NELSON was formed from Cazenovia, March 13, 1807, and named from Lord Nelson, the distinguished British Admiral. It is No. 1 of the Chenango Twenty Townships. It is an interior town, lying south-west of the center of the county, and is bounded on the north by Fenner and Smithfield, on the south by Georgetown, on the east by Eaton, and on the west by Cazenovia. Its surface is a hilly upland, broken by irregular ridges, having a general north and south direction. It occupies a part of the elevated ridge which forms the watershed between the streams flowing north to Oneida Lake and south to the Susquehanna. The streams are small but numerous, the principal one being Chittenango Creek, two branches of which unite near the west line of the town. The northern and larger branch rises in Fenner, enters this town near the center of the north border, and crosses the north-west part in a south-westerly direction. The smaller branch rises in the south-central part and flows in a north-westerly direction to its junction with the main branch, fed by numerous hillside springs, and forming with a more northerly tributary from the east, the Erieville Reservoir, which covers an area of 340 acres, and was constructed in 1850, at a cost of $36,837.03, as a feeder for the Erie Canal, its supply being 2,526 cubic feet per minute. The Eaton Reservoir, which serves as a feeder to the Chenango Canal lies partly in this town.
The underlying rocks are the Tully limestone, the Genesee slate and the Ithaca group, which cover the entire surface of the town, except a small portion of the north-east and south-west corners, where the rocks of the Hamilton group come to the surface. Limestone exists only in the form of boulders. Quarries are opened in the town, but the stone obtained is not desirable for building purposes. The soil is generally a gravelly loam, well adapted to the purposes of the dairy, an industry which chiefly engages the attention of the people.
The Syracuse and Chenango Valley Railroad crosses the south-west portion of the town.
The population of the town in 1875 was 1,654, of which 1,417 were native, 237 foreign, all white, 835 males and 819 females. Its area was 26,089 acres, of which 20,822 acres were improved, 4,802 woodland, and 465 otherwise unimproved. The cash value of farms was $1,199,730; of farm buildings other than dwellings, $158,250; of stock, $188,955; of tools and implements, $43,572. The amount of gross sales from farms in 1874 was $127,075.
There are fifteen common school districts in the town. During the year ending Sept. 30, 1879, there were fifteen licensed teachers at one time during twenty-eight weeks or more. The number of children of school age residing in the districts at that date was 449. During that year there were ten male and twenty-two female teachers employed; the number of children residing in the districts who attended school was 391, and the number residing in other districts, 14, of whom eight were under five or over twenty-one years of age; the average daily attendance during the year was 199.779; the number of volumes in district libraries was 466, the value of which was $104; the number of school-houses was fifteen, fourteen frame and one stone, which, with the sites, embracing 2 acres and 35 rods, valued at $515, were valued at $5,165; the assessed value of taxable property in the districts was $635,807. The number of children between eight and fourteen years of age residing in the districts at that date was 78, of whom 31 attended district school fourteen weeks of that year.
Receipts and disbursements for school purposes:---
|Amount on hand Oct. 1, 1878||$ 69.66|
|Amount apportioned to districts.....||1,434.86|
|Proceeds of Gospel and school lands||70.74|
|Raised by tax||530.69|
|From teachers' board||52.00|
|From other sources||23.62|
|Paid for teachers' wages||$1,872.62|
|school-houses, sites, fences, out-|
houses, repairs, furniture, etc
|" incidental expenses||143.10|
|Amount remaining on hand Sept. 30, 1879.||60.84|
Nelson was originally patented to Alexander Webster, June 4, 1793, and was purchased the same year by Colonel John Lincklaen, under whose auspices the settlements were made. In this year Jedediah Jackson and Joseph Yaw visited and purchased land in the north part of the town in the interest of a company from Vermont, and during the two succeeding years twenty-six families, mostly from Pownal, Vt., located on that purchase and other parts of the town, viz: Jedediah and Asahel Jackson, Joseph Yaw, Ebenezer Lyon, Daniel Adams, Sylvanus Sayles, Oliver Alger, Daniel and Isaac Coolidge, Levi Neil, Thomas Swift, Roger Brooks, Ethan Howard, Robert and Solomon Brown, Thomas and Jesse Tuttle, Luther Doolittle, Joseph Cary, Jesse Clark, James Green, Eliphalet Jackson, John Everton, Amos Rathbone, David Nichols and Rufus Weaver.
Jedediah and Asahel Jackson were brothers. Jedediah settled about a mile west of Nelson Flats, where Levi Keith now lives, and Asahel on the east hill, about eighty rods north-east of the Flats, near the Methodist church, his farm having since been cut up into several small ones. Both were married, and both died where they had settled, Jedediah, from the effects of a kick by a horse. Jedediah opened the first tavern in the town in 1794, on the site of Levi Keith's residence, and kept it for many years. Asahel went west at an early day. None of their children are left here.
Joseph Yaw settled just south of the cemetery in the north-west part of the town, and died there at an early day. Ebenezer Lyon came from Wallingford, Vt., settled in the north-west part of the town, where his grandson Wallace Lyon now lives, and died there. He was for several years a justice, and an early Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. He was the first Super visor of Nelson, and filled that office several terms. His son Eliphas succeeded him on the homestead and died there some fourteen years ago. His children mostly removed from the town. Daniel Adams settled north of the Flats and was a prominent citizen. Oliver Alger died March 5, 1848, aged 78, and Abigail his wife, April 20, 1840, aged 68. Roger Brooks was a cabinet maker, and his handicraft gratified the aesthetic tastes of the early settlers. Luther Doolittle was one of the earliest tavern keepers in the north-east part of the town. Eliphalet Jackson kept the first store at Nelson Flats, or rather a little west of there, first in a small log house, afterwards in the building now occupied by F. E. Whitney, which originally stood a little north of Levi Keith's residence, and was built by Jackson for a store soon after 1800. He was probably the first merchant in the town, though it has been asserted that Daniel Russell was the first.1 Rufus Weaver died in 1814, aged 68, and was succeeded on the farm he took up by his youngest child, Rufus, who was born May 1, 1793. David Nichols married his daughter Elizabeth.
Samuel Kinney, then a young, single man from Vermont, accompanied the Jacksons in their settlement here in 1794. The night before they reached their destination the party encamped in the west edge of Eaton. Early the next morning, being ambitious to be the first to enter the land of promise, Kinney entered into a friendly contest with Jedediah Jackson's daughter, Lucinda, to determine by a foot-race who should be the first to enter the town, but who was the victor in this romantic contest we are not advised. Kinney afterwards married a daughter of Sylvanus Mowry, and after his marriage removed to Fenner, where Mowry was an early settler, in that part of the town which originally belonged to Smithfield. He subsequently removed to Chautauqua county.
James Annas came about this time from Vermont and settled in the north part of the town. He was a millwright, and brought with him a set of mill stones. He immediately after built on Erieville Creek, about one and one-half miles north of Erieville, a grist-mill, which was the first mill of its kind in Nelson.2 This property passed from his hands into those of his youngest son, Truman, who sold it about 1818 to Oliver Pool, whose father, Oliver, came from Bennington, Vt., soon after 1800, and settled about one and one-half miles west of Erieville. He was a carpenter and joiner and worked at his trade, at the same time managing his farm of fifty acres which now forms a part of the farm of Joseph Ayres, where he resided till his death, about 1814. Pool removed the mill a few years after to the opposite side of the road so as to get a better fall, and in 1833, built a new and larger mill about sixty rods below the other, continuing the ditch from the old site to the new one. He continued to operate the mill till 1848, when the State bought the privilege and used the water for the Erieville Reservoir. Pool afterwards went to work at his trade of millwright in Michigan, where he died, but his family continued to reside here.
