THIS township was formed, as will be seen by reference to the general
chapter devoted to the history of township organization, on the 8th of
March, 1821, and was called, for immediate convenience, "Number Three."
Its northern boundary line is coincident with the southern limit of the State
of New York (Chautauqua county). It is bounded on the east by the township
of Farmington, south by Brokenstraw and parts of Conewango and Pittsfield,
and west by Freehold. The southeastern part of this town is drained by
Jackson Run, which flows thence southeasterly through the southern part of
Farmington and the northeastern part of Conewango, into Conewango Creek
just south of North Warren. Stillwater Creek rises in the western portion of
Sugar Grove township and flows easterly through Sugar Grove village, and
thence northerly into the State of New York. The soil in the valleys is principally
a gravelly loam, and on the highlands chestnut. The surface was
originally covered with a dense growth of forest — on the ridge in the south
part with chestnut, to the north with beech and maple, and in the valleys with
pine, maple, cherry, and black cherry. The remarkable predominance of
maple timber afterward gave to the township its present significant name.
For its agricultural wealth Sugar Grove is not surpassed by any region in this
part of the State. While dairying is profitable here, it is not the exclusive
interest, as the fruits and cereals are easily produced in great abundance.
At the time of the formation of the township a conisderable [sic] population had
congregated here, composed, for the most part, of the most intelligent and
industrious elements of the older societies of the Mohawk valley and New
England. A number of the early inhabitants of the town were also natives of
Ireland and Scotland. The first permanent settler was undoubtedly Robert
Miles, whose son and namesake afterward became prominent in Warren. He
came up the river from Pittsburgh in June, 1797, with his family, in the first
keel-boat that found its way to Warren. His farm at first embraced an area
of nearly three miles square, though it was not rectangular in form. His
dwelling house stood about one and one-half miles directly east of the site of
Sugar Grove village. (See sketch in later pages of his son Robert.) Soon
after his arrival Major Howe, Brigham Howe, and John Dickinson came from
Long Island, though none of them was here long enough to become prominently
identified with the business interests of this part of the county. About
1800 came William Lopsley, the ever-to-be-remembered John Barr, and John
Hood; in 1802 John Stuart, and in 1803 James Stuart, all from Ireland.
Lopsley made a clearing about two miles east of the village, but moved away
at an early day.
John Barr was born in Ireland in 1766. Being of the ardent temperament
peculiar to his race, he bore too conspicuous a part in the Irish Rebellion of
1798, and was forced to flee his native country. His wanderings soon brought
him to Sugar Grove, which he decided to make his home. He settled on the
summit of the hill, in what is now the village, erecting his dwelling house near
the site of the Congregational Church, as it now stands. He is described by
those who remember him as an ingenious man, capable of turning his hand at
any kind of work, besides engaging in his chosen vocations of agriculture and
shoemaking. Many of his descendants are in town at the present day, and are
numbered among the most respectable class. Mr. Barr was a born wit, and
innumerable amusing anecdotes related to-day attribute their paternity to him.
Among his personal possessions was an old-fashioned "bull's-eye" watch,
more weighty than accurate. He was, for some reason, perpetually annoyed
by questions as to the time of day, to which he invariably replied: "Sex past
nine, and be d---d to ye! Keep a time o' your own." In later life Mr. Barr
became extremely convivial. He died on the 9th day of January, 1839, and
was buried — not with his fathers, but in the village cemetery.
David Brown, who deserves prominent mention by reason of the fact that
he probably did more to build up the village of Sugar Grove than any other
man, was another pioneer of the county. He was born in Belfast, Ireland, on
September 7, 1777, and came to the United States in 1802. He resided in
Franklin, Venango county, for a short time; at which place, on the 7th of November,
1803, he married Jennet Broadfoot. Soon after his marriage he
removed to Warren, and was for a time in the employ of the Holland Land
Company, living in the block-house built by that company on the bank of the
Conewango Creek, a short distance above the site of the present grist-mill.
He was the purchaser from the Commonwealth of a large number of the town
lots in Warren borough. He owned land in what is now Sugar Grove village
as early as 1806, as the list of taxables of that year sufficiently attests, and
moved thither in 1807, or 1808, or possibly as late as 1809. Here he made
his permanent home. He erected one of the first framed dwelling houses
(by some said to be the first) in Warren county, on the north side of the
road from the village to Lottsville, a few rods west of Stillwater Creek, and
upon the site of the present residence of James C. Hamilton. His farm had
already been partly cleared by John Dickinson. In this house all his children,
with the exception of his eldest daughter, were born. The old house has been
moved a short distance from its original location, and at this writing (November,
1886) still stands, one of the few relics of the early settlement of the village.
Near to the house may still be seen the spring noted among the early
settlers for its abundant supply of clear, cold water. Near to his dwelling
house Mr. Brown erected, and, to the time of his death, in connection with a
farm, carried on a tannery, said to be the first started in the county.
He died November 26, 1825, and is buried in the village cemetery at Sugar
Grove. In a lecture on the early history of Warren county, one who knew
David Brown well, said: " He was well educated, wrote an elegant hand, and
had an easy and flowing style of composition. He possessed the impulsive
feelings peculiar to his nation; was hospitable and generous to a fault. The
needy never sought aid of him in vain when it was in his power to relieve
them, and he frequently did so to his own pecuniary injury. These estimable
qualities were concealed beneath a stern, sedate exterior. He was retiring and
diffident, and seldom smiled."
Jennet Broadfoot, who became the wife of David Brown, was born at Wigton,
Scotland, November 4, 1781. She had the solidity of character, the
energy, the quiet resoluteness of purpose, and the tenacious adherence to
religious convictions that characterize Scotch Presbyterianism. Attacked by
disease that baffled the skill of local physicians, she sought medical treatment
at Philadelphia, going the entire distance on horseback, and returning to her
home after a few months restored to health. A few years later her husband
died, leaving her with limited means to care for a family of seven children, the
eldest eighteen years of age. With Christian fidelity, with patient, self-denying
love, she met the responsibilities cast upon her. She gave her children
such education as was possible with the scanty means at her command, and
by precept and example she sought to lead them in the way of Christian living.
She was a friend to the poor, she sympathized with the sorrowing, and
her ministrations of love to the sick and the dying were so universal, so constant,
and so cheerfully rendered, that the benediction of all who knew her
rested upon her. She died June 4, 1841, and lies buried by the side of her
The children of David and Jennet Brown were Mary, now living at Sugar
Grove, and the widow of James Jagger; Barbara, who died at Sugar Grove
in 1840, the wife of N. B. Langdon; Catharine, now living at Warren; John
B., who died and was buried at Warren in 1883; Agnes H., now living at
Jackson, Mich., and the widow of Walter Fish; James, who died and was
buried at Sugar Grove in 1851; and William D., living at Warren, and now
the president judge of the thirty-seventh judicial district of Pennsylvania.
