Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of
its Prominent Men and Pioneers.
CHAPTER ON THE TOWN OF FREEDOM
Transcribed from pages 390-399 by Samantha Eastman
Note: There are no photographs or portraits in this chapter.
Freedom is the northeast corner town of the county. The surface is a rolling or moderately hilly upland. Its principal water-courses are Clear Creek, which takes its rise from Fish Lake, and flows northwest through the central part, and the south branch of Cattaraugus Creek, which flows in the same direction across the southwest corner. Fish Lake in the east part, Beaver Lake in the south, and Scum and Laws Lakes in the centre, are small bodies of water. The soil is of good quality, of clay and gravely loam, well adapted to grazing, dairying, fruit-culture, and all other pursuits of agriculture. Several quarries of good building-stone are found in different parts of the town. Stock-raising and the manufacture of cheese engages the attention of the agricultural classes. The three cheese-factories of Mr. J.B. Lewis, and the two controlled by Mr. John G. James, use the milk of 2500 cows, and manufacture about 700,000 pounds of cheese yearly. At the Sandusky factory are nine cheeses, made the present year, which weigh from 1200 to 1500 pounds each. Sales are made monthly, and the products shipped to New York and the markets of Europe.
The town contains a total area of 25,998 acres, of which 18,125 acres are improved, and in 1875 had a population of 1341 inhabitants.
Contracts for land in township 6, range 4, of the Holland Purchase, were entered into by Aquilla Robbins, Joseph Edminster, Jr., Seth Pratt, Elihu Daggett, and Joseph Franklin, in the year 1809, and by Warren Stanley, Enoch Howlett, Ezekiel D. Runals, Rufus Metcalf, Earl Sawyer, and Jonas C. Irish, in 1810, for land in township 6, of the third range. It has not been learned that either Robbins, Edminster, Pratt, or Franklin ever became actual settlers. The remainder did, and located as follows: Elihu Daggett, from Vermont, on lot 37, in the west part of township 6, range 4; Enoch Howlett on the west part of lot 21; Rufus Metcalf on the west part of lot 13; Earl Sawyer on the east part of lot 13; Jonas C. Irish on the west middle part of lot 5; and Stanley and Runals in the vicinity of Fish Lake, - all of the last named were in township 6 of the third range. But little Is known of Messrs. Daggett, Stanley, and Runals, - and that little by a few old residents, - as they removed at quite an early day, and, we believe, have no representatives here at the present time. It is related of Mr. Daggett that during a time of great scarcity – probably the year following the cold season of 1816 – his family were obliged to dug up and eat the potatoes just planted. He was the first freeholder in the town.
Stanley and Runals were from New Hampshire. Enoch Howlet came from Bradford, N.H., and settled first of the farm now cleared by Alonzo Osman in 1811; soon after he contracted for the farm of 200 acres now owned by his son, John Howlet, and remained there until his death, which occurred at the age of sixty-seven years. Mr. Howlet was a prominent man in the early days, and at the first town-meeting was elected to the offices of assessor, overseer of the poor, commissioner of common schools, and poundmaster. He was one of the first justices of the peace appointed, and the second supervisor of the town. He also opened the first tavern, in 1823; was the second postmaster, and held the office for a quarter of a century.
Colonel Earl Sawyer, Jonas C. Irish, and Rufus Metcalf came from Vermont, and settled here the same year, viz., 1811. Mr. Sawyer was the first town clerk, one of the first justices, and in all his business and social relations a popular and prominent citizen. He built the first frame house in 1822, introduced the first improved agricultural implements, and was ever to be found among the foremost in all matters looking to the advancement of the interests of his townsmen. The homestead is still owned by his children, all of whom are of the most eminent worth and respectability. Mr. Irish remained a resident of the town until about 1866, when he removed to the State of Tennessee.
Rufus Metcalf acquired considerable notoriety during the Mormon excitement of 1835 as a zealous adherent and believer in that faith, and, we believe, continued with the faithful when they migrated from this vicinity to Kirtland, O. His brother, Gregory Metcalf, settled on the northwest part of lot 3, in the southeast part of the town, about 1812. In 1816, John G. Ensign, one of the first constables, was in the west part, near Elihu Daggett. Nathan and Daniel Cole, brothers, who were active and prominent citizens during the early settlement, were at Cole’s Settlement in the southwest in 1817; also Seth Makepeace, the first surveyor, and his sons Jarvis and Elijah, on and near the site of Sandusky village; and Zadock Randall, Amos P. and James Randall, south of the central part. The year 1819 found Nathan Holmes in the south part, on lot 10, range 4; Gillet and David Hinkley on the west part of lot 38, third range; and Oliver and Truman Alger just north of Cole’s Settlement. William Price, the first surveyor, was on lot 40, in the extreme northwest part. From this time forward settlers came in rapidly. In 1820, Frederick Beekman, a veteran of the Revolution, and his son, Christopher Beekman, were on lot 40 of the third range. The elder Beekman was of Dutch parentage, and himself and wife, as regards longevity, have but few parallels in the world’s history. He died at the age of one hundred and nine years, and his wife, who died two years previously, was one hundred and five years of age. Very many of the present residents of Freedom remember the old veteran and the words of his patriotic toast. It was his custom to shoulder hus "howling-piece" early on Fourth of July mornings, and awaken his sleeping neighbors by a salute from his heavily-loaded piece, which was discharged at arms’ length, held high over head, and then he would repeat the following words: "Hurrah for Washington, Gates, Putnam, und Lee; und all de brave men who fought for libertee!" Through some irregularity in his papers or muster, he received no aid or pension from the government until a short time before his death.
