|The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933 email@example.com|
Update - We have located the entire Reminiscences Articles in the 1868 Directory. [March 2007]
REMINISCENCES OF FORTY YEARS AGO.
BY A FORMER CITIZEN.
EDITORS GAZETTE:--On a recent visit to Elmira, I could not restrain my surprise at the wonderful strides it has made in the past few years towards the dimensions of a city. As a former resident, I take pride in your progress, and it is a real pleasure to find Elmira one of the most enterprising and beautiful towns I have ever visited.--Your borders have been enlarged, you have torn down and burned down and rebuilt, till it is difficult to recognize but very few of the old landmarks. I find myself almost an entire stranger in the haunts of your business men, where once to meet any but a well-known countenance was a rarity. Now and then I met an old familiar face, but they are mostly gone, and the only memorials left are the inscriptions upon the monuments, which stand so thickly in the cemeteries. Many of the stones mark the resting place of those who died in my childhood, but the largest number are the records of mortality of a generation more recently passed away. My mind involuntarily strayed back to my early life, while wandering amongst these tablets and mausoleums, and the slumbering tenants beneath the mounds rose up in memory almost with the vividness of a reality.--Clustering and prominent were the faces of those who had befriended me in the struggle of early years, and whose slightest acts of kindnesses are treasured---then came those of my own age, the companies of my youth, far more numerous than the living representatives of two score years ago.---The Maxwells, the Baldwins, the Covells, the Dunns, all "to the manor born," are far more numerously represented here than in the bustling ranks of life. The "fathers of the hamlet," who once met as neighbors and friends, have one after the other been brought here to rest in the silent and calm companionship of the grave. Capt. John Hendy, the revolutionary hero of "Newtown," was buried with military honors, in the Church Street Cemetery, when I was a small boy. Here, too, was buried "Uncle Jeff Bartlett," another revolutionary hero. "Esq. Robinson," as every one called him, a man of note in the little village, also rests in this ground beside his wife and two children, with no living representative. I recall the names of "Uncle" Johnny Davis, Judge Grant B. Baldwin, "Esq." North, Guy Perry, Stephen Tuttle, Aaron Konkle, and many more, whom I well remember, and who died, most of them, more than a generation ago, and were the pioneers of civilization in the valley of the Chemung. The generation succeeding them have but few representatives among the living, and their children and grandchildren thickly tenant this village of the dead. I never come to your beautiful place without visiting these grounds and refreshing my memory, re-reading, as it were, a history of my own life, now, in the ordinary course of existence, far advanced into the summer.
Very few of your readers have any knowledge of Elmira as it was forty years ago. But two of the merchants of that day are still living, and the stores at that time were but very few. The business part of the town was located below Lake street and the bridge. Further down, what is now Water street, on the corner below, and opposite Lyman Covell’s residence, was the store of John Arnot, who, even at that early day, did a large business, and kept half a dozen clerks. His family lived in a building immediately in rear of the store. Next came the store of Lyman Covell, on the corner, nearly in front of the house where he still continues to live.--Then came the residence of Miles Covell, and his store stood on the river bank immediately opposite. Above Miles Covell’s was the residence of Guy Perry, who owned, I think, another building adjoining, once used as a store room. A short distance above was the store of Tuttle & Covell, (Steven Tuttle and the late Robert Covell), the residence of Mr. Tuttle opposite, and I think still standing. Robert Covell owned a large farm in Southport, on which he lived, and afterwards sold to Seth H. Mann for twenty thousand dollars, an enormous sum in those days, and which at the present time forms the largest part of Elmira on that side of the river. Mordecai Ogden afterwards lived on the place and died there. The only building above Steven Tuttle’s to the corner of Lake street, was the tavern of John Davis, an old, low, two story wooden structure, which, with the barn, occupied a front of more than two hundred feet on Lake street.--Tommy Hill was the autocrat of the stables, and took great pride in displaying the showy qualities of the fine horses kept by Mr. Davis. The boys used often to incur his displeasure by tormenting a black billy goat, an unruly beast, that was always exercising his butting propensities, and was a terror to the small children of the village. Below the bridge, on the river bank, was a long wooden block, occupied by poor families, and an occasional grog shop, Ben Dudley kept an oyster and drinking saloon here, a hard place, and the rendezvous of those who were known as the b’hoys. A successful temperance movement placed the proprietor in duress, and closed his saloon. When he reopened the bottles were all empty, a part of them covered with temperance tracts, and a part with crape, Dudley died a great many years ago. At the burning of his old block William Dunn was killed by the falling cornice.
The nucleus of the older part of the village lay still below Mr. Arnot’s store, and contained nothing but residences with--in my recollection, the principal being those of Mr. Gregg, John Saunders, and Mr. Shockey.
The bridge that crossed the Chemung forty years ago, on the site of the present Lake street bridge, was uncovered, and a rather poor and dilapidated structure with wood abutments and piers, yet to my boyish eyes it seemed a model of symmetry and elegance. "Papa Dean," an aged and ponderous man, lived at the south end and sat in his little office to receive the tolls. I think the price for foot passengers was two cents, which oversized the funds of most of the boys, and to avoid payment we used to clamber over the picket fence that ran along the top of the wall that sustained the graded approach to the bridge. I remember the face and figure of the old man, dressed in gray, with his white hat, as distinctly as if it was yesterday. There were very few buildings here at that time, not a single one, I think, between the tollhouse and the residence of Robert Covell. Isaac Reynolds, not many years later, erected a store and dwelling on the west side of the street. On the street running down the river there might have been two or three buildings on the north side, before reaching the house of John Sly. In one resided Esq. James Robinson, who was then practicing law in the village. He and his dog "Pud" were inseparable companions, and his canine dependant was quite as well known as the eccentric master.--The son, who afterwards learned the printer’s trade, and died young with consumption, also went by the name of Pud amongst the boys. The late Thomas Maxwell has preserved many anecdotes of Mr. R., with which old citizens are familiar. He was very tender hearted, excessively fond of music, and a pathetic strain on a violin would start the tears coursing down his cheeks. There was many a worse man and citizen--his faults were those only that operated to his own injury. His zeal in promoting the building of the Chemung Canal was appreciated by the citizens, and they subscribed funds and built him a house in the north part of the village, close to the canal, where he continued to reside till the day of his death.
