Gravestones of Henry Tice & Huldah VanGorder
Early Baldwin Settlers
A History of the Valley and County of Chemung
by Ausburn Towner, 1892
TOWN OF BALDWIN
The Town that gets its Name from the Baldwin Family -Its Situation - Neither a Railroad nor Telegraph line within its Borders - Early Settlers -The Granger Brothers-Henry Tice-The Hammond Family-Elisha Hammond - Hammond's "Corners" - "Uncle Jerry" McCumber - John Collson and his Sons - The Inman Family - Alfonso Lathrop - Levi Little - The original name of Lowmanville - A time when there were no Roads in the Town - How the early Settlers got to their new Homes - The Coopers - Most of the early Settlers of Baldwin soldiers of the War of 1812 -- The first Houses in the Town -Other first Events - County officers from the Town - North Chemung Village - The Postmasters located There - Paul Collson - Aged men of the Town - The Union Church - Methodism in Hammond's Corners - Its early Beginnings - The Grangers - Hicks Postoffice - The first town Meeting - Town Officers.
THE town of Baldwin is situated directly east of the town of Elmira and has a long narrow portion extending from its northeast cor-ner to the county line between Chemung and Tioga. The boundaries are the towns of Erin and Van Etten on the north, Barton in Tioga County and Chemung on the east, Chemung on the South, and Elmira Oil the west. No streams are used as boundary lines and the frontiers are therefore as straight as they are imaginary. The town contains 15,909 acres, most of which is under Cultivation. The surface is composed of high hills broken by deep valleys or ravines. There are no
TOWN OF BALDWIN. 533
flat lands of any considerable dimensions within its limits. In the valleys the soil consists of a gravelly loam, while on the hills the loam is intermingled with more or less clay. There is an extensive area of grazing land and many farmers devote themselves to dairying pursuits. When put Linder cultivation the land produces good crops of oats and buckwheat, which may be called the chief cereal products. Unlike the southern tier of towns in the county Baldwin produces no tobacco for market, its soil being entirely unfit for its profitable growth. It is intersected by Baldwin and Wynkoop Creeks.
Baldwin was erected April 7, 1856, from the town of Chemung. It was therefore the last town but one to be formed in the county, and next to Ashland is the smallest town. It derived its name as did also its principal waterway from the Baldwin family. Of few towns nowadays can it be said as it is said of Baldwin, that there is not a rod of railroad or telegraph line within its limits, and the farms and villages remain intact and unbroken except by the ordinary wagon roads, which are in places extremely steep and difficult of passage for heavy loads.
The first white settlers were tile Granger brothers, Charles and Warren, who located on the present site of Hammond's " Corners " in the year I813. They both built houses, Charles on the northwest corner of the roads on the site formerly owned by the heirs of Elisha Hammond. Warren's house was on the west side of the main road about midway between the " Corners " and the first bend in the road on the way to Elmira. The brothers remained but a very short time and none of their descendants are living in the vicinity.
Following close in the wake of the Granger brothers came Henry Tice and family from Ulster County, N. Y. He was a soldier of the Revolutionary war and had settled in Chemung township in 1800. He removed to the present limits of Baldwin in 1814 and built a house on the lot where lives Martha Elston, a daughter of Reynolds Elston. He died in his ninetieth year, and of his twelve children none are now living.
Jason Hammond, together with his five sons, Elisha, James, David, Robert R., a A Cornelius, settled in the neighborhood in 1815. They also came from Ulster County and purchased the property originally owned by the pioneer Granger brothers. The most prominent of the
534 OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE.
Hammonds was Elisha the eldest, who represented the family in public affairs and was influential in the welfare and settlement of the community. He was a soldier of the War of 1812. His family consisted of fifteen children, some of the descendants of whom are yet living in the town. William, a younger brother of Elislia, was also a soldier of the War of 1812. He suffered from wounds received in battle and died a prisoner in the hands of the enemy. A Mr. Marshall and Francis Drake also located in the vicinity of the " Corners " in 1815.
In 1816 Peter McCumber settled on Baldwin Creek about two miles below the " Corners." Ile came from Providence, R. 1. The same year Phineas Blodgett settled at the " Corners " and a Mr. Haywood and Simeon Kent settled in the southwest corner of the town on what is known as the ridge. In 1816 also came Charles Dunn and Thomas Baldwin from the southern part of Chemung. They settled at the 41 Corners," which at that time had assumed the proportions of quite a village.
