Yates County, New York

Businessesin the Town of Milo

Fromthe History of Yates County, NY

published1892,  by L.C. Aldrich

pgs.291 - 296


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The Ark has become one ofthe fixed institutions and localities of the town of Milo, and one which isdeserving of at least a passing notice in this chapter. There once was a boat on Lake Keuka, called Keuka, which in thecourse of events became a wreck and was beached near the north end of the lake. Calvin CARPENTER, an old lake sailor and boatman, purchased the abandonedcraft, took from its cabins, mounted them on a scow, and anchored near the nowpopular sulphur springs.  The boatwith its cabins was called, The Ark, and from that time, 1850, to thispresent locality has always been known as �The Ark�. The investment my Mr. CARPENTER was in the nature of a business ventureand it proved a success.  In 1873the old structure was removed and replaced with a substantial frame building,but the old frame was retained.  In1880 the property was sold to David E. DEWEY, who has succeeded in building upthe Ark and its surrounding locality into a popular summer resort. 

From the foot of LakeKeuka to Seneca Lake, the distance is about seven or eight miles. The surface of the former above the latter, is 267 feet. From a time far back of the first white settlement in this region, thedischarge waters of Lake Keuka have passed through a narrow channel and coursedgenerally eastward through the present towns of Milo and Torrey and eventuallyemptied into Seneca Lake.  It wasthe falling of these waters over the rocks that first attracted the attention ofthe Friend�s emissaries to this side of Seneca Lake, and they were first toutilize the power for manufacturing purposes. From that time to this present, the so-called outlet has been the chiefcenter of manufacture in Yates County, and the greater portion thereof has beenan industry of the town of Milo.   Atnot less than a dozen places along the stream, and at every point where thewaters could be profitably diverted, has there been some industry built up andoperated.  During the firsttwenty-five or thirty years of the present century the manufactures were chieflylumber, flour, feed and potashes, while abundant have been the distilleries inthe same locality.  The saw-millsare all gone.  The distilleries andpotashes have likewise disappeared, and the flower and feed mills number butthree within the jurisdiction of Milo.  Of the latter the farthest down the stream in this town is the presentMay�s mills, the waters here being utilized for running a feed-mill and asaw-mill.  This was one of theancient WAGENER mill sites, and has passed through different ownerships anduses, at one time being the fulling mill of Caleb LEGG, then of the HENDERSONsand finally deeded to Walter MAY about twenty-two years ago. 

In 1828 an act of theState legislature authorized a survey to be made in order to determine upon theadvisability of constructing a canal of sufficient magnitude to admit of freightboat passage between Seneca and Keuka Lakes.  The scheme was found practicable and the result was that inApril 1829, the Crooked Lake Canal was ordered to be built.  Work of construction was commenced in 1830 and was completedin 1833.  It was eight miles long,but along its course it was found necessary to put in twenty-seven locks. Lake Keuka was its feeder and Seneca Lake its outlet. This canal was of inestimable benefit of Penn Yan and to the country upCrooked Lake, and while it took much of the water that was needful in supplyingpower to the factories along its course the owners derived great advantage inthat they were aided by the canal in transporting their products to market.   The canal was in operation about forty years and thenabandoned by the State, but for a time it was maintained at the expense ofinterested manufacturers of the town and locality.

A few years after theabandonment of the old Crooked Lake Canal a few of the enterprising business menof Penn Yan, prominent among whom were Oliver G. SHEARMAN, William H. FOX, JohnT. ANDREWS 2nd, Franklin E. SMITH, George WAGENER, and CalvinRUSSELL, inaugurated a movement having for its end the building of a railroadalong the line of the unused State highway.  For this purpose they caused to be incorporated and organizedthe Penn Yan and New York Railway Company. Oliver G. SHEARMAN was its president; Franklin E. SMITH, secretary; HenryTUTHILL, treasurer; and Oliver G. SHEARMAN, Henry TUTHILL, John T. ANDREWS 2nd,William H. FOX, John S. SHEPPARD, George WAGENER, Perley P. CURTIS, John H.BUTLER, and Calvin RUSSELL, directors. 

