& Town of Elmira
THE CITY OF ELMIRA – (Continued).
Societies, Schools, etc.
On the 3d of June, 1793, a petition was addressed to the Grand Lodge of F. and A. M. of the State of New York, by Amos Park, James Cameron, Nathaniel Seely, Jr., Henry Starret, Peter Loop, Jr., Nathaniel Teal, James Seely, and John Crabtree, praying for a warrant to establish a lodge at Newtown (now Elmira), in the county of Tioga. This petition was presented to the Grand Lodge at its annual communication in the city of New York, June 24, 1793, and a warrant was granted on the 28th of the same month, under the name and number of Union Lodge, No. 30, to Amos Park, Master; James Cameron, Senior Warden; Nathaniel Seely, Jr., Junior warden; and was signed by Robert Livingston, Grand Master, Jacob Morton, Senior Grand Warden, James Scott, Junior Grand Warden. The officers named in the warrant, who had formerly been members of St. John’s Lodge, No. 18, at Warwick, Orange Co., were duly installed by Samuel Gardner, William Adams, and Thomas Morrison, at Canandaigua, on the 22d of August following.
The first meeting of the lodge was held at the house of John Koukle, on the 26th of August, 1793, and following officers and brethren were present: Amos Park, Master; James Cameron, Senior Warden; Nathaniel Seely, Jr., Junior Warden; Peter Loop, Jr., Sec.; John Konkle, Treas.; Nathaniel Teal, Tyler; James Seely, member; Abiel Fry, visitor. At this meeting the applications of five candidates were received, and subsequently accepted.
William Dunn (father of James, Charles W., and Thomas Dunn) was the first person initiated into Masonry in Union Lodge, No. 30.
The lodge continued to meet regularly until some time in 1828, when, owing to the great excitement in the community, growing out of the so-called "Morgan affair," it ceased to meet or work.
The following brethren were elected Masters in December of each year from 1794 until 1827, and served until the expiration of their terms of office, with a single exception: Amos Park, 1794, ’98, 1806; Dr. Joseph Hinchman, 1795-97; John Knokle, 1799-1800; John Miller, 1801-5; Caleb Baker, 1807-10; Samuel Hendy, 1811; Samuel Tuthill, 1812, ’15, ’21, ’25; Solomon L. Smith, 1813; Dr. Elias Satterlee, * 1814; John Cherry, 1816; George Guest, 1817-18; John Fitzsimmons, 1819; Orange Chapman, 1820; Daniel E. Brown, 1822-23; Isaac Roc, 1824; Wyatt Car,** 1826 and Albert A. Beckwith, 1827.
The number of persons initiated and affiliated in the lodge from its organization until 1828 was 236. Among the members of the lodge were numbered many of the most prominent and influential citizens of Tioga and the adjoining counties, some of whom were noted for valuable public services in civil and military life. Among them were Dr. Joseph Hinchman, Elijah Hinman, Dr. Lemuel Hudson, Hon. Vincent Mathews, Judge John Miller, Hon. Thomas Maxwell, Hon. Aaron Konkle, David McCormick, William B. Rochester (noted as a candidate for Governor against De Witt Clinton, in 1826), Samuel Tuthill, Hon. Caleb Baker, Judge Darius Bentley, Dr. Rulandus Bancroft, Hon. Grant Baldwin, Hon. John W. Wisner, William Williams, Eleazer Dana, Hon. Isaac Baldwin, and General John H. Knapp.
Of the entire membership of Union Lodge, No. 30, only six are now living, - Rev. Christian Greatsinger, Charles W. Dunn, Vincent Conkling, Darius Bentley, Samuel Boyer, and John C. Roe.
The lodge for several years previous to 1822 held its meetings in the "old log court-house," and on or after the erection of the new court-house removed to the village, and at the time of the suspension of the lodge work occupied the old "Masonic Hall," on the south side of Water Street, a short distance east of Baldwin Street.
The warrant of Union Lodge, No. 30, was declared, "forfeited" by the Grand Lodge in 1853.
The original book of records, jewels, and aprons belonging to the lodge were safely kept by Brother Isaac Roe, and the original warrant was surrendered to the Grand Lodge by Brother Albert A. Beckwith.
Oct. 9, 1843, on application for a new warrant, Union Lodge, No. 95, was instituted by dispensation, issued by the Grand Master to Benajah B. Payne, ***M., Isaac Reynolds, S. W., Elijah Jones, J. W., and twenty-five other petitioners. The first meeting was held Oct. 25, 1843, with eighteen brethren in attendance, fifteen of those present having been members of Union Lodge, No. 30, and four only are now living: James S. French, Samuel Riker, Vincent Conkling, and John C. Roe.
The officers for 1878 are George C. Moore, M.; R. B. Van Garder, S. W.; Charles Van Wagoner, J. W.; Granville D. Parsons, Treas.; Griff D. Palmer, Sec. Total membership of Union Lodge, No. 95, June 1878, was 302.
*Dr. Elias Satterlee: On the 11th of November, 1815, the lodge was hurriedly summoned to meet, and the following appears on the record: "It is with the most poignant feelings of sorrow and regret that we here announce and record the death of our worthy Brother, Elias Satterlee, late Worshipful Master of this Lodge, who died this day at half-past two o’clock p.m., in consequence of a gunshot wound accidentally received about ten o’clock this morning in the shop of Mr. Charles Ornan, in this village."
**Wyatt Carr removed to Aurora, Ill., and became a prominent citizen, and was high in the Masonic ranks of the Prairie State.
***B. B. Payne was one of the stanchest Masons of Illinois for more than twenty-five years. He was known as "Father Paine;" was a member and officer of the Grand Lodge of that State, also of the Grand Chapter. Masonry and the world were better for his living.
Ivy Lodge, No. 397, F. and A. M., was organized by dispensation issued by Joseph D. Evans, Grand Master, to Thomas C. Edwards, M., Lewis E Bonney, S. W., Theodore North, J. W., and eleven others.
The first meeting was held Nov. 22, 1855, and at the annual communication of the Grand Lodge, on the 6th of June 1856, a warrant was granted, and the officers installed June 24, 1856, by Brother James S. French.
This lodge has been remarkable for the youth of its officers and members, its rapid growth, and its high standing among the craft. The present membership is 351. The officers for 1878 are Samuel D. Wadham, M.; C. N. Shipman, S. W.; E. O. Beers, J. W.; N. D. Doxey, Sec.; John Arnot, Jr., Treas.
Elmira Chapter, No. 42, Royal Arch Masons. – On the 4th of April 1815, Ezra Ames, Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of New York, issued a dispensation to Elias Satterlee, High Priest, John Cherry, King, Thos. Maxwell, Scribe, and Companions Samuel Tuthill, John Hughes, Solomon L. Smith, Platt Bennitt, Amos Park, and John Knox, to form a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons at Elmira, Tioga Co., N. Y. The first meeting was held July 3, 1815. Present, Elias Satterlee, Solomon L. Smith, Thos. Maxwell, Nathan Teal, and James Cameron.
A Mark Masters’ lodge was opened in due form. The following applications were presented: Caleb Baker and Joshua Tunis, for the 6th and 7th degrees; Grand B. Baldwin and Orange Chapman, for the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th degrees; Samuel Hendy, a Past Master, for the 4th, 6th, and 7th degrees; John Hughes, a Royal Arch Mason, for the 4th degree. At the expiration of the dispensation a warrant was granted by the Grand Royal Arch Chapter, at its annual convocation, Feb. 8, 1816, to Caleb Baker, High Priest, Thomas Maxwell, King, Grant B. Baldwin, Scribe, and their associates. The chapter met regularly until the annual election, Nov. 27, 1827, when the record ceases.
On the 7th of February, 1844, the Grand Chapter authorized "Elmira Chapter, No. 42," to resume its labors, and instructed Hezekiah W. Atkins, Past High Priest, to summon the members of the chapter, preside at an election of officers, and install the same.
Pursuant to a summons issued by Companion Atkins, there were present at a meeting held Sept. 16, 1844, H. W. Atkins, High Priest; Elijah Jones King; Francis Collingwood, Scribe; Thomas Maxwell, Treas., - all of whom had been elected in November, 1827; Dr. Jotham Purdy, Archibald Smith, Platt Bennitt, John Fitzsimmons, John Hughes, James S. French, Geo. Pierce, Caleb Baker, Dr. Lemuel Hudson, Adna S. Atkins, Squire Newton, Nathaniel Johnson, Dr. Wm. Purinton, Josiah Dunham. Of these, only James S. French survives.
At this meeting Hon. Thomas Maxwell was elected High Priest; James S. French, King; Elijah Jones, Scribe. No other meeting was held until Dec. 9, 1845, when James S. French was elected High Priest; H. W. Atkins, King; Elijah Jones, Scribe.
The chapter then entered upon a career of prosperity which has continued uninterrupted until now, and it ranks as seventh on the roll of the Grand Chapter in point of numbers and financial standing.
The following companions served as High Priest since the organization of the chapter in 1815 to 1827: Elias Satterlee, 1815; Caleb Baker, 1816; Thomas Maxwell, 1817-19, 1823-27, 1845, ’52, ’56; Orange Chapman, 1821; Solomon L. Smith, 1822; Hezekiah W. Atkins, 1828-44, 1861-65, 1876. The total number of members, February 1878, was 236. The officers for 1878 are as follows: John E. Larkin, High Priest; N. D. Doxey, King; D. R. Davenport, Scribe; John Arnot, Jr., Treas.; S. D. Wadham, Sec.; B. B. Van Gorder, C. of H.
Royal and Select Masters. – In 1855 a dispensation to form a Council of Royal and Select Masters was issued by M. J. Drummond, Grand Master of the Grand Council of New York, to Thos. C. Edwards, James S. French, Squire Newton, and others. On the 4th of June of this year a warrant was granted by the Grand Council to these parties, authorizing them to establish a council at Elmira, N. Y., to be known as "Excelsior Council, No. 6." This council remained in existence until Jan. 25, 1860, when its warrant was officially declared forfeited.
On the 29th of February 1860, Nathan O. Benjamin, Grand Master, issued a new dispensation to Chas. E Gillett, Master, Wm. Lee, Dep. Master, Geo. S. McCairn, P. C. of W., and six other companions, to form a council in the town of Elmira. On the 5th of June 1860, a warrant was granted to them by the name and style of "Southern Tier Council, No. 16." The council now numbers 92 members.
The officers for 1878 are as follows: Samuel D. Wadham, Master; Chas. H. Richards, Dep. Master; F. E. Cleveland, P. C. of W.; G. D. Parsons, Treas.; W. H. Browne, Recorder.
Knights Templar. – An encampment of Knights Templar existed at Elmira, N. Y., at an early day, but in the absence of official records no definite data can be given, except a certificate of membership given to H. W. Atkins from "Elmira Encampment of Knights Templar, Knights of Malta, and Knights of the Mediterranean Pass, and Council of Knights of the Red Cross, (dated) July 20, 1826," signed "Thos. Maxwell, Gr. Com.; John Hughes, Geno.; Isaiah Dunham, Capt. Gen’l;" attested by the seal of the encampment, and the well-known signature of "Isaac Roe, Recorder." The encampment was probably established by the Ancient Scottish Rite.
St. Omer’s Commandery, No. 19, was instituted by dispensation issued by Wm. E. Lathrop, Grand Commander, May 28, 1852, to Thos. C. Edwards, Commander, Edward L. Uentz, General, Henry D. Rice, Capt. Gen., and their associates; a warrant was granted by the Grand Commandery of New York, June 4, 1852. This commandery has been one of the most successful in the jurisdiction as regards numbers and standing in the order; and now numbers 237 members.
The officers for 1878 are Hiram B. Berry, Commander; Emmon T. Walker, Gen.; Lewis A. Hazard, Capt. Gen.; F. E. Cleveland, Prelate; John Arnot, Jr., Treas.; F. D. Ramsdell, Recorder.
The Masonic Hall. – The trustees of Union and Ivy Lodges, Elmira Chapter, and St. Omer’s Commandery, being incorporated under the laws of the State of New York, have, under the direction and authority of these bodies, commenced the erection of a "Masonic Hall," on the northwest corner of Lake and Market Streets, in the city of Elmira, the corner-stone of which edifice was laid, with impressive ceremonies, Sept. 5, 1878. The proposed edifice will be ample in its dimensions, being 76 feet front on Lake Street and 100 feet deep, four stories high, and it is expected will be completed and occupied by the fraternity during the year 1879. The building and lodge-furniture complete, it is estimated, will cost not less than $60,000.
Coeur de Lion Conclave, No.7, Knights of the Red Cross of Constantine, was established at Elmira, N. Y., Oct. 7, 1872, by virtue of a warrant granted by the Earl of Beetive, Grand Sovereign of the Grand Imperial Council of England, to John S. Bartlett, Sov.; James M. Shoemaker, Viceroy; Frank E. Cleveland, Prelate; John D. Williams, Sen. Gen.; Geo. Whitmore, Jun. Gen.; Emmon T. Walker, Standard-Bearer; Benjamin P. Fenner, Prefect; David S. Dorr, Sentinel; Joseph E. McWilliams, Recorder; Sutherland De Witt, Treas.; Chas. H. Richards, Herald; Stephen B. Sergeant, and Martin V. B. Bachman.
The council subsequently joined with others in forming the Grand Council of the State of New York, and their original warrant received the indorsement of that Grand Council. The officers for 1878 are as follows: Louis A. Hazard, Sov.; Chas. S. Davison, Vice Sov.; Portus L. Hinman, Sen. Gen.; Sam. D. Wadham, Jun. Gen.; F. E. Cleveland, Prelate; Granville D. Parsons, Treas.; Hiram B. Berry, Recorder.
The data and incidents of the Masonic history of Elmira, N. Y., are
taken from the official records of the grand and subordinate bodies, by
John D. Williams, Past Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of New York,
who also served as High Priest in the Elmira Chapter, No. 42, during 1861-65
and 1876, and to whom acknowledgment is made for this service, although
we have been compelled to abbreviate his work.
Was born in Elmira, N. Y., Oct. 6, 1820. His father, William Williams, - a native of Wales, - came to America in the year 1801, settling first in Canterbury, Orange Co., N. Y., then removing to Elmira (1818), where he soon after married Stella H., daughter of John Durham, one of the early settlers, and for many years under-sheriff at the old log court-house.
Mr. Williams received a fair common-school education, and at the age of sixteen commenced learning the trade of a tanner and currier with his father, with whom he continued until reaching his majority. In 1844, owing to lameness produced by exposure to water, he was compelled to abandon his trade and pursue other vocations. In 1852 he married Mary J., daughter of E. L. Hoffman, of Fort Plain, N. Y., who, together with an infant son, died in 1854.
