Here are the first two Chapters. Many thanks to Dan McIntosh for permission to place this information for all to use.

1927 McIntosh book on History of Cayuga

By: Florence Pharis McIntosh



LONG before the white men came to settle in what is now Cayuga County, or even before the first white man stepped on American soil, bands of Indians blazed a trail across what is now New York State from Buffalo to Albany. This famous trail led across Cayuga Lake to what is now known as " Davis" or " Cowing's Point", eastward through the woods to where the New York Central Railroad crosses the present Genesee turnpike at Aurelius station and on through what is now the Genesee highway to the Hudson River. It was known in later years as the " Indian Trail".

The Cayuga Nation was one of the tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy" which occupied this part of the " Lakes Region". There were Six Nations belonging to this Confederacy: the Cayugas, the Senecas, the Oneidas, the Onondagas, the Mohawks, and the Tuscaroras. These tribes of Indians were accustomed to hold a meeting or council table at some site along the " Indian Trail", usually around some large tree. A large, old maple tree is still standing on what is now Cowing's Point where the Six Nations sometimes held their councils. Also a spring is still running on that point where once was quenched the thirst of thirsty Indians, and later that of the white men. Many Indian relics were found on that point by Mr. Cyrus Davis, who many years later farmed it.

History of Cayuga

There is an Indian Legend in connection with the Cayugas.* It seems that a great many years ago this tribe of Indians were led eastward through the "Lakes Region" by their devoted chief, named "Ha-wen-ne-yu". He was partly human and partly divine. All went well with the Cayugas until they came to what is now known as the

Cayuga- Montezuma Marshes where they en countered a monstrous Eagle. They gave battle and after much hardship they killed the horrible creature. After that the Indians were able to catch a great deal of game. It is written by Father Peter Raffeix, a Jesuit Missionary, " more than a thousand deer are killed every year in the neighborhood of Cayuga. Fishing for both the salmon and the eel, and for other sorts of fish is as abundant as at Onondaga. Four league distant from here on the brink of the river, I have seen within a small space eight or ten fine salt fountains. It is there that numbers of nets are spread for pidgeons, and that from seven to eight hundred are often caught at a single stroke of the net!"

Another Indian Legend concerns a huge mosquito which infested the Cayuga- Montezuma Marshes, and prevented the hunting of game.* So one day Ha-wen-ne-yu, the famous warrior, came upon the beast, pursued it, and chased it all around the Great Lakes and surrounding country, until he at last slew it in the neighborhood of Seneca River. "The blood flowing from his lifeless body gave birth to innumerable swarms of small mosquitoes which still linger about the place of his death." Thus tradition has given us a reason for the many little mosquitoes which are abundant to this day!

During the Revolutionary War of 1775 with

*-Cayuga Indian Reservation and Col. John Harris" by John VanSickle.

10 History of Cayuga

Great Britain the Iroquois Confederacy or the Six Nations were loyal to the British, except the Oneidas. In order to quell these Indian tribes, George Washington, then President of the "Thirteen Colonies", sent first General Sullivan with the American Troops to New York State. Sullivan's expedition marched up the Wyoming Valley from Pennsylvania to 'Elmira; thence to Seneca Castle on the east bank of Seneca Lake; from there by the way of Canandaigua to the Genesee River. The Indians scattered before Sullivan's superior numbers; and their villages, fruit trees, and crops were destroyed, but it needed Lieutenant Colonel William Butler to put an end to the war with the Six Nations.

Butler started out September 20, 1779 to punish the Cayugas with six hundred men. Camping the first night at Waterloo, he crossed the Seneca River at Mudlock, three miles north of Cayuga Village, where he encountered an Indian village called "Tiohero", which he promptly destroyed. Thence he marched up the east side of Cayuga Lake to what is now Union Springs for the night. The next morning he destroyed another Indian village named Cayuga Castle, two miles south of Union Springs. Further on he destroyed two more villages near what is now the "Big Gully", called the "Upper Cayuga", and "East Cayuga". These villages were "of very large square houses surrounded by fruit trees and vegetable gardens". There were about fifteen of these houses to a village. The next day he marched on' to a village at Aurora, called "Peachtown" as there were about fifteen hundred peach trees growing there. Butler destroyed the village; then marched south by way of the head of Cayuga Lake, joining the main army at Elmira.

Early Settlement


Thus the backbone of the Six Nations' hostility towards the Americans was broken in New York State; but it needed Governor Clinton to pacify them. This he undertook to do by attending a Council of the Five Nations (one tribe being absent) at Fort Schuyler in 1784. At the Council he proclaimed a restoration of all the lands formerly held by them, and a general amnesty to all. The Cayugas took advantage of that and returned to their favorite hunting grounds at the north end of Cayuga Lake. The other tribes remained at Niagara Falls and in Canada. .

The Americans wanted to lease or buy lands which were owned by the Indians. The State constitution forbade the purchase of lands directly from- the Indians by individuals; reserving the right to make such purchases. In order to avoid doing this, an association of prominent and influential men was organized into a company called the "Lessee Company" in 1787-1788. This company held a meeting with the Six Nations, at which they made an agreement to lease "all the lands commonly known as the lands of the Six Nations of the State of New York, and at the time in the actual possession of said Chiefs and Sachems". This lease was for the period of nine hundred and ninety-nine years; except for some fishing and hunting privileges.

The Cayugas were represented by the Niagara factions and not by those who had returned to their homes; therefore the only reservation which they made was the insignificant one of a mile square near the outlet of Cayuga Lake and Cayuga Salt Springs, near the present town of Montezuma, and with one hundred acres of land to accommodate the same with wood. The leases were signed by twenty-three Cayugas.


12 History of Cayuga

A second treaty was made by Governor Clinton at Albany in 'February, 1789, with the Cayugas, by which all their old lands were annulled, and a piece of land which was composed of one hundred square miles and extended across equally on both sides of Cayuga Lake, on the east side from Montezuma to Aurora; and known as the " East Cayugas Reservation". As the Indian's lived chiefly by fishing and hunting, this Reservation was valuable to them, because of the marshes which were a great hunting ground for ducks, geese, plover, and wild fowl.

Into this "Cayugas Reservation" came John Harris, a young man of twenty-eight years of age, and grandson of the first settler of what is now the city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which bears his name. One can imagine this young man tramping through the famous "Indian Trail", seeking for some place to settle; and finding none that suited his imagination until he arrived at Cayuga Lake at what is now called Cowing I 's Point, about one-half of a mile from what is now Cayuga Village. Furthermore, let us imagine him to be struck by the beautiful waters and hills of Cayuga.

John Harris came in 1788 and settled on the Cayuga Reservation. He built his first log cabin just off the Indian Trail, on what is now just a little north of the present " Brick House", formerly owned by the late Cyrus Davis. The Harris' cabin has since been destroyed. Thus the village of Cayuga was born. He was the first white man to settle and trade among the Cayuga Indians. He was the first white settler in the township of Aurelius; and one of, if not, the first in Cayuga County.



History of Cayuga ,

Harris started a ferry across the lake in connection with James Bennett, who came with Harris from Pennsylvania, but who settled on the west side of Cavuga Lake opposite what is now Cowing's Point. The two men did a thriving business, as there was a great demand to ferry people, both white men and Indians, who were traveling across the State from Albany to Buffalo on the old Indian Trail. This was the only ferry on the lake; and it was known as the "Harris' Ferry". The Hon. Elijah Miller, who saw the ferry in 1795, described it as: "A rough boat, propelled sometimes by oars and sometimes by sail; and was the only crossing place at that time".

