of Syracuse, and during his ownership the store was burned. The
present druggist is Dr. Fred Austen. Other merchants have
been Hydorn & Tilton, Nathan Davis,
C.R. Grant, Albert Powers, G. L. Hydorn & Son, and C.
D. Rounds. The present Central House, long known as the Union
Center House, was built about 1852 by Henry Daily, who kept it for
Among his successors were Dingman & Tripp, A. N. Harding, John
S. Rogers, George H. and William Brooks, Henry Wright (in March,
1865), Clark & Smith (with Josiah Clark as owner, who bought
property in 1874), Fred W. Clark (son of Josiah), and others.
The present landlord is Charles M. Myers. Upon the death of
Clark L. D. Mott purchased the property and it is now owned by his
The Lacona House was originally a dwelling built by Nathan Davis.
It was converted into a hotel by Reuben W. Scripture, who was succeeded
in July, 1893, by Frank C. Plummer. Besides these the village
contains the machine shop of S. H. Barlow and a tannery built
in 1876, owned at one time by B. F. Pond, and now conducted by Mr.
The village has been visited by several severe conflagrations,
notably April 14, 1879, when the Tifft block was burned, and in May, 1885,
when ten buildings were destroyed entailing a loss of about $13,000.
The post-office was established in 1865 with Julius
S. Robbins as postmaster, who served until 1874, when Parley H.
Powers was appointed. His successors have been William T.
Baker, Gilbert N. Harding (appointed January 1, 1887), Luther Tilton
(appointed March 1, 1890), and G. N. Harding again (October 1, 1893),
incumbent. Mr. Harding was the prime mover in establishing the office
and soon after had it made a money order office.
Lacona village was incorporated in 1880 and the first officers
were elected on March 31 of that year, as follows:
Gilbert N. Harding, president; George T. Smith,
David Salisbury, and Reuben W. Davis, trustees; Luther Tilton,
treasurer; Albert Powers, collector; Henry Wright, street
commissioner; Jay Mareness, Nathan Davis, and William
McConnell, police constables. William B. Fuller was appointed
the first town clerk.
The presidents have been:
Gilbert N. Harding, 1880-81; Luther Tilton, 1882-83; Edward
M. Knollin, 1884-85; William J. Stevens, 1886; Ephraim P. Potter, 1887;
Smith H. Barlow, 1888-91; E. P. Potter, 1892; Luther Tilton, 1893; William
J. Stevens, 1894.
The village officers for 1894-5 were:
W. J. Stevens, president: William H. Philbrick, Gilbert
N. Harding, and Charles E. Lownsbury, trustees; Peter G. Hydorn, treasurer;
Albert Powers, collector; Delos E. Wilds, police justice; Charles M. Myers
and Porter M. Corse, police constables: Tad W. Harding, clerk. The
trustees act as assessors. The ordinances and by-laws were adopted
in April, 1880.
The Lacona fire department was organized in November, 1885,
with nineteen members, and with William J. Stevens as chief.
It consists of one engine company, of which George W. Wimple is
foreman, and a hose company with Joseph H. Rounds as foreman.
The chief is George H. Ackerman; assistant chief, Charles B.
Jones; treasurer, C. S. Gayton; secretary, B. E. Randall.
Lacona is an enterprising village of 333 inhabitants, or
forty five less than it contained in 1880.
Churches. ---A class of the M.E. church was organized in
town as early as 1811, but the First Methodist Episcopal church of Sandy
Creek was not legally incorporated until 1830. In 1831, under the
pastorate of Rev. Elisha Wheeler, a church edifice was erected and
dedicated in the village. It served its purpose for many years ---
nearly half a century, --when a handsome new brick structure was built
at a cost of $15,000. The society also owns a parsonage valued at
$1,600. They have about 250 members under the pastoral care of Rev.
M. G. Syemour, and connected is a flourishing Sunday school having
an average attendance of 140 scholars.
The First Congregational church of Sandy Creek was the
first regular religious society formed in town and dates its organization
from July 23, 1817. It was constituted as a Presbyterian church by
a council of
three ministers with the following members: Thomas and Mary Baker,
George Harding, Vada and Phoebe Rogers, Allen McLean, Polly Baker, and
Nathaniel and Sally Baker. The ruling elders were George Harding
and Thomas Baker, and during the first five years Rev. John Dunlap,
Oliver Leavitt, Jonas Coburn, and others supplied the pulpit.