In 1856 he was appointed clerk in the canal collector’s office at Horseheads, and in 1857, appointed collector in place of W. B. Calhoun, removed from the State.
In June, 1858, he received the appointment of collector of tolls on the Junction Canal, holding that position for six years.
In 1860 he married Adaline, youngest daughter of Henry Saylor, of Hector, Tompkins Co., N. Y.
He was tendered the position of paymaster at the Elmira Iron and Steel Rolling-Mills in 1864, and has continuously since held that place.
In the Masonic fraternity Mr. Williams has been zealous and active, receiving the first degree in 1856, and the thirty-third and last degree in 1871, holding in the mean time the position of presiding officer in every body of the York rite.
It is only due to Mr. Williams to say that in his official acts, in all places of trust and responsibility, characteristic of him are his sterling integrity, business ability, and a will to carry forward to successful completion any enterprise he undertakes – justice to all, and unsullied motives.
In politics he was originally an old-line silver-gray Henry Clay Whig; was somewhat connected with the Know-Nothing party; was an ardent supporter of the Union during the late Rebellion, and a member of the Republican Party.
In 1875 he was elected supervisor of the Third Ward of the city, and re-elected each year since that time.
The first lodge was Chemung Lodge, No. 127, and was instituted Oct. 11, 1844, by D. D. Grand Master M. R. Wright, of Tompkins District, assisted by William P. Pew and Horace King, of Ithaca Lodge, No. 71, at Ithaca, N. Y.
The charter members of Chemung Lodge were R. B. Sharpstein, E. J. Horn, D. C. Mallory, Geo. P. Tyler, and Fred Leach. The first officers, R. B. Sharpstein, N. G.; E. J. Horn, V. G.; D. C. Mallory, Sec.; Geo. P. Tyler, Treas. First members initiated, J. D. Baldwin, W. H. Thorne, Washington Thurman, N. B. Lowney, Geo. P. Tyler resigned the office of Treasurer, and Edward Covell was elected in his place.
Newtown Lodge, No. 254, changed to No. 89 in 1867, was instituted at Elmira, Oct. 30, 1846, by C. D. Grand Master D. C. Mallory. Charter members, Edward Covell, W. L. Gibson, Wm. Woodward, James P. Taylor, Elias Colburn, S. C. Gibson, Jacob Daniels, J. W. Chapman, Geo. W. Brown, Rev. Philo E. Brown, John J. Brees, R. P. Thurber, Peter C. Beckweth, and Amos Fenton. The first officers were Edward Covell, N. G.; W. L. Gibson, V. G.; William Woodward, Sec.; James P. Taylor, Treas. First members initiated, A. F. Corey, Josiah Bartholomew, John R. Jones, Joseph Golden, and Charles G. Fairman; and, to the honor of Newtown Lodge, P. G. Charles G. Fairman has been advanced until he is now honored with the position of Grand Master of the State of New York.
The lodge fitted up rooms in the north part of the Mechanics’ building, on the west side of Lake Street, which was afterwards known as Odd-Fellows’ Hall. The present officers are D. T. Winterstein, N. G.; Fred Fuller, V. G.; W. H. Rees, Recording Secretary; W. L. Gibson, Financial Sec.; James McCann, Treas.
In the spring of 1852, Chemung and Newtown Lodges fitted up rooms in Arnot’s building, on the corner of Water and Lake Streets. Chemung Lodge continued to occupy their rooms until Dec. 28, 1861, when it merged into Newtown Lodge, having admitted to membership 382 previous to the union. They now occupy the third story of C. W. Wyekoff Block, 126 and 128 West Water Street. This lodge-room is one of the best finished and furnished in Southern New York. The present officers are G. M. Davidson, N. G.; D. T. Wintersteen, V. G.; Wm. H. Rees, Recording Sec.; James McCann, Treas.
Southern Tier Lodge, No 344, was instituted in Elmira, Jan. 21, 1873, by members of Newtown Lodge, No. 89, Charter members, Edward Covell, John T. Davidson, A. Voorhees, A. E. Macknier, T. M. Losie, Geo. C. Peters, W. H. Plowman, Johnson Beers, A. B. Dewitt, R. X. Parmenter, R. H. White, C. B. Bovier, C. B. Hanyen, Charles Elmendorf, John C. Cooper, and W. H. Corman. First officers, John T. Davidson, N. G.; M. Losie, V. G.; C. B. Bovier, Sec.; Edward Covell, Treas. This lodge has fine rooms at 120 and 122 Lake Street. Present officers, J. L. Cornell, N. G.; W. R. Ten Broek, V. G.; W. D. Ayres, Recording Sec.; D. R. Davenport, Treas.
Donau Lodge, No. 363, working in German. Instituted in Elmira, June 30, 1873; also an offshoot of Newtown Lodge, No. 89. Charter members, Jacob Snyder, Adam Mander, Louis Snyder, Fred Vackeroth, Joseph Riedinger, Benjamin Litch, Joseph Meyers, John M. Kickbush, John Stumpfle, Joseph Diefenbach, Christian Miller, Michael Deister, Sylvester Schaaffe, G. M. Klapp, Joseph Christian, Henry Anders, Jacob Kolb, Constantine Bantly, Jacob Schlosser, and Wm. F. Diedrich. First officers Jacob Snyder, N. G.; Henry Anders, V. G.; Fred Vackcroth, Sec.; Louis Snyder, Treas. Present officers (July, 1878), W. F. Bower, N. G.; Chas. Hoppe, V. G.; H. J. Volbrecht, Sec.; Jacob Schlosser, Treas.; Henry Reidinger, Financial Sec. Meet in Southern Tier Lodge rooms; are out of debt, and have $600 in their treasury.
Breesport Lodge, No. 419, was instituted at Breesport, Feb. 11, 1875, by D. D. Grand Master Charles G. Fairman, assisted by W. L. Gibson and A. F. Corey, of Elmira, and D. D. Grand Master Samuel J. Brown, of Schuyler district. The charter members were George S. Sadler, Reubin Liff, Jr., Charles Brown, Howard S. Horner, John Nichols, Myron H. Bruce, John P. Brees, Orlando S. Ladow, and Horace E. Purdy. First officers, Geo. S. Sadler, N. G.; Howard S. Horner, V. G.; O. S. Ladow, Sec.; John P. Brees, Treas. Present officers, Joel M. Janson, N. G.; D. M. Hiller, V. G.; Geo. S. Sadler, Sec.; M. H. Brees, Treasurer; Geo. S. Sadler, Representative to the Grand Lodge; E. D. Brown, Proxy. The lodge is out of debt, and has $220 in their treasury.
Fort Hill Encampment, No. 86, I. O. O. F., was instituted in Elmira, Feb. 13, 1846, by P. C. P., P. H. Thompson, who was then a member of Iroquois Encampment, No. 22, at Ithaca, N.Y. The charter members: C. C. Mallory, Philo E. Brown, Washington Thurman, Sylvester H. Reynolds, Isaac H. Reynolds, James P. Taylor, and James Matheus. The rooms are on the same floor with Newtown Lodge, and are handsomely decorated with emblems of the order.
The first officers were D. C. Mallory, C. P.; Philo E. Brown, H. P.; Isaac H. Reynolds, S. W.; W. Thurman, Scribe; James P. Taylor, Treas.; S. H. Reynolds, J. W. Initiated and exalted to the R. P. degree: Edward Maxwell, E. J. Horn, William L. Gibson, Baldwin Little, and Joseph Hoffman. March 3, 1846, W. Thurman, Philo E. Brown and W. L. Gibson appointed Committee on By-Laws. The officers of the encampment have been, July 1846, W. Thurman, C. P.; Ira Smith, H. P.; W. L. Gibson, S. W.; E. Maxwell, Scribe; E. Colborn, Treas.; Baldwin Little, J. W. 1847, W. L. Gibson, C. P.; W. Thurman, H. P.; Walter Bullard, S. W.; E. Maxwell, Scribe; W. W. Bennett, Treas.; James Matheus, J. W. Officers who have served as D. D. G. Patriarch for the last twenty years: from 1859 to 1873, W. L. Gibson; 1874 and 1875, C. G. Fairman; 1876, __, __; 1877, C. B. Bovier; 1878, A. Voorhees. The present officers are William E. Dearth, C. P.; L. Redner, H. P.; Joseph Goulden, S. W.; Theo. G. Smith, Scribe; James McCann, Treas.
The lodge is out of debt, and July 1, 1878, had $3108.41 in her treasury. The whole number admitted up to July 1, 1878, is 831.
Elmira Encampment, No. 86, I. O. O. F., was instituted Sept. 24, 1875. Charter members: C. B. Bovier, T. M. Losie, C. W. Fay, C. Bantley, E. A. Beers, D. C. Mertunes, A. Voorhees, J. Kolb, J. J. Meyer, Jr., Edward Cornell, E. B. Pickering, D. R. Davenport, and A. N. Smith. First officers: C. B. Bovier, C. P.; T. M. Losie, H. P.; A. Voorhees, S. W.; J. H. Ladley, Scribe; E. O. Beers, Treas.; O. N. Smith, J. W. The present officers are J. L. Cornell, C. P.; C. Bantley, H. P.; R. R. R. Dumars, S. W.; J. S. Allen, Scribe; J. Kolb, Treas.; T. M. Losie, J. W.
The forgoing is extracted from records gathered specially for this history by W. L. Gibson, a charted member of Newtown Lodge, No. 254, and its first V. G., also a member of the District Grand Committee from 1846 to 1870, and the highly-esteemed Dist. Dep. Grand Patriarch for the last twenty years, and for which we return him sincere thanks.
The District Grand Committee of Chemung was formed Dec. 14, 1847. The Past Grands of the several lodges having been called together at the request of E. S. Hinman, D. D. G. M., met in Havana Lodge rooms; P. G. George T. Hinman was chosen Secretary. The lodges belonging to the District of Chemung at this time were Chemung, Newtown, Havana, Millport, Sullivan, and Canadesaga. In 1854, Schuyler District Grand Committee was formed. This left only four lodges in the District Grand Committee of Chemung. Dec. 28, 1861, Chemung Lodge merged into Newtown, as before stated. In 1864 only Newtown Lodge was left in the district, Millport and Sullivan having gone down; and Chemung and Schuyler Counties were again formed into a district, Newtown and Havana being the only lodges working. In 1869, Tioga County was added. In 1874, Chemung, Schuyler, and Tioga Districts were divided, making a district of each county. The district of Chemung had three lodges. There are now (July, 1878) four lodges in this district. The following Past Grands have held the office of District Deputy Grand Master: 1846, W. L. Gibson; 1847-48, E. S. Hinman; 1849-50, W. L. Gibson; 1851, A. F. Corey; 1852, George T. Hinman; 1853, Cyrus Barlow; 1854, Leonard Pearce; 1855, J. W. Chapman; 1856, John N. Beers; 1857, W. L. Gibson; 1858, Dewitt C. Curtis; 1859-61, Rev. William Sharp; 1862-67, W. L. Gibson; 1868, George T. Hinman; 1869-70, W. L. Gibson; 1871-72, O. H. P. Kinney; 1873, Samuel J. Brown; 1874-75, C. G. Fairman; 1876-77, John T. Davidson; 1878, George S. Sadler is recommended.
ODD-FELLOWS’ RELIEF ASSOCIATION.
Pursuant to an act for the incorporation of societies, passed May 1, 1865, this association was organized with the name above written.
The object of the association is the defraying the funeral expenses and charges of its members as they shall from time to time decease, and the affording of pecuniary relief to their families.
The association at the organization elected the following Board of Directors: J. M. Tillman, W. L. Gibson, Charles Hazard, A. B. Galatian, C. G. Fairman, H. T. Palmer, J. Bartholomew, James McCann, G. W. Palmer, O. H. P. Kinney, E. W. Rutan, Wm. P. Dewitt, and Wm. Olivey, who thereupon choose the following from their number to serve them as indicated: J. M. Tillman, President; J. Bartholomew, Vice-President; Wm. L. Gibson, Secretary; James McCann, Treasurer.
The annual meeting of the members of the association for the election of directors, and the transaction of general business, shall be held on the fourth Thursday of December in each year, notice of which shall be sent by the secretary to all the lodges of whose membership one or more are members of this association. Such notice shall be mailed at least ten days previous to such meeting.
The present directors are J. M. Tillman, W. Olivey, H. T. Palmer, C. S. Crane, James McCann, E. W. Rutan, Joseph Golden, O. H. P. Kinney, James Baker, C. J. Fairman, Wm. L. Gibson, Wm. P. Dewitt, Jacob Schlosser.
The present officers are J. M. Tillman, President; H. T. Palmer, Vice-President; Wm. L. Gibson, Secretary; James McCann, Treasurer.
We are indebted to Mrs. E. J. Cleeves for the following, concerning the first school. "The first school-house stood where Park church now stands; it was a little wooden building, painted red, and was the only meeting-house in the place. Sarah Cleeves, who had taught the academy in Bloomingrove two or more years, as soon as settled in a house on Lake Street was invited to take charge of the village school. This was in the spring of 1817, and the school was approached by narrow paths, through woods.
"In 1823, Joshua Cleeves purchased two lots on West Water Street; on one of these lots the sisters (there were three, Mary, Sarah, and Julia) built a school-house, with two apartments, for the primary and higher classes; this was the
FIRST HIGH SCHOOL
IN Elmira (then Newtown). Miss Mary Cleeves was principal, and Miss Sarah had charge of the primary department; they were assisted by their niece, Abbie Cleeves, a lady of much refinement; gentlemen were employed to teach mathematics and Latin. In 1841, Mary Cleeves died; the school was continued until 1844, when Sarah’s health failed, and she was compelled to give up her chosen work."
This institution was opened in November 1847. The design of the founder and principal, Miss Clarissa Thurston, was a "Home Seminary, the young ladies being regarded as a family circle." The influence of the school was decidedly religious, "the Scriptures the great source from which lessons of instruction are drawn." The names of teachers for the year ending March 30, 1855, were Principal, Miss Clarissa Thurston; Professor of Languages, G. A. Matile, LL.D.; of Language, Mathematics and Natural Science, Miss Mary D. Thurston, Miss Anna R. Atwood; Instrumental and Vocal Music, Mrs. G. A. Matile, Miss Frances W. Owston, Miss Helene Matile, Miss Leonora J. Atwood, Miss Maria C. Kimball.
The school was held in the building now occupied by Judge Thurston and Miss C. Thurston, and was in successful operation seventeen years, until the health of the principal failed; she closed it in her sixty-third year. Miss Thurston is still living, and engaged in preparing a work on the fulfillment of the prophecies, as shown in subsequent history, - a work which her friends consider her competent to do. A brief notice of her writings will be found in the chapter on authors.