About the time of the settlement in Sugar Grove of David Brown, two of
his brothers, James and John, also came here to live. The former settled on
the farm afterward owned and occupied by Henry Catlin, and went down the
river not far from 1820. John was a single man, kept one of the first schools
opened in town, and lived with his brother David. He was nineteen years an
inhabitant of Pennsylvania, and was prothonotary of Warren county at the
time of his death, which happened suddenly at Warren on January 25, 1823,
when he was in his thirty-sixth year. He was buried at Sugar Grove with
Other names found in the tax-list of the county for 1806, belonging to
Sugar Grove inhabitants, are those of Charles Byles, William Evans, John
Hood, John Portman, and John, James, and William Stuart. The first-named
married a daughter of Robert Miles, and resided in town for a number of
years. William Evans settled in the south part of the township, in the vicinity
of Chandler's Valley, where he remained until his death, not long previous
to 1840, and where some of his descendants are now living. John Hood was
one of the very earliest of the pioneers in this vicinity, being a contemporary
arrival with Robert Miles, about 1797 or 1798. He cleared, and occupied all
his life after, a farm in the extreme north portion of the township, adjoining
the New York State line, on the Jamestown road, and there operated a small
grist-mill. He died in the decade of years which closed with 1830. John
Portman lived here but a short time, and removed to Pine Grove township.
He was still a young man in 1820, and married Pamelia, daughter of Alexander
Clantz, who was probably the first man on the farm afterward owned by
James Brown, and later still by Henry Catlin. Clantz then bought the old
Robert Falconer place, and soon went away, giving place to Mr. Falconer
John, James, and William Stuart, three brothers of Irish nativity, settled
here between the years 1802 and 1806, residing in the eastern part of the
township until their deaths. James died August 3, 1825, aged sixty-eight
years eight months and twenty-two days. His wife, Catharine, a sister of
John Hood, survived her husband until March 26, 1847, when she followed
him, aged eighty-seven years and twenty-eight days. They landed in the
United States on the 13th of June, 1795. John Stuart, who was born in
Antrim county, Ireland, on the 28th of May, 1780, died in Sugar Grove on
the 30th of June, 1862, being the last survivor of the three brothers. He had
two sons, James L. and John, the former of whom was born in this town on
the 12th of November, 1807, and died in the village on the 24th of May, 1873,
leaving a number of descendants in the town. John early went to Clarion
county, where he preached the gospel, and ministered as physician, to the necessities
of the sick in body.
Clark Dalrymple, who, at the time of his death in July, 1869, was the eldest
of the surviving early settlers in Sugar Grove, came here from Massachusetts,
his native State, in 1811, when he was but sixteen years of age. In the spring
of the next year he was followed by his father, David, who was born in Massachusetts
in about 1765, and four brothers—David, Mark, Oliver, and Chauncey.
The father settled just opposite and about ten rods east of the site of the present
residence of his grandson, Noah Dalrymple (son of Clark), where he
remained until about the time of his death in 1840. He also had three daughters,
and his descendants now comprise in part a numerous and respectable
portion of the population of Warren county.
Abraham D. Ditmars came here from Long Island in the spring of 1814,
upon the advertisement and personal importunities of Agent Sacket, of the
Holland Land Company, exchanging a farm in Long Island valued at $15,000
for three thousand acres of wild land in this vicinity (and something was given
him "to boot"). He selected every alternate tract between what is now
Sugar Grove village and Lottsville, after viewing the country in 1813, and
established his residence on the top of the hill immediately west of the village.
The hardships which he suffered in making the long and perilous journey from
Long Island were akin to those that all the pioneers were forced to brave.
He brought his family across the Delaware from New Jersey at Easton,
traveled thence to Belfonte, and by a rough road to a point opposite Holman's
Ferry, on Allegheny River. There he crossed the river and went to the site
of Titusville, thence through a trackless wilderness to the rude house of James
White, on the Big Brokenstraw; thence to the Widow Mead's, and, by an unfrequented
and almost impassable road through Chandler's Valley, to his destination.
His family consisted of his wife, two sons, and five daughters (one of
whom afterward became the wife of Darius Mead, of Brokenstraw). They
were on the road from the 10th of May to the 19th of June, and stayed two
nights in the woods on the Allegheny Mountains, and one night between
Titusville and Brokenstraw. At the beginning of the journey they had two
good teams and wagons. At the termination they had the fore wheels of one
wagon only, and those were nearly a wreck, the family having to travel on
foot most of the distance from Brokenstraw. The personal effects were afterward
gathered up with great cost and difficulty.
Mr. Ditmars has been described as a large, athletic man, six feet in height,
erect and well proportioned, of gentlemanly bearing, an open countenance,
large, dark-blue eyes, heavy jutting eyebrows, and a heavy voice. He was
convivial to a fault. Another daughter was married to Lansing Wetmore, of
Warren. His son, Abraham, jr., taught school in Sugar Grove some time
after the year 1820. After living in this town a number of years, Abraham
Ditmars returned to Long Island.
David Stilson came to Sugar Grove from Westmoreland, Oneida county,
N. Y. (whence many of the early settlers of this town emigrated), in March,
1814, and settled on what has ever since been known as Stilson Hill, in the
southwest part of the town. He brought his wife and five children with him,
and was obliged to cut his way through the woods. Four children were born
to him after his arrival in Sugar Grove. His descendants are still numerous
here. He carried on his farm successfully until the time of his death, June 6,
1852, when he had almost reached his seventy-fourth year of life.
In the month of January, 1814, Richard B. Miller, then a young man
nearly twenty-three years of age, made his way from Whitestown, N. Y.,
through Buffalo, up the lake to Mayville, thence through Jamestown and across
the country to Sugar Grove, making his home on a piece of land which he had
purchased from the Holland Land Company, on which his son Frank R. Miller
now resides. He had married on the preceding month. He passed through
Buffalo only two weeks after the destruction of that village by the British and
Indians, when the whole site of the present city contained but one little log
house, then occupied by a widow. Richard B. Miller died in Kentucky on the
10th of June, 1832. Frank R. Miller, who now owns the place, was born upon
it on the 6th of July, 1827.
James Jagger, a native of Suffolk county, L. I., settled in this township in
1815. A brother, Stephen, bought the old John Hood place about the same
time, and continued the operation of the old grist-mill. He was in all respects
an exemplary man. Among his several descendants now in town is his son
Sylvester Jagger. Stephen Jagger died on the 8th of March, 1874, aged
eighty-one years six months and eleven days.
By this time (about 1818) the country began to display here and there the
traces of advancing civilization. The empire of nature showed symptoms of
yielding to the dominion of the rude arts of the woodsmen. There were three
or four families in Sugar Grove village, a few settlers in the beech woods between
Sugar Grove and Pine Grove, besides the men already mentioned, and
a few others. After the passage of the act of 1792 to induce the settlement
of pioneers in Western Pennsylvania, and the subsidence of the Indian difficulties
in 1795, immigration turned its tide in this direction. As already noticed,
a number of the settlers came to this county by the way of Susquehanna
River and Pittsburgh. During the years 1815-16 about thirty families came
from Oneida county, N. Y., and settled principally in Pine Grove, Freehold,
and Sugar Grove. Among those who settled in this town were David Stilson
and Richard B. Miller, already mentioned, and John Tuttle, Joseph Langdon,
and Henry Catlin. Mr. Tuttle resided until his death, some forty years ago,
in the western part of the town. Joseph Langdon cleared a place about a
mile from the village, on the Ashville road, and during the later years of his
life operated a grist-mill. He was born in Berkshire, Mass., on the 13th of
January, 1780, and died here on the 27th of April, 1857. His wife, Survina,
died June 8, 1833, aged thirty-seven years. A number of their descendants
still make Sugar Grove their home.
Henry Catlin, a brother of Mrs. Richard B. Miller, came here about 1816,
and settled on the farm next north of that owned by his brother-in-law. He
was born in Conway, Mass., on the 15th of January, 1785, and died in Sugar
Grove on the 30th of July, 1845. His daughter Julia, now Mrs. L. H. Pratt,
was born in what is now Rushville, N. Y., on the 31st of December, 1814, and
was consequently but two years of age when her father removed to Sugar
Grove. Her retentive and accurate memory, stretching over a period of nearly
seventy years, has been of great assistance to the compiler of this chapter.
