Yates County, New York
Businesses in the Town of Starkey
From the History of Yates County, NY
published 1892, by L.C. Aldrich
pg. 372 - 374, 381 - 386, 391 - 393
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principal watercourse of the town is Big Stream.
This stream enters the town on its westerly boundary, and flowing in a
southeasterly direction through the entire breadth of the town, finally
discharges in waters over a precipice of more than 100 feet into Seneca Lake,
forming a beautiful waterfall. Big
Stream, in those early days of which we write, and later, was a splendid
water-power, and furnished power for fifteen saw mills, four fulling mills (i.e.
mills where wool was carded and cloth was dressed), two woolen factories and
five grist or flouring mills. The
mill privilege in West Dundee alone, furnished power for three saw mills, one
grist mill and fulling mill and tannery. Now
in a drouth there is hardly there is hardly water enough to run a steam engine.
The shrinkage of water in the streams is without doubt due to the
destruction of the forests. There
are now but two saw mills and two grist or flouring mills on the stream.
The only grist and flouring mill in the town in running order is the
Pecha mill at Glendora. The mill
was built by James BARKLY of Geneva, NY, in the year 1837.
Larmon G. TOWNSEND soon after its completion became partner and afterward
owner. The original cost of the
mill was $16,000. It was sold at
auction in the year 1864, and bid off by H. G. STAFFORD for $1,030.
Mr. STAFFORD sold it for $5,000 after putting on repairs costing $1,500. The present owners have added many new improvements.
The PECHAS, father and son, are English, and are practical millers, and
thoroughly understand their business. The
mill has always been in good repute and is a great convenience to the
surrounding country. The old Martin stone mill, still remaining, has been
abandoned, and of the remaining four mentioned, three were destroyed by fie and
the fourth was removed. Just across
the town line in Barrington the late Clinton RAPLEE built a grist and saw mill
and his sons have added a large basket factory.
Stream, much smaller than the above, crosses the entire breadth of the town from
west to east and empties into Seneca Lake at Rock Stream Point.
town of Starkey has an excellent soil well adapted to the cultivation of all
kinds of grain, vegetables and fruit. The
soil is various, including sand, clay and loam.
The cultivation of fruit has become one of the leading (if not the
leading) industries of the town. Large
vineyards have been established along the shores of the Seneca Lake and inland
for four of five miles. The acres
devoted to grapes and other fruits can be estimated by thousands.
Other fruits have not been neglected.
Apples, pears, plums and peaches are raised in abundance, and the raising
and evaporating of raspberries has assumed large proportions.
Strawberries, black berries, raspberries, as well as other fruits
mentioned above, are shipped in large quantities in their season.
The fruit crop is the main reliance of many families for support, and the
freighting is a goodly source of profit to the railroads.
FULKERSON and Andrew HARRISON kept inns in 1808, the first in the town.
John SEARS built the first grist mill.
It was located east of Eddytown on lands formerly owned by General HURD,
now by Mrs. YOUNGS. Mr. SEARS found the stones used in the mill in a ravine on
the same premises, and picked and fashioned them into form himself.
So far as known, John STARKEY built the second grist mill in what is now
early merchants of Eddytown were Henry SMITH, James HUNTINGTON, Benjamin CHEEVER,
John BOGART, Isaac P. SEYMOUR, King & Noyes, Harvey G. STAFFORD and George
STAFFORD was for many years the leading merchant of the town. He came to Eddytown in 1822 and engaged with Benjamin CHEEVER
as clerk, and in 1827 became partner and subsequently purchased the business.
He removed to Dundee in 1846, and was partner in the firm of Stafford,
Martin & Co. After that partnership was dissolved, he engaged in banking
and other business. He was
postmaster under Fillmore’s administration.
He lived to the great age of 88 and died November 10, 1891.
village of Dundee occupies the space of three-fourth of a mile north and south,
and one and one-half miles east and west. It
has the old and new pre-emption lines for its eastern and western boundaries.
