Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers
Philadelphia: L. H. Everts, 1879

Pages 475-484

Transcribed by Mary Anne Lee - August 2004


Napoli is an interior town, lying west of the centre of the county, in the eighth range of the Holland Survey. It embraces all of township 3, and contains 23,063 acres. As erected from the town of Little Valley, it embraced all of townships 1, 2, and 3, and in the eighth range, and bore the name of Cold Spring until April 15, 1828, when it received the title it now bears. It was reduced to its present area March 20, 1837, when townships 1 and 2 were set off to form the new town of Cold Spring.

The surface of Napoli is elevated, and appears in the form of broken upland. Some of the hills rise several hundred feet above the general level, and the summit on lot 4 is nearly 700 feet above the valley, and is reported the highest point in the county. Many of these hills are arable to their tops but the soil of some is so cold that they are comparatively sterile; others are clothed with a rich verdure, and yield abundant grazing. The soil of the valleys is less clayey, and is generally a fertile, gravelly loam; and the land here, though limited in area, is as productive as any in the county. The town was originally covered with fine forests of beech, maple oak, chestnut; hemlock and pine abounding in limited quantities. A liberal supply of most of these yet remains.

The general drainage of the town is south, and is afforded mainly by Cold Spring Creek and its tributary brooks. This stream rises from a large cool spring, in the northern part of the town, and flows south through its centre into the town of Cold Spring, where it empties into Allegany River. Formerly the volume of water in this stream was much greater than at present, and limited water-power was afforded. It also contained an abundance of fine fish. From the northeast and the east hills of the town flow brooks, fed by numerous springs, into Little Valley Creek and SawMill Run; and in the northwest are a few brooks, which flow into Elm Creek in Connewango.


More than sixty years have elapsed since the first white man made his home in the dense forests of this town. In 1818, Major Timothy Butler came from Onondaga County, and located on lot 27, a little east of the present Napoli Corners. We know nothing concerning his antecedent life, but he removed to the State of Virginia and from there to southern Indiana, where he died. While in town he was an active man, and his place was widely known in the county as a conspicuous pioneer landmark.

George Hill, the second white person in Napoli, located on lot 29, in 1818. He set the first orchard in town. Where he came from or went, we have been unable to learn.

In the spring of 1819, Sargeant Morrill located on lot 50, on what is now the Jamestown road, southwest of Napoli Corners. He was born in Vermont in 1755, and died in Napoli in 1835. Ruth, his wife, was born in 1760, and died in town, July 4, 1828. His son, Martin M., lives in Illinois, aged ninety years. John is living at Napoli Corners, and Joanna, a daughter, in Indiana. Mr. Morrill, Major Butler, and Timothy Boardman, in 1819, cut a road, seven miles long, from Little Valley to Napoli, these three and their families being the only persons in town at that time. When Mr. Morrill arrived in town, having no team, he obtained the help of eight men and boys a day, who hauled logs with a chain and rope, and put up the body for a house. He put on a cob-roof and laid a log floor, and moved in. He was the first deacon of the Congregational Church, in 1821. The first grist of grain carried to mill from Napoli was three bushels of corn, taken on a mule to the Quaker Mill, twelve miles away, by John, a son of Sargeant Morrill. Soon after leaving the mill, on his way home, it became dark, and John, being unable to follow the Indian path, mounted the mule and was carried safely home, arriving some time in the night. The next grist was three bushels of corn for each of the three settlers. It was taken on an ox-sled to the same mill, the men cutting the road as they went. After John Morrill was married he wanted some cotton cloth in the house, so he took the job of cutting 1 ½ acres of timber for $7.50, boarding himself. He took the money, went to Batavia, a distance of over 60 miles, on foot, and carried his goods home on his back. Sargeant Morrill and his son for several weeks brought on their backs all the provisions for the family from Little Valley, a distance of nine miles.

Timothy Boardman, from Onondaga County, located on lot 43, in 1819. He was a native of Connecticut; born in 1781, and died, in town, October, 1841. His wife, Rachel Hopkins, died in town in April 1827. Their son Leicester died in town, July, 1841; Orson is living in Indiana; Judah is living at Napoli Corners; Chauncy, in Cold Spring; Susan, in Illinois; and Fidelia, in Salamanca; Fannie, who taught the first school in town, is living in Iowa. Mr. Boardman had to get hands from some distance to raise his log shanty. It was dark by the time they had it up, and having no provision of any kind they camped for the night without supper.

Harvey Parmelee located on lot 51 in 1819. He came from Ontario County. He moved to Chautauqua County, where he died. His wife, Annie Harrington, is still living in that county. Mr. Parmelee was a leading and an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and for many years a class-leader.

Lyman Parmelee, a brother of Harvey, settled on lot 52 in the year 1819. He was from Ontario County, and some years later returned to that county, where he died.

John Warner, from Ischua, located on lot 19 in 1819. He built a small log house, in which was taught the first school in town. There were but three families that had children to send, - Mr. Warner’s, Timothy Butler’s, and Timothy Boardman’s.

Harlow Butler, from Ontario County, settled on lot 51 in 1819. He moved to the Western Reserve, in Ohio.

Peter Beardsley, from Erie County, located on lot 38 in 1819. He was born in Delaware County, September, 1795, and died in town, February, 1873. His wife, Maria Boardman, died in Nebraska, but her remains were brought to this town for burial. One daughter is living in town, and three sons and one daughter in Nebraska.

Loren Noble came from Ontario County in 1820, and located on lot 33. He married Miss Fannie Boardman, and moved to Iowa in 1854, where they now reside.

Artemus Houghton, from Niagara, located on lot 49 in 1820. He was elected one of the first deacons in the Congregational Church, in 1821. He died at Willow Creek, Pa., and his wife at Quaker Run.

Dr. Phineas F. Noble came from Ontario County in 1820, and located on lot 34. He was made a military captain, being the first officer in town. Company trainings were then held at Franklinville. He moved to Iowa, and now resides there. Erastus, a son, resides in Ohio.