John Blocker was a resident in 1820; also Lot Crowel, one of the first justices and assessors, who was located on lot 36, third range; Bicknal Cole in the Fish Lake neighborhood; Dr. Elihu Cruttenden and Hurlbut Cruttenden on Clear Creek. Dr. Cruttenden was the first resident physician, and built the first grist-mill, in 1822. It stood where the present mill of Thomas Dornan now stands. Wycum Clark, Jonathan Cook, Sullivan Drew, James T. Drew, Lewis Daggett, Delinus Daggett, and Reuben Daggett, supposed to be brothers or other relatives of Elihu Daggett, were also here, and Robert Daniels, who kept the first tavern in Sandusky, in 1824. Austin Daniels was located at the same place, - Stephen Hollister in the west part. Willard Law, who afterwards gained an unenviable reputation, built the first saw-mill in town, on lot 20, in 1820. John Marricle in the central part, Simeon Magoon in the western, Joseph Pasco in the north part, James D. Sischo in the west part, Nehemiah Sparks on lot 4, third range. He was a zealous Mormon, and called "the Prophet." Joseph Wait, on lot 6, third range; Mark and Thomas White, on lot 20, third range; and Israel Runals and Jonathan Stow, whose exact location is unknown.
Charles Beebe, a native of Vermont, and for some time a resident of Madison Co., N.Y., removed to Genesee County in 1815, and settled in China, near Arcade. He remained there until 1820, when he removed to this town and settled on the farm now owned by his sons, Wellington and Charles Beebe. He was accompanied here by his sons Hiram and Charles. Mr. Beebe was elected an assessor, commissioner of schools, and fence-viewer, at the first town-meeting held in Freedom. He was a successful farmer, and highly respected as a citizen. Died at the age of eighty-six years. His wife still survives, aged eighty-three. Of a family of eleven children, six are living. The sons located as follows: Hiram and Charles, in Freedom; Willington and Clinton, in Arcade; and Darius, in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Among those here in 1821 was Barnes D. Bixby, on lot 24, fourth range; James Cahoon, on lot 8, fourth range; Dr. Warren Cowdery, and early physician, in the Fish Lake Settlement. He built the first brick house in 1828, and was the first postmaster in town; the office was established about 1824. Enoch and Ephraim Cheney, Elbridge Demming, Samuel Gibbs, Henry and Jacob Hitsman, ----Henry was on lot 6, fourth range, and is still living; Caleb Lamb, Eliphas Lafferty, in the southwest part; Jesse and Philander Murray, Orange Powell, in the north part; Benjamin E. Taft, A.B. Wadsworth, David D. Wells, were on lot 37, third range; and Roswell Webb, location unknown.
Elam Ellithorpe, accompanied by his sons, Samuel, George D., William T., Elam, Jr., Chauncey, Charles, and Jacob, came from Monroe Co., N.Y., and settled here in 1822. He established the first tannery near Hayden’s Woolem-Mills. Other residents in 1822 were Josiah Cheney, who, with Heman Hyde, established the first fulling, wool-carding, and cloth-dressing works, near Dr. Cowdery’s, in 1822; Aaron Cheney was on lot 12, and Benjamin Cheney on lot 19, in the third range; Henry E. Denio, near Sandusky village; Sardis Davis, in the same locality; Heman Hyde, Heman T., and Josephus Hyde, in the Fish Lake Settlement; John S. and Peter S. Johnson, on lot 28, third range; Robert Nicholas, on lot 3, fourth range; James and Moses Parmelee, location unknown; Henry Treat, on lot 39, third range; John Treat, on the same lot.
Francis Crane, from Fabius, Onondaga Co. (formerly from Vermont), with his sons Ulysses P., Lockart B., Ira P., and Squire D., settled on lot 8, in the third range, in 1823. His son, Hon. Ulysses P. Crane, one of Freedom’s most worthy and respected citizens, who has held many offices of trust and honor, and represented Cattaraugus County in the State Legislature in 1860, occupies the homestead at the present time.