The village is located in one of the most beautiful of the many beautiful
valleys of the State. It occupies a central position in the town of Starkey, and is
the largest village in the township, and the second in the population in the
county. The population according to
the last census was a trifle over 1,200. Dundee
was incorporated in 1848. Of the
250 voters within the village limits when it was incorporated only four are
residents now, and most of the others have passed into another state of
existence. The four remaining are
Hon. J. T. ANDREWS, V. OLDFIELD, C. h. MARTIN and Andrew HARPENDING, all well
advanced in years.
The first banking institution was “Jep” RAPLEE’s exchange and
banking office opened in 1856; soon after it was changed into a State bank,
1857, and moved to Penn Yan in 1858. The
bank building and fixtures were sold to H. G. STAFFORD, who continued the
business until 1871, when it closed. Lewis
J. WILKIN opened a banking office in 1868 and continued in business until 1880,
when he sold to the Dundee National Bank. The
National bank began business April 1, 1880, with a capital of $50,000, with
James SPICER, president; Morris F. SHEPPARD, vice president; and Frank R. DURRY,
cashier. Mr. SPICER still retains
the office of president; the vice president, M. F. SHEPPARD, was succeeded by T.
D. BEEKMAN in January 1887.
Mr. BEEKMAN is still vice president.
The cashier, F. R. DURRY, was succeeded by George S. SHEPPARD, January 1,
1881. Mr. G. S. SHEPPARD held that
office until August 1882 and was then succeeded by G. S. SHATTUCK, who still
retains that position, November 1891.
State Bank, February 28, 1882, Andrew HARPENDING, president; Lewis j. WILKIN,
cashier. Present officers, George
P. LORD, president; William C. SWARTS, vice president; Lewis J. WILKIN, cashier;
H. J. YOUNGS, assistant cashier. Capital,
following list of former business firms are given from memory. There may be a few errors, and possibly some omissions, but
the list is nearly accurate. The
firms are given in the order of their existence as near as can be ascertained,
and date down to a few years. Jonathan
BOTSFORD, John STARKEY, Starkey & Simmons, Honey & Simmons, Doolittle
& Simmons, Calvin HONEY (failed 1830), Simmons & Huson (Alonzo), Burgess
TRUESDELL, Myron HAMLIN, Samuel HUSON, Newel F. MURDOCK, 1832, William and J. h.
KINNAN, 1834, Ira FISHER (peddler), Huson & Lewis, Samuel KRESS, Huson &
Simmons (G.W.), Caleb WESTCOTT, Lewis & Kress, W. B. HAMLIN, 1835, E. W.
Lewis & Co., 1837, Miller & Huson, Cyrus MILLER, A. C. HARPENDING, 1835,
Smith & Silsbee, James HOLDEN, J. D. Morgan & Co. (hardware), S. HUSON,
1839, George W. SIMMONS, E. W. Lewis & Co (G.W.S.), Huson & Maltby, R.
H. Murdock & Co., A Maltby & Co. (RAPLEE), Maltby & Bradley, Benham
& Horn, s. S. BENHAM, Stafford, Martin & Co., 1846 (first time for
Martin 1847), Eaton, Spicer & Co., Spicer & Chruch (failed), Hollister
& Parks (failed), Morgan & Caton, Caton & Wickoff, James WATSON,
Edmund H. PIERCE, H. B. NEWCOMB (failed), Valentine OLDFIELD, J. T. RAPLEE,
William B. Hamlin & Co., 1849 (C.H. MARTIN), John CATON (hardware), F.