Levi Stevens was born in Cooperstown, Otsego County, Aug. 4, 1794. He married Miss Sally Rice in 1819, and together they came to Napoli in 1820, settling on lot 21, where L.H. Wilcox now resides. Mr. Stevens was a man of remarkable industry. But few men did as much to clear away the forests and bring Cattaraugus up to its present cultivated state as he. His death occurred Nov. 18, 1877, and that of his wife in April, 1833. His oldest son, Judge Wm. Stevens, resides on lot 13, in Napoli; Charles lives in Cayuga County; A.G. in Michigan; S.H., a Free-Will Baptist minister, in Nebraska; G.W. in Michigan; M.P. in Napoli; and J.D. in Little Valley.

A Mr. Hall came to Napoli from Ontario in 1819, and had booked a piece of land on lot 59. He returned to Ontario, and the same year two sons, Horace and Joe, came on to commence improvements. Not liking the land located by their father, they began on lot 50. They chopped a few acres, put up the body for a log house, and in the fall returned to Ontario County. In the spring of 1820, Horace and Erastus, younger brothers, came on and finished the house, and moved in. He died at East Randolph in 1878, aged eighty-one years. In the year 1825, the father again came to Cattaraugus County, but settled in Cold Spring, on lot 64, where he died in 1856.

William Foy, a native of Vermont, came to this town in 1819, and located on lot 57. His son John was the first white child born in the town of Napoli. Mr. Foy died in Illinois. Four brothers of Foy, Benjamin, David, Jonathan, and Samuel, settled on the same lot in 1819, but all removed except Samuel, who now resides on lot 57.

Joshua Boardman, a native of Onondaga County, came from that county in 1819, and located on lot 42, where he put up a small shanty until he could build a log house. He united with the first Free-Will Baptist Church of Napoli, and was a leading citizen of the town. He died in Kalamazoo, Mich. Rosena Barnes, his wife died at Napoli in 1826. They had ten children, of whom Sophronia is living with her son, C.D. Tuttle, in the town of Connewango, Joseph in Michigan, and Joshua and Elizabeth in Randolph.

Walter Thorp, a native of Delaware County, came in 1820. He located on lot 61. Mr. Thorp was a man of fine talents, possessing a genial nature, and always contending for the right. His kindly nature sympathized in the woes, and his hand was ever open to relive the wants, of suffering humanity. He was a good speaker and fine writer, and worked to instruct and elevate the young. But few men have been more missed than "Uncle Walter." He died in Connewango, November, 1872, being nearly eighty-one years of age. His wife, Elmira Maxon, was born in Delaware County, January, 1796, and died in Connewango, December, 1840. The only son living, Morgan Thorp, resides in the town of Great Valley; and Louisa is living in Connewango.

Lewis P. Thorp was born in Delaware County, in March, 1801, and came to Napoli in 1820, locating on lot 61. He was a leading citizen of the town, holding positions of trust, which he ever filled to the satisfaction of his constituents, and with honor to himself. He died at his old home at Napoli, February, 1868. His widow, Mrs. Maria Thorp, is living in Randolph. They raised a family of six children. George C., a son, is living in Napoli, Sarah C., Caroline M., Mary M., and Frank S. are living in Randolph.

Daniel S. Thorp came in 1820, settling on lot 61. He was a native of Delaware County, and was born March 6, 1798. He died in Napoli, July 2, 1869. His wife Ruth Foy, was born in Vermont, Oct. 20, 1797, and died in Napoli, April 24, 1874. Of five children, Walter F. lives on the old homestead in Napoli, and Laverna in Randolph.

Hubbard Latham, a native of Long Island, came from Sag Harbor in 1821, and located on lot 44. He was born Dec. 27, 1772. His father was of English birth, and was one of the favored land-holders. He came to this country possessed of much wealth. Mr. Latham died at the home of his son, in Randolph, Dec. 27, 1850. His wife, Mercy Bennett, was born in New Lebanon, Conn., in 1769, and died in Randolph, February, 1858. A son, Edward Latham, died in Illinois in 1877. Elisha died in Randolph in 1857. Cornelius now resides in that town, and Abigail in Illinois.

John L. Latham, a native of Sag Harbor, came to Napoli, and located on lot 44, in 1822. In 1839, when riding on horseback in Illinois, he and the horse on which he rode were killed by lightning; and it is said by those who were near at the time that it was perfectly clear, with no report of thunder. Hubbard L. Latham, a brother of John L., came at the same time, settling on the same lot. He died in Illinois, in 1858.

Leverett Richmond settled on lot 52 in 1821. He came from Genesee County, to which place he returned.

Joseph Miller, from Cayuga County, settled on lot 20 in 1821. He built the first frame barn in town. He died at the same place in 1827. His wife, Maria Boardman, died in Nebraska in 1873, and was buried at Napoli Corners.

John Moran located on lot 27, 1821, but soon after removed to the town of Connewango.

Benjamin Hillman came from Washington County in 1822, locating on lot 27. He was a shoemaker by trade. He erected a frame house on the Jamestown Road, east of Napoli Corners, and opened a temperance tavern. It created quite an excitement, and the people far and near went out to see the first temperance house go up. Mr. Hillman is now living in Monroe County.

Nathaniel Burbank settled on lot 13 in 1822, coming from Genesee County. He was born in New Jersey, February, 1782, and died on the same farm, May, 1858.

Henry Earle, from Genesee County, located on lot 43 in 1822, and Silas Earle on lot 44.

Nathan Bennett came from Ontario County in 1822, and settled on lot 59.

Ariel and John Wellman, with their aged father, came from Schoharie County in 1822, and located on lot 53. The father died in South Valley. Ariel moved to Minnesota, and died there. John is living in Cold Spring.

Sands Bouton went on lot 34 about 1822. He came from the town of Olean. He was county clerk of Cattaraugus County in 1817, and was the first to hold that office.

Andrew Green came from Onondaga County in 1822, settling on lot 28. He moved to Michigan in 1845, where he died.

