1864 Map of Adams New York

Adams New York History from Childs 1890 Gazetteer

1864 Map of Adams New York
1864 Map of Adams New York

Adams is situated in the southern part of the county, and is bounded on the north by Hounsfield and Watertown, east by Rodman, south by Lorraine and Ellisburgh, and west by Henderson. It is watered by the north branch of Sandy Creek and many tributary brooks in the south, and by Stony Creek, with numerous small branches, in the northern part. Both streams are fed by springs and afford permanent water-power, which has been utilized. The surface of the town is generally level, except in the northwestern part, which is somewhat broken by the lake ridge which here traverses the town. The territory was originally timbered with maple, beech, birch, elm, and butternut, a considerable area of which yet remains. Cedar and pine also prevailed, and contributed largely to the early wealth of the town. The soil is generally fertile—a black mold, sandy loam, or a loam somewhat mixed with clay, underlaid by limestone, with outcroppings of this rock on high ground. There is very little waste land in the town, a portion of the most elevated being susceptible of cultivation. That which seems most sterile affords excellent grazing.

This town was formed from Mexico, April 1, 1802. It received its name in honor of President John Adams, and included No. 7, or Aleppo, and No. 8, or Orpheus, of the “Eleven Towns,” or the “Black River Tract.” This area was maintained until No. 8 became a separate town, with the name of Rodman, March 24, 1804.

Adams, or No. 7, fell to the lot of Nicholas Low, in the subdivision of the eleven towns, by ballot, and was surveyed by Benjamin Wright in 1796, into fifty-six lots, numbered from west or east and from north to south, commencing near Henderson Bay and extending on the line of Lorraine. Mr. Wright complained of local attractions, that rendered it impossible to run straight lines. The lots varied in contents from 240 acres to 676 acres, and the whole made an aggregate of 26,505 acres. The town is nearly square, its sides measuring about six miles from east to west, and not quite seven from north to south. This tract of land had been mortgaged to William Constable, June 15, 1796, by Henderson, Low, Harrison, and Hoffman. It was assigned to the Bank of New York, but Low succeeded in getting a release, June 16, 1804.

The first town meeting was held at the house of Eliphalet Edmonds, March 1, 1803, when the following officers were chosen: Nicholas Salisbury, supervisor; Phineas Keith, clerk; E’Estaing Salisbury, John W. Smith, David Grommon, Jr., Thomas White, assessors; Isaac Baker collector; Thomas White, David Comstock, overseers of the poor; Paul Stickney, Jacob Kellogg, Simeon Hunt, commissioners of highways; Isaac Baker and Anson Moody, constables; Daniel Comstock, David Smith, George H. Thomas, George Cooper, fence viewers; Jacob Kellogg, Benjamin Thomas, pound keepers; Abraham Ripley, James Perry, Enan Salisbury, John Cowles, Consider Law, Solomon Robbins, Hezekiah Tiffany, Thomas White, Daniel Mansfield, Asa Davis, Squire Read, Abel Palmer, overseers of highways; David Comstock, Simeon Hunt, deer reeves.

At a special town meeting, held November 10, 1803, a remonstrance was voted against taking three ranges of lots from the north side of the town to annex to the contemplated town of Newport; also to agree to the division of the town on the line between towns Nos. 7 and 8. Wolf bounties of $5 were offered in 1803; of $10 from 1804 to 1815; and of $15 in 1815.

In 1880 Adams had a population of 3, 302. The town is located in the first school district of Jefferson County, and in 1888 had 14 school districts, in which 19 teachers were employed 28 weeks or more. The whole number of scholars attending school was 682, while the aggregate days attendance during the year was 68,234. The total value of school buildings and sites was $13,690, and the assessed valuation of all the districts was $1,870,305. The whole amount raised during the year for school purposes was $6,817.30, $4,352.94 of which was received by local tax. S. Whitford Maxson was school commissioner.