ELMIRA FEMALE COLLEGE.
This was the first of its kind established in this State, and is believed to be the first fully-chartered female college in this country.
The college owes its origin chiefly to Mr. and Mrs. Sackett, who began the effort to establish a superior collegiate institution in the city of Auburn about the year 1856. The trustees then were Rev. N. S. S. Beman, D. D. Troy; Prof. Mandeville, of Hamilton College; Rev. I. N. Wyekoff, D. D., Albany; F. D. C. McKay, Warsaw; Rev. William Hogarth, Geneva; Rev. H. A. Sackett, Auburn; Rev. Wm Hosmer, Auburn; Rev. R. Tinker, Westfield; Rev. Isaac Shaw, Cayuga; Rev. S. R. Brown, Auburn; Rev. L. P. Hickok, D. D., Auburn (president of Union College); Solomon Jenner, New York City; and Simeon Benjamin, Elmira. A subscription was begun, but owing to local obstacles in selecting a site, the proposition was made to transfer the enterprise to Elmira. It was at this point that Mr. Benjamin became more heartily enlisted, and by a subscription of $5000 secured its location here. It was hoped that a large part of the subscriptions could be also transferred, but very little was actually realized from this source. A new subscription was raised, amounting to $25,000, additional to Mr. Benjamin’s and a loan of $24,000 and a State appropriation of $10,000. This was expended in erecting a building and fitting it up sufficiently for beginning. The college was formally opened in October 1855, and at once filled. The first year it was in charge of Mrs. Dunlap, an accomplished lady, who had spent some years teaching in Athens and Smyrna. The Rev. A. W. Cowles, D. D., was inaugurated as president, Aug. 7, 1856.
The faculty of the college is as follows: Rev. Augustus W. Cowles, D. D., President, and Benjamin Professor of Sacred Literature, Mental and Moral Science, - classes in Greek and Aesthetics; Rev. Darius R. Ford, D. D., Professor of Physical Science, Mathematics, and Astronomy; Miss Anna M. Robinson, Lady Principal, - classes in English Literature and Physiology; M’lle Agathe Elise Jacot, Preceptress in French and German; Mill Helen N. Converse, Latin Department and Physiology; Miss Minnie A. Knox, Physical Culture, History, and Arithmetic; Miss Amelia F. Willard, Algebra, Higher Arithmetic, English Analysis, and United States History; W. Luton Wood, Piano, Organ, Harmony, and Composition; __ __, Piano and Vocal Music; George W. Waters, Director of Art Department; Miss Kate M. Bacon, of Drawing and Painting; Mrs. Fidelia E. Stanley, Matron; M. S. Converse, A. M., Commissioner.
Eclectic Department. – Well-advanced students who desire to omit Latin, or whose time for study renders it impracticable to pursue the regular course, will be allowed to select studies which they are prepared to enter. The college has sent out 19 graduating classes; more than 200 have received diplomas of this institution. The college has always stood on the broad basis of unsectarian union. The charter expressly requires that several denominations, mentioning by name the Episcopal, Congregational, Dutch Reformed, Methodist, and Baptist Churches, shall be represented by at least one member each in the board of trustees, so that it cannot become exclusively denominational.
The college owes its existence and financial success to the liberality and management of Simeon Benjamin, Esq., as the able and generous treasurer; he carefully watched over the pecuniary interests of the institution. The aggregate of his donations is not less than $80,000. The citizens of Elmira and community at large owe him a lasting debt of gratitude.
"An Act in relation to Common Schools in the city of Elmira, passed April 4, 1859." Section 1, amended April 22, 1873, provides that from and after the 30th day of September, 1873, the territory embraced within the corporate bounds of the city of Elmira shall constitute one school district, to be called "the School District of the city of Elmira." By reference to preceding schools it will be seen that Elmira was not deficient in means of education, but that the demand for free schools, although previously felt, just culminated. This was the most opportune time, however, as it became the work of well-matured plans, put into operation when everything was fully prepared; so that the system is equal to any other, and the school buildings ample in number and well arranged. The number of school-houses is nine, - two frame and seven brick; the architecture of the brick buildings is highly ornamental. The cost or value of the school-houses and sites is $299,000. The number of licensed teachers employed for 1876 and 1877 is, - males, 6; females, 77; total, 83
The whole number of children of school age who attended public school some portion of the year was 4451; average number, 3143; average daily attendance, 2979; number of days attended, 575,927.
Number of volumes in public-school library, including the Young Men’s Christian Association Library, and the library corner of Baldwin and Water Streets, is 2810; present value, $2550.
The following comprise the Board of Education, 1877-78: Commissioners at Large, - J. F. D. Slee, term expires October, 1879; Matthias H. Arnot, term expires October, 1879; H. D. V. Pratt, term expires October, 1878; James L. Woods, term expires October, 1878. District Commissioners, - Salmon F. Chase, First District, term expires October, 1879; Chauncey N. Shipman, Second District, term expires October, 1880; Charles W. Brown, Third District, term expires October, 1879; Robert M. McDowell, Fourth District, term expires October, 1880; Patrick Battersby, Fifth District, term expires October, 1879. J. D. F. Slee, President; M. M. Merrell, Secretary and Superintendent.
There is one practice in these schools that is conducive of the best results for the teacher, viz., visitation. In accordance with the rule on this subject, teachers have been encouraged to visit each other’s schools. These visits have been arranged by the superintendent, so as to secure to the visiting teachers the best and most helpful illustrations possible of work like their own. They are expected to take careful notes, and required to report their observations circumstantially to the superintendent. Of course the best teachers see and learn the most in this way. "Unto him that hath shall be given" has here its fulfillment and illustration.
ACADEMY OF OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS.
This school was organized in 1866, by French and German ladies of the order of Saint Mary. The school was first taught in the residence of the Sisters, on the corner of High and Market Streets. In 1873 a new building was erected on the lot adjoining, and the school now employs five teachers. The course of studies is similar to other academic institutions, including ancient and modern languages, and the ornamental accomplishments.
The Superior of the community is appointed by the Superior of the Mother-House, residing in Lockport, New York. The great Parent-House is in Belgium.
THE ELMIRA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES.
This society for the promotion of science had its origin in 1858, in the labor and liberality of Prof. C. S. Farrar, of the Female College in this city, together with a few public-spirited citizens.
Practical astronomy was their first idea. The grounds for a building were donated by Hon. E. P. Brooks. About $2000 were subscribed for the building an observatory; telescopes and other apparatus were purchased; considerable debt was incurred, which in a few years, was cleared off.
In the west wing was placed a good transit telescope. In the center stands a sideral clock and a museum of minerals and curiosities. In the east wing are placed an electric chronograph and a small library. The dome above contains a fine, refracting telescope, equatorially mounted; its length is 113 inches, with a clear aperture of 8 ½ inches; it has seven Huyghenian eye-pieces, commanding powers of from 55 to 880, and has the usual circles, reading microscopes, and clock-work movement.
The title and control of this property was, in 1861, rested in a chartered society, called "The Elmira Academy of Sciences." Rev. Thomas K. Beecher was the first president, and Prof. C. S. Farrar the first secretary and superintendent of the observatory. For many years, without salary, the superintendent has taken care of the building and apparatus, and annually instructed in practical astronomy a class of college students, who pay a small fee into the treasury of the academy.
The academicians (numbering about fifty gentlemen) are accustomed to hold business meetings at stated periods, and hold scientific meetings as occasion demands, at the call of the president. At these meetings certain standing committees report and discuss scientific matters in their departments, and generally two or more members present papers on special subjects of investigation; often the evening is spent in inspecting specimens of geology or natural history, or in examining some new instrument of philosophical research.
The society usually reports its meetings in the current local news of the day. A small and valuable monograph, on "The Birds of Southern New York," by one of its officers, is its only publication as yet. A collection of its scientific papers and proceedings will probably be published ere long.
From the beginning, having no endowment fund nor income to support an able astronomer who might give his whole time to the work of discovery, nor having any convenient hall for meetings, the society has aimed chiefly to promote the diffusion of scientific knowledge, and the culture of a taste and aptitude for scientific pursuits rather than original discovery. There has indeed been the purpose and preparation for adding a scientific hall to the observatory, where lectures, experiments, and discussions on the natural sciences and education might be held practically few to all; but the city is yet young, and members of scientific taste and sufficient wealth to bring this about are too few. A considerable amount of useful and interesting work has already been done by the society.
The Elmira observatory is situated in longitude 76 degrees 48’ 28.5" west of Greenwich, in latitude 42 degrees 6’ 25" north, and is 864 feet above the sea level.
Prof. D. R. Ford is its present superintendent, and H. F. Atkinson president.
The first telegraph-office was opened in Elmira in 1850, over Dr. Paine’s drug-store, on Water Street, the line running from Elmira to Canandaigua, connecting with the New York Central Railroad wires. Soon after the New York and Erie Railroad was built, the superintendent, Charles Minot, saw the necessity of having a telegraph wire for their business, and in 1852 or 1853 a wire was put up on the Erie, the company using it exclusively for their own business. About this time the down-town office was moved to the American Hotel, near the depot (now the Frazer House). Mr. William F. Rolfe was the operator. About the first operators at the Erie were Charlie Thompson, Robert Cunningham, James H. Smith, and L. G. Tillotson. Mr. Tillotson was appointed superintendent, and held that position until about eight years ago, when he resigned and entered into the manufacture and sale of telegraph instruments in New York City, and Mr. W. J. Holmes was appointed superintendent, and still holds that position.
In 1855, Mr. Cornell, of Ithaca, and a Mr. Skinner put up a wire extending from Addison to Newburg, and opened an office over S. Ayres’ jewelry-store, corner of Water and Lake Streets. John Morse was the operator. About this time, also, the Northern Central Railroad put up a wire from Williamsport to Elmira, and Henry Morse had charge of their office on Fifth Street, where they now are. In 1856 the first office was removed from the Elmira Hotel to the Mechanics’ Hall, on Lake Street, with M. S. Palmer as operator. During the first State fair, held in Elmira, Morse and Palmer were running the wires, and in a few months the offices were consolidated, and James H. Tichenor, of Ithaca, appointed superintendent of Mr. Cornell’s wire, and came to Elmira, he and Palmer running both company lines, in the office over Ayres’ store. In those days the people had not learned to use the telegraph only in extremely urgent cases, and receipts barely covered expenses. In six months Mr. Cornell leased their line to the New York and Erie Company, for their No. 2 through wire, and afterwards sold it to them. The Canandaigua and Elmira line would not pay, and so was abandoned. The New York and Erie having two wires, were enabled to do their own business and what commercial business was offered until during the war of the Rebellion, when the telegraph business increased to such an extent that the Western Union Company erected two wires over the Erie Railroad, from Buffalo to New York, and in 1865 opened an office in the Brainard House, M. S. Palmer, manager. Telegraphy increased and wires multiplied. The Elmira Advertiser and Gazette joined the New York Associated Press, and all of their news was telegraphed to the Elmira papers. The Rathbun House – formerly Brainard House – was not sufficient for the growing business, and in 1873 the office was removed to the Stancliff Block, where it now is. Two opposition companies – the United States and Atlantic and Pacific- put up wires and opened offices in the city near about the same time, but were soon bought up by the Western Union Company. The Northern Central Railroad Company, the Utica and Elmira Railroad Company, and the Tioga Railroad Company wires are all run by the Western Union Company, and their wires all center at the main office.
The number of city messages sent and received daily is about two-hundred, and half that number repeated from the branch lines; and ten thousand words of Associated Press matter for the daily papers are received each day. The business of the office amounts to about $2000 per month.
Branch offices are opened every year at the State fairgrounds and Elmira race course.
In August, 1877, there was a local company formed, and put up the American
District Telegraph, forty boxes being put up in the circuit, distributed
over the city in hotels, offices, and private dwellings. It is giving satisfaction
in calling messengers, police, the fire department, or family physician.
The company have just contracted with the city to put in twenty Gamewell
fire-alarm boxes, and will soon have the city under general fire-alarm
system. The main office is in connection with the Western Union Telegraph
Company and American District Telegraph Company.
This institution was founded in the fall of 1862, by Thad. S. Up De Graff, M. D., its present surgeon and proprietor. It was located in what was known as the River Buildings, opposite the Rathbun House. In November, 1873, a new building was erected on Hudson Street, the present location. The building has two large wards for men and one for women, with private apartments for those preferring them. James A. Hall, M.D., is resident physician, and Dr. Up De Graff operating surgeon and proprietor. Such an institution is a desideratum in any community, and this is deservedly well spoken of.
THE APOLLO CLUB
Was organized Nov. 18, 1875, with officers as follows: R. N. Parmenter, President; S. N. Reynolds, Vice-President; P. T. Davis, Secretary; David Frances, Treasurer; H. S. Hamer, Musical Director. The present membership is 30. The present officers are Henry Lybolt, President; R. C. Bailey, Vice-President; S. N. Reynolds, Secretary; H. C. Frost, Treasurer. The club is in a flourishing condition.
This institution was organized in 1858, by Nathaniel Caldwell, with F. W. Smith and Samuel Cowles as assistants, and was conducted by them with moderate success until 1864. In this school all branches pertaining to a commercial education were taught, and the founders deserved greater success than realized; but this was essentially a pioneer effort, and, as in all such undertakings, those who initiate the effort generally spend their time and money in educating the public up to the necessity of patronizing the business, and it is left for their successors, as in this case, to establish the institution.
In 1864, Mr. A. J. Warner came to Elmira, bought out Mr. Caldwell’s school-fixtures and good-will from F. W. Smith and Samuel Cowles, late successors to Mr. Caldwell in the commercial college, made some important changes and additions, took Mr. Smith in as a partner, and opened in a hall opposite the Rathbun House, where they conducted the school for eleven years.
The college has met the wants of the community in educating young men for the counting-room, and aiding men in business in opening and conducting their books.
The rooms are now pleasantly situated in the upper part of the Arnot Building, northwest corner of Lake and Water Streets.
ACADEMY OF MEDICINE.
The academy was organized June 29, 1852. The following were among the prominent members: Drs. P. Brooks, H. S. Chubbuck, G. W. Colby, N. R. Derby, E. L. Hart, George W. Holbrook, J. Purdy, T. H. Squire, J. K. Stanfield, Uriah Smith, William C. Wey. The officers are William Woodward, President; Charles Brown, Secretary; Ira T. Hart, Treasurer. The Censors are T. H. Squire, William Woodward, H. S. Chubbuck.
Dr. T. H. Squire is the inventor of the vertebrated catheter, a valuable instrument.
GERMAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION.
