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WAYNE  COUNTY: 1823-1899


( 1824 )


( 1841 )


( 1857 )


( 1858 )


( 1867 )

( 1871-72 )

( 1877 )

( 1895 )

Wayne Co. post-1900  |  Ontario Co.  |  Chenango Co.  |  Broome Co.  |  Index




From: Gazetteer of New York by Horatio Gates Spafford
(Albany: B. D. Packard, 1824)

(See also the author's 1824 Pocket Guide for the Tourist
and Traveler... State of New York
)



586                       APPENDIX. -- New Towns and Counties,                      



WAYNE  COUNTY

Wayne County, erected April 11, 1823, from the NW. corner of Ontario, and the N. end of Seneca County, is situated on the S. shore of Lake Ontario, about 200 miles WNW. of Albany, and is bounded N. on Lake Ontario, E. by Cayuga County, S. by Seneca and Ontario Counties, W. by Ontario County. Area, 508 square miles, or 325120 acres.

Town P. Off. Pop. Imp. Land Post Offices, Villages, &c.
Galen P.T.1 2979 5994 Clyde V. and River, and Erie Canal; Marengo P.O.
Lyons P.T.1 3972 8853 Lyons V., 205 miles from Albany; Newark P.O.; E. Canal
Macedon


erected in 1823, fr. W. half of Palmyra; 20 mi. W. of Lyons
Ontario P.T.1 2233 5312 Inman's X Roads P.O., on Ridge Road; Iron Works
Palmyra P.T. 3724 16292
Palmyra V., 14 miles W. of Lyons; Canal; Mud Creek
(inclusive of Macedon)
Sodus P.T.1 2013 5005 Sodus V. & Bay; Arms's X Roads P.O., on Ridge Road
Williamson P.O.3 2521 7386 Pulteneyville P.O.; S. Williamson P.O.; Rogers's X R. P.O.
Wolcott P.T.1 2867 5534 E. Wolcott P.O.; Port Glasgow; Sodus East & Port Bays
TOTALS 14 20309 54376


                      APPENDIX. -- New Towns and Counties,                       587


The County of Wayne, erected at too late a period for the body of this Work, comprises a very ample area of rich and productive land, and enjoys the navigation of Lake Ontario and the Erie Canal, the latter along its southern border, almost across the County. It is watered by the Canandaigua outlet, and Mud creek, which unite at the Village of Lyons, below which their united waters take the name of Clyde river, and by many other streams, noticed, amply, in the Topography. On the Lake, it has Sodus, Little Sodus, and East Bays, the former a pretty good harbor, all affording, also, some conveniences for the Lake trade. This County took 5 Towns from the County of Ontario, (6, including the new Town of Macedon), Lyons, Macedon, Ontario, Palmyra, Sodus, and Williamson, besides a small piece from the N. part of Phelps, attached to Lyons; -- and 2 from Seneca Co., Galen and Wolcott, all which are minutely described. See those Towns, and see also the Counties, and spare me the labor of three times going over the same ground. In the early period of the settlement of this country, Mud creek was used for navigation, 20 miles above Lyons, in which distance there is a descent of 40 feet, and some use was made of the Canandaigua outlet, to the Lake, though this stream has a descent now ascertained to be 275 feet, much more than was ever imagined to be the descent of those streams, now so useful for hydraulic works. The Clyde river is navigable from Lyons to the Seneca river, 24 miles, though there is a dam at Clyde V., 12 miles from Lyons, and mills, and a lock. The Village of Lyons, the seat of the County buildings, is situated at the junction of Mud creek with the Canandaigua outlet, (below which the stream takes the name of Clyde river) and on the Erie Canal, 15 miles N. of Geneva, 17 W. of Montezuma, 16 S. of Sodus Point, 28 NW. of Auburn, 23 NE) of Canandaigua, and 34 E. of Rochester. It is a healthy place, on a dry alluvial soil, and was originally laid out by G. Williamson, agent for the Pulteney estate. The County buildings are on a handsome Public Square, and there are now 2 meeting-houses, 90 dwellings, 21 mechanics' shops, 12 stores of goods, 3 apothecaries' shops, 2 school-houses, a brewery, 2 tanneries, 2 asheries, 2 warehouses, a dry dock, 5 bridges, and basins and wharves on the Canal. The Canal elegantly embellishes this Village, which has now a population little short of 1000 persons. A Correspondent says, 'the distance to Albany, by the N. Seneca and Montezuma turnpike, via Utica, is 190 miles,' stated by two others at 205 miles, the reason of my giving both distances.

==> When Yates was erected from Ontario County, Yates was entitled to elect 1 Member of Assembly, and Ontario was restricted to 5: By the act erecting Wayne, that county elects 2 members, and Ontario is farther reduced to 3, the number each of those Counties are now entitled to elect. Both Yates and Wayne constitute parts of the 26th Congressional district, and of the 7th Senatorial district.

Statistics. -- Wayne elects 2 Members of Assembly, and forms a part of the 26th Congressional district: Townships, 8; Post-Offices, 14; Population (exclusive of the small annexation from Phelps) 20309; acres of improved land, 54376. For other numbers, see the several Towns. Newark Post-Office, is now in Lyons, as is the Village....





From: Historical Collections of the State of New York
by John W. Barber & Henry Howe
(New York: S. Tuttle, 1841, 1842)



578                                       WAYNE  COUNTY.                                     


WAYNE  COUNTY.

Wayne County was taken from the NW. corner of Ontario, and the N. of Seneca counties in 1823. Greatest length from E. to W. 35 miles; greatest breadth N. and S. 30.

The surface is much diversified; on the N. the ancient beach of Lake Ontario extends with the lake E. and W. from it 4 to 8 miles; forming in its whole course a road through the county, known as the "ridge road." The Erie Canal, for nearly the whole of its devious course of forty-three miles through the county, keeps the valley of Mud creek and the Clyde. The soil is generally highly fertile. The greater portion of the county on the west, including one fourth of the towns of Galen, Rose, and Huron, was in the grant to Massachusetts and in Phelps and Gorham's purchase, passing from those gentlemen to Robert Morris, and from him to Sir William Pulteney, from whom the present possessors derive title. The remnant in the east pertained to the military tract. The county is divided into 15 towns. Pop. 42,068.

ARCADIA, taken from Lyons in 1825; from Albany 186 miles. Newark, 6 miles W., and Lockville 5 miles W. of Lyons, each on the canal, are villages. Fairville is a post-office. Pop. 4,982.

BUTLER, taken from Wolcott in 1826; from Lyons NE. centrally situated 14 miles. Butler and South Butler are post-offices. Pop. 2,287.