At this place should be inserted a sketch of one of the most noteworty of
the pioneers of Sugar Grove, Robert Falconer. He was born in Inveraven,
Banffshire, Scotland, on the 22d of December, 1780. He was descended from
a wealthy and ancient family, who could never forget that they were "lairds"
in the days of Monteith and Wallace and McDoogh, and bravely fought with
Bruce at Brannockburn. Yet Robert was thoroughly republican in opinion
and practice. He was graduated from old Aberdeen in 1808, and soon after
emigrated to America, not only to increase his wealth, but to enjoy its free
republican institutions, to which he was a convert. In this country he married
Eliza, a sister of Henry Catlin and Mrs. Richard B. Miller, who was born at
New Haven, N. Y., on the 15th of October, 1802, and affectionately performed
the duties of wifehood until her death, on the 20th of January, 1850.
For several years after his arrival in the United States Mr. Falconer was engaged
in the purchase and sale of cotton in New York and Charleston, S. C,
sending large invoices to Glasgow, and other parts of Scotland. In 1816 a
brother in Scotland, who never was in the United States, desired to join him
in the purchase of lands, with the intention of making a Scotch settlement,
for which the brother at home was to select and send over an extra class of
emigrants. Accordingly, Mr. Falconer came to Jamestown, N. Y., in 1817,
and passed the summer in examining the surrounding county. He was an
excellent surveyor, and many of our early roads were afterward surveyed by
him. During this visit he would frequently make long trips into the wilderness,
always on foot, and sometimes remaining away for a week. His favorite
resort was along the valleys of the Stillwater and the Brokenstraw. Finally
he selected lands just east of the village of Sugar Grove, which he declared
should be his future home. He returned to New York for his family (by his
first wife) in the winter of 1818, and in the following spring was established
in Sugar Grove. He was at that time deemed to be the most wealthy man in
this part of the country. He loaned considerable money, and was very active
in laying out roads, effecting improvements, and in all ways aiding in the settlement
of the town. In 1829 he removed to Warren, and became interested
in the Lumbermen's Bank, of which he was made president. Through the
rascality of those who were supposed to be its friends and supporters, the bank
was broken, and in his attempts to save it Mr. Falconer lost largely of his
wealth, and suffered a permanent impairment of health. He returned to Sugar
Grove in 1840 a mental ruin, where he died on the 20th of October, 1851.
Yet another prominent pioneer of this town and county was Captain
John I. Willson. He was born at Pleasant Valley, Dutchess county, N. Y.,
on the 15 th of August, 1781. His wife, Mary Elliott, whom he married
in New York city in 1807, was born in that metropolis on the 29th of
August, 1789. Captain Willson's ancestors were from Ireland; Mrs. Willson's
were Scotch. Inclined to a seafaring life, he engaged on board a vessel sailing
from New York when he was about eighteen years of age. Commencing as a
cabin boy, he rose to the command of the brig Franklin, sailing from New
York to the Bermudas, of which he also became part owner. After the enactment
of the embargo on commerce and navigation under Jefferson, he left the
ocean, and with his young wife removed to Upper Canada, where his elder
brother, David Willson, had preceded him, and where he cultivated a small
farm, and taught school winters. In 1819 he removed with his family to Sugar
Grove. About 1821 he there opened a public house (which he purchased of
Robert Miles, and which still forms a part of the present hotel), and made it
for many years the most popular resort for travelers in that section of the
Having retained his fondness for navigation, in 1825 he bought an interest
in the schooner Milan, of Buffalo, and took charge of her as master in the
lake trade. When the steamer Chautauqua, on Chautauqua Lake, was built
he took charge of her for one or two seasons. Then, having purchased an interest
in the schooner Nucleus, on Lake Erie, he was made master. As this
was before the era of steamboats on Lake Erie, the Nucleus participated largely
in carrying passengers, and was fitted up specially for that business. In 1836
he disposed of his interest in the vessel, abandoned navigation, and returned
to his family and home at Sugar Grove. He was a moral and an upright citizen,
temperate in all his habits, and enjoyed the fullest confidence of the community.
He had been educated in the Society of Friends, but was tolerant
and friendly towards other societies. He read much and was a man of intelligence
The children of Captain Willson were Catharine Elliott, married to Charles
Doane, of Aurora, Ontario, and residing there; Martha Clinger, who died
in 1869, unmarried; Mark Willson, and Eliza Willson, who resides at Winona,
unmarried. John I. Willson died on February 16, 1859; his wife died on the
9th of June, 1854. Both are buried in the village cemetery at Sugar Grove.
Mark Willson, only son of John I. Willson, was born in 1818. In early
life he engaged in the mercantile business at Sugar Grove, and was successful
as a merchant. He possessed the confidence of the community in which he
resided, and was regarded as a man of strict integrity and good judgment.
He was elected to the office of justice of the peace when he was only twenty-one
years old, and was continued in the office by re-election for a period of
twenty-five years or over. He also filled the office of postmaster several
years, and was often called to fill various other local offices, which was always
done with credit to himself and satisfaction to the public. Mr. Willson was a
public-spirited citizen, and always ready and willing to aid in every public enterprise,
contributing his full share in both time and money. He did much to
improve the village by the erection of buildings of his own, and by aiding and
encouraging others to do the same.
Although not a member of any church organization, he was ever ready to
aid in the support of all when called upon. In politics he was a Republican,
and often represented his town and village in the county conventions of his
party; and while firm in his political opinions, he was always courteous toward
those whose politics differed from his.
In 1853 he married Elizabeth T. Hallock of Milton, Ulster county, N. Y.
He has four children—two sons and two daughters—all of whom are married except
the youngest son, John I. Willson, who is employed in the Merchants' Bank.
Disposing of his property in Sugar Grove in 1863, Mark Willson removed
with his family to Hastings, Minn., and continued in the mercantile business
for three years, during a part of the time filling the office of mayor of that
thriving city, and in 1866 removed to Winona, Minn., where he has been
since continuously successfully engaged in the banking business, and has for
many years filled the position of president of the Merchants' Bank of Winona.
James Elliott, brother of Mrs. John I. Willson, was the first person buried
in the village cemetery at Sugar Grove—not far from the year 1820.
John Hamilton, father of James C. Hamilton, now a respected citizen of
Sugar Grove, was sheriff of Venango county before the division was effected
that set off Warren county, and frequently came through this part of his district
on a bridle-path. The intimate knowledge of the resources of the country
which thus came to him in the performance of his official duties attracted his
attention to Sugar Grove, and in 1827 he removed hither, where he married a
daughter of David Brown, and where many of his descendants now reside.
He was born in York county, Pa., June 22, 1782, and died October 27,
1857. Catharine, his wife, was born in Belfast, Ireland, March 13, 1789, and
died September 29, 1862.
Not all of the early settlers have received mention yet, however, it being
the object of the writer to give a running account of those who bore a more
conspicuous part in public affairs before locating the several members of the
steady and sturdy yeomanry who performed so useful a part in the settlement
of the country by clearing away the forests and tilling the ground.
Some time between the years 1806 and 1816, as shown by the lists of taxables
in the county, the population of Sugar Grove was increased by the arrival
of Amos York, who gave to York Hill in the eastern part of the town its
name; Alexander Clantz, already mentioned; Thomas Duprey, a blacksmith,
who settled on the road between Sugar Grove village and Chandler's Valley;
David Mathews, who built his dwelling on Mathew's Run, between Sugar
Grove and Youngsville; Thomas Page, who established a settlement near the
farm of the Dalrymple family, and James Sturdevant, at Chandler's Valley.