In 1817 the population was greatly augmented by the arrival of some twenty-seven or more families from various New England States, New Jersey, and the eastern part of our own State. Jeremiah McCumber was one of these colonists and came from Middletown, Rutland County, Vt. Mr. McCumber settled on lot No. 50 of the old Lenox tract, and was subsequently appointed subagent for the sale and care of this tract of land and continued in this capacity for a long term of years. He was a man full of activity, with a thoughtful regard for the best interests of his fellowmen, beloved by his family, and respected by the entire community. His name was a household synonym of good cheer and his familiar features were long pictured in the memories of the old residents of Baldwin, with whom lie gained the soubriquet of - Uncle Jerry" McCumber. He died some twelve years ago aged nearly ninety.
In the year 1817 also came John Collson and his sons, John, Jonathan, Anthony, Philander, rag ue, David, and Daniel, and a daughter Sally. They came from Dorset, Vt., and settled on the farm now owned by the Collson heirs and occupied by the widow and two daughters of Philander, who died in the fall of 1881. Of the eight children only one is now living, Sprague, who resides on the Breesport road three miles from the " Corners." John, a son of John and a grandson of the elder
TO WN OF BALDWIN 535
John Collson, and Abner, a son of Philander, are prominent residents and farmers of Baldwin.
In the same year Stephen Inman with his sons, Martin, George, James, Stephen, jr., and Charles, also came from Dorset, Vt. They settled in the north part of the present town and were highly respected farmers. George Inman, a son of Martin, is the only lineal descendant of the family now living in the town. He is now filling the office of commissioner of highways. During the same year Alfonso Lathrop and his sons, Edward and John, from Kingston, N. Y., came and located at the " Corners." At the present time there is one member of the family, a grandson, Alfonso, who was a son of John, living at Hammond's Corners.
Jesse and Josiah Brooks came in from Connecticut that year, and among others who settled there at or about the same time were Daniel Higgins, John Blandin, and Gilbert Salnave.
In 1818 Isaac Brown, who came from Orange County, N. Y., located oil the site of the house now occupied by his son Aaron A. He had twelve children, of whom there are now living Aaron A. at the "Corners, Nathaniel in Steuben County, N. Y., and William T. in Baldwin. In 1819 Levi Little and family came from Monroe, Orange County, and settled near the mouth of Baldwin Creek, a locality then designated as Stumptown, now called Lowmanville, and in the present limits of Ashland. He remained there scarcely a year, on April 1, 1820, proceeding with his family farther up the river and settling in the present town of Baldwin at a place then designated as Hemlock Garden. It is the site of the Little homestead, about two miles northeast of Hammond's Corners. At the time Levi Little came there were no roads up through that section, the nearest thoroughfare being the old river road. He made his way to the new home as did the other early settlers by means of trails and marked trees in the woods. He brought with him from below the flour from nine bushels of rye, five bushels of wheat, five of buckwheat, and two and one-half of corn. He died in the spring of 1862, and of his twelve children only four are now living, viz.: Johnson, a farmer, lives in the town of Erin ; Fanny S. lives on the old homestead ; J. Smith Little, a store-keeper at the " Corners "; and Levi Little, who lives on the homestead with his sister.
5016 OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE.
Another early settler coming later on was Paul Whitaker, who was born at Richmond, N. H., January 27, 1794. In 1822 he came to Baldwin and settled on lot 16. Prior to this, however, lie had lived at Orange, Mass., where he went when still a boy, afterward removing to Vestal, Broome County, from which place lie moved to Baldwin. He died April 10, 1881, at the age of eighty-seven years, and many friends and relatives cherish his memory. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. His two sons are still living in the town, Sprague, the eldest, a mile and a half from Hammond's Corners and Silas H. at the " Cortiers.
In 1828 the Coopers, James and his nephew John, came to Baldwin from Enfield, Tompkins County, N. Y. They had settled at the latter place in 1818, coming originally front the State of New Jersey. James was a soldier of the War of 1812 and upon coming to Baldwin, then a part of the town of Chemung in Tioga County, located about three miles cast of the " Corners." Joseph Cooper, a brother of John, is still living in the village. Thomas, another brother, died suddenly of heart disease at the last town meeting of Baldwin.