GALEN, organized as part of Seneca county, and taken from Junius in 1812; NW. from Albany 172 miles. Pop. 4,245. Clyde, incorporated in 1835, is situated upon the Erie canal, 8 miles E. from

[ image - "Southern view of Clyde." ]

Lyons. The above view was taken on the S. side of the Clyde river, and shows the principal portion of the village. The steeple in the centre of the view is that of the Methodist church, the one to the left the Presbyterian, and that to the right the Baptist. The village is a place of much business, and contains about 130 dwellings.



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HURON, taken from Wolcott in 1826, by the name of Port Bay; from Albany 193, from Lyons NE. 15 miles. Pop. 2,020.

LYONS was taken from the S. end of Sodus in 1811; area since diminished. The surface of the township is hilly, and the soil of an excellent quality. Pop. 4,300.

[ image - "Eastern entrance into Lyons." ]

Lyons, the shire village, was incorporated in 1831. It is situated at the junction of Mud creek with the Canandaigua outlet, (below which the stream takes the name of Clyde River,) and on the Erie canal, 181 miles from Albany, 34 from Rochester, 15 N. of Geneva, and 16 S. of Sodus Point. The village contains about 250 dwellings, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Lutheran, 1 Methodist, 1 Baptist, and 1 Episcopal church, the county buildings, a bank, 2 newspaper printing offices, a number of mills, &c. The accompanying view was taken at the bridge over the Erie canal, at the eastern entrance into the village, and shows in the distance a number of public buildings. The village was originally laid out by C. Williamson, agent for the Pulteney estate, and is said to have derived its name from the similarity of its situation to the city of that name in France. The first settlement was commenced in June, 1798, by emigrants from New Jersey and Maryland. Mr. Van Wickle, from New Jersey, "moved in, along with 40 persons." Alloway is a small manufacturing village.

"In 1834, a white oak tree was cut in this town, two miles west of Lyons, measuring 4 1/2 feet in diameter. In the body of the tree, about 3 1/2 feet from the ground, was found a large and deep cutting by an axe, severing the heart of the tree, and exhibiting with perfect distinctness the marks of the axe at the present time. The whole cavity thus created by the original cutting was found to be encased by 460 years' growth of the wood, i.e., it was concealed beneath 460 layers of the timber, which had grown over it subsequently to the cutting. Consequently the original cutting must have been in the year 1372, or 118 years before the discovery of America by Columbus. The tree was cut by James P. Bartle of Newark, a forwarding merchant, and the timber used by him in building the boat Newark, now belonging to the Detroit line. The cutting was at least six inches deep."

MACEDON, taken from Palmyra in 1823. Macedon Centre, 22 miles NW., and Macedon on the canal, 20 miles W. of Lyons, are small settlements. Pop. 2,397.



580                                       WAYNE  COUNTY.                                     


MARION, originally named Winchester, and taken from Williamson in 1825; from Lyons centrally distant NW. 13 miles. Marion Corners is a small settlement. Pop. 2,158.

ONTARIO, originally named Freetown, and taken from Williamson, was organized as part of Ontario county; centrally distant from Lyons NW. 24 miles. Ontario and West Ontario are the post offices. Pop. 1,903.

PALMYRA was organized by the general sessions of Ontario county, pursuant to the act of 27th of Jan. 1789; since modified. It comprised two townships of Phelps and Gorham's purchase, being No. 12, in the 2d and 3d ranges. The surface of the town is gently undulating, and the soil of a superior quality. Pop. 3,550.

[ image - "Eastern view in Main-street, Palmuta." ]

The village of Palmyra is situated on Mud creek and the Erie canal, 196 miles distant from Albany by the post route, 11 from Lyons, 13 from Canandaigua, and 22 from Rochester. It is a place of considerable business, containing about 250 dwellings, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Episcopal, 1 Methodist, and 1 Baptist church, a bank, 2 newspaper printing offices, a number of mills, &c. The accompanying engraving shows part of Main-street, looking westward.

Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon sect, began his public career in and near this village. The following account of Smith, and his operations, is derived from authentic sources of information.

Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, was born in Royalton, Vt., and removed to Manchester, Ontario county, N. Y., about the year 1820, at an early age, with his parents, who were in quite humble circumstances. He was occasionally employed in Palmyra as a laborer, and bore the reputation of a lazy and ignorant young man. According to the testimony of respectable individuals in that place, Smith and his father were persons of doubtful moral character, addicted to disreputable habits, and moreover extremely superstitious, believing in the existence of witchcraft. They at one time procured a mineral rod, and dug in various places for money. Smith testified that when digging he had seen the pot or chest containing the treasure, but never was fortunate enough to get it into his hands. He placed a singular-looking stone in his hat, and pretended by the light of it to make



                                      WAYNE  COUNTY.                                      581


many wonderful discoveries of gold, silver, and other treasures, deposited in the earth. He commenced his career as the founder of the new sect when about the age of 18 or 19, and appointed a number of meetings in Palmyra, for the purpose of declaring the divine revelations which he said were made to him. He was, however, unable to produce any excitement in the village; but very few had curiosity sufficient to listen to him. Not having the means to print his revelations, he applied to Mr. Crane, of the society of Friends, declaring that he was moved by the spirit to call upon him for assistance. This gentleman bid him to go to work, or the state prison would end his career. Smith had better success with Martin Harris, an industrious and thrifty farmer of Palmyra, who was worth about $10,000, and who became one of his leading disciples. By his assistance, 5,000 copies of the Mormon Bible, (so called,) were published at an expense of about $3,000. It is possible that Harris might have made the advances with the expectation of a profitable speculation, as a great sale was anticipated. This work is a duodecimo volume, containing 590 pages, and is perhaps one of the weakest productions ever attempted to be palmed off as a divine revelation. It is mostly a blind mass of words, interwoven with scriptural language and quotations, without much of a leading plan or design. It is in fact such a production as might be expected from a person of Smith's abilities and turn of mind. The following is a copy of the title page:

"The Book or Mormon: An Account Written By The Hand Of Mormon,
Upon Plates Taken From The Plates Of Nephi.

"Wherefore it in an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites; written to the Lanmnites. which are a remnant of the house of Israel, and also to the Jew and Gentile, written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of Prophecy and Revelation. Written and sealed up and hid up to the Lord that they may not be destroyed, to come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof, sealed by the hand of Moroni and hid up unto the Lord to come forth in due time by the way of the Gentile: the interpretation thereof by the gift of God, an abridgment taken from the book of Ether. Also, which Is a Record of the People of Jared, which were scattered at the lime the Lord confounded the language of the people when they were building a tower to get to Heaven, which is to shew unto the remnant of the house of Israel how great things the Lord hath done unto their fathers, and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, and that they are not cast off forever; and also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile, that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting Himself unto all nations. And now if there are faults it be the mistake of men, wherefore condemn not the things of God that ye may be found spotless at the judgment seat of Christ.

