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Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York
by John H. Selkreg, 1894; D. Mason & Co., Publisher
The present town of Groton was formed as Division, April 7, 1817 and was taken from the older town of Locke. On March 13. 1818, the name was changed to Groton, so called from the town of Groton, Conn from which State came many of the early settlers of this locality. Tracing briefly the formation of the several towns, of which Groton was once a part, we learn that the original town or provisional district of Milton was organized January 27, 1789, as one of the civil divisions of Montgomery county. In 1791 Herkimer county was set off from Montgomery on the west, while in 1794 Onondaga county was taken from the western part of Herkimer, and still later, 1799 Cayuga was taken from Onondaga. Easy successive formation included what is now Groton, although the region was so little settled and improved previous to 1800 as to require no special exercise of authority over its territory other than the record of conveyances. The town or district of Milton became known as Genoa in 1808, but prior to that time, and on February 20, 1802, Locke was formed from Milton and included all that is now Groton. In 1817 Groton, under the original name of Division, was made a separate town of Cayuga county, and ten days later, April 17, 1817, Tompkins county was created, and this town was made one of its original civil divisions.
Groton is located in the northeast part of the county. The land surface is rolling and in places moderately hilly. From the valleys the land rises by gradual slopes to heights of from one hundred to three hundred and fifty feet. The principal or central valleys are located in the central and east parts of the town and each extends in a generally north and south direction, following, respectively, the courses of Owasco Inlet and Fall Creek. These streams are the chief water courses of the town, each furnishing excellent water power privileges and likewise ample natural drainage system. Owasco Inlet courses across the town from south to north and discharges its waters into Owasco Lake; Fall Creek crosses the town from north to south, thence passes westerly and empties into Cayuga Lake at Ithaca.
SETTLEMENT - The pioneer settlement of Groton was made while the territory of the town formed a part of the still older jurisdiction of Locke and Milton. Such publications as have been made relating to early settlement generally accord this honor to Samuel HOGG, at West Groton; Ichabod BOWEN (BROWN), John GUTHRIE and John PERRIN, at Groton; and J. WILLIAMS, J. HOUGHTAILING and W.S. CLARK, at East Groton. There may be added to the list of pioneers in East Groton the names of Capt. Jesse CLARK and Luther BLISS, each of whom is equally deserving of mention in this connection. Also among the first settlers in the central portion a claim of priority is made in favor of Ephraim SPAULDING and Michael GRUMMON, who are said to have come to the place in June 1795, and cleared land where the Union School now stands. They also built log houses in the town during the same year. It is also said that Major Benjamin HICKS, a former Revolutionary Officer, was the first settler, and that his improvement was made on lot 75 during the summer of 1797; that John PERRIN was in the employ of Major HICKS and made the clearing referred to. These facts, and others of importance, we glean from the address of Professor BALDWIN, who made thorough research into the early history of the town, and whose conclusions are undoubtedly reliable. By his consent we make free use of his material for the benefit of the readers of this work. From the same authority it is learned that in October, 1797, three families set out from Massachusetts to make future homes in this town. They were John PERRIN and his wife, Ebenezer WILLIAMS, in the first load, and Ezra CARPENTER in the second, all bringing furniture and other necessaries. In due time all reached their destination and made settlements in the town. Still the question of priority of settlement has ever been disputed, but whether it was SPAULDING and GRUMMON, the Vermonters, or John PERRIN, the Yankee from Massachusetts, is quite immaterial; hence no effort will here be made to settle it.
In the spring of 1798 Lemuel PERRIN, father of John, settled in the town, and about the same time came S. Jenks CARPENTER. Ezra LOOMIS settled in 1804, followed in the same year by Samuel INGALLS and Silas STUART. In 1802 Jonas WILLIAMS purchased 106 acres for $320.25, and built on it the first grist mill in Groton. Other settlers of about the same time were Admatha BLODGETT, Dr. Nathan BRANCH (the first physician of the town), Jonathan BENNETT, Peleg HATHAWAY, Abiatha HATHAWAY and others, whose names are now forgotten. The first justice of the peace was Jonathan BENNETT, appointed in 1805 or 06, and he held office many years. In 1806, according to Professor BALDWIN, David, William, and James HICKS settled in the town, and within two years Benjamin and William WILLIAMS also became settlers. The surname WILLIAMS afterward became prominent in Groton affairs, and some of its representatives were identified with the best interests of the town.
However, bearing still further on the subject of piorneership in Groton, Nelson TRUMBLE states that his ancestor, Luther TRUMBLE, settled about one mile north of Groton village between 1790 and 1800. Luther TRUMBLE, son of the pioneer just mentioned, was afterward prominently connected with the building up of Groton village and its locality, and other members of the family became well known in the early history of the town. By personal application to representatives of old families we learn that many of the pioneers were here as early as 1805 or '6, and a few as early as 1800. In another department of this work will be found extended reference to these old pioneers and their families; hence in the present connection little else than an allusion to their settlement is necessary.
