A Brief History of Covington

Veterans’ Day is that time of the year that we, as a nation, celebrate and acknowledge the sacrifices that the members of our Armed Forces have made to maintain our freedoms. President Woodrow Wilson first celebrated the practice of commemorating Veterans’ Day on November 11, 1919 as Armistice Day through a proclamation.

One hundred years ago, in 1917, the United States entered the war in Europe to assist the Allies in defeating the Central powers (Germany and Austria-Hungry). All across the United States, young men answered the call to aid in this fight. The Town of Covington was represented by the enlistment of thirteen brave young men. Of these thirteen brave men, two made the ultimate sacrifice: Rollo McDonald Noble and Herbert Jeffers Clark.

Rollo and Herbert were both members of the Covington farming community and were the only sons for each family. Rollo was the 21-year-old son of Walter and Margaret Noble. He enlisted into the United States Naval Reserve Force as a Seaman, 2nd Class and served on the USS Alabama out of Yorktown, Virginia. Unfortunately, he passed away from broncho pneumonia on October 16, 1918 – less than one month before the armistice. Rollo was buried in the Pleasant Valley Cemetery in Piffard, New York.

Herbert was the 24-year-old son of Lyman and Caroline Clark. He enlisted into the United States Army and was assigned as a private in the 307th Infantry that saw action in the European theatre. Herbert’s division saw action in the Battle of Champagne and the Battle of Lorraine. He was killed in action on September 11, 1918. His burial was in the Oise-Aisner American Cemetery in Fere-en-Tardenois, France.

As we honor the sacrifice that these two young men made for our nation, it is important to remember the sacrifice that all our veterans have made for us – both past and present.

Jarius Cruttenden initially settled the Town of Covington in 1806. His homestead was located at the “Big Spring” near Pearl Creek. Other settlers, primarily from the New England area began to move into the area. Initially the early settlers built and lived in log homes, but frame houses quickly followed due to the presence of Sprague’s Saw Mill in what is now Pavilion.

In 1810 or 1811, Captain Levi Beardsley settled 600 acres of land at “Paine’s Corners”. The first wedding in the Town was held at Captain Beardsley’s home in 1814. Thatcher Beardsley became the first schoolteacher in 1815 in a school just south of the Beardsley homestead.

In 1817 this area was officially organized and named the Town of Covington with Jarius Cruttenden as its first supervisor. At this time the Town was a part of Genesee County. The Town was named for General Leonard Covington, who served in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Although not a resident of Covington, the general was well known to the many veterans who had settled in the Town of Covington. In 1841, the Town of Covington became a part of Wyoming County.

The Town continued to grow and businesses flourished. In Pearl Creek, a sawmill, gristmill and carding mill were established. In Covington Center, businesses included a store, hotel, ashery, blacksmith shop, and cabinet and wagon shop.Two doctors resided within the Town; Dr. Daniel White – south of Pearl Creek and Dr. Eben Phillps in Covington Center.

Present day Covington is primarily a residential and agricultural community comprised of 16,224.78 acres with Oat-ka Creek flowing through the Wyoming Valley of the Town.