It was also about this time that John Chandler brought his family to the valley
which has ever since borne his name. Stephen Sweet, a carpenter and
joiner, about this time settled just east of the old Falconer house, near the village
of Sugar Grove. He married a daughter of John Barr and left numerous
descendants in Sugar Grove, several of whom are yet residing there. He was
born on the 6th of September, 1786, and died on the 11 th of November, 1865.
His wife, Mary, was born February 26th, 1806, and died June 13, 1863.
Between the years 1810 or 1812 and 1820 quite a number of the settlers
moved away from this part of the country, probably discouraged by the extreme
and unprofitable hardships of pioneer life. But new forces were continually
arriving in such numbers as to counterbalance this efflux, and at the
time of the formation of the township in 1821, the population was in excess of
that at any previous period. Among the new arrivals were the following:
James C. Austin, who taught winter school here for a time, and during the
remainder of the year worked in the tan-yard of David Brown. At a later
date he married a lady of Youngsville and removed in that direction. Nathan
Abbott, who cleared a farm, still called the Abbott place, a little way west of
Wrightsville. He was a good man and citizen, and died quite early. His
descendants are numerous in this town now. David Allen, who married a
daughter of Nathan Abbott, lived in the same neighborhood, and died there
many years ago. Ezra Basset, a cooper, resided with his daughter, Mrs. Silas
Hazen, at the village of Grove; Mrs. Samuel Hall was also his daughter. He
was a very pious man. His death occurred many years ago. Samuel Hall was one
of the early tavern-keepers here. He came about 1820, and lived for a short
time in a small bark-roofed shanty on the site of the house now occupied by
Emri Davis, while his hotel was building. This hostelry stood on the site of
the present bank, and was two stories high. Hall kept tavern there many
years, and died on the 2d of February, 1854, aged seventy-six years. His
wife, Polly W., died on the 11 th of December, 1848, aged sixty eight years.
For some time before his death Mr. Hall operated a grist and saw-mill, which
he had built. Smith Burlingame, who is also mentioned in the list of taxables,
was an employee of Samuel Hall.
Simon Brooks settled about this time at Chandler's Valley. Joseph Berlin
was an early settler—an Englishman—right on the ground now occupied by
the village of Sugar Grove. He was a farmer. He died about 1835. Cornelius
Bassett (not related to Ezra Basset), lived thus early on the farm next
west .to that occupied by Joseph Berlin, towards Watt's Flats. After a few
years he removed from the county. Asa Curtis was a shoemaker, and built
the house just east of the village of Sugar Grove, now occupied by Charles
Temple. Curtis afterward went to Warren. John Chambers came from England,
it is said, with Joseph Berlin, a fellow-bachelor, and lived for a number
of years with him. Chambers then married and worked his farm until he died.
Randall Evans settled at Chandler's Valley and cultivated a large farm there
until his death. His descendants are numerous in that part of the township
now. Samuel Foster, a gunsmith and blacksmith, married a daughter of
Alexander Clantz, and lived near the bridge in the village of Sugar Grove. He
was a good and an active citizen, and came to his death in 1837, while acting as
constable, by being thrown from a horse. Thomas Fox, a farmer, lived on the
place owned by Robert Falconer, and left descendants which are yet in town.
His brother David lived on Stilson Hill, and died there many years ago.
Annum Gregory settled at first at Chandler's Valley, and afterwards removed
to a place about a mile east of Sugar Grove village. Mrs. Putnam Bugby, of
Chandler's Valley, is his daughter. Thomas Green came from Gorham, N. Y.,
in 1816, with Henry Catlin, and settled near Cornelius Bassett, where he died a
number of years ago. His descendants reside in the same neighborhood now.
Otis Green, brother of Thomas, came from the same place a few years later,
and after living near his brother for some time, settled on the place just off that
now owned and occupied by L. H. Pratt, where his death occurred. He was
born in Massachusetts December 26, 1799, and died May 11, 1877. Silas
Hazen, whose name has been before mentioned, dwelt in a house, still standing,
opposite the residence of Emri Davis. Hazen was a farmer and brickmaker,
but did not remain in town longer than about ten years, when he removed to
Michigan. Moses Harmon, grandfather of Hosea Harmon, resided in the eastern
part of the township. For information concerning this family the reader is
referred to the sketch of Hosea Harmon, in later pages of this book. James
and John Lowther, with two of their sisters, came from Ireland and settled in
the northeastern part of the town. John married a daughter of John Hood.
They were successful and industrious. Marcus Leonard, mentioned in the
list, is not known to have been a freeholder here, but to have taught school in
this town, and to have " boarded 'round." Isaac Lopus, a pensioner of the War
of 1812, is still living in Sugar Grove, on the way to Watt's Flats. His children
have by dint of economy and industry secured themselves a competence.
Ambrose Pratt is another member of that honorable but much-abused class
who earn a livelihood by teaching school. Stephen Smith was for a time a
resident of the village of Sugar Grove, working the Richard Miller farm for
three years. He died at Chandler's Valley. Bemsley Rowley lived about a
mile and a half east of Sugar Grove village, and has descendants in town now.
He died more than twenty years ago. Abraham Strickland lived with his parents
near the New York line, and died suddenly at Willson's Hotel about 1824 or
1825. Valentine Tiffany was a carpenter and joiner and lived in a house of his
own construction, still standing, about one mile northwest of the village of
Sugar Grove. His wife was a daughter of Samuel Hall. Mr. Tiffany removed
to Michigan at a comparatively early date. Lodowick Wright was a millwright
and the builder of Samuel Hall's mills. He lived near the home of
Henry Catlin. He died on the 14th of June, 1828, in the sixty-second year
of his age.
At this period, about 1820, the roads in this part of the country were in a
rough, unfinished condition, mere bridle-paths. The face of the country was
still covered for the most part with thick forests. Chandler's Valley had a
name, but was not yet large enough to deserve the dignity of being called a
village. The village of Sugar Grove was very small. There was a small, unpainted
school building on the site of the present union school-house. An acre
of land had been donated to the " Utica school district" (as it was called, from the
number of families herein from the vicinity of Utica, N. Y.) by John Barr, for the
purposes of erecting upon it a good building for school purposes. The village
had until about this time been known as Brownsville, after David Brown, the
name giving place to that of Sugar Grove about 1821. The inhabitants of the
village during this period have been already mentioned, among the most prominent
being David Brown, Captain Willson, Samuel Hall, John Barr, Silas
Hazen, Samuel Foster, Asa Curtis; and the nearest neighbor outside of the village
was Robert Falconer. The road between Sugar Grove and Jamestown
was extremely rough — at times almost impassable — and was not in a line
with the present road, but lay over the hill. A few years after this the present
Jamestown road was laid out by Robert Falconer, Stephen Jagger, and Hulett
Lott. The principal roads hereabouts were all laid out about 1830.