This was organized soon after the celebration of the centennial birthday of John Frederick C. Schiller, the eminent historian and dramatist, who was born in 1750. The surplus derived from this festival was appropriated to the purchase of books, which should form the nucleus of a library. The sum thus derived was $65. The library, now containing several hundred volumes of valuable books, was destroyed by fire in 1860. With the amount received from insurance a new one was started, and is now located in the school-house on Madison Avenue. The library now contains about 1400 volumes in the German language and 200 volumes in the German Language and 200 volumes in the English language.
The present officers are Jacob Weyer, President; Joseph Surgenty, Librarian; Louis Holzheimer, Secretary. The rooms are in the upper part of the building rented by the city for a German school, and are open on Saturdays.
THE FIRE DEPARTMENT. (See Also Fire Department History)
The history of the fire department previous to 1828 is obscure; indeed, it is not probable that there was a regular or volunteer force, the extinguishments of fires at that period, half a century ago, devolving upon the hastily-assembled citizens, who, with pails and buckets, in guerrilla fashion, fought the flames, and frequently succeeded in overcoming them. This mode continued until 1830, when the first regular fire company was organized, consisting of thirty of the most prominent citizens, among the number being John Arnot, Sr., Miles Covell, S. L. Gillett, David H. Tuthill, Isaac Roe, William Foster, William Viall, John Gregg, and B. Satterlee. Of these Mr. Gillett alone survives. The first fire-wardens, in 1830, were Miles Covell, John Arnot, Jr., and Abraham Ricker. In May, 1834, the first engine (a hand one) was purchased for $250. Hooks and ladders were purchased at the same time. This engine was known by the appropriate name of "Old Gooseneck," and was in active service many years, and the hero of many contests with rival companies, as well as against a common enemy.
Previous to the great fire of 1840, which swept a large portion of Water Street on the south side, no suction or hose was used with the engine, each householder being required to keep one or more fire-buckets, and at fires two lines of men would be formed; one rank would pass the filled buckets to the engine and the other hand them back.
In 1840 a hook-and-ladder company was formed, with Thomas Pattinson as foreman. The membership embraced Silas Haight, William C. Rhodes, Samuel Riker, Thomas Collingwood, N. W. Gardner, T. F. Minier, and other leading citizens. The company disbanded in 1846. In 1844 Fire Company No. 2 was organized, with George Pattinson as foreman. Among its members were G. A. Gridley, Edward Palmer, William T. Post, William M. Gregg, William Halliday, and Samuel B. Strang.
In 1847 two new fire-engines, two new hose-carts, and 800 feet of hose were purchased. Mr. O. N. Smith, a veteran fireman, in his admirable history of the department says, speaking of the new apparatus, "The engine for No. 1 arrived November, 1847, and was formally presented to the company by the president, William P. Yates. In the evening a grand supper was prepared for the company and their invited guests, the trustees of the village, the clergy, and the editors of the village newspapers. Speeches were made and toasts were drank, and the party separated well pleased with the festivities."
No. 2’s machine did not arrive till the next February. In 1848 a new company, known as "Red Rover," No. 3, was organized, and among the members were such influential citizens as Frank Hall, John Arnot, Jr., David H. Tuthill, Tracey Beadle, S. Ayres, and Riggs Watrous. Hon. John I. Nicks, afterwards president of the board of trustees of the village for several terms, was the first foreman. The company took the old "gooseneck" machine. In the year 1854 a company, famous as the "Young America," was organized, with George Sherman foreman. Its members embraced many of the most popular young men in the city. A sad event in the history of this organization was the falling dead of its noble foreman, Willie Rutter, while running to a fire. His death cast a gloom over the entire community. Many of the members of this company were distinguished for gallantry on the field of fire and on the field of battle, where many of them died for their country.
In 1854, No. 1 was reorganized, with N. W. Gardiner as foreman. In the same year Eureka Engine Company, No. 5, was organized and stationed across the river, near the south end of Lake Street bridge. Among its members were George H. Cotton, F. B. Plimpton, G. A. Gridley, and E. H. Palmer. In 1856, Rescue Hook-and-Ladder Company, No. 6, was organized. In 1858, Eureka Company was disbanded, also Red Rover, No.3, owing to dissatisfaction over the election of officers. There was a general break-up afterwards, No. 2 disbanding in August of the same year, and Torrent, No. 1, in January, 1859. In May, 1858, "Citizen Engine Company, No. 5," was reorganized, and July 17, 1859, Nos. 1 and 2 reorganized. Young America, No. 4, disbanded in May, 1860, and Oct. 8, 1860, No. 2 again disbanded, but was reorganized in November of that year by Burr Hendrick and thirty other young men. In 1863, owing to the refusal of the taxpayers to replace the rotten hose with a new and efficient supply, all the companies but No. 5 disbanded. The citizens, becoming alarmed at their unprotected condition, finally voted the needed supplies, and Nos. 1 and 3 reorganized. On the 20th of January, 1864, $4000 was voted to purchase a steam fire-engine, and a third-class piston-engine was purchased of the Amoskeag Company; it arrived in June, 1864, and was assigned to Engine Company No. 1. July 18, 1864, Neptune Engine Company, No. 2, was organized; and in 1865 a second-class rotary steam-engine was purchased and assigned to No. 2. In 1865, Red Rover No. 3 and Citizen No. 5 disbanded, and the Hook-and-Ladder Company was organized, as Protection, No.1. In 1866, a hose company was organized by a number of young men, known as Independent Hose Company, No. 3, and continued in existence until the old volunteer force gave way to the paid system. In 1868, what was known as Ours Hose Company, No.4, was organized, and served for five years with distinguished credit. On May 11, 1868, the volunteer department was reorganized, and consisted of hose companies having a membership of not more than forty-five men, and a hook-and-ladder company to consist of not more than sixty-five men, the steamers to be drawn by horses. July 29, 1870, a new company, Goodell Hose Company, No. 5, was accepted by the Board of Trustees, and entered into active service, taking charge of the steamer formerly used by No. 1, which had succeeded to a new Ameskeag machine. In October of the same year, Eldridge Hose Company, No. 6, was organized, and soon afterwards took a new La France steamer, and continued in the service until the volunteer department was broken up. This important event occurred May 4, 1878, when the Common Council of the city, by formal resolution and notices, declared the old volunteer companies disbanded.
The breaking up of the department was signalized by a grand farewell parade, many of the oldest firemen in the city who had served as volunteers taking part.
The paid department, as at present constituted, consists of two hose companies and one hook-and-ladder company. The total number of men employed is 27. There are four steamers and the hose-cart, and hook-and-ladder trucks, drawn by horses. The chief engineer is Miles Trout, with Charles S. Goulden assistant.
The companies are officered as follows: No. 1, F. H. Pelham, Foreman; No. 2, James H. Callahan, Foreman; Hook-and Ladder Company, Charles A. Landy, Foreman.
The Board of Trustees of the Elmira Fire Department still continues in existence by virtue of the charter granted in 1859, and is officered as follows: Charles Hazard, President; J. W. Merwin, Vice-President; Henry Simpson, Secretary; M. S. Decker, Treasurer.
The following persons have rendered service as chief engineers in the old volunteer department: 1839, Silas Wright; 1840, Solomon L. Gillett; 1841-45, Levi J. Cooley; 1845-46, Timothy Satterlee; 1847-49, William R. Judson; 1849, William H. Harrison, and from 1849 to 1853, Silas Haight; 1853, John I. Nicks; 1854, George Pattinson; 1855, John Cass; 1856-57, D. D. Kniffin; 1858-59, Robert S. Wines; 1859, H. M. Stocum; 1861-63, Washington Marsh; 1864, Burr Hendrick; 1864, Patrick Ronan; 1865, Robert A. Hall; 1866-68, Ambrose Wise; 1869-70, Wright P. Sherman; 1870, M. S. Decker; 1871-72, Ambrose Wise; 1873-74, George M. Robinson; 1874, Joseph A. Campbell; 1875, Robert H. Walker; 1876, Charles A. Landy; 1877, Joseph A. Campbell; 1878, Miles Trout.
THE ELMIRA TEMPERANCE UNION
Was organized April, 1877. President, Rev. Elijah Horr, Jr.; First Vice-President, John B. Briggs; Second Vice-President, Edward Haynes; Treasurer, S. Carr; Secretary, Horace Paine; Organist, Miss N. A. Barnes; Executive Committee, Rev. W. E. Knox, D. D., J. Q. Ingham, Charles Rosylea, Nathan Baker, P. A. La France, J. H. Hardy, and John Barry.
TEMPLE OF HONOR AND TEMPERANCE.
R. R. R. Dumars, Grand Templar, President.
Queen City Temple, No. 12, T. of H. and T., meets 121 and 122 Lake Street, every Thursday evening. M. T. Chubbuck, W. C. T.; T. E. Langley, W. R.; A. P. George, W. D. R.
SONS OF TEMPERANCE.
Vulcan Division meets in Knights of Pythias Hall, on Saturday evening. L. P. Turney, W. P.; G. W. Ford, R. Scribe; J. S. Ware, Deputy G. W. P.; William M. Ware, District Deputy G. W. P.
TEMPLE OF WISDOM.
Resident Grand Chapter. – Officers: A. G. George, Grand King; T. E. Langley, Grand Recorder; J. R. Briggs, Grand Warden; O. Haskins, Grand Master; M. T. Chubbuck, Grand V. P.; L. M. Andrews, Grand Treas.; C. Ganning, Grand Guard.
PATRIOTIC ORDER SONS OF AMERICA.
This patriotic order, with the motto, "God, our country, and our order," was first organized in the city of Philadelphia, Pa., in 1847. Prior to the Rebellion it was very imperfect, and its progress slow. When the war broke out, a general enlistment of its members compelled its entire suspension. In 1866 the order was reorganized and placed upon a more substantial basis, and its membership now seek to locate a camp in every town in the United States.
The order has for its objects the inculcation of pure American principles, the opposition to foreign interference with State interests in the United States of America, the cultivation of brotherly love, the preservation of the Constitution of the United States, and the propagation of free education.
WASHINGTON CAMP, NO. 2.
Elmira, N. Y., was instituted April 15, 1878, and the installation by W. C. Leidy, District President of Chemung County; John C. King, President; Charles W. Teed, Recording Secretary.
THE ANCIENT ORDER OF WORKMEN.
This is a benevolent organization for mutual protection and security against the ravages of disease and death. It is a modern institution, the name to the contrary notwithstanding. Like some other orders, it has a guarantee of a certain amount to the heirs of the deceased member. This organization pays $2000 to the heirs of those entitled.
ELMIRA LODGE, NO 150,
Was organized April 20, 1878, with the following officers: J. L. Cornell, Past Master Workman; E. S. Hubbell, Master Workman; A. B. Dickinson, General Foreman; John Hathorn, Overseer; James C. Boak, Guide; L. A. Turner, Recorder; Charles S. Davison, Financier; Uri Bartholomew, Receiver; E. S. Hubbell, R. B. Jinks, and U. Bartholomew, Trustees. The installation was by Deputy Grand Master Workman F. H. Loomis.
BRANCH NO. 1, NEW YORK P. C. S., OF ELMIRA,
Organized July 14, 1878. Its object is the preservation of the Irish language. After each business meeting the members form a class for the study of the Irish language. The officers are J. M. Walsh, President; P. J. Mullins, Vice-President; W. F. Collins, Secretary; Patrick Gorman, Treasurer.
Organized November, 1856. Charter members: Ernst Shidlen, President; Joseph Surgenty, Treasurer; Ernst Schlotter, Secretary; Theodore Staetler, Assistant Secretary; Charles Mosgau, Leader; Andrew Haas, Charles Ulrich, George Goersing, John Brand, Frederick Amberg, John Kiehbush, John Fuchs.
ST. PATRICK’S TOTAL ABSTINENCE SOCIETY.
Organized April 27, 1873. First officers: Patrick McLoughlin, President; Thomas McMerry, Vice-President; Michael Gurnet, Financial Secretary; F. J. Conlin, Recording Secretary; P. M. Sullivan, Treasurer; James Kelley, Marshal; T. Clancey, Assistant Marshal.
Feb. 18, 1877, the society dedicated a new hall, at 658 Magee Street, - a wooden structure, well built and well furnished. The present officers are James Clancey, President; P. M. Sullivan, Vice-President; P. R. Sullivan, Financial Secretary; W. J. Collins, Recording Secretary; John Sullivan, Treasurer; John Coleman, Marshal; Daniel Sheehan, Assistant Marshall.
YOUNG MEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION.
This association was established in 1858, with the following officers and members: Managers, H. M. Partridge, President; S. B. Fairman, Vice-President; A. R. Wright, Corresponding Secretary; S. R. Van Campen, Recording Secretary; S. Ayres, Treasurer; F. Collingwood, D. Thompson Dunn, I. F. Hart, and J. R. Ward.
The object of the association is the development of Christian character, the promotion of evangelical religion, the cultivation of Christian sympathy, and the improvement of the mental and spiritual condition of young men.
The association sustains a morning prayer-meeting, a special weekly meeting for young men, and a special Sunday-evening meeting for reformed men; also sustains three mission Sunday-schools; has erected a beautiful building in the Second Ward, in which services are held Sunday evenings. The chapel and lot cost $2500, and are paid for.
There are normal classes and teachers’ classes; Palestine classes, for higher Biblical study.
Young men, members of the association, devote several hours each day to the reception of young men for moral and intellectual conversation, at their rooms (in the Opera Block).
Employment will be obtained as opportunities offer, for strangers as well as others out of employ.
Library: The association has a library of nearly 6000volumes, many new and standard works. There is also a library of reference. The library is open two hours each day for the benefit of members and strangers and the occasional visitor.
The reading-rooms are supplied with the leading secular and religious journals, of all parties and shades of opinion, as well as the leading periodicals and magazines.
Lectures: Besides the winter course, which is sustained by the best lecturers in the land, there are frequent home entertainments and musical concerts, which afford pleasant means of extending acquaintance.
Sermons are delivered quarterly on the third Sabbath of January, April, and July. On these occasions the pastors of the various churches co-operate with the association in a united congregation.
Charity: Assistance is given to those connected with our Sunday-schools who are not able to help themselves; instruction, also, to those under the care of the association in making clothing; and contributions of clothing, fuel, and food when needed.
The present officers are A. P. George, President; J. Q. Ingham, Vice-President; Dr. T. A. Wales, Corresponding Secretary; T. E. Langley, Recording Secretary; D. N. Nichols, Treasurer; S. P. Farwell, Chairman of Church Committee.
BELLEFONT LODGE, NO 355, I. O. G. T.
Instituted June 18, 1876. Albert Jones, W. C. T.; Elizabeth Washington, W. V. T.; Maria Washington, F. S.; William Stover, Treas.; William Cornell, Jr., R. S.