Adams Village

1864 Map of Adams Village New York
1864 Map of Adams Village New York

Adams is a large and thriving post village located on the north branch of Sandy Creek, and is a station on the R., W. & O. R. R. 13 miles from Watertown, 169 miles from Albany, and 311 miles from New York. It contains two national banks, is the seat of Adams Collegiate Institute, has four churches (Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Episcopal), two hotels, a weekly newspaper, express, telegraph, and telephone accommodations, and the requisite number of shops and stores necessary to supply its 1,500 inhabitants and the surrounding country. A daily stage runs to Belleville, Henderson, and Worth. The village was incorporated under the general act, by the Court of Sessions, November 11, 1851, and confirmed by a vote of 79 to 51 on the 19th of December of the same year. The village plat includes 812 acres. In 1823 an unsuccessful attempt had been made to obtain an act of incorporation, the notice of application being signed by Elihu Morton, David Smith, Benjamin Wright, and John Burch. The first trustees of the village were John H. Whipple, Samuel Bond, Calvin Skinner, Calvin R. Totman, and Wells Benton. May 27, 1852, the village was divided into five wards, and a code of bylaws adopted. The Rural Cemetery Association was formed January 17, 1848, of 33 citizens, who laid out a neat and quiet lot for the purpose in the eastern part of the village, is one of the finest rural cemeteries in the county. A fire company was formed in Adams about 1836, and a small crank engine purchased by voluntary subscriptions. Since its organization the village has made ample provision for protection against the destructive element. April 23, 1852, an appropriation of $650 was voted to purchase a fire engine and its necessary apparatus. May 24, 1853, the “Tempest Fire Company” was formed with 44 men. The new water-works have added largely to the protection against fire.

Smithville Village

Smithville is a post village on Stony Creek, on the west line of the town, lying partly In the town of Henderson. It is 12 miles from Watertown, five miles from Adams Center, five from Sackets Harbor, and six from Henderson Harbor. It has telegraph, telephone, and express accommodations, and a stage line to Sackets Harbor. It has one church (Baptist), two stores, two truss factories, a grist and saw-mill, two blacksmith shops, a cheese factory, and about 200 inhabitants. It was named in honor of Jesse Smith, one of the early settlers and a prominent business man. Settlement was begun here in 1804 by Daniel Hardy, who kept the first hotel here. Brooks Harrington was the first postmaster.

Adams Center

1864 Map of Adams Centre New York
1864 Map of Adams Centre New York

Adams Center is a very pleasant post village of about 500 inhabitants, located about three and a half miles north of Adams village. It contains three churches (Baptist, Seventh-Day Baptist, and Seventh-Day Advents), a grocery store, boot and shoe store, drug store, hardware store, four general stores, a clothing store, two hotels, three blacksmith shops, three millinery shops, a grist-mill, sash and blind factory, a manufacturer of handy package dyes, two livery stables, a dealer in sewing machines and musical instruments, a lawyer, two physicians, a printing office, and a furniture dealer and undertaker. Settlement in this locality was first made in 1816, by Luman and Hiram Arms, on a farm just north of the village site. The first house where the village stands was built by a man named Priest, who sold out to Luman Arms before it was entirely completed. Jonathan Davis built the first store about 1830.

Adams Collegiate Institute

Hungerford Collegiate Institute
Hungerford Collegiate Institute

Adams Collegiate Institute was incorporated by the Regents, April 22, 1855, but not fully organized when a proposition was received from General Solon D. Hungerford, of Adams, for a substantial endowment. The name was changed to “Hungerford Collegiate Institute,” March 24, 1864. Under this name an academic school was opened in the S. J. Mendell building, — known as the “Basswood Hotel,” located near the sulphur springs and a few rods east of the present railroad depot, — with Rev. J. Dunbar Houghton as principal. About this time a very valuable mineralogical cabinet was presented to the institute by Mr. J. G. Webb, which was nearly destroyed by the burning of the school building some years later. During the second year Prof. David Holbrook, a former tutor of Hamilton College, became associated with Prof. Houghton as vice-principal. During the administration of Prof. Houghton the school was noted for its thorough scholarship and excellent discipline. Col. E. S. Salisbury and others maintained military drill, materially aiding in the discipline of the school. January 29, 1868, the building was consumed by fire, and about $13,400 was paid by the insurance companies to the trustees. February 3, five days after the fire, a meeting of the trustees was held, when it was resolved to erect another building immediately. At this meeting the question of a change of site was introduced, and the site upon which the building now stands was selected. Gen. S. D. Hungerford donated the new site, and also made a very liberal cash donation. The trustees had at their disposal about $16,000, and they were authorized to expend $20,000 in the erection of a suitable building for an academy and boarding hall, that should accommodate at least as many students as the former building. About June 1 work on the new building was begun. The plans were by Prof. J. D. Houghton and Mr. White, of Syracuse. The mason work was under the direction of Asa Lyons, of Adams. The carpenter work was done by William H. Wheeler, with David Gaylord as architect in charge. Both these later gentlemen were of Adams. The building is of brick, 97 by 129 feet, four stories high, and is heated by steam and thoroughly ventilated. The building was completed in August, 1870, and on the 28th of that month school was opened with the following corps of teachers: Albert B. Watkins, A. M., principal; Orlo B. Rhodes, A. M., vice-principal; Mrs. H. N. Butterworth, preceptress; Mrs. L. B. Woodward, teacher common English; Miss L. Chatfield, oil painting and drawing; Mr. W. H. H. Taylor, natural sciences and commercial; Mr. Gustave Gunther, music; Mrs. H. B. Watkins, Spanish and English. There are six courses of study; 1, classical; 2, English; 3, college preparatory; 4, scientific or engineering; 5, commercial; 6, music. There are two literary societies connected with the school — Calisophia and Nousas-Kean. The library contains about 650 carefully selected volumes. The chemical and philosophical apparatus is full and complete, and there is also a first-class mineralogical cabinet, mainly the gift of William Rosa, M. D., of Watertown, and J. G. Webb.