Holden, Clapp & Crittenden, W. H. Sawyer & Bro. (E. L.), Eaton, Spicer
& Co, A. Maltby & Co., (HUSON), David E. BEDELL, Horace KIDDER, John
SPICER, ROTHCHILD (clothing), George P. ROSE (jewelry), two or there other
clothing stores a short time, A. WOLF (clothing), L. C. MURDOCK (drugs), Hamlin
& Martin, Maltby & Mc Lean, Hiram MURDOCK, Smith & Benedict, Beam
& Noble, W. BENEDICT, William SAWYER (clothing), Jacob KOONS, Smith &
Kingsley, John BACKMAN, Horn & Benedict, C.R. TENANT, Smith & Headley,
Morris GRANT (fire bug), Ira D. FOWLNER, Martin Vosburgh & Co., 1866, Green,
Rhode & Knapp, C. E. SMITH, Woodward Bros., James HEADLEY, Luther BROWN,
Rhode & Knapp, A. Maltby & Son, A. HOLLISTER, C P. Mc Leans & Co.,
George Z. NOBLE, M. E. Bennett & Bro, George HARRINGTON, Harpending &
Bro., Boardman & Tate, Martin & Vosburgh, R. Vosburg & Son.
Business Firms – In the dry goods trade the firm of C. P. Mc Lean & Co. is
the oldest. Mr. MC LEAN commenced
business about thirty years ago in a partnership with Augustus MALTBY.
The present firms commenced business in 1872.
the firm are doing a large and apparently a profitable business.
They keep a general stock, including all articles sold in a country
store. Wall & Murdock are in
the same trade. They are young men,
very ambitious, and are selling a large amount of goods. Mr. WALL came from Grand Rapids, and was a clerk for Martin
& Vosburgh several years. At
the present time there are four grocery stores, Floyd LUDLOW, John C. KOONS,
James HEADLY, and Charles WIXON, all reliable and prospering. The clothing business is represented by L. D. WEST and Samuel
LEVI; both carry large stocks and have a custom deportment.
A. T. GAY is doing a tailoring business at his dwelling.
The boot and shoe business is represented by John H. KNAPP and George
KINGSLEY. The dry goods and
clothing houses have shoe departments and are doing a good business in that
line. The two millinery and fancy
goods stores are conducted by George H. HARRINGTON and Mrs. Clary FINCH, where
attractive assortments of goods can be found at all times, and at reasonable
prices. Charles TENANT and Levi
SPROUL represent the jewelry business of the village.
The two drug stores of W. T. MILLARD and S. A. PRICE, with their
extensive assortments would compare favorably with those of our largest cities.
L. C. DAVIS has a variety store.
buying and shipping of grain and fruit, which before the building of the
Syracuse, Geneva & Corning Railroad, was merely nothing, has become the
largest business of the village. Three
large elevators were erected near the depot.
They are owned by C. SWARTS, W. S. EARNEST and Charles WATSON
respectively, given the natural grain and fruit market fine facilities for the
purchase and shipping of cereals. Each
of them are doing a lively business. The
GOBLE brothers, Charles, George and Harry, erected on the completion of the
railroad, near the depot, a large planning-mill.
This is one of the most important manufacturing enterprises of the
village. Charles ROWLAND occupies
the old location of the Dundee Manufacturing Company, and makes a specialty of
the manufacture of the Dundee chilled plow.
All other work in the foundry line receives attention.
HOWELL, successor to Strader HOWELL (his father), is proprietor of the barrel
factory on Union street. The demand
for fruit barrels the present season has been so great that he has had orders
for barrels a month ahead, and it was not unusual to see a line of a dozen teams
waiting their turn. He also has a
large basket factory, giving employment to a large number of girls and boys.
LYNCH, William HAMILTON, William PAIGE and J. RUDDICK compose the quartette of
blacksmiths, all in a huddle on Union street.
Two wagon shops, Jesse C. KNAPP and J. BAKER in the same neighborhood,
With Rowlands foundry complete the manufacturing and mechanical interests of
the month of November 1843, the town had been without a newspaper. In that month the want was supplied by Gifford J. BOOTH who
issued the first number of the Dundee Record.
Some time in the firs years of its publication, William BUTMAN became a
partner and the firm of Booth & Butman continued the publication until 1847.
At that time Edward HOOGLAND became owner and editor.