The first John Harris, great grandfather of Colonel John Harris who came to Cayuga, emigrated to America on the same ship with William Penn's second voyage to Pennsylvania in the year 1699. He was a middleaged man when he came across from England, and settled for a time in Philadelphia. During his stay in that city, he became on intimate terms with Edward Shippen, Esq., the first Mayor of Philadelphia; an intimacy that grew into real friendship. About 1719 Harris left Philadelphia and commenced a settlement on the present site of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; his son, John, being the first white child born there in 1727. John, Sr., died in December, 1748, and was buried under the shade of his memorial tree, which is now kept up by the city.

John Harris, 2nd, was credited with being the founder of Harrisburg, being the first white child born in Pennsylvania west of the Conewago Hills, who attained the age of manhood. His son, Samuel, was born in 1733; and his son, John, 3rd, was our own Colonel John Harris.

Early Settlement


In 1789 John Harris, 3rd, married Mary Richardson, the daughter of William Richardson who had come from Pennsylvania and settled on the east side of Cayuga Lake near Levanna. Their son, John Harris, 4th, was the first white child born in Cayuga County. John Richardson, the brother of Mary Richardson, went into, partnership with John Harris and James Bennett in the ferry business. Also James Bennett married another daughter of William Richardson; which made the three ferry men closely related.

About this time there were three different ferries crossing Cayuga Lake; namely, the old one, called the "Harris Ferry," which ran from what is now Cowing's Point; a second one which started at Cayuga; and a third one, crossing at what is now Mudlock, called the " Cayuga Ferry". It was to the Cayuga Ferry that Major Abraham Hardenburgh was sent in 1789 by the Government to survey the Cayugas Reservation into lots for the immigration of new settlers who were rapidly settling on the Indian land. The Indians objected to having Hardenburgh survey their lands, and they put up a fight. This was before the Indians had ratified the Treaty of 1795, relinquishing their claims to their Reservation. Major Hardenburgh was at a loss just what to do, when John Richardson came to his assistance. The two men went to Albany and put their case before Governor Clinton. Whereupon the Governor, relying on John Richardson's statement that two-thirds of the inhabitants would give their support if it was necessary to quell the Indians. gave orders to Hardenburgh to continue surveying the Reservation into lots for the settlers.

John Richardson was a highly educated and cultivated man; holding the offices at different


16 History of Cayuga

times of judge of the Court of Common Pleas; s of the final Treaty of 1795 one of the negotiator

with the Cayugas and Onondagas; a member of the assembly from the county of Onondaga; and a state senator from Aurelius. He moved to Wabash, Indiana, about 1818, where he died in 1832 at the age of sixty-eight years. He wrote a book on the geology and soils of the western states.

Before we leave the Indians, let us recall the four different treaties made with them: The first treaty was made at Fort Schuyler by Governor Clinton by which all the lands formerly taken from them were restored equally to red men as well as white men alike; the second treaty made with the Lessee Company to lease the lands from the Indians individually; the third made in 1789 by which the Cayugas were given a hundred acres of marsh and wood lands near the present town of Montezuma including salt springs; and fourth the treaty by which an area of an hundred square miles extending on both sides of Cayuga Lake and on the east side from Montezuma to Aurora, and known as the Cayugas Reservation were given to them. The fifth and last treaty made was in 1795 by which the Cayugas Reservation was bought for a sum $1,800 in cash payment, and $1,800 to be paid annually. This last treaty took place on what is now Cowing's Point on Cayuga Lake around a large maple tree which is still standing. John Harris and John Richardson were the men who were responsible for this treaty on the white man's side, Harris acting as an interpreter. "Red Jacket", the Chief of the San Senecas and Fish Carrier, "Red Jacket's" subordinate, on the red men's side. "Red Jacket' 7 was described as being exceedingly proud and gaudily dressed.

Early Settlement


He spoke in a sarcastic and abusive manner, charging ' the white men with getting all of the red men s lands: which from an Indian's point of view was true. General Schuyler was at the head of the commissioners. They parleyed for a long time; and the Indians, women and children as well as the men, were ferried back and forth across the lake. This treaty was finally closed on July 28, 1795. After that the Cayugas left this part of the country, except a few, who with " Red Jacket", their chief, remained. It seems that "Red Jacket" was given a handsome badge by President George Washington in token of the peace between the white and red men. Now "Red Jacket" was very proud of this badge, but he was fond of whiskey as well; and in order to procure it, he would trade his badge in for his pint of whiskey and then buy or earn his beloved badge back again. He died and was buried on the west side of Cayuga Lake.

John Harris established the first tavern near the ferry in Cayuga, it being the first one built in the village. At this time, in 1790, the land belonged to the Indians since it was part of the Cayugas Reservation, and he held it on sufferance. It was a kind of a road house and a place of general rendezvous for all types of men. On all of the old maps of the Cayugas Reservation all trails from every direction centered at this tavern.

The Cayugas Reservation was surveyed and cut up into lots and sold by the State to the settlers. After the t ' reaty of 1795, the settlers flocked rapidly in and the village of Cayuga from that time on grew steadily. Among those who were the early settlers were such men as: Joseph Annin, who came in 1796 and built the house which is at present Charles D. Kyle's residence and who


Early Settlement


was the first Sheriff of Cayuga County; Hugh Buckley, who came in the same year as Joseph Annin and settled at the head of the old bridge, which was about to be built. He kept the gate, a tavern, and the first jail in Cayuga County. "The jail was a log structure and built against the bank of the lake; the top being on a level with the embankment. The prisoners were let down through a trap door in the top".* The first murder trial was that of an Indian who was kept in this place. Its use as a jail was authorized March 25, 1800. The site of this jail was at the east end of the Cayuga bridge where now the New York Central Railroad passes the McIntosh's boat-houses-, the bridge beginning at the foot of Main Street on what is now the village green. There is an embankment, the bottom of which is the railroad where the dungeon was situated. The following year Buckley began teaching, and was the first teacher in the village. He died of an epidemic in 1813. His tavern was located in the village where Mrs. Gilland's house is, now owned by Will Chappel, on Main Street.

Dr. Jonathan Whitney came in 1798 and settled at Cayuga on the Lake road which was afterwards the Lalliette estate. He came from Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He left Cayuga for a term of years, first to Geneseo thence to Pompey Hill, but returned in 1852. He was a cultured and intellectual gentleman, being a great satirist and the author of many caricatures and jokes. It is believed that he built the little house on Center Street now owned by the McIntosh estate, which is called "Tumble-Inn". He had nine children; and his son, Edwin H. Whitney, held the offices of Justice of the Peace, Postmaster, Supervisor, and

*"History of Cayuga County 1789-1879".


20 History of Cayuga

Canal collector. He was known in the village as Squire Whitney". Daniel McIntosh, a Scotchman, came in 1798 and built the first or second brick building in Cayuga County and used it as a store. It stood on the corner of Main and Center Streets. He kept this store until 1836, when he sold it to his son, John, who continued it until about 1860. As there were no banks at that early time, Daniel McIntosh kept his money hidden in barrels in the store.

