Yates County, New York
Businesses in the Town of Milo
From the History of Yates County, NY
published 1892, by L.C. Aldrich
pgs. 291 - 296
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The Ark has become one of
the fixed institutions and localities of the town of Milo, and one which is
deserving of at least a passing notice in this chapter.
There once was a boat on Lake Keuka, called Keuka, which in the
course 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 abandoned
craft, took from its cabins, mounted them on a scow, and anchored near the now
popular sulphur springs. The boat
with its cabins was called, The Ark, and from that time, 1850, to this
present locality has always been known as “The Ark”.
The investment my Mr. CARPENTER was in the nature of a business venture
and it proved a success. In 1873
the old structure was removed and replaced with a substantial frame building,
but the old frame was retained. In
1880 the property was sold to David E. DEWEY, who has succeeded in building up
the Ark and its surrounding locality into a popular summer resort.
From the foot of Lake
Keuka 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, the
discharge waters of Lake Keuka have passed through a narrow channel and coursed
generally eastward through the present towns of Milo and Torrey and eventually
emptied into Seneca Lake. It was
the falling of these waters over the rocks that first attracted the attention of
the Friend’s emissaries to this side of Seneca Lake, and they were first to
utilize the power for manufacturing purposes.
From that time to this present, the so-called outlet has been the chief
center of manufacture in Yates County, and the greater portion thereof has been
an industry of the town of Milo. At
not less than a dozen places along the stream, and at every point where the
waters could be profitably diverted, has there been some industry built up and
operated. During the first
twenty-five or thirty years of the present century the manufactures were chiefly
lumber, flour, feed and potashes, while abundant have been the distilleries in
the same locality. The saw-mills
are all gone. The distilleries and
potashes have likewise disappeared, and the flower and feed mills number but
three within the jurisdiction of Milo.
Of the latter the farthest down the stream in this town is the present
May’s mills, the waters here being utilized for running a feed-mill and a
saw-mill. This was one of the
ancient WAGENER mill sites, and has passed through different ownerships and
uses, at one time being the fulling mill of Caleb LEGG, then of the HENDERSONs
and finally deeded to Walter MAY about twenty-two years ago.
In 1828 an act of the
State legislature authorized a survey to be made in order to determine upon the
advisability of constructing a canal of sufficient magnitude to admit of freight
boat passage between Seneca and Keuka Lakes. The scheme was found practicable and the result was that in
April 1829, the Crooked Lake Canal was ordered to be built. Work of construction was commenced in 1830 and was completed
in 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 up
Crooked Lake, and while it took much of the water that was needful in supplying
power to the factories along its course the owners derived great advantage in
that they were aided by the canal in transporting their products to market. The canal was in operation about forty years and then
abandoned by the State, but for a time it was maintained at the expense of
interested manufacturers of the town and locality.
A few years after the
abandonment of the old Crooked Lake Canal a few of the enterprising business men
of Penn Yan, prominent among whom were Oliver G. SHEARMAN, William H. FOX, John
T. ANDREWS 2nd, Franklin E. SMITH, George WAGENER, and Calvin
RUSSELL, inaugurated a movement having for its end the building of a railroad
along the line of the unused State highway. For this purpose they caused to be incorporated and organized
the Penn Yan and New York Railway Company.
Oliver G. SHEARMAN was its president; Franklin E. SMITH, secretary; Henry
TUTHILL, 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 or
interesting might be the recital of history of the old mills that formerly and
originally occupied the sites now used in manufacturing on this outlet, the same
cannot be done with any degree of accuracy or thoroughness.
Therefore let them be passed and let the attention of the reader be
turned to the chiefest of those that do now exist and which have contributed so
much to the prosperity of the village and town during the last fifteen to
With the single exception
of May’s mills, the present operating industries on the outlet below the
village limits and as far down as Dresden, are those devoted to the manufacture
of 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 occupied
for the manufacture of flour, feed, plaster and as a saw mill and converted it
into a paper mill. This was in 1865. After
about one year, L. FOX retired from the firm and W.H. FOX continued the business
as sole proprietor until 1884, when Perley P. CURTIS, became a partner, under
the style of Fox & Curtis, which firm has operated continuously and
successfully to the present time. Their manufactures embrace all grades of wrapping paper, for
which they operate two machines. The
daily output of this firm runs from six to nine tons. The Fox & Curtis plant is called “Keuka mills”.
The Cascade mill was
stated in 1867, by a company comprising George R. YOUNGS, William C. JOY, S.S.
RAPLEE and John WILKINSON. It was
in Torrey, but as an industry incident to the outlet it may be appropriately
mentioned here. The firm saw money
in the paper making business, or at least they thought they did, but results
showed differently. The plant was
destroyed by fire about the same time the firm failed.
After this the mill privilege was for some years idle, but in 1882
Charles J. CAVE, of New York, purchased the site and erected on it a straw paper
mill, 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 the
property 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 and
Henry RUSSELL and Frank KRUM. They
bought the privilege about 1868 and distilled light wines until 1871, when the
property was changed into a paper mill. The
firm 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, and
then succeeded to the entire ownership and management of the enterprise.
Mr. ANDREWS made radical changes and enlargements to the property in
1889, 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 about
twelve tons of paper per day. This
is the most extensive mill of its kind on the outlet, and one of the largest in
The Seneca mills come
next in point of time of founding. They
are owned and operated by Russell & Co., Calvin RUSSELL being the active
partner in the concern. The firm
has 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 site
has a history reaching back into the early years of the century.
It is to be regretted
that more particular mention cannot be made of this present large enterprise,
but the most faithful inquiry directed to the active proprietor has failed of
its chief purpose, and been unrewarded by data.
The Yates mills, so called until quite recently, owned and operated by Shutts & Wilson, were started in 1887, succeeding the spoke factory and feed mill formerly of Seymour SHUTTS, and afterward owned by John SHUTTS. During the late fall of 1891 the firm of Shutts & Wilson was dissolved, Mr. WILSON retiring. Soon after this the Shutts Manufacturing Company was incorporated and duly organized for the purpose of operating the mills. The product of this factory is straw board, or more commonly known, cardboard. Under the new management the capacity of the mills is increased. A short distance below the Fox & Curtis mills, stands an unoccupied factory building 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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