History of Lily Dale

A History of Cassadaga Camp.  Compiled by W. H. Bach, Lily Dale, N. Y., and Presented as a Premium to the Patrons of The Sunflower.  Lily Dale, N. Y.: The Sunflower Print, July, 1899.



The Cassadaga Campmeeting is located at Lily Dale, N. Y., on the Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley & Pittsburg Railway, midway between Jamestown and Dunkirk, N. Y.

It consists of a tract of fifty-two acres, covered with a growth of fine shade trees, principally Maple, Beech, Birch and Hemlock.  It is located on one of the four Cassadaga Lakes, three being connected by channels that are navigable.

The grounds are divided into blocks by nine streets running east and west and three running north and south, besides the foot paths through the parks.

There are three parks.  Melrose, between the Auditorium and the entrance, Lincoln, extending from the Auditorium north, past the Grand Hotel and around the shore of the lake to the Bowling Alley and Electric Light works and Caldwell in which swings, croquet grounds, etc.; for the amusement of the younger generation can be found.  These parks are filled with flower beds, nice grassy lawns, beautiful shade trees, settees and all that goes to make a delightful summer resort.

Of course, the feature of Cassadaga Camp is its Lecturers and Mediums.  People come from all over the United States and Foreign Countries to spend from a few days to the entire season in order that they may learn the lessons that are taught from its platform.

No attempt will be made to give even a partial list of the names of individuals who have aided Cassadaga Camp to reach the position it now occupies.  Neither will an attempt be made to give the credit for its successs to any set of individuals.  Every visitor has added his or her mite towards its consummation.

In considering the receipts, it must be understood that they represent the receipts from all sources.  Money taken in for all privileges, sale of stocks and bonds, money borrowed and donations.  This money has been expended in beautifying the grounds, buildings, etc., in constructing roads and pathways, buildings, filling in low places, putting in a sewer, electric light and water works system, as well as to meet the expenses of the yearly convocations.

With heartfelt thanks to all who have aided to make this book possible and with the fervent wish that it may be the means of giving a better idea of one of the prominent gatherings of the Spiritualists, it is presented to the Patrons of THE SUNFLOWER, by




New movements or lines of thought are not conceived and carried to a successful culmination by any one individual.  Every great movement is the result of a series of circumstances, trivial in themselves, but collectively making a great change in the thoughts and lives of humanity, be this movement intellectual, spiritual or mechanical.

Such was the case with the Cassadaga Campmeeting.  During the winter of 1844-45 Dr. Moran of Vermont, gave a series of lectures upon Animal Magnetism and Mesmerism, in Laona, N. Y., creating a great deal of interest.  Jeremiah F. Carter, better known to the Spiritualists as Dr. Carter, conceived the idea that mesmeric treatment would improve his health; but Dr. Moran did not stay long enough to make the experiment.  However, while a number of people were gathered in a store, kept by William Graham, the conversation turned upon this topic and Mr. William Johnson, Mrs. Marion Skidmore’s father, suggested making some experiments in emulation of Dr. Morgan.

The gathering agreed to this and Dr. Carter was selected as the subject to be experimented upon.  After a few moments work he passed under control of Mr. Johnson and soon he was able to go into the mesmeric state without the aid of a magnetizer.  While in this mesmeric or magnetic sleep he claimed to be a different individual, giving the name of Dr. Hedges.  Through him, and a number of others who were developed in a similar manner, the people became interested in Spiritualism and a society of Spiritualists and Liberals was organized in 1850.

Laona Society Formed in 1875.

Their meetings continued with more or less regularity, until 1875, when the First Spiritualist Society of Laona was formed.

From the early sixties until 1877 occasional grove meetings, picnics and similar gatherings were held under the auspices of this society and through individual efforts.  Many of the more prominent speakers of that day were engaged and great interest was manifested.

First Picnic June 15, 1873.

Among those who became interested was Mr. Willard Alden who owned what now is the Leolyn Hotel Grounds, better known as the “Old Alden Place.”  This grove was used for general picnic purposes and had been utilized by the Spiritualists and Liberals, as well as by others, for a number of years.  Mr. Alden finally invited the people to a picnic on these grounds Sunday, June 15, 1873, for the purpose of dedicating the grove to the use of Spiritualists and engaged Lyman C. Howe as speaker on that important occasion.  This constituted the first real meeting held on the grounds.

From 1873 to 1877 a one day meeting was held each year which has been lengthened to three days and is still retained as the “June Picnic.”

Dr. Carter Moved by Spirit Voices.

In 1877 Dr. Carter was requested by spirit voices to go to Alden’s at Cassadaga Lake and start a camp meeting there.  For some time he paid no attention to the requests but as they became more urgent, even preventing his sleeping, he finally acceded to the request and walked to Cassadaga from Laona, six miles, for that purpose.  Mr. Alden was immediately interested and agreed to donate the use of the grove.

At the June meeting arrangements were completed and the following committee was appointed to take charge of the arrangements: Milton H. Goodrich, O. G. Chase, David Ramsdell, A. A. Straight, J. F. Carter, A. S. Cobb and Willard Alden.  Mrs. Joan Carter was selected secretary for the committee and Milton H. Goodrich, chairman.  This committee decided to hold a meeting from September 11 to 16 inclusive and the following speakers were engaged: Lyman C. Howe, Mrs. L. A. Pearsall, J. H. Harter, Mrs. E. L. Watson, R. S. McCormick and G. W. Taylor.  The expenses were met by a fee of ten cents, which was collected by Dr. Carter, who stood in the road and requested each one to aid that much towards defraying the expenses.  The shortage was about thirty dollars which the committee paid from their own pockets.