Mr. HOOGLAND was an old newspaper reporter and had worked on the New York
Herald. The Record,
under Mr. HOOGLAND’s management was a spicy and readable newspaper, and his
retirement form the editorship of the paper was regretted by all his patrons.
Mr. HOOGLAND removed to Kansas where he remained until his death, which
occurred many years ago.
DIEFENDORF became editor and owner of the Record, in 1853 and held the
position until 1857 or 1858, when it was sold and David BRUNER became the editor
and owner. In 1860 the entire plant
of the Record was destroyed by the fire of November 30, and Henry BRUNER
became a partner in January 1861. The
BRUNERS sold out toe George D. A. BRIGEMAN in the fall of 1862.
BRIDGEMAN made a Democratic paper of it and supported Horatio SEYMOUR for
governor. The change was not
popular and he sold at the first opportunity to “Elder” J. M. WESTCOTT.
Under the management of Mr. WESTCOTT, it did not thrive, and at his death
it came into possession of his grandsons, who sold it to Dr. NOBLE, and after
having a half dozen or less owners, it was merged in the Home Advocate,
and the Dundee Record, was a thing of the past.
The next paper was the Dundee Herald, published by Dennison &
Hobson. It was short lived and was
finally sold to a Mr. ROBINSON. In
1869 Mr. ROBINSON traded the Dundee Expositor with George D. A. BRIGMAN
for the Penn Yan Express. BRIDGMAN
conducted the paper for one year, and in March 1870, he stopped its publication
and moved the material to Penn Yan. He
then repurchased the Penn Yan Express of ROBINSON, took the material of
the Expositor and moved to Charleston or Savannah.
Merchants - In the year 1808 or
1809, Benjamin POTTER built a double log house on the west side of Main street
just across Big Stream. The
building was occupied as dwelling and tavern, and was the first public house in
what is now the village of Dundee. Twelve
feet north of the house he located his blacksmith shop.
The twelve feet between the buildings was enclosed and occupied by
Jonathan BOTSFORD, known sobriquet of “Ducklegs,: or Ducklegs Johnny.”
This was the first store in what is now Dundee.
The place had no name then (it was before the Harpending’s Corners era)
and was sometimes called Stark’s Mills. On
Johnny’s antecedents it is known that he was the son of Jonathan BOTSFORD, who
came with the Universal Friend and was one of her adherents.
It is safe to assume that his business was not a success, for after his
store had remained closed for two days, the door was forced and BOTSFORD was
found hanging by the neck stark and dead.
in those early days was the main reliance of the merchant. It was about he only article that commanded cash, and was
marketed with difficulty. The time
of which I am now writing was long before the building of the Erie Canal, and
the only water communication was by the way of the Seneca and Oswego Rivers to
Lake Ontario, and the market was Montreal.
after BOTSFORD’s suicide, we find John WALTON occupying the same premises.
He afterward built a store and dwelling combined, south of the Big Stream
near apple trees on the old fairground. The
building remained until a few years since, when it was taken down.
Mr. WALTON was a native of Nova Scotia.
His business, though small, was a paying one- at least he paid. It
was managed with the most rigid economy.
only public conveyance of the times was the four house “tally-ho” stage
coach, and the fare was six cents per mile.
To avoid this expense, Mr. WALTON traveled the distance to and from New
York or Albany on foot to make his purchase, saving about $40 each trip.
He became involved in lawsuits and was compelled to close his business
and leave the town. He returned to Nova Scotia, where he remained until his
death, which occurred many years ago. After
Mr. WALTON closed his business the hamlet was for some time without a store.
Eddytown monopolized the business and was the most important place
between Geneva and Elmira (then Newtown).
next merchant in order was John STARKEY. Mr.
STARKEY was a native of Maryland, but came her from Seneca County.
He built a store on the west side of Main street, on the brow of the hill
where Nathan SAYRE’s dwelling now stands.