In 1800 Isaac HOPKINS came from Washington county and settled in the east part of the town. His descendants were not numerous, though several of them still live in Groton. David MORTON also came about 1800 and purchased a tract northeast of the village. He had been a sea captain, but had lost much of his property. This family name is still well represented in Groton. The VAN MARTER family settled in Groton soon after 1800. Isaac and Margaret were the pioneers. Their descendants are yet numerous in the county. In the same year Richard FRANCIS settled where A. Morace FRANCIS now lives. He kept public house, was an ensign in the war of 1812, and altogether a leading man. Samuel CRITTENDEN, from Guilford, Conn., settled on the site of Cortland village in 1797, and in 1802 moved to a farm near McLean village, or its present site. Judge CRITTENDEN was one of the foremost men of the town of his time, and he left a large train of prominent descendants. He died in 1862.
David STODDARD was the pioneer head of a large and respected family of descendants in the town. He came from Connecticut, settled first in Chenango county, and later on came to West Groton, where he was an extensive farmer and landowner. Thomas JONES came from Massachusetts about 1805; was a cloth dresser, and had a fulling mill, but later in life turned farmer. Isaac ALLEN, a Vermonter, located at West Groton Corners about 1804, and was the founder of the settlement at that place. He built the first store, established a tavern, and was an extensive landowner in the vicinity. Samuel SELLEN lived north of ALLEN and was also a pioneer. He left a large family. The HENSHAW'S lived near Samuel SELLENS tavern stand, and in the same neighborhood Henry CARTER and Mr. TRAVERS were early settlers. West of them Deacon John SEATON settled in 1817, and about the same time Nathan FISH carried on cloth dressing in the same vicinity.
Jonathan CONGER was an early settler in the west part of the town; was a weaver and farmer, and later on a speculator. He married Thankful GUTHRIE, daughter of Capt. John GUTHRIE, and raised a large family of children. The surname CONGER to-day stands for integrity and enterprise in Groton. Capt. GUTHRIE was a pioneer on the site of John G. COBB's farm. He was a prominent man, also a hunter of some note and the hero of some splendid bear stories. Elisha COBB came from Taunton, Mass., and was an early settler in the west part of the town. He was twice married and had five children by each wife. The BUCKs were pioneers in Lansing, and some members of the family drifted over into Groton at an early day. Where Nelson STEVENS now lives his father, John STEVENS, settled about 1813. In 1817 William R. FITCH, a lawyer of note and a judge of ability, settled in the northwest part of the town. Job ALLING was also a pioneer in this locality and also one of the first justices of the peace in the town. Hugh BUCKLEY settled where Lorenzo BUCKLEY lived in 1825. Rev. Joseph W. STEARNS, well known as pastor of the old Christian Church, and honored because of his anti-slavery efforts and sentiments, came to West Groton in 1835. Samuel Wilson BOTHWELL located in the north part of Groton in 1829, and Ezra PERKINS in the same vicinity three years later. Where John SMITH now lives, David H. COGGSHALL settled in 1820. He was a tailor and farmer, and a man of considerable note. John SMITH pioneer, came about the same time, and was also a prominent and successful farmer. Amza ARMSTRONG settled where Andrew METZGAR lives. Jonas and Mary METZGAR were the pioneer head of a family of fifteen children, eleven of whom grew to maturity. Some of them were among Groton's best farmers.
Oliver HATCH was in the Revolutionary service seven years, and his descendants assert that he came to the town in 1795. Capt. Ebenezer PIERCE settled near Bear Swamp in 1815. About the same time Robert MOE settled where Augustus now lives. James ASHTON settled in the town in 1830. Lewis GIFFORD settled in Groton in 1805 and Joseph BERRY in 1811. George FISH settled at the corners now called LaFayette in 1818, and in the same year Paschal FITTS settled where his son George now lives. He was a brickmaker and farmer. Royal T. MORSE settled on the Salt Road in 1825, and Dr. Clark CHAPMAN on the same thoroughfare in 1835. Deacon Amos HART settled in 1816 where Jerome FITTS lives, and at a still earlier day Thomas BENEDICT located at McLean.
Asa BALDWIN settled in the south part of the town about 1812, and in the same neighborhood Reuben DARLING and Joseph SMILEY were also settlers. Henry TEETER was an early land and mill owner on Fall Creek and at Peruville. The MCLACHLAN and MCKELLAR families were early in the south part of town. Both were from Scotland, and in Groton became some thrifty farmers. William D. MOUNT was at Peruville, a tanner and currier, as early as 1835. Stephen BARROWS was a wagon maker at Groton in 1824. Seth TALLMADGE located in West Groton in 1830. Deacon Daniel BRADLEY was a pioneer in the east part of the town, as also were the COOPER'S and the BERRY'S. William S. CLARKstarted a fulling and cloth-dressing mill at Groton city in 1806. Luther BLISS located here in the same year, and Capt. Jesse CLARK was here some six years earlier.
In this manner we have endeavored to recall the names of many of the pioneers and early settlers of Groton. From what has been stated it will be seen that settlement was most rapid between 1810 and 1830. In fact as early as 1815 the town, then a part of Locke, had a sufficient number of inhabitants to warrant its separate organization, although this consummation was not reached until three years afterward. However before narrating the events connected with the organization and civil history of Groton, we may devote a brief space to a record of the "first events" in the town. According to the general belief John PERRIN built the first log house in 1797, and was also the first inn-keeper, merchant, brickmaker, and distiller in the town. Jonas WILLIAMS built the first framed house in 1807, also the first saw and grist mill. The first school house was built about 1805 and stood about on the site of the present carriage works. Abiatha HATHAWAY was the first teacher. Young Jonas WILLIAMS and Miss HATHAWAY were married in 1805. Jonas WILLIAMS, Sr., was the first shoemaker; Andrew and David ALLEN the first blacksmiths; Dr. Nathan BRANCH the first physician, 1803; Ebenezer WILLIAMS was the first wagonmaker, 1797; John WINSLOW the first potter; Samuel LOVE the first tanner; Benjamin WHIPPLE the first preacher; and Lemuel PERRIN the first miller.