The building will accommodate sixty boarders and 200 day pupils. The school had its home in this building from 1870 to 1882, when the same was sold for debt, and the school was removed to a block in the business part of the village. The name “Adams Collegiate Institute” was restored by the Regents, November 16, 1883. August 28, 1884, the block in which the school was held was burned. Mr. and Mrs. D. A. Dwight of Adams, in cooperation with the trustees and citizens, purchased the Hungerford Collegiate building, $6,500, the insurance from the building burned, being applied toward the payment of the same. Mr. and Mrs. Dwight have conveyed this building by lease, subject to certain conditions, to the present board of trustees, one of the provisions of the present charter being that no person or persons shall have the power to encumber the institutions with a debt of more than $100. This makes it impossible to again put out its light with the snuffles of the law. Since 1882 the institute has been under the management of Principal Orlo B. Rhodes, A. M., an alumnus of Brown University, a fine scholar and cultured gentleman. During the years 1884-85, 119 students were in attendance. The grade of scholarship is high, and the faculty competent and faithful. The following corps of teachers constitute the faculty of the institution: Orlo B. Rhodes, A. M., principal, Latin, Greek, English literature; Mrs. A. H. Coughlan, preceptress, French and mathematics; Mrs. L. B. Woodward, English department; Prof. Herm Haydn (sic), music; Lincoln B. Irvin, commercial, chemistry, and physics; Mrs. W. D. Arms, painting and drawing; Miss Clara M. Cooper, elocution; Prof. R. S. Bosworth, lecturer on natural science.

Students who complete the college preparatory course are admitted on the certificate of the principal to Hamilton, Williams, Dartmouth, Hobart, and Vassar colleges, and the universities of Madison, Rochester, and Vermont. The institute has cost the community, of which Adams is the center, more than $80,000. The situation of the building is commanding; the prospect from its windows is wide and beautiful. Mr. and Mrs. Dwight have in their generosity offered the building to the Presbyterian denomination of Adams, free from debt, upon the condition of their giving it a perpetual endowment, the same to be used for school purposes forever. The citizens again contributed to the repairs and the building was entirely refurnished at an expense of $5,000. The ladies of the town assumed the debt of $800 to put the chapel in repair.

Banks of Brownville New York

Farmers National Bank

The Farmers National Bank, of Adams village, successor to the Adams National Bank, was organized May 29, 1889, with a capital of $65,000. The officers are: C. D. Potter, president; I. P. Wodell, vice-president; and G. W. Hannahs, cashier. The Adams National Bank was organized January 2, 1883, with a capital of $50,000. W. A. Waite was president and G. W. Hannahs, cashier.

Citizens National Bank

The Citizens National Bank of Adams was organized August 7, 1889, under the “National Bank Act,” with a paid in capital of $50,000, and with the following directors: George Mather, Abel Bickford, Joshua W. Overton, Newton M. Wardwell, Lafayette Caulkins, William Mather, Talcott H. Camp, Willis A. Waite, Lucy J. Bullock, Anson S. Thompson, Charles A. Eastman, De Alton Rich, William H. Hathway. The officers are: George Mather, president; Lafayette Caulkins, vice-president; William H. Hathway, cashier. The bank was opened for business September 9, 1889.

