"The village of Rio is situated in the extreme northwestern part of the town of Otsego, and was laid out in 1864, by N. B. Dunlap, who owned the largest part of the land on which the village has been built. In the month of November, 1864, Mr. Dunlap engaged A. Topliff, County Surveyor, to lay out and plat a portion of his land. This survey was completed and acknowledged November 4. Previous to the 8th day of May, 1868, Mr. Dunlap made three small additions to the village plat, and Mosher, Buchanan, Van Aernam, and Scott all added the same.
N. B. Dunlap and Jacob Ulrich began the erection of business houses about the same time at November, 1864. There was quite a strife between them as to who should complete and then occupy his building. Sixteen years after, each party was confident he was the first. The only building that previously had been erected was that of a small warehouse built by Mr. Welch, for the storage of grain. This warehouse was also used by the railroad company, until the completion of their depot, in the fall of 1865.
The first lot sold was purchased by Jacob Ulrich, on which he erected a hotel, to which was given the name of Rio House. The house was opened in December, 1864, and continued as a successful operation until May, 1875, when it was destroyed by fire. In July, following, Mr. Ulrich began the erection of another house, which was completed and opened for accommodation of the traveling public, November 10, 1875. The new house was larger than the old, and more convenient, with ample room for twenty guests. In 1866, another hotel was erected by Rowland Morris.
The first dwelling-house was built by John Baw, a German shoemaker, who came here early in the spring of 1865. A daughter was born to him in May, of that year, being the first born in the village.
The village post office was first established in the northeast corner of Lowville, in the year 1852. It was given the name of Rio. With the new village was located, one-half mile from this office, it was thought best it should take the same name, as the office would undoubtedly be moved there. Delos Bundy at that time was running a small country store, and was Postmaster at Rio. In the spring of 1865, he moved his store and office into the village, and consequently was the first Postmaster. Mr. Bundy held the office for a few years, and was succeeded by Mr. Emerson, and he in turn, in 1872, by M. J. Leffingwell.
In the winter of 1864-65, Robert Williams and Kennedy Scott started here a lumber yard, being the first to engage in the sale of lumber; Delos Bundy opened the first stock of general merchandise; Dr. Vincent was the first physician; John J. Brown the first legal advisor. In the fall of 1866, W. Davidson put in the first hardware store. In the spring of 1866, Warren Bundy, in company with Delos Bundy, put in the first drug store.
D. Buchanon, in July, 1865, commenced the erection of an elevator, with a storage capacity of 10,000 bushels of grain, which was completed and ready for use in the September following. Mr. Buchanon continued the grain business for two years, when he sold the elevator, it passing through many hands, and in 1879, was purchased by F. R. Morris & Co. Mr. Welch, in the fall of 1865, also commenced to build an elevator, but before completion it was sold to Knowles and Binnie. It afterward passed into the hands of Samuel D. Curtus, and was destroyed by fire November 30, 1872.
The village cemetery grounds was donated, in 1848, by Samuel Dowd, and a son of Charles Dowd was the first burial therein.
A joint school district was organized in 1849, composed of a portion of the towns of Lowville and Otsego, the schoolhouse being erected in Lowville. Here the children of the village have been sent. They now have a graded school of two departments.
Methidist Episcopal Church.--A class was organized in 1863, at the schoolhouse in the northeastern part of the town of Lowville. Here religious services were held until the fall of 1868, when services were held at the Congregational Church in the village. In 1869, together with the Baptists, a small building was fitted up for church purposes. The greatest era of prosperity attending the Church was in 1872, when they had thirty-two members on the classbook. In 1879, the number had been reduced to about ten, caused by removals, deaths, and withdrawal.
Congregational Church.--This church was organized in 1863, at the house of David Palmer, two miles east of the village, with O. C. Howe, Juliet Howe, William Scott, Jane Scott, David Palmer, Mehitable Palmer, and Catherine McKenna. For several years, the congregation worshiped in the schoolhouse. In the summer of 1867, they began the erection of a church building: which was completed and formally dedicated in October, 1868. Rev. S. B. Doe, Secretary of the Home Mission Society, preaching the sermon. Previous to this, a sermon was preached in the church on the occasion of the death of Abram Von Aernam, in the spring of 1868. This was the first sermon preached in the house. The church has held the services of, as Pastor, of Revs. Donaldson, Thompson, Brown, Fairfeild, Logan, Chenyu, Powell, Demacrest, and Ball. In 1879, Kennedy Scott held the positions of Trustee, Deacon, and Treasurer; Caroline C. Scott, Clerk. A union Sunday school was organized in 1865. In 1879, Kennedy Scott as superintendent; Mrs. John Weyant, Assistant; Arabella Tifft, Secretary.
Baptist Church.--This church was organized June 29, 1867, with D. Buchanan, Mrs. Buchanan, H. Blemis, M. E. Mosher, L. H. Palmer and wife, J. A. Eliot, Mrs. Wm. Gaskill, M. A. Palmer and wife, Mrs. Herring, and Miss Buchanan. M. E. Mosher was elected clerk. The organization was effected by Rev. Nathan Wood, of Wyocena, who, in 1880, had served thirteen years, being the first and only Pastor. The first meetings of the church were held in the schoolhouse, and continued there until the house was refused them for religious services, when they met in various halls in the village, and for a short time in the Congregationalist Church. In 1873, a building was purchased and fitted for their use. In 1879, the officers of the church were: C. C. Holly, clerk; Sylvester Noble, C. C. Holly, William Gaskel, J. B. Carter, Seth Allen, G. Palmer, Trustees; Roswell Palmer, Seth Allen, Deacons. A Sunday school was organized in 1868, which has had a flourishing existence. In 1879, Roswell Palmer was Superintendent."