The “Lily Dale” Camp Meeting.

The next year Mr. T. J. Skidmore and Sylvanus Ward were added to the committee, several cottages were built and the meetings were continued successfully and harmoniously until the season of 1879.  This was called the Lily Dale Camp Meeting.

Mr. Willard Alden having passed to spirit life, it was necessary to make new arrangments with his heirs.  First one-third of the gross receipts was demanded for the use of the grounds.  This not meeting with the approval of the committee, twenty-five percent was accepted as a compromise; but this did not satisfy all the members and Mr. Cobb declined to act with the committee for that year.  Mr. Alden finally conducted the meeting.  There was a good attendance.

Several incidents, not of a pleasant character, caused a meeting to be held at Dr. Carter’s Cottage; as they were unable to make satisfactory arrangements for the use of the old grounds, they decided to secure new ones and hold a meeting upon them.

This meeting adjourned and later the same day again convened and organized a society which was to be incorporated under the laws of the state of New York, authorized to conduct meetings, buy and sell real estate and transact such other business as legitimately belonged to it.  This meeting was held August 23, 1879.

The First Board of Trustees.

The first board of trustees consisted of A. S. Cobb, Dunkirk, President; O. G. Chase, Jamestown, Vice President; Thomas J. Skidmore, Laona, Treasurer; Joe W. Rood, Fredonia, Secretary; Linus Sage, M. R. Rouse, Geo. C. Rood and David Ramsdell.  The committee to draft constitution and by-laws consisted of J. W. Rood, A. S. Cobb and H. H. Thayer.  Their work was so well done that but a few trivial changes have been necessary.

The “Cassadaga Lake Free Association.”

Mrs. Amelia H. Colby, (better known to the later converts to Spiritualism as Mrs. Colby Luther) was requested to name the new association, which she did, calling it “The Cassadaga Lake Free Association.”  The necessary papers were signed and the meeting adjourned one week.

This meeting convened August 30th.  The committee had been industrious, having investigated several locations and secured options on several pieces of land on both Cassadaga and Chautauqua Lakes.  After a complete discussion of the subject the present location was selected and instructions given the Board of Trustees to purchase it.

The “Cassadaga” Camp Meeting.

When the board meeting of August 30th, 1879 adjourned, there was much work to be done.  It had been fully decided to purchase the grounds, that they be called “The Cassadaga Lake Camp Meeting Grounds” and the President, Mr. A. S. Cobb, was authorized to secure the services of a surveyor and have the grounds platted in order that lots could be disposed of, and arrangements made for permanent improvements.  The land purchased was about 20 5/8 acres and the price paid was $1845.

With the spirit of enthusiasm that has characterized the entire history of this camp, the officers laid their plans and went to work.  They were ably seconded.  The following Saturday was selected as the time when the work was to be inaugurated and at that time, men, women and children gathered upon the grounds, not afraid to work, but all ready to do their share in clearing the grounds and preparing them for future meetings.

Mr. Cobb Cut the First Tree.

The first tree was cut down by Mr. A. S. Cobb, after which all joined in and with light hearts and their merry laughter joining with the sound of axe and saw, the work of clearing proceeded.

Men, women and children worked.  None were idle.  None were afraid to soil their hands and at that early day, the Cassadaga Camp Ground became what it has since been, a place where woman has held equal privileges with her brothers.  This was but the beginning for many such gatherings were held, in which all joined, and the pleasure of picnic dinners aided the work as many hands made light of the hardest tasks.  The men felled the trees, cut the branches and sawed the logs up into lengths, while the women piled and burned the refuse, or put it into the hollows where it was covered with earth and grass seed planted.

The First Money Given.

Soon after this the first assessment upon the stock which had been subscribed was called for; it was for twenty-five percent of the amount subscribed.  The first person to respond to this call was Mr. N. N. Whitaker, who also loaned the Association the necessary funds to make further improvements.  This loan had been authorized by a meeting of the stockholders at the residence of Mr. T. J. Skidmore, October 23, 1879.

The First Stockholders.

The first list of stockholders was composed of the following individuals: Albert S. Cobb, Abbie C. Cobb, Milton H. Goodrich, D. S. Ramsdell, N. N. Whitaker, Mrs. Kate McCormick, Mrs. Almena Allen, Benjamin Baldwin, A. A. Straight, H. H. Thayer, Freeman Lake, Mrs. Mary A. Leach, Linus Sage, J. B. Hall, A. G. Purple, Lydia Sage, O. G. Chase, Mrs. O. G. Chase, T. J. Skidmore, M. R. Rouse, M. J. Hull, J. E. Holly, Geo. C. Rood, W. P. Baxter.

The next question was that of the disposition of lots for tenting and building purposes.  Some were disposed to sell lots outright while others contended for a lease which would always keep the control of the ground in the hands of the Association.  The latter idea prevailed and it was decided to decline to sell lots but to rent them for a term of years at the nominal price of three dollars per year.  This action has been of great benefit to the camp as it has allowed the greatest freedom in the use of lots, while the plan adopted of compelling improvements upon them within a reasonable length of time has prevented them being held for speculative purposes and has resulted in many more cottages being built.

At this meeting it was also decided to fence the grounds in order that they might be more fully under the control of the Board of Directors.  The three sides not fronting upon the lake were accordingly fenced.  This meeting was held December 27, 1879, at the residence of David Ramsdell, in Laona.