Elmwood Cemetery

View of Elmwood Cemetery, Adams
View of Elmwood Cemetery, Adams

Elmwood Cemetery is governed by an association bearing its name, formed in 1867, with James M. Cleveland as president and superintendent, who has had entire charge and control until the present times. The association was reorganized April 26, 1876, with the following board of trustees: B. Randall, A. Maxon, W. M. Johnson, R. P. White, W. E. Overton, G. W. Williams, N. Vickery, S. D. Hungerford, J. M. Cleveland, W. A. Gilbert, H. Green, G. W. Bond. The cemetery contains about 20 acres of ground finely laid out and kept with conscientious care and taste. The title is perfect and the association is entirely free of debt. It contains two miles of beautiful drives, shaded by trees, through a little valley Lying between two ridges of land. In natural and acquired beauty is a gem, and by common consent is regarded as the first rural cemetery in Northern New York. It is approached by Elmwood avenue, a third of a mile in length, shaded by rows of stately elms set by Mr. Cleveland personally. They now form a beautiful and complete arch over the entire avenue. The cemetery is entered through a handsome gateway. At the left as you enter is a fine Doric chapel and receiving vault, with excellent pieces of statuary present by Mr. Cleveland. Passing along over a rustic bridge that spans a clear, winding brook you come to the family lot of Mr. Cleveland, in the center of the cemetery, where his ancestors as far back as 1722 are buried, representing five generations. Some of these remains were sought out at great expense from obscure places in New England. This lot is adorned by a very fine monument surmounted by a life size figure of Memory, beautifully wrought in the attitude of casting a wreath of flowers upon the graves below. From this point all the beauties of Elmwood may be seen at a glance. Lots carefully laid out and made beautiful with fine monuments in memory of the beloved dead fill the valley and cover the ridges. Space forbids special descriptions, but the eye is satisfied with seeing, and the better sentiments of the heart are gratified with the good taste and spirit everywhere displayed in this charming little city of the dead. Here, if anywhere, one is reminded of the beauty of life and the blessedness of death. To have so fair a home to sleep in for ages steals away unawares the fears of dissolution, and makes one “half in love with easeful death.” The charming drives, the green grass, the shrubbery, the fragrant flowers, the bursting buds on hundreds of trees, the gleaming monuments, the air vocal with the songs of birds and the babbling of the brook, —all combine to make one say, “How lovely is this place!” Elmwood is the just pride of Adams, and the pet child of Mr. Cleveland’s heart. Everywhere is beauty in his handiwork, its charm the product of his skill and faultless taste. It has been his care by day and his dream by night to beautify and adorn it. It represents 20 years of almost constant labor and superintendence, and a personal expenditure of $10,000. What has been the patient, unremitting care of his life is still the pride and pleasure of his old age, and the results are more than an adequate compensation in the assured prospect that Elmwood Cemetery will be to Adams, not only a thing of beauty and a source of joy for the present, but “a possession forever.” It will be a monument to his devotion more enduring than the stately shaft which adorns the graves of his ancestors.

Manufacturing of Adams New York

Adams Water Works

Adams Water Works was organized as a stock company by Moffett, Hodgkins & Clarke, now of Syracuse, in 1885, and were built the same year. They are located on the north side of Spring street, have a 30-horse-power engine, with an H. R. Worthington high pressure pump — capacity 400 to 600 gallons per minute. The water-tower on Doxtater hill is 15 feet in diameter and 40 feet high. Height of water above Main street, 120 feet. The main pipes of case iron, six and eight inches, and will stand a pressure of 300 pounds to the inch. The village of Adams pays $1,000 yearly for fire purposes. Isaac W. Payne is superintendent.

Adams Electric Light and Power Company

The Adams Electric Light and Power Company (Limited) was organized March 28, 1889, with D. A. Dwight, president; C. H. Wardwell, vice-president; W. H. Gillman, managing director; Dr. W. H. Nickelson, secretary; and W. J. Allen, treasurer.

Maple Grove Place and Stock Farm

Maple Grove Place and Stock Farm, located in the southerly part of Adams village, on Grove street, was established by the present proprietor, R. P. White, in 1859. Among the most celebrated horses raised and owned by him the following are particularly worthy of mention: “Capt. Emons,” with a record of 2.19-1/4, sold for $5,500; “Wizz,” 2:23-1/4; “Buzz,” 2:28; “Rufus,” 2:29; “Venus,” 2:31, who sold for $3,500; four mares—”Floss,” “Silk,” “Satin,” and “Velvet,” three of whom were valued at more than $6,000. “Whitewood,” raised by Mr. White, when less than three years old trotted a mile in 2:24. Mr. White is one of the most noted horsemen in the state.

Adams Flouring Mill

Adams flouring mill was built by Willard Smith, on the site of the old David Smith mill, about 1825. In 1860 it was purchased by George Frasier, and in the spring of 1863 S. H. Pitcher became half owner. In 1879 Mr. Pitcher became sole proprietor. The mill has four runs of stones and grinds 60,000 bushels of grain annually.

O De Grasse Greene Residence and Sash, Door and Blind Factory
O De Grasse Greene Residence and Sash, Door and Blind Factory

O. De Grasse Greene’s Sash, Door, and Blind Manufactory

O. De Grasse Greene’s sash, door, and blind manufactory is located at Adams Center, and is run by water-power furnished by springs situated within 100 rods of his mills, which give an adequate and unfailing power. Mr. Greene manufactures doors, sash, blinds, and house builders’ materials, and does all kinds of custom planing and matching, furnishing employment to from two to 20 men.

