Chemung County NY
History of Chemung County 1892 - Towner
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1879 History - Table of Contents (Four County)
1892 History - Table of Contents (Towner)

Alice Hubbard typed up the Table of Contents for us.

I do not have present plans to get this book to the site, but you can buy it from the Chemung County Historical Society for which you will find a link on my site Part V - The Townships - is already on site
and can be accessed from below.
More than forty years ago the writer began, in rather an immature and aimless way of course, not the labor,-- for it was no labor, rather a recreation and an amusement, --of gathering together facts and incidents that had preceded his time in the valley of the Chemung, and of keeping close track of men and events in the locality that was his home. He little dreamed that the outcome of it all would ever be the beautiful book that the publishers now lay before the people of our county. In its mechanical execution--for it becomes him to speak in this manner only of the setting of the work--the book is worthy of those of whom it treats and a valley which is not surpassed by any other spot on the face of the earth. The people of Chemung County are peculiarly loyal to their locality, and they would have everything that touches them or it of the first order of merit. The publishers, so far as they are concerned, have succeeded unquestionably in this respect.

There may be some things in what follows relating to the early history of the valley that do not tally or harmonize with what have been for years considered to be accepted facts. But every incident that is related of those or later times has been verified from sources that will admit of no question. Many a good story has been omitted that has only tradition or hearsay for a foundation.

The book, then, is laid before the people of Chemung County as an accurate and thorough record of the times that have preceded us in this locality, and is, in some way, a memorial of the one hundredth anniversary of the formation of this part of the State into a county by itself.

Elmira, N.Y. January, 1892 AUSBURN TOWNER




Why the Valley remained so long Unknown--Some previous Occupants--The Spaniards--Joseph Smith--Fort Hill--The "Hogbacks"--The Aborigines of the Valley--Red Jacket--"Cornplanter"--The Indian Villages of the Valley--"Canaweola"--Its Legend--Its Location--Its Cultivated Fields--The Peculiar and Favorable location of the Valley--Meaning of the name "Chemung"--Its Application to other Matters....19-28


The Valley in 1778--A Rendezvous for Tories and Indians who were at the Wyoming Massacre--Gen. John Sullivan--The Battle he fought at Chemung--The Important results of that Engagement--What an advance Detachment of his Army did--Lieut. John Jenkins--The American Army enters the Valley--Gen. James Clinton--

Maj. Nicholas Fish--Gen. Enoch Poor--The Rev. Samuel Kirkland--John L. Hardenburgh--How the Battle was Won--Canaweola the Ancient name of the Locality of the City of Elmira--Fort Reid built There.--The return of the Army from the North--Horseheads--A great Celebration at Fort Reid--The Army leaves the Valley...28-38


Immigration to the Valley begun--The earliest Settlers--Major William Wynkoop--Elijah Buck--Lebeus Hammond--His escapes from the Indians--"Queen Esther"--Col. John Hendy--John Konkle and his Family--Gen. John Hathorn and his Family--Commissioners surveying the Valley--The Township of Chemung Erected--The Departure of the Indians--"Jim" Cornelison--Indebtedness of Chemung County to Wilkesbarre, Pa.--The first Tea party in the Valley--John Breese, the first Settler of Horseheads, and his Family--The Famine of 1789--Chemung Township--Something concerning the old County of Montgomery...38-52


Chemung as a Township--Selecting the site for a future City--Col. Matthias Hollenback--His part in the Development of the Region--The Men he sent into the Valley--Guy Maxwell and his Family--Thomas Maxwell--Thomas Mifflin Perry--Newton and Wisnerburg--Henry Wisner and his Family--Tioga County organized--Newtown a half-shire Town--The Great Treaty with the Six Nations--Col. Timothy Pickering, who Negotiated It--Daniel F. Pickering--Early Physicians and Lawyers--Vincent Matthews and his Family--Dr. Amos Park--Dr. Joseph Hinchman--The Lowman Family--Andrew Gregg and his Descendants--John Sly--The Township of Newtown Erected...53-69