Previous to 1825 the following-named settlers were here and located as follows: David Austin, in the south part; David Alton and Elliott Alton, on lot 1, in the third range; James R. and Edward Ball, on lot 7, third range; Gideon Baker, on lot 3, third range; Reuben and Nathaniel Brown, on lot 26, of the fourth range; Charles Baldwin, on lot 40, of the third range; Isaac Crawford and his son, Isaac Jr., on lot 18, third range; Chauncey I. Calkins, on lot 3, fourth range; also Isaac R. Calkins, same vicinity; Robert and Alvah Durkee, on lot 9, fourth range; Benjamin and Joseph Farley, on lot 18, fourth range; Abel Gordon, lot 8, fourth range; Abram and John Harwick, on lot 31, third range; Elisha Leonard, on lot 18, fourth range; Peter Marble, on lot 20, fourth range; Joseph and William Marsh, in the west part; Delevan Nelson, on 36, of third range; Elijah Oakes, in the northwest corner; Elijah Oakes, Jr., on 32, fourth range; Lane Rounds and Isaiah Rounds, on lot 2, fourth range; John Selfridge, of 15, of third range; Charles E. Stewart, on lot 33, fourth range; John Thomas, lot 2, fourth range; William Thomson, a surveyor, and town clerk for many years, on lot 5, third range; David Wild, at Sandusky, He was a hotel-keeper at an early day. About 1825, and built the present Sandusky Hotel in 1833. His daughter was married to Judge Sanford E. Church. Amos Wright, on lot 25, fourth range; Hartley Weld, near Enoch Howlet’s, where he sold the first goods in town, in 1821.
Others who were here during the years before mentioned, i.e., from 1823 to 1825, but whose location we are unable to ascertain, were Aaron Armstrong, John Aiken, Joseph Bradish, William and James Cooper, John Champlain, Jr., Aaron Clark, George Dunn, Peter I. Toland, David Franklin, Peter Huggerboom, David Hillman, Noah C. Howe, Jehiel Kibbe, John King, John Knowlton, Abram and Henry Keller, Barber Lawson, John W. Leonard, Christian Myers, John Martin, James McKey, Lemuel Rounds, John Richmond, Garrabrant Spear, Aaron Seavey, Earl Seaman, S.R. Thornton, Ashbel W. Treat, David Van Buskirk, Chauncey D. Webster, Wm. W. Ward, Seth Winslow, John Willis, and John Welch.
Eber Holmes, a native of Vermont, and a soldier of 1812, accompanied by his wife and children, viz., Myron, Milo, Julia, Hannah, and Martha, came from York, Livingston Co., N.Y., in 1827, and settled on lot 38, of the third range. He became quite and extensive land-owner, built a saw-mill on Clear Creek soon after his settlement, and was engaged in mercantile business at an early period. Mr. Holmes was prominently identified with all the public interests of his town, and served as supervisor for a period of ten years.
John I. Weir, with his sons, Daniel, Samuel, and Ambrose, came from Washington Co., N.Y., and settled on the farm now owned by David D. Davis, in 1833.
From 1832 to 1835, Alexander Vallance, Daniel Lammie, William Mitchell, Andrew Mearns, and their families, came in from Ayrshire, Scotland, and settled in the northeast part of the town. James McKerrow, from the same place, settled in 1844.
In 1841, Robert Williams, John Higgins, Thomas Rees, Daniel Morgans, H.O. Roberts, John Lewis, and others came in from Oneida Co., N.Y., and formed the nucleus of a Welsh settlement, which has prospered and increased in numbers until there are found in this and the adjoining towns of Farmersville and Centreville a population of at least 500 of these thrifty, law-abiding, enterprising people.
Rufus Metcalf and Earl Sawyer were the first cheese manufacturers, and thereby hangs a tale which Samuel Weir and other old residents can unfold. The first child born was Rufus Metcalf, Jr., Dec. 24, 1812, and the first death of an adult was that of Peter Davis, Dec. 17, 1816. The first marriages were those of Elihu Daggett and Sally McKee, and Sylvester Davis and Miss Daggett, all of whom were married at the same time, in 1817. Jemima Clark taught the first school, in 1816. The first school-house was built in 1819, in District No. 1.
The pioneers of Freedom, as in many adjacent towns, were mainly from the States of New Hampshire and Vermont. They brought with them and practiced here in the wilds of Cattaraugus all their habits of thrift, economy, and industry, so eminently characteristic of the transplanted New Englander. That those habits and teachings have been inculcated to good purpose to succeeding generations is amply testified to by the appearance of the well-improved lands and neat farm-houses of the present inhabitants.