Sixteen additional members were received. The first settled pastor,
Oliver Ayer, was installed in March, 1822, and in that year the
society was organized for secular purposes, the first trustees being Solomon
Harding, Simeon Duncan, Nathaniel Wilder, and Smith Dunlap.
Rev. Caleb Burge succeeded Rev. Mr. Ayer as pastor and in 1831
conducted a powerful revival in David Bennett’s barn, in a barn
in the village, and in the school house, making between thirty and forty
con- verts. In 1832 an edifice was erected in Sandy Creek, and subsequently
down to 1844 Revs. Samuel Leonard, Charles B. Pond, and William B. Stow
officiated as pastors. In December, 1842, during the pastorate of
Mr. Stow, the church adopted the Congregational form of government,
but still remained in the Presbytery on the “accommodation plan.”
Other pastors were Revs. Frederick Graves, H. H. Waite, R. A. Wheelock,
and Richard Osburn, under whom eighty-five new members were added and
the edifice was rebuilt. Subsequent pastors were Revs. J. R. Bradnach,
N. B. Knapp, H. H. Waite again, J. N. Hicks, J. H. Munsell,
and others. Under the latter the church and society were placed in
full connection with the Congregationalists and the edifice was rebuilt
and rededicated. The present pastor is Rev. T. T. Davis, and
the superintendent of the Sunday school is Amos E. Wood.
The First Baptist church of Sandy Creek was constituted
in 1820, and among the earliest members was Mrs. Mary Salisbury,
who is still living. One of the first pastors was Rev. Philo Forbes.
The first church edifice was built by subscription about 1840, or
soon afterward, and Elder McFarland delivered the dedicatory sermon.
Subsequent pastors were Revs. John C. Ward and W. W. Hukey. Henry
Soule was long the church clerk, the present one being J. P. Ford.
Rev. E. F. Maine was pastor of this society from November 1, 1884,
to November 1, 1892, and under him the edifice was rebuilt at a cost of
over $3,000, and rededicated on November 14, 1889, the dedicatory sermon
being preached by Elder McFarland. Rev. Mr. Maine, now
a pastor in Mexico, has just completed a half century of continuous ministry.
The society owns a parsonage, and their entire property is valued at $7,000.
They have about 190 members, under the pastorship of Rev. D. E. Post,
who succeeded Rev. Jabez Sanford in January, 1895. The officers
are H. A. Hall and George Cole, deacons; H. A. Hall, Jerome
Curtis, George T. Smith, John Reynolds, Simon J. Hadley, John Young
and E. W. Stevens, trustees. The Sunday school has about 140
officers and scholars, with W. F. Corse as superintendent.
The Goodenough and Center Methodist Episcopal churches.
– At a very early day a number of Methodists and “Reform Methodists” resided
in the west part of the town. The latter at one time had a class
of eighteen members there, and for nearly fifty years enjoyed the sermons
of Jacob Hadley, Josiah Chapin and Ashbel Frazier, while
the former were supplied by Rev. Mr. Stevens. All lived in
the vicinity and preached in school houses, etc., along the lake shore.
In 1859 McHendrick Paddock, a shoemaker and a member of no church,
began preaching and obtained a large number of converts, whom he advised
to join some society. He and most of his followers affiliated with
the Methodists, and himself became a Methodist minister. This revival
resulted in the formation of a circuit consisting of a class at the mouth
of Sandy Creek, another in the Goodenough neighborhood, and a third at
Port Ontario, with Rev. Mr. Paddock as the first pastor; among his
successors were Revs. Frazier, Bowen, W. C. Smith, William Empey, A.
S. Nickerson, Lucius Whitney, Hubbell, J. Jenkins, J. G. Benson, and
others. A church edifice was erected on the county line between Sandy
Creek and Ellisburg, and in 1872 another was built on the State road in
the west part of this town. These two churches now constitute a charge
under the name first given, have property valued at $3,000, and a combined
membership of about 100, with two Sunday schools having some sixty-five
scholars and teachers.
A Society of Christian Workers was organized in the village
of Lacona in September, 1885, to foster and sustain religious worship.
This movement resulted in the formation of the parish of Emanuel church
(Protestant Episcopal) in 1892, at which time Rev. Daniel Daly was
ministering to the spiritual wants of the community. A neat frame
edifice was built at a cost of $2,000 and opened for services in June of
that year. The building committee consisted of Gilbert N. and
A. N. Harding, William J. Stevens, George W. Robinson and E.
P. Potter, and the first rector was Rev. Mr. Daly, who still
officiates in that capacity.