The first house built by a white man within the limits of Baldwin was so built by Charles Granger in 1813. Before this was completed Warren Granger, his brother, had another already in process of construction. Both houses have long since disappeared. The Granger brothers also harvested crops in the fall Of 18 13 and were therefore the first white men to reap the products of the soil of Baldwin. The first white child born in the township was Simeon Hammond, a son born in IS 15 to Jason Hammond and wife.
The few pioneers who had gathered together in this spot up to the year 1820 busied themselves mostly in clearing away the pine and rollin,- the logs down to Baldwin Creek, thence to the river below. As fast as the trees were felled and the ground cleared of stumps crops were sown in the open spaces. The first church society was formed by the Methodists in 1818, and in the following year, 1819, John Tuthill, jr., taught the first school in a primitive log house owned by John Brooks. The first wagon was brought in by John Collson in 1817. Prior to that time it would have been impossible to get a modern wagon through the Woods. In 1818 John Blandin built a frame barn, which was the first
TOWN OF BALD WIN. 53 7
one erected in the new settlement. In the same year the first marriage ceremony was performed in the town, that of Nicholas Patterson and Miss Anna Tice, and two years later in 1820 was the first death, that of Thomas Wheeler, who was instantly killed by a falling tree. In 1821 the first school-house was built. The first saw mill was put up by Elisha Hammond in 1828 and Levi Little built the first frame dwelling-house in 1835. The latter was located on the Little homestead two miles northeast of the village. The first physician to locate in the town was Dr. J. W. Moore in 1836 and the first regular store was kept by Miles Covell and Jacob Tice in 1840. A Mr. Beckworth was the first surveyor to locate permanently in the town.
From 1840 to 1860 quite a large number of families came into the town, and taking advantage of the good farming land to be had on the surrounding hills settled on almost every accessible spot. The completion of the Erie Railroad to Elmira brought an influx of immigrants to all parts of Chemung County and that portion now within the limits of Baldwin received its quota. Of course many of these came and went.
Internal improvements were not rapid nor extravagant in Baldwin, the only advance in this direction being the construction and betterment of highways. The first tavern was kept by Daniel R. Harris in 1845. The first regular mail carried into the town was in the year 1846 by Elijah Ruger, who carried a route from Elmira through to Van Etten. The first church edifice was built by the Union Society in 1852. The first grist-mill was erected by Charles J. Hutchins in 1875 on the site of the mill now operated by Calvin Woodhouse.
Baldwin has furnished several county officers, among whom were Robert Cassady, justice of sessions in 1856-59; John S. Gunterman, justice of sessions in 1866; Allen Cooper, now a resident of Michigan, who was sheriff from 1873 to 1876 and from 1885 to 1888 ; and Levi D. Little, sheriff from 1879 to 1882. The last named is the present chief of police of Elmira city. John T. Smith is one of the county school commissioners.
Hammond's Corners (North Chemung postoffice) is a village situated west of the center of the town. It lies but a few rods east of Baldwin Creek and is seven miles by road from Elmira, although the air-line distance is but five and a half miles. The early settlers on this site were the Granger brothers, Henry Tice (and his wife Huldah VanGorder - jmt), and Jason Hammond. The growth
538 OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE.
of a settlement at this particular spot is due to the available water supply of Baldwin Creek for mill power and the accessibility of the location. Prior to 1843 the settlers were without convenient mail facilities, but on June 29th of that year a postoffice was established at Hammond's Corners and called North Chemung, by which name it is still designated. The first postmaster was Anthony Collson. He moved to Steuben County in 1849. He was followed in the office of postmaster on February 22, 1849, by Jacob Tice. The other postmasters with the dates of their appointments are : Johnson Little, November 16, 1852; Elisha Hammond, jr., January 10, 1857 ; Elisha Hammond, July 28, 1858 ; Hezekiah M. Denton, May 14, 1862 ; William Collson, February 5, 1863 ; Jonathan W. Jones, March 27, 1866 ; Paul Collson, July 9, 1867 ; Amasa R. Herrington, August 25, 1885. Of these it will be seen that Paul Collson held the office for eighteen years. He was appointed commissioner of the United States deposit fund for Chemung County in 1873 by Gov. John A. Dix, an office lie has held continuously since. One mail is received each day by carrier from Elmira.
Elisha Hammond originally built the store now occupied by the postoffice and conducted business there for many years. W. H. Tice carried on business there in 1878 and John W. Collson in 1879. A. R. Herrington came from Erin township in 1880 and purchased the property, putting in a general stock of merchandise, and has continued the business ever since. He is the present town clerk of Baldwin.