The Site of the new Court-House--The first Court--Uses to which the Building was Put--Habits of the early Settlers--Origin of the Presbyterian Church--Poetical Description of the Court-House--First Clergymen--Union Lodge No. 30, F. and A. M., Organized--Its Masters--Nathan Teall--His Family--His daughter Elmira, from whom the City takes its Name--Its Etymology--Nathaniel Seeley--William Dunn--The Valley visited by Louis Phillippe--Catherine township Organized--The Bennetts--Comfort Bennett--William Hoffman--County officers for the Period--Conclusion....69-82




Early Enterprises, some of which were not Successful--Manufacturing, Insurance and Railroad Companies--Roads and Bridges--The old Ferry and its Master, John Kline--Building the Lake Street Bridge--A curious Character connected with It--Clinton Island and its forgotten Beauties and Uses--New Settlers--John Hughes--His distinguished Sons--The Rev. Simeon Jones--Continuing the Record of the Presbyterian Church--The Jones Family--The Smith Family--Dr. Elias Satterlee...85-99


Changes in the Civil Organizations of the County--Elmira Named--Adjusting the Locality of the County Clerk's Office--Dr. Jotham Purdy--NewTown Formed--Catlin--Veteran--Big Flats--Dix--Southport--Cayuta--Preparing for the new County--A new Court-House--What is was Like--The "Jail Limits"--The Poor-House--Organizing a Methodist Church--Isaac Roe and his Family--The First Methodist Class--Methodist Ministers--Dr. J. Dorman Steele--Elias S. Huntley--Other prominent Methodists--Robert Covell and his Family--Stephen Tuttle--John Arnot and his Family--Stephen Tuttle--John Arnot and his Family--Dr. Erastus L. Hart--Capt. Samuel Partridge...100-118


Internal Improvements--Dams Authorized to be Built--Charley Bird, who became a Mormon--An Ice Freshet--Isaac Baldwin--The Hatch Family--David Reynolds and his Descendants--The Chemung Canal--Enthusiasm caused by its Completion--Judge Caleb Baker--'Squire Robinson--Changes made by the Canal--The "Feeder"--Horseheads an Important "Port"--Boat Building--Capt. Henry C. Spaulding--Capt. Eli S. Wheeler, the Inventor of the Sleeping Car--Judge Hiram Gray--Gen. Alexander S. Diven--Green M. Tuthill--Col. Samuel G. Hathaway, jr.,--James L. Woods--Judge Ariel Standish Thurston--Miss Clarissa Thurston...118-132


The Stage-coach Period in the History of the Valley--Cooley & Maxwell--Levi J. Cooley--The "Eagle Tavern"--Silas Haight--Other old Hotels--Public Halls from the earliest Times--Mechanics Hall--Pattinson Hall--The Elmira and Williamsport Railroad--The New York and Erie Railroad--The Chemung Railroad--Visit of the President of the United States to the Valley--Daniel Webster, Stephen A. Douglas, and Gen. Winfield Scott in Elmira--Local officers of the Erie--William E. Rutter--James H. Rutter--Superintendents of the Susquehanna Division--Gen. D. C. McCallum--H. D. V. Pratt---Old-time Conductors--The Chemung Canal Bank--Organization of the Baptist and Episcopal Churches--"Aunty Hill"--Hervey Luce--Early Rectors of Trinity Church--The Husband of "Widow Bedott"--Rev. Dr. Andrew Hull--The Elmira Mechanics Society--Gen. William R. Judson--Chemung County Organized--First Officers of the County...132-161


The Growth of the County--Some of the old-time Industries--Statistics Compared--The Lumber Business--Those Prominent in It--Samuel B. Strang--The Fitch Family--Mercantile Men of the Time--David H. Tuthill--Tracy Beadle--Simeon Benjamin--Anson C. Ely--The Pratt Brothers and their Wollen-Mills--The old-time Fire Department--Organizing Fire Companies--The I.O.O.F.--Continuing the local History of Masonry--The Chemung County Medical Society--Introduction of a Telegraph Line--The Newspapers of Elmira--The Daily Karlon--The Elmira Gazette, the Republican, and the Chemung Democrat--The Fort Henderson Meddlar--Charles G. Fairman--His views of the Politics of the Times--Samuel C. Taber--The Valley a "Gateway to Freedom"--Jervis Langdon--John M. Robinson--Thomas S. Day--John Turner--The Catholics, their first Church, and their Priests--Burial Grounds and Cemeteries--Names of those holding Public Official Positions--Postmasters of the County...162-195