Freedom was formed from Ischua by an act of the State Legislature, passed April 13, 1820, and at that time contained a population of 320 inhabitants. The act describes the territory as "being all that part of the town of Ischua known and distinguished as townships number six, in the third and fourth ranges of townships, be and the same is hereby erected into a separate town by the name of Freedom; and the first town-meeting shall be held at the dwelling-house of Gillet Hinckley, in said town, on the first Tuesday of March next." The west tier of lots was annexed to Yorkshire in 1844.
"At the town-meeting held at the house of Gillet Hinckley, in the town of Freedom, the first Tuesday in March, 1821, the following-named town officers were elected:"
Supervisor, William Price; Town Clerk, Earl Sawyer; Assessors, Enoch Howlet, Charles Beebe, Lot Crowel; Collector, Daniel Cole; Overseers of the Poor, Lot Crowel, Enoch Howlet; Commissioners of Highways, Elihu Daggett, Nathan Holmes, Nathan Cole; Constables, Daniel Cole, Israel Runals, John G. Ensign; Commissioners of Schools, Enoch Howlet, Charles Beebe, Nathan Cole; Inspectors of Common Schools, Earl Sawyer, Wycum Clark, Nehemiah Sparks; Poundmasters, Gillet Hinckley, Daniel Cole, Enoch Howlet; Fence-Viewers, Earl Sawyer, Nathan Holmes, Nehemiah Sparks, James D. Sischo, Jonathan Stow, James T. Drew, Charles Beebe, Delinus Daggett, David Hinckley; Overseers of Highways, Willard Law, Earl Sawyer, David Hinckley, Israel Runals, Lot Crowel, James T. Drew, John G. Ensign, Simeon Magoon, Reuben Daggett, James D. Sischo, Jonathan Cook, Oliver Alger.
At this meeting other matters relating to the affairs of the town were voted upon as follows: "Voted, to have the two roads layd out by Nathan Holmes last year recorded. Voted that swine should be free commoners if they ware yoked and Rung with a good and sufficient yoke and Ring. Voted, to raise $250 Road Money. Voted, to raise double the amount of school money received from the State. Voted, to raise $10 on every bear killed by actual residents of the town. Voted, to raise $20 on every Woolf and Panther killed by actual residents of the town. Voted, to raise fore Dollars to buy a Town Book."
Signed by William Price, Moderator; Enoch Howlet, Clerk.
The following is a list of the supervisors, town clerks, and justices
of the peace from 1821 to 1878:
"At a meeting of the board of the commissioners of excise for the town of Freedom, in the county of Cattaraugus, held at the house of Enoch Howlet, innkeeper in said town, on the 3d day of May, 1824, present: James Parmelee, Supervisor and Commissioner; Enoch Howlet and Robert Daniels, having made application to the said commissioners, now convened, for a license to keep an inn or tavern at their present dwelling-houses and stands in said town, and the said commissioners having satisfactory proof that the said Enoch Howlet and Robert Daniels are of good moral character and of sufficient ability to keep and inn or tavern, and that they have accommodations to entertain travelers; and the said commissioners being of the opinion that an inn or tavern is absolutely necessary at the said houses for the accommodation of travelers, therefore the said commissioners have, in pursuance of an act entitled an act to lay a duty on strong and spirituous liquors and for regulating inns and taverns, passed April 7, 1801, Resolved, and do hereby resolve, that a license, according to the applications aforesaid, be granted to the said Howlet and Daniels from the date hereof until the first Tuesday of May next. In testimony whereof we, the said commissioners, have respectively subscribed this resolve, this day and year aforesaid.
"James Parmelee, Supervisor and Com’r.
"Lot Crowel, Justice of the Peace and Com’r."
The following is an alphabetical list of resident land-owners, town
of Freedom, for the year 1835, showing the number of acres owned and improved
Number of acres of improved land 6,600
Number of acres of improved land 18,125
The first highway in the town of Freedom was surveyed Oct. 20, 1813, by order of Solomon Rawson and Elijah Gibbs, highway commissioners of the town of Ischua; and is described as beginning at the north line of township 6, in the fourth range, at a stake, being the end of the road laid in the seventh town, fourth range; thence running in a general southeast course until passing through the village of Sandusky, whence its direction is nearly east, reaching the east border of township 6, range 3, near the centre. Or, in other words, the highway which follows the valley of Clear Creek.
In scanning the work performed by the first board of highway commissioners of the town of Freedom, it is notable how many roads are described as beginning and terminating at and near the residence of Nathan Cole.
