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Early History of Brookton Village

Settled by John Cantine, A Revolutionary War General

Had Military Warrant for 1000 Acres in Town of Caroline
Which Was Named After First Child Born There, Caroline Krum

Written by Cantine Lounsbery, for The Journal

The following is from The Ithaca Daily Journal, Thursday 10 Aug 1909, pg 5

John Cantine was a descendant of Moses Cantine who fled from Bordeaux, France, at the time of the persecution of the Huguenots under Louis XIV in the Sixteenth century. He left about the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantz. Tradition says he left so hastily that their dinner was found cooking over the fire by those who entered the house subsequently.

John Cantine was an engineer and surveyor, a state senator from Ulster County for several years, also, a general in the Revolutionary War, and under what was called military warrants he located large tracts of land in Tompkins, Tioga, Chemung and Broome counties. A thousand acres of this land was located in what is now the town of Caroline, named for the first child born in the town (Caroline Krum), the villages of Brookton and Slaterville being situated on this land.

By the efforts of General John Cantine many families were induced to leave Ulster County and settle on these lands of his, quite a number of Dutch families from Ulster settled at what is now Slaterville, but for many years was called the Dutch Settlement.

Charles Cantine, the only son of General John Cantine, owned and operated a grist mill at Stone Ridge, Ulster County. An excellent water privelege and a deed for the thousand acres given him by his father induced him to move his mill machinery from Ulster County to Tompkins County (then Tioga County). Another inducement was the fact that there was not another grist mill nearer than where the city of Elmira is now located (which city is also stands on lands located by the General).

In moving his machinery from Ulster to Tompkins, much of the distance he had to cut his way through an almost trackless wilderness. He erected his grist mill on Six Mile Creek at Brookton (for many years known as Cantine's mills). He built a large house, the first framed house in the town of Caroline, and until quite recent years was always designated as the Cantine Mansion House. The frame is still standing but has been remodeled and is now occupied by the Vorhis family who operate a grist mill on nearly the same site as the original Cantine mill. There have been two mills burned on the same site.

Charles Cantine came here about 1825 and died in 1832. He had one son, also named Charles, who built the house and worked the farm now owned by M. W. Quick. General Cantine died at his son Charles' in the mansion house and was buried in the Cantine cemetery where are buried six generations of the descendants of Abram, father of General John Cantine.

Soon after the death of Charles Cantine the mill property was sold to William Mott. He opened a general merchandise store in the little village that had sprung up. A post office and mail route was etablished. The name was changed from Cantine's Mills to Mott's Corners. The mail route was from Ithaca to Catskill and the mail was carried on horse-back and was left at Mott's Corners Post Office once a week if nothing occurred to prevent. The postage on a letter was one shilling.

To be continued

from The Ithaca Daily Journal, 26 Aug 1909, pg 5

Continuation of the brief history of Brookton, by Cantine Lounsbery

William Mott was a strenuous business man. He built saw-mill, erected dwellings and imported families to occupy these and assist him in clearing his lands of timber and in the manufacture of lumber. To do this work he gave employment to many teams, mainly oxen, and teamsters.

Besides clearing and tilling land, they were occupied in hauling lumber to Ithaca and returning with loads of Cayuga land plaster stone, Mott, also, having built a plaster mill. Each winter several of his horse teams would make a trip to Towanda, Pa., for sleighloads of blacksmith coal, a lump of which was prized highly by boys as a curiosity.

For several years Mott and his family lived in the mansion house. His teams were stalled in a large barn on the triangle just east of the house.

A history of Tompkins County says that about the year 1840 Mott owned six saw-mills on the Six Mile Creek. The writer remembers nine within a radius of a mile and a half of Brookton.

About 1840 Mott built another grist mill 40 rods below the Cantine mill. He built the house now owned by Willis Shurter and moved his family there. This was the first house painted in Mott's Corners. The next outside paint was on a door of John Randal's house. At that time, where Church Street now is, all was a dense wilderness.

The first school house was located on the triangle south of Peter Lounsbery's residence and was built of logs. There was also a log smith shop. Martin Meddaugh was the smith. Another log house near the triangle was occupied by John Warner, other log houses were occupied by Peter Mayo, Ack Dolson, Abram Sawyer, George Mott, McKinney, and Turk. Turk was school teacher.

Other industries than the mills in the forties were brick-yard and kiln by Mandeville, gun factory by Locy & Lull, a newspaper edited and printed by Jewet, a turning lathe and wooden log shop by Stanley, shoe shop by William Shurter, saddle and harness shop by O. Mack, woolen cloth mills by Jacob Vandemark, a barrel manufactory by R. M. Dean, three smith shops by Perry, Cutting and Meddaugh, a tannery and boot and shoe shop by Peter Lounsberry. He was a son-in-law of Charles Cantine and father of the writer.

He came from Ulster County to this place in 1824, was elected first justice of the peace at Mott's Corners, 1839, resigned in 1844 to accept position of Member of Assembly from Tompkins County. George Wolcott was elected justice to fill vacancy. Lounsbery was elected county judge of Tompkins County in 1846, was elected supervisor of town of Caroline in 1860. During his term as county judge, the notorious criminal Edward H. Ruloff was tried and sentenced by him to ten years in state prison for the abduction of his wife and child.

In 1863-4 Lounsbery was assessor of internal revenue for the towns of Caroline and Dryden, object being to raise funds to prosecute the War of Rebellion. Mott's first miller at the upper mill was Jack Chambers, at the lower, Peter Vorhis. He built and operated an extensive pearl-ash plant. It was located a little south of where the hardware store now stands.

It is stated in "Landmarks of Tompkins County" that Moses Roe's grandfather, William Roe, who settled just below Brookton in 1800, had to go to Owego for his first milling. William Roe was in the War of the Revolution. Benona Mulks, grandfather of the Mulks boys now in business at Brookton, was a very important factor in Mott's construction efforts, he was his foreman, as mill right and carpenter.

Mott failed in business about 1855. He had three daughters, the oldest daughter married John Cass, the second A. C. Kingsbury, the third died in her teens. Some of Mott's teamsters and workmen were Amstead Potillow, called "Black Dock;" Jeremia Blackman, called "Black Jerry;" Mudg. Aulthouse, Randal, Crawford and Wilsey. The present political officers at Brookton are Eugene Mitchell, justice of the peace; Judson Bennett, town clerk; Charles Personius, assessor; Fred Lounsbery, post master; merchants, F. & C. Mulks, M. E. Mills and B. Rightmire, hardware; shoe shop, J. Boice; saw-mills, D. White and Fred Anice; grist mills, F. C. Vorhis and Fred Anice; meat market, Deforest Lillibridge; blacksmiths, George Aldrick and Thomas Nuttle.

The first doctor was Andrews. He manufactured his medicine, also, tin boxes in which to distribute it. The present doctor is Lockwood. The first hotel keeper, Abram Sawyer, the last one, Hunt.  

Donated to the Tompkins Co., NYGenWeb Site by Charles Mulks
Thank you Charles for sharing this great history with us.

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