F. L. Webster’s Canning Factory

F. L. Webster’s canning factory, in Adams village, on Railroad street, was established in July, 1889, and has a capacity of turning out 250,000 cans of goods annually. Mr. Webster makes a specialty of canning dandelion and spinach, and employs 60 hands.

The Adams Foundry and Machine Shop

The Adams foundry and machine shop was first started in 1863 or 1864 by T. P. Saunders and D. O. Holman. After several changes in proprietorship the property, in 1881, passed into the possession of the first named gentleman, who has since been its sole proprietor. The machine shop is 72 by 24 feet in size and the foundry 72 by 32. Mr. Saunders employs about five hands in general job and repair work.

Adams Lumber Company

Mills were established by Julius Fox about 1860 for dressing lumber and manufacturing doors, blinds, moldings, and builders’ supplies. In 1864 the works were purchased by William H. Wheeler, who subsequently (in 1865 or 1866) bought the old woolen factory by the bridge and converted the building into an addition to his works. Mr. Wheeler continued the business until April, 1889, when it was purchased by W. H. Proctor, of Ogdensburg, who immediately formed the Adams Lumber Company, with W. H. Proctor, J. G. Idler, Thomas F. Strong, and George L. Ryan, of Ogdensburg, and J. A. Cameron and W. L. Pratt, of Adams, as partners. The company manufactures and deals at wholesale and retail in lumber, and as contractors are prepared to erect buildings of any kind. The works are located on Factory street, Adams village.

Handy Package Dye Co.

Handy Package Dye Co., C. D. Potter, proprietor, is located on Church street, at Adams Center. The company manufactures handy package dyes, Excelsior bluing fluid, inks, and black walnut, mahogany, and cherry stains, and their goods find a market far and near.

James H. Moulton’s grist-mill

James H. Moulton’s grist-mill on Stony Creek, was built by Hiram Cook about 1807. Mr. James Moulton, Sr., bought the mill about 1835, and it is now run by J. H. Moulton. It has three runs of stones.

Snell’s grist and feed-mill

Snell’s grist and feed-mill, at Adams Center, was built by W. D. & M. D. Snell in 1884. It is operated by steam.

Muzzy cheese factory

Muzzy cheese factory, two miles south of Smithville, was established by F. M. & J. B. Muzzy in 1864. It has a patronage of 250 cows.

W. A. & E. J. Waite’s

W. A. & E. J. Waite’s malting establishment was started by Rufus P. White, and was purchased by the present proprietors in 1876. It has a capacity of 40,000 bushels of malt annually.

History of Adams New York

Although in the fall of 1799 many parties were looking for lands in the vicinity of Adams, yet no settlement was made until April 16, 1800, when Nicholas Salisbury, from Western New York, found his way into town through Lowville, by a tedious journey of 26 days, bringing with him an ox team and sled, his family and goods, fording the streams with great peril, and camping at night wherever necessity compelled them. Samuel and David Fox and Solomon Smith and son accompanied as hired men. John Smith, Francis McKee, Consider Law, David Smith, Peter Doxtater, and others, several with families, came into town and began small clearings, mostly in the valley of Sandy Creek. The terms of purchase were $3 per acre, and an obligation to clear two acres and build a house within a certain time. In the spring of 1800 David Smith came in, taking up 500 acres of land including the site of the present village, where he built and operated a saw-mill. The same season witnessed the arrival of numerous settlers, mostly from Oneida County. Those on foot came by way of Redfield, but this route was then impassable for teams. The first acre of clearing was cut in May and June, 1800, by Samuel Fox, 1)Mr. Fox, with his wife, remained upon this farm about 50 years and reared a family of 12 children. three miles above the village. In 1801 and 1802 David Smith got in operation a very small grist-mill that superseded the stump mortars of the first season, and relieved the settlers from the long and tedious journeys to Coffeen’s mill in Rutland, or voyages in open boats from the mouth of Sandy Creek to Kingston. In 1801 Jacob Kellogg, John Cole, and many others moved in, and in the second or third following years a flood of immigration soon filled up the town, which everywhere presented small patches of clearing, rude huts, blind paths through the forest, destined to become roads, and from every side echoed the woodman’s axe, that gradually prepared the way for cultivation.

The first deeds of land to actual settlers were given August 20, 1802, to George Houseman, Peter Doxtater, Francis McKee, Robert Myrick, and David Smith. The first death in town was that of Alexander Salisbury, who was drowned March 21, 1801, while attempting to cross the creek above the dam in a scow. The first marriage is said to have been his widow to Daniel Ellis, June 8, 1802. In 1803 schools were begun at Smith’s Mills. The first innkeeper in town was Abel Hart; the first merchant Jesse Hale. Dr. Green is said to have been the first physician to settle in town.

