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M. I 








3 1833 00826 0538 






CoMMonoRE Oliver Hazard Perky 


V / Compiled 

AND Written by 








Reprinted from the Perry Record, pcblishbd by 




1 5 



19 15 


About one hundred and seven years ago, several of the 
energetic and enterprising settlers from Massachusetts, Ver- 
mont, Maine and other States, emigrated from their native 
homes and established themselves within the bounds of the 
present Town of Perry. The wilds rapidly gave way to civili- 
zation ; the forests fell as the dwellings arose ; soon the unob- 
structed streams were arrested, their currents made subser- 
vient to the will and comfort of man, and the conquering power 
of industry and science, with the profuse bounties of 
Nature, combined to render this one of the most beautiful and 
prosperous abodes of man. 

With what delight would these same pioneers gaze upon 
the Perry of today I Their retrospective view would begin at 
the time when they felled the first tree, turned the first fur- 
row, raised the first loo- cabin, and then the modern frame 
house. They would remember the first few houses which 
formed the nucleus of our present village; they would con- 
template with deep satisfaction the fruit of their labor, toil 
and early sacrifices, which noAV have resolved themselves into 
a common heritage to us of the Perry of todaj^ 

On this One Hundredth Anniversary of the incorporation 
of our Town, I take pleasure in submitting facts concerning its 
early and general history. It has been my aim to seek out the 
facts from every available source, recognizing as I do the his- 
torical importance of the subject. However, errors may prob- 

ably be found; many things of real importance may be miss- 
ing; but not until one undertakes a work of this kind can the 
amount of labor and the difficulty of obtaining substantiated 
facts be realized. This is not given with the idea that it is even 
considered a complete history, but rather a collection of arti- 
cles dealing with past local events. These have been gleaned 
from reliable sources of information : old letters, files of the 
Perry Herald, Perry Record, miscellaneous copies of The 
Countryman, Silver Lake Sun, AVyoming Times and other 
newspapers. Beer's Plistory of Wyoming County, published 
in 1880, has been consulted extensively. The Life of Mary 
Jemison by Seaver, and J. W. Merrill's History of the Twenty- 
Fourth New York Battery, have also furnished much material. 

The writer i3resents the work with the belief that it is 
as correct as it is humanly possible to produce it at this late 
period. Moreover, the present has seemed to be the opportune 
time for preparino- a history, as the sources of trustworthy in- 
formation are rapidly disappearing. 


Perry, New York, 1914. 

At the request of the author, the editor of the Record will 
add such facts of local history as are of his intimate knowledge 
during the past quarter century. 


Early History of Wyoming County — How It was Formed — Mary 
Jemison, the **White Woman of the Genesee" — First Settlers 
in the Several Towns. 

The land now embraced in Wyoming County was a part of 
Albany- County from 1683 to 1772 ; Tryon County from 1772 to 
1784; Montgomery County from 1784 to 1789; and Ontario 
County from 1789 to 1802. 

Genesee County was formed from Ontario County on 
March 30th, 1802. It comprised all that part of the State lying 
west of the Genesee River and a line extending due south from 
the point of the junction of that river and Canaseraga Creek ; 
to the south line of the State. Allegany County was taken 
from Genesee in 1806; Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Niagara 
in 1808 ; parts of Livingston and Monroe in 1821 ; Orleans in 
1824, and Wyoming on May 14th, 1841. Wyoming County is 
an interior county and contains 590 square miles. 

The eastern tier of towns, with the exception of a portion 
of Castile, belonged to the Og'den, Silver Lake and Cotringer 
tracts of the Morris Reservation, and the remaining part of the 
county to the Holland Purchase. The Gardeau Tract, contain- 
ing 17,927 acres on both sides of the Genesee River, was re- 
served for Mary Jemison by the Seneca Indians in their treaty 
with Robert Morris in 1797. About one-half of this tract lies 
in the present Town of Castile. Mary Jemison and her de- 
scendants continued to reside upon this tract until 1816, when 
she sold all but two square miles on the west side of the river 
to Micah Brooks and Jellis Clute, and removed to the Cattar- 
augus Reservation. 



From a Painting by the late 
Carlos Stebbins of Pike 

]\Iary Jemison, known as "The White Woman of the 
Genesee," was the first white woman to reside in this region. 
She was of Irish parentage, born in 1743, durino- the voyag-e 
across the ocean. The family settled upon the western frontier 
of Pennsylvania, where they remained in peace until the brea' - 
ing out of the French War in 1754. In the summer of 1755 
their home was surrounded by a band of Indians and Frencli- 
men, who plundered all that was valuable and carried awa}'' tlie 
whole family as captives, except two brothers who were work- 
ing in the barn, and who, knowing that their aid could accomp- 
lish no purpose, made good their escape. The captives were 
taken into the forests, and in a da}^ or two all were murdered 
and scalped, except Mary and a small boy, w^ho were carried 
to Fort DuQuesne. She was soon afterwards adopted by two 


Indian sisters and taken to an Indian settlement on the Ohio 
River to supply the place of a brother who had been slain in 
battle. She was given the name of "De-he-wa-mis," meaning 
"A beautiful girl." The sorrow consequent upon being torn 
from her friends gradually wore away and she became quite 
reconciled to her new condition. 

After arriving at a suitable age she was married to a 
young Delaware Indian named ''Shenenjee." In 1759 she 
changed her residence, traveling on foot to the Genesee, and 
locating at Little Beard's Town, near the present site of Cuyler- 
ville. During this long journey she carried her little son on 
her back the entire distance of 600 miles. Her husband did 
not accompany her on the trip, having previously joined a war 
party traveling in another direction, the understanding being 
that at the close of the campaign he was to join his family at 
their new home on the Genesee. Shortly after her arrival she 
received word that her husband had been taken sick and had 
died soon after her departure. Two or three years later she 
married an Indian named Hi-ok-a-too. Four children were born 
of this union. 

When General Sullivan invaded the country, her house 
and fields shared the fate of the rest. Seeing them all des- 
troyed, she set about preparing for the coming ^vinter. Tak- 
ing her two younger children on her back and bidding the 
three others to follow, she sought employment, where, by 
husking, she paid for 25 bushels of shelled corn, enough to 
supply her family through the winter. 

At the close of the French war she had the privilege ex- 
tended to her of returning to the English, but she chose to 
remain with the Indians, as she knew that her half-breed child- 
ren would not be welcomed among her English friends. 

After the close of the Revolution she received a grant of 


the Gardeau Reservation, which was about six miles in length 
and five miles in Avidth. Although she adopted the customs 
and habits of the Indians, she retained her knowledge of the 
English language and remembered the early instructions of 
her mother. Toward the close of her life she embraced the 
Christian religion, and died on September 19th, 1833, aged 90 
years. She w^as buried in the old Mission burial ground near 
Buffalo, but in March, 1874, her remains were taken up and 
re-interred on the Letchworth Estate. What was left of the 
old headstone was also taken up and erected near the head of 
the grave. Near this, at the present time stands a marble 
monument — a square block — some six feet in height. Upon one 
face of this is carved the inscription which originally appeared 
on her tombstone. It also bears other historical facts. Sur- 
mounting this is a magnificent bronze statute of Mary Jemison 
in her Indian costume, bearing on her back a babe, just as she 
came to the Genesee Valley. 

Here, on the banks of the Genesee River, to the murmur 
of which she listened during seventy-two years of her eventful 
life, lie her honored remains. She passed through such trials 
as fall to the lot of but few people in this life. 

The first white man who lived in this county was Eben- 
ezer Allen, a notorious Tory, commonly known as "Indian 
Allen." He was a native of New Jersey and joined the ma- 
rauders who, under the leadership of Brandt, scourged with 
fire and sword the Susquehanna Valley, and toward the close 
of the Revolutionary War settled upon the Genesee, cultivating 
for a time the fertile river flats belonging to Mary Jemison. 
He afterward erected mills at Rochester, and later lived for a 
time on the Oatka Creek, until his removal to Delwarton, West 
Canada, where he died in 1814. Few characters mentioned in 
either history or fiction have approached so nearly the idea 
of total depravity as this blood-thirsty monster. He was an 


open polygamist, murdered several persons while professing 
the greatest friendship for them, and while upon the war trail 
he amused himself by dashing out the brains of infants. 

The greater part of Wyoming County is embraced in the 
tract known as the ''Holland Purchase," some of the eastern 
towns being included in the Morris Reserve. The territory 
known as Western New' Y^'ork was originally claimed by the 
State of Massachusetts by virtue of a charter granted by the 
King of England to the Plymouth Colony. The same territory 
was subsequently granted to the Duke of York and Albany. 
Without giving a history of the disputes which arose between 
the States of Massachuestetts and New Y'ork, we will say that 
the question was settled by a convention of Commissioners who 
met at Hartford, Conn., on Dc'^ember 16th, 1786. According 
to the stipulations entered into, Massachusetts ceded to New 
York all her claim to the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the 
territory lying west of the east boundary of New York, and 
the State of New York ceded to Massachusetts the right of 
pre-emption to the soil of all that part of New York lying west 
of the meridian passing through a point in the south boundary 
of the State, 82 miles west of the northeast corner of the State 
of Pennsylvania, excepting a strip one mile wide, extending 
along the east bank of the Niagara River, from Lake Erie to 
Lake Ontario. 

Li April, 1788, Massachusetts contracted to sell this ter- 
ritory to Nathaniel Gorham and Oliver Phelps for 300,000 
pounds in the consolidated securities of that State, which were 
at a discount of more than 50 per cent at that time. The rapid 
advance in the value of these securities rendered Phelps and 
Gorham unable to fulfill their contract and a lar^e part of 
the purchase reverted to the State. The part retained and 
subsequently known as the ''Phelps and Gorham Purchase" 
was bounded east by the pre-emption line already described, 


and west by a meridian passing through the point at the junc- 
tion of the Canaseraga Creek and the Genesee River, south 
by tlie south line of the State and north from this point along 
tlie Genesee River to a point two miles north of "^.he Village of 
Canawagus (Avon,) thence west 12 miles, thence northerly to 
Lake Ontario at a distance of 12 miles from the Genesee River, 
On Mareli 11th, 1791, the State of Massachusetts sold the ter- 
ritory west of the Phelps and Gorham Purchase to Robert 
Morris, the assignee of Samuel Ogden. Mr. Morris sold to tlie 
Holland Company all the tract lying west of a meridian pass- 
ing through a point 12 miles west of the southwest corner of 
the Phelps and Gorham Purchase. 

The territory lyino- between the Holland Purchase and 
l^lielps and. Gorham purchase was called "Morris Reserve" 
and was sold to various parties in large tracts. The sale was 
made to the Holland Company before the Indian title was ab- 
rogated, but with an agreement on the part of Morris that 
it should be annulled as soon as j)racticable. This was 
effected by a treat}" made at Big Tree (near the present site 
of Geneseo) in September, 1797. The meeting of the Com- 
missioners and the Indians was exceedingly interesting. Full 
accounts of its proceedings have been published and form an 
important part of the history of the Genesee Country. A sec- 
tion of the original Big Tree, at which this council took place, 
may be seen at Portage, near the grave of Mary Jemison, w^here 
it was placed b^^ the late Hon. Wm. Pryor Letchworth. In this 
treaty the Indians retained certain reservations in different 
parts of the purchase, some of which they continue to occupy. 

Preparations Avere soon made to survey this tract, and a 
line run with a transit instrument, betw^een Morris' Reserve 
and the Holland Purchase, was called the ' ' Transit Line. ' ' This 
line ran near the present Transit Road on the west boundary 
of the Town of Perry. Theophilus Cazenove, of Philadelphia, 


Fa., was the general agent of the company, and Joseph Elli- 
cott was the principal surveyor. It Avas surveyed into ranges 
ininihered from east to west and into townships about six miles 
square, numbered from south to north. The townships were sub- 
divided into lots three-fourths of a mile square and numbered 
from south to north, beginning on the east tier. The survey 
was begun early in the Spring of 1798. Among the surveyors 
were: Joseph and Benjamin Ellicott, John Thompson, R. M. 
Stoddard, George Burgess, James Dewey, David Ellicott, 
Aaron Oakford, Jr., Augustus Porter, Seth Pease, James 
Sinedle}^ George Eggleston and William Shepard. 

. Previous to the sale of the tract to the Holland Company, 
J\Ir. Morris had sold the triangle tract of 87,000 acres to LeRoy, 
Bayard & McEvers, and 100,000 acres directly west of this to 
the State of Connecticut and Sir William Pulteney. Upon ar- 
riving at the south line of the Connecticut tract, Mr. Ellicott 
found that the east side of the Holland Purchase would inter- 
sect that tract, to avoid which he moved west about two miles 
and then ran the line due north to Lake Ontario. 

In 1799 Theophilus Cazenove was succeeded by Paul Busti 
as general agent of the Holland Land Company. He remained 
in charge of the affairs of the company until 1824, when he 
was succeeded by John J. VanDer Kemp, who continued in 
charge until 1837, when the business of the company was 
closed up. 

The first land office in this section was located at Pine 
Grove at the home of Mr. Asa Ransom. In 1802, Genesee 
County was formed and the land office was moved to Batavia. 
The building which the Holland Land Company then erected 
is standing on its original location on Main street, Batavia, 
a memorial to the pioneer land-oi^mer of Western New York. 

Joseph Ellicott received the appointment as Local Agent 


and continued as such until 1821. During that year he was 
succeeded by Jacob S. Otto, who held office until his death in 
1827. David E. Evans was local agent during the remainder of 
the company's business career. In the year 1811, Ebenezer Mix 
entered the service of the company as clerk and had control 
of the sales and sub-divisions of the land. It was through 
these men that the pioneers of Wyoming County, west of the 
Transit Line, made their original land purchases. Those de- 
siring land on the east side of the line were obliged to go to 
Canandaigua to secure their proper titles. 

The opening of this new^ region to settlement, under the 
auspices of a rich and liberal company, instituted a new order 
of things in the general history of the county and was of great 
benefit to the settlers. Roads were constructed, bridges erect- 
ed, and everything done to promote settlement and to remove 
difficulties in the paths of the settlers. The affairs of the com- 
pany were always conducted in a most honorable way. Lands 
were sold at moderate prices with a small cash payment and 
liberal terms were given for the balance. In consequence of 
the richness of the land and the moderate prices asked by the 
company, settlers came rapidly, and soon the entire region was 
w^ell filled with an enterprising and industrious population. 

On March 19th, 1808, Warsaw was formed from Batavia 
and then comprised the present towns of Middlebury, Warsaw 
and Gainesville. Middlebury was set off from Warsaw in 1812 ; 
Gainesville in 1814. Sheldon w^as also formed from Batavia on 
March 19th, 1808. In 1811, Attica was formed from Sheldon 
and embraced the present towns of Attica, Orangeville and 
Wethersfield. Orangeville w^as formed in 1816 from Attica, 
and Wethersfield from Orangeville on April 12th, 1823. Ben- 
nington was formed from Sheldon on March 6th, 1818, and 
China on March 6th, 1818. On April 20th, 1832, Java was 
formed from China, and in 1866 the name of China was 


changed to Arcade. Eagle, Pike and ftenesee Falls were an- 
nexed to Wyoming Connty from Allegany in 1846. Perry was 
set off from Leicester in 1814, and Castile from Perry in 1821. 
Covington was formed in 1817 from Perry and LeRoy. 

First Settlers in Each of the Towns of Wyoming County: 

Town Date By Whom Settled 

Arcade 1809 Silas Meech 

Attica .1802 Zerah Phelps 

Bennington ...... .1802 John Towles, Jacob Wright, Wm. Barber 

Castile 1808 Daniel McKay 

Covington 1807 Jairus Cruttenden, and three others 

Eagle 1808 William Hodges 

Gainesville 1805 Charles Bristol, William Richards 

Genesee Falls 1804 John, Seth and Saml. Fields 

Java 1808 William Richardson, T. Kirby 

Middlebiiry 1802 jabez Warren 

Orangeville 1805 John Duncan 

Perry 1807 Joseph Woodward 

Pike 1806 Peter Granger, Ely Griffith, A. Newcomb, P. 

Harvey, Caleb Powers came at the same time 

Sheldon 1804 Roswell Turner 

^^^^^saw 1803 Eleazur Webster 

W-ethersfield 1810 Lewis Hancock, Guy Morgan, Calvin Clifford 


Various Names by Which the Town was Known — How Formed — Its 
Acreage — Early Settlers and Where They Came From — Rivalry 
Between the Inhabitants — Anecdotes. 

Perry was named in honor of Commodore Oliver Hazard 
Perry, the hero of the Battle of Lake Erie. This was not the 
first name given the place. It was originally called "Slab- 
town," which was soon clianged to Shacksburg, and after- 
wards to Beecliville. At the time of the incorporation of the 
Town of Perry the village vras known as Colnmbia. Later, this 
was changed to Ninevah, bat gradually the village assumed the 
name of Perry. 

An anecdote of the days when the place was called Nine- 
vah may be of interest. At that time Perry Center and Perry 
were about of equal size and there was a great deal of rivalry 
between the inhabitants of the two hamlets. The story goes 
that one year there was a serious drought, when all of the wells 
at the Center became dry, with the exception of one on the 
place owned by Deacon Howard. Residents of Ninevah went 
to the Center, cut a log, and with it plugged the Deacon's 
well. Some one wrote a poem about the incident, which 
we have been unable to secure, but these last few lines have 
been given to us as illustrative of the thought of the poem: 

And those Ninevites came 

As sure as Hell 
And dropped a log 

In Dea. Howard's well. 

Perry was set off from Leicester and incorporated as a 
town on ]\Iarch 11th, 1814, and at the time of its corporation 


included Castile and a part of Covington. At this time, and 
until the formation of Wyoming County on ^lay 14th, 1841, 
Perry was a part of Genesee County. Castile was set off from 
Perry in tlie year 1821. The portion of Covington was taken 
off in 1817. The Village of Perry was incorporated by a special 
act of the Legislature on May 17th, 1830. The charter then 
adopted was given up and a new one was granted by a special 
act of the Legislature in 1864, to meet the requirements due 
to changed circumstances. The village was governed under 
that charter until 1901. Its provisions Avere somewhat indefin- 
ite, and as the Legislature had adopted a General Village Law 
which greatly simplified matters and made the duties of tlie 
governino- powers explicit, by vote of the residents of tlie vil- 
lage, taken on February 19th, 1901, the decision was in favor 
of adopting the General Village Law and it became effective 
in March, 1901, since which time the village has been governed 
by its provisions. 

There are 21,120 acres of land in the Town of Perry. This 
is included in a tract of 50,000 which was sold by Robert Mor- 
ris to Samuel Ogden and Avhich has always been knoAvn as the 
''Ogden Tract." The northern part of this tract, which in- 
cludes about one-third of the town, was divided by Mr. Ogden 
and sold to several different parties. The entire western por- 
tion of the northern part was sold to Mr. Guernsey, who divid- 
ed the land into small parcels and sold it to many of the in- 
coming settlers. The eastern part was sold to Jacob Ely and 
others. Between them, on account of a discrepancy^ in the sur- 
vey, was created what became known as "The Gore." The 
southern portion, which includes more than one-half of the 
Town of Perry, was called the ''South Ogden Tract," and some- 
times the "Lake Tract. 

In 1807 the latter portion was surveyed by William Shep- 
ard of Canandaigua and soon afterward was placed upon the 



market. John Greig, who had established a land agency at 
Canandaigua, had charge of the sales and sold most of the land 
in small lots to the settlers. 

Immigration to Western New York did not become rapid 
until after the Revolutionary War and for several years was 
principally confined to the regions nearest Lakes Erie and 
Ontario. In the year 1800, Buffalo was still a small town and 
there was not a house on the present site of the City of Roch- 
ester. It was not until about this time that the sturdy pioneers 
began moving up the fertile Valley of the Genesee. 

In the early Spring of 1807, a certain Joseph Woodward 
arrived from the eastern part of the State, made a small clear- 
ing in the virgin timber and erected thereon the first log cabin 
to be constructed in the Town of Perry. This was one of the 
usual block style and stood on the land now owned by Mr. 
Thomas Wright, about one-half mile east of Perry Center. In 



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^^ y/ \^ 

'■jt^^mmm, .-*«»Wj 

















One of the few remaining Log Cabins built by the Pioneer of this 
section ; situated about three miles east of Perry, and the only one in this 
locality that is occupied at the present time. 


1809, evidently dissatisfied with his location, Mr. \Yoodward 
moved to Mount Morris. Deacon Bntler, Avho arrived in Perry 
in 1810, purchased the land and occupied the house. 

The first permanent settler of the town, however, was Mr. 
Samuel Gates. Mr. Gates was horn in Colchester, Conn. At the 
outbreak of the Revolutionary War he had promptly enlisted 
in a militia regiment which was soon attached to General 
Gates' Army. He participated in a number of engagements 
and was present at the surrender of Burgoyne. About a year 
after the close of the war, he started on foot for the far west. 
Arriving at Canajoharie in the Mohawk Valley, he found em- 
ployment and remained there for four years. In 1787 he mar- 
ried a youno- lady of 16 years and took up the occupation of 
boatman, transporting goods as far west as Seneca Lake, wdien 
there were none but Indian traders to supply. Being favorably 
impressed with the country lying at the head of Seneca Lake, 
he erected a cabin and moved his family there. Although there 
were no whites residing in that vicinity, ]\Ir. Gates and his fam- 
ily continued to live there during eight years. The next six 
years Mr. Gates and his family spent at Caneadea. In the Spring 
of 1807 he learned that the country around what is now Perry 
was being surveyed, and hearing that the land in this vicinity 
was excellent, he journeyed here to see it. Finding that it was 
all that had been claimed for it, he erected his cabin on the hill 
overlooking the northwest end of Silver Lake, near the pres- 
ent residence of Parris Andrews, and returned to Caneadea for 
his family. Mr. Gates raised the first crop of wheat and set 
out the first orchard in the Town of Perry. His daughter Nancy 
was the first white child born in the town. 

As might be expected, hired help was not to be procured 
at this period of the town's history, and the settlers had to de- 
pend upon their wives to assist them in their vrork. In Auo-ust, 
1812, while Mrs. Gates was assisting her husband in piling up 


some logs, she ruptured a blood vessel and died very suddenly. 
Her remains were buried near the center of the old cemetery 
where the Perry Public Library now stands. In January of tlie 
following year, the infant town was visited by an epidemic 
which carried away a number of the settlers, and Mr. Gates 
fell as one of its victims. He was buried beside the remains 
of his wife. 

While journeying through the woods to attend the funeral 
of Mr. Gates, Mr. Amos Otis pulled up a small sapling, using it 
as a cane. After the grave had been filled, Mr. Otis noticing 
a few roots on the sapling, pressed them gently into the soft 
earth. Two or three years afterward he visited the cemetery 
and was surprised to see that the little tree was growing nicely. 
He took out his pocket knife, trimmed the branches, and during 
several years carefully watched its g-rowth. The tree thrived 
and grew into the large and stately oak which was cut down in 
1914 to make way for the new library building. 

As will be noted, Mr. Gates v/as one of those indomitable 
pioneers who preferred the hardships incident to pioneer life 
to the comforts of living in settled communities. A good share 
of his life was spent on the extreme frontier. As the regions 
in which he had lived began to fill up with settlers, he seemed 
to have an uncontrollable desire to penetrate even further into 
the western wilderness. 

A few weeks after the arrival of Mr. Gates, Deacon Sam- 
uel Salisbury, who was a resident of Leicester, passed through 
the Town of Perry on his way to visit his brother, who had set- 
tled near the present Village of Warsaw. While near the pres- 
ent site of Perry Center, he was startled by hearing the sound 
of an axe, and hestitated whether to venture up to the party 
wielding it, fearing that it might be a party of Indians ; but not 
being sure of his way, he took the risk and found the stranger — 


a white man named Peter Beebe — clearing- a spot large enough 
and gettijig out timber for a cabin. 

During the year 1808, Josiah Williams, Amos Smith and 
K'isha M. Smith and their families settled within the limits of 
the present Town of Perry. Mr. Williams came from Vermont, 
bringing his family and household goods in an ox cart and he 
(.T'v'cted the first log tavern. This was built on the extreme of 
Ncrth Main street, on the corner of the Simmons Road, on the 
site now occupied by the residence of the late E. G. Matthews, 
and it was a popular hostelry for a number of years. Nancy 
Williams, a daughter, died in 1811, and her's was the first 
death that occurred among the settlers of this town. Mr. AYil- 
Kaiiis died on January 26th, 1832, aged 68 years. Elizabeth, 
his wife, died on October 19tli, 1829, aged 72 years. Both w^ere 
biii :ed in the old cemetery where the Library now stands. Amos 
^'- ..'th came from Sherburne, Chenango County, in ]\Iarch and 
t^cUled three-fourths of a mile east of Perry Center. Elisha M. 
^.ii^th settled near Sucker Brook and built a log cabin there, 
ill 1810 he erected a frame barn, which was the first frame 
building erected in the town. It was 30 feet wdde by 40 feet 
loiio- and required the aid of w^omen to raise it, as there were 
only nine men whose services could be secured. 

A daughter of Amos Smith, in speaking of the early times, 
said that it was the custom then, wdien a building was to be 
raiced, to have plenty of liquor furnished, otherwise it was 
thought impossible for the work to go on ; but when their house 
Avas raised in June, 1827, a new order was introduced. No liquor 
ever having been used in their family, save in case of sickness, 
it could not on that occasion be brought* on the premises. The 
carpenter urged that a bottle of liquor be procured and 
laid aside to be used in case the work should not proceed. But, 
no ; as it was to be a test case, no compromise should be allowed. 
As a result, temperance prevailed, and it Avas said to be the 


first building raised in that vicinity on the cold water 
plan. When the Avork was done, a nice supper awaited the 
workmen, who seemed to be well satisfied with the change 

Again^ in speakincv of those early times, she said that soon 
after her father came to Perry, one of his neighbors employed 
a man to help him with his work. One day, toward night, this 
man concluded to return to his home, which was a few miles 
vAvay. Her father and neighbors opposed his going at that time 
of day, fearing that he might be molested by some of the wild 
p.nimals, which were then quite plentiful. He still persisted, 
and finally started out, with the understanding that he was to 
use his voice in case he needed help. He had not been gone 
long, however, before he was heard making a loud outcry for 
assistance. Upon hearing the rather expected signal, the men 
caught up their o-uns, and hurrying on, found the man up a 
nmall tree, just OTit of reach of an old bc^r, with her five cubs. 
The old one was soon dispatched, when the cubs took to a tree; 
two of them were killed, the others were captured and carried 
back in triumph. 

During the year 1809, the writer fails to find that any addi- 
tions were made to the population of this community, but in the 
early part of 1810, Mr. Amos Otis settled on the west side of 
Silver Lake inlet, near West Perry, just below Parris Andrews ' 
orchard. Mr. Otis was born in Colchester, Conn., in the year 
1787 ; came to Perry at the age of 23 and spent nearly his w^hole 
life in this immediate vicinity. During the last few years of his 
life he resided in Warsaw, at which place he died in the year 
1883, and was buried at West Perry. He passed through all 
of the phases of pioneer life and lived to see the wilderness 
in this section changed to the thriving towns and prosperous 
rural community of today. His wife, Louisa Davison, was the 
first white child born in Genesee County. 


Other arrivals of ]810 were Cornelius Anable, Justin Lyon 
and Joshua Clark. 

Let us digress and consider the circumstances which sur- 
rounded the lives of these early settlers as compared to those 
cf the age in wdiieh we live. At the beginning of the twentieth 
century there is, strictly speaking, no frontier to the United 
States. At the beginning of the nineteenth century the larger 
portion of the country was frontier. In any portion of the 
country today, in the remotest villages and hamlets, one is 
certam to find some, if not many of the modern appliances of 
civilization such as were not dreamed of one hundred years 
a_2;'0. Aladdin himself could not have commanded the glowing 
terms necessary to write the prospectus of the closing years of 
the nineteenth century. So, too, it requires an extraordinary 
effort of the imagination to conceive of the condition of things 
in the opening years of that century; or at the time of the early 
settlement of Perrj^ If we were to go back to the period 
mentioned, we can tell with sufficient accuracy w^hat were 
the circumstances of the early settlers' lives. We cannot 
tell exactly what he had, but we can name many things 
that he did not have, for the simple reason that they had not 
then been invented or discovered. In the first place, we must 
bear in mind that he lived in the woods. His children 
could not attend school, for the very good reason that there 
were no schools in this vicinity. The region was wild, in 
the sense that, excepting for the Indians, it was almost unin- 
habited and untilled. This portion of the country was covered 
with heavy timber, practically unbroken. Bears, wolves, deer, 
panthers, bobcats, rattlesnakes, wild pigeon and wild geese 
abounded throughout the section. There were few roads, and 
certainly none that could be called good. There were a few 
horses owned, but at this period the oxen predominated. Carts 
were usually home made and very crude and awkward. No 


locomotives, no bicycles, no motor cycles, no automobiles. The 
only pen was a goose qnill and the ink was home made. Paper 
was scarce and expensive. Newspapers and books were few 
and far between. There were scythes and sickles, but of a 
grade that would be unsalable today at any price. There were 
no self-binding harvesters, no' mowing- machines. The flail was 
used until succeeded by the threshing machine. The plows, 
drags and cultivators were constructed of wood, and very poor 
apologies for the kinds now in use by our prosperous farmers. 
Tinder boxes were used until the manufacture of the friction 
match. For light, the settler depended upon the open fireplace, 
although the tallow dip was used to some extent at that time. 
Candles, oil, gas and electricity came later. There was no tele- 
graph, no telephone, comparatively no mail service. 

Practically all of the cloth used by the early settler and his 
family Avas made by means of tlie hand loom, and the common 
fabric was made of a mixture of linen and woolen. As for food, 
wild game was abundant. There Were no oranges, lemons, 
bananas, no canned iroods, and but few importations of any 
kind. Coffee and tea were a luxury usually not obtainable. 

We might go on and on reciting the privations of the pion- 
eer, but it is unnecessary. It is not easy for us, living in the 
midst of the necessities, comforts and luxuries of a later civili- 
zation, to realize the conditions under which the early settlers 
of this vicinity lived and died. 

It required pluck, energy, health, strength and an indomit- 
able w^ill to come into a new country and make it a home. A 
few of the pioneers gave it up and returned to the east, but the 
great majority held fast and were rewarded for their labors. 
Those who had families usually left them behind in coming to 
the new country, and after providing a new home, returned for 
them. Others, unmarried, returned for "the girls they left 
behind them." 


One of the greatest inconveniences under which the early 
settlers labored was caused by the scarcity of mills, and the 
difficulty of reaching them on account of the lack of roads. Up 
to tills period in the history of the town, the nearest accessible 
mills were at LeRoy and Conesus; trips which at this time re- 
quired two or even three days. At this time LeRoy was called 
"Buttermilk Falls." 

During the year 1811, several more families settled in 
Perry, among whoiu were Seth Canfield, Julius Curtiss and 
John Hammersley. Messrs. Canfield and Curtiss formed a part- 
nership and erected the first saw mill built in the town. Mr. 
Hammersley constructed the first dam on the outlet, now 
knoAvn as the Whipple dam, and in 1813, erected thereon a saw 
mill. A short time after the completion of this mill, he con- 
structed a flouring mill. This was of small capacit}^ but suffic- 
ient for the needs of the few settlers. 

Another arrival in 1811 was Henry Bush. Special men- 
tion is made of the fact, because he brought into Perry the cn^y 
slave ever knoAvn to have been brought into the town. This 
slave went under the name of Jack Bush, was about 20 years 
of age, and noted chiefly for his enormous size and strength. 
Under the laws g'overning slavery at that time, he became a 
free man when he attained the age of 28. After gaining his 
liberty he moved to the Town of Attica, dying there many years 
afterward. It is said that Jack's feet were so large that none 
of the Attica shoe makers possessed a last large enough to 
make his shoes, and that he was required to journey to Daniel 
Ball's shoe shop at Perry Center to get the necessary size. Mr. 
Ball, it seems, kept a last of enormous proportions, solely on 
Jack's account. 

Orrin Sheldon came here in 1811 from New Marlborough, 
Mass. He was accompanied by his wife, Sally, aged 17 years, 


and their child six months old. They made the trip in an ox 
cart in which two chairs served as seats, coming by the way of 
Canandaigua, and were three weeks making the journey. When 
her husband was obliged to be away from home on business, 
Sally and the baby were left in care of the Indians, who fre- 
quently came and staid at the Sheldon home, and friendly rela- 
tions existed between them. 

Other pioneers who took up land in Perry in 1811 were 
Aaron Pond, Peter, Elijah and Jonathan Atwood. 

The first log house built in the villa^^e was erected in the 
year 1810 by a certain Mr, Palmer, who was supposed to have 
come from LeRoy. This cabin was erected on the present site 
of Mr. A. J. Wood's residence (the former Dolbeer property,) 
near the corner of Dolbeer place and Main street. For some 
reason, Mr. Palmer never occupied this house, but sold it to 
Julius Curtiss in the summer of 1811. 

The first frame house in the town was erected about the 
year 1812 by James Edgerly, grandfather of our fellow towns- 
man, Jerome Edgerly. This was a two-story building, situated 
just south of the " Universalist Hill," near the boundary line 
of Castile and Perry. Mr. Edgerly was born in Danville, Vt. 
When 18 3^ears of age, he enlisted in Gen. Sullivan's army, par- 
ticipated in the famous Wyoming Valley Campaign and assisted 
in driving the Indians over the Genesee Eiver High Banks. He 
was much impressed with the richness of the land in the Gene- 
see Valley and in 1812 moved his family to Perry. 

An orchard was set out by Mr. Edgerly and his son 
Edmund, on the top of the hill, and after a series of grafting 
experiments, they produced the famous Edgerly "Bailey 
Sweet" apples. The trees set out in this orchard were pur- 
chased in the east and brought into town on horseback. Some 
of them are still standing on property adjoining Bradford 
street, owned by Mr. C. AV. Rudd. 


The first frame hotel or tavern was erected by another son 
of Mr. Edgerly, James C. It was located just about where the 
bend in Bradford street is today, on a road which at that per- 
iod ran directly south and intersected one that ran from the 
upper dam, southeast. The second story of this tavern was fin- 
ished off as a ball room, arched over in the center under the 
ridge. This was the first dance hall constructed in the town, 
and there the elite of Perry's early days tripped the "light 
fantastic" on numerous occasions. Mr. Edgerly kept a few dry 
goods and groceries in the same building and was Perry's first 
merchant. Benoni Butler walked the entire distance from 
Utica to Perry to clerk for Mr. Edgerly. He received the 
munificent salary of $6.00 per month and board for his services. 
While conducting his mercantile business, the first local post 
office was established, with Mr. Edgerly as postmaster, the mail 
coming from Leicester on horseback once a week. 

About this time there arrived a man by the name of Hugh 
Hi go-ins, who used ancient stone age methods in dwelling house 
con-^.truction. Near the railroad curve opposite Whipple's boat 
livery, he burrowed into the hill and made an excavation large 
enough for himself and his wife to live in. The front of this 
unique home was built up with flat stones and contained one 
door and one window. Mr. and Mrs. Higgins raised a family 
of seven or eight daughters while residing in this dugout. 

During 1812, settlers came in rapidly. The second war 
with England was then in progress, and many chose to stop 
here, rather than go nearer the seat of war. During the war, 
the inhabitants of Perry were frequently alarmed by rumors 
of Indians coming to lay waste the country. They had burned 
Buffalo and devasted several places in the vicinity, and 
naturally, the people lived in a state of apprehension through- 
out the entire struggle. As far as the writer has been able to 
learn, Perrj^ had but one volunteer in this war. This was Elias, 


a son of Josiali Williams, the i^roprietor of the tavern. He was 
killed at the defeat of the American General Winchester, at the 
battle of River Raisin, which took place near Detroit, Mich., in 
January, 1813. This engagement is sometimes designated as the 
Battle of Frenchtown. A brief sketch of the battle follows : 
In the beginning of 1813, the American army had been organ- 
ized into three divisions — the Army of the North, commanded 
by Gen. Hampton, to operate in the vicinity of Lake Cham- 
plain ; the Army of the Center, under direction of the comman- 
der-in-chief, to resume offensive movements on the Niagara 
frontier and Lake Ontario; and the Army of the West, under 
command of Gen. Winchester, who was soon superseded by 
Gen. Harrison. Early in January, the last mentioned division, 
made up of various detachments of militia from the Western 
States, moved toward the head of Lake Erie to regain the 
ground lost by Gen. Hull in the previous summer. On the 10th 
of the month, the American advance, composed of 800 men un- 
der Winchester, reached the rapids of the Maumee River. A 
body of British and Indians was posted at Frenchtown, on the 
River Raisin, 30 miles from Winchester's camp. A detachment 
of Americans pressed forward, attacked the enemy on the 18th, 
captured the tow^n, encamped there, and on the 20th of the 
month were joined by Winchester and the main division. 

Two days afterward, the Americans were suddenly assault- 
ed by a force of 1500 British and Indians, under the command 
of Gen. Proctor. A severe battle was fought, each side losing 
nearly 300 men. The British were checked, and for a time the 
issue was doubtful, but Gen. Winchester having been taken by 
the enemy, advised his forces to capitulate under a pledge of 
protection given by Proctor and his subordinate. As soon as the 
surrender was made, the British general set off at a rapid rate 
to return to his headquarters at Maiden. The American 
wounded were left to the mercy of the savages, who at once 


began their work with tomahawks, scalping knives and torch- 
es. The two houses into which most of the wounded had 
been crowded were fired, while the painted barbarians stood 
around and hurled back into the flames, whoever attempted to 
escape. The rest of the prisoners were dragged away through 
untold sufferings, to Detroit, where they w^ere ransomed at an 
"enormous price. 

In the course of 1812, a certain Wm. Gould erected a shoe 
shop and David Stannard built a tavern. These establish- 
ments were erected in the vicinity of our present depot. An- 
other tavern was erected during the same year on the site of 
the old Alanson Lacy house. It was a log house, and almost 
as large as the building now^ standing. The owner was Matthew 
Lemon, and the day the house was raised, people came from 
Mt. Morris, Geneseo and other towns to assist in the work. In 
1817, Samuel Lacy and his son Elnathan purchased the place, 
paying .i<1600 for the house and 100 acres of land. Mr. Lemon 
went to Olean and afterward to Ohio, where he became a Meth- 
odist minister. Mr. Lacy tore down the log house in 1834 and 
erected the present frame building. He conducted the new 
house as a temperance tavern for several years, and eventually 
gave up the hotel business, thereafter the house bein^ used as a 
private residence. 

Soon after the arrival of Julius Curtiss and Seth Canfield, 
these gentlemen purchased a tract of land which embraced 
the greater part of the Village of Perry. The epidemic which 
prevailed throughout Western New York in 1813 caused the 
death of both of these men. Their mills and lands were then sold 
to Mr. Levi Benton. In 1817 this property passed into the 
hands of William Wiles. During the same year, John Ham- 
mersley sold his flouring and saw mills to Benjamin Gardner 
and Jonathan Child, who afterward removed to Rochester. In 
1828, Mr. Gardner erected a large grist mill and began the bus- 


iness of making flour for the eastern markets. This mill was 
put up by David Edgerly, an early contractor. Mr. Gardner's 
boss millwright was a Mr. Dazell, who came to Perry from 

Mr. Gardner was an aristocratic young gentleman and pos- 
sessed considerable means. His advent into Perry was destined 
to mean much to the early industrial development of the com- 
munity. Beside the flourino^ mill, he also owned and operated 
a cooper shop, an ashery, one or two other mills or shops, and 
a general store. He died on Dec. 27th, 1834, aged 45 years, 
after a short illness, and Perry lost one of the greatest of her 
earlier citizens. His remains were buried in the old cemetery. 
A few years ago, they were taken up and re-interred in Hope 
Cemetery. Mr. Gardner's residence is still standing in a good 
state of preservation on its original site, just to the rear of our 
present depot, and is owned at the present time by Mr. C. M. 
Smith. In its early days it must have been regarded as a beau- 
tiful home. A portion of it was his first store. 

In 1823, Wm. Wiles sold his mills and lands to Rufus H. 
Smith, who was an early settler of Perry and subsequently one 
of the Judges of Genesee County. 

In the summer of 1816, John Thompson, who had been in 
Perry but a short time, was drowned in Silver Lake. He had 
been across the lake to the home of Aaron Pond, seeking em- 
ployment. On his return trip, it is supposed that the large dog 
that he had with him, upset the canoe. Mr. Thompson is sup- 
posed to have been the first white person drowned in Silver 

Thomas Edgerly came to Perry from New Hampshire in 
1814 and took up a large farm. In 1818 he helped in the erec- 
tion of a hotel in the village, and kept it for a period of four 
years. Mr. Edj^erly also established himself in business, pur- 




chasing his goods in Utica and bringing them to Perry with 
foiir-horse teams. While engaged in conducting his store, he 
succeeded James Edgerly as local postmaster. He died in 1837. 

A partial list of other pioneers who were early settlers in 
Perry, follow^s : 

Philip Sparling, 
Almona Hart, 
Elkanah Bates, 
Thomas Toan, 


Charles Leonard, 
Gamaliel Leonard, 
Ralph Ward, 
Jabez Ward, 
Lemuel Blackmer, 
Abram Avery, 
Richard Buell, 
Noah D. Sanger, 
John Squires. 
Graham Benedict, 
William True, 
Norman Blakeslee, 
Warren Buckland, 
Jabez Brigham, 
Capt. Pat. McEntee, 
Cassander Watrous, 
Mark Andrews, 
Samuel Waldo, 
Septimuss Smith, 

D. Richards, 
Caleb Phillips, 
John Mclntyre, 
Salmon Preston, 

■ Ensign, 

David Moss, 
Jesse Moss, 

G. Waldo, 
M. Burt, 
Gideon Tabor, 
Pardon Tabor, 

E. Sheldon, 
Horace Sheldon, 
Nath'l Howard, 
Samuel Howard, 
Jacob Reed, 
Daniel Calkins, 
J. H. Hollister, 
J. D. Taylor, 
Levi Silver, 
Abram Hamsley, 


John Olin, 

Freeman Gates, 
Greenlief C^ark, 
Noeh Baron, 
Daniel Dickerson, 
Trueman Alverson, 
S. Hosford. 
Isaac Rudgers, 
A. Hosford, 
Robert Moore. 
Arwin Olin. 
Jacob Nevins, 
Moses Wooley, 
H. Kingsley, 
Richard Aherson, 
Samuel Benedict, 
Hugh Glasgow, 
G. Glasgow, 
Jonathan Handley, 

and Otis Higgins, 
Nahum Phillips, 
Samuel SafL'ord, 
Allen Buckland. 

During the early settlement of the town the deer were 
plentiful, and bears and wolves were a great pest. It was 
almost impossible to keep sheep and hogs. Of five large hogs 
owned by Mr. Amos Otis, the bears killed four ; but Mr. Otis had 
the satisfaction of killing as many bears as he had had hogs 



Game and fish from Silver Lake greatly helped the settlers 
in the early years in the way of food, especially in the cold 
years of 1816 and 1817. Frost occurred every month of the 
year 1816. Ice formed to the thickness of an inch in May. 
Snow fell to a depth of three inches in New York on the 5th 
of July. Corn w^as frozen to such an extent that the greater 
part was cut in August and dried for fodder, and the farmers 
supplied themselves from the corn produced in 1815 for the 
seeding of the Spring of 1817. 

In the issue of the Wyoming Times, an early local publica- 
tion, of the date of Feb. 13th, 1856, Mr. Otis related the story 
of a bear hunt which took place in the vicinity of Perry about 
the year 1815. It follows : 

"I had some sport in seeing a couple of Indian hunters 
kill a bear. During the fall of a light snow they had struck on 
the trail of a bear, which was followed about a mile, when they 
found that he had ascended a large chestnut tree and gone into 
a hole about 25 feet from the ground, where he had evidently 
designed to take up his winter quarters ; but he was foiled in 
his expectations, for the following morning the Indians gave 
me and another neighbor an invitation to go with them and see 
them kill the bear. Arriving at the tree, the first business was to 
build a fire. They then proceeded to make an Indian ladder. 
This was done by cutting a sapling about 7 or 8 inches in dia- 
meter and trimming off the limbs, leaving them about a foot 
long. Then, with our help, they raised it up against the tree. 
They cut a small pole about 15 feet long, and having procured 
some elm bark which was torn into strips, everything was 
ready. One of them climbed the ladder and the other drew 
from the fire some blazing brands, which he tied up with strips 
of bark and attached them to the small pole. He handed them 
to the other Indian, who put them into the hole and they fell 
to the bottom of the tree, where Bruin lay in sound sleep. This 
was a warm reception for poor Bruin, who, after receiving two 
or three more bunches of firebrand, began to ascend the tree. 
The Indian on the ladder immediately came down, and taking 
their rifles, they placed themselves one on each side of the 


tree, a few rods distant and waited for the bear to make his 
appearance. This he did in a short space of time. Putting his 
head out of the hole, he looked about with a ^reat deal of indig- 
nation to see who had been so abusive as to disturb him in his 
slumbers. After looking for a short time, he crawled out on a 
limb of the tree, immediately over the hole, where he became a 
fine target for the Indians' rifles. At a given signal they both 
fired at him, when he instantly fell to the ground and ex- 

Another incident of the early days is well worth repeating 
rt this time. In the year 1808, Mr. Benjamin Parker, who had 
located in the ToAvn of Warsaw, made a trip through this sec- 
tion on foot. Upon his return through the forest that covered 
nearly the whole region between the Transit and Perry Center, 
he met seven bears — three old ones and four cubs. Having no 
other weapon than a large club, he struck one of the bears, 
breaking his club. """^ith no alternative he was obliged to 
i-etreat and took refug. in a small tree. His cry for help was 
heard by Elisha Smith, though nearly a mile distant, and 
forthwith he went to the rescue, armed with an axe and gun, 
accompanied by his d i g. The four cubs and two of the bears 
were soon treed, and as it was quite dark, fires were kindled 
to prevent their escajje. In the morning, the tAVO bears were 
shot and the cubs w^ere taken alive. 

During the early years, rattlesnakes were very numerous 
and many persons were bitten by them. The cases were suc- 
cessfully treated by Tall Chief, an Indian doctor who resided 
at Squawkie Hill, in the Town of Leicester. The settlers hunt- 
ed and attacked the snakes in their dens and soon thinned 
them out. 


Anecdotes of Calvin P. Bailey, one of the Most Prominent Early 
Settlers — Perry's First Tavern— Early Settlers of Castile — 
Perry's Pioneer Physicians — Town Meetings at Perry Center. 

Mr. Calvin P. Bailey arrived in Perry in 1816, bringing his 
family and a stock of merchandise. He formed a partnership 
with his brother-in-law, Samuel Hatch (father of our towns- 
man, S. A. Hatch) and opened a store on the site of the present 
Hatch block on the corner of Main and Covington streets, now 
occupied by Roche's grocery, and the firm became Perry's 
first permanent merchants, although, as stated previously, 
James C. Edgerly had brought in a few goods. Mr. Bailey was 
a son of Charles and Martha Bailey and was born in Newbury, 
Vt., in 1792. In 1814 he married Sybil, daughter of John and 
Waitsell Hatch, of Hardwick, Vt. Eight children were born 
of the union. Mr. Bailey continued in the mercantile and gen- 
eral business until his retirement from active pursuits. In the 
year 1828 he was elected to represent his district in the State 
Assembly, and in 1840 he was chosen as delegate to the 
National Convention which placed the name of William Henry 
Harrison in nomination for the Presidency, on which occasion 
Mr. Bailey proposed the name of Henry Clay for the nomina- 
tion, but he was defeated. Mr. Bailey was also the delegate 
representing Wyoming and Genesee counties at the National 
Convention of the Whigs, held in Baltimore in 1844. 

A story is told of Mr. Bailey's first speech in the Assembly. 
Notwithstanding the fact that it was a good address, a member 
of the opposite party desiring to ridicule him, arose following 
the address and remarked : "Gentlemen, I have often heard of 
the Genesee Flats, but this is the first time I was ever privi- 
leged to see and hear one." 


Mr. Bailey was a man of force and positive nature. He 
never brooked interference and resented opposition. A story 
is told that at one time he was having a small bridge built 
across the outlet, near the old tannery site, probably at the 
time that he was road commissioner. He was assisting a man in 
laying plank and was standing near the end of a plank about 
to be spiked to the stringer. He told the man to go and bring 

a certain tool, and when the man said, ''If I do, you'll " 

Mr. Bailey commanded him to "Get that tool !" The man obeyed 
stepping off the other end of the plank, and Mr. Bailey 
plumped into the outlet with a great splash. He came up 
spluttering and was assisted to the bridge by his helper, but 
Mr. Bailey realized that the man had simply obej^ed orders and 
he said nothing in condemnation and took his medicine philoso- 
phically. But the story has lived to this day. 

Mr. Bailey was a man of generous and philanthropic 
nature, especially in contributing funds for local institutions. 
He paid nearly one-half of the expense of building the old 
Presbyterian Church, although he was not affiliated with the 
church society. His sons — John H. and Charles W. — were 
among the first college graduates of the town. 

. In 1824, Bailey & Hatch erected an oil mill, and in 1827 a 
grist mill. In 1836, Mr. Bailey and one other erected the block 
now occupied by Koche's grocery and Chaddock's hard- 
ware. All of the stone used in the construction of this building 
was hauled overland from Brockport, N. Y. The block was an 
advance over any building that had been erected in the town. 
At the time of the big fire of 1856, which will be described in an- 
other chapter, Mr. Bailey kept the roof from taking fire at 
great risk to himself. It is about the oldest building in the bus- 
iness section, as nearly all of the rest have been burned at some 
time or other. Mr. Bailey died at his residence on North Main 
street on Sept. 8th, 1860. His wife died in 1872. His home oc- 


eupiod the site of the present residence of Mr. and Mrs. J. N. 
AVyckoff (the former M. H. Olin property,) and the original 
bnilding was raoved to Water street, where it is. now used as 
a Polish grocery. 

Following the opening of the general store by Bailey & 
Hatch, other mercantile firms came in rapidly, and soon stores 
covered a good share of the northern part of our present busi- 
ness district. 

Warsaw, Batavia, LeRoy and Perry were the four towns 
in this section favored as centers of trade in the early days. Few 
^•oods were sold for cash ; almost the whole trade was on credit 
or barter basis. Notes were made payable in grain, lumber, 
cattle, etc. Maple sugar formed an important article of trade 
for many years, constituting the principal source of sweetening. 
Ashes from burnt timber formed another of the most important 
articles of trade, and after being converted into black salts, 
was one of the most valuable commodities at the command of 
the inhabitants. Containing much value in small bulk, they 
could be easily transported, and commanded a ready market. 

In reading old newspaper advertisements of Perry's early 
business men, it is a noteworthy feature that all classes of deal- 
ers advertised to take furs, lumber, dairy products, in fact any- 
thing raised by the settlers in exchange for furniture, groceries, 
hardware, or anything else held by them for sale. Even the 
editor of one of Perry's earliest newspapers offered to take 
"wheat, corn, hay, wood, pork or lard" from those who were 
indebted to him. That cash was scarce is evident, and most 
business was conducted, as before stated, on the swap plan. 

As previously stated, the Town of Perry was incorporated 
in 1814. In that year the first town meeting was held at the 
tavern kept by Peter Beebe at Perry Center, and the following 
named officers were chosen: Supervisor, Jairus Cruttenden 


(who had settled in that portion of Perry which was afterward 
taken off in forming the Town of Covington.) Town Clerk, 
Warren Buckland. Collector and Constable, Salmon Preston. 
Justices of the Peace, Robert Moore, Pardon Tabor, Levi Ben- 
ton and James Symonds. 

For several years after the formation of the town, the 
people were obliged to go to Batavia for the most of their public 
business, that town being the county seat, embracing most of 
the towns now included in Wyoming County. 

Town meetings were held at Perry Center regularly until 
about 40 years ago. As the Village of Perry grew in population, 
there was more or less agitation about changing the meetino^ 
place to the village, but because of the small attendance of the 
villagers at these meetings, the Perry Center people managed to 
defeat the proposition as regularly as it came to vote. On one 
occasion, however, prominent citizens of the village succeeded 
in getting together a sufficient number and carried the meas- 
ure. After the proposition had been voted upon a number of 
the villagers arose in th6 ir ^lee and started for Perry, without 
waiting for the adjournment of the meeting. One of the sly 
Perry Center politicians, who had been quietly taking in the 
situation, arose and made a motion that they rescind the pre- 
vious action. The motion was promptly seconded and carried, 
much to the chagrin of the remaining Perryites, who were 
thus forced to journey to the Center for their next annual 

The first tavern at Perry Center was built by Peter Beebe 
in about the year 1809. It was constructed of logs and stood 
on the ground now occupied by the residence of Chas. Ball. Mr. 
Beebe conducted the log tavern a few years, then had it torn 
down and erected in its place a framed building which he used 
for many years as a hotel. It was eventually closed, sold and 


removed to land owned by Mr. W. 0. Newcomb, and by Mm 
converted into a dwelling house. On the northwest of the four 
corners, a framed hotel Avas erected by a certain Mr. Atwood. 
This was conducted by various parties as a hotel until 1858. 
It was subsequently purchased by I\Ir. Wm. H. Hawley, Sr., 
and used by him as a dwelling house. The first store at Perry 
Center was established by Mr. Pierce of Avon, with John D. 
Lan^don as his clerk. The building stood on the southwest 
of the four corners. Among the early settlers of that vicinity 
was Samuel Satford, born in Connecticut on Nov. 2-ith, 1788. 
In 1810, at the age of 21 years, he went as an American seaman 
to the Island of Cuba, and served four years before the mast. 
In 1818 he started for New York and came to Buffalo Corners 
by way of Bethany, walking a distance of 400 miles, carrying a 
pack on his back. After securing a place at Buffalo Corners, 
he returned to Connecticut with his brother-in-law, Sidney 
Morse, and shortly afterward started again for Perry, with an 
ox team and a horse ahead, drawing a covered wagon. His 
family consisted of his wife and two sons — Amos and Harding, 
aged 4 and 2 years, respectively. They arrived at Buffalo Cor- 
ners on October 14th, 1818. He afterward erected a small store 
at the Corners and mail matter was left there in his care. Many 
a homeseeker w^as made welcome at his humble abode, and he 
was urged to build a tavern. He died on October 23d, 1880, 
aged 92 years, and was buried with his family in Prospect Hill 
Cemetery at the Center. Bulfalo Corners derived its name 
from the fact that it was in early days a prominent point on the 
main traveled road between Buffalo and Albany. 

Levi Silver, Sr., was born in New England and spent his 
earh^ married life at Lempster, N. H. After a few years he 
inoved to Sutton, Vt., from whence he came in 1815 to Perry. 
His brother-in-law, Captain Peter Atwood, whose wife was Abi- 
gail Silver, had previously settled near what is now Perry Yil- 


lage and about a mile from a beautiful little lake called ''Silver 
Lake," named, no doubt, partly from these settlers as well as 
because of the clearness of its waters. Captain Atwood drove 
to Vermont to bring the family, which consisted of Mr. and Mrs. 
Levi Silver and nine children. 

Levi Silver moved in 1820 to the farm in the west part of 
the town, now owned and occupied by George Humphrey. Here, 
in 1821, he built the house as it now stands (with the exeception 
of the porches and slight changes inside,) which was used as a 
tavern for many years. His wife, Susan Nichols Silver, was 
noted for her famous warmed potatoes, and many a traveler 
made it a point to reach the Silver Tavern on account of this 
attraction. At that time, Samuel Perkins of Warsaw drove the 
stage from Warsaw to Geneseo and put up at this tavern. Mrs. 
Silver lived to the ripe old age of 99 years. 

Many of the early settlers of the Town of Perry, including 
the Otis, Kingsley, Blanchard, Bacon, Stowell, Dickerson and 
Wiles families, located in the vicinity of West Perry. Soon a 
thriving and prosperous community was established. In the 
late 30 's the little hamlet at the corners boasted a school, a gen- 
eral store, a tavern, a shoe shop, a distillery, and a blacksmith 
and wagon-making establishment. It was also the birthplace 
of a man who became famous as an artist, whose son has 
achieved even greater fame than his father. Lemuel M. Wiles 
was born in West Perry on October 21st, 1826. In 1847 he was 
graduated from the New York State Normal School, and later 
he was for ten years director of the College of Fine Arts, Ing- 
ham University, LeRoy, N. Y. After leaving that institution he 
was director of the Art Department of Nashville University, 
Nashville, Tenn. He was a splendid instructor and was noted 
as a landscape painter. Prof. Wiles erected a large building 
on the west side of Silver Lake, which he conducted for several 
years as a Summer Art School, where instruction was given to 


many pupils from a distance as well as from this section of the 
State. His son, Prof. Irving R. Wiles, is one of the most noted 
portrait painters in the country, and a prominent artist of New 
York City. 

As Castile was a part of Perry until Feb. 27th, 1821, the 
following early history of that place is given : The first settle- 
ment was begun about 1808 or 1809, b}^ Daniel McKay of Cale- 
donia, who erected a saw mill on Wolf Creek, in the southeast- 
ern part of the town. About the same time, Robert Whaley 
removed from Caledonia and settled on the Allegany Road, a 
short distance from the center of the present Town of Castile. 
Mr. Whaley had charge of the saw mill, which was about one- 
half mile from the mouth of the creek, on the Cotringer tract. 
This mill was stocked with the fine logs purchased from Mary 
Jemison, and the lumber was transported to the river's high 
bank, where there was a slide by which it was conveyed to the 
river, thence floated down to the older settlements. Mr. Whaley 
opened a tavern at his place of residence, and for many years 
the "Whaley Stand" Avas widely known and patronized by 
the settlers of this and other parts of the country farther west. 
In 1816 a severe calamity occurred at this pioneer tavern. Mr. 
Whaley had removed to his mill and rented the house to a Mr. 
Eldredge. Several men from LeRoy put up there for the night, 
when the house took fire and two of the men perished in the 
flames. The house was rebuilt, and in 1817 Mr. Whaley occu- 
pied it, passing away there soon afterward. His widow con- 
tinued the business for a number of years. 

The first settlers at the village were Ziba Hurd and Jona- 
than Gilbert, who came from Vermont in 1816. Among other 
early settlers were Clark Sanford, Jacob Kellogg and his two 
brothers, A. Pond, James Thompson, William Tripp, Dow I. 
Clute, Charles Tallman, Freeman Sanford, Ebenezer Seymour 
and Sylvester Derby. A settlement was begun at an early day 


in the western part of the town, near Silver Lake, called the 
"Tallman Settlement." The first birth in the toAvn was that 
of Jane McKay in 1813 ; the first death was that of Laura 
Wilcox in 1815; the first school was taught by Anna Bennett, 
who came from Vermont in 1816. The first grist mill was 
built by John Card and Sylvester Lathrop on Lot No. 40 in 
1820. The first store was kept by Lemuel Eldridge and M. E. 
Frost in 1815. In 1821 a postoffice was established, and Mr. 
Ilurd was appointed postmaster. During the same year he was 
also elected as Castile's first supervisor. The first religious 
services were held near the south end of Silver Lake in 1816 by 
Rev. Benjamin Luther of the Baptist denomination. A 
Christian Society was organized in 1819 ; a Presbyterian Society 
in 1824; also a Methodist Society in the same year. The Bap- 
tist Society was organized in 1835. 

The water power furnished by Wolf Creek, and the abund- 
ance of fine timber in the vicinity gave great activity to the 
lumber business for many years. At one period, not less than 
14 saw mills were located on this creek. When Mr. Clark San- 
ford settled in the town in 1816, Mary Jemison was living near 
the Genesee River, a mile below St. Helena. Castile Village at 
that time contained about half a dozen framed houses and a 
few log ones. Dr. Child kept a small store in the village at that 

In 1817 a landslide occurred and about 25 acres of the 
present town of Castile slid into the Genesee River, damming 
it and causing a permanent change in its course. 

Before the village took the name of Castile it was known 
first as Rickettsville, then as Freemansburg, and later as Oak- 


To the late Amos Otis, who settled in Perry in 1810, and 
who kept a diary containing particular record of early events, 
numerous extracts from which were published in the Wyoming 
Times of 1856, we are indebted for many of the facts which ap- 
pear in this history. 

Dr. Jabez Ward was the first physician to settle within the 
Town of Perry. He was a son of Ralph and Lorain Ward and 
was born on Feb. 3d, 1788. He came here and located just 
east of Perry Center in 1813. Dr. Ward received his education 
in the east, being licensed to practice bj^ the Connecticut Medi- 
cal Society. A pleasant picture of good old Dr. Ward is given 
by one of the old Perry Center boys — Edward A. Sheldon, Ph. 
D., founder of the State Normal School at Oswego, N. Y. — in a 
reminiscence of the old home church and community, written 
on June 25th, 1889. He said : "Among those who made a strong 
impression upon my young life was Dr. Jabez Ward, one of 
the original organizers of the (Perry Center) church. He was 
our family physician, as he was of nearly all of the families of 
the town. He was a man of marked and rare traits of charac- 
ter. He may be justly termed a unique man. His duplicate 
would be hard to find. He was a cheerful, and we might al- 
most say, a jolly man. His best remedies for the sick were not 
to be found in his saddlebags. I cannot say that I ever enjoyed 
the latter, with its unswallow^able pills and picra, but I was 
ever willing to endure them for the sake of a visit from one 
whose presence was such pleasant and wholesome medicine for 
both the body and soul. He cut an odd figure on his old horse 
as he threw his arms up and down and his heels out and in, as 
if in frantic effort to Avaken an animal that appeared to be in 
a jogging slumber. I am sure that both horse and rider took 
many of their naps on the road. So thoroughly was the horse 
habituated to a certain gait that any ordinary nap would not 
in the least interfere with his measured step. The rider often 


fell from his horse in his sleep, but he was too much of a phil- 
osopher ever to be hurt by such falls. He knew too well the 
danger of saddle-girths and efforts to save oneself from the ef- 
fects of a fall, to expose himself by the presence of the former, 
or by yielding to the natural impulses to rely on the latter for 
protection. He ahvays went to the ground like a bag of sand, 
and his saddle with him, with no harm to wind or limb. The 
only harm that ever followed wa.^ the trouble of throwing on 
the saddle and leading the horse to a fence and remounting. 
His happy repartee and stories made him an agreeable com- 
panion alike to old and young. He was a man of strong affec- 
tions and deep religious feelings, and his influence for good 
was felt in every home he visited, as well as in the church in 
which he presided as an officer." 

The story that is told in connection with the last illness 
of Dr. Ward portrays the character of his whole life of service 
and self-sacrifice. In July, 1843, he was seized with pneumonia, 
a result, perhaps, of exposure on some errand of mercy. The 
disease progressed, and he laid on his bed in a serious condi- 
tion. Two 3^oung friends were sitting up with him, giving him 
the needed medicine from time to time. As the hours passed 
slowly by, the watchers became drowsy and slept in their 
chairs. A knock came at the door, unheard by the young men, 
but the ready ear of the sick man heard, and he arose and an- 
swered the summons. It was a messenger with an urgent call 
from one of his patients a mile or so away. Perhaps the Doctor 
did not realize the seriousness of his own condition. At all 
events, he left the house, his own Avatchers still sleeping, and at- 
tended the ease with his customary success. When he returned to 
his own bed, he was carefid not to disturb the slumbers of the 
tired young friends. In the morning the doctor was worse, 
undoubtedly due to his midnight ride, and a day or two later, 


®n the 16th of the month, he passed away. His remains were 
buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery at Perry Center. 

Dr. Ward's old account books reveal a life of hard work 
with very small return. The people whom he served were 
nearly all poor, hard working citizens. When the difference 
between the time of his arrival in Perry and the present date 
is considered, it will not be imagined that the Doctor led an 
easier life than did the pioneer who leveled the forest and 
cleared the land. The population at that time was scattered 
over wide extent of territory. There were a few roads which 
at the present time wovdd be called miserable, but which at that 
period were considered good. Sometimes, the Doctor in making 
his calls was forced to follow a path which had been cut 
through the woods, and in which the stumps had been left 
standing ; or, perhaps, the way was only marked with an ax cut 
or a brand upon the trees. At other times he would follow 
the lighted torch of a settler who had come in the night to guide 
him to the afflicted household. 

The task of procuring medicines was a serious one for the 
early practitioner. The supply had to be purchased six months 
or a year in advance, as the pioneer merchant made but one 
or two trips east in the course of a year. When the supply was 
exhausted, the Doctor was forced to rely upon the roots, barks, 
herbs, etc., which grew in the forest. 

The patient of today has a much easier time in his illness 
than did his forefathers. Antiseptics were unknown, and a 
severe surgical operation meant practically certain death. Nor 
was there ether, choloroform or other anesthetics for the relief 
of pain. Bleeding was resorted to for numerous afflictions, 
such as headaches, fevers, inflammations, etc. We of this later 
period may congratulate ourselves that the practice of medicine 
and surgery has been raised to a much higher standard than 



was thought possible, due to research and discovery on broader 
and more scientific educational lines. 

Dr. Jacob Nevins was born in Danville, Vt., January 28, 1788. He re- 
ceived his medical education at St. Johnsbury, Vt, coming to Perry later and 
locating on the farm now owned by his son, Hon, B. A. Nevins. He died on 
September 28th, 1860. 

Dr. Jacob Nevins was the second physician to settle in the 
town, coming in the year 1816. Dr. Ezra Child was the first 
physician to locate in the village. He resided here a short time 
and then emigrated to the State of Indiana. Doctors Otis Hig- 
gins and Mason G. Smith were also early practitioners in Perry. 
Dr. Higgins came in 1818 and practiced his profession in this 
immediate vicinity until his death in 1844. 



Geo. L. Keeney, M. D., was a son of Josiah and Phoebe Keeney. He 
was born in 1809 and died on Dec. 31st, 1869. His parents were natives of 
Conneticut and located in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania, in the latter part 
of the 18th century. The doctor graduated from Yale College in 1832, and 
during that year entered upon the practice of his profession in Perry, where, 
in 1835, he married Ann, daughter of William and Hannah Dolbeer. 


Perry Three-quarters of a Century Ago — Days of the Mail Coach — 
Manufacturing Concerns and Business Places — Early Educa- 
tional Institutions — Musical Organizations. 

Between the years of 1810 and 1820, the populaticn of the 
town increased rapidly, particularly after tiie war w!lh Eng- 
land had closed. The next decade, from 1820 to 1830, rhowed 
still more rapid progress in all respects. The whole of Western 
New York was now well filled, comj^aratively speaking. It 
was during this period that the Erie Canal was completed. The 
rich and fertile "Genesee Countr}^" had become well known. 
Tlie extreme hardships of the pioneer had entirely passed. The 
facilities for travel by the completion of the canal were greatly 
improved, and a more ready sale of the products of the soil re- 
sulted in bringing from New England and the eastern and mid- 
dle sections of New York a larger number of people than at 
any previous time. During the next ten years, from 1830 to 
1840, the largest population in Perry's rural districts was 
shown, and it has never since been exceeded. Although, since 
that period the rural population has diminished, we have since 
1840 constantly improved our farms and buildings, beautified 
our homes, increased our religious and educational privileges 
and facilities, added to the comforts of life and gained in posi- 
tion, influence and general prosperity. 