These preliminaries being arranged, it was necessary to wait until spring opened to continue operations.  May 6, 1880, a meeting of the Board of Trustees was held for the purpose of making arrangements for the formal dedication of the grounds.  This was set for June 15, and the time for the first Camp Meeting was announced as July 31, to August 22, 1880.  A committee consisting of O. G. Chase, A. A. Straight and Joan Carter was appointed for the purpose of engaging speakers, also committees for other necessary arrangements.

The First Hotel.

Realizing that it would be impossible to conduct a Campmeeting without a suitable place for eating and sleeping, a meeting was held June 1st at which President Cobb was authorized to arrange for a suitable building for a hotel.  He accordingly arranged with Mr. Benjamin Baldwin for the erection of a two-story Hotel Building.

From early spring until the opening of camp, preparations for the meeting went steadily on.  Trees were cut, some of them burned, others used to fill swamp holes while others were taken to the adjoining mills and made into lumber for the manifold uses found for it.

The Grounds Dedicated.

The Grounds were dedicated Tuesday, June 15, the speaker of the occasion being Mrs. Elizabeth Lowe Watson.  The speakers’ stand was located in the hollow between the Auditorium and the Grand Hotel, was sufficiently large to accommodate three or four people besides a small stand and chairs and was covered with evergreen boughs.  The people brought their lunches and all joined in a picnic dinner while every conceivable plan was used in improvising seats.  Probably no more enjoyable June Picnic was ever held upon the grounds, notwithstanding its many drawbacks.

The First Cottage.

The first cottage upon the Cassadaga Camp Grounds was built by May and Inez Huntington.  It was built upon the “flat iron” where the Campbell Brothers new cottage now stands, before the grounds were bought.  They, however, were not satisfied with the lease and it was removed to the Alden grounds.

Several cottages claim the distinction of being the first one built after the grounds were purchased.  The Sage Cottage appears to have been the first cottage that was built, painted and made in the form of a regular house, although several others were put up at about the same time and only partially finished.

A ticket office was built at the entrance which has since been enlarged, moved across the street and is now used as the Association Office, summer post office and sleeping rooms for speakers engaged by the Association.

The First Chairman.

The hotel opened August 7, 1880 and was in charge of C. B. Turner.  The first arrivals were W. D. Bugbee, Titusville, Pa.; A. Kendall, Erie, Penn.; O. P. Kellogg, who acted as chairman for the season, and W. J. Colville.

The speakers for the season were, O. P. Kellogg, who delivered the opening address, Mrs. A. H. Colby, J. Frank Baxter, W. J. Colville, A. B. Spinney, Giles B. Stebbins and Mrs. H. Morse.  Mrs. Flora Gorton, of Friendship, N. Y., Miss Gleason, Geneva, Ohio and Mrs. Olive K. Smith, of St. Louis, Mo., furnished the vocal music.  Many good mediums were in attendance.

The total cash received by the Association, including the money borrowed, was $1,958.78; the total expenses were $1,983.65.

The board meeting convened Saturday, August 28.  The business was transacted, new arrangements made and the old board re-elected, with the addition of Mrs. Marion Skidmore as Vice-President.

December 24, 1880 a meeting was called for the purpose of attending to business pertaining to payments on the land and in February 1881 another was called to attend to matters that required attention.  Mrs. Joan Carter, Mrs. Elizabeth Purple and O. G. Chase were selected to engage speakers for the following season.

The Board meetings of the winter of 1880-81 transacted merely routine business, although several of them were held.

The second story of the hotel was finished and furnished by private subscription.  The ladies met at the residences of various ones and made bedding while the funds for same were furnished by T. J. Skidmore, A. S. Cobb, Linus Sage, G. C. Rood and others.

The camp of 1881 was held from August 6 to 28.  The speakers were Hon. Warren Chase, J. Frank Baxter, Mrs. Sterling, Nellie T. J. Brigham, George W. Taylor, Thomas Lees, Cora L. V. Richmond, O. P. Kellogg, Mrs. Pearsall, A. B. French, and Mrs. R. S. Lillie.  Music was furnished by the Grattan Smith family, of Painesville, Ohio and Miss Nora Purple.

“Mother of Cassadaga.”

Mrs. Marion Skidmore became intensely interested in the success of the camp during this season and this interest culminated in the success of the camp and the title “Mother of Cassadaga” was conferred upon her in grateful consideration of her labors in its interests.  Her heart, muscle and pocket book were continually at the call of the management.  All honor to her for the unselfish devotion that did so much to make Cassadaga what it is.

The meeting of the stockholders, held August 27, resulted as follows:  A. S. Cobb, President; Mrs. Marion H. Skidmore, Vice-President; T. J. Skidmore, Treasurer; J. W. Rood, Secretary; and Linus Sage, G. C. Rood, Mr. R. Rouse, O. G. Chase, D. S. Ramsdell, O. P. Kellogg, James L. Lott, C. B. Turner, William Fleming, Daniel E. Bailey and Caleb Todd as trustees.  As will be seen, this re-elected the old board and included six additional members.

The First Children’s Lyceum.

The Children’s Lyceum was added to the list of attractions this year and was in charge of Thomas and Tillie Lees, of Cleveland, Ohio.  O. P. Kellogg was selected to arrange with speakers for the following season but as he was unable to attend to it, the arrangements were mostly made by Mrs. Skidmore, who was assisted by A. S. Cobb and W. T. Rood.