A. J. O. K. S. B.
The lodge has lost but one member by death, and is in a flourishing condition. The present officers are Solomon Littlefield, President; W. Bush, Vice-President; J. Wiltenberg, Sec.; A. Sebersky, Treas.
CATHOLIC YOUNG MEN’S BENEVOLENT AND TOTAL ABSTINENCE SOCIETY.
Organized Aug. 25, 1872. Chartered Feb. 4, 1874. Charter members, M. Burmingham, J. J. Stapleton, J. Sullivan, P. McCarty, T. F. Lynch, M. T. Madden, J. P. Neagle. Present officers, W. Howard, President; M. T. Neagle, Vice-President; A. O. Dea, Treasurer; O. T. Molony, Recording Secretary, 350 Railroad Avenue; J. E. Neugent, Financial Secretary; J. Carroll, Marshal; M. McCarty, Assistant Marshal.
Organized April, 1869. Alexander S. Diven, President; G. M. Diven, Vice-President; Alexander Diven, Treasurer; John M. Diven, Secretary; John H. Leavit, Superintendent. Capital, $50,000.
This is one of the most attractive industries in the State. No connoisseur in music needs to be told of the Greener piano, and it will only be necessary to state for the interest of the general reader that the genius – Jacob Greener – who presides over these soul inspiring instruments was born in the ancient city of Worms, Germany, in 1825. At the age of fifteen he began to learn his trade with his father and Fred Mathuscheck. He came to this country in 1848; worked four years at John B. Dunham’s factory, New York, and there made his first piano embodying his new ideas of two sounding-boards and overstrung bass, with keyboard in the center. Having satisfied himself with the value of these improvements, he came to Elmira in 1855. Jacob Greener is not a manufacturer seeking to enrich himself, but rather for the ardent wish he has of conferring on the world a perfect instrument. At the instigation of friends he has sought and obtained a number of patents for his improvements, but other manufacturers infringe on these patents at will, having full confidence that Mr. Greener will not molest them.
This institution was opened on the present site June 1, 1852. The grounds (28 acres) were then farming land. During the first year the main building, with two small wings, was erected. These wings soon gave way for the present buildings. The additional buildings have been added from time to time, until now there are ample accommodations for 100 patients. The buildings are frame, and of the simplest architecture.
The engine, in a house near the main building, is of five-horse power, with a ten-horse power boiler, supplying the bathing department, and cutting wood, and grinding food for the animals, and running the mangle for the washing-department, which is also done by steam. The simplicity of the apparatus for conveying water to and from the various apartments is very remarkable and suggestive.
The attractions are not all in-doors. Passing but a few rods beyond the house-grounds is a glen, rich in deep shadows, and meandering tortuously for half a mile, yet within half that distance from the house. In these solitudes, so consoling to tired nature, the music of the waters, as they tumble through the gorges, do so lull the disturbed nerves, and the cool air calms the fevered brow, while the feathered songsters enliven the sense with their Jubilate Deo amid the branches of those majestic pines, heroes of a century or more.
ELMIRA IRON AND STEEL ROLLING-MILL COMPANY
Was chartered Aug. 7, 1860. This was originally the Elmira Rolling-Mill Company, with the following officers: Asher Tyler, President; Edwin Eldridge, Vice-President; H. W. Rathbone, Secretary and Treasurer; who continued in office until 1869.
The stock subscribed was originally $50,000. Jan. 9, 1869, it changed hands, and with the new organization the stock was increased to $500,000, and the following were the officers: George M. Diven, President; Henry W. Rathbone, Secretary, Treasurer, and General Superintendent. On June 9, 1869, Mr. Diven resigned, and Edwin Eldredge was elected to fill his place, and served until his death, Dec. 16, 1876.
The old mill was located on the site of the present one. Was a rail-mill only. In 1864 the company added a bar-mill, for the manufacture of merchant bar-iron. The additions have been frequent, until they now have a rail-mill, with puddling-furnaces sufficient to turn out 20,000 tons of rails per annum. The bar-mill, originally of wood, has been rebuilt, and of brick, considerably enlarged, and fireproof. Have also machine-shops, warehouses, shop for cutting plate-iron and straightening angles, punching fish-place, etc. There are two blast-furnaces, with an annual capacity of 25,000 tons. The character of the ore used is fossil and magnetic. The location is favorable, being surrounded by swamp, which forms the most capacious dumping-ground. The Erie, Lehigh Valley, and Northern Central Railroads run through the land of the company, and near the furnace, and connect with the company’s private track and switches. The present officers are Henry W. Rathbone, President and General Superintendent; S. T. Reynolds, Vice-President; J. L. Cooley, Secretary and Treasurer.
"An Act to incorporate the Elmira Park Association,’ passed April 13, 1871, and the act of the Legislature amending the same, entitled, An Act to incorporate the Elmira Driving Park Association, passed April 13, 1871, and to repeal Chapter 329 of the laws of 1872,’ do by these presents, pursuant to and in conformity with the acts of the Legislature aforesaid, associate ourselves, and form a body politic and corporate, etc., for the purposes mentioned." The directors elected being Frank A Atkinson, Samuel S. Reynolds, Ephraim W. Howes, Lorenzo Howes, Charles J. Langdon, Myron H. Foster, Charles W. Skinner, Henry H. Purdy, Uri Bartholomew, and Frederick A. Frasier.
The officers elect were Frank H. Atkinson, President; Samuel T. Reynolds, Vice-President; Myron H. Foster, Treasurer; Ephraim W. Howes, Superintendent; William E. Straight, Secretary.
"State of New York, Chemung County, ss.: On the 16th day of June, 1875, personally appeared before me N. R. Seeley, John A. Reynolds, S. T. Reynolds, H. H. Purdy, J. B. Clark, A. Diven, Charles W. Skinner, W. E. Straight, L. Howes, F. H. Atkinson, E. W. Howes, F. A. Frasier, J. M. Shoemaker, M. H. Foster, U. Bartholomew, A. R. Burgett, C. T. Potter, J. R. Reid, and Edwin Eldridge, to me known to be the persons
who executed the foregoing instrument, and severally acknowledged that they executed the same. F. G. Hall, Notary Public."
The present officers are F. H. Atkinson, President; S. T. Reynolds, Vice-President; M. H. Foster, Treasurer; S. W. Clark, Secretary. The directors are F. H. Atkinson, S. T. Reynolds, M. H. Foster, E. W. Howes, L. Howes, Frank Hall, C. J. Langdon, Charles Skinner, and Dr. H. H. Purdy.
Inaugural meeting Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, 1875. One of the most noted animals of the American turf, American Girl, winner of 150 heats in 2.30 or better, dropped dead on the track at Elmira, N. Y., Oct. 2, 1875. Her best race, and the crowning one of her career upon the turf, was at Albany, September 26, when she beat Camors in 2.20 ¼ , 2.16 ½ , 1.19, being an average of about 2.18 ½ to the heat, - among the fastest three consecutive heats ever trotted in a race. In most of her races this season, she was driven by Murphy, but in this, her final effort, John L. Doty was seated behind her. She had been slightly ailing from the prevailing epizootic, but it was thought she had recovered so far that there was no danger in starting her in the race. A post-mortem showed her lungs in a congested condition. The association have erected a life-size statue of her, - a handsome monument with a granite base, at a cost of $2200, - located near the entrance to the park, on a mound erected so as to show their favorite to good advantage.
The rage for fast horses has not been constant, notwithstanding there have always been those whose appreciation for fine stock induced them to patronize the turf, and to invest their money in noted strains. In 1865 the Wilcox Park, on the south side, was put in order, and a new stock of trotters brought out, and the feeling in favor of horse-racing began to revive, and some of the best strains of the country were represented here; some of them got down to 2.25 ½. The Driving Park Association have erected fine accommodations for the comfort and convenience of patrons, and have as good a half-mile track as there is in the country.
ELMIRA AS A MILITARY DEPOT.
Upon the bands of the Chemung River, near the present city of Elmira, was held the first public rejoicing in Western New York. The occasion was upon the return of General Sullivan’s army from the Genesee country in 1779, during the Revolution, when they received the intelligence "that Spain had declared war against Great Britain." This gave life to the veteran soldiers of the expedition, many of whom had served in the dark hours of our country’s history. The event was appropriately celebrated by each of the five brigades composing Sullivan’s command.
During the war of 1812, one company of infantry and one of light horse were formed in Newtown for frontier service.
At the breaking out of the Rebellion, as the various calls for troops were borne along the wires, quickly the quotas of Chemung and other counties were filled. At Elmira the brave volunteers from the beautiful valleys and hills of the distant portions of the State collected. As regiment after regiment arrived they were equipped and means of transportation provided, with but little time for military drill before going to the front. Guard-mountings and dress-parades, varied with infantry or artillery exercise, were the order of the day. Mounted orderlies hurried from the post headquarters either to Lake Street barracks or the River barracks No. 3.
For months the pavements resounded with the tramp of citizen soldiery, and strains of martial music reverberated along the northern heights of Mount Zoar or the lofty hillsides, which skirt the valley. Many of those daring men returned; but, alas! Many of them met a soldier’s grave. The flowers of the valley now bloom o’er many silent graves, "where sleep the brave who sink to rest."
In 1864 a portion of barracks No. 3 was fitted up for a military prison, which was occupied by about 12,000 prisoners (mostly North Carolinians, although many other of the Southern States were largely represented). During the continuance of the war, visitors were not permitted unless by special permit from the Secretary of War. A strong high fence surrounded the inclosure, which was carefully guarded by the regiments detailed for this service. Although the prisoners were supplied with abundant rations, medical attendance, etc., owing to change of climate and diet many of them died. No less than 2950 were buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, where the government caused each grave to be marked by a simple head-stone, giving the name of the State and regiment to which its occupant belonged. The total number of prisoners of war at post, 11,916. Number of deaths during imprisonment, 2950. The hospital was supplied with competent medical attendants and everything to make the sick comfortable.
THE SOLDIERS’ HOME.
The same kind hands were unceasingly at work in devising means for the comfort of those patriots who needed their attention. The government hospitals, as usual, did all in their power to relieve the wants of their inmates, yet this institution found much to do: there were many comforts which woman’s hand supplied to the suffering hero. Whether in the hospital or the "Home," at the depot, or even in transitu, the sick and wounded soldiers were ministered to, and from many a sleepless cot the prayer went up, "God bless the ladies of Elmira!"
THE BOOT AND SHOE INDUSTRY.
Of all the manufactories’ of which Elmira may boast, perhaps no one is more beneficial to the community, or more ornamental in its appointments, than that of Jackson Richardson & Co. It will be interesting to the general reader to note the beginning of this establishment, as the industry and tact are worthy of emulation, and herein may be discovered the secret of success.
Mr. Jackson Richardson, son of Thomas Richardson, one of the earliest manufacturers in New York, came from Almond, Allegany Co., N. Y., where he had been associated with his father and brothers in the manufacture of boots and shoes, and located in Elmira in April, 1861. He began with skilled labor and improved machinery, and a capital of $10,000.
The old establishment, situated on Water Street, just west of the railroad bridge, is familiar not only to Elmirans, but to the trade. Here, with a force of 50 men, the business was established. In March, 1865, this building was washed away by a flood from the river, the only considerable flood known here. The brick structure occupying the same ground was somewhat larger, and the force employed reached 225 operatives. In the beginning the machinery, valued at $3000, sufficed; now it is estimated at $10,000. The business has averaged $500,000 during the past ten years. The stock carried has averaged $75,000, purchased largely in New York State tanneries and Chicago, Ill. In the fall of 1877 the present building was erected. This is one of the most imposing structures in the city, being 60 feet front, 90 feet deep, and six stories high, situated on Railroad Avenue, corner of Market Street, which greatly facilitates the shipment of goods to and from the establishment.
The manufacturing capacity now is about 400 cases per week. It is an actual pleasure to go through the establishment, and see the operatives, some 300, supplied with every possible device, convenience, and comfort, converting material as if by magic into symmetrical boots and shoes.
The pegging-machine, which makes and drives the pegs so marvelously fast and perfectly, is perhaps the most astonishing device, yet every other department is equally furnished.
The building is the result of the accumulated experience of years, every part being specially adapted to the use intended, and the whole is a marvel of simplicity, and absolutely fire-proof. The original proprietor, Mr. Richardson, has been engaged in this business all his life. The associates, Mr. Westlake and Mr. Hawkes, have had many years’ experience. Mr. Enos is the veteran cutter in the upper-leather cutting department. He cut the first side of leather for Mr. Richardson when he began business in Elmira.
The new firm was organized Jan. 1, 1875.
NOBLES MANUFACTURING COMPANY.
Organized 1866. Incorporated, June 12, 1866. The object for which the company is formed, the manufacture and sale of carpenters’ braces and a number of specialties in carpenters’ tools. The first trustees were John C. Nobles, Milton V. Nobles, David Decker, William J. Donna, Lewis M. Smith, N. P. Fassett, and George Worell. Their first building was corner Railroad Avenue and Fourth Street.
This company sold out, and the Elmira Nobles Manufacturing Company was formed, March 1, 1871, with a capital of $60,000, and articles if incorporation filed. The first trustees were David Decker, E. M. Frisbie, James S. Thurston, D. R. Pratt, S. L. Gillett, George Worrell, John M. Dexter, N. P. Fassett, William Vial. The officers elected were as follows: David Decker, President; E. M. Frisbie, Vice-President; James S. Thurston, Treasurer; S. L. Gillett, Secretary.
The company purchased from the Nobles Manufacturing Company their machinery, tools, manufactured goods, and all other property belonging to said company, for $58,000, the new company assuming all the liabilities of the old company.
In the summer of 1871 the new company purchased the lot and building corner Baldwin and Clinton Streets, and had the premises put in order, and in the fall continued the manufacture of tools, as indicated in the beginning. On the last day of March, 1877, the buildings, machinery, tools, etc., were sold at auction.
On the 1st of April, 1877, S. L. Gillet and R. T. Turner, under the firm-name of Gillet & Co., rented the buildings, machinery, and tools, and have continued to carry on the manufacture of augers and auger-bits, etc.
Richard N. Watrous, who has been engaged in the manufacture of auger-bits, etc., for nearly fifty years is foreman.
This industry has achieved an enviable name, and is a valuable acquisition to the city.
THE POST-OFFICE DEPARTMENT.