Sugar Grove has a well-known inhabitant who has gone through experiences
worthy of a permanent record. James G. Brookmire was born in Antrim
county, near Belfast, Ireland, on the 2d of June, 1810, and was the fourth of
nine children. His ancestors were inhabitants of Ulster county, Ireland, whither
they had come from England, probably at a time when war and massacre had
nearly depopulated that part of the country and the home government was encouraging
the immigration thereto of Protestant settlers. His father was a
cotton-spinner and worked in a cotton-mill in Antrim county from about 1790
until old age compelled him to relinquish active business. The son of whom
we write was apprenticed to learn the art of making calico prints, etc., at the
age of fourteen years, and at the termination of his necessary seven years, and
when he was of age, he removed to Philadelphia, in this country, where he
landed on the 4th of July, 1831. After working two years and nine months
at his chosen trade he returned to Ireland to see the girl who was waiting for
him there, and whom he brought back very soon as his wife. At that time
the recent destruction of the United States Bank had produced a panic in business
and he felt the hard times sorely. He moved three times in as many
years, the last time being to Bergen county, N. J. He soon started for Sugar
Grove with his family — a wife and two children — and settled in the unbroken
forest about three miles from the present village. Here he held three hundred
acres nearly. The gold fever of California took hold upon him in 1850 and
he sold fifty acres of his farm to aid him in reaching California. He went by
public conveyance to what is now Kansas City, where he bought in with a
company from Kentucky, and started into the wilderness on the 27th of June.
There were then no white settlements on their way except Forts Kearney and
Laramie. After the party reached Fort Kearney Mr. Brookmire resolved to
break with his companions, whom he did not fancy, although to leave them
was to incur great peril. They refunded, with unusual fairness, all he had paid
in, and permitted him to take as company a well-trained dog. It was a fatal
year—the year of an unexampled inundation of emigrants for the Far West, who
were overtaken with all forms of disease, that decimated their numbers with
pitiless regularity. On his route Mr. Brookmire witnessed wolves digging up
the graves of those who had died and been buried in a shallow trench. He
did not molest them, and was happily surprised to find that they did not seem
eager to disturb him. He fell in with Indians — not the starved and halfclothed
substitute for native grandeur which the government professes to provide
for free of cost at the present day, but the genuine, naked, rifled, mounted
and painted savage. His good fortune did not desert him, however, and he
was well treated by his savage hosts, in consideration of his giving them a portion
of his ammunition. He was nearly drowned in Utah; encountered a
thunder storm on the Rocky Mountain ridge — a bolt of which tore up the
ground at his feet and stunned him for a moment — and at last reached his
destination, where in a few months he was doing well. At this time he heard
from home of a legacy left his family from the old country, and was forced
rather reluctantly to return home. He returned by way of Nicaragua to New
York. Since then several other legacies have come into his possession, and he
is now in more than comfortable circumstances, which he and his wife are
worthy to enjoy.
Early and Present Mills. — The first mill in the present limits of Sugar
Grove township was undoubtedly, as has been stated, the grist-mill of John
Hood, in the northern part of the town. The first grist-mill in the village was
that built by Samuel Hall, as before stated, and which stood near the site of
the present mill of G. Clark. Mr. Hall also operated a saw-mill with the same
water power that impelled his grist-mill. These mills were afterward owned
and operated by Joseph Langdon. The present steam mill on that site was
built in 1856 at a cost of some $8,000, by S. P. Fuller, Russell Clark soon
after purchasing a half interest. Another saw-mill was erected soon after 1835
below the village, and was known as Watkins's mill, from its builder, Horace
Watkins. Another saw-mill stood above the village, its builder being an Englishman
named John Sellers. These were all water mills excepting that erected
by S. P. Fuller; but the diminished volume of the streams which followed the
clearing of the forests have expelled them all from existence. The only tannery
of consequence ever operated in Sugar Grove is that previously mentioned,
belonging to David Brown. Samuel Hall at one time had a small distillery,
but it was short lived. The grist and saw-mill now owned and operated by
M. W. Curtiss and P. Davis, under the firm name of Curtiss & Davis, was
built about fourteen years ago by W. M. Haggerty and E. R. Wheelock under
the style of Haggerty & Wheelock. In a few months Mr. Wheelock sold his
interest to his partner. In January, 1876, Mr. Davis purchased a half interest
in the business. The relation thus established continued until October, 1885,
when Mr. Haggerty was superseded by Mr. Curtiss. The capacity of the gristmill
is estimated at about 400 bushels of grain a day. That of the saw-mill is
stated at 3,000 feet of lumber in every ten hours. Connected with the sawmill
is also a stave and shingle-mill of good capacity. The mills are operated
separately by steam, one engine for the grist-mill and the other engine running
the saw, stave, and shingle-mills.
George Haupin has recently started a cider and jelly-mill in Sugar Grove
village, his first supply of apples for reduction arriving September 23, 1886.
Mr. Haupin has been manufacturer of cider since 1874, during which year he
began the business in Freehold. He has all the appointments of a first-class
mill, and will undoubtedly build up a large business.
The other manufacturing interests of Sugar Grove village are included in
the carriage shop of W. W. Jones, who has been in business here about eight
years, and the harness shop of J. J. Smutz, who came in June, 1883.
Early and Present Mercantile Business.—If we exclude the manufacture
and sale of brick, carried on by Silas Hazen, opposite the old framed house
of David Brown, the first store in town was that kept on the site of the present
residence of C. F. Temple, by John Brown, brother of David Brown. The
next merchant was Henry Higby, who kept store in Sugar Grove village about
1823 or 1824, and was soon followed by Charles Butler. This store was on
the ground now covered by the bakery. Subsequently, in this same building
were Joshua Van Duzen, Pier & Co., and George Mosher. The oldest busi-
ness now in progress in town is the business of H. N. Frazine, dealer in harnesses,
etc., which was established by his father, Newton Frazine, in 1853, in
the same building now occupied by the present proprietor, who succeeded the
founder about fifteen years ago. Mr. Frazine carries from a thousand to
twelve hundred dollars' worth of stock.
The general store of A. G. McIntyre was founded, in 1867, by C. P. Harris.
The firm of Harris & McIntyre was formed in 1881—and the senior
partner withdrew from the business in 1885. Mr. McIntyre carries a stock
which he appraises at about $15,000.
Next in chronological order of establishment is the drug store of L. H.
Darling, which was begun about 1869 by Dr. C. J. Phillips. Since he retired
the several proprietors have been M. W. Lenox, Lenox & Smilie, George M.
Burroughs, and the present owner, who succeeded Mr. Burroughs on the 1st
of January, 1886.
In 1871 Theodore Van Duzen established the furniture business now under
the proprietorship of his successor, M. W. Harrington, whose connection with
the concern dates from 1873. Mr. Harrington carries stock valued at about
W. H. Mix purchased the old brick store in 1872, that being then, according
to his statement, the only brick building in town. From the first he dealt
in drugs, groceries, boots and shoes, glassware, etc. He moved into his present
quarters in 1878. He values his stock at from $6,000 to $8,000.
The firm of Smith, Wheelock & Co. began to deal in hardware, and built
a store for that purpose in the summer of 1873. Successive changes since
then have taken place, and now the sign reads "E. R. Wheelock & Son."
Their stock is estimated at about $8,000 or $9,000.
Augustus Scott, merchant tailor at Sugar Grove village, came about twelve
years ago. The tin-shop and hardware store of John Barlow was started the
same year. Mr. Barlow now carries stock worth $4,000 or $5,000.
J. G., A. M. and A. D. McDonald, under the firm style of McDonald
Brothers, established a general store in Sugar Grove village in 1877, and now
carry stock valued at about $12,000.
Wellman Brothers & Co., drugs and general merchandise.—This establishment
was founded in 1881 by W. D. and D. E. Wellman, who, in the summer
of 1886, formed copartnership relations with the present junior member of
the firm, R. S. Cummings. They have been in their present building two
years at this writing. They carry about $3,000 worth of goods.