James Annas, having become decrepit, went to live with his son James, in Locke, and died there about 1829, at an advanced age.
Settlements were made in 1796, by Levi Brown, the Richardsons, the Wellses, Richard Karley, and about this time by John Hamilton, Sen., Moses Smith, Enos Chapin, Erastus Grover, Richard Wilber, Ezra and Isaac Lovejoy, Asa Carey and Haven White, the latter mostly from Massachusetts.
Levi Brown was originally from the locality of Boston, Mass., but came immediately from Utica. He came in the month of March, with a sled drawn by two yoke of oxen, and brought ten sheep and a herd of cattle. When they reached Eaton Brook, a little below West Eaton, they experienced some difficulty in getting a ewe across. That stream was considerably larger than now and was crossed by means of a log. Levi Brown, Jr., the oldest of the boys, who was then seventeen years old, took the ewe upon his shoulder and essayed to cross the stream with it in that manner upon the log; but before he had consummated the task the ewe became fractious, and both it and young Brown were treated to an icy bath, a not very comforting situation, when we reflect that their destination was then five miles distant, and that there was neither house for shelter nor fire when they arrived there. Mr. Brown settled on 150 acres a half mile west of Erieville, 8o acres of which including the homestead, are owned by Thomas Riggles. He afterwards removed to a farm a half mile south of Erieville, which is now owned by the widow of Harvey Everts, where he resided till his death, which occurred in Utica, whither he had gone to transact some business. His wife, Joanna, survived him, and died on that farm April 25, 1828, aged 73.
Eldad, Lemuel, Asa, Benjamin and Eri Richardson, brothers, then young, single men, came from Keene, New Hampshire, and settled at and adjacent to Erieville. Eldad married Hopy Brown, and settled on lot 147, (which he and his brother Lemuel jointly took up,) where John Wood now lives. He afterwards removed to lot 143, to the farm now occupied by John Jones, where he died April 16, 1829, aged 59, and his wife, June 23, 1840, aged 63. He was an early and popular tavern keeper, and the father of thirty-three children, only six of whom lived to maturity. Lemuel married Cynthia Buck and settled on lot 147, on the farm now owned by John Wood, where he died August 7, 1832, aged 61, and his wife Oct. 21, 1853, aged 65. They had nine children. Benjamin died Oct. 1, 1855, aged 78, and Dolly, his wife, April 10, 1869, aged 89; and Eri, August 7, 1844, aged 65. Eri represented this county in the Assembly in 1828, while residing at Earlville.
Gardner, Joshua and Robert Wells, brothers, came from Rhode Island, their native State, in the early part of 1796, and settled in the south part of the town, about a mile south of Erieville. Gardner located where Frank Isbell now lives, Joshua, where Jeremiah Blair lives, and Robert, on a farm which forms a part of Jeremiah Blair's farm, and was occupied till the summer of 1879, by George D. Wells, a great-grandson of Joshua's. Gardner and Joshua married in Rhode Island before coming here. Gardner married Weltha Gallup and both died where they settled, Gardner, May 26, 1839, aged 69, and his wife, Oct. 9, 1839, aged 67. He was a blacksmith, and was probably the first of his craft in the town. He carried on blacksmithing till near the time of his death, and made all the old bull plows used in this section of the country, also the mill and other heavy irons. His son Gardner also carried on blacksmithing. He had six children.
Joshua married Cassandria Calam and followed farming. He resided on the fifty acres he first took up, to which he subsequently added by purchase, till within a short time of his death, which occurred Jan. 27, 1864, at the age of 92 years. Shortly before his death he went to live with his sons, Clark and Jonathan, with the latter of whom he died. His wife died December 13, 1815. He afterwards married Polly Fletcher, widow of Jonathan Wellington, who died on the old homestead in the fall of 1839. He had eleven children by his first wife and five by the last. His first child, Palmer, who was born June 12, 1796, was the first white male child born in the town, probably the first of either sex.3 He went to Tompkins county, where he sickened, and, returning to Nelson, died unmarried at the age of twenty-eight. Joshua Wells, Sen., held various town offices. He was one of the constituent members of the Baptist Church of Erieville and a prominent man in it. Robert Wells married here Polly, daughter of Oliver Stone, and after her death, which occurred Oct. 20, 1841, aged 51, Martha, daughter of Levi Brown, who died Nov. 17, 1864, aged 77. He lived on the farm he first took up till within a year of his death, which occurred in Erieville Oct. 1, 1842, aged 61. He had only one child by the first wife, none by the second.
David Wellington came from Cheshire, N. H., about 1796 or '97, and settled about two miles east of Erieville, near the Eaton Reservoir. His farm forms a part of the Isaac Blair farm. He cleared an acre the first season, sowed it with wheat, and having built a log shanty, the roof of which consisted of elm bark and the floor of split logs, he returned to Cheshire and brought in his wife. There he raised an estimable family and in advanced life went to live with his son David, who still resides a mile south of Cazenovia village, and where he and his wife died. Both are buried at West Eaton. He was the first Justice of the town of Nelson, and held that office some twenty years. He was also honored with various other town offices.
Simeon Haskell, the youngest of four brothers, all of whom were soldiers of the Revolution, and whose father died in camp during the French Canadian war, came from Granville, Mass., his native place, in 1799, with his family, consisting of his wife, Sarah Parsons, of Granville, and nine children,---Simeon Parsons, Horace, Daison, Thomas, Leonard, Sally, Sophia, Orpha and Abigail. He settled on the State road, about two miles south-east of Nelson Flats, on the farm now occupied by Ezra Booth. He was a mason by trade and worked at that business some in connection with farming. He resided there till he became old and infirm, when he went to live with his son Daison, in Fenner, where he died in 1846, aged 89. His wife died about 1821 or '22. He afterwards married Sally Lord, of Nelson, in the east part of which town her parents settled at an early day. Haskell's youngest child, Jabez, was born in Nelson. Many of the children married and settled in this locality, and some of their descendants are still left here.
Jesse, Abner and Seth Bumpus, brothers, Aaron Lindsley and Moses and Solomon Clark settled in the town previous to 1800, the Bumpuses in the north part of the town. Seth Bumpus died May 29, 1812, aged 58, and Experience, his wife, Aug. 25, 1842, aged 85. Isaiah and Ezra Booth came from Conway, Conn., in April, 1800, the latter locating on the State road near the Welsh meeting-house. Settlements were made about 1800 by Paul Griffiths, Joseph, Chauncey and David Case, William Knox and David Hamilton. Griffiths was a Revolu-
David Hamilton was born in Blandford, Hampden county, Mass., April 8, 1777. He was a son of Capt. David and Mary (Knox) Hamilton, who were also natives of Massachusetts. They were farmers. David was one of a family of twelve children. The parents died in Massachusetts. David came in to that portion of the town of Cazenovia that is now included in the town of Nelson, in 1802, and bought, in company with his brother-in-law, William Knox, the farm on which he lived several years, on lot 70. His early education was limited, being such as was to be obtained in the common schools of the town in which his parents lived. He worked on his father's farm until he attained his majority, and then worked at various occupations until he came to Madison county.
When he was twenty-one he married Mary Knox, daughter of John and Jenny (Campbell) Knox, of Blandford, Mass. She was born July 16, 1782.