The receipts of the camp of 1881 were $1,440.20; expenses $1,448.26.

The hotel had been in charge of C. B. Turner for two years; he not desiring to take it another season, arrangements were made with Alonzo Edwards, who continued its management until 1887.

An Incident.

That none of the originators of the camp had any idea of the proportions to which it was destined to grow is evidenced by a number of incidents.

Among the necessities of the camp was a barn.  Several of the prominent workers started out to locate the site of this important building.  As they went, they discussed the matter and all agreed that it must be so far away from the camp proper that it would not be obnoxious.  They went to the lake shore, then started through the woods until one of their number planted his foot on the ground and said: “Here is the place for the barn.”  It was so far away from the lake that even the water could not be seen through the trees and underbrush and all agreed that it was so far away that it would not interfere with the meetings in any way.

Accordingly a small structure was erected.  It was boarded up and down—but it was added to and built on and today it is called The Grand Hotel.

Like all other organizations, this one met with its reverses.  Although about $1,200.00 was pledged at the organization meeting, on one plea and another only about $500.00 of these subscriptions was paid.  All the rest of the money had to be raised from the people by donations and through renting lots, etc.  The first money received from the rent of lots was from Mr. M. R. Rouse, of Titusville, Penn., amounting to $3.00, which was paid April 17, 1880.  When Mrs. Skidmore took charge of the arrangements, which she did in 1882, she freely advanced what money was needed.  Without this valuable assistance it is doubtful if the movement could have outlived its infancy.

Season of 1882.

The June Picnic for 1882 was held on the 10 and 11 of June, the speakers being O. P. Kellogg and Cephas B. Lynn.  The Board meeting was held June 24.

At this meeting Mr. A. S. Cobb, who served the Association so faithfully as its president, tendered his resignation.  At first it was not accepted but upon its repetition and the wish expressed by him that it be accepted, the board acquiesced.  Thomas J. Skidmore was selected President, although his business kept him away a great deal of the time, but his place was ably filled by Mrs. Marion Skidmore.  The arrangements for the camp of 1882 were carried to a successful culmination principally through the efforts of Mrs. Skidmore and Joe W. Rood.  it opened July 29, and continued until August 27.  The platform talent consisted of Hudson Tuttle, Prof. Bradford, Mrs. A. H. Colby, Mrs. Clara Field, Mrs. Clara Watson, J. Frank Baxter, O. P. Kellogg, Giles B. Stebbins, George W. Taylor, R. S. McCormick, Lyman C. Howe, A. B. French and Mrs. R. S. Lillie.  The Lyceum was conducted by Thomas Lees, assisted by Miss Hattie Myers.  Vocal music was furnished by the A. Grattan Smith Family.

The “Bough House.”

While the “Bough House” was a fine place for speaking when the weather was fine, it was entirely unsuited for a place in which general meetings were to be held as a slight shower or chilly weather made it very uncomfortable.  The advisability of building a suitable Auditorium was considered during this camp and plans for one were drawn by Mr. J. B. F. Champlin.

The election of 1882 resulted as follows: It was decided to reduce the number of the Board of Trustees to seven, which consisted of T. J. Skidmore, Linus Sage, O. G. Chase, C. B. Turner, George C. Rood, M. R. Rouse and J. B. F. Champlin.  T. J. Skidmore was selected President, Mrs. Marion H. Skidmore, Vice-President and Thomas B. Buel, Secretary.  The receipts were $2,190.06, expenses $2,413.43.

At a meeting of the Board held May 8, 1883, the plans prepared by Mr. Champlin were approved and he was selected to superintend the erection of an Auditorium.  It was completed for the camp of that year and has been in constant use ever since.

Season of 1883.

The June Picnic of 1883 was held on the 9 and 10.  The speakers were O. P. Kellogg and Cephas B. Lynn.  The camp session opened August 4 and continued until September 2.  The speakers were Lyman C. Howe, Clara Watson, George W. Taylor, A. B. French, W. W. King, J. Frank Baxter, Mrs. R. S. Lillie, Anna Kimball, O. P. Kellogg, Mrs. A. H. Colby-Luther, Hudson Tuttle and Mrs. Nellie J. T. Brigham.

At the stockholders’ meeting the following Board of Trustees was elected:  Thomas J. Skidmore, Mrs. Marion H. Skidmore, J. B. F. Champlin, C. B. Turner, E. W. Bond, Linus Sage and M. R. Rouse.  Mr. Skidmore was elected as President and Mrs. Skidmore, Vice-President.  Ida M. Lang acted as secretary.  C. B. Turner was selected as Superintendent of the Grounds.  Miss Hattie Myers conducted the Lyceum.  The receipts of the meeting were $4,491.43; expenses, $4,766.41.

Season of 1884.

The June Picnic of 1884 was held June 7-8; the speakers were O. P. Kellogg and Mrs. R. S. Lillie.  The camp opened July 26 and closed August 31.  The speakers were Edgar W. Emerson, George Chainey, R. S. McCormick, Dr. J. H. Randall, George W. Taylor, Mrs. R. S. Lillie, Mrs. Clara Watson, Mrs. E. C. Woodruff, Mrs. Nellie J. T. Brigham, Mrs. Anna Kimball, J. Frank Baxter, Lyman C. Howe and A. B. French, while the Lyceum was conducted by Miss Hattie Myers.