About this time, in 1799, John Harris moved his ferry from Cowing's Point to Cayuga, and ferried his passengers across the lake about where the New York Central Railroad station now stands, or a little north of it, which was all lake shore before the railroads were in existence. He moved his family from his log cabin on the old Indian Trail and settled in the village. Four years before Harris moved to the village, his father, Samuel Harris, and family moved from Pennsylvania to join their son, John, in Cayuga. In 1802 he built a tavern on the corner of Main and Lake Streets, later known as the "Titus House". It was remodeled in 1875 and burned in 1900. It was never rebuilt and the site remains vacant to this day. He served in the War of 1812, being with his regiment on the Niagara frontier. He was made Colonel during the fighting on the Canadian soil. In 1797 Harris was State Senator from Aurelius and appointed judge of the Court of Common Pleas, also elected to Congress. He was a man of prominence and had great influence in organizing the township of Aurelius and the village of Cayuga. He was the first merchant in the village, opening his store in 1789 on the site of what is now John McIntosh's orchard, east of the Presbyterian Church. It was a brick construction and burned in about 1850.

Early Settlement


He sold his stock to Elisha Hills of Auburn, and removed to West Cayuga in 1814 which is on the opposite side of the lake. He died in 1824 at the age of sixty-four years, and was buried in the little cemetery which remains there, with his father, Samuel Harris, and family.

Sometime before this, in 1796, the early settlers had made a trail which led through the woods parallel with the Indian Trail, running east and west to what is now Cayuga Village and Auburn. It branched off from the Indian trail at where Aurelius station now stands. As time wore on more settlers came and made the trail wider until April 1, 1800 it was made into a county highway or state road, built by the Seneca Road Company. This was an addition to the village as the highway led through the Main Street.

At the same time that the state highway was put through, influential men: namely, John Harris, Thomas Morris, Wilhelmus Mynders of Seneca Falls, Charles Williamson, and Joseph Annin were trying to procure capital to finance a bridge across Cayuga Lake. They succeeded in interesting Aaron Burr and John Swartwout, both members of the Assembly from New York City. These men incorporated into the "Cayuga Bridge Company", in 1796, It was built the first timeat a cost of $25,000; destroyed bv the ice during the winter of 1808; rebuilt in 1812-13; and finally abandoned in 1857, all at a cost of about $150,000. The construction of the bridge was supervised by judge Annin and Israel Smith. The above incorporators, together with Daniel McIntosh, were the stockholders. They charged toll and received a goodly return on their investment. This bridge was over a mile in length, built of wooden construction, wide enough for three carts to pass; charging 56 1/4



History of Cayuga

cents. It was the longest bridge in the Western Hemisphere. " It is the longest bridge I have ever seen", writes an English officer. In those days it was considered the jumping off place between the East and the West; a wonderful achievement, and a great boom to the County.

In 1801 the streets in Cayuga Village were planned out and put through. ' It seems that the Cayuga Land Company bought up six thousand acres of land around Cayuga; it being thought at that time that the village would grow into a city and be the Cayuga County seat. They planned for parks, public squares, and streets. Daniel McIntosh described the town "as being a thriving, prosperous village". There were seven different taverns in the village at that time: the "Titus House" situated on the corner of Main and Lake Streets; Perry's tavern, situated on the site of what is now Will Chappell's house; a tavern in the house of the Presbyterian parsonage on the corner of Court and Main Streets; another tavern in the little house now occupied by Mrs. Newcomb; and a fifth tavern in front of where Mrs. Horace Wiley's house now stands, but close to the street, and since torn down; and one established by Uri Foot, somewhere on Main Street, who came to Cayuga from Vermont in 1818. The remaining tavern was run by Israel Harris, which was a stage house, across the street from the Titus House. There were many stage -ige coaches driving through on their way to Buffalo or Albany. As they appeared over the brow of the hill on Main Street, the. drivers would blow their long horns; and the hosts of these taverns would rush out and welcome the travelers. Usually the tavern would lodge the dusty and fatigued travelers for the night; the following morning they would arise early and start out again, beginning

Early Settlement


with the long, slow ride across the Cayuga bridge, paying toll before they started across. There was continual travel on the Genesee turnpike and across Cayuga Lake bridge; all kinds of stage coaches carrying passengers; heavy wagons with heavy loads of all sizes drawn by oxen; people going through on horseback, and others hiking across the State on foot with bundles across their backs. The taverns and merchants and tollkeepers were kept busy in those days. Farmers had to draw their grain clear to Albany for market; and countrymen had to go to that City in order to pay their yearly taxes, because there were no other County seats. It usually took about two months to make the journey going and returning to accomplish this yearly task.

In 1799, the County Court House was erected, and the Court of Common Pleas was held at Cayuga.* In 1804 the Court was moved to Aurora, and in 1809 to Auburn. In March 28, 1805 the Court House in Auburn was completed. The old building used as a Court House where they held court in Cayuga was situated opposite the Laneway on Court Street, and across the street from what is now the Mason's Lodge and meeting house, formerly owned by the Brown family. The Court House was planned and the edifice was started on the site where Edwin H. Smith's and Mrs. Kate E. Dunckel's houses are now, but it burned down before completion.

The lawyers who practised in Cayuga when the Courts were held in the village were: judge Elizah Miller, father-in-law of General Seward, who came in 1795; judge Thomas Munford, who came and built an old colonial house on the large lot where John McIntosh now resides, formerly

*"History of Cayuga County, 1789-1879".


24 History of Cayuga

owned by Miss J. Elizabeth McIntosh, and who was the one who tore down the colonial house. judge Munford came from Aurora in 1795, and practised until his death. judge Joseph Annin came a year later and practised until he left for Genoa, where he died in 1815. judge Munford owned a private burying lot on the northeast corner of his estate, where Peter C. Freese's house stood, now owned by Roe Stevenson. judge Munford kept his estate up well; and his presence in the village was beneficial. He was the first president of the National Bank of Auburn from 1817 to 1820. It was the oldest bank in New York State west of Utica with the exception of the bank in Watertown. Also it was about the sixtieth oldest bank in the United States of America. It was then called the Bank of Auburn. judge Munford died about 1830. His grandson graduated from Harvard College, and became the head doctor of the Clifton Springs Sanitarium at Clifton Springs, New York. He has recently died.

In about 1799, a select school was started by different women of the village. Miss Hannah Esterly, afterwards the wife of John McIntosh, taught there at one time. Miss LaGracia Shaw, daughter of Dr. Isaac Shaw and sister to Mrs. John Oliver, who now resides in Cayuga, taught there as well as Lavanda Barrett. Mrs. David Brown was the last teacher to teach in this little private school. The school began upstairs over Dr. Cumming's store, which has recently been torn down by James Bracken on Main Street. Then it moved to the house on Court Street opposite the Laneway, formerly used as the Court House. The school was managed probably by these different ladies of the village at different times, who rented the building of Squire Whitney,

Early Settlement


and charged a tuition for each pupil. The public school started about 1840, when parents as well as the general public had to pay for each child. It was therefore deemed no longer necessary for a select school in the village. The little school house later was moved down to "Pious Hollow" (the east end of Main Street) and remodeled into a modern house., Mr. William Axton now resides there.