The Rochester and State Line Railroad enters the town on the east border, north of the centre, and running in a southwesterly direction, passing Freedom Station, which is about two and one-half miles southeast of Sandusky, leaves the town on the south border, near the centre of range 3. In enters the town again near the southwest corner. This road was completed in the spring of 1878. The town paid no money to encourage its building, but the citizens paid for the construction of the depot at Freedom Station with funds raised by subscription.
is situated on Clear Creek, a little north of the centre of the town. It contains 2 church edifices (Baptist and Universalist), 3 religious societies, 1 hotel, 1 cheese-factory, 1 cheese-box factory, 1 carriage-factory, a woollen-mill, 1 grist-mills, 3 saw-mills, 1 tannery, district school-house with two departments, post-office, 5 stores of general merchandise, 1 drug-store, 1 hardware-store, 1 stove- and tin-store, 1 boot- and shoe-store, 2 shoe-shops, 2 meat-markets, 2 medical, 1 dental, and 1 clergyman’s offices, and about 250 inhabitants.
Seth Makepeace, Robert Daniels, and David Wild were the first owners of the village site. Robert Daniels kept tavern in a small log house, in 1824. He also sold goods at the same place and time, but failed in his business speculations. The brick block of Hiram Beebe now occupies the site of his tavern. David Wild erected the present hotel in 1833. He also gave to the village the common in front of the same. Elam Ellithop built a tannery in 1828. Josiah Cheney established the wool-carding and cloth-dressing works about 1830. Thomas White kept store here at the same time. Eber Holmes was also and early merchant.
The woollen-mills of M. & T. Hayden, in Sandusky village, were established, as before mentioned, by Josiah Cheney, in 1830. In 1850, the works were purchased by Mr. M. Hayden. Until 1864 the business had been confined to wool-carding and cloth-dressing. The latter year the Messrs. Hayden began the manufacture of woolen yarn, and two years later they extended their business by the manufacture of flannel. The mills give steady employment to 8 hands, and produce 20,000 yards of flannel and 5000 pounds of yarn annually. The products are sold principally in Central and Western New York.
The carriage-works of William E. Jones, in Sandusky, were established by himself in 1867. All the leading styles of light and heavy sleighs and carriages are manufactured; 8 men are steadily employed, and the sales will amount to from $8000 to $10,000 per year.
on the south branch of Cattaraugus Creek, in the southwest part of the town, contains a church (Free-Will Baptist), store, cheese-factory, saw-mill, blacksmith-shop, about 15 dwellings, and 75 inhabitants.
The first settlers here, and the original owners of the site, were the brothers Nathan and Daniel Cole, and the locality was known in the early days as Cole’s Settlement.
Freedom Lodge, No. 127, A.O.U.W., was instituted Jan. 25, 1878, with 25 charter members, and the following board of officers: Harrison Cheney, P.M.W.; J.D. Colborn, M.W.; R.O. Jones, Foreman; M.D. Scobey, O.; B.B. Lewis, Recorder; E.W. Earle, Financier; P.E. Merrill, Receiver; William M. Davis, M.B. Stone, E. Wilson, Trustees; Harrison Cheney, Representative; C.C. Wood, Alternate; C.C. Newman, Guide; F.R. Crowell, O.W.; G.H. Mills, I.W. Present membership, 39. Regular meetings are held every other Monday evening at their lodge-room, in Sandusky village.
Sandusky Cornet Band was organized by O.C. Wood, the first leader, in October, 1875. It consists of 12 pieces, as follows: B.B. Lewis, 2d E-flat and leader; H.W. Davis, 1st E-flat; Richard Hooper, 1st B-flat; M.K. Darling, 2d B-cornet; Charles Lemmler, 1st alto; John Charles, 2d alto; Joseph M. Murray, 1st tenor; Willis Steele, 2d tenor; Geo. H. Mills, baritone; D.J. Law, E-flat tuba’ John Edwards, tenor drum; David Hooper, bass drum.
Freedom Lodge, No. 459, I.O.G.T., was organized at Sandusky village, Dec. 2, 1867, with 31 charter members, and the following named officers:
Jacob Ellithorp, W.C.T.; Martha A. White, W.V.T.; J.B. Kendall, W. Chap.; Eugene Haskell, W. Sec.; Florence A. Beebe, W.A. Sec.; Hattie A. Hayden, W.F.S.; Calvin Haskell, W.T.; Theodore Hayden, W.M.; Ellen J. Jones, W.D.M.; Jane A. Lewis, W.I.G.; H.E. Cheney, W.O.G.; Louisa Beebe, W.R.H.S.; Elsie M. Peck, W.L.H.S.; A.J. Beebe, Past W.O.T.
The present officers are R.H. Snyder, W.C.T.; Cora Preston, W.V.T.; John Thomas, W.S.; Miss McMurray, W.A.S.; Lucina White, W.F.S.; Wm. M. Davis, W.T.; John Charles, W.M.; Ida Roblee, W.A.M.; D.D. Newman, W. Chap.; Ada Law, W.I.G.; George Davis, W.O.G.; R.O. Jones, Past W.C.T.; E.W. Earle, Lodge Deputy. This lodge has ever been in a prosperous condition, and has a fund of $200 in its treasury at the present time.