Early Military Organizations--"General Training"--The old "Elmira Guards"--The "Southern Tier Rifles"--Breaking out of the War--Answering President Lincoln's Call for Troops--Gen. W.W. Averell--Maj. Arthur T. Lee--Capt. J. Riley Reid--Capt. Madison Earle--Mustering in Troops for the Service--Organization of the Twenty-third Regiment N.Y.V.--Its muster Roll--Col. H.C. Hoffman and other prominent Members of the Regiment--Capt. Nat. B. Fowler--Lieut. Florence Sullivan--Rodney W. Steele--Thaddeus C. Cowen--Record of the Regiment--Other Regiments mustered in at Elmira--A Horseheads Company--Elmira made a Military Depot and Post--Preparing to care for the Soldiers...200-213


Other Regiments organized and mustered in at Elmira--The Fiftieth Engineers--Officers and Men of the Regiment--Gen. E. O. Beers--Lieut. Delos L. Holden--The Sixty-fourth Regiment--The Eighty-fifth Regiment--Col. B.P. Bailey's "Steuben Rangers"--Capt. J.G. Copley--The Eighty-ninth Regiment--Its Surgeion, Dr. Truman H. Squire--Its Officers and Men--K Company, One Hunderd and Third REgiment, "Sweard Infantry"--The favorite and popular One Hundred and Seventh Regiment--Gen. R.B. Van Valkenburgh--Surgeon Patrick H. Flood--The Hon. Thomas S. Flood--Mayor Henry Flood--Officers and Men of the One Hundred and Seventh--Chaplain Ezra F. Crane--Lieut.-Col. Lathrop Baldwin, jr.--Lieut. Arthur S. Fitch--Other well known Names from the Muster Rolls of the Regiment..214-233


Further account of Infantry organizations Mustered into the service at Elmira--The One Hundred and Forty-first Regiment--Col. S.G. Hathaway, jr.--Maj. L.A. Hazard--Maj. Robert M. McDowell--Changes in the Field and Staff--Maj. Elisha G. Baldwin--Lieut.-Col. Edward L. Patrick--Col. Archie Baxter--Other well known Names in the Regiment--The One Hundred and Sixty-first--Capt. Robert R.R. Dumars--Capt. Orlando N. Smith--Capt. Royal R. Soper--Others in the Regiment Well known--The One Hundred and Seventy-ninth--Col. William W. Hayt--The last Infantry Regimental organization in the State, the uncompleted One Hundred and Ninety-fourth--Infantry forwarded from Elmira to the Seat of War...234-249


Organizations of other Arms of the Service mustered in at Elmira--The First Regiment New York Light Artillery--The Fifth Artillery--The Fourteenth and Sixteenth New York Heavy Artillery--Independent Batteries--Cavalry Regiments--The Tenth Regiment Mounted Volunteers--Col. William Irvine--Maj. Luther L. Barney--The Fifteenth New York Cavalry--Other Cavalry Regiments--Oramel R. Burdick--Total number of Organizations and Men mustered in at Elmira--Individual Instance of others Serving in the War--Col. Daniel W. Gillett--Capt. Uriah S. Lowe, Gov. Buren R. Sherman, and Others--The Draft--Officers having it in Charge--The manner of Drafting--Maj. John A. Haddock--Col. Samuel B. Hayman--The Disturbance made by a returning Regiment of Michigan Cavalry--The small change of the War...240-264