Now let us take a glance at the Village of Perry and see 
it as it was about three-quarters of a century ago, between the 
years of 1840 and 1845. At that time Perry possessed neither 
a bank, a railroad, a telegraph nor a telephone line ; but people 
listened daily for the toot of the horn of the mail coach, as 
drawn by four horses it dashed through the streets and finally 



South view in Perry village. 

The above picture is a reproduction from an old gazeteer of the State of 
New York, pubHshed in the early 40's, and is a view from the south, looking 
north. It shows Lake street at the extreme left, also the M. E. Church and 
District Union School. The church at that time faced a road connecting 
Lake and Covington streets. The "National Hotel" shown is the building 
removed for the Wise block and remodeled into the Hotel Covington. The 
building at the left of the hotel is the present Record office, removed and 
remodeled, from the site of the Garrison (now Austin) block. These two 
buildings are among the oldest frame business buildings in the village. As 
may be noted, there were at that time no buildings between the hotel and 
the Bailey block, now occupied by Roche's grocery. The Presbyterian and 
Baptist churches are shown in the distance. At the extreme right may be 
seen the porch of the hotel conducted by A. B. Walker. It was destroyed by 
fire in 1857 and its site is now occupied by The Tavern. 

came to a stop in front of the old National Hotel, kept by 
Tlioiiias Livingston, near the corner of Main and Lake streets. 

B}^ the mail coach people found a means to visit other 
toivns or receive and send money, goods, etc. J. A. McElwain 
was the proprietor of the line which ran from Perry to Can- 
andaigua, eastward, passing through Moscow, Geneseo, Li- 
vonia, Richmond and Bristol, at that time all of them being 


places of considerable size. A line also ran from Perry to Buf- 
falo, by way of Buffalo Corners, Avest, via Orangeville, Sheldon, 
Wales, Aurora and Hamburg; one from Perry to Jamestown, 
via Pike and Ellicottville. The Warsaw and Batavia line pass- 
ed through Wyoming and Bethany and connected at Batavia 
with the New Y^ork Central Railroad. There was also a mail 
line to Sardinia via Gainesville, Orangeville, and Java. Those 
were the days that made the hearts of the tavern-keepers re- 
joice, for business w^as business, and there was plenty of it. 
Between Castile and Geneseo were 11 taverns, all well patron- 
ized, and "full every night" was a common expression. As one 
travels the highways today in almost any direction, he may 
observe the buildings whose peculiar appearance marks them 
as being taverns of the early days, now remodeled to make 
them as nearly as possible into the modern residence. 

Following is a list of the business places conducted at the 
time of which we write. Of groceries there were five, con- 
ducted respectively by H. A. Barton, R. Stratton, B. B. Hicks, 
Jivah Higgins, and Hicks & Bailey. The dry goods firms also 
numbered five, being two more than at the present time, viz : 
Parsons & Clark, John H. Bailey, G. L. Davis, Rufus H. Smith 
and S. W. Merrill & Sons. 

Aplin & Owen and F. J. & N. Bullard manufactured har- 
ness and saddlery. Mr. Bullard conducted his business for over 
30 years from this time. 

Tailors were plenty, and prices for fashionable goods were 
much lower than at the present time. The list of tailors com- 
prised J. L. Wilson, Charles Wing, Hutchinson & Rockwell, 
and J. B. Farmer. 

The boot and shoe dealers were John Ten Eyek, E. Hig- 
gins & Son, W. J. Chapin & Co., and Peter Alberty. 


C. 0. Buddington manufactured hats and caps. One of the 
liats made by him is on exhibition at the Log Cabin near the 
Walker grounds at Silver Lake, and bears only a slight re- 
semblance to the modern styles. 

The milliners were in full force, and had representatives 
in the persons of ]Mrs. Catherine Bayne, Mrs. Polh^ Higgins, 
Miss Martha Shearman, and Z. & S. BuUard. ]\Iiss Shearman 
continued her business in the same building, on the site of the 
present Sage garage, until about the year 1880. 

The physicians were : Z. W. Joslyn, Mason G. Smith (who 
also occupied the position of Justice of the Peace and issued 
prescriptions and subpoenas at the same time;) G. L. Keeney 
and Otis Higgins. 

The cabinet makers and furniture dealers Avere : David A. 
Shirley, Hooper & Battre, and A. S. Horton. Mr. Buttre re- 
ma ineci in business until about 1885. 

John Carr and W. and Wm. Dolbeer carried on the busi- 
ness of carriage and wagon making. 

Hicks & Bailey and A. Otis & Son managed the two 
foundries and did a vast amount of custom work. 

Of lawj^ers. Perry had a large number, the legal business 
of that period being of greater proportion than at present. We 
find the names of I. N. Stoddard, J. J. Pettit, Wm. Mitchell 
(who was also Surrogate;) L. A. Hayward and Levi Gibbs. 

E. C. Pease was a barber who advertised as follows : 

"Those gents who would be shaved in a trice, 
And have their hair cut and combed very nice ; 
Who would have all done with most perfect ease, 
Will not go amiss to call on E. C. Pease." 

Wm. Taylor and Henry E. Homan attended to the butcher 
business and had first-class markets on Main street. 


E. M. Kimball and James Hmitijigton sold watches, clocks, 
jewelry and accordeons. 

Stephen Sherman attended to house and sign painting. Jos- 
iah Andrews had a land office. David Mitchell sold drugs and 
medicines. A. B. Wall er conducted a livery stable. A. D. 
Smilh attended to Uncle Sam's affairs at the postoffice, with 
Henry N. Page as deputy. Marcus D. Smith attended to car- 
riage painting and trimming, and was considered the "boss 
trimmer'' in this section. 

Perry had four flouring mills, viz: The one known as "The 
Lower Mill," because of its location on the outlet, was operated 
by Hatch & Bailey; the second mill, operated by N. Severence 
& Co. ; the third mill by Rufus H. Smith ; and where Tomlin- 
son's mill now is, E. B. Sacket Avith George L. Davis in charge 
as agent, conducted the business. 

Perry had a curious genius in those days in the person of 
Levi S. Mitchell, who was better and more familiarly known as 
"Corporal" Mitchell, and who conducted a small restaurant 
on what was called "The Sweeney plan." His capital was so 
limited that he was compelled to borrow funds of his younger 
patrons whenever the traveling oyster vendor came on his 
monthly trip. Now, Judge Rufus H, Smith, who was his land- 
lord, would early discover that the "Corporal" had made a 
raise among the boys and laid in his stock of bivalves, and 
quietly giving the word to his friends to assemble, the Judge 
would walk in and call for oysters. After disposing of all that 
the "Corporal" had in stock, the Judge would tell him to 
"Chalk it down on rent," thus demolishing the latter 's bank 
account and business at one fell swoop, whi^e the young men 
who had furnished "the needful" were ( ompelled to take 
buckwheat cakes or boiled eggs for their j uy, instead of the 
choice oysters at "one-and-six" per plate, for which their 
mouths had watered. 


T. Prawl and Philander Simmons conducted two extensive 
blacksmith shops and had a thriving business. 

One of the largest tanneries in the western part of the 
State was the one at Perry, operated by W. J. Chapin, Jairus 
Moffett and Brown. 

Elisha Briggs managed the patent picket fence factory 
doAvn the "Creek Read," as it was called. 

Rufus H. Smith owned the carding mill, and George Col- 
burn acted as manager, with 15 hands in their employ. 

Perry boasted of three saw mills, one OAvned by R. 11, 
Smith and operated by Charles Hope and Aaron Axtell, Sr., 
one by James Shearman, at the upper dam ; and one by Ashall 
Shaw at the middle dam. 

Ed. Root conducted a livery stable and toy store, and daily 
created more fun than all of the clowns in the circus business 
could manufacture in a whole season. 

Bailey & Hatch managed quite an extensive flaxseed oil 
mill, using for that purpose a three-story building and employ- 
ing seven men. Davis & Sacket had a large distillery and ash- 
ery at the middle dam. Two cooper shops were doing busi- 
ness here, one operated by Beriah Brown and the other by 
Luther Bacheldor, each having a large business. 

Perry had a select school kept by Mrs. Harriet Massette, 
also an academic school on Covington street, with J. C. Yander- 
cook as principal, and Miss R. Grisew^ood as assistant. . Their 
terms of tuition were very moderate, as may be noted by one 
of their advertisements, from which we quote : ' ' Tuition per 
term of 11 wrecks : In the First Department, for Spelling, Read- 
ing and Rudiments of Geography, with varied oral exercises in 


various other branches. . .$1.50. The above, with Rudiments 
of Grammar, Arithmetic, Orthography, etc. . .$2.00. The above, 
with advanced classes in Grammar, Geography, Arithmetic, 
Composition and Penmanship. . .$2.50. In the Higher Depart- 
ment: For all common English Branches, with Composition, 
Declamation, Natural Philosophy, History, Rhetoric, Logic and 
Book-Keeping. . .$3.00. The above, with Intellectual Philo- 
sophy, Moral Science, Chemistry, Astronomy, Algebra, Survey- 
ing, Geometry, Rudiments of Latin and French Languages, 
etc . . . $4.00. Lessons will also be given in Sketching, Land- 
scape, Oriental and Mezzotinto Drawing and Painting on terms 
to suit the convenience of those washing to take the lessons. 
i\Ir. Yandercook will also organize classes at the request of 
mechanics, clerks, apprentices, and any others, to give them in- 
struction at any time they may choose, aside from the regular 
hours for school, as his principal wish is to make himself truly 
useful in his calling and benefit all with whom he may asso- 

There was also a select school kept by Miss Harriet Ham- 
mond ; and a district school with T. S. Loomis, principal, who 
had four assistants. This school had an enrollment of 350 

A very popular society, known as "The Perry Musical As- 
sociation," was in existence at this time, with the following 
named officers: President, James McEntee; First Vice-Presi- 
dent, Alanson Lapham; Second Vice-President, Gilbert Mit- 
chell; Secretary, E. G. Billings. 

In May, 1844 a terrible hail storm occurred here, which 
practically ruined all of the crops. Stones weighing one ounce 
each were picked up on Main street.. 


The Countryman was being published in Perry at this per- 
iod. A perusal of a copy of this paper reveals an almost entire 
absence of local items, the greater part of the paper being 
made up of advertisements and foreign news. The Country- 
man was a six column sheet and contained but nine columns of 
reading matter, being in marked contrast to the local papers 
of the present, with their many columns of live community news 
and interesting miscellanj^ And yet the patrons of The 
Countryman were glad to pay $3.00 per year for even such a 
paper as that. The editor, Mr. D. S. Curtis, called on his pat- 
rons to either "pay postage on communications or get them 
franked, as we cannot stand the expense." The joke will be 
seen when it is understood that persons could send all the mail 
thej^ chose and were not compelled to prepay postage, the fol- 
lowing being the rates of postage charged at the time : Under 
30 miles, 6c ; over 30 miles and under 80, 10c ; over 80 miles 
and under 150, I2V2Q; over 150 and under 400, 18%c; over 400 
miles, 25c ; with double rates for every additional sheet of 
paper, without regard to the weight. As a consequence, no 
envelopes were used, the letter being folded, and sealed with a 
wafer, and directed on the back. 

Horse racing was one of the most popular sports of the 
early 40 's. At this period and until the construction of the 
race track at the fair grounds, races were held on South Main 
street, the course being from the top of the " Universalist Hill" 
to Needham's woods. That horse racing was considered a 
man's sport by the local editor, at least, is the conclusion nec- 
essarily reached from the following which we copy in its en- 
tirety from the issue of the American Citizen, published in 
Perry by Mitchell & Lewis, dated Sept. 27th, 1837. 

''We perceive by handbills in circulation that our Gaines- 
ville (Silver Springs) neighbors are to be treated by one of 


those schools of public morals, with something a little extra, 
at least in our region. 

''After describing certain regulations, the handbill informs 
us that 'Convenient seats will be arranged for the LADIES.' 
Ladies at a horse race! ! ! Astonishing! ! Who could have 
thought that we had arrived at such a pitch of refinement? 
But we forgot — they had a dancing school in that vicinity last 
winter. ' ' 

The following statistics of Perry Village for the year 1845 
were compiled at the close of that year by the late Col. Wm. 
Dolbeer : 

Population within the Corporation .... Male, 522 Female, 549 

Value of Manufactured Products — 

Four Grist Mills $65,880.00 

Three Saw Mills 1,992.00 

Oil Mill 2,400.00 

Tannery 14,500.00 

Ashery 1,300.00 

Two Foundries 10,115.00 

Fulling Mill 1,175.00 

Carding Mill 4,000.00 

Total $101,362.00 

General Stores 8 

Boot and Shoe Stores 1 

Drugs and Book Store 1 

Groceries 5 

Taverns 2 

Churches 4 

Buildings 150 


Early Industrial Development — Distilleries and Asheries Important 
Features — Foundry, Flax Mill and "Clothiery" Were Other 

When the pioneers first came to Perry, the land was cov- 
ered Avith a fine growth of timber, which, owing to the scarcity 
of mills and roads, was practically valueless in its natural state ; 
but by gathering the ashes that remained after burning the 
timber and putting them through a certain process, the settlers 
manufactured black salts, which found a ready market at the 
nearest settlement. The manufacture of potash, at that time 
gommonly called "black salts," was the principal source of rev- 
enue for the settlers until they could prepare their land and 
harvest their crops. 

At an early date in the town's history, David Thorp, Sam- 
uel Howard, Jason Lathrop, and Langon, Leonard & Sanger 
started asheries at Perry Center, and from that time most of the 
farmers discontinued making potash and sold their ashes tr 
these concerns. Mr. Lathrop 's ashery, which, was erected on 
Lot No. 5, was in existence for many years. 

During the first Idw years, the settlers raised only a suf- 
ficient amount of grain for their own needs, as there was no 
market nearby, and the cost of transportation was too great to 
convey it any long distance. About the year 1820, Samuel How- 
ard erected a distillery on Lot No. 17 at Perry Center, and this 
acted as an incentive to the farmers to raise more grain, as the 
spirit into which the distillery converted it could be trans- 
ported at much less expense. Benjamin Gardner built a 
distillery in the village in about 1822. Still another was erect- 
ed at West Perry about the ^'^ear 1825. The completion of the 


Erie Canal opened the Eastern markets to farm products and 
rendered distilling unprofitable, and the industry struggled for 
a time against the inevitable, but finally yielded to necessity 
and succumbed. 

As stated elsewhere, eTohn Hammersley constructed what is 
now known as the Whipple dam, in 1811. In the year 1813 
he erected a grist mill and a saw^ mill. The grist mill was sit- 
uated on the south side of the dam, just below the present lo- 
cation of Wm. Whipple's shop. In 1817 Mr. Hammersley sold 
the grist mill to Childs & Gardner, Mr. Childs subsequently sell- 
ing his interest to Mr. Gardner, who continued to operate the 
mill until 1828. Later it was converted into a wooden dish mill 
and pails, tubs, bowls, etc., were made there for a number of 
years. It finally fell into disuse and was torn down. 

The saw mill which had been built on the north side of the 
dam, was also sold to Mr. Gardner and was operated by him un- 
til his death in 1834, when it passed into the hands of James 
N. Sherman, who erected a new saw mill on the same site. A 
few years later, Mr. Sherman sold the mill to Hon. Rufus H. 
Smith. After a period of use it was converted into a wooden 
pump factory, operated by Brazilla Howe, who was familiarly 
known among the citizens at "Pump" Howe. This establish- 
ment was in operation until about the year 1860. 

In 1818, Wm. Wiles built a grist mill near the present site 
of Mark Phelps' residence on Gardeau street, on the east bank 
of the outlet. The machinery, or gearing, used in this mill was 
made entirely of wood. This mill changed hands several times 
and was used for a number of years. It finally went into dis- 
use, and in 1860 was destroyed by fire. 

Although a considerable quantity of the products manu- 
factured by these early promoters of industry was sold to the 
numerous immigrants who were taking up land in the Genesee 


Country, as well as to those who were striking out for a more 
distant Western home, the greater portion was sold in the east. 
It was impracticable for each manufacturer to deliver his 
products to Albany, and at length an extensive system of trans- 
portation was established. Experience demonstrated that one 
teamster could manage six horses as well as two, and thus re- 
duce the cost. Six horse teams, with harness to match, were no 
trifling affairs in those days. The horses were furnished 
mostly by the Dutch settlers of the Mohawk Valley, and were 
noted for their solidity and strength. Most of the wagons 
w^ere covered and sufficiently strong to carry eight to ten tons. 
The driver rode the "off'' wheel horse and used one guiding 
rein only. Thus equipped, the '"Dutch ship," as it was called, 
struck out for Albany with its cargo of flour, jjotash and whis- 
key as freight, to be loaded on the return trip with all sorts of 
machinery and merchandise. Thirty days were allowed for a 
round trip, although in good going the time was shortened a 
few days, while in the Spring and Fall it w^as not uncommon to 
be out forty days. 

About the year 1822, a foundry was erected by Harvey 
Prichard on Water street, on the west bank of the outlet, a 
short distance south of Walnut street, and was used for the 
manufacture of iron castings, principally plow points and 
sleigh shoes. IMr. Prichard had a potash kettle lined with clay, 
and melted his iron with charcoal. It has been said that his 
plow points were so hard that they would outlast any two that 
are on the market today. Prior to his venture into the foundry 
business, he had been a flax spinner and a rope maker, but had 
found that there was not enough demand for such commodities 
among the residents to make their manufacture profitable. 
Although considered a genius at whatever work he undertook, 
he was inclined to neglect his business, preferring his dog and 
gun to his work, consequently he was not as successful in his 



various enterprises as his talents would have permitted. In 
1842 the foundry was sold to A. Otis & Son, who continued the 
business for several years, after which it was remodeled into a 
flax mill and operated under the management of Wm. T. Ham- 
lin. Tow, which was used extensively in upholstering, was 
manufactured here for several years. A part of the old foundry 
was used for a time as a cooper shop. 

Born on September 30th, 1830. 
on April 27th, 1896. 


A cloth factory, or "clothiery" as it was called, and a saw 
mill were built in the village about 1822. The saw mill was 
afterward enlarged and is still in operation, under the manage- 

Born Oct. 10, 1825 DAVID ANDRUS Died July 9, 1909 



The above picture shows in the foreground the old wooden bridge on 
Gardeau street, which was replaced in 1883 by the present culvert. The 
view is taken from the north, looking south, and shows the Wylie woolen 
mill in the distance. The mill stood at the rear of The Tavern, a short dis- 
tance north of Andrus' planing mill. The man on the bridge is James Hildum. 



nieiit of tile Andrus Estate. Tliis is the oldect established in- 
dustry ill the town, the lir.idjer business having been carried on 
there continuously for a period of 92 years. Among those who 
have operated this mill we find the names of Hon. Rufns H. 
Smith, Edmund M. Bills, E. M. Read & Co., (Jerome Allen,) E. 
M. Read & Co., (R. T. Tuttle and James Wyckoff,) Read & 
Andrus, and David Andrus. 

The "clothiery" was converted into a woolen mill about 
the year 1856 by John Post. He was succeeded by Henry N. 

Born at EldersHe, Scotland, in 1826. 
Died on June 29th, 1906. 

Page, a Mr. Green, who later operated the Green woolen mill 
at Pike, then by Wylie & Morton, and later by James Wylie. 


While conducted by Mr. Wylie, the Perry Woolen Factory, as 
it was known, employed a capital of $20,000, contained 216 
spindles, five looms, and manufactured annually about 16,000 
yards of cloth. The mill was operated continuously until its 
destruction by fire on August 7th, 1880. 

In 1824, Bailey & Hatch erected an oil mill, a short dis- 
tance below the Prichard foundry. Linseed oil was manu- 
factured here until 1848. This firm also owned a grist mill 
which they had purchased in 1827. 

Another clcthiery was established about the year 1827 by 
Wheeler & Buddington. It was located on Water street, a short 
distance from Gardeau street. Mr. Buddington also carried on 
an extensive hat business in connection with the clothiery. The 
factory was afterward converted into a grist mill and was 
operated successively by N. Severance, Palmer & Atwood, 
John Richmond, and then by his son-in-law, Wm. Hutton. The 
building was torn down in 1898. The old roadway which led 
to this mill may still be seen, leading off from Water street. 

A short distance below the buildings of the Perry Knitting 
Cc, another grist mill was erected about the year 1819 by a 
certain Mr. Bailey, a former resident of LeRoy. Before falling 
into disuse, this mill changed ownership no less than 18 differ- 
ent times, as follows: Bailey, (LeRoy;) C. P. Bailey & Samuel 
Hatch ; Calvin P. Bailey ; Brown & Grisewood ; Bailey, Brown 
& Co. ; Robert Grisewood ; Calvin P. Bailey ; Brown & Frost ; G. 
Taylor ; Anson D. Smith ; Robert Grisewood ; Grisewood & 
Bradfield; Bradfield & Bolton; Bradfield & Loomis; White & 
Harrington; Cornish & Chase; L. P. Cornish; J. B. Hutton. 

The first tannery to be erected in the town was established 
near Simmons' Corners by John Olin about the year 1817, and a 
good business was carried on until 1841, when the tannery was 
closed. The second tannery to be erected was built about 1820 



by Samuel and Henry Phoenix on the present site of Kerry's 
blacksmith shop on Covington street in the rear of the former 
Bailey (now Hatch) block. At this time a plank road was laid 
over the creek (w^hich flows under Main street through a cul- 

The above picture shows the former Richmond Mill referred to. The 
old sluice-way leading to Hamlin's Flax Mill is shown in the foreground 
The view is taken from the north, looking toward the south. 



vert,) for the ccnvciiience offanuers in unloadingtheir tanbark, 
which was used in the process of manufacturing leather. Some' 
two or three years later another tannery was constructed by 
WiUard J.Ohapin. This Avas situated on theCrocker property on 
Leicester street. In 1832 the two firms consolidated under the 
iiajiie of Phoenix, Chapin & Co., and used the Phoenix property 
as their main factory. The following year they removed 
nito a building in the ravine of the outlet, near the'present lo- 

WILLARD J. CHAPIN-Born on March bth, 1791; died on July 28th 
18o2. He was a veteran of the War of 1812 and Postmaster of Perry in the 
year 1838. Mr. Chapin was interested in lake property and owned what was 
known as ''Chapin's Landing." He also laid out the present road that runs 
from the Allegany road to the lake, past the water works standpipe Mr 
Chapin was a prominent member of the Baptist Church, of which he was 
clerk for a number of years.— (From an old pencil drawing ) 



cation of the electric power plant belonging to the Perry Knit- 
ting Co. Following the dissolution of this firm in 1837, the 
Phoenix brothers removed to Wisconsin, where they founded 
tlie town of Delevan. Then a new firm was organized in Perry 
with Willard J. Chapin, Jairus Moffett and a certain Mr. Brown 
as members. A son of Mr. Chapin (G. C.) succeeded this firm 
and continued the business until about the year 1872. The 
building was then converted into a spoke factory and con- 
ducted as such a few years by David Chase. 

JAIRUS MOFFETT — Prominent in the early days of Perry ; was elected 
Sheriff of Wyoming County in November, 1852, and served three years. 

About the year 1828, John Gregg, erected a foundry on the 
site occupied by the stone building that is noAV a part of the 
Robeson cutlery factory. On November 24th, 1837, he sold the 


property to Ellery Hicks. Within one year or two following 
the sale, a severe electrical storm visited this section and the 
building was struck by lightning and burned. It was a serious 
financial loss to Mr. Hicks, who did not possess sufficient capi- 
tal to erect and equip another plant to take its place. With 
the double purpose in view of expressing their sympathy for 
Mr. Hicks in his misfortune and of saving the industry to the 
town, a public meeting was called. It resulted in a day being 
set for the farmers to come with their teams and wagons, a gen- 
eral agreement having been made to draw all "of the cobble- 
stones necessary to construct a much larger and better build- 
ing than the one that had been destroyed. Stone masons, car- 
penters, and men from the various walks of life contributed 
their services, some for a day, others for a longer period and in 
a comparatively short time, the stone building that is now a 
part of the Robeson cutlery factory had been completed, practi- 
cally without cost to Mr. Hicks. Such was the public spirit of the 
citizens of the Tow^n of Perry in the late 30 's, which we are 
pleased to state is characteristic of the present, day, as has been 
frequently manifested and is evidenced by many public and 
private improvements. 

Common castings had been produced in the old foundry, but 
after beginning operations in the new building, Mr. Hicks 
greatly increased his output and extended the business by add- 
ing several different lines to his list of manufactured products. 
Among the articles made by him were grist, saw and fanning 
mill castings, hollowware stoves, plow^s, threshing machines, 
scales, etc. The business was then known as the '/Perry Steam 
Furnace." In 1844, Mr. Hicks took Walter S. Bailey (son of 
Calvin P. Bailey) into partnership. Mr. Bailej^ was succeeded 
in 1848 by Rufus H. Smith. In 1851, Hicks & Smith sold the 
business to Messrs. Swift & Bacheldor, Mr. Hicks and family 
removing to Battle Creek, Mich. In 1859, Swift & Bacheldor 



The above picture shows the former Watson (now Commiskey) block 
on the comer of Main street and Borden avenue. The small frame build- 
ings at the right were the Postoffice occupied by Jason Lathrop, Postmaster, 
and the late Dr. Traver. The open space at the left is now occupied by the 
Caswell block. Next is the Cole Hotel, conducted by Tyler Cole ; next is 
"Jack" Bolton's meat market with a Democratic "liberty pole" in front; 
Buttre's cabinet shop and the old Foundry that is now a part of the Robeson 
Cutlery factory. The small frame buildings stood on what is now the en- 
trance to Borden avenue. 


were in turn succeeded by Beardsley & Ensign, wlio changed 
tile name of tlie concern to the "Perry Iron Wori.s, ' and m 
addition to the above mentioned products, manufactured wheel 
cultivators, land rollers, harrow^s and other agricultural imple- 
ments. In 1865 Mr. Ensign retired, and Jerome Edgerly took 
his place in the firm. These gentlemen piii'chased the dam sit- 
uated at the rear of the building and constructed a water pit at 
a cost of $2000. In the Spring of 1867 Mr. Beardsley sold his 
share to Elnathan Millspaugh, and the new firm was known as 
Edgerly, Millspaugh & Co. In Noveuiber, 1867, M. E. B» nedu-t 
purchased the interest of Jerome Edgerly and they were suc- 
ceeded by Millspaugh & Wheeler in 1868, this firm in turn be- 
ing succeeded by R. W. Benedict & Co., who contiiuied the busi- 
ness until 1874, when it was sold to M. H. Olin & Co. The mem- 
bers of this company, in addition to M. H. Olin, were: K. W. 
Benedict and Robert Stainton. In 1875 Messrs. Benedict and 
Stainton retired and were succeeded by R. T. Tuttle, Truman 
Olin and James Wyckoff, Mr. M. H. Olin retaining his interest 
and the firm being known as Wyckoff, Tuttle & Olin. This 
concern manufactured the Royce reapers and mowers, and em- 
ployed about 70 men, producing about 1200 machines annuall}^ 
and the business amounting to about $200,000 per year. In 
1882, Truman and M. H. Olin sold their interest in the reaper 
works and took over the hardware business that had been con- 
ducted by Wyckoff, Tuttle & Olin. Wyckoff & Tuttle contin- 
ued the manufacture of reapers and mowers, Mr. Tuttle in 1885 
selling a part of his interest to three sons of Mr. Wyckoff, the 
firm being known as Wyckoff, Tuttle & Co. In 1889 "Mr. Tuttle 
retired, selling his interest to Wyckoff & Co., consisting of Mr. 
James Wyckoff and his sons Frank H., Edwin M., and 
James N. The manufacture of a self-binder was begun in 
1884, to fill the demand for a machine that would meet the re- 
quirements of progress. Mr. James Wyckoff' died in 1890. The 
Wyckoff Harvester Company was formed in 1893, when J. N. 


Wyckoff purchased the interest of his brothers Frank H. and 
Edwin M., and in the Fall of 1894 the plant was removed to 
Jamestovrn, where it was conducted for about three years. 

The second dam on tlie outlet, which is now known as the 
"Tomlinson dam," was constructed by Benjamin Gardner in 
1826. Prior to this, he had erected a distillery, an asliery and 
a cooper shop in the immediate vicinity. Mr. Monroe Lambert 
managed the distillery for a number of years. In 1828 the grist 
mill now owned by Tomlinson & Son was erected b}^ ]\Ir. Gard- 
ner, and the one which he had purchased in 1817 from John 
Hammersley was converted into the wooden dish mill pre- 
viously mentioned. After Mr. Gardner's death in 1834, J. H. 
Bennett took charge of the mill and continued the business un- 
til 1844, when this, the ashery, distillery and other property for- 
merly owned by ^Ir. Gardner, were sold to E. B. Sackett. 

Regarding the activities of distilleries and the conditions 
prevailing during the earh^ period, the following excerpts from 
an article written by Rev. John Stainton and published in the 
Silver Lake Sun in 1870, may be of interest as compared with 
conditions at the present time. He said: 

''Of the whiskey manufactories there w^ere two in the vil- 
lage and one at West Perry. Then, indeed, did King Alcohol 
reign without a rival. Whiskey was a staple article of trade. 
Every merchant and grocer sold it, and nearh^ every customer 
bought and used it ; and it was, like potash, a prime article of 
export. Such was the fashion of the day, the public custom of 
the times. Perhaps it may be inferred from our description of 
the primitive state of society that we all loved the liquor and 
were a settlement of drunkards. Not exactl}^ so : still, nearly 
everybody drank. No temperance organizations then existed, 
such as w^e now have. Drunkards lived and died as such, and 
the marvel is that there were not many more, for tippling was 
the general rule. Drinking was no disparagement of character 
unless marked by excess. This frequently occurred from those 
who came up from Gardeau and Smoky Hollow. They gener- 



ally had a fight when they came up to town, and made the night 
hideous by their screaming and bawling when they started for 

"The Countryman," published in Perry by Daniel Curtis, in its issue of 
July 25th, 1844, contained the above picture and following explanation : 

"Above is an engraving (by a young man in this office) of a view from 
the southwest angle, of a large and superior Flouring Mill just completed in 
this village. It is 60x50 feet, three stories high, with lofty attic, and contain- 
ing four runs of stones. The first mill on this site was built by Benjamin 
Gardner, and the present one by George L. Davis. We shall be glad to have 
other persons owning manufactories, mills and other property, get drawings 
and engravings of their premises, that we may insert them. The expense is 
but trifling, and will be accurately done by the young artist in this office." 

Mr. Sackett did not take active management of these indus- 
tries, but continued tliem through his agent, George L. Davis. 
During 1844 the grist mill was considerably^ enlarged and much 
new machinery w^as installed. All of the new castings were 
manufactured at the local foundry operated by Hicks & Bailey. 
The grist mill has since been owned successively by : Rufus 



Smith, George Taylor, Taylor & Nobles, James and Charles 
Nobles, Nobles & Tomlinson. In 1878, Mr. George Tomlinson 
purchased the interest of C. AV. G. Nobles, since which time the 
property has been owned and operated by the Tomlinson 


Born, August 15th, 1822. Died, May 11th, 1908. 



The above view is taken from a point south of the Andrus planing mill 
looking west, and shows the "Andrus pond," the culvert across Main street 
and the Dolbeer blacksmith shop occupied by the late John Copeland, on the 
left. The white building is the former Wm, T. Hamlin residence, now occu- 
pied by Joseph Ireland's Farmers' Supply House. In the distance is the 
Tomlinson mill and the sheds which covered the ground now occupied by 
the Tomlinson and Gillett residences on Center street. This picture was 
taken some time in the early '70's. 


In 1865, while this mill was being conducted by Nobles & 
Toiulinson, the same firm erected a building on the present site 
of the salt works, and used it as a cider mill. In 1868, generat- 
ors were introduced and the manufacture of pure cider vinegar 
was begun b}^ them and carried on prosperously^ until the 
Spring of 1878, when, in dividing their property and interests 
prepaiatcry to dissolving partnership, the flouring mill was 
taken by Mr. Tomlinson and the vinegar works by Mr. Nobles, 
who associated with himself, his son Marshall S. Nobles, under 
the firm name of C. W. G. Nobles & Son. The new manage- 
ment made a number of important improvements and an exten- 
sive business vras carried on until about the year 1885. The 
mill, Avhen operating to its full capacity, coiisumed 1500 bushels 
of api)les per day, producing thirty barrels of vinegar. The 
baiTels weie made by the firm of Loomis & Fanning, who con- 
ducted an extensive cooi)er shop at this time. 

At the time ^Ir. Tomlinson v/as associated Avith Mr. Nobles 
the firm also conducted a hame factory at the vinegar Avorks. 

In 1886 the Perry Salt Company was organized, with a cap- 
ital stock of .$80,000, most of which Avas subscribed by local res- 
idents. C. W. G. Nobles Avas the principal organizer and stock- 
holder. The building that he had pre\dously used as a vinegar 
Avorks Avas remodeled to conform AA^ith the requirements of the 
ncAv industry and other and larger buildings Avere soon erected 
and equipped Avith the proper machinery. A group of large 
vats Avere erected on the ridge near the present Tempest knit- 
ting mills, and Avere used for evaporating the salt. The cost of 
manufacture by this process Avas considerably greater than the 
mined salt, consequently 4he management found it difficult to 
compete AA^th the concerns that mined the product. The result 
Avas that the local plant failed and AA^ent into the hands of a re- 
ceiver, and later, through foreclosure proceedings, passed into 
the hands of the First National Bank of Perry, the business be- 



ing' conducted for four years by George K. Page, when it was 
purchased in 1899 by the National Salt Company. This so-call- 
ed "trust" closed the local plant, together with several others 
which had come under their control, thus eliminating their com- 
petition. The following year the plant Avas again sohl, tJiis 








time to the Iroquois Salt Company, of which Mr. Harry Yates 
of Rochester was the principal stockholder. This company con- 
tinued business until about 1909, when a portion of the build- 
ings were refitted and used one year as a cider mill. The busi- 
ness was apparently unprofitable, and after an idleness of a 
few years the plant was dismantled and the buildings were 
taken down. 


Mauufactories That Had an Important Part in the Growth of the 
Town — Rise and Fall of Salt Manufacturing — Knitting Com- 
pany's Development. 

A brick yard was established about the year 1828 near 
West Perry, just south of the road, near the inlet, a Mr. IMoses 
being the proprietor and manufacturer. The brick used ui the 
construction of the old Presbyterian Church, the old Perry 
Academy and the block erected by Kufus H. Smith, (a part of 
the present Olin block) were manufactured at this yard. 

The Perry carriage factory was established in the year 
1832 by Wm. K. Dolbeer. The building occupied by this concern 
was located on the corner of Main and St. Helena streets. Mr. 
Dolbeer afterward took his son Kimball into partnership under 
the firm name of Dolbeer & Son. In 1865 the property was 
sold to Moses Dolbeer, and in 1867, W. H. Botsford was taken 
into partneship under the firm name of Dolbeer & Botsford, 
Baggies, phaetons, lumber wagons, sleighs, cutters, etc., were 
manufactured by the firm until 1872, when the property passed, 
into the hands of G. B. Olin & Co., who used it for several 
years for the manufacture of the celebrated spring-tooth har- 
rows that found a wide sale. The industry was later removed 
to Canandaigua. 

Calvin Fanning came to Perry from Avon in about 1846 
and erected a cooper shop near the site of the district school 
building standing on the "flatiron" corners about one mile 
east of Perry Village, just beyond the Alanson Lacy place. 
Later, he moved the business to a building on Water street 
and continued it there for a number of years. About the year 
1870, his son Charles A., together with Henry and Lyman Loo- 
mis, rented the property on the corner of Main and St. Helena 



streets, the firm being known as Loomis, Fanning & Co. About 
two years later the}" purchased property on Center street, near 
the depot, for greater convenience and enlarged facilities. In 
1877 Henry Loomis retired, and in 1882 Lyman Loomis with- 

Born, 1810. Died, 1909. 

drew from the business, which was thereafter conducted by Mr. 
Fanning. In 1884 he added a coal business to his line of coop- 
erage. In 1894, owing to failing health, he relinquished the 
active care of the business to his son, Fred D. Fanning, who 
took charge and complete management of it. After the death 
of C. A. Fanning in 1899, the business was conducted under the 
firm name of F. D. Fanning & Co., who added the local ice busi- 
ness, purchased of C. G. Martin. Mrs. Fanning died in 1909, 


and since her death F. D. Fanning has been the sole owner and 
manager of the business. He has added another industry, an 
apple evaporator works, which has met with success. 

C. W. G. Nobles & Son conducted a coal business for sev- 
eral 3^ears after Mr. Nobles dissolved partnership with Geo. 
Tomlinson, and after Mr. Nobles' death it was sold to Charles 
Dolbeer, who sold it to C. A. Carmichael and C. A. Toan, Car- 
michael & Toan adding a local ice business. In 1894, Carmi- 
chael & Toan sold their business to C. G. Martin, who sold the 
local ice business to F. D. Fanning. 

John Dickerson, a son of Daniel Dickerson, who came to 
Perrj^ in 1S14, conducted the fii'st marble or monumental works 
in the town. About the year 1820 he opened a quarry on his 
father's farm near West Perry. Here he manufactured many 
of the rude monuments erected in the old cemeteries where 
sleep the remains of so many of Perry's pioneers. The native 
stone which he chiseled may be seen in other towns than Perry, 
as far east as Lima. When the means of tranportation and 
the wealth of the people would allow, he journeyed to Rutland, 
Vt., his native town, for marble which he sent on to Perry and 
finished as desired. About 1865 Mr. Dickerson removed to 
Kansas, where he died on Sept. 8, 1878. 

Deacon Moses McKee was another early monument maker. 
His establishment was located on Center street, near the culvert 
Avhere the Edgerly creek crosses the highway, about one- 
quarter of a mile from the junction with Covington street. He 
specialized in white marble slabs which came from Vermont. 
Many of these may be seen in Hope Cemetery. 

About the year 1850 a certain Mr. Buttre established a 
monument works in Perry, but for some cause he discontinued 
business within a few years. 


The Siitlierland monument works were established in 
Perry in 1880 by Charles Sutherland. Although beginning in 
a small way and employing only one man, by efficient work- 
manship and good management the business has groT\Ti until 
its capacity has been enlarged several times, numerous hands 
are employed, and its product has found an extensive sale 
throughout this section. 

The Perry Knitting Company was organized in 1881 by 
local residents, the enterprise being promoted by Mr. A. A. 
Moore of Greenwich, N. Y. The original investment of capital 
stock was $40,000, which was increased to $71,300 the third 
year. In 1892 it was again increased to $100,000. The first 
buikling, now known as Mill No. 1, was erected in 1882. Mr. 
Moore's connection with the industry continued for only one 
year, he being succeeded by Mr. T. H. Bussey, who was in 
cliarge two years. He was followed by Patrick Kane as super- 
intendent, who remained in that capacity for six years and in- 
creased its working force to about 70 operatives. Until this 
time the industry had not been profitable, but it began paying 
expenses under Mr. Kane's nmnagement, although no divi- 
dends were realized by the stockholders. Mr. Kane was suc- 
ceeded in 1891 by Mr. George M. Traber, who came here from 
Little Falls, N. Y. Within the period since 1891 the growth of 
the industry, in the size of the plant, number of operatives, and 
the amount of business done, has been remarkable. The Perry 
Knitting Company began with 35,000 square feet of floor space 
devoted to its business. At the close of 1914 the company had 
246,269 feet of floor space, or nearly five acres, the plant con- 
sisting of the following briefly described buildings : 

Mill No. 1 — 54x98, six stories, brick. 

Mill No. 2—36x89, four stories, brick. 

Box factory — 60x133^/^, three stories and basement, brick. 

Yarn mill — 109x268, three stories, brick. 

Born, Dec. 3. 1842 HON. MILO H. OLIN, Died 

May 20, 1907 

Mr. Olin was the prime mover in the project of establishing a knitting 
mill in Perry in 1882 and was originally its largest stockholder. The busi- 
ness had a number of serious setbacks, but he never lost faith in the possi- 
bilities of the enterprise, and not only backed it with every dollar he 
possessed, but borrowed money on his credit to insure the success of the 
business and tide it over its difficulties. In the Fall of 1885 he was elected 
President and General Manager of the company and devoted every energy 
to make the business a success, an ambition that was fully realized after 
overcoming serious difficulties. 

In 1888 Mr. Olin was active in the organization of the Citizens (State) 
Bank of Perry, which is a solid financial institution. He was made Presi- 
dent at the organization and was continued in office until he died. 

Mr. Olin was one of the promoters and a large stockholder in the Silver 
Lake Agricultural Association. He was also the leader in the movement to 
induce the Robeson Cutlery Company to locate in Perry and gave $500 
toward the purchase price of the idle reaper works building, spending his 
time and effort to get other citizens to give, and accomplishing his object. 
Later, he took stock in the company to aid in its greater development. 

When a Creamery was proposed for Perry, as a benefit to the farming 
community as well as to the village interests, Mn Olin took stock in the 
enterprise, and when its failure seemed probable because of inability to 
raise the necessary amount of money, he made up the deficiency to insure 
its establishment. 

In every movement for the betterment and progress of the town he took 
a leading and active part, giving generously of his time and money. He was 
one of the Railroad Commissioners of the town and an earnest advocate of 
that enterprise which gave Perry rail communication with the outside world. 

Whatever enterprise might benefit Perry found an active champion in 
Mr. Olin, whether it was civic, educational or philanthropic, and none could 
truthfully say that he failed to do his part; and he did not stop to consider 
whether or not he was to be directly benefited. 

Mr. Olin was not only prominent in his town, but also in the county and 
State. In the Fall of 1891 he was nominated by the Republican County Con- 
vention for Member of Assembly from this county, and served two terms. 
He was a Presidential Elector in 1897, the first term of President McKinley, 
For a period of six years he was one of the State Fair Commissioners, a 
position he held until the time of his death. He was also a director of the 
State Experiment Station at Geneva. c. G. c. 


Office — 33x50, two stories, brick; the second story being 
occujjied by a restaurant i'or tlie convenience of employees. 
Engine and dynamo house — 35x40. 

Mill No. 5 — 139x160, three stories and basement, brick. 
Two engine houses, each 26x34. 
Two boiler houses — one 26x38 and one 26x50. 
Foui- large frame storehouses. 
Tluee concrete storehouses. 

Dimensions over all of the seven storehouses, 336x105. 
Concrete picker house — 97x109. 
Concrete Wash House — 79x75. 
Concrete Dry House — 51x40. 

With its water, steam and electric power, the plant uses 
1500 horse-power. Of this amount, about 100 horse-power is elec- 
tric, generated by waste w iter carried through a huge trunk con- 
duit to a site 1800 feet below the plant, where it has a fall of 85 
feet. An immense electric generator which is operated by 
steam produces 800 borse-power. The entire plant is lighted by 
electricity developed by its owu machines, with a capacity of 
1000 incandescent lamps. It is heated throughout by steam, be- 
ing equipped with the exhaust system. It has a complete tele- 
phone system, with twenty-two stations, giving instant com- 
munication with the foreman of every department. 

In addition to the fire protection given by the municipal- 
ity, the company has its own independent pumping system, 
with a capacity of 750 gallons per minute, and an automatic 
spiinkling system in every department. 

At the present time the company has about 1000 employees. 
Of this number about 100 belong to the night force, the factory 
having for several years been obliged to run night and day to 
keep up with its orders. The factory has 18,824 cotton spin- 
dles, about 400 sewing machines, and 225 knitting machines, 
besides the large amount of other machinery necessary for 

This picture shows a portion of the Yarn Mill on the left; the office 
ered bridge leads to another building, is shown small sections of Mills 

In the above picture, taken from the east bank of the outlet, in the center is shown Mill No. 1; at the right of it i 
right is shown a portion of the Yarn Mill. At the left is shown a portion of the Box Factory. 

Mill No. 2; at the extreme 

This picture shows a portion of the Yarn Mill on the left; the oflfice 

on the right of it, behind the tree. Beyond the office, from which the cov- 

ered bridge leads to another building, is shown small sections of Mills Nos. 1 and 2. This view is taken on Hope street, looking east, 

on the right of it, behind the tree. Beyond the office, from which the cov- 
Nos. 1 and 2. This view is taken on Hope street, looking east. 


Operating such an important industry. On the average, every 
working day, 28,000 complete garments are made. To pro- 
duce these the company uses 135 bales of cotton each week; 
(500 pounds or more to the bale) or 34 tons per week of cotton 
that is spun into yarn. 

The company manufactures a large variety of light and 
heavy weight underwear in two-piece and union suits and their 
product is sold to the largest jobbers in nearly every State of 
the Union, and the goods are retailed in every part of the 
United States. They are also getting an export business well 
established. In addition to their home office in Perry, in which 
seven people are employed, the company maintains an office on 
Broadw^ay, New York City. 

The late Hon. M. H. Olin Avas president of the company 
from 1885 until his death in 1907. It is due to his faith in the 
enterprise, his tenacity of purpose and his loyalty to Perry that 
the institution has passed through the trying times it has been 
obliged to meet and overcome, particularly during its first few 
years, when to keep it in operation, he assumed financial obli- 
gations that would have caused great personal loss had his 
faith not been justified. To G. M. Traber, the inanager during 
the continuous period since he took charge, a great measure of 
credit is also due for the success that the company enjoys. The 
faith and courage of Mr. Olin, combined with the practical ex- 
perience and executive ability of Mr. Traber were the factors 
that turned the tide in the favorable direction since followed 
and enjoyed. 

The Robeson Cutlery Company 

The business of this company was founded in 1879 by the 
late Millard F. Robeson. At that time Mr. Robeson was a 
traveling salesman for a New York concern and took up the 

Born, April 8th, 1847 Died, Dec. 30th, 1903 


selling of cutlery as a "side line," buying knives from jobbing 
houses. He kept his first stock in a bureau drawer. As his 
trade grew he increased his stock and kept it in a clothes press 
in his home. It outgrew the storage facilities of his clothes 
press and the overflow occupied the floor space underneath 
his bed. Next he built an addition to his house, a room spec- 
ially fitted with shelves to contain his stock. Mr. Robeson felt 
quite proud when that proved to be too small and he erected a 
brick building on the rear of his residence lot in Elmira. In 
1894 he purchased an interest in the Rochester Stamping 
Works and removed to that city, continuing his cutlery busi- 
ness by buying of jobbers as before. In 1895, Mr. Robeson 
rented a factory building at Camillus, N. Y., and began the 
manufacture of his own product, employing 30 to 35 men. Three 
3^ears later — in the Spring of 1898 — the industry was removed 
to Perry. Mr. Robeson having visited this place on several 
occasions, selling his goods to the hardware trade, he was im- 
pressed with the town and its advantages. At that time the 
buildings now occupied were idle. They had been vacated by 
the Wyckoff Harvester Co., which had removed to Jamestown, 
N. Y. Business men had talked the matter over with him and 
made the proposition which they believed could be fulfilled : 
If Mr. Robeson would remove the industry to Perry, the plant 
would be rented to him for a reasonable figure until such time 
as his payroll amounted to $36,000 per year, an annual sworn 
statement to be rendered to a trustee. When the pay roll 
reached the sum named, the plant would be deeded to the Robe- 
son Cutlery Co., upon consideration of $1.00, the company to 
agree to continue the industry in operation here for a period of 
ten years, when the property would become theirs absolutely, 
without reservation. If the company suspended business or 
removed from Perry before the expiration of ten years the 
property was to be deeded back to the trustee upon considera- 
tion of $1.00. Mr. Robeson agreed to the proposition, and the 


late Hon. M. H. Olin, heading: the list ^vith $500, took an active 
part in securing subscriptions from other public spirited citi- 
zens, who gave all the way from $500 down to .$25 toward the 
$8,000 necessary to purchase the property and secure the in- 
dustry for Perry. The effort was successful within a compara- 
tively short time, and the late George Tomlinson was made 
trustee for the citizens who subscribed. The above stipulations 
were fulfilled and the land and buildings were accordingly 
deeded to the company. Since the industry came to Perry the 
business has increased rapidly, necessitating the erection in 
1906 of a 90x40 brick addition containing three stories and 
basement. The buildings are heated throughout by the exhaust 
and live steam systems, and are protected from fire by auto- 
matic sprinklers, also by chemical tanks distributed through 
the entire plant. A dynamo with a capacity of 600 lights gives 
ample light for all apartments. The company uses approxi- 
mately 250 horse-power in the operation of its machinery. 
This is distributed from three units- — gas, steam and water — 
which produce the necessary power, with plenty of reserve. 
The company's pay roll at the end of 1914 amounted to more 
than $200,000 per year. Beginning with a force of about 35 
men, the company now has about 400 employees, manufacturing 
more than 1,500,000 knives. Its factory is one of the three 
largest cutlery plants in the United States in the amount of pro- 
duction. The company has 52 traveling salesmen who sell the 
product in every State in the Union. 

The Tempest Knitting Company 

This company was organized in 1907, Avith a capital of 
$75,000 and with the following named gentlemen as stock- 
holders: t). M. Tempest, George J. Grieve, James N. Wj^ckoff, 
Joseph E. Cole, Br. John Harding, Charles H. Toan and Ches- 
ter F. Holcombe. A brick building three stories high, was 



erected on property purchased of Wm. Rudd and Lloyd Mcln- 
tyre, off Federal street, above the railroad trachs, from which 
a switch runs directly to the mill. The company began manu- 

facturing cotton underwear, Nov. 25th, 1907, with a force of 
28 employees. A 70-foot addition was built on the east end in 


ir»12. and an addition 50x96 was built on the west end later in 
the year, doubling the original capacity. A 300 horse-power 
Corliss engine is connected with a 100 horse-power dynamo, 
which furnishes power to the individual electric motors attach- 
ed to the different machines, thus doing away with all overhead 
shafting and fixtures. The factory is heated throughout by the 
exhaust and live steam systems, lighted by electricity of its own 
manufacture, and is equipped with an automatic sprinkling 
system for fire protection. The pressure tank used in this sys- 
tem was installed in the Fall of 1913 and has a capacity of 
80,000 gallons. In addition to this protection, there is a 
hydrant at each end of the building connected with the six- 
inch supply main of the municipal system. The number of em- 
ployees has been steadily increased since the beginning, there be- 
ing nearly 200 at the present time. Mr. Tempest, in whose honor 
the industry was named, closed his connection with the con- 
cern in October, 1908, disposing of his stock a short time after- 
ward to local residents. 

The Lander & Watson Hosiery Co. 

This manufacturing concern was organized in 1908 by D.W. 
Watson and James Lander. Mr. Watson had previously made 
an extensive study of the matter and materials and had in- 
stalled a hosiery knitting machine in his home on Elm street. 
Then he purchased material and experimented until he pro- 
duced the satisfactory article. He tested it thoroughly by 
actual wear and induced a number of his friends to give his 
product a severe trial. Finding that he had succeeded in making 
a grade of hosiery that by practical demonstration was superior 
to a majority of such goods sold, he decided to extend the man- 
ufacture of his product and place it upon the market. Mr. 
Lander became interested and the two gentlemen decided to 
embark in the business under the firm name mentioned. 


Land was leased on the Matthews property and a tWo-story 
building, 20x30 feet in size was erected. Machinery and the 
other necessary equipment were installed, and operations began 
in August, 1908. A small addition was made to the original 
building in the following year. About two years after the be- 
ginning of operations, the company was reorganized and a 
stock company was formed, a number of the local citizens as- 
sisting in financing the enterprise. About a year after the re- 
organization, Mr. Watson retired to go into business for him- 
self. The annual production has been about 175,000 pairs of 

In March, 1893, Messrs. William L. Smith, James Kennedy 
and Benjamin H. Hollister formed a co-partnership under the 
firm name of Smith, Kennedy & Co., and erected a saw and 
planing mill on Center street, a short distance south of the dc 
pot. In 1895, Messrs. Kennedy and Hollister sold their interest 
to Mr. Smith, who continued the business a few years. The 
most prominent building erected by Mr. Smith was the Town 
Hall, which was constructed in 1896. He lost money on the 
contract and became financially embarrassed in consequence. 
Messrs. Kennedy and Hollister held a mortgage against the 
mill property, and following foreclosure, sold it in 1900 to John 
J. Martin, who remodeled and converted it into the grist mill 
which has since been conducted by him. In 1907, Mr. Martin 
sold the building and land to his son, William K. Martin. 

The Roberts Lumber Company was formed in 1908 by Mr. 
W. J. Roberts. A building, 54x100, was erected on the east 
bank of the outlet near Gardeau street. An addition, 20x110, 
was constructed the following year. All of the machinery used 
in the plant is operated by electric power furnished by the 
Perry Electric Light Co. 


The Perry Glove and IMitten Manufacturing Company was 
organized by George A. Clark and was successfully managed 
by liim until the time of his death on Jan. 16, 1911. Its product 
was canvass gloves and mittens, for which he found an exten- 
di v^e sale. 

In the Winter of 1914, Perry citizens subscribed for $20,000 
stock in the Kaustine Company, Incroporated, manufacturers 
of sanitary closets, and secured the location of that industry in 
Perr^^ They removed their factory equipment from Bradford, 
Pa., and early in 1915, began manufacturing here on a small 
scale. A factory site was secured on the Carmichael (formerly 
Needham) farm, adjoining the line of the Buffalo, Rochester & 
Pittsburg Railroad, and the work of erecting a plant at a cost 
of about $10,000 was begun in April, 1915. Perry capital also 
was invested in the construction of an 1800-foot switch from the 
road leading north from the lake, through the property to the 
site of the Kaustine Company's plant, providing a number of 
other desirable factory sites for future development. The land 
for these additional sites, consisting of about ten acres, was 
given by W. H. McClelland and Lucius Atwater, who had pur- 
chased the farm for development into residence property, nam- 
ing the tract "Lake View Heights." The Buffalo, Rochester 
& Pittsburgh Railroad Company contributed a portion of the 
expense for the 1800-foot switch above referred to, and the new 
industry began operations here with favorable indications of 
steady growth, its first month's sales amounting to double what 
they were in the same period the previous year. 


Educational Institutions of the Early Days— Encouragement Always 
Given by Townspeople to Such Factors in Its Devt lopment— 
Private and Public Institutions. 

The great bulwark of the Pilgrims was their faith in God 
and universal education. The pioneers brought these traits of 
character to Western New York, and wherever a settlement 
was made, the church and the school house were the immediate 
successors of the log cabins of the settlers. Whatever else might 
be neglected, religious worship and the education of their 
children were not forgotten. 

In the winter of 1812-13, two school houses were built in 
the Town of Perry, one at West Perry and the other in the vil- 
lage. The exact location of the first mentioned is unknown. 
Miss Ann Cutting, a resident of Warsaw, taught the school and 
was the first teacher to conduct a school in the town. The vil- 
lage school house was a small log building and stood on the flat 
iron piece of ground at the junction of the Richmond mill road- 
way and Water street, a short distance northeast from Gardeau 
street. Miss Catey Ward, who came from New Marlboro, Mass., 
and who w^as a sister of the pioneer physician, Jabez Ward, was 
engaged as the first village school teacher. Miss Ward was 
born in Massachusetts, Jan. 1st, 1792, and came to Perry with 
her parents, Ralph and Lorian Ward, in 1813. She was one of 
the original members of the Congregational Church at Perry 
Center. After finishing her career as an instructor, she mar- 
ried John Russell, an early settler in Perry. She died on Feb. 
20th, 1865, and is buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery at Perry 
Center. In the Pioneer Log Cabin at Silver Lake is exhibited 
a large wooden ball which was used in this village school as a 
globe map, the first to be used in the town. 


In 1813, another log school building was erected at Perry 
Center by the early settlers of that portion of the town and was 
opened in the Fall of that year \vith Miss Ann Mann of Massa- 
chusetts, as teacher. This was used as a school building but 
one 3^ear, and was subsequently sold to one of the incoming set- 
tlers and converted into a dwelling. 

In 1869, the late A. W. Young of Warsaw wrote a good des- 
cription of the early school house, together with personal rem- 
iniscences of the period. He said : "The first school houses were 
built of logs, and with fireplaces and chimneys like those of the 
log dwelling houses. They were sometimes roofed or shingled 
with 'shakes,' a material resembling staves for barrels. The 
writing desks were made by boring large holes in the side of 
the house, slanting downward from the wall, and driving into 
them large pins upon which the boards were fastened, so that 
the pupils, when writing, faced the wall. Seats were made of 
slabs, flat side up, resting on four legs. Many of our citizens 
remember those school houses in which thev received their lim- 
ited education — the ill chinked walls, the large, open fireplace 
filled with a huge pile of logs in a vain attempt to make a 
comfortable place to study. They remember that most com- 
mon of all questions coming from the remote parts of the room, 
'Master, may I go to the fire?' and how often the 'Master,' 
annoyed by the continued reiteration of this question would 
respond the emphatic 'No !' Nor have they forgotten their pe- 
culiar feelings when, their whole bodies trembling with 
cold, they were compelled to keep their seats until relieved by 
the arrival of 12 or 4 o'clock, with the thrice welcome word, 
'Dismissed.' Not only were school houses uncomfortable, the 
course of instruction and the qualification of teachers were 
very defective. The entire course in most of the schools em- 
braced only spelling, reading, writing and common arithmetic. 
In this last branch, DaboU's arithmetic was used, and the mathe- 


luatical ambition of many pupils was satisfied when they cculd 
'cipher' to the end of the 'Single rule of three,' which in that 
popular work, came before fractions. Few teachers having a 
knowledge of grammar, this was not insisted upon by the in- 
spectors. Geography, now one of the studies in every primary 
school, could hardly be found in a country school. The man- 
ner of teaching and conducting a school is also worthy of note. 
Writing, in many schools was not done at any fixed hour, nor by 
all at the same time. None but goose quill pens were used ; a 
metal pen would have been considered a great curiosity. To 
make and mend the pens and 'set copies 'forten, twelve or thirty 
pupils took no small portion of the teacher's time and was 
often done during the reading and other exercises, in which 
the worst mistakes often escaped the. observation of the teacher. 
To avoid this, some teachers did this Work before or after school 
hours. The introduction of metallic pens and the printed copy 
book is an invaluable improvement, saving much time and labor 
and furnishing the pupils with good and uniform copies. Nor 
had the blackboard been invented; or, if it had, it was not 
known in the rural districts. Nor were pupils in arithmetic 
taught in classes. They got the attention and assistance of the 
teacher as they could. Voices were heard from different parts 
of the f'oom : 'Master, I can't do this siim, ' or 'Alaster, please 
show me how to do this sum.' These, with questions asking 
liberty to 'go and drink,' etc., which, on the floor of some schools 
were ahvays in order, the teacher going from one part of the 
room to another to help the scholars or do their work for them, 
and scholars running to the teacher to ask him how to pro- 
noiince the hard words in the spelling and reading lessons — all 
these and other things that might be mentioned, kept the school 
in a constant bustle. There were, however, some good teachers 
then; and there are many now who answer too nearly to the 
foregoing description, yet a coiujaarison of Ttlie schools of t]ie_ 


present time "'^^ith those of that period show a vast improve- 

In the year 1819 the Town of Perry was divided into school 
districts, and the districts then established have been altered 
from time to time, as the changing circumstances have required. 
The writer has made an effort to trace the various districts from 
the time of their original formation up to the present, but has 
found that very few cf the old school records were available 
and without them the work could not be accomplished. 

The first district school house in the town was built near 
Perry Center in about the year 1819, some distance west of the 
four corners, and was taught by Samuel Waldo. This was 
probably the first frame school building in the town. Another 
frame school building was erected soon afterward on the Center 
road, just above Watkins avenue. Silas Ellis, from Vermont, 
was engaged as the first teacher. 

Of the district schools which had been established in the 
town, special mention is made of old District No. 5 at West 
Perry. This was one of the most important of the early schools, 
both as to scholarship and numbers, generally ranking first after 
the Union School in the village and the Institute at Perry Cen- 
ter. Among those who tatight this school in its early days we 
find the names of Rev. David Nutton, Miss Emeline D. Howard, 
G. B. Matthews, Sarah E. Pitch, J. N. Flint, Sarah Howard, 
Samuel W. Tewksbury, Deacon Wygant, and James N. Bing- 

In 1869, districts numbered 7, 9 and 14, embracing the Cen- 
ter neighborhood, were consolidated, forming District No. 8. 
Land was purchased on the southwest of the four corners, and 
the present school building (costing approximately $3,000) was 
erected. The lumber used in its construction was hauled over- 
land from Pi^ard. The first teachers employed were E. W. Hoyt 


of Pavilion and Miss Libbie Judd, who had charge of the pri- 
mary department. At one time in the school's history, 125 
students were enrolled. 

In 1816 the Water street school house was found to be too 
small to accommodate the constantly increasing number of pu- 
pils and another building was constructed on the corner of Lake 
and Short streets. This was a two-story building, the school 
occupying the lower floor, the second floor being devoted to 
public use for meetings, lodge purposes, religious gatherings, 
etc. On March 6, 1819, Constellation Lodge No. 320, F .& A. M., 
was instituted in this small upper room. As near as we can 
learn, Ebenezer Higgins, a brother of Dr. Otis Higgins, was the 
first Worshipful Master. The building was used principally as 
a school for a period of 16 years. As the population of the village 
continued to increase, a still larger school building was needed, 
and in 1832 a portion of the building that is now known as 
"The Beehive," was erected and w^as used for the advanced 
scholars, the Water street building being used as a primary 
school from 1832 to 1845. 

In 1902, the late Harwood A. Dudley of Warsaw, who came 
with his parents to Perry in 1831, wrote reminiscences of his 
early school days at The Beehive, excerpts from which are here 
given : 

"It had its departments, perhaps not graded just as now, 
but sufficiently so to be marked and distinct. The boys' depart- 
ment had for its head Wm. Skidmore. We children used to 
called him ' Bill. ' The girls ' school had Miss Charlotte Ayers for 
teacher, and, as I remember, she was much more capable and 
popular than Bill Skidmore. 'Skid' was severe and erratic in 
his discipline, while Miss Ayers was patient and considerate in 
the management of her department. I remember an incident 
in Skidmore 's discipline that reveals his mode of punishment. 


Two boys got into a scrap one day at recess and came into the 
school room in a dilapidated condition that attracted the teach- 
er's attention and led to the inquiry as to what had occurred 
outside. A scrimmage was reported, and the teacher adopted 
a novel mode of punishment. I remember the details distinctly, 
as I was one of the boys. Three good and strong branches from 
a neighboring tree were brought in and the offenders were 
called into the center of the room ; and each was given an ' olive 
branch,' while the teacher retained the stoutest stick for his 
own use. The culprits were then ordered to finish their fight 
then and there. The spirit of the contest had by this time died 
out from both parties, but when we did not put in all the energy 
the teacher thought proper, he would add force to the conflict 
by whaling the laggard and he closed the entertainment by giv- 
ing each of us a separate and distinct punishment on his own ac- 
count. The two boys were ever afterward good friends, but 
they will ever remember William Skidmore's vigorous ways 
of administering punishment to fighting school boys." 

In 1845, District No. 16 (Water street school) and No. 6 
(The Beehive) were consolidated and the last named school 
building was remodeled, greatly enlarged, and re-dedicated 
on November 18th of that year. Rev. Joseph R. Page, pastor of 
the Presbyterian Church, delivering the oration. This building 
served as a public school until after the purchase of the Academy 
property by the district in 1872, at which time it was sold and 
converted into a dwelling house. After the coalition the school 
was known as the District Union School. Under the new 
regime Mr. T. S. Loomis was engaged as principal. His sister, 
Miss Loomis, was the head of the young ladies' department, and 
Miss Eliza Dolbeer (afterward Mrs. Henry N. Page) was in 
charge of the primary department. All pupils were charged for 
tuition as was the custom with all schools of the period. In 



1846 Mr. Locinis resigned and was- succeeded b}^ Mr. J. B. 

The following named are remembered as having taught 
school in The Beehive : Solomon Hull, Charles J. Hull, Linus W. 

Thayer, Komott, Charles Holt, Charles Mix, J. H. Met- 

caif, Lydia Risdon, Elisha Risdon, Elizabeth Fox, Mentor How- 
ard, Lydia Huntington, Mrs. J. S. Brown, Esther Goodell, Miss 

Howard, Harriet Bachelder, Thomas Ccpeland, J. C. Bradt, 

Gardner, A. J. Mallory, Miss Parsons, Miranda Millspaugh 
(Mrs. Marvin Smith,) Amy Newland, Sophronia Broughton, 
Mark Pierce, Delia Jeffers (Mrs. T. B. Catton,) Edwin M. Resd, 
Mary Palmer (Mrs. Mark Pierce,) Ellen Rood, John P. Robin- 
son, Kate Garrison, Martha Garrison, Grace Grieve, Marion 
Grieve, Jessie Grieve, Elmina Taylor, J. Wheat Merrill, Wm. 
Turner, Kate R. Keeney, E. H. Wygant, Marietta Scranton, Ab- 
bie Bathrick (Mrs. Martin P. Andrews,) Libbie WestlaLe 
(Washburn,) Priscilla Westlake (Fiske,) E. Hoyt, Manville 
Cheeney, George Lucas, Ella S. Calligan, Lida Calligan. Vic- 
toria M. Herring, and George B. Fern. 

The most important of tlie early educational institutions in 
the Town of Perry was established on the northeast of the four 
corners at Perry Center in the year 1839 by Prof. Charles A. 
Huntington, a graduate of Burlington College in Vermont, 
and was known as the Perry Center Institute. The school be- 
came widely and favorably known, students being enrolled 
from all parts of Western New York. During its most prosper- 
ous years— or between 1841 and .1844— the enrollment averaged 
about 140. ^ ' " „^ _ _ 

The writer has been shov^n by Hon. B. A. Nevins, ono of the 
first catalogs issued by the Institute, dated January 20, 1841. 
The catalog was printed by J. B. W^ood at Perry Village, and 
contains the names of the following instructors: Charles A. 