The mail-service in Elmira has kept pace with that of any similar population. By referring to the records it will be seen that the first postmaster was Mr. John Konkle, appointed Jan. 1, 1801, for Newtown, afterwards changed to Elmira. Mr. Konkle was a noted man, and some account of him will be found in a previous chapter. His successors, with the date of their appointment, are as follows: Aaron Konkle, Oct. 1, 1809; Grant W. Baldwin, March 21, 1822; Thomas Maxwell, July 11, 1835;* Ransom Birdsall, July 9, 1841; Levi J. Cooley, May 13, 1843; Henry H. Matthews, May 5, 1849; Daniel Stephens, April 6, 1853; Daniel F. Pickering, July 26, 1861; William T. Post, March 18, 1867; Charles G. Fairman, April 5, 1869; Daniel F. Pickering, April 4, 1877.
In connection with the foregoing sketch of the Elmira post-office we present a portrait of Daniel F. Pickering, the present postmaster, who was born June 6, 1816, at Middle Smithfield, Monroe Co. (then Pike Co.), Pa. The ancestors, on his father’s side, were early emigrants from England to the then colony of Pennsylvania, and, like its founder, were Friends or Quakers. His maternal ancestors were from Holland, also settling in the colony of Pennsylvania. The maternal grandfather was a soldier of the Revolution, leaving the army with a major’s commission.
Mr. Pickering removed with his parents from his birthplace to Chemung, this county, arriving at the now village of Chemung on the 2d day of December, 1828. He received only the limited opportunities for an education afforded by a country school, consisting of the plainer branches of an English education. Launched upon the world the graduate of a log school-house at the age of sixteen, he continued, in various capacities, a resident of Chemung County, - a farm hand, carpenter and joiner, raftsman, lumberman, farmer, merchant, and liveryman.
On attaining his majority he was elected as constable and collector of the then town of Chemung, embracing the present town of Baldwin and a part of the town of Erin. Subsequently he held the office of school commissioner for two terms of the town, then its supervisor.
Mr. Pickering was elected to the office of sheriff of Chemung County in the fall of 1852, and removed to Elmira, assuming the duties of the office Jan. 1, 1853. He was appointed postmaster at Elmira, by President Lincoln, July, 1861, and re-appointed, by President Johnson, July, 1865, serving until April 1, 1867. He was removed for political reasons.
In March, 1872, he was appointed superintendent of the Chemung and Crooked Lake Canals, serving until March, 1873.
Mr. Pickering was appointed to his present position as postmaster at Elmira by President Hayes, April, 1877.
The following is a statement of the business done at the post-office of Elmira for the year ending May 31, 1878.
Allowances (clerks, free delivery, postmaster’s salary)……14,120.93
Registered letters mailed…………………………………………1,302
" " delivered………………………………………5,559
" packages in transit…………………………………..16,894
Including domestic and foreign, with fees………………...$98,375.62
Disbursements, money-orders paid and repaid, domestic and foreign………………………………………………………..$98,325,62
Number of carriers…………………………………… 6
Registered-letters delivered………………………….. 5,195
Mail letters "……………………………….. 691,708
Mail postal cards "……………………………….. 140,517
Local letters "……………………………….. 52,033
Local postal cards "……………………………….. 30,234
Newspapers, etc………………………………………. 281,562
Letters returned in office……………………………. 516
Letters collected……………………………………… 282,980
Postal-cards collected………………………………… 88,015
Newspapers, etc., collected…………………………... 33, 821
Postage on matter for local delivery………………… $1770.98
The officers and employees are as follows: Daniel F. Pickering, Postmaster; A. J. Carpenter, Assistant Postmaster; Charles H. Palmer, Mailing Clerk; E. Ward Farrington, Money-Order Clerk; Minnie Carpenter, Stamp Clerk; Charles E Hutchinson, Distributing Clerk; George Ward, Assistant Distributing Clerk.
Carriers, John D. King, Judson L. Cornell, John G. Carpenter, William Roosa, John B. Beman, E. J. Reed, John Moriarty (substitute).
*Changed to Chemung County, April 15, 1836.
THE BOARD OF HEALTH.
In 1869 the Common Council adopted sections 95, 96, 97,and 98 of the city ordinances in reference to health. At a meeting of the Common Council, Monday evening, Aug. 19, 1872, "Dr. Hart, from the Board of Health, appeared and made statement to filthy condition of the canal and Railroad Avenue, and sundry other matters pertaining to the sanitary condition of the city." Then, in July 1873, the following record appears: "Complaints. – To the Board of Health: The undersigned respectfully calls attention to nuisance on north side of river-bank, Water Street, and most earnestly requests that measures be adopted for its immediate abatement, - the stagnant water an accumulation of filth greatly endangering lives and health. (Signed) Booth, Dounce, Rose & Co., Gridley & Davenport, and others." By resolution the members of the Common Council have provided duties for a Board of Health, and authorized the collection of the cost of removing or abatement of nuisance from parties on whose premises it may be found, and in case of failure to pay they may be sued by the city attorney, etc. These provisions were adopted in March 1874.
The Health Department of 1878 is as follows: Health Officer, Dr. Clarence M. Spaulding; Assistants, Dr. P. W. Flood, Dr. Charles P. Godfrey.
The salary of the health officer was fixed at $400 per annum, April 2, 1877.
THE ELMIRA FARMERS’ CLUB
Was organized Dec. 14, 1869, by George W. Hoffman, W. A. Armstrong, James McCann, Charles Heller, Lewis Fitch, Samuel A Chapman, Seely P. Chapman, John Bridgeman, Samuel Carr, and Daniel E. Howell, all practical farmers who loved their vocation and thoroughly understood it, who had watched all the processes of farming and noted every fact of value, and who were ready and willing to impart to each other the knowledge they had gathered.
To William Armstrong, with his clear head and apt pen, the club owes much; but the sterling judgment and careful observation, practical deductions and philosophy of success was shared by most if not all of the members enumerated.
To the ordinary observer a farmers’ club is little more than a name, but this is a praiseworthy exception. It takes rank, of course, from the manner in which its discussions are conducted, and from the reports we are justified in saying that the practical and thorough knowledge exhibited constitute it rather a school than a place of display of theory; for the lessons are and have been by men unused to the power of language or public speech, furnishing literally but the skeletons, which only an accomplished secretary, like Armstrong, with native skill and cultured pen, could cover with the living flesh of his expressions and the leaping blood of his humor, that gave the thought form and comeliness to look upon and instructive to listen to. The first gathering was around a wood-stove, in a wagon-shop lighted with a single tallow-candle. George W. Hoffman was elected president, and William A. Armstrong secretary, which positions have always been held by these gentlemen.
Mr. Hoffman is president of the New York State Agricultural Society, and Mr. Armstrong chief editor of the Husbandman, influential and well known.
Library: In 1871 a library was started by the club, which now contains 2000 volumes, embracing every department of literature, but being especially rich in works on agriculture. This is the result of voluntary contributions by the club.
In 1873 the club erected its present hall, a substantial and showy two-story building, with a fine tower and lofty flag-staff. The second story, or hall, is for public meetings, with the library in an alcove off from the main room.
The ground-floor and basement is occupied by the printing establishment of The Husbandman, * an agricultural weekly newspaper, started in 1874 by a member of the club. In the editorial department Mr. Armstrong is assisted by Mr. J. S. Van Duzer.
The club publishes annual volumes containing reports of its discussions by Mr. Armstrong, and much additional information. The Elmira Farmers’ Club illustrated the truth that brains are quite as valuable in farmers as in any other association of life, that their activity is the measure of success in this as in other fields.
* See chapter on the Press of Chemung County.
The earliest burial-place was on the land of Stephen Tuthill, near the present junction of Sullivan and Water Streets. Grave-stones were visible until within a few years. The remains of bodies buried there were never removed. Dr. Joseph Hinchman was the first person buried there, - 1802. He was the father of Mrs. Judge Avery and grandfather of Judge Avery, the first county judge of Tioga County under the constitution of 1846, and the author of a history of the Susquehanna Valley. The above continued to be the burial-place until the purchase of the Second Street cemetery, in 1838, the first interment in the latter being Mrs. Dr. E. L. Hart, in May, 1839. The lot-owners still continued to bury in the former (Baptist Church cemetery) occasionally. Of late years the grounds have been cleared of the tangled growth, and now put on a more attractive appearance. This provision answered for the dead of the city until 1858, when the necessity became imperative that a new cemetery should be laid out within easy reach of the city. Measures were taken by enterprising citizens and the members of the Board of Trustees, of which Frank Hall was president, to bring the object about.
WOODLAWN. – In the winter of 1858, Messrs. Strang, Thurston, and Baker moved for the undertaking of providing a new cemetery, and obtained the privilege from the Legislature to loan $10,000 for this purpose on the part of the village corporation. The vote for the tax came up at the special spring election separately, and, amid close opposition, was carried by only twenty-two majority. Other prominent citizens became interested, Frank Hall, president of the village, Simeon Benjamin, John I. Nicks, and Asher Tyler furthering the cause with much zeal. The Board of Trustees resolved themselves into a committee immediately, to secure a proper location, who appointed a committee of selection, consisting of Frank Hall, John I. Nicks, Nathan Baker, and John Hill. They proceeded to examine a portion of Edmund Miller’s farm, in Southport, surrounding a natural pond, Geo. W. Hoffman’s farm, a broken, rolling piece of ground, with a pond of living spring-water, a favorite resort with some, and Simeon Benjamin’s Pickaway Grounds (Fifth Ward), and a portion of East Hill, belonging to Mrs. Arnot; and finally the old Heller farm, of fifty acres, which was regarded as eligible both in price and location.
The purchase-money was between $4000 and $5000. Mr. Daniels was employed to lay out the cemetery, and it was immediately inclosed with a substantial fence.
The walks and driver were arranged after the serpentine order, with shade and ornamental trees, and shrubbery suitably located for shade and ornamentation.
There are now about ninety-eight acres belonging to the cemetery. About 1250 lots have been sold; about 3000 have been buried here, exclusive of 2996 Rebel soldiers, who are at the north part of the grounds, and 128 Union soldiers in a place to themselves.
There is a deposit of sand underlying a part of the ground that has afforded as high as $2000 per annum revenue; this, however, depends on the demand for sand. From this revenue and the sale of lots the cemetery has become a paying investment, having been able to save sufficient to purchase additional 32 ½ acres, at $1000 per acre, besides meeting all other expenses.
In 1868 the property was estimated at $25,000; probably not more than one-third of the present grounds was then laid out into lots and disposed of. The name given to this new cemetery is "Woodlawn." The grounds are being adorned, and there is no reason why "Woodlawn" should not excite as much admiration as "Mount Auburn," of Boston, "Greenwood," of New York, or "Laurel Hill," of Philadelphia.
The ceremony inaugurating "Woodlawn Cemetery" took place Oct. 11, 1858. Dr. Murdoch delivered the address.
The cemetery commissioners are Stephen McDonald, J. Davis Baldwin, and Geo. Hoffman; Nathaniel Baker, Superintendent; Charles Abbot, Sexton.
The first mode of passage across the Chemung River was by scow-boat and skiff, at the foot of Conongue Street. This method was practiced until the building of the first bridge at the foot of Lake Street. The charter for this was granted April 16, 1823. The erection took place soon after, and was finished and opened for crossing during the year. It was a long bridge, with heavy timbers laid from pier to pier for the superstructure, strong and durable, build by John Spicer, Stephen Tuthill, and Robert Covell. This was torn down and replaced by a frame bridge and piers, roofed over. J. H. Gallagher was the superintendent of the building. This was burned in 1850. The corporators of the building numbered about 600.
The same company rebuilt the bridge in 1850, aided by an insurance of $6000 on the one burned. In 1863 it was overhauled and repaired, but the big freshet of 1865, March 17, undermined the only stone pier, and a long section at the Southport end fell and was carried down the river. Lyman Covell was President of the Bridge Company twenty-four years, and was succeeded by Edmund Miller, of Southport.
The Main Street Bridge Company was organized in 1853, and a charter granted for its building to benefit the real estate in the Fifth Ward. The company kept up the bridge until 1862, when it was sold at sheriff’s sale, and reorganized. Moses Cole was the builder of the structure. In March, 1865, the trestle-work over the island was taken out by a freshet. This was repaired. In March, 1866, the first span (at the First Ward) was burned. Both bridge companies were consolidated in 1865. The original projectors of the Main Street bridge were Samuel B. Strang, Tracy Beadle, William T. Post, and A. C. Ely.
The old toll-gatherer – "Papa Dean" – was a man of huge proportions, and occupied a toll-house at the end of the bridge; he invariably dressed in gray, and donned a peculiar old white hat. Although regarded faithful in his performance of duty, the boys frequently avoided the contribution by climbing over the fence that guarded the entrance; he was never censured for this, however.
By Legislative enactment, in 1872, the city of Elmira was authorized, with the assent of the tax-payers, to bond itself in the sum of $120,000 for the purpose of building two iron bridges to span the Chemung River, at the foot of Lake and Main Streets respectively; Hon. Asher Tyler, Hon. William T. Post, Hon. John Arnot, Jr., Rev. Thomas K. Beecher, and Robert M. McDowell, Esq., were commissioners appointed to execute the work; Casper S. Decker was subsequently appointed by the Common Council in place of Mr. Tyler, who declined to serve. The commissioners organized by choosing Mr. Post for chairman, and Mr. Beecher for secretary, and immediately proceeded to get a plan for Main Street bridge, which in accordance with law was laid before the City Council and approved by them. The contract for building the superstructure was secured by Wheeler H. Bristol, of Owego, who sub-let it to Lord & Daniels of Rochester; work was commenced in September of that year, but the manner in which it was prosecuted, the character of the work, and the quality of the material furnished were very unsatisfactory to the commission, and the contractor was allowed to abandon the work. The work was resumed in June following under contract with the Cincinnati Iron Bridge Company, J. W. Shipman, proprietor and manager; Mr. William Kingsly, of Standing Stone, Pa., completed the masonry. The commission, deeming the sum appropriated insufficient for the construction of such bridges as would be required, advised an additional amount of $30,000, which was promptly granted by the Legislature in March, 1874. Mr. Post retired from the commission and James L. Woods, Esq., succeeded him. The masonry was laid with stone from near Corning and the border of Cayuga Lake. The foundation is piles driven to a firm bearing, and sawed off below the bed of the river, well grouted and heavily timbered on the top. The super-structure is of iron, and its style, the "Whipple Trapezoidal Truss." Total length, 795; number of spans, five; height of truss, twenty-three feet; road-way, twenty feet; two sidewalks, each six feet wide; and was ready for traffic on the 15th of September, 1873.
Lake Street bridge was completed under the same commission, Oct. 1, the following year, and is a duplicate of the Main Street bridge with the exception that it has three spans of 182 feet each, and the truss is twenty-six feet high; it was build by the same company. The masonry is of limestone from Waterloo. Whitfield Farnum was engineer, and Peter Russell, superintendent. The bridges are of wrought iron with phoenix columns, and supposed to sustain 2000 pounds per lineal foot in addition to their own weight, with factor five for safety. Lake Street bridge cost $65,000, and the two bridges, $149.324.