TOWN ORGANIZATION------On April 7, 1817, the town of Locke was divided and the south part erected into a separate town and called Division. It comprised fifty lots, each containing a square mile of land, being five deep, from the north to south, and ten wide from east to west. The first town meeting was held at the house of Samuel LOVE, on April 15 at which time officers were elected as follows: Supervisor, Samuel CRITTENDEN; town clerk, Admatha BLODGETT; assessors, Benj. WILLIAMS, Nathan BENSON, William COBB; collector, Ezra LOOMIS; overseers of the poor, Ezra CARPENTER, David MORTON; commissioners of highways, Jonathan BENNETT, Isaac ALLEN, John BENEDICT; constables and poundmasters, Spencer CRARY, Jenks CARPENTER, Ezra ANDREWS; commissioners of schools, Ezra CARPENTER, Nathan BENSON, James LUTHER; inspectors of schools, Joshua DEAN, Admatha BLODGETT, Seth BLOOD, Sumner BROWN.
Following are the principal officers of the town for 1894; John J. YOUNGS, supervisor, Groton; M.A. DOWNING, town clerk, Groton; George D. WAIT, collector, McLean; James M. MONFORT, justice of the peace, Peruville; Frank TARBELL, constable, West Groton; Charles H. TARBELL, constable, Peruville; Marshall WOODBURY, constable, Groton; R. J. PIERCE, constable, Groton; J. MASON, constable, McLean.
From what has been noted relating to the early settlement and organization of Groton it will be seen that pioneership was practically at an end when the town was set off from Locke in 1817. At that time the population of the district separated was about 3,000; in 1840 it had increased to 3,618, the greatest number attained at any time during its history. In 1850 it had decreased to 3,342, but the census of 1860 gave the town a population of 3,534. In 1870 the inhabitants numbered 3,512; in 1880, 3,450; in 1890, 3,427, while the count of 1892, under State authority, showed Groton to contain 3,607 inhabitants. The increase of later years has been virtually in the growth of Groton and the development of its resources, brought about by the enterprise of its people. Half a century ago, however, this then hamlet was of no greater importance in the history of the town than Groton City or McLean, and possessed no natural resources that gave it greater prominence; and it was only the fact of its central location in the town that gave to the village its early advantage over the other hamlets of the town. The presentation of this subject naturally leads to reference to the villages of the town, and they may be properly treated in the order of present prominence.
STATISTICS.-------The report of the supervisors for 1893 gives the following statistics: Number of acres of land, 30,725; assessed value of real estate, including village property and real estate of corporations, $1,110,220; total assessed value of personal property, $142,850; amount of town taxes, $3,989.63; amount of county taxes, $2,879.23; aggregate taxation, $9,754.11; rate of tax on $1 valuation, .0078. Corporations - Groton Bridge Company, assessed value of real estate, $28,600; amount of tax $223.08; Groton Carriage Co., $15,000; amount of tax $117.; Crandall Machine Co., $5,100; amount of tax, $40.17; S. C. Railroad Co., $34,200; amount of tax $266.76; E.C. & N. Railroad Co., $9,000; amount of tax, $70.20; N. Y. & P. Telegraph and Telephone Co., $70; amount of tax, $0.55; W. U. Telegraph Co., $230; amount of tax, $1.80; American Telegraph and Telephone Co., $400; amount of tax, $3.12.
In the geographical center of the town, on both east and west sides of Owasco Inlet, and on lots 65, 66, 75 and 76, is located the pleasant village of Groton. The village tract was originally principally owned by pioneer Deacon William WILLIAMS, while other owners and occupants were John PERRIN and Jonas WILLIAMS. As is elsewhere stated, PERRIN built a house here in 1797, a log structure, and Jonas WILLIAMS built the first frame dwelling in 1806. John HALLIDAY knew the place in 1815 and at that time the settlement had but three dwellings. The next few years witnessed many improvements, as in 1817 there were seven framed buildings in the settlement, occupied by Deacon WILLIAMS, S. Jenks CARPENTER, Pliny SYKES or SIKES, and Dr. Daniel MEAD as dwellings; Robert Crandall REYNOLDS, store and dwelling; James AUSTIN, tavern; and a school house sanding about on the site of the present carriage factory. Soon after this time Ebenezer WILLIAMS built a wagon shop, also a large frame structure which became the Mansion House, a public tavern of much note at an early day. The rear of the present Groton House is a remnant of this old inn, the front or main portion having been added at a later day by Robert C. REYNOLDS. Luther TRUMBLE Jr., erected a fulling mill on the Inlet; also built several dwellings and stores at the Corners about the same time, so that the year 1825 found a prosperous village established. The post-office was established in 1812, and weekly mails were received from Homer.
