Historical marker for the Cady Tavern.
The Cady Tavern as it appeared in the early 1900s.
(The following history of the Cady Tavern in Moravia, which still stands, was published in the Auburn Semi-Weekly Journal on March 10, 1908)
PIONEER OF MORAVIA
Mrs. Cady Celebrates 94th Birthday - Once Entertained President Fillmore.
Moravia, March 6. - The 94th anniversary of the birth of Mrs. Sophia Wright Cady was observed today at the home of her granddaughters, Mrs. James Stephens, on Congress street. A number of relatives and friends called on the venerable lady during the day, and left reminders of the occasion. Mrs. Cady is the original hostess of the oldest historical structure in this section.
For many years the Cady tavern, as it was called, was the stopping place of many commercial travelers. Its history has been a varied one, within its walls having also been held general training exercises, church fairs and sessions of justice court. Notable personages have also met in social functions, and no less a feature was the frequent visits of President Millard Fillmore.
Mrs. Cady's early reminiscences of the tavern as it stood when her father, David Wright, was alive are highly interesting. Zadoc Cady, the father of Isaac Cady, moved to Moravia from Montville, bought the premises of Deacon John Stoyell, Sr. This was in 1801. At that time a log house was built, followed a few years later by a more substantial structure.
Mrs. Cady's maiden name was Miss Sophia Wright, her parents being David and Jerusha Wright. Mr. Wright came into this section from Cooperstown, Otsego county, in 1797, and was past 95 years when he died. His wife lived to be 80 years old. Mrs. Cady at one time in her early life taught school at Montville, in a school building located nearly opposite the new building. She taught very successfully.
Isaac Cady's first wife, Miss Sophronia Bartlett, was a cousin of Miss Delia Bartlett of this village, and lived but a short time. Six children survived, none of whom are at present living. He married for his second wife Miss Sally N. Rogers and Miss Sarah M. Cady was the surviving child, but since the last historical sketch was written, has passed away. One of Isaac Cady's first children was the publisher of Morse's Geography. The other members of the family all settled around New York City and Providence.
Since the early days of the history of the tavern Mrs. Cady gained widespread notoriety as a cook, from Albany to Buffalo, the traveler having herd of the cuisine.
Mrs. Cady's father moved to "The Flats," as Moravia's first settlement was called in 1797, and in 1800 opened the first store in a log building near the Quaker meeting house. Zadoc Cady joined the little settlement in 1801. After the log house came the two-story frame building, the former being moved to the rear. An independence Day dance on July 4, 1801, was one of the features of the time.
The early settlers of Moravia were all accustomed to the use of intoxicating liquors as a beverage. Deacons would enter the tavern and freely indulge in "black strap," famous in those days, and elders were grieved to the slighted when the glass was passed around.
The late millionaire, Anthony Shimer of Auburn, was once a boarder at the Cady Tavern, and Mrs. Cady tells an amusing story of the eccentric peddler. Cold victuals received not the slightest degree of discrimination, and the most of the trade of Mr. Shimer must have been from a class of wealthy people, for Anthony was always dressed well and appeared to have plenty of money. That was along in the '40s. From Moravia Anthony went to Locke, where he boarded until the death of his former sweetheart's husband, Mr. Morgan of Auburn, when he returned to Auburn and made his home in that city, marrying the widow.
In the days of Isaac Cady's proprietorship of the tavern, a strong temperance reform made itself manifest, and was the means of transforming the Cady tavern into a temperance house in 1830.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the late noted Woman Suffragist, was a cousin of Isaac Cady.
In a recent sketch of Moravia is mentioned the work of Isaac Cady and Deacon Stoyell in carrying for the slaves who fortunately escaped their cruel masters, and succeeded in teaching this section. Many a wagon left this place in the darkness with a negro concealed beneath the blankets, bound for Skaneateles, whence the trip to Canada was made in safety. The punishment for aiding the colored man was very severe, but the work was regularly carried on and more than one colored man received his liberty.
Mrs. Cady is the oldest living member of the Congregational Church of this village. She joined in 1843. At the recent centennial of that organization, the venerable lady was enabled once more to attend worship within the sacred walls.
Mrs. Cady's husband died on August 26, 1864, aged 69 years. He was very widely known in his latter years ad the leader of the Congregational Church choir. He stood side by side with Deacon John Stoyell on all questions of church policy. A beautiful memorial window of this church, which he loved, is a worthy token of the esteem in which he was held.
The old pear tree, which stood on the site of the present Joseph Dresser house and did duty for nearly 100 years, bore a history of nearly the same length as that of the tavern. When Zadoc Cady came to Moravia in 1801 and built his log house for a tavern, the pear tree was quite small, but soon began to bear, and yielded continuously in its season. It had been grafted four times, all bearing abundantly.
Mrs. Cady retains a remarkable memory and her eyesight, until of late years, has never failed, and the result of the labor of her hands being a bedquilt of many pieces. Mrs. Cady's handwriting is also of a very legible and well chosen character.
According to the usual custom Friday, the relatives and friends of Mrs. Cady met at her house and helped to observe the occasion with appropriate remarks and a beautiful repast.
Sketch of the Cady Tavern by Joyce Smith, based on an old engraving.