Some time after 1830, but what year I do not remember, a brick building was erected below the bridge, which was designed for a hotel, and it is still standing you will find upon the stone arch over the front door, in carved letters, the inscription "Austerportus diversoriun." It was a great puzzle to all to know what it meant, but the subject was well ventilated in the columns of the two papers. Ransom Birdsall, then editor of the Republican, now dead for a great many years, furnished the classic inscription, which was enough to invite criticism, and many was the communication upon the subject which found its way into print. It became part of the politics of the day. A mistake had been made in the termination of the last word, which should have been diversorium, and this was enough to open all the batteries of ridicule upon Mr. B., who, unfortunately for himself, was sensitively alive to these paper bullets. If Judge A. S. Thurston was not the chief of the tormentors, perhaps he can enlighten you, if you have the curiosity to know, who was.
On the south side of Water street, above and next to the bridge, was a long two story wooden block, occupied as stores, but my mind is not clear as to who were, at this early day, the tenants. I think that Frederick J. Burritt kept a grocery in the east end earlier than 1830. Mr. B. was something of a wag, and here congregated the kindred spirits, and many a practical joke was concocted which was afterwards played off upon the unsuspecting victim.--If any person came in from the country with anything to sell, he was almost sure to be directed to the headquarters where he was put through a course of "Niagaraing," so artfully conducted on the part of Mr. B. that it would take a long time before the individual would learn that he was any party to the boisterous laughter of the delighted listeners. The serio-comic look Mr. B. put on would have been a study to a painter. He was the true progenitor of the "Bush Seine Company," that afterwards became such a prominent institution in Elmira. He, too, long years ago, traveled to that unknown country, and sleeps his last sleep in the quiet cemetery.
Cooley and Maxwell afterwards opened a store in this same room, but that must have been as late as 1834. F. Sisson also sold goods for a season, The two brothers, Lawrence, kept store in this block for a time, and Harrison Purdy, although he could not have commenced before 1835.--In the upper end was the shoe shop of Isaac Roe. Very many of the citizens will remember when this old landmark was swept away by fire.
and perhaps a year later. Wilkes moved away into Pennsylvania, and I was introduced to him by Elias Lowe, in 1840.
The next building that I remember was the old Mansion House, which must have stood very nearly opposite the store of David H. Tuthill. There may have been a small tenement below, and I think there was, occupied by Aaron Konkle as a Law Office. The Mansion House was a rambling wood building, erected for a hotel, with a Masonic Lodge Room in the upper story, but about the time of which I write it was rented out in tenements to poor families, and was considered pretty hard. It may be that Judge Bundy kept tavern here in 1827, and afterwards two brothers by the name of Smith, also kept it for a time. I was very young at that time, and my memory is not quite clear on the subject.--Thomas Talladay, whom you notice occasionally in the GAZETTE, was married in the Mansion House, and it was an event that those present will never forget. No wedding in Elmira was ever honored with such a universal attendance as that. Some of the prominent citizens took the matter in charge. The late John W. Wisner, then Justice of the Peace, was to perform the ceremony, at precisely nine o’clock, for which he stipulated that Tom was to cut one cord of wood. George Kingsbury, who died years ago, furnished the groom with a long tailed blue coat, much too small for him, with brass buttons, and a red sash to tie around his waist. Swain, the village barber, under instructions, shaved one half of his face, and some other benevolent citizen furnished a military chapeau which Tom was told must be worn during the performance of the ceremony. By six o’clock in the evening the guests began to arrive, and long before the time for the wedding to come off, the largest part of the men and boys of the town had congregated in front of the building. Tom was well plied with whisky, and repeatedly called out and hustled by the crowd--his Betsey was stolen away, and he sent, under escort, in pursuit. They were finally brought back, and precisely at the time set, they were pronounced man and woman. This was the signal for kissing the bride; a grand rush was made, and the bride almost crushed, was pushed and hauled from one to another, the kissing going on fast and furious, till she was carried into the hall, when the lights were put out, and some one up stairs poured down a barrel of ashes upon the heads of the crowd. The carnival was kept up nearly all night, and it would hardly be polite to detail all that occurred. There are still a few old citizens who were present and might enlighten you.
In 1828, an old building stood on the northwest corner of Lake and Water Sts., which was occupied by the late SAMUEL H. MAXWELL as a residence, the corner room being occupied as a Grocery by CHARLES MAXWELL. It must have been moved off in 1880, for documents in my possession show that the brick corner, erected by JOHN ARNOT, was built in 1831. At the same time LYMAN and ROBERT COVELL both built adjoining on Water street, and when completed the whole was considered a very imposing structure.
Next above there might have been, and I think there was, one or two small buildings, used as offices. I am certain that in 1832, when Judge GRANT B. BALDWIN was Postmaster, the Post Office was kept in one of them. Judge B. was sociable and friendly to the boys, and I had formed an excellent opinion of his generosity, and I made great calculations upon the large sum he would give me for a copy of my New Year’s address, written by Mrs. AMIRA THOMPSON, to the "Patrons of the Elmira GAZETTE, January 1, 1833." I went to his office in good season, and elate with hope that here I would get a shilling at least, and I was extravagant enough to soar, in imagination, up to the unprecedented sum of a quarter of a dollar. I went in, found the Judge alone, made my best bow, wished him a "Happy New Year," and handed him a copy of my address. He took it in his hand, looked at me savagely and said, "Who are you, boy, and what do you want?" I replied, with the blood in my heart down to zero, that I carried the GAZETTE, and that I had brought him a copy of my address. He thrust the copy I had given him, back into my hand, and said, "I have three of them now, and I don’t want it." I could not say a word, but went from his presence more disappointed than I had ever been before in my whole life. That incident ruined the -----
ASK DAVIS OF ALEXANDER BALDWIN, WILLIAM COVELL, General GREGG, or any of the few left who were youngsters forty years ago, and they will point out where used to stand the old house where "Granny" CLYMER lived, and they can do it.--It was, if not on, very near the site of the new and elegant building lately erected by SIMEON BENJAMIN. Here was deposited all the pennies the boys could get in exchange for molasses candy and ginger cakes. No modern confectionery establishment in Elmira could hope to win a wider reputation than this pioneer one, presided over by the venerable Granny CLYMER. The old man was a shoemaker, and in the room where he pegged on soles, the candy in penny sticks, was displayed to the gaze of the greedy youngsters. The old couple with their daughter ELLEN, and grand son NICK WENTZ, moved to Pennsylvania, and must have gone to the unknown country years ago.