J. Smith Little first opened a store April 4, 1864, in part of his present residence. In June of the same year lie moved the stock of goods into the present store, where he has continued to carry a line of general merchandise. He has upon several occasions held prominent town offices, among them that of town clerk, road commissioner, and supervisor. In the latter capacity Mr. Little served six different terms, during the years 1874, '80, '81, '87, '88, and '89.
Silas H. Whitaker has a blacksmith shop opposite the postoffice that was first built and conducted by John Cooper. He was followed by Robert Cassady, and he by his son Charles. Mr. Whitaker assumed proprietorship April 1, 1891.
One of the oldest men now living in Hammond's Corners is Archibald H. Tice, who came from Orange County to Baldwin in 1865, and
TOWN OF BALDWIN. 531)
has since that time been a familiar figure to its towns- people. Another old and well known man is Chauncey E. Yaple, who settled here in 1860. He was a soldier of the Mexican war and also of the late Civil war.
J. A. Cortright & Co. carry on a butchering business at Hammond's Corners which they established four years ago. They convey their meats to Elmira for market.
Hammond's Corners is the seat of district school No. 1 and also of the union church edifice. This structure was erected in 1 85 2 and made free for the use of all denominations. The Board of Trustees were selected from the Christian, the Methodist, the Baptist, and the Presbyterian denominations, with three non-denominationalists, making seven in all. The fund for building the church was raised by subscription and amounted to $1,100. The Rev. Dr. David Murdoch, of Elmira, a Presbyterian clergyman, preached the dedicatory sermon. The present trustees are Paul Collson, Charles Fox, James Woodhouse, Calvill Woodhouse, Charles Cassady, A. M. Collson, and William T. Brown. The only church organization now using the building permanently is the Methodist Society of North Chemung, which was organized as a class in the year 1818. Among the pioneer member--, were Jesse Brooks and his wife, Henry Tice and his wife Huldah, Susan Collson, Abigail Fox, Mrs. Sally Baldwin, Mrs. Fanny Dunn, and Jason Hammond and his wife Mary. The first class-leader was Jesse Brooks. The society was first served in pulpit ministrations by the Rev. Hiram Warner and the Rev. Mr. Birge, who were circuit clergymen. On May 20, 1878, a regular church organization was effected, although the society had been regularly supplied by ministers since 1856. The pastors since the latter date have been: 1856-57, William Selley; 1858, William Armitage; 1859-6o, J. Robinson; 1861-62, J. J. Turton ; 1863-64, J. L. S. Grandin ; 1865, William E. Pindar ; 1866-68, M. F. De Witt; 1869, S. A. Chubbuck and P. J. Bull; 1870, S. A. Chubbuck; 1871-73, Walter Statham; 1874-75, J. W. Brown; 1876, Thomas Jolly; 1877-79, A. Ensign; 1880, G. W. Moxcey; 1881-82, J. Marring; 1883-85, Dewitt Myers ; 1886-87, 0. A. Retan ; 1888-go, J. J.Turton; 1891, H. H. Hyde. The membership of the church at present, including those persons living at Hicks and the Greatsinger school house district, which are on this charge, is 108, and divided as follows
540 OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE.
Seventy-four at Hammond's Corners, twenty-four at Hicks, and ten at Greatsinger schoolhouse. There are five probationers.
The society at Hicks was removed from Double Mills four years ago. The class-leaders at Hicks are Hiram Whitehead and Jesse Roberts and at the schoolhouse Giles Stannard. There is a Sunday school with a membership of sixty five scholars, and Mrs. Mary Little is the superintendent. The society owns the parsonage, which is valued at $1,000. The Rev. H. H. Hyde is the present pastor and the trustees are James Woodhouse, Charles Fox, and Abner M. Collson. The church stewards are Charles Fox, William Blauvelt, James Woodhouse, Mrs. Julia Lathrop, Mrs. Abbie Denton, and Mrs. Elmira Brown.