David and Mary Hamilton had eleven children, four sons and seven daughters, viz: Monisna, born May 22, 1799, still living; Percia, born May 10, 1803, died in infancy; Sally, born July 1, 1805, died in September, 1812; Leverett, born April 16, 1807, married Roxana Lucas, April, 1836, died March 29, 1850; Betsey E., born June 18, 1809, married David Wellington, February, 1830; Almond D., born Dec. 23, 1811, died March 1, 1813; David A., born Jan. 16, 1814, married Lucy Chaphe, September, 1839; Sarah L., born April 2, 1816, married Lovander Lucas, January, 1839, died March 6, 1840; Marcia R., born Sept. 24, 1818; Samuel W., born Jan. 20, 1821, married Elizabeth Morrow, January, 1852, and Mary J., born May 26, 1823.
David, after his settlement here, followed farming until within a few years of his death, which occurred Oct. 28, 1858. His wife died July 9, 1860.
He was a Democrat, and took great interest in the success of his party. He was an upright, conscientious man, and had the respect of his townsmen, and was highly esteemed by all whose good fortune it was to know him intimately. In all his dealings with his fellow men he was just and honorable.
He belonged to no religious denomination, but was an attendant of the Universalist church in Erieville.
His funeral services were held at his former home, and were conducted by a Baptist clergyman. His wife was a Presbyterian. She was a devoted wife and an affectionate mother. The town of Nelson lost, in the death of this venerable couple, two of its most useful and honorable citizens, and their memory is revered by a large circle of acquaintances and a fond family.
Jeremiah Clark came from Shaftsbury, Vt., soon after 1800, and bought out William and Jeremiah Whipple, who had settled about a mile and a half north of Erieville, where Jervis Burton now lives, their log house standing just in the rear of Burton's residence. William Whipple removed to Cazenovia and settled on the site of the Lincklaen House. He took the contract for making the brick for the Court House at Cazenovia. Jeremiah Whipple removed to Nelson Flats, where he was a Justice, Sheriff and merchant, in company with his son, Jeremiah, who was born Oct. 10, 1800. The elder Jeremiah Whipple died Sept. 20, 1840, aged 74, and Eunice, his wife, Dec. 18, 1820, aged 54. None of his family are living here. His son, Jeremiah, removed to Fenner and died there Nov. 29, 1869, and Jerusha Murdock, his wife, April 5, 1878, aged 78. Another son, Hull, married a daughter of Col. Aaron Ballou, of Fenner, and went south about 1832 and died there. Jeremiah Clark built soon after 1800 the first saw-mill in the town, on the west side of the small stream in the locality of this settlement. It was not in operation long. Oliver Pool built a saw-mill on the east end of the same dam a year or two before he built his new grist-mill. Clark removed to Dryden, Tompkins county, when well advanced in years, and died.
Thomas Ackley and Benjamin Hatch, from Plainfield, Otsego county, and Jeremiah Blair, from Blandford, Mass., were settlers of about this period, in the east part of the town. Ackley died at New Woodstock March 21, 1859, aged 83, and Anna, his wife, Nov. 18, 1865, aged 85. Job Wood, Samuel Salisbury and Benjamin Wadsworth came from Bennington, Vt., in 1802. Esther, wife of Samuel Salisbury, died April 7, 186o, at the advanced age of 96.
Dyer Matteson, Jesse Carpenter and Robert Hazard joined the settlements in 1806. Dyer Matteson was a native of Rhode Island and came from Middletown, Vt. He settled about a mile north of Erieville, on the farm now mostly owned and occupied by Buel Richardson, where he resided some ten or twelve years. He then removed to the farm about a mile east now owned and occupied by Freeman Matteson, on which he resided till his death, Nov. 3, 1844, at the age of 82. He was a Revolutionary soldier and came here with his wife, Freelove Johnson, and ten children. His wife died April 29, 1816, aged 50. One child was born after their settlement here, and two by a second wife. Jesse Carpenter came from Worcester, Mass., his native place, with his wife and two children, and settled a half mile north of Erieville, where Harvey Matteson now lives. He was a basket maker and worked at his trade till his death. He had several children, but only two came here---Elijah and Charlotte, both of whom were married before they came, and both of whom settled in Nelson. Elijah married Patience Salisbury and had several children when he came. He located two miles west of Erieville, on the farm now occupied by William Pew, and resided there till his death, Jan. 24, 1843, aged 68. His wife died June 14, 1854, aged 78. He was a shoemaker by trade and carried on that business in connection with farming. He had eleven children, five of whom are living, four in Nelson.
Robert Hazard was a native of Hancock, Mass., and removed thence in March, 1806. He settled on the Col. Forman purchase (which consisted of three lots in the west part of the town,) on the farm now occupied by Adelbert Gifford, who married a grand daughter of his. He took up 100 acres of lot 146, on which he resided till his death, Feb. 7, 1853, aged 72. He married, in Bennington, Vt., Lucy Buck, who died on the same farm, Sept. 24, 1864, aged 85. He had three children, the first of whom was born before he came here.
Barna Stimson came from Blandford, Mass., in 1809, and settled in the locality of Erieville, where he died of heart disease about 1816. He was a cooper and pursued that vocation in connection with farming. He married in Massachusetts, Mary Nimocks, who died between 1846 and 1850 in the west, with her son Chauncey, with whom she went to live after the death of her husband.
Oliver Stone, James Hinman, Israel Patterson, Horatio Sims and Abner Camp were settlers of an early period. Stone came from Connecticut and settled on 150 acres fifty rods east of Erieville, where Oscar Wells now lives, from which he sold fifty acres each to the father of Dr. Onesimus Mead and Silas Melvin, the latter of whom did not come in till about 1806, and, in company with William Fellows, built about 1812, a saw-mill at the head of the reservoir, which was in operation till the darn was carried away by a freshet about 1845. Stone afterwards sold the remaining fifty acres, but continued to reside in the town till his death, about 1830. The year that Stone came in was one of scarcity in this locality. He went to Utica for provisions, but could not get anything better than bran, a bag of which he brought home on his back. James Hinman settled in the north part of the town and probably removed at an early day. Israel Patterson settled on the farm now occupied by Ira Hazard, three-fourths of a mile east of Erieville. He took up the whole of lot 150, seventy-five acres of which he sold to Joshua Wells. He sold the remainder about 1800 to Thomas Mallory, who went soon after---about 1804---to Canada. A brother of Patterson's also lived on the same place, and each had a log-house. They came here in company and removed from the town at an early day. Horatio Sims located about one and a half miles north of Erieville, where William P. Jones now lives, and he and his wife both died there, the former Aug. 19, 1851, aged 75, and the latter, (Alathea,) Sept. 18, 1838, aged 63. A daughter, Valina, who married Nelson Richardson, is living in Perryville, and a son, Clark, is living in Erieville. The other children removed from the town. Abner Camp settled on the east line of the town south of the center. His farm now forms a part of Lucius Hopkins' farm. He cleared it up and sold out, removing with his family to Richland soon after the close of the war of 1812. His father, Dr. Abner Camp, was a botanic physician, and settled in the south-west corner of Eaton, on the south-east side of Hatch's Lake, which was then known as Camp's pond. He early went to live with his son Abner and died with him.
In 1811 several families came from New Jersey and settled in the south part of the town, at what is known as Jersey Bush. Among these were Thomas and William Harris, Joseph English, Phineas Hamblet, Elijah Carpenter, John S. Brown and _____ Abraham. Dr. George W. Harris, of Georgetown, is a grandson of Thomas Harris.