In his dealings with the commission, Mr. Shipman proved himself a gentleman, and adhered strictly to the specifications, sometimes doing more than the contract called for.
THE ELMIRA GAS-LIGHT COMPANY
Was incorporated in 1852. Capital, $50,000. M. H. Arnot, President; S. T. Arnot, Secretary, Treasurer, and Superintendent. Office, Chemung Canal Bank Building.
ELMIRA MECHANICS SOCIETY
Instituted Jan. 15, 1834. Abel Stowell, President; Norris North, Vice-President; R. R. R. Dumars, Secretary; J. S. French, Treasurer.
THE NEW YORK AND ERIE RAILROAD COMPANY
Was chartered, New York, April 24, 1832; by charter the line of road was wholly within the State of New York. The construction of the road commenced in 1836, and in September, 1841, the section from Pierpont to Goshen was opened. The State in 1836 had agreed to loan it credit to the amount of $3,000,000, to aid in building the road, and up to February, 1844, $4,736,949 had been spent in construction, of which $2599,514 was the proceeds of the State loan. On the 14th of May agreed to release its claim on the road, provided the line should be completed in six years. The road was opened from the Hudson River to the lake, April 22, 1851. The charter was amended to allow the road to pass through a part of Pennsylvania on payment of $10,000 per annum.
About the 26th of May, 1875, the road passed into the hands of a receiver, and so remained until the 1st day of June, 1878, when it was sold under a decree of foreclosure to the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railroad Company, who took possession, and now operate the road. Under the new organization the company have commenced laying the third rail from Waverly to New York, which then will give them the narrow-gauge from New York to Buffalo; the road is in flourishing condition. Receipts of the road in 1878:
The present officers, agents, and employees of the Receiver of the Erie Railroad will continue to discharge the duties of their respective positions for the new company until otherwise ordered; H. J. Jewett, President; E. S. Bowen, General Superintendent; John N. Abbott, General Ticket and Passenger Agent; R. C. Vilas, General Freight Agent; John A. Hardenburgh, General Purchasing Agent; P. P. Wright, Superintendent of Transportation; B. W. Spencer, Treasurer; Stephen Lettle, Auditor.
ROBERT B. CABLE
Was born in New York City, March 23, 1841. His father, Stephen Cable, was a native of Litchfield Co. Conn. And settled in New York while a young man, about the year 1835, where he now resides.
Robert B., at the age of fourteen, struck out into the busy world for himself, and for some four years was engaged in the provision business in his native city.
In the year 1859 he was connected with the work of constructing the Bergen Tunnel for the Erie Railway, which was the beginning of his railroad career. After the completion of the tunnel he located in Chicago in the provision business, returned to the service of the Erie Railroad in 1863, and has since then been continuously connected with that great thoroughfare, filling various positions in both the transportation and freight departments.
In the fall of 1865 he was appointed chief clerk in the general superintendent’s office, at New York, which position he occupied under the various administrations of the road until 1872, when he was appointed assistant superintendent of transportation, and first located at New York, and afterwards at Jersey City; and in April, 1877, received the appointment of superintendent of the Susquehanna division of the Erie Railway, with office at Elmira, N. Y., where he now resides.
UTICA, ITHACA AND ELMIRA RAILWAY
Consolidation with the Cortland and Horseheads Railways, from Cortland to Ithaca, in 1872, and throughout in 1875.
The inception of the road by Ezra Cornell, founder of Cornell University, was open to the country about Ithaca, his native place, and gave growth and prosperity to the small villages along the line, and proved a more expensive work than was anticipated; and his financial embarrassment brought the road into the hands of the public after Mr. Cornell had expended about $1,000,000 of his private means upon it. The line of the road, Cortland (Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Junction), New York, to Elmira, New York, 72 miles, siding and other tracks 7 miles, gauge 4 feet 8 ½ inches, rail (iron and steel) 56 to 60 pounds. The object of this road was to supply a direct northeast outlet for the bituminous coal of the Blossburg Mines to its most important markets, - Central and Eastern New York.
This coal is now reached at Corning, on the Erie, where it is delivered by the Corning. Cowanesque and Antrim Railroad, the tonnage of which has reached as high as 1,000,000 in one year. The greater part of this coal, after July, 1876, has been delivered, at Elmira, directly to the Utica, Ithaca and Elmira Railroad, by completion of the Elmira State Line Road, which connects with the Tioga Railroad, of Pennsylvania. The operations, Dec. 14, 1875 (the date of opening the road), to April 14, 1876, show gross earnings as follows:
|Mail and Express||9,786.00|
At this rate the net earnings for the year would be over $160,000. The annual charges amount to $105,000 gold. The excess of earnings over interest account has for the last year been applied to construction account. The above earnings are exclusive of the coal traffic.
The directors appointed May 10, 1878, are Geo. J. Rice, Joseph Radbourn, D. D. Reynolds, of Horseheads; E. K. Goodnow, D. A. Lindley, Henry W. Poor, of New York; R. T. Turner, S. T. Reynolds, of Elmira; Jas. H. Radbourn of Erin; Wm S. Copeland, of Cortland; Franklin C. Cornell, of Ithaca; A. A. Marsh, of New York; Wm. P. Rogers, of Brooklyn; each of whom is a stockholder, owning stock in the company in his own right.
Article 6 of the Articles of Association says, "The following-named persons shall be the first officers of this company," etc. George James Rice, President; Joseph Radbourn, Vice-President and General Superintendent; M. W. Serat, General Passenger Agent and General Freight Agent; D. S. Greenough, Secretary; M. W. Serat, Treasurer; M. A. Smith, Auditor.
The road passed into the hands of bondholders Nov. 1, 1877, and was sold to a new company organized May 11,1877, and was sold to a new company organized May 11, 1878. The new company is operating the road.
The following roads are leased by the Northern Central Railway Company, and operated by that company, rolling stock furnished by lessees:
The Chemung Railway.- This company was organized May 14, 1845, and the road opened in 1849. It extends from Elmira Junction, N. Y., to Watkins, N. Y., 17.36 miles, with 4.40 miles of sidings. It was leased May 10, 1872, to the Northern Central Railway Company for ninety-nine years, that company having reserved a controlling interest.
Elmira and Williamsport Railroad.- This company was chartered as the Williams and Elmira Railway Company, June 9, 1832, and the road completed Sept. 9, 1854. It extends from Williamsport, Pa., to Elmira, N. Y., 75.45 miles, with 22.43 miles sidings. It was reorganized under its present title Feb. 29, 1860, and leased May 1, 1863, for ninety-nine years.
Elmira, Jefferson and Canandaigua Road.- This company was chartered as the Canandaigua and Corning Railroad Company, May 14, 1845, and the road opened Sept. 15, 1851. It was reorganized under its present title Feb. 18, 1859, and leased to the Erie Railway Company, Jan. 1, 1859, for twenty years, and by that company leased to the Northern Central Railway Company, Oct. 1, 1866. The road extends from Watkins, N. Y., to Canandaigua, N. Y., 46.7 miles, with 10.25 miles of sidings.
The present officers of the Northern Central Railway are Thomas A. Scott, President; A. J. Cassatt, Vice-President; S. W. White, Secretary; J. W. Davis, Assistant Secretary; J. S. Leib, Treasurer; John Crowe, Auditor; Frank Thompson, General Manager; R. Neilson, Division Superintendent; A. W. Nutt, General Freight Agent; Wayne McVeagh, General Solicitor.
THE ELMIRA CAR AND MACHINE SHOPS
Were built by the Erie Railway Company in 1858, destroyed by fire in 1862, and rebuilt in 1863. The total value of machinery and tools is $31,630, - machinery $23,610, tools $8020. The present number of men employed is 122. The average monthly expenses, for labor $4950, for material, $5725, total $10,675.
It will be seen that this industry is no inconsiderable factor in the success of Elmira. The mechanics who perform the labor for which the $4950 are expended monthly, besides circulating this large sum in the community, are well worthy the respect of their employers as skilled workmen, and contribute largely to the real strength of good society found here; while those who furnish the material may justly be enumerated in the same way, and a considerable part of the sum paid for material is also circulated here, to the manifest good of all.
What Central Park is to New York, Fairmount is to Philadelphia, and the Common and public gardens are to Boston, this garden of beautiful things is to Elmira. When we reflect that the city is growing with almost unexampled rapidity, and will soon surround the loveliest retreats with crowding houses and places of business, we see in a new light the taste and foresight of the gentleman whose liberal hand has wrought these wonders. The passenger on the Erie Railroad, as he leaves Elmira for the west, passes, as he emerges into the open country, a miniature lake, a velvety lawn, with statues, fountains, magnificent drives, neat buildings and ponds. To his inquiry, reply is made that this is Eldridge Park.
The drive to the park is through a willow-bordered avenue leading up to a broad English gateway, with its gate open; no hostile warder warning one away from its loveliness. Passing through this gateway, we see just in front, under the shadow of a large tree, three mounds surrounding a jetting fountain. On two of these mounds stand white statues of the only two seasons known in this climate, and on the third the figure of a deer, which stands as if ready to seek freedom beyond the inclosure. Before us is the circular lake, of about fifteen acres in extent, encircled by a necklace of willow-trees. Around this is a splendid drive, while right and left wind roads in most enticing curves, and views of beauty startle the eye at every step. Turning on the firm gravel to the left, we drive past a boat lying close to the beach, where the lapping waves make a low and peaceful murmur, and delightful vistas are just through the trees, while opposite is the statue of Andromeda, the daughter of Cepheus, king of Ethiopia; her mother, Cassiope, boasted of beauty superior to the Nereids. As a punishment for such presumption, Andromeda was chained to a rock in the sea, to be devoured by a sea monster. She was rescued by Perseus, who, after a desperate conflict, slew the monster, and claimed her as his bride. This is a fine copy of a statue by Lawrence McDonald, and which belongs to Queen Victoria. It adorns the Queen’s palace, at Osborne, Isle of Wight.
Rounding the delightful curves and viewing the slopes, skirted by emerald escarpments, whence shoot at every turn sweet surprises, we pass the bowed form of another statue, "Contemplation," who, with pensive head, seems to review the long past.
As we reach the top of the plateau we gaze off over a delightful vista of lake and trees, of flowery nooks, and white, gleaming statues, sparkling fountains, wild dells, beds of flowers, stately trees, and delightful arbors, and a paradise it seems before us; beyond is Sabrina, and over the trees the lake; around us a spacious lawn inclosing another basin, where, as if floating in her boat of shells, stands the "Maid of the Mist," just risen from the sea; a veil of thinnest gauze, air woven from the myriad drops that shoot upwards around her, half hiding her beautiful form. As we turn, a rainbow kindles the mist, as if Iris herself was hiding there, and the maid is transformed into some aerial being.
It was an experiment, throwing these choice grounds open to the public. It is a compliment to the taste and good sense of the public that this confidence is not abused. No articles are sold within its inclosure, and one annoying drop in almost every cup of bliss is banished from here.
The streetcars run to the park. The grounds comprise some two hundred acres.
THE BANKING INTERESTS,
OF Elmira have been ably represented ever since the establishment of its pioneer bank. The CHEMUNG CANAL BANK, the first banking institution in Chemung County, was organized in June, 1833, under the Safety Fund Act, with a capital of $200,000. The following were the officers at the time of its organization: J. G. McDowell, President; Lyman Covell, Vice-President; William Maxwell, Cashier. Of its first directory, John G. McDowell, William Maxwell, Lyman Covell, Horace Mack, Elijah H. Goodwin, Levi J. Cooley, Jacob Westlake, John Jackson, Miles Covell, Augustus S. Lawrence, John Arnot, Mathew McReynolds, and Hiram Gray, all are deceased except H. Gray and Lyman Covell. The original charter was for thirty years, on the expiration of which it was operated under the general banking law of the State of New York, until 1865, when it organized as a national bank. The latter charter was surrendered in 1870, since which time the bank has been conducted as a banking firm, under its original name, and with the following present officers: S. T. Arnot, Vice-President; John Arnot, Jr., Cashier; and M. H. Arnot, Assistant Cashier. For nearly half a century have its doors been open to the public for the transaction of a general banking and exchange business.
THE BANK OF CHEMUNG was incorporated in 1849, under the State banking laws. This was the second banking institution in Elmira. Until 1853 this bank and the Chemung Canal Bank were the only banks in this vicinity. It was first and for years located on Water Street, but subsequently was changed to the corner of Baldwin and Carroll. Simeon Benjamin was its first president, and Tracy Beadle the first cashier. In 1865 it reorganized as a national bank, under the title of "National Bank of Chemung." It was so continued until July 1, 1871, when it surrendered its charter as a national bank, and resuming its original name, "Bank of Chemung," was managed as a private bank by Henry W. Beadle. It closed its doors, and its existence as a bank, March 23, 1878.
THE ELMIRA BANK, the third monetary institution in the city, was established in 1853, and was located on the corner of Baldwin and Carroll Streets. D. H. Tuttle was its first president, and Anson C. Ely its first cashier. It suspended operations in 1863, at which time it had the following management: L. J. Stancliff, President; Edwin Eldridge, Vice-President; Wm. F. Corey, Cashier. This bank was the predecessor of the "Second National Bank," its stock and building being purchased by the stockholders and corporators of the latter institution.
THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK, was organized in 1863, with Simeon Benjamin as its president, and with a capital of $100,000. Its original location was on the corner of Baldwin and Water Streets, but subsequently was removed to the building occupied by the Chemung Canal Bank. Its present officials are S. T. Arnot, President; John Arnot, Jr., Vice-President; M. H. Arnot, Cashier; Hull Fanton, S. T. Arnot, J. Arnot, Jr., M. H. Arnot, and L. Webber, Directors. This is a bank of issue as well as of exchange.
THE SECOND NATIONAL BANK was incorporated Dec. 14, 1863, and was a continuation of the old Elmira Bank. It was located in Ely’s Block, on the corner of Baldwin and Carroll Streets, now occupied by F. G. Hall, banker. About 1868 it was removed to its present location, on Lake Street, near Carroll. It has a capital of $200,000, and a circulation of $192,800. Its officers at the time of organization were H. M. Partridge, President; D. R. Pratt, Vice-President (acting President); W. F. Corey, Cashier. The first Board of Directors, who served until January, 1870, were Henry W. Rathbone, Robert Covell, Wm. S. Hatch, * David H. Tuttle, * Daniel R. Pratt, C. Preswick, Henry M. Partridge, Daniel Pratt, * and Edwin Eldridge. * After the first year D. R. Pratt succeeded to the presidency, and H. M Partridge officiated as vice president of this bank. At a meeting of the stockholders, held Jan. 20, 1870, it was voted to change the number of directors from nine to five. All of the directors having become disqualified by the sale of their stock, except Daniel Pratt and D. R. Pratt, they appointed George E. Pratt, Ransom Pratt, and Wm. Dundas to serve with them as directors. C. R. Pratt, Arthur Pratt, and C. F. Carrier were subsequently added to the board, in place respectively of Daniel and Ransom Pratt, deceased, and Wm. Dundas, who sold his interest.