The annual meeting was held August 30 and resulted as follows: Thomas J. Skidmore, President and Treasurer, E. W. Bond, Vice President, Mrs. Marion H. Skidmore, M. R. Rouse, C. B. Turner, A. Gaston and A. H. Frank.  Ida M. Lang continued to act as Secretary.

The receipts were $4,095.32; expenses, $4,190.25.

Season of 1885.

The June Picnic of 1885 was held the 6 and 7 the platform being occupied by O. P. Kellogg and Mrs. Lillie.  The camp convened August 1 and closed August 30.  The speakers were Elizabeth Lowe Watson, Nellie J. T. Brigham, Rev. Samuel Watson, Jennie B. Hagan, Mrs. H. S. Lake, Mrs. S. E. Bishop, Mrs. R. S. Lillie, J. Frank Baxter, R. S. McCormick, Edgar W. Emerson, O. P. Kellog, A. B. French, W. J. Colville and Lyman C. Howe.  Mr. Howe also acted as chairman.  Music was furnished by the A. Grattan Smith Family, John T. Lillie, and Mrs. Ollie Denslow.  The Lyceum was in charge of Mrs. M. E. D. Sperra.

The election of officers resulted as follows:  President and Treasurer, T. J. Skidmore, Vice-President, E. W. Bond.  Trustees, A. Gaston, Mrs. Marion H. Skidmore, H. L. Rowe, C. B. Turner, M. R. Rouse, with Ida M. Lang as Secretary.

The receipts were $4,093.14; expenses, $4,031.62.

Damon’s Orchestra, of Dunkirk, N. Y. furnished music from 1882 to 1885.

Season of 1886.

In 1886 the June Picnic was held on the 5 and 6, the speaker being Charles Dawbarn.  The camp session was from July 31 to August 29.  Mrs. S. E. Biship, Nellie J. T. Brigham, Jennie B. Hagan, Mrs. H. S. Lake, A. B. French, R. S. McCormick, Walter Howell, Lyman C. Howe, J. J. Morse, O. P. Kellogg, G. H. Brooks, J. Frank Baxter.  The meetings were presided over by George H. Taylor and R. S. McCormick.  Mrs. E. W. Tillinghast had charge of the Lyceum and continued in that position several years.  Instrumental music was furnished by the Northwestern Band, of Meadville, Pa.

At the annual meeting business pertaining to the management of the grounds received attention and the entire board of trustees was re-elected; the same officers were retained, with the exception of the secretary, which office had three incumbents this year.

Many improvements were instituted this year.  The booths were removed and the stores moved to more suitable locations, the hotel was enlarged and improved and many other changes took place.

The principal addition to the grounds at this time was the Library which was funded through the united efforts of a number of workers, headed by Mrs. Skidmore and Walter Howell, which will receive more detailed attention in a separate chapter.

The receipts were $5,095.35; expenses, $4,190.25.

Season of 1887.

The June Picnic of 1887 was held the 11 and 12, Mrs. Lillie occupying the platform.  The camp opened July 30 and closed September 4.  Lyman C. Howe, J. Frank Baxter, Walter Howell, W. J. Colville, A. B. French, R. S. McCormick, Dr. J. C. Street, Jennie B. Hagan, Mrs. Cora L. V. Richmond, Mrs. R. S. Lillie and H. S. Lake were the speakers; Dr. Street and George W. Taylor acted as chairmen.  The receipts were $8,308.81.

At the annual meeting of the stockholders it was decided to purchase the grounds laying to the north of the ground then owned by the association which was done, the sum of $2,500.00 being paid for twenty-five acres.

The election resulted in the choice of T. J. Skidmore, M. R. Rouse, W. J. Innis, C. B. Turner, A. Gaston, H. L. Rowe, and Mrs. Marion Skidmore as members of the Board of Trustees.  Mr. Skidmore declined re-election as President and Mr. A. Gaston was selected and has retained the office up to the present time.  Mr. Skidmore consented to continue as treasurer which office he still retains.  Mr. A. E. Gaston was selected as secretary.

Before the meeting of 1888 convened, H. L. Rowe having passed away, J. W. Dennis was selected to fill his unexpired term.  He, with J. W. Innis, began the construction of Library Hall in the spring of 1888.

Season of 1888.

The June Picnic for 1888 was held the 8, 9 and 10 the speaker being J. Clegg Wright.

The camp session opened July 21 and closed September 2, the following speakers being in attendance:

Jennie B. Hagan; Charles Dawbarn, J. Frank Baxter, Cora L. V. Richmond, Mrs. Colby Luther, Mrs. F. O. Hyzer, Samuel Watson, Lyman C. Howe, Mrs. Clara Watson, Walter Howell, Mrs. R. S. Lillie, W. J. Colville, Mrs. Anna Orvis, Dr. J. C. Street, W. F. Peck.

The Annual Meeting was held August 20 and resulted as follows: A. Gaston, President, T. J. Skidmore, Treasurer, C. B. Turner, Mrs. M. H. Skidmore, M. R. Rouse, W. J. Innis and J. W. Dennis.  The office of Vice-President was discontinued this year.  A. E. Gaston was continued as secretary and has filled that position up to the present time.  The receipts were $9,231.95.

Season of 1889.

The June picnic for 1889 was held the 8 and 9, the speakers being Dr. F. L. H. Willis and Mrs. R. S. Lillie.