TOWN OFFICERS.---The first town meeting was held at the house of Rufus Weaver, April 7, 1807. James Green was chosen moderator, and Josiah Hayden, clerk, and John Rice and Isaac Bumpus, to assist them in canvassing the votes. The following named officers were elected:---Ebenezer Lyon, Supervisor; John Rice, Clerk; Jeremiah Clark, Simeon Marshall, and Thaddeus Hazleton, Assessors; Thomas Holdridge, Moses Boardman and John Knox, Commissioners of Highways; Day Fay and Moses Boardman, Overseers of the Poor; Eri Richardson, Asahel Wood, Alvan Henry and Benjamin Bumpus, Constables: Alvan Henry, Collector; James Bacon and John Jackson, Pound-Keepers; Elijah Daniels, Daniel Butler, Silas Reeves, Joseph Sims, Rufus Weaver, James Annas, Benjamin Turner, Uriah Annas, Robert Hazard, George Tibbits, Eldad Richardson, Jonathan Wellington, David Smith, Abraham Parker, Ephraim Cone, David Nichols, Daniel Coolidge, Richard Green, John Rice, Stephen Kingsley, Dyer Matteson, Francis Wood, John Knox and Warham Chapman, Overseers of Highways and Fence Viewers. Ten dollars were voted at this meeting to Jeremiah Clark for his services in attending the Legislature in connection with the formation of the town. In 1809 a tax of twenty-five cents was imposed on every man who kept a dog; the proceeds arising therefrom were to be applied to the purchase of a Merino ram for the use of the inhabitants of the town. We think the county may be safely challenged to produce a piece of legislation which surpasses this for novelty. At the same time a bounty of twenty dollars in addition to the State bounty was voted for every wolf killed in the town. Thus it would seem that generous, if not ample provision, was made for the propagation and protection of the flocks of the early settlers. The tax on dogs was repealed in 1810.
The following list of the officers of the town of Nelson for the year 1880-281, was kindly furnished by Chas. L. Knox:---
Supervisor---Peter R. Duffy.
Town Clerk---Chas. L. Knox.
Justices---James Stevenson, L. D. Knox, O. V. Matteson, Franklin W. Moore, John E. Clark.
Assessors---Russel Brown, Alpheus Hammond, Asa Bailey.
Commissioner of Highways---James Wetmore.
Overseers of the Poor---D. Moore, Wm. Abbott.
Constables---H. P. Hutchinson, Leroy Hutchinson, John T. Burton, Adelbert Warren, Adelbert Gifford.
Inspectors of Election---District No. 1---Bion Payne, Hendrick Hudson, Chas. C. Blair. District No. 2---William A. Smith, Sidney B. Meredith, Penbroke Morey.
Game Constable---Frank E. Whitney.
Excise Commissioners---Merrit Card, Sidney B. Meredith, Frank Moore.
The subject of this memoir was born in Blandford, Hampden Co., Mass., Dec. 31st, 1795. He was the son of Enoch and Jenny (Knox) Blair. The former was born Nov. 15th, 1771, and died in Nelson, Jan. 25th, 1824, and the latter was born about 1769 and died February 5th, 1827.
Enoch was a farmer by occupation. He came into the town of Nelson and settled on lot 61, about 1808. They had eight children, as follows, Orra, Jeremiah, Alvin, William K., Isaac, Orin, Jane and Philo E. Four of these are still living, namely, Alvin, William K., Orin and Philo E.
Jeremiah by his own efforts acquired the means to obtain a good common school education, and at an early day became a successful teacher by demanding implicit obedience to his directions and untiring efforts to acquire knowledge on the part of his pupils. During the war of 1812, he enlisted in the U. S. army and left at once for Sacket's Harbor, where he suffered from sickness and many privations. After the close of the war he returned to Nelson and was engaged in farming summers, and teaching school winters until about 1821, when he married. In 1822 he taught a select school in Hamilton. In 1823 he purchased and moved on to the farm on which he lived until he died.
Politically, he was a firm believer in the principles of Jefferson and Jackson. By his fellow townsmen, he was frequently elected to the office of supervisor, (and was chosen by his associates clerk of the board,) Justice of the Peace, (which office he held many years,) Highway Commissioner, etc. No violator of the law ever greatly admired his ideas of justice and the way he administered it in their cases, for they always received from him all the law allowed them or what he believed they justly deserved for their waywardness. In deciding legal questions, he was guided more by a well-balanced mind than by extensive legal acquirements.
In fine, Jeremiah Blair was an industrious, economical man, of correct business habits and strict integrity, possessed of that self-reliance, energy, and will---both of mind and body---that made him a successful and wealthy farmer, an efficient officer and a useful citizen in his neighborhood, and he has left to those yet living many precepts and examples, worthy of their imitation and admiration.
In 1821, Jeremiah married Susan Clark, daughter of Jeremiah and Lucy Clark, of Nelson, Madison Co. She was born Oct. 25th, 1797. Her parents were among the earliest settlers in the town. They settled north of Erieville, and her father built the first saw-mill that was put up in the town, where now is the outlet of the Erieville Reservoir.
Jeremiah and Susan Blair reared a family of eight children named in the order of their birth as follows: Susan J., born September 29th, 1822, married Dr. Levi P. Greenwood September 13, 1843; Jeremiah, born October 14th, 1824, married Anna S. Thomes, March 14th, 1872; Harry Clark, born July 21st, 1826, married Lucy Bond, January 3d, 1849; Isaac Alonzo, born January 26th, 1830, married Harriet A. Whitney, October 5th, 1851; Charles C., born May 16th, 1832, married Mary E. Everts, Oct. 6th, 1863; Arvin Hale, born February 24th, 1834, married Ellen Ensign, June 24th, 1875; Edmund Franklin, born January 31st, 1836, died June 16th, 1850; and Addison DeWitt, born October l0th, 1841, unmarried. All these children except the latter who is a resident of Elmira, N. Y., are now living in the town of Nelson.
Jeremiah Blair died November 28th, 1878.
The following is a list of the Supervisors and Clerks since the organization of this town:---
|1807-9.||Ebenezer Lyon.||John Rice.|
|1818.||Jabez Wright.||James Wheeler.|
|1819.||Jeremiah Whipple.||Edward Hudson.|
|1821-2.||Edward Hudson.||Oliver Pool.|
|1824-6.||do.||Jeremiah Whipple, Jr.|
|1827.||Oliver Pool.||John Heffron, Jr.|
|1832.||do.||Abel S. Pierson.|
|1833-5.||Daniel Lobdell.||Benjamin Turner.|
|1836-8.||Benjamin Turner.||John Donaldson.|
|1839.||George Rich.||Oliver Pool.|
|1842.||Asa Richardson.||Horace K. Smith.|
|1844.||Jeremiah Blair.||Philo E. Blair.5|
|1845.||John Donaldson.||John Heffron.|
|1846.||Oliver Pool.||George R. Parmelee.|
|1850-1.||G. D. Richardson.||Demas Sturtevant.|
|1852.||Palmer Baldwin.||Joseph G. Norton.|
|1853.||Jonathan Wells.||Samuel J. Anderson.|
|1854.||do.||Lucius D. Knox.|
|1855.||George Irish.||David C. Lyon.|
|1856.||David A. Hamilton.||Orrin L. Everts.|
|1857.||G. D. Richardson.||Demas Sturtevant.|
|1858.||Artemas L. Sims.||Willard Richardson.|
|1861.||Nelson Richardson.||Henry Gage.|
|1862.||S. Perry Smith.||I. B.VanValkenburg.|
|1865.||do.||R. Eaton Ferry.6|
|1866.||do.||Charles H. Knox.|
|1867.||Charles K. Knox.||Alvin Richardson.|
|1868.||S. Perry Smith.||Fordyce R. Gage.|
|1869.||Charles H. Knox.||Charles E. Maynard.|
|1870.||Levi P. Greenwood.||George Gage.|
|1871-2.||Isaac A. Blair.||George E. Gaige.|
|1873.||do.||William J. Knox.|
|1874.||Merritt L. Lyon.||do.|
|1875.||Isaac A. Blair.||do.|
|1876-8.||George E. Gaige.||do.|
|1879.||Peter R. Duffy.||Harvey Matteson.|
Erieville is situated in the south part of the town on the line of the Syracuse and Chenango Valley R. R., and contains two churches, (Baptist and Methodist Episcopal,) a district school, one hotel, four stores, a steam saw-mill, a cheese factory, (Peter R. Duffy,) a cooper shop, (James Stevenson,) two blacksmith shops, (John P. Seaver & Son and Andrew J. Burgess,) a harness shop, (H. D. Whitnall,) a shoe shop, (Samuel W. Curtis,) a milliner shop, (Miss Nettie Matteson,) a tin shop, (F. W. Moore,) and a population of some 300.