Jonas WILLIAMS had both grist and saw mills in operation before 1815. Zimri MARSH became a resident of Groton in 1824, established himself in trade and became at once one of the leading men of the town. Others followed, both as tradesmen and in manufacture, and in the course of the next twenty-five years Groton increased from a small cross-roads settlement to a village of considerable importance. At a very early day Ebenezer WILLIAMS built a wagon shop and manufactured carriages, but as demand for the latter was limited, few were made. However, in the course of a score of years the fame of Groton- made wagons and carriages spread throughout Central New York, and the demand for them let to their manufacture on a somewhat extended scale, although it was not until about twenty-five years ago that the machinery was used in making this product in this locality.
In 1860 the people of the village determined to have an act of incorporation, for the principal streets - Main, Cortland, Church, William, Elm, Mill, and Cayuga - were by this time substantially built up, and the interests of the inhabitants demanded that there should be at least a limited separation of the municipality from the township at large. Accordingly, in pursuance of the provisions of the Act of 1847, on the 11th of June, 1860, the Court of Sessions of Tompkins county granted an order of incorporation for the village, the same containing 433 3/10 acres of land, and having a population of 596. The first election was held on August 4, 1860, when Robert C. REYNOLDS, F. H. ROBERTSON, William WILLIAMS, William WOODBURY and Daniel S. DELANO were elected trustees.
In 1890 the village resolved to reincorporate and charter in accordance with the provisions of the laws of 1870. This was done, and the first election held in March of that year. This action enlarged somewhat the powers of the village authorities, and under it the office of president, with others, became elective by the people instead of by the trustees. The first president was William L. PIKE, who was re-elected in 1891. His successor was Ellery COLBY, elected in 1892, followed by Giles M. STODDARD in 1893. The trustees of the village are as follows: William E. MOUNT, Elisha FIELD, and Fred MOSHER.
THE FIRE DEPARTMENT - The gradual building up of the village, both in dwellings, blocks and manufacturing establishment, rendered necessary some provision to guard against destruction by fire. During the fall of 1864 the Williams & Finney Block was burned, and in December following the village voted to purchase a fire engine. For its operation Excelsior Fire Company was formed, and on June 1, 1865, Pioneer Hose Company was organized. The latter is still in existence. The engine house near the Baptist church was erected in 1868.
The present village fire department consists of two hose companies and one hook and ladder company, known respectively as Pioneer Hose Company, The C. W. Conger Hose Company, and the Citizens' H. & L. Co. Two of the hose carts are stationed at the "head of Main street," as commonly mentioned, and one near the bridge shops; the "truck" is kept in the village building on Cortland Street.
WATER SUPPLY.8 - The establishment of a generous water supply for all purposes in the village became a positive necessity, and the need of better fire protection created an almost imperative demand for that supply; therefore, in 1888, the village trustees formed themselves into a Board of Water commissioners and gave fidelity bonds. With the approval of the village the commissioners purchased the old Willoughby farm of forty acres, located two and one-half miles northeast of the village, the location being the source of supply for the stream called Spring Brook, and containing eight or ten springs of pure water. Reservoirs were constructed and from them the water was brought into and throughout the village. The entire work was done during 1888, at a total cost of $23,000, which sum covered all expenses of construction and land and right of way purchase. The commissioners who performed so well on behalf of the village were trustees Benn CONGER, president; William D. BALDWIN, secretary; Daniel L. BRADLEY, treasurer; Manley P. GALE and George PICKENS.
The fall from the springs to the distributing reservoir is 170 feet, and the latter is elevated above Main street 218 feet. The water is distributed throughout the village by six, eight, and ten-inch pipes, a total of five miles of mains, while placed at convenient points are fire hydrants to the number of forty eight. The revenues from the system are sufficient to maintain the works, and pay the interest on the water bonds, and in addition, create a fund for the payment of principal when due. The present commissioners are D.H. MARSH, president; H.G. DIMON, M.D. GOODYEAR, Nelson HARRIS and W.W. HARE.
EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS. The first school house in Groton village was built and put in use in 1805, and was located near or on the site of the present carriage factory. This building was burned in 1813 or '14. And was succeeded by a more suitable framed schoolhouse, known for many years as the "Little Red School," which also stood on the lower end of Main street. The school building on the site now owned by the "Typewriter Company" was erected in 1858, and still stands, though used by the company for office purposes.
The Groton Academy was founded and established in 1837 by a stock company whose members were residents of the village and interested in the welfare of the youth of the vicinity. The building was of frame construction, and was used for academic purposes until its final destruction by fire in 1882. The academy continued as a private or company enterprise until the latter part of 1872, when the property was purchased by the village and changed into a union free school of District No. 8. The succession of principals of the academy, during the period of its existence as such, was as follows: Stephen W. CLARK, 1837; Samuel D. CARR, 1841; Carleton PARKER, 1842; Samuel D. CARR, 1844; James E. DEXTER, 1848; Mrs. D.E. SACKETT, 1849; Rev. R. H. CLOSE, 1851; Samuel G. WILLIAMS, 1852; M.M. BALDWIN, 1861-72.