Hardy R. Finch came from Genesee County in 1822, and located on lot 6. He was born in Fairfield Co., Conn., Dec. 24, 1796. He is still living on the farm he took fifty-six years ago. His wife, Rachel Porter, was born in Massachusetts, November, 1797, and died August, 1878. Soon after Mr. Finch settled, a large bear took a hog, weighing nearly 200 pounds, one dark night from the pen, and was making off with it. Mr. Finch gave battle, and compelled the bear to leave the hog, but in a mangled condition.

Stephen Curtis, with his wife, Sally, came from Schoharie County in 1822, locating on lot 55. They both died on the same farm.

In 1822, Joseph Woodworth, a Revolutionary soldier, came to this town. He died in the town of Connewango, in 1844.

Elijah Boardman from Onondaga County, settled on lot 27 in 1822. He was born in Connecticut, and died in Chicago, Ill.

Moses Cook settled on lot 34 in 1823. He came from Ontario County. He kept the first store, in 1826. He was also the first blacksmith. He returned to Ontario, where he died.

Ira Dunning settled on lot 34 in 1823. He was a Presbyterian minister, and the first one who settled in town.

Oliver Paddack, from Schoharie County, moved on lot 55 in 1823. He was born in Connecticut, 1780, and died in Napoli in 1871.

Wheeler Beardsley, from Erie County, located on lot 38 in 1823. He was born in Connecticut in 1788, and died in Little Valley, December, 1872. Melinda Martin, his wife, died in Little Valley in 1873. A daughter, Mrs. S. S. Marsh, is living at Limestone.

Marshall Whitcomb, from Ontario County, located on lot 58 in 1823. He moved to the State of Ohio about 1830.

Jeduthan Seely came from Genesee County in 1823, and located on lot 45. He died in Illinois in 1832. Mr. Seely had five sons, who came to this town with him. Their names were, Ebenezer, Jeduthan, Alexander, Horace, and Norman. They were all expert hunters, and gave much time to the chase. Once upon the track of deer, bear, or wolf, there seldom was an escape for the animal. In 1833, having driven two wolves into a piece of swampy woods, they rallied as many of the neighbors as possible to surround the swamp; but the wolves made their escape, and were pursued by Horace and Norman Seely, who followed them nine days, passing through several towns of Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties. One of the wolves finally took shelter in a small low cave in the town of Napoli, at a point called Cat Rock, from its having been the harbor for wild-cats. The question now arose, "Who is to imitate the example of General Putnam, and follow the wolf into the cave?" Horace claimed this right. A strong hook was accordingly attached to the end of a pole of sufficient length to reach from the bottom of the cave to where the wolf was. Mr. Seely then firmly fastened the hook to the wolf, and those at the mouth of the café drew the animal out over the body of the adventurous hunter, as he lay flat upon his face. The five brothers moved to Whiteside Co., Ill., and have never since returned to the scenes of their hunting exploits.

Gorden Chesbrough came from Washington County in 1823, locating on lot 27. He moved to Chautauqua County, where he died.

Cale Adye, a Revolutionary soldier, came to this town in 1824, and died here January, 1849, aged eighty-eight years. Two sons, Hiram and Austin, live in town. Also two daughters, Ann Eliza and Olive. A son, Ansel, is living in Little Valley.

Abel Merchant located on lot 56 in 1824. He was from Madison County, and is still living on the farm first taken. A son, Andrew J., is a Methodist minister at Fredonia. James H. is also a Methodist minister in Ohio.

Amos Merchant, from Madison County, settled on lot 56 in 1824. He was born in 1797, and is living with a daughter (Mrs. Smith Clark) in Napoli.

Eastman Prescott, from Genesee County, located on lot 26 in 1824, and died at Napoli, March, 1866. Mr. Prescott kept the first inn in town. He also carried the first mail from Ellicottville to Randolph.

Ezekiel Fitch located on lot 50 in 1824. He was born in Columbia County, and died in Illinois.

Samuel Healy came to this town from Washington County in 1824, locating on lot 26, but removed to Chautauqua County.

Hiram Freeman located on lot 27 in 1825, coming from Washington County. He was born December, 1798, and died in town, August, 1857. Mrs. Freeman was born September, 1802, and now resides in Napoli. A son, Manly, died in town in 1855. Martin is living in town; also a daughter, Alida.

Timothy Everett, from Onondaga County, located on lot 35, in 1825. He died in 1847, in Chautauqua County.

Tunis Van Tassel settled on lot 5 in 1825, and opened a tavern in a small log house near the narrows, on the Jamestown road.

Jacob Lyon, from Schoharie County, located on lot 55 in 1825. He returned to that county, where he died.

William Palmer came from Genesee County in 1825, locating on lot 6. He died in the town of Napoli, in 1843. Two sons are living in the county, - Asa, at Cattaraugus, and Russell, on lot 6, in Napoli. Asa, Russell, and Jason Palmer also settled on lot 6 in 1825.

Reuben Wait settled on lot 39 in 1825, having come from Washington County that year. He was a native of that county, and was born in 1793. He died December, 1865, on the farm where he first settled. One son is living in Cold Spring, one in town, and one in the State of Kansas. Warden B., another son, resides on the old homestead. Isaac, James, Peleg, Oliver, and William Wait came from the same place as the above in 1825, and located on lots 36 and 39.

In 1825, Asa Maynard, from Genesee County, located on lot 5, and Horace Cowles, from Onondaga County, on lot 37.

Seneca Morton settled in this town in 1826. Darius Fish came from Washington the same year, and located on lot 29, and Joseph Fish came from Olean, settling on lot 50. He died in Napoli, about 1830. Ephraim Fish, from Washington County, located on lot 29. He died in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Amasa P. Darling, from Genesee County, located on lot 46 about 1826. He was a mason by trade.

Ambrose Waterman, a native of Vermont, located on lot 50 in 1826, and died in 1857, leaving four sons and two daughters.

William J. Wilcox was born in Hampshire Co., Mass., June 28, 1782, and his wife, Luranah Green, April 20, 1783. They came to Napoli in October, 1826. He was a Congregational minister. He died in this town, July 14, 1842, and Mrs. Wilcox July 10, 1845.