MERCHANTS.---The first merchant was Josiah Hayden, who came about 1807 and built a store on the site of the one now occupied by George C. Moore & Co., which he occupied only two or three years when he removed. The building seems to have been used immediately after Hayden left it, for a school-house, for Ira Hazard, who was born here Jan. 2, 1807, recollects that in the fall of 1810, Dr. John Heffron was teaching school in it. It was afterwards converted into a gun shop by Thomas Medbury, who came from New Berlin about 1818, having removed to that town from Rhode Island, and he and his oldest son, Isaac, carried on the gunsmith business some eight or ten years. This building was subsequently removed a little south to its present location and converted into a dwelling house. It was occupied as such till recently by Cooley Mason, who died there Sept. 8, 1879, and his wife in December, 1879. The store on the original site now occupied by G. C. Moore & Co., was built in 1834 by Nelson Richardson, who traded in it but a short time.
The next merchant to Hayden was Daniel Bicknell, who came from Morrisville and died about a year or two after of fever, about 1816. Andrew C. Hull came from Eaton in 1818 and opened a store in the building which occupied the site of Harrison Burgess' residence and was built about 1811 for a school and church. It was occupied for the latter purpose by the Baptists about a year, when, the trustees having neglected to procure a title, they were dispossessed by a change in proprietorship. The Baptists then built what is known as "the temple," about a mile north of Erieville, which is now used as a school-house, having been used- jointly as a school-house and church till 1821, when the Baptists built their present church about forty rods north of its present location, to which it was removed in the summer of 1877, and the lot on which it stood taken to enlarge the cemetery. Hull traded there about two years. He then bought the lower tavern, which is now used as a tin shop, and stands just east of the brook which is the feeder to the Erieville Reservoir, and was built about 1814 by Geo. Salisbury, who sold it to Hull, who also kept an ashery while engaged in trade. He sold the tavern after about two years and removed to Eaton, thence to Allegany county, and from there about four years ago to the south.
Nathaniel Hotchkin came from Otselic about 1822, and opened a store in Hull's building, and after about a year formed a partnership with Alpheus Morse, from Eaton. They traded some three years, carrying on also the foundry business and an ashery. They made the first cast iron plows,---Jethro Wood's improved,---used in this locality. Morse returned to Eaton and engaged in trade, and about 1847 built the Alderbrook woolen factory, a half mile below West Eaton, which he carried on in company with John Brown till within seven or eight years. He is now in Syracuse. Hotchkin removed to the Black River country, where he resumed the foundry business.
John Elmore came from De Ruyter about 1827 and traded till about 1838, when he returned to DeRuyter. David Hamilton, a native of Nelson, whose father was one of the first settlers in the east part of the town, traded here a year or two from about 1840, and sold to Allen Curtis and Eli B. Drake, the former of whom is now superintendent of the county poor house. Curtis & Drake traded about two years and sold to George R. Parmelee, who came about 1842 from Cazenovia, traded till 1848, when he failed and returned to Cazenovia. Thomas Medbury, grandson of the gunsmith of that name, commenced trading in 1855 and continued till about 1862. Joseph Norton and Samuel J. Anderson, both natives of Erieville, took Medbury's goods and traded some four years. They were succeeded Oct. 31, 1866, by W. S. Cotes & Co., (Joseph E. Maynard,) the former of whom sold his interest in February, 1868, to Charles E. Maynard, son of Joseph E. Maynard. The business was continued under the name of C. E. Maynard & Co., until Sept. 1, 1879, when Charles E. bought his father's interest, and still carries on a general merchandise business. John Elmore, who first occupied the Hull store, was the first to occupy the Maynard store, which was built in 1832 by Nelson Richardson, and all who succeeded Elmore to this point occupied this store.
About 1827, Thomas Medbury erected the building now occupied by Russell Bronson as a jewelry repair shop and Samuel Curtis as a shoe shop, for a dwelling, and occupied it as such till his removal to the Black River country, after which his son Alfred occupied it as a residence two or three years. About this time Amasa Jackson, a native of Georgetown, occupied it as a jewelry repair shop and soon after put in a stock of goods and was a prominent merchant for some twenty years. He sold out and returned to Georgetown, and afterwards removed to the locality of Wellsville, N. Y. The store has not since been a prominent business stand.
The store now occupied by George C. Moore & Co. has been variously occupied as a store and dwelling, but has never been a prominent business stand till within the last few years, when the present occupants took possession. In 1866, H. Burgess, a native of Cazenovia, established himself in trade here. In the spring of 1870 his son, A. F. Burgess, became his partner, and the business was continued under the name of H. Burgess & Son till October, 1874, when George C. Moore, a native of Nelson, purchased an interest and the firm name became and has since remained George C. Moore & Co.
The other merchants at present doing business here are: Franklin W. Moore, general merchant, a native of Georgetown, who commenced business in February, 1879, at which time he bought out S. D. Moore & Co., (Milton Y. Hudson,) who had traded about two years; and E. S. Jillson, dealer in confectionery, tobacco and notions, who commenced business Dec. 23, 1879.
POSTMASTERS.---The first postmaster was probably Thomas Medbury, who kept the office in the Griffin Hotel about 1822. Samuel Gage, who kept the upper and afterwards the lower tavern, probably succeeded him. C. H. Jennings succeeded to the office in 1835, Hiram Anderson in 1839, Allen Curtis, John Durfee, Hiram Stone, Richard Stevens, George Parmelee in 1845, Amasa Jackson, Canfield Jennings, Amasa Jackson, who was appointed in 1861, and Harrison Burgess, who was appointed Feb. 7, 1865, and has held the office continuously since.
PHYSICIANS.---It is believed that the first physician who ministered to the wants of the settlers in this town was Dr. James Pratt, who was located in Eaton, and that John Heffron was the first resident physician. John Heffron was a native of Swanzey, N. H., and a graduate of Dartmouth College. He studied medicine with Dr. Wheeler, of Westmoreland, N. H., and in 1809 established himself at Erieville, where he continued to practice his profession till his death May 30, 1861, aged 73. He was an eminent medical practitioner and was for several years president of the Madison County Medical Society. About 1845 he located at New Woodstock, in Cazenovia. He sold his practice to Dr. Adams and removed to Fabius, where most of his life was spent and died there about a year ago. The eldest daughter, Maria, married John Goodell, Jr., a student of her father's, with whom he practiced from about 1820 to 1834, when he removed to Delphi, where he practiced four or five years, and thence to New Woodstock, where he practiced till his death, Jan. 25, 1850, aged 48.