The camp session opened July 26 and closed September 1, the following speakers being in attendance:

Lyman C. Howe, Mrs. R. S. Lillie, Sydney Dean, J. Frank Baxter, Samuel Watson, Mrs. A. M. Gladding, J. Clegg Wright, J. J. Morse, Mrs. F. O. Hyzer, Walter Howell, Jennie B. Hagan, Cora L. V. Richmond.

The Annual Meeting was held August 19.  The only change in the Board was that D. B. Merritt succeeded W. J. Innis.  The receipts were $7,705.23.

Season of 1890.

The June picnic for 1890 was held the 6, 7 and 8, the speakers being Jennie B. Hagan and Willard J. Hull.

The camp session opened July 25 and closed August 31, the following speakers being in attendance:

Willard J. Hull, Lyman C. Howe, Sydney Dean, Mrs. F. O. Hyzer, J. Frank Baxter, Jennie B. Hagan, Rev. Henry Frank, W. J. Colville, W. C. Warner, Walter Howell, Mrs. Cora L. V. Richmond, Mrs. R. S. Lillie, Mrs. E. L. Watson.

The Annual Meeting was held August 18.  The same Board was elected.  The receipts were $7,735.08.

Season of 1891.

The June picnic for 1891 was held the 5, 6 and 7, the speakers being Willard J. Hull and Mrs. R. S. Lillie.

The camp session opened July 24 and closed August 30, the following speakers being in attendance:

Lyman C. Howe, Mrs. F. O. Hyzer, Miss Jennie Leys, W. J. Colville, Willard J. Hull, Rev. Libby, Mrs. H. S. Lake, Dr. F. L. H. Willis, Hudson Tuttle, Emma Rood Tuttle, Rev. Anna Shaw, Mrs. Cora L. V. Richmond, Mrs. R. S. Lillie, Rev. Henry Frank, Jennie B. H. Jackson, Sydney Dean, Susan B. Anthony.

The Annual Meeting was held August 17.  The Board was re-elected with the exception that J. W. Dennis was succeeded by H. W. Richardson.  The receipts were $7,754.74.

Season of 1892.

The June picnic for 1892 was held on the 10, 11 and 12, Mrs. R. S. Lillie and Lyman C. Howe being the speakers.

The camp session opened July 22 and closed August 28, the following speakers being in attendance:

Lyman C. Howe, Mrs. R. S. Lillie, Mrs. H. S. Lake, W. J. Colville, Mrs. Jennie B. Jackson, Mortimer Whitehead, Robert Schilling, Mrs. Hyzer, Willard J. Hull, Mr. and Mrs. Hudson Tuttle, John P. St. John, Miss Kate O. Peate, Mrs. Cora L. V. Richmond, M. Brosius, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Mrs. Clara Colby, Susan B. Anthony, Rev. Anna Shaw, W. J. Colville, A. B. French.

At the Annual Meeting, which was held August 15, C. B. Turner, was succeeded by Mrs. A. L. Pettingill, the balance of the Board being re-elected.  The receipts were $10,678.93.

Season of 1893.

The June picnic for 1893 was held the 8, 10 and 11 the speaker being Mrs. R. S. Lillie.

The camp session opened July 21 and closed August 27, the following speakers being in attendance:

W. J. Colville, Jennie B. Jackson, O. P. Kellogg, Willard J. Hull, W. W. Hicks, A. B. French, Mrs. Cora L. V. Richmond, Mary S. Howell, Rev. Anna Shaw, Lyman C. Howe, Mrs. H. S. Lake, Hudson Tuttle, Henry Frank, Mrs. R. S. Lillie, and George P. Colby.

The same Board was re-elected, the Annual Meeting being held August 21.  The receipts were $14,083.65.

Season of 1894.

The June Picnic for 1894 was held the 8, 9 and 10, the speakers being Carrie E. S. Twing, Lyman C. Howe and Mrs. R. S. Lillie.

The camp session opened July 20 and closed September 2, the following speakers being in attendance: J. Frank Baxter, Mrs. Carrie E. S. Twing, Rev. A. M. Houghton, J. B. H. Jackson, J. Clegg Wright, L. V. Moulton, Rev. W. W. Hicks, W. J. Hull, Helen M. Gougar, C. L. V. Richmond, A. B. French, Susan B. Anthony, Mrs. R. S. Lillie, Mrs. H. S. Lake, Lyman C. Howe, Virchard R. Gandhi, W. J. Colville, and A. B. Richmond.

The annual meeting was held August 20, the same Board being re-elected.  The receipts were, $12,751.70.

The camp of 1894 is memorable from the fact that it introduced Oriental Thought to the people.  Virchard R. Gandhi, a representative of the Jain Community, of India, spent the entire season on the grounds.  He held classes, which were well attended, taught the Oriental Lore, and gave an entirely new impression of the Orient, whom Western Nations have been disposed to call “heathen” and send missionaries to.  The custom then introduced has been followed and each season some Orientalist has been employed.

Season of 1895.

The June Picnic was held the 14, 15 and 16, the speakers being Mrs. R. S. Lillie, Mrs. Clara Watson and Lyman C. Howe.

The camp session opened July 13 and closed September 1, the following speakers being in attendance: Carrie E. S. Twing, Lyman C. Howe, Jennie B. Jackson, L. V. Moulton, Rev. Henry Frank, Rev. H. O. Sommers, Mrs. C. M. Nickerson, Ida P. A. Whitlock, Mrs. H. S. Lake, Mrs. Cora Richmond, J. Clegg Wright, Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, Rev. Ida Hulton, Thomas Grimshaw, W. J. Colville, W. M. Lockwood, Mrs. R. S. Lillie and A. B. Richmond.