The general mercantile business now conducted in the name of Mrs. R. D.
McDougal was started in 1881 by Hardin Hazeltine, her father. Her husband
had charge of the store for about a year, ending in March, 1885, when the
present proprietress assumed the management.
S. G. Stuart began to deal in groceries in Sugar Grove village, on the 4th
of September, 1886.
Physicians, Past and Present.—In the earliest days of the township medical
aid was obtainable no nearer than Jamestown. About the year 1820 Dr.
Hiram Newman came to reside in a house next to the old school-house in
Sugar Grove village. His wife was a sister of Abraham Ditmars. After a
brief stay here of two or three years Dr. Newman sold out to Dr. Hiram Alden,
who lived about three years in the same house. His successor was Dr. Jonathan
Pratt, a single man, who boarded with Henry Catlin three years and then
returned to Ontario county, N. Y. Then arrived another bachelor physician,
Dr. Marcus Whitman, who boarded at Willson's Hotel. Several years afterward
he was followed by Dr. Noah Weld, who lived on the edge of the village
toward Jamestown. He practiced in Sugar Grove a number of years and
until his death, only a few years previous to the last great war. His son, Descartes
Weld, afterward practiced here some time, finally removing to California
for his health, where he died. Dr. Samuel Rogers and Dr. C. H. Smith also
practiced in Sugar Grove a number of years.
Of the physicians at present in practice in Sugar Grove village Dr. W. W.
Seabury is the one of longest standing. He was born in this town on the
17th of August, 1851, and received his medical education at the University of
Wooster, at Cleveland, O. He also took a degree from the Western Reserve
University of Cleveland. The date of his diploma from the first-named institution
is February, 1875. He practiced in Sugar Grove two years under Dr.
C. H. Smith (who is now in Mason City, Iowa), and since then has continued
Dr. W. D. Wellman was born in Harmony, Chautauqua county, N. Y.,
February 15, 1855, and received his medical education at the Eclectic Medical
Institute of Cincinnati, O., from which he was graduated in June, 1881. He
came to Sugar Grove in the following fall.
Dr. W. M. Page received his medical education in the medical department
of the Western Reserve University of Cleveland, being graduated from it on
the 3d of March, 1886. In August following he settled in Sugar Grove.
Dr. Fred A. Morrell was born in Strong, Me., on the 26th of October,
1857, and obtained his professional education at the Long Island College Hospital
in Brooklyn, N. Y., from which he was graduated in June, 1885. He
practiced for some time on the resident staff of physicians of that institution,
and came to Sugar Grove on the 1st of October, 1886.
The only dentist in active practice at the village of Sugar Grove is Dr. H.
B. Arnold, who practiced dentistry in New York State nearly forty years, the
last thirteen of which, before his arrival in Sugar Grove, were passed in Jamestown.
He came here in the summer of 1884.
The Sugar Grove News is the only newspaper ever published in Sugar
Grove, is apparently established on a sound basis, and is published by a veteran
newspaper man, who "cannot remember when he couldn't set type." His father
Adolphus Fletcher, established the Jamestown Journal about 1825 or 1826.
The proprietor of the News is also the founder of the Warren Mail. He was
in Southern Illinois fifteen or twenty years, and came here from Washington,
D. C, where he had been in the employ of the government. The News is a
clean, crisp, well-edited paper, Republican in politics and interesting in matter.
It dates its origin to December, 1884.
Sugar Grove Savings Bank was organized in April, 1877, with a capital
of $25,000. The first officers were W. H. Shortt, president; J. H. Nichols,
vice-president; J. B. Hamilton, cashier; and J. H. Spencer, assistant cashier.
Mr. Shortt is still president, and his son, C. M. Shortt, is the present cashier,
having succeeded Mr. Hamilton in 1878.
Hotels.—The only hotels of any prominence in the village of Sugar Grove
have been that of John I. Willson and his successors, and that of Samuel Hall
—the last building having been destroyed by fire about thirteen years ago,
though it had not been kept as a hotel for some time previous to that date.
As stated in the sketch of Captain Willson, he purchased the hotel (of Robert
Miles) about 1821, and retained the property until about the year 1857, when
he sold out to James Patterson. In the summer of 1859 Aaron Smith succeeded
Patterson, and in one year was followed by James Dennison one year.
Henry Sylvester, now of Sinclairville, N. Y., then came here and remained
about one year. Since his withdrawal the successive proprietors have been
Fred Alvord, William D. Edgerton, H. Harmon, Fred Alvord, George Owen,
Porter Pemberton, David Crull, Jacob Wiggins, and the present proprietor,
Charles Ricker, who assumed charge on the 4th of July, 1886.
Agricultural Society.—The unquestioned pre-eminence of this township in
agricultural matters has occasioned several attempts toward the organization of
societies looking to the advancement of this art, the basis of a country's prosperity.
In the fall of 1857 an agricultural society was formed as a township
organization auxiliary to the county society. It was officered as follows:
H. Pratt, president; F. R. Miller, secretary; Dwight Buell, treasurer. It was
decided that fairs should be held in or near the village of Sugar Grove, and one
or two such fairs were so held. The society now in operation in this township,
however, dates its origin to the year 1874, when it was organized and
soon after chartered. The first president was Darwin Wentworth; the first
secretary, David Jagger, and the first treasurer, E. R. Wheelock. Its purpose
is the advancement of the agricultural, horticultural, and mechanical arts.
No premiums are offered at its fairs to fast horses, no gambling is allowed
on the grounds, nor is any liquor sold. Grounds of about twenty or twenty-
five acres are leased of three parties, and are a pattern of convenience and
beauty. According to its charter, any person purchasing a family ticket becomes
ipso facto a member of the organization, the membership varying from
1,000 to 1,500 in numbers. Once in three years the society elect a member
of the State Board of Agriculture. The present officers are Hon. Emry Davis,
president; David Jagger, secretary, and J. B. Hamilton, treasurer.
G. A. R. Post.—This organization, which was named after James P. Younie,
a brave soldier killed during the last war, was mustered in on the 21st of January,
1885, by post commander J. W. Brighton, of Bear Lake Post. Following
is a list of its officers : Commander, Samuel Lord; senior vice-commander,
W. G. Peckham; junior vice-commander, B. F. Darling; surgeon. J. L. Burroughs;
chaplain, N. J. Cooper; officer of the day, A. D. Frank; adjutant,
William A. Stuart; quartermaster, D. Fulkerson; sergeant-major, H. Arters;
quartermaster-sergeant, William A. Younie.
The Post office.—It is not known exactly when a regular post-office was
established in the village of Sugar Grove, though it seems probable that the
first appointee under the general government was Jeremiah Jolls, who, about
1830, had an office a little to the west of Willson's Hotel. It is stated on
good authority that John Brown, of Harper's Ferry fame, was at one time a
mail carrier through this township, when he resided in Crawford county. Jeremiah
Jolls was followed in his federal office by Joshua Van Duzen, whose office
was in the same building. Since the expiration of his term the following have
basked in presidential favor for more or less brief periods: W. O. Blodgett,
Mark Willson, G. W. Buell, James Patterson, Jacob Horton, C. J. Phillips,
James Stuart. The present incumbent, J. M. Martin, was appointed in May,
Chandler's Valley.—This is a small village in the southeastern part of the
township, containing two general stores, one which is kept by H. Wilson, and
the other by F. A. Sagerdahl; besides the drug store of F. N. Chapin. At
this place Baker & Anderson operate a successful planing, matching, and
shingle-mill; N. W. Dupree manufactures lumber, lath, and shingles; C. P.