Levi P. Greenwood, was born in Lebanon, in this county, Sept. 26, 1816.8
Levi P. Greenwood was born in the town of Lebanon, Madison county, N. Y., the 26th of September, 1816. He is a son of Paul and Betsey (Brigham) Greenwood, natives of Massachusetts. His father was born the 5th of October, 1767, and died November 17th. 1841. His mother was born August 26th, 1777, and died February 9th, 1839. These parents settled in Lebanon about 1800. They located near the center of the town and followed farming, and afterwards settled at Smith's Valley, where Mrs. Greenwood died. After the death of his wife, having become infirm, Mr. Greenwood went to the town of Marion, Wayne county, and lived with his son (Ira) until he died.
Mr. & Mrs. Paul Greenwood had ten children, viz: Jonas, born February 18th, 1797, believed to be now dead; Lucy, born February 10th, 1799, married Calvin Shapley, and died September 11th, 1830; Eli F., born January 16th, 1801, and was crushed to death in a mill in 1848; Sally, born April 15th. 1802; Marion, born July 1st, 1804; Erastus, born July 5th, 1807, killed by a limb of a tree falling upon him, May 24th, 1819; Ira, born July 4th, 1810; Levi P., as above; Cornelia, born April 5th, 1814, married John Powell, died August 23d, 1865; and Roxana, born August 12th, 1822, married Loderic Plympton, of Wayne county.
Levi lived at home until he was about eighteen years old, working on the farm, and attending district school winters. He also attended the academy at Hamilton about a year. He taught school winters and worked summers at farming from the time he left home until he was twenty-one. He then commenced reading medicine at Hamilton in the office of Dr. Peter B. Haven, Sr., and continued in his office and attending lectures at Fairfield, Herkimer Co., till 1840, graduating there at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Western District of New York in February of that year. On the 1st day of May, 1840, he came to Erieville, where he is still practicing medicine. His worldly possessions on his arrival here consisted of a passably decent suit of clothes and two dollars in money. He formed a co-partnership with Dr. John Heffron, and they practiced medicine together eleven years. He then severed his connection with Dr. Heffron and began for himself, and continued alone till April 1st, 1863. He then gave Dr. Wesley M. Carpenter, a former student of his, a share in his business, and the partnership existed until the 1st of November, 1868, when Dr. Carpenter was elected to the Legislature. After the close of his term, Dr. Carpenter came back and they practiced together another year, when he removed to New York city, where no now resides.
Dr. Greenwood continued alone in his practice until June, 1873, when he associated Dr. Charles H. Ransom, a graduate of University Medical College of New York city, with him in his business, and the partnership is still continued.
Dr. Greenwood has practiced medicine forty years with a success rarely met with. His ride has been as extensive and constant as that of any physician that has ever practiced in Madison county. He has been devoted to his profession, and has found the duties of it pleasant and agreeable rather than irksome. He has been kind and lenient to the poor, never refusing to respond to the calls of those whom he knew could not pay for his services. It has been his rule to make his charges in cases of the poor and unfortunate so low that they were able to give him something in settlement. He has, thereby, not only secured the love and respect of his patrons both rich and poor, but he has lost few outstanding accounts.
Dr. Greenwood is popular, and his friends and acquaintances are legion. In politics he is a democrat, staunch and fearless in his advocacy of the principles and measures of his party. He has been Supervisor of his town, and has been Railroad Bond Commissioner several years. Possessed of an ample fortune of which he himself is the architect, dwelling in a pleasant home, unblemished in reputation, ever ready with judicious counsel and helpful hand, never an aspirant for any political office, commanding the respect of the public and the affection of his friends,--yet he has not grown idle. With leisure awaiting his enjoyment, time and fortune at instant command, he has never laid off the harness of busy life; and he is wise, for no rust is so corrosive as the rust that comes from premature rest after a life packed full with interests and energies. His leading characteristics are great activity, strict integrity, and a desire to be useful. He is of the better class of self-made men. Such men are pillars of society and salt against the world's corruption. Long may he live, mingling ever with men in the busy walks of life, always a warm side for his friends, and a cheerful word for everybody,--an admirable illustration of the splendid possibilities a pioneer farmer's boy with hands, heart and head, that he knows how to use, may achieve in America.
Dr. Greenwood married Susan J., daughter of Jeremiah Blair, Esq., of Nelson, in September. 1843. She was born September 21st, 1822. They have no children.
James W. Smith, a native of Nelson, commenced the study of medicine with Dr. Greenwood, about 1867, and graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. He practiced here about eighteen months and removed to Morrisville, where he still remains.
Charles H. Ransom was born in Perryville, Nov. 26, 1850, and educated at Cazenovia Seminary. He studied medicine with Dr. Theodore Mead, of Perryville, and graduated at the University Medical College of New York, in the spring of 1873, in June of which year he commenced and has since continued practice in company with Dr. Greenwood.
MANUFACTURES.---The steam saw-mill at Erieville, was built in the fall of 1871, by Palmer Freeborn, who operated it till 1876, when it was bought on Sheriff's sale by Chauncey P. Wells, who sold it in September of that year to Moses Stone, the present proprietor. It contains a circular log saw and one slab saw. Connected with it is a small feed run.
Franklin W. Moore, the patentee, commenced the manufacture of Moore's Empire Milk Pan and Cooler in 1876. The same year a stock company was formed, composed of W. W. Lyon, President; J. W. Torpy, Vice-President; G. W. Salisbury, Secretary; M. Hudson, D. Moore, E. Warren, and W. R. Lyon, under the style of Moore's Empire Milk Pan Company, Limited, with a capital of $25,000, for the manufacture of the above article, and to deal in other dairy utensils. They have made an average of about fifty sets per year. The present officers are, F. W. Moore, President; W. W. Lyon, Vice-President; M. Y. Hudson, Secretary; (each of whom succeeded the first incumbents of these respective offices in November, 1878,) and Daniel Moore, Treasurer.
The Erieville House was built in 1820, by Thomas Medbury, who kept it a short time. It is the only hotel in the town and has been kept since 1871 by H. L. Griffin. The first tavern on its site was built by Ephraim Mallory, who was succeeded in its proprietorship by Abram Tuckerman. It was a frame building and was torn down to make room for the present one.
CHURCHES.---The Erieville Baptist Church.---As early as 1809 there were a number of persons of the Baptist persuasion in the vicinity of Erieville who desired to form themselves into a church, and April 26, 1810, a meeting was called to consider the propriety of such a step. At this meeting, which was held at the house of Jesse Braman, one hundred persons subscribed to articles of faith, covenant and practices of the Baptist church. Jesse Braman, was moderator, and B. A. Graham, clerk of the meeting. It was unanimously resolved, "that the cause of God in the south part of the town of Nelson, demands that a church be at once organized," and "that this body be so organized, and be hereafter known as the Second Baptist Church in Nelson."9 Oct. 27, 1810, a council composed of Rev. Ashbel Hosmer, of Hamilton, Rev. Roswell Beckwith, of the First Church in Nelson, Rev. John Peck, of Cazenovia, and Rev. Joseph Cooley, of Eaton, of which A. Hosmer was moderator and Rev. R. Corley, clerk, convened and recognized twenty-three persons---eight males and fifteen females---as a church in full fellowship.
Sept. 8, 1810, the church held its first covenant meeting at the house of Jesse Braman. Andrew Graham was then chosen church clerk, and Joshua Wells and James Brown, deacons. It was resolved to hold covenant meetings upon the Saturday before the second Sunday of each month, a regulation the church has observed to the present time.
This house of worship, as previously stated, was built in 1821, meetings previous to that time having been held in private houses and school-houses, and after the erection of " the temple," in that. The original cost of the present house was $2,000. At its removal, in 1876, $4,000 were expended in remodeling it. It was re-dedicated Nov. 4, 1876.