Professor BALDWIN was the owner of the academy property, having purchased the interest of the stockholders during his principalship. On November 12, 1872, School District No. 8 held a meeting to vote on the question and determine whether a union free school should be established. At that meeting it was resolved "that School District N. 8 of the town of Groton resolve itself into a union graded school district;" also that the Board of Education be instructed to secure the advantages of an academic department to the school. The first board comprised H. K. CLARK, Charles PERRIGO, D. H. BROWN, Jerome HATHAWAY, L.M. MORTON, Rev. G. H. BRIGHAM and S. M. JONES.
This Board of Education purchased from Professor BALDWIN the old Groton Academy, which thenceforth became the Union Free School of District No. 8. In 1882 the old building was destroyed by fire, and replaced with a larger and more substantial brick structure, erected at a total cost of about $15,000. In 1892 material additions and improvements were made, at an expense of nearly $10,000 more. The members of the Board of Education for the current year, 1893 are: W.E. MOUNT, president; G.M. STODDARD, vice president; H.G. DIMON, secretary; H.B. STEVENS, Benn CONGER, G.A. BEGENT, L.J. TOWNLEY, H.S. HOPKINS, treasurer.
The principals of the Union School have been as follows: B.L. ROBINSON, temporary; Flora GREEN part of one term; A Norton FITCH, 1873; Alva M. BALDWIN, 1874; Vernon L. DAVEY, 1875; Roland S. KEYSER, 1878; Arch McLACHLAN, 1881; Prof. WATERS, 1883; C.A. BLIESMER, 1885; A.H. SAGE, 1887; W. S. LOCKNER, 1890; O.W. WOOD, 1892.
CHURCH HISTORY - The first society for public worship in the town, or that portion of the town which now forms Groton, was that originally known as the East Congregational Church, organized June 19, 1805. The first meeting house was built of logs, and stood two miles east of the village on the farm now a part of the estate of the late Job STICKLES. The log edifice was replaced in 1818 with a more substantial frame structure, which stood on the old site until 1864, and was then removed to the village, where it now forms a part of Odd Fellows Hall, the property of Edwin R. NYE. This society was a large and flourishing one until its membership was much reduced by the organization of the Congregational Church at the village.
The Congregational Church of Groton, the offshoot of the mother society above mentioned, was organized March 2, 1849, and in 1851 the old frame edifice was completed, at a cost of $3,000. It was dedicated January 29, 1851. "The present elegant church home of this society was built in 1881, under the direction of D. L. BRADLEY, John I. BOOTH, H.H. MARSH, Marcus SEARS, A. G. CHAPMAN and Wm. H. SMITH as building committee, and at a total cost of $40,000. The pastors of this society have been H. A. SACKETT, R. H. CLOSE, Augustus POMEROY, S. G. LUM, J. C. TAYLOR, Samuel JOHNSON, G. A. PELTON and William A. SMITH, the later being the present pastor, whose connection with the society has covered a period of more that sixteen years. The church has a membership of 200.
The First Baptist Society of Groton was the outgrowth of the First Baptist Church of Locke, the latter having been organized August 27, 1806, and the change of name made after the creation of the town of Groton from Locke. The first church edifice stood south of the district school, and was built about 1819 by Ebenezer Williams. The next edifice of the society was completed and dedicated January 1, 1844, but the building was burned March 16, 1870. Immediately afterward the present attractive edifice on Cortland street was erected, at a cost of $20,000. The church has 146 members, with 120 pupils in the Sunday school. The officers are as follows: Deacons, E. J. WATROS, H.G. MOE, Lyman METZGAR; clerk, Nelson TRUMBLE. Succession of pastors: B. ANDREWS, Peleg CARD, Henry BOGEL, J.S. BACKUS, R.K. BELLAMY, A. P. MASON, Lewis RANSTED, A. R. BELDEN, W. B. DOWNER, D. B. PURINGTON, Walter G. DYE, L. C. BATES, Thos. ALLEN, L. W. OLNEY, J. P. BATES, G. H. BRIGHAM, L. W. OLNEY, Jno. W. PAYNE, T. E. EDWARDS, I. W. EMORY, C. A. BLEISMER, J. G. NOBLE, J. H. SAGE, D. R. WATSON, S. F. MATTHEWS.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Groton village was organized July 18, 1836; L. K. REDINGTON, minister, and Justus P. PENNOYER, official member. The first church edifice was built in 1842 and was dedicated December 20 of that year, at which time also a reorganization of the society was effected. The present pastor of the M. E. Church is Emery R. BALDWIN. The membership numbers 184 and 170 members of the Sunday school. The trustees of the society are Alonzo ANTHONY, E. M. AVERY, Henry MASTON, James RICHFORD, Frederick AVERY, Asa SMITH and E. P. WARTROUS.
The Roman Catholic Church at Groton village was organized in 1870 by Father GILBERT of Ithaca. In 1873 the brick church edifice on South Main street was erected at a cost of about $2,500. This parish is without a resident priest.
MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIES. - In a preceding portion of the present chapter frequent mention has been made to the first industries established in and about the village. One of the most important of these industries was the manufacture of wagons and carriages, but the founders of the business at that time had little thought that they were laying the foundation of what was destined to become one of the greatest of the county's industries. For a period of fifty years following 1820 the manufacture of carriages and wagons was an important part of local industry, but it was not until about 1860 that wagons were made here on an extended scale.