The annual meeting was held August 19.  Mrs. Marion H. Skidmore having passed to spirit life, she was succeeded on the Board by Dr. E. C. Hyde.  The receipts were $17,573.69, which includes $6,239.21 for bonds, an issue of $12,000 having been authorized at the annual meeting.

Mr. H. D. Barrett, who succeeded Dr. J. C. Street as chairman, in 1889, was this year succeeded by George H. Brooks, who has continued to act in that capacity up to the present time and is engaged for this season.

It was decided to purchase the grounds laying between the channel and the railroad station in order that a number of small buildings might be removed and the space made more presentable.  It was purchased for $2,500.00.

Season of 1896.

The June picnic for 1896 was held the 12, 13 and 14 the speakers being Mrs. E. L. Watson and Mrs. R. S. Lillie.

The camp session opened July 11 and closed August 23, the following speakers being in attendance: Robert G. Ingersoll, Mrs. A. E. Sheets, Thomas Grimshaw, Mrs. Twing, Mrs. E. L. Watson, George A. Fuller, Mrs. H. S. Lake, Rev. Anna shaw, Lyman C. Howe, Cora L. V. Richmond, L. V. Moulton, Rev. S. Weil, J. Clegg Wright, Prof. W. M. Lockwood, Rev. W. W. Hicks, Mrs. C. D. Grenameyer, Jennie H. Jackson, Mrs. R. S. Lillie and A. B. Richmond.

The annual meeting was held August 17.  The entire Board was re-elected.  The receipts were $9,853.31.

Season of 1897.

The June picnic for 1897 was held the 11, 12 and 13 the speakers being Moses Hull and Inez H. Agnew.

The camp session opened July 16 and closed August 29, the following speakers were in attendance: A. B. Richmond, Rev. E. L. Rexford, W. W. Hicks, W. C. Hodge, Francis Edgar Mason, Mary E. Lease, Mrs. Cora Richmond, L. V. Moulton, Thomas Grimshaw, May Wright Sewell, J. Clegg Wright, A. H. Dharmapala, Lyman C. Howe, Jennie B. Jackson, Carrie E. S. Twing, and Mrs. A. E. Sheets.

The annual meeting was held August 16.  Mrs. A. L. Pettingill and H. W. Richardson having resigned from the Board, the vacancies were filled by J. H. Osmer and F. G. Neelin, the rest of the Board being re-elected.  The receipts were $7, 134.08.

Season of 1898.

The June picnic for 1898 was held the 17, 18 and 19 the speakers being E. W. Sprague and Mrs. E. L. Watson.

The camp session opened July 15 and closed August 28, the following speakers being in attendance: Mrs. E. L. Watson, Mrs. Jackson, Lyman C. Howe, Mrs. Mary E. Lease, Moses Hull, J. Clegg Wright, Prof. W. M. Lockwood, F. E. Titus, Mrs. Richmond, E. L. Rexford E. W. Wallis, W. J. Hull, Mrs. Carrie Twing, A. B. Richmond, Rev. W. W. Hicks and Mrs. B. J. Harnett.

The annual meeting was held August 15, the entire Board being re-elected.  The receipts were $9,489.06.

Season of 1899.

The June picnic for 1899 was held the 9, 10 and 11 the speakers being Lyman C. Howe, Mrs. Carrie Twing, Mrs. S. Augusta Armstrong and W. W. Hicks.

As this book goes to press the arrangements for the camp of 1899 are rapidly being completed.  The following speakers have been announced: Moses Hull, Mrs. Clara Watson, Mrs. Twing, W. W. Hicks, J. Clegg Wright, Mary E. Lease, Mrs. Harnett, Lyman C. Howe, Charles Whedon, Swami Abhedananda, W. M. Lockwood, Cora L. V. Richmond, J. C. F. Grumbine, Anna L. Gillespie, Hon. E. D. Stark, A. B. Richmond and Rev. Morgan Wood.

Test Mediums.

In addition to the talent already mentioned, the best test mediums have appeared on the platform.  Among them are Edgar W. Emerson, Miss Maggie Gaule, F. Corden White, Mrs. Maggie Waite, J. Frank Baxter, Harlow Davis, Mrs. J. J. Whitney.

Phenomenal Mediums

for all phases have been in regular attendance.  As a complete list cannot be given, it will not be attempted.  Suffice it to say that no matter what phase of mediumship you may wish to investigate, the very best mediums the country contains can always be found at Cassadaga.

Cassadaga Camp

has a number of public buildings.

The principal place of meeting is at the auditorium, near the entrance.  It is built upon a side hill, with a floor 50 x 80, back of which are eleven rows of seats, raised one above the other, making seating accommodations for about fifteen hundred people.  The rostrum is 18 x 50 giving plenty of room for speakers, chairman, band and singers, together with their instruments.

The Auditorium is not enclosed.  It consists of simply a roof, supported by pillars and arranged with curtains that can be lowered to enclose it, when desired, and when the weather is fine, they are drawn up and form an awning making an additional space of about eight feet on each side.  This can be filled with settees and additional seating capacity made.

Library Hall is used for many of the smaller meetings and classes.  The Children’s Lyceum meets there every morning, except Saturday and Sunday, private classes of different kinds during the day.

The Octagon is so called on account of its shape.  It is used as a place for smaller classes, gatherings and for dancing school.