From Spafford’s Gazetteer (1812) we quote:

“On the N. branch of Sandy Creek in the S. part of this town is situated a flourishing village * * * by the name of Smith’s Mills (now Adams village). * * * Here are 2 saw-mills, 1 grist-mill, 1 fulling-mill, a small air-furnace, 2 distilleries for grain spirits, a carding-machine, and a convenient variety of artificers, tradesmen, &c. In the north part of the town are 2 saw-mills, 1 grist-mill, and a distillery.”

From the same author’s Gazetteer of 1824 we learn that in 1821-23 the village contained the post office, 45 dwellings, a church, school-house, several stores, and about 400 inhabitants. There were then in the town three grist-mills, five saw-mills, two fulling-mills, one carding machine, four distilleries, 2)Whiskey in those days was believed by many to be a necessary adjunct to the successful harvesting of crops, the raising of buildings, or the satisfactory issue of any “bee”; and so, as the means of transportation was limited, local distilleries seemed to be as necessary as the blacksmith shop or the school-house. The county contained 33 distilleries. and 13 asheries. There were, according to the census of 1820, 2,314 cattle, 447 horses, 4,136 sheep, and there were woven, in families, 18,959 yards of cloth.

Church History of Adams New York

The Presbyterian Church of Adams village was organized as the “First Congregational Church of Adams,” by Rev. Ebenezer Lazell, in July, 1804, with the following six members: Joshua Beals, Jacob Kellogg, Abram Griswold, David Comstock, Betsey Griswold, and Asenath Cooper. Religious meetings had been held on the Sabbath, in 1801, at the house of Jacob Kellogg, and in 1802 the first sermon was preached by Mr. Woodward, a missionary. From the time of the organization of the church until 1821 the church services were conducted according to the ordinances of the Congregational Church. January 29, 1821, while the Rev. George W. Gale was pastor, the Presbyterian form of government was adopted, and has prevailed ever since. The membership increased gradually, and in 1811, while Rev. Chauncy Cook was pastor, at a meeting held September 9, it was “voted that a meeting-house, 45 by 55 feet, the body to be painted white and the roof red, be built the ensuing season.” Jacob Kellogg, Joseph Stirling, and Simeon Whitcomb were appointed to serve as a committee to superintend the building. This committee was inactive, however, and in 1814, Morris Homan, Joseph Stirling, and Jacob Kellogg were appointed to superintend the building of a church 28 or 34 by 45 feet in size. It appears from the records that this building was commenced after some delay, and left in an unfinished state. July 5, 1817, Joseph R. Rossiter, William Benton, and Elijah Wright were appointed as a committee to draft plans and ascertain expense and devise means for finishing the meeting-house. The committee reported July 14, 1817, and their plans and estimates were adopted. John Cowles, William Doxtater, and Elijah Wright were appointed a committee to superintend and receive proposals for building. It was also voted the pew ground be sold July 21st. Terms of sale, one-fourth cash in two months, one-fourth in four months, one-fourth in six months, and one-fourth in eight months. The house contained 42 pews, and 36 of them sold for $2,300. The building was completed in 1818, and at the annual meeting August 25, that year, William Benton was chosen sexton. In a few years this church proved to be too small to accommodate the fast growing settlement, and in 1824, August 30, it was voted that a new meeting-house be built “if a sufficient sum can be raised.” Francis McKee, M. V. V. Rosa, P. D. Stone, J. H. Whipple, and Rev. G. W. Gale (then pastor) were appointed a committee to procure a plan with expense of the same, and it was voted that the owners of pews in the old house receive 40 per cent, on their stock in exchange for stock in the new house. In 1825 the old church was moved off to make room for a new building. Worship was continued in the old church until 1827, when it was sold to William Grenell for $102. November 25, 1825, the building committee 3)William Grenell, P. D. Stone, and Seth Gaylord reported the house enclosed and ready for glazing and painting at an expense of $2,057. January 3, 1825, the society met and more than $5,700 was realized from the sale of pews. In 1858, at an expense of about $2,000, the church was thoroughly repaired and an organ put in. In 1850 the society purchased of R. B. Doxtater and S. D. Hungerford the Adams Seminary for a chapel, and it was used for that purpose until 1881, when a new chapel was built upon the church lot. In 1866 the society purchased the parsonage on Park street for $3,500, and held it until 1883, when it was sold, and from the avails a new parsonage was erected on the church lot. In 1881 extensive repairs were made to the outside of the church. These repairs included a new roof, a new tower, a new cut-stone foundation, a new chapel with kitchen attached, and new stained glass windows in both church and chapel, a new furnace put in, the total expense being $5,940. In 1884 the church was refurnished, carpeted, and decorated, and a new window put in the south end, the whole at an expense of $1,100, making in all for repairs of the whole church the sum of $7,040. The church was dedicated and reconsecrated by the pastor, Rev. James I. Root, December 1, 1884. In 1818 this church established the first Sunday school in Adams, which is also said to have been the first Sunday-school in Jefferson County. Deacon Stone was its first superintendent.