"By Joseph Smith, Junior, Author and Proprietor, Palmyra. Printed by E. B. Grandln, for the Author, 1830."

At the close of the book is "the testimony of three witnesses," viz: Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, in which they state unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, that they have seen the plates containing the record, and the engravings upon them, etc. On the last page is contained the testimony of eight witnesses, of which the following is a copy:

"Be it known unto all nations, kindred, tongues, and people, unto whom this book shall come, that Joseph Smith, Jr., the Author and Proprietor of this work, hath shewed unto us the plates of which hath been upoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands, and we also saw the engravings thereof, all of which had the appearance of ancient work and of curious workmanship. And that we bear record, with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us. for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world that which we have seen and we lie not, God bearing witness of it. Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jr., John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith, Senior, Hyrum Smith, Samuel H. Smith."

In the preface, Smith states "that the plates of which have been spoken, were found in the township of Manchester, Ontario county, New York."

It is stated by persons in Palmyra, that when he exhibited these plates to his followers, they were done up in a canvas bag, and Smith made the declaration, that if they uncovered them, the Almighty would strike them dead. It is said that no one but Smith could read what was engraved upon them; which he was enabled to do by looking through a peculiar kind of spectacles found buried with the plates.

Soon after the publication of the Mormon Bible, one Parley B. Pratt, a resident of Lorrain county, Ohio, happening to pass through Palmyra, on the canal, hearing of the new religion, called on the prophet and was soon converted. Pratt was intimate with Sidney Rigdon, a very popular preacher of the denomination called "Reformers" or "Disciples." About the time of the arrival of Pratt at Manchester, the Smiths were fitting out an expedition for the western country, under the command of Cowdery, in order to convert the Indians or Lamanites, as they termed them. In October, 1830, this mission, consisting of Cowdery, Pratt, Peterson, and Whitmer, arrived at Mentor, Ohio, the residence of Rigdon, well supplied with the new Bibles. Near this place, in Kirtland, there were a few families belonging to Rigdon's congregation, who having become extremely fanatical, were daily looking for some wonderful event to take place in the world. Seventeen of these persons readily believed in Mormoniom, and were all re-immersed, in one night, by Cowdery.



582                                       WAYNE  COUNTY.                                     



(The above is a northern view of the Mormon Hill in the town or Manchester, about 3 miles in a southern direction from Palmyra. It is about 140 feet in height, and is a specimen of the form of numerous elevations in thia section of the state. It derives its name from being the spot, (if we are to credit the testimony of Joseph Smith,) where the plated containing the Book of Mormon were found.)

By the conversion of Rigdon, soon after, Mormonism received a powerful impetus, and more than one hundred converts were speedily added. Rigdon visited Smith at Palmyra, where he tarried about two months, receiving revelations, preaching, &c. He then returned to Kirtland, Ohio, and was followed a few days after by the prophet Smith and his connections. Thus from a state of almost beggary, the family of Smith were furnished with the "fat of the land" by their disciples, many of whom were wealthy.

A Mormon temple was erected at Kirtland, at an expense of about $50,000. In this building, there was a sacred apartment, a kind of holy of holies, in which none but the priests were allowed to enter. An unsuccessful application was made to the legislature for the charter of a bank. Upon the refusal, they established an unchartered institution, commenced their banking operations, issued their notes, and made extensive loans. The society now rapidly increased in wealth and numbers, of whom many were doubtless drawn thither by mercenary motives. But the bubble at last burst. The bank being an unchartered institution, the debts due were not legally collectable. With the failure of this institution, the society rapidly declined, and Smith was obliged to leave the state to avoid the sheriff. Most of the sect, with their leader, removed to Missouri, where many outrages were perpetrated against them. The Mormons raised an armed force to "drive off the infidels;" but were finally obliged to leave the state. By the last accounts, they were establishing themselves at Nauvoo, Illinois; and it is said are now in a more flourishing condition than ever, rapidly making converts by means of their itinerant preachers in various sections of our own country and even in England.

ROSE, taken from Wolcott in 1826; from Albany 177 miles. Rose Valley is a small post village, 10 miles NE. from Lyons. Pop. 2,031.

SAVANNAH, taken from Galen in 1824; from Lyons centrally situated E. 13 miles. Pop. 1,707.

SODUS was organized in 1789; bounds since altered; from Albany 180 miles. Sodus, on the Ridge road, 13 miles NW., and Sodus Point, 15 miles from Lyons, are small villages. At Nicholas Point, on Sodus bay, a body of Shakers settled in 1825. They have a church, but are few in number. At Sodus bay, on Lake Ontario, the United States have made a pier for the improvement of the harbor, of about a mile in length. The lake steamers enter the harbor and bay. Pop. 4,393.

The following is extracted from Thompson's History of the late War:

"On the 18th of June, 1813, the British fleet appeared before the town of Sodus, on a bay of that name, which is formed on the American side of Lake Ontario, between Genesee and Oswego rivers. General Burnet, of the New York militia, suspecting that they



                                      WAYNE  COUNTY.                                      583


intended to land their troops, and capture a quantity of provisions, ordered out a regiment from the county of Ontario. The militia collected in great haste, and arrived at Sodus on the following morning. But the enemy, well knowing that his appearance would excite the alarm of the inhabitants, drew off his forces until their apprehensions should be subsided, and re-appeared in the evening of the 19th, a few hours after the militia had been discharged. In contemplation of his return, the inhabitants had removed all the public stores from the buildings on the water's edge, to a small distance in the woods, and on the re-appearance of the hostile squadron, a second alarm was immediately given, and expresses sent after the discharged militia, which overtook and brought them back, with a large reinforcement. Before their return, the enemy had landed, and finding that the provisions had been removed, they set fire to all the valuable buildings in the town, and destroyed most of the private property of every description. They then agreed to stipulate with the inhabitants, to desist from destroying the remaining houses, on condition of their surrendering the flour and provisions, which they knew had been deposited at that place. These articles were then not more than two hundred yards from the village, yet the enemy did not choose to attempt their capture, lest he might be drawn into an ambuscade; but he threatened the entire destruction of every house in the town, if they were not immediately delivered over to him. The appearance of the militia prevented the execution of this threat, and the enemy immediately returned to his shipping, and moved up the lake on the following morning."

WALWORTH, taken from Ontario in 1829; from Albany 208, from Palmyra NW. 6 miles. Walworth Corners is a small village. Pop. 1,734.