The next house above was owned and occupied by the widow CHERRY. Her husband died before my recollection. She had two sons, twins, ISAAC and WILLIAM, and one daughter EMILY. WILLIAM died with consumption in 1831, and soon after the family moved to southern Ohio, at that time considered the ultima thule of civilization. Afterwards this building was appropriated to business purposes. The late JOHN W. WISNER, when commenced the practice of the law had an office here.
Next came a long two story wooden block, owned by different parties. JOSEPH VIAL owned a part of it, and kept a store, but he failed, and the property fell into the hands of SIMEON BENJAMIN, and if I am not mistaken it gained a certain celebrity in the law records, owing to a dispute as to the ownership. DR. URIAH SMITH had his office here and lived here also. Misses SUSAN and AMANDA BEERS, the latter now the accomplished wife of Gen. A. S. DIVEN, carried on the Millinery business in this block. I remember HIRAM GRAY, Esq., then a young man, had a law office here, and was also a Justice of the Peace. Later occupants confuse my mind as to who all the occupants were then. BENJAMIN C. WICKHAM, WICKHAM & TUTHILL, SOLOMON L. GILLETT, TRACY BEADLE, WM. FOSTER, FOSTER & DUMARS, and STEPHEN LUCE, were all in trade in this block previous to 1836. There is something of local historic interest connected with this old block, in the fact that here was printed the first number of the Elmira GAZETTE. JOB A. SMITH was editor and proprietor, and when I made my first essay at learning the art, in 1832, the late BRINTON PAINE, who had learned his trade in the office, was a partner, and the style of the firm was SMITH & PAINE. JAMES M. FITCH who died last year in Oberlin, one its most valued and respected citizens, was an apprentice. These constituted the whole force. I was so small that I had to stand upon a type box to reach the case, and well do I remember the two fonts of fat old long primer and burgeois in which the paper was printed. The old Ramage press, too, which required a pull to each page, would be a curiosity at this day. The only way to increase the power was by putting additional sheets into the tympan. The standing press, too, was unique, consisting of a bench with four legs, with uprights on top holding a cross piece, to which was slung by ropes a box filled with stones.--How would a modern printer stare to find himself in such an office as this, and yet the GAZETTE was pretty well printed, and was quite as important a journal in the estimation of its readers, as it is now, when it was so thoroughly conducted and has grown to such goodly dimensions. In 1832 the office was removed to ARNOT’s block, at the corner below, where it remained for several years.
The residence of Dr. RULANDUS BANCROFT was the last building before reaching Baldwin street, and it was one of the finest dwellings in the village. It was destroyed by fire somewhere about 1830, with most of the furniture. The ground where the house stood was not built upon again except as business property.
HORACE WELLS built a dwelling house on the corner of Water and Baldwin Sts., about the year 1829, and within a year or two from that time he died with consumption. I believe the same building was afterwards occupied as a store by A. C. ELY, and will, no doubt, be remembered by many citizens.
Where that costly and beautiful structure, the Brainard House, now stands, is the ground upon which, forty years ago stood, fronting Water street, the residence of the late Isaac Baldwin. It was a large, old and weather beaten, two story structure, with the garden and barn in the rear. I do not remember what year the premises were cleared to make way for the Eagle Tavern. I was quite young at the time, for I recollect being in company with some other boys and going up on the roof on a Sunday. The carpenter, Abraham Riker, saw us from his house, and came down in double quick, ordering us off, and the "Army in Flanders" could not have been more reckless in expletives than was Mr. R. I remember I was awfully shocked at the profanity from such a source, and drew a parallel as to which party had committed the greatest sin, and my decision was honest if a little selfish. Many of your present citizens will remember the old Eagle Tavern, kept first by Mr. Webb, and afterwards by Gamble & Hess, an architectural abortion, but thought, when built, to be a most beautiful and stately structure. But Elmira was in its hobble-de-boyhood then, and it was the first effort at putting on airs.
The first building west of the Baldwin residence was a very ancient and dilapidated red structure, with the filthiest surrounding, and was known as Hogan’s Tavern. While the canal was building this was the Irishmen’s headquarters, and was the scene of many a bloody row. The boys gave it a wide berth nights, and it was a terror to the neighborhood. I cannot recollect what year it was taken off the ground.
Above this was the old Satterlee dwelling, which stood close to the canal. After the late Mrs. S. removed from it, some thirty-five years ago, it went to decay.--was occupied by poor families with a saloon or two on the main floor. The death of Dr. Satterlee, who was killed by the accidental discharge of a gun while undergoing repairs in the shop of Major Orwan, was before my day.
Going back to the old Mansion House, where I left off, I think the building next above it was a wooden block which was occupied by John B. White as a tailor shop, and a comb manufactory was carried on in the east half of the same building. I am not quite sure but believe A. Harvey and Son also had a Grocery in the same place, at one time, afterwards. The old gentleman was eccentric, and the only way he had of making comparisons was with the same thing "in the city of Troy, sir." Of course this peculiarity was noticed and imitated by the boys, and I am afraid with a total lack of reverence for old age.
There was quite a space of bare river bank to the next structure, a two story building, that has almost passed out of my memory. I know that Archibald Heggie had a hat factory and store here, but that must have been as late as 1830, and perhaps later. Above this not a building existed up to 1832 below the canal. About the time the canal was completed a little one story building was placed just below the outlet lock on the river bank.
One of the institutions of the village was the tavern kept by Hawks & Dunn, (Wm. Dunn) still standing on the north side of Water street, next to the canal. The first theatrical exhibition ever given in the place was in the second story of this diminutive house. Gilbert & Trobridge were proprietors and managers, and they, with ----
The playing was really creditable, and all the parties named afterwards became quite eminent in the profession. I think Neafie belonged to the company and was then quite a young aspirant to histrionic honors; also Mr. Powell, who died a veteran, but I always thought shocking bad actor, at Erie a few years ago. Mr. P. frequently, in after years, appeared before the citizens of Elmira as a manager under the firm of Powell & Kore. The first play that I ever saw was the "Lady of the Lake."-- The opportunity for scenic display could not have been great, as the whole space occupied by the stage did not exceed twenty feet square, but I candidly admit I never saw a play since that charmed me so much as this did. I afterwards saw "Pizarro, or the Death of Rolla," with Trobridge as "Pizarro" and Gilbert as "Rolla," which impressed me with the vividness of a reality. The afterpiece was the "Spectre Bridegroom." The orchestra consisted of a single violin. With a crowded house, the audience could not exceed one hundred in number, and yet the business seemed to pay. With your magnificent Opera House, and your star theatricals, I apprehend modern Elmira play goers would be apt to ridicule what in those days was thought to be very grand. If the old files of the GAZETTE contain advertisements of this theatre, it would be a curiosity. This house at a later day was known as Bundy’s Hotel, and it was also kept for several years by Erastus Goodrich. It is one of the few old landmarks.