Quilliam carries on a cheese-factory; C. J. Sagerdahl and Charles Sundell are
severally engaged in selling and manufacturing wagons and carriages. There
is one hotel, the Ellis House, kept by Benjamin Ellis. H. Wilson is postmaster,
and until recently the only physician here was F. W. Whitcomb. Dr.
Whitcomb was born in Sugar Grove, and remained in his native township until
July 1, 1886, when he removed to Warren. He was graduated from the medical
department of the University of Buffalo on the 21st of February, 1882,
and at once began to practice in Chandler's Valley. He was the first resident
physician of this village.
Chandler's Valley received its name before 1820 from John Chandler, who
came hither from Connecticut about the year 1815, and settled on the flats in
the valley, his house standing on a little rise of ground immediately west of
the flats. The country was then noted for its maple sugar, great numbers of
maple trees covering the surface of this part of the town. Josiah Chandler,
the father of John, came with him, an old man, but died in a few years. John
Chandler had twelve children, four of whom were sons, and of the latter only
one now lives, while but four of the daughters are living. John Chandler was
a hard-working man, was conscientious in the performance of his duty, and
just toward others. He died in the early part of July, 1867. The other early
settlers, most of them, have been mentioned in former pages. About 1859
this portion of the town received a considerable influx of Swedish immigrants,
who now form an important and law-abiding element of its society.
1787 - 1867
Veteran of War of 1812
|Photo courtesy of an anonymous photographer, Find-A-Grave.com
|Chandlers Valley Cemetery
Schools.—The first school kept in Sugar Grove was in 1815, in what was
then known as the Utica school district, embracing the present village of
Sugar Grove. The first schools were supported by individual subscription,
the tuition being valued at from two to five dollars per pupil. The first school
was taught by Betsy Wetmore, who was succeeded by James Brown. Other
early teachers were J. Q. Wilson and Corbin Kidder. As before stated, John
Barr donated an acre of ground to the district for school purposes, which is
still used as a site for the union school. About 1869 Frederick Miles bequeathed
$3,000 to his wife in trust, to be used as a school fund. The present
union school building was erected about this time at a cost of nearly $7,000,
F. R. Miller, James Catlin, and James Younie being the commissioners who
worked in conjunction with the school directors.
Besides this union school and the district schools of the township, there is
an educational institution in the village of Sugar Grove which reflects honor
upon the place, and will, undoubtedly, redound to the elevation of public
morals and opinions. The Sugar Grove Seminary was erected through the
efforts of the Erie Conference of the United Brethren of Christ. The conference
resolved to establish the school (the only one in the conference) at that
point from which the best inducement was offered. The citizens of Sugar
Grove with characteristic liberality subscribed the sum of $8,000 for the purpose,
which, being the largest offer, was accepted, and the building erected in
1883. The first board of trustees was elected two years previously, and was
composed of Rev. J. Hill, who was foremost in his zealous efforts to secure the
establishment of the school, Rev. A. Holeman, Rev. N. R. Luce, Rev. R. J.
White, H. Frick, C. H. Partridge, and Joel Carr. The cost of the building,
an elegant and modern structure, was $20,000, and of the furniture $3,000
more. The school was opened in September, 1884, with an attendance of about
130. The institution, though under the management of the United Brethren,
is entirely non-sectarian, and makes a specialty of music, having a corps of
excellent teachers. The other branches are not, however, neglected. The
first and present principal is Rev. R. J. White. The attendance in the 1885
The religious organization of the United Brethren connected with the school
was effected in 1884, the membership of which now numbers about seventy.
The pastor from the beginning has been and now is Rev. J. Hill. The Sab-
bath-school superintendent is Professor E. H. Hill; class leader, P. Smith;
steward, J. P. Atkins. The average attendance at the Sabbath-school is about
sixty. The congregations at the church meetings are much larger than is indicated
by the statement of membership, there being usually in attendance
upon divine service at the chapel no fewer than 125 persons. The present
board of trustees of the institution is composed as follows: Rev. J. Hill, Rev.
R. J. White, Rev. I. Bennehoff, Rev. N. R. Luce, Rev. A. Holeman, H. Frick,
J. D. Christ. The members of the prudential committee are Rev. J. Hill, J. P.
Miller, T. Fulkerson. Rev. J. Hill is the general agent.
Ecclesiastical. — The first regularly organized church in Sugar Grove township
was the Presbyterian, which was formed in the parlor of David Brown's
dwelling house in 1821 by Rev. Amos Chase. Previous to that, however,
meetings were irregularly held three or four times a year, without regard to
denomination, in the school-house usually. The original members of this
church were David Fox, I. Fitch, Nathan Abbott, W. C. White, Samuel White,
David Stilson, Hannah Tuttle, Matilda Fox, Anna Abbott, Aurelia Wetmore,
Cynthia Fitch, Betsey White, Catharine Stuart, William Stuart, Betsey Stuart,
Robert Stuart, Polly Stuart, James Lowther, Barbara Lowther, Jennet Brown,
Joseph Langdon, Frederick Miles, Catherine Miles, Sally Smith, and Francis
Smith. The first meetings were held in the dwellings of members and in
school-houses. During the year 1834, however, a house of worship was completed
at a cost of about $1,000. This building was of wood and stood outside
of the village proper. Some time between 1865 and 1870 it was moved
within the village limits and repaired at an additional cost of $1,200.
Pastors and stated supplies, in the order of their coming by years, have
been as follows: Amos Chase, 1821; Nathan Harnod, 1825; W. F. Huston,
1831; John McNair, 1832; A. McCready, 1836; Daniel Washburn, 1838;
M. T. Merwin, 1846; N. M. Crane, 1849 to 1854; J. H. Gray, 1862; Samuel
Graham, 1865; William Elliott, 1875 to 1884. The number of present members
is twenty-six, and the present value of church property is $1,500.
In 1838, through the influence, it is said, of a division of the Presbyterian
Church of Jamestown into two organizations, one retaining the Presbyterian
form of government and the other assuming that of the Congregational Church,
a like division was effected in the Presbyterian Church of Sugar Grove. Deacon
Joseph Langdon had originally united with this church with the express
understanding that whenever the vicinity should have Congregationalists sufficient
for the formation of a separate organization, he should be at liberty to
withdraw from the Presbyterian Church, and organize a separate body. In
the above-mentioned year, Deacon Langdon, deeming the time ripe for the
performance of his condition, moved in the church that the organization withdraw
from the Presbyterian and assume the Congregational form of government.
Among the Congregationalists were, besides Deacon Langdon, Henry
Catlin, Amos Wright, L H. Pratt, Clark Dalrymple, Stephen Jagger, Mrs.
Stephen Jagger, Miss Julia A. Catlin (now Mrs. L. H. Pratt), David and Mrs.
Stilson, David and Mrs. Fox, Betsey Stilson, Polly Stilson (afterward Mrs.
Hardin Hazeltine), James Gray, Lydia King (afterward Mrs. Amos Wright),
and Europa Fay. Miss Catherine Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Hazeltine Spencer, and
James Jagger were left almost alone in the Presbyterian Church for a time. This
division subsequently led to a protracted litigation for the possession and ownership
of the church property, which resulted in favor of the Presbyterians.
