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History of Borodino


History of Borodino - By Janice Beaman

1700s Borodino is a small hamlet located eight miles south of Skaneateles along the east side of Skaneateles Lake. The land was originally heavy forest used by the Onondaga, Cayuga and the Seneca Indians for gatherings and hunting expeditions. The 1792 Revolutionary War Military Tract no. 88 and 89 represent Borodino. Lot number 88 was given to Philip Fields and lot number 89 was given to Frederick Wybert, neither of whom settled on their land.

In 1794, Onondaga became the 21st of 62 New York State counties. The town of Marcellus was also founded in 1794. Borodino originally belonged to the town of Marcellus. The pioneers of Borodino were New Englanders who were mostly English and from North-River counties who were Dutch, Scotch, Protestant Irish, French and Canadian. The land was covered by hemlock, beech, maple and pine trees. The soil was chiefly sandy and gravelly loam. 1800 - 1850 In 1802 Dr. Jeremiah Bumfus Whiting settled in Borodino. At that time it was called Child’s Corners. Dr. Whiting lived in Borodino until 1819. In April of 1803 a road was opened up from Spafford Corners to Borodino. This is the same road today and was the first road of any kind made in the present town of Spafford. Daniel Burroughs was the first merchant in Borodino and sold his goods out of a log house. (This is the same property Fesko’s IGA was located on until 2003.) Burroughs later sold his property to Horace and Stephen Child.

In 1807 Daniel Wallace Sr. settled in Borodino along with his wife, Molly Low, and four children. They had six more children following their arrival. One of his sons Daniel Jr. (b. April 20 1802) remained in Borodino and at one time he owned over 400 acres of land. Daniel Wallace Jr. married Caroline Marshall and had seven children, Helen M., Napoleon Bonaparte, Demetrius Y., Andrew J., Simon B., Andrew J., 2d, and Santa Anna. The 1810 Census list Jeremy Whiting, Daniel Burroughs, and Daniel Wallace on page 48. A Methodist church was organized in 1809 and the first meetings were held at John C. Hullibut’s home.

On April 8, 1811 the town of Spafford was created out of portions of the original military townships of Sempronius, Marcellus, and Tully. Spafford was named after Horatio Gates Spafford, LL.D., author of a Gazetteer of New York. Horatio purchased a piece of land, provided the first town meeting minutes book, and some library books but never settled in Spafford.

The first town meeting was held at Elisha Sabins home in April of 1812 and town officers were elected. During the town meeting in 1815, Canada thistle was to be cut down in the months of June, July and August to keep the pathways clear. The fine for neglecting this duty was five dollars, which went to benefit the poor of the town. A large number of Spafford’s citizens participated in the War of 1812-1815.

In 1816 Dr. Benjamin Trumbull came to Borodino. The name Borodino was given to the town by him. Borodino, Russia is a village 70 miles southwest of Moscow, where a bloody battle (the Battle of Borodino) was fought on September 7, 1812. Russia fought this battle to stop the advance of the French soldiers, lead by Napoleon Bonaparte, from advancing into Moscow.

The small village of Borodino continued to grow throughout the years. In 1820 Spafford contained seventeen road districts. The 1820 Census list Daniel Wallis, as Wallace is spelled in many places, on page 124 in the town of Marcellus. The first post office was established January 22, 1820 and Daniel Baxter was appointed Postmaster. During the 15th annual town meeting held April 4, 1826 it was voted that “sheep rams shall be taken up until the 10th day of November following.” A fine of five dollars was the penalty for “rams found running at large” during that time period. (Town Record 1812-1835). Sheep were one of the most common livestock raised in Spafford. The sheep were identified by ear markings. The town record book contained a list of owners of the sheep along with their individual ear markings.

On August 25, 1829 the First Religious Society of the Village of Borodino was formed. They built the first church in Borodino, the Presbyterian Church. This is the same building where the Grange is located today. The membership dwindled and the Church closed after only a few years.

The 1830 Census list Daniel Wallace on page 353 in the town of Spafford and Washington Wallace on page 350. In 1830 Jared Carter a Mormon from Vermont opened a mission in Borodino and was baptized into the Church of the Latter Day Saints. I was unable to locate information of the location of this mission. Jared Carter left after two years. John Baxter was appointed Postmaster of Borodino on October 341, 1833. Dr. Beecher settles in Borodino around 1834 for a short while. During the 25th annual town meeting on April 7, 1835 held at Asahel Roundy's home it was voted to raise ten dollars for a new town book; one hundred dollars would be raised for the town's poor the ensuing year. It was also "voted that geese and hogs shall not be free commoners" (Town Record 1812-1835). In 1836 Borodino consisted of a church, 2 taverns, 2 stores and about 20 dwellings. The first tavern was built by Isaac Ryder on the site of the old Churchill House which burned down in 1946. The second by Lewis Davis on the land where John Unckless lived in 1896. Skaneateles 1st railroad was incorporated on May 16, 1836 and was opened September 30, 1840. On March 18, 1840 small portions of Skaneateles were annexed to Skaneateles and Marcellus leaving the present Town of Spafford consisting of 18,900 acres. The 1840 Census list Daniel Wallace, Dr. Isaac Morrell, William Legg, Washington Wallace, John Eddy Jr., Lewis Davis, Thomas B. Anderson, Zara Berry on page 419 in the town of Spafford. All these men's names are associated with Borodino. A Skaneateles woolen factory burned down February 5, 1842, two others were located in Skaneateles Falls along the Skaneateles Railroad. On September 24, 1849 Eleazer E. Fulton was appointed Postmaster of Borodino. There were 800 inhabitants in Borodino in the year 1849.

The 1850 Census lists Daniel Wallace Jr. on page 422 in the town of Spafford. On April 27, 1853 David Becker was appointed Postmaster of Borodino. On October 18, 1853 the Borodino Methodist Church organized at the school house. The organization bought a church building in Skaneateles, dismantled it, transported it down the frozen Skaneateles lake and rebuilt it in Borodino where the M.E. Church stands today. This project was completed in October of 1860. The earliest map of Borodino I could locate was the Fagan Sweet map of 1854.