The Groton Carriage Company was incorporated January 7, 1876 and was the outgrowth of a business established about 1855 by William ALLEN and George CARPENTER. Also interested in this same concern in later years were Lyman ALLEN, Harrison BOWKER and Ira WOODFORD. Under the later proprietor the business declined, but Samson S. WILLIAMS re-established it. In 1876, from the WILLIAMS plant, the carriage company was directly created, with an original capital of $20,000, increased in 1891 to $100,000. The first officers were, E. P. ATWOOD, president, H. K. CLARK, secretary; D. H. MARSH, treasurer; and A. J. WILLIAMS, general manager. Various changes have been made among the officers of the company and among those who have acted as presidents have been, H. K. CLARK, Corydon W. CONGER and D. H. MARSH. Mr. Marsh was elected president and treasurer in 1881 and has held that office continuously to the present time. Dana RHODES was elected secretary in 1877, and held that position at intervals for several years.
In February, 1886, William L. PIKE came into the company in the capacity of superintendent, and in January, 1887, was elected secretary and general manager. The Groton Carriage Company is one of the stable industries of the village, and was never more successful than under its present management. The present officers are D. H. MARSH president and treasurer; W. L. PIKE secretary and general manager; and Dana RHODES attorney. Running at full capacity, the company employs about 175 men.
The Groton Bridge and Manufacturing Company is the direct out growth of a business established by Charles and Lyman PERRIGO as early as the year 1849. The PERRIGOS were proprietors of a foundry and machine shop, and as time passed they enlarged their works and added to their products until they had built up a large and extensive trade. One of the many graduates of their works was Oliver AVERY Jr., who eventually became one of the firm, as also did Ellery COLBY. In 1877 the then existing firm of Charles PERRIGO & Co. began the manufacture of iron bridges. Soon afterward the Groton Iron Bridge Company was formed and incorporated, of which Mr. PERRIGO was president; Mr. COLBY, vice-president; William WILLIAMS, secretary; and Mr. AVERY, treasurer and general business manager. This concern did business until 1887, and was then merged into the Groton Bridge and Manufacturing Company.
About the year 1847, Daniel SPENCER began the manufacture of grain separators at a location on Spring Brook, but soon moved his works to the village. Here Wm. PERRIGO became interested with Mr. SPENCER and the son of the latter in making the separators, while the firm of Chas. PERRIGO & Co., built the "powers". Finally the whole concern merged into the business of PERRIGO & AVERY, and from them passed to the present company.
The Groton Bridge and Manufacturing Company was incorporated in 1887, with an original capital of $100,000 (afterward increased to $120,000), for the manufacture of iron bridges, steam engines, separators, spoke machines, and agricultural implements. The first president was Ellery COLBY; vice-president, Frank CONGER; secretary and treasurer, Chester BARNEY, who died before the company fairly began operations, whereupon Barnum R. WILLIAMS was made secretary, and Oliver AVERY, treasurer. In 1888 William H. FITCH, became treasurer, and in 1890 was elected president. Corydon W. CONGER was then elected treasurer. This is by far the most important and valuable industry ever established in Groton, and under its present management the greatest success has been attained. The annual business amounts to nearly $500,000, and the works employ about 150 men.
The Crandall Typewriter Company was incorporated and did business at Cortland and Syracuse before locating at Groton. On January 1, 1887, the removal was made, and in that year the large and well equipped building on main street was occupied. The capital stock of the company is $35,000. The officers are: D. H. MARSH, president; Everett SMILEY, vice-president; Frank CONGER, secretary; Frank J. TANNER, treasurer; F. L. TWISS, superintendent.
The other manufacturing industries of the village are the planing and lumber mills of BEGENT & CRITTENDEN, and the Groton Flouring Mill, the latter the property of J. G. BEACH.
The First National Bank of Groton was organized in 1865 through the efforts of Charles PERRIGO and Dexter H. MARSH, having a capital stock of $100,000. This institution has always done a legitimate and safe business, and is to-day regarded as one of the soundest banking houses in the county. Mr. PERRIGO was the original president, while Mr. MARSH was the cashier. These positions were respectively held until January 14, 1890, when Mr. Marsh was elected president, and Hiram G. MOE was elected cashier. During this period of its existence this bank has paid an annual dividend of eight per cent., and has paid cash dividends aggregating $237,000. The present surplus and undivided profit account stands at $54,000. The directors are: D. H. MARSH, president; C. P. ATWOOD, vice-president; H.G. MOE, cashier; and W. M. MARSH, Nelson HARRIS, Jay CONGER, and Arad S. MARSH.
THE GROTON PRESS - On January 31, 1839, H. P. EELS & Co., began the publication of a weekly paper called the Groton Balance. Thirty nine numbers were issued when the paper passed to the hands of E. S. KEENEY, who changed its name to the Groton Democrat and issued thirty five numbers. Publication was then discontinued.
The Groton Journal was founded November 9, 1866, by Hiram Clark MARSH, and during the five years of his ownership the paper was an active and aggressive Republican publication. He sold the paper to J. P. PENNOYER and A. M. LYON, who were in turn succeeded by L. M. CHAPIN. The next proprietors were Wm. H. ALLEN and Henry L. WRIGHT, who, in 1879, established a Lansing department, under the direction of Lewis J. TOWNLEY. On October 16, of that year the name of the paper was changed to Groton and Lansing Journal. On the 17th of November 1883, Mr. TOWNLEY bought the paper and sold a half interest to Mr. WRIGHT, but on the 3rd of December, 1885, Mr. TOWNLEY became and has since continued its sole proprietor.