William M. Champlain came from Chenango County, and located on lot 47, in 1826, and died on lot 38, April, 1862. His widow is still living on the same place where her husband died. They had a family of thirteen children.

Joseph Morton was born in Massachusetts, November, 1770, and Mercy, his wife, October, 1767. They came to Napoli in 1826. Mr. Morton died January, 1843, and Mrs. Morton, March 1841.

Amasa Bushnell, a native of Connecticut, came to Napoli from Herkimer County in 1826, settling on lot 54. He was born June, 1765, and died on the same lot, August, 1841. Prudence, his wife, was born February, 1774, and died May, 1858. Of their children, James settled on lot 54 in 1822; he moved to Michigan, where he died, in 1864. Josiah settled on the same lot in 1822, and died there, February, 1841. Ashbel came in 1824. In company with his brother, Amasa, he kept a store on Bushnell Flats. In 1831 he went on to lot 35, and opened a hotel at Napoli Corners, where he now resides. Amasa came in 1826. He moved to Illinois in 1855, and died in September of the same year. Chauncy is living on lot 12; and Elias at Napoli Corners, where he has carried on blacksmithing nearly forty years.

Daniel Nichols, from Monroe County, located on lot 58 in 1826. He was born in Berkshire Co., Mass., Nov. 24, 1800. His wife, Lydia Bishop, was born in Hampden Co., Mass., September, 1793, and died in Napoli, Sept. 2, 1859. Mr. Nichols is now living with a son, D.F. Nichols, on the farm first taken.

Ezra Glover came from Washington County in 1827, and settled on lot 37. He died in Washington County.

Silas Miller, a native of New Jersey, came from Cayuga County in March, 1827, locating on lot 20. He was born in 1799, and died December, 1876, on the farm where he first settled. His wife, Nancy, was born May, 1800, and is now living with her daughter near the old homestead. Two daughters - Ann Eliza, born October, 1826, and Maria, born in 1829 - are now living in Napoli.

John Champlin came from Genesee County in 1827, settling on lot 47. He died in Illinois, to which State he had moved.

Stephen Gladden was born in Hampshire, Mass., in 1805, and came from Onondaga County in 1827, settling on lot 38. His wife, Mercy Beardsley, was born in Delaware County in 1797. They are both living on the place first taken. An only son, George A., is living on the homestead. Mary is living near her parents. Sarah died in town in 1866.

Harney Janes and his father, Ebenezer, from Onondaga County, located on lot 34 in 1827. He died in Napoli in 1867. He had two sons and four daughters, all now living. Mrs. Janes now resides in Randolph.

Roswell Roberts settled on lot 23 in 1827, having come from Onondaga County. He is now living on the same lot.

Jonas Glazier, a Calvinist-Baptist minister, and a native of Massachusetts, came from that State to this town in 1828, and died here in 1856. His wife, Sally Goodnough, was born in 1796, and is living with a daughter in Napoli. Their only son was drowned in Massachusetts.

Two brothers, John and Robert Balston, came from Genesee County in 1828. John settled on lot 12, and Robert on lot 11, but both removed to Michigan.

Six sons and one daughter of William J. Wilcox became residents of this town in 1828. Lansing is living on lot 21, in Napoli; Lysander is also living in town; Austin resides at Union, Pa.; Mary died in 1844, at Napoli; Samuel has been a practicing physician in town for many years; Gordon resides in Missouri.

Amasa Booth, a native of Massachusetts, came to this town from Genesee County in 1818. He was born in 1787, and died in 1848. Sarah Wait, his wife, was born in Washington County, May, 1788, and died in 1860. Of the children, Orrin and Stephen yet live in Napoli.

Richard Boardman, a native of Connecticut, came from Onondaga County in 1828, locating on lot 42. He died in 1842, and his wife, Lucy, in 1844, in Napoli.

Loren Burroughs came from Onondaga County in 1828, and located on lot 42. He died in Nebraska.

David Brown came from Allegany County in 1829, and settled on lot 58; Lewis Crane, from Cayuga County, on lot 21; Walter Coe, from Montgomery County, on lot 8; and Asher and Joshua Boardman, from Genesee County, on lot 42.

In 1830, Austin Davis became a resident of lot 5; Enoch Chase, from Little Valley, on lot 46; Jeremiah and Lindsey Morten, from Addison Co., Vt., on lot 57.

Calvin Doolittle came from the town of Little Valley in 1829, and settled on lot 38. He was a Free-Will Baptist minister. He moved to the State of Michigan.

John Arms came from Genesee County in 1831, and settled on lot 40. He died on the same lot, November, 1867. A son, Luther Arms, is living on the farm first settled on.

Orris Marsh was born in Windham Co., Vt., July, 1806. He came to this county in 1826, and settled in Cold Spring in 1828, and in Napoli in 1832, of which town he has been supervisor for twenty-three years.

John Peaslee was born in Dutchess County in 1779, and came to Napoli from Schoharie County in 1732, locating on lot 62. He died on the same lot, March, 1863. A son, Orsemus, died in town, August, 1877. Joseph is living on lot 62.

In 1835 there were 5436 acres of improved land in town. The population in 1865 was 1231; in 1875, 1094. Of this number 1058 were natives, 559 males and 535 females. There were 322 voters and 216 land-owners. In June, 1878, there were 78 men in town over 60 years of age, and 259 persons under age.


The first birth was that of a son of William Foy, in June, 1820. He was named John A., and died in Illinois in 1877. The first death was a son of Timothy Butler, in 1820, who was buried in the cemetery at Napoli. The second death was a son of Joshua Boardman, in 1821, who was buried in the same cemetery.

The first marriage was that of Dr. Noble, to Statira Canfield. Dr. Noble died in Ontario County, where his wife still resides. These parties went out of town to find an officer to perform the rites. The first marriage, the ceremony of which was performed in the town, was that of John Morrill to Miss Sophronia Seward, a cousin of the late William H. Seward, by Rev. Ira Dunning, in 1824. This couple having lived together fifty-four years, yet reside at Napoli Corners in fair health, and their memories are but little impaired by the weight of years.