WILLIAMSON, taken from Sodus in 1802; area since altered; from Albany 206 miles. Pop. 2,147. Pulteneyville, 21 miles NW. from Lyons, on Lake Ontario, and Williamson Corners, are small post villages.

The following account of the invasion of Pulteneyville, May 15, 1814, by the British, is from the Ontario Messenger, published at that time at Canandaigua:

"General Porter has received a letter from General Smith, communicating the particulars of the late visit of the enemy to that place, of which the following is a summary: 'On Saturday evening, 15th ult., the British squadron was discovered making towards Pulteneyville, and information sent to General Swift, who repaired thither in the course of the succeeding night with 130 volunteers and militia. On Sunday a flag was sent on shore demanding a peaceable surrender of all public property, and threatening an immediate destruction of the village, (which is on the margin of the lake,) in case of refusal. General Swift returned for answer that he should oppose any attempt to land, by all means in his power. Soon after the return of the flag, General Swift was induced, by the pressing solicitations and entreaties of the inhabitants of the town, to permit one of the citizens to go to the enemy with a flag, and offer up the surrender of the property contained in a storehouse at the water's edge, consisting of about 100 barrels of flour, considerably damaged, on condition that the commanding officer would stipulate not to take any other, nor molest the inhabitants. Before the return of the flag, the enemy sent their boats with several hundred men on shore, who took possession of the flour in the store and were proceeding to further depredations. General Swift, whose force was too inferior to justify an open attack, (and which, if attempted, must have exposed his men to the guns of the whole fleet,) commenced a fire upon them from an adjacent wood, which wounded several, and became so harassing as to induce them to re-embark, whence they commenced a cannonade from the fleet upon the town, which was continued for some time, but with no other injury than a few shot-holes through the houses. Three hundred barrels of good flour had been removed back from the storehouse a few days before, leaving the damaged flour, which was the only booty obtained by the enemy. The three hundred barrels of flour were deposited about a mile back of the town, of which the enemy were apprized by some prisoners they took. But they chose to forego the plunder of it, rather than trust themselves in the woods with General Swift and his riflemen.'"

WOLCOTT, taken from Junius, and organized as part of Seneca county in 1807; area since altered; from Albany 184 miles. Wolcott



584                                       WAYNE  COUNTY.                                     


18 miles NE. from Lyons, is a village of about 60 dwellings. Red Creek is a small settlement, 26 miles from Lyons. Pop. 2,482....














THE  EARLY

HISTORY OF PALMYRA:


A

THANKSGIVING  SERMON,

DELIVERED  AT  PALMYRA,  N. Y.,  NOVEMBER 26, 1857,


BY  HORACE  EATON,

PASTOR OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, PALMYRA, NEW YORK.






PUBLISHED  BY  REQUEST  OF  THE  DESCENDANTS  OF  THE  FIRST  SETTLERS.








R O C H E S T E R:

PRESS OF A. STRONG & CO., DEMOCRAT AND AMERICAN OFFICE.

1858.






[ 3 ]



THANKSGIVING  SERMON.
________


Is. 35:1. -- The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them.

Thanksgiving was first instituted as a social and family festival to commemorate especially the perils, virtues and providential deliverances of the Pilgrims, who, on the 22d day of December, 1620, landed on Plymouth rock. Since then, it has been adopted by nearly every State in the Union as " The Forefather's day," -- in which the early ancestry of every community have justly claimed a share in its reminiscences.

Such reviews are designed to quicken our patriotism and our piety, and give new strength to the roots which bind us to the soil and the principles of our progenitors. It was a noble senti- ment of the ancient Greek, who, while celebrating the valor and firmness of his ancestors, exclaimed, " Dying, I will remember Argos."

I am sure, you will not regard it inappropriate, on this occasion to direct your thoughts to a *past generation, -- to the men, whose names you bear, whose memories you honor, whose land you inherit.

The venerable Stephen Durfee informed us, that the early set- tlers used to gather on the southern brow of " Winter-Green-Hill," from thence to overlook this valley, and mark at different points any impression made by civilized man. The wilderness was dense and heavy, and evinced a deep and a strong soil, well fitted to fix the strong purposes and call forth the strong exertions of strong- men.

__________
* This discourse is principally confined to persons who settled here previous to, or about the year 1800.




4

Sixty-six years have now passed away, and could the same men stand on the same eminence, how striking would be the contrast ! The dark and lofty forest has given away to the waving harvest. Where went up the smoke of the wigwam, now rises the elegant mansion. Instead of the howl of the wolf, are now heard the cheerful sounds of a busy and happy community. Before us are evidences of men and agencies, to whom we may apply the words of inspiration -- " The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them."

It is natural first to refer to the different currents of immigra- tion -- the basis of this population.

In the obscure background of history, we find the sons of the forest, the Iroquois, the general term applied to the "six nations," ranging in lordly freedom through their wild domains. Next, the French claimed the command of this wilderness. At length they gave way to British power. After the Revolution, the treaty of 1783 left it in possession of the victorious colonies. But the indistinctness of the original charts involved Massachusetts and New York in a sharp controversy, -- each State insisting upon its claim to this part of the western territory. This dispute was submitted for decision to commissioners, appointed by the different States, who met at Hartford, December 16th, 1786, and was settled by a compact between the two States, in which New York " ceded, granted, released and confirmed to Massachusetts, all the estate, right, title, and property, (the right of government, sovereignty and jurisdiction excepted,) which the former had to a large territory west of the Military Tract, comprising the whole part of country through which the Genesee runs, from its source to where it flows into Lake Ontario." The amount of land was estimated at about six million acres. By the Legislature of Massachusetts this district, in 1783, was granted to Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham, for the sum of §100,000, and from that time became private property. Phelps and Gorham the same year opened a land office in Canandaigua.

Besides this "Massachusetts Reserve" there was the "Military Tract" These constituted the two general divisions of Western New York. The Military Tract was reserved by an act of the New York Legislature, July 25th, 1782, to be distributed among




5

the officers and soldiers of New York State, who served in the Revolution. It was situated directly east of the Massachusetts' Reserve, or the Phelps and Gorham Purchase. The western line of the Military Tract was drawn "from the mouth of As-so-ro-dus Creek, -- (or Great Sodus Bay -- a contraction of the Indian name,) south, along the western shore of Seneca Lake, and east by a line drawn from the most westerly boundary of Oneida or Tuscarora County, on the Oneida Lake, through the most westerly inclination of the west bounds of Oneida and Tuscarora territory, south, by a line drawn due east from the southern extremity of Seneca Lake." The tract included 1,680,000 acres, and embraces the present Counties of Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Cortland, the greater part of Tompkins, and a small part of Oswego and "Wayne."

Another locality had a close connection with the early settlement of this town.