Huntington, Principal of the male department ; Henry E. Sel- 
den, Assistant; Lucy Huntington, Principal of the female de- 
partment. The young men occupied the first floor of the build- 
ing, and the young ladies used the second floor. The following 
named gentlemen were the "Examining Committee," a com- 
mittee which was appointed annually and whose duty it was 

Born April 26, 1812. Died in Portland, Ore., Sept. 24, 1904 

to visit the school from time to time and inform themselves 
respecting its instruction and internal regulations: Rev. John 
Scott, Rev. Jesse Elliott, Rev. Jenks Phillips, Hon. Peter Pat- 
terson, Phicol M. Ward, Esq., Dr. Jabez Ward, Samuel Howard, 
Esq., Truman Benedict andiNorman Blakeslee. This commit- 
tee also gave out reports of the standings^and conditions of the 


school at the close of alternate terms. FoUoAving is a list of the 
names of students who were attending the school in 1841 : 

Male Department — Frederic Austin, Charles G. Benedict, 
Charles J. Benedict, Wm. Benedict, James H. Bingham, Homer 
Bingham, Albert M. Bingham, Jasper N. Bolton, Wm. E. Brad- 
ley, Merritt E. Bradley, Philander Bronson, John M. Butler, 
Henry C. Butler, Calvin Butler, Morgan Calkins, Norman W. 
Call-ins, Volney G. Cal. ins, Albert L. Camp, James H. Camp, 
Joseph E. Chapman, Timothy G. Clark, Wm. Clute, Squire A. 
Cox, German Cossitt, George W. M. Dana, Amos J. Gardner, 
Wm. H. Harrison, Galen Higgins, Mason A. Hollister, Samuel 
^I. Howard, Wm. Howard, Charles Howard, Franklin M. Pix- 
ley, Amasa Porter, Carlos R, Snow, Charles E. Salter, Royal T. 
Hcward, James B. Kniffin, George Lapham, Alva Lacy, J. Mat- 
tison, Henry L. McCann, Wm. H, McEntec, James S. McEntee, 
Stephen McEntee, John C. McEntee, Cyrenus McKee, Johnson 
A. Moss, Lambert A. Moss, John Nevins, Thomas Patterson, 
Peter Patterson, 2d, Wm. C. Patterson, L. D. Pettibone, Samuel 
D. Purdy, Silas M. Rawson, John Scott, Edward A. Sheldon, 
George K. Sheldon, Stewart Sheldon, Andrew Sheldon, Wm. H. 
Walker, Alva H. Waldo, Edwin P. Waldo, Jabez R. Ward, Har- 
rison G. White, Daniel C. White, Edmund H. Wygant, A. A. 
Bainbridge, M. A. Gibson, Henry Robinson. 

Female Department — Charlotte W. Austin, Phebe A. Ball, 
Mary J. Ball, Mary F. Banks, Mary Benedict, Betsey Benedict, 
]\Iartha A. Benedict, Mary A. Bingham, Phebe Bingham, Julia 
A. Bortles, Ann Briggs, Mary Briggs, Lucinda Z. Bradley, Fan- 
ny M. Burr, Mary W. Buell, Sarah Y. Butler, Phebe C. Calkins, 
Emeline C. Calkins, Sarah C. Coleman, Mary W. Coleman, Vel- 
ona Cossitt, Caroline Cox, Fanny L. Cox, Larenza M. Hollister, 
Lydia Hollister, Sarah J. Hollister, Caroline Howard, Emeline 
Howard, Amelia M. Lathrop, Helen A. Lathrop, Marie A. Mc- 
Entee, Mary Ann McEntee, Jane E. Mills, Caroline Miner, Es- 


tlier M. Moss, Lucy J. Oliu, Loeza Olin, Eliza A. Patridge, 
Susan S. Paterson, Elizabeth Patterson, Loviea Palmer, Sarah 
A. Purdy, Susan Phillips, Cynthia Phillips, Laura A. Rawson, 
Olive W. Rawson, Esther Rudgers, Mary Scott, Hannah J. 
Scott, Dorliska E. Sheldon, Caroline AY. Sheldon, Mary A. 
Stewart, Lucy B. Tallmage, Jane E. Voohees, Phebe Ward, 
Sarah Ward, Clarinda White, Caroline A. Witter, Harriet Wor- 
den, Melvina A. Bolton, Amanda M. Bolton, Lucy E. Bradley, 
Eliza A. Calkins, Phebe Howard, Mercy A. How^ard, Henrietta 
Johnson, Sarah Johnson, Louisa A. Lockwood, Caroline Cole- 

Sarah Ward, whose name appears in the above list, was the 
mother of Rev. Charles Sheldon, the noted author of ''In His 
Steps." Amasa Porter, whose name is in the list, w^as a local 
preacher, and although 45 years of age, he was a student in this* 
school. Others who received their education at the Perry Cen- 
ter Institute and later became prominent in the affairs of the 
world, were : Rev. Herman N. Barnum. who for many years was 
a noted missionary in Turkey ; Jabez R. Ward and his brother 
Sidney, both became eminent jurists of the early 70's; Henry 
C. Butler was afterward a prominent judge in Minnesota; Al- 
bert Bingham became a noted lawyer of Livingston county; 
his brother, Monroe, after finishing his course at the Institute, 
removed to the West and subsequently became Lieutenant- 
Governor of the State of Wisconsin; EdAvard A. Sheldon be- 
came one of the leading educators of New York State, the 
founder of the State Normal School at Oswego. Today, in the 
Capitol at Albany may be seen a bronze statue of Mr. Sheldon, 
the cost of which was defrayed by the voluntarj^ contributions 
ot children throughout the State. 

Another person who attained National ])rominenee (the 
writer is not certain that he was a student of the Institute) was 
Joseph Ward, a deeendant of Gen. Artemus Ward, the first 


Commander-in-Chief of the Massachusetts forces in the Kevolu- 
tionary War. Mr. Ward was born in Perry Center on May 
5th, 1838. He received his early education in the school at the 
Center and those in the village. Later in life, he removed to 
Y^ankton, S. D., where he founded Yankton College and became 
its first president. He was also one of the most prominent lead- 
ers in South Dakota's struggle for statehood. He died in De- 
cember, 1889. In 1913, George Harrison Durand completed a 
book entitled "Joseph Ward of Dakota," a copy of which was 
kindly loaned to the writer. It is a splendid and powerful trib- 
ute to the life and achievements of the former Perry Center 

The school year at the Institute was divided into four terms 
of eleven weeks each. Tuition for connnon English studies was 
$3.00 per term. For tlie higher branches of English Science, 
and for Latin, Greek and French languages, $4.00. Under the 
item of "incidentals," the catalog states that "the expense of 
fuel, sweeping, etc., will be defrayed by an assessment upon the 
school." It also states that "the price of board, which can 
be procured in good families residing near, varies from $1.25 
to $1.75 per Aveek." 

A very fine set of instruments for the purpose of illustra- 
tion in astronomy, electricity, optics, etc., were installed with 
the ordinary school apparatus. The text books used at the 
Institute w^ere : Town's Spelling Book, ToAvn's Analysis, Kirk- 
ham's and BroAvn's Grammar, Porter's Rhetorical Reader, Mit- 
chell's Geographical Reader, Mitchell's Geography, Colburn's 
and Adam's Arithmetic, Bridge's Algebra, Davies' Legendre's 
Geometry, Flint's Survey, Abbott's Abercrombie, Parker's Ex- 
ercises, Watts on the Mind, Comstock's Philosophy, Turner's 
Chemistry, Gray's Astronomy, Burritt's Geography of the 
Heavens, Gray's and Mrs. Lincoln's Botany, Emerson's History 


of the United States^ Whelpley 's Compoimd, Young's Science of 

Below is given the program rendered at an examination 
and exhibition of the Perry Center Institute held on Wednes- 
day, Feb. loth, 1843. Judging from the number of selections 
on the program, it is evident that a full day was put in ; and it 
is something of a wonder when the people found time for their 
meals. In the pi.'cgram published below we have omitted the 
"singing selections," "music" appearing no less than eighteen 
times : 


Reading in the Bible by the School; Prayer; Monitor's Re- 
port; Arithmetic; Sallust ; Compositions by James R. Dales, 
James B. Kniffin and Wm. C. Patterson; English Grammar; 
Compositions by Mary W. Coleman, Sally M. Calkins and Phebe 
C. Calkins ; the First Elementary Class ; Algebra ; Geometry. 


Compositions by Phebe Ward, and Sarah Ward; Second 
Elementary Class ; Astronomy ; Composition by Theodosia Par- 
ish; Compositions by Clarinda M. White, Lucinda Z. Bradley, 
Helen M. Purdy, Mercy A. Howard; Miscellaneous Arithmetic; 
Compositions Manercy L. Munson, Ann M. Banks, Velona Cos- 
sitt and Amanda M. Bolton ; Exercises in Georgraphy ; Composi- 
tions by Elizabeth Kay, Betsey Benedict, Lucy E.Bradley, Mary 
W. Patterson and Sarah B. Dales ; Declamation by Melvin H. 
Dales; Report of Examining Committee; Address by Rev. E. 
M. Toof. 


French Prologue by S. W. Hitchcock ; Select Declamations 
by James R. Dales, James B. Kniffin, Leander Fitch ; Origina] 
Declamation by Herman N. Barnuni; Latin Extract (Cicero) by 
John D. Higgins; Original Declamation by James S. McEntee; 


Select Declamations by H. M. Thorp, Edwin Waldo, Wm. Bene- 
dict, Albert M. Bingham ; Original Declamation by C. J. Bene- 
dict ; Latin Extract by Jabez R. Ward ; Original Orations by 
H. C. Butler, Peter Patterson, 2d, S. M. Howard ; Select Decla- 
mation by Wm. C. Patterson, Edmund Wygant and Daniel 
White ; Original Orations by Thomas S. Price, Stewart Sheldon 
and Edward A. Sheldon ; Dialogue by James S. McEntee and 
Stephen McEntee ; Original Orations by S. W. Hitchcock, J. D. 
Higgins, J. R. Ward and Amasa Porter; Music; Prayer; Bene- 

After continuing the institution for a few 3'ears, Prof. 
Huntington became financially embarrased and secured funds 
by mortgaging the property. Being unable to meet the pay- 
ments upon this indebtedness, the mortgage was foreclosed in 
1845 and the property passed into other hands. Mr. Hunting- 
ton removed to the West, where he became a missionary to the 
Indians. The new owners attempted to continue the school, 
but through lack of proper management, the attendance grad- 
ually dwindled and the Perry Center Institute soon passed into 
history. The building was sold to Daniel Ball, who moved it 
across the street and converted it into a shoe store. It is still 
standing, in a good state of preservation, on the southeast cor- 
ner, a memorial to Perry Center's palmy days. 


In the year 1829, the Genesee Conference of the Methodist 
Church, which met in Perry, appointed a committee to consider 
the advisability of founding an institution of learning in this 
district. Several towns, including Perry, Lima, Cazenovia, Le- 
Roy and Brockport, desirous of securing the school, offered 
inducements to the committee. A meeting of local citizens was 
called and an option on the block now bounded by Cherry, Fed- 
eral, Pine and Center streets, was secured to offer as a site for 
the school. In 1830, the committee gave its report, and after 


much debating it was decided to build the Genesee Wesleyan 
Seminary at Lima. The property above referred to was known 
for years as "Seminary Hill.'' 


Several private schools were established in Perry between 
the years 1820 and 1870. One of the first of these institutions 
was the "Perry English and Classical School/' which began in 
about 1829. Harriet Massett was preceptress of this school, 
and F. Lethbridge her assistant. The school was continued un- 
til about the year 1845. 

The "Perry Classical School," as it was called, was opened 
in Perry in 1838 by Prof, and Mrs. B. W. Care}^ Massett in the 
third story of the Bailey block. This was one of the most popu- 
lar of the schools of this class, an average of 60 students being 
maintained during the terms of 1839. As it may be of interest 
to the student of today, the courses of instruction and the cost 
of each are given as advertised by the faculty : 

Introductory Class — The Elements of Knowledge — Read- 
ing, Spelling, Writing and Arithmetic ; per term of 12 weeks, 

Junior Class — The Elements of Natural Science, English, 
Grammar, History, Astronomy, and Practical Book-Keeping ; 
per quarter, $4.00. 

Senior Class — The Greek, Latin and French Languages, 
Algebra and Euclid's Elements; per quarter, $5.00. 

Industrial — Mrs. Massett gives lessons in making worsted 
and wax flowers, and in painting by theorem ; each, extra, per 
quarter, $3.00. 

In 1845 this school passed into the control of Peres Brown, 
who continued it until 1847. 

A school was opened by Mr. Josiah Andrews in the base- 
ment of the Baptist Church, which he equipped with many of 
the articles now used in Kindergarten work, at that time feat- 


nres that had never been heard of. His wife's sister, Miss Har- 
riet Frazer, was installed as teacher. A niece of Miss Frazer 
(Mrs. Maria Andrews Bailey) called the writer's attention to 
the fact that a black band was painted on the floor, on which 
the little folks marched to music. 

A certain Miss Squires conducted a school similar to the 
above mentioned during the years 1835-7. 

A ''Select School for Y^oung Ladies" wag started in the 
village on April l2th, 1841, under the management of Miss 
Sarah Prentiss. Instruction was given for a few years in Eng- 
lish, French and Spanish languages, drawing and painting. 

An ''Academical School" Was opened in the village on 
May 6th, 1844, with J. C. Vandercook as Principal and Miss R. 
Griswold as Assistant. The courses of instruction have been 
given in a preceding chapter. 

"The Perry Female Seminary" Was established in May, 
1843, and continued one year. The course of instruction em- 
braced English, Mathematics, Languages, Vocal and Instru- 
mental Music. The expenses incidental to conducting the school 
were defraj^ed by pro rata assessments upon the pupils. Miss 
Abigail C. Rogers Was Principal ; Miss Mary Parton, Assistant ; 
and Mr. S. W. Hitchcock, French teacher. 

A "select and Classical School for Boys^' opened for the 
reception of students on November 28th, 1844, and continued 
until about 1849. N. G. Allen was Prinicpal. The school util- 
ized a part of the old National Hotel as a school building. 

Miss Harriet Hammond conducted a select school in Perry 
for a few years, beginning about 1849. A portion of the house 
now occupied by M. S. Sweet, corner of Lake and Short streets, 
was used by this institution. Among its students were Miss 
Helen Edgerly and Mrs. Albert Richards. 


The little building now occupied by Charles Jenks as a 
second-hand store, on Covington street, was used in the early 
'50 's as a private school. A certain Mrs. Skidmore taught the 
school during 1851 and 1852. Miss Sophronia Broughton taught 
here two or three years, and Miss Harriet Clark one year. 

A Miss Sanborn established a private school on the corner 
of Watkins avenue and North Center street (the Perry Center 
road) in the late 30 's. Jerome Edgerly was one of her students. 

A Miss Clisbee opened a school on the corner of Lake and 
Leicester streets in 1862 or 1863. Among other students were 
W. H. Tuttle, Henry Nobles, Clara Macomber and Sarah Clark. 

Misses Bullard and Andrews opened a select school on 
Sept. 30th, 1867, in the lecture room of the Presbyterian 
Church, teaching primary and common branches, higher Eng- 
lish, modern languages, instrumental and vocal music, oil paint- 
ing, gymnastics, etc. 

Among other private schools was one opened in December, 
1846, by the late Mark A. Pierce. Mr. Pierce used the old Meth- 
odist chapel as a school building and closed it in 1848. 

E. DeCost McKay and Lucinda Bradley taught select 
schools at Perry Center during 1855-6. 


The Old Perry Academy, A Prominent Educational Institution That 
Was Built by Public Subscription and a Landmark for Many 
Years — Succeeded by Perry High School. 

The erection of the old Perry Academy was begun during 
the summer of 1853. The corner-stone Was laid With appro- 
piiate exercises on July 4th of that year, and the building was 
completed and dedicated to the purposes of education on the 

4th of October, 1854, a great throng of people participating and 
many prominent men taking part in the exercises. The brick 
used in its construction was made in Mr. Moses ' brick yard at 
West Perry. 


At the dedication services the address was made by Prof. 
^Vest, Principal of the Buffalo Female Seminary. Following is 
the program of the exercises of the day: 

Reading of Scripture by Mr. Scott ; reading of Dedication 
Hymn by Rev. Eben Francis, Universalist minister ; singing of 
the same by the choir; prayer by Rev. Joseph R. Page, Presby- 
terian clergyman ; music ; address by Prof. West ; presentation 
of keys to Prof. Dann by Mr. David Mitchell ; remarks by Mr. 
Dann ; presentation of a large bible by Mr. Mitchell on behalf of 
i\Iiss Sherman and Miss Waterbury ; presentation by Mr. Dann 
of a copy of Webster 's Unabridged Dictionary ; music ; reading 
of the secretary's report of the affairs of the institution; bene- 
diction. In the evening the Philharmonic Society gave a grand 
concert. All of the exercises of the day passed off well and 
left universal good feeling among the people. The scholars 
made a splendid appearance. 

The Academy was located on the site just to the rear of the 
present school building, and cost — including lot and equip- 
nient — $16,750, \vhich was raised by popular subscription. It 
was 87 feet wide, 58 feet deep, and three stories above the base- 
ment, which the Methodists afterward converted into a board- 
ing hall for the accoraodation of its non-resident students. Be- 
sides a large chapel in the third story, it contained about thirty 
x-ecitation rooms. A Library was installed in the building for 
the convenience of the students. Additions were made thereto 
from time to time, and when it was removed to the new school 
building it contained about 1500 well-selected volumes. The 
Academy also contained a well-equipped Laboratory, the appar- 
atus costing approximately $600. 

In receiving the keys of the building on Dedication Day, 

Prof. Dann said: 

"I thank you for the distinguished honor you have con- 
ferred upon me .... Of your own free will ^^ou have called me ; 



as freely I accept the trust; and may God grant that whenever, 
and under whatever cireuiiistances I may restore these keys, tlie 
insignia of my office, to their proper owners, they may be found 
as bright and untarnished as today. . . .1 am neither ignorant 
nor unmindful of the responsibilities I thus assume. You make 
me at once the steward of your property investedhere, the guard- 


ian of your children, the depositorj^ of your dearest hopes, your 
most invaluable possession. . I deem it unnecessary on this occa- 
sion to advance my views of education, to argue its importance, 
or to ask the sympathy and co-operation of this people in build- 
ing up an institution here w^hich shall be the pride of Perry, 
the glory of Wyoming, and the light of the land. . . .You open 
to me a building unsurpassed for beauty of plan, symmetry of 
construction and convenience of arrangement by any school 
edifice in the State. The structure as you see it today speaks 



the praise of all whose time or means have contributed to its 
erection, more emphatically than any words of mine. .If the 
furniture, library, apparatus, grounds, and teachers are made 
to correspond with the building itself, the world will be no 
longer left to inquire w^here Perry is. . . .My friends, this insti- 
tution is your foster-child ; cherish it as such, remembering that 
your property invested here is still your own. It is a deposit 
in trust for your children's benefit. Let it be understood that 
this is the people's, and the whole people's school, and every 
honest individual of whatever creed, party or calling, feel that 
he has an interest here ; that the success of this enterprise is 
identical with his own. ' ' 

CYRUS MERRILL Photo by Crocker 

Among the men who were prominent in the efforts to se- 
cure the institution were : Hon. Rufus H. Smith, Dr. Mason G- 
Smith, Enos W. Frost, Hon. Wm. Mitchell, David Mitchell, 


James S. Bougbton, Austin Toan, Capt. Wm. Dolbeer, Erastus 
Bradley, Edward P. Clark, John Olin, Parris Olin, Edmund C. 
Bills, Robert Grisewood, Hon, Calvin P. Bailey, Shepard P. 
Bullard, Cyrus Merrill and others. 

A complete and competent corps of instructors having been 
secured, the institution was opened for the reception of stud- 
ents on October 2d, 1854. The records show that on October 
24th there were 211 pupils registered ; on October 31st, 225; and 
on February 24th, 1855, there were 270 registered. The first fac- 
ulty was composed of the following named :Chas. H.Dann, Prin- 
cipal ; Andrew J. Rodman, Professor of Ancient Languages and 
Mathematics; Alexander Loos, Professor of Music and Modern 
Languages; Miss Jerusha Waterbury, Preceptress; Miss So- 
phronia Broughton, Drawing and Primary Department; Miss 
Amanda L. Mills, English; Miss Jessie Grieve and Miss Delia 
Curtice, assistant teachers. 

In connection with this institution there were three literary 
societies, to one of which each student was assigned. Their ob- 
ject was "to promote the knowledge of the English language 
and to secure its proper use in reading, writing and speech.'' 
These societies were known as the Catonian, Newtonian and 
Beta Phi. There was also a society for the primary students 
known as the Sophronian. 

On January 3d, 1855, the three literary societies held a 
prize contest. A fine audience was in attendance, and at the 
conclusion of the exercises Mr. Charles H. Dann and Miss Jer- 
usha Waterbury entered the chapel, passed upon the platform, 
and were there, in the presence of nearly a thousand witnesses, 
joined in marriage. Rev. Joseph Page officiating. The newly 
married couple withdrew to the parlor of the institution to re- 
ceive congratulations of their friends of whom nearly 300 were 
students. A wedding at the home of the bride was abandoned 


for the purpose of giving a pleasing surprise to the Academy's 

The Academy was organized upon a non-sectarian basis, 
but in 1856 it passed into the control of the Genesee Conference 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, remaining under super- 
vision of the Conference until 1872. A Board of Visitors was 
appointed annually by the Conference to manage the interests 
of the school. Among the prominent members of the Confer- 
ence who were especially active in furthering the interests of 
the school were : Rev. Gilbert DeLaMatyr, Dr. John B. Went- 
worth, and Rev. Sanford Hunt. 

Prof Dann did not complete his school year, which was 
finished by Andrew J. Rodman, who was succeeded in 1855 by 
Prof. Gardner. In 1856-7, Rollin C. Welch was Principal, fol- 
lowed in 1858 by Prof. Martin R. Atkins, who was in charge 
until 1866. 

Prof. Atkins is tenderly remembered by his pupils. His 
wife and daughters Florence and Octavia (the late Mrs. John 
B. Smallwood) taught during the same period. He was much 
beloved by his associate teachers as well as by the pupils. Miss 
Mary Green who was Preceptress for many years, paid the fol- 
lowing tribute to Prof. Atkins : 

' ' To speak as an associate teacher, it seems to me fitting to 
recall some of the qualities that went to make up his successful 
career. The gift of teaching was his in a large measure ; he had 
the ability to impart knowledge and was always mindful of the 
apostolic injunction to 'do good.' He had abundant sympathy 
for all students, but especially for those to whom the way to 
knowledge was a way of self-denial. He knew by personal ex- 
perience the hard places, and his words were always of encour- 
agement. His was a rare comradship, too. How he entered into 
the spirit of our fun. No voice rang out in heartier laughter 
than his, on the playground or in the assembly, over healthy 
sport. While he held firm the reins, there was an absence of 


Monument erected in Hope Cemetery in 1897 by former pupils and friends, 

— Photo by Crocker 



foi'biddiiig formality. Though licn-lil:e in appearance, \ve soon 
learned licw accessible he was. Sincere, he did not pose for ef- 
fect : and he enjoyed greatly the gifts tliat came to him without 

ceremony and parade The crown of all was the Christian 

faith that inspired and directed their lives, manifest in inter- 
ronrse with pupil and friend, the light within illuminating 
th«Mr teaching, making them w^orkmen that need not be ash- 


Born July 11, 1831 Died June 6, 1909 

Prof. Edwin ]\I. Read, who was Principal of the District 
Union School on Lake street, was engaged as instructor in 
mathematics by Prof. Atkins and became a member of the fac- 
ulty of the Academy in 1859, a position which he filled with 
marked ability for several j^ears. 



Miss Mary Green was Preceptress for several years, associ- 
ated with Prof. Atkins and Prof. Welch. She was extremely 
popular with the students and her personality is inseparably 
connected with the institution in the minds of those who came 
under her beneficent influence. 

(From an old, faded photograph.) 

In addition to the Principals of the Academy as above de- 
ferred to, other Principals were : Jason N. Fradenburgh, 1866 j 
John D. Hammond, Sept. 1867; M. H. Paddock, October to De^ 
cember, 1867 ; Lowell L. Rogers, December, 1867 to 1870; Edwin 
Wildman, 1870 to 1872, 

In consequence of the enlarged powers and liberal financial 
aid conferred by the State upon Union and district schools in 
the late '60 's and early '70 's, and the" great advance made by 
such schools in their courses of study and methods of instruc-- 


tion it became very difficult to maintain denominational schools 
operated like the Perry Academy on a tuition basis. 

In 1872, the District Union School building, now known as 
*'The Beehive,'' had become unfit for school purposes, and at 
a meeting of the citizens, held on April 12th, 1872, it was voted 
to appropriate $5,500 for the purchase of a site and the erection 
of a new building. During the following week the project of 
purchasing the Perry Academy of the Methodists, instead of 
constructing a new building, was discussed, and at a special 
meeting called for the 23d of April, a committee consisting of 
H. A. Brigham, J. \V. Chamberlain and George Tomlinson was 
appointed to confer with the trustees of the Academy. The re- 
sult of their conference was the transfer of the Academy prop- 
erty to the district for $4,500. A new name, the "Perry Free 
Academy," was given to the institution, and later it was called 
the ''Perry Free Academy and Union School," and Perry Acad- 
e!iiy passed into history. Prof. Edwin Wildman was the first 
Principal and continued until June, 1873, in the Fall of that 
year being succeeded by Miss Ella S. Calligan, who was his 

The reorganization in 1872 gave new impetus to the school. 
From that time on the work and efficiency steadily advanced, 
the growth in attendance at the school keeping pace with the 
rapid increase in the population of the town. The advance in 
academic work was duly recognized by the University of the 
State of New York when, in 1897, the school was designated by 
that body as the "Perry High School." 

Referring to the "school exhibitions" of the old Academy 
days, which were the event of the year, the following reminis- 
cences have been secured from various sources. Charades, 
tableaux, i^laylets, orations, essays, declamations, etc., were even 
more prominent than at the present time. The exhibitions were 



inaugurated by Prof. Atkins an:l Miss Grecai. One cf the first 
included a colloquy prepared by Miss Green, which she called 
"The Court of Fashion, " in which Nellie Keeney, Alice Suiilh, 
Libbie Merrill and others took part, costumed in the gowns of 
their mothers and grandmothers and Aunt Olivia Sherman. 
The "May Queen" was a Summer success with its flowers and 
music ; thirty girls took i)art and set the hearts of the young 
men all aquiver as they came up the stairs from the dressing 

Perry Academy, later Perry High School, replaced by present building. 

room in their dainty, fetching gowns. Our informant said: "I 
can see these young men now — Milo Olin, Romaine Moffett, 
Henry Cleveland,' Wheat 'Merrill, John Smallwood, Will Grieve, 
Charlie Dolbeer, Wesley and Robert Stainton, and even sly 
Prof. Read followed them with admiring glances. And there 
was Robert Dow ;I remember him singing in the quartet,' A Bea- 
con Light to Glory,' and breaking the hearts of certain young 


women wlien it was known that lie would not return to school 
the next year." 

From another source we learn that the grounds were quite 
different from the present time. On the east and south and 
partly on the west of the old Academy building was a fence; 
on the west and north, a hawthorne hedge. The front approach 
from the street was by a winding board walk ; on the west side 
of the front grounds there was a well and pump. There were 
no trees on the front grounds, except two or three old apple 
trees west of the porch. An apple orchard occupied thew^est half 
of the rear grounds. What is now Hawthorne street was a road- 
way or lane, on the west side of which were pastures or other 
fields. ''Ornamental branches" were taught by the late Mrs. 
E. T. Tuttle, Althea Rowley, Mrs. L. M. Wiles, Miss Mary Mor- 
ton, Mrs. Mary (Brigham) Bemus, Anna Sutherland and Miss 
Flora Bradley. On one occasion the first prize for drawing was 
won by Willie D. Page, the prize consisting of a crayon head 
of a shaggy dog, entitled "Who Said Rats?" executed by the 
drawing teacher. The upper floor of the old building was oc- 
cupied chiefly as the "chapel" or general assembly room, in 
which the whole student body gathered for morning religious 
service and a short homily by one of the professors or some vis- 
iting dignatary. In the chapel the regular Friday afternoon 
rhetoricals were held (also the closing and winter exhibitions) 
which were the crowning events of the year. The older pupils 
can vividly remember the drilling for these occasions and scent 
the odor of the frequent hemlock festoons w^hich encircled the 
gallery and hung above the doorways. Some of the boys and 
girls were remarkably good in recitations. Ella Smallwood 
(Mrs. Robert Stainton) excelled in that line, and later, Jennie 
Smallwood (Mrs. V. H. Badger,) won the honors. Ida Cha- 
pin (Mrs. G. K. Smith) was particularly happy in her rendition 
of "An Order for a Picture;" Frank Wyckoff was thunder- 


ously impressive, whether celebrating "The Ride of the Noble 
Six Hundred" or a Cataline hurling his *'defi" at tho Roman 
Senate. Doane Davis made Sheridan's Ride thrillingly real to 
l)oyish ears. Albert Brigham, grave and self-possessedinhisprose 
selections, gave a hint of the substantial qualities that afterward 
gave eminence to his scholarship, Newton Wyckoff won rhe- 
torical laurels on at least one occasion, when he received first 
prize at a public exhibition for the best declamation, and it is 
sad that such fame should have been diminished by the subse- 
quent throwing of pebbles into the Principal's rain water tub. 
Charles King essayed to speak "The Indian Chief's Lament,'^ 
and only got as far as the line 

"I will go to my tent and lie down in despair'' 
Avhen his memory failed him completely and he was obliged to 
follow the action of the chief and lament his own failure. 

Principals who followed ^liss Calligan were : Irving P, 
Bishop, 1878 to 1885; Jesse P. Worden, 1885 to 1888; Mary E. 
Catton, 1888 to 1897 ; Wm. H. Adams, 1897 to 1899 ; Herbert C- 
Jeffers, 1899 to 1902; M. J. Multer, 1902 to 1905; Clarence A. 
Fetterley,.1905 to 1906 ; Wm. H. McClelland, 1906. 

The steady and rapid growth of the toM^n naturally had its 
effect upon the public school. Within the eight j^ears from 1894 
to 1902 the village alone had more than doubled its popula- 
tion- — from 1526 to 3346 — and while the High School depart- 
ment was not seriously handicapped, the various grades became- 
overcrowded, necessitating frequent alterations in the building 
to provide the required accommodations. These alterations for 
the enlargement of the rooms changed the original plan of the 
building and unavoidably^ weakened its supports. 

The State Department of Education became insistent that 
greater facilities be provided, as the law was being violated by 
failure to furnish the required amount of floor space and air 



fepace for the number of pupils in attendance. The Board of 
Education, composed of C. G. Clarke, president ; G. M. Traber, 
J. N. Wyckoff, C. W. Rudd, Mrs. W. H. Herron, Mrs. J. W. Olin 
and Mrs. G. H. Peddle, trustees, had deferred action as long as 
possible, until in January, 1905, they were obliged by the 
crowded condition of the institution to make an extended state- 
ment in detail, showing the imperative necessity of providing 
additional school facilities, a problem that had vexed them for 
about three years and which they had met as far as possible by 
alterations as above referred to. 


People who had been students in the institution 20 to 25 
years previous to this time could not understand or appreciate 
the necessity confronting the Board, the building at that period 
being partly occupied by living rooms and having ample accom- 


mcdations. They could not realize the changed conditions, and 
it was natural that many believed the Board's statements to be 
exaggerated. In consequence, strong opposition developed and 
even bitterness of feeling was engendered. They proposed to 
meet the condition by renting rooms outside, and various other 
expedients were suggested, all of which had already been care- 
fully considered and found unsatisfactory by the Board. The 
most inexpensive proposition the Board was able to submit 
was a new High School building and necessary repan-s and im- 
provements upon the existing building to properly care for the 
grade pupils. 

On January 31st, 1905, a special school meeting was held 
at the school building to discuss the proposition for the expendi- 
ture of $33,000, as above outlined. There were about 500 people 
in attendance and the State Avas represented by W. C. Halliday 
of the Department of Education. Architect F. W. Kirkland of 
Rome, N. Y., who had been selected b}^ the Board, was also pres- 
ent to answer questions and give information. W. D. Page was 
chairman of the meeting, and remarks w^ere made by a number 
of people. After considerable discussion the meeting was ad- 
journed to Saturday, February 4th„ at the Town Hall, to vote 
upon the proposition, the polls to be open from 1 to 6 o'clock. 
At the time set, the plans for the proposed new building were 
on exhibition. There were 419 votes cast, of which 318 were 
in the negative and 101 in the affirmative, the majority against 
the proposition being 217. Of the number who voted, 119 were 

Following the defeat of the proposition, Mr. D. H. Buck- 
land in conversation with Trustee J. N. Wyckoff stated that the 
only feasible proposition was an entirely new building that 
would accommodate all of the pupils and also provide for future 
growth. Mr. Wyckoff suggested that Mr. Buckland circulate 
a petition and learn how many of the taxpayers held the samq 


view. Mi\ Buc-land accepted the suggestion and soon secured 
99 signatures, representing business and professional people as 
Well as other taxpayers. 

Although there was no knowledge of it at the time, the 
\ icw of I\Ir. Buckland appears to have been the same as that of 
Hon. Frank H. Wood, Chief of the Inspections Division of the 
State Department of Education, who w^rote to the Board, under 
date of February 28th, 1905, and in his letter said that he had 
leceived reports from his inspectors stating that the building 
was unfit for the needs of the district, and he instructed the 
Board to call a special meeting on March 28th, to vote upon a 
proposition "to expend a sufficient sum of money to construct a 
new school building adequate in size for the accommodation of 

all of the children of school age residing in the district to 

Uieet the present needs and to provide also for reasonable 
growth for years to come." 

In accordance with the requirement of Chief Wood, a call 
was published for a special school meeting to be held at The 
Auditorium on March 28th, 1905, at 7:30 o'clock p. m., for the 
purpose of voting upon a proposition to expend $50,000 for a 
neAv building. There was a small attendan<^e at the meeting, of 
which Dr. P. S. Goodwin Avas chosen chairman. ]\Ir. A. E. Hall 
of the Inspections Division of the State Department of Educa- 
tion was present to answer questions. Much antagonism was 
manifested, and after considerable discussion a motion was 
carried to adjourn to Saturday, April 1st, at the Town Hall, 
the polls to be open from 1 to 6 o'clock p. m. 

NotAvithstanding the fact that a circular letter signed by 
30 of the business people of Perry, giving the qualifications of 
voters and urging them to turn out and vote in favor of the 
proposition, there were only 368 votes cast, 51 less than the 
number upon the first proposition submitted. There were 192 


negative votes and 176 affirmative, a majority of 16 against the 

By direction of A. E. Hall of the Inspections Division, an- 
other special meeting was called for May 12th, 1905, at The 
Auditorium, at 7 :30 p. m., to vote again upon the proposition 
to expend $50,000 for a new building, and the matter was ex- 
plained in detail in the Perry Record, giving complete particu- 
lars of what had been done, what was demanded by the State 
Department and what must be done. In spite of all this, the op- 
position was persistent and bitter, and less than 200 people — a 
majority of them opponents — gathered at the meeting on May 
12th. Hon. B. A. Nevins was chairman and introduced Mr. A. 
E. Hall, by whose authority the meeting had been called. Mr. Hall 
reviewed the requirements of the State Department and advised 
favorable action in the matter, concluding by saying that if it 
were otherwise he should recommend that the building be con- 
demned. The hostile feeling manifested itself when a motion 
was made to adjourn to the second Tuesday after the annual 
meeting in August. An amendment was offered to adjourn to 
Saturday, May 13th, at the Town Hall, from 1 to 5 o'clock. 
When the questions were put the responses in each instance 
were so loud that it was impossible to decide which had carried. 
In order to be certain, the audience was requested to remain 
and vote again by rising. Three tellers were appointed — one 
for each section of the house — and the original motion to ad- 
journ until the second Tuesday after the annual meeting in 
August was carried by a vote of 99 to 65. 

Politics had been injected into the fight, considerable of 
the opposition being directed against the president of the Board 
by those who were antagonistic toward him personally, and by 
some the proposed building was sneeringly referred to as 
' ' Clarke 's monument, ' ' the other members of the Board coming 
in for a share of the unjust criticism for simply endeavoring 


to fulfill their responsibilities to the district and meet the re- 
quirements of the State Department. 

In keeping up a fight, the opposition were merely adding 
to the expense, figuratively ''cutting off their nose to spite 
their face,'' for the reason that if the people refused to provide 
the proper facilities the State money would be with-held, the 
building would be condemned and a new one would therefore 
be compulsory. 

About 125 people attended the annual meeting held on 
August 1st, 19C5, at Avhich time Will W. Grieve was chosen 
chairman. The trustees' report showed that they had held 
22 regular and special meetings and six informal meetings dur- 
ing the school year. In view of the criticism of the Board, 
among which was one that they had employed a "boy archi- 
tect" in the person of Mr. Kirkland, a motion was made by 
Trustee G. M. Traber that a committee of five, composed of per- 
sons outside of the Board of Education, be appointed and em- 
powered to engage a competent engineer or architect to make 
a thorough inspection of the school building and report whether 
it could be made to comply with the State law, and whether it 
would be advisable to try to enlarge the building; the report to 
be submitted before August 15th and the expense to be borne 
by the district. The motion was carried and the following 
named were nominated and elected as such committee: M. H. 
Olin, C. A. Carmichael, C. H. Toan, Charles Wise and J. E. 

Nominations of nine different persons were made for the 
office of trustee to succeed Mr. C. G. Clarke and Mrs. W. H. 
Herron, who were also nominated to succeed themselves. Mr. 
Clarke declined a renomination. At the annual election on the 
following day, Charles Wise and George A. White were chosen 
as trustees, 386 votes being cast. 


The committee elected to engage an architect to inspect 
the old building and make a report took no one into their con- 
fidence. They chose J. P^oster Warner of Rochester, the archi- 
tect of the Powers Hotel in that city and of many of the city's 
school buildings. He was a man of extended experience and 
one whose ability was widely known. Under date of August 
7th, 1905, Mr. Warner made his report, from which the follow- 
ing excerpts are taken: 

''I find the building in a very bad condition as regards the 
construction. The outside walls are badly bulged and cracked, 
and have been anchored together with tie rods; also, where the 
interior walls have been taken out, the supports at present are 
inadequate. As to whether the building could be made to com- 
ply with the State law, I should say that the expense of so do- 
ing would be entirely unwarranted, as it would amount al- 
most to the entire reconstruction of the building; and I 
should advise against the enlarging of the same, as the pres- 
ent structure is not of sufficient value to warrant the ex- 
penditure of the amount of money necessary to provide the 
additional school facilities. If sufficient money was expended 
on the structure to bring it up to the requirements of the law, 
it w^ould then accommodate a much smaller number of pupils 
than the present structure provides for. I enclose a copy of 
the instructions to school officers, which is sent out from the 
Commissioner of Education at Albany. Y^ou will observe that 
with the requirements necessary it will be practically impos- 
sible to alter the building to comply with the present law." 

The special committee published the report and notified the 
public of a special meeting on August 14th, at 7 :30 p. m., at the 
school building, at which time Mr. Warner was present in per- 
son to make his report and answer fully any questions that 
might be asked. C. H. Toan called the meeting to order, about 
100 people being present. W. P. Andrus was chosen chairman 
and Mr. Warner was introduced. He answered numerous ques- 
tions and the subject was thoroughly discussed for about two 
hours, Mr. Warner's statements substantiating fully those that 


had been made by the Board of Education and proving the 
merit of their contention, the result of over a year of careful 
study of the matter. 

On August 15th the question of expending $50,000 for a 
new building was again submitted and carriages were used by 
those for and against it in getting out the vote. There were 
483 ballots cast, of which 269 were in the affirmative and 214 
in the negative, a majority of 55 in favor of the proposition. 
Some of the opposition were hard losers, claiming that illegal 
votes had been cast, but the only illegal voter discovered was a 
man who had made the loudest complaint and who had been 
one of the most active opponents. 

Architect Warner highly commended the plans that had 
been prepared by Architect Kirkland. Eleven bids were re- 
ceived for the work, and early in May, 1906, the contract for 
construction was let to the Mt. Morris Lumber Co., of Mt. Mor- 
ris, N. Y., at their bid of $44,130.28, exclusive of heating and 

The corner-stone was laid on August 31st, 1906, the cere- 
monies opening with a selection by the Casino Orchestra and 
prayer by Rev. C. H. Dibble of Perry. Addresses were made 
by John B. Smallwood of Warsaw and M. A. Lovejoy, Esq., of 
Perry, former pupils of Perry Academy. Mr. Lovejoy gave a 
brief historical sketch and he was followed by Rev. Mr. Dibble, 
who made congratulatory remarks. The new principal, Prof. 
W. H. McClelland, was then introduced, and among other 
things he said: "I have come to Perry with heart and soul in 
my work. Whatever is of interest to Perry is of interest to me. 
I am a servant of the best interests of the people and village 
.... I want to commend you for this great undertaking of erect- 
ing this splendid monument to the educational interests of this 
community. Too much praise cannot be given to the members. 


of the Board of Education who have so willingly given their 
time and thought to plan for the interest of this and future 
generations. We shall be proud of the magnificent new build- 
i]]g. its commodious rooms, spacious halls, heating and ventil- 
ating systems, its large and well-equipped laboratories. These 
things, with an efficient corps of teachers and the harmonious 
"w^orking of teachers, parents and the Board of Education, will 
insure us a school system second to none in the State." 

Notwithstanding it was thought that the new building 
would be large enough for present and future needs, four years 
after its completion it was found necessary to finish off four 
rooms in the attic on the third floor, and other enlarged facili- 
ties were also made in the basement of the building. The words 
of Prof. McClelland were prophetic, as the present position of 
the institution testifies. 

The new building was erected in front of the old one, per- 
mitting the use of the old structure until the new one was com- 
pleted, thus avoiding interruption of the school work and sav- 
ing the expense of using outside quarters. It w^as with mis- 
givings that the Board of Education decided to erect the new 
school in front of the old one and thus shorten the beautiful, 
long approach, with its attractive grove on the north and its 
spacious lawn on the south, to which they were endeared by sen- 
timent, but utility and economy were practical considerations 
that they could not afford to ignore. 

With the community spirit that is characteristic, when the 
new edifice began to take shape and its beauty and complete- 
ness began to be realized, the bitterness and antagonism disap- 
peared and loyalty to Perry and its institutions again became 
manifest, and the wisdom of those who fought for the project 
was admitted, even by their opponents. The school today has 
the united support of citizens and stands as a monument of 
Perry's enterprise and progressiveness. 


The following named are graduates of Perry High School, 
belonging to the Alumni Association, which was formed in 1885. 
These marked by an * are deceased. 

1877— Sarah Clark (Mrs. F. H. Austin.) 

1878— Nellie Wheeler (Mrs. Fred B. Godfrey,) Augusta 
Palmer, Lillie Palmer (Mrs. AV. L. Chapim) James Newton 

1879— Pteta Butler (Mrs. Wm. Hoyt,) *Myra Jenks (Mrs. 
W. Eugene Hamlin.) 

1880— No class. 

1881— Cyrus Fitch, Nannie Allen (Mrs. Wm. Thorpe,) Net- 
tie Handley, Nellie Starks. 

1882— C. Minot Griffith, Celia E. Chamberlain (Mrs. J. T. 
Cooley,) Stella C. Wylie (Mrs. C. H. Toan,) *Eva J. Cole. 

1883— ^Edward P. Purcell, Garrett D. Roche, Charles L. 
Shepard, Elva R. Kniffin (Mrs. C. Minot Griffith,) Clara B. 
Lacy (]\Irs. Herman Lewis.) 

1884— Addie E. Burns (Mrs. M. H. Jackson,) *Julia F. 
Westlake (Mrs. D. W. Babcock.) 

1885— Martha A. Catton (Mrs. Daniel Rich,) Etta A. Cham- 
berlain, Dora L. Homan (Mrs. R. G. Stainton,) Lida M. Lucas 
(Mrs. J. Stewart,) *Mary L.Read (Mrs. Arthur Pitkin,) Maud 
E. Fisk, Mary Wylie, Flora S. Sheldon (Mrs. G. C. Fox.) 

1886— John Barry, Charles E. Benedict, Charles A. Bui- 
lard, Wm. G. Roche, Kate C. Griffith (Mrs. Fred W. Smith,) 
Carrie D. Read (Mrs. C. G. Clarke,) Jennie M. Wheeler (Mrs. 
Edward Gra^^) 

1887— ^Hiram Howden, Albert Hull, Eugene Karn, Charles 
A. Owen, Clara A. Benedict, Stella M. Heath (Mrs. Allen Hath- 
away,) Georgia Rutherford, ^Clara C. Surdam, Grace Utter 

(Mrs. W. F. Pettes.) 

1888— Charles S. Benedict, Luther C. Crippen, Wm. Little- 
dyke, Wm. F. Pettes, elessie Gates. 


1889— Wm. W. Grieve, Allen Hathaway, Mark A. Macom- 
ber, Win. C. Parler, Jennie M. Bills (Mrs. Fred Watkins,) Kate 

B. Gates (Mrs. D. H. Gates,) *Marv B. Rndgers (Mrs. M. C. 
Hutton,) ^Caroline E. Sanford (Mrs. D. E. Foskett,) Hattie B. 
Tabor (Mrs. A. Ariiiour.) Edna A. Tallman, Jessie Tucker 
(Mrs. W. T. Olin,) Addie M. Whalen (Mrs. T. T. Mangan.) 

1890— Mary C. Kane, James B. Griffith, Mary E. Smith, A. 
Gould White, *May Wilcox, *Myron H. Luce. 

1891— John T. Washbinn. Marion E. Dow, (Mrs. A. E. 
Menzie,) *Nora E. Stainton, Ida E. Watrous, Glenn Martin, 
Grace G. Willey (Mrs. G H. Bemis,) Minnie Buttre (Mrs. Le- 
land Pixley,) Richard G. Benedict, *Lua M. Green (Mrs. L. A. 
Paschke,) Guy C. Shaw, Maergie Lacey (Mrs. Clarence Wid- 
ener,) Edith M. Mclntyre (Mrs. Guy Watrous,) Marcella M. 
Roche, Maud E. Jenlrs. Olean S. Green (Mrs. G. H. Peddle,) 
Alton A. Richardscn, *Crra A. Chapin, *Nellie J. Burns, Fred 

C. Kimball. 

1892— Julia E. Rude (Mrs. Ed. Clark,) Roy B. Dow, Nellie 
B. Jenks (Mrs. R. ]\I. Olhi.) ^Herbert A. Ensign, George J. 
Grieve, Nellie A. Heath (Mrs. M. A. Macomber,) Anna M. Sand- 
erson (Mrs. Frank Coleman.) 

1893— IsabePe S. T;owing (Mrs. R. W. How,) Fred M. 
Washburn, Frances M. Bernard, Kittie M. Smith (Mrs. R. S. 
Collyer,) *Ida M. Handyside (Mrs. Charles C. Chase,) Flora A. 
Hodge, Lulu A. Ward (Mrs. Arthur Windsor,) Fannie C. Fisher 
(Mrs. Walter Jones,) Alfred S. Wilcox, Emma E. Hack (Mrs. 
W. C. Sahrle,) Mary VanHouten (Mrs. S. W. Hart.) 

1894 — Lloyd P. Benedict, Carl Stainton, Harry Robinson, 
Romaine Wallace, Flora Kimball, Madge Dow, Luie Sweet 
(Mrs. Charles E. Roc^ wood,) Elizabeth Willey (Mrs. George 
Drake,) Florence Andrews (Mrs. Harvey Webber,) Edith Mc- 
Withey (Mrs. David J. McMaster,) Bessie E. Thurston. 

1895 — Harriet Hamilton (Mrs. Herbert Slaight,) Gertrude 
Armstrong (Mrs. E. J. Webster,) Eva Lewis, Maude Knowlton, 
Kathryn Bernard (Mrs. L. P. Benedict,) George S. Macomber, 
Lloyd G. Stainton, Flora M. Cronkhite (Mrs. Lewis Allen,) Mar- 
cus H. Butler, George H. Russell, Fannie S. Alverson (Mrs. 
Wm. McMahon,) Charles M. Benedict, Griffith Gardner, Edwin 
M. Read, Elizabeth Halligan, John E. Stainton. 


1896— Ilollaud E. Beiicdiet, Marie A. Wiidman (Mrs. John 
McKecwnj Karl Y. Sharpsteeii, Flora A. Weilman (Mrs. Fred 
Smith,) Gertrude E. Staiiitcn (Mrs. D. H. Allen,) Dora E. Cross 
(Mrs. Beujaiiiiii White,) Alice J. Hough, M. Louise O'Brien, 
Jessie M. Russell, Edith Smith. 

1897— Anna M. Dibble, *Char]es R. Gregg, Wm. E. Smith, 
C. Leslie Robinson, Charles E. Duffy, Stacey B. Belden. 
1898— No class. 

1899— Roscoe C. Parker, A. Stanley Copeland, Isabelle 
Cole, L. May Meter, Fran G. Cliffcid, W. Carlton Buckland, 
Mary A. Hough (Mrs. Charles Heist,) Carrie L. Howell (Mrs. 
Clarence Hull,) Mark J. Nevins, Floyd M. Mclntyre, Lloyd M. 
IMcIntyre, Benson F. Tallman. Albeit R. Watrous, Clarence J. 
Whalen, Arthur W. Whalen, *Ella Smith. 

1900— Hope Benedict (Mrs. R. E. Dildine,) Myrtle Clark, 
Minnie Kennedy. 

1901— Warren Badger, Georgia Beardslev (Mrs. Llovd 
Burlingham,) Cora Clifford, M. Agnes Cole (Mrs. H. C. White- 
nack.) Laura Cole (Mrs. Carl BucI land,) Harry B. Nevins, 
*Lena C. Rudgers, Blanche A. Smith (Mrs. Leslie Robinson,) 
Daisy Stowell (Mrs. W. W. Laine,) Evelyn Sutherland (Mrs. C. 
A. Mclntyre,) Florence M. Tallman (Mrs. Lucien Crandall.) 

1902— Julia May Butler (Mrs. Floyd Reeves,) Teresa Culli- 
nan, Bessie Dalrymple (Mrs. L. G. Stainton,) Jessie Howlett 
(]\Irs. Roy Calkins,) Roy A. Spellicy, M. Frances Tallman (Mrs. 
Robert Dunlop,) Daisy R. Toal (Mrs. E. D. Olin,) Gladys Van- 
Dresser, Patrick Whalen, Isabelle White, Elizabeth Wiidman, 
Bessie Macomber (Mrs. A. R. Watrous,) Ella Parker, *Grace 
Sowerby (Mrs. C. F. Holcombe.) 

1903 — Mary Chace, Alice Dow, Irvin Badger, Andrew 
Boyd, Blanche Lillibridge, Lewis Toan, George Parker, Bessie 
Higgins (Mrs. A. C. Stowell,) Irene Tomb'nson (Mrs. Theron 
Jackson,) Clara Ellsworth, Ada Smith (Mrs. Harry Foskett,) 
Laura Sharpsteen, Harry Hubbard, Jennie Sullivan (Mrs. John 
Boyd,) Mabel Knowlton. 

1904— Genevieve Watson (Mrs. F. D. Roberts,) Clarence 
White, Agnes Tomlinson, James Herron, Grace Cornwell (Mrs. 
Charles Coleman,) Claude Tempest, Agnes Butler, George 


Gregg, Maude Croal (Mrs. German Olin,) Louis Brighain, Es- 
ther Alaconiber (Mrs. Llovd Melntyre,) Carlos J. Toan, Robert 
W. Calkins, *Marleah Waldo. 

1905 — Calla Brown (Mrs. Cale Kerry,) May Brown, Agnes 
Carey, R. Ethel Clark, Clara A. Edgerly (Mrs. George M. C. 
Parker,) Lucy Silver, Bessie Traber, Madge VanDresser (Mrs. 
L. B. Swift,) Harold Axtell, Cale Herry, John Macomber, Wm. 
Martin, Cecil Thompson. 

1906— M. Edna Button (Mrs. John Butler,) Bessie Had- 
sell, Edna Tuttle, Sadie Spellicy (Mrs. Archie Brink,) Louis 
Stryker, Willard Nevins, Stella Copeland. 

1907— Thomas Toan, Alice Edgerly, Hilda Pownall (Mrs. 
Carroll,) Burr Cornwell, George Ernest White. 

1908 — Marcella Craven, Lyle Brown, Florence Slack, Eliz- 
abeth KershaAv (Mrs. J. D. Gilmore,) Marion Palmer (Mrs. 
Ralph Traber,) Benjamin Smith, Earl Watson, Ethel Waldo 
(Mrs. M. E. Laird.) 

1909— Harry Tallman, Gertrude Dean (Mrs. Walter Weeks,) 
Welles Ward, Alice Toole, Irene Allen, Ina Bennett (Mrs. Har- 
old Littledyke,) Archie Butler, Elva Cornwell (Mrs. Carl Make- 
ley,) Madge Croal, Mary Macomber (Mrs. Wm. Martin,) Edith 
Silvernail (Mrs. Irving Eaton,) Hugh Axtell, Caroline Brian, 
Carl Read Clarke, Mildred Cornwell (Mrs. Leigh Clark,) Mary 
Mitchell, Dolbeer Smith, Roy Whipple. 

1910 — Florence Eckert, Merle Butler, Elizabeth Wise, Rus- 
sell Fish, Wm. Wusthof, Doris Dysinger (Mrs. Harry Coker,) 
Leola Shaw% Dell Clark, Howard Wellman, Lillian Clark (Mrs. 
Frank Toal,) Carl Digel, Ruth Chapin, Clara Kelly (Mrs. John 
Adrian,) Josephine Watson (Mrs. C. S. Southwick,) Margaret 
Campbell (Mrs. Burr Cronwell,) Blanche VanValkenburg (Mrs. 
Harry Snyder,) Pratt Badger, Olive Littledyke (Mrs. Clifford 
Rice,) Mabel Walton. 

1911 — Edna Brian, Ruth Bennett, Hazel Badgero, Fanny 
Cone (Mrs. Walter Scott,) Mary Clarke, Winnifred Graves, 
Albert Herry, Myron Ogden, Florence Parker, Roy Richardson, 
Maynard Rudd, Lucile Smith, Ethobur Snyder, Mary Toan, 
Sprague Tomlinson. 

1912— Fred Farr, Edith Wilcox, Mary McClurg, Harold 


Davis, Elsie Peck, Mae Porter (Mrs. 0. Thomas,) Ethel Cas- 
well. George Bauer, Mildred Cole, Ruth Cook, Francisca Mar- 
tinez, Buell Tallman, Helen Sweet, Nellie Bush, Helen Hager, 
Harry Nye, Lenna Royce, Genevieve Rodgers, Edna Sullivan, 
Mae Ward, Ethel Wright. 

1913 — Helen Allen, Marguerite Barber (Mrs. Harlow Beek- 
with, Foster BroAvn, H. Louise Clark, IMiriam Daniells, Reba 
(ianoung, Frances Hamlin, Winnifred Hutton, Gladys Kelly, 
Florence Miller, Carrie Morris, Keyes Page, Isabelle Scheer, 
Mina Slocum, Harold Slocum, Francis Terry, Marian Watrous 
(Mrs. Gordon Draper,) Lois Watson. Leon Wellman, Ruby 
Wickings, Edith Wright, James Wyckoff. 

1914 — Fleta Badgero, Madge Buttles, Agnes Campbell, 
Teresa Carey, Nellie Carpenter, Laura Cronin, Ethel Morris, 
Blanche Otis, Jane Post, Isabelle Slack, Lucy Smith, Sarah 
Sweet, Ruby Watson. 

On February 16th, 1915, the buildings occupied by the 
Chamberlain Military Institute at Randolph, N. Y., were practi- 
cally destroyed by fire. Messrs. Templeton & Davidson of the 
Silver Lake Hotel Co., who had been conducting the Recreation 
Inn at Silver Lake, just south of the Assembly grounds, con- 
ceived the idea that the property would make an ideal location 
for the school, advantageous to them as a year- 'round institu- 
tion for their property, one that would bring Silver Lake and 
Perry into greater prominence, and a place where the school 
could inaugurate and conduct a naval branch as well as its mil- 
itary institution, and develop into a school of magnitude and 
importance. Accordingly, they got in touch with the superin- 
tendent. Col. James E. Dunn, who came and looked over the 
property, and arrangements were made between him, the Silver 
Lake Hotel Co. and the Chamber of Commerce of Perry where- 
by he brought his faculty and student body, numbering about 
40 in all, to the lake, and opened the school on April 5th, 1915, 
following the Easter vacation. The name of the organization 



was changed to the "Silver Lake Military and Naval School of 
Perry, N. Y./' by permission of the State Board of Regents, 
and application was made to the Federal Government for a 

naval equipment as authorized by Act of Congress. The school 
began with bright prospects for substantial growth and indica- 
tions that it would prove to be a valuable educational factor 
as well as an attractive advertisement of this locality. 


Pioneer Struggles to Establish Church Organizations Representing 
their Religious Affiliations — Their Development, Growth and 


The first religious service in the town was held in 1813 
at Perry Center by the Rev. ^Mr. Herrick of the Baptist denom- 
ination, while on his retreat from Buffalo, following its destruc- 
tion by the Indians during the war then in progress. In 1814 
the little hamlet was visited by Rev. Oliver Ayer and Rev. Silas 
Hubbard, missionaries sent out by the Home Missionary Society 
of Connecticut. These men gathered a few parishioners to- 
gether and, on the 28th of June, 1814, in a log house, the resi- 
dence of one of the members, they formally organized the first 
church society in the town of Perry, composed of eight mem- 
bers. These were : Samuel HoAvard, Ralph Ward, Mrs. Lorian 
Ward, Jabez Ward, Miss Catey Ward, Hervey Butler, Mrs. 
Sally Butler and a Miss Roxa Carpenter, all of them natives of 
Massachusetts or Connecticut. 

Samuel Howard died on April 2d, 1819, aged 66 years, this 
being the first death among the original members. Ralph Ward 
died on October 4th, 1822, at the age of 60 years. His wife, 
Lorian Ward, survived him about ten years, dying in 1832. Ja- 
bez Ward, the beloved physician, was elected a deacon at the 
organization of the church and held the office until his death 
in 1843. Miss Catey Ward lived to be 73 years of age, dying in 
1865. Mr. and Mrs. Hervey Butler enjoyed the fellowship 
of the church but two years, removing from the town in 1816. 
He was associated with Dr. Ward as a deacon of the church. 
Miss Roxa Carpenter, the eighth and last of the original mem- 



bers, accompanied the family of Samuel Howard from Connecti- 
cut to Perry and afterward became the wife of Samuel Howard, 
Jr., who in 1843 was elected deacon, in which office he was par- 
ticularl}^ useful to the church until his death in 1863. 
Mrs. Roxa Carpenter Howard was the last but one of the orig- 
inal members of the church when she died in 1862, aged 75 

The church w^as organized as a Congregational church, but 
two years later — in 1816 — the members voted that "it is exped- 
ient for this church to be united with the Geneva Presbytery, 

but to retain the Congregational form of government." The 
same year, therefore, the church became united on the "accom- 
modation plan" with the Presbytery of Geneva. It remained 
under that supervision until September, 1831, when the church, 
after a thorough inquiry into the feelings and judgment of the 
officers and members, unanimously resolved "that it is exped- 
ient that the connection between this church and the Presbytery 


be dissolved. ' ' Accordingly, it was regularly dismissed from the 
Presbytery on the 22d of September of that year. Since that 
time it has remained Congregational in all of its relationships. 

Services were first held in the log homes of the settlers; 
then, as the congregation grew, they were held in Deacon How- 
ard's barn ; and after that, for a time in the Taylor school house 
on the first corner west of the Center. This had been built with 
a view to the needs of the church society, with ascending floor 
and high backed seats arranged in "slip" form, with two aisles 
extending to the back seat, reserved for the choir, which led 
the congregational singing. This was a great improvement up- 
on the barn in which they had previously worshiped. 

Miss D. E. Sheldon, in a reminiscence AA-ritten many years 
ago to the home church and community, said : "The almost uni- 
veisal mode of conveyance for those who could not walk to the 
services, was the lumber wagon, without spring of box or seat, 
drawn by oxen, that were chained in long rows to the corners 
of the rail fence in front of the school house. A board placed 
across the top of the wagon box sufficed for the more sturdy 
members of the household, while the feeble and delicate ones 
were supplied with the old-fashioned straight-backed, splint- 
seated chairs. These were removed within the school house and 
arranged in rows around the ample fireplace, and in the cloak 
room on the north side of it, for the accommodation of the 
mothers with their little ones, while the fathers took the older 
ones with them into the hard uncushioned seats. Suspended 
from the chair pommels were always to be found spacious reti- 
cules containing the family lunch for the noonday intermission 
between the two services. In winter the lumber wagon was ex- 
changed for the log sled, with bundles of straw for seats for the 
wee ones, who were snugly wrapped in the warm homespun 
garments of their mothers' manufacture. Once, though at a 
later date when the traveling was impassible for either wagon 


or sleigh, I knew a stoneboat to be substituted to couvey to a 
Thanksgiving service a large family, whom neither the inclem- 
ency of the weather nor the horrible condition of the roads 
could deter from the anticipated reunion feast. When the fam- 
ily possessions became sufficiently ample to warrant the pur- 
chase of a horse, the mother, with one child behind and cling- 
ing to her, and another in her lap, would ride on horseback 
with the indispensable reticule hanging upon the horn of the 
saddle, while the father walked by the side of the little group. 
When the second horse was secured, making a span, our highest 
ambitions were fully realized; but oh, the joltings which the 
long-coveted accelerated speed gave to them in those same 
springless wagons. I sometimes question. Do the worshipers 
of the present generation, enjoying as they do, the stated min- 
istration of the Word in their spacious house of worship, with 
its easy cushioned seats and comfortable modes of conveyance 
to and from the Sabbath and week day services, measure their 
efforts and sacrifices by their increased privileges and oppor- 

Sarah Ward, daughter of Dr. Jabez Ward, has written an 
nceount of the theology of the Perry Center community, and 
tells also of how carefully the customs of their former New Eng- 
land homes were maintained. "Some of these customs were 
the strict 'keeping' of Saturday night as the beginning of holy 
time ; the nightly ringing of the curfew, the tolling of the bell 
upon the death of anyone in the parish — all of these were punc- 
tiliously observed. ' ' 

Deacon Sheldon, Jabez Ward, and Phicol M. Ward would 
often read sermons in the days when the church had no supply 
pastor. Rev. Edmund Ingals, Jr., came in 1816 and was the 
first regular appointed pastor of the church. He was succeed- 
ed by Rev. Elihu Mason, who was pastor during 1817, and after- 
ward in 1820. Rev. Edward Andrews was pastor for six months 



during 1819, but there was no pastor during the period outside 
of that time. Then followed Rev. Samuel T. Mills, May 1821, 
W: Dece.uber 1824; Rex. Eli S, Hunter, July 1825-6; Rev. Jona- 
than Sheldon, 1826-7 ; Rev. Lot B. Sullivan, 1827-8 ; Rev. Dexter 

He was the son of Ralph and Lorian Butler Ward, and was born at 
New Marlboro, Mass., May 14, 1799, and died at Perry Center, December 5th, 
1873, He served as Supervisor from this town during the years 1831-32-33, 
and was for many years a Justice of the Peace. 

Clary 1828 and six months in 1829. During the brief ministry 
of Mr. Clary, a great revival attended his labors and many peo- 
ple were added to the church. It was during his ministry, in 
the Spring of 1828, a movement was made toward building a 
church edifice. A subscription paper bearing date of April 


20tli of that year was circulated ; 100 names were signed to the 
paper and the total amount subscribed was $2,656.00. Work 
on the building was begun at once, and when the foundation 
walls had been laid and the frame was ready for "the raising" 
and the workmen were on hand, it is an incident worthy of re* 
cord that all of the children from the surrounding country assem- 
bled at the invitation of Rev. Mr. Clary, and being arranged in 
regular order on the sills of the building about to be erected, 
Mr. Clary standing in their midst, after a few words addressed 
to those assembled, prayed for God's blessing upon the enter- 
prise on which they had entered, and especially for the child- 
ren there assembled. 

The house was completed and dedicated on March 4th, 
1830, Rev. Julius Steele of Warsaw preaching the dedicatory 
sermon. In 1856 the building was quite extensively repaired 
and a lecture room was added. The re-dedicatory sermon was 
preached by Rev. J. E. Nassau, also of Warsaw. Minor repairs 
were made from time to time until in 1900 the building was re- 
juvenated. The service of re-opening and re-dedication was 
held on Jan. 13th, 1901; the sermon was given by Rev. H. E, 
Guimey of Warsaw. 

For a number of years the church owned no parsonage. 
In 1863, the place known as the ''Moss place," now owned and 
occupied by D. J. Powell, was purchased, and for 13 years was 
used as the manse. In 1876 this property was sold, a portion of 
the lot being retained, and a new parsonage and barn were 
built, which have since served the purpose. 

The growth of the church seems to have been steady. To 
the eight persons who were the charter members, 732 have been 
added. In 1825, the membership numbered 35; in 1834, about 
125; in 1868, there were 96; in 1889, at the 75th anniversary, 
they numbered about 100, and at the present time 189. 


The Sabbath School numbers about 150, has a live Home 
Department and several organized classes. In 1914, four for- 
eign students were being supported by these classes and several 
other worthy objects were being helped by its gifts. A Bible 
class was formed by Deacon H. Sheldon in about the year 1829. 
The Ladies' Benevolent Society, which is believed to be the 
oldest organization of its kind in the State, was formed in 1824, 
and has had a continuous existence ever since. When the Wo- 
man's Home Missionary Union of the State was organized, 
this society became an auxiliary without changing its constitu- 
tion under which it had worked for so many years. 

In 1822, a number of the members of this church withdrew 
and organized the Presbyterian Church of Perry, but after a 
few years, little progress having been made, they returned to 
the mother church. In 1834, however, a second effort was 
made, which soon developed into a strong church society. 

The others who have been pastors of the Congregational 
Church since Rev. Mr. Clary are : Revs. Wm. P. Jackson, three 
months in 1829 ; Samuel H. Gridley, D. D., 1830-6 ; Orrin Brown, 
1836; Caleb Burge, M. D., 1837-8; George W. Newcomb, 1838- 
40; John Scott, 1840-1; George W. Gridley, 1842; Wales Tiles- 
ton, 1843-4; Philo Canfield, 1845-8; Mason Mear Smith, three 
months in 1848; Thomas M. Hodgman, 1848-58; George J. 
Means, 1859-63 ; Isaac N. Ely, July to December, 1863 ; Claudius 
B. Lord, 1864-66; James P. Root, 1866-76; W. C. Sexton, 1876- 
78 ; Edgar Perkins, 1878-80 ; E. H. Martin, 1880-85 ; J. W. Grush, 
1885-93; J. C. Bergmann, 1893-4; J. J. Shingler, 1895-7; D. A. 
Blcso, 1897-99; F. E. Dark, 1899-1902; F. A. Kimberly, Nov. 
1902, and since that time. 