Elmira as a Prison Camp--Its Establishment in 1864--Describing it and its Location--Arrival of the first Detachment of Prisoners--A terrible Railroad Disaster--The appearance and condition of the Prisoners--How they were cared for in the Camp--The "Veteran Reserve Corps""--Officers in charge of the Campt--Imaginary accounts of Escapes--False Alarms--Visitors attracted to the Campt--What could be Seen--The surroundings of the Camp--How the Prisoners occupied Themselves--The appearance of the Interior of the Camp--Providing food for the Prisoners--Sickness and mortality Prevalent--The dead at Woodlawn--John W. Jones, the Sexton who Buried them All--Breaking out of the Small-pox--The disastrous Flood of March 17, 1865--Burying the Dead--Means for their Identification--The close of the War and the breaking up of the Camp..264-277




The changed Character of the Valley--Continuations of the History of the Churches of Elmira--The Rev. Dr. David Murdoch--The Rev. Dr. George C. Curtiss--Burning of the unfinished Church--Maxey Manning Converse--His heroic Death--The Rev. Dr. William E. Know--Thomas K. Beecher--Park Church--Lake Street Presbyterian Church--Its Ministers--Trinity Church--Bishop William Paret--The Rev. Dr. George H. McKnight--The Arnot Memorial Chapel--Grace Church--The Baptist Church--The Rev. Dr. W.T. Henry--The Methodist Church--Its Ministers--Hedding Church--Its first Members--The Rev. William H. Goodwin--Others of its Ministers--Growth of the Methodist Church--Catholic Churches--St. Patrick's--The Rev. J.J. Bloomer--St. Mary's--The Rev. James C. McManus--Hebrew Synagogues--Churches for the Colored People--The Young Men's Christian Association--Its first Meetings, Members, and Officers--Its Strength and Usefulness...281-297


The Schools of Elmira--Something of the Early Ones--Who were the Teachers--The Cleves School--The Elmira College--Simeon Benjamin--The Teachers of the Institution--The old Baldwin Street Academy--Its early Principals--Some of its Pupils--Francis Collingwood--Dr. Nathaniel Randolph Seeley--The first Board of Education of Elmira--Members of the Board since its Existence--The new Free Academy and the new District Schools--Secretaries of the Board--Edward Danforth--The thirteenth Annual Meeting of the National Educational Association--Some of the Public School Teachers--Dr. J. Dorman Steele--Prof. James R. Monks--Mrs. "George Archibald"--Local Masonic history Continued--The chief Officers of the several Bodies--The Royal Arch Chapter and the Commandery--John D. Williams--William Lee--Dr. Thaddeus S. Up de Graff--John S. Bartlett--Ivy Lodge, No. 397--Elisha H. Cook--The Stobo Family--The new Masonic Temple--Permanent quarters for the Postoffice--The Postmasters of Elmira...298-319


Something more of the I.O.O.F.--The location of its Hall--Town Clocks--The Whittlesey Family--A curious Character--Officers of the I.O.O.F.--The G.A.R. and its Commanders--Musical Societies--The Sangerbund--Charitable Organizations--The Orphans HOme--The Home for the Aged--Mr. Richmond Jones--Dr. Edwin Eldridge--Lake Eldridge--The Industrial School--The Arnot-Ogden Memorial Hospital--The Elmira Academy of Medicine--Dr. William C. Wey--Dr. J.K. Stanchfield--Dr. William Woodward--The Academy of Sciences--Replacing the old Wooden Bridges across the Chumung with Iron Ones--When and How it was Done--Woodlawn and other Cemeteries--The Establishment of new Banks--Further concerning the Erie Railway--How the Northern Central was Formed--The Elmira, Cortland, and Northern, the Tioga, the Lehigh Valley, and the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroads...320-345


Further changes in the Civil Divisions of the County--Horseheads Township Organized--Schuyler County taken from Chemung--Hon. Jeremiah McGuire--Van Etten Township--Van Ettenville--Its first Postmasters--Baldwin Township--Hicks and North Chemung--Elmira becomes a City--Its Mayors--One of its earliest Chiefs of Police--A notable gang of Horse Thieves--The Fire Department Its Chief Engineers--New companies Formed--"Ours 4" Hose--Coal taking the place of Wood--Tom Talliday--Berry, the "Learned Shoemaker"--Something concerning the County Buildings--Notable criminal Trials--Ashland Township Erected--The Supervisors of the County since 1850--Citizens of the County who have Represented the District in Congress--Hon. H. Boardman Smith--Archibald Robertson, esq.--The Fassett Family--Hon. J. Sloat Fassett--Citizens of the County who have been State Senators--Senator George B. Guinnip--Mimbers of Assembly--Hon. Robert P. Bush--County Judges, District Attorneys, and other Officers of the County...346-382