There are several hotels in the vicinity.  The Grand and South Park are located on the Grounds, the Leolyn just outside the gates, the Iroquois at the R. R. Station, the Fern Island about four blocks from the entrance, Shady Side just across the Middle Lake.

The Grand Hotel was the first Hotel built upon the grounds, as previously stated, and it has been run every season since the camp opened.  In 1880 and 1881 it was in charge of C. B. Turner; in 1882-3-4-5-6-7, Alonzo Edwards; 1888-9, C. H. Gregory; 1890, C. E. Wygant; 1891-2, M. R. Rouse; 1893, E. A. Andrews; 1894, Cooke & Gregory; and from 1894 it has been in charge of F. E. Cooke, who has it for the present season.

The Grand is owned by the Association and is leased from year to year.  It has eighty rooms besides parlors and other accommodations.

The South Park House is also located on the Grounds.  It was built in 1890 by C. N. Wilcox.  In 1890-91 it was in charge of Mrs. E. A. Dederick, after which Mr. Wilcox assumed control and has conducted it in connection with his grocery and hardware business.  It has twenty-five rooms and is open the year around.

Early visitors to Cassadaga Camp will remember the Alden House located just outside the gates.  The place was not improved and in 1895 Mrs. A. L. Pettingill purchased it, with the grounds (twenty-three acres,) connected with it, and has improved it until as The Leolyn Hotel it has but few equals.

Shady Side is the beautiful home of Mrs. E. Densmore, and is just across the Middle Lake from the Leolyn.  It is constructed on the Southern Plantation style, with wide verandas and is an ideal home.

The Fern Island House is about four blocks from the camp entrance.  Mrs. D. T. Harris, its genial proprietor, takes great pleasure in giving his guests all the comforts of a country summer home.

The Iroquois is located near the railroad station.  It has twenty rooms, a fine banquet hall and makes a specialty of serving meals and short orders.  The Bennett Cafe, under Bennett’s grocery store is opened regularly each season for table boarders and meals.

For the accommodation of visitors, there are rooms for rent in nearly every cottage on the grounds.  These cottages are well furnished, many of them having upholstered furniture and lace curtains, nearly all being carpeted throughout and they are rented at a low price.  All are furnished with cooking utensils and dishes, many rooms even being supplied with all the necessities for light housekeeping.

Two grocery stores, two bakeries, meat market, hardware, post office, hotels and restaurants, combine to enable the visitor to obtain all that is necessary for the enjoyment of a summer outing.  Even notions are provided for by a notion store.

The Cassadagan.

In 1892 Mr. Gaston feeling the necessity for a paper devoted to the interests of the camp, began the publication of The Cassadagan.  Mr. F. H. Bemis acted as editor for several years.  On account of failing health he was succeeded by W. O. Washburn.  In 1897 Mr. F. G. Neelin, of Seaforth, Ont., publisher of The Seaforth Sun, joined with Mr. Gaston.  The publication office was removed to Seaforth, the paper enlarged and the subscription price made fifty cents a year.

It has been the desire of those intimately connected with Lily Dale, to have a publishing house established on the grounds and a paper published here.  For years this hope was not realized but in the winter of 1897-8 the compiler of this book decided that the time was ripe for a movement to be inaugurated.  Accordingly friends were consulted, announcements made and on August 20, 1898, the first issue of

The Sunflower

appeared.  It was four pages.  This was increased to eight pages in September, twelve in October, sixteen the following May.  Beginning September 15, 1899, it will be issued twice-a-month.

It has a well equipped office, is supplied with the necessary type, presses, and other tools, has a Pierce Gas Engine to supply power and is in shape to publish not only the paper, but books, pamphlets and all classes of printed matter.  It is the aim of the publisher to establish a complete publishing house with facilities for publishing and pushing the sale of all classes of Spiritualistic, Freethought and Progressive Literature.

The Sunflower Pagoda

was built in 1898 by W. H. Bach.  It is located in the Park, midway between the Grand Hotel and the Auditorium.  It carries a complete stock of books, and takes subscriptions for the Spiritualist Liberal papers.  It also has stationery and other campers necessities for sale.

The Library

was founded in 1886 and on account of the active interest taken in it by her, it was called the “Marion Skidmore Library.”

During the fourteen years of its existence it has been continually added to.  The Association has continually made appropriations in its behalf, entertainments have been given for its benefit and hundreds of volumes have been donated by friends.  It now comprises between twelve and thirteen hundred bound volumes, besides magazines, papers, etc., not bound.  It has many rare books, including bound volumes of some of the earliest Spiritualist newspapers.  It is located in Library Hall and is always in charge of a competent librarian.

The Lyceum

has also been a feature of the camp.  It has been held nearly every day of camp since it was first started and has met with success.  The children take great interest in its sessions, especially the public session held in the Auditorium each Friday morning.  Entertainments are given each session by the children.

The Woman’s Movement

has been another feature of camp and Woman’s Day has usually been the largest of the entire camp.  Mrs. Skidmore invited the Suffragists to meet at Lily Dale in 1887 and for years the Woman’s Tent has been a rendezvous for the people.  Many of the most prominent speakers on the subject have attended the camp in a public or private capacity.


No resort would be complete without proper facilities for the comfort of the attendants.  Cassadaga Camp has Electric Lights, Waterworks, Sewerage System, Bath House, Bowling Alley, Dances twice a week, a good band in constant attendance, in fact, all that is necessary for the comfort, convenience and entertainment of visitors.

Our story must now be concluded.  Cassadaga Camp has opened for its twentieth session with every prospect of a successful season.


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