Wyoming is a beautiful valley along the Susquehanna, in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, twenty-five miles in length and only three in width; lying between two parallel ranges of mountains, crested with oak and j)ine. The scenery around is wild and beautiful, while the valley itself might be chosen for another paradise. This lovely spot has been stained by many a conflict. Before it was coveted by the white man, the Shawanese and the Delawares here shed fraternal blood. The ancient legend rims, that while the squaws were gathering wild fruits along the bank of the river, a child caught a large grasshopper. The pos- session of this insect led to a quarrel among the children. It extended to the mothers, and finally arrayed both tribes in a hostile attitude. The battle was bloody. The Shawanese lost half their number. The remnant abandoned their lands and removed to Ohio.

In 1750, adventurers from Connecticut visited Wyoming. John Jenkins first surveyed and drew a map of that section. The Connecticut Colony in 1754 met a council of the six nations at Albany, paid the Sachems two thousand pounds, and took a deed of the valley. They claimed the right of settlement, also, under the charter of James I., to the Plymouth colony. Their claim was ratified by the first judges in England. In 1762 some




6

two hundred immigrants from Connecticut had settled in Wyoming. While the men were in the harvest field, twenty of them were cut off by the Indians. The Connecticut company in 17G9 made a second attempt to occupy their lands, but they then found certain Pennsylvanians located upon them, who claimed the val- ley under the charter of 1681, given by Charles II. to William Penn. Animosities between these two colonies soon ripened into open hostilities. Three times the Yankees were driven back, and as many times returned. The cause of the Pennamites at length lost sympathy w T ith the masses of Pennsylvania, and the proprietaries were unable to rally a force sufficient to dispossess the Connecticut settlers. In 177-1, Wyoming was constituted a township, named Westmorland, and joined to Litchfield County, Connecticut. It then numbered nineteen hundred and twenty two inhabitants.

In the war of the Revolution, both parties joined in the com- mon defence. June 29th and 30th, 1778, Col. John Butler, with four hundred tories and seven hundred Indians, made a descent upon that settlement. They were then without protection, since they had sent more than three hundred of their young men to join the army of Washington. Col. Zebulon Butler, an Ameri- can officer, rallied the old and young and led them to a feeble resistance. They were overwhelmed by the multitude of their enemies. Two hundred were slain. Then took place that awful "massacre of Wyoming," the horrors of which are too well known to need rehearsal, and the history of which has been im- mortalized by Campbell in his " Gertrude of Wyoming."

At the close of the Revolutionary war, a council, called by the two parties, met at Trenton, New Jersey, December, 1782, and decided the unhappy dispute. The valley was to fall under the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania, -- the Connecticut settlers to be confirmed in the possession of their lands. Dr. Peck, in his his- tory of Wyoming, thus remarks: " The Penns, by the charter of 10 81, were owners of the soil. Their policy was to lay out all the best lands into manors and settle them by tenants under leases. Thus some of the most objectionable features of the feu- dal system were established in Pennsylvania. The Pennamite and Yankee wars were not merely a conflict between the proprietaries




7

of Pennsylvania and the Susquehanna company for the jurisdiction of the country. It was not a mere question of boun- dary, but a question between landlord and tenantry. The ques- tion was one in which the tenantry of Pennsylvania generally were interested, and consequently the cause of the proprietaries was never popular with that class. Wyoming was the battlefield where the question was to be settled whether the people who cultivated the soil slioidd be serfs or freeholders?

From the previous history, it is not strange, that many of the Connecticut colonists preferred to leave their lands and emigrate into other sections. Not a few of these families were connected in their future history with this vicinity. They were the first to discover this wilderness, and open the way for future settlement.

There is a humble stone in the old grave yard of this village, bearing the inscription -- John Swift. But few names are more deeply imbedded in the foundations of this community. Many of the "first things " cluster around it. John Swift was a native of Kent, Litchfield County, Connecticut. When fifteen years of age, he became a soldier in the Revolution, and served seven years till the close of the war. He was one of the Connecticut colony in the valley of Wyoming, and in a bold attempt to fire the Block house of the Pennamites, he was shot through the neck, the ball passing between the spinal column and the esophagus. A like recovery was scarcely ever known in surgery. After the settlement of difficulties, a company of Connecticut people was formed, and John Swift and John Jenkins were appointed agents to select and purchase lands for their occupation. Jenk- ins had been in the employ of Phelps and Gorham, as surveyor, and was acquainted with this section of the Genesee country. In 1TS9, they proceeded to Canandaigua and contracted for township No. 12, of the second range, and immediately began the survey of lots along Mud Creek. They built a cabin just under the brow of the hill, in front of the house now owned by Nelson Reeves. AVhile asleej) there with their assistants, at two o'clock in the morning, four Indians, attracted by the light, put their guns through the open spaces between the logs, killed one man by the name of Barker, and shot a ball through the nose of another by the name of Church. It is probable this




8

attack of the Indians dampened the zeal of the Pennsylvania immigrants. True it is, the Susquehanna company was given up, and Swift, in order to effect a settlement sufficiently formida- ble to render it safe, spent the summer of 1790 in forming com- panies in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

In September, 1790, Swiftmoved his family into this unbroken wilderness. He built the first house on the spot where Mr. Thomas Lakey's sho}D now stands. It was of logs and covered with bark.

His wife was the first woman who ventured a residence in this native wilderness. One evening, when making hasty pudding, three Indians came in and sat around the fire. At length they made signs of violence. At this, the heroine of the log cabin seized a red hot poker and so laid it over their heads, that they concluded a " swift " retreat was the better part of valor.

John Swift was the first pioneer. He was the first moderator of the first town meeting. He was the first supervisor. He was the first pound tender; the first captain. At his house was held the first training. At his house, if we except Canandaigua and Bloomfield, was formed the first church west of Oneida Lake. Asa Swift, his son, was the first male child born in this town. He gave lands for the first grave yard, the first school house and the first church in this village. *

Indeed from 1790 to 1812, the name of John Swift is connected with every enterprise, pecuniary, political and religious. At the commencement of the war of 1812, he was appointed Brevet General of the New York Volunteers. In 1814, while stationed at Queenston Heights, he led a detachment down the river, some six miles, to Fort George, -- surrounded and took prisoners a picket guard of the enemy, consisting of some sixty men. In- stead of commanding the prisoners to ground their arms and march away from them, he suffered them to retain their muskets. One of the captives inquired, "who is Gen. Swift?" Most unadvisedly

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* The first parsonage was built of bass wood logs, on the site of Nottingham's hotel. The first framed bam was Luther Sandford's The first tww-story fram< d h use was Silas Hart's, now occu- pied by Daniel Gates. The first child born in what was then called the village was Pomeroy Tucker. The first blacksmith was Zechariah Blackman. James Smith was the first hatter. Dr. Ainsworth was the first postmaster. James Rogers, father of Gen. Thomas Rogers, died in 1793. His grave was the first in the "Durfee Burying Ground." The grave of Benjamin] aimer, the father of George Palmer, was the second in that place. William Hopkins and his wife died in 17'.:!. on the same day, and were buried in the same grave. The "Palmyra Register," the first newspaper in this town, was dated October G, ISIS. Pomeroy Tucker commenced the Wayne Sentinel in 1£>24.