Among the early settlers of the Town of Perry were a 
number of families and individuals known as belonging to the 
Baptist denomination, but not in sufficient numbers, in their 
estimation, to warrant their assuming the responsibilities of a 


distinct clir.rch. A few of them united with the Middlebury 
church at Wyoming, which, at this period, was the nearest 
church of the Baptist denomination. Others worshiped with 
the Presbyterian society at Perry Center. Thus they continued 
to worship until September, 1816, when the Baptists of the com- 
munity united in a Conference to be known as ' ' The First Bap- 
tist Society of Perry," in which organization they continued 
until November 5th, 1818, when they were publicly recognized 
as a Church of Christ. 

During the existence of the Conference — from September, 
1816, to November 5th, 1818 — the members met regularly for 
worship on the Sabbath and for Conference on the last Satur- 
day of each month. They had occasional preaching by elders 
Hart well, Kelsey, Brown and Wisner, through whose efforts 
five were added to the little number by baptism, the first of 
whom was David Carlisle by Elder Kelsey. A few were 
also received by letter from other churches. 

On the 25th of October, 1818, the following named people 
met according to previous notice and adopted articles of faith 
and practice, also a church covenant, and proceeded to organize 
themselves into a regular Baptist Church : Solomon Squires, 
John Bowen, Beriah Bowers, David Carlisle, Thomas E. Par- 
merly, Peter Clark, Samuel Waldo, Martha Bartlett, Hannah 
Finch, Betsey Leonard, Anna Squires, Sarah Parmerly, Clar- 
inda Bowers and Nancy Bowers. Out of the 14 original mem- 
bers, Mr. Waldo remained active in the work of this church un- 
til the formation of the Leicester Street Baptist Society in 1879, 
at which time he withdrew and joined that organization, re- 
maining an active member until his death in July, 1883. Mr. 
Waldo and his wife arrived in Perry on May 3d, 1816, after a 
three weeks journey from their former home in Vermont, and 
it is said, upon his arrival his possessions comprised a wife, a 
horse, an axe, and $9 in money. Prior to leaving Vermont, Mr. 


and Mrs. Waldo liad affiliated with the Baptist society there. 
They brought their church letters with them, and soon after 
their arrival, joined the Middlebury church at "Wyoming, re- 
maining members of that society until the formation of the local 

On the 5th of November, 1818, the following named mem- 
bers of the churches of Leicester, Warsaw and Gainesville, viz : 
Rev. Daniel McBride, Deacons Wm. Wiseman and Joseph Por- 
ter, Enoch Weller, Josiali Waite, John Reddish and Charles 
Tallman met in council at the home of John Bowers and pub- 
licly recognized the church by extending to it the hand of fel- 
lowship by Rev. Mr. McBride. Samuel Waldo was appointed 
Clerk of the church at this meeting, and during the next year, 
John Bowers was appoined the first deacon. Rev. Mr. Wisner, the 
first pastor of the church, continued his labors about one year, 
receiving for his services such donations as his parishioners in 
their poverty were able to bestow. He was succeeded by Rev. 
Jesse Brown on June 3d, 1820, who also labored with the church 
one year, after which it was supplied occasionally by Rev. 
Joshua Bradley and others, until August 25th, 1822, when it be- 
came a branch of the First Baptist Church of Middlebury. 

During the first five years of the church history, there 
were seven additions by baptism, the first of whom was Sarah 
Bentley, who was baptized by Rev. Mr. Wisner on August 8th, 
1819. Five were received hy letter and one was excluded. The 
connection with the Middleburj^ church as a branch continued 
from August 25th, 1822, to October 1st, 1825. The members, 
however, continued to hold their meetings and had occasional 
preaching by the pastor of the Middlebury church. Rev. Mr. 
Tuttle, and others. 

On the 1st of October, 1825, the church was reorganized 
and recognized as an independent Baptist Church at a council 


convened at Perry, at which the churches at Middlebury, Cov^- 
ington, T7arsaw, Gainesville and Nunda were represented. Rev 
David Bernard preached the sermon. The following named 
were the members of the chnreh nnder the reorganization; 
Joshua Calkins, Silas Rawson, Philip Sparling, John Hollen- 
beck, Beriah Bowers, Daniel Calkins, Joshua Calkins, Jr., Sam- 
uel Waldo, Willard J. Chapin, Abram Wiles, Alva Stockwell, 

Orlan Griffis, Elizabeth Calkins, Bethena Rawson, 

Sparling, Jemima Hollenbeck, Maria Olin, Amanda Edgerly. 
Virtue Kelsey, Sarah Phoenix, Martha Bartlett, Tabitha Cal- 
l-ins, Selina White, Sally Wiles, Cynthia Sanford, Mercy Cal- 
kins, Susan Stilhvell, Catherine Sparling, Sally Hall, Anna 
Bowers, Samantha Stockwell, Dorcas Calkins, Abigail Irish, a 
total of 33. Upon the reorganization, Willard J. Chapin was 
appointed clerk and held the office until his death in 1852. 

In 1826, Rev. Richard H. Benedict became pastor, and the 
real growth of the church began. During the two years of his 
pastorate, 84 members were added to the church. In February, 
1828, he was succeeded by Rev. Noah Barrell. In the early part 
of his pastorate the subject of Free Masonry caused consider- 
able agitation in the church, it being ascertained that several 
of the members were also members of the Masonic fraternity. 
In order to allay all excitement and satisfy the ones who were 
not members of the order, the following renunciation was 
drawn up at the convenant meeting on March 1st, 1828, and 
signed by the members who had formed a connection with the 
Masonic order: ''We, the undersigned members of the Baptist 
Church in Perry, having been members of the Masonic institu- 
tion, and having some time since voluntarily withdrawn from 
the same, do hereby renounce our connection with the Masonic 
institution and fraternity, and are determined never to uphold 
or support Free Masonry." Signed by John Calkins, Matthew 
Burroughs, Samuel F. Phoenix, Willard J. Chapin, Wm. A. 


Bartlett, Joshua Calkins, Jr., Samuel Waldo, Daniel Calkins 
and Thomas Parkinson. A resolution was soon adopted, refus- 
ing fellowship to Masons. In July, 1844, this measure was 
broadened, and it was voted to have no fellowship with mem- 
bers of any secret society. In 1879, after a controversy of over 
a year's standing, it was voted not to require further tests as to 
society fellow^ship. This action dissatisfied a portion of the 
members, who withdrew and formed what became known as 
''The Leicester Street Baptist Society of Perry, N. Y." 

On September 6th, 1828, the church formed itself into a 
Missionary Society, auxiliary to the New York Baptist State 
Convention, and voted to contribute for the object of the 
convention what would amount to 18% cents for each of its 
members. The church has been a missionary body since that 
time, contributing according to its ability for the various ob- 
jects of benevolence. 

Rev. Mr. Barrell closed his labors as pastor of the church 
on the 16th of December, 1829. From that time until the 
August following, the church was without a pastor, but was 
supplied by Revs. Mr. Justin, Freeman and others. At the co- 
venant meeting held in August, 1830, the church invited Rev. 
Daniel Eldridge to become its pastor. The invitation was ac- 
cepted and he entered immediately upon his duties. The church 
had just completed its meeting house, the first Baptist meeting 
house in the town, erected at a cost of $3,000. It was dedicated 
at the time Rev. Mr. Eldridge became pastor and added much to 
their comfort and convenience. In those days, after the com- 
pletion of a house of worship, it was the custom to auction off 
the seats or pews to the highest bidders. The purchaser, or his 
heirs or assigns, was supposed to be privileged to retain owner- 
ship forever. The writer was permitted to examine one of the 
deeds given by the Baptist Society to Edmund C. Bills, dated 
Jan. 31st, 1831, at which time Mr. Bills purchased seat No. 36 


for the sum of $74. The deed was signed by Rufiis H. Smith, 
Willard J. Chapin, E. Lacy, Samuel Phoenix and Samuel 
Waldo, who constituted the Board of Trustees of the Society 
at that time. In 1849, the church building was enlarged to 
double its original capacity, and in 1900 it was moved to the 
side and rear of the present church edifice, where it is still used 
as a Sunday School room and annex. When the Baptist Society 
was first organized, the services were held at the homes of the 
members. As the membership grew, the meeting place was 
changed to the village school house, which served them as a 
place of worship until the church erected in 1830 was com- 

During the term of Rev. Mr. Eldridge as pastor of the 
church a great revival was held and 112 people were added to 
the church by baptism. In January, 1833, he was succeeded as 
pastor by Rev. Absolom Miner, but owing to ill health, Mr. 
Miner served the church only about six months and resigned on 
the 24th of August following. He was succeeded by Rev. Wm. 
Arthur, father of the late President, Chester A. Arthur, who at 
that time was a boy of about four years of age. In the April 
following the arrival of Rev. Mr. Arthur, the church purchased 
a parsonage on North Main street at a cost of $800. This house 
was afterward removed to what is now Elm street, to furnish 
the site for the residence of W. T. Olin, and now stands in the 
rear of Mr: Olin's home, having undergone some alterations 
after its removal to its new site- Having sold the property, the 
church society purchased a house and lot on Leicester street for 
its parsonage, the place owned by Mrs. J. M. Boughton. This 
was used until 1882. 

Rev. Mr. Arthur resigned in September, 1837, and was fol- 
lowed by Rev. Elon Galusha. It was during the ministry of 
Mr. Galusha that the church took positive ground with refer- 
ence to American slavery. Her influence had long before been 



exerted in opposition to the great sin, through the early labors 
of Samuel Phoenix, the tanner, and afterward by Josiah And- 
rews and others; but as tlie iniquity steadily worked its way 
into every avenue of the Christian church, the members resolved 
that as a Church of Christ, they could not fellowship slave- 
holders or their apologists, a position from which the church 
never receded. 

Afterwards President of Hamilton College 

Photo by Crocker 

Other pastors who followed Rev. Mr. Galusha were : Daniel 
Eldridge, second term, 1841-3 ; J. W. Spoor, 1843-6 ; F. Glan- 
ville, 1846-9 ; Walter R. Brooks, 1849-57 ; Chauncey W. Ward- 
ener, 1857-9 ; Roswell Cheney, 1859-75 ; Charles Ayer, 1875-77 ; 
J. W. Harris, 1877-81 ; B. S. Terry, 1881-83 ; J. W. Duffy, 1884- 


5; G. E. Farr, 1885-87; Y. A. Sage, 1887-89; Joseph Sullivan, 
1889-90; M. B. Comfort, 1890-93; J. H. Hollingsworth, 1893-99; 
H. A. Pease, 1899-1904; T. G. Eiswald, 1901-08; H. A. Waite, 
began in March, 1909. 

In 1886 the present parsonage was constriTctecl adjoining 
the church, at a cost of $1900, and in 1887 — during the pastor- 
ate of V. A. Sage — the pipe organ now in use was purchased 
at a cost of $1250. The present church edifice was begun in the 
Summer of 1900, during the pastorate of Rev. H. A. Pease. The 
corner-stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies on Sept. 
25th of that year, Rev. John Mason of Batavia delivering the 
address of the day. It was completed at a cost of $15,000, and 
was dedicated on July 23d, 1901, Rev. C. A. Barbour, D. D., of 
Rochester, preaching the dedicatory sermon. In 1914 the con- 
gregation witnessed the burning of the last mortgage on the 
property and is now free from any indebtedness, being in a 
flourishing condition. The present membership is about 650; 
that of the Sunday School, 375. Mr. George Morse has served 
the Sunday School as its superintendent for a consecutive 
period of 20 years. 

In 1913, expensive repairs were made upon the church edi- 
fice, hardwood floors being laid in the auditorium, the walls 
were re-decorated and the pipe organ was rebuilt. The expense 
of these improvements amounted to about $2,000. The society 
is creating a fund for the re-building of the original structure 
in the rear, now used as Sunday School rooms. 




In 1912, the late Robert Stainton wrote an historical sketch 
of the ]\Iethodist Episcopal Church Society. Having been affil- 
iated with the organization for a period of nearly 50 years, he 
was able to give an exceedingly interesting and accurate review 
of the past achievements of the societj^ Mr. Stainton 's work is 
reproduced here, together with such other material as the 
writer has been able to secure. 

The first Methodist inhabitant of Perry of whom we have 
any knowledge was Henry AVallace, who came in June, 1816. 
He went on foot to the quarterly meeting of the Caledonia Cir- 
cuit held near Batavia, and while there requested that a 
preacher be sent to Perry. Complying with this request, Rev. 
Robert Minchell was sent and held the first preaching service 
the same year in Mr. Wallace's home, which stood on Gardeau 
street, just on the edge of the town of Castile. 

A class of six members was formed : Henry Wallace, 
leader; Sabra Wallace (his wife,) Hannah Wallace (his daugh- 


ter-in-Iaw,) Miles Ehoades and wife, and a Mrs. Dow, who had 
located a mile or so farther south about the same time that Mr. 
Wallace came. Of this first class, Hannah Wallace died in 
1831 ; Henry Wallace in 1840, aged 82 ; and Sabra Wallace in 
1844, aged 80. Associated with this first preacher were Rev. 
Wm. Jones and Thomas McGee. In February of the next year. 
Rev. Wm. Wiles, a local preacher and ordained Deacon, came 
to Perry with his two sons and their families, a son-in-law and 
two daughters. This was a great addition to the infant society, 
as 'Mr. Wiles was a man of means. He owned the greater part 
of Main street and the most valuable water power on the outlet. 
Thomas Batchelden, an exhorter, settled near Perry about the 
same time, and in 1818 Thomas Grisewood came. Mr. Wallace, 
upon becoming deaf, was succeeded as class leader by Storey 
Wiles, and he by Thomas GriscAvood in 1819. 

After the arrival of Rev. Mr. Wiles, the preaching place 
was removed to the Wiles home, which stood just south of the 
Traver place, about opposite the present Record office. As the 
congregation grew, the village school house was used for the 
Sunday services. Under the labors of Rev. Benajah Williams, 
preacher in charge of the circuit, a great revival occurred in 
1818-9 which was probably the first in the toAvn. Among the 
converts were Wm. Dolbeer and wife, who proved loyal and 
true throughout a long life as residents of Perry. 

The society had now increased to 36 members, and they 
proceeded to organize according to law, and laid plans for a 
church building of their own. This meeting was held on Nov. 
25th, 1822, at the home of Wm. Wiles. The following named 
were elected as a Board of Trustees : Samuel Gilman, Thomas 
Grisewood, Wm. Dolbeer, Samuel Wiles, Thomas Batchelden 
and Rev. Wm. Wiles. The new church was erected and ready 
for dedication in the spring of 1824, and the presiding Elder — 
Rev. Goodwin Stoddard — preached the sermon. The church 


stood on the northerly side of Short street, about half way be- 
tween La' e and Covington streets, and cost $800. It was the 
first M. E. Church within the present county. In 1829, the 
Genesee Conference held its sessions in this church, and Bishop 
Roberts presided. At this session, action was taken which re- 
sulted in the founding of the Genesee Wesleyan Seminary at 
Lima. In 1831, Perry was made a station. A larger edifice was 
needed and was erected in 18c{2. The old building was sold, re- 
moved and used for several years by the Universalist Society. 
It was subsequently converted into a boarding house for the 
accommodation of students of tlie old Perry Academy. The 
new elii'.reli was nuicli larger, with ample galleries, and was 
built en the Lake street property now owned by T. B. Hasten. 
The church faced east, on a road which at that period connect- 
ed La e and Covington streets. It cost $4,000, and was dedi- 
cated by Sanuiel Luckey, D. D. The Genesee Conference held 
its annual session in this church in 1837, Bishop Iledding pre- 
siding. The edifice was destroyed by fire in 1838 with a total 
loss, as it was uninsured. The society then purchased the re- 
maindei' of the lot through to Covington street and built a 
session house in which they worshiped until the new church 
was completed in 1840. This was erected on the Lake street 
end of the lot and was continuously occupied until the comple- 
tion of the present beautiful brick and stone church edifice on 
the corner of Covington and Short streets. 

The pastor in charge during the building of the third edi- 
fice was Rev. J. T. Arnold, noted for that line of work. It was 
dedicated by Rev. Schuyler Seager, D. D., Principal of Genesee 
Wesleyan Seminary. The church cost $3,000, and the session 
room $400 additional. In the great fire of 1856, when Main 
street, south of Lake street, on the west side, was all destroyed 
the steeple caught fire and was completely wrecked, the church 
itself being saved only by the most heroic efforts of citizens. 


The late Seymour Sanford and Rev. T. B. Catton were the di- 
recting minds who saved the church. 

A still more fiery trial awaited the church in the Fall of 
the same year, when the Genesee Conference held its annual 
session, lasting 17 days. A time of trouble and bitter dissen- 
sion, the effects of which are not yet entirely obliterated and 
forgotten, was the outcome. At this session, Rev. B. T. Roberts 
and Joseph McCreary were tried and expelled from the Con- 
ference and the M. E. Church. Bishops Janes and Baker were 
both present at this Conference and presided, although Bishop 
Janes was president by assignment. The Perry church had its 
full share of the strife and bitterness of separation and lost 
some of its most earnest and trusted members, who later formed 
the Free Methodist Church Society of Perry. 

The church building was occupied from 1840 to 1883, dur- 
ing which period minor improvements were made. In the lat- 
ter year the society became dissatisfied with the edifice and de- 
cided upon a thorough change and remodeling to conform more 
adequately to modern usages. After considerable discussion 
it was decided to turn the building half way around, facing 
Lake street, elevate it and put a basement beneath, with every- 
thing new inside, modern pews and cushions, stained glass 
windows, carpets, furnace, etc. The work was begun in the 
Summer of 1883 and completed in the Spring of 1884. The 
church was re-dedicated on March 11th, 1884, by Chancellor C. 
N. Sims of Syracuse University. A new pipe organ was in- 
stalled in 1893 at a cost of $800. 

At the beginning of the twentieth century a spirit of rest- 
lessness and dissatisfaction manifested itself among the mem- 
bership, who felt that the church should keep pace with the 
onward march of progress, and after two or three years of con- 
sideration and agitation, under the pastorate of Rev. F. M. 


Cole, the present church building was started in the Summer of 
1906 and completed in the Fall of 1907 at a total cost of 
$39,540.95. It was dedicated on Sept. 1st, 1907, Rev. John 
Krantz, D. D., preaching the sermon and conducting the appeal 
for financial aid to meet the debt. A splendid pipe organ was 
installed in 1909 at an expense of $2,500. This sum was outside 
and independent of the church building fund, and was secured 
through the quiet and tactful methods of the pastor, Rev. J. Ed- 
ward Martin. 

The society has owned two parsonages. The first was a 
house bought in 1836, which stood on the corner of Leicester 
and Hawthorne streets. It was destroyed by fire on April 19th, 
1877, during the pastorate of Rev. A. Sutherland. Quite aii 
agitation followed as to where the new parsonage should be lo- 
cated, and through the generosity of the late Martin P. 
Andrews and wife, who pledged $700 each conditional upon its 
erection on the triangle at Lake, Leicester and Center streets, 
it was built there in 1877. 

Regarding the pastors who have had charge of the church 
the writer has found it extremely difficult to locate them in 
chronological order, but the list is fairly authentic up to 1850. 
Since that date they are accurately recorded. While Perry 
was a circuit beginning in 1816, the organization under Robert 
Minchell held the first preaching service, as before stated. Then 
came Wm. Jones, Thomas McGee, Benajah Williams, James 
Bronson, Cyrus Storey, John Cosart, Chester V. Adgate, Reeder 
Smith and Wilbur Hoag. The others, previous to its being made 
a station in 1831, are not definitely known. Since becoming 
a station, the following named had charge : John B. Alverson, 
Seth Matteson, F. G. Hibbard, D. D.; J. T. Arnold, 1839-41; 
John Parker, 1841-3 ; I. H. Kellogg, 1843-5 ; Philo Woodworth, 
1845-7 ; DeForest Parsons, 1847-9 ; Charles D. Burlingam, 1849- 
51 ; Allen P. Ripley, 1851-53 ; J. B. Wentworth, 1853-4 ; Milo 



Scott, 1854-55 ; H. Ryan Smith, 1855-57 ; W. S. Tuttle, 1857-59 ; 
J. B. AYentworth, 1859-61; Sanford Himt, 1861-63; E. A. Rice, 
1863-65; J. H. Bayliss, 1865-66; James E. Bills, 1866-7; E. L. 
Newman, 1867-70 ; L. A. Stevens, 1870-73 ; J. H. Rogers, 1873-6 ; 
Andrew Sutherland, 1876-9 ; John W. Sanborn, 1879-82 ; Henry 
Vosburg, 1882-4 ; Henry Clay Woods, 1884-87 ; Carlos G. Lowell, 
1887-93 ; John T. Canfield, 1893-95 ; Benjamin Copeland, 1895- 
99 ; Sylvester W. Lloyd, 1899-1901 ; Frank M. Cole, 1901-7 ; J. 
EdAvard Martin, 1907-12 ; Wm. W. Robinson, 1912. 

From an earl}^ period a Sabbath School has been main- 
tained Among the first superintendents were Rev. John Stain- 

Born, June 15, 1818, at Lebanon, N. Y. Died December 28, 1901 

ton, Gilbert Mitchell, Prof. M. R. Atkins, A. B. Cooley and 
David P. Stowell. 


During the nine years from 1906-15 the society raised the 
remarkably large sum of $75,719.51. Of this amount, $45,023.51 
represented expenditures for building, interest, pipe organ, etc., 
and the balance for current expenses and benevolences. The 
final payment on the church property was made on Jan. 15lh, 
1915, at which time the mortgages were burned at a praise ser- 
vice, at which Revs. F. M. Cole and J. E. ]\Iartin were present 
to rejoice with the pastor and peoph\ 

The present membership of the church society is about 450. 


During- the nine years from 1906-15 the society raised the 
remarkably large sum of $75,719.51. Of this amount, $45,023.51 
represented expenditures for building, interest, pipe organ, etc., 
and the balance for current expenses and benevolences. The 
final payment on the church property was made on Jan. 15th. 
1915, at which time the mortgages were burned at a praise ser- 
vice, at which Revs. V. ]\I. Cole and J. E. Martin were present 
to rejoice with tlie pastor and people. 

The present membership of the church society is about 450. 

Upper left, old Catholic Church, upper right, old Piebbyterian Church, center, old. Perry Union School, lower left, old Baptist 
Church; lower right, old Methodist Episcopal Church. All are now replaced by new buildings. 

— From pictures taken in 1894 



The early history of the Congregational Church of Perry 
Center is also the early histor;^ of the Presbyterian Society of 
Perry, as the two organizations were affiliated from the time 
of the establishment of the first named up to the year 1834, 
with the exception of the period from 1822 to 1831. 

On July 22d, 1822, five of the members of the Congrega- 
tional Church withdrew and established a Presbyterian Sociery 
in the village. Rev. Samuel T. Mills of Moscow and Rev. Nor- 
ris Bull of Geneseo were present at the organization. This 
first society did not make much progress, never numbered more 
than 27, and while they had occasional preaching, they did not 
have a settled pastor. On August 30th, 1831, the little society 
disbanded and its members returned to the mother church 
shortly after the erection of the Congregational house of wor- 


Rev. Samuel Gridley, pastor of tlie Perry Center churen, 
was active in the second church organization, which consisted 
of 23 members, and which was organized on Sept. 13th, 1834, 
witli the following named as trustees: Merrick Hough, Dr. Otis 
Iliggins, James K. Webster, Ilarvey Iloman, Ednumd Birdsall, 
and Orris Gardner. The congregation used the little building 
on Covington street, now occupied as a second-hand store, as a 
place of worship. A reorganization took place at a meeting hehl 
on the 14th of July, 1835, when the present Presbyterian Society 
was constituted by the Presbytery of Genesee. Messrs. Orris 
Gardner, Ebenezer Iliggins and Joseph E. Lambright Avere 
elected Ruling Elders, and Dr. Otis Iliggins and Ednumd Birds- 
all were chosen Deacons. 

Rev. Sanniel Gridley sui)plied tlie congregation with 
preaching during the first two years. In 1837 he was succeeded 
by Rev. Selden Ilaynes, who served as supply for 18 months, 
during which time it was decided to erect a new house of wor- 
ship. On Jan 1st, 1839, the building was comi)leted and dedi- 
cated with appropriate ceremonies. Revs. Erastus Gillett of Ba- 
tavia, Joseph Ladd and W. Stratton assisting Rev. Mr. Haynes 
in the dedicatory services. The brick used in the construction 
of the building was manufactured at West Perry. Temporary 
repairs were made on the edifice from time to time. In 185"2 
a chapel was added at a cost of $1,300. During the same year, 
Mr. E. P. Clark, a local hardware dealer, presented the society 
with the bell which is now in use. In 1856 the pulpit was 
remodeled and re-decorated through the generosity of Mr. and 
Mrs. Robert Durkee. Repairs were made in 1860 at an expend- 
iture of about $700. In 1875, extensive improvements were 
made through a building co^nmittee composed of German B. 
Olin, Henry N. Page, R. T. Tuttle and Mrs. C. A. Cleveland. 
The auditorium was enlarged by removing the gallery in front 
and enclosing the porch. The windows were narrowed and re- 



l)laced with stained glass ; the walls were frescoed, the audience 
room was re-seated, and the present pipe organ was purchased 
at that time. The expense incurred by these improvements 
amounted to about $6,700. The church was re-dedicated on Dec. 
28th, 1875, Rev. Joseph R. Page, a former pastor of the society, 
pi-uaching a sermon on "The Influences of the Sanctuary.'^ 


Photograph by Crocker. 

Rev. Joseph R. Page, D. D., began his ministry with the 
church in February 1840, and continued until October, 1841, 
when he returned to Auburn Theological Seminary to complete 
his studies. Dr. Page came back to Perry and was installed as 
pastor on Oct. 4th, 1843, and continued until December, 1856, 
when he became pastor of the Congregational Church at Strat- 



ford, Conn. Three years later he was recalled to this church 
and continued to preach here until the close of 1867. During 
the absences of Dr. Page, already referred to, Rev. J. W. Ray, 
Rev. Mr. Tileston and Rev. Mr. Pattengill supplied the church. 
In 1868, Dr. Page was succeeded by Rev. H. M. Hazeltine, who 
served as stated supply for a period of about two years. On 
Oct. 27th, 1870, Rev. H. B. Gardner became pastor and con- 
tinued his ministry for two years. Rev. Cassius H. Dibble be- 
gan his labors in this church in December, 1872, as stated 
supply, and was installed on Sept. 26th, 1876, as its regular 
pastor. During the continuous period from 1872 to 1902, a 
span of 30 years, he was the faithful spiritual guide and be- 
loved pastor of the congregation, being prominently identified 
with every movement for civic betterment and maintaining 
cordial and harmonious relations with the clergy and people 
of other denominations. During his term as pastor there were 
nearly 500 accessions to the church membership, of Avhom about 
150 are still identified with the society. Upon Mr. Dibble's 
retirement from active ministry the congregation voted to him 
a life lease of the old manse which had been his home for many 
years, and erected a new manse at a cost of about $5,000 for 
the use of succeeding pastors. 

Rev. Joseph Addison Jones, who was a student at Auburn 
Theological Seminary, became pastor in 1903, leaving in No- 
vember, 1905, to become pastor of the Madison Avenue Reform- 
ed Church in Albany, which he continues to ably serve at the 
present time. The present pastor. Rev. Wm. V. TeWinkel, 
came to Perry on March 1st, 1906, and has been the faithful 
pastor of the church since that time. 

The project of erecting a new house of worship was pre- 
sented to the congregation by the pastor at the request of the 
church officials, in a sermon delivered on Sept. 13th, 1908, a 
date that marked the 74th anniversary of the organization of 


"The Bi'ick Cliurch Society." Ten days later a congregational 
meeting was held to considiM* the matter, and committees- were 
a{)pointed to canvass the members. At anotlier meeting held 
in February, 1909, the report showed such a gratifying re- 
sponse that it was (h^cided to proceed with the erection of a new 
church without uiniecessary delay. In due time the prepara- 
tions for building were completed and the last services held in 
the old edifice occurred on .luly ISth, 1909. The corner stone 
of the new building was laid on Sunday, Nov. 14th, of that 
year. For two years the eongi-egation Avorshiped pleasantly 
and harmoniously with the First Baptist Society until Sept. 3d, 
1911, when the new church was ready for occupancy. The 
dedication, which had been deferred until all indebtedness up- 
on tlie building had been provided for, took place on Sunday, 
Oct. 11th, 1914. The dedication sei-mon Avas delivered by Rev. 
C. H. Dibble, Pastor Emeritus, from the text "Receivers of the 
Fullness of Christ." Rev. W. V. TeWinkel, the pastor, gave 
the prayer of consecration. The cost of the building Avas about 






• Pastoi^ 

Many of the early settlers of Perry, including the families 
of Josiah Williams, Amos Otis, Dan Dickerson and the At- 
woods, were followers of the Universalist faith, and services 
were frequently held at tht hemes of these pioneers, although 
it appears that no effort was men made to establish a society. 
As the town grew, many of the new comers were found to be 
of the Universalist denomination, and at a meeting called on 
Oct. 8th, 1831, a constitution and profession of faith were adopt- 
ed, to which the following named subscribed as constituent 
members : Dan Dickerson, Titus Howe, Robert Mattison, Hiram 
Austin, Arvin Olin, Talmon T. Carver, Moses Wooley, Eliakim 
Botsford, Noah Bacon, Josiah Williams, J. H. Bolton, Amos 
Otis, John Griffith, Isaiah T. Gore, Jonas Wood, William Tripp, 
Homer Bingham, Nathan Chichester, Oliver Goodspeed, Samuel 
Marsh, Joseph Wilson, James Calkins, Jacob Ashdiu, Rodney 
Atwood, Stephen B. Ta)3or, Mary Collins, Nancy Wood, Ann 


Dickersoii, Betsey Ayers, Betsey Olin, Dolly Botsford, Densa 
Biirnhaiii, Margaret Bacon, Lovina Otis, Deborah Waterman, 
Mary Patcliin, Sally Tripp, Polly Bingham, Laura Goodspeed, 
Harriet Collins, and Lucy Ann Collins. 

J. H. Bolton, Josiah Williams and Dan Dickerson were 
elected trustees at this meeting. The regular church organiza- 
tion was effected on the 18th of June, 1843. 

Up to the year 1833, the society had no regular place in 
which to hold their meetings, services being held at the homes 
of the parishioners. During that year, however, it was voted 
to purchase the old Methodist Church, and the trustees were ac- 
cordingly instructed. This was used as a house of worship 
until the erection of the present building. It was then sold and 
converted into a dwelling house and wa^ subsequently destroy- 
ed by fire. The present church edifice was completed in the 
Summer of 1852 at a cost of approximately $4,000 and was 
dedicated on Feb. 9th, of the following year, Rev. A. Skinner of 
Utica preaching the dedicatory sermon. Extensive repairs 
were made on the building in 1886, and it was rededicated on 
April 7th of that year. Rev. W. E. Gibbs delivering the address 
of the day. The pipe organ was installed a number of years 
ago at a cost of $800. 

The church records do not give the names of the pastors 
previous to the church organization. The following named are 
known, however, to have preached before that time : Sampson 

Skeele, W. T. Reese, Alfred Peck, Moreton, John Flagler, 

Benjamin Luther, L. L. Saddler, T. P. Abell, Seth Barnes, Jacob 
Chase, Orrin Roberts, Alanson Kelsey, B. G. Bennett. The pas- 
tors since the organization was effected were : Daniel Ackley, 
Stephen Miles, J. S. Brown, Eben Francis, A. B. Grosh, D. C. 
Tomlinson ; Stephen Crane, 1866-73 ; W. B. Randolph, 1873-77 ; 
George Adams, 1877-78; W. Sisson, 1878-80; John Clarence 


Lee, 1880-83 ; John F. Gates, 1883-86 ; J. E. June, 1886-89 ; S. A. 
Whitcomb, 1889-90 ; J. F. Gates, 1890-91 ; H. C. Munson, 1891- 
92; Asa Coimtryman, 1892-94; Charles Palmatier, 1894-1903; 
John Evans, 1903- '06; Clara E. Morgan came April 1st, 1906. 

A lot on Center street was given to the society by the late 
Geo. Tomlinson, and in 1888 the present parsonage was built, 
Rev. J. E. June being the first to occupy it. 

During the '70 's, and in some of the years before and after, 
the annual harvest festival of the Universalist society was the 
social event of the season and always was looked for with pleas- 
urable anticipation. A bountiful supper was an important 
feature, together with a dramatic performance, followed by 
games and dancing, making an evening of particular pleasure 
for the young folks. In those days, dancing was frowned upon 
if not forbidden by a number of church organizations, and the 
occasion was one of the few opportunities afforded to enjoy the 
pastime under proper surroundings. 




The Rev. Thomas McEvoy Avas the first priest to visit the 
few Catholics living in Perry. He came in the year 1848 to the 
liome of Dennis Kennedy on Watrous street, and there cele- 
brated mass for the first time in the history of the town. After- 
wards, mass was celebrated at irregular intervals by Fatherji^ 


Lawtoii, Ryan and McEvoy in the homes of James McKrink, 
John Whalen, James O'Connor and Mr. Kennedy. Other early 
Catholic families were those of Bernard Smith, James Malono 
and Thomas Farrell. 

About the year 1859, a few Catholics of the town pnrchavS- 
ed a building on Covington street, which had been used as a 
private school and for the session room of the Presbyterian 
society, from E. P. Clark for $300. This served them as a meet- 
ing place until 1873, when it was abandoned for the building 
erected in that year and dedicated on June 17th, under the 
direction of Rev. John Fitzpatrick. The building cost approxi- 
mately $5,000. 

The society was conducted as a Mission until 1879, and was 
attended by Fathers McConnell, Purcell, McGuiness, Gregg, 
Cook, FitzPatrick and O'Duyer. In March, 1879, Perry and 
Silver Springs (then called East Gainesville) were formed into 
an 'independent parish with the Rev. Peter Berkery as resi- 
dent pastor. There was no parochial residence for him, and 
he boarded v/ith members of the congregation until the 
i-ectory was built. Father Berkery was succeeded in April, 
1882, by Father Herrick, who remained until January, 1884, 
when he was succeeded by Rev. Francis Sullivan, who built the 
present attractive rectory and for 13 years labored successfully 
among the people. Upon his promotion to Albion, N. Y., Rev. 
Wm. T. Wilber was appointed to take charge, and was pastor 
from 1897 to 1904. On June 4th, 1904, the Rt. Rev. Chas. H. 
Colton, Bishop of Buffalo, appointed Rev. Thomas J. Caraher 
pastor at Perry and instructed him to build a needed new 
church. Some things had to be done before the work could be 
begun, viz : The renovation of the old property, and the re- 
moval of the old church with vestry and barn to other locations 
to make room on the Leicester street site for the new edifice. 
The old church was removed to a site north of the rectory and 


refitted for use as an aniusenieiit and dining hall. 

During the Fall of the year 1905, after the Bishop had per- 
sonally inspected the grounds and given instructions as to the 
lequirenients, the excavation work was begun for the new 
church, and during the month of October the foundation was 
built, but on account of tlu^ unfavorable weather which set in, 
work was discontimu'd for the winter. It was resumed in the 
following spring, and on Oct. 14th, 1906, the corner-stone was 
laid by. Bishop Colton, assisted by Rev. Thomas Walsh and 
many priests of the Diocese. Father McKenna, O. P., of New 
York City, preached the sermon on that occasion. The building 
was comi)leted in November, 1908, and has been occupied since 
Dec. 6th of that year. 

On Sunday, Aug. 1st, 1909, it was dedicated by Bishop Col- 
ton, assisted by Rev. Dean Vandepoel of LeRoy, Rev. Francis 
Sullivan of Albion, Rev. J. McGrath, Rev. Charles Duffy, D. D., 
Rev. M. J. Kean, and Rev. Thomas Walsh, D. D., D. C. L. of 
Buffalo. Rev. John H. O'Rourke, S. J., of New York City, de- 
livered the sermon of the day. The church is a beautiful mar- 
ble edifice and cost approximatel}^ $50,000, including furnish- 
ings. It commands the admiration of all who see it and their 
wonderment how it could have been constructed for the sum ex- 
pended. It is a lasting and substantial memorial of the care, 
foresight and executive ability of Father Caraher, who gave 
his personal attention to every detail and secured complete re- 
turn for every dollar expended. 



Episcopal services were held in Perry in Prof. Allen's pri- 
vate school rooms as early as 1845. At this time the Rt. Eev. 
Bishop DeLancey acted as supply. About the year 1875, the 
small body of Episcopalians living in Perry held services in the 
little chapel that stood upon a site on Main street, now the en- 
trance to Borden avenue. Revs. Sweetland and Battin were the 
only regular pastors of whom the writer has any information. 

Services Avere finally abandoned in this little church, and 
the few adherents of the faith affiliated Avith other religious 
bodies of the town. The avails of the sale of the church prop- 
erty formed a nucleus for a larger fund, and as the town rapidly 
increased in poulation, it was found that a considerable number 
of the new comers were Episcopalians, who were desirous of 
seeing a church of that denomination in the place. This fact 
gave courage to the old members and their interest was re- 
newed. About the year 1897, weekly meetings were held by the 
Episcopalians in the Universalist Church, and earnest efforts 
were made to realize their ambition to have a church of their 
own. The fund for the purpose grew, and in 1899 the present 
edifice was constructed at a cost of $3500, the corner stone be- 
ing laid by Bishop Walker of the Diocese of Western New 

During the period since the building of the church there 
have been seven rectors appointed, viz: W. A. Atkinson, who 
was the first, labored here for two and one-half years, the 
others in order being as follows : Revs. Stoddard, Willey, Har- 
vey, Murch, and the present rector, Percy Isherwood. Mr. F. 
E. Eustace supplied vacancies as lay reader. The present mem- 
bership comprises about 60 families. 



Tln' first int-t^tintxs of tliis society Avcre 1k4(1 in Smith's Hall, 
iocattnl on tlu' corner of ]\Iain and Lake streets, in the thir<;l 
story of the brick block ei'ected by Rufus II. Smith. The or- 
•icinization as a clnni-li society was established at a meeting 
held on Nov. 5th, 1860, witli tlie following named persons as 
members in fidl connection: John GriseAvood, Hannah Grise- 
wood, Jonatlian Ilandley, ]\Iary Ilandley, .James R. Johnson, 
l\lioda ^I. Johnson, ^lark Johnson, \Vm. Rndd, Sarah Rndd, 
Thomas B. Catton, Sarah II. Catton, James Purdy, Sarah 
Pui'dy, Wright Mason, ]\Iary Clark Sanford, Hannah Sanford, 
Lydia Grisewood, Ann Smitli, Elizabeth Hare. The following 
Summer they erected a church building on a lot presented to 
them by Anson D. Smith, on the corner of Main and Gardeau 
streets. This church was dedicated on July 20th, 1861, by Revs. 
Asa Abell and Loren Stiles. The parsonage was built on Gar- 
deau street, adjoining the church. In the Fall of 1862, a class 
of 25 from Burke Hill united with the Free IMethodists and the 
organization was then known as "The Perry and Burke Hill 
Circuit." A Sunday School was organized with Thomas B. 
Catton as its first superintendent Only one of the charter 
members is now living — ]\Ir. Wm. Rudd, who is still active in 
the work of the church. 

In May, 1915, the society purchased of E. J. Soper, his 
new residence property and vacant lot on Church street. The 
i-t'sidence will be used as a parsonage, and it is the intention of 
the society to erect a new church building in the near future. 

The pastors who have served the church are : A. A. Phelps, 
Wm. ^Manning, Asa Abell, G. W. Humphrey, George Slack, C. 
Hudson, S. H. Lowe, J. W. Reddy, Henry Hornsby, T. J. Ewell, 
:\I. C. Burritt, George W. Marcellus, G. AV. Coleman, C. B. Essex, 
J. A. Green, D. S. Warner, W. C. Chamberlain, C. W. Bacon, 



D. G. Mark, J. Robinson, J. H. Wheeler, J. H. Harmon, W. T. 
Wees, L. Barmore, R. Carne, L. A. Sowthworth, M. A. Parker, 
H. J. Wood. 


During the Summer of 1879, owing to a controversy of over 
a year's duration, concerning secret societies, a portion of the 
congregation of the First Baptist Church withdrew from that 
organization and formed wliat later became knoAvn as ''Th'.r 
Leicester Street Baptist Society of Perry." For a period or 
about three years they held their regular church services in the 
Academy building. Rev. Jesse Ellicott preached to the con- 
gregati m until his death in March, 1880, when Rev. J. D. 
Tucker was engaged as pastor. 

A council of the Genesee Baptist Association was called 
and convened at Perry on Feb. 15th, 1881, at which time argu- 
ments were heard for and against the recognition of the organi- 
zation as an independent church. Not being able to agree upon 
the subject, an adjournment was taken until Nov. 15th, at 
which time the organization succeeded in obtaining the desired 

The society purchased a lot on Leicester street and the 
erection of a church edifice was begun in the Summer of 1881. 
On Jan. 26, 1882,, it was formally dedicated by Rev. H. D. 
Ewell. The cost of the building was $4,300. 

Regular services were held in this church until February, 
1909, when the organization disbanded and the members re- 
united with the mother church, under the name of the "Baptist 
Church of Perry." 

Other pastors of the church were : Revs. Brown, D. C. Her- 
rell, and James Blanden. 

About the year 1909, the church property was sold to the 
late W. P. Andrus, who converted the building into an apartr 
ment house. 



The growth of Perry's largest knitting industry from a 
working force of 100 or more to over one thousand created a 
labor problem that induced many Polish people to come here 
and seek employment in the mills. When the number reached 
about 300, a Catholic priest of their own nationality was se- 
cured in the person of Rev. Joseph Rudzinski, and the parish 
of "St. Stanislaus Kosta" was instituted on Nov. 14, 1910, by 
Bishop Colton. At that time the congregation numbered over 
300, representing over 40 families. The congregation now num- 
bers nearly one thousand and the society has a church building, 
a rectory and other property, including a cemetery, totaling in 
value about $10,000. 

Father Rudzinski is a loyal citizen of his adopted country 
and has done much for the uplift of his people, encouraging 
them in learning American customs and inspiring in them a. 
devotion to American ideals. 


Excitement Over Discoveries of Gold in California Perry Men Were 
Among Those Who Were Lured by the Fortunes Quickly 

In the late '40 \s, gold discoveries in California created 
great excitement and drew many people to the Pacific Coast 
in search of their fortnne. A large nnmber of men went alone 
while many others took their families across the country in 
"prairie schooners" and braved the perils that beset them 
iit-arly all of the way west of the ^Missouri River. 

From Kidpath's history of the United States we quote: "A 
few (lays after the signing of the treaty of peace with Mexico, 
i\n event occurred iu California which spj-ead excitement tlirough 
the civilized world. A laborer, employed by Captain Sutter, to 
cut a mill race on the American fork of the Sacranu^nto River, 
discovered some pieces of gold in the sand in which he was dig- 
ging. With further search, other particles wt^re found. Tlie news 
.'.plead as if borne on tlie wind. Fi'omi all cpiarters, adventurers 
came flocking. Other explorations led to further revelations 
of the precious nu'tal. For a while there seemed to be no end 
to the discoveries. Straggling gold hunters sometimes picked 
up in a few hours the value of .t500. The intelligence went fly- 
ing through the states to the Atlantic, and then the ends of 
the world. ]\len thousands of miles away were crazed witii 
excitenuMit. Workshops were shut up, business houses aband- 
oned, fertile farms left tenantless, oifices deserted. Though the 
overland routes to California were scarcely yet discovered, 
thousands of our eager adventurers started on the long, long 

The "gold fever" manifested itself in Perry and infected 
Riley Senter, Charles H. Erickson, Samuel P. Pierce and Mark 
A. Pierce, who left here on May 11th, 1849, and started for Cali- 
fornia bv the "overland route." At Council Bluffs, la., they 



iiK't otlicis wlio wvi'v ])()iiii(l for tlic "GoUlt'ii State," and at tliat 
place till' *'Avaj!:oM train" was t'oriucd. Tlu* lon^ journey across 
the plains was he^un alxiut .lune 1st, 1S49, and after several \in- 
expeeted delays, tlu' party reaelied Salt Lake City in November. 
It was deemed inadvisable to take tlie slioi'test route from Salt 
Lake to California on aeeount of the heavy snows in the SieriM 
Nevada Mountains, hence they left S;i!t Lake City in December, 
takin*r a 1 1 ;iil iininin«: a sout hei-|y coui'se. 

At Laianiie, \Vyoluin«,^ before r*eaeliin^' Salt Lake City, the 
pait\' was oblijred to stop for a time and make repairs to their 
wairons and outfit. In ;i htter \\i-itteii from Laramie on Au^. 
*J.")th, 1S4}), Riley Senter told of some of their experiences. It 
was pul)lished in the P»*i-ry Demoei-at. fi-om wliich we make the 
followintr excerpts : 

*'The land about liere is far fi'om bein«r fit to cultivate. 
There is an imnu'iise i'e»ri<ni of c(uinti'y 'net ween the States and 
the Kocky ^Mountains that is fit only for butl'alo and other wild 
aninuils to ran^e \ij)on. From where we crossed the ^lissouri 
it continues to grow more barren as we journey westward. The 
country is almost entirely destitute of tii)d)er. There is gener- 
ally some along the river and creek banks, just a few scattering 
tiees. Great quantities of material have been thrown out here. 
On all of the abandoned camping i)laces are to be found boxes, 
barrels, trunks, a great quantity of iron in all shapes — wagon 
tires, horse shoes, blacksmith tools, etc. Wagons have been 
burned with their provisions by some, because they could not 
get any otters for the proi)erty. The North American Fur Com- 
pany have a station here to trade with the Indians, and I can 
readily see how large profits are made. These traders pay a 
mere trifle for buffalo robes. A cup of coffee and one of flour 
is about the usual jn-ice. I was told that one cup of molasses 
is sufficient to purchase a buffalo robe. Moccasins are bought 
for a few cents. The buffalo is the only dependence of the In- 
dians ; for hats they cut the hair from the hides and seW' it. Tiie 
Indians are looking with a great deal of anxiety upon the emi- 
gration of the whites through their territory, fearing that all 


of tbfc buffalo Avill be killed and that tbey will have to starve. 
Officials at the forts endeavor to pacify the Indians by tellin;,^ 
tlieui tliat the United States will supply them with food whe.n 
the proper time arrives. Indians are experts in shooting the 
buffalo, and I have frequently been told that they can drive an 
arrow through an animal. I really believe it from the appear- 
ance of their arrows, which are pointed with a sharp iron, 
shaped something like the old flint arrow heads found in Wyo- 
ming County. From the time we started until w^ithin ten miles 
of Laramie we did not see an Indian, and then discovered about 
25 lodges on the opposite side of the river. Although having 
frequently been told to be very cautious about going into dan- 
ger, some half a dozen of us started immediately for their 
cam J). Before getting over the river we saw them go for their 
horses and rush across between us and the wagon train, w^hicli 
was moving on. We hardly knew what to nuike of their move- 
ment, but thinking it best to start directly for them, we did so 
and found that their great anxiety was to get to our train for 
the purpose of trading and getting presents. They had plenty 
of ponies, some buff'alo robes and moccasins, and Avere anxious 
to trade their ponies for our horses. Anything that an Indian 
takes a fancy to will buy one of their best ponies. An old 
military coat will buy a pony at any time, such as the traders 
ask from $75 to $100 for. These Indians are the Sioux. They 
have suffered terribly from the cholera, wdiich began its rav- 
ages among them last spring, but now has nearly ceased. They 
do not bury their dead, but hang the bodies up, either in trees 
or upon long poles, believing that if buried the dead one could 
not see. In following one creek, some of us found several 
bodies in trees; one was that of a child carefully placed on a 
network of sticks woven together. Bj^ its side lay a pretty red 
blanket folded up along with several deer and elk skins of the 
softest kind, together Avith several small trinkets. * =* * We 
intend to start tomorrow by the river route. There is no doubt 
that gold is there or near there in abundance; so we are told 
by the Mormons on the road, and if there is as nnich as is said 
to be we shall go in for a share. I hope to send some of the dust 
home by next spring. I like the company I am with; they are 
a set of men who know how and are ready to work ; some me- 
chanics, others farmers when at home. My health is excellent 
and 1 have never regretted starting from Perry." 


Charles Erickson died on the trip, particulars of his death 
being written to the home folks by Mark Pierce in a letter from 
which we make the following excerpts: 

"Our course al'tiT wt- left Salt Lake City lay through a 
dreary and desolate region inhabited only by Indians who sub- 
sist mostly by robbery. We followed the route marked on the 
map as 'Fremont's trail of 1844.' Before we crossed the divid- 
ing ridge of the Great Basin we encountered severe weather; 
the mercury registered 22 degrees below zero and the snow was 
nearly two feet in depth. Although we were much exposed to the 
inclement weather, we endured it better than one would expect. 
After erossing the dividing ridge and traveling down the Santa 
Chira Kiver a day or two, we emergetl into spring-like elimate 
wliieli continued until we reached our destination. We had 
occasion to stoj) during the first few days of .lanuary on a snuill 
sti'eam called 'Mudd.w' wliieh is tlie only watercourse between 
the 'KioX'irgin' and "\'egas, ' in order to recruit our cattle. A 
desert 60 miles in length lies between tin- Muddy and Vegas, and 
it is destitute of water nearly the wholcseason. Afterleaving the 
Mudily we i)ushed our way along as fast as possible and camped 
near a patch of grass, which was only enough to meet the needs 
foi* one night. Charles complained of illness and we gave him 
a simple remedy, which soon quieted his pain and he fell asbM*]). 
Early the next moi*ning we were under way and had the good 
fortune to find some grass and water in the afternoon. Charles 
1 ode all day upon a bed nuide in th(^ wagon. At night he was ap- 
parently better, but the dampness of the wagon cover from the 
frequent showers of the day was not conducive to his comfort. 
On Sunday, Jan. 4th (1850) we arrived at the 'Vegas' (a fer- 
tile spot in the desert,) pitched our tent and collected a quan- 
tity of dry canes to spread upon the ground. We immediately 
made a bed for Charles and covered him snugly. He was suf- 
fering from a severe form of erysipelas and we gave him reme- 
dies that we hoped would ease his pain and quiet his nerves. On 
iMonday morning he was somewhat better and when the sun 
rose he wrapped himself in his blanket and walked about con- 
s-iderably. A physician connected with our train gave him 
some remedies which alleviated his suffering and the next day 
he appeared better, but early in the evening he became sud- 


deuly worse and Ave became much alarmed about him. We call- 
ed another physician, who was connected with Pomeroy's train, 
encamped nearby, to counsel Avith ours. I was pained to hear 
their decision that his symptoms were very unfavorable. They 
did all in their poAver to allcA^iate his trouble, but he became 
partly deranged and continued in that state until a fcAv mom- 
ents before he died at 5 o'clock in the morning of Jan. 9th, 

The partA^ entered the Mountain MeadoAv pass and reached 
the old Santa Fe and California trail 200 miles south of Salt 
Lake City. Progress along the trail was sIoav, San Bernardino 
Mission in Southern California being reached on Jan. 30th, and 
SanFrancisco about Feb. 15th. At SanFrancisco they met four 
other men from Perry Avho had gone by the Isthmus of Panama 
route, viz : Lee Higgins, HarA'ey Nobles, Alonzo Bobbins and 
Frimate Jenks, a brother of the late Joshua Jenks. From them 
they receiA'ed the first ncAvs from home since their departure. 

Charles H. Homan and the late David Andrus Avere other 
Perry men Avho were numbered among the '49 'ers, but none of 
them succeeded in making their fortune in the Golden State. 
Their experiences, however, were among the most exciting and 
interesting of their lives. 


The Silver Lake Sea Serpent, a Cleverly Conceived Hoax That Was 
Successfully Employed for Some Time and Brought Silver 
Lake Into Prominence. 

Tn 1855, the villages of l\*n-y and Castile wciv fearfully 
excited over the reported diseovei'v of a wonderful and hideous 
monster that had been discovered in the li({uid depths of beau- 
tiful vSilver Lake. In time tiiis excitement t'Xteiided all over 
the State, and e\« ntually to many pai'ts of the eiitii'e United 
States. Peoi)le came on foot, by carriage, on horseback, and, in 
fact, by any means of locomotion o])tainal)le, to see if even a 
glimpse of the monster could be obtained, and the hotels found 
that they had "struck a bonanza." The Perry [)aper, edited 
by Truuuui S. Gillett. made hay wliile the sun shone and issued 
extras illustrated with cuts of the lake and the monster suppos- 
ed to live in its depths, and these papers had a large sale. 
Di-. Sheldon lliggins, who was the proprietor of the Perry 
Drug Store, and who was also an ad;'i)t in the engravers' art, 
furnished the cuts for the paper. 

Old wood engraving made to illustrate the Sea Serpent. 


An old whaleman by the name oi! Daniel Smith was im- 
ported, bringing his boat, harpoon and lances, and proved to be 
quite an object of curiosity to the people who congregated at 
the lake. 

The M-riter is indebted to the Wyoming Times and an article 
published at the Castilian office in 1880 by Gaines & Terry for 
our narrative, and Avill begin the strange tale with the follow- 
ing article from the Times, dated Perry, July 18th, 1855 : 


The Testimony of Five Credible Witnesses— Great Excitement, 

Narrow Escapes, Etc. 

"The beauties of Silver Lake, half a mile from this village 
have been recorded in prose and verse time and again. It is a 
splendid sheet of water, about four miles long and from one- 
half to three-quarters of a mile wide. Its outlet, after coursing 
through a deep gorge, flows into the Genesee River. It con- 
tains sites for 16 or 18 milling privileges, about half of which 
are improved. The lake is a great resort for fishing parties, 
muscallonge, pickerel and bass being caught here with live bait 
during the summer, and speared through the ice during the 
winter. Catfish or bullheads are as thick as grasshoppers in a 

wheat field It is the resort of pleasure parties from the 

village and abroad, and seldom has anything occurred by which 
the fair fame of Silver Lake has been tarnished; nor has it 
acquired any other than an honest reputation as being one of 
the most beautiful, safe and desirable places of resort in the 
State, either for fishing or — in its season — hunting. But to our 

''Friday evening last, as a party of which we formed one 
was disembarking from a trip up the lake, with a hundred 
I)Ounds or less of dressed catfish, Messrs. Charles Hall, Joseph 
R. McKnight, Charles and Alonzo Scribner, accompanied by 
tA\o boys named George Hall and John Scribner, were just 
leaving the landing on an evening's fishing excursion. The 
story of their voyage and its incident is theirs as related to us 


in all siiRH'rity, and we ^'iw it witli tbo I'tMiiark that tlie party 
liad no ]i([U(t!* in tlu'ir boat, nor was tlicrc' any in or abont the 

''They left tlie lan(lin«^ near ^Ir. Howe's pump faetoi-y 
a])out 7 {». m. on Friday, and rowed \ip the narrows of tlie out- 
let, ANhere two of the party ^ot out and di-a«:r^^'d the ])oat 
through. As tlie ehannel l)eeanie wider they took seats 
in the boat and rowed steadily up ihe lake. They anchored 
in about the center, near tlie noilheast end. and began fisli- 
injx. 'riie evening- was nnt dai'k ; ])oth shoi-es were in view, 
and the stars and clouds appeared altei-nately. About 9 
o'clock, as the entire party were fislnng, McKnifjht — who ^at 
in the stei'ii of the boat — called attention to what had the sem- 
blance, thou^ih much lai-<rcr, of a \c,i\^ tree Irimnu'd olf, lying 
on the surface of the water, noi'th of their boat and a dozen yards 
off. All looked at it, and various suggestions were mad<' re- 
garding it. It api»eai"<'d to be SO or 100 feet long. However, 
the j)arty continued I'ishing. The thing they saw, be it ti-ee, log, 
or whatnot, remained in the same position for twenty minutes 
or half an hour. At about 9 iIJO it had disai)peai'ed, when or 
how the jniity had not observed. In about ten nnnutes ^Ic- 
Knight called attention to the same object between the boat 
they occupied and the old sailboat 'Frolic,' which lies aground, 
disabled on the east shore. The center of the log, tree, or Avhat- 
ever it was, was in a direct line from the stern of the boat and 
not more than four rods away. After watching it a few min- 
ut«^s. ]\lcKnight, Avho was nearest it, exclaimed: 'Boys, that 
thing is moving!' All looked at it, but having concluded that 
it was a log, when first seen, continued pulling up the catfish. 
A few minutes more passed, and Hall noticing that it had and 
Avas changing its position, exclaimed : 'See, it is bowing around !' 
And true enough, so it was. All looked and saw the same 
movement. Its head — it could no longer be called a log — was 
now Avithin three rods of the boat, and, as it approached, the 
Avaves parted on either side as if a boat Avere leisurely ap- 

''Scribner, in an attempt to cut the rope attached to the 
anchor and boat, lost his knife and pulled up the anchor. Hall 
grasped th^ oars and began pulling A'igorously for the Avest 


shore, MeKiiight steering the boat, Scribner took seat with 
Hall and assisted in rowing. All this was the Avork of an in- 
stant, and their ni^'sterions and unv/elcome guest disappeared 
while it was going forward, to the great joy of the party. But 
tliey were not clear of their visitor. The boat had not been 
propelled more than forty rods when the strange visitor was 
again visible on the surface for the third time, to the northeast 
of them, and between the boat and the outlet. This time the 
visitor was within one rod of the boat, and the party were mak- 
ing rapid progress toAvard the inlet. All in the boat saw the 
creature. It again disa])peai'ed. 

"For the fourth time, when the party was within 35 or 40 
reds from their proposed and now nearest landing point, the 
couth side of the inlet, the Serpent — for uoav there was no mis- 
taking its character — darted from the water, about 4 feet from 
the stern of the boat, close by the rudder paddle, the head and 
forward parts of the monster rising above the surface of the 
Avater 8 or 12 feet in an oblique direction from the boat. All 
in the boat had a fair view of the creature and concur in repre- 
r.enting it as a most horrid and repulsive looking monster. Mc- 
Knight has no doubt that the portion of the body above the 
water was as large in circumference as a flour barrel, while 
Hall — one of the oarsmen — thinks that it was the size of a but- 
ter firkin in circumference. Both agree as to the length ex- 
posed to view. On the opposite side of the boat, about a rod 
and a half to the northeast, the other extremity of the serpent 
was in full view, lashing the Avater AAuth its tail. When the for- 
Avard part descended upon the Avater it created Avaves that 
nearly capsized the boat and suspended regular operations at 
the oars. 

"The party reached shore in safety, but frightened most 
out of their senses. They left the boat on the side of the lake 
farthest from home, and footed it home, some tAvo miles, rather 
than venture doAA-n the outlet, not more than half a mile in 
length. It is almost needless to say that they slept little that 
night or the next. We will add, for the benefit of the incredu- 
lous, that these men are persons of character ; they Avould be 
belicA^ed in this community in any ordinary matter betAveen man 
and man. We admit that it is a large story, but it is about a 


lar^'c si'i-ix'iit. He Avould be a monster at liall" the size. But 
here is tlie af^'idavit of two of the party:" 

Josepli 1\. McKni«:ht and Charles Hall, both beiiif]: duly 
swoni, say tliat tlu-y have heard and read the article j)ublished 
in the Wyoming Tinu's in relation to the serpent in Silver 
Lake, and that the statements there made ai'c true of their 
own knowledge. 

Signed, Joseph R. ^NleKnight, 
Charles Hall 
Subscribed and sworn to this 16th day of duly, 1855, be- 
fore me. Enos W. Frost, 

Justice of the Peace 

The publication of the pi-eeeding aiiicle set the ball in 
motion. The excitement ran high and was intensified the next 
Aveek by the issue of the Times, wldeli contained the following 
article under date of July 25th : 

"Last week we gave as full and graphic an account of the 
monster seen in Silver Lake by Charles Ilall and Joseph ]\Ic- 
Kiught as we were able to procure. We now present to our 
readers such other information regarding tlie stranger as has 
come to hand. At the same time Ave assure our i-eaders that we 
pay no regard to the many rumors afloat containing 'sights' 
seen at the lake, nnless traced to the author, and his statement 
given without coloring. 

"Sat\n-day evening, the 14th inst., one day after McKnight 
and Hall with their party were fishing, and saw what they re- 
garded and still regard as a monster serpent, Franklin ]\Iorgan, 
Abner Glazier, Eli Bishop and GeorgeKingsley,youngmenfrom 
16 to 23 years of age, residing on the west side of the lake, Avent 
doAvn to bathe. They had heard th-e story tliat a monster had 
been seen in the lake, but as they had been acquainted with its 
waters for years and never seen anything unusual in or about 
them, laughed at the credulity of some persons and ridiculed 
the idea of there being anything there of unusual dimensions. 
They landed near the mouth of the inlet, had a good swim 
and dressed themselves, nothing occurring to especially at- 
tract thei^ attention. ThcA' again took their boat, pushed 


off to row up the lake, their landing place being on the same 
side, but some distance above. When 15 or 20 rods from the 
inlet, Morgan — who was steering the boat — heard a noise that 
sounded like a tow-line being raised from the water. Upon 
looking around he discovered the form of a bow upon the 
water, its center projecting a trifle above the water line, but 
both ends concealed from vicAV. It formed a span of 10 to 12 
feet long and appeared to be at least a foot in diameter and of a 
dark color. Glazier was paddling the boat on the north side and 
also saw it. It was then sinking and gradually disappeared. This 
occurred between 8 and 9 o'clock in the evening. Both shores 
of the lake and objects on them were in full view. 

"These four men work on farms two or three miles from 
the village, and have no object in presenting a large story. Af- 
ter this straightforward recital by Mr. jMorgan, we asked him 
if he would go bathing in the lake in the evening now? 
He promptly replied that he would not, unless very near the 
shore ; nor in the daytime in the middle of the lake ; that what 
he saw had the appearance of being a very large serpent. 

'* A reverend gentleman well known in this community and 
formerly a resident of this village, called upon us yesterday 
morning and stated that he had an interview on Monday with 
an Indian named John John, some 50 years of age, and in the 
course of conversation asked him if there was an^^ truth in the 
rumor that the Indians on Squawkie Hill would not fish in 
Silver Lake? John John replied that it was true, and added 
that once upon a time two of the tribe encamped upon the 
shores of the lake one night and were frightened by the appear- 
ance of a serpent or monster. He inquired of the Indian what 
size the monster was. John John replied: ^As big as a flour 
barrel.' He asked John if it was in consequence of this that 
they would not bathe or fish there, and John replied in the af- 

"Since this occurrence several parties have visited the lake, 
but mostly during the day. It is now proposed, and we cer- 
tainly hope that it will be carried out, to man one or two boats 
each evening and watch for the appearance of the monster. 
The various statements in regard to it, coming from persons 


wcW known in tliis community, and porsons, too, liaving no de- 
sire or object in misrepi'esenting siieli an oeeun-ence, cannot 
be denied until after full and careful investigation. They are 
tohl with that sincerity that carries conviction with tlie recital; 
that tlie persons have seen something: of an unusual character 
in the lake — something that frightened them exceedingly — and 
in one instance, at least, caused four men to row for shore, and 
that, too, distant one mile, rather than return down the short 
oiith't but half a mile in length. Besides tliis, at intervals for 
several years, persons who have been called to the lake on busi- 
ness or for diversion, make someAvhat similar represcMjtations, 
though on such occasions, extending through a period of 20 
years, the monster has been curtailed of half its dimensions. 

''After a thorough search had been made, and not till then, 
can the testimony of competent witnesses be disregarded and 
set aside because others have not been fortunate or unfortunate 
enougli to have obtained a sight." 

In the meantime a Vigilance Society had been organized 
and the result of its labors may be found in the subjoined ar- 
ticle from the Times, dated August 1st : 

*'We detest snake stories. There is no subject Ave approach 
with more disgust than a 'yarn' liaving one of those creeping, 
crawling, cursed reptiles for its foiuidation. But as faithful 
chroniclers of events in this quarter, as the publisher of a pub- 
lic journal, truthful in its character, and with a desire to its 
continuance in the same honest, but not heavily l)eaten track, 
we feel constrained to follo\y up the narrative of what has not 
only caused excessive frights in some parties recently — which 
has Indian tradition to back it, more recent evidence to sustain 
it — and has set the newspaper world in a blaze. 

"As some of our exchanges doubt the assertion that the 
party Avith Hall and ^IcKnight, whose narrative Avas first 
given, had no liquor Avith them, Ave aa411 barely remark that 
both are honest, temperate and industrious mechanics, coopers 
by trade. One has been employed by ^Iv. BroAvn, the miller, 
for five years, and Mr. BroAA^n regards him as a most truthful 
and honest man. The other has not resided in the A^illage for 
so long a period, but bears upon his face the appearance of an 


honest, truthful man. They do not fish as sporting, amateur 
fishermen often do, with the brandy bottle at their side and 
with more desire for that than for the fish. They fish when 
they do go upon such an excursion after a day's labor, and to 
procure them as food for their families, as well as affordinor 
pastime. So much for the men whose affidavits were appended 
to the first statement. 

' ' Tuesday evening, the 24th, was dark and rain fell in tor- 
rents. The \ igilance Committee did not go out in search, and 
we have not learned that any pari}- ventured upon the lake. 
Wednesday evening, the 25th, two or three boats well manned 
were upon the lake. One remained until 10 p. m. A heavy mist 
set in, completely enveloping the sky, hills and lake. Not an 
object was visible five rods from the boat, yet the men visited 
various parts of the lake and returned at the hour above indi- 
cated, without anything of an extraordinary character occur- 

"Thursday evening, the 26th, another party went out. The 
evening was beautiful; about every portion of the lake was in 
view under the pale rays of the full moon. They returned be- 
tween 10 and 11 p. m. Nothing strange occurred. Friday af- 
ternoon, the 27th, as two farmers well known and highly re- 
spected, were Avorking in the field near the lake, they saw some- 
thing that appeared like a log, but three or four rods long, ly- 
ing between the inlet and outlet. They noticed it some 
time, but soon after it had disappeared. They only say, if there 
is a serpent there they saw it, and that it is as long as has been 

''Friday evening another party visited the lake and return- 
ed between 10 and 11 p. m. without encountering anything of 
an unusual character. Saturday morning, the 28th, Mr. Hall — 
the gentleman who with Mr. McKnight and the Scribners 
saw what they regarded as a very large serpent — accompanied 
by his wife, daughter and one or two of the boys visited the 
lake. The wife and daughter had never been upon its waters, 
and although the father was much frightened some two or three 
weeks since at what had occurred while there, as hundreds had 
been upon and around the lake since that occurrence and noth- 


inj? unusual liad taken place, took his family with liini foi- tlio 
sail and at the same tinu» to fish. The wliole family saw the 
Keri)ent, and we ^ive the statement as related to us by the 
daughter, an intelligent girl of 15 or 16 years. 