This building afterward moved on to the Presbyterian church lot, and
after being occupied for mechanics’ shops, gambling rooms, and dwelling, was
purchased by the Presbyterian Society, a “lean-to” was attached to it and it
was used as a meeting house. The
old building was destroyed by fire in 1860.
Mr. STARKEY was an able, enterprising and successful merchant. The late
Nehemiah RAPLEE made his debut in this place as clerk for Mr. STARKEY.
In company with his brother-in-law, Clayton SEAMANS, Mr. STARKEY built
the old red grist mill, the second grist mill in the town, near the Big Stream
bridge on Main street. The mill was
burned a few years since. Soon
after it was completed, SEAMANS sold his interest in the mill to his partner,
and about the same time another brother-in-law, Samuel KRESS, became a member of
the firm. On April 6, 1824, the
town of Starkey was organized. It
was taken for the town of Reading. In
honor of Mr. STARKEY it was given his name, and he was the first supervisor
elected. After remaining in
business a few years the firm of Starkey & Kress was dissolved.
The mills and other real estate were sold to Nehemiah RAPLEE;
consideration, $9,000. Mr. STARKEY
removed to Starkey’s Corners, which was considered the more eligible business
place, there built a store, and for a time left the hamlet again destitute of a
mercantile establishment. After
residing in Starkey’s Corners for some years, Mr. STARKEY removed to the
village of Lodi, where he remained until his death.
& Simmons – In the year 1824 Samuel HARPENDING erected on the southwest
corner of Main and Union streets, in what at the time was a pasture lot, a one
and a half story frame store of the firm of Honey & Simmons. The inevitable
ashery belonging to the store was on Union street.
The firm remained in business about three years, when it was dissolved.
HONEY built a new store on the corner of Main and Spring streets
(“Potash lane”), and carried on the business alone, SIMMONS continuing the
business at the old stand with _______ Doolittle, first, and later with Samuel
HUSON as partner.
spring of 1831 Samuel HUSON erected on the northeast corner of Union and Water
streets, on the site of the store now occupied by Wall & Murdock, and others
in the Murdock block, a store and dwelling.
The land up to that time had been used for farming purposes.
Mr. HUSON managed his business discreetly and it was a success.
His ambition was not so much to do with a large business as to do a
paying one. He was very popular
with his patrons and well liked by his employees.
About two years after commencing business Edwin LEWIS was admitted as
partner, forming the firm of Huson & Lewis.
This firm continued two years when Mr. LEWIS retired and George W.
SIMMONS was admitted as partner in the form of Huson & Simmons.
This firm did a thrifty business for several years and closed out their
goods to Cosad & Carmon, who removed them to Junius, Ontario County.
F. MURDOCK’s former residence was Mc Lean, Cortland County; his business,
tanner and shoe and harness manufacturer. Before
coming to Dundee he had been engaged in the mercantile business about four
years. He came to what was then
Harpending’s Corners, in the year 1832, and rented part of the corner store of
Myron HAMLIN (there were tow stores in a building 28 x 40).
HAMLIN occupied the other room. In
the year 1833 he built a frame stone on the east side of Main street, on the
site now occupied by John H. KNAPP. A
peculiarly of his was that he never insured his buildings.
This policy worked well for many years, but in the end proved disastrous.
In all of the large fires he suffered loss.
The loss included three blocks of stores, his private dwelling and other
buildings, all uninsured. He died
in 1861, after a mercantile experience of over thirty years, a man universally
respected. His death removed one of
the landmarks of the village.
MILLER was a wool-carder and cloth-dresser when most of the family clothing was
made at home. He purchased of
Burgess TRUESDELL his store and goods in the year 1834.
Mr. MILLER was a limited merchant. His
stock was limited and so were his sales; one-half pound of tea; and other
articles in proportion, was the limit he would sell to one person.
He “did not want to break his assortment.”
This was in the early days of his mercantile life.
Later, he was not so limited. Fire
and water ruined him. A canal boat
having on board his fall purchases sank, and soon after his store was burned.