Conger's Journal, the first number of which appeared March 23, 1882 was the result of the enterprise of that progressive firm, C. W. CONGER & Co., by whom it was designed as an advertising medium of their own and other Groton business interests. The Journal was distributed gratuitously, and its press work was done in the office of the Groton and Lansing Journal. Mrs. Corydon W. CONGER was its editor and conducted an interesting and instructive miscellaneous news department.
The Bridge Builder, a monthly publication, was first issued in May 1883, under the editorial management of Mrs. C. W. CONGER, and was devoted to the interests of the local bridge company.
The Groton Rural Cemetery was incorporated June 28, 1858, and the association at once laid out a beautiful tract of land for burial purposes. It is situated on a commanding eminence about three-fourths of a mile northeast of the village. The grounds are tastefully laid out, and beautifully adorned with shrubbery and foliage trees. The arrangement of all departments is attractive, and much of this appearance of things is due to the efforts of George W. DAVEY.
THE SOUTHERN CENTRAL RAILROAD. - For the construction of this railroad the town of Groton people contributed the sum of $50,000, but in connection with the work the names of Charles and Lyman PERRIGO, Hiland K. CLARK, PEIRSON & AVERY, PERRIGO, AVERY & FIELD, Robert C. REYNOLDS, Dr. E. W. CRAIN, Franklin WILLOUGHBY and Sylvester LARNED must stand in especial prominence. The road was completed through this valley in 1869.MCLEAN - Second in importance and size among the villages of the town is the hamlet called McLean. Amasa COBB built the first log dwelling, also the first tavern, on the village site. John BENEDICT built the first saw and grist mills, while Roswell RANDALL opened the first store. Daniel J. SHAW was a pioneer grist miller; Dr. Richard LANING the first physician; Wm S. CLARK and Samuel H. STARR the first clothdressers. Among the pioneers of this locality were, Nicholas ROWE, Anson HANCHETT, Amasa COBB, Ezra BANGS, Elisha BANGS, Elijah WEST, William HARRIS and the CUMMINGS, DAVIS, PETTIS and other families. As early as 1828 two distilleries, with the other business enterprises, made McLean a hamlet of some note. The original name of the village was Moscow, but in 1824 a post-office was established and named in honor of Judge MCLEAN.
However, during its three-quarters of a century of history McLean has never advanced beyond the condition of a hamlet, and at no time has it contained more than 400 inhabitants. Its industries comprise a foundry and machine shop, a firkin and butter tub factory, creamery, large grist mill, a number of small shops, two general stores, and one well appointed drug store.
The cheese factory is one of the established industries of McLean, which was put in operation in 1864 and has been continued to the present time. The butter package factory has long been the property of V. B. GROSS, and was the outgrowth of a still older business of the same kind. In 1837 John NEAL built the large grist mill afterward known as the D. B. MARSH mill. It is now the property of John W. WEST. Solomon R. RENIFF is the proprietor of the saw and cider mill. The machine shops and foundry are owned by the HOUGHTALING Bros.
McLean has five churches, a number not equaled by any other village in the township. The Baptist Church of McLean was organized January 24, 1824, with thirty members, and with Amos HART and Ithamar WHIPPLE as deacons. However, Baptist preaching was heard in this locality as early as 1805. The church was built in 1828, under the direction of John BENEDICT, Samuel NOYES and Deacon HART, and cost $1,500. It has now thirty-six members and fifty-five pupils in the Sunday school. The present pastor is Joseph E. DODSLEY, successor to J. W. BARR. The deacons are T. M. WEEKS, and E. P. HART; trustees, Allen HOWARD, John RONK and T. N. WEEKS; superintendent of Sunday school, E. P. HART.
The McLean Methodist Episcopal church was organized in 1830, and the church edifice built in 1832 at a cost of $1,500. It was extensively repaired in 1836. The church has nearly 100 members and about fifty pupils in the Sunday school. The officers of the church are J.W. TERRY, pastor; D. C. JOHNSON, Almon TRAPP, Wesley ANDREWS, William WATERS, M. M. ROBBINS and E. G. GALLOUP, trustees; superintendent Sunday school, E. G. GALLOUP.
The First Universalist Society of Groton was organized at McLean, April 21, 1832, with about thirty members. The church edifice was erected in about 1843, and cost, including furnishings, about $3,000. The first minister was Walter BULLARD; the present minister, Herbert H. GRAVES. The present membership of the church is twenty seven.
Zion Church, P. E. , a mission from Homer, was founded at McLean, September 23, 1833. The church edifice was erected in 1849, and cost $1,200. For a number of years Zion parish has been without a rector, and the church has but twenty communicants. The present wardens are William D. COUDRES and William HUBBARD.
The Roman Catholic at McLean is the youngest of the religious societies of the locality. The church as no regular pastor and only occasional services are held.