After the division the Congregationalists held meetings usually in the ballroom
of Samuel Hall's tavern, and also in the ball-room of a small tavern built
by Samuel Foster, but then owned by Samuel Brown. No church edifice was
erected until January, 1849, when the present one was reared. The pastor of
the Congregational Church at the time of the division was Rev. Emery, who
was soon followed by Rev. Hiram Kellogg. The pastors since his departure
have been many, among the last few being D. L. Gear, O. A. Thomas, J. B.
Davison, and W. W. Pringle, the last pastor. The church has at present no
The present officers of the Congregational Church are as follows: Edwin
Hazeltine, S. O. Smith, Noah H. Dalrymple, deacons; Miss Sarah Stoolfire,
treasurer; Noah H. Dalrymple clerk; De Forrest Temple, Sabbath-school
superintendent. A Sabbath-school was organized before the separation from
the Presbyterian Church, under Rev. Harnod, and has since been continued in
both organizations. The property of the Congregational Church is now valued
at about $2,000, including the parsonage.
The first knowledge we have of Methodism in Sugar Grove places the date
of its origin here at about the period between 1825 and 1830. Previous to
that time Sugar Grove had had the misfortune to be counted, as one of the
leading members of that church has said, merely one of the picket posts of
some circuit, and, indeed, practically continued to be so counted until 1855.
Until the last-mentioned date the members were few and scattering, and held
at irregular periods such services as they could in the log house of some settler.
Occasionally also prayer meetings and class meetings were called to keep
up the interest of those who adhered to that faith. Among these pioneers of
Methodism in Sugar Grove are found the names of Gregg, Warner, Carter,
Thorp, Crouch, Andrews, Mahan, Pero, and others. Among the preachers
who conducted meetings previous to 1855, are found the following: Revs.
Todd, Flowers, Demming, Norton, Forrest, Chapman, Graham, Edwards, Lloyd,
Forrest, Blin, Peate, More, Hineball, Holland, and Jones.
In 1840 the first Methodist class was formed in Sugar Grove by Rev. T J.
McClellan and Rev. E. J. S. Baker, preacher in charge. J. Andrews was class
leader. The circuit at that time was called Harmony circuit. During these
years revivals were not uncommon, and were undoubtedly productive of much
good. On the 5 th of October, 1846, a meeting was held at the house of Andrew
Gregg to consider the desirability and feasibility of building a house of
worship. Rev. E. J. S. Baker was in the chair and Dr. J. Andrews acted as
secretary. Resolutions were adopted to the effect that the demands of the
denomination in this vicinity required the erection of a church edifice, and Dr.
J. Andrews, A. D. Jackson, and Stephen Crouch were appointed a committee,
which in accordance of their duty reported at the next meeting, December 28,
1846, in favor of the immediate erection of a house of worship. At this meeting
trustees and also a building committee were elected. The people, however, were
very poor, and considering their circumstances and small number the undertaking
was serious, and reflects credit upon their zeal. Farms were not cleared, and
many were not paid for; money was scarce and the prices of products were extremely
low. Notwithstanding these untoward conditions the contract was let
on the 28th of March, 1848, to Stephen Crouch. After slow and toilsome progress
the edifice was completed, and on the 31st of August, 1852, was dedicated
to the worship of the Most High by Rev. H. Whallon, assisted by Revs. T. D.
Blin, J. Chesbrough, and others. It is truthfully related that when the people
met to cut down and prepare the timber for the building, two women of the
society, Mrs. Dunbar and Mrs. Abigail Fox, sawed off the first log amidst
great shouting and applause. They both died long ago. It is also due to the
memory of Stephen Crouch, who was soundly converted at one of the log cabin
meetings, as he said from a very sinful life, that he rendered indispensable
aid in the building of this church. Until this edifice was completed services were
held in the school-house on the village green. A Sunday-school was at this
time also organized, and has continued in active and successful operation to
the present day.
In 1855 the conference set Sugar Grove off from what was called the Ashville
Circuit, and the new circuit was called Sugar Grove. Rev. E. M. Nowland
was pastor. The following official members were found on the bounds of the
new circuit at the time of its erection: Local preachers, Comfort Hamline, Christopher
McManus; exhorters, David Blodgett, Artemas Woodard, Griffin
Sweet; stewards, John Mahan, Sylvester Howd, Peter Fretts; class leaders,
H. Cooper, S. Howd, J. Andrews, A. Gregg, J. Whitely, A. Woodard, and
Since the year 1855 the influence of the church upon the people has not
been without its good effect. Many of the ministers have been men of force
and usefulness. Revivals of religion have been of frequent occurrence, and
the community have thus been benefited by the elevating influences shed upon
them. Few of the official members of 1855 remain at the present day, most
of them having gone to the other world. In conclusion it may be truthfully
said that the Methodist Episcopal Church of Sugar Grove has been aggressive
in its warfare against sin, and its altar fires have never been permitted to be
for a moment extinguished. Through the years of the Rebellion it occupied
no doubtful position, but was loyal to the Union, and patriotic to the cause.
It has ever been found on the side of right and sobriety. Its ministers have
ever been ready and present to administer the consolations of the gospel to all
classes and conditions of men, to visit and comfort the sorrowing, and dispense
the last rites to the dying and the dead.
The pastors since 1855 have been as follows: 1855-56, E. M. Nowland;
1856-57, M. Colgrove; 1857-58, A. Barras; 1858-59, S. S. Burton; 1859-61,
E.A. Anderson; 1861-63, J. Marsh; 1863-65, D. Mizner; 1865-67, Stocker
and Bush; 1867-69, L. J. Merrill; 1869-72, A. A. Horton; 1872-73, J. P.
Storey; 1873-74, J. P. Hicks; 1874-75, D. H. Snowden; 1875-77, E. K.
Creed; 1877-78, S. S. Bennett; 1878-81, W. O. Allen; 1881-83, C. O. Mead;
1883-85, D. R. Palmer; 1885-86, V. Corneule; 1886-87, Rev. Lindsey.
The value of the church property is at present estimated at $3,700. The
Sabbath-school superintendent is G. Horton. The other officers are as follows :
stewards, W. W. Jones, S. Jones, Mrs. F. Bixford, Mrs. G. Horton; trustees,
Thomas Stuart, A. Shaw, C. Dole, G. Horton, B. H. Wiggins; number of
Sabbath-school teachers and officers, 15; number of scholars of all ages, 111.
The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Hessel Valley Church of Chandler's
Valley. — This church was organized in 1856 by Rev. Jonas Swenson. The
first meetings were held in private houses in different parts of the town, and
were conducted by missionary ministers. Among the original members were
prominent Magnus Hultberg, Lars Samuelson, S. F. Anderson, A. J. Hultberg,
J. P. Swanson, A. P. Morris, and others. The first house of worship was
built even before the permanent organization of the society was effected,
namely, in 1854. It was a framed building, erected at an expenditure of about
$2,000, and stood one mile north from Chandler's Valley village. It was
superseded in 1884 by the present edifice, of brick, which is situated in the
village of Chandler's Valley, and which cost about $6,000. The pastors of this
church in order are as follows: Rev. Jonas Swenson, 1856-58; John Person,
1859-62; C. O. Hultgruen, 1864-70; Henry O. Lindeblad, 1871-79; C. A.
Johnson, 1880-85 ; and the present pastor, A. P. Lindstrom, who came in
1886. At present there are 250 communicants of this church, and a total
membership of 433. The church property is valued at $10,000. A division
of the old church took place upon the erection of the new church edifice at the
Valley, which resulted in a total separation of a part of the congregation and
the formation of a new independent church, which built a new edifice near the
site of the old church.