Quincy Square Museum
East Main Street
Earlville, New York
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Earlville - Past, Present, Future.
Historical and Prophetic Sketch Being Prepared by Mr. John R. Parsons.
John R. Parsons Historical Writings Revisited
In the Beginning - Part II
The coming of the canal and the locating of its storehouse on East Main Street, because it was more convenient to the
Poolville valley, drew the business part of the village to its present center. (The Chenango Canal had a lock located
around what is now 52 East Main Street, known then as Canal Street. Canal related businesses sprang up around the
area of this lock. One such business, the Page Forwarding Company, a successful warehouse/storage business
dealing in selling and buying local farm products, was established by George Page in the 1830s. He built a grand Greek
revival style home nearby. The storehouses in this area have long since disappeared, but Gordon Dresser, a local
painter and member of the QSMA, depicted a typical canal warehouse scene in the following painting.)
Another attempt was made to pull Earlville to the north when the New York & Oswego Midland railroad was built.
Whipple Clark gave the railroad company right of way across two farms and was made a director in the railroad
company. He owned the A. M. Tefft farm and offered to give necessary land for the depot if located up there. This, of
course, aroused the business interests in the village and it was finally built where and as it now stands. (200 East Main
Street, Earlville, NY)
Former New York & Oswego
There was no Volstead law or eighteenth amendment in those days. Whiskey was made by anyone who cared to make
it and was used almost as freely as is milk at the present time. Whiskey was sold in the stores as well as the taverns
and the price was two and three cents a glass. Squire Eldredge, proprietor of the Red City tavern, was an itinerant
preacher and the distillery man. Erastus Daniels was a leader in the Methodist Church.
After Jared Pardwee had operated the Red City tannery a short time, he took Ebenezer Crain as partner. They enlarged
the tannery and carried on the business until 1852. Warner K. Nash, father of Curtis D. Nash, a Poolville man, then
became its owner for nine years along with the Eldredge hotel and Hayward blacksmith shop properties. John Torrey
owned and operated the tannery through the Civil War period after which his brother, Norman W. Torrey, and Gardner
P. Wilson carried it on. When the canal closed, the cartage from and to the railroad put a crimp into the tannery
business that terminated it in Earlville. At one time ten men were employed there and 30,000 hides per year was the
output. Curtis D. Nash is the only man living who ever worked there. He worked "on the beam" and drew $2.00 a day.
(Tanners threw the treated hide over a beam and scraped it with a knife. A man would sit astraddle the beam and draw
the knife towards his body, scraping off the hide.) Common laborers received $1.50 per day. The tannery building was
burned in 1886.
Sixty years ago there was within six miles of Earlville, six tanneries, and eight grist mills that were all making money.
"The mill wheels have fallen to pieces, Ben Bolt
The rafters have tumbled in,
And a quiet that crawls round the walls as you gaze
Has followed the olden din."