*' 'We started between S and 9 p. m. Father i-owcd u}) the 
outlet, my brother sitting in the bow of the boat to inform him 
as to the course of the channel up the nai'row and crooked ])ass- 
age. We entered the lake; the wind was quite higli and the 
waves rocked the boat so much that mother requested father to 
I'ow over to the other side, where the water ai)i)eared more still. 
Father rowed toAvai"<l the inlet. When approaching it he sus- 
])ended rowing and looked ai'ound to ascertain if he was in the 
right course, as no one was steering, and called attention to an 
object on the right hand side of the iidet, partly concealed by 
the rushes. I\Iy brother looked at it and began screeching and 
crying that it Avas the snake they had before seen. We all sat 
quietly in the boat and looked at it. It appeared to be of a 
dark color at first, but as it moved off going into the water, it 
was of a lighter color, of a copper color. At mother's request 
father turned the boat around and rowed for the outlet, mother 
standing up and looking back. She saw the same thing appar- 
ently following the boat some rods on, and told father 
to row for his life. I stood up and also saw it. Its head and for- 
ward part was above water at least a yard, and upon its back 
it appeared to have a fin as Avide as fatlier's hand. I was fright- 
ened and covered my face with my hands and resumed my 
seat. Its head was as much as 15 or 16 inches around and its 
back was much larger. (We here asked her if its head was as 
large as a dog's head and she replied that it was larger. Since 
then she has stated to others that it was as large as a calf's 
hcad.r " 

The above statement has been read to me and is true of my 
OAvn knowledge. Mary M. Hall. 

I also subscribe fully to the facts set forth in the above 
statement. Merilda C. Hall. 

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 31st day of July, 
1855. C\Tiis Merrill, 

Justice of the Peace. 


*'The party landed near Mr. Howe's pump factory, and as 
a cloud of rain was about breaking, went in for shelter. Mr. 
Howe was there and we have had an interview with him. Mr. 
HoAve, who is a straightforward man, says that Mr. Hall did not 
appear much frightened when the party came into the factory. 
He told the story in a straightforward manner. Mrs. Hall was 
much agitated, remarked that she did not want to go sailing, 
but was over-persuaded by her husband ; that she had rather 
have washed steadily three days than have been so much fright- 
ened. Mr. Hail came down to the village, related the circum- 
stance, and a number of men, well armed, repaired to the lake. 
They remained on or about it the remainder of the day, but saw 
nothing unusual. 

''Saturday evening, two citizens who have been most skep- 
tical in regard to the monster — and there are others of that 
character — Dr. Smith and Counselor Stoddard visited Mr. Hall 
and family. ]Mr. Hall and his wife related the occurrence 
very nearly as it is above stated by the daughter. The child- 
ren were present and all corroborated the statement. These 
gentlemen made the visit purposely to probe the story to its 
foundation and cannot think that any family could unite in 
manufacturing such an absurd and monstrous 'yarn' out of 
whole cloth. ]\Ir. Hall describes the appearance of the head of 
the reptile with much precision, and even the little boy about 
five years of age said he 'saw a big snake; saw him squirm,' 

From the Wyoming Times, Aug. 1st, 1855.) 

"On Monday, July 30th, 1855, quite a crowd of visitors 
were at the lake, endeavoring to get a sight of his majesty, the 
sea serpent. The well-authenticated statement of Hall, Mc- 
Knight, John John, Morgan and others, has attracted to this 
village many of the citizens of the adjoining towns and vil- 
lages, and quite a number of visitors from cities have taken 
quarters with their friends or are located at Walker's well- 
kept hotel. 

"To our surprise, on going to the lake on Monday we 
found seven boats well manned, upon its quiet waters, one 
being the center of attraction. We approached it and found 


that it eontaiiUM] four youn^ iiioii from an adjoining town. One, 
Daniel Sniitli, had l)ut recently returned from a four-years' 
windings voyage. They were at the lake on Tuesday last, hav- 
ing previously heard of the Silver Lake sea serpent, saw about 
40 feet of the monster, moved towards it, and as they neared it, 
his nuijesty, not fancying tin'ir ai)i;earan('e, glided olf into 
deeper A\ater and did not again a{)i)eai" on tlic surface. They 
returned home that evening. I'nder Suntli's direetions a har- 
poon lanee and other instruments for capturing Avhales were 
nuiinifaetured, and on ]\Ionday the same party, Avith coils of 
rope and arms for capturing the serpent. \\ as patiently in wait- 
ing foi- his appearance. 

"This was a new and novel feature in the Silver Lake 
fishei'y, but no d()\d)t one tliat the exigencies of the case de- 
manded. Wink' young men of oui* own village have watched 
for him almost nightly, as well as in tli<' day time — while a joint 
stock company is being foi-ined for the pui'i)()se of having 
proper instiuments constructed to capture the monster alive, 
and Avhile this susi)ense and doubt exists as to his snakeship's 
identity, his immense i)i-oi>oi'tions, and the selection of his food. 
We are glad that i)arties in lu'ighboi-ing villages are not be- 
hind hand in desiring his capture, and that suH'icient enterprise 
exists to lend our own energetic citizens a helping hand toward 
the accom[)lislnnent of that object. 

"Of course, the public will believe, credit or reject as 
uuich of the story as they please. AVe have our own im- 
pressions regarding it, and as several corr<\spondents have 
made the inquiry, we will say that "vve have no doubt that there 
is a reptile of unusual dinu'iisions, that is harmless, or else 
half of the village — men and boys — would have mysteriously 
disappeared during the last quarter of a centur3% for it is a 
favorite bathing place and there are no families residing near 
enough to be in the least annoyed by their exhibitions while 
swimming. The search will be continued, and it is hoped that 
whatever there is at the lake of enormous size, beside pickerel, 
bass, etc., may be captured, and its full length and size be made 
known to the public. I^nless captured soon, we shall have to 
publish a daily edition to keep our friends at a distance as well 
as here, fi lly posted." 


August 8th, the enterprising publisher of the Times came 
"to the front" with the "clincher" Vv^hich gave a substantiated 
account of the "monster" and caused old maids' teeth to 
chatter worse than ever, while the tide of emigration to the 
lake became much increased and the excitement corresi)ond- 
ingly so. 

"Wednesday, the 1st inst., the existence of a monster fish 
or serpent species in the quiet waters of Silver Lake was estab- 
lished beyond reasonable doubt, if indeed there has been room 
for doubt for a week past. At about noon on that day the 
monster was seen by at least half a dozen persons from differ- 
ent points of view, from the upland adjoining the lake. There 
were no boats out. AVorkmen on the farm of Mr. A. Macomber, 
not half a mile distant ; two young men visiting at Mr. Ma- 
comber 's, on another part of the farm; a young man named 
Alerrill, from this village, from another point ; a part of Isir. 
Macomber 's family, from the upper window facing the lake, 
all saw the monster, apparently sunning himself on the surface 
of the water. 

"A description is impossible, except of his movements. 
He moved and floundered about for 10 or 15 minutes. The par- 
ties were from one-quarter to one-half a mile distant. The water 
elsewhere on the lake was as smooth as glass, and there could 
be no deception or optical delusion in the vision of the parties. 
The parties saw it unknown to each other. Some of them have 
no personal acquaintance, and one or two are yet most ready 
to disbelieve their senses rather than to run counter to w^ell- 
established theory in regard to snakeology. 

"For ourselves we are forced to admit the fact of the ex- 
istence of a monster of the serpent species, of immense propor- 
tions, in Silver Lake, unless we disbelieve merely because w^e 
have not seen. We hope, however, to announce before long that 
he has been captured. Every effort is being made to accomplish 
that object. We assert without fear of contradiction, that there 
is not a log floating on the water of Silver Lake; that nothing 
has been placed there to create the serpent story, and that what 
is above stated, and what has appeared in the Wyoming Times 
regarding a serpent in Silver Lake has been related to us by 
candid, honest and truthful men and women — persons who 


liavc not fliiiclied in testifying to tlie facts as given to tlie 

"The above appeared in an extra from this office on Wed- 
nesday. We forwai'ded it to our city exclianges, tliat they 
might keep tlieir tliousands of readers posted as to the actual 
existence in Silver Lake of a monster which has been repeat- 
edly j^een during the past 30 years, whose sjiecies is unknown, 
and wliose liaunting i)lace is uncertain. Tt truly seems incred- 
ibU\ In many quarters it is so treated, yet when we aver that 
some of those who have seen it are the persons who are spend- 
ing days and niglits at the lake to effect its cai)ture, that they 
are endeavoring to bring about the result by means of live 
bait in the shape of ducks or chickens attached to large hooks 
with buoys in the distance: that one sailor who has been for 
four years upon the Pacific, engaged in the capture of Avhales, 
having seen it in company with three other j)ersons, has had 
constructed instruments which he believes necessary to its 
cai)tui-(»; that they have seen it, too. with th<' full glare of day 
upon it, we cannot resist the conviction that there is in that 
little lake a fish or reptile of extraordinary dimensions. The 
men who have been favored with a sight and whose story was 
at first hooted at, as well as those v.dio have seen it since, con- 
firm their belief by their acts. They know that such a creature 
exists there and they are determined to capture it if that be 

"Two men of this village, who were there on Friday in a 
brat, both responsible and candid men, were favored with a 
view of the monster. They went and are now there, having en- 
gaged a boat for one month, to convince themselves as w^ell as 
satisfy the public." 

Edwin Fanning, long a resident of Perry, relates his Avon- 
derful experience in an affidavit published in the Times of Aug. 
16th, as follows : 

"The following statement made by Edwin Fanning of this 
village, duly attested, accompanied by the endorsement of 
several prominent citizens as to Fanning 's character for truth 
and veracity, cannot but confirm and strengthen the very 
general belief that there is a monster in Silver Lake. In fact. 


the evidence in regard to it is undisputed in any quarter, and 
the candor and sincerity of Avitnesses is unquestioned. 

"When falsehood is so apparent as in a letter purporting 
to emanate from this village, published in the Bulfalo Republic 
of Tuesdav, it is almost unnecessary to refute or contradict it. 

Edwin Fanning's Statement 

"I went up to Chapin's Landing, Silver Lake, about 6 
o'clock Wednesday evening, the 15th inst., remained there 
about 15 minutes and then walked down the shore of the lake, 
past the old sailboat 'Frolic' to the point of the jutting pro- 
montory. I remained there and looked at the birds flying 
around the foot of the lake. On glancing my eye across the 
lake to the westward, in the range of the mouth of the inlet and 
about 15 rods from where I was standing, a monster of a ser- 
pent rose out of the water, exhibiting at least eight feet of the 
forward portion of its body above the water. In a few seconds 
he disappeared; in about three minutes afterward he again 
came to the surface, about the same length being exposed to 
view as before. He remained on the surface of the water at 
least three minutes, making evolutions similar to those of a 
snake. He turned his head and the forward portion of his 
body, and appeared to be looking around him. The third time 
he came up he apparenllj^ sported on the water, drew up his 
body as a snake does on the ground, dove down his head por- 
tion, and projected portions of his body out of the water, as 
though full of joints. These movements were continued nearly 
half an hour. His body was as large as a large barrel ; his head 
about a foot in diameter at the largest point. He spouted water 
from his mouth at least four feet high and it would fall back 
upon him like the play of waters from a fountain. His length 
I should think was at least 100 feet. I called to Mr. Sharp- 
steen's men who were working in a field, but they did not 
come. I related the circumstances to them as I returned. When 
I called to Mr. Sharpsteen's men, the serpent was playing upon 
the water. My calling did not disturb him. I remained there 
until he disappeared and did not again come up. The sun was 
shining at the time. I was on the east side of the lake and saw 
the serpent as distinctly as I ever saw anything in my life. He 


was about 15 or 16 rods from me, Avas of a beautiful dark green 
color, and appeared to be perfectly smooth. 1 will be 21 years 
of age next April. 

"I do solemnly swear and certify that the above state- 
nuuit, which I have related and which has been read to me, is 
true of my own knowledge." 

(Signed) Edwin Fanning. 

Subscribed and sworn before uie this 15tli day of August, 
1855. Cyrus Merrill, 

Justice of the Peace. 

"We, the undersigiu'il, have known Edwin Fanning, whose 
statement is above recorded, for several years. He is a resi- 
dent of this village ; he has always maintained a good character, 
and is a young man of intelligence, truth and veracity." 

Signed by Cyrus Merrill, II. N. Page, S. Iliggins, S. P. Bul- 
lard, C. W. Bailey, B. B. Iliggins, C. P. Bailey and C. L. Hatch. 
Perry, August 15th, 1855. 

"The above was issued from this office on Thursday last 
and sent to the daily papers with which we exchange. AVe have 
nothing more to add to it. The young man who makes the 
statement and testifies to it has resided here for several years 
and is well known by many of our citizens." 

On the 22d the Times satiated the eagerness of its readers 
with the following : 

"Daniel Smith, to whom allusion was made a week or two 
ago as being a returned whaler, after a four-years' cruise, was 
in town again on Saturday. He brought with him his harpoon 
and lance and proposes to remain during the week. He has 
visited the lake each day since his return, but has not been 
fortunate enough to get even a glimpse of the serpent which 
he is satisfied from actual observation exists in Silver Lake." 

The writer of this history will not attempt to give all of 
th-e corroborative evidence. To prove the serpent's existence 
anything but a myth, the grim monster appeared to many who 


have not been mentioned, probably aggregating at least 100 
different people, many of whom hurried at once to the Justice 's 
office to make their affidavits. Visitors came by the hundreds 
from all parts of the State, completely swamping the hotels 
and necessitating the opening of private residences to accom- 
modate the throngs. Crowds lined the lake every clear night 
during August and September. Skepticism had been over- 
come, and nearly everyone believed that the monster really 
existed. Plans were continuously brought forward to effect its 
capture. A tower was erected at the north end of the lake and 
a sentinel equipped with a spy-glass was on duty each day, 
keeping a strict watch on the movements of the serpent. 
Hunters lined the shores, "armed to the teeth," and two or 
three were fortunate enough to get distant shots at the mon- 
ster. The Times of Sept. 5th relates that Mr. Joshua. Jenks, a 
local resident was one of those so favored. Mr. Jenks was 
prepared to shoot the serpent, was but three rods from it, but 
being thrown oft' his guard by its sudden appearance, and 
somewhat alarmed, did not get correct aim before the reptile 
disappeared. Some of the citizens put out set-lines made by 
using clothes-lines and an enormous hook turned out by the vil- 
lage blacksmith, baited with ducks, fresh pork, etc., the whole 
being supported by a small buoy. 

The Last of the Matter. 

From the Times of Sept. 5th, 1855. 
"Two weeks ago a compam^ was organized with a capital 
stock of $1,000, with ten per cent, paid in, with the following 
named officers : Hon. R. H. Smith, president ; R. C. Mordoff, 
treasurer; H. N. Page, secretary. Said company to be known 
as 'The Experiment Company,' organized to devise ways and 
means to capture the snake. During the present week, very 
little of what the committee are doing has transpired. Last 
week, several members visited Buffalo, conversed with several 
of the oldest fishermen there and availed themselves of the 
suggestions and experience. It has been suggested to the com- 


niittee that Mr. Green, a su])marine diver now engaged in rais- 
ing the treasnre of the 'Atlantic' in Lake Erie, might prove of 
service in tlie capture of the monster. Whether the suggestion 
will be acted upon hy the coimiiittee is yet a nuitter of doubt. 
Another suggestion, and one that conhl be easily tested, is to 
l)lace live bait in and around the marsh where the serpent lias 
been most frequently seen, elevated sufficiently to give those 
watching a fair shot at his majesty, should he api)ear. Various 
otiier suggestions are before the committee, but they seem to 
keep their affaii's to themselves, at b-ast f(U- the present." 

The Cause of All the Excitement, or the Real Snake. 

Business had been very quiet in the hotel line in Peii-y 
for several seasons. Various schemes for improving conditions 
had been considered, and to the late A. B.Walker is credited the 
l)lan of creating the Silver Lake sea serpent. Confidingthe prop- 
osition to a few of his intinuite and trustworthy friends, he 
foinid that it met with their instant approval. Of various plans 
discussed, the following was deemed the most practical and sur- 
est of ultiuiate success. The serpent was to be constructed of a 
body about 60 feet long, covered with a waterproof canvas sup- 
ported on the inside by coiled wire. A trench was to be dug and 
gas pipe laid from the basement oi a shanty situated on the 
west side of the lake, to the lake shore. A large pair of bel- 
lows such as were used in a blacksmith shop, secreted in the 
basement of the shanty connected to tiiat end of the pipe, and 
a small light rubber hose from the lake end to the serpent. The 
body was to be painted a deep green color, with bright yellow- 
spots added to give it a more hideous appearance. Eyes and 
mouth were to be colored a bright red. The plan of manipulat- 
ing the serpent was simple. It was to be taken out and sunk 
in the lake, and then when everything was read}^ the bellows 
were to be operated and air forced into the serpent, Avhich 
naturally would cause it to rise to the surface. Weights were 
to be attached to different portions of the body to insure its 



sinking as the air was allowed to escape. Three ropes were to 
be attached to the forward portion of the body, one extending 
to the shore where the ice house now stands; one across the 

lake, and the other to the marsh at the north end; the serpent 
to be propelled in any direction by the aid of these ropes. 


]\Iaiiy iiiijlits were spent l)y these fi-ieiids in its eonstrne- 
tion. It is said tliat tlie serpent was made in the old Cliapin 
tannery, Avliieii it will be remembered, was situated in the out- 
let ravine. At last it was comj)leted and taken at nijrht to the 
lake and suidv in about 20 feet of v/atei-. One of the iiumi went 
aeross to the slianty to opei-atc the Ix'ilows. ihe othrrs ivman- 
iuiT near the spot wIicit tlic sn-pciit Avas suid<, to note tlic re- 
sult of their labors. Tiiey did not h.a\e loni; to Avait, foi* sud- 
denly the head of the serpent appranMJ and I'ose «i:i-aeefully to 
a JU'i^ht of about eijjlit feet al)oV( the water. (.>ther poi'tions 
of the monster became visible and ihe entire eonstruetion was 
so lifelike that it sent the shi\'ei-s {'oui-sin«i thi-ou^h Ihf Ixidie-; 
of tile builders. It towed aboui by the men \'()V a tiiiir to 
be eei'tain that it would rniiain uiii-i«z'ht and work well jifeiu'r- 
ally. Then the sitjnal was jriven, the bellows stopped forcing 
the air. and the nu)nster which was to place Peri-y and Silvc^r 
Lake "on the map" forever sank rai)idly aiul soon disapix'arcd 
from view. Its tryont proved a great success, even more so than 
its builders had anticipated. i 

Tlie tinner to do now was for them to wait for a favoral)le 
tinu^ to ''spring it" upon the people. On Friday evening, July 
13th, 1855, one of the uumi i-eported a boatload of men engaged 
in fishing not far from where the serpent was secreted. Other 
conditions being favorable, it was decided that the proper time 
to open the shoAv had arrived. It was destined to be a larger 
and more nerve-racking entertainr^'^iit :hau any of them had 

After a period of several weeks of genuine excitement, 
pleasure, and a greatly increased business at the hotel, it began 
to dawn upon the men that things would be mighty hot for 
them in this section of the country if their mischief w^ere found 
out. On tAvo or three occasions only a miracle seemed to have 
prevented :liscovery, and finally, after one of these narrow 


escapes, it was decided that the sea serpent had done its full 
duty, had accomplished the purpose for which it was construct- 
ed, and now must disappear forever. Accordingly, it was taken 
from the lake and stored in the attic of the hotel. When the 
Walker House Avas destroyed by fire in this village in 1857 the 
remains of the great hoax Avere discovered in getting out some 
of the contents of the building. 

Following its removal from the lake to its place of hiding 
there was patient waiting on the part of people for its reap- 
pearance at its frequent haunts, but no indications of a solu- 
tion of the great mystery becoming apparent, the excitement 
gradually abated, visitors departed to their homes, and the 
old time routine of village affairs succeeded, and the Silver 
Lake Sea Serpent passed into history. 


Political Divisions Existing in the Early Days — Anti-Masonic Feeling 
Entered Into Politics but Soon Died Out. Beginning of Anti- 
Slavery Crusade. 

Political oi)inioii in tlie early days of the settlement of 
Perry was divided into two princii)al parties, viz: the 
Federal and the Rcpuhliean. Prior to the War of 1812 
the Federals were exceedingly poi)nlar, but their opposition to 
the carrying on of that war caused many desertions from their 
ranks and event iially tlic i)arty dropped their name and its 
members became affiliated with other organizations. The Re- 
publicans had been tei'iued by their opponents, by way of 
ridicule and reproach, "Democrats." a name which they came 
gradually to adopt. About the year 1815 this party was also 
known as "The Bucktails. " After the disappearance of the 
Federal party their main opponents Avere ''The Clintonians." 
They were afterwards known as "National Republicans," 
wlneh name distinguished them from the "Democrat-Republi- 
cans" or Democrats, as the old Republican party was after- 
wards called. 

The Anti-^Iasonic party had its origin in the excitement 
following the publication of a book purporting to disclose the 
secrets of Free ^Masonry and the subsequent disappearance of 
its author, Wm. Morgan, a resident of Batavia. The party be- 
came fully organized in 1828 and at once became exceedingly 
strong in this section of the State. In 1832 the Anti-Masonic 
party consolidated with the National Republicans for the pur- 
pose of carrying the State for their ticket and electing the 
National Republican candidate (Henry Clay) for President. 
The objects of this coalition were not attained, however, and 


the Anti-Masonic party ceased to exist soon after the campaign 

The Whig party, which later became one of the chief con- 
tenders for honors at the polls, grew out of the combination of 
the two above mentioned parties, and that name was retained 
by them until the formation of the Republican party in 1855. 
Local residents who were prominent "Whigs of the period of 
1840-50 were: Robert and Peter Patterson, Calvin P. Bailey 
and I. N. Stoddard. Prominent Democrats of that time were : 
Rufus H. Smith, Wm. Mitchell, Moseley Stoddard, Linus W. 
Thayer and James Sherman. 

A local history of the campaign of 1840, which ended in a 
notable victory for the Whigs, was kindly furnished the writer 
by the Hon. Harwood A. Dudley of Warsaw, a short time be- 
fore his death in May, 1914. Mr. Dudley became a resident of 
Perry in 1831. The article was originally written for the Perry 
Record and published in that paper in 1898. 

The Campaign of 1840. 

The political campaign of 1840 is still remembered by 
people who are old enough to remember the stirring scenes 
which occurred 58 (now 75) years ago. It differed from the 
rough-and-ready campaign of 1844, when Henry Clay was de- 
feated. The campaign of 1840, which resulted in the election 
of Gen. Wm, Henry Harrison, is often referred to as ''the sing- 
ing campaign." The Whigs were certainly in a musical frame 
of mind and the campaign songs of the period are yet retained 
in the memory of many people. The refrain of 
''Tippecanoe and Tyler, too 
And with them we'll beat Little Van. 
Van, Van, Van, is a used up man, 
And with them we'll beat Little Van," 
fixed itself deep in the mind of a boy who was then 16 years of 
age, and often comes up for review, with all of the attendant 
circumstances of its original rendering. The song was printed 
on slips of paper and distributed at a meeting held in a log 

Member of Assembly, 1829-1830. 

Full of energy as a pioneer business man; fearless, enthusiastic and 
ready for any emergency. With entire confidence in the future of Perry, 
he was ready to embark in any enterprise that needed push and pluck to 
make it a success. A man of great native talent; a strong Whig partisan. 

(H. A. Dudley.) 


cabin erected for political purposes ; or, rather, to be the center 
of the gatherings, for the cabin would not generally hold the 
crowds that gathered to hear the speeches and sing the songs 
that helped to keep up the enthusiasm of the campaign. 

The log cabin in the Village of Perry stood on the corner 
of Main and Covington streets, so that the crowd of people 
could find standing room on the ground immediately surround- 
ing the cabin, as well as on two broad streets of the village. 
The logs for the cabin had been contributed by the Whig farm- 
ers of the region, and the slabs for the roof had been drawn 
from the upper saw mill by Mrs. James Sherman, whose hus- 
band was a mild and subdued Democrat. She drove her own 
team, standing up man-fashion on the load, and was received 
with the hearty cheers of the enthusiastic Whigs, who took 
the team from the wagon and unloaded the slabs, when Mrs. 
Sherman was drawn by hand to the front of the hotel, where 
a Whig orator thanked her for her contribution toward the 
election of Harrison. The old song was never sung more en- 
thusiastically than on that occasion. This event woke up the 
dazed Democrats, w^ho thought to annoy the Whigs by taking 
advantage of the cover of night to bore holes in the flag-staff 
so that, when a strong wind should blow, the weakened pole 
would break off at the peak of the roof. The mischief was dis- 
covered at daylight and the pole was braced up and strength- 
ened. A watch was maintained all through the campaign to 
prevent another attempt to injure the property or the cause. 
A man and boy were always on duty after that occurrence to 
thwart the jealous Democrats, either to take away the braces 
from the pole, steal the coon skins tacked up by the side of the 
door, or carry off the cider barrel that w^as kept on tap near the 
entrance. My turn at watching came with Walter Scott Bailey, 
one of the most enthusiastic young Whigs of the town. The 
service was cheerfully rendered by both of us. 

Alfred S. Patterson, a venerable resident of Westfield, per- 
formed a feat of horsemanship during that campaign which 
probably has never been excelled. Mr. Patterson then lived in 
Perry. He drove from the village to Rochester, a distance of 
over 40 miles, a 40-horse team attached to a two-story log cabin 
on wheels. The structure contained over 100 persons who made 


the trip in this novel fasliion to attend a monster Whig demon- 
stration. It took all one day to aicomplisli the feat, but ]\Ir. 
Patterson landed liis load on time. A remarkable feature of the 
trip was the successful turning of Hutl'alo and Exchange 
streets in that city. Thousands of people witnessed and ap- 
plauded the act. 

Tliere was a combijuitinn of i)at]-iotie f(M'liu«; and pioneer 
enthusiasm in the campaign of 1S40 tiiat was uni(pie and telling 
in its effects. It was the first break of the people from a long 
line of Democratic successes, which may be said to have de- 
rived its strength from the vigor of the Jackson regime. The 
campaign touched the hearts of "the common people," or as 
Lincoln called them, "the plain people," and they determined 
to thi'ow oft' tlie yoke of what they Ix'licvcd to be a Democratic 
aristocracy, which seems to be a paradox. The line of Presi- 
dents had all been from the South ; the North Imd a strong vot- 
ing power, but not much influence at Democratic conventions, 
and this good-natured campaign se«»med to have been a tiu'n- 
ing point in our political history, which is still felt and recog- 

Systematic agitation of the slavery question began in 1833, 
during which year "The American Anti-Slavery Society" was 
formed. From then on until the close of tlie Civil War, slav- 
ery becanu^ the main issue of contention. From time to tinu* 
the Legislature had enacted laws concerning slavery, extending 
up to the year 1819. In 1799 a law was passed providing for 
the gradual extinction of slavery in New York State. In 1817 
a further act was passed decreeing that there should be no 
slaverj^ in the State after the 4th of July, 1827. Ten thousand 
slaves were set free by this act. County organizations of The 
American Anti-Slavery Society were formed tliroughout the 
State. Such a society w^as formed in this countj^ (then Gene- 
see) about the year 1836 at Batavia. The pro-slavery agitators 
were quite numerous in the Northern States at this time, and 
several meetings of the local societv, and other abolition rallies 


were broken up through their efforts. In explanation of this it 
sliould be understood that at this time there wa^ a general 
feeling all through the North that slavery was alloAved and 
upheld by the Constitution of the United States, and as a ccn- 
sequence, many people opposed the abolition movement. 

The Genesee County Anti-Slavery Society, at a meeting 
convened at Warsaw on March 23d, 1836, decided to establish 
a paper for the purpose of expressing the abolition sentiment. 
One thousand dollars was subscribed for its support the first 
year. This paper, The American Citizen, was accordingly 
established at Warsaw, but at the end of a year its finances 
were in such condition that its abandonment appeared neces- 
sary. At this juncture, Mr. Josiah Andrews of Perry, an ardent 
supporter of the anti-slavery cause, purchased the newspaper 
and outfit and removed it to Perry, furnishing the capital for 

its continuance. David Mitchell and Lewis were its 

publishers, Mr. Lewis soon retiring and being succeeded by 
Ansel Warren. In January, 1841, the publication was removed 
to Eochester. 

This was not the only philanthropy of Mr. Andrews, wlio 
was perhaps the best read and educated man in the town at 
that time. He was born in Buckfield, Maine, in 1799, and came 
to Perry in 1817, his brother Mark having made his home here 
the year previous. With the exception of six years spent in 
Cincinnati, 0., he resided in Perry until his death in 1817. 'Mv. 
Andrews w-as knowT.i as the village orator and poet. In the 
earliest days of the anti-slavery crusade Mr. Andrews was 
an earnest foe of the evil and for a time was connected Avith 
the "underground railroad" and assisted slaves in escaping 
pursuit under the fugitive slave lavr. He was liberal in giving 
to all good causes in which he was interested, and was prob- 
ably Perry's greatest temperance advocate, going so far as 
to purchase the old National Hotel for the sole purpose of hav- 



\n^ it coiicliictc'cl as a tonii)eraiice tavern, in opposition to the 
otliur liotcls which were licensed. 

The Libei'al Party, I'oruicd from tlie American Anti-Slav- 
t'Vy Society, was organized in 1839. Although it had many sup- 


porters in this section of the State, a great majority of the 
Abolitionists refused to join the new party, preferring to re- 
main with the old parties and voting for candidates who were 
opposed to the extension of slavery and in favor of its gi'adual 

For a few years previous to 1S4S, the Democrats had been 
divided into two factions, namely. ''Hunkers" and ''Barn 


Burners," the last named being opposed to slavery extension. 
The Liberty Party and the Barn Burners joined forces and or- 
ganized the ''Free Soil Party" in 1848. At the ensuing elec- 
tion many of the Whigs voted with the ]iew party, and together 
they made a formidable combination. 

Among the Perry men who were active supporters of this 
movement were D. L. Oilman and L. A. HayAvood, both prom- 
inent lawyers of the village. In 1850 the Barn Burners and 
Hunkers settled their differences, reunited and nominated Hor- 
atio Seymour for Governor. Many of the Hunkers Avere opposed 
to this union. These were known as "hard shells "and those who 
favored the proposition were termed ''soft shells." At this 
time the Whig party became affiliated with factions known as 
"conservatives" or supporters of the administration, and the 
"radicals," who were under the leadership of Wm. H. Sevrard. 
In Perry and vicinity the radicals of the Whigs and the soft 
shells of the Democrats were largely in the majority in their 
respective parties. 

In 1852 the Whigs were overwhelmingly defeated at the 
polls and from the ruins of the organization was formed the 
present Republican party. This party included many who 
had belonged to the Barn Burner faction of the Democrats. The 
Republican party was established for the purpose of fighting 
the extension of slavery. At that time the feeling regarding 
the slavery question ran high, and the Republican success of 
1860 precipitated the great Civil War and the final extinction 
of slavery. 

The Prohibition Party and other political organizations 
that have came into existence since the Civil War have had 
some adherents in Perry, but the great majority of the citizens 
of the town were affiliated with either of the dominant parties 
—Republican and Democratic— until the formation in 1912 of 


the Xati(iii:il I'ld^ri'ssivc party, whii'h caused some ilel'eetioii 
lVi)iii the ranks of Ixith of the i^reat parties, prineipally from 
the Kei)ul)lieaii. In hieal government, party lines liave been 
hirgely oliliterated and \-oter.s have aeted indejiendently on 
many oeeasions. 

As far as spi^etaeular features are eoneerned, Presidential 
eampaign rallies — especially of the earlier days — have ahva>'s 
lieen red letter oeeasions in the to^vn's local Instory. ilareh- 
ing clul:)s from neighborine,- towns, with their gay uniforms, 
torches, re(l fiii', ilrum eoi-jis, bauds, etc., were always on 
hand to i;i;;l:e and stimulate enthusiasm. ]\Iain street was 
nsuail\" gaily attireil for such occasions ami presented an 
a\-enue (if eohir. The business places, with few exceptions, 
parlieipati'il in the gem-ral effort to make Perry as brilliant 
and attraeti^•e as possilile. The store windows and those of 
priwiti' residencies along the line of march of the various par- 
ading clnlis showed grandly in their array of designs, from paper, lanterns, flags, Inniting, and the ornamented 
](ictures of the party candiates. The men and women who 
wei-(.' deeply interested in the siiceess of the party in whose 
lioniir the deceiatious wi're made I'xhibited great enthusiasm, 
and tile cliihlicn ^\-ei'e delighted by the disi>lay, which was only 
to lie witnessed in the larger of the country towns. Pole-rais- 
inus v\-ith speechi'S were fi'equent features of Presidential cam- 
paigns. E;edi of the local political organizations had its res- 
pccfi\-c marching dub and vied with those of other towns in 
making llie l)i'.st appearance, also in prodiudng the unique in 
attraction V such as the 40dmrse team ha\iling the log cabin to 
Kochester, as |ire\iously mentioin/d. During the campaign of 
ISSS the ('a; tib' Kepublicau rinb came to Perry drawn by two 
trai'timi cnoincs. The uniforms and. insignia of the marching 
clubs usually bnuight out some characteristic of the party's 
ca.ndida.tcs. as in the Lincoln eampaign of 1S60 the mai-cliers 


uiirrietl large tin Ivctlfs, -wedges and rails, symbolical of the 
(.Treat Kail-Sjilittcr : and agaiu the Roosevelt campaigu of 1904, 
iU \\'iiirh time the last political marching club was formed in 
I'erry, -when their eonstume consisted of the uniform adopted 
by tiu' Koosevi'lt Kough Kiders. 

The littb' eannnn now adorning the iiinuaele of theRobeson 
( 'utli-ry (_'o"s stoui' building has spoken in sonorous tones at 
many of thi- early eamiiaign rallies. 


Perry's Part in the Civil War — Organization of the 24th New York 
Battery, in which Many Local Residents Enlisted Town's Loy- 
alty and Patriotism Abundantly Evidenced. 

A history of tlK' 24tli Xcw York Battery was written by 
J. "Wlieat" Merrill and piiblislied in 1870. It is hardly neces- 
sary to state that this work has been used extensively in the 
l)reparation of the following paragraphs. 

Systematic agitation of the slaver^' question which was 
destined to result in the greatest of civil wars, began in about 
1833. People in general throughout tliis section were ardently 
opposed to legislation which would permit the extension of 
slaver}' into our new states or ten'itories. Anti-slavery socie- 
ties were formed and many meetings were held advocating the 
restriction of slaveiy to certain bounds, and leading to its 
gradual extinction. Among the residents of Perrj' who were 
active in the abolition movement were : Josiah Andrews, David 
Mitchell, Ansel Warren, Samuel Phoenix, AVillard J. Chapiii 
and a Mr. Lewis. The movement inaugurated hy these societies 
throughout the country- never lost its momentum, but gained 
followers as the yeai-s advanced. Local churches took decided 
stands against slavery, a position from which they never re- 
ceded. The local press continually denounced the pro-slavery 
leaders of the country. Noted orat.:rs visited the town from 
time to time and did their full share in arousing anti-slavery 

Citizens of the country throughout the North did not be- 
lieve that the differences of opinion held between the North 
and the South would result in armed conflict, and not until 
like a thunderclap came the news of the firing upon Fort Sum- 


ter did they appreciate to what extreme measures the South 
would go in defense of its convictions. But when war came it 
found Perry ready. Xo town in the United States was more 
loyal, none more generous, none more enthusiastic. The first 
citizen of Perry to volunteer his services in defense of the 
Union was Mr. M. S. Salisbury, who enlisted on April 25th, 
1861, in Company C, 74th New York State Militia. On account 
of no more militia regiments being accepted by the Govern- 
ment, he promptly re-enlisted in Company C, 21st New York 
Volunteers, on May 7th, 1861. A few others followed Mr. Sal- 
isbury's lead and enlisted in regiments of their choice during 
the Summer months. In the Fall of that year, Mr. Jay E. Lee, 
a young and suceessfri lawyer of Perry, convinced that more 
men were needed for the army, determined to offer his services. 
Upon investigating the tactics of the different branches of the 
service, he selected the artillery as that most needed and desir- 
able. Together with Mr. James Yv^yekoff and Harry C. Page, 
he set forth interesting the young men of the place in organiz- 
ing a company which would represent the town and vicinity in 
the Federal Army. 

In the local columns of the Wyoming Times, under date 
of September 27th, 1861, we find the following paragraph: 

*' Meetings and speeches in favor of the war, we had sup- 
posed 'played out.' Action, action is now the word. All are 
enlightened on the subject of war, or ought to be. Monday 
evening, however, another meeting was held, called by Messrs. 
Wyckoff, Lee and Page, with a view of obtaining recruits for 
a company of artillery. Prof. Atkins was called to the chair, 
whereupon J. E. Lee, Esq., stated that it was their purpose to 
organize an artillery company to be attached to G. D. Bailey's 
regiment, and enlarged at some length upon the advantage of 
this branch of the service over all others. He was followed by 
Harry C. Page, Prof. Atkins, Rev. Mr. Tomlinson, Rev. Joseph 
R. Page, Judge Gilman, N. P. Currier and Philander Simmons, 
after which an opportunity was given to enlist." 


The result of this meeting was a response from about 50 
men to the call, who pledged themselvos to tlie organization 
})roposed. For some reason or other, which we arc unable to 
explain, when the actual time came for going to J^uffalo for 
nuister, only 20 of the number kept the faith. These consoli- 
dated with other squads from other towns and foiiiied a com- 
pany of which j\Ir. Lee was elected captain. Soon after he 
received his connnission. the people of Perry, appreciating his 
efforts, and ability, i)resented him with a purse of $05, contrib- 
uted by them for the purpose of i)urchasing side arms for his 
use in the service of his country. 

Having completed the organization, the company remained 
at recruiting headquarters (Fort Porter, Buffalo) until about 
the middle of NovemlxM-. Then they left for Albany with 56 
men. AVhile at this post, Major Thomas W. Lion, inventor of 
a fire rocket, introduced himself to tlieir notice. A description 
of this rocket is found in an editorial of The Times, Dec. liOih, 

"Various statements have appeared in the papers relative 
to the 'rocket gun,' and none precisely alike, yet all represent- 
ing this arm of the service as a most terrible one. It has 
never been used on this continent, and experienced artillerists 
have never seen it. Tlie papers and Government are only in the 
secret. Its principal purpose appears to be to throw a flame of 
fire suft'iciently large to frighten horses and thus throw the 
enemv's cavalrv into confusion. Of course, the battalion must 
have the right of the advancing arnn^ and take their chances 
of having their rockets silenced by the picked riflemen of the 
opposing forces. The rocket gun is represented as having a 
breech-loading field piece capable of discharging bombs, balls 
and percussion shots as well as rockets. The rockets are to be 
used for firing buildings behind v.iiich the enemy may seek 
shelter, or for removing by fire any obstacle throAvn out to re- 
tard the advancement of the troops. The expansive properties 
of the rocket are wonderful, creating a ball of fire 15 feet in di- 
ameter, which can be thrown by this breach-loading projectile 


5300 yards, or over three miles. It is stated that the Government 
has purchased the exclusive right of manufacturing this terri- 
ble instrument of destruction and will soon introduce it to the 

As Major Lion desired to form a battalion to use this 
rocket in the field, a consolidation of several squads of recruits 
occupying the barracks at Albany then formed "The Rocket 
Battalion," consisting of companies A and B, 80 men each. 
Captain Lee's company formed company B. In December the 
battalion received orders to report in Washington, where, after 
a delay of nearly four months, the long-looked-for rocket guns 
were turned over to them. After several weeks of experiment- 
ing the ' ' guns ' ' were proven an inglorious failure, owing prin- 
cipally to the fact that they could not be used with any great 
degree of accuracy. Mr. Merrill relates : 

"Upon one occasion, while at target practice, we were 
shooting at a blanket, and some miserable scamp stole the blan- 
ket while we were still shooting at it." 

At other times it would take a circle similar to the boomer- 
ang and return quite near the gun which started it upon its 
mission ; and so it was concluded, as Gen. Burnside Avas in need 
of artillery, to give the men some guns and send them on. The- 
quaint rocket carriages were exchanged for the more substan- 
tial six-pounder carriage and the sheet iron tubes were turned 
into rifle cannon. 

Battery B then consisted of four three-inch rifled pieces 
and just enough men and horses to man them. From various 
causes, each of the two batteries in the battalion had diminshed 
in numbers. As a whole they would have no more than could 
properly man one six-gun battery. About the last of June, 
1862, Company B was placed in the third division and Com- 
pany A in the second division as independent four-gun bat- 
teries, named respectively. Captain Lee's battery and Captain 


Kaiisoiirs battery. On tlie 3d of Jul}^ 1862, Captain Lee's bat- 
tery was ordered to outpost duty at Newport Barracks and 
their duties began to be like those of a soldier. For the present 
we leave tlie nucleus of the 24th New York Battery and return 
to Perry to speak of those wlio were enlisting to go to Newport 
Barracks and fill up tlieir ranks. 

(^11 tlie 22(1 of August, 1862, Mr. George S. Hastings, junior 
member of the law firm of Lee & Hastings, received authority 
to raise recruits to join Captain Lee's battery. In one week 50 
men had volunteered; another week had increased the number 
to 60. ^Ir. ^lerrill says: "The Union Army was nu^eting with 
defeat and loss of men. The President made a call for 300,000 
more. The smothered fire of patriotism that was burning in 
the hearts of the young men of Perry burst forth, and father's 
connnands, mother's warnings, nor sweetheart's pleadings and 
caresses could avail aught in trying to subdue the flame. 'Twas 
contagious and spread witli such inicontrollable rapidity that 
in a short time al)out 60 more of the bravest and best young 
men of Perry and vicinity had come forward and enlisted in 
tile cause. Full of the ambition and pride of youth, full of 
patriotic fervor and eager for the strife, believing that w^e 
could help to redeem what others had lost, we did 'not stop to 
think or realize how true might be our parents' predictions, or 
the fears and presentiments of our friends. What a blessing 
to man is ignorance of the future ! The men, with but few^ 
exceptions were young, and the galaxy of the town in which 
they lived. Their enlistment seemed a spontaneous outburst 
of the single thought that had dAvelt in many minds w4th equal 
poAver: 'Young men for war, old men for counsel.' Resolution, 
courage and determination were stamped in the faces of all. 
Like the elans of the feudal times of old, they meant to show 
that the flower and the pride of the country would win the 
crov:n of victory or death, and like those stories of old, the 


long, long days passed slowly by; the weary hoiue watchers 
waited, hoped and feared till finally a remnant few returned 
in a pitifnl plight to bear the sad tidings of defeat, of suffering 
and death." 

The citizens of the town encouraged recruiting in many 
ways. A great deal of enthusiasm was exhibited throughout 
the vicinity. Generous bounties Avere offered and paid. At this 
time it must be. remembered that the Government did not pay 
bounties to recruits. The toAvn bounty fund raised by the 
citizens of Perry amounted to about $6,000. In their sphere 
the women of Perry labored with an enthusiasm fully equal to 
that of the men, and the hospital stores and comforts for the 
sick and wounded in the field, which they prepared and sent to 
the seat of war, solaced the suft'erings of many a poor soldier. 
During the entire period of the war the women of the town 
were active in their good work. 

The men recruited by Mr. Hastings took their departure 
for the seat of war on Sept, 10th, 1862. The citizens turned out 
early in the morning to bid a last good-bye to the boys and 
about 6 o'clock they were on their way to Castile Station, 
where they boarded the cars for Buffalo. After a fcAv days' 
stay in Buffalo, during which time they were mustered into the 
service, the recruits were sent to Newport Barracks by way of 
Albany, New York and Newberne,N.C., where there were warm- 
ly greeted by their old friends and acquaintances, who were glad 
to have their companionship and assistance. On the 19th of 
October^ orders were received designating the company as 
"The 24th Independent Battery of Light Artillery, Ncav York 
State Volunteers." After the names of the newcomers had 
been added to the muster roll, it contained the names of five 
officers and 126 men. The battery remained at Newport Bar- 
racks about five months, during which time the boys were 
called out on one scouting expedition and one trip to New- 


berne. On the 11th of December, two detaclinients of the bat- 
tery went witli Gen. Foster and participated in the battles of 
Kingston, Whitehall and Goldsboro. Soon after the retnrn 
of the troops from the expedition to Goldsboro, tlie battery re- 
ceived six very handsome new six-ponnder Napoleon guns, an 
additional supply of horses, new harness, and n<'W ecpiiinnent 

They remained at Newberne until about the middle of 
]\[arch, 1863, when a feint was made on that place by the rebels, 
and soon afterwards they advanced upon Pljnuouth, N. C. 
About the first of April the battery was sent to Plymouth, 
where it remained about a year. Early in 1863, Captain Lee 
suffered a severe hemorrhage of the lungs, the result of expos- 
ure and over-exertion, which unfortunate event compelled 
him to resign his commission on June 13th, 1863, Lieut. L. E, 
Cady succeeding him in command of the battery. Tlie Winter 
of that year passed pleasantly with the men of the battery, but 
the Spring brought the Battle of Plymouth, wliieli ended in 
bringing them all together as prisoners of war. One of them 
in an account of this battle has said: ''Up to this time the his- 
tory of the battery had been a pleasant one. We had our petty 
quarrels and animosities; w^e had suffered from jealousies and 
disappointments ; we had accused and been accused ; but these 
things were trifles after all, and it needed but a day of gen- 
uine trouble in common to bring us all to a united sympathy 
and an interchange of kindly w^ords and kindly feeling. So far, 
I say, our army experience had been unusually free from hard- 
ships. At Newport Barracks we had comfortable log houses 
for our quarters, plentj' of food, plenty of clothing, and only 
enough drill for good gymnastic exercise. At Newberne we 
had been furnished new tents and new barracks, and there, 
too, our quarters, food and raiment were excellent, and our 
duties comparatively light. At Plymouth we used unoccupied 


houses for quarters. Our scouting duty had l^een but a pleas- 
ant excitement. The only affliction we experienced was the 
monotony arising from garrison duty. An inactive soldier's 
life is a lazy life at the best, and ignorant and thoughtless of 
what the result might be, we welcomed the attack which was 
to end so disastrously for us." 

On the ITth of April, 1864, the cavalry of the rebels at- 
tacked the pickets of the garrison, and it soon became evident 
that something more than a feint or raid Avas intended. The 
garrison consisted of 1900 effective men under Gen. Wessells. 
Xon-combatants were removed during the following night and 
preparations were made to resist the attack. Desultory firing 
was kept up diu'ing the night and the next day it was steadily 
maintained until about 5 o'clock p. m., when an advance was 
made and earnest fighting began. The rebel artillery, consisting 
of about forty pieces, opened fire upon the works, and the artil- 
lery of the d^efenders replied with such terrible precision that 
it was believed that half of the artillerymen of the enemy were 
put out of the fight. Of course, a detailed account of this bat- 
tle cannot be given here. It may be briefly stated that during 
the night of the 18th, the rebel ram Albermarle succeeded in 
driving away the naval supports of the garrison, and took a 
position where her guns could be used with effect. During the 
day and night of the 19th, the forces of the enemy assumed 
more advantageous positions, and on the 20th made a simul- 
taneous assault upon the entire Union line ; and at the same 
time sent a column into the town. The guns of the 24th battery 
were served double-shotted with canister, ''hurling death 
and disaster into the ranks of the enemy, and not imtil the 
rebels seized the muzzles of their guns did the cannoneers fail 
in their work. ' ' 

For nearly two hours did the fight go on in the streets of 
Plymouth, the force surrendering only under stern necessity 












and ill small detachments. The Union loss, notwithsanding 
their strong breastworks, was about 180. That of the rebels 
was stated in the Raleigh papers as 2200. When it is remem- 
bered that the garrison of 1900 men defended the town against 
a force of 12,000 rebels during four days, no suspicion of a lack 
of bravery will be entertained. 


Sketch of the Battle of Plymouth and Surrender of the 24th N. Y. 
Battery— Horrors of the Prison at Andersonville, Ga., in which 
Perry Men were Sufferers. 

Ill ;i sketch (tf the siiri-fiK Irp <»f tile iMtli \t'\v York IJattery 
;it IMyiiKiiitli. \. ('.. Mr. Mn-iill says: 

"All loyal I'iti/A'iis ol' tlic I'liinMl States have a pride in onr 
])eautil'ul National l)anner, and evei- is it a pleasure to tlieir 
lieai'ts to see it t'lntterin*r in the l)i-ee/.e. As children we learn 
to love it, honor and chei-ish it. 

"'I^vo epochs in niy lil'e have heeii stron*rl>' iiiai'ki'd hy the 
sijj^ht ol" this 'eiHl)leiii of the free.' First when it was slowly low- 
ered from the color stall* of Fort Williams at Plymouth and the 
C'onfedei'ate colors I'eplaeed it. Second, when forthefirst timein 
seven months I saw it wavin«r from the masts of the vessels that 
had come to take us from our horrid |>rison pens. In expei*- 
iencinir the fii"st it was a sad si^ht to see our pi'ide, our hoasted 
'Stars and Stiij»es/ fallintr. We had, foup:ht for tliem, many 
of our eomrades had died for them; hut all was lost! Few of 
the many Fnion soldiei-s who stootl ai'ound me had dry eyes as 
those colors fell. 

'■Stii[)ped of our ai'iiis, mortified and sick at heart, we 
were penned \)\ rehel *|ruards and allowed to take a niglit's rest 
on the green sward. As the sun lowered we took a view of our 
once pleasant and happy camp. How desolate and dreary it 
was now I Proud in our own strength, we had been conquered. 
How much of hate, passion and revenge rald^led in the bosoias 
of even those who would be Christians. Our comrades killed, 
the battle lost to us, our friends at home frightened, anxious 
and full of sorrow; our j)rosi)ects for freedoui from this de- 
grading imprisonment, far in the dim, dim future. Cruel taunts 
were thrown in our faces, cruel acts were committed on every 
side of us. We tried to brave it out ; we tried to comfort our- 
selves with the knowledo:e that Ave had fought a good fight; 



we endeavored to believe that an immediate exehange of pris- 
oners would take place ; we consoled ourselves Avith the thought 
that none but cowards Avould taunt a fallen foe; yet heavy 
hearts and sad minds dwelt with us through that long night.'" 
A few of the men of the Battery were made prisoners dur- 
in the early part of the battle and were taken to the prisons at 
Florence and Charleston, from which some never returned. 

1915 I860 


On the morning following the battle, those who had sur- 
rendered were ordered into line and marched 17 miles. The next 
morning they arrived at Hamilton. On the 25th of April they 
reached Tarboro. At this place the officers who were prisoners 
were separated from the soldiers and were taken to Richmond. 
The remaining prisoners were loaded on platform ears and sent 


soutli tlir()ii«zii ( ■|iarl»'st()ii, Savainiali and ^Macoii to Andcrsoii- 
\ill(', (Ja. One ot* tliciii has said : 

'*It was (luitc dark hi'iore Ave wwv allowi'd to dist'inl)ark 
t'loiii llic cai's. The stockade was about -half a mile from tlie 
(h'pot. We wei'e tohl tliat ])ef()re (Miterin^ the i)i*isoii we would 
1) ' ()i*iiaiii/('d into drtaclmicnts. We were iiiarcdu'd to a lev(d 
l)lot of irround throu«rli ^^"lli(•ll ran the stream that furnished 
the pi'ison stockade with watrr, and at'tci- a uiiard liad'^beeii 
|)la('e(l ahont us Ave Avere peiMiiittcd to fni'nish oui'sclves Avitli 
Avitcr and appease our hun*rer Avitli the haeon and hard tack 
that had been issued to us a eonpK' of days before. That Avas 
the last of hard bread that i ever saw in the (Confederacy, and 
here Avas my first introduction to Ciiptain Wirz, commander of 
the Confedei-ate ])i'ison. ('amp ['ires iiad Ixmmi started al)out tbe; 
ji'uai-d line, and suddenly, as if it had Ixm ii the Devil himself,, 
this I'iend made his appearance through oi- near one of the fires. 
Slnu't in statui'c. stoopinj^ fitjure, ill->;liaped liea«l. awkard lindjs 
and movement, a deep-set, ugly eye, and a toiiiiue i-etdving Avith 
profanity — such Avas ('ai)tain Wirz. A irlan<'e p^assed from com- 
i-ade to comrade, telling better thaii the tongue of the fate Ave 
feared Avas in store for us. After 'mucIi sAvearing and many 
tin-eats to punish or kill, he succeeded in properly organizing 
us into (leta(dimeids. and Ave Avei-e then infoi iikmI that our l)ar- 
I'acks for the night Avould be the ground. Had Ave knoAvn tben 
Avhat Avas to be oiu' future camping place, Iioav quickly Avould 
our com}daints luiA'e clianged to Avords of thanks aiul thougbts 
of thanks — a jn-actical example of the little Ave knoAV in tins 
Avorld of tbe good or tbe bad that may be in store for us. While 
in our ignorance, Ave are merry Avben Ave should be sad, and are 
full of complaints Avhen aa'c should be happy. Fatigue makes 
a soft Avarm bed of the cold earth aujl changes a stick of Avood 
into a doAvny pilloA\\ We slept soundly ; and Avhat a blessing, it 
Avould seem, it Avould haA'C been had the great majorit^^ of our 
f(MloAvs ncA'cr Avaked from that sleep. Still, Providence — Avise 
and good — saAv fit for them to Avake and to enter a trial of life 
that they had never anticipated. From observations in constant 
and intiuuite relations AA'ith many of them, I believe the long 
suffering and continual thought of the past and future did 
prepare them for a peaceful death, and, I hope, for a blessed 


future. On the folloAving morning we were ordered into line 
and marched into the prison stockade." 

The horrors of Andersonville have been so generally des- 
cribed that a repetition is unnecessary here. Clara Barton has 
said : 

''After this, whenever any man who has lain a prisoner 
within the stockade at Andersonville, would tell you of his 
sufferings — how he fainted, scorched, drenched, hungered, 
sickened; was scoffed, scourged, hunted and persecuted — though 
the tale be long and twice told, as you would have your own 
wrongs appreciated, your own woes pitied, your OAvn cries for 
mercy heard, I charge you to listen and believe him. However 
definitely he may have spoken, know that he has not told you 
all. However strongly he may have outlined or deeply he may 
have colored his picture, know that the reality calls for a better 
light and a nearer view than your clouded, distant gaze will 
ever get. And your sympathies need not be confined to Ander- 
sonville while similar horrors glared in the sunny light and 
spotted the flower girt garden fields of that whole desperate, 
misguided and bewildered people. Wherever stretched the 
form of a Union prisoner, there rose the signal for cruelty and 
the cry of agony; and there, day by day grew the skeleton 
grav,es of.the nameless dead." 

Of the men who enlisted in the Battery in Perry, a few had 
been discharged from the service through disability, etc. At the 
time of the battle of Plymouth, a few others Avere at their 
homes on furlough. Fifty-nine were captured, and of these, 
46 died in Southern prisons. Those who survived came home 
broken in health from their experiences. 

It was a cold dreary winter day when the remnant of the 
Battery returned to Perry. Familiar faces crowded about 
them scarcely able to recognize in those emaciated forms the 
healthy, robust young men they used to know. Anxious in- 
quiries concerning the missing ones overpowered the warm 
welcome, and they felt that to be the bearers of such tidings 



^\■ls iiidrcd ;in iiiiriivijihlc lot. Of iIm- survivors, only two arc 
now it'sidintr in the town, vi/: J^riijamiii 11. llollistt*r and Al- 
1 crt Kicliaids. 




Upon the expiration of tlie term of sei'viee, tlie original 
nienibers — except veterans — were inustei<'d out and the vet- 
erans and recruits were transferred to tlu' Third Regiment, 
Xt^w York Artillery, on ^March 8th, ISG.'). These were mustered 
out on July 7th of that year. 

It has not ])een the intention of the writer to convey the 
impression tluit the 24t]i Battery comprised all or nearly all of 
tin- volunteers from Perry in the Civil War. SiJecial mention 


has been given it becanse, in reality, it Avas a local organization. 
As nearly as can be mentioned at this time about one hundred 
others enlisted in the Federal Army from Perrj^ and vicinity 
in other organizations than the Battery, making a grand total 
of more than 180 from this, the little Perry of 1861-65. No 
reader of these lines can deny that on the part of these men 
there was a brave sacrifice to loyalty. Are we as patriotic to- 
day? Have we no gratitude for the services of the living and 
dead who volunteered from our town in the great conflict ? Is 
there less of generosity? Let a practical answer to these ques- 
tions be a strong endeavor to purchase and erect a suitable mon- 
ument in some sightly position that w411 be a treasured and elo- 
quent addition to the beaut}^ of our town and an impressionable 
sign to all generations of our people of high duty faithfully per- 
formed and loyally and lovingl}^ remembered. 

Roster of Volunteers from Perry, 1861-1865 

(This is probabl}^ not complete. It may include a few that 
were not actual residents of the tovrn of Perry, but of this im- 
mediate locality. Names preceded by * are of those who died 
in the service.) 

Name Regiment 

Abrams, Wm. 27th N.Y. Infantrv 

Alburtv, Francis :SL 24th N. Y. Battery 

*Alburty, Wm. 24th N. Y. Battery 

Alton, Sheldon 17th N. Y. Infantry 

Andrews, Mark 24th N. Y. Battery 
Andrews, Robert F. Western Lt. Artillery 

*Andrus, Lemuel 24th N. Y. Battery 
Andrus, Merritt 4th U. S. Artillery 

Arnold, M. 9th N. Y. Cavalry 

*Atwood, George S. 24th N. Y. Battery 
Austin, Amos W. 1st N. Y. Dragoons 

*Austin, Charles 1st N. Y. Dragoons 

Austin, Frank S. 17th N. Y. Infantr^^ 
Austin, Frederick 9th N. Y. Cavalry 



*Axtoll, Al)iier 
Avers, ^)scar 
liabeock, Orso 
r>ak»'i'. Thomas 
Uarln'i-. -loliii 
lianics. I'laiik 
'•iJariK's, Koswcll 
*Bai'tlett, llartwoll 
*Rateliel(ler, B. Frank 
Boardslev, Alton 
Bcardsley, E. H. 
lu'iitlcy, David 
liirdsall. Iliraiii 
Bishop, I. G. 
Boies, E. 
J^olton, Parris 
Booth, Ilari'ison 
l^orchMi, Adclbert 
IJordcn, Alhei-t 
BoupfUton, Arthur 
*Bouirht()n, ^Myron 
^Brayton, Rut'us 
*Briggs, George 
*Briggs, Wm. 
*'Brooks, John 
lironghtoii. Floyd 
Buck, Robert 
Bullard. R. F. 
Burden, xVdelbert 
Burden, Albert 
^'Button, James 
r>uttre, C. AV. 

Cady, George E. 
Calkins, Francis A. 
''^Calkins, James 
Calkins, ]\Ielatiah 
*Calteaux. Paul 
Calvin, Andrew 
Camp, E. B. 
Camp, AVm. S. 

r)tli IN'iiiia. Cavalry 
17tli X. V. Inlaiiti-y 

1st X. Y. Dragoons 
Slltli X.V. \'ols. 
IMIi \. V. Cavalry 
9tli N. V. ("avalrV 
24tli X. V. Battery 
LMtli X. v. Battery 
24th X. Y. Battery 
17th X. Y. Infantry 
17th X. Y. Infantry 
l:;i;th X. ^'. infantry 
1st X. \'. Di-agoons 
1st X. Y. Mounted Rifles 
24th X. Y. Battery 
147tli X. Y. Infantry 

Regt. UnknoAvn 
l()4th X. Y. Infantry 
l()4th X. V. Infanti-y 
89th X. Y. Volunteers 
27th Wisconsin Volunteers 
24th X. Y. Batterv 
104th X. Y. Infantry 
104th N. Y. Infantrv 
24th X. Y. Battery 
l:Uli X. Y. Infantrv 
24th X. Y. Battery 
136th X. Y. Infantrv 

2nd X. Y. ^Mounted Rifles 
2nd X. Y. Mounted Rifles 
24th N. Y. Battery 
1st X^. Y. Dragoons 

27th X. Y. Volunteers 
2nd X. Y. :\Itd. Rifles 

24th X. Y. Batterv 
136th X. Y. Volunteers 

24th X. Y. Battery 
1st N. Y. Dragoons 
1st X. Y. Dragoons 

24th N. Y. Batterv 



*Caruahan, Charles 
Carnahan, Wm. 
Ciiapin, Abner B. 
Chapin, Willard J. 
Chapman, John 
Childs, Lucius 
^Childs, Reuben 
Clark, C. A. 
Cofiekl, Thomas 
Cole, Parker 
=*Comstock, A. ^V. 
Crocker, Chas. H. 
Crocker, Emorv F. 
Crooker, Wni. W. (Capt.) 
Cronkhite, Joel 
Curtis, Lorenzo 

Dolbeer, Charles H. 
Dunn, John 
Duryea, George 
Duryea, Joseph 
Fanning, Edwin 
I-'ardin, Francis 
Ferguson, Daniel 
Ferguson, A. T. 
Ferrin, J. T. 
^^Filbin, John 
^^Fitch, Charles W. 
Fitch, Wm. 
*Fitzgerald, Thomas 
Flint, J. Nelson 
Foskett, Milton 
Foskett, Wesley 
Foskett, Winslow 
Francis, J. P. 
Frayer, Andrew 
^French, Mj^ron 
Frost, Enos B. 
*Galusha, Jonas E. 
Gardner, Albert 
Gardner, Avery 

24th N. Y. Battery 
24th N. Y. Battery 

Quartermaster's Dept. 
Regt. Unknown 
Rgt. Unknown 
33rd N. Y. Volunteers 
24th N. Y. Battery 

8th N. Y. Heavy Artillery 
89th N.Y. Infantry 
24th N. Y. Battery 
1st N. Y. Dragoons 
1st N. Y. Dragoons 
24th N. Y. Battery 
1st N. Y. Dragoons 
Regiment unknown. 

24th N. Y. Battery 
89th N. Y. Volunteers 
24th N. Y. Battery 
24th N. Y. Battery 

1st N. Y. Dragoons 

8th N. Y. Heavy Art. 

1st N. Y. Dragoons 
24th N. Y. Battery 
24th N. Y. Battery 
24th N. Y. Battery 
24th N. Y. Battery 

Regt, Unknown 
24th N. Y. Battery 

1st N. Y. Dragoons 
136th N. Y. Vols. 

9th N. Y. Cavalry 

9th N. Y. Cavalry 

1st N. Y. Dragoons 

8th N. Y. Heavv Art. 
136th N. Y. Infantry 
11th Regt. Heavv Art. 
24th N. Y. Batterv 

9th N. Y. Cavalrv 
89th N. Y. Infantry 



( iai'diHT, SiiinM)ii !Mli 

*(;raiit, :Miirray 24tli 

(In'prj?, Wni. 4tli 

•(JrifVitli. All.ert LMtli 

•(irifTitli, Cliarles R. 24tli 

•(h-iffitli, Willis 27tli 

Cii-ipj^s, Win. Jr. Stii 

(irisowood. Thomas 24tli 

ilalc, X. 

Ilaniia, Nicholas l()4tli 

Ilardons. 4tli 

*IIaiv. .lohii 1st 

ilaskiiis, II»Mir\- S^itli 

Hastings, Goo. S. (Lieut.) 24th 

•Hathaway, Charles 24tli 
*IIorshey, Andrew II. 

Ili^^ins, Frank 1st 

Ilildnm, James -^^th 

Hill, Wm. 8flth 

Hollcnht'ck, Ilciii-y 1st 

Hollenbeek, Wallace 9th 

TTollister, Beni. II. 24th 

Iloman, Charles II. 24th 

*Horsford, Wm. F. 24t]i 

Ilumphrev, E. D. 1st 

♦Hunt, Charles H. 27th 
*Hunt, Georpre S. 
♦Hunt, IMerritt 

Ilurlburt, E. T. M. 24t]i 

Jeifres, C. (Capt.) 36th 

♦Johnson, George B. 24th 

Jones, Samuel »*^9th 

Keener, Anson 89th 

♦Keeney, George W. 24th 

Keeton, John 1st 

•Lacy, James 1st 

Lapham, Daniel 9th 

Lapham, Horace 24th 

♦Lapham, L. H. 24th 

Law, Charles O. 1st 



\. V. Cavah-y 
X. V. Uattrry 
. Artillery 






Keirinirnt unknown 
X. V. \'.)Is. 
X. \. Dratrnnns 
X. V. \'ol. 
X. V. P»attery 
X. V. P.attery 
Asst. Surpeoii, Xavv 
N. Y. :Mtd. Rifles * 
X. Y. Heavy Art. 
Regt. Unknown 
Regt. Unknown 
\. Y. Battery 

X. Y. Vols. 
N. Y. Battery 
X. Y. Vols. 
N. Y. Vols. 
N. Y. Battery 
N. Y. Mtd. Rifles 
N. Y. Mtd. Rifles 
N. Y. Cavalry 
N. Y. Battery 
N. Y. Battery 
X. Y. Dragoons 

X. ^ 
X. V. 
X. ^ 




*Lee, Abram 

Lee, Jay E. (Capt.) 

*Lent, Abram 

'*Mahannay, Barton 
!Mahaniiay, Wm. 
Marvin, Connor 
^Marvin, Patrick 
==*:\rarean, C. A. 
^lateson, Wm. H. 
^Matteson, Henry 
*Meade, G. 
^^IcCrink, James 
*McCrink, John 
jleGuire, John 


:\Ierrill, J. W. 
?^Ietzger, ^Michael 
'•^rvliuer, J. Gile 
IMcrgan, Elias 

Newcomb, L. 
*Ne\vton, R. J. 
Noonen, Wm. 
Page, Harry C. 
^Parkins, John 
^Perkins, J. W. 
Pinnev, Frank H. 
Pettes, Fred W. (Capt.) 
'^Pettibone, Levi ^ 
*Piper, A. 
'^Piper, George W. 
Post, J. Mort. (Capt.) 
Post, Lucius H. (Lieut.) 
Post, Thomas E. 
*Pratt, Philander 
Quinn, John 
Rath bone, Sydney S. 
^RaAvson, Porter D. 
Reynolds, Theodore 
Reynolds, Wm. 
Richards, Albert 

N. Y. Battery 
N. Y. Battery 
N. Y. Battery 

N. Y. Vols. 
N. Y. Vols. 
N. Y. Battery 
N. Y. Battery 
N. Y. Battery 

N. Y. Heavy Art. 
N. Y. Battery 
N. Y. Battery 
N. Y. Battery 
N. Y. Dragoons 
N. Y. Battery 
N. Y. Battery 
N. Y. Infantry 
N. Y. Battery 
N. Y. Vols. 










24th N. Y. Battery 

24th N. Y. Battery 
136th N. Y. Vols. 