The first Blacksmith shop was started by David Hulin, who located on the shore of the lake west of where the "Titus House" stood. He made the latch for the first frame school house built in 1804 on the southwest end of Center Street. The second school house was built on the site of the present Methodist Church; while the third one was erected in 1846, where the present school building now stands. The edifice which was built in 1846 burned down, and the present one erected.

During these early times a stalwart boy of Cooperstown, New York 'was employed to carry mail on horseback twice a month to Aurora; thence returning twice a month. This boy was Lorin Willard; and later he and his brother, Emory, came to Cayuga and settled on a farm about a fourth of a mile north of the village. They came from Chenango County in about 1801. They owned all of the land which extended from north of Main Street in the village to where Mrs. Mersereau's farm is now; that is, the farms at present owned by Roe' Stevenson and John Denman, and the lands surrounding the Beacon Milling Company. When they first came to Cayuga they settled for a short time in a little house east of the McIntosh estate on Main Street; thence moved to another small house on the site of which the Beacon Milling Company now


26 History of Cayuga

Early Settlement

stands. From there they moved to the farm a fourth of a mile from Cayuga Village. There is a story concerning Major Titus, who enjoyed sitting on the "Titus House's" steps and watching the sunset in the west across the lake and marshes. But there was one obstacle which was an obstruction to this magnificent view. A large oak tree stood on the site of what is now Warrick's store, and what was at that time Willards' property. Major Titus cut the tree down without notifying the Willards; whereupon a large warehouse or shed was erected on the spot where the oak tree stood. During the year of 1807 the Willard brothers built a distillery, which they sold to Daniel McIntosh in about a year, who soon converted it into a tannery and ran it as such for a good many years. It stood on the land north of where the Beacon Milling Company's offices are now.

Lorin Willard was made a commissioner for the army in the War of 1812. He purchased supplies for the army and forwarded them to Oswego and other points. When an attack on Kingston, New York was in contemplation, he purchased all the boats available at that time, took them to Oswego, and under cover of the night, delivered them, about fifty in number, to Commodore Chauncey at Sackett's Harbor.

The Cayuga Academy was what -is now the William Mersereau estate, fronting Lake Street and extending back to Center Street. Mr. William Mersereau's widow now resides there. The Academy consisted of both boys and girls, and many prominent families sent their sons and daughters there. It is believed that David Dodge, who -came in 1808 from Vermont, started the Cayuga Academy about the year of 1810. It is


also thought that some of the staff of teachers were Mr. Foot, Mr. Thomson, and Mr. Charles Lalliette, who taught dancing lessons. David Dodge's son, Ossian G. Dodge, was a noted mimic and comic singer. David Dodge died in Montezuma in 1857. He was described as a very severe teacher, using his rod most unsparingly. He left Cayuga for Throop in 1825. The Academy was a three storied structure; but when the school was broken up, the brick part of the building was taken out, and left the present structure Samuel Van Sickle and Elizabeth Boardman Hall of Canoga were among those who attended.

One fine day Miss Elizabeth Boardman Hall was out on the Academy's lawn, watching something on the lake, when John Davis, a prospector from Pennsylvania, passed the School in his search to buy up new land. He saw Miss Hall there on the lawn of the Academy, fell in love with her at first sight, and later married her. He bought two tracts of land (four hundred acres) from Colonel John Harris, south of the village on the lake front; and erected a house across the road from the present Chase residence. This occurred about the year 1816-17. He was drowned off the Cayuga Lake bridge in 1819. John Davis' widow later married Mosely Hutchinson, a son of an Ithaca doctor, and they later came to Cayuga and built the Hutchinson homestead. Thus from this " Homestead" have sprung up four families of which Cayuga Village can be proud: namely, the Chases, the Cowles, the Hutchinsons, and the Ferrees. The late Cyrus H. Davis, the son of John Davis, inherited from his aunts of Pennsylvania the large tracts of land which later were made into a state park called "Valley Forge", in memory of General George Washington's hardships through the winter



History of Cayuga

of 1777-78 with his army during the Revolutionary War.

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lalliette, of French descent, came and settled in Cayuga in 1810. As they both had adventurous lives, it will be interesting to relate them in full:

Mary Frances Victoria Lalliette was born June 20, 1783 in eastern Burgundy, France. She was born the same year that Hortence Beauharnais, Mother of Louis Napoleon, was born. Mary's father, Edme Collin, was connected with the body guard of Louis XVI 'I. He went to San Domingo to look after his own estates, and fortunately took his family with him. While there the French Revolution broke out in 1793. Edme Collin was killed by the Insurrectionary Slaves on the Island; but Mary, her mother, and brother managed to escape to the United States of America in 1797 Their boat was wrecked off the Cuban coast, and with difficulty they made their way to New Orleans. For some reason her mother sent her two children to New York City by the way of the Atlantic Ocean; and her brother was captured by the English and made a prisoner near that City. Captain Grant's family in New York befriended her and in that family she learned English. She never saw her mother again who remained in New Orleans. Mary was fifteen years old when she came to New York; and twenty-three years of age when she married Charle's Lalliette, who at that time was in Brooklyn, New York.

Charles Lalliette was born and brought up in France. In 1799, in order to escape conscription in the army, he fled to England, thence to America, where he bought property in Brooklyn, New York, and married Marv Frances Victoria Collin in 1806.


30 History of Cayuga

Soon after their marriage, the Lalliettes took a trip through Cayuga and went as far as Detroit; returning in 1810 they decided to locate in Cayuga. The lake and bridge and surrounding hills attracted them. They chose a sightly location in the heart of the village on Lake Street, and purchased four acres of land for $1,000 from William Harrison. Mr. Lalliette being a sportsman was probably attracted by the duck shooting in this locality. In 1812 the Lalliettes made their permanent home here. Mr. Lalliette was a dancing teacher and taught in the Cayuga Academy, as well as giving private lessons.

In 1837 Mr. Lalliette died; and two years later his wife sold the lakeshore-front property to the Auburn & Rochester Railroad. In 1868 she sold a lot to the Methodist Episcopal Church. Among her guests whom she entertained at her home were: General Stephen Van Renseller, called "the Patroon", and General Lafayette when he passed through in 1824. Among her keep-sakes was a miniature picture of her father framed in gold and set with diamonds. The diamonds were stolen when she was a little girl by the Insuirectionary Slaves. Also her father's body-guard badge and a silver spoon with "Collin" engraved upon it, and a watch, all dating back to her school days at Nantes, France.

Mrs. Lalliette always depended upon the services of her servants, not knowing the ways of manual toil. She derived a goodly income from the yield of her fruit trees, with which her place was planted with the finest varieties. She was cared for in her old age by Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Lamb, to whom she left her property at her death. In her later years she became a member of the Presbyterian Church. She always had a Christian

Early Settlement

spirit and a lady-like bearing. She will long be remembered for her gentility, charming manner, and grace of speech. She died December 9, 1886, at the age of a hundred and four years; the oldest citizen in the village of Cayuga. Her property in the village extended from the Laneway on Lake Street to lower Bennedict hill, and west to Center Street. It included that whole block, which she had planted in fruit trees.