Lake street, now the centre of active business and one of the most important and thronged streets in your beautiful city, was early recognized as second only in importance to Water street. This was no doubt partly owing to its leading to the only bridge that crossed the Chemung, and partly because it was on the stage road leading to the head of Seneca Lake, as also to Johnson’s settlement and Ithaca. Forty years ago merchandize from New York was brought to Havana by canal boat, and from there to Elmira by team. (A trip to the city involved a long and weary stage coach ride, and an absence of two or three weeks. It was no small undertaking, and the boy who had been there was looked upon by his companion with little less than wonder.) "Uncle Johnny" Davis tavern, too, was the principal public house of the village, where the few stage passengers found quarters on their arrival, and this, perhaps, as much as any thing, made Lake street of especial importance. The land where the old house and barn stood, reaching on Water street to Stephen Tuttle’s garden, and on Lake street two thirds the distance to Carroll street must now be one of the most valuable pieces of property in your city, as is evident in the value of the beautiful buildings which cover it.
Next to the barn was the saddler shop of John and Cowden Hepburn. They moved away probably as early as 1830, but the old structure stood a good many years, and was successively occupied by Wm. R. Judson, Judson & Merwin, Merwin & Hoffman, and perhaps others in the same line of business. Above was the residence of William McClure, who had a yard in the rear where he carried on the tanning business, quite extensively for those days. I think Carroll street must run through about where the vats were located.
The silver smith shop and residence of Mr. Francis Collingwood closely adjoined the last named premises, a low, rambling story and a half building, with the shop abutting upon the street. Most of the boys of that day will well remember Peter Healy, an Irishman, who kept a select school, upstairs, above the shop. He was an accomplished scholar, but a crabbed, cross-grained man, who whipped savagely, and was a perfect terror to the boys. His rules were rigid, and the slightest infraction would meet with punishment. He would exclaim, while rushing upon the offender, ruler in hand--- "You idle hound, can’t you mind your business?" and he was as little choice of his blows as of his epithets. I remember, feelingly, the striking qualities of the man.
Mr. Collingwood was an Englishman, a most estimable citizen, but rather eccentric, quaint in his manners and dress, and he always dropped the h where it should have been used, and emphasized it strongly where it should have been omitted.-- Numerous were the anecdotes current amongst the boys illustrating this peculiarity. He died many years ago.
John Arnot’s foundry, which stood on -------
Opera House, must have been built as long ago as 1829. In it was placed the first steam engine ever set up in Elmira, and the whole town flocked to see it set in motion. Most of the citizens will remember the old dilapidated building which was standing till within a few years.
Miles Cook lived in the house which stood near the corner of Cross and Lake street, where, I think, he also kept a saloon. M. C. was an old landmark, and set up the first billiard table that was ever brought to the village.
On Cross street east of the Lake, on the right hand side, and not far from the corner, were three or four buildings, residences, except one used as a hat manufactory, and these are the only structures that I remember. In this direction the village may be said to have ended here. The residences of Judge Dunn and Mr. Perry were not erected till some years later. Farther down between Cross street and the river was a cluster of houses, which constituted one of the earliest built portions of the village. The venerable John Gregg, Andrew K. Gregg, Owen O’Hanlon, Dr. Norman Smith, John Sanders, Mr. Shockey and others had their residences here.
From Cross to Church streets the only building standing till a period considerable later than 1830, was the Court House, which occupied the site of the present elegant structure. In rear of it was the lower district school house, a small one story building. Two of your eminent citizens, while law students, here taught "the young idea how to shoot,"--Judge A. S. Thurston and General Diven. This primitive structure would form as great a contrast to the magnificent house now building for school purposes as the little hamlet of forty years ago to the present bustling and beautiful town.
The residence of the late William Maxwell was on the upper corner of Lake and Church streets, fronting the former, and this was the last building in this direction. Above to the confluence of Lake and Baldwin streets was open commons, thickly studded with pine stumps and of but small value. A half mile above commenced thick woods which extended to Pigeon Point. One farm house on Church street near Sullivan was the only other structure.
The old Court House, on the east side of Sullivan was occupied as a residence by the father of the late Brinton Paine; Peter C. Loop and John W. Wisner, Esq., lived just north, and below, towards the river was the residence of Mr. John Hughes.
It will thus be seen that north of Church street and east of Lake was absolutely vacant ground, with but two buildings, clear to Pigeon Point, partly farming land and partly the peculiar scrubby, yellow pine forest which covered all the land over which the town is now spread.
The west side of Lake street was a little more built up than the east side, forty years ago. Above the corner of Water was a small story and a half building occupied by Cooley & Maxwell as a saddle and harness shop. I am not quite clear, but think they may have succeeded Elkanah Smith: at all events he carried on the business, and several of his boys worked with him. Frank was quite a politician, and used to scribble for the GAZETTE. He moved to Troy, where he resided the last I knew of him. Cooley & Maxwell sold out to Wm. R. Judson about 1832, and he continued the business for several years. Col. Judson has been identified with the interests of Elmira for the last thirty-five years, has been repeatedly honored with positions of trust, and has ever been one of the most enterprising and valuable citizens. As a Captain of militia, he had the drilling of the compulsory candidates for military honors, and I think he will smile when reminded of the first company parade of the boys who had arrived at the veteran age of eighteen years. There was scarcely a gun in the company, but the diversity of wooden substitutes indicated a precocity of genius, and then the independent, ingenious and various styles in which our arms were handled must have been as perplexing to the Captain as they were amusing to the rank and file. To straighten the line we were backed against a fence, but when ordered away from that support chaos reigned. One forenoon satisfied the more ardent ambitions, and placed our commander hors du combat, and we were dismissed to repose upon our laurels. Under the old militia laws of New York, these parades were a burlesque, and the new recruits made the most of them.
Levi J. Cooley lived in a house standing some distance back, and not far from Carroll street. Peter P. Loop afterwards lived in the same house. Old citizens will remember him, and the lamentable example he presented of talents wasted.
On the lower corner of Carroll street was a small one story building, in which was kept a grocery story building, in which was kept a grocery where whisky was dispensed on the sly, and was a pretty hard place.