24th N. Y. Battery 
1st N. Y. Dragoons 

24th N. Y. Battery 
1st N. Y. Dragoons 
1st N. Y. Cavalry 

89th N. Y. Vols. 

24th N. Y. Battery 

24th N. Y. Battery 
3rd N. Y. Cavalry 

17th N. Y. Infantry 
3rd N. Y. Artillery 

24th N. Y. Battery 
Regt. LTnknown 

24th N. Y. Battery 

24th N. Y. Battery 
1st N. Y. Dragoons 
1st N. Y. Dragoons 

24th N. Y. Battery 



I\it'har(ls, Elias 
'■^Kichardsoii, Orlaiulo 
Iv()l)iiis<)ii, Adolpluis 
l^obinson, .lolin P. (Col.) 
l\(»])iiis()ii, Zcl) C. 
"J\()()cl, James 
*Rood, LeOraiide D. 

L'4tli X. Y. Battery 
•24\U X. V. l^attery 
1st X. Y. I)ra^n)()iis 
1st X. V. Di-a^ooiis 
Mrd X. \. Cavali-y 
iii'f^t. riiknowii 
24th X. V. Battery 

*Saft'ord, Pembroke J, 
24th X. Y. Battery 

Sialisbury. M. S. 
^Seiiter, Lucius 
SeeU'y. \Vm. 
St'vmour, Jared 
Sliermau, Seymour 
*Shirley, Pliares 
Simmons, A. S. (2nd Lieut.) 

21st X. Y. A'ols. 
89tli X. Y. Vols. 

Regiment unknown 

1st X". Y. Dragoons 
3()tli X. Y. Vols. 
24th X. Y. Battery 
S9th X. Y. A^ols 



* Simmons, James B. B. 
^Simmons, Phineas A. 
*Smith, ^Nlason C. Jr. 
Smith, Edward 
Smith, James 
Smith, Jay 
Smith, Nicholas 
Sterling, Charles H. 
Stoddard, Samnel 
Stover, George 
Strong, Lorenzo 
Summy, David 
Sullivan, Patrick 
Summy, ]\Iort 
Sweet, Charles 
Tadder, David 
Tallman, Benj. H. 
Taylor, Martin 
Thompson, Benj. 
*Tilton, Henry 
^AYelch, Edward 
Welch, Peter 
^Teller, J. H. 
Westbrook, George 
Westbrook, John 
AYestbrook, Nehemiah 
\Yestlake, Charles G. 
^AYilliams, Oliver 
Williamson, James 
Wilson, John A. 
Witter, Volney 
Wolcott, Orson 
*Wood, Emmett 
Young, Harry, (colored) 

1st X. Y. Dragoons 
1st N. Y". Dragoons 
24th N. Y. Battery 
1st N. Y. Dragoons 
1st N. Y. Dragoons 
1st N. Y". Dragoons N. Y. Infantry 

1st N. Y. Dragoons 
24th N. Y. Battery 
9th N. Y". Cavalry 
9th N. Y^ Cavalry 
27th N. Y". Infantry 
136th N. Y. Vols. 
104th N. Y. Infantry 
27th N. Y^. Infantry 
9th N. Y. Cavalry 
27th N. Y". Infantry 
24th N. Y\ Battery 
24th N. Y. Battery 
1st N. Y^. Dragoons 
24th N. Y. Battery 
104th N. Y. Infantry 
104th N. Y. Infantry 
27th N. Y^. Infantry 

1st N. Y". Dragoons 
24th N. Y. Battery 
8th N. Y"". Heavy Artillery 
1st N. Y. Dragoons 
9th X. Y. Cavalry 
104th N. Y. Infantry 
24th X. Y". Battery 
31st X. Y. YoR 


The Press of Perry, Representing Religious and Anti-Slavery aa 
Well as Local Interests— Cemeteries — Banking Institutions and 
Their Founders. 

The ''Genesee Recorder" was cstablislicd in 1834 and was 
continued for two years. Geor§:e M. Schipper was the i)ub- 
lisher. As this was the first newspaper to !)e pul)lislied in the 
Town of Perry, Ave feel that a ])rief deseri[)tioii wouhl l)e ap- 

A copy of tile ''Genesee Recorder," dated August 8th, 
1834, shows a sheet which is a little more than half the size of 
the present local i)apers and contains five colniuns to the page. 
This copy is the first nnniber of the first volnme, and the first 
line under the head says: "Devoted to News, Politics, Agricult- 
nre, Arts, Manufactures, Science, Literature, Morality and 
AniusenuMit, by G. ^I. Sehipj)er. " Really, a very extensive 
field of labor for a sheet of its size. The price of the paper was 
$2.00 a year in advance; $'2.50 if not paid within six months; 
or $3.00 if delaj'ed until the expiration of the year. The first 
page of this sheet is filled with miscellaneous reading; the 
fourth page has three columns of political matter, mainly se- 
lected articles pitching into Gen. Jackson, and tw^o columns of 
agricultural reading. The second page is filled with political 
articles from the Albany Journal and foreign news. The third 
page contains the prospectus of the "Genesee Recorder" and 
an article of about a column explaining its political purposes. 
The only matter in the paper than can be regarded as "locals" 
is a notice of the marriage of Mr. Luther A. Conklin and Miss 
Mary Ann Howard of Castile, and the death of Miss Mary 
Smith of this village. There is about half a column of village 
advertisements, from which one learned that Armitage & 


Faulkner were keeping a general store and dealt in dry goods, 
groceries, hardware, wines and liquors, maple sj^rup, and a lit- 
tle of everything handy to have in the house. Sherman & Skid- 
more conducted the Perry Hotel ; J. King kept a boot and shoe 
store ; and A. Bunnell shod horses — a very sorry show of busi- 
ness ads when compared with those of the present day. 

The "American Citizen" was established in Warsaw in 
1836 by J. A. Hadley. After one year it was purchased by Jo- 
siah Andrews and m_oved to Perry, where it Avas published by 
Messrs. Mitchell and Lewis. This paper was the official organ 
of the Genesee County Anti-Slavery Society. Its subscription 
rate was $2.50 a year in advance. Mr. LcAvis soon dropped out 
of the firm and was succeeded by Ansel Warren. In January, 
1841, the publication was removed to Rochester. 

The ''Register," a campaign paper, was published in Perry 
for one or two years, beginning Jan. 1st, 1840. Isaac N. Stod- 
dard and John H. Bailey were the proprietors. 

The *^ Perry Democrat," published by Peter Lawrence, 
began its existence on Jan. 1st, 1841. Mr. Lawrence conducted 
the paper until 1848, at which time it was sold to C. C. Britt. 
who continued it until 1853. 

The ''Watch Tower," a Baptist publication, was printed at 
the office of The American Citizen during 1839 ; Ansel Warren, 

The "Ariel," another religi-ous paper, noted for its sar- 
casm and caustic comment on local affairs, was published in 
Perry by "An Association of Nice Young Men, semi-occasion- 
ally," during the year 1841. 

The "Western New Yorker" was established in Perry in 
January, 1841, by J. H. Bailey. A few months later it Avas sold 
to Messrs. Barlow & Woodward, who moved it to Warsaw. 
where it is still being published. 


The "Coimtryinan," a Liberal Party ])ii])licatioii, was es- 
tablished in Perry in 1843 hy N. S. Woodward. Soon afterward 
it was pureliased by Daniel S. Cnrtis, who changed its name to 
''The Impartial Countryman" and continued it until August, 
1846, when it passed into the hands of Ansel Warren, wlio again 
changed its nanu' to "The Free Citizen" and issued the paper 
until August, 1847. 

The ''Sunday School Visitor" was published monthly at 
the office of Tlie Countryman by D. S. Curtis. It was begun in 
I\Iay, 1844. 

The "Christian Investigator" Avas published at the office 
of The Free Citizen for one year and was edited by Wm. Good- 

The "Wyoming Advertiser" was published in Perry dur- 
ing one year by Horace Wilcox, beginning Dec. 22d, 1853. 

The "Wyoming Times" Avas begun in Perry in May, 1855, 
by T. S. Gillett. The office was destroyed by fire in 1856, but 
the paper's publication was resumed soon afterward. It was 
discontinued, however, in 1863. During the last two years of 
its existence it was juiblished by Benjamin F. Page. 

The "Silver Lake Sun" was established in Perry on Dec. 
1st, 1865, by George A. Sanders. As the town had been without 
a paper for more than two years, it was received with great 
favor by the citizens. The Sun was published by Mr. Sanders 
until 1872, at which time it passed into the hands of J. S. Van- 
Alstyne, who had control of it for a short time, after which it 
reverted to Mr, Sanders, who continued it until 1877. 

The "Peny Star" was published here for a short time, be- 
ginning in March, 1874, by George A. Sanders. 

The "Wyoming County Herald" was established in June, 
1877, by Lewis E. Chapin, who came to Perry from Livonia. 
He purchased the business and printing material of Mr. Sand- 


c-rs. In 1878 Mr. Chapin changed the name of the paper to The 
llerakl. George C. King purchased the business on July 1st, 
1881. On :\Iay 1st, 1892, Frank B. Smith bought out Mr. King, 
and the following 3^ear purchased the Perry Weekly News of 
Asa Countryman, consolidating the two papers under the name 
of the Perry Herald and News. Mr. Smith later changed the 
name to The Perry Herald and continued its publication until 
Sept. 1st, 1912, when he sold the business to ]\Ir. Guy Comfort, 
its present OAvner and publisher. During the last year of Mr. 
Smith's ownership the paper was issued semi-weekly as the 
Perry Semi-Weekly Herald. 

During the proprietorship of The Herald b}^ Lewis E. 
Chapin a daily edition was printed for a few weeks each Sum- 
mer, Avhile the Silver Lake Temperance Assembly was in session. 
At tlmt time Mead & Stearns were in charge of the temperance 
assembly, which drew large crowds to the lake. It Avas first con- 
ducted on the then Saxton grounds in a large enclosure resembl- 
ing a cheese box in appearance. After a few seasons that proved 
too small to accommodate the crowds and they removed to the 
present Pioneer grounds, where a covered auditorium was 
erected, surrounded during the season by many campers in 
tents and cottages. A daily was also published one year by the 
Perry Press, but neither was a financial success. 

Two years, during the summer season of Silver Lake 
Chautauqua Assembly, when that institution was in its most 
flourishing condition, Frank B. Smith, then editor of the Perry 
Herald and News, published a daily newspaper with a measure 
of success. 

The ''Perry Press," published by E. D. Deming of the At- 
tica News, was established here in 1883, the paper being issued 
for some time from the Attica News office. Later, Mr. Deming 
brought printing machinery here and opened a local office in 


charge of E. C. Tanger. It was not a financial success and was 
discontinued after publication less than two years. 

The "Perry Weekly News" was established on Sept. 9th, 
1885, by John F. Gates, a retired Universalist minister, who 
purcliased the material of the defunct Nunda Herald and re- 
moved it to tliis place. In 1888 he took his foreman, C. G. 
Clarke, into partnership, under the firm name of Gates & 
Clarke, which continued until ]\Iay, 1889, Avhen Mr. Clarke re- 
tired and removed to Akron, N. Y. Mr. Gates continued the 
business until failing health compelled his retirement and it 
was sold in 1892 to Rev. Asa Countryman, who sold it the fol- 
lowing year to Frank B. Smith, who consolidated it Avith the 
Perry Herald. 

The ''Perry Record" was established on Jan. 24th, 1891, 
by C. G. Clarke, who returned from Akron, N. Y., to his old 
home. That was the year generalh' known as the "Cleveland 
panic" time, when free soup houses were opened in many cities 
to feed thousands who were in destitute circumstances, when 
wheat was selling for 50 cents a bushel, and when "Coxey's 
Army" was organized by hundreds of unemployed men who 
marched to Washington to demand that the Government should 
take action to provide them with work. Twenty years, later. 
Carl Read Clarke, eldest son of the proprietor, became associ- 
ated in the management of the business under the firm name of 
C. G. Clarke & Son, the present publishers. 



Altoiil the year lsl!>, l^hciic/.n-. SrMcii and 1 )i.( )tislliy:^iiis 
piilcliastMl a poi'tioii ol* i.ot Xo, 21) IVoiii lu'V. Win. Wiles, wliiell 
iiicliukMl tln' old ccnietc'ry IVoiii wliieh a W'W bodies wore re- 
cently rem()\'ed in excavatini; lor the new INdilie Lihi'ai'y, and 
|>resente(l it 1o ilie villa«:e to lie iisetl as a eemetei-y. At tlie 
lime of its |»resentat ion tliei-e were several jrraves thei-e, it or- 
i,L',inally extended across Main street and included a stiMj) of 
«;'round on the oj)jK)site side. Itetwceii the l*i-esliyt ei-ian and I^a])- 
tist (diundies. A nuinher ot" the pioneel'S (d" Pen-y wei-e huried 
in tills plot. In 18:!.'} the ground had become neai'ly filled with 
fji-aves, and in that yeai' a voluntary association was foi-med 
an<l |)lans weic made for a new ceiiietei .w < )ii October '-Ul of 
that year, tin- organi/ation. tlii-or.jrh its ti-ustees — Elnatlian 
Lacy. Will, holbeer an<l Willard ('hapin — pur<diased one and 
three-fourths acics of land from ('ahin W l)ailey and Samuel 
Hatch. There Avas one «:iave in this plot |»rior to its sale 
to the associatioji, Elisha Karnes having l)een buried there <ui 
July 28th, IS'-Vo. In 18r)7 atblitional land was piircbaseil thi'ougb 
the association's re})]'esentative, Wrii. Dolbeer. A later associa- 
tion, which took over tlie eenietei-y property, was formed in 
187G with David Andrus, (;. 1>. Olin, ^Mrs. Ann Keeney,Mrs.R.T. 
Tuttle. ^Irs. C V. Andi-us and E. (i. MattbeAvs as incorporators. 
This was known as "The no})e Cemetery Association." Tn 
1877 anotlier addition was made, and the whole includes abont 
fi\-e acres. In l)ec<Miiber. 1908, the lots in IIoi)e Cemetery being 
nearly all sold, the Association purchased fi'oni Lewis Crane 
and II. I). Tinkham some 23 acres of laud lying on the east bank 
of Silver Lake outlet, some little distance below the Perry Knit- 
ting ^lills and extending back to the lower end of Handley 
street. The services of a landscape gardner Avere secured and 
the grounds Avere made attractiA'e by foUoAving his suggestions 
so far as possible. This plot is knoAA'u as "Hope Cemetery An- 


nex." The first burial in the new plot was the body of John 
Strickland, a former business num of the village. The addition 
"was purchased by the Association's representatives, W. P. And- 
rus and W. L. Chapin. 

About the year 1824 tlie cemetery at West Perry was laid 
out by a voluntary association, of vrhich Dan Dickerson, Arad 
Stiliwell and Nathaniel Otis were elected trustees. One acre 
of land was purchased from Charles Jewett, which was enclosed 
and divided into lots. For many years it was neglected and un- 
kempt, but in 1914 a spirit of pride prompted a new organization 
by residents of West Perry and under the leadership of A. C. 
Stowell, the grounds were improved and beautified, and the 
sightly location on an eminence overlooking Silver Lake is well 
kept and a credit to those who took the matter in charge. 

The first burial in the cemetery at Perry Center was the 
body of Charles, son of Peter and Abigail Atwood, who died 
on Nov. 29th, 1813. A few other burials were made in this cem- 
etery prior to the organization of an association. The original 
association at. the Center was organized in 1818 with Samuel 
Howard, Orrin Sheldon and Phicol M. Ward as trustees. These 
men purchased half an acre of Lemuel Blaekmer for $10, and 
the plot has since been enlarged considerably. The original 
lots were one square rod in dimension and sold for 50 cents 
each. Improvements were made from time to time by volun- 
tary contributions. A later association was formed in October, 
1885, with B. A. Nevins, F. C. Benedict, C. C. Watrous, Mrs. 
Andrew Sheldon, ^Mrs. C. W. Butler and Mrs. Sarah Alton as 
trustees. This was known as ''The Prospect Hill Cemetery As- 
sociation. ? Soon after the reorganization was effected, the As- 
sociation, through its trustees, purchased adjoining land from 
Mrs. Alton. This is known as ' ' The Phillips Addition. ' ' 

In the Fall of 1885, two and one-half acres of land were 
purchased by St. Joseph's (Catholic) Chm^ch Society of the 


late J. W. ('hjmilx'i-lniii, on tlic Mfst side of tlic i-oad loading' 
to SilvcT Lake iVoiii .Maconibcr's eonici's, about tlircc-qiiarters 
of a niilo from tlie villaji;!'. Tlie ecmctt'ry o(M'nj)i('s an enclosure 
on a hill a short distance north of the lake. 


Durin}^' many years aftt'i' the srttli'iiicnl of Ihf town, what 
little bankint? business was necessary was done at Canandaio^ua, 
and later at Geneseo and Batavia, especially at the P>aid< of 
(Jenesee at Hatavia. The fii'st hankin*; institution in Pcri-y, of 
which the writei* has any record, was the Silvei- Lake P)ank of 
(Jenesee, and we cannot state positively whctiici- the husincss 
ever opened foi- the transaction of husiiH*ss. or fiot. The only 
documents that we liave heeu ahle to find witli refei-eiice to the 
matter is a certifi<'d cojiy of the ai-ticles of association of the 
Silver La kt' Bank of (Jenesee, whi(di api)eai-s to have been filed 
on Dec. 31st, LS:>S, by Archibald ('amj)l)ell, [)eputy Seci-etai-y 
of State. The artiides of association were execut^'d by Kufus 
IL Smith, :\Iosely Stoddard, Calvin \\ Bailey, Samuel Hatch and 
Josiah Andrews, all of them residents of Perry, Genesee 
County, who snbscnbed for 200 shares each. Tfie shares had H 
par value of $100. If the institution ever o{)ened for business, 
it was out of existence before the organization of the Bankinti' 
Department, which was first organized by statute in the year 

The First National Bank, formerly known as "Snrith's' 
Bank,'' was organized in 1855 as a State Bank, with a capital of 
.1^50,000, by Rufus H. Smith, president ; and Anson D. Smith, 
his son, cashier. Upon the death of R. H. Smith in 1858, A. D, 
Smith became president, and Charles W. Hendee, cashier. Ins 
1862 Henry N. Page became cashier. A. D. Smith died in 1866,- 
and his widow became- sole proprietor of the bank. ]\Ir. Henry 
X. Page then assumed entire eharge of its business affairs. Jm 

-Born 1823 


Died 1894 



iSli.'), nftcr llic i)assat^(' of tlic \;iti,)nal IJaiildiig- Act, which 
phiccd a tax ol" 10 per cciil. on the currency of all state l)anks, 
the State charle!' was snn'endei-cd and the husiness was con- 
tinned under the sanu' tith- as a |U'i\ate l)ank until Alai'ch 'Jd, 
1SJ)1, at winch time it was i-eor«riinixed, a cliartei- taken out, and 
it hecaiiie The l^'ifst Xatioiial Hank of Pci-ry, with the followinjj: 
ujinied olVicei's; rifsidcnt, Ilcni'v X. l*a«rc: \'ice-Pi"csi(lciit, 
Kiank 11. Wycd^on'; Cashiei-, W. I). I'a^e; Assistant ('ashiei'. 
(icorjjc K. Patife. The IJoard of Dii-cctors included, in addition 
to tlu' above named «,^entleineii, Willis II. Tuttle of C'anan- 

Boyhood portrait of Willis H. Tuttle of Perry, with his favorite horse 
and a friend of his youth, Walter Gillespie of Perry. 

The original bank building was erected by Judge Smith, 
and the old vault was then considered burglar proof, no inside 
safe being used. Later on, a Herring safe was added, which 
was afterward wrecked by a gang of professional burglars^ 



under the leadership of the notorious Ned Lyon, although no 
funds were secured by theni. Tavo other attempts had been 
made, but in neither was access gained to the vault. In the 

great fire of 1891, part of the cornice was burned from the old 
building, and in the following year the store now occupied by 



linker v.^' Holx'i-ts" I'liiii-inacy uhs built, and a second story was 
added to the baidc Idiildinir, malvinj]^ the present block as it now 

(hviii^- to tile increase in business and the (b'niand for l)et- 
tei- laeilities, the baid< has iiistalii'd a llerring-lIall-Marvin 
vault and safe (b-posit box e(|ui|)inent. 'I'his is of the hltest im- 
proved rii-e-and-bur^lar-pi-oot' const niet ion. Installing the 
\ault neeessilat rd the biiildiu}^'- oi" a new directors" I'ooui at the 
icar. The |)iesent otVieers ai"e: W. I). Ta^M-, l*i-esident; (ieoi'«re 
K. Pau'e, \'iced*i-esi(b'nt and Cashiei-. 


This institution was o?«::ainzed and incoi-porated under tiie 
laws of the State (d' New V(U-k on .March Sth, 1888, with a capi- 




tal of .^35,000 aiid the following named citizens as stockholders : 
Milo H. Olin, George Toiiilinson, Clarence M. Smith, Lewis A. 
.Macomber, Wm. H. liawley, Sr., Robert R. Dow, P. E. Bolton. 
Parris Olin, George W. Grieve, Mary J. Olin, M. S. Nobles, By 
ron A. Nevins, George L. C^oue, S. A. Hatch, John S. Garrison. 
The organization of the iustitntion by local residents was 
prompted by the news learned of the proposed location of a 
new bank in Perry by ontsiders who believed that the town of- 
fered a field for two banking institntions. Clarence M. Smith 



and the late Milo H. Olin were prim-e movers in the organiza- 
tion, Avliich was effected promptly after the news above re- 
ferred to was learned, and the partieswho contemplated opening 
a bank here organized a banking ijistitution in the Village of 


A /oil. Livingston ('oujit\. Tlu' store in the Oliii Hloek, on the 
rornci- of Lake and Main sti'ccts, was sccui'od as a place of l)us- 
incss and \\as nscd as such until H)()!), whi-n their present splen- 
did ({uai"t('i-s were coiiiph'tt'd and ready for oeeiipancy. The new 
haidv i)uihlin«r is one of the finest of its kind in the State, out- 
si(h' (d' the hi!*j::e cities, and cost M'ith its e(ini|>inent, about 

A shoi't time aftei- its ineorpoi'ation as a State Bank, the 
capital sto(d< was increased to -t ')().( )()(). In its 27 years of exist- 
ence, the l)ank had hut 1.') direetors, viz: M. li. Olin, L. A. JMa- 
cond)er, ({e()i'*re L. Cone. (Jeoi-tre Toiidinson, B. A. Nevins, R. R. 
Dow, .1. ('. \Vinds(>r. .1. S. (lai-rison. Win. \V. (irieve, George W. 
(irieve. (leor^re M. Trah.'r. Will W." <irieve, Walter T. Olin, C. 
M. Siiiitli and .1. .\. Wyckoft'. M. 11. Olin sei-ved as i)resi(lent of 
til.' haid< until his death in 1f>()7. when he was succeeded by 
Lewis A. Macondx'i-. Tpon llie death of .Mr. Macond)er in 1915, 
(Jeortje y\. Traher was elected president. In its hi.story the 
hank has had hut one cashiei-. Clarence M. Sniitli. who contin- 
ues to serve in that capacity, and to whom a considerable meas- 
iii-e of credit is due for the ^rrowth of the bank's business. Lloyd 
P. i>enedict lias sei'ved the hank as assistant cashier for a 
])eriod of '20 years. The pr<'sent stockliolders are: Clara ^I. 
Bolton, .M. 11. Baker, R. IL Cone, J. S. Garrison, J. F. Grieve, 
Will W. Grieve, Wni. W. Grieve, George W. Grieve, Carrie D. 
Green, estate of Win. IL Hawley, Jr., S. A. Hatch, Celia A. 
Lewis, estate of L. A. .Maconiber, Byron A. Nevins, Mary J. 
Olin. Walter T. Olin. estate of H. X. Parker, J. M. Rood, Emma 
W. Slack, Abram Reese, C. M. Sudth. L. P. Benedict, Tomlinson 
& Son, George :\I. Traber, :\rary E. Wyckoff, James N. Wyckoff. 


Highways, Bridges, Etc.— Maps Showing Growth of Village Since 
Early Days — Expenditures for Macadamizing Village Streets 
and Highways* 

One of the first— if not the first^roads opened through 
the present Town of Perry was the Geneseo, or ''Big Tree 
Boad," which led from Geneseo to Buffalo and crossed this 
town near the middle. This road became the main avenue 
West. The Allegan^y^ Road, which intersected the Geneseo Road 
near Moscow and led to Olean, crossed the southeast end of 
the town. 

The Allegany Road was laid out in 1806, was six rods wide 
and became the main road south. The original Allegany Road 
Veered several rods west beginning at a point about a mile 
south of the village and evidently connected with the present 
Leicester street, known in early days as the "Leicester Road." 
*rhe road was altered to its present position about the year 
1816 by Ziba Hurd and two others, who were the road commis- 
sioners of Perry at that time. 

The old *' Buffalo Road," as it was called, was the first east 
and west road. This was opened across the north part of the 
tow^n at an early period, but w^as not worked and never became 
a thoroughfare, owing to the impractical ravines which it 

A road was laid out in 1812 or 1813 from Perry Village 
north to the villages of Perry Center,LaGrange, Coviligton 
Center and Pavilion, to LeRoy. It was over these four roads 
that the first settlers came into the town and tlie regions in 
their vicinity were first settled-. 


Tlie writer has found it iin[)ossil)l(' to nseertain the exact 
(Ij'tcs when the early villaj^e streets were laid out. However, 
Leicester, AVater, Short, Center, Lake and Main streets are 
probably the oldest of the village streets. ?^Iain street was laid 
out in 1813 and, at the time of its formation, intersected on 
the south end a road wliieli at that period ran from the upper 
chilli southeast. 

^lain street, occupies its oi-i^inal position, or iieai-ly so, 
hut its grading has been inatrrially eliangrd. In tlic early days, 
fioiii the Presbyterian Church down toward the outlet, it was 
quite steep, but niueh filling was done fi-oin time to time to re- 
duce tlie grade. Tn the rear of the First National Bank block 
was a [)()nd of water, sonorous witli tlie music of frogs in 
the evenings of the early days. At that tiii:e. beginning at the 
present junction of ]Main and (Jardeau streets, Main street 
veered a few fret further to the east until at St. Ileb'iia street 
it was about two rods east of its present loeation. The follow- 
ing exeerpts are taken from an article wi-it t<'n for the Silver 
Lake Sun by the late John Stainton in 1S70. Among other in- 
teresting faets concerning the Town of Perry of the period of 
1818-20, he said: 

**The primitive village consiste<] of two stores in framed 
buildings — Bailey & Hatch's, corner of :\Liiii and Covington 
streets, and Benjamin Gardner's at his residence, above the 
mill pond (near the present depot). The latter might perhaps 
be called the principal store; but, yon ask, "Why up there 
out of the way?" We answer, there was no "way" in reality. 
The roads were laid out, but not worlied ; nor were village lots 
fenced in. Y^ou might go from the outlet on ]Main street to the 
Academy site on an air line and find no obstacle, except an 
army of stumps ; so the Gardner store was not so inaccessible as 
might appear. Mr. Gardner was postmaster at that time, and 
his store was a general center of operations." 


From the above description of methods of laying out streets 
tlie reader can gain an understanding of the reason for the hit- 
and-miss arrangement of the older streets of the village, many 
of them apparently created from coAvpaths or the most used 
paths of early days, the same as is said of the streets of Boston, 
Mass., and because the original owners of the tracts in which 
this locality was situated did not believe that it would be de- 
veloped, giving their attention to other and more promising sec- 
tir.ns, leaving this small settlement to work out its own destiny. 

The culvert on Main street over the outlet was constructed 
under the supervision of Xoah Bacon at an early date, presum- 
ably about 1830; prior to that a wooden bridge crossed the 
stream. When the culvert was built it was quite narrow and 
the sidewalks on either side were constructed as ordinary 
bridges. In 1857, Judge Rufus H. Smith widened the culvert to 
its present dimension, filling in with dirt excavated from the 
cellar for the Smith block, which was under construction at 
that time. 

The culvert on Gardeau street was constructed in 1883 by 
B. A. Xevins, Supervisor, and Warren A. Phillips, Highway 
Commissioner. John Bernard was the contractor. In making 
the necessary fill, 7,000 cubic yards of dirt was used the first 
year and 3,000 the second year. A wooden bridge erected at 
an early date was in use up to this time. 

A wooden bridge was erected across the outlet ravine on 
Center street, near Tomlinson & Son's mill, in 1813. A culvert 
took its place in about the year 1832 and was constructed by 
Highway Commisisoner Noah Bacon. This first culvert was 
narrow, being only eight feet wide. It was extended some- 
what in 1865 and in 1903 it was rebuilt and greatly enlarged 
under the direction of B. A. Nevins, Supervisor, and Lewis H. 
Crane, Highway Commissioner. 

Farming land on the east side of the outlet, belonging to 



The above map was kindly furnished by Hon. B. A. Nevins and shows 
a portion of the Village of Perry (called Columbia at that time) as it was 
in 1816, and will give the reader a fair idea of the village streets as origin- 
ally laid out. Main street was then known as the AUegany roadi Leicester 



street as Leicester road; Short street as Center street. The unnamed streets 
in the center and at the lower left of the map represent what are now 
known as Covington and Lake streets. It will be noticed that what is now 
Short street was originally laid out to intersect Lake and Church streets, 
but the portion of Short Street from Covington street to Church street was 
not worked and never became a thoroughfare. Leicester street in 1816 at 
its western extremity intersected the West Perry road at or near the pres- 
ent corner of Federal and Lake streets, instead of the present intersection at 
the Five Comers. The roadway designated as Short street, which is 
shown connecting Leicester road and the present Lake street was closed 
about 1835. The narrow roadway connecting Lake and Covington streets 
was closed many years ago. 

The above map is published to show the reader by dotted lines the ap- 
proximate location of the old abandoned roads of the village and the streets 


which were laid out up to 1853, which is about midway from the tinie of 
the settlement of the village to the present. The dot and dash lines show 
the corporation line of the period. The street designated as Piospect street 
was laid out at this time but was not worked. Some years later. Watkins 
avenue was laid out a little north of its location. Water street was known 
at that time as Mill street. 

the late .Jolm and Kobert UriseAvood was cut into l)uil(lini»' lots, 
and in 1892 Kordrn Avenue was laid out from Watrous street 
to the outlet opposite Main street, and dedii'ated to tlie village, 
Aug. 1st. 1892. The section built up raj)idly and, in 1894, an 
iron bridge was erected across the outlet to connect the pro})- 
crty with j\Iain street, by the Oswego Bridge Co., under the 
direction of E. G. Matthews, Supervisor, and Edward Purcell, 
Highway Coninussioner. 

Owing to the expansion of the plant of the Perry Knitting 
Co., and the growth of the popidation in the vicinity of their 
mills, the late Alonzo Crane cut his farm land on the east bank 
of the outlet into building lots in the year 1900 and laid out 
AValnut street and dedicated it to the village. That section 
was soon occupied by a number of houses and, in 1902, an iron 
l)ridge spanning the outlet and connecting Walnut and Water 
streets, was erected by the Oswego Bridge Co., nnder the direc- 
tion of W. W. Grieve, Supervisor, and Lewis II. Crane, Iligh- 
woy Commissioner. 

For a period of many years, work was done on the streets 
of Perry to keep them in condition, but in the Spring and Fall 
of each year many of them were almost impassable, notwith- 
standing, for the reason that there was no systematic or scien- 
tific plan in nse. In particular. Main, Lake, Center and Water 
streets, where traffic was heavy, were at times simply highways 
of mud to the depth of from one to two feet, a severe handicap 
to users of the streets and especially to teamsters and our in- 
dustries that had much hauling of unfinished and finished pro- 
ducts. The urgent need of improving conditions became gener- 


which were laid out up to 1853, which is about midway from the time of 
the settlement of the village to the present. The dot and dash lines show 
the corporation line of the period. The street designated as Prospect street 
was laid out at this time but was not worked. Som.e years later, Watkins 
avenue was laid out a little north of its location. Water street was known 
at that time as Mill street. 

the late John and Kobert Grisewood was cut into building: lots. 
and in 1892 Borden Avenue was laid out from AVatrous street 
to the outlet opposite Main street, and dedicated to the village, 
Aug. 1st, 1892. The section built up rapidly and, in 1894, an 
iron bridge was erected across the outlet to connect the prop- 
erty with Main street, by tlie Oswego Bridge Co., under tlie 
direction of E. G. Matthews, Supervisor, and Edward Purcell, 
Highway Commissioner. 

Owing to the expansion of the plant of the Perry Knitting 
Co., and the growth of the population in the vicinity of their 
mills, the late Alonzo Crane cut Ins farm land on the east bank 
of the outlet into building lots in the year 1900 and laid out 
AValnut street and dedicated it to the village. That section 
was soon occupied by a number of houses and, in 1902, an iron 
bridge spanning the outlet and connecting AValnut and Water 
streets, was erected by the Oswego Bridge Co., under the direc- 
tion of W. W. Grieve, Supervisor, and Lewis H. Crane, High- 
way Commissioner. 

For a period of many years, work was done on the streets 
of Perry to keep them in condition, but in the Spring and Fall 
of each year many of them were almost impassable, notwith- 
standing, for the reason that there was no systematic or scien- 
tific plan in use. In particular, Main, Lake, Center and Water 
streets, where traffic was heavy, Avere at times simply highways 
of mud to the depth of from one to two feet, a severe handicap 
to users of the streets and especially to teamsters and our in- 
dustries that had much hauling of unfinished and finished pro- 
ducts. The urgent need of improving conditions became gener- 

Map drawn by G. D. Roclie, engineer, showing the corporation of Perry in : 


ally admitted, and it was decided to send to the State Depart- 
ment of Highways for an expert to come and look over the sit- 
uation and give the authorities his advice as to the best plan to 
pursue. The Department sent Frank Lyon in response to the 
request, and the whole subject was gone over carefully with 
him, with the result that in 1903 the village voted to bond itself 
in the sum of $15,000 for the construction of Macadam streets 
to the extent that the sum would pay for. George C. Diehl, 
Highway Engineer of Erie County, was secured to plan and 
supervise the work, which was done by Street Superintendent 
P. A. McArthur and his force of assistants. For that sum. 
Main street was paved from Hope to Mill street ; Mill street and 
Water street to Main. The width of the improved road was 
20 feet on the average, but was widened to 40 feet through the 
business section. Since that time, other streets have been simi- 
larly improved, viz : Center street from the junction at Main 
street to Lake street ; Lake to Short street ; Short street to 
Covington street ; Covington street to Center street ; Lake street 
to Federal street. Approximately, $30,000 has been invested 
in such improvement by the Corporation of Perry, Avhich in- 
cludes slag on the Lake and Main street hills and other minor 
improvements that have made our streets in usable condition 
with convenience and the ability to haul heavy loads over them 
at any period of the year. 


Early Transportation by Stage Coach ard Canal — Long nnd Bitter 
Struggle to Secure Railroad Connections — The Men Who 
Made It a Reality. 

Up to the yviiv 1S71, the only means of ])ul)li(' conveyance 
in Perry was tlie tinic-lionortHl stage coach. Although every- 
thing conceivable was done for tlic accommodation of the trav- 
eler, transportation by stage was exceedingly slow and tedious. 
Taverns abounded tlirougliout tlie country, averaging tlirougli 
this section one to abont evei-y mile of highway. 

In the early days of the stage })usiness Perry was one of 
tlie largest and most important villages in Western New York. 
The nuiin stage route east and west from Canandaigua to Elli- 
cottville ran through here on the old Allegany road. After the 
opening of the old (ienesee Valley Canal, stages ran twice 
daily between Perry and Cuylerville. 

A certain p]dwin Root, a notorious wag, ran a popular 
stage line between Perry and Geneseo for a num])er of years. 
It is said that he was a wide-mouthed, loud talking driver, who 
could guide four horses and hold his whip in one hand while 
with the other he could press his tin horn to his big mouth and 
blow blasts loiul and long. The turn that he took in coming up 
to the hotel w^ould have done credit to the Fifth Avenue nabobs 
with their English drags and outriders. He was a firm believer 
in advertising, and the writer was fortunate enough to secure 
one of his widely-distributed handbills bearing date of Jan. 
1st, 1844, from which the following excerpts are taken : 

"Male and Female Stages from Perry to Geneseo and 
back in a flash. Baggage, persons and eyesight at the risk of 
the owners and no questions answered. Having bought the 



valuable rights of j^oung Master James Howard in this line, 
the subscriber will streak it daily from Perry to Geneseo for 
the conveyance of Uncle Sam's mail and family, leaving Perry 
before the crows wake up in the morning and arriving at the 
first house this side of Geneseo about the same time. Return- 


ing, leave Geneseo after the crows have gone to roost and reach 
Perry in time to join them. Passengers will please keep their 
mouths shut, for fear they will lose their teeth. Fare to suit 

* ' The Public 's Much Obliged Servant, Edwin Root . ' ' 

A stage route from Perry to Batavia was a popular thor- 
oughfare for many yeai^, A.B.Walker ran stages between Perry 


and Pike, and Pcrrx- and Attica. Tlio ])uildinj^ of the Erie Rail- 
road seriously att'eeted the stage l)Usinoss, and for many years 
tlie main line was the formerly well-known "Bill" Ward's P]x- 
press between Perry and Castile. A stage to Mt. Morris was also 
continued until al'tei- the opening of the Silver Lake Railroad. 
The last of the onee flourishing traffic was a one-horse wagon 
which came up from Pavilion carrying the way mail to Coving- 
ton, LaGrange and Perry Center. The crack ofthe long Avhip and 
the toot of the driver's horn is no longer heard, and the old 
thorough-brace vehicles have gone to decay. The locomotive 
and tlu' automobile have found their way throughout the entire 
countiy, giving facilities for transportation and business, and 
affording conveniences and speed in travel in wide contrast to 
the difficulties and tedious joui-neys encountered by the early 
settlers in reaching the spot which their toil converted from a 
wilderness to a modern Garden of p]den. 

]\Iost of the jiroduce raised in this section between 1840 
and 1852 was hauled overland to Cuylerville and shii)ped over 
the Genesee Valley Canal to Rochester, Albany, Troy and all 
points east. After the Erie Railroad Company completed their 
line through Castile in the Summer of 1852, more or less was 
shii")ped over that route. 

The citizens of Perry, feeling the need of railroad commun- 
ication, began to agitate the proposition as early as 1866. The 
first railroad article, in which the project of securing an iron 
connection with the outside world was discussed, appeared in 
the Silver Lake Sun of March 2d, 1867. In this article a road 
was contemplated from Rochester by way of LeRoy and Perry, 
up the Genesee Valley to Olean and thence into Pennsylvania. 
Til is was the origin of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Rail- 
road (State Line Railroad) and it was probably regarded at 
the time by the majority of Perry's citizens as ncAvspaper talk 
that would amount to nothing. Several prominent citizens thq^ 


asserted that the time had gone by when a railroad could be 
built that would reach Perry. It was argued that all cross lines 
in the state ran northwest and southeast, and ''the lay of the 
country" would prevent any line from reaching us. 

Finding this too large a project to begin with, the local 
press came out in favor of a railroad from Perry to Silver 
Springs (then called East Gainesville), and had a preliminary 
survey and report made by Col. James 0. McClure, C. E. 

Probably the most enthusiastic agitator in favor of provid- 
ing Perry with a railroad connection with the outside world 
was the late James Wyckoff, who was among the first to recog- 
nize the advantages that would accrue in developing the town 
and stimulating its growth. Mr. Wyckoff took an aggressive 
part in the preliminary work, so much so that he .aroused bit- 
ter antagonism on the part of some residents of the north part 
of the town, who believed that he was attempting to saddle upon 
them a debt that could never be lifted. One of the most bitter 
ones remarked: ''I feel that I would be justified in taking a 
crowbar and breaking open your safe." Others bitterly op- 
posed the proposition for a railroad, one teamster agreeing to 
haul with two teams all of the freight that would ever come 
into or go out of Perry. 

How ridiculous those matters appear now, in the light of 
the present situation. But there is no doubt that the misguided 
ones were sincere in their opinions, and we can think of their 
attitude with amused tolerance. On the other hand, what an 
obligation we owe to Mr. Wyckoff, Mr. Page, Mr. Sanders and 
those other men to whose vision and the courage to figTit for 
their convictions made possible the realization of a railroad 
and lifted Perry out of the class of ''little inland towns." 

At the time of the death of Mr, James Wyckoff on July 
19th, 1890, George C. King (then editor of the Perry Herald), 


in an ohituary notice of Mr. Wyckoff made the following refer- 
ence to his connection with the Silver Lake Railway : 

"He was one of the original and most active and determ- 
ined promoters of the Silver Lake Railway enterprise; was 
president of the road for a number of years and a director from 
the beginning until now. After the sale of the road, he held for 
several years the office of Railroad Commissioner of the Town 
of Perry. ' ' 

The late George Toudinson, who was a contemporary of 
Mr. Wyckoff and associated with him in local affairs, i)aid the 
following tribute to his memory in an obituary notice which 
appeared in the Perry Weekly News on July 24th, 1890: 

*'The death of Mr. James Wyckoff calls to mind the criti- 
cal days of the Perry railroad. While others bore an important 
part and rendered vahuible assistance, it was his unyielding 
perserverance that held all in line, llis far-sighted sagacity 
took in the future of the enterprise, and he was willing to stand 
in the breach and take the responsibility from which more 
timid men shrank in dismay. AVhen all others w^ere despond- 
ent and gave 'way before the accumulated discouragements, 
his faith grew stronger and his active efforts were redoubled 
until a gleam of hope revived the courage of others and the 
project was a success. 

''It is to Mr. James Wyckoff that the Town of Perry is in- 
debted more than to any other man for the great public im- 
provement which connected this village wdth the outside world. 
He was as confident in the most gloomy period of the undertak- 
ing as when he saw the first locomotive run over the rails. 
Other pens will do him justice and record his worth, but it is 
befitting his memory to note an achievement of so much public 

The movement in Perry attracted the attention of enter- 
prising men north and south of us, and the through road prop- 
osition again began to be discussed. The first State Line Rail- 
road meeting took place at Wiscoy, March 5th, 1869, and was 
attended by prominent citizens of Rochester and the towns 




•d\ou^ till' route proposed. IMessrs. George A. Sanders of Pi rry 
^nd L. R. Iliteheock were ai)poiiited a eoiiiinittee to visit the 
P:ne Creek region of Pennsylvania and rei)ort in regard to it.s 
I'esources, ])i-oduetions, and the feasihility of reaching it by 
lail. Tlieii- I'l'port was presented at a largely attended meeting 
held at Castile on ]\Iareh ITtli, and it added greatly to tli<' i)re- 
yailing entluisiasm all along the line. Another meeting in aid 
l)f the project was held in Caledonia on March 31st, and at 
Rocliester on April 8th, 18t]9, the State Line Railway Com])any 
was organized. It was not until after this preliminai-y woi-k 
had been completed, and an organization effected, that a 
counter move was started at Warsaw. Mliicii finally resulted ^n 
the abandonment of the above mentioned route. It was event- 
uj\lly located uixui what is known as the "Warsaw and Sala- 
manca route," at a meeting held in Rochester on danuaiy 7th. 

At the largest and most enthusiastic railroad meeting ever 
h«'ld in the county, convened at Snnth's Hall in Perry on Jan. 
!l2th, 1870, the Rochester & Pine Creek Railway Company was 
brganized. Its purpose Avas to build a road from Castile to 
Caledonia, and had every town on the line adhered to the plan 
with the firmness and determination of Perry, the trains would 
have long since been running over the route from Rochester to 
the Pennsylvania Railroad. It soon became apparent that the 
et^'orts of the Warsaw people who were quietly working in op- 
position to the plan had alienated the managers at Rochester 
from this route, and in some of the towns it began to be looked 
upon as too large a job to undertake without Rochester's aid. 

Perr}' was soon bonded for $100,000 in aid of the road, and 
on the 20th of August, 1870, R. C. Mordoff, R. W. Brigham and 
L. G. Morgan were appointed commissioners. An opposition 
developed in Castile, which prevented the bonding of that 
town. A disposition was manifested in York to ''go slow," and 


the project seemed to be in a fair way to get another setback. 
At this time the proposition was revived in favor of Perry tak- 
ing hold of the matter alone and going to Silver Springs, the 
nearest point on the Erie Railroad. A majority of the people 
heartily endorsed the proposal and the directors were urged to 
begin work. 

On the 5th of December, 1870, the contract for the grading 
and masonry from Perry to Silver Springs was let to A. Mar- 
cellus, to be completed August 1st, 1871. Robert Bell had pre- 
viously been engaged as civil engineer, and the work was begun 
on Dec. 8th, 1870, near the culvert across the outlet, just above 
the present site of the Tempest Knitting Company's plant. The 
road was completed and a long blast from the locomotive an- 
nounced its first arrival in Perry, on Oct. 20th, 1871. Some 
delay was experienced in procuring rolling stock and making 
the necessary arrangements for the operation of the road ; but 
everything was eventually secured, and on the 14th day of 
February, 1872, the first regular passenger train left Perry for 
Silver Springs. 

The $100,000 raised by bonding the town was used in the 
construction of the road; the balance needed for procuring the 
necessary equipment (some $23,000) was generously furnished 
by a number of the local citizens. 

For a period of a few years the road was operated with 
varying degrees of success. In 1877 the time came, however, 
when the operating expenses were greater than the receipts, 
and conditions did not look favorable for the maintenance of 
the line. To make things worse, there came a heavy snow 
storm during the Winter of that year and the track was covered 
with an unknown depth of snow. All traffic was suspended; 
there was no money in the treasury. A meeting of the directors 
was called and all answered to their names, as follows : Samuel 
Chapin, Henry N. Page, Rufus H. Stedman, M. C. Williams, 


James VVyckoff, Gennaii Oliii, E. (J. Matthews, Austin 'i'oaii, 
I. ('. I^mlgers, R. W. Brigliam, Luther Chapin, George Toinlin- 
soii, J. C. Lowing. Deep anxiety was visible upon every faee, 
and the grave question was: ''What shall be done in this enier- 
^^viwyV Two questions were up foi- consideration. It was 
understood that parties would give .l"5(),000 for the road, fran- 
chise and rolling stock. 

George A. Sanders, at tliat time a resilient of Perry, sent 
in a proposition to lease the road for a term of years, agreeing 
to i)ay the town $1,000 per yeai- as rental, the town to pay the 
expense of clearing the snow from the track. There was ap- 
l>arent an unwillingness to offer the road for sale, so the only 
question left was the proposition of Mv. Sanders. A resolution 
was offered in these words: 

"Resolved, That the i)roposition of Geoi-ge A. Sanders he 
accepted, and the president of the road is hereby instructed to 
close the contract and execute a lease." 

While this resolution was under discussion, Mr. Mark 
S:;iith called one of the members of the Board aside and asked he be permittee- to make a bid. This was reported to the 
nu^eting and the motion was carried to postpone for one week 
the question of leasing the road. The desperation of the situation 
was such that much feeling was manifested, and the question of 
postponement was carried by only one majority. This was on 
a Saturday. The following ^Monday morning, Mr. E. G. Mat- 
tliews provided himself with an Alpenstock and walked the 
entire distance to Silver Springs, taking measurements of the 
depth of the snow on the track. At a meeting of the Board, 
convened on the next Wednesday, Mr. Matthews in giving his 
report, exclaimed: "Gentlemen, I will stake my reputation that 
1 can make that road pay!'' As a result, the Board gave him 
the opportunity to make good his boast and an agreement was 
made by which Mr. ^latthews was to advance $1,000 and was 



autlicrized to superintend the removal of the snow from tlie 
track. This was accomplished, but at something more than the 
estimate, and this crisis was passed. In assuming charge of the 
a^'airs of the railroad, Mr. Matthew^s arranged his desk in one 
of the cars and transacted all of the business pertaining to the 


?)peration of the line in that little portable office. Few people 
now living can measure the depth of anxiety that w^as so op- 
pressive to the management of the Silver Lake Railway in its 
■early days, 

R. D. Higgins became personally known to every taxpayer 
in Perry, for he was untiring in the work of bonding the town 
■each of the three times that it was bonded. 



When disaster overtook tlie road and financial collapse 
seemed to be imminent, Mr. E. G. IMatthews became the Atlas 
who took the burden upon his shoulders and placed it upon the 
rock of success. It was not long before his honesty and busi- 
ness integrity began to show itself in the good results at- 

First Train over the Silver Lake Railway. 
















taincd. In 1S77 the ^ross cai'iiings of tin' railroad aiiiountt'd to 
$7,000; ill tlic year lcS88 they were $18,000 and steadily in- 
creased I'roiii tliat time on. ^Mr. ^Mattliews was succeeded for 
a time ])y the hite C. W. G. Nobles. 

The Silver Lake road had connection with Rochester at a 
station on tlie Rutfalo, Rochester & Pittshiirfr road at East 
GainesviUe, in ehargje of an aj^ent named Hitchcock. Passen- 
g:ers had to take a stage from East Gainesville on the Erie (now 
Silver Springs') to reach the one above referred to. At that 
time a ti-ain ran from Rochester to Gainesville Creek, where 
it laid ovei', returning to Rochester in the morning, and that 
was Perry's best connection to and fi'om Rochester. 

Early in tlie year 1SS2, a corpoi-ation was formed by sto(d<- 
holders of the Butfalo, Rochester & I^ittsbui-g road and others, 
for the purpose of building a sjMir from that road to Silver 
Springs and permitting its trains to run direct to Perry, where 
the business conditions were such as indicated its advantage as 
a lay-over point, instead of Gainesville Creek, and a spur was 
constructed from what is now called Silver Lake Junction to 
Silver Springs. Tt was completed in midsummer, and the first 
train direct from Rochester to Perry came over the spur and 
the Silver Lake road on July 2, 1882, in charge of Conductor 
A. J. Wood. There was great rejoicing on the part of the citi- 
zens of the town at this accomplishment, and it took the form 
of a demonstration of public approval. 

In the Spring of 1886 the Silver Lake Railway was sold to 
Mr. A. G. Y'ates of Rochester for $128,000, which was an ad- 
vance over the original amount for which it was bonded, prob- 
ably the only case in the L'^nited States where such a happy 
outcome was realized. It remained under the control of Mr. 
Yates and his estate nntil October, 1910, when the property was 
sold to the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railroad Co., who 


have made maii}^ improvements to bring it up to the standard 
of the main line and are giving Perry excellent service. 

Perry's real growth began with the advent of the railroad. 
When it was first proposed to secure a railroad to or through 
Perry, numerous predictions were made bj^ the friends of the 
project, relative to what it would do for our town and village. 
At that time many of the advantages which were asserted 
would follow were regarded as greatly exaggerated, if not 
wholly absurd ; but, nevertheless, with the coming of the rail- 
road, things took on a new look. There was a better market for 
produce and buyers paid a higher price for it than they could 
afford in the years past,- when the cost of transportation over- 
land to the Genesee Valley Canal and outside railroad points 
was so high. 

Two years after the construction of the railroad. Perry 
had grown more than it had in the 20 years previous. A score 
of new dwellings had been erected and numerous improve- 
ments had been made on old buildings. New business places 
had been erected, and the stores, shops and manufactories were 
all occupied and were doing a profitable business. 

Perry became a market for the sale of grain, fruit and 
other produce and it attracted the attention of farmers for 
miles around. The amount of merchandise sold here was said 
to have increased in equal ratio through the growth and pro- 
gress of the toAvn. Millers and manufacturers largely increased 
their facilities and secr"»^ed business that formerly they were 
unable to reach. The plausibilities within the reach of Perry 
were made apparent by the construction of the railroad. With 
good water power and good transportation facilities it was in a 
position to invite and secure other and larger manufactories. 

The energy and loyalty manifested in the efforts to im- 
prove home conditions, so earnestly displayed by the men of 


Tel TV w lio assistod in securing? the railroad deserve the highest 
coiiiiiicndation, for those same men unquestionably paved the 
Avay t'oi- the industrial development and tlu' tr^'ucral material 
prospeiity which the town mjoys today. 


Theatres and Amusement Places — The Roller Skating Craze — Con- 
ception of a Town Hall and Auditorium and Its Realization 
as an Important Public Building. 

The earliest theatre, or public hall, of which we have been 
able to obtain any information was located in the old National 
Hotel which was doing business in Perry in 1841. Home talent 
plays and traveling troupes were accommodated in the large 
dance hall of this popular hostelry. The elite of Perry also 
'' tripped the light f autistic" there on many social occasions. 

Smith's Hall was erected in 1857 and was located in the 
third story of the Smith Block (now the Olin Block) on Main 
street. This hall was in continuous use as a theatre and public 
hall until its destruction in the big fire of 1891. Previous to 
that time, the block had been purchased by the late M. H. Olin, 
Avho entirely remodeled, enlarged and beautified Smith's Hall 
and renamed it "Olin Opera House," where many high class 
entertainers appeared in concert, the drama, opera, etc., as well 
as many local residents in amateur theatricals. 

In the days of Smith's Hall and Olin Opera House, such 
noted people as the late Horace Greely, Mary A. Livermore, 
John B. Gough, Bayard Taylor, John A. Logan and numerous 
others appeared there on the lecture platform and gave the 
intellectual stimulus that developed to a marked degree the 
culture that was a general characteristic of the people of Perry 
25 years and more ago. 

White's Hall (later Bucknam's Hall) was built on South 
Main street by the late Daniel C. White in the Fall of 1886. 
The lumber of wiiich it was constructed came from what had 
been a large roller skating rink located on Leicester street, in 
the hollow just below the Crocker property, on the north side 


of tin- stict't. It was ri'cctcd hy a i'inii of outsiders, Sliddoii »Vc 
Kobinson, and \\as a l)uil(Iing about 125 feet long and 60 feet 
wide. Mr. Slu'ldoii purebased tlie interest of bis partner after 
a few niontbs and continued its nuina<:eni('nt during tbe life 
of tlie roller skating ei'aze, wbieb was about tbree years, wben 
it suddenly began to wane. During tbat time tbe Rink was 
tbe scene of numerous l)?-illiant skating eariiivals, raees and ex- 
citing pob) ecnti'sts. I'lKb'rtlie management of. I. Lewis Wycl:- 
oil", Peny (b'Veb^ped a pob) t<'am that won an extende(l i'ej)U- 
tation and defeated the ci-a(dv teams of this section. It was 
composed (f .1. A. (Mement. cai)tain: .Michael Wbelan, Ed. Tall- 
madgi', Clill'ord Hills, Charles Hudd of Perry, Aai-on Jones of 
Castile, and one other member whose name is not recalled. 
Their contests liei-e and in siiii-onnding towns with opposing 
teiMiis di-ew lai-ge ci'owds. and tli" intei'est and enthusiasm 
manifested was as great as ever disnlaye*! in support of local 
base ball teams. Frank E. Wade, a local resident, developed 
considei-able skill as a racer and won a nmnber of contests and 
nu'dals. The Kiidv was a great place of annisement and entei-- 
tainment while the "skating fever" raged, hut the time came 
when interest abated and the decline of business was steady 
until the building was sold to ^Mr. White. lie demolished tbe 
structure and witb tbe lumber erected tbe building tbat at pres- 
ent stands on the west side of South Main street, owned and 
occupied by AVm., used as a livery stable oii the 
ground floor. 

For several years. Wbite's Hall was tbe scene of social 
gatberings, dramatic entertainments, concerts, lectures, etc., 
until tbe time came as a result of the growtb of tbe town tbat 
it was not large enougb to accommodate tbe number of people 
Avho desired to attend some of the attractions, and its location 
on the second floor of a frame building was considered by 
many as an unsafe gathering place for a crowd of people. 


After the sale of the Silver Lake Railway, previously re- 
ferred to, the profit was being used in yearly rebates of a com- 
paratively small Slim to the taxpayers. In 1896 the report of 
I lie Railroad Commissioners showed that there was in their 
hands a total of $16,630.87 over and above bonds outstanding, 
and the plan was conceived by C. M. Smith to use $10,000 of 
that sum for the purpose of erecting a suitable town hall for 
public gatherings, and the suggestion was presented to a num- 
ber of townspeople for their consideration. The suggestion met 
with the approval of the majority to whom it was made, the mat- 
ter was presented to the people in articles in the local papers, 
and after the proposition had been given publicity and the gen- 
eral reponse appeared to be favorable, a bill was introduced in 
the State Legislature by Assemblyman M. N. Cole of Castile on 
Jan. 18th, 1897, providing that the Town Board of the Town of 
Perry submit a proposition to the taxpayers of the town to con- 
struct a Town Hall at an expense of $10,000, including site, and 
to appropriate for such purpose from funds held by the Rail- 
road Commissioners. The bill also provided for the appoint- 
ment of three commissioners to have charge of the construction 
of such building, should the proposition be carried. The bill was 
read twice after its introduction, passed unanimously, and on 
Jan. 25th, 1897, it was signed by Governor Frank S. Black and 
became a law. 

The question was submitted to a vote of the people at the 
town election held on the 23d of February, 1897, and was car- 
ried, the vote being 428 yes, 209 no, a majority of 219 in favor 
of the proposition. A series of suggestive plans had been on 
exhibition previous to the election, but the plans finally 
adopted were much more complete and comprehensive, to meet 
the probable requirements as they developed from the discus- 
sion of the matter. 

The proposition having been carried, Town Clerk H. A. 


Cole received on March 2d, 1897, the certificate of 
of Clarence M. Smith, Byron A. Nevins and Wm. D. Page as 
Town Hall Commissioners, in accordance with the provisions 
of the special law passed by the Lep:islaturo and signed by tlie 
Governor for the ai)i)ointment of three coiniiiissioners. The 
commissioners secnred nine sets of plans from different archi- 
tects and after careful consideration of the matter for a period 
of several weeks, they combined the most desirable features 
and looked about for the most satisfactory site for the buildincr. 
There were two that appeared to be the most feasible. The 
then Horace Alburty property on tlie north side of Covingtrn 
street, a short distance from Main, and the site on the corner 
of Main and St. Helena streets, now occupied by the Episcopal 
Church. In order to get an expression of choice from as great 
a number of people as possible, a public meeting was called for 
Friday evening, June 11th, at tlie fire department building. 
There was a small attendance, only about 50 persons being 
present. After a brief discussion of the matter, a resolution 
was offered requesting the Commissioners to at once institute 
condemnation proceedings against the property owned by T. 
H. Bussey on Main street, adjoining the Hotel Perry, now occu- 
pied by the Bussey block. The resolution was carried, a large 
majority of those present voting in favor of it. After explana- 
tions and further discussion, considerable sentiment was devel- 
oped against instituting condemnation proceedings which 
might involve expensive litigation. Remarks were made by 
Messrs. James Wylie, B. C. Roup, H. M. Scranton, Wm. Rudd, 
T. R. Buell, C. W. Rudd, Robert Stainton and Mrs. C. A. Cleve- 
land, and the meeting adjourned without any further action be- 
ing taken. 

The matter rested for about two weeks without apparent 
crystallization of sentiment in favor of any particular site and 
the Commissioners concluded to purchase the site on the corner 


of Main and St. Helena streets at $800, whieli was the lowest in 
price, $1600 being asked for the Albnrty property. The an- 
nouncement of intention to purchase the corner site created 
quite a stir and aroused a strong feeling of dissatisfaction 
among a large number of people. Learning that there was an 
earnest desire on the part of many of the taxpayers in favor of 
a site more centrally located than either of those that had been 
under consideration, the Commissioners on the 30th of June, 
1897, purchased the Bills property for $3,500, in what is practi- 
cally the business center of the village. A lot was purchased on 
Dolbeer place, the former Bills dwelling house Avas removed to 
that location and remodeled into a double house for dwelling 

The property was sold at a profit a few years afterward 
and the receipts from rental and sale w^ere placed to the credit 
of the Town Hall fund. 

The contract for the Town Hall building was let to W. L. 
Smith of Perry, who was the lowest bidder (with the exception 
of a Franklinville man, whose bid was only a few dollars less.) 
Mr. Smith's bid was $6,966.00 for the exterior and $2,600 for 
the interior, making a total of $9,566.00 No purchaser having 
been found at this time for the Bills house on its Dolbeer place 
site, and the building site having cost considerable more than 
expected, together with the fact that changes and enlargements 
had been made in the original plan, in accordance with ac- 
cepted suggestions from several of the older business men who 
believed in providing for the future as well as present needs, the 
Commisisoners asked for an appropriation of $7,000 to com- 
plete the building. A special town meeting was called to be 
held at White's Opera House on Tuesday, Sept. 13th, 1898, to 
vote upon the proposition. There were only 170 votes cast, the 
result being as follows : Yes, 136 ; no, 33 ; blank, 1. 


Tlu* i)laiis (k'eicli'cl upon ijruvidud for a large auditoriinii 
on the ground floor, for local or traveling entertainments, lect- 
ures, etc.; a large hall on the second floor, for caucuses, elec- 
tions, dancing parties, receptions, i)u])lie meetings, etc.; a din- 
ing room on the ground floor and a kitchen in the basement. 
That left a large room on the ground floor, at the right of tlic 
entrance and lobby, for renting purposes. 

At that time the late (Jeorge W. Grieve was postmaster and 
occupied the north half of tiu' Caswell block (now occui)ied by 
G. L. Peck's siioe store), where the quarters were more or less 
crowded, particularly at mail times. The ich'a suggested itself 
to the Commissioners that tlie towns l)uilding would make an 
ideal site for the [)ostoffiee, giving it a central location and at 
the same time giving the town "Uncle Sam" as a probable per- 
manent and unquestionably responsible tenant who would pay 
a good rate of rental. Wliile they had no authority to act upon 
the suggestion and incur the adtlitional expense that it would 
involve, in submitting the matter to other business men the sug- 
gestion nu't with such approval as a good business move that 
the Commissioners fitted the room for postoffice purposes and 
purchased an equipment of lock and call boxes, etc., at a cost 
of $1498.25. 

On March 31st, 1899, J. E. Cole received his commission as 
postmaster of Perry, succeeding Geo. W. Grieve, and on April 
1st he removed the office to the To\^^l Hall building, which has 
been its location continuously ever since. 

Acting also upon their own initiative, they purchased an 
equipment of seats for the auditorium of the Grand Rapids 
School Furniture Co. at an expense of $1,117.80 and scenery 
from Sosman & Landis of Chicago at an expense of $775.97. 
They also expended $728.61 for interior decorating and other 
smaller sums for lighting and ventilating equipment, to make 
the property complete in its appointments. In taking unauth- 


orized action they incurred the severe censure and condem- 
nation of a considerable number of citizens, but with the pass- 
ing of time and the extent to which the building has been used, 
some of the critics have admitted the wisdom and foresight of 
the action of the Commissioners, and even the more bitter ones 
have modified their opinions. 

Although not entirely completed, the building was opened 
to the public on the evenings of Friday and Saturday, Dec. 
30th and 31st, 1898, when the comedy entitled "The Henrietta" 
was presented by the following cast, composed entirely of local 
talent, viz : W. D. Olmsted as Nicholas VanAlystyne ; Rev. C. 
Palmatier as Dr. Parke Wainwright ; N. Guy Watrous as Nich- 
olas VanAlstyne, Jr. ; C. G. Clarke as Bertie YanAlstyne ; A. 
F. Davis as Lord Arthur Trelawney ; L. P. Benedict as Rev. 
Murray Hilton ; Cleveland K. Nobles as Watson Flint ; W. D. 
Hollister as Musgrave ; Miss Mary Brick as Mrs. Cornelia Op- 
dyke ; Mrs. A. W. Tallman as Rose VanAlstyne ; Miss Ada 
Thomas as Agnes Lockwood; Miss Marie Wildman as Lady 
Mary TrelaAvney. Music was furnished by the Casino Orches- 
tra of Perry. The seat prices were from 35 to 75 cents and the 
house was well filled on both nights, notwithstanding the un- 
favorable weather and the drifted condition of the roads. On 
the opening night, boxes were occupied bj^ Mr. George Tomlin- 
son, W. D. Page, C. M. Smith and T. H. Bussey, each with a 
party of friends. Quite a number of former residents, in Perry 
to spend the holidays, were present on the opening night. The 
receipts amounted to $287.50, which was turned over to the 
Commissioners for the benefit of the scenery fund, those who 
took part in the production having willingly given their ser- 
vices for that purpose. 

The Commissioners made an itemized report of their re- 
ceipts and expenditures in a detailed statement to the Town 
Board, under date of May 27th, 1897, with vouchers, showing 



rxpciiditiuvs of .1^'J4,7ir).59, receipts a.iiouiitiiig to $1S,()97.71), 
leaving unpaid bills amounting to $0,017.82. The property 
passed from their control into the hands of the Town P>oard, 
iiiid i)ayment of the last indebtedness w"S made s.veial years 















One of the criticisms frequently heard at the time of the 
construction of the buikling Avas that it woukl prove to be an 
elephant on the hands of the town ; another that it would never 
see the time that the house would be filled for an entertain- 
ment. In view of the fact that at school comn.encements as 
well as on numerous other occasions it has been filled to over- 
flowing, the criticism now heard is that the building is not 
large enough. Whatever the criticisms may be at this time, if 
the misfortune should occur that the building became des- 
troyed, it is doubtful if there would be much opposition to tin 
effort to replace it with even a larger and better cue, as its use- 
fulness to the town is generally acknowledged. 

Among the hotels that have previously been mentioned, we 
make special reference to the property now occupied by The 
Tavern for the reason that from early in the historj^ of Perry, 
the property had been used for hotel purposes. Sherman & Skid- 
more were among the earliest of its proprietors. Mr. Skidmore 
soon became the sole proprietor, and after his death in about 
the year 1838, his widow married Mosely Stoddard, who con- 
ducted the hotel for a brief period. Tn the late 40 's, the 
late Mr. A. B. Walker, who had been conducting the National 
Hotel across the street, purchased the property and managed 
the hotel until its destruction by fire in 1857, when he removed 
to Canada. It was while in charge of this hotel that Mr. Walker 
conceived the scheme of bringing the Silver Lake sea serpent 
into existence. 

Eleven years later, Mr. Walker returned to Perry and 
erected the Walker House (now The Tavern,) using as part of 
it a private residence which stood near the property of Charles 
Bow on the Center road, previously occupied by a Mr. Butler, 
and removed to the site on the east side of ]\Iain street. The 



The Walker House, which stood on- the present site of The Tavern. It 
was the birthplace of Mrs. A. J. Wood (Carrie Walker) and was destroyed 
by fire in 1857. Engraving reproduction from an old daguerrotype. 

Walker House opened for the transaction of business in Sep- 
tember, 1869. After a few years. ^Ir. Walker sold the property 
to Benjamin H. Harford and moved to the old National Hotel 
across the street. This buildino: was afterward purchased by 
Charles Wise, who removed it to its present site on Covington 
street, remodeled it and named it Hotel Covington, and used 
its Main street site for the location of the present Wise Block. 
Mr. Walker died in 1889, before its removal to Covington 



street, passing away in the same building in which he began 
his career as a hotel proprietor. 