The first school was taught in the dwelling-house of John Warner, in the summer of 1819, by Miss Fannie Boardman, who now resides in the State of Iowa. The first school-house was a small log building on lot 42. The first school in it was taught by Phineas Noble, and the second by Sophronia Seward.

The first apple-orchard was set by George Hill, on lot 29, in 1830. He brought the trees several miles on his back. The first fruit of which we can obtain any account grew in the nursery of Horace Hall, on lot 59, in 1823, when he found about a half-dozen apples. He mashed them, and squeezing out the juice, put it in a vial and sent it to his old friends in Ontario County, informing them the town of Napoli was raising apples and making cider.

The first frame building erected was a barn by Joseph Miller, on lot 22, in 1822; and the first frame house by Harvey Parmelee, on lot 51, 1826.

The first inn was kept by Eastman Prescott in 1831, at Napoli Corners.


The first town-meeting was held at the house of Henry Noble, Feb. 11, 1823, when the following officers were elected: Supervisor, Henry Noble; Town Clerk, Daniel S. Thorp; Assessors, Andrew D. Smith, Harvey Parmelee, James Bushnell; Overseers of the Poor, Elijah Boardman, Artemas Houghton; Commissioners of Highways, Walter Thorp, William Foy, Joseph Elkinton; Commissioners of Schools, Andrew D. Smith, Harlow Butler, Daniel S. Thorp; Inspectors of Schools, Henry Noble, Harlow Butler, Andrew D. Smith; Constable and Collector, Phineas F. Noble.

Since 1823 the principal officers of the town have been as follows:
Town Clerks
Walter Thorp
Daniel S. Thorp
Timothy Everett
Harlow Butler
Walter Thorp
Horace Hall
John Wellman
Horace Hall
Daniel S. Thorp
Timothy Everett
Parley Marsh
Walter Thorp
Ashbel Bushnell
Parley Marsh
Benj. H. Hillman
Orris Marsh
John Milk
Orris Marsh
Ashbel Bushnell
David G. Devoe
Orris Marsh
L.B. Wilcox
Wheeler Beardsley
Lewis P. Thorp
Ashbel Bushnell
Orris Marsh
Sidney L. Marsh
Amasa Bushnell
A.W. Wilcox
Orris Marsh
Wheeler Beardsley
Silas Earle
Ashbel Bushnell
Joseph Hazard
Joseph Peaslee
L.B. Wilcox
Orris Marsh
George Shannon
Ashbel Bushnell
George Shannon
Ashbel Bushnell
Orris Marsh
Byron Morrill
Joseph Peaslee
Boyd D. Myers
George A. Gladden
Joseph Hazard
Samuel Allen
E.C. Topliff
Joseph Hazard
George A. Gladden
Orris Marsh
A.T. Palmer
Milton B. Hubbard
Stephen Booth
Eben Sibley
Joseph Hazard
Joseph Peaslee
G.A. Champlin
Ashbel Bushnell
Orris Marsh

1830 Walter Thorp 1853 Joseph Hazard

L.P. Thorp

1831 Wheeler Beardley
1832 James Pease

Lewis P. Thorp

1854 James M. Brown

Silas Earle

Joseph Peaslee

1833 Benjamin H. Hillman
1834 Lewis P. Thorp 1855 Elias Bushnell
1835 Wheeler Beardsley 1856 L.P. Throp
1836 Eastman Prescott 1857 Silas Earle
1837 Silas Earle

William M. Champlin

1858 Edward Smith
1859 Elias Bushnell
1838 Merrick Nutting

Shadrack Crane

Lewis P. Thorp

1860 Joseph Peaslee
1861 Eben Sibley
1862 Joseph Peaslee
1839 L.H. Wilcox

Timothy Everett

1863 Elias Bushnell
1864 Eben Sibley
1840 Silas Earle 1865 John Damon
1841 Wiilliam Lyman 1866 David Earle
1842 Lewis P. Thorp 1867 Nelson Marrill

Joseph Peaslee

1843 Timothy Everett
1844 Charles Sibley 1868 Zina Holdridge
1845 Silas Earle,

William Lyman

1869 George Shannon

James Lyon

1846 E.S. Bassett 1870 Joseph Peaslee
1847 Timothy Everett 1871 L.B. Wilcox

Elias Bushnell

1848 Wheeler Beardsley
1849 Silas Earle

A.G. Wilcox

1872 William Stevens
1873 Alburn H. Busnell
1850 Joseph Peaslee 1874 Joseph Peaslee
1851 Phineas Haywood,
J.E. Glazer
1875 Westel Blake
1876 Osmer Wilcox
1852 Emmons J. Glazier

Henry H. Van Tassel

1877 Alburn Bushell
1878 Joseph Peaslee

At the first town-meeting resolutions were adopted regulating the taking up of estray animals, and the same year we find the following:


"Taken up by Erastus John (Indian), a gray mare about two years old, long tail, with no other particular marks about her; had a poke on when taken up.

"Dated Cold Spring, July 12, 1823.

"Attest: Daniel S. Thorp,

"Town Clerk."

In 1823, it was voted "that ten dollars bounty be allowed to every white person who shall kill a full-grown wolf in the town of Cold Spring."

"That the next town-meeting be held at the West schoolhouse, or, if there should be a house built for public worship, then the town-meeting to be held at said house."

"Spirituous liquors are not to be sold on election days."

The third town-meeting was held in the church.

In 1825, a bounty of $5 was voted for every full-grown bear, and $2.50 for every cub.

In 1826, it was resolved "that every person be subject to a fine of $50 who shall suffer Canada Thistles, white or yellow daisies, or Tory weeds, to grow on his lands or on the public highways adjoining the same, after three days’ notice of their presence."

A special meeting was held, Jan. 30, 1828, to elect a clerk in place of Harlow Butler, who removed. Horace Hall was elected to fill the vacancy.