The pioneers of Freedom, true to the teachings and principles of their New England ancestry, took early and earnest action in regard to their schools. The board of school commissioners, composed of Messrs. Enoch Howlet, Charles Beebe, and Nathan Cole, met Sept. 18, 1821, and established five school districts, described as follows:
District No. 1 was to include 12 lots, viz.: lot 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 14,
20, 21, 22, 28, 29, and 30 of township 6, range 3.
At the same meeting they revised their work and established but two school districts instead of five. This fact is of interest, as it shows conclusively on what lots the first settlements began.
District No. 1 remained as described above.
District No. 2 included the northwest, northeast, and southeast quarters of 37, the whole of lots 38, 39, and 40 of township 6, range 3, and lots 6, 7, 8, 14, 15, and 16 of township 6, range 4.
During the four succeeding years, 5 additional districts were formed. These included three parts of districts connected with districts in towns of Wyoming and Allegany Counties.
From the reports of trustees of school districts for the year ending March 1, 1825, are taken the following statistics:
Number of school districts in town 4
It is stated that the first religious services were held at the house of Rufus Metcalf, in April, 1813, by Elder P. Root; that the first church was formed by the Methodists in 1820, and that the Free-Will Baptists held meetings in 1822.
It is very reasonable to believe that, from 1812 to 1820, preachers of different denominations visited the settlers, and held meetings in their dwelling-houses. But none of the churches, as they exist to-day, possess any records to prove that a church, or branch of a church, existed here prior to the formation of the South branch of the First Baptist Church in Concord, Nov. 4, 1820.
THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH IN FREEDOM, AT SANDUSKY.
The earliest records of this society mention that, on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 1820, a meeting was held at the house of Silas Parker, in China, to take action for the purpose of having the privileges of the Concord Baptist Church extended. The meeting was composed of people residing in the towns of China and Freedom. Silas Parker was moderator, and Joseph Pasco clerk of this meeting. After proceeding to take the minds of the people present, it was resolved that the Covenant meetings of this branch should be held on the first Saturday in each month.
The first Covenant meeting was held at the house of Stephen Hollister, in Freedom, Saturday, Nov. 4, 1820, when the following-named members denominated themselves as the South Branch of the First Baptist Church in Concord: Deacon Colby, Samuel S. Nichols, Silas Parker, Joseph Pasco, Caleb Calkins, Stephen Hollister, E.R. Wilbor, Sardis Davis, Samuel Upham, Hurlbut Cruttenden, and Isabella Clark.
At a Conference meeting, held Feb. 4, 1821, the members of this branch took into consideration the expediency of becoming and independent church, and thereby resolved to invite the following churches in council, viz., Hamburg, Eden, Boston, Aurora, Sheldon, and Concord. Ministers and delegates from these churches met in council at the house of Silas Parker, in China, Feb. 22, 1821. Elder Thomas Barker was chosen moderator, and Elder Clark Carr clerk of the council. Elder Jonathan Haskell delivered an appropriate discourse, and, after due consideration, this branch was received as an independent church to be known as the China Baptist Church. Caleb Calkins and Deacon Colby were chosen first deacons, March 7, 1821.
At a meeting held in the Fish Lake school-house, Nov. 12, 1825, it was proposed to form a new church, to be composed of those members of the China Church who resided in Freedom. This proposition was voted down, but the name was changed to the China and Freedom Baptist Church, the meetings to alternate between the towns.
At a meeting convened at the lower school-house (District No. 2), July 27, 1826, Hurlbut Cruttenden, moderator, it was voted that this church be hereafter known as the
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH IN FREEDOM,
and the following members were granted dismission to Sardinia churches, viz., Samuel W. Pattison, Caleb Calkins, Samuel Upham, Samuel S. Nichols, Anna Hollister, Emma D. Hollister, Ruth L. Hollister, Marietta Finney, Elizabeth Calkins, Polly Upham, Sally Nichols, and Ann Oakes.