Amusements of the Village and City of Elmira--The New Opera House--Mr. and Mrs. D. W. Waller--Old-time Dramas and Actors--Circuses--Where their Tents were Spread--Horse-racing--Old-time Tracks--"Flora Temple"--"American Girl"--The Maple Avenue Driving Park--State Fairs in Elmira--The Elmira Farmers Club--William A. Armstrong--The Husbandman--Restaurants--The first one in Elmira--George Jones--The Street Railway--Celebration of the Centennial Anniversary of the Battle of Newtown--Ex-Governor Lucius Robinson--Militia organizations of the County--The One Hundred and Tenth Battalion--The Thirtieth and Twenty-sixth Separate Companies--A new Armory--The State Reformatory--Supt. Z. R. Brockway--Newspapers of the City and County--Some that have Been, but are Not--The Elmira Gazette--The Elmira Advertiser--Col. Luther Caldwell--The great flood of June, 1889--The Elmira Telegram--Charles Hazard--H. S. Brooks--James Hill--The terrible Railraod disaster on the Erie at Tioga--The Evening Star...383-409




An Elmira Town as well as an Elmira City--Some interesting and important Localities formerly within its Limits--Carr's Corners--The Reformatory--Eldridge Lake--Some of its distinguished Citizens--Gen. A. S. Diven, Judge Hiram Gray, the Guinnips, Carrs, McCanns, and Others--Dr. Gleason's Water Cure--Mark Twain's summer Home--East Elmira Postoffice and its Postmasters--The Junction Canal--Early official records of the Town lost or Destroyed...414-418


The Town of Southport--Early Grants of Land--First Settlers--The Millers, Griswolds, McHenrys, and Smiths--David Griswold and his family--Abraham Miller--Abner M. Hetfield and his Family--Capt. Samuel Tuthill--The "Connecticut Gore"--Early School-Houses--First Enterprises in the locality--Organization of the Township--Town Officers--Prolific Nature of the Soil of the Town--Its large Lumber and Tobacco Interests--The portion of the Township that became a part of the City of Elmira--Dr. Nathan Boynton and his Family--Webb's Mills--Its Early Settlers--"Southport Corners"--Those who came there First--Seeley Creek--"Bulkhead" Hotel--Hendy Creek--Wells--The Plank Road...419-443


The Town of Chemung, the original Civil Organization of the County--Description of its Location--Its Products--Fruit and Tobacco Culture--Organization and early Officers--Curious Records--What attracted the early Settlers--Isaac Baldwin, the first Comer--His Family--"Sergeant Tom" and his numerous Exploits--Waterman Baldwin--His Life and Character--The Wynkoops, Bucks, McDowells, Burts, and Warrens--The Hon. John G. McDowell and his Family--Israel Parshall, the Beidlemans, and Thomas Keeney--Pioneers who lived to great Ages--An old patent for Land--Thomas Burt--Early Saw and Flouring-Mills--Lumbering Interests--First Houses built in the Town--Early Mail Facilities--Early schools and school Teachers--Early Churches--The Postoffice and its Postmasters--Early and present Buisiness places in Chemung Village--J. S. Holbert--Churches of the Town--The Methodists and their Pastors--Masonry in Chemung--School Districts--Town Officers..444-466


The Earliest Settlers of the Town of Horseheads--John and Hannah Breese and their Family--The Sayres--Jonathan S. Conkling and Others--Soldiers' Claims--E. l'Hommedieu--The Westlakes--A Locality whose Citizens reach very advanced Ages--Owen O'Hanlon and his Family--Early Business Enterprises--Lively impulse given to the Region by the Construction of the Chemung Canal--The first Boats--Raped growth of the Village of Horseheads--The Fire of August, 1862--Village Officers--The Horseheads Fire Department--Churches of the Village--Organization of the Township--Schools--Masonry in Horseheads--Manufacturing and other Enterprises--The enormous Brick interests of the Town--Breesport--Its early History and first Settlers--Its business Enterprises and Churches--The County House--Cemeteries of the Township...467-492