Across Carroll street Breese & Stephens carried on the blacksmithing business.--One would hardly think, to see your honored and valued citizen, Daniel Stephens, that nearly forty years ago he was old enough to wield the hammer, and with vigorous strikes be shaping out the super-structure of the competence he is enjoying in the autumn of a vigorous existence.
A creek crossed Lake street close to this shop, at the foot of a sharp pitch reaching half way up to Cross street, where the boys used to slide down hill in winter; but creek and hill disappeared a great many years ago, and so have many of the boys. Just on the crest of this pitch stood a small old rusty building, where the late Elijah Jones kept a jewelry store. It was afterwards the residence of L. D. Haviland, who carried on a tailor shop. He was a man of more than average ability, rather peculiar, and went by the title of "old Togue." I believe he has been dead many years. C. O. Atkins worked with him, and I think he is still a resident of Elmira, and can consistently claim to be an old citizen.
Immediately in rear of this house was erected, probably about 1831, a foundry, propelled by horse power, which was carried on by Archibald Smith and Matthew McReynolds. That was before the advent of the steam engine in this then remote region.
Where that fine structure, the Hathaway House, now stands, stood, in the early days of which I write, the Mansion House, a small two story building of very humble pretensions, owned by Elijah Jones, and kept by E. B. Tuthill, or "Brewster" Tuthill, as he was called. It did a small business, but was quite a place of resort for a portion of the citizens. Afterwards, when Lyman Covell was elected Sheriff, Mr. Tuthill became his deputy and removed into the Court House, when Mr. Jones went into the house himself. He was a popular landlord, as well as a sterling and valuable citizen, and is, no doubt, well remembered by many of the later settlers,--In these days deer were tolerably plenty, and Mr. J. spent a good deal of time in hunting and enjoyed it greatly. A laughable anecdote used to be current of the manner in which he was affected by the first deer he ever killed. He rushed to the fallen game, walked around it, and kept repeating to himself, "Dod! E. Jones killed a buck," and becoming so elated that he could not contain himself, he struck his gun across a tree, demolishing the stock,--When discovered by a companion, was lost to all else but the fact that "E. Jones had killed a buck." But he lived to slay a great many of his favorite game, and followed them as they fell back before the axe of the settlers into the wilds of Pennsylvania. Silas Haight succeeded Mr. J. as landlord of the Mansion House, and it was enlarged to more respectable dimensions. It is totally unnecessary to speak to your readers of Mr. H., who is the oldest landlord in Elmira, and has always enjoyed a popularity which has made him widely known, and he still continues to preside over one of the finest hotels in the Southern Tier.
The site of the new and beautiful market house of Thomas Pattinson, on Cross street, is historic ground. Here stood the buildings in which was kept the only motive power by which communication was kept up with the outside world. The hills did not then respond in long echoes to the shrill whistle of the locomotive, nor trains go rushing with the speed of a hurricane through the peaceful valley of the Chemung. We were a slow and sober people, and had imbibed none of that restless spirit which now makes us dissatisfied unless we are tearing along the highway of life on the lightning express train. The old mail coach answered our purpose well, and drawn by four good horses was considered a great institution. Daily communication was kept up east and west, and also north to Geneva, and south via Williamsport with Philadelphia and Washington, with four horse coaches, and tri-weekly in the same manner with Ithaca. The mails seldom amounted to more than a single bag, and a coach full of passengers was an unusual occurrence. Cooley & Maxwell, proprietors of all these lines, were considered to be at the head of an enormous business. The old coach had to give way to the ideas of a faster age, and was left, after its generation of useful service, to ignoble neglect and decay. The driver, no insignificant individual, was an artiste in his way, for it was by long practice only that he could touch the leaders neatly with the frayed cords of his silken cracker, or evoke a report like the crack of a pistol, when coming into town. The blast of the horn, to herald his arrival, was the music sweetest to his soul, and the peculiar devil may-care cock to his hat must no more be neglected than the delicately intoned "g’lang," with which he persuaded his petted horses. Not many of these veteran servants of the public are left--General Gates and Mr. Walters still live and are citizens of Elmira, and possibly others of the old fraternity may still survive.
The first house on the east side of Baldwin street, in 1828, above Water, was on the corner of Carroll street, north side. It was stilted up to about the present grade of the street, and at the end ran the small creek to which I have referred before. It was built by Joseph Viall, and was dubbed "Viall’s saw mill." A short distance above was the residence of Mr. Viall, and on the corner of Cross street stood a very diminutive one story building to which Ward Dudley built a front, and it was subsequently the residence of the late Isaac Baldwin.
Above Cross street was a stretch of vacant ground reaching back to the stage barn, where the canvas of a strolling circus used occasionally to be set up. Few of the boys in those days were troubled with a superfluity of cash, and I was one of the penniless number who had to be content with an outside view, trying to be amused at occasionally catching the strain of a comic song, or hearing the distorted voice of the clown as he uttered the old poor jokes, followed by the roars of laughter which he never failed to evoke from the delighted audience.
Just below the present residence of Thomas Pattinson stood a two story house, occupied by John Tompkins, mason, and afterwards by Mr. Wheeler, of the firm of Wheeler & Gillette, merchants. The house above Mr. P.’s, was built by Mr. A. Beardsley, just forty years ago. The price paid for this lot was one hundred dollars, the value of town lots then in this portion of the village. In 1837, this property sold for thirteen hundred dollars, which was considered a fair price, and I understand it lately changed hands, the purchaser paying six thousand dollars. Perhaps this is fair example of the increase in value of real estate in Elmira, in forty years. Captain Benajah B. Payne built the house on the corner of Church street, above, in 1827. Within the following three of four years a good many buildings were added in the space described, all residences, as there was no thought then of using any part of Baldwin street for business purposes.
Within these limits the west side of the street contained but few buildings. I can not speak with certainty, but somewhere about the time of which I am writing the residences of the late widow Satterlee was built, as also that of Thomas Dunn a short distance below. On the corner of Cross street was the residence of a tailor by the name of Burroughs, and on the opposite corner Dr. Jotham Purdy built the house now the home of his widow, and also of his accomplished son and successor in practice. Cross street in those days was hardly known as a continuous street. Between Baldwin street and the canal (not then built) there was only one building, and that on the south side, coming near the basin. This was the house of Philip Sehaltz and his brother John, whose business was the transportation of iron and nails from the Juciata Works, which was then the source of supply of these articles. They had one of those immense lumbering Pennsylvania wagons, drawn by four horses, guided by a single line, the driver riding the near wheel horse. It was a great institution, and its arrival in full freight was considered quite an event. On lots above Dr. Purdy’s two dwellings were erected earlier than 1830, the upper one belonging to a man by the name of Clark. It was owned afterwards by Judge Hiram Gray, who lived on it for several years. Gray street had but a single building upon it, and that a two story one on the south side, close to the canal, where Rev. Mr. Lathrop, the Presbyterian clergyman, resided. The northwest corner of Baldwin and Gray streets was the residence of Joseph P. Burt, a carpenter; next to it was that of Elijah Jones, afterwards the home of the late John Parmenter, and where Solomon L. Gillet now lives was then owned by Dr. Erastus P. Hart.