After the opening of the Silver Lake Railway, Mr. Walker 
purchased property at Silver Lake and erected the present 
Walker House, which he conducted for a period of 15 years. 
The property has since been conducted by his son-in-law, Mr. A. 
J. Wood. 



After the death of Mr. Walker, the hotel was leased to C. 
]\L Edgerly, Charles McKay and Edward Hamilton, until it 
was purchased as above noted by Charles Wise and removed 
to Covington street and renamed the Hotel Covington. Since 
that time the house has been conducted by a Mr. Sackett, the 
late Amos Bauer and his widow. 



Alxuit liO yoiiis aj^'o, T. 11. liiisscy imrchased the Ilai-t'oi-d 
lionsi' of the lati' H. 11. Ilarfonl and renamed it Hotel Perry. 

It was conducted for a time by the late :\Ierritt Andrus, suc- 
ceeded in turn bv Mr. Bussey and J. A. Clement. After Mr. 


Clement's removal, the house was conducted for about six 
months by Mr. Bussey, wlio leased it to G. H. Sanford. Mr. San- 
ford conducted it for a period of 12 years, until the Summer of 
1914, when Mr. Bussey again took the management. The house 
was remodeled and renamed The Tavern. 


The Most Costly Fires Suffered by Perry — Organization of the Vol- 
unteer Fire Department and Company Divisions — Department 
Buildings — Motor Fire Truck, Etc. 

Prior to the organization of th'i' Fire Dciiai'tiiit'iit in 1S87, 
Pt*rry had no systematic iiictliod of fire i)rotection. Up to that 
time tlie only means of fighting fires was hy the use of the tinH»- 
lionored "hn(d\et bi-igade." The rapid tolling of a eliurcli })ell 
or the blowing of a neai'hy faetory wliistle was tlie signal for 
the male citizens of the village to seize all of the available ])nck- 
ets an(i pails of the household and i-ally at the scene of tlie fire. 
Then it was that the bucdvct brigade would form in line, one 
end at the fire and the other <'xti-emity at tlw neai-est cistern, 
pump or creek, and by passing the pails the length of the line, 
a certain amount of water found its way to the fire. Although 
some effectiveness was aecomi)lished by this method, especially 
when the fire had not gained much headway, it was not equal 
to the handling of extensive fires an! the rt'sidt was that Perry 
suffered several conflagrations before the organization of the 
regularly equii)ped fii'e department in Juiu', 1887. 

On Saturday, Sept. lM)th, 1S56, the first of the great fires 
in PeiTy occurred. The buildings burned at that time were 
occupied by Alexander Cole's shoe store, Seymour Sherman's 
jewelry store, M. N. Crocker's photograph car and S. & B. B. 
Higgins' drug store. These buildings occupied the property 
from the corner of Borden avenue north, including the present 
site of the Caswell block and the M. S. Sweet building adjoin- 
ing. Soon after the fire, Mr. Crocker erected a building on 
Covington street, now occupied by his son. Dr. F. ^I. Crocker, 
and conducted a photogi'aph studio there for many years. 


Five days later, another large fire visited Perry's business 
section, this time consuming a row of buildings standing on the 
west side of Main street, from the Traver residence to Lake 
street, also burning some buildings on Lake street. The steeple 
on the old Methodist church caught fire, but with heroic work 
on the part of the citizens, the church was sav( d. Tlu' buildings 
destroyed were occupied (beginning at tlic s(Mith c^nd of Main 
street) by R. H. Smith, general store ; Smitli *s Hank ; M. C. Wil- 
liams and Rufus Stedman's grocery; Rufus Brayton's dry 
goods store; J. B. Shearnuurs slioe store; R. C. Mordoff's liat 
store ; Perry Times printing office ; Postoff'ice ; I. O. 0. F. and 
F. & A. M. lodge rooms; David Lacy's meat market; S. & F. 
Bullard's harness shop, which stood on the corner of Main and 
Lake streets. On Lake street, Wm. Wheeler's blacksmith shop; 
and the residences of Deacon John Westlake and Mr. Thayer 
were destroyed. The loss of buiUling:s Avas maiidy with Rufus 
H. Smith, who carried no insurance. It was generally supposed 
that these two fires were the work of incendiaries. Several 
young men who had recently begun business, lost their all by 
these fires. 

In November, 1857, the stores from the Bailey block on the 
corner of Covington and ^lain streets, north, were burned. 
These were occupied, in the order named, by R. D. Higgins' 
crockery store; George Chapin, leather dealer; Bullard Bros.' 
hardware; and Buttre's furniture store, which was the last in 
the block. 

Gn December 19th, 1857, the Walker House and barns 
were burned, together with other smaller buildings. The Wal- 
ker House then stood on the present sit^ of The Tavern. 

On February 1st, 1866, the block between the old National 
Hotel and Covington street was burned. The stores destroyed 
were occupied by E. H. Wygant's book store (once Henry Bar- 
ton's dry goods store, now the J. H. Owen block) ; also Cyrus 



MerriU's dry goods store, on the Covington street corner. 
James Thayer's photograph studio was over Wygant's store. 
^Ir. Wj^gant was clerk at the time, and the town and village 



records were destroyed in this fire. In 1867, the late Alexander 
Cole erected the brick block on the corner of Main and Coving- 
ton streets, and E. H. Wygant erected the present J. H. Owen 
block during the same year. 

On August 7th, 1880, the Perry Woolen Mills, operated by 
James Wylie & Son, were destroyed by fire with a loss of 

In the Spring of 1887, the trustees of the village recogniz- 
ing the need of modern fire protection, decided to organize a 
fire department consisting of an engine company, hook and lad- 
der company and a hose company. Volunteers were called for 
and the citizens of the village responded nobly in the worthy 
cause. Within a short time, 75 men had called at Smith's Bank 
and signed the roll. 

Apparatus consiting of an engine (20-man brake), a hook 
and ladder truck, a hose cart with 600 feet of hose and acces- 
sories, were purchased of Rumsey & Co. of Seneca Falls, N. Y., 
by the Village Trustees at a total cost of $1250. The regular 
organization of the Fire Department were effected on June 7th 
of that year, and the following named were chosen as officers: 


Chief— Dr. Gilbert R. Traver 
First Assistant — John Stockwell 
Second Assistant — E. M. Wyckoff 
Secretary — G. K. Page. 


Engine Co. No. 1 — Foreman, A. D. Taylor; Assistant, F. 
H. Stryker. 

Hose Co. (afterward Traver Hose Co.) — Foreman, Michael 
Whelan ; Assistant, G. K. Smith. 

Hook and Ladder Co. (afterward M. H. Olin H. & L. Co.)— 


Foreman, Benjamin Prindle; First Assistant, Wm. V. Nye; 
Second Assistant, J. Harry Watson. 

The Citizens Chemical Company was organized on June 
5th, 1890, with the following named as officers : Foreman, 
Michael Whelan ; Assistant, Wallace A. Hunt ; Secretary-Treas- 
urer, John T. Riley; Engineers, Albert Richards and J. Harry 

The Active Hose Company (now I. S. Robeson Hose Co.) 
was organized on Oct. 10th, 1890, and the following named 
were elected off'icers : Foreman, Walter T. Olin ; Assistant, Earl 
V. Jenks ; Secretary-Treasurer, John Washburn. 

With the establishment of the municipal water works sys- 
tem in 1896 the Engine Company became obsolete and the mem- 
bers formed themselves into the T. H. Busse}^ Protective Co. on 
August 29th, 1902. 

The C. A. Toan Hose Company of Silver Lake was admitted 
to membership in the Department in May, 1907. 

The first rooms used by the Department as a meeting 
place and also as a place in which to store the apparatus were 
secured in the basement of White's Hall, now used by Buck- 
nam's Livery. These were the quarters until the erection of the 
Department building near the culvert on the east side of Main 
street. This building was the headquarters of the Perry Fire 
Department for a quarter of a century, or until 1913, at which 
time the Department moved into their present beautiful and 
complete quarters in the new Village building. 

The first alarm of fire following the organization was 
sounded on August 16th, 1887, at 4 o'clock p. m. The fire was 
only a slight one, however, and was extinguished before the 
companies arrived. The first fire at which water was turned 
on occurred on Jan. 26th, 1888, at the Reaper Works. Since 
the organization in 1887, the Department has responded to 



about 200 alarms. The total loss by fire during that period is 
approximately $260,000. h 

Photograph taken in winter of 1895. showing old Department Building 

The following named gentlement have held the office of 
Chief of the Perry Fire Department : Dr. Gilbert R. Traver, 
who was one of the principal organizers, held the office from 
the date of organization until his death on July 7th, 1896. He 
was succeeded, in the order named, by J. Harry Watson, J. 
W. Dennison Olmsted, Patrick J. O'Leary, Elmer Lee, Fred 
Blanck, Frank A. Coleman, Adelbert D. Campbell and Myron 
J. Kershaw. 



broke out on the afternoon of May IStli, 1891, and consumed all 
of the buildings between the present site of the First National 
Bank and the Olin block, which Avas seriously damaged. It 
seemed that a small quantity of paper had been ignited in the 
rear of the clothing store of S. Goldwater & Brother and that 
an oil barrel had sprung a leak in the rear of W. H. Herron's 
grocery store, adjoining. Supposing that the fire was out, the 
clerk went back into the store without any apprehension of 
danger, but it proved that the fire remained and was driven 
against the oil by a gust of wind. In a moment, flames leaped 
up and passed into Herron's store, setting fire to the oil tanks 
in the rear room. An explosion was the result, and the win- 
dows in the front of the store were blown out. The extreme 
heat from the blazing oil almost instantly burned off the wires 
of the Bell Telephone Co., thus cutting off telephone communi- 
cation with the surrounding towns. The Fire Department was 
promptly on the ground and the Engine Company dropped 
their suction pipe into the mill pond and the Active Ho^e Com- 
pany made quick connection. The Traver Hose Co. attached to 
the old foundry hydrant, and in a short time two streams w.^re 
playing upon the flames, but with no preceptible effect. The 
Chemicals found their way to the rear of the buildings, but 
were almost instantly driven out by the explosion of the oil. 
Most of their attention was given to the protection of property 
and contributed in a large measure to saving the storehouse of 
M. H. Olin & Son. 

When the flames had made such progress as to render it 
impossible with the means at hand for the local firemen to ar- 
rest the conflagration and the indications seemed to be the 
complete destruction of the business section, telegrams were 
sent to different points for assistance. Wallace Hose Co. of 
Castile was the first to reach the scene and soon its hose was at- 




V; .:-i\ 

IS-, '"f 


tached to the hydrant at the Andrus saw mill. McNair Hose 
Co. of AYarsaw came next and coupled at the same place. These 
two companies did splendid work and were largely instrumen- 
tal in bringing the fire under control. They were followed by 
the Hornell Steamer Company, who with their engine, rendered 
valuable service in the latter part of the fight. 

The buildings destroyed in this conflagration were occu- 
pied by S. Goldwater & Brother, clothiers; W. H. Herron, 
grocer; W. A. Gillet & Co., dry goods; Fred Seeger, clothier; 
C. S. Smith & Co., shoe dealers; M. H. Olin & Son, hardware; 
M. A. Lovejoy, law office ; H. M. Scranton, dentist ; C. C. Lewis, 
picture framing; Gates & Handyside, dressmakers; Olin Opera 
House. The approximate fire loss was $100,000, with insurance 
of about $56,000. 

Three years later, on Oct. 10th, 1894, Perry firemen recip- 
rocated Warsaw's kindness by responding to call for help from 
that place, where the business section was threatened with des- 
truction by fire. Perry's chemical, both hose carts and the 
hand engine were loaded on the train and made the run to 
AYarsaw in 45 minutes. The Perry boys did good work and 
were credited with great assistance in subduing the fire. 

Other important fires in and near the village were : March 
22, 1894, Dow's warehouse, loss $4,500; June 15, 1900, at Caleb 
Tarplee's furniture store; Aug. 27, 1901, Andrus' saw mill; 
Dec. 14th, 1901, Jacob Schmidt's bakery; Aug. 4th, 1902, Perry 
Knitting Co.; May 13, 1904, Silver Lake Assembly, $15,000 
loss; April 2d, 1905, Hatch property; April 27th, 1906, Silver 
Lake Assembly, $3,000 loss ; Sept. 23d, 1906, Silver Lake Assem- 
bly, $5,000 loss; March 7th, 1910, Garrison block, containing 
Hovey's Grocery, Natural Gas Supply House, Lovejoy 's law 
olTice, Supervisor Bussey's office, E. J. Webster's real estate 
office, loss about $14,000; July 15th, 1911, grand stand at the 
fair grounds, loss $3,000 ; June 4th, 1912, plant of Perry electric 


Light Co., loss $20,000; EAvart & Lake, loss $11,000; W. H. 
llawley, Jr., loss $1200; June 15, 1913, Farina & Co., Polish 
Club and Rosinski's residence, total loss $5,000; May 10, 1914, 
Silver Lake Assembly, total loss about $5,000. 


On Nov. 23d, 1914, at a special election the taxpayers 
voted to raise $4,500 by taxation for the purpose of buying a 
triple combination motor fire truck. To this sum was added 
about $3,000 raised in private subscriptions by the Citizen's 
Chemical Co. At the election there were 332 votes cast, 254 
for the proposition and 77 against ; one void. A larger vote was 
polled at this election involving an expenditure of $4,500 than 
when the proposition to raise $30,000 for a new Fire Depart- 
ment building and village hall was voted upon. 

The Citizens' Chemical Co. worked zealously in promoting 
the motor truck proposition, and the special committee, of 
w^hich Ralph S. Baker was chairman, accomplished a splendid 
work in securing private pledges of $3,000. Of this amount, 
the Citizens' Chemical Co. guaranteed $500. 

The contract for the truck was aw^arded to the American 
LaFrance Fire Engine Co. of Elmira, N. Y., on Feb. 15th, 1915, 
and the truck was officially accepted by the Village Trustees at 
a public test made on July 24th of the same year. 

During the year 1910, agitation began for a suitable new 
building for Fire Department headquarters. The old frame 
building near the culvert on the east side of Main street, which 
housed the apparatus on the ground floor, with a tool room and 
lock-up in the basement, and two rooms on the second floor, 
was considered by the firemen as inadequate quarters for the 
five companies of the village, and they advocated a new build- 


ing that would be more acceptable for their requirements and 
convenience. This agitation was continued for several months 
when, on June 21st, 1910, a special election was held to vote 
upon a proposition to expend not to exceed $30,000 for a new 
Fire Department building. There were 226 votes cast, of which 
155 were in the affirmative, 62 in the negative, and 9 blank. 
Several sites were under discussion, the existing location near 
the culvert and the Hildum property on Main street, a short 
distance south of Gardeau street, being the most favored. As 
the matter was discussed and plans were outlined, the Village 
Board of Trustees took into consideration the various demands 
for better facilities for village organizations. 

The State Department had condemned the existing lock-up 
and had notified the village officials of their obligation to pro- 
vide proper and safe quarters for prisoners. The village clerk's 
office and trustees' room were in rented quarters, and as the 
matter was considered by them in all of its bearings upon 
future as well as present needs, they reached the unanimous 
conclusion that in the long run it would be wisdom and econ- 
omy to provide a building that would accommodate all of the 
departments of the village under one roof. The reason for their 
conclusion was that in addition to the /act that the clerk's 
office and trustees' room were in rented quarters, the building 
of a new lock-up was imperative, and to purchase a site and 
erect a lock-up as a separate building would require a separate 
heating system and involve other expense in maintenance. To 
combine all departments in one building therefore seemed to 
them to be the wisest and most economical purpose. 

Plans were prepared by F. W. Kirkland, architect, of 
Rome, N. Y., and on May 17th, 1912, contract was let to Jones 
& Dennison of Hornell for the construction of a brick and tile 
fire-proof building at their bid of $25,843.00. Changes and 
additions were made to the original plan to meet the desires of 



tlic fin'iiicn jumI to increase tlie facilities, which finally pro- 
vided a I'ooni foi' eacli of the five fire conij)anies on the ground 
floor, in the rear of the large room for the a})i)arat\KS, also office 
for the village clej-k, with large fire-proof vault for the village 
records; room for the Village Trustees, toilet rooms, etc. In the 
basement a large tool I'oom for the Street Department, an office 
for tile Police Department, an olfico for the Street Superintend- 

ent, a -lustice Court room, vagrant room, detention room for 
women prisoners, and lock-up with steel cells in the rear. On 
the second floor a large assembly room for meetings of the Fire 
Departnu'ut, coat rooms and toilet rooms for men and women, 
large room for banquets or parties, kitchen with full equip- 
ment, dishes, silverAvare, etc. 

Bonds were issued for $25,000 and the old frame building 
was sold for $1500. The several changes made in the original 
plan involved an additional expense, and on July 7th, 1913, a 
proposition was submitted for the raising of an additional 
$11,000 to complete the building. There were 204 votes cast, 


of which 126 were in the affirmative, 67 in the negative, and 11 
blank. The cost of the building, including the jail equipment, 
heating and plumbing plant, etc., totaled $41,000. 

The building is complete in all of its appointments, com- 
mands the admiration of all who see it, and contractors and 
others who have examined it have stated that it represents 
100 cents on every dollar expended upon it. 


Agitation for and Installation of Municipal Water Works System — 
Difficulties Encountered and Overcome It's Success Beyond 
Expectations of the Most Sanguine Advocates. 

The costly fire of 1S})1, r«'f('r»<'(l to in the last chapter, in- 
spired eoiisiilera])le tliscussioii of tlie necessity for an adequate 
system of fii'c protection, but the temporary ao:itation of the 
matter ended in discussion. Tlie fire at Warsaw three years 
later revived the interest, but no definite stej)s were taken. On 
March 27th, 1895, the Village of Canaseraga suffered a fire loss 
of $125,000 because of lack of proper protection and its busi- 
ness section was practically wiped out. In an editorial com- 
nuMit in the Pcri'y Record of April 3d, 1895, the writer said: 

"Perry can take a lesson from Canaseraga 's misfortune. 
While this place is favored in numy r«'spects and we have an 
ample supply of water for fire protection in portions of the 
village, there are other portions where there is practically no 
fire protection whatever. And while we regret to say it, we 
uuist admit that had a fire occurred during the recent severe 
weather, when the water supply from the lake was cut off, the 
firemen would have been powerless to fight it and a conflagra- 
tion Avould have been a certain result. We do not wish to be 
classed as a 'calamity howler' by any means, but it is a fact 
that Perry needs better fire protection, such as would be af- 
forded by a good system of water works. This is a subject for 
thoughtful consideration and one that should be acted upon 
before we have such another costly lesson as Canaseraga has 
just experienced. Let the matter be investigated, that Perry 
may take its place among the towns that are up-to-date in the 
way of proper fire protection." 

Canaseraga 's misfortune brought fresh to the mind the ex- 
perience of Perry in 1891, and the necessity of some action was 



impressed upon the minds of public spirited citizens. The Vil- 
lage Board of Trustees Avas composed at that time of the fol- 
lowing named : T. H. Busse}^ president ; W. D. Page, S. A. 

Hatch, C. H. Toan and C. A. Carmichael. C. M. Smith was 
clerk. Mr. Smith took the initiative in urging the Board to 


take prcliniiiiary steps to K*ani wluit was best to do, and tin* 
su^j^t'stioii met witli a ready response on the pai't of tlie mem- 
bers of the Board. 

On May liitii, 1^95, E. Delevan Siiialley cd' Syracuse came 
to Perry at their request, and as an eni^ineer made an investi- 
gation of springs hereabouts and the lake as a source of sui)ply 
for a Avater system. A meeting of tlie Board of Trustees was 
held on the evening of the same day to Ijear his I'cport and 
suggestions. It was deeided tliat the Board act as a committee 
to take active measures to learn the sentiment of the majorit\- 
of citizens; to subunt blank contracts for supplying watei* to 
citizens; to learn tlie prol)a])le ainount of revenue that would 
be derived. If enough I'cvenue was assured to pay intei"est on 
the cost of a water system and the expense of its operation, it 
was decided to submit to voters the question of bonding the 
village in a sutficient sum to furnish a ]>lant to be owend by the 

In the local lu'wspapers of May 22^1, ISO'), the Tiustees 
published a statement of nearly one column in length, giving 
their conclusions in brief, followed by the names of those who 
had signed contracts for yearly use of water for a term of 
years, viz: Perry Knitting Co., $25; M. II. Olin, $25; \V. D. 
Page, $18 ; G. K. Page, $18 ; J. C. Lillibridge, $12 ; G. M. Traber, 
$10; Charles Wise, $10; Dr. C. R. Calkins, $10; W.T. Olin, $10: 
C. D. Barber, $10; J. H. Owen, $10; Jacob Schmidt, $10; B. F. 
Rollah, $10; J. AV. Olin, $10; S. Goldwater, $10; C. G. Clarke, 
$10; J. E. Cole, $7; Jenks & Bliss, $5; W. H. Herron, $5; Citi- 
zens Bank, $5 ; C. M. Smith, $5 ; M. H. Olin & Son, $5 ; First 
National Bank, $5; Albert Richards, $5. Total, $250. Those 
contracts had been easily secured during the time intervening 
between the visit of Engineer Smalley and the publication of 
their statement, and further revealed the strength of the senti- 
ment in favor of the movement. 


On ^londay, June 3d, 1895, the voters of Warsaw (which 
was supplied with water by an inadequate private system) de- 
cided at a special election by a vote of 216 to 35 in favcr of a 
municipal water works system. On Sunday, June 9th, Wm. 
Sullivan and Henry Newton, employees at the salt plant, dis- 
covered a fire about 2 p. m. in some shavings at the plant, and 
by their quick and timely action prevented a fire that would 
have seriously damaged if not destroyed the buildings. These 
experiences further strengthened the sentiment in favor of ade- 
quate pro.ection. 

Naturally, there was considerable diversity of opinion re- 
garding the best method to be taken. The volunteer firemen 
had done splendidly effective work with the existing facilities 
and there were people who felt that what we had was good 
enough for a ii^ng time to come, ignoring the danger to prop- 
erty situated outside of the reach of the ponds. Others said 
that they were opposed to bonding the village, which amounted 
to the same as placing mortgages upon homes as a result of an 
affirmative vote. They were in accord with several of Perry's 
most substantial and conservative business men of advanced 
years whose opinions were held in high respect, who favored 
the construction of a system. by jjrivate capital, thus avoiding 
the necessity of bonding the village and taking the risk of 
making the project a financial success. They looked upon the 
plan of a municipal system as a visionary scheme on the part 
of a group of young men who were over enthusiastic and whose 
judgment and experience were not sufficiently matured to be 
wise or safe to trust. As the agitation of the matter grew in 
strength, naturally a feeling of bitterness developed between 
two factions. The sincerity of the opponents was not doubted. 
nor was that of those who favored the project. However, in 
the heat of the arguments there were a few who questioned the 
motives of some of those on either side. Exaggerations were 


made pro and con, upon llu'ory instead oi" knowled^i'. Storit'S 
were circnlatcd that wells and cisterns Avoiild be condemned 
lo i'oi'ce people to use the eity water; that a system would cost 
twice as nnieh or more than Avas estimated. It caused a line-uj) 
of the middle-a}^'ed men of the vilhit^e a«j:aijist the younger ele- 
ment, the late M. II. Olin l)ein«r practically the only prominent 
one oi' the nnddle-a«red class of ou?' citi/ens who separated him- 
self fi-om his close associates and alijrned himself with tlie 
youn«i- men who wei-e fi«:htin«^ foi* a munici[)all\' owned 
watei' systi-m. While o[>tinnsm i)ossil)ly in an extreme influ- 
ence(l the younj^ci' men, yet they wefe silieei'e in the'l' belled' 
in tile heiud'its tliat would accrue and in the certainty of its fin- 
ancial success as well. There was in fact a time when they were 
tempted to ^ive uj) the fi^ht foi* what they helieved to he tiie 
l)est interest of the villatre and siiow. tlieii- own faith in tin- ])r()- 
ject by orjranizin^ a stock company for t iie purposeof construct- 
in«j: a privately owihmI water system for supplying watei* for fire 
pi'otection and domestic pur[)oses. Tlie> learne(l that su(di 
companies secureil from villages for fire protection, contracts 
iOi- a peiiod of years for .+2.') to ^^)() \u'V iiydrant per year, which 
at the lowest figure would yitdd them j|^2, ()()() per year for fire 
protection alone for SO hydrants, as proposed. Hut pn-ofiting 
by the experience of the neighboring village of Warsaw, as 
well as otiu'rs that weic either advocating or changing from 
private to municipal ownership, they made their fight to win 
on that issue, for the larger purpose of the public good. This 
is not an idle statement, for the writer has personal and inti- 
nuite knowledge of the fact stated. 

Enginneer J. F. Witmer, of the firm of Voorhees & Witmer 
of Buffalo, was engaged to make a preliminary survey of the sit- 
uation, and he recommended Silver Lake as the proper source 
of an unfailing supply for fire protection and domestic pur- 
poses, tlie water being in his opinion best adapted for all uses, 
and estimated the cost of a complete system at $'40,000. 


Strong objection was raised to using the water from Silver 
Lake, as being detrimental to existing water powers, which 
would have to be indemnified for any injury, inviting extended 
legal complications and probably involving heavy expense, also 
because it was believed by some that it Avould be undesirable 
for domestic services, etc. 

A special election to vote upon the proposition was called 
for July 5th, 1895, at the Fire Department building, from 11 
o'clock a. m. to 4 p. m. 

In its issue of June 26th, under the heading "Wluit Shall 
AYe do?" the Perry Record said editorially: 

"The question of water works for the village having been 
agitated for some time past, the Board of Trustees have de- 
cided to put the question to the taxpayers in order to get an 
expression of the people. While each member of the Board is 
in favor of such a project, and while under the law the Board 
would have a right to grant a franchise for the construction of 
a system for fire protection, they decided that the people's 
voice should be heard in the matter. It is their opinion that 
none of the people's money should be spent until the people 
decide that they are in favor of the project. . . .The Trustees 
have decided to submit the question to the people as to whether 
there shall be a municipal ownership — profiting by the exper- 
iences of other villages, notably Warsaw and Canandaigua. . . . 
If it will pay a company of men to construct and operate a sys- 
tem of water works it will also pay a municipality. . . .If a com- 
pany can operate at a profit, so can a municipality." 

To be certain as to the quality of Silver Lake water the 
Trustees submitted samples to S. A. Lattimore, Professor of 
Chemistry at the Re^oiolds Laboratory, University of Roches- 
ter. He made a careful and extended analysis and under date 
of July 27, 1895, submitted a detailed report, accompanied by 
notes stating his opinions, the closing paragraj^h of which said: 


"Till' i)rc'scnt I'rci'dom of this Avatcr from drainage i)ollu- 
tioM, as (U'liiciistrated at every point in tlie analysis, is most 
satisfactory, and if efficient measures are instituted and main- 
tained to protect the hike from future contamination, tlie Vil- 
lage of Peri'y may be justly and sincerely congratulated upon 
possessing one n[ tlie purest supi)lies in the country." 

The Trustees also suhiiiitted from \V. li. Wilson of Buffalo, 
a contractor, a proposition to construct a complete system, ac- 
cording to designs prepared hy Voorhees & Witmer, for the 
sum of -1^89, hT'). 00, and to furnish lioiid foi* faithful [x-rformance 
of the work. 

The statement having been made that such a system as 
ju-oposed Avoukl cost $75,000 or more, the Trustees gave their 
pledge that if it could not be constructed for $40,000 they 
would not undertake the work. 

One of the deternuned opponents of the [H'oposition had 
carefully prepai'ed a circular letter to the voters, setting forth 
arguments against the question, and took it to another opj)on- 
ent to read and offer suggestions. The reading was heard by 
anotlier in the same off'ice, who was supposed to be in opposi- 
tion, but who Avas in favor of it, and as soon as possible he told 
one of the village ott'icials that a strong anti-water works cir- 
cular woidd be mailed to every voter so that he would receive 
it in the morning of the day of the special election. The official 
immediately took steps to learn where the circular letter w^as to 
be printed and through a traveling printer who was at that 
time working in the place, secured a proof copy of the circular. 
He then called the Village Trustees together, and with the mat- 
ter before them they prepared a complete answer in detail to 
each of the arguments set forth by the opponents. They arrang- 
ed for having it put in type and printed that night, and while 
that Avas being done, they busied themselves during the night 
in directing envelopes to cA'ery A'oter, so that AA'hen he received 


the anti circular in the morning mail he would also receive at 
the same time their reply in detail. That proved to be a splend- 
id coup and probably saved the day, for the reason that the 
anti circular was unsigned and its authorship was not known, 
while the repl}^ was signed by each member of the Board of 
Trustees and its clerk, creating consternation in the camp of the 
opponents who had so carefully planned their work in expecta- 
tion of complete ignorance of it on the part of those in favor of 
the project. 

At the election there were three boxes provided for the 
ballots, one for taxpayers, one for non-taxpayers, and one for 
the husbands of women taxpayers. The result showed : Tax- 
payers for, 124; against, 73. Non-taxpayers for, 42; against, 4. 
Husbands of women taxpayers for, 19; against, 5. The favor- 
able majority was 103. 

There was a rousing celebration of the victory on the even- 
ing of the 5th, when firecrackers were set off in large quanti- 
ties, the Band was brought out, and with music, parade, Roman 
candles and salutes by the gun sqnad, the victors gave vent to 
their enthusiasm and joy. 

In its issue of July 10th the Perry Record made the 
following prophecy in its editorial comment upon the victory : 

"We predict that the water works system will prove to be 
a profitable investment, and when it has been completed and 
given a fair test our citizens would not be without it for double 
tlie cost." 

How well that prophecy has been fulfilled, beyond the 
most sanguine expectations of even its promoters, Perry people 

The satisfaction with the victory achieved was short-lived, 
however, as it was soon learned that there was a question of the 
legality of the election, for the reason that a new election law 
had taken effect on May 29th, 1895. 


Previous to calling the election, the Board of Tnisteos lind 
consulted attorneys in Warsaw as to the proper method of pro- 
cedure and were advised to conduct it under the existing law, 
apparently unaware of the change eflVctive on May 'JOth. AVar- 
saw, Painted Post, Dundee and Williaiiisville had voted tlie 
same as Perry and were in the same predicament. 

Realizing tluit if the election lirld wjis not h'gal,they woidd 
be unable to fb)at any bonds, tlir Trustees considted Theo- 
dore Bacon, Esq., of Rochester, an attorney of extended exper- 
ience on all such matters, and they were advised by him that the 
only safe way was to submit the proposition at another election, 
according to the provisions of the new law. 

Acting upon the advice of Attorney Theodore Bacon, the 
Board of Trustees called another election to vote upon the 
proposition, on Friday, Aug. 2d, 1895, without any super- 
stitious fear of Friday as a day of defeat. Strong arguments in 
opposition were printed and circulated by those who were 
against the plan, setting forth figures to show the probable 
failure of a water works system as a sufficient revenue pro- 
ducer. Nothwithsaudiug the persistent antagonism, advocates 
of the proposition w^ere active in their efforts to maintain the 
favorable sentinu^nt as shown by the original vote, but as it 
seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the decision would be 
ratified, not the same degree of vigor was put forth by those 
favorable as in the first campaign, nor was there as much effort 
to get out the vote. Only those voters whose names appeared 
upon the last assessment roll of the village were permitted to 
cast their ballots at the Aug. 2d, election, at which there were 
189 votes cast, showing 114 affirmative and 70 negative, a ma- 
jority of 4:4 in favor of the proposition. There was a quiet ac- 
ceptance of the decision and the Village Trustees planned to 
act upon it as rapidly as possible. 


Attornev Bacon gave his opinion that there was no ques- 
tion of the legality of the second election and advised the Board 
of Trustees to proceed with their plans in accordance with the 
authority given to them by the favorable majority vote. Act- 
ing upon the advice, the Board went ahead with their prepara- 
tions and soon advertised for sealed proposals for construction 
of the system, to be submitted on Sept. 10th, 1895, not later 
than 7 o'clock p. m. Bids were asked for the supply of pipe 
for water mains, as follows : 408 feet 12 inch ; 7,180 feet 10 
inch; 1,800 feet 8 inch; 24,984 feet 6 inch; 10,176 feet 4 inch; 
also for 80 hydrants; 93 gate valves and boxes; brick pumping 
station ; 2 boilers ; 2 pumps, each of one million gallon capacity ; 
one steel stand-pipe 75 feet high and 15 feet in diameter. 

In response to the calls for proposals, about 30 representa- 
tives were present to submit their bids for material. The orig- 
inal plans called for 7 1-4 miles of water mains, which it was de- 
cided at this time to increase to 9 miles, in order to give fire 
protection to a greater territory. After considering the several 
bids and the merit of the material offered, the Board decided to 
accept the bids of the Chattanooga Cast Iron Pipe and Foundry 
Co. for water mains, and to install Ross valves and Ludlow 
hydrants, and an order was placed for the water mains, that 
pipe might be shipped to allow prompt beginning of the work. 

The bond issue of $40,000 authorized w^as awarded to AV. 
E. R. Smith of New York City at a premium of $1212.00 and 
with his acceptance came instructions to have the bonds 
printed. His registered letter of aciceptance was received in a 
morning mail, but satisfaction was soon changed to consterna- 
tion when shortly after noon of the same day the Village 
Trustees received a telegram from the bond buyer, as follows: 

''Taxpayers will contest legality of election. Bonds not 
acceptable at any price. Letter follows." 

The letter of explanation which followed and was received 


flic next day, eoiituiiu'cl an eiielosiiro of a lottei- writtnii to the 
hoiul hiiycr l»y active opponents of tlic proi)osition and siiriu' I 
hy two of llu'in. It stated that tr.xpayei's woidd content the 
h'tj^ality of tile election and tlie threat aeeoiiiited for the eaiieel- 
latieii hy the hoiid hiiyci", wlio natuially did not cai'e to iiialce 
the invest MK'iit with thi' prospect of becinuini; a defendant in 
.1 hiw suit in consequence. 

It made the onth)ok <^h)Oiiiy foi* the Tnistees and the 
friends of tlie proposition. After two elections had hccn lidd. 
in each of which there was a pood iiiar<:in in favor of the mat- 
ter, it looked as thoutrh it was tlm i)uri»ose of the o])ponents to 
override the decision of the voters, if possible. The Trustees 
imnK'diately held a conference, at which a few of their friends 
were present to discuss the situation and exchang:e opinions. 
With the expectation that the matter had been settled hy the 
votes of the peoi)le and there would be no furthei* (Mubarrass- 
mg opposition, the Trustees had ordered pipe foi- the mains to 
the amount of J|^15,000 woi-th, whicii was probably on the way, 
A few gleams of humor lighted the gloom of the gathei'ingwhen 
it Avas suggested that if the worst came the pipe miglit be used 
by Trustees Toan and Carmichael for draining tlieir farms, as 
it appeared that the Trustees were individually as well as col- 
lectively liable for the amount, and those two could thus help 
the others out of the predicament, as the others had no way to 
use the pipe. It was better to smile than to weep, notwithstand- 
ing the seriousness of the situation. 

After discussion and general agreement it was decided to 
send the Village President T. H. Bussey to New Y'ork to con- 
fer Avith ]\Ir. Smith, the bond buyer, and see if he could not get 
a reconsideration of the cancellation after fully explaining the 
two elections and the assurances given to the Trustees by i^ttor- 
ney Bacon. If not, he was authorized to sell the bonds else- 


where, if possible, as the Trustees decided not to be seared out 
of the fight. 

On the second day after his departure, during which time 
it can be understood that the Trustees were on the anxious seat, 
a telegram was received from ]Mr. Bussey, asking: '^ Shall I 
sell bonds at par, buyer to take all chances? Answer quick." 
The Trustees immediately called another conference, to which 
a few friends and workers were asked, for an exchange of 
opinions and decision. After discussing the matter in all of its 
bearings, the clerk asked each one present, separately, ''What 
do 3^ou advise?" Each one replied: "Sell." Before they had 
adjourned, Mr. Bussey became so anxious in waiting for a re- 
ply that he called by telephone from New York to learn wdiat 
was the decision. He was told to go ahead and sell, which he 
succeeded in doing to the firm of Benwell & Everett at par. 

Through the late Mr. Joseph Wyckoff of Kalamazoo, Mich., 
the Trustees had learned of the consolidation of the Kalamazoo 
Electric Light Co. and the Street Railway Co., Avhich gave them 
an opportunity to buy two boilers in first-class condition for 
the pumping plant at a saving of $800, but by the time they got 
their difficulties untangled the boilers had been sold. With 
the loss of over $1200 premium on the bonds and the $800 above 
referred to, and with the legal and other expenses they were 
obliged to incur in overcoming the opposition the total amount- 
ed to about $3,000. 

The contract for construction of the system was let to W. 
B. Wilson of Buffalo, who began work with a good sized force 
of men, a few over 50, on Wednesday, Oct. 9th, 1895. Land 
had been purchased of Mrs. Laura Saxton on the shore of the 
lake, for the pumping station, and a site above on the hill, of 
Samuel Sharp, for the stand-pipe. The pumping j^lant called 
for a brick building 38x44 feet, to accommodate two 80-horse 
boilers and two Worthington pumps, each of one million gal- 


loii capacity cacli li4 hoiii-s, thus making a duplicate system. 
Mr. Wilson cn^a^cd local i)t'Opl(' to do teaniiufy, furiiisli mater- 
ial and >,uj)|)lics auvl do otlier work, to tlic ext<Mit that was pos- 
sible, and for the t'oreij^n laboi-ers tiiat were engaged to do the 
tienching he secured tlie Heath i)lacksmith sliop (standing on 
the piesent site ol' the Episcopal C'liurcln for their Jiving cpmr- 
ters. At tile i)eginning of the second week he added 2S men to 
his forci' of trench diggers and made rai)id progress with tlie 
work. On Oct. )JOth, just -1 days after the work was begun, lie 
had a consi(K'ral)le part of the trenching done. i)ipe laid and the 
back-filling coni})leted on several of the streets, and nearly all 
of the brick work was completed at that time on the pump 

The rumor had gained circulation that it was the intention 
of opponents of the water system to ser\e an injunction upon 
the X'illage Trustees when they attempted to lay the l)ipe from 
the i)umping station into the lake and thus [)revent operation 
of the system. Tin- Trustees a[)i)areutly i>aid no attention to the 
story, keei)ing their plans to themselves, and when they were 
ready to i)i"oceed with that part of the work tiiey laid the "in- 
take" pii)e on Sunday, Nov. 3d, 1895, and thus prevented ser- 
vice of any injunction, which could not be done on that day. All 
of their arrangements had been so carefully guarded tiiat the 
work was carried out without a hitch. 

A submai'ine diver had been engaged to assist in the work, 
and he made an examination of the best location for the source 
of sui>ply. The specifications called for the location of the in- 
take pipe 26 feet below the surface of the lake, and in examin- 
ing the conditions the diver reported three springs not far 
apart, bubbling from the bottom of the lake. To reach them he 
found that measurements showed that it Avould require 60 feet 
more of pipe than specified, but it was decided advisable to 
provide for it. By doing so the mouth of the intake pipe came 


about fou/feet to the left of the largest spring and near to the 
other two. 

A locomotive belonging to the B.R. & P. Railroad furnished 
power by cable attachment for the operation of a plow with 
which the diver dug a trench two feet deep in the bottom of 
the lake in two hours' time. When completed, the 12-inch pipe 
was ready, jointed in two lengths, and carried out on barrel 
floats and lowered to place. In this manner 312 feet of pipe 
was laid in the lake and connection from the end to the pump 
station made afterward, the total distance being over 400 feet. 
At the mouth of the pipe was attached a 900 pound casting cov- 
ered with a strainer. The lake at that time was five feet below 
high water mark. 

On Nov. 13th all the pipe laying and back-filling was com- 
pleted, except on I\Iain and Water streets and from the pump 
station to the Assembly grounds. Rock on Water street required 
so much blasting that Supt. McKay was delayed in connect- 
ing the line on Water and ]\Iain streets beyond the time he ex- 
pected to have it completed. 

On many of the streets, people had connections made with 
their residences in order to have use of the water as soon as it 
was turned into the mains, and the early indications showed 
popular interest and gave promise of success. 

At 1:50 o'clock p. m. on Jan. 1st, 1896, blasts from the 
steam whistle at the pump station gave the signal that water 
was being pumped into the mains and at the end of two hours 
it was decided to make a test of the system. Hose connections 
were made with the hydrant at the corner of Main street and 
Borden avenue and a pressure of 40 pounds was shown. Sev- 
eral leaks developed, as was expected might be the case, and 
attention was given to repairing them during the following 


Till' st;iiiil|>i|M- liaxiiiy ai-i'ixcd, work on its erection began 
on -Ian. e^lii. On tlie same day another test was made of the 
system, the pressure hein«r raised to 80 pounds. Under this 
pressuic' only six leaks wt-re discovered, \\liieli was considered 
a remarkable showing. These were soon repaii'ed and the sys- 
tem was in operation, with i)umping direct into the mains until 
the erection of tlie standpi[)e was comi)leted, which was within 
a slioit time afterward. 

A statement issued and i)ublis!jed ])y the J>oard ot* Water 
Commissioners, dated Xov. 16, 1890, less than a year after in- 
stallation, showed that 136 connections had been made with the 
system, gi\ing an annual income (d" -i^l .^ll^.l ."). Tin* state?iient 
showed a bond issue at the first sale of $40,000, as liad been 
pletlged, but a second sale of $3,000 in ])onds to cover the loss 
that had been incurred by reason of the opposition previously 
referred to. An itenuzed statement was nuide of all receipts 
and expenditures aiul in conn«'ction \\ith the statement the 
Connnissioners called attention to the fact while otlier Boards 
of Water Commissioners connnonly paid their clerk from $800 
to $1500 per year for services, their work had been done with- 
out comi)ensation by their clerk. C. ^I. Smith. The statement 
was signed by the existing board, viz: C. II. Toan, President; 
W. D. Page. Ceo. B. Talhnan, Frederick H. Cole and S. Albert 
Hatch, Commissioners. 

The growth of the business was rapid from the beginning, 
as the value of the system was soon demonstrated, both as a 
means of adequate fire protection and of its convenience to 

The income met the interest on the bonds and provided a 
surplus, from which in 1910 an addition was made to the pump 
station, a new pump and condenser were installed at a total 
cost of over $10,000. Beside this, in 1915 it provided for the 
retirement of $13,000 of the original water bonds. 


As far back as April 13, 1875, there had been some agita- 
tion in favor of fire protection, and during that period it was 
propo^sed to lay water mains on Main street, but nothing defin- 
ite materialized until tlie time referred to in the opening of this 


Successful Campaign for Sewer System Gave Village City Conven- 
iences and Largely Increased Revenues from Municipal Water 
Works — Legal Contest Won by Village. 

p]arly in 1900, sentiment in favoi- of a sewer system for tlir 
village having developed to some extent, a bill was introdneed 
in the State l^egislatnre in res])onse to a petition fi-om the Vil- 
lage Board of Trustees, putting the streets and highways of the 
village under their supervision and providing that the village 
might bond itself for a sewer system under the General Law. 

Engineer W. J. White of Buffalo visited Perry on April 
12th in response to a request from the Trustees and looked over 
the situation for the purpose of giving them information in re- 
gard to the matter. He met with them in the evening and after 
discussion of tlie matter it was decided to get out dodgers invit- 
ing the people to have an informal election at the Fire Depart- 
ment building on Tuesday, April 17th, from 10 o'clock a. m. to 
3 p. m., to learn the sentiment regarding the question. Among 
other information, the dodgers specifically stated that 

''This election Avill be entirely informal and merely that 
we may learn how the taxpayers feel in regard to the question 
of a sewer system. If the vote should be favorable, the Trus- 
tees will then proceed according to the provisions of the law 
and follow the expressed wishes of the taxpayers. Plans will 
be prepared, and if approved by the State Board of Health, 
the exact cost of a system will be ascertained and the question 
be submitted for a decisive vote." 

This action started animated discussion and aroused oppo- 
sition, statements being made that a system would cost any- 
where from $75,000 to $200,000. The move was made by the 


Trustees because the village had doubled in population within 
ten years, during which time cess pools had been put in by 
some residents, while others had been permitted to connect 
with the surface sewers by the Boards of Health. Those condi- 
tions, together with the growth of the village made the sanitary 
situation unfavorable and in the minds of many required cor- 
rective measures. 

Notwithstanding the plain and specific language of the 
dodger referred to, it was misinterpreted by some people, who 
apparentlj' did not understand that the election was entirely 
informal and thought that their vote was to make a decision. 
The vote resulted in 77 affirmative and 102 negative. 

As the matter became better understood, sentiment in fa- 
vor of the proposition grew as a result of discussion, and En- 
gineer Charles C. Hopkins of the firm of Knight & Hopkins of 
Rome, N. Y., came to Perry on June 1st at the request of the 
Trustees. After looking over the situation carefully he was 
engaged by the Trustees to make a survey of the corporation 
and a map for a proposed system, to be submitted to the State 
Board of Health for its approval. 

On June 27th, Dr. S. Case Jones, a State Commissioner of 
Health, visited Perry and accompanied by the local Board of 
Health he made an inspection of the conditions. The fact that 
householders had been permitted to connect with the surface 
sewers and that the outlet running through the village was 
used to a considerable extent he declared to be a menace to 
public health ; that the proper method would be to provide a 
sanitary sewer system, otherwise it would be necessary for the 
State Board of Health to take action in the matter. He reported 
such findings to the Health Department as a result of his visit. 

The map and plans made by Knight & Hopkins were com- 
pleted in the Fall of 1900 and on Nov. 15th were sent to the 
State Board of Health for approval. 


The matter then rested until tlie Spring of 1 !)()!. Tlie plans 
foi- tlu' s(^wer system having been aj)|>r()v<'(l hy tlic State in 
the meantime, a petition was signed l)y the rccpiired lunnber of 
taxpayers and presented to the Village Hoard of Trustees, re- 
questing submission of the proposition to a vote. 

In response to this petition a eall dated April .'M was i)ub- 
lished for a special election to be held on Api-il 19th, to vote 
upon a proposition for a sewer system to cover the cori)oration 
(excepting the lake district) at a udniunim expense of $40,000 
and a maximum expense of $54,000. The Ti-ustees we]-<' : T. 
II. Bussey, President; J. C. Lillibridge, A. L. Aime, C. li. Toan 
and C. W. Kudd. The clerk was 0. N. Bolton. 

In a statenu'ut published at the time of the eall for the elec- 
tion, the Trustees pledged themselves not to construct the sys- 
tem unless it could be done inside of the estimated maximum 
cost, and to give people an apportunity to get any further infor- 
nuition and enlightment upon the question they had P^ngineer 
Hopkins present at a public meeting on the evening of the 18tb, 
to answer any questions that nnght be asked and to have the 
nuitter fully explained. 

At the election held on the following day there were 250 
votes cast, resulting as follows; Yes, 146; no, 103; blank, 1 ; a 
majority of 43 in favor of the proposition. 

A notice to contractors was published in the next issue of 
the local papers, calling for bids to be submitted up to noon of 
May 6th, for construction of the system. At a special meeting 
of the Trustees on that day, sealed bids were received, as fol- 
lows : 

Miller & Franklin, Buffalo, $56,900.00. 

Thomas Holahan, Rochester, $43,433.82. 

Coryell Construction Co., Williamsport, Pa., $51,481.11. 

Trov Public Works Co., Utica, $49,000.00. 


W. n. Cookman, Niagara Falls, $46,657.07. 
D. M. Rosser, Kingston, Pa., $51,140.00. 

After considering the matter for a few days and investi- 
gating the merits of the bidders, the Trustees let the contract 
to Richard W. Sherman of Utica, N. Y., who represented the 
Troy Public Works Co. Mr. Sherman was at that time ]\[ayor 
of the city of Utica, brother of Vice-President James Sherman. 

As Mr. Sherman was not the lowest bidder, there was nat- 
urally criticism of their award, but time developed the wisdom 
of their choice. Mr. Holahan asked questions regarding the 
specifications which showed that he was not familiar with such 
work and it was learned that he had never constructed a sewer 
system complete, his experience at that time being limited to 
small contract work in Rochester. While Mr. Cookman was 
found to be experienced and reliable, his financial position at 
that time was found to be insufficient to stand losses that might 
be incurred by extraordinary or unforseen conditions that some- 
times arise in the prosecution of such work. ]\Ir. Sherman was 
found to be experienced and with ample financial standing to 
meet any losses without abandoning the work. For those reasons 
the Trustees made the award to Mr. Sherman and left the jus- 
tice and wisdom of their action to be determined by the out- 

Work on the system began on May 31st, with the expecta- 
tion of its completion by November 1st. There was a good sized 
force of laborers at the outset, which soon was increased to 
200 men. 

Bids for the sale of bonds for the construction of the sys- 
tem were advertised to be received not later than June 6th, 
'when ten firms were represented and there was spirited bid- 
ding for the issue. They were sold to M. A. Stein of New York 
at his bid of 101.24 for 3^/^% bonds, the premium amounting to 


•tHHO.OO. Tlu' sale at that price was considered unprecedented, 
notliin^ having ever been known to approach thiit figure in the 
State outside of the cities, and it was a testinionialof the stand- 
in^^ of this coiuiiiunit y. In tliis connection it may he worthy of 
note tluit the Trustees at no time had an\' superstition, as i\w 
vote on tlie sewer proposition was hchi on a Friday, the con- 
tract loi* consti'uction was sijjjned on Fri(hiy. woi'k was Ix'fjfun 
on Fri(la.\-. and tfic bonds were sobi on FT-i<biy. 

On the Mth of .lunc a stri!<e was instituted aiiion.i^ tlic 
woi'kinen. s;',i(l to have been cause({ by agitators in the irroup of 
ai)out 40 Italians wlu) came from Mt. Morris to work in trencli- 
in^. They were en<ra^M'd for a ten hour- day at $l.r)0 and struck 
for an eight-houi- day at the same waj^e. oi- $1.75 for a ten-hour 
day. Operations wei'e susi)ended and Sherilf Sanford was siun- 
moned to |)i('Vent any violence. Tlie insti^'"atoi's of the strikr 
were diseharired and left town, as did also a ^'•roup who came 
fi-om Albany to woi-k on the job, leavinsf only about 100 men 
to contiinie the woi'k. The sti'ike lasted only about a day, ])ut 
it was some time before the contractor was able to secure tlie 
full force desi]-»'(l, and he was obliged to increase the wages in 
order to hold the men. 

Work on the sewer outlet began the last wet'k of Octobei', 
anil all of the trenching on the several streets iiad been com- 
pleted by Xovember 1st. An inspection was made during the 
first week of Deceiid)er. when a few leaks were discovered and 
repairs were nuide. 

The Board of Trustees prepared a set of sewer regulations 
•And the system was ready for use before Jan. 1st, 1902, a con- 
siderable nund)er of property-owners having had conneetioni 
made with their residences to furnish bath room conveniences, 
and from that time on, every bouse constructed in tiie village 
has had the connections made. 


When the time came for final settlement with Contractor 
Sherman he presented a bill for extras amounting to nearly 
5f^lO,000, his principal claim being that he had not been allowed 
a sufficient sum for rock excavation. Engineer Hopkins dis- 
puted his claim, advising the Trustees that he had made gener- 
ous allowance for extra rock excavation. He checked up the 
contractor's list of extras and pointed out to the Trustees the 
items for which Mr. Sherman was entitled to compensation, 
but as that showed the amount due in final settlement to be sev- 
eral tllou^■and dollars less than Mr. Sherman claimed, the con- 
tractor threatened to sue unless tlie Trustees accep'ted his 

It was understood that Mr. Sherman lost money on the 
contract, and the Trustees felt that he might be endeavoring 
to recoup his loss by presenting his bill for extras. They offered 
to settle with him at the figures given by their engineer, Mr. 
Hopkins, but as he was unwilling to do so, there was a dead- 
lock. A few months later, Mr. Sherman brought suit against 
the Village Trustees in his home county of Oneida. The Trus- 
tees applied for a change of venue to Wyoming County, which 
was afterward granted. Before the case came to trial, how- 
ever, Mr. Sherman requested the Trustees to meet him in Roch- 
ester for a conference, with a view to an amicable settlement 
without an extended legal contest. They complied with his re- 
quest and he made several propositions, which the Trustees 
refused to act upon at that time. They had retained Hon. W. F. 
Cogswell for their attorney, and he had told them that Mr. 
Sherman had no case against them. Mr. Cogswell said that Mr. 
Sherman "didn't have a leg to stand upon" and advised the 
Trustees not to p^y anything more than Engineer Hopkins had 
recommended. In answer to the question whether it would 
itot be better to settle rather than defend a suit, Mr. Cogsw^ell 
told the Trustees that if they felt it would be cheaper in thr 


end to pay >Mr. SlK'nuaii .i>500 in addition to Engineer Hopkins' 
allowance and tlius clean u[) tlie matter with a receipt in full 
for all claims, it was a matter for the Trustees to decide. They 
notified Mr. Slici-man that they would hold a meeting after 
their return home and would advise him promptly of their de- 
cision after it had been reached. A meeting was held the same 
evening and it was voted to offer Va\ Sherman $500 above the 
Engineer's figures, in full settlement of all claims. After nuich 
protest, Mr. Sherman agreed to accept the offer and tlie matter 
was closed. 

The maximum estimate for the system, as i)revi()usly noted, 
was $54,000. Prior to the suit instituted by Contractor Sher- 
man the Trustees had nuide three semi-annual interest pay- 
ments on the sewer bonds, a total of $2,385.00. With other cx- 
l)enses incurred the anu)unt reached about $8, 000. Deducting 
that sum from the original estimate of $54,000, the actual cost 
of the sewer system proiJei" was $51,000, or $3,000 less than the 
maximum estiuuite. The work was well performed and the 
installation of the system accomplished what was expected, a 
material increase in the amount of water rentals and the pro- 
vision of city conveniences for the residents of the village, Avith 
vastly improved sanitary conditions for the conservation of 
public health. 


Street Lighting, Local Telephone and Natural Gas Systems— Their 
Rapid Development from Small Beginnings Had Important 
Part in Promoting Growth of the Village. 

Prior to 1877, no action had been taken by the municipal- 
ity for providing lights for the streets of Perry. Before the 
time mentioned, however, a few of the more enterprising citi- 
;^ens had installed lamp posts and lights in front of their resi- 
dences, but these were few and far between, and at night the 
streets in general presented avenues dark and gloomy. 

At a meeting of the Village Board held on Feb. 5th, 1877, 
Lyman D. Loomis moved that the clerk, R. D. Higgins, draw 
up a petition asking the Legislature to pass an act granting 
power to the Board of Trustees of the village to raise money 
by tax to light the streets and maintain the expense. The motion 
was carried, and at the Board meeting held on March 5th, the 
petition was presented and accepted. It was made a law by 
action of the Legislature, and in October, 1877, an order was 
given for 26 street lights, to cost $128.21, and these were placed 
in the most important locations throughout the village. James 
L. Wade was engaged as lamp-lighter at $7.50 per month, but 
as the number of lamps were gradually increased, the wages 
were increased to $30 per month. Mr. Wade was succeeded as 
lamp-lighter by C. Minot Griffith, Oscar D. Chase and William 
McKinley. The adoption of this method of lighting the streets 
a.dded somewhat to the general appearance of the village and 
was a great convenience to the citizens, although for some time 
the old-fashioned lantern did not entirely disappear. 



Tlie Perry Electric Liglit Company was primaiily organ- 
ized in the early part of 1892, and a franchise was granted to 
the company by the Village Board of Trnstees on -Inly 23d of 
that year. On Nov. 21st, 1892, the Electric Light C'o., opened 
its plant and tnrned the current through the wires, l^efore the 
close of the year, they were furnishing current for 22 street 
lights and 400 incandescents. At the present time they are fur- 
nishing 93 street lights and approximately 10,000 incandes- 
cents, beside power for several of the smallci- industries. Vcvvy 
consumes nearly twice as much electricity as any otlier town in 
Wyoming County. 

The formal organization of the Company was effected on 
:\rarch lltli, 1893, at which time the following named officers 
were chosen: President, ]\Iilo II. Olin ; Vice-President, Henry 
X. Page; Secretary, Clarence M. Smith; Treasurer, Wm. D. 
Page; IManager, G. K. Page. None of the persons named is at 
present identified with the organization, having disposed of 
their stock at a private sale to Mr. E. L. Phillips of New York 
and Mr. G. W. Olmsted, of Ludlow, Pa., who hold a majority of 
all of the stock. 

Mr. C. W. Smith was engaged as Manager in 1901, and 
served in that capacity until June, 1911, when he was suc- 
ceeded by E. D. Handin, who was in charge for a period of a 
little more than one year. Mr. C. W. Torrey, the present effic- 
ient Manager, has served continuously since that time. 

On June 4th, 1912, the plant was practically destroyed by 
a fire which caused a loss of more than $20,000. The plant was 
rebuilt as soon as possible, the current in the meantime being 
supplied by the Tempest Knitting Company. 

The Company having acquired franchises in Warsaw, 


Gainesville, Castile and Perry, it is the intention in the near 
future to construct and equip a central power plant and supply 
all of the towns named from one point, thereby reducing the 
excessive cost of operating individual plants. A line is under 
construction from Perry to Silver Springs as a beginning of the 

The following named are the officers of the Company at 
the present time : President, G. W. Olmstead ; Vice-President, L. 
P. Benedict, of Perrj^ ; Secretary, Henry R. Frost of New York ; 
Treasurer, C. W. Torrey of Perry. These gentlemen also con 
trol tlie Warsaw office. 


The Perry Electric Light Company gave Perry its first tel- 
ei)hone system, and for a period of ten years the two were oper 
ated under one management. Early in 1894, the directors can 
vassed the citizens to ascertain the number of people who 
would become subscribers to a local independent system. By 
the last of May, 50 persons had agreed to install telephones at 
a cost of $1.50 per month. As this was considered a fair num- 
ber to begin operations with, the Company ordered a Strowger 
automatic switchboard, 50 telephone instruments, 22 miles of 
covered wire, poles and accessories, and on July 18th, 1894, 
these telephones were placed in service. The Perry Telephone 
Company was the first independent telephone company in New 
York State to install the automatic service, which Avas similar 
to the type now used by the Federal Company in Buffalo. The 
system was somewhat experimental at the time and did not 
^ive generally satisfactory service. Following is the original 
list of subscribers : 

M. H. Clin & Son, hardware; Perry Knitting Co.; Citizens 
Bank; First National Bank ; Hotel Perry; Silver Lake Railway 
depot ; Walker House, Silver Lake ; Silver Lake Assembly ; A. 


W. Talliiiaii, liardware; M. A. Wilcox, livery; Ed^erly House; 
W. 0. Davis, fui'iiitiire ; Hatch & Cole, grocers ; W. H. Hcrron, 
grocer; S. S. Caswell, grocer; C. G. Martin, coal office; Buffalo 
Tee Co. ; L<»wis Hongh, milk depot ; R. R. Dow, warehouse ; J. H. 
Watson, drug store; Smith, Kennedy & Co., builders; C. Suth- 
erland & Co., monuments; F. L. Howell, furniture; Smith & 
Ineson, livery; Record office; Hei-aid and News office; Dr. C 
R. Traver, Dr. P. S. Goodwin, Dr. A. B. Straight, Dr. Annie H. 
Pierce, Dr. ]\I. A. King, ])hysicians ; Dr. F. H. Cole, dentist; JM. 
H. Olin, C. ^r. Smith, W. D. Page, :\rrs. H. N. Page, Mrs. A. D. 
Keeney, Mrs. C. T. Wyckoff, ]\rrs. :\r. J. Olin, Mrs. C. A. Cleve- 
land, M. A. AVilcox, F. L. Howell, W. B. Tallman, Walter T. 
Olin, Charles A. Toan, F. B. Smith, G. M. Traber, J. E. Cole, R. 
T. Tuttle, A. J. Wood, residences. 

In 189') the Strowger switchboard was r»'j)hHMMl by a 100- 
line Hunnings board and instruments. As the business of the 
company increased, several changes in the switchboard had 
been made necessary. 

For several years previous to the organization of the local 
system the Bell Company had maintained a long distance sta- 
tion in Perry, for the greater part of the time located in the 
i-ear of the shoe store of C. S. Smith & Co. In :May, 1901, Mr. 
E. Stinson and ]\Ir. R. S. Baker were sent to Perry by the Bell 
Company and a 100-line board was placed in the store ; two 
booths were installed for the central office calls, and the Perry 
Knitting Go's office was directly connected. The last named 
was the only subscriber that the Bell Company ever had in the 
Village of Perry. Mr. Smith relinquished charge of the toll 
station after several years and a pay station was later installed 
in Hotel Perrj^ 

In 1903 a connection between the Perry Telephone Co. and 
the Bell Company was established, giving the local subscribers 


facilities for out-of-town service. At that time a "central 
vnergy'' cr common battery switchboard was installed with 
two operators. By the end of 1904 the subscribers numbered 
over 300, and the farmers were being given the service as rap- 
idly as possible. In 1915, lines had been extended in every 
direction from the local office and 86% of those living in the 
i^erritory were connected with the service. The total number of 
subscribers at the time referred to Avas 1240. 

The late Charles W. Smith was local manager from Oct. 
23d, 1901, until his death in July, 1912. He was succeeded by 
Ralph S. Baker, the present manager. The Perry Exchange 
has a State-wide reputation for being one of the best equipped 
and best managed independent systems in existence. Its offi- 
cers are: President, C. M. Smith; Vice-President, C. A. Toan; 
Secretary, L. P. Benedict ; Manager, R. S. Baker. 


During the year 1906, people in the vicinity of the neigh- 
boring town of Pavilion became possessed with the belief that 
natural gas could be found in that town, their conclusions be- 
ing based on indications that seemed to be favorable. After 
some agitation, a test well was su3ik and their expectations 
were fully realized. The success of the experimental well at- 
tracted outside capital, and some time later the Pavilion Nat- 
ural Gas Company was organized, composed of Pittsburg and 
other capitalists. A number of other wells were sunk, and suc- 
cess continued to attend the eft'orts to secure an abundant 

The Pavilion Natural Gas Company was granted a fran- 
chise by the Village Trustees of Perry on Sept. 23d, 1908, and 
in the following Summer the gas mains were laid throughout 
the village, connection w^ith the gas field being made on Dec. 
15th, 1909. The Company began operation here with 345 con- 


nections, and in the six yeai-s siiceeeding of their local history 
their business increased remarkably. In 1915 there were 1186 
consumers of gas i]i the Perry district, a larger number than 
in any other town in the Company's field of operations. A num- 
ber of the smaller industi'ies are using the gas for power pur- 

The supply comes from wells in the towns of Pavilion and 
York, the average pressure bein gabout 5001bs. The supply is 
furnished to Perry at a pressure of about 60 lbs. 

Mr. W. R. Buell Avas resident manai!:er from October, 1909 
to 1910, wlien he was succeeded by Mr. \V. ^I. Aiken, the pres- 
ent manager. 

The Perry district end)racos Silver Lake, Perry Center, 
LaGrange, and as far east as the Pine Tavern. 


Musical Organizations— Singing Societies, Philharmonics, Bands and 
Orchestras That Were Features of the Social Life of Perry and 
Won More Than Local Reputation. 

Perry has differed very little from other towns of its size 
in the matter of music and musicians. In vocal work the town 
has had the usual quota of singers who were willing to give 
their time and talent in return for the pleasure that they might 
derive from that kind of service. "Singing Schools" of the 
earlier days, and Singing Societies of the later period have 
been numerous, but were usually short-lived, organizing in the 
Fall and disappearing after a "grand concert" held in the lat- 
ter part of the Winter. While Perry has had many good sing- 
ers, there have been only a few who possessed exceptional 
voices. Augustus Barton, who sang in the Universalist Church 
in the early 70 's, was considered to possess the best baritone 
voice in this section of the country, and later, Mrs. B. M. Clarke 
located in Perry. She possessed a splendid contralto voice and 
brought with her a reputation won in Brooklyn, New York and 
Rochester churches. She was a solist of some note and soon 
won a distinctive position in the community. Mrs. Jenny L. 
Nobles has been Perry's best known soprano. Her exceptional 
ability, her position as teacher of music in our High School, and 
as director of the Presbyterian Church choir for several years, 
gave her particular opportunities for service and she has prob- 
ably done more than any other one person to develop local 
talent along musical lines. 

Among the "Singing Societies" may be mentioned the 
Philharmonics who gave concerts back in the '70 's, with M. N. 
Crocker as director; and a Choral Society with German Sweet 
as the leading spirit and director. The Perry Choral 


8ociet\- iiii'lci- tlic Icadt'i-shij) of Trof. N'mil/icliidi (tf IJiiiralo. 
and the W'vvy Oi-aloi'io Society, orpmi/.iMl in IIM-"! and con- 
ducted by y\v. .1. W. Royce. Tin' h'st named soccty sanjr n 
better an<! Jinn-e difficult class of music than was attempted by 
its predecessors, and anionjr otber noted conii)Ositions Inis rend- 
ered "Tbe Ci'ncifixion*' twice, "Tin* Messiah" and Tlie Trodi- 
«,^al Son." Out-of-town soloists assisted in the fii'st two men- 
tioned, the choruses of ovei- ei<;hty \<»ices in eacdi of the oratoi-- 
ios under the direction of Mr. l\o\-ce haiidh'*! tliei!* difficult 
f)arts exceptionally well. In !!>! 1. the Soeiet\- in coiijiiin't ion 
with several other similai- organizations from othei* towns in 
this section of the State, san^,' witli the community chorus in 
a o:reat music festival j:jiven in Exi)osition Pai'lc, Rochester. 
There were about 'JOOO voices under the direction of Pi'of. 
Harry Barnbart and the festival i-eeeived the hi«rhest conniien- 
dation from the i>!"ess and the lar^n- numbei- of |)eoj)le who 
heard the rendition of the splendid nmnbei-s j^nven. 

Tbe vocal music in our cburcbes bas been mostly furnished 
by cborus choirs. However, the distinctive ortjanization that, 
is best remembered by our townspeople as havino: presented 
for tbe greatest lengftb of time the bigrbest grrade of inusic is 
the former Presbyterian Qimrtet, composed of ]\Irs. .lenny L. 
Nobles, soprano; Mfs. E. M. Clarke, contralto; Mr. W. D. Page, 
tenor; Mr. G. K. Page, basso: Mrs. AV. D. Page, organist. Mr. 
C. S. Smith succeeded Mr. G. K. Page as basso for several years, 
several 3'ears. 


No records have been found giving any information re- 
garding the orchestras of Perry's earlier days. The first or- 
ganization of which much is known was the "Chapin Orches- 
tra." Organized in 1853, it began its career with the following 
named members: Earl Chapin, first violin and leader; M. N. 
Crocker, second violin; H. A. Barton, flute; Robert Crake. 