However important orinteresting might be the recital of history of the old mills that formerly andoriginally occupied the sites now used in manufacturing on this outlet, the samecannot be done with any degree of accuracy or thoroughness. Therefore let them be passed and let the attention of the reader beturned to the chiefest of those that do now exist and which have contributed somuch to the prosperity of the village and town during the last fifteen totwenty-five years. 

With the single exceptionof May�s mills, the present operating industries on the outlet below thevillage limits and as far down as Dresden, are those devoted to the manufactureof paper from stray, and slightly from rags. The pioneer of this special industry in this locality was William H. FOX,who with his brother, under the name of L & W.H. Fox, bought the old Youngs& Hewins mill, so-called or rather the old Yates mills, formerly occupiedfor the manufacture of flour, feed, plaster and as a saw mill and converted itinto a paper mill.  This was in 1865.  Afterabout one year, L. FOX retired from the firm and W.H. FOX continued the businessas sole proprietor until 1884, when Perley P. CURTIS, became a partner, underthe style of Fox & Curtis, which firm has operated continuously andsuccessfully to the present time.  Their manufactures embrace all grades of wrapping paper, forwhich they operate two machines.  Thedaily output of this firm runs from six to nine tons.  The Fox & Curtis plant is called �Keuka mills�. 

The Cascade mill wasstated in 1867, by a company comprising George R. YOUNGS, William C. JOY, S.S.RAPLEE and John WILKINSON.  It wasin Torrey, but as an industry incident to the outlet it may be appropriatelymentioned here.  The firm saw moneyin the paper making business, or at least they thought they did, but resultsshowed differently.  The plant wasdestroyed by fire about the same time the firm failed. After this the mill privilege was for some years idle, but in 1882Charles J. CAVE, of New York, purchased the site and erected on it a straw papermill, producing the same general commodity as do the others. This mill has two machines and puts out for or five tons of paper daily. 

The Milo mills are theproperty of John T. ANDREWS 2nd, of Penn Yan. Near the site was formerly TUALL�s distillery. From that ownership it passed to Russell & Co, composed of Calvin andHenry RUSSELL and Frank KRUM.  Theybought the privilege about 1868 and distilled light wines until 1871, when theproperty was changed into a paper mill.  Thefirm dissolved about 1874, all its members except Calvin RUSSELL, retiring. In the spring of 1882, John T. ANDREWS 2nd became RUSSELL�s partner, and so continued until December 1888, andthen succeeded to the entire ownership and management of the enterprise. Mr. ANDREWS made radical changes and enlargements to the property in1889, in fact building al almost entire new factory. The new mill commenced making straw wrapping paper in April 1890.  It has three improved machines with a total capacity of abouttwelve tons of paper per day.  Thisis the most extensive mill of its kind on the outlet, and one of the largest inthe country. 

The Seneca mills comenext in point of time of founding.  Theyare owned and operated by Russell & Co., Calvin RUSSELL being the activepartner in the concern.  The firmhas two machines with a capacity of six or eight tons of paper a day. The plant and property include an area of about 40 acres. This mill also furnishes the electric light for Penn Yan village.  This privilege was formerly used as a pulp-mill, and he sitehas a history reaching back into the early years of the century. 

It is to be regrettedthat more particular mention cannot be made of this present large enterprise,but the most faithful inquiry directed to the active proprietor has failed ofits chief purpose, and been unrewarded by data. 

The Yates mills, socalled until quite recently, owned and operated by Shutts & Wilson, werestarted in 1887, succeeding the spoke factory and feed mill formerly of SeymourSHUTTS, and afterward owned by John SHUTTS. During the late fall of 1891 the firm of Shutts & Wilson wasdissolved, Mr. WILSON retiring.  Soonafter this the Shutts Manufacturing Company was incorporated and duly organizedfor the purpose of operating the mills.  The product of this factory is straw board, or more commonly known,cardboard.  Under the new managementthe capacity of the mills is increased.  Ashort distance below the Fox & Curtis mills, stands an unoccupied factorybuilding of good proportions and of fair appearance.  Here was once a cloth-mill; then a flax-mill. Originally a saw-mill occupied the site. 

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