The oldest houses which are now standing in the village are in the order named: Stanley R. Cummings' house, or part of it, built about 1793 by John Richardson, who came with his father from Pennsylvania in 1789, and who went into the ferry business with John Harris at the "Harris Ferry", and who settled on the site where the Cummings' homestead is now; Charles D. Kyle's house on Court Street erected about 1799 by Joseph Annin, who settled here in 1795; and the little house on Center Street called "Tumble Inn", now owned by the McIntosh estate, built about 1800 by Dr. Jonathan Whitney, who settled in Cayuga in 1798. The house which Stanley R. Cummings now owns has since been remodeled; with the large brick fireplaces taken out and vacant space enclosed. The builders of these houses were cultured and intellectual men: John Richardson being a highly educated and cultivated pioneer in this section of the country; Joseph Annin was a sheriff, a judge, and a senator; and Dr. Jonathan Whitney being a medical and literary type of a gentlemen. There is a bear story in connection with the house called "Tumble Inn" on Center Street: It seems that while Dr. Whitney lived there, a bear had been seen and had actually taken lodging in the cellar of the building. People gathered; but no one there knew


32 Early Settlement

just the best way to get the beast out, since it was dark and the bear well hidden. Finally, "Emory Willard took his rifle and went into the cellar, got sight, not of the bear, but of the white of his eyes, and shot him dead"!

Other old houses which are still standing and of good use are: Mrs. Minerva A. M. Greenleaf's residence on the corner of Main and Center Streets, which was built in 1819 by Daniel McIntosh as his homestead. Mrs. Edwin Lamb's house on Lake Street was built by William Harrison in 1806. Mrs. Newcombs' house and the Presbyterian parsonage on Main Street were both taverns; these must have been built when the stage coaches were passing through Cayuga. The brick house in which Warren A. Baker now resides on Main Street was once a button factory, and was remodeled into a residence; Caleb L. Candee being the first one to occupy it, and which he later sold to Isaac Freer.

The Erie Canal was put through New York State in 1825; but not until 1832 was the Cayuga branch built. The canal boats in those early days were polled from the Cayuga Lock to the draw-bridge. Before the Cayuga branch of the canal was in existence, many of the settlers came by the water route, using the Seneca River. The Parcell's family came by the canal on a house boat; and lived for a year on it before settling here; also James Steemburg came in the same manner.

The first physicians who came in these early times were: Dr. William Franklin, who came in 1797 and who practiced until his death in 1804; and Dr. Jonathan Whitney, who came in 1798 and who practiced until his death in 1851, with an exception of a few years which he spent away.

Early Settlement


There were seven other Doctors who practiced in Cayuga after Dr. Whitney, whom it will not be necessary to mention. Dr. DeMun kept a drug store at a very early date and was the first man to experiment with gypsum. He pulverized it into a mortar.

The period between 1800 and 1850 was the most prosperous years of the history of Cayuga Village. During the time of 1800 the villagers were planning for Cayuga to be a large, thriving city; holding the Cayuga County seat. That was in the minds of the Cayuga Land Company when they surveyed the town, putting through the streets and marking out parks and public squares. The new Court House was planned sometime to be erected on the site of where Charles D. Kyle's residence now stands, facing the street of Bennedict Hill and looking out over Cayuga Lake. The Cayuga Bridge was another attraction at that time, causing the admiration of travelers passing through the village over such an achievement. The Erie Canal, with the Cayuga branch, was built during this period, making travel easier than it formerly was over the rough, beaten trail; thus attracting more settlers to settle here. Then people began talking about a railroad to be built through Cayuga. All these new things were a great addition to the comforts of the villagers.

But the dreams of the prospectors for the village of Cayuga came to nought! For the Courts were moved away in 1804, and the territory of Cayuga County was changed: Seneca County taking the place of Cayuga County on the other side of the lake; thus changing the village to the edge of the County instead of in the center, as it was formerly. And the Cayuga bridge was abandoned in 1857, cutting the Genesee turnpike off, and changing



History of Cayuga

the travelers' route three miles north on the present Clark Street highway at Mudlock. Thus, the taverns' business was killed, and the stage coaches came no more. There were no rivers on which dams could be constructed for factories; therefore Cayuga was unfitted for America's new prosperity-her industries. So this chapter ends with the village of Cayuga at the height of its glory, and never in its history to be a great city!




THE reader must bear in mind that practically all of New York State until 1860 was covered

with timber, where now grain, hay, and orchards are planted. All the cities and towns and villages were surrounded by deep woods with here and there a clearing made by some pioneer farmer. Stage coaches continued to run between Aurora and Cayuga, traveling for at least twothirds of the way through the woods. This route was the last one to be given up by the stage coaches. As late as 1845 there were deers and farther inland, bears roaming the country. They as well as the Indians had to vanish before the march of the white man's civilization.

Into this heavily timbered country came the Auburn & Rochester Railroad Company. An Act was passed by the Legislature, April 18, 1838, at Albany by which the Company had the power to buy up the lands needed for the railroad. In 1841 the Company bought up the lands through the Township of Aurelius at what was at that period a goodly sum of $12,503; the assessed value of the land alone being $3,762. It was not until 1842, however, that the railroad passed through Cayuga village.

The building of the Auburn & Rochester Railroad made vast changes on the shore front of the village.. What was formerly the shore line of the village end of Cayuga Lake became the railroad



History of Cayuga

bed. In order to do this the engineers of the Company built timber-piers upon which they dumped stones, gravel, etc. The Cayuga Station consisted of a restaurant and hotel; and was located just south of where the present New York Central Station stands. - The hotel and restaurant was managed first by Captain Lyon, who sold out to L. A. Pelton; who in turn sold it to the Cayuga Lake Shore Railroad Company; by whom the property was transferred to the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company about 1878.

When the Auburn & Rochester Railroad came through Cayuga County, it not only changed the lake shore front but it furnished the means by which the heavily wooded country could be cleared off and profitably used. There were large sheds where Shannon's Ice House formerly stood which were used by the railroad for cutting up huge logs for fuel for the trains. Another shed stood on the embankment opposite the present house now occupied by Dr. John H. Witbeck. The logs were hauled in from the country by farmers and thrown over the bank to the railroad; which would cut them up by means of a "Horse Saw"; and shoved up to the station on "Rubber Cars" (hand cars) to the ' trains. The logs were cut up into chunks of wood by horses treading upon a tread-mill, which would run the saw. In that way quantities of logs were cut up in a very short time. Thus, the railroad cleared off the surrounding country of wood-lands; and the farmers converted the land into fields on which crops were raised.