Double the bounty on wolves allowed by the State was voted this year.

"Resolved, That there be a committee appointed to take into contemplation something to ameliorate the militia law. That Walter Thorp, Joseph Elkinton, Timothy Everett, Elijah Boardman, Harvey Parmelee, John L. Latham, and Horace Hall, as said committee, report at the next meeting or sooner, if in their opinion it shall seem necessary."


The first road surveyed in town began at a stake on the line between lots 34 and 35, in township 3, range 8, and in the centre of the north and south road, near Timothy Butler’s; thence ran east 18 chains; thence north to the Jamestown road. It was surveyed April 22, 1823, by James McGlashen; the commissioners were Walter Thorp, William Foy, and Joseph Elkinton.

The same year ten more roads were surveyed or altered by the above commissioners. There are, in 1878, about 65 miles of highway in town, divided into 49 road districts. Before Napoli was settled, there was an Indian trail entering the town on lot 41, and following the Cold Spring Creek, passing into the town of New Albion; thence, to the north, to Buffalo and Canada. Governor Blacksnake, the famed Seneca chief, claimed to have traveled over this trail on foot from the mouth of Cold Spring Creek to Buffalo and returned in twenty-four hours, making a distance of 126 miles. His mission was deemed an important one at a critical period during the war of 1812. It will be remembered that the Seneca Indians were friendly to the English and fought under the British flag in that struggle.

The Napoli Cemetery has been used as a public burialground since 1820. Timothy Butler gave the land that year, but no society was organized till about 1858. The present trustees are Orris Marsh, Joseph Hazard, Nelson Morrill, Justus Harris, and Harrison Brink. The grounds are substantially fenced and well kept.

The Union Cemetery Society of Elm Creek was organized July 15, 1844, to provide a cemetery, which is situated on lot 60. The trustees were Samuel Farlee, Lewis P. Thorp, Edward Fairchild, D.O. Peaslee, Walter Thorp, John Fairchild, and Nathan Snow.

The North Napoli Cemetery was set apart and used for that purpose about thirty-five years since. The grounds were given by William Champlin. It is on lot 38, neatly fenced, with stone posts, and well kept. The present trustees are Amenza Sibley, George A. Gladden, Luther Arms, Charles Cary, Hiram Swift, and William Rhodes.

Maple Grove Cemetery, on lot 21, was opened in 1836. Silas Miller and Nathaniel Burbanks were the first trustees; the present trustees are William Stevens, George Thorp, Marshall and Judson Sibley.


The first saw-mill was built about 1826, on Cold Spring Creek, by James Wait. David Brown erected a saw-mill on the same stream in 1830 on lot 42. Mr. Davis built one on lot 5, and Otis Pratt one on lot 16, which is still running. Lyman Giles erected one on Cold Spring Creek, on lot 17, about 1840, but it has gone to decay.

A tannery was established on lot 59 in 1821 by Nathan Bennett. He afterwards moved it to Napoli Corners, when it was sold to Thomas Carter, who operated it a few years and then discontinued it.

The Napoli Creamery, on lot 38, was erected in 1870 by Eben Sibley, by whom it is now owned and run. It is 25 by 75 feet, three stories high, with an engine of five horse-power. It receives the milk of about 800 cows, and in 1877 worked up 1,832,590 pounds of milk, making 147,959 pounds of cheese and 61,663 pounds of butter. The sales were $15,234 7/100 for butter and $11,827 25/100 for cheese. The patrons realized 12 48/100 mills per pound of milk furnished.

South Napoli Creamery was built by Anson Goodspeed in 1875. It is 32 by 60 feet, and three stories high, with an engine of eight horse-power. It is owned and operated by Eben Sibley, having about 500 cows, and making 16 cheeses and 300 pounds of butter per day.

There is considerable private dairying aside from the factories. Probably there are about 2000 cows in town.

There are some fine orchards in town, and large quantities of apples are shipped to New York, Buffalo, and other markets. In 1878 the product was nearly 60,000 bushels.

In 1875 nearly 20,000 pounds of maple-sugar were manufactured in town.


The only hamlet in the town, is situated on lot 35, about a mile south of the centre of the township. It contains a good store, a grocery, a hotel, several shops, school-house, public hall, and three church buildings, whose aggregate capacity is 800, and the cost about $10,000; there are also about fifteen dwellings. The hotel has been kept many years by Ashbel Bushnell, and for more than forty years Elias Bushnell has followed the blacksmith’s trade in the place. A wagon-shop is carried on by George Shannon.

The post-office at this place was established in 1827, with Timothy Everett, postmaster. Ten years later, Ashbel Bushnell was appointed, and held the office four years; in 1841, Orris Marsh; 1845, Bushnell; 1849, Marsh; since that period the officials have been Silas Miller, George Shannon, Silas Earle, A.T. Palmer, John Damon, O.S. Booth, and William McHerron.

In the northern part of the town a post-office was established about 1825, with the name of Owensburgh, and had Abel B. Hobart as postmaster. John A. Kinnicutt was the mail-carrier, the office being on the route which he supplied. In 1827 it was removed to the Seelysburgh neighborhood, and took that name. John Latham was here appointed postmaster. It was afterwards held by Amasa Bushnell, Cyrus Thatcher, Erastus L. Bassett, Lewis Thorp, and Samuel Farlee. The latter carried the office to Elm Creek, in Connewango, where it was discontinued.

The first physician was Elijah Hammond, who came from Erie County, and located on lot 35. Henry Noble, one of the first settlers, practiced medicine several years, and Dr. Blodgett began about 1827. For many years the present Dr. Samuel S. Wilcox has followed his profession in town, although not now in active practice. Dr. Wm. C. Peaslee is the present practitioner. No attorney has ever been able to engage in his profession in Napoli.


The only schools in the town are those provided by the general system of the State, but an effort has been made to elevate the standard of scholarship and secure a better class of teachers.