This finished him as a merchant. He,
honest man that he was, surrendered his property to his creditors and began life
anew. The last heard from him, he
was practicing medicine in some western State.
spring of 1832 Col. J. J. SMITH bought of Burgess TRUESDELL the lot on the
southeast corner of Main and Seneca streets, on part of the purchase now
occupied by W. H. MILLARD’s drug store. He
erected a frame store, which he rented to William H. and Joel H. KINNAN.
The KINNANS came from North Hector, where their father resided, a wealthy
farmer. Some of the family still
resides in that locality. The firm
appeared to sell a large amount of goods, but failed to make their business a
paying one, and after a struggle of two or three years they were obliged to
surrender. This was the second failure at Harpending’s Corners.
William returned to North Hector and engaged in farming, and Joel H.
removed to Westfield, Chautauqua County, and engaged in his former business,
with what success the writer is not informed.
Both of the partners have been dead several years.
B. HAMLIN was born in the town of Salisbury, Conn., where he resided until he
came to Dundee. His father owned a
large tract of land on which William worked in the summer, and taught school in
the winter, as was the custom with farmers in Yankeedom in those days.
His first experience in mercantile affairs was as a clerk for his
brother, Myron. This was in 1835.
The succeeding year he purchased his brother’s business, and for more
than thirty years conducted one of the largest business concerns in Yates
County. The first years of his
business life he pursued a very conservative policy.
In the year 1842, six years from the time he commenced business, his
sales were only seven thousand dollars, and he was in a small way making money.
If he had continued this policy, the natural outgrowth of his Yankee
training, increased his business as his capital increased, his success would
have been assured. The next year, 1843, his sales were more than doubled,
amounting to $16,000. This sudden
increase may not have been to his advantage.
He became possessed with the idea of selling a large amount of goods than
any other concern in Yates County. He
had great energy and was very ambitious. His
industry and powers of endurance were wonderful, and all his efforts were
directed to this one object, larger sales; profits were incidentals,
although really his profits were larger than are now obtained by merchants.
Mr. HAMLIN’s business increased further than his capital and he was
forced to raise money at ruinous rates of interest.
This, with large running expenses, was the cause of his failure. His credit was always of a high order up to the day of his
disaster. Hi had failed, but he had
accomplished his purpose. His sales
had increased every year until they amounted to over one hundred thousand
dollars, the largest amount ever reported to the revenue assessor in Yates
County. In conversation with the
writer after his failure, Mr. HAMLIN said in substance: “I have been thinking
over the events of my past life, and I am pretty well satisfied I have had
things pretty much my own way. I am
much better pleased with my career than I would have been if it had been like
Mr. _____”, mentioning the name of a very successful man whose business had
been much smaller with a handsome fortune as the result.
C. H. MARTIN was connected with Mr. HAMLIN in business from 1842 to 1864,
ten years as a clerk and twelve years as a partner. The firm was Hamlin & Martin.
Anthony C. HARPENDING, one of the most successful merchants of Dundee, commenced business in 1835 under very favorable circumstances; he had the prestige of the family name and was backed by his own and his wife’s family, both wealthy. He had abundance of capital, and unlike most of the older merchants, was never pinched for means to carry his own business. He soon gathered a valuable lot of customers, many of whom he retained through all they ears of his mercantile career. He was systematic, looked closely to the details of his business and kept all well in hand. His business was usually managed with great caution, but he sometimes took risks that resulted in loss. The question of Mr. HARPENDING’s place as a merchant may be a mooted question by some. I know of no better test than success and making success the standard would place him in the front rank of the older or younger merchants of Dundee. The result of his business made a better showing than that of any who preceded or followed him, that notwithstanding heavy losses by fire and otherwise. Mr. HARPENDING built a bloc of three brick stores on the west side of Main street; they were burned in the fire of November 1860. He then built two frame stores on the same premises. In the same fire he lost almost his entire stock of goods, which resulted in heavy loss. His death which occurred in 1880 removed one of the most prominent merchants of the county.
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