A grain mill stood on the embankment on Lake Street opposite where Romeyn Candee's house now stands. Farmers would haul their grain there, where it was ground up and taken out at the bottom of the embankment, a finished grade



History of Cayuga of flour, and shipped by rail to the bigger cities. It was called the "White Storehouse", and was used as late as 1860, when it burned. Before the Auburn & Rochester Railroad came,the coal industry was flourishing. A large amount of coal was brought to Cayuga by canal and unloaded. just at this time, in 1835, hames for horse-collars were made by the Convicts of Auburn Prison and hauled to Cayuga, where the loads were unloaded from the wagons and reloaded upon canal boats, and shipped to New York City. Docks were built along the water front, about where the Lehigh Valley and New York Central stations are now, to accommodate the canal's freight. These docks were destroyed when the railroad bought up the lake shore. The coal and hames freight was transferred to new docks which were located near the Malt House, now the Beacon Milling Company. In 1841, at the time of the building of the Auburn & Rochester Railroad, Caleb Luther Candee came by stage coach and settled in Cayuga. He started a blacksmith shop at the foot of Main Street near the bridge. He ran this shop until about 1855, when he invented a process of welding iron rails for the railroad. He moved his shop to where Dr. Witbeck's boathouse is now, and had other shops in other towns, as his work was considered important at that time to the railroad. He failed to have it patented, however, and others discovered his process and used it to their advantage. About 1842 David Brown came, possibly by stage coach, and settled in the village on the site of where the masonic Lodge has their room on Court Street. During his latter days he was

Later Settlement


known by the villagers to have a cobbler shop in the Lane-way, but he formerly operated a farm near Cayuga. Mrs. David Brown taught school in the little select school across the street, formerly the Court House. She was the last teacher who taught there.

William H. Seward, Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln, left Auburn for Washington, D.C. He took Sevellon A. Brown, then a school teacher in Auburn, with him, in 1864. Under Secretary Seward he became an employee of the State department, and later was admitted to the Bar of the District of Columbia; and in 1871 was promoted to the post of Chief Clerk of the State department, which he held until his death.

In 1881 Sevellon A. Brown built the present house on Court Street for his father and mother. He brought his own family-his wife, five children, and a colored maid-to Cayuga for the summer months, where they added greatly to the social life of the village.

In 1850 the first steamboat took passengers to Ithaca on Cayuga Lake. There were seven large passenger boats at different periods, namely; the "Kate Morgan", the "Aurora", the "Sheldrake' , the "T. D. Wilcox" (renamed the "Ithaca"), the "I. No", and the "Frontenac". The "Kate Morgan" was the first passenger boat on the lake; and it as well as the "Ithaca" and "Frontenac" were "side-wheelers"; that is, boats which were propelled by large mill- like wheels on. each side of the craft. The "Iroquois" and the " Mohawk" were passenger boats which did business on the lake in quite recent years; but the old "Frontenac" was the last one on the lake. It caught fire on its way to Cayuga from Ithaca,


40 History of Cayuga

and burned up entirely, about one hundred feet from the east shore, one mile south of Farley's Point. There was a high wind that day, and fourteen passengers were drowned trying to make the shore. This tragedy happened in 1907.

During the early years until 1895 the steamboat traffic was heavy. People went by the water route for the pleasure of steamboating on the lake, rather than travel by rail. Others went on parties and picnics up the lake. Captain Lyon ran some of these boats in the earlier days; and Captain Brown owned and ran the "Mohawk" and the " Iroquois".

There have been as many as eighteen physicians who at one time or another have practiced in Cayuga village during its history; but there have been few who have entered into the life of the community and settled permanently. Among the few were Dr. Isaac Shaw, who came from Machias, Cattaraugus County in 1844, and practiced until his death in 1855; and Dr. Andrew S. Cummings, who came from Naples, Ontario County in 1843, and continued his practice until his death in 1908. Dr. J. M. Dickson came from Ohio in 1878, and practiced the greater part of his life in this village. He moved to Bridgeport, Seneca County, where he died. Dr. John H. Witbeck came from Fleming, Cayuga County in 1888, and is still practicing here.

There were two stores on Main Street in front of where the late John E. McIntosh's homestead now stands: a brick store stood on the corner of Main and Center Streets, and was conducted by John McIntosh until about 1860; and a wooden store a little east of the brick one, run by Daniel McIntosh, a brother of John McIntosh, which was

Later Settlement


torn down about 1880. Daniel McIntosh's house, one of the old homesteads of that family and built in 1815, stood next to the wooden store, just east of it. The house was moved down the hill on Depot Street in 1891, and in it Mr. James Durling conducts a barber shop. Jothan Shank lived in one of the houses attached to the store, possibly the old wooden store, which he ran and kept as a general country store. He was Postmaster between 1857 and 1859; after which he moved away. His store was also the post office.

Continuing up Main Street, next to Daniel McIntosh's homestead, stood Dr. Andrew S. Cummings' h ouse, in which he held the post office from 1855 to 1861. When he first came to Cayuga he lived in the late Cyrus Davis house, called the "Brick House", a half- mile outside of the village on Lake Street, and kept house for Mr. Davis. In this house was a huge brick oven, which they used at that time, using logs as fuel. During that period, those who still kept brick ovens and huge fireplaces were accustomed to bank their fires before retiring for the night. And if it happened to go out during the night: woe be to her or him; for to start the fire again, one must take a kettle, go to a neighbor, and borrow hot ashes!

Frank E. L. P. Cummings, Dr. Cummings' son, became Postmaster like his father, and held it for quite some time. He bought out a store, and commenced in 1873 a drug and dry goods store near the corner of Court and Main Streets. He discontinued the drug business, but kept his dry goods until his death in 1908; when his widow continued the dry goods and groceries until 1926. The old Cummings' block on Main Street is about to be torn down, as it is of wooden con


42 History of Cayuga

struction, which has stood many years. Frank Cummings' son, Stanley R. Cummings, was President of the village from 1920 to 1923. He served as Trustee of the Presbyterian Church from 1914 to 1926; and at present is serving as Town Clerk.

It is believed that Uri Foot built the Castner homestead on Main Street about 1825; and Jacob Castner bought it of him, and had a tailor shop in the basement of his house. Robert Castner, his son, built the grocery store, now the Economy Store, in 1868, and moved his stock from the basement of his home and carried on his business until 1895, when he sold out to Henry Curtis, who continued the same grocery business until his death in 1911. James Patrick followed Curtis for a number of years; and in 1922 The Economy Store was started by an Auburn firm. It is managed by Harold C. Quigley at the present time.

The first public school house stood on the corner of Center and Wheat Streets, and was organized as the �Cayuga Union School� in 1844. It move d a year later to the site of the present Methodist Church; from there to a newly built schoolhouse, where the present one stands in Center Street, constructed in 1846. The lot was bought for $100, and the building erected at the cost of $1,065. Edwin H. Whitney and John McIntosh were appointed Trustees. The two following Trustees were James Annin and Dr. Isaac Shaw. It burned to the ground in 1900, and the present building erected.

The Malt House, now the Beacon Milling Company, was built in 1866 by The Kyle, Howell & Co.; consisting of George A. Kyle, Thaddeus Howell, and Mrs. Albert Beardsley. The brick construction was added on to the warehouse two

Later Settlement


years later. They handled 100,000 bushels of grain a year. The marl works was operated by H. Monroe & Company of Syracuse. The mar] was dug in Seneca County and shipped by boat to Cayuga and New York City. In 1882 Augustus Dunckel, a native of New York, with others, purchased the malt-mill of Kyle, Howell & Co. It functioned under the name of Neidlinger & Son. Augustus Dunckel continued the business until his death in 1896.

Mr. George Kyle also carried on an extensive coal, lumber, and grain business. At that time, George Kyle was considered one of the leading business men in the village. He was rated as a gentleman by his fellow citizens. He sold his warehouse to the firm of Neidlinger & Son.