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he stood forth and said, "I am Gen. Swift." In an instant the inquisitive prisoner put a ball through his breast. Dr. Alexander McIntyre was by his side when he fell. He was borne to the nearest house, where he died and was buried July 12th, 181-1, aged fifty-two years and twenty-five days. After the war, the citizens of Palmyra disinterred his remains and depos- ited them in the old cemetry of this village. The New York Legislature, out of respect to his patriotism and bravery, pre- sented a sword to his eldest son, and directed that a full length portrait of Gen. Swift should be hung up in the City Hall, New York.

And here, though not in the due order of settlement, I deem it proper to mention that another and the first sacrifice to the war of 1812, was from this place. Major William Howe Cuyler was the first lawyer that opened an office in Palmyra, -- a man still remembered for his public enterprise and generous sympathies. He was the aid of Gen. Hall. On the night of the 8th of October, 1812, he was killed, at Black Rock, by a four pound ball from the British battery at Fort Erie. The ball that passed through his body, still rusty with his blood, is now in the possession of his son, Wm. H. Cuyler of this village.

William Jackway, John Hurlburt, Jonathan Millett, Nathan Parshall, Barney Horton, James Galloway, Mrs. Tiffany, were some of the followers of Swift from the valley of Wyoming.

Next in the order of time is the Rhode Island Colony.

In November, 1791, Gideon Durfee, Edward Durfee, and Isaac Springer arrived from Tiverton, R. I. They came in wagons on the Military road to the old castle at Geneva; from thence without a path, found their way to Palmyra. Pardon Durfee, husband of Mrs. Ruth Durfee, now living, came early in the Spring of 1792, -- driving the cattle belonging to the colony. Nearly exhausted with fatigue and hunger, he inquired of his brothers if they could bring him some food. With tears they were obliged to reply, "we have none;" but there was relief in the case, -- Webb Harwood had gone to Jerusalem, now Penn Yan, forty miles, to the nearest mill, and was expected back every hour. The next August a boat landed near the farm house owned by Hon. Martin Butterfield, bringing Gideon Durfee, the elder, and Job, Stephen,




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and Ruth Durfee. Lemuel Durfee arrived four years later. Ruth Durfee married Capt. William Wilcox. This was the first marriage in this town. Mrs. Wilcox died, at the age of eighty three, the 13th of the present month.

It is said that Swift had failed to fulfil his engagements to Phelps and Gorham, -- but when the Durfee family arrived he "took heart," for they brought the hard coin in a leather satchel, sufficient to pay down for sixteen hundred acres of land. This money enabled Swift to secure a warrantee deed of the town.

These Pioneers were soon followed by William, James, and Thomas Rogers, Festus and Isaac Goldsmith, Humphrey Sherman, Zebulon Williams and Weaver Osborn, all from Rhode Island. Osborn married Hannah Durfee and resided on the farm now owned by Alex'r. Grant. David Wilcox, from Rhode Island, came with his wife and two children in April, 1791. Mary, his daughter, afterward wife of Alvah Hendee, was born the 29th of the next June, and was the first white child born in this town.

We come now to another original element.

The increasing population of Long Island, together with the dangers of a seafaring life, induced the wise and far-seeing to look out for a home in the wilderness.

Jn 1788 a company was formed of eleven, in South Hampton, Long Island. In the early Spring of 1790, Elias Reeves and Joel Foster took their way to the far west, as their agents, -- first to Fort Pitt, now Pittsburg, where they found Luke Foster, an acquaintance. Together they penetrated the vast wilderness of Virginia to the Ohio, and passed down to Fort Washington, now Cincinnati. There they purchased land on what was called Turkey Bottoms. They left Luke Foster to build and make preparation while they returned to conduct the colony to their forest home.

But a single circumstance turned the locality and the future history of the projected immigration. When Joel Foster and Elias Reeves arrived at Long Island, they found William Hopkins, an Uncle of Elias Reeves, and Abraham Foster, on a visit from New Jersey. Hopkins was a son of the Hon. Stephen Hopkins, whose trembling hand stands so prominent among the signers of




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the Declaration. William Hopkins had been connected with the * "Leasee Company," was acquainted with the Genesee country, and saw its prospective importance. He urged upon his friends the value of a God-fearing community. He told them of the colonies from New England, that they were descendants from the Puritans, with principles and purposes congenial with their own. His arguments prevailed. The company relinquished the purpose of settling on the Ohio -- and directed Elias Reeves and William Hopkins to pass by the northern route, beyond the Military Tract, while Joel Foster, Abraham Foster, and Luther Sanford were to explore along the boundaries of Pennsylvania. The Fosters and Sanford started June, 1791, but found the country mountainous and forbidding. Being carpenters, on consideration of good wages, they stopped at a place called Lindleytown and engaged in the erection of mills, leaving the work of exploration to Reeves and Hopkins, who on the 20th of August, 1791, left Long Island with their rifles and knapsacks, came by water to Albany, -- then on foot, following the Indian trails to Geneva, -- thence to town "No. 12." These valleys were well watered. The height and strength of the trees were an exponent of the depth and richness of the soil. They resolved to try the effect of hard work and honest principles upon a region more luxuriant than that from which they came. Upon the tall maples and the sturdy oaks, they placed their names as a pre-emption mark. This done, Hopkins and Reeves made their way across the State to the Pennsylvania line, where they found Joel Foster, Abraham Foster and Luther Sanford. There they drew and signed the following bond:

"This instrument of writing witnesseth, that Wm. Hopkins of the State of New Jersey, Elias Reeves, Joel Foster, Abraham Foster, and Luther Sanford, all of the State of New York, do agree and bind themselves, severally, each to the other, under the penalty of fifty pounds, to abide by and make good any purchase of land which Elias Reeves and Abraham Foster shall make of Oliver Phelps, Esq., or any other person, within twenty days from the date hereof. The proportion of land, which each of us shall have

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* The Leasee Compnny consisted of sixty men, from Connecticut and New Jersey, united for the purpose of leasing land from the Indians, independently of the government. This company was dissolved by an act of Congress.