The Presbyterian church occupied the same ground as the present magnificent structure. It was a rusty and dilapidated looking building, small in size, but plenty large enough for the then small population and was crowned with the only steeple upon a house of worship in the village. It was moved off the ground and its successor built as late as 1832, or perhaps a year or two later. The present, is the fourth building that has occupied that site in the last forty years.
Next above the church was the residence of Marvin Holden, butcher, and his slaughter house was adjoining. Cadwallader Howell, who kept a tin shop, lived a short distance above, and about halfway up to the junction of Baldwin and Lake streets was another small dwelling, and the last house on this side of the street was that of Lathrop Baldwin, just opposite the point where the furnace stood.
Col. Tunis Riker, father of Abraham and Samuel Riker, built the house
on the northeast corner of Baldwin and Church streets. I think as early
as 1830, and Samuel Riker must have built where he now lives about the
same time. On the site of the present building stood the First Methodist
church, and above that I do not remember of a single house on that side
of the street.
The Street that runs out of Baldwin parallel to the canal was open commons till after 1830. About half a dozen houses were built in that or the following year, one of which was occupied by Thomas Pattinson, butcher, the father of the junior, who is so enterprising and useful a citizen.---Robert Thompson lived in another. He owned the first dray that was ever introduced into the village, and had all the business for several years. His wife Mrs. Amira Thompson, was the village poetess, and wrote a good many poems which were afterwards collected and published in a
What I have to narrate of James Robinson, Esq., is a digression from the subject, but as the ’Squire is well remembered by all the old citizens, any reference to him will not be without interest, and of those who have heard the anecdotes related, few probably, ever saw them in print. He was a native of New Hampshire, and was for a time at Dartmouth, when Webster, Cass, and Miller were students. He came to the "Southern Tier" in 1809, and commenced the practice of the law. He was a fine scholar, a man of ardent impulses, warm and enthusiastic in attachments to a friend or client, in neither of whom could he ever see a fault; of real Attic wit, and wonderfully happy at a toast or retort.
He was a most zealous advocate of every measure calculated to advance the interests of the community, and every project for internal improvement. To the strength and ability exhibited in his newspaper essays, are many of our internal improvements greatly indebted for their success. Much of his time was devoted to matters of public concern, in which he engaged with a zeal and energy which might well have been imitated by many who had more at stake than he. His exertions were disinterested, for he held no property to be advanced or depreciated, by the success or failure of various projects in which his ardent temperament impelled him to engage.
I will remember with what ardor he entered into the Presidential campaign of 1840. He had always been a strong Democrat, but the log cabin excitement seduced him from his long cherished sentiments, and he became one of the most zealous advocates for the election of Gen. Harrison. Of course he was greatly flattered by the Whigs, and was put forward on all prominent occasions, and made many telling speeches. He delivered the opening speech at the dedication of the log cabin, in Elmira, and I shall never forget his fine personal presence, his graceful gestures, and the dignity with which he delivered one of the most eloquent orations I ever listened to. He had no aspiration for nor expected office,--in all he did was purely disinterested, and in that would be an example worthy of imitation by about nine-tenths of to-day politicians.
"For his patriotic exertions his memory well deserves to be cherished, but he will be remembered much longer for the wit, humor, and eccentricity by which his career was distinguished. He was a zealous politician, but his kindly nature always kept him on friendly terms with those who differed with him on political questions.--His genial wit and humor continued to the last moment of his life. A friend who watched with him the night before his death, relates that on going to his residence for that purpose, he found him, as he had never before done, apparently low spirited. On inquiring the cause he remarked-- ‘I have been looking over my account for another world.’ On being asked what he found to disquiet him, he replied that the review reminded him of Garrick’s remark on the result of an unproductive benefit, ‘that it was a beggarly account of empty boxes.’ On being more particularly questioned, he said that the log cabin excitement of 1840 lay heavy upon his mind; that he had always been a Democrat ‘dyed in the wool,’ but that his love for hard cider and military glory had led him astray; that his attendance at log cabins, singing puerile songs, was degrading to one of his years, and at that moment was a subject of peculiar annoyance and vexation.
"He was asked if this was the only subject of regret, which attended his review of the past, to which he answered--No, there was something worse; a judgment he once rendered as a magistrate! He stated that a man came to his office, attended by his wife and son, and detailed with great feeling the loss of a favorite dog, which had been shot by a neighbor, and demanded legal process for redress of the injury. The detail of the sufferings and death of the dog produced floods of tears on the part of the complainant, and his wife and son, and he remarked that he himself, influenced by the force of sympathy, involuntarily invited on the lamentation. He immediately issued a summons and had the offender promptly brought before him. On his appearance in court, the parties were called. The defendant answered by his counsel, whom the ‘Squire said he disposed of at once, by telling him to hold his peace, as he had made up his mind in the matter, and any remarks from him were unnecessary, and directed the plaintiff to proceed to prove the value of his dog. The witness testified that the value of the dog was fifteen dollars. ‘I was so fierce,’ said he, ‘to do speedy and exact justice in the premises, that I entered judgment instanter, for the fifteen dollars, without taking into consideration the wounded and lacerated feelings of the family, for which I should have added at least ten more!’ At this stage of the proceedings Judge D--- came in, for the purpose of watching with him also. On being told of the cause of disquiet, he remarked to the patient: ‘I can relieve your mind in this matter; you recollect that I appeared as counsel for the defendant on the occasion referred to, and you would not have me. I was attended by three witnesses to prove that the dog killed sheep, and that he had actually killed one of the defendant’s sheep that day, for which he had shot the dog! He then asked-- ‘Do you recollect the defendant?’ The ‘Squire replied: ‘No, do you suppose I would retain the name of a scoundrel who would kill his neighbor’s dog?’ The Judge then mentioned his name and it turned out that he was a near neighbor, who had recently removed to the village, who had been exceedingly kind to the ‘Squire and his wife during his illness. ‘What, said the ‘Squire, ‘is it that good creature who has set up with me so much, who has fed and milked the cow, when the snow was so deep, and has split the oven wood for Peggy during my sickness?’ The Judge assured him that he was the man. ‘Judge, give me your hand; do you pledge your veracity that the dog actually killed sheep?’ The Judge solemnly replied. ‘It is an undoubted truth.’ Then lying down he said: ‘It is enough. I now die happy, by ---.