Adams Village Baptist Church. — On October 22, 1846, a number of persons holding membership in several Baptist churches in the neighborhood met in the “old school-house” for the purpose of prayer and conference, and exchanging views with reference to forming themselves into a Baptist church. It was resolved at this meeting that the several persons present should procure letters from the churches of which they are members with this end in view. The services of Rev. Charles Clark, of Denmark, who had been laboring in the vicinity, were secured, and at a meeting held November 14, 1846, articles of Faith and Covenant were adopted and resolutions passed to organize a Baptist Church. At a meeting held December 4, 1846, the following Baptist churches were invited to send their pastors and one delegate each to sit in council to consider the propriety of recognizing the newly-organized church: First Adams, Lorraine, Belleville, Henderson, and Smithville. The council met at the old “engine-house,” where the meetings were held from this time, December 17, 1846, and the church was duly recognized and the hand of fellowship was given. The sermon on this occasion was preached by Rev. E. Sawyer, the charge to the church was given by Rev. Thomas Bright, and the hand of fellowship was given by Rev. A. Webb.

At a meeting held March 1, 1847, a subscription was circulated for “the purpose of purchasing a site and building a meeting-house,” and the amount raised at this time was $1,125. At a meeting held March 9 it was resolved to build, and the following persons were appointed a building committee: Rev. Charles Clark, W. Warriner, Spencer Woodward, Jesse Wright, and Hannibal Miller. The house stood on the site of the present church, and was built of wood at a cost of $2,000. It was dedicated October 9, 1847. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. J. Freeman.

In March, 1849, the church denounced secret societies and put itself on record as regarding “connection with such societies as inconsistent and sinful to all professing godliness.” It is difficult to say, after a lapse of so many years, whether under all circumstances this was wise or otherwise. But it is clear that his movement greatly hindered the church in its work by causing dissension, discord, and even bitter enmity among the members for many years, and more than once threatened its destruction. The church grew and prospered until 1870, when the old building proved too small and inconvenient for the growing congregation, and a movement was commenced for the erection of the present church edifice. On January 1, 1870, the following were appointed a building committee: Rev. S. P. Merrill, Judge A. J. Brown, H. O. Kenyon, J. S. Brown, and A. W. Ingraham. The church was built by H. A. Wheeler and Asa Lyons, of this village. The total cost of the building and furnishing (sic) was $30,000, and $12,000 of this amount was paid by the Kenyon family. The church has had 13 pastors, their names and terms of service being as follows: Rev. Charles Clark, November 14, 1846, to October 6, 1850; Rev. C. M. Manning, October 12, 1850, to March 26, 1854; Rev. A. Cleghorn, July 1, 1854, to February 28, 1857; Rev. H. C. Beals, July 11, 1857, to November 1, 1858; Rev. William Garnett, January 1, 1860, to January 1, 1861; Rev. I. N. Hobart, March 1, 1861, to March 1, 1866; Rev. Thomas Cull, September 1, 1866, to September 1, 1868; Rev. S. P. Merrill, December 1, 1868, to December 1, 1873; Rev. William Ostler, April 1, 1874, to October 1, 1875; Rev. W. H. Hawley, January 1, 1876, to May 23, 1880; Rev. W. M. Hooper, D. D., October 24, 1880, to April 1, 1882; Rev. G. E. Farr, October 1, 1882, to August 1, 1885. The present pastor, Rev. Thomas Simpkins, commenced his labors January 1, 1886.

The following persons have served the church as deacons, and dates when they were elected: Jesse Wright, 1847; Samuel Harmon, 1848; James Wheeler, 1850; William Woolworth, 1855; Horace Brown, 1866; Henry F. Overton, 1874; Henry J. Brimmer, 1874; William H. King, 1878; Albert Washburn, 1878. The present deacons are Samuel Harmon, William Woolworth, Horace Brown, Albert Washburn, and H. F. Overton. The rest have died or moved away. The following have been the Sunday-school superintendents: Hannibal Miller, Libbeus Andrus, W. D. Cook, Rev. I. N. Hobart, A. J. Brown, J. O. Brown, and H. F. Overton. The present superintendent is Prof. O. B. Rhodes. The present membership of the church is 190, and that of the Sunday-school 225.