The two oldest streets in the village are Court and Main Streets. The houses now occupied by Stanley R. Cummings and Charles D. Kyle were built as early as 1793 and 1799. The old style house to the right of the Laneway, now used as the Masonic Lodge and for political elections, was built about 1881 by Sevellon A. Brown for his father, who came to Cayuga about 1843, and resided upon the same location. Other old houses on Court Street are the house now occupied by Mr. Wilkie, built about 1850 by Mr' Morse, who set out the chestnut trees which border the street; Miss Frances E. Olds' house, built by her father in about the same year as Wilkie's; the house which stands on the right hand corner of Bennedict Hill, at present occupied by Mrs. Clarence D. Shank, built about 1830; and Miss Anna Van Sickle's residence, built by her father, John R. Van Sickle, in 1870.

�Pious Hollow�, the east end of Main Street, was among orchards as late as 1860; Michael Martin's


Later Settlement


house, Mrs. Newcomb's, and William Orman's were all erected before 1855. The house now occupied by Mr. Joseph Hamilton was built about 1840 by John Willey, a cobbler. The cobbler shop was located on the present property belonging to Ruth Dundon.

Center Street ran likewise through orchards, mostly owned by Mrs. Lalliette, until as recently as 1878. "Tumble-Inn", built by Dr. Jonathan Whitney in 1800; the district School erected in 1846; and the Davis Hall made up the street before that date. The Methodist Church erected in 1868 and the Episcopal Church in 1871, closely followed by other residences changed the street to its present appearance. The lower Bennedict Hill was formerly a deep gully.

Lake Street in its first history consisted of the Lalliette's estate, which extended from the Laneway to lower Bennedict Hill, and the Cayuga Academy.

Lake Street consisted of the following buildings: the Cayuga Academy, now the Mersereau estate; the Lyon estate, which extended from the Academy to Wheat Street; the Cemetery and the "Hutchinson Homestead". The "White Storehouse", a huge pile of logs with a saw-mill, and some horse stables, composed the buildings strung along the lake side of the street. The present Candee's house was built in 1865; Dr. Witbeck's about 1892 by George Clark; and the Wayne's residence by John MacGraph in 1887. The old Hutchinson homestead was formerly located on the lake side of the street, opposite the present homestead, and was built in 1816 by John Davis, a prospector from Pennsylvania.

I Main Street from the earliest days was the busiest and principal street in the village. There



History of Cayuga

were seven taverns on it; many large residences which have been mentioned; the Titus House, managed in its latter years by James Olds in 1852 and James Baily from 1875 to 1900, when it was destroyed by fire. Dr. Isaac Shaw's residence was on the site of the late Jack Mansfield's house on Court Street, just north of Main Street; but it burned. John Oliver, who married Dr. Shaw's daughter, Mary, built the present house in 1879 on the northeast corner of Main and Court Streets. Augustus Dunckel built the present house where his widow and daughter now reside. about 1885; and John C. Freese built his residence a year later, now occupied by his granddaughter, Mrs. Edwin H. Smith. The house now owned by Will Chappell was also erected that year. The front part of the large house where the late John E. McIntosh resided, was built in 1857 by his father, John; and was remodelled and enlarged in 1899. Where the flower gardens are now was the site of the family's barn; and not until 1907 was the old Cummings' house torn down, the land graded, and added to the present McIntosh estate.

About 1856 John R. VanSickle opened a general country store where Walter Warrick at present is conducting a similar one. John Mansfield bought the building of Mrs. John Curry and owned it for many years. Mr. Warrick bought it of him.

The grocery store of Lamb & Odell started in 1890 and closed in 1919.

Besides conducting a store in the village, John R. VanSickle bought up grain throughout this part of the country and shipped it by canal to New York City. He was a successful grain buyer.

As early as 1856 the Masonic Lodge in Cayuga received its charter. The Lodge Rooms were on

Later Settlement


the third floor of the Barrett Store which was next to Cummings' store on Main Street. John Morse was the first Master; Mr. Townsend was Senior Warden and John Barrett, Junior Warden. It moved to the Mansfield Block in 1910; from there to their present location in the Brown's house on Court Street, which they purchased in 1919. At the present time the Lodge has a membership of one hundred and twelve.

On Saint Patrick's Day, in the winter of 1869, occurred a great snow storm, which wrecked buildings from the weight of the snow. The huge Railroad woodshed, located where Shannon' s Ice plant formerly stood, south of the present Beacon Milling Company, caved in; and it never was rebuilt, because a year later the Railroad started in using coal. A similar storm came on January 29, 1925, when buildings were wrecked; railroad traffic held up for two days; and farmers sick in the country died for lack of medical aid.

In 1870 the New York Central Railroad Company began burning coal instead of wood. The company gave the remaining piles of wood to the villegers if they would haul it away. The first load of coal was brought by ferry from Ithaca by John Nostrand, a liveryman in Cayuga. Before that time coal was brought in small quantities by canal for household purposes.

A year later, in 1871, the Cayuga Lake Shore Railroad Company started building; and in 1876 the road was doing business. It ran between Cayuga and Ithaca; and was consolidated into the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company.

James M. Stevenson came to Cayuga from a farm at Free Bridge three miles north of the village and purchased the farm of Samuel Willard.


48 History of Cayuga

A year later, in 1871, his brother, George T. Stevenson, bought the adjoining land on the east side of Court Street and erected a mansion with beautiful lawns, noted for its species of rare trees. He kept his Cayuga estate for his summer residence, driving his span of horses each spring and returning to his winter home in Rochester in the autumn. He was a very sociable gentleman, and gave beautiful parties to which the Cayuga people were invited. He lost his wealth and left Cayuga in 1894, selling his farm to James Stevenson, and the house and grounds reverting to the Beardsley estate of Auburn.

James Roe Stevenson purchased his grandfather's, James Stevenson, farm; and has run it scientifically, specializing in alfalfa and apples. It is called " The Cayuga Fruit Farm". He has three children: Halsey Bidwell, Hope, and Arthur Fairchild Stevenson.

Dr. John H. Witbeck came to Cayuga in 1888, commencing his practice in the home of Mrs. Ann Gilland, now owned by Will Chappell on Main Street. Three years later he bought his present home on Lake Street of George Clark. He married twice: his first wife was Harriet Garrettson of Madison County, who died soon afterwards; and his second marriage was to Veronica McCarty of Auburn in 1904. They have one daughter, Dorothy Marie Witbeck.

During Dr. Witbeck's long practice in the village there have been four great epidemics: the first one occurred in 1888 and was a small-pox scare; the second in 1889, the first year of the grippe epidemic; the third in 1915 of the infantile paralysis plague, which ravaged the people of the Eastern part of the United States, but through

Later Settlement


the Doctor's vigilance, it was' kept out of the village; and fourth, an epidemic of influenza which swept throughout the whole world after The Great War, killing thousands in 1917-1918. In the larger cities coffins were piled high in cemeteries, waiting for burial.

The Mansfield House was built in 1884 by William Mansfield, who ran it partly as a saloon and partly as a hotel. The Bar and Lunch Room of James Heiffer's was built in 1898. Many a political argument took place here, resulting occasionally in fist fights.

The Mansfield's block was erected in 1910; and is used as a grocery and meat market; the second floor is occasionally used as the Village Hall.

The first ice plant was run by William Hutchinson in about 1855, who sold out three years later to the Cayuga Lake Ice Line, a company composed of men of New York City. After five years of successful business, their ice plant burned, after which they retired from the concern.

