November 28, 2004

Creating and running Dryden, 1803-1897

It's been over three months since I last posted a piece of George Goodrich's The Centennial History of the Town of Dryden, 1797-1897. There's been plenty of Dryden news to keep the days busy, and the chapters I haven't yet done are, naturally, the longest and most complicated ones. I plan to improve on my recent record.

In this chapter, Goodrich looks at the political organization of Dryden, starting from its origins as part of the Town of Ulysses, through Dryden's becoming a separate political entityin 1803, and then through the list of men (yes, they're all men) who served as Town Supervisor, Town Clerk, and Justice of the Peace.

There are a few pieces worth pointing out:

  • I'm amazed by the 12.5% property tax rate in the first year taxes were charged here, though no one lived in Dryden at the time.
  • There are odd breaks in the tables for Town Supervisor and Justice of the Peace, as I'm trying to preserve the way Goodrich's original had it laid out. Those represent page breaks.
  • There's a period from 1878-1884 when all of the Town Justices seem to have been named George or William. Suddenly, in 1885 and 1886, an Alviras and an Artemas join the list.
  • Dryden seems to have used proceeds from its "gospel and school lot" (No. 29) more or less exclusively for education, "in accordance with the general spirit of the country, which, while liberally providing for public education in the common schools, declined to impose any compulsory tax upon the people directly or indirectly, for the support of sectarian or religious institutions." Isaiah Giles was apparently responsible in part for this.

Chapter VIII.

The Political Organization of the Town

From 1794 until 1803, as we have seen, Township No. 22 (including all the present towns of Enfield, Ulysses, and Ithaca, town and city) was merged in its political organization with Township No. 23 (Dryden) under the name of Ulysses. In the year 1794, the assessed valuation of the whole town, as constituted, was £100, and the tax levied £12 and 10 shillings, as they then counted money, being a tax of more than twelve percent on the valuation. In 1797, the population of the whole town of Ulysses was returned at 52 and the valuation at $4,777, our decimal system of currency having been substituted for the old English form of money. In 1798 the population had increased to 60 and the valuation to $5,000. In the year 1800, the census shows a population of 927, a rapid increase, which continued for some years, but not more than one third of it belonged to what is now Dryden. On the jury list for Ulysses of 1801, are found the names of three men who resided in Township No. 23, viz: Peleg Ellis, Ichabod Palmerton, and Jehiel Bouton. At the town meetings of Ulysses, held at the home of Nathaniel Davenport (the location of which is now in Ithaca) in March, 1802, it was voted that "the township of Dryden be set off from Ulysses." From this we infer that the name Dryden was commonly applied to Township No. 23 before it had a separate political existence, which was effected by an Act of the Legislature passed Feb. 22, 1803. At the first town meeting, held at the home of Captain George Robertson, March 1, 1803, the following officers were chosen:

Supervisor - George Robertson.
Town Clerk - Joel Hull.
Assessors - John Ellis, Joel Hull, Peleg Ellis.
Constable and Collector - Daniel Lacy.
Poormasters - William Garrison, Philip S. Robertson.
Commissioners of Highways - Lewis Fortner, Ezekiel Sanford, William Harned.
Fence Viewers and Overseers of Highways - Amnah Peet, Ebenezer Clanson, David Foote, Joseph Schofield.
Pound Master - John Montayney.

It must have been a veritable paradise for office seekers in those days, for everyone could hold an office and still have offices to spare.

We give in this place the full list of Supervisors, Town Clerks, and Justices of the Peace of the town to the present time, thus calling to mind many prominent citizens of by-gone days:

George Robertson,1803William Miller,1805
John Ellis,1804John Ellis,1806-12
Jesse Stout,1813Smith Robertson,1851-3
John Ellis,1814Hiram Snyder,1854-6
Parley Whitmore,1815Jeremiah W. Dwight,1857-8
John Ellis,1816Lemi Grover,1859-61
Parley Whitmore,1817Caleb Bartholomew,1862
John Ellis,1818-34Luther Griswold,1863-5
Joshua Phillips,1835-37John M. Smith,1866-71
John Ellis,1838James H. George,1872-3
Joshua Phillips,1839Edwin R. Wade,1874
Elias W. Cady,1840-1Harrison Marvin,1875-9
Henry B. Weaver,1842-3James H. George1880-81
Jeremiah Snyder,1844George M. Rockwell,1882-4
Wessels S. Middaugh,1845-7James H. George,1884-5
Albert J. Twogood,1848George M. Rockwell,1886-7
Hiram Snyder,1849John H. Kennedy,1888-95
Charles Givens,1850Theron Johnson,1896-7
Town Clerks
Joel Hull,1803Walker Marsh,1844-5
William Miller,1804Nelson Givens,1846-7
Joel Hull,1805-7Walker Marsh,1848-9
Derick Sutfin,1808Nelson Givens,1850
John Wickham,1809Oliver Stewart,1851-3
Thomas Southworth,1810-11Richard M. Beaman,1854-6
Isaiah Giles,1812George H. Houtz,1857-74
Parley Whitmore,1813-13George S. Barber,1875-7
Josiah Newell,1815-16John S. Barber,1878
Henry B. Weaver,1817-19DeWitt T. Wheeler,1879
Benj. Aldridge,1820-31Geo. H. Houtz,1880-7
Abram Bouton,1832C. B. Snyder,1889-9
Hiram Bouton,1833Henry C. Warriner,1890
Henry B. Weaver,1834-9Fred E. Darling,1891-3
Rice Weed,1840John M. Ellis,1894-5
Bryan Finch,1841Fred E. Darling,1896-7
C.S.C. Dowe,1842-3
Justices of the Peace
Derek Sutfin,1803Samuel Hemmingway,1803
Ruloff Whitney,1803Isaiah Giles,1810
Ruloff Whitney,1810Abraham Tanner,1857
Jacob Primrose,1811-12Alviras Snyder,1858
Ithamar Whippel,1811-12James H. George,1859
James Weaver,1818Thomas Hunt,1860
Jesse Stout,1818Edmund H. Sweet,1861
Parley Whitmore,1818Alviras Snyder,1862
Rice Weed,1825James H. George,1863
Thomas Hance, Jr.,1825Isaac Cremer,1864
Jesse Stout,1825Abraham Tanner,1865
Wessels S. Middaugh,1829Hananiah Wilcox,1866
James McElheny,1830James H. George,1867
Schuyler Goddard,1831-2Thomas Hunt,1868
Rice Weed,1833Hiram Bouton,1868
William H. Miller,1833-4Hananiah Wilcox,1869
Ephraim Sharp,1835Wm. W. Snyder,1870
Moses C. Brown,1836Almanzo W. George,1871
Henry B. Weaver,1837Geo. E. Goodrich,1872
Moses C. Brown,1837John W. Webster,1873
Parley Whitmore,1838Warren C. Ellis,1873
Rice Weed,1838John Snyder,1874
Wm. H. Miller,1838Almanzo W. George,1875
Elijah Fox,1839Wm. H. Goodwin, Jr.,1876
Parley Whitmore,1840Wm. J. Smith,1876
Rice Weed,1841John W. Webster,1877
Nicholas Brown,1842John T. Morris,1878
Thomas Hunt,1842Geo. R. Burchell,1878
S. S. Barger,1843Wm. E. Brown,1879
Abraham Tanner,1844Geo. E. Monroe,1880
Walker Marsh,1845Geo. E. Hanford,1881
S. S. Barger,1846Geo. Snyder,1882
Thomas Hunt,1847Wm. J. Shaver1882
Abraham Tanner,1848Wm. E. Brown,1883
Walker Marsh,1848Geo. E. Underwood,1883
Andrew P. Grover,1849Geo. E. Monroe,1884
Thomas Hunt,1850Alviras Snyder,1885
Abraham Tanner,1851Artemas L. Smiley,1886
Andrew P. Grover,1852Geo. E. Underwood,1886
Walker Marsh,1853Wm. E. Brown,1887
Abraham Tanner,1854Artemas L. Smiley,1886
Eleazer Case,1855Geo. E. Monroe1888
William Scott,1856Everel F. Weaver1889
Geo. E. Underwood,1890Geo. E. Hanford,1893
Samuel S. Hoff,1891Geo. E. Underwood,1894
Wm. E. Brown,1891Erastus M. Sager,1895
J. Dolph Ross,1892J. Dolph Ross,1896
Geo. E. Hanford,1892Bert D. Conklin,1897

We thus have before us the names of the men who for nearly a century have had the care and management of the political organism known as the "Town of Dryden." The only material change in the territorial extent of the township was made in 1887, when the easterly seven lots of the southern tier were set off and annexed to Caroline, for the reason that they were located much more conveniently to Slaterville as a business center than to any similar place within the Town of Dryden. The town meetings were early held at different hotels in the town, subsequently more often at the Dryden Center House, until within a few years past, during which they have been held in election districts. The town was formerly divided into four, but now consists of six election districts. In the old times one of the duties of people at town meeting was to apportion the income derived from the gospel and school lot between the support of the churches and schools, the statute requiring that it should be annually distributed by the voice of the people at town meeting so that each should have some share. In accordance with this requirement it used to be a standing custom at every town meeting to pass a resolution that of the gospel and school funds "six cents be appropriated for the support of the gospel and that the balance be devoted to school purposes." This was done not from disregard for the welfare of the gospel, but was in accordance with the general spirit of the country, which, while liberally providing for public education in the common schools, declined to impose any compulsory tax upon the people directly or indirectly, for the support of sectarian or religious institutions. The gospel and school lot was for a long time rented and the rents applied annually as above stated, but subsequently the lot was sold and the proceeds, about eleven thousand dollars, now forms the town school fund, which is loaned by the supervisor on bonds and mortgages and the interest applied annually for the benefit of the common schools of the township.

Goodrich, George B. The Centennial History of the Town of Dryden, 1797-1897. Dryden: Dryden Herald Steam Printing House, 1898. Reprinted 1993 by the Dryden Historical Society. Pages 23-7.

(The Dryden Historical Society, which sells this book, may be reached at 607-844-9209.)

Posted by simon at November 28, 2004 9:22 AM in ,
Note on photos


John J.Rockwell said:

My father George M. Rockwell was born in Dryden, NY Jan 13, 1892...I am trying to track him back etc. SDo far the sites have been helpful..thanks for your good work

Patricia Latimer said:

Hello: I am seeking information about Abraham Middaugh who married Catherine Longacre in 1792. They moved to Dryden, NY in their early married life. They had an eldest daughter Margaret, born Dec. 18th, 1792, who married Elijah Sortore from whom I am descended on my paternal side. Middaugh comes up but do any of you know Margaret Sortore or that family still in the Dryden area. Thanks.

Bill Binger said:

Looking for information on Hollister Johnson, possible son of Theron (former town supervisor 1896-7). Researching as a service to a local library.

Karlene Walker said:

Looking for info. on Edmund H. Sweet the Justice of the Peace in 1861. Wife Maria. His death year & where buried is my main question. Also parentage.