'cello; John Clark, bass; Miss Addie Walker, piano. The organ- 
ization seems to have been better than the ordinary, and the 
class of music played was more or less pretentions for those 
days and required considerable ability. The overture, "Caliph 
of Bagdad,'' was their favorite, although "Gen. Boulanger's 
^larch"' was a close second. The leader composed a number of 
their selections, some of which are in existence today. These 
and other numbers were rehearsed at meetings held in Walk- 
er's Hotel. Beside furnishing music for local functions, they 
nppt-arcd at Warsaw and other nearby towns. Earl Cliapin 
left Perry and followed violin making as a business for many 
years. His instruments became well known and some of them 
sold for over .^500 each. He served through the Civil War and 
died in the Soldiers' Home at Milwaukee about the year 1910. 
Mr. Chapin was the ruling spirit of the Chapin Orchestra, 
which disbanded at the time he left Perry. 

The Silver Lake Oi'chestra was organized in 1866 by James 
L. AVade as manager and first violin; Oscar Edgerly, second 
violin; Clark Edgerly, 'cello; Frank Pritchard, bass. Mrs. 
Clark Edgerly afterward became pianist, and her husband cor- 
netist of the orchestra, which had an existence of about 20 
years, during which period it played engagaments at Saxon's 
Hall at the lake for many seasons and also during the Fall 
and Winter in many of the surroiniding villages. 

The most widely known of all orchestra organizations is 
the little group who began their career in 1893 as a High 
School orchestra. With a membership of seven, including 
Mrs. Jenny Nobles as pianist, F. M. Washburn, E. M. Read and 
L. G. Stainton, violins; L. P. Benedict and C. N. Read, cornets; 
and Lee H. Cotton, clarinet, the organization began playing for 
rhetoricals, chapel exercises, etc. This line of work, while en- 
joyed immensely, served to increase the desire of the ambitious 
youngsters for something better, and they began taking small 


engagements at lectures, etc. Their success in this line led to 
tlie fonnation in 1894 of the Casino Orchestra, with the follow- 
ing named as members: E. M. Read, first violin and leader; F. 
M. Crocker, flute and manager; Lee II. Cotton, clarinet; Cleve- 
land K. Nobles, pianist; C. N. Read, cornet. Mr. Nobles was 
succeeded as pianist for several years by Seward Edgerly, and 
there have been nmny changes in the personnel, but the Casino 
Orchestra as an organization has been playing for over 20 years 
and is still in existence. During this period they have played 
in nearly all of the nearby towns and for four years served as 
the orchestra at Walker's dance pavilion at Silver Lake. When 
The Auditorium was opened as a theatre, the Casinos became 
and remained its orchestra for a period of 14 years, and during 
the winters of 1898-99-1900, the nuMiibers played in Buffalo for 
tlie University of Buffalo's dances, receptions, etc., under the 
name of the University of Buffalo Orchestra. 

Dr. E. M. Read and Dr. F. M. Crocker are the only members 
of the original Casino Orchestra who have retained their mem- 
bership since the beginning, and in the 20 years of their orches- 
tra life they have played together in over 1600 engagements. 

For several years previous to this writing, the orchestra 
has consisted of the following members: Dr. E. ]\I. Read, first 
violin and leader; Dr. F. M. Crocker, flute and manager; C. 
Read Clarke, slide trombone: ^Irs. E. M. Read, 'cello; Miss 
Isabelle Cole, piano; F. A. Allen, drums and traps. 


The first local brass band of which we have any informa- 
tion was known as. ''Maxon's Band," organized by Charles 
Maxon in the year 1857. This band was in existence until the 
beginning of the Civil War, when it was forced to disband, 
owing to the greater number of its members withdrawing to 
join the army. 


The ''Perry Center Cornet Band" was organized in 1886 
by Amos W. Austin upon his return from the Civil War, in 
which he was a member of the First New York Dragoons Regi- 
mental Band. There were 18 members in the local organiza- 
tion, which disbanded in 1869. 

In the late '70 's an organization was formed among stud- 
ents of Perry Academy and styled itself the ''College Band." 
James E. Crichton was leader and it existed for about two 
years, but never acquired much proficiency. 

The Perry Helicon Band ' Avas organized in 1879 by A. W. 
Austin, who was also leader. Their instruments and uniforms 
were purchased from the Saranac, Mich., band that had bought 
the equipment for use in an engagement at the Centennial cele- 
bration in Philadelphia in 1876. Disbanding a few years after- 
ward, the local musicians heard of the opportunity to make the 
purchase at a bargain and secured the firm of Hatch & Cole 
as financiers for the enterprise. They bought the complete set 
of instruments, uniforms and band wagon, making an outfit 
unequalled in any country town in the State. This band drew 
from the College Band, James E. Crichton, Charles W. Rudd 
and others of its most capable musicians and materially 
strengthened its organization. With frequent rehearsals it 
soon became unusually proficient, developed several solists 
among its members and gained a wide reputation. For several 
years it accompanied Erie Railroad excursions annually to 
various points, participated in several band tournaments, 
played in many of the surrounding towns during Presidential 
campaigns, and at the height of the roller skating craze played 
a season at the Armory Rink in Buffalo. Mr. Austin was suc- 
ceeded as director by the late Clark Edgerly and after a suc- 
cessful career of a number of years the organization passed 
into history and the town was without a band for a time. 



Tlic iiiciiilxi's of the Hclicini P>an(l rcinaiiiiii^ in town 
formed tlu' iiiicltMis foi- a new organization calling itself ''The 
Citizens" liaiid of Peri'v/' It Avas first nnder the h^atlership of 
(Mark M. Kdiierly, tlien of Wm. (iin)ertson and hiter of C. W. 
Kudd. Ii was re-organized in 1902 with John A. Wright as 

(From a War-Time Picture) 

director, a nund)er of skillfnl musicians having- moved into 
town as a result of our industrial growth. .Mr. Wright brought 
extended experience and soon developed the organization into 


a fine concert band with a membership of twenty or more. He 
won for it a reputation comparable with that of the old Helicon 
Band in the surrounding section. Later, it again reorganized 
and its name vras changed to the "Perry Military Band," by 
wliich title it is known at the present time. :\rr. Wright con- 
tinues to serve as director and his long and faithful service are 
generally appreciated by the townspeople, who turn out in 
large numbers during the Summer season to hear the Saturday 
evening concerts. 

Mr. James L. Wade is the only known survivor of Max- 
on's Band, and with the exception of the College Band, has 
played continuously in each of the village bands mentioned. 
:\h\ Wade was bugler of Company A, First New York Dra- 
goons, and was also a member of the regimental band, in which 
he served until the close of the Civil War. He has probably 
had the largest part in the development of band musicians in 
this community, and as a snare drummer has a reputation that 
extends over Western New York. 

The Citizens Band of Perry Center was organized in 1911 
with a membership of twenty-nine and under the instruction of 
Prof. Lloyd of Warsaw gained a considerable degree of profi- 
ciency. Citizens at the Center erected a band stand in the 
square and the organization gave a number of concerts, but as 
its membership decreased the interest lagged and the organiza- 
tion disbanded after an existence of about two and one-half 

The Polish "White Eagle"' Band was organized about the 
year 1910 among employees of the Perry Knitting Co. and has 
been an important factor in the social life of the Polish resi- 
dents of the community. It is attractively uniformed and well 
equipped otherwise and is a capable musical organization. 


Secret Organizations — Early Institution of Lodges of Masons and 
Odd Fellows in Perry — Their Lapses and Reorganization — Pres- 
ent Conditions Flourishing. 

Free Masonry is uiuloubtedly the most ancient institution 
tuiiong secret orders, embracing among its members iiien of 
every rank and condition, of every nation and clime, and 
stands among the first of those institutions establislied for tlie 
improvement of mankind. Its origin ma}^ be said to have been 
lost in remote antiquity. Some writers date its origin furtlier 
l)ack tlian the Druidical mysteries; others go back to 1950 B. 
V. The orders of architecture and their origin and uses, wliicli 
subject is treated quite extensively in Masonry, had its origin 
about 1000 B. C. Many writers claim that the mysteries w^ere 
handed down from Ceres, who introduced them into Athens 
about 1356 B. C. The popular faith of its deciples ascribes its 
foundations to circumstances connected with the erection of 
the first Jewish temple bj^ King Soloman. Written records of 
meetings extend back only to A. D. 926. 

The first provincial Grand Lodge of the United States was 
established in Boston in 1733. In 1781 the Grand Lodge of 
New York was instituted, and on March 6th, 1819, granted a 
charter to Constellation Lodge No. 320, located at Perry, Gene- 
see County, N. Y., authorizing them to confer the first three 
degrees in Ancient Craft Masonry. 

The petitioners were : John Gibb, Levi Benton, Warren 
Buckland, George Mordoff, James Waterhouse, Thomas Edg- 
erly, Hiram Wright, Charles Tripp, Sajnuel D. Bishop, James 
Ilammersley, Jared Whitney, John Bowers, and Ebenezer Hig- 
gins, Jr. The first officers were: Ebenezer Higgins, W. M..; 
George Mordoff, S. W. ; Charles Leou*ard, J. W. The first re- 


turns to 1820 showed the following additional ott'icers: Thomas 
Edgerlv, secretary : Horace Bingham, treasurer ; Hiram Wright 
and Ruins Brayley, P. W. M/s. At that time it showed the fol- 
lowing named additional members: Charles Burlingham, Peter 
dark, Nathan Chichester, Edward Camp, Smith Finch, Otis 
Higgins, Selden Higgins,' John D. Langdon, Peter Sedam, Jona- 
than Woodbury, John Bowen, Allen Miller and Samuel E. 

The first meetings of the local branch of the order were 
held on the second floor of the old log school building which 
was erected in 1816 on the corner of Lake and Short streets. 
The original charter was forfeited in 1835, probably because of 
the strong anti-Masonic feeling that arose because of the mys- 
terious disappearance of Wm. Morgan of Batavia, author of a 
book purporting to disclose the secrets of Free Masonry. The 
agitation Avhich followed his disappearance in 1829 caused 
many desertions by those affiliated with the order, and many 
charters in this section were surrendered. 

On July 5th, 1856, the Grand Lodge granted a charter to 
Charles W. Hendee and Henry E. Daniels, and other petition- 
ers, who adopted the name previously used by Perry Masons, 
and Constellation Lodge No. 404 came into existence. 1862, 
this charter was also surrendered, and during ten years the 
sound of the gavel was not heard in Perry. In 1872 the charter 
was restored, and since that there has been no interruption of 
its existence. 

Since 1856, the following named have presided as Masters 
over its deliberations: Charles W. Hendee, Edwin M. Read, 
Horace M. Daniells, Milo H. Olin, Marshall S. Nobles, John J. 
Martin, Gilbert R. Traver, Albert H. Lowing, John F. Gates, 
Robert R. Dow, Philip S. Goodwin, Elmer J. Abbott, Thomas H. 
Donnelly, W. Dennison Olmstead, Sidney J. Jenckes, J. Robert 
Brownell, Fred M. Washburn, A. W. Hotaling. Kendall P. 
Smith is the Master-elect. 



In the <rvvi\t fin* which occurred in May, 1891, the lodj^e 
room was totally clcstro\ed, togctiicr with all paraphernalia 
and many valuable documents, causing a severe loss over and 
above the insui-anee; but they arose from the ashes and at the 
annual session of the (Ji'and Lodtrc, the following June, they 
obtained a duplicate of their charter. 

For a long time there was agitation for a i)ermanent home 
of their own, l)ut the matter did not take definite shape until 


the latter part of 1907. On Jan. 18th, 1909, the organization 
purchased the building and site on Main street that had for 
many years been known as the Colund)us P. Andrus residence 
property for a consideration of .^5,000. It is a significant fact 
that Ebenezer Higgins, who was probably the prime mover in 


instituting Free Masonry in Perry and was the first Master 
of the first lodge, coming here in 1818, for many years made 
his home on the site now occupied by the temple. 

Following the purchase of the site, the members became 
active in raising funds to secure their cherished plan of a suit- 
able temple for a permanent home and met with such success 
that the corner stone of the building was laid on October 9th, 
1914. Delegations were present from surrounding towns, the 
city of Buffalo being represented by 25, some of them members 
of the Grand Lodge. Practically the entire membership of 
Constellation Lodge was present at their rooms at 2 o'clock in 
the afternoon of that day, and in company with the visiting 
brethren they marched in a line of twos to the site of the tem- 
ple, where exercises were conducted as follows: Selection by 
a male quartet composed of J. C. Herzberger, Walter Morse, 
Dr. F. M. Crocker and B. L. Mayhew ; proclamation by Grand 
Marshal W. H. Ellis of Buffalo ; opening of the Grand Lodge by 
Deputy Grand Master Thomas Penny of Buffalo; prayer by 
Grand Chaplain Rev. George E. Price of LeRoy ; singing of the 
hymn "America," by the assemblage; presentation of silver 
trowel to Grand Master Penny by Worshipful Master Dr. F. M. 
Washburn, on behalf of Constellation Lodge. The order of ser- 
vice was : Presentation of box containing memorials, by Grand 
Treasurer J. R. Brownell ; reading of contents of box by Grand 
Secretary W. D. Olmstead ; depositing the box by Grand Treas- 
urer; presentation of Avorking tools by Master Architect 
George C. Fox; laying the stone by Grand Master Penny; test- 
ing the stone by Deputy Grand Master P. S. Goodwin, Senior 
Grand Warden John G. Wallenmeier, Jr., and Junior Grand 
AVarden S. L. Strivings. Consecration : Scattering the corn by 
Deputy Grand Master ; pouring the wine by Senior Grand War- 
den ; sprinkling the oil by Junior Grand Warden ; invocation by 
Grand Master ; oration by Rev. George E. Price ; proclamation 


l)y (Ji-aii(l Mai'shal ; music by (luartct and Lodjjfc; benediction 
l>y the (irand Cliaplain. 

Tlic j)i'oi)crty represents a tv)tal iii\-estinent of al)out 
^30,()()(), which includes furnishings. 

Tlie first reg^ular nieetiuir in the new T<'ni|>le was h<'ld on 
the ni^dit of Sept. ir)th, IfM."). when the iiifinbrrs met in tlieir 
lodge rooms in the ()li?i bb)ck, adjourned and nuirched in a 
])od\' to tlieir i)eautif\d new home. 

Sih'er- Lake Lodge Xo. 1()(). of the ln(^e|)endent Order of 
Odd Kell(u\s was grantetl a charter on .Ian. 2r)th, 1844, the i)e- 
titioners thei'efoi- being: Isaac X. Stoddard, JIai'i-y Brown, Jos- 
iah N. Iliggins, .Iar<Ml T). Turrell and Anson T). Smith. The lodge 
was instituted on K.'b. f)t!i. 1S44. by \V. L. (J. Smith, D. I), (i. 
M. In the yeai- iSli'J the chai-tc?- was snrrrn(h'i't'd. and those of 
its memlx'rs who desired to retain their mciMbership in th(» 
Order were o])Iiged to atfiliate Avitli l()dg<'s in other towns. In 
August, 1891, a few of the Od(i Fellows who were residents of 
Perry procured a special dispensation and began the work of 
securing new members. These brothers were John Stockwell, 
Leonard Tuthill, Frank Richards, Myron Wilcox and Warren 
IVeston. John Stockwell was chosen Noble Grand and held the 
office until .Ian. 4th, 1892, when he was succeeded by Leonard 
Tutliill. On Aug. 18th, 1891 a charter was granted and on 
Sept. 24th of that year the lodge was duly instituted by J. O. 
Williams, D. D. G. M. Crystal Salt Lodge No. 505, of Warsaw, 
w^as present in a body, and performed the first installation of 
officers. The ceremonies were held in the third story of the old 
Bailey block on the corner of ^lain and Covington streets. Later, 
lodge rooms were secured over Robert Stainton's dry goods 
store, in the brick block between the Oavcu and Cole blocks. 
In June, 1892, the hall owned by C. P. Andrus in the third 
story of the Andrus brick block and on the 16th it was ded- 


icated to the uses of the organization. This was the regular 
meeting place of the lodge during a period of 18 years, at the 
end of which time they purchased the J. W. Olin brick block on 
the corner of Covington and Short streets and fitted their pres- 
ent attractive and commodious quarters for their temple. The 
new quarters were dedicated on Nov. 20th, 1910. 

The following named are those who held the office of Noble 
Grand of Silver Lake Lodge No. 614, since the second charter 
was granted in 1891 : John Stockwell, L. C. Tuthill, J. H. Terry. 
A. C. Bryant, E. U. Wilcox, T. H. Donnelly, J. C. Lillibridge, S. 
N. Buttles, S. E. Stow, Frank Dresher, B. F. Rollah, A. F. 
Davis, 0. B. Finch, V. H. Badger, A. W. Waufle, C. G. Clarke, 
T. R. Douglas, J. B. Townsend, H. 11. Kittle, J .H. Wilcox, M. 
A. Russell, M. F. Streeter, A. W. Hotaling, B. C. Shaw, J. T. 
Smith, A. C. Way, James Mclntyre, Leonard Fish, L. S. Chap- 
man, S. L. Pike, James E. Wade, R. II. Cone, John Stapleton, 
D. G. Bush, Luke Warner, John Scott, Wm. A. Noble, Charles 
Freeman, Fred Mason, Edw^n R. Kershaw, Roy F. Hewitt, Ray- 
mond Taylor, Leslie Handley, A. J. Noble, Paul Hoeppner, Gus- 
taf Peterson. 

Various other fraternal organizations have come into exist- 
ence during the later years of the town's existence, some of 
which have passed into history, while others are in a flourish- 
ing condition at the present time, but there number is so many 
that it is possible to mention particularly only the two referred 
to, which are the oldest and the best known. 


Silver Lake Agricultural and Mechanical Association — Wyoming 
Historical and Pioneer Association, Originator of Annual 
Pioneer Picnic at Silver Lake. 

This organization caiii«' into existence at a iiiectinij^ liekl 
on the 25th of October, 1879, and t]n» followinjr named g<'ntle- 
inen subscribed as charter iiieiiibcrs : .lolm S. Wcsthike, Rufus 
H. Stedman, ]\Ioses C. Williams, Ilntrh M. Scranton, Geori^e 
Tomlinson, Lewis E. Chai)in, Marsliall S. Xobles, Willard J. 
Chapin, Georjre IL AVrijifht and Samuel A. Hatch. The objects 
of the Association were the j)romoti()n and advancement of 
agriculture, liorticulture, me(dianical arts and household indus- 
try. In less than a year from the date of the meeting a stock 
company had been formed witli a capital of $7,000, of which 
$5,000 had been subscribed, !20 acres of land liad been |)urch- 
ased from George II. Wright and David Andrus. and encdoseiL 
A first-class half-mile ti-ack was constructed at a cost of more 
than $1100, judges' stand, pens, stables and a secretary's office 
had been built. The track was surveyed by Henry Bates of 
Ilornell and was constnicted by ^Messrs. Wright and Shepard 
of Perry. R. W. Brigham was the first president of the organi- 
zation and Lewis E. Chapin its first secretary. The first fair 
was held on Thursday and Friday, October 7t}i and 8th, 1880. 
There were 6000 people in attendance, and 916 entries in the 
several departments. The best racing time 2 :33i/4 for the mile, 
which was considered fast for that time. The grand stand and 
exhibition hall were constructed during the following year. In 
1912 the grand stand was destroj^ed by fire, and a new and 
more commodious one was soon afterward erected. 

Situated as we are, in the center of a fine agricultural com- 
munity, where industries are not lacking, the institution of the 
Silver Lake Agricultural and Mechanical Association met with 



the instant approval of the residents and acquired tlie hearty 
co-operation of all of those people who could properly come 
within its jurisdiction. During the 36 years of its existence 

the management has kept pace with the wonderful growth of 
ilu' town, and its annual exhibitions attract thousands of people 
to Perry. 


In the early Fall of 1872, the late Jonathan Sleeper of 
Perry and the late Myron Locke of Castile met at Silver Lake. 
In the course of their conversation, Mr. Sleepr said: ''Myron, 
how^ would it do to have some handbills printed, advertising an 


old folks' picnic to be held at tlie lake some time this Fall?"' 
]\rr. Locke replied that he thought it a good suggestion, and to- 
gether the two men arranged the preliminary details for a good 
old-fashioned outing. The supposition was that there might he 
about 50 people present on the day appointed, but when the 
time came there were nearly 300 in attendance. During the 
course of the exercises, it was proposed to hold another meeting 
the following year. The attendance at this second gathering 
was so lai'ge that it was decided to institute a permanent organ- 
ization. During the first few years the meetings were held in 
Saxton's grove. Logs with planks across them served for seats. 
As the gatherings increased in size and the interest deepened, it 
was proposed to buy a lot and erect a building thereon for the 
purpose of establishing a home for the organization. An appli- 
cation signed by six constituent members of the association 
was presented to the State for a charter, which was granted in 
1874, under the name of the ** Wyoming Historical and Pioneer 

Two acres of land in the grove owned by the late Samuel 
Sharp were purchased in 1877 and plans were drawn for a pio- 
neer log cabin, 25x40 feet, one and one-half stories high. The 
work of building the cabin was done voluntarily, the logs being 
contributed and hauled to the ground. Many turned in and 
gave a helping hand, and a society in Perry gave an entertain- 
ment, the proceeds of which were used to purchase the shingles 
for the roof. The cabin was completed in time for the annual 
gathering in 1878. At the time of its transfer to the Associa- 
tion by the building committee, there was an incumbrance of 
$162.00 on the building. Some one present suggested that a 
life membership ticket be issued, giving the holder all of the 
privileges of the Association upon payment of one dollar each, 
with the result that the dollars were handed to the secretary 
faster than he could write the receipts. In this way enough 



money was raised iu a few minutes' time to pay the entire in- 
debtedness. The present auditorium was erected by the Assoc- 
iation in 1896. 

For nearly half a centurj^ the festival gatherings have been 
held, and the multitudes that assemble there annually is posi- 
tive proof of its popularity. 

Mr. Robert Grisewood, Avho was one of the early settlers 
of Perry, spent much time in collecting ancient relics and cur- 


Trustee of Pioneer Association, and for many years Custodian of the Log 

Cabin, he was a familiar figure to visitors at the Lake. 

ios to be placed on exhibition in the pioneer cabin. He met 
with much success in his search, which extended throughout 


tiic cDinity, and to the collrction tlius started, additions have 
l)(.'i'ii iiiadf Irom time to time l)y voluntary contributions. As 
one enters llie cabin, it has the appearance of a i)ioneer's hom*'. 
i he o[)en fireplace, Nvilh all l<inds of cooking utensils in their 
proper places, is on oin- side. On shelves adjoining the chim- 
ney IS tlu' household ci-ockery. In the oi)posit(' coi-ncf is the 
oid-fasiii( lied staiiway by which the second floor may l)e 
reached. At the othe!' end of the room, in one corner, is the 
priiiiiti\e bedstead, which was made by boring holes into the 
logs at the mid and side of the building, and driving in two 
poles, which proj(M't far enough for the length and width of tlie 
bed. The i)oles are supported at the ends by one i)ost. Long 
stri{)s ol' barks are woxcn b«'twcen tlir poles and logs, on whicli 
the bed is made. The canoi)y is si)read six feet from the floor, 
as in the olden time, to i)i'ot«'c1 the bedclotliing from the dirt 
that may come from abo\i'. rnderneatii is a ti'undle-])ed for 
the childi'cn. 

In the center of the room are placed several large show- 
cases, where the smaller curiosities are kept under lock and 
key. Hanging from the walls in every conceivable place are 
seen hundreds of valuable relics, which, if lost or destroyed, 
could never be duplicated. At the top of the stairway at the 
south of the cabin, is a well lighted attic filled with interesting 
mementoes of pioneer days. Among these is the famous old 
wooden mold-board plow, made for four yoke of oxen; the 
mail bag used in the long ago to carry the mail from Geneseo 
to Angelica; old grain fans, harness, etc. In one corner of the 
room is a high bedstead made of black walnut, which was for- 
merly the property of a Missouri slave-holder. Hanging from 
the rafters are frames filled with photographs of prominent 
pioneers. On the main floor is the desk that was used by the 
late Grover Cleveland at the time that he was mayor of the 
City of Buffalo, and many other equally valuable relics associ- 


ated with the history of Western New York as well as with this 
iiiiiiiediate locality. 

The great accumulation of these priceless relics and the 
fact that they are in a building that might be destroyed by fire 
prompted the trustees of the Association to ask that the people 
of this county vote an appropriation of $5,000 for a suitable 
museum building that would be at least measurably fire-proof 
and light and attractive for the care and display of these relics, 
permitting the pioneer cabin to be solely what it was designed 
to be, a typical home of the people of the early days. It is 
hoped that the value and importance of such a building will 
impress itself upon our people. When given an opportunity to 
vote upon the proposition it was defeated, but it is hoped that 
if it shall be presented again a faA^orable vote will result, per- 
mitting the county to have a museuui and histoi'ical representa- 
tion of the things that are of inestimable educational value to 
the coming generations. 

Nearly every one in this locality has seen the section of the 
big tree which stands upoji platform just outside of the log 
cabin referred to, but few have learned of its early history. 
For centuries this tree stood as a landmark in this section; first 
for the native American, and then for the pioneer. It grew in 
a part of the Tow^n of Pavilion, on the farm formerly owned by 
Calvin Dutton, and was known far and near as ''the Giant Tree 
of Western New York." It measured 50 feet in circumference 
at the base, and about the year 1834, at the raising of a house 
on the farm, 40 men and boys gathered together at one time in 
the hollow of this tree. There was a sort of doorway or en- 
trance into it, supposed to have been cut by Indians, who found 
in its capacious hollow, both shelter and rest. That it was 
known and honored by them the earlier history of the country 
show^s, and the Batavia and Leicester road, which ran near the 
tree, w^as called by them "The Big Tree Road." A large part 



of its top had fallen as long ago as ISIT), yet the vitality of the 
ti-niik was pi-csiM-ved until the last. Two of the lower liiuhs of 
the tree wcii' ln'olicn olV ahout tlu' year IS")?, and one of them 
iiit'asiii-cd rj IVfl ill circniiircrcnct'. ( 'onjeclurc as to its age 

Steamer "Nellie Palmer,"' built in 1864 by public subscription. She was 
the first large steamer on Silver Lake and was the pride of the people for 
a number of years. She was about 50 feet long by 20 feet wide, with two 
decks and a carrying capacity of 150 passengers. She was of the side wheel 
pattern and could navigate in shallower water than her successors. She 
burned at her dock several years after the launching of her interesting car- 
eer. She was named after Miss Nellie Palmer of this place, whose grandfa- 
ther was the largest contributor to the fund for the boat's construction. 


and height is vain. Many j^eople believe it to have been at 
least 2,000 years old. Its resistance to decaj^ even after being 
bruised and broken, indicate remarkable longevity. The giant 
tree fell about the 3^ear 1875, during a severe electrical storm, 
and the portion of its base now at the pioneer grounds was 
l)laced there about the year 1880. 


Perry Public Library, the Realization of a Long-Cherished Dream — 
Beautiful Building Situated on an Ideal Site — Its Steady De- 

The dream of a public library iu Perry had been cherished 
by many of its people for a number of years, as a particularly 
desirable institution demanded by the growth of the place. A 
circulating library was in existence for ten years or more, made 
j)Ossible by the enterprise of some of the women and men who 
were interested in the better class of historical and educational 
works as well as of fiction. A library was maintained in con- 
nection with the High School, and tlic friends of each hoped 
that they would some day form the nucleus of a public lil)rary 
that would better meet the growing needs of the community, 
to be housed in a suitable building tliat would be a home for 
such an institution and at the same time an ornament to the 
public buildings in the town. Tlie first definite stei) in the agi- 
tation for a public library was made a few years ago, when 
Mrs. L. A. Macomber gave the sum of $25 to tlie Mutual 
Friends Club to be used as a "nest egg" for the library fund, 
that organization being perhaps the most active in the agita- 
tion of the project. 

Aji ideal site for the location of the proposed building was 
the practically abandoned old cemetery on North Main street, 
on the east side, a short distance above the corner of Main and 
Church streets. There were difficulties in the way, which re- 
quired special legislation to overcome, and the aid of Thomas 
H. Bussey of Perr}^ then State Senator from the 44th District, 
was enlisted to secure such legislation as would give to the 
tow^n the permanent use of the site for the purpose proposed. 
He therefore introduced and secured the passage of a bill which 


gi-anted such rights to the tOAvn at the legislative session of 
1912, becoming a law on May 7th of that year. 

After considerable study of the matter and of the best 
method to secure a realization of tlie project, ^Mrs. L. A. Ma- 
oomber, Mrs. W. H. McClelland and Miss Anna Dibble, a com- 
mittee representing the ^Mutual Friends Club, the oldest 
literary organization in tlie town, called upon Supervisor W. D. 
Page on March 1st, 1911, and requested him to communicate 
with Mr. Andrew Carnegie, to see if that philanthropist could 
not be induced to bestow his favor upon Perry, as he had done 
upon many other towns and cities of the country. Mr. Page 
at once took up the matter, and after a correspondence cover- 
ing a period of about a year, secured as a result of the solic- 
itation, an agreement from the Carnegie Corporation to give 
the sum of $12,000 for a library building, providing the people 
of the Town of Perry would furnish an acceptable site and 
vote to assure an annual aijpropriation of ten per cent, for 
its maintenance. The site was provided, as above referred to, 
in furnishing the old cemetery property, and a special town 
election was held on Tuesday, Oct. 8th, 1912, to vote upon the 
proposition to raise annually the sum of $1200 for the main- 
tenance of a public library. There was 336 ballots cast, of 
which 286 w^ere affirmative and 14 negative, four void and two 

Plans for the proposed Library building were submitted 
by a number of architects, but those of Mr. Beverly S. King of 
New York meeting with the most favor and the fact being 
learned that he had furnished plans for many similar buildings, 
it was deemed advisable by the Town Board, under whose sup- 
ervision the work must be performed, to have them drawn by 
an architect especially qualified in such matters by experience 
gained of requirements in places of this size, and of buildings 
to meet the special needs. It was decided, therefore, to employ 



Mr. King, his ])laiis niocting tlie ai-'proval of tin- ('iH'iictjjie Cor- 
poration as well as tlie Perry people. 

The plans were finally accepted during the week of May 
7th, 1913, and the contract was let to ^Ir. Win. A. Austin of 
Perry on the 6th day of June, for the sum of $11,400, exclusive 
of the lighting fixtures. Ground was broken for the building 
on the 6th day of July, following, and it was completed in the 
Spring of 1914. On the 27th of May, at a special meeting of 
the Town Board, the following named were apjiointed as 
Library Trustees to serve until the l)iennial town clretioii in 


November: Rev. C. H. Dibble, Mrs. Sophie Matteson, Miss 
Augusta Palmer, Fred W. Johntgen, C. Frank Eaton and 
Wm. D. Page. 

Mr. Austin completed his work in a thorough and conscien- 
tious manner, the building being not only a credit to his skill, 
but an ornament to the tow^n as well. Supervisor Page, wiio 


gave a large part of his time to personal supervision of the 
work and in looking after the many details that are incident to 
building, shares credit for the excellent manner in which the 
w^ork was performed, as well as in the preliminaries that made 
its realization possible. 

The property was formally given over to the people of 
Perry on Tuesday evening, Oct. 13th, 1914, by Supervisor W. 
D. Page on behalf of the Tow^n Board, at a well attended gath- 
ering in the beautiful new building. It was accepted by Rev. 
C. II. Dibble, president of the Board of Library Trustees, on be- 
half of the people. The Library opened for the drawing of 
books on Wednesday, Oct. 14th, and at the opening had over 
2,400 well-selected volumes, that number being increased 
within the year to over 3,400. 

Mrs. Jenny L. Nobles, whose long residence in the commun- 
ity and whose extended association with the student bodies of 
Perry High School, together with her other qualifications was 
believed to be best fitted for the work, was chosen Librarian, 
and her splendid record has demonstrated the wisdom of the 



Statistical Data Showing Growth in Population and Other Import- 
ant Features — Residents Who Achieved Eminence in the 
Country — List of Public Officials. 

The following figures taken from Government census re- 
ports, beginning with the first of such reports in 1830, show the 
development of the town and village. It will be noted that in 
1840 the population outside of the village was considerably 
greater than at any period since that time. 

Year Town Yil. Year Town Yil. 

1830 .. 2792 .... 1870 2342 867 

1835 2984 .... 1875 2416 

1838 870 1880 2510 1115 

1840 3087 .... 1890 2928 1520 

1844 739 1892 2990 

1845 2952 .... 1898 2240 

1850 2832 .... 1900 3862 2763 

1855 2560 .... 1902 3346 

1858 2550 .... 1905 4909 3749 

1860 2485 935 1910 5360 4388 

1865 2366 872 1915 5861 5009 

It is interesting to note by a study of the above census 
figures that from 1840 there was a steady decrease in the pop- 
ulation of the town until the time of the construction of the 
Silver Lake Railway in 1872, from vrhich time a steady increase 
is shown in the succeeding census figures. 

The following is a list of residents of Perry who have at- 
tained prominence in elective positions, so far as we have been 
able to learn them ; 

Chester A. Arthur, 21st President of the United States, son 
of Rev. Wm. Arthur, pastor of the Baptist Church from 1834 
to 1837. 


Rouiisovellt' Wildniau, son of Prof. Edwin Wild man, bc- 
caine U. S. Consnl at I^i-einen, Germany, 8inp:apore, ]\I. P., and 
Hong Kong, China. Wliile stationctl at llong Kong, Mr. Wild- 
man delivered to Commodore (Jeorge Dewey tlie dis|)atches 
from Washington containing tlie Commodore's final orders be- 
fore sailing his squadron to attack the Spanisli fleet in the fam- 
ous battle of Manilla Bay. In that respect Perry is in a 
measure identified with that notable engagement, which is one 
of the nu)st impoi'tant in our naval iiistoi-y. 

.Monroe ]^i?igham. aft(^i'wards Lieutenant-Ciov<'rnor of Wis- 
consin, was a i-esident of Perry until after his gi-aduaiion from 
the Perry Center Institute during the eai'ly '40's. 

State Senator— Thomas 11. Bussey, 1911-P)14. 

:\rembersof Ass.'nd)ly— (^alvin P. Bailey, 1829-:U). 

Peter Patterson, l.s8:i-4.* 
Truman Benedict, 1843-44. 
Samuel \V. Tewksbury, 1874-5. 
Henry X. Page, 1882. 
Milo II. Olin, 1892-3. 
Byron A. Nevins, 1906-7. 
* After the organization of Wyoming County in 1841, Mr. 
Patterson was appointed one of the Associate Judges. 

County Judge and Surrogate — Wm. Mitchell, 1843. Prior 
to the organization of Wyoming County, ^Ir. ^litchell held the 
office of County Judge for Genesee County, 1836. 
County Treasurer — L. A. Hayward, 1856-9. 

County Clerk— John H. Bailey, 1855. 

Charles W. Bailey, 1861. 

Sheriff— Jairus Moffett, 1852-55. 
Wm. D. Miner, 1861-64. 
George A. Sweet, 1870-73. 
AVm. S. Sanford, 1900-1903. 


District Attorney — LaVergne A. Walker, 1915. 
Coroners— Dr. G. R. Traver, John II. Watson, Dr. Phillip 
S. Goodwin. 

• Dr. James E. Crichton, who went West when a yonng man, 
became Mayor of Seattle, Wash., and afterward Health Com- 
missioner, in which last official position he w^on nation-wide 
fame for the splendidly efficient manner in which he im. proved 
the sanitary conditions of that thriving western city. He is 
recognized as an authority upon such matters and has been 
sought by other cities in various parts of the country to give 
them the benefit of his knowledge and experience. ^ 

Judge Arthur Sutherland, who spent a portion of his 
school days in Perry, became Supreme Court Justice for the 
Seventh Judicial District of New York State. 

Mrs. Carrie Moss Ilawley, who has achieved prominence in 
the literary world, was born in Perry, where she received her 
early education. She removed to Iowa and became president of 
the Iowa Authors' Club. 

The prominent people referred to above are in addition to 
those mentioned in previous chapters of the History of Perry. 

The town and village records were destroyed by fire in 
1866. Some portions of the town records prior to that time 
have been found in the county records, but the village records 
previous to that date are unobtainable. 

Supervisors : 

1814 — Jairus Cruttenden. 
1815-16— Levi Benton. 
1817 — John Bowers. 
1818-20— Levi Benton. 
1821-22— Oren Sheldon. 
- - 1823-26— Rufus H. Smith 


1827-29— Robert Moore. 

1830 — James Syiiionds. 

1831-33— Phicol M. Ward. 
"^ 1834 — James Symonds. 

1835-43— Truman Benedict. 

1844-47 — Samuel Benedict. 

1848— Levi H. Parsons. 

1849-50— Jason Lathrop. 

1851-55 — John Coleman. 

185G-G5— Dennis R. Taylor. 
i 1866-70— Samuel W. Tewksbury. 

1871-72— Randall W. Bri^ham. 

1873— Samuel AV. T(*\vks])ury. 

1874-75— AVm. Cricbton. 

1876-79— Henry N. Page. 

1880-82— Georcre Tomlinson. 

1883-87— Byron A. Nevins. 

1888-89— Robert R. Dow. 

1890-91— Charles H. Toan. 

1892-1900— Edward G. Matthews. 

1901-1902— William W. Grieve. 

1903-1906— Byron A. Nevins. 

1907-1910— Thomas H. Bussey. 

1911-1915— Wm. D. Page. 

Tow^n Clerk — the first clerk was Warren Buckland, elected 
in 1814. There is no existing record of the length of time he 
served, the next one of whom we have knowledge was Henry 
Cleveland, serving in 1844. From Mr. Cleveland there 
is another lapse of record until 1857, when B. B. Iliggins was 
clerk. The record since that time is complete, showing the fol- 
lowing named : 

E. H. Wygant, 1858-65; R. C. Mordoff, 1866-68; W. J. 

State Senator from the 44th District. 



Chapin, 1869-79; H. A. Cole 
C. N. Read, 1913-1915. 

lSS()-li)()L':('. (1. Clarke, 1903-1912; 

Village Oiricci-s 





































^lortinier Sliai'pstccii 
John S. Thompson 
Samuel L. Chapin 
Samuel L. Chai)iii 
Lvnuin G. ^lor^^au 
Russell C. :\Ior(i()ff 
Jerome Allen 
Jerome Allen 
Henry N. Page 
R. C. Smith 
R. C. Smith 
II. C. Looniis 
H. C. Looniis 
Dr. G. R. Traver 
M. C. AVilliams 
M. C. Williams 
Geo. W. Grieve 
Geo. W. Grieve 
Geo. W. Grieve 
R. H. Stedman 
R. H. Stedman 
R. H. Stedman 
R. H. Stedman 
A. H. Lowing 
W. H. Matteson 
W. H. Matteson 
Geo. W. Grieve 
John H. Watson 
Thomas H. Bussey 
Wm. D. Page 
Wm. D. Page 
Wm. D. Page 
Wm. D. Page 
John Harding 

R. D. Iliggins 
(reo. A. Sanders 
Geo. A. Sanders 
(}eo, A. Sanders 
Geo. A. Sanders 
Geo. A. Sanders 
(leo. A. Sanders 
Kohert A, Patehin 
Robert A. Patehin 
R. W. Benedict 
R. I). Iliggins 
R. D. Iliggins 
Morris A. Lovejoy 
Moi-ris A. Lovejoy 
Morris A. Lovejoy 
Wm. D. Page 
Wm. D. Page 
Wm. D. Page 
]\Iorris A. Lovejoy 
Morris A. Lovejoy 
]\Iorris A. Ijovejoy 
Wm. D. Page 
C .M. Smith 
C. M. Smith 
C. :M. Smith 
C. M. Smith 
C. M. Smith 
C. M. Smith 
C. M. Smith 
C. M. Smith 
C. M. Smith 
C. M. Smith 
C. M. Smith 
C. M. Smith 
Oscar N. Bolton 



1901 Thomas H. Bussev 

1902 Thomas H. Bnssey 

1903 Charles H. Toau 

1904 Charles H. Toan 

1905 Robert R. Dow 

1906 Earl V. Jenks 

1907 Earl V. Jenks 

1908 Patrick J. O'Learv 

1909 Patrick J. O'Leary 

1910 Patrick J. O'Leary 

1911 Chester A. Carmichael 

1912 Charles H. Toan 

1913 Fred D. Fanning 

1914 James E. Cooi)er 

1915 James E. Coojoer 

Oscar N. 
Oscar N. 
Oscar N. 
Oscar N. 
Oscar N. 
Oscar N. 
Oscar N. 
Oscar N. 
Oscar N. 
Oscar N. 
Oscar N. 
Oscar N. 
Oscar N. 
Oscar N. 
Oscar N. 


The following is a list of those who have served as Post- 

Postmaster of Perry for a quarter of a century. 



master: .lames C. Edgerly, Thomas Edgerly, Benjamin Gard- 
ner. Will. Turner. Willanf J. Cliapin. Sr., Rufiis l\. Smith, An- 
son I). Smith. Ahram Lent, II. K. Wlielpley, .lason Latliro]), 
(i(<>i«:c A. Sandt'i-s, Ilufj^h M. Scranton, George W. Grieve, 

Joseph K. ( 'ole. 


Postmaster at Perry Center for many years; Index Clerk of the 
State Assembly and prominent in Republican State politics. 

Postmasters at Perry Center 
Tah'ott II( ward, Jason T^athrop, IIeni-\- C'h'veland, Cliarles 
MeEntce. Daniel Ball. T. O. Bishop, AV. 11. llawley, Jr., Miss 
Millie IIa\\ley. Frank T). Hodges. 

This office was discontinued in 1912, being abolished be- 
cause of the sei-vice by the rural free delivery routes. At one 
time in its hist(^i'y the ott'ice paid an annual revenue of $600. 


Roster of Professional and Business Men of Perry 

This list does not include all of the different branches, as 
the writers have found it to be an almost endless task to secure 
air of them in all of the lines. We have had to be content with 
those who have been most prominent in the business and pro- 
fessional life of the town. 

Physicians — Jabez Ward, Jacob Nevins, Ezra Child, Otis 
Higgins, ]\Iason G. Smith. George L. Keeney, Jonas Huntington, 
Z. W. Joslyn, Jonathan Howard, R. A. Patchin, C. A. Dake, T. 
M. Harvey, J. Post, Wm. H. Hull, M. G. Davis, C. R. Barber, 
Charles R. Pierce, W. Green, T. R. Huntington, Samuel Ellis, 
Gilbert R. Traver, Wm. Crichton, L. L. Rockafellow, J. H. 

Wheeldon, L. W. Hunt, Hannon, James Crichton, D. W. 

Rudgers, Henrv King, IMvron King, John Harding, Phillip S. 
Goodwin, C. h. Parker, Miss S. E.^ Ullyette, George Westf aU, 
Mrs. Annie H. Pierce, W. J. Austin, Albert C. Way, A. B. 
Straight, Clifford R. Hervey, George H. Peddle, James S. Daw- 
son, J. S. Wright, J. R. Brownell, C. R. Brown. 

Dentists— Silas Smith, J. Naramore, C. G. Bartlett, H. M. 
Scranton, E. M. Scranton, Charles R. Calkins, F. H. Cole, F. 
M. Washburn, E. M. Read, Frank M. Crocker, Robert W. Cal- 

Attorneys — Robert ^Moore, Calvin Pepper, M. C. Hough,' 
Linus W. Thayer, I. M. Stoddard, Levi Gibbs, J. J. Pettit, Wm. 
Pettit, L. A. Hayward, Wm. Mitchell, J. E. Lee, George Hast- 
ings, Blennerhassett, N. E. Thomas, A. A. Hendee, D. L. 

Gilman, A. Lent, Rollin Rice, E. B. Fisk, G. L. Walker, Morris 
A. Love joy, Owen Harris, Barna C. Roup, W. Dennison Olm- 
sted, Lavergne A. Walker, Charles W. Johnson, George M. C. 
Parker, Carlos J. Toan. 

General Merchants — James C. Edgerly, Bailey & Hatch, 

Thomas Edgerly, Benjamin Gardner, Richard Bagley, 

DeZang, Wm. Wiles, M. Stratton, Rufus H. Smith, Hoag & 
Bailey, Bailey & Sherman, Orris Gardner, Phoenix & Brother, 
Cleveland & Clark, Armitage & Faulkner, Thomas Humphrej^, 
L. B. Parsons & Son, E. L. H. Gardner & Co., Parsons & Clark, 
Clark & Mitchell, P. Cady, Smith & Graves, D. Graves. Cleve- 
land & Graves, Aplin & Huntington, C. P. Bailey & Son, Cory- 


(Ion & Weed, S. \V. Merrill & Son, T. Macomber, 8. W. & C. 
Mcn-ilL George L. Davis, Cook & Morse, C. & A. D. Merrill, An- 
son i). Smith, llenrv N. Page, S. P. Clark, Ilenrv W. Barton, 
.lolm II. Bailey, J. II. & C. W. Bailey, Robert Grise^vood, F. 0. 
Bnllanl & Co., Mordoff & Iliggins, R. C. Mordolf & 0. B. Olin, 
Kugcnc Andrus, Kusscll C, Mordoff, A. II. SIcepci-, Robert 
Stainton. (1. M. Davis, W. H. Hawlev, llawlev & Son, E. & L. 
Bulb'n. ('. F. Eaton. 

(iiocers — ^-Elijali Haiiiniond, Waltci- Little, II. \V. Kartoii, 
.livah Iliggins, R. T. Hill, llieks &. Bailey, 1'.. W. liieks, Burt c^c 
Ilost'oi'd, R. Stratton. Enos \V. Frost, Williams & Stednian, 
(Jeorge Priteiiard, (Jeo. Priteliai'd «fc Co., Columbus P. Andrus, 
Charles Parker, Andrus & Cole, .1. 15. Iliggins, ,1. B. llisrgins & 
.]. W. Olin, Iliggins .v.- Ilateh, Wheeler & (iarrison, W. Wallace, 
Smith c^ (Jai-rison, Billings tJc King. C. Westhrook, F. O. Bul- 
lard, Hullard iVc. Stainton. Mareus I). Smith. Rui'us II. Stedmaii, 
S. IJaxiie. -lohn S. (Jai'rison, llateli & Cole, Stedman & Hart, 
W. H." Ilerron, II. .J. Ellsworth, Ilateh & Co., Williams .^ Maee, 

Loeke. Williams <t Stediiuui, Philli]) .1. Cooper, (.'ooper 

t^. Xewman. S. S. Caswell. Paid Armstrong & Co., B. F. Rollah, 
Casterline t^ I lol lister, Ben .1. Tylei-. Ilateh. Cole & Roche. 
Ilateh & Hoehe, (\ K. Sutton. S. c" Allen, Watkins Bros., Wat- 
kins «i. MeKurth, C. X. Ki-ad, B. F. Eberstein, (iarrison & ^Ma- 
eond)er. Maeond)er & (iriexe. Straight 6c VanGilder, M. A. Ma- 
eond)ei", O'Brien c^ K»'nne(ly, Chai'h's Kennedy, Wernham Bros., 
F. D. Hodges & Co., Albert Ames. M. F. Streeter, Hovey Bros., 
A. II. Hovey, M. F. Commiskey & Co., W. G. Roche, Chas. Balis- 
trere, Francis Ballistrere, Marshall tic Sons, F. B. Smith, Irving 
H. Eaton, F. L. Stewart, Sehaumberg & Son, A. L. Colburu, 
Frank Rychlick, Rae Jones. 

Hardware — E. P. Clark, Huntington, Wvckoff & 

Tuttle, Wvekoff, Tuttle & Olin. R. .]. demons, F. C." & D. S. 
Walker, D. S. W^alker, F. 0. Bullard & Co., F. H. Alburty, Al- 
burtv & Soper, E. Cooper, Smith & Lowing, Smith & Martin, 
Tallman & Son, A. W. Tallman. M. II. Olin, M. H. Olin & Son, 
T. V. :\roore, Eaton & Mepham. Olin & Peek, Olin, Peek & 
Grieve, Olin & Grieve, (\ Frank Eaton/Walter T.Olin, Harry IT. 
Chaddock, Ireland & Coiie, Joseph Ireland. 



Druggists — Joseph Lamberson, Hubbard & Wakelee, Cal- 
vin L. Hubbard, Clark & Mitchell, David Mitchell, S. & B. B. 
Higgins, Wright & Allen, John H. Terry, Willard J. Cbapin, 
Chapin & Olin, Milo H. Olin, James H. Owen, George J. Wat- 
son, Watson & Son, John Harry Watson, C. Newton Head. Fred 
H. Mason, Mason & Baker, Baker & Roberts. 

Dry Goods— Cook & Currier, N. P. Currier, R. C. Mordoff, 
Mordoff & Currier, Mordoff & Torrey, E. H. Andrus & Co., Yale 
& Williams, Robert Stainton, Bullard & Stainton, M. C. Wil- 
liams, Williams & Whelpley, M. C. Williams &' Co., Gillett & 

Prominent business man of the early days and active in local affairs. 

Tomlinson, Gillett & Co., W. A. Gillett, Charles Wise, J. Clar- 
ence Lillibridge, Nast & Fitch, T. B. R. Fitch, George A. White. 
Royce & Wright, C. L. Coburn, Wise & VanEtten Co.. S. H. 



Booksellers, Stationers, Etc. — E. M. Tompkins. A. 1). Smitli 
& Co., Henry N. Page, R. D. Iliggins, Hyron Xevins, \V\ gaiii 
& Nevins, E. 11. Wygant, Spencer F. Lang, Stewart ^S: .lenckes, 
Sidney J. .lenckes, Hay Severns. 

Jewelers — J. B. Flower, Seymour Sherman, E. M. Kimball, 
James lliintiiigton, Cliapin & Olin, John II. Watson. Robert 
Kershaw, L. G. Abbott, Kershaw & Son, M. .1. Kershaw, F. A. 

Photograi)]iers — :\I. X. Crocker,- 



bott, W. C. Duryea, W. C. Davis, Andrew Lvnd, James Tliaver, 
J. W. Olin, C. W. Tallman, W. A. Bassett. 


Leader in musical circles in the middle of the century. Photographer 
who had an enviable reputation as an artist. 


Clothiers— Daniel Richards. J. S. Westlake, J. S. Brayton, 

5. N. May, H. K. Whelpley, Alexander :\Iorton, R. C. Mordoff. 
8. GoldAvater & Bro., Fred Seegar, S. Goldwater, Tallman Bros. 
& Co., Talhnan & Noonen, Mortimer Diiryee, Fred C. Bliss, 
Jenks & Bliss, Johantgen Bros., Fred W. Johantgen, Nesmith 

6. Phillips, Salmon & Ettingshaus, D. W. Watson, Smith & 
Schouten, C. A. King Co. 

Musical Instruments — German Sweet, L. B. Sweet, E. D. 
Sweet, J. W. Martin & Bro., Wm. E. Copeland, Albert R. Mat- 
rons, AVatrous & Rumsey. 

Shoe Dealers— J. King, Slocum & TenEyck, John TenEyck, 

E. Higgins & Son, Peter Alburty, W. J. Chapin & Co., AV. & J. 
Ridsdale, Levi D. Warren, Besancon & Lawrence, George C. 
Chapin & Co., Moifett & Brown, Smith & Butler, A. C. Barras, 
R. C. Smith, J. B. Shearman, A. H. Sleeper, Alexander Cole, 
Abram White, C. S. Smith & Co., A. Cole & Son, aiarles S. 
Smith, A. Wliite Estate, H. A. Cole & Son, George A. White, W. 
J. Gregg, George L. Peck, Lester Shoe Store, P. J. Cooper, Sal- 
mon & Ettingshaus. 

Furniture Dealers — David A. Shirley, J. S. Horton, Hooper 
& Buttre, Nelson Edgerly, W. T. Buttre, Lewis & Stout, C. E. 
Lewis, Gilbert H. AVestlake, Martin Post, Howell & Jenkins, F. 
L. Howell, W\ 0. Davis, Caleb Tarplee, B. A. Nevins & Son, 
Hart & Grieve, Tarplee & Stowell Co. 

Markets — J. N. Bolton, Homan & Sweet, C. H. Homan, Ho- 
man & Prindle, M. S. Sweet, Donlon & Gibney, Donlon, Gibney 
& VanDresser, C. W. VanDresser, T. H. Commiskey, Lew Kim- 
ball, Homan & Austin, J. N. Austin, I. J. Elling, M. A. Macom- 
ber, Hamilton & Smith, Charles Hoyt, Edward YanArsdale, M. 

F. Commiskey, B. F. Hodges. 



President of First National Bank 

President of Tempest Knitting Co. 



Cashier of The Citizens' Bank. 


Vice-President of The Citizens' 




Proniinont in Village and Educa 
tional affairs. 


Prominent in Village and Town 





Active in local matters; Supervisor 

Member of Assembly. 


Prominent in Early Life at Perry 
Center; Supervisor and Mem- 
ber of State Assembly. 



Since the publication of the chapters dealing with the earlier hist- 
ory a few additional facts have been gathered and are inserted here in 
order to make it as complete as possible. Also, a few corrections are 
here made: 

In Chapter I., page 9, third paragraph, it states that " Mary* Jem i- 
son and her descendants continued to reside upon this tra(?t until 1816, 
when she sold all but two square miles on the west side of the river to 
Micah Brooks and Jellis Clute and removed to the Cattaraugus Reser- 
vation." It should read: "Ma^ . JemisoTi and her descendants con- 
tinued to reside upon this trad r.ntil 1816, when she sold all but two 
square miles on ilie west side ol the river to Micah Brooks and Jellis 
Clute. The remaining part she sold in 1881 to Henry B. Gibson and 
Jellis Clute and removed to the Cattaraugus Reservation." 

Amos Smith, who came to Perry in 1808, joined the United States 
Navy in the War of 1812 and won the rank of ensign. 

Jonathan Child, who is mentioned in Chapter II, page 31, as a 
partner of Benjamin Gardner, removed to Rochester and later became 
that city's first mayor. 

James Edgerly and his son-in-law, Thomas Bachelder, with their 
families came to Perry from Vermont in 1811. They settled near the 
present site of LaGrange at what later became known as "Edgerly's 
Corners." Mr. Edgerly remained there but a year and removed to the 
Village, as mentioned in Chapter II. In the, Methodist Episcopal Church 
history, page 155, it will be noted that the name of Mr. Bachelder is 
mis-spelled, appearing as Batchelden. 

David Nevins, brother of Dr. Jacob Nevins referred to in Chapter 
III, came to Perry in 1815. He returned to his former home in Danville, 
Vt., and with his brother Jacob he came in 1S16 to Perry to reside. 

Robert Watson came to Perry in 1817 and took up land now 
owned by Wilbur Watson. This tract has been in the possession of the 
Watson family continuously for 99 years. Mr. Robert Watson is buried 
in tlie cemetery at West Perry. 

In the list of Members of Assembly, published on page 358, it 
will be noted that Henry N. Pag-e is credited with one year (1882) in 
the 'Assembly. He was re-elected in 1883 and served two terms in 
the State Legislature. 



Hector of Polish Catholic Church. 


"Putting the town on the map" is soniewiiat of a slang expression 
tliat has come into quite general use. Tntil about the year 1914 the 
Town of Perry did not appear on any of the Government maps, and to 
an interested Perry citizen, Mr. E. D. liloom. belongs the credit for dis- 
covery of the neglect. He called attention of Government authorities 
to the oversight and made urgent request that it be remedied, with the 
result that he was responsible for literally "putting the town on the 

John S. Westlake, who was born ir. Somersetshire, England, in 
1811, came to Perry in 1847 and followed the trade of tailor, later 
engaged m the ready-made clothing business. H'S ^J:ore was de- 
stroyed by fire in 1856, and in 1858 he erected the brick^ock known 
as the "Goldwater block," on Main street, in which he conducted a 
successful business for a period of 30 years, when he sold to the 
Goldwater Brothers. The building was seriously damaged in the fire 
of 1891. Mr. Westlake was prominently identified with the First 
Baptist Church of Perry, of which he was a deacon. He died on 
April 23d, 181)2, and his remains were laid at rest in Hope Cemetery. 


The value and importance of having the history of Perry compiled 
and published at the period in which the w^ork was undertaken may 
perhaps be better appreciated when the reader's attention is called to 
the people to whom the writers are under great obligation for facts 
secured, statements verified and letters or documents kindly loaned, 
who have since passed to the Great Beyond. Without the infor- 
mation gained from them it would be impossible now to present the 
facts as completely and authentically as they appear in this history. 
Those referred to are Harwood A. Dudley, Jerome Edgerly, Thomas R. 
Buell, Aaron Axtell and Charles A. Chapin. 

To Mrs. Sarah Clark Austin, for many years an instructor in 
Perry Union School, we acknowledge with appreciation our indebt- 
edness for much of the matter pertaining to Perry Academy and the 
Union and High School, as well as other educational institutions. 

To Mr. M. N. Crocker for many of the photographs made by him, 
from which we were able to reproduce the engravings; also for facts 
in regard to musical organizations. 

To Albert Richards, Benjamin Hollister, Amos Austin, James L. 
Wade of Perry, and Ansel Keeney of Gainesville for Civil War data. 

To Mrs. F. O. Bullard for the use of scrap books containing much 
valuable information relating to local history. 

To Rev. C. H. Dibble, Rev. Clara Morgan, Mrs. Abbie Andrews, 
Mrs. Charlotte Sutherland, Henry B. Stainton, J. D. Handley, Mrs. F. I. 
Cross and Rev. H. A. Waite for ecclesiastical history. 

To the following named for securing facts or verification of them 
in many lines of the work: Hon. B. A. Nevins, Garrett D. Roche, Ros- 
well Brown, George W. Silver, James Newton Wyckoff, Prof. W. H. 
McClelland, Oscar N. Bolton, Mrs. Harriet Read McMaster, W. L. 
Chapin, George Nevins, W. R. Bathrick, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Wood, Eu- 
gene Webster, Mrs. Maria Bailey Andrews, Miss Augusta Palmer, E. 
B. Tewksbury, Miss Mary A. Westlake, T. Alton Pierce, Dr. F. M. 
Crocker, Guy Comfort, Hon. Thomas H. Bussey, Samuel Cole, T. H. 
Donnelly, C. M. Smith, W. D. Page, G. K. Page, W. T. Olin, P. A. Oliver. 
K. P. Smith, W. W. Grieve, Miss Lizzie Crake, Miss Lily Peck, Mr. and 
Mrs. J. S. Garrison, C. A. Safford, S. A. Hatch, C. S. Ball, Mrs. Jennie 
Bills Watkins, Mrs. J. Clevenger, Mrs. Mary Twitchell, Mr. and Mrs. 
F. B. Smith, Fred D. Fanning, Joseph E. Cole, Dr. P. S. Goodwin, Ham- 




ilton Waldo. Artliur C. Stowell, Peter Schenck. \V. S. Benedict, R. R. 
Baker, E. R. Kershaw, Raymond Taylor, C. \V. Torrey and W, W. Aikin. 
To any others who liave directly or indirectly piven us assistance 
and who may have heen inadvertently overlooked, we acknowledge our 
appreciation for favors shown. 

The preparation, compilation and publication of this history has 
covered a period of nearly four years, taking such time as could be 
spared from active duties in business lines, and while the task has been 
an arduous one it has nevertlieless been a labor of love. We realize 
that it has many imperfections, as neither of the writers makes any 
claim to being a historian. The purpose has simply been to prepare 
and present a history of the town for its first century period in chro- 
nological narrative form, giving as far as possible such intimate details 
of what news writers call "local color" as will make it of permanent 
value not only to descendants of the pioneers, but to all others as well 
who have an attachment for the town by reason of its being their birth- 
place, the scene of their school days, or for other sentimental reasons. 

With the earnest hope that it may not prove to be "Love's labor 
lost," we dedicate it to Perry and the splendid people who have helped 
to give the community the character and standing that have won for 
the town such a favorable reputation, not only throughout W^estem 
New York, but beyond the confines of the Empire State. 

We wish to acknowledge our oblig'ations to Photographer W. A. 
Bassett for pictures from which half-tone reproductions have been 
made to provide illustrations for this book. 

We present this history with a full realization of its imperfec- 
tions as a product of the printer's art, but as the work has had t<; 
be done at such intervals as our regular newspaper work would per- 
mit, and often in haste that prevented such painstaking care as we 
desired to give it, we trust that readers will appreciate the handi- 
caps we have had and take it for what it is designed to be — a his- 
tory of Perry for its first century, prepared as accurately as possi- 
ble and published in a readable and neat form to insure its perma- 






Early History of Wyoming County — How Formed — First 
Settlers — Mary Jemison — Indian Allen. 


Various Names of the To\\ti — How Formed — Acreage — 
Early Settlers and Where They Came From. 


Anecdotes of Calvin P. Bailey — Pioneer Physicians — Early 
History of Perry Center, West Perry and'Castile. 


Perry of 1840-45 — Manufacturing and Business Places of 
that Period. 


Early Industrial Development — D'stilleries, Asheries and 


Manufactories that had an Important Part in the Growth of 
the Town. 


Educational Institutions of the Early Days — Private and 
Public Schools. 


The Old Perry Academy — Perry High School — Roster of 


Churches of Perry — Ecclesiastical History. 


Gold Excitement of 1849— Perry Men Who Caught the 


Silver Lake Sea Serpent — Affidavits of People Who Saw the 
Monster — The Exposure. 


Political Divisions — ^The Anti-Slavery Crusade — Campaign 
of 1840. 


Perry's Part in the Civil War — Organization of the 24th 
New York Battery— Battle of Plymouth, N. C. 


Sketch of the Surrender of the 24th New York Battery — 
Horrors of Andersonville — Roster of Volunteers from 
Perry, 1861-65. 


The Press of Perry — Cemeteries — Banking Institutions and 
Their Founders. 


Highways, Bridges, Etc. — Maps Showing Growth of the Vil- 
lage Since the Early Days. 


Early Transportation by Stage Coach and Canal — Long and 
Bitter Struggle to Obtain Railroad Connections — The 
Men Who Made It a Reality. 


Theaters and Anuisenient Places -Conception and Realiza- 
tion of Town Hall and .Auditorium — Hotels. 


The Most Costly Fires — Organization of the Volunteer Fire 
Department — Department Building — Motor Fire Truck. 


Agitation for and Installation of Water Works System — 
Intimate History of the Campaign. 


Successful Campaign for a Sewerage System — Legal Con- 
test Won by Village. 


Street Lighting — Local Telephone and Natural Gas Sys- 
tems — Rapid Development. 


Musical Organizations — Singing Societies, Bands and 


Secret Organizations — Early Institution of Lodges of 
Masons and Odd Fellows. 


Silver Lake Agricultural and Mechanical Association — Wy- 
oming Historical Pioneer Association. 


Public Library, the Realization of a Long Cherished Dream 
— The Site and Building. 


Statistical Data, Showing Growth 'n Population and Other 
Important Features — Residents Who Achieved Emi- 
nence — ^^List of Public Officials — Roste of Business and 
Professional Men. 



Andrews, Josiah 210 

Andrus. I)avi<l fi.'i 

Andrus' Mill Pond, 1870 76 

Atkins, Prof. M. R 118 

P.ailey, Calvin P 206 

llridge, (old wooden) on 

(lardeau street 64 

Hri^'hain. R. W 34.') 

Brooks. Rev. \V. R 152 

Bussey, Hon. T. H 361 

Carniichael, C. A 372 

Catton, T. H 175 

Chapin, Willard J.. Sr 68 

Churihes and School !()() 

Citizens Bank 248 

Clarke, Carl G 371) 

Columbia Villapre, Map 254 

Congregational Church 140 

Crocker. I\L X 368 

Currier. \. P 367 

Dann. Prof. Charles H 114 

Davis Grist Mill 74 

Dibble, Rev. C. H 164 

Fire of 1856 287 

Fire of 18!H 2il4 

First Baptist Church 146 

First National Bank 247 

First Train on Silver Lake 

R. R 268 

First B., R. & P. Train into 

Perry 269 

Garrison Block Fire 296 

Gillespie, w'alter 246 

Green, Miss Marv 120 

Hawley, W. H. jr 364 

Huntingrton. Prof. Charles. . . 103 
Hollister. B. H 225 

Jeniison, Mary (Statue of) 

Frontispiece 4 

Jemison, Mary 10 

Keeney, Dr. George L 49 

Lacv, Alanson 81 

Log Cabin of First Settler.. . 20 

Maconiber, Lewis A 249 

Main Street, 1865 222 

Main Street (section) 1867.. '71 

Main Street, 1895 292 

Masonic Temple 340 

Matthews, E. G 267 

M. Trill, Cyrus 115 

.M<'tlu)(iist Kpi.scopal Church 154 

Military-Naval School 138 

Molfett. Jairus 6!) 

Morgan, Rev. Clara 167 

.Motor Fire Truck 298 

Nevins, Hon. B. A 373 

Nevins, Dr. Jacob 48 

Nobles, Mrs. Jenny 356 

Old Perrv Academv 112 

Olin. Hon. Milo H..' 84 

Olin, Walter T 371 

Page. Hon. H. N 245 

Page, Rev. Joseph R 163 

Page, Wm. D 370 

Perrv Academv 122 

Perrv High School 125 

Perrv Knitting Mill 86 

PeiTv. Map, 1853 255 

Perry, Map, 1915 256 

Perrv Village, South View, 

1840 51 

Pierce, Mark A 179 

Polish Catholic Church 375 

Presyterian Church 161 

Public Librarv 354 

Pumping Station, 1895 303 

Read, E. M 119 

Record Office 240 

Richards. Albert 228 

Richmond Mill 67 

Roberts, Frank D 378 

Robeson Cutlery Factory. ... '90 

Robeson, Millard F 88 

Rudzinski, Rev. Jos 375 

Safford, Pembroke 234 

St. Joseph's Church 170 

Sea Serpent Cartoon 184 

Sea Serpent Cartoon 201 

Scranton, Dr. H. M 363 

Simmons, A. S 347 

Smith, Clarence M 371 

Smith, Judge Rufus H 33 

Steamer Nellie Palmer 350 

Stowell, David P 159 

Tavern, The 284 

Tempest Knitting Mill 92 

Tewksbury, Hon. S. W 373 

Toan, Chas. H 372 

Tomlinson, Geo 75 

Tomlinson's Mill 78 

Town Hall 280 

Traber, Geo. M 249 

Traver, Dr. G. R 289 

Tuttle, Richard T 62 

Tuttle, Willis H 246 

Universalist Church 167 

Village Hall 300 

Wade, J. L. (1864) 336 

Walker, A. B 283 

Walker House 282 

W^ard, "Bill" 259 

Ward, Phicol M 143 

Wyckoff , James 263 

Wyckoff , J. N 370 

Wylie, James 65