Document Found By R. M. Pierce Was Written By Late Lyman Coats.

Oswego Palladium-Times, Saturday, May 27, 1939, Page Five

[Note: This article was written about the time of the Landmarks of Oswego County New York, edited by John C. Churchill, L.L.D., assisted by H. Perry Smith & W. Stanley Child, Syracuse, N.Y., D. Mason & Company Publishers, 1895. Mr. Coats is listed as a contributor to the book. Much of the information in this article also appears in the Landmarks book.]

A document of interest to older residents of the Oswego area has been found by R. M. Pierce of Fruit Valley in the form of a copy of a paper written for the old Union Village Literary Society by the late Lyman Coats, about 50 years ago. Mr. Pierce is sexton of Rural cemetery and represents the third generation of men of the Pierce family who have carried out this task. His farm adjoins the property still known as the Coats farm. Rural cemetery is reported to be the largest known in this country which is not incorporated, being privately owned by the Pierce family.

Mr. Coats' account of the history of Union Village, now known as Fruit Valley, tells that [Mr. Asa] Rice came to Oswego October 1797 and first lived in a tent borrowed of the garrison at Oswego. He lived in it until he could build a log house near the center of his farm, which consisted of 600 acres of unbroken forest about three miles west of the present city of Oswego, Some boatman helped him build the log house and he named the place Union Village. At that time there were but three families in Oswego city.

The paper continues as follows: "Mr. Rice's post office in 1880 was in the town of Salina, now Syracuse. Mr. Rice died in August 1822, in the house which stood where our postmaster, D. M. Marshall now resides. I remember attending Mr. Rice's funeral.

"In the spring of 1804 a road was cut from Oswego to Cato by four men at a cost of $40 and was paid for by subscription. Eighteen years from that time, in 1822, the Oswego toll bridge company connected us with Scriba at a cost of $5,000. The road leading from the lake shore to Oswego Center, now Paradise street, was laid out in 1807.

"Asa, Rice and Elizer Brace built a saw mill in the village in 1811 and in 1813 Samuel Farnham built a grist mill which burned in 1869. The first school in the village was taught by Susan Newell in 1813. It was in a log cabin, a little north of the present cobblestone school house. Miss Newell was the aunt of George and Charles Newell of Southwest Oswego. The wooden school house which stood on the site of the present stone school and burned was built in 1816.

"Willet R. Willis put up a cloth dressing and carding machine in 1828. It stood where Dr. Milne's mill recently burned. There has been a tavern in this village most of the time since 1810. The first landlord I remember was Jacob Rayner, Alfred Farnham's grandfather. Arthur Brace kept a blacksmith shop where Mr. McBride's cider mill stands. Mills Brace lived on the place now owned by J. S. Furnise (?), and used to carry the mail once a week on foot from Oswego to Salina before there was a Syracuse. Steven Brace married Louise Rice. They owned the farm and built the house where Mrs. James Pierce now resides. Steven Brace held several times the offices of military captain, justice of the piece and deacon of First Presbyterian church. Chester Brace was a carpenter and lived on the Dugan place. These four Braces were sons of Ellest (?) and Almira Brace, who owned the farm where John S. Furnise resides.

"Daniel Pease married Marion Rice, Asa Rice's oldest daughter, in 1815, and settled on what is known as the Pease farm. My father and I attended the wedding and went with a good horned team and ox sled.

Nathan Farnham came to this village in the fall of 1813, about three months before my father and mother came on January 31, 1814. My mother lived here nine years before going back to visit her father and mother and old neighbors in Massachusetts. William Ingalls and his wife of the town of Volney, former neighbors in Massachusetts, Daniel Pease and his wife and my father and mother went to Massachusetts with a two-horse lumber wagon and team of horses hired of John (Yankee) Milter of Granby. They were six days going and six days returning.

"Ellzer Perry, Sr., Daniel Perry's grandfather, settled in 1800 on the farm now owned by William Clark, and was first supervisor of the town of Oswego which then included the portion of the village west of the fiver after it was set off from the town of Hannibal in 1818. Abram Clark, father of Abram M. and Selden B. Clark, came here May 2, 1815, just 90 days before my arrival. Abram Clark and Sylvanus Bishop were first elders of First Presbyterian church, being named in 1816.

"The first marriage was that of Captain Ford of Sacketts Harbor and Miss Rice in 1800. The first burial was that of a child who died of starvation in 1803, and the first birth that or Thomas Rice in 1801. First burial in Rural cemetery was that of Oliver Watkins in 1803, and Chauncey Foster, sexton of the old ground, says there are more than 600 sleeping there now. Mr. Pierce, sexton of the new ground, says they made their first burial in 185_ and have made 1,752 burials which makes the population of the dead more than 2,350.

"In 1825 the town meeting of Oswego was held at the hotel in Union Village, and included the west side of the village. I have seen the time, at the fall election I could vote at Minetto, Union Village or Oswego village, and have the choice of three days in which to vote. We had for newspapers the Palladium published by John Lord in 1819 and the Free Press published by Richard Oliphant in 1830. A post office was established in Oswego in 1806.

Mr. Coats' paper was submitted to the Times Express for publication, and is entitled Interesting Reminiscences. The Mr. Pierce, sexton, to which it refers, was Morris Pierce, father of R. M. Pierce. Morris Pierce's brother, Volney Pierce, was a general in the Union forces of the Civil War.

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