The Town of the "Great Plains" that was Modernized into Big Flats--Who came first to take up the Lands quitted by the Redmen--Christian Myneer--Events that marked his Pioneer Life--Where the early settlers Located--Aged Men--Organization of the Town--The Town Officers--Highways and Bridges--Schools--Churches--Cemeteries--Masonry in the Town--Other Societies--Big Flats Village--The Lumbering and Tobacco Interests--Successful Enterprises--Interesting and Peculiar Events and Incidents in the History of the Town...493-504


Ashland the latest of the Towns to be Organized--How it got its Names--The Monument that marks the Sullivan Battlefield--Early settlers of the Town--Green Bently--Nathan Roberts--Jesse Carpenter--Eunice Kelsey, the first White Child born in the Town--The first Tavern and the first Church--The old Graveyard--Wellsburg, Ashland's only Village--Abner Wells and his Family, from whom the Place gets its Name--Bently Creek and its Water-Power--First business Enterprises--Later Comers--Richard Caton Lockwood--Oldest Residents--George W. Roberts--Wellsburg's business Men--The Postoffice and its Postmasters--Officers of the Village--The Baptist Church, the oldest Religious Society in the Valley--Elder Roswell Goff--Wellsburg's other Churches--Lowmanville or Lowman's--Its Postoffice and Postmasters--Its Industries--Dairying and Tobacco raising in Ashland--Favorable promises for Petroleum near Wellsburg--Organization of the Town and its Officers...504-521


The Town of Van Etten--The Character of its original Products--First Settlements made by Hollanders and Scotchmen--Joel Thomas--Gen. Jacob Swartwood--His brothers Isaac and Emanuel--His father, Peter Swartwood--The Van Etten Family--Benjamin Ennis and his Sons--The fighting Westbrook Family--"Pony Hollow"--A woman who had the Reputation of being a "Witch"--Organization of the Town--Town Officers--Van Ettenville--Its first Inhabitants--Its business Interests--Its Incorporation--Officers Elected--Benevolent and other Societies--A disastrous Fire--Churches--A Swartwood Church--The first School in the Town--Present Schools--Their fine Character--Enterprises that have helped make Van Etten prominent among the Towns in the County...521-532


The Town that gets its Name from the Baldwin Family--Its Situation--Neither 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...532-541


The Town that was named from a Veteran of two Wars--Its Location and Peculiarities--Preserved Cooley, the first Settler--Green Bently, the Veteran--Localities settled by New Englanders--Elder Ebenezer Mallory--An early Wollen Manufactory--Organization of the Town and its Officers--The Road that General Sullivan laid Out--Other Highways--Pine Valley--Its Earlier Industries--Its Churches--Other Societies--Millport, originally Millvale, almost a rival to Elmira--Startling events in its History--Its Churches and Schools--Its benevolent and secret Societies--Sullivanville--Enterprises at Ridge Farms--Postoffices of Veteran and Terry's Corners--A Township deserving of the Name it Bears...542-554


The situation, soil, and productions of the Town of Erin--Its early Settlers--Most of them Soldiers of the War of 1812--A roll of the taxable Inhabitants in 1823--Town Officers--Postoffices and principal Settlements--Early religious Influences--The Methodist Church--Erin's Schools, past and present--Business Enterprises--James H. Rodbourn--Secret and Charitable Societies--Cemeteries--Scotchmen in Erin--Some interesting Facts worthy of Record...554-562


The Town of Catlin--Its Situation--Pioneers of the Town--A Locality the latest settled in the County--Those coming early not staying very Long--Others who remained--The first Log House and the first School-Houses--The first Road laid out, the first Birth, Death, and Wedding--Officers of the Town--Peculiar resolutions passed at Town Meetings--Roads and Railroads--Schools and Churches--Cemeteries--Principal Settlements--Postoffices and Postmasters--The chief Industries of the Town...562-568







Chemung County NY

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 2002
By Joyce M. Tice

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