The North Chemung Grange, No. 227, was formed in July, 1874, with thirty charter members. The first officers were: Miles S Nixon, master; J. Collson, jr., overseer; N. Cooper, steward ; E. M. Little, assistant steward ; G. S. Little, lecturer; John E. Smith, treasurer ; William R. Hammond, secretary ; and A. R. Brown, chaplain. The society flourished for about six years, but was discontinued some time during 1879 or 1 880, and no meetings have been held or officers elected since. There are also located at the Corners a saw and grist-mill, owned and operated by Calvin R. Woodhouse, and two creameries.
flicks is the only other postoffice in the town and is situated in the northeastern part in the valley of the Wynkoop Creek. It has mostly been settled since the Civil war. Among others living there in 1867 were the Hicks and Banfield families, which have been prominent in the growth and advancement of the settlement. Frank Sayre kept the first store. The postoffice is in the store of Jacob Banfield and the present postmaster is Andrew Barnes, who succeeded W. H. Blauvelt. There is a Methodist Church Society which belongs to the North Chemung charge, and meetings are held in a hall built by contribution and owned by residents in the neighborhood. The pulpit is supplied fortnightly by Rev. J. J. Turton.
The first town meeting was held May 6, 1856, one month after the town's formation, at the house of Daniel R. Harris, innkeeper. At that meeting the following named officers were elected : William H. Little, supervisor; Johnson Little, town clerk; Daniel R. Harris, commissioner of highways; William R. Drake, William McCumber, and Jeremiah Mc-
TOWN OF BALDWIN. 541
Cumber, justices of the peace; Schuyler Smith, collector; Schuyler Smith, Holly Westbrook, John Bright, Willis Jenkins, constables; Tirmothy J. Smith, overseer of the poor ; and Robert Hammond, inspector of elections.
The town clerks from 1856 to 1891 have been
1856-57, Johnson Little ; 1858-60, 11. .11. Denton ; 1861, Warren -11. Collson ; 1862, 11. Al. Denton; 1863, Charles Tubbs ; 1864, Nehemiah Denton; 1865-68, Charles Cassady; 1869, John S. Little; 1876-71. George B. Cassady 1872, William H. Cassady 187:3, Amasa R. Herrington ; IS 74, William 11. Hammond; 1 875- 76, Charles Cassady 1877, Willam R. Hammond; 1878, G. S. Little ; 1879, Jacob Banfield ; 1880-81, William W. Cassady; 1882, William M. Beckhorn ; 1883-85, Amasa R. Herrington ; 1886, Frank M. Hammond; 1887-91, Amasa R. Herrington.
Following are the names of the justices of the peace who have served during alike period:
I 856, William R. Drake, William McCumber, Jeremiah McCumber; 1857, Robert Cassady, Jeremiah McCumber; 1858, William 11. Little ; 1859, Samuel P. Elston, Daniel Vail ; 1860, William McCumber, Isaac Hicks, Lewis Jenkins; 1861, Robert Cassady, William McCumber; 1862, Daniel Vail ; 1863, James De Witt, Samuel P. Elston 1864, John S. Gunterman, William H. Little; 1865, Robert Cassad , William H. Little 1866. Daniel Vail, James Do Witt; 1867, Israel P. Griswold, Joseph Cooper ; 1868, John S. Gunterman; 1869. Robert Cassady, Marion Vail ; 181-0, Charles Dearborn ; 18 1, Cor-nelius Stiles; 1872, John S. Gunterman, James Banfield, Israel 1'. Griswold'; 1873, Rob-ert Cassady; 1874, Isaac Hicks: 1875, 11. E. Smith; 1876, Paul, Collson; 1877, John W.Blauvelt ; 1878, William 11. Blauvelt ; 181-9, Robert Cassady 1880, Paul Collson 1881, John Doolittle 1882, Isaac Hicks: 1883, Charles Cassady 1884, Frank Wade 1885, Rodney Osborn 1886, Smith Drake ; 1887, Charles Cassady Lloyd Cooper -1889, Rodney Osborn; 1890, Smith Drake, Abram Havens Charles Cassady.
The present town officers are:
Gideon G. Smith, supervisor ; A. R. Herrington, town clerk; Charles Cassady, Abram Havens, and Smith Drake, justices of the peace ; George S. Inman, commissioner of highway,- ; William Olin, Lewis Jenkins, overseers of the poor ; Frank Wade, Levi S. Little, J. J. Drake, inspectors of election ; Charles Y. Little. collector ; Byron Lamphear, William Cooper, W. H. Jenkins, Lavern Loomis, B. D. Hall, constables; Isaac Inman, game constable George H. Breese, excise commissioner Harvey Hugg, George Fish, and Hiram Whitebread, assessors.
John T. Smith, of this town, is the county school commissioner.