This church was now well started on its way as an independent Freedom Church. The members then remaining were 44 in number, as follows: Hurlbut Cruttenden (sic), Ashbel W. Treat, Amos P. Randall, Rufus Metcalf, Sardis Davis, David Austin, David Hinckley, Samuel Ellithorp, William Ellithorp, Henry Treat, Leonard Mason, David S. Hollister, John Welch, Abijah K. Martin, Hannah Austin, Delia Randall, Anna Cruttenden, Sally Davis, Delia Metcalf, Ann Eliza Metcalf, Catharine Sweet, Lois Nichols, Hannah Ellithorp, Lydia Ball, Martha Sparks, Eleanor Law, Esther Knowlton, Betsey Hartshorn, Eliza Ellithorp, Elizabeth Treat, Patty Armstrong, Mary Lawson, Polly Sawyer, Minerva Hinckley, Laura Hartshorn, Sally De Long, Sally Calkins, Rollotia Mason, Olive Worthington, Miriam McPherson, Phebe Bump, Mary Parker, Anna Wilbor, and Rachel Hodges. The early pastors, prior to 1826, were Elders Blake, Harmon, Thomas Baker, and Eliab Going. Elder Whitman Metcalf was employed in 1826 to preach one-fourth of the time, and Elder W. Freeman the following year for the same amount of time. An effort was made at about this time to obtain a licence for Hurlbut Cruttenden to preach, but it failed by a unanimous vote of a council of ministers. We find no records from 1827 to 1857. Since the latter date the pastors of this church have succeeded each other as follows, viz., Revs. B.H. Card, --- James, R.D. Hayes, N.F. Langmade, A. Morrill, J.S. Everingham, and A.S. Kneeland, the present pastor. The present house of worship was erected about 1847, and will seat 300 persons. Present membership, 127. Number of pupils in Sabbath-school, 160. Theodore Hayden, superintendent.
THE FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH AT SANDUSKY
The oldest records possessed by this society state the fact that, on the 6th day of October, 1827, there was granted to Lot Crowel, Joseph Wait, Asa Putney, Alva Durkee, and Aaron Cheney, trustees of this church, by Wilhem Willink and five others, acting for the Holland Land Company, 50 acres of land, "Being the northwest part of lot 28, township 6, range 3." This lot was sold by the society, in 1867, for $1200, of which amount they now have invested in good securities the sum of $1100. The early meetings of the society were usually held in the Fish Lake school-house. Prior to 1835 they were strong in numbers, and in a flourishing condition, but the Mormon excitement at about that date split and disrupted the church to such an extent that it has since lived a precarious existence. At an early period they were connected with the Franklinville Church, and among their pastors were Revs. John E. Gulick and A.D. Wilbor. For the last ten years they have formed part of the Sardinia charge. Revs. G. Delamater, J.H. Freeland, and O.C. Goodrich, pastors. Meetings are held in the Universalist church semi-monthly. Present membership, 8. H. Jones, J.B. Lewis, and D.D. Newman, present board of trustees. Rev. O.C. Goodrich, present pastor.
THE FIRST UNIVERSALIST CHURCH AT SANDUSKY
was organized with 25 members, May 24, 1845, by Rev. Gideon S. Gowdy, their first pastor. The first meetings were held at the house of Elias Wood. The church edifice was erected the same year, at a cost of $1500, and has sittings for 200 persons. Among the original members were Elias Wood, David Olnes, Henry Crandall, Walter B. Smith, Eber Holmes, Lot Crowel, Enoch Howlet, Samuel Norton.
There are about 40 members, but the society it without a pastor.
EBENEZER BAPTIST CHURCH (WELCH)
was organized with 42 members, March 2, 1843, by a council composed of ministers and delegates from surrounding churches. B. Cherryman was chairman, and B. Palmer, of Centreville, D.B. Corbyn, of Freedom, secretaries of the council. The first pastor, Rev. Richard Morris, was ordained March 16, 1843. There were present at the ordination ceremonies, Revs. M. Fuller, B. Cherryman, W. Metcalf, E.S. Smith, E.W. Clark, and J.M. Purinton. The first church edifice was dedicated in November, 1844, and cost $500. It was named the Ebenezer Church at the time of its dedication. Deacon John Lewis gave the land upon which it was erected. The present church edifice was erected in 1870, and dedicated in June, 1871. Its dimensions are 40 by 60 feet, cost $5000, all paid, and has sittings for 400 persons. Aneurim Jones was the architect, William and Thomas Davis builders. Among the first members of this church were Robert Williams, John Higgins, Thomas Rees, John Lewis, Daniel Morgans, H.O. Roberts, and Thomas Higgins, who came here from Oneida Co., N.Y., in 1841. Among the most prominent members of the church may be mentioned Robert Williams, who died in 1871, aged eighty-four years. Deacon John Lewis, who died, 1877, aged seventy-six years. He was a member for thirty years, and collected $1000 for the church edifice. John W. Rees, Daniel Rees, John H. Owens, Evan Owens, Mrs. Ann Morgans, Thomas Evans and wife, Wm. Thomas, and Stephen James, have also been prominently identified with this church. The first deacons were Robert Williams, John Lewis, and H.O. Roberts. The present deacons are Daniel Morgans, John Higgins, H.O. Roberts, and J.W. Williams.
The pastors have been the Revs. Richard Morris, who came in 1843, and remained two years; Wm. F. Phillips, from 1845 to 1850; D. Jenkins, two years; Thos. Roberts, came in 1852 and remained six years; J.P. Harris, 1860, and remained four years; J.W. James, came in 1864 and remained two years; John P. Harris, again in 1866 and remained eight years; W.M. Evans, came in 1875, and is the present pastor.