On the 13th of September, 1823, the school commissioners of the old town of Cold Spring reported that the town had been divided into districts, the territory included being almost entirely in township No. 3. The following year these districts were subdivided, and thereafter other changes took place. In 1838 there were six whole and four fractional districts. The terms of school were from three to eight months in a year, and 420 pupils were in attendance. The amount paid for the support of these schools was $385.45. In 1878 the commissioners reported six whole and one fractional districts, in which there were 328 children of school age. There were 204 weeks of school taught, in which the average attendance was 128. The teachers were paid $1183.41, of which amount $751.77 was apportioned by the county. The school buildings were valued at $1880, and the 260 volumes in the libraries at $145.


The early pioneers of this town, amidst their toils and privations in building up homes, did not forget their New England training, - they never once forgot the God of their fathers. Probably not a family failed to carefully bring the old family Bible, and take counsel from its sacred pages; and almost the first act was to rear the family altar, from which ascended praises to the Most High, ringing through the grand old forests. As early as 1821, less than three years from the time of the first settlement.


was organized with the 11 following members: Timothy Butler and wife, William Fox and wife, Phineas Noble and wife, Nathan Bennett and wife, Peter Beardsley, Harlow Butler, and Betsey Moran. The meeting was held at the house of Timothy Boardman, by the Rev. John Spencer, the pioneer missionary. Sargeant Morrill and Artemus Houghton were elected the first deacons. Father Spencer continued his missionary labors among this people, and measures were instituted in a few years to erect a church building. To this end the "First Congregational Society in the town of Cold Spring" was formed April 21, 1823, with the following trustees: Elijah Boardman, Artemus Houghton, Isaac Morrill, John Hendrick, Harlow Butler, and Peter Beardsley. The ensuing year a log meeting-house was erected on lot 42, on the farm now owned by Wm. A. Weeden, by the society, which was used as a place of worship many years. In 1825, the society was dissolved, and on the 9th of November, 1826, reorganized with Philemon Hall, Amasa Bushnell, and Timothy Everett as trustees. The church at this time has 21 members; three years later it had 60; and in 1834 had 107, much of the latter membership having resulted from the labors of the evangelist, S.G. Orton, in 1833.

From June 2, 1824, till Oct. 13, 1825, the Rev. Ira Dunning was the pastor of the church; 1826-31, the Rev. Wm. J. Wilcox; 1834, Rev. Sylvester Cowles; 1835-37, Rev. Wm. Waith; 1841-42, rev. John Ingles; 1842-43, Rev. Justin Marsh; 1837-40, Rev. A.D. Olds; 1844-45, Rev. Wm. Goodell; 1846-50, Rev. H.A. Taylor; 1851-52, Rev. John Scott; 1852-54, Rev. C.H. Baldwin; 1856-62, Rev. H.D. Lowing; 1862-65, Rev. Luther Newcomb; 1866-71, Rev. N.H. Barnes; 1871-73, Rev. S.T. Anderson; 1874-76, Rev. Dwight Dunham; since that period the Rev. J.D. Stewart has been the pastor. The present deacons are S.A. Newell and Jairus Burt.

The present church edifice at Napoli corners was erected in 1868, at a cost of $4000. It presents an inviting appearance, and will seat 300 persons. The tower contains a good bell. The church has at present 66 members, and maintains an interesting Sunday-school, having an attendance of from 80 to 100 persons of all ages. George Gladden is the superintendent, and Theodore Hazard secretary.

On the 5th of October, 1869, at the annual meeting, it was decided to change the name of the society from Cold Spring to Napoli; and it is now duly incorporated as such. Besides the church, the society owns other property to the amount of $2000.


Calvinistic in belief, was formed in 1826, of 13 persons, namely, Stephen Curtis and wife; Jacob Lyon and wife; Stephen, James, and Peleg Wait, and their wives; George Wait, Mrs. Reuben Wait, and Lyman Lyon.

George Wait was elected the first deacon, and Philip Lyon clerk. The Rev. Jonathan Balek was the first minister, and soon after the church was formed baptized Mrs. Gurdon Chesbrough, who united in church fellowship, and was the first accession. Soon after, Mrs. Hiram Freeman and Mrs. Levi Stevens were baptized by the Rev. W. Winsor, also an early minister, and united with the church. From 1828 to 1831 the Rev. Bartemas Brayman was the pastor of the church, and while he was connected in this capacity the meeting-house was erected. It is a frame structure, and is the oldest house of worship now standing in the county.

In addition to the foregoing pastors, the Rev. E. Going, J.J. Trumbull, Elisha Tucker, Jay Handy, and Jonas Glazier ministered to the members of the church, the latter about 1840 and the years following.

Jan. 21, 1840, the Napoli Baptist Society was formed, and James Wait, Orrin Booth, Reuben Wait, B.H. Hillman, Joseph McCollester, and Amasa Booth, elected trustees. This society was reorganized March 18, 1870, with a board of trustees composed of W.B. Wait, Thomas Vidall, Orrin Booth, John Montyne, and William McHerron.

The church has at present nearly 60 members under the pastoral director of the Rev. George W. Porter. Worden Wait and Orrin Booth are the deacons, and Thomas Vidall the clerk.


A class of Methodists was formed at the Milk’s school-house about 1826, having, among other members, Silas Earle and wife, Almira Thorp, Ruth Foy, David Foy, and Jonathan Foy. The first class-leader was Silas Earle; later ones were Harvey Parmelee and Nathaniel Hall. The early preachers were the Revs. John Kent and Job Wilson.

The Curtis school-house class was formed in 1844, the members being from the Haywood, Lyon, Wade, Merchant, and Thatcher families. Among the leaders of this class were Cyrus Thatcher, Abel Merchant, Horace Cross, Joseph Davis, and Truman Merchant. In 1873 the class was transferred to Napoli Corners. At that point a class of Methodists was formed about 1830, which had an existence of alternate prosperity and adversity for nearly forty years. On the 2d of September, 1868, the Rev. J. S. Stocker formally organized these members, numbering nearly 40, into the present church, and for its use the house of worship was erected the same season, at a cost of nearly $3000. It was appropriately dedicated Jan. 14, 1869, by the Rev. W. F. Day. From this time on the church has been very prosperous, numbering at present in the neighborhood of 100 members. The pastoral connection of these Methodist classes is shown in the history of the East Randolph Methodist Church, to which the reader is referred, the list being here omitted to avoid repetition.