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is to be concluded among ourselves hereafter. In witness of all of which, we have hereunto set our hands and seals, in Ontario County, State of New York, this ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one. William Hopkins,
Elias Reeves,
Joel Foster,
Abraham Foster,
Luther Sanford."
After concluding this engagement, all, save Elias Reeves and Abraham Foster, returned to the Island. These made their way back to No. 12, stopping at the house of one Crittenden, residing in the "old castle" at Geneva. From him they received a peck of apples, the fruit of the old Indian orchard, as a present to John Swift. When they arrived, they were offered some of the apples. They craved only the seeds, and proceeding to a beautiful bluff on the farm now owned by Gen. Lyman Reeves, they planted them, which proved the first bearing orchard west of Geneva. Having selected their lands, they contracted with Phelps, at Canandaigua, for five thousand five hundred acres, for eleven hundred pounds, New York currency, one hundred of which they paid down. It will be noticed this was in September, 1791. The Durfee family had not yet arrived. As Swift could not meet his engagements, his title was doubtful. Hence Reeves and Foster, to make the thing sure, treated with Phelps and Gorham directly. But when Gideon and Edward Durfee arrived, his hard money met the hard times, and Swift was enabled to pay his notes and received a genuine title to the town. Hence we find the Long Island company the next year taking their deed from John Swift.

Having viewed the land, the spies returned, bringing back, all of them, like Caleb and Joshua, a good report. This enterprise was not a failure. The coming winter, Joel Foster built a sail boat, Cyrus Foster making the nails, and launched it on Heddy Creek, near South Hampton. After a well spent Sabbath, on Monday morning, the 4th of April, 1792, the first colony from Long Island embarked on their voyage of nearly five hundred miles. They sailed through the Sound to New-York, then to Albany;




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from Albany they transported their boat by land, 16 miles, to Schenectady -- with "setting poles" pushed the boat up the Mohawk to Rome. There the boat was taken from the Mohawk and conveyed by land something less than a mile to Wood Creek; thence floating down to Oneida Lake -- through the lake and the outlet they came to Oswego River; thence into Seneca River -- through that to Clyde River-- from Clyde River through Mud Creek to Saw-mill Creek, landing near the present residence of Hiram Foster. The whole voyage occupied twenty-eight days. Mrs. Joel Foster brought in her arms her eldest son, Harvey Foster, then an infant of eleven months.

The way now being open, the same old hive sent out repeated swarms of working bees. The Clarks, Posts, Howells, Jaggers, Culvers, Jessups, and many others, followed. "The wilderness and the solitary place were glad for them." This old boat did good service in going and returning, with other companies, as they arrived from Long Island at Schenectady. It was finally conveyed around to Seneca Lake, and used as a pleasure-boat. Truly a noble craft. I would go as far to see that old hoat, as the ship in which Dr. Kane penetrated the frozen North.

But I pass to another class of the early settlers -- men who, with strong arms, resolute hearts and dauntless courage, laid low these forests, planted these fields, and built these habitations.

Cummington is a sterile, rocky town, in Hampshire County, Mass.

The first settlement of that town was by a Scotchman, by the name of Mclntyre, in 1770. It has only some thousand inhabitants, but it has sent forth sons who are "princes in all the earth."

Lemuel Spear, Dr. Gain Robinson, Bartlett Robinson, Col. John Bradish, David White, David Warner, Noah and William Porter, Noah Turner, were some of the earliest emigrants from Cummington.

Lemuel Spear was a soldier of the Revolution, and came here in 1790. Abraham, Lemuel, Ebenezer, and Dea. Stephen Spear, were his sons. Noah Porter was deacon of the Baptist church, an honest, godly man. He had a controversy with a friend by the name of William Winslow. Porter insisted that he owed Winslow for a sheep. Winslow would not take the pay. It was referred,




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and Porter gained the case. David White settled on the farm afterwards owned by David Warner, the father of Nahum Warner. The first death in town was that of David White. David, Orin, James and William, were sons of David White. A son of James White has recently settled on the old place of his grandfather. Calvin, Charles and Luther, were sons of Col. John Bradish. Reuben Town was the first physician. These were all from Cummington.

Isaac Kelly, Stephen Phelps, Webb Harwood, Abraham Lap-ham, and Salmon Hathaway, were from Adams, Mass. Major Joseph Colt was from Lyme, Conn.; Asa Lilly from Athol, Mass.; Enoch Sanders from Warren, Litchfield County, Conn.; Silas Stoddard from Groton, Conn. These arrived before or about the year 1800.

Of the few pioneers who still linger among the living, are the widow of John Swift, Abraham Foster, Isaac Springer, Mrs. Gain Robinson, Mrs. Ruth Durfee, * Mrs. John Hurlburt, * Mrs. Zebulon Williams, Col. James Stoddard, the widow * of Major Wm. Howe Cuyler, and Israel Delano.
"Last swallows in autumnal noon-day seen --
Last flowers, that painted the decaying green --
Last fruit, that lingered, on life's drooping tree --
Last stars to sink beneath the dark'ning sea."
II. From this imperfect survey of the early settlers, I glance to the change in the agricultural interests. The tall, deep, glorious woods, have shrunk away as if affrighted, and, like trembling antelopes, seem huddled together on the tops of the hills. Farmers have pared down their woodlands to the quick. The very stumps and roots are now dissolved.

The clear, polished shaft, that now passes through these mellow fields, would blush to own a relation to the old log, hewn out in the shape of a plow, by which the pioneers stirred these valleys Once, the hoe went before the hoe-cake. But now, corn will grow, if a horse but draw a five-legged machine on wheels between its rows!

__________
* Deceased since the delivery of this discourse.




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Once, a farmer and his boys must bow to the grain with the sickle and the scythe. Now, the "lord of the manor" rides forth in a "triumphal chariot," and the standing fields bow to him.

It was a hard day's work, with the flail and fan, to separate eight bushels of wheat from the straw and "chaff; but, like the "new threshing instrument" seen by Isaiah, we now in a single day can "thresh a mountain" of straw, and fill a granary with wheat.
Your fathers, with an ox-sled, went to "Jerusalem" for the grinding, and to Geneva for the sale of their wheat, and that at 25 cents a bushel. Now, "the mountain is come to Mahommed " -- Jerusalem is come to us. We can do our own grinding and selling. The first mill, which was Jonah Howell's, ground three kernels into two; ours puts the very bran through the bolt.