John C. Williams, a member of this church, is a student at Hamilton University. This church has always been in a prosperous condition, and possesses, in addition to the church edifice, a parsonage valued at $800. Present membership, 193; number of pupils in Sabbath-school, 70. Samuel Morgan superintendent, and D.H. Evans secretary of Sabbath-school.
SALEM CHURCH (WELSH CALVINISTIC METHODIST)
The first meetings of this church were held in the school-house, near Mr. Powell’s, Centreville, Allegany Co., in 1851, and Rev. Edward Rees preached the first sermon. Among the first members were Joseph Parry, David Powell, and Wm. W. Thomas. They soon after held their meetings in the "Sand-Bank" school-house, and during the years 1852 and 1853 Rev. John D. Jones preached to them.
In 1854 the church was regularly organized with about 30 members by Rev. James Lamb, now of Liverpool, England. Among the first members of this later organization were David Charles and John G. Jones, deacons; David Powell and wife, John D. Jones and wife, David Jones and wife, Mrs. Margaret Thomas, Wm. W. Thomas, John Thomas and wife, Evan Morgan and wife, Hugh Jones and wife, Wm. J. Williams and wife, Benjamin Parry and wife, and David P. Hooper and wife.
The church edifice was built in 1855 at a cost of $900, and has sittings for 250 people. The pastors since 1854 have been the Revs. Mr. James, John Williams, Joseph Rees, Richard F. Jones, and Benjamin D. Davies, who is the present pastor. Number of present members, 66; number of pupils in Sabbath-school, 60. John Parry superintendent, Isaac W. Morgan secretary.
THE UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF FREEDOM AND LYNDON.
In 1840, William Mitchell, Alexander Vallance, James McKerrow, John Gillmore, Stephen Findlay, and others, representing Scotch families residing in the towns of Freedom and Lyndon, formed a religious association called the Associate Reformed Church. The meetings were held in the school-house, now known as District No. 1, and Rev. William Howden was the first preacher. He had been followed by Revs. D.C. McVean and R.G. Campbell, present pastor. About 1858 the name was changed to that of the United Presbyterian Church of Freedom and Lyndon. Present membership, 30.
THE FREE-WILL BAPTIST CHURCH AT ELTON
was organized at the school-house of District No. 25, of Freedom and Yorkshire, in the town of Freedom, by Rev. A.C. Andrews, their first pastor. The society was incorporated March 20, 1834.
Among the first members were Nathan Cole, Jabez B. Hancock, Oliver Algar, Amos Wright, Elisha Manwaroine, Lyman Algar, and William Felch.
The first church edifice was erected in 1833; the present one, which will seat 350 persons, in 1873, at a cost of $2200. The present members are about 80 in number. Rev. C. Cook, pastor.
THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF FREEDOM
was organized in 1827, and was incorporated January 20 of the same year. The first board of trustees was composed of Jonathan Hooker, Heman Hyde, Joseph Braddish, John W. Leonard, Henry Jackson, and William Sparks. This church was disbanded many years ago.
In concluding these historical sketches of the churches in the town of Freedom, it may be proper to add in the same connection some facts in regard to the Mormon excitement of 1835, and the success attending the labors of the Mormon leaders in their efforts to obtain proselytes.
At the time mentioned, the quiet precincts of Fish Lake neighborhood were invaded by Joe Smith, Sidney Rigdon, John Gould, and Parley Pratt. They made their head-quarters at Rufus Metcalf’s and Dr. Warren Cowdery’s. Meetings were held, daily and nightly, in barns and dwelling-houses, and a prodigious excitement pervaded the minds of many people in that immediate vicinity. Among those residents who were conspicuous as believers in the humbug, were Dr. Cowdery, Rufus Metcalf, Nehemiah Sparks, Orrin Cheney, Hurd Cheney, Capt. Heman Hyde, Heman T. Hyde and wife, and Barber Lawson. As a result, 30 men and women were induced to join the Mormons, and emigrated with them to Kirtland, Ohio. Some came back and renounced their faith in Mormonism, while others continued with them to the end of their lives.
At the taking of the sixth census (1840), the following named revolutionary pensioners were residents of the town of Freedom, viz.: John Nichols, eighty years of age; Zera Norton, aged seventy-six years; Betsey Fuller, aged eighty-three years; and Susanna R. Champlin, seventy-eight years of age. Frederick Beakman was also a veteran of the Revolution, and Eber Holmes a soldier of 1812.
During the war of the Rebellion the town paid in bounties to her soldiers the sum of $16,434; the county paid to the same soldiers, $5400, making a total of $21,834.
The town received credit for 100 men, whose names, and the remarks opposite
each – as found in the town records – are given in the soldiers’ list in
the general history of the county.
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