For three years they were without a pastor, yet their numbers increased. Rev. J. Crapses served them as pastor a few months, and in 1814 Rev. James Wheeler entered upon a three years' pastorate. Again they were without a pastor three years, and preaching was had only occasionally. In 1820, Rev. Nathan Peck became the pastor and sustained that relation till 183r, with the exception of the year 1826, when Rev. Solomon Taylor officiated. Abner Goodelle, a licentiate, officiated some time in 1831. In 1832 they were without a pastor. Rev. Nicholas Johnson next served them from 1833 to 1834. In 1835 Orin Beckwith became the pastor and served them that and the following year. In 1837 they were without a pastor. Soranus C. Aynsworth became the pastor in 1838, and remained till 1841. In 1842 J. W. Weatherby became the pastor and served them till 1844. J. Melvin served them in 1845. They had no pastor in 1846-7. S. U. Ferguson served them in 1848, in which year he was ordained. After an interval of a year M. T. Wadsworth became the pastor, serving them from 1850 to 1853. In 1856, after an interval of two years, P. P. Brown entered upon a two years' pastorate. S. S. Webber was ordained and served them from 1859 to 1861, in which year he was succeeded by Rev. P. L. Haikes, who served them till 1874. In 1873 J. F. Stark was the pastor, and in 1865 O. Tayntor served them some time as a sup ply. L. E. Swan followed as a supply in 1867, and served them as such and as pastor till 1873, in which year Rev. O. Tayntor became the pastor. He was succeeded Sept. 1, 1874, by Rev. Judson Davis, who served them till 1877, in which year Rev. E. D. Reed, the present pastor, entered upon his labors.
The number of members June 11, 1879, was 24; the estimated value of church property at the same date was $5,500; the Sabbath school, of which A. E. Burgess was Superintendent, comprised seven officers and teachers and eighty members.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Erieville.---The first meetings in this locality by members of this denomination were held in 1826, two miles west of Erieville, and a class was soon after formed. Meetings were held by circuit preachers in school-houses and private houses regularly every two weeks, and for several years at the school-house on the line of Nelson and Georgetown, and subsequently in the school-house at Erieville. In 1849 the present church was organized, and in 1850 their church was built at a cost of $800. Previous to the building of the church, and subsequently, the church was on the Georgetown circuit. It was made a separate charge in 1876. The pastor is Rev. Giles Washburton, a student of Cazenovia Seminary. The present number of members is fifty; the attendance at Sabbath school, twenty-five. Two of the members of this church have become ministers---T. F. Harris and Thomas Wilson.
The Universalist church of Erieville, which was built in 1842 by Benjamin Wadsworth, George D. Richardson, Ruel Richardson, George Wells and Nathaniel Davis, is now used as a town hall. The Universalists once had a large and flourishing society here.
Nelson is situated in the north part of the town, and contains two churches, (Methodist Episcopal and Free Methodist) a district school, three stores, two blacksmith shops (Seymour Judd and Evan G. Jones,) a shoe shop (Eli Card,) a carpenter shop (L. R. Barnes,) a wagon shop (Charles Judd,) a harness shop (George Tyler,) and a population of 108.
The little village is commonly known as Nelson Flats, and was early designated by the expressive, if not euphonious name of Skunk Hollow, from the fact that the first skunk in this locality was caught here. As it was long supposed that there was not a skunk west of the Hudson river, this was regarded as a curiosity, and was boxed and sent to Cazenovia, no doubt to the great delectation of the cultured inhabitants of that lovely village.
MERCHANTS.---From its location on that popular thoroughfare the Cherry Valley turnpike, in the early days of stage coaches and a multiplicity of taverns, Nelson surpassed in commercial importance its southern rival, and the farms and farm buildings on the line of that highway evince the thrift and enterprise of those who first settled in the northern part of the town. The first store in the town, to which we have already adverted, was located in this vicinity, and was kept by Eliphalet Steele Jackson, who traded for several years soon after 1800. He was succeeded by his cousins, John and Selathiel Jackson, the former the son of Squire Jackson, and the latter of Major Jackson. Eliphalet died June 4, 1847, aged 72, and his wife, Sarah Edgerton, Aug. 18, 1858, aged, 78. In May, 1874, J. James became associated with his son, William H. James, and the business has since been conducted under the name of J. James & Son, having since the latter date been confined to hardware and tinware. John James first commenced business in 1833, when he purchased Mills Bush's interest in the firm of Bush & Donaldson.
Lester Curtis, from Winfield, Herkimer county, commenced trading about 1837, and continued some two years. He was succeeded by Emilus Bates, a native of Nelson, who traded two or three years. Joseph V. Kent came from Fayetteville about 1843, and traded some three years. Hull Whipple and S. Smith traded here several years from about 1830, and sold to Miner Anderson, from Pratt's Hollow, who continued some five or six years and sold to John Donaldson.
The other merchants now doing business are: L. D. English, a native of Nelson, general merchant, who commenced in May, 1870; and Frank E. Whitney, general merchant, who, in the spring of 1876, brought a stock of goods from Cazenovia, where he had traded one year, and joined stocks with Fordyce R. Gage, who had traded here some six or eight years, continuing business till the spring of 1879, when he bought Gage's interest.
POSTMASTERS.---The first postmaster at Nelson of whom we have any information, was Jeremiah Whipple, who was succeeded in 1828 by his son Jeremiah, who held the office till about 1834 or '35, when John Donaldson was appointed. Harvey Smith succeeded to the office about 1847 or '48, but held it only about four months. Archibald Bates next held it one or two years, when John Donaldson was again appointed. It has since been held successively by Charles Covell, Evan G. Hughes, Alanson G. Gage and George E. Gage, the latter of whom is the present incumbent.
PHYSICIANS.---The first physician at Nelson, and the only one of any considerable importance, was Onesemus Mead, who was here as early as 1822, and practiced till his death, March 3r, 1852, aged 63. Drs. Henry M. and Powers R. Mead were sons of his and studied and practiced with him, the former till his death, May 3, 1845, aged 30. Powers R. afterwards practiced for some time in Perryville, but died in Nelson, July 10, 1861, aged 50. R. Eaton Ferry came here from Richfield Springs about 1861, and practiced some two years.
CHURCHES.---The Methodist Episcopal Church of Nelson. The earliest meetings by members of this denomination were held in 1826 in school-houses and private dwellings, and in 1833 a church was organized at Nelson Flats. The first trustees were A. Hyatt, W. W. Clough, E. Allen, J. Anderson, N. Smith, J. Sayles and A. S. Pierson. Nelson was at an early day on the Cazenovia circuit. Their first house of worship was the one now occupied by the Free Methodist Society of this village; and their present house is the one formerly owned by the Presbyterian Society of this village. It underwent extensive repairs in 1878, at an expense of $4,000. It is now a handsome building, and is valued at present at $5,000, and the parsonage at $600.
The present number of members is 86; the attendance at Sabbath-School, 52.
The following have been the pastors since 1853: Revs. Thomas Harroun, from August, 1853, to August, 1854; Simon Peter Gray, from August, 1854, to August, 1856; William R. Cobb, from August, 1856, to May, 1858; H. R. Clark, from May, 1858, to May, 1860; H. C. Hall, from May, 1860, to May, 1862; J. O. Gifford, from May, 1862, to May, 1864; L. A. Eddy, from May, 1864, to May, 1865; O. N. Hinman, from May, 1865, to May, 1866; Isaac Harris, from May, 1866, to May, 1869; F. W. Tooke, from May, 1869, to May, 1870; L. A. Eddy, from May, 1870, to May, 1872; W. E. York, from October, 1872, to October, 1873; J. M. Buell, from October, 1873, to October, 1874; C. L. F. Howe, from October, 1874, to October, 1876; H. Yates, from October, 1876, to October, 1878; F. H. Stanton, from October, 1878, the present pastor.