If we follow the flour from the mill, we are at once introduced amid the rough necessities and severe virtues of their early homes. We hear the buzz of the wheel and the double stroke of the heavy loom -- spinning the flax of their own fields, and weaving the wool of their own sheep. We see the daughters, in unconscious beauty, sprinkling long webs of "home-spun," spread out upon the green grass; the mothers are weaving the Sunday dress for their husbands and sons, and they "are not afraid of the snow for their households." Before the modern belle shall blush at the simplicity of her grandmother, let her look up the old wheel in the garret, and "lay her hand to the spindle, and her hand hold the distaff." There may have been more refinement in weaving that early fabric, than in putting on the Parisian dress of the present day. Instead of formal calls by cards, they worked while they visited at the "quilting," "husking," or "paring bee." In the early morning, with the crowing of the cock, they could hear their neighbors pounding corn in the stump mortar.

The close necessities of those early times connected many a homely incident with the wedding day. For a time it was said that Ruth Reeves, afterward Ruth Durfee, and Ruth Spear were the only unmarried damsels in the town, while like their ancient namesake they "gleaned among a whole field " of young men. The legend runs, that at the news of a fresh arrival from the eastern Padan-aram, many a swain, smitten with the feelings of ancient




16

Isaac in his loneliness, was seen making his way down Mud Creek, to meet the boat, meditating who might be the Rebecca it might bear to him. Now we seem to be Padan-aram itself. Many from the east and the west resort here to bear away our Rebeccas and Rachels. It is indeed a sincere flattery, but we could wish they might "abide with us;" -- but if they must depart, we will give them our blessing and hope for them a safe arrival in Canaan.

The first marriages were solemnized by the Esquire. A day's work, a load of wood, or a bushel of beans, were entered as the fee. They did better by Ministers The first marriage attended by a clergyman was that of Eiias Reeves. He sent for the Rev. Ira Condit, of Canandaigua. His acquaintance with the good people at the wedding opened the way for a second visit, in which he organized the first Church, -- thus we see that reverence for the marriage relation leads to the promotion of religion.

Mutual struggles and hardships begat mutual equality, friendship and sympathies. It is by no means certain, that the refinements and virtues of social life have advanced, though very much changed from the type here presented.

"Let not ambition mock their useful toil."
"Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their farrows oft the stubborn glebe hath broke,
How jocund did they drive their teams afield,
How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke."

III. Alike noticeable is the contrast between the early and more recent trade of this vicinity.

The first store was a log edifice, on the very spot where the depot now stands. Zebulon Williams was the proprietor. That store is described as a place of genuine rural felicity. The Indians encamped around it, spending their time in shooting, wrestling and dancing. The early settlers resorted to the same spot for amusement. Williams was the first to offer cash for wheat -- thirty-seven cents a bushel -- six cents a pound for butter. Money was tight. Deacon Henry Jessup was largely interested in the leather and shoe trade. Joseph Colt carried on an extensive and honorable business. Col. James Stoddard was employed by him to convey goods from Schenectady up the Mohawk, by Wood




17

Creek and so to this place, and carry produce back in return, making the out and in passage once in two months. Mud-Creek was the incorporated thoroughfare of travel and exportation. Judge Rogers cut a sled-road to Lyons to bring up a load of salt. Ebenezer Spear traveled on foot to Schenectady to procure some wine as a medicine for Webb Harwood's family. Mrs. Bates, the mother of Mrs. Stephen Spear, to visit her relatives, rode on horseback, carrying a child in her arms, to Boston, Mass. Such were the difficulties of travel and trade.

In reviewing the commercial changes of this place, we can but stop and pay a passing tribute to that great man, who undertook and achieved the stupendous work -- an artificial river, three hundred and sixty miles in length. In it all, he showed a capacity, integrity and devotion to the good of the nation, which posterity may not forget.

When his mind had grasped the grand conception, for fourteen years he devoted himself to this interest, without salary or reward. Against opposition and ignominy, he seized the compass and level and traversed on foot the wilderness intervening between Albany and Buffalo, and brought back a survey, by which he so presented the possibility and the advantages of this great work as to secure public opinion in its favor.

In 1816, the work was authorized, -- July 4th, 1817, the Erie Canal was commenced, -- in October, 1825, it was finished. Clinton performed a most desirable "marriage service." He United the great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean, and sent fruitfulness and life through half a hemisphere. Freight from Albany to Buffalo sank from one hundred dollars to ten.

I shall leave your imaginations to draw the contrast between the early means of travel and conveyance and the present fleets of boats, the thundering trains of merchandise and passengers, and the telegraphic lightning. What have sixty-six years wrought! Some of the early settlers were dissatisfied that they were so far removed from the main channels of travel and communication, little thinking that this valley of Mud Creek was to be the great sluice-way through which immigration and commerce were to pour their ever-increasing flood.




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IV. In the review of their political sentiments and acts, we find the early settlers possessed of clear views of SELF-government. Throw together a number of New England men, in any wilderness or on any island of the watery waste, and the first thing you will hear of is a "town-meeting." The true idea of individual freedom is connected with associated regulations and restraints. A mutual compact to be. governed by the majority is a seed of the "May-Flower." No. 12 was first called Swifttown, then Tolland. This not pleasing the citizens, in 1797, between March and June, a meeting was held to fix upon one of the names that should be suggested. Daniel Sawyer, the brother of Mrs. Swift, was then for two reasons in a literary mood. First, he was engaged to Miss Dosha Boughton, the first schoolmistress, -- second, he had been reading ancient history. Doubtless thinking, that as ancient Palmyra had a Zenobia, so his modern heroine should have a Palmyra, it is not strange that he should urge this name with felicity and success. It was adopted with acclamation.

The first record of the town meeting is in 1796. It was held at the house of Gideon Durfee, the first Tuesday in April, 1796. John Swift was chosen "Moderator," "Inspector," and "Supervisor." The following are some of the acts passed at that meeting -- evincing evidently that the power was with the people.

"Voted, That a pound be erected near Daniel Sawyer's house.

Voted, That the inhabitants of Tolland shall confine their swine, and that the owner of any swine that doth damage, shall be liable to make said damage good, without regard to fence.

Voted, That a fence shall not be deemed legal unless it is five feet high; for the first three feet the logs to be no more than four inches from each other, and the rails and logs for the remaining two feet may be nine inches from each other.

Voted, That the Town will vendue the marks of cattle and sheep to the highest bidder. Joel Foster bid off the first mark. It was a crop of the left ear. Jonah Howell obtained the second. It was a crop of the right ear. John Swift's was a half-penny under the right ear. Forty nine persons thus paid for marks to be applied exclusively to their own possessions.

Voted, That $5.00 shall be paid for every wolf that shall be taken within the town of Tolland.




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Voted, That a bounty of two cents be paid on crows, squirrels, woodpeckers, and blackbirds.

By an act of legislature, 1799, Mud Creek was established as a navigable stream. Mills could not be erected without