"In his excited moments he was in the habit of closing a strong expression with an oath, like Sterne’s uncle Toby; though differing from him in using the name of the second person in the Trinity; it was, however, done in such a way and with an earnestness of manner, as scarcely to seem like profanity, and he appeared to be unconscious of having committed a breach of decorum. Probably in both cases the ‘tear of the recording angel blotted out the oath forever.’
"In the morning, when one of the watchers was about leaving him, he asked for a quid of tobacco from a silver box, the gift of a friend, which lay near. It was done, and handing back the box, he said, ‘Take it with you, I give you the box in token of our long and uninterrupted friendship. I shall need it no more.’ Pausing a moment, he remarked, ‘Hand me the box. This is a solemn proceeding and requires some ceremony.’ Taking the box and rising up in bed, and assuming the dignity of manner which characterized him on occasions which he deemed important, he proceeded-- ‘When I shuffle off this mortal coil, and the last faint flashes of life expiring lamp have quivered out their little moment, thy friendly hands shall close my dying eyes, thy tears shall moisten my clay cold form, thy prayers ascending to the throne of Grace, shall waft my disembodied spirit to the gardens of the Paradise of God. When I give the last kick, grab the box, or Peggy will steal it, by ---.’
The remark attributed to Napolean, "that there is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous,’ was here fully exemplified. He has previously requested the same friend to select him a suitable burial place in the village graveyard. On being questioned as to location, he said he should depend upon the discretion of his friend in the matter, only desiring ‘a healthy situation and a good neighborhood;’ remarking that he did not want to be buried in an unhealthy spot, and preferred to be near the more respectable portion of the community, as he had no desire to rise with loafers. His friend selected a lot for him between those of Mr. O--and Mr. T--, two old friends of his, and when informed of the location he remarked: ‘It is well, they are gentlemen, I am willing to rise in such company.’
Railroad Avenue, which is now so important a thoroughfare, had no existence forty years ago. A street had no doubt been laid out, but its course lay for most of the way through open commons, to its termination, which was just at the corner of Second street. Michael Black’s barn stood a few rods to the north-east of the residence of H. B. Locke, and a lane ran past it up to his farm of fifty acres, which lay to the west of the Canal. The Depot, the hotels around it, and the hundreds of dwellings and work-shops, occupy a plot of ground which, at the time, was considered of no great value. Mr. Black advertises this property for sale in the GAZETTE under date of April 7th, 1832, as "fifty acres of land, on the west side of the Canal, under a good state of improvement; also one acre of land on the south side of the above fifty acres, on which is a young orchard of forty or fifty bearing apple trees." "It all lies adjacent to the Chemung Canal, which will be navigable the present year, and to the enterprising holds out advantages worthy of attention." Could Mr. Michael Black have foreseen the prospective value of this property, he would not have been anxious to part with it, to go west in search of a better location. Between Railroad avenue and the Canal, running north, was a depressed strip of ground, looking almost like the channel of an extinct river, and east of the Female Seminary terminated in a swamp which was covered the largest part of the year with water.
The only building that I remember on Railroad avenue was the residence of John H. Knapp, who lived a little to the north of Church street, in the middle of a lot of perhaps two acres. In the same enclosure, on Church street, stood a furnace, which had ceased operations before my recollection.
This low ground was considered of very little value, and at quite a late day lots sold at a low figure, and were considered hardly fit for residences. Josiah Dunham was one of the first to build, and his house stood very near the corner of Church street, on the north side.
Old Fred Jarvis and his wife Kate lived in a shanty just west of the old canal basin. Old Fred was almost a historic character, and Mark Twain made an important omission in his failure to chronicle the death of this "body servant of Gen. Washington, at the venerable age of ninety years." The burlesque is a good one, but the "body servant" of the Father of his Country has died more times than Mark Twain knows of. "Old Fred" must have been nearly one hundred years old when he died, and during the last part of his life was supported at the expense of the town. Wm. Fridley, a native artist of no means talent, made a life-size portrait of this ancient negro, which was a most admirable likeness. It is a great pity that it had not been preserved as a perfect semblance of the oldest citizen Elmira ever had, and as a memento of its greatest native artist.
There were no buildings on Church st., below Main, except those I have mentioned in a former paper. Archibald Smith lived where Trinity Church now stands, and Dr. Uriah Smith owned the house which stood on the site of the fine residence built by the late Anson C. Ely. The Baptist Church could not have been built before 1830, and the first Trinity Church, which stood on the south-west corner of Church st., and Railroad Avenue, not till three or four years later.
The old Cemetery, small as it is, was the only place of burial till 1831, when the advent of the laborers on the canal rendered necessary the establishment of a Catholic burial ground. It was used for several years this time, but to what year I do not recollect. It is an interesting spot to visit. Almost every stone is a memorial of the long past days when the valley of the Chemung was covered by primeval forests; when the river ran ever beautiful, in the varying woods, through sylvan solitude, now dividing the broad valley, now infringing upon the base of some steep acclivity; when the shaggy forests clothed the distant hills, embraced the glories of the rising sun, or reflected back his departing greatness in
"One unclouded blaze of living light."
I can imagine no sweeter place to sleep for the fathers after "life’s fitful fever" is ended, than in the midst of scenes grown so fair, gilded and burnished by the children for whom they had forged the rough outline by a life time of toil and self denial.
I have already enumerated the buildings that stood on Main street, south of the Cemetery, except a pottery, which stood on the corner of Cross street. Above Church street was the residence of Rev. P. D. Gillett, where Mr. Dorastus Hatch now lives, and the only structure above it, was the farm-house of Mr. Jeremiah Hall. Where the late Robert Covell resided, was a dense forest of yellow pine, reaching east of the canal, and extending to below where the College now stands. Every boy with piscatorial inclinations knew these woods well, for here he went to cut fish poles. The young pines grew tall and straight, and when seasoned were very light, and strong enough to land the largest of the finny prey. College Avenue did not exist, nor no cross street above Second. In fact it was beyond the outskirts of the village and in the open country. West of Main street, Church was the limits of the town, and that did not extend but a short distance. A school house of very small dimensions stood on the square opposite the Cemetery. Mrs. Stewart and Mrs. Sparks lived on the north side of the street, and about 1832 Jacob DeLaBar built a house above the square on the south side of the street, and a Mrs. Fowler, about the same time, built on the corner above. This is substantially all there was of Church street, and in 1830, on its entire length, there did not exist at most much more than a dozen buildings.