The Free Methodist Church of Nelson was organized February 10, 1861, by Rev. Benjamin T. Roberts, and was composed of eight members, as follows: James Bailey, David Bailey, Matilda Bailey, Mary Carpenter, Thomas Ensign, Sardius Hamilton, Sarah Ensign and Eliza Butterfield, now Mrs. William Birney. The meeting at which this class was formed and those subsequently held until their present house of worship was purchased, were held in the Union church three miles east of Nelson village, which was built and used from an early day by the Baptists, was repaired about 1859, and dedicated by H. R. Clark, then pastor of the M. E. church of Nelson. The church formerly occupied by the latter society, in Nelson village, was purchased two or three years after the organization. It was repaired and has since been used by this Society.
Cadwallader Jones supplied the pulpit about a year. The first pastor was Rev. Joseph Olney, who remained two years, and was succeeded by Zenas Osborne, two years, John B. Stacey, one year, James Odell, two years, Norman Atkins, two years, David Dempsey, one year, R. S. Bronson, one year, Joseph Olney, one year, Samuel V. McVey, two years, L. H. Robinson, one year, Thomas Ross, two years, and B. F. Tisdale, the latter of whom is the present pastor.
The present number of members is twenty.
The First Welch Congregational Church of Nelson.---The first meetings were held about 1848, and the church organized in 1850. The members were then few in number. Among them were David E. Davis and wife, Robert R. Jones and wife, and Mrs. Esther Thomas. They were permitted to use the old church building two and one-half miles east of Nelson village, which was occupied by the Presbyterian society before their removal to the village. This was conveniently located for the accommodation of Welsh settlers in the north-east part of the town, and was occupied as a place of worship for about twenty-seven years. In 1876 a new church, 55 by 34 feet, was built at a cost of about $6,000.
The first pastor was Rev. John Lally, who served them about seven years. Rev. C. D. Jones next served them one and one-half years, and was succeeded by Rev. Benjamin H. Williams, who served them some seven years, and Rev. Griffith Jones, the present pastor, who began his labors in 1875.
The present number of members 184; the attendance at Sabbath School, 150. Four or five young men have been sent by this church to preach the Gospel.
The north-east part of the town was made the field of religious cultivation at a very early day, probably before 1800, by the Baptists and Presbyterians, though both organizations have long since ceased to exist, and very little definite information is obtainable concerning them. In 1813 the Baptists numbered 48, but they were without a pastor. This indeed was their condition during most of their subsequent existence. Rev. Nathan Peck served them as pastor from 1815 to 1819, and during this pastorate, in 1817, they reported to the association a membership of 123, a number they at no time afterwards reached. They only once afterwards reported a membership of one hundred---in 1831, when they reported a membership of 104; and in that year, after an interval of eleven years, their next pastor---Daniel Dye---labored with them, but remained only a few years. During this period the membership gradually diminished till in 1829 it reached the lowest number, 45. The next pastor was Roger Maddock, who served them from 1835 to to 1837, during which time the membership decreased from 99 in 1835 to 79 in 1837, having in the intermediate year---1836---been reported at 76. Mr. Maddock was succeeded in 1838 by Lorenzo E. Swan, a licentiate, who served them that and the succeeding year. Rev. S. Smith was the pastor in 1843, and was followed in 1844 by D. M. Smith, a licentiate, who served them till 1848, during the last two years as pastor. At the close of his pastorate the membership, which, during that period, (in 1847,) was as low as 38, numbered 43. F. B. Ames served them in 1849 and G. S. Carpenter in 1850, both being licentiates. Rev. W. Kingsley was their last pastor, in 1852; and in that year the last report to the Association was made, the number of members being reported at 33. The Association minutes of that year thus refers to the condition: "A season of darkness has prevailed with this church; but being favored with the preaching of the word, they are beginning to awake, and feel encouraged to hope for better days." This hopeful feeling, however, seems to have been but the gleam of their expiring life, for they lost their identity, and their house of worship, located three miles east of Nelson village, was a few years later occupied by the Free Methodist Society.
The Presbyterian Church connected itself with the Union Association in September, 1813, but how much earlier it was organized we are not advised. It retained that connection during the existence of that body. In 1825 it is reported for the first time as under the care of the Presbytery of Onondaga, and was then without a pastor. This was one of the churches which constituted the Presbytery of Cortland at its organization in October, 1825. It remained in that connection till 1835, when, by action of the Synod, it was re-annexed to the Presbytery of Onondaga. The church was never in a flourishing condition. The largest number of members which it ever reported was fifty, and in 1846 the number was reduced to twenty-one. It never had regularly installed a pastor. In 1831, and the three successive years thereafter, Rev. Nathan Gillett was reported as its stated supply. With this exception the pulpit was uniformly reported as vacant.10 It disbanded Feb. 13, 1848, many of the members uniting with the Cazenovia church. The first church built by this Society is located two and one-half miles east of Nelson village, and was occupied till recently by the Welsh Congregational church. Their last house is now used by the Methodist Episcopal church, and is located in Nelson village.
MANUFACTURES.---About a mile east of Nelson is a saw-mill owned by H. P. Hutchinson, which was built about 30 years ago by William Booth. About two and one-half miles north of Erieville, on the county road, is a saw and grist-mill, operated by water, and owned by Eldridge Bump. The motive power is not reliable in dry seasons. It contains one muley saw. It was built about 1822 by Cyril Green, who operated it some ten years. Stephen Hyatt is the proprietor of a water-power saw and cider-mill, the former of which was built in 1826, and the latter in 1851.
WAR OF THE REBELLION.---The records of the parts taken by the town of Nelson in aid of the suppression of the Rebellion are meager, and only enable us to give in part the legislative action, without being able to show the specific result of that action.
At a special town meeting held Nov. 15, 1862, it was voted to raise $4,000, or as much thereof as might be necessary, on bonds payable Feb. 1, 1864, to pay $200 to each man to the number required to fill the quota under the last two calls of the President. Orlando D. Knox and Norman Westcott were appointed a committee to carry out the provisions of the resolution, which was passed by a vote of 107 to 3. Pursuant to that resolution, Dec. 3, 1862, the Supervisor and Clerk issued bonds to the amount of $2,600.
At a special meeting held August 25, 1864, it was resolved by a vote of 102 to 29, to offer a bounty of $300 to volunteers applied on the quota of the town under the last call for 500,000 men, and to raise the money for that object on town orders payable in one year from the following April. A. M. Baker, Levi Keith, and Lucius D. Knox were appointed a committee to assist and confer with the town war committee to carry out these provisions.
At a special meeting held Sept. 12, 1864, it was resolved to raise $1,600 on town orders, payable April 1, 1866, to reimburse S. Perry Smith and Lester M. Case for money advanced to procure volunteers under the call of 500,000 men; and the payment of the claims of persons residing in the town who had procured substitutes under that call was authorized.
At a special meeting held Jan. 10, 1865, the war committee was authorized to pay to each volunteer, to the number requisite to fill the quota under the call for 300,000 men, $400 for one year's, $500 for two years' and $600 for three years' and as much larger an amount as might be found necessary to secure the requisite number of men. It was directed that the money for this purpose be raised on orders issued by the Supervisor and Clerk, payable on or before April 1, 1868, and that if the town is not liable to a draft under the last call, then these resolutions are null and void. It was also resolved to pay to each and any man, not to exceed forty in number, who was liable to a draft, $300, provided he procured a substitute for three years to apply on the quota of the town.