Another ice plant was started in 1894 by John H. Stoneburg, who did an extensive business with the New York Central Railroad Company until quite recently.

The third plant was operated by E. L. Thornton of Auburn Just south of the New York Central station. After a few years E. L. Thornton sold out to Wade Shannon, who also later bought the Stoneburg Plant.

In 1898 the side-wheel steamboat, Ithaca, burned to the water's edge while she was tied up at the dock for the night near the New York Central station. Her Captain, Van Order, lost many personal things as did the rest of the crew.


50 History of Cayuga

The burning craft was shoved away from the pier in order to prevent it from catching on fire, but the boat drifted back and sank, showing her funnel and hull for many years, and causing an untidy appearance along the lake front. The Ithaca was built in 1870 by T. D. Wilcox of Ithaca, and bore his name until Mrs. Hunt, also of Ithaca, changed it to its present name.

The short period 1899 to 1900 was a year of big fires in the village: The first fire occurred on the night of September 6, 1899 in the kitchen of the old depot restaurant and spread rapidly throughout the building. Then the flames spread across the railroad tracks to the famous old hotel erected in about 1859, which had been used by the patrons of the original steamship lines. The depot, restaurant, and hotel were completely destroyed. That ended the contract of the New York Central Railroad Company with Roswell G. Bennedict by which all passenger trains must stop for ten minutes to allow passengers time for refreshments. The restaurant was noted throughout the county for its waste of time to travellers.

The second fire happened early in the morning of June 26, 1900 and destroyed three buildings: The Village Hall, owned by Miss J. Elizabeth McIntosh; the house of James Muldoon, the village blacksmith; and the Cayuga Union School building, on Center Street. The fire started in the west end of the Hall, and as there was a brisk south wind at that time it soon destroyed the three buildings.

The last great village fire was during the fall of 1900 which burned to the ground the old Titus House, situated on the corner of Main and Lake Streets. It was an old landmark in Cayuga County.


52 History of Cayuga

Mrs. James Balley was the proprietress of the hotel at that time. All of these big fires were believed to be of incendiary origin, but the culprit remained unknown.

It was during the year of the village fires that the first automobile came to Cayuga. On May 20, 1900, Alvin J. Belden of Syracuse came to visit John E. McIntosh. The make of the car was a " Whi te- steamer"; and when it was about to ascend a hill, the driver started pumping, in order to get up sufficient pressure to reach the top. John E. McIntosh made fun of it; but Alvin J. Belden boasted: " In twenty-five years the country will be flooded with automobiles"! His boast has come true; for in 1926 there is one car to every four persons in the United States. About two years later Warren A. Baker owned the first automobile in the town; followed soon afterwards by Dr. John H. Witbeck.

About 1905 on a Sunday morning the old Erie Canal drawbridge was raised for "The Agnes", Captain Hamilton's boat, on its way to New York City with grain. At the same time a New York Central passenger train was going east, and the engineer, failing to see the signal for warning, ran the engine into the canal. No one was killed, but the passengers were badly shaken up, and the engineer and fireman only escaped death by being thrown out of the caboose and swimming ashore-the fireman to the left and the engineer to the right of the engine. There have been four such accidents during the history of the drawbridge, all but one happening on Sunday.

It was through the efforts of Governor Theodore Roosevelt that the present barge canal was started in 1886; in 1900 the investigation was made

Later Settlement


for its appropriation; and in 1903 passed by the people of New York State and signed by Governor Benjamin B. Odell, Jr. It was not, however, until 1914, under Governor Charles Whitman's term of office, that the building of the Barge Canal was begun near Albany; and the Cayuga branch of it was completed in 1917. The new Canal demanded a larger and higher bridge, and the present bridge was erected. The little Erie Canal drawbridge was abandoned, and a trestle-like bridge put in its place. In order to raise the present Barge Canal bridge to its height, the Railroad tracks were raised considerably higher, the grade commencing at the Cayuga station. The job for the Railroad Company was done by the Welch Construction Company of Davenport, Ohio, and was completed in two years.

On July 1, 1920 the Beacon Milling Company, Inc., started up in Cayuga. It located in the building formerly owned by the American Malting Company. It started with a capital of $200,000; thirty-five men in employment; and a tonnage of eighteen hundred tons a month. Their present capital is $300,000; fifty- three men are employed; and it has a tonnage of forty-six hundred a month. It makes a general line of stock feed for poultry, dairy, and horses.

Electric lights were installed in the village in 1921; the Beacon Milling Company making it possible for an extension line of the Empire, Gas and Electric Co. to reach Cayuga. Eighteen years ago, the Gas Company came through. The village is still without a water and sewerage system.

The population in 1800 was about 200 inhabitants; in 1905 it was 400; and in 1927 it was 370.


54 History of Cayuga

In the summer time the number Is considerably increased, for there are many outside people who own cottages along the lake shore.

The village was incorporated in 1857, and reincorporated under the general law February 16, 1874. The officers of the first election were: F. H. Lyon, William G. Wayne, John McIntosh, Henry Willard illard, and William Mersereau. In 1878 those who held office were: John M. Freese, President; Frederick X. Youngs, Clerk; A. A. Quigley, Treasurer; and James A. Bailey, Jonathan Warrick, and William Mersereau, Treasurer and Assessors. The present (1926) officers are: Fred T. Wiley, President; E. R. Wilkie, George Tavener, Trustees; W. J. Warrick, Treasurer; and Stanley R. Cummings, Clerk. Romeyn R. Candee held the office of Justice of the Peace for many years; that office is at present vacant.

In summing up the history of Cayuga Village it is apparent that if Cayuga has never reached that height which her pioneers had planned, and has never grown to be a city, yet Cayuga has not gone backwards. The little town has lost many prominent men, and the citizens have changed from business and professional occupations to that of labor; yet the village has a prosperous appearance. The homes of the villagers are well cared for, giving a tranquility to the place. The roads are kept in good condition; electric lights hang over the streets in place of the lamp-posts; beautiful trees shade the pedestrians as they go quietly about their business-all in an equilibrium which has always been characteristic of Cayuga.




LONG before New York State was settled by the English, a Jesuit Mission was established at Cayuga in November, 1668 by Father de Carheil. The Jesuit Missionaries were French Priests, who had entered America on Canadian soil with the French Explorers. Most likely Father de Carheil explored the wilderness in what is now New York State, and worked among the Cayuga Indians. He writes of the Cayugas as follows: " I find the people more tractable and less fierce than the Onondagas or the Oneidas".* And the territory surrounding Cayuga as: "Lake Tiohero adjacent to the village is fourteen leagues long by one or two wide, it abounds with swan and geese through the winter, and in the spring nothing is seen but continual Clouds of all sorts of game"! These Jesuit Missionaries were men of high courage and utter sacrifice of self, which has rarely been equalled. But their work was in vain for, whereas they undoubtedly converted individual souls, they were unable to convert the whole Indian race to Christianity.

As soon as Father de Carheil arrived in what is now the village of Cayuga, he and Father Garnier, a Jesuit Missionary, began the building of a chapel, which was completed on November 9, 1668, and dedicated to Saint Joseph. Father de Carheil worked among the Cayugas until 1671,

Cayuga Indian Reservation and Col. John Harris" by John VanSickle.