Preserving the History of Marcellus, NY Since 1960.

Town of Marcellus, New York
Founded 1794

Historical Society

Town of Marcellus Beginnings

On July 4th, 1776, the United States declared its independence.
In that year the Town of Marcellus was nothing but a dense forest of
hardwood and evergreen trees, thick with vines and undergrowth.
No Indian village was ever built here and there were just a few
Indian trails which were traversed for hunting.

On September 6th of 1776, the continental congress of the United
States passed legislation that each State should have its own militia
and that the soldiers should be paid with land which would be
granted to any men who enlisted. On July 25th of 1782, the N.Y.S.
Legislature set apart an area of land which would be used for these
land grants. Onondaga County was formed. At that time
Surveyor-General Simeon Dewitt divided the land area into 25
Military Tracts and named them. It was at this time that the name
Marcellus was given, after Marcus Claudius Marcellus, a famous
Roman General who lived from 268 to 208 BC. At that time the
Township of Marcellus was about ten times larger than it is today.
It included all or parts of Camillus, Skaneateles, Spafford, Marietta
& Onondaga Hill.

The very first settlers came to Marcellus in late 1794, settling on East
and West Hill and in the Marietta area. They included men by the
names of William Cobb, Joab and Rufus Lawerence, Cyrus
Holcomb, Samuel Tyler, John Burtis and the Bowen and Cody
families. The soldiers who originally received lots within Marcellus
from the military tract never settled here. Most of them sold their lots
for a profit. In the Fall of 1795, the first permanent settlers in the area
of the Marcellus Village came. They were Daniel Bradley and
Deacon Samuel Rice.

Together the two men constructed and opened the first mill in
Marcellus, the Rice-Bradley saw mill. It was located at the base of
East Hill on the west side of the creek, and the south side of Main St.
In the Winter of 1795-6, Dr. Elnathan Beach became the first
Physician in Marcellus and constructed the first wood frame house at
what is now 17 East Main St. He also opened the first general store
that same year. In the Winter of 1796-7, the first school house was
built out of logs on upper East Hill. School was taught by the
Honorable Daniel Bradley. In the Spring of 1797, the residents of
Marcellus held their first town meeting in the tavern of Deacon
Samuel Rice.