Its present officers (1878) are D. R. Pratt, President; C. R. Pratt, Vice-President; W. F. Corey, Cashier; C. F. Carrier, Geo. E. Pratt, C. R. Pratt, Arthur Pratt, and D. R. Pratt, Directors.
THE SOUTHERN TIER SAVINGS-BANK, of Elmira, was organized March 19, 1869, and at its first meeting of stockholders Solomon L. Gillet was chosen President, David Decker and James H. Loring Vice-Presidents, H. V. Colt Secretary, and James S. Thurston Treasurer. After an existence of about nine years it suspended operations, April 1, 1878. David Decker was its first President, officiating until 1876, after which time Jackson Richardson held the office, contemporary with David Decker and Rufus King Vice-President, and S. T. Reynolds Treasurer. Its office was in the Stancliff Block, on Carroll Street.
Among the financial institutions of the city is the private
BANKING-HOUSE OF FRANCIS G. HALL, located on the corner of Baldwin and Carroll Streets. It was established May 1, 1865. Mr. Hall is the successor of the firm of Smith & Hall, and conducts a general banking business.
The latest organized bank is the FARMERS’ AND MECHANICS’ BANK, located on Water Street, west of Baldwin. It was organized in 1876. Its business is at present (1878) managed by L. M. Smith, President, and H. L. Bacon, Cashier.
The following is a brief account of those who by their pen have done what they could to benefit mankind. Many of them have attained an enviable name, and others have started on the road to fame. As a faithful historian it is our duty to make this brief record.
"The Lyre of Tioga," written by Almira Thompson, daughter of General Matthew Carpenter, in the fall of 1829. This was a sacred drama on the book of Esther; showing, besides familiarity with the text, an intimate acquaintance with the views of contemporaneous writers, by which the writer was enabled to portray the characters to infinite advantage. The writer indulged in lighter poems occasionally, sometimes satirical, sometimes pathetic; an instance of this latter is found in the lines on the death of Dr. Satterlee, a brief extract from which is given:
* * * * * *
"With anguish rent, the dying man
To heaven raised his eye:
His quivering lips a prayer began,
His bosom heaved a sigh:
"To Him who hears the ravens cry-
Who hears the sinner pray;
Respect thy Word, O God, and be
My weeping widow’s stay!"
Dr. David Murdock was always ready to tell a story, or add new coloring to passing events as seen in his kaleidoscope, a fine illustration of which he has left us in the romance of "The Dutch Dominic of theKatskills," written in 1861, and tinted with Revolutionary incidents.
J. O. Towner wrote "Schedayne of Kononah," a satirical composition, of purely local application, embracing the Connecticut and Pennsylvania controversy.
The "Widow Bedott Papers," by Mrs. Frances M. Whitcher, whose husband was rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, were written towards the close of 1856. Joseph C. Neal, the well-known author of "Charcoal Sketches," was struck by the originality and clearness of the first series (of letters), when submitted among the mass of contributions which crowd a weekly newspaper. It was scarcely in print before the author’s name began to be asked by subscribers, casual readers, and brother-editors, some of whom attributed them to Mr. Neal himself. They could scarcely be made to believe that the sketches, so full of humor, so remarkable for minute observation of human nature, were the work of an unpracticed pen. The world is now familiar with the characters; they abound everywhere, although these were all found and described in Elmira. Mrs. Maguire’s account of Deacon Whipple will be an everlasting sermon on that hypocritical class who profess to have such "consarn for the welfare o’ Zion."
Miss C. Thurston is the author of "Home Pleasures," published by the American Tract Society. Miss Thurston came from Andover, Mass., to New York, in 1827, and to Elmira in 1844, and began her seminary in 1847. Her position as a teacher inspired her to write this work as a guide in the choice of pleasures. The style of the work is colloquial; its principles may be inferred from the character of the publishers.
She has in preparation "Hours with the Prophets, designing to show the fulfillment of prophecy as seen in history; also a "Memoir of a Lady," who was once her pupil. She has also been a correspondent for The Christian Family Magazine, and The Parlor Magazine.
Mrs. Loretta J. Post is well known by her "Scenes in Europe," or Observations by an Amateur Artist, from notes taken while making the tour of Europe in 1873.
Mark Twain (Mr. Samuel J. Clemens) married Olivia, a sister of C. J. Landon, and wrote most of his "Innocents Abroad" in Elmira, and spends much of his time here, while in America. His reputation is too well known to need any comment.
"The Old Fountain Inn" and other poems, by Adelaide T. Moe, is a handsome little volume of occasional verses, of much more than average merit. The poems respectively "Father" and "Mother" are very touching, and the "Plea for the Poetess," a thoughtful and harmonious composition.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Where Heaven’s arch rings with bewildering trills,
And Nature’s rich bounty the heard ever fills,
Stands the Old Fountain Inn, with mountains o’erhung,
On the bank of the beautiful river Chemung.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"And youth, with the glamour it only can know
shall rule in its power, and backward we go
Through the vista of years to the welcoming hearth,
So sought in lang syne for its comfort and mirth."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"He sat upon the porch in evening hour.
Beloved wife, dear friends, and children dear
Were grouped around the patriarchal chair.
He rested from his labors, full of years.
One sigh he breathed, and so his spirit fled;
In peace he passed to his eternal rest."
Miles Standish. – Henry W. Longfellow’s "Courtship of Miles Standish," paraphrased by Ariel Standish Thurston. The writer, so well known in Elmira and throughout the State of New York as an eminent jurist, long accustomed to investigations and claborations of thought, has shown us in this little volume his power of clear and forcible expression, and to our mind deserves well of the critics in this paraphrase. He tells us that, "interested as a lineal descendant in reseuing from oblivion everything pertaining to the name and career of ‘the Washington of the infant colony of Plymouth,’ I have explored many avenues of information relating to him in this country and in England. But the birth and parentage of ‘Miles Standish’ is involved in more obscurity than that of Shakspeare, his contemporary; and this is due, I think, to the folly of the heirs in America in endeavoring to trace title to themselves of ‘six manors’ bequeathed in the will of Miles Standish to his eldest son, Alexander, which will is contained in the archives of Old Plymouth."
In the appendix the judge has reproduced "Rose Standish," the beautiful poem by the accomplished Frances M. Caulkins, historian of New London and Norwich, Conn. Among the early victims to the hardships experienced by the Pilgrims that landed at Plymouth from the "Mayflower," Dec. 22, 1620, was Rose, the wife of Captain Miles Standish. She died Jan. 29, 1621. Her pleasing name, her premature death, and the hallowed enterprise with which she was connected, naturally lead us to regard her as a type of feminine loveliness, fortitude, and piety. The delightful odors of the living rose are borne on the following lines:
"The Rose I sing sprang from no lifeless mould,
Nor drank the sunbeams or the falling dew;
It bore no thorns, and in its bosom’s fold
No lurking worm or eating canker grew.
"Bright were its hues, in darkest days best known,
In wintry storms diffusing sweetest power;
A Rose in which a radiant spirit shone;
Not the frail queen of thorn, and leaf, and flower.
"A graft it was of Sharon’s beauteous Rose,
Nursed with the purest dews of Palestine;
A living light, a heart in blest repose,
Beamed from its depths and showed the root divine.
"Death found it there, and cut the slender stem;
It fell to earth, - yet still it lives, it glows,
For Christ transferred it to his diadem,
And changed to fadeless Amaranth, our Rose."
"The Diversions of Ministers," by Dr. David Murdock, who was clerk of a ministers’ club – The diversions of ministers, so far as the doctor was concerned, were the most complete and at the same time innocent in their character. The same zeal that he manifested in his theology was imparted to his diversions, and made him the most companionable. He was indeed a rare man, but was never robust in body. A further notice of him will be found in connection with the church he loved so well, now known as Lake Street Presbyterian Church.
J. Dorman Steele, A. M., PH.D., was born at Lima, N. Y., on the 14th of May, 1836. His father, the Rev. Allen Steele, is a noted minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. J. Dorman prepared for college at the Classical Institute, Albany, and at the Boys’ Academy, Troy. In 1858 he graduated at Genesee College, and soon after went to Mexico Academy as professor of natural science.
In 1862 he was elected principal of Newark Union Free School and Academy, and resumed his work of teaching the sciences. Each season he gave a lecture weekly, with experimental illustrations. With the proceeds he purchased a library, and very completely equipped the laboratory with all needful apparatus. During this time he continued his task of condensing the work of each branch of science into a term’s study.
In 1866 he was elected principal of the Free Academy at Elmira, where he introduced the sciences on his new plan. At this time he began to write. His manuscripts grew into shape in his classes out of actual recitations. The analysis of each subject, the ideas advanced, the illustrations used, were suggested in the school room.
In 1867, he prepared his "Fourteen Weeks in Chemistry" for the press, and was having it printed at Elmira for the use of his classes and those of his personal teacher friends, when his present publishers proposed to issue it for him. In 1868 he prepared his "Astronomy;" in 1869 his "Philosophy;" and in 1870 his "Geology," all on the same plan as his "Chemistry." As an author Mr. Steele has invested with the most winning charms subjects heretofore considered dry and distasteful.
At the New York State University Convocation during the summer of 1870, his degree of Ph.D. was conferred "in consideration of eminent services as a teacher," by the highest educational authority in the State – the Regents of the University. His election as president of the New York Teachers’ Association was also a pleasant feature of the year.
From time immemorial the natural sciences have found a prominent place in the course of study of every high school and academy. The text-books formerly used were better adapted to the investigation of men of science, than to assist the immature minds of boys and girls in comprehending the results of natural laws. As might be expected, the study of the natural sciences became a long, painful, profitless task instead of what it really is, a delightful recreation. To obviate this defect, the process of simplification has gone on, until the text-book makers have fallen into the opposite extreme, and introduced a new science in "the art of being superficial." This last result has been reached in various ways. Some authors have simply diluted ideas with words, until the atom of information is buried beneath the mountain of illustration; others have condensed until the fair form of science has changed to an unsightly skeleton. The works of neither class of authors were adapted to the classroom. The true and middle ground between the concise and diffuse seems to be occupied by Prof. Steele.
CITY OFFICERS, 1878-79
Granville D. Parsons, Mayor.
Maurice S. Decker, Clerk
Aldermen. – First Ward, William Pagett, Robert R. R. Dumars; Second Ward, Patrick J. Lee, John Clark; Third Ward, James S. Thurston, Wilbur F. Wentz; Fourth Ward, John Laidlaw, Valentine Miller; Sixth Ward, Edward Wiseman, Jacob Mortimer; Seventh Ward, George R. C. Holbert, James E. Lockwood.
City Chamberlain, Jeremiah J. O’Conner.
City Attorney, Erastus F. Babcock.
City Recorder, George E. Pratt.
Chief Engineer, G. A. Worth.
Overseer of the Poor, William E. Murphy.
Superintendent of Streets, David Caldwell.
Justices of the Peace, Geo. L. Davis, Edwin K. Roper, Alexander H. Baldwin.
City Assessors, Orlando N. Smith, William A. Ward, William R. Cooper.
Granville D. Parsons, Mayor, Chairman; George Congdon, Sutherland De Witt, Charles T. Langdon, Samuel C. Taber.
Chief of Police, John Sknapp.
Captain Night Watch, Nicholas Deister.
Chief Engineer, Miles Trout.
First Assistant Engineer, Charles Grulden.
Clarence M. Spalding, M. D., Patrick H. Flood, M. D., Charles P. Godfrey, M. D.
The following gentlemen have served as mayor of the city of Elmira, dating from the first holding said office, inclusive:
John Arnot, Jr., April 21, 1864; John I. Nicks, March 13, 1865; John I. Nicks, March 12, 1866; E. N. Frisbie, March 11, 1867; E. N. Frisbie, March 9, 1868; S. McDonald, March 9, 1869; John Arnot, Jr., March 8, 1870; P. H. Flood, March 12, 1871; P. H. Flood, March 12, 1872; Luther Caldwell, March 10, 1873; John Arnot, Jr., March 9, 1874; Howard M. Smith, March 8, 1875.
By an act passed May 17, 1875, amendatory of the charter of the city of Elmira, the term of the office of mayor is extended to two years.
Robert T. Turner, March 13, 1876-77; Granville D. Parsons, March 11, 1878-79.
The second annual report of the Chamberlain’s office of the city of Elmira, N. Y., by J. J. O’Conner, Chamberlain, for the fiscal year commencing Feb. 5, 1877, and ending Feb. 4, 1878, shows in detail the debt of the city, the cost of maintaining the city government and schools for the past fiscal year, the actual condition of the several accounts, and an estimate of the necessary expenditures for the ensuing year:
For the same reason that we omit the long line of officers who have administered public affairs, - viz., because it would be more curious than profitable, - the details of the report from which the foregoing extract is taken are passed over. The following is a statement of the resources and liabilities of the city at this date, Feb. 4, 1878:
Cash on Hand……………………………………………………..$28,797.29
City taxes, 1874, uncollected………………………………………..2,620.28
City taxes, 1875 (city purposes), uncollected…………………………732.12
City taxes, 1875 (school purposes), uncollected………………………935.87
City taxes, 1876, uncollected………………………………………..2,030.73
City taxes, 1877, uncollected………………………………………..5,512.42
Sidewalk bills, as assets to street fund………………………………1,276.43
Sidewalk bills, as assets to general fund………………………………252.92
Cash in excise commissioner’s hands…………………………………386.00
Due for street dirt, bills in this office………………………………….111.90
Due on Spaulding Street opening, assessments……………………….152.00
Due on Market Street, widening………………………………………252.70
Due on Exchange Place widening………………………………………30.00
Due on Dewitt Street widening………………………………………..178.98
Due for dirt bills in street commissioner’s hands…………...…………171.60
For cemetery fund…………………………………………………. $4,379.78
School fund due on city taxes, 1875……………………………….…..935,87
Fire department fund…………………………………………………...407.35
Watch and police fund………………………………………………..3,621.46
Iron bridge bonds……………………………………………………..4,706.91
Sewer bonds fund.………………………………………………………210.00
Spaulding Street opening………………………………………………….1.10
Exchange Place widening………………………………………………..22.36
Dewitt Street widening………………………………………………….238.36
Bills referred Feb. 4, 1878, by auditing committee…………………...2,300.22