Emmanuel Protestant Episcopal Church, of Adams, was organized in 1849, with 10 members, the Rev. J. M. Bartlett being rector. October 9, 1849, the corner-stone of a church was laid, and it was completed at a cost of $2,000. Henry B. Whipple and William M. Johnson were chosen wardens; and John McCarty, David Gaylord, Hiram Salisbury, Philip R. Ward, John Wright, Justus Eddy, Charles W. Rogers, and Thomas Dobson, vestrymen. Rev. T. F. Wardwell succeeded the Rev. Mr. Bartlett as rector, and remained a year. The other rectors of the church have been the Revs. O. E. Herrick; William Paret, 1861-63; J. H. Bowling, 1865; L. Weaver, 1866; Jedediah Winslow, 1866; E. Dolloway, 1867; W. H. Lord, 1867-69; D. E. Leveridge, 1870-71; George Hepburn, 1871; A. H. Ormsbee, 1872-76; F. B. A. Lewis, 1877-78; George Bowen, Jr., 1879-83; E. Moyses, 1883-86; William Cooke, 1886, the present rector. April 28, 1875, a rectory was purchased on Main street for $2,300. The present membership of the church is 142, and the church property is valued at $3,500. In connection with the church is a flourishing Sabbath-school, of which the rector is superintendent, and W. G. Bentley is assistant superintendent.

Adams Center Baptist Church. — About 50 members having withdrawn from the old Adams church, for the purpose of forming themselves into a church at the Center, on December 12, 1852, they were organized with the above name. Abram Sheldon, J. W. Horton, and L. Allen were elected deacons. In March, 1853, the “Adams Center Baptist Society” was formed, with 32 members, and Oliver McKee, Ezra Hull, and Silas Glasier, trustees. The following summer a fine frame church, 44 by 60 feet, with a tower in front, was erected on the principal street of the village, at a cost of $3,500. It will comfortably seat 400 persons. J. F. Nelson is the present pastor. Dea. Edward Dillon is superintendent of the Sunday-school, which is in a flourishing condition.

Adams First Baptist Church, located at State Road, was organized in 1805. 4)Mrs. E. J. Clark, in Transactions of Jefferson County Historical Society, published in 1887, gives this date as 1804. Heath was the first pastor. In 1825 their first church building, a wood structure, was built, one mile east from Adams Center, on the State road, and in 1838 their present house of worship, also of wood, was erected at a cost of about $6,000. The present value of church property, including buildings and grounds, is $8,000. William Gussman is the present pastor. The Sunday-school has a membership of 110, with V. W. Heath, superintendent.

The Seventh Day Advent Church, of Adams Center, was organized in 1863, by J. N. Andrews, with about 17 members. Their first house of worship was erected of wood in 1852, at a cost of about $2,000, and will comfortably seat 350 persons. The present number of members is 44. Mrs. C. W. Wright is superintendent of the Sunday-school.

The First Methodist Episcopal Church, of Adams village, was organized in 1827, by Rev. Elisha Wheeler. The trustees elected were Laban Rosa, Philip Younge, David Wright, Zephaniah Jacker, Chester McKee, Daniel Dikeman, and John Adams. Rev. William W. Ninds was the first pastor. Their first house of worship, a wooden structure, was erected in 1831. Their present edifice, also of wood, was built in 1852, at a cost of $10,000, will comfortably seat 400 persons, and is now valued, including grounds and other church property, at $15,000. The present membership is 285, under the pastoral charge of Rev. I. D. Peasley. The Sunday-school has a membership of 300, with Hon. I. L. Hunt, superintendent. Hon. James G. Kellogg is president of the board of trustees.

Additional Items from the 1890 Graphical Gazetteer of Jefferson County NY

Source: Child, Hamilton. Geographical gazetteer of Jefferson county, N.Y., 1685-1890, part one, p. 209-226.  Syracuse, N.Y.: The Syracuse journal company, printers and binders. 1890.


1Mr. Fox, with his wife, remained upon this farm about 50 years and reared a family of 12 children.
2Whiskey in those days was believed by many to be a necessary adjunct to the successful harvesting of crops, the raising of buildings, or the satisfactory issue of any “bee”; and so, as the means of transportation was limited, local distilleries seemed to be as necessary as the blacksmith shop or the school-house. The county contained 33 distilleries.
3William Grenell, P. D. Stone, and Seth Gaylord
4Mrs. E. J. Clark, in Transactions of Jefferson County Historical Society, published in 1887, gives this date as 1804.

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