"The first society of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Napoli," was organized, Jan 17, 1834, at a meeting over which Nelson Henry presided. Thomas Carter, Benjamin Foy, Nathan Snow, Lewis P. Thorp, Ariel Wellman, and Nathaniel S. Hale were elected trustees. Besides the above church, the society controls other property valued at $1000.

In addition to the foregoing, a body of Free-Will Baptists was formed at the Morrill school-house, June 14, 1831, by the Rev. Hiram Whitcher.

The members uniting in church covenant were Jotham Metcalf and wife, Abigail Joice, Sophia Hovey, Freeman and Miranda Dart, Alvah and Sylvia L. Prescott, and Philetus S. Doolittle. During the following summer and fall many others were baptized and united with the church. Among this number were two young ladies, - Anna Babcock and Sally Tukesberry, - who related their experience at an evening meeting, Aug. 4, 1831, and were baptized that night, at nearly twelve o’clock, in Cold Spring Creek, by the Rev. Hiram Whitcher. On the 15th of October ensuing, Jotham Metcalf was elected the first deacon and Freeman Dart clerk.

The meetings were held in private houses, and in different school-houses in Napoli and Connewango, the preachers being the Revs. Whitcher, A.C. Andrews, F. B. Tanner, and others, and were attended with variable interest. But not having a fixed place of worship, the society did not enjoy as full a measure of prosperity as it would, had it been the owner of a permanent home. Hence, on the 10th of June, 1848, it was decided that the future name of the organization should be "The First Free-Will Baptist Church of East Randolph," and that a church edifice be erected in that village. The building was put up that season, and first occupied by the church for a covenant meeting, Feb. 10, 1849.

The subsequent history of this body may be found in an account of the churches in the town of Randolph. Other denominations have held meetings in the town of Napoli, but so far as we have been able to learn, no permanent organization followed in consequence. It may be noted to the credit of the town that it has always enjoyed an exalted moral position, and that it has accommodations in the several houses of worship for nearly every man, woman, and child living within her bounds, - a provision not found in any other town in the county, and very seldom in any other section of our country.


A grange of Patrons of Husbandry was organized at Napoli, May 21, 1874, and had as its first officers, Judson Sibley, Worthy Master; W.D. Huntington, Overseer; Clay Card, Sec.; Samuel Allen, Treas.; George Thorp, Lecturer; H.H. Sackrider, Steward; Charles Sackrider, Assistant Steward; Mrs. David Sackrider, Lady Assistant Steward; Mrs. W.D. Huntington, Ceres; Mrs. H.H. Sackrider, Pomona; Carrier Sackrider, Flora.

The grange at once entered upon a career of prosperity, which yet continues, but its exact status cannot be here given.


In the trying hours of the Rebellion, from 1861-65, the people of Napoli never faltered nor allowed their love for our country to grow cold, but with patriotic devotion rallied to the defense of the dear old flag.

At the annual meeting, in 1864, it was unanimously resolved to levy a tax to provide a bounty for all men who had enlisted up to that date, and who might in future enroll themselves to the credit of the town. About $19,000 was thus provided, in addition to many generous individual contributions for the support of the families of enlisted men.

A list of volunteers credited to Napoli appears in another part of this book.


Photos. By J.M. White, East Randolph.


was born at Quaker Hill, Dutchess Co., N.Y., Oct. 7, 1779, and is of English descent, three brothers having come over about the middle of the eighteenth century. One of the brothers was killed at the battle of Bunker Hill, having enlisted in the American army. Isaac Peaslee, father of John, died in Albany, N.Y., about 1820. His wife, Elizabeth Wing, of Welsh descent, also died in Albany County. John, the subject of this memoir, was married to Miss Hannah Sage, July 6, 1797. She was a daughter of Benjamin Sage, a Revolutionary soldier of English origin. She was born in Rensselaer County, Oct. 7, 1779, and ever proved an affectionate companion, always cheerful and kind to all who approached her. They came to Napoli from Schoharie, in 1832. Mr. and Mrs. Peaslee from early life were devoted, exemplary members of the Methodist Church, to which they were ardently attached, and ready at all times to render service, as far as lay in their power. They bequeathed to their children an untarnished Christian character, having lived a life above reproach.

Mr. Peaslee died in Napoli, March 17, 1863; his wife having died at the same place, Dec. 20, 1857. Of the two sons and five daughters, Elizabeth was born in Albany Co., N.Y., Aug. 11, 1799, died at Napoli, April 7, 1868; Omery was born in Albany County, Oct. 25, 1802, died in Connewango, Sept. 21, 1862; Cynthia M. was born in Albany County, May 29, 1805, died in Napoli, May 23, 1869; Daniel O., born in Albany County, May 19, 1807, died in Napoli, Aug. 21, 1877; Jane A., born in Schoharie Co., N.Y., Nov. 9, 1810, is now living in Randolph, N.Y.; Adaline S., born in Schoharie County, March 23, 1821, died in Napoli, Jan. 7, 1865.

Joseph Peaslee was born in Schoharie, May 13, 1816. When sixteen years of age he came with his parents into the town of Napoli, then a new country. Receiving a good common-school education, he taught eight terms. He was four times elected supervisor of the town of Napoli. He has entered upon a four years’ term of the office of justice, which, if he serves to the end, will make thirty-two years he has filled that office. The long term of years he has held this office is a practical test of the equity of his judicial action. He is of unassuming manners, uncompromising integrity, unsullied character, and of a strong intellectual cast. In politics he is a firm Republican; in religion a consistent Methodist, without a particle of bigotry. He is decidedly friendly to the cause of temperance.

On Dec. 27, 1864, he married Miss Martha Miller, a lady of much worth, who was born in Chautauqua Co., N.Y., Nov. 11, 1844. They now reside on the old homestead in the town of Napoli.




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