When I note that Mr. Thomas Hill, Benjamin Vail, Jacob DeLaBar, Wyatt Carr, and perhaps one or two other families lived on Cross street above Main, I have finished my notes so far as buildings in Elmira are concerned. Cross like Church street ended not far above Main.--Above them lay the property of Isaac Roe, where he then resided, of some twelve acres in extent, above that the John Davis farm which adjoined in the east the farm of the late William Hoffman. A mere ham let you will see was Elmira forty years ago. The little town lay clustered a time toy in appearance in the midst of the beautiful valley, which the river divided, and from the neighboring hills the Chemung looked like a thread of platina, along the length of which was flashing an electric spark, one instant gleaming in white heat, the next of more sober hue, but none the less lovely belt clasping the bare bosom of the sweet landscape already coquetting for the admiration of the crowds, who have come and built their homes and made yours one of the most attractive of cities.
Clinton Island was the play ground of the boys. It was an extensive and beautiful ground in those days, but the daming of the river first cut it in two, and the greedy waters each succeeding spring eat in upon it on all sides, and year by year it is slowly disappearing. What a pity it is that some thing could not have been done to save it, or at least that the hand of man had refrained from hastening its destruction.--Could what little is left be preserved and improved it would still form a beautiful park. Some of the grand old trees are still left such as you could not have in any other spot in two centuries. The project of improving it is a feasible one, and it is surprising that no movement has ever been made to that end. I noticed in your columns a short time ago that two more of the great trees had lately been destroyed.--Every one that goes is each citizen.
William Hoffman, whose death so recently occurred, was the last of the patriarchs. As an honest, honorable and upright man, he stood deservedly high. In giving from his abundage he did not make a parade of his charities, nor did he require a certificate of "respectable poverty" before his purse strings were unloosed,--Being the architect of his own fortunes did not make him mean nor miserly. I have heard my father say repeatedly, and his business transactions were large and ran through a great many years with both the persons named, that William Hoffman and Stephen Tuttle were two of the most honorable men he ever knew, and in all his intercourse with them he never knew either to misconstrue an agreement to their own advantage by a hair’s breadth. Is not such a name worth more than silver or gold?-- Mr. Hoffman came to Elmira, from Northumberland, Pa., in 1799, with all his worldly goods in a pocket handkerchief. He carried on the hatting business, I think, till as late as 1836, when Mr. N. W. Gardiner became his partner, under the name of Hoffman & Gardiner. In 1830, according to an advertisement in the GAZETTE, he kept store "opposite John Davis’ Inn," and he erected the building, still occupied by Mr. Gardiner, about 1834, or perhaps a year later. Mr. Hoffman was the last survivor of the pioneers, and in his demise the only connecting link of the present with that generation of sturdy, self-sacrificing patriots was severed. The proudest legacy he left his children was an unsullied name.
At the time of which I write the slopes of the surrounding hills were very little cleared up. Above Tuttle’s mill the most had been done, and beyond the country was pretty well settled up over to Jerusalem.--The road past the Water Cure led to a number of farms three or four miles distant, but comparatively little had been done towards levelling the forests. The markets were too far away to render the products of the soil of much value, and the two articles of expert, wheat and lumber, found an outlet only down the Chemung and Susquehanna rivers. The opening of the Chemung Canal was the dawn of prosperity for Elmira, and from 1832 to 1836 the village grew rapidly, and of those who came during this period, many are still active and leading business men, and amongst the most valued citizens.
The Last Number.
So far as describing Elmira as it was forty years is concerned, my task is finished.--Whether my memory has been at fault, and whether I have fairly completed my task, older citizens than myself can best determine. I think, however, it will be generally considered that my memory has been pretty good, and that any errors committed have been rather of omission than commission. If the series of papers I have offered have been well received, and I have succeeded in enlisting the interest of any portion of your readers, or have been fortunate enough to awaken in the chambers of memory a single thought made pleasant by a recurrence to these long past days, I shall feel amply rewarded. It seems but a little while to look back, and yet change is written upon every industrial feature of the landscape. The little village a mere speck upon the bosom of the beautiful valley now spreads out over its fairest portion--the axe of the settler has despoiled the surrounding hills of the noble forests that was their most beautiful adornment--the lovely river has completed its allotted work of floating the early products of the soil to the marts of trade. The largest number of the actors upon the primitive stage have bowed their last farewell and retired behind the scenes. The monumental marble will tell who they were--the few survivors can bear testimony to their worth. The once remote hamlet has become a prosperous city--steam has almost annihilated distances and tributes to your enterprise and industry are poured in upon you in almost exhaustless store.
In all your advancement to wealth and importance, how few there are who pause to consider and give credit to the agent that has been more potent than all else in working this great transformation. The truthful and poetic idea that "the pen is mightier than the sword," would find more thoughtful advocates if intellectual force could be reduced to physical proportions. The Archimedean lever would then be no myth. The press is the unseen servant whose labor never ends, and whose fruitfulness entitles it to the highest reward. Even the little sheet of forty years ago which made its weekly visits to the family fireside performed its allotted duties well. Now that the GAZETTE has grown to vigorous manhood it is still the exponent of the principle which has ever been its guide through its lengthened career. Consistent in the future as it has been in the past its enterprise must ever be properly rewarded. Each number is the best continuous history of Elmira that could be written, and as such has become already invaluable. May its present able management long continue.
If the pioneers performed their duties well and are worthy of grateful remembrance, not less worthy are those who came at a later day and helped to build up your city to its present fair proportions. When you can number such names as Tracy Beadle, David H. Tuthill, Harry Luce, Dorastus and Harry Hatch, J. C. Sampson, N. W. Gardiner, Riggs Watrous, Stephen McDonald, and very many others, whose interests were identified with those of the little village and have continued for a generation, the wonder ceases that you have fine churches, noble educational institutions, splendid public works and a standard of intelligence that elevates you to enviable notoriety. Though I long long since ceased to be a citizen I have often visited my native town and watched its growth with pride. Old attachments still assert their supremacy, and I am certain they will never weaken by age. My task is ended.
|The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933 firstname.lastname@example.org|