PERUVILLE. - In the south part of the town of Groton, and lying partly within the town of Dryden, is the present hamlet of Peruville. Half a century and more ago this was a place of considerable industry, but later years have witnessed the removal or discontinuance of those of greatest importance, and the village now contains but three stores, a flour and feed mill, cider mill, creamery, and one or two shops. The village is situated onlot 95 , and here the first settlers were Asa CHURCH, who built the first grist mill; Henry I. BRINKERHOFF, Thomas JOHNSON, and Dr. WRIGHT. In 1820 the village plat was regularly surveyed by Lei BODLEY. Prominent among the early business men at Peruville were Reuben DARLING, Joseph SMILEY, William D. MOUNT and Henry TEETER, the latter at one time owning much of the village site and its industries as well.
The Methodist Episcopal church at Peruville was originally organized as a society of both Dryden and Groton, and has been a station of each town. The society was organized about 1830 and the edifice was built in 1834 at a cost of $3,000. The church has about forty members, with about the same number in the Sunday school. The present pastor is Rev. Emory R. BALDWIN, and the trustees are C. J. WHEELER, W. C. LUMBARD and J. M. MONTFORT.
The Wesley Methodist church of Groton is located about a mile north of Peruville. The society was organized about 1845, and in 1850 the meeting house was built. The present membership is about thirty, and the society is under the pastoral charge of Rev. C. E. CURTIS.
WEST GROTON. - In the northwest part of the town, and in one of the most fertile districts thereof, is the pleasant little hamlet of West Groton. In an earlier portion of the present chapter the reader will find the names of the earlier settlers of this locality, therefore they need not be repeated here. Through the kindness of Perry W. ALLEN we are able to furnish the names of the various men at this point. The merchants have been James I. BRINKERHOOF, HOPKINS & LUDLOW, B.F. LUDLOW , FERRIS & GAYLORD , GOODYEAR & SEYMOUR , John DART , SKINNER & CADY , LOCKE & WRIGHT, T. F. SHERMAN , ATWATER & BALDWIN, P.W. ALLEN (postmaster and deputy twenty-seven years), John BOULKER , B. F. THOMPSON , A. Stuart STEARNS , C. VANBUSKIRK , A. B. ROGERS , and STEVENS & TOWNLEY.
West Groton was made a post station in 1833, and the postmasters have been Cicero PHELPS, Perry W. ALLEN, A. B. ROGERS, A. S. STEARNS, and Ben TOWNLEY. The present business interests of the hamlet are the general store of STEVENS & TOWNLEY, the extensive egg and honey business of E. F. TALLMADGE, a blacksmith and shoe shop.
The West Groton and East Lansing Congregational church was organized in December, 1816 with five original members. The society was organized in 1832. The parsonage was built in 1861, the church repaired in 1872, the steeple erected in 1884, and the parlors and new barn provided in 1886. The church has 100 members and the Sunday school 120. The pastors of this church in succession have been as follows: Marcus HARRISON, 1831 -33; Samuel SCOTT, 1836-37; John IVISON, 1837-39; Peleg R. KINNIE, 1845-55; Rev. POMEROY, 1858-61; Calvin MCKINNEY, 1862-64; Ezra JONES 1865-68; W. O. BALDWIN, 1869-72; A. D. STOWELL, and John CUNNINGHAM, 1877-93. The present officers of the church are John CUNNINGHAM, pastor, and Benoni BROWN, (emeritus), Nelson STEVENS, and Richard T. LUDLOW, deacons.
The First Christian church of West Groton was organized in 1831, and in 1833 a frame edifice was erected a short distance south of West Groton. At one time the society had about seventy-five members, but owing to dissension's the members left and the society gradually passed out of existence.
GROTON CITY. - In the northeast corner of the town of Groton, and located principally on lot 59, is the hamlet called Groton City. During the pioneer days of the region, when saw mills were numerous on Fall Creek, this locality was known as "Slab City." At that time this was an important point and half a century ago "Slab City" did more business than Groton village. However, like many other similar hamlets, Groton City has lost nearly all of its former prestige and much of its old time usefulness. The early settlers in this locality were Capt. Jesse CLARK, Major Lemi BRADLEY, Jesse BARTHOLOMEW, Aaron and John BENEDICT, who built saw and grist mills, William S. CLARK, who built the first dam on Fall Brook and set up a fulling mill. In 1813 Zacheus MALTBY built a tavern on lot 68; CROSBY and TANNER opened store in 1809. These were the first business ventures in Groton city and locality. At present there is no regular store in the village, and the only industry is the custom feed mill of L.W. STEADMAN & Son.
A few rods west of the corners stands the Groton City Free church, which was built by subscriptions contributed by the people of the neighborhood without regard to denomination. However, this has always been a Methodist church, and until quite recently belonged to the conference. It is now and independent church, and its pulpit is supplied by young ministers from Cortland.
LA FAYETTE. - This is the name which has always been applied to the four corner settlement I the east part of the town, where once stood a saw and grist mill. When built the latter was christened by pioneer George FISH, and as the christening took place on the same day that General LA FAYETTE was at Auburn, Mr. FISH appropriately designated this as the LaFayette Mill.
GROTTO. - This is the name of a post-office established in the west part of the town July 1, 1892, through the efforts of Edwin W. VAN MARTER, who is its postmaster and also a merchant at that point.
UMBRIA. - This is the name of a post-office established in the fall of 1893, having its location on Fall Creek, about half a mile south of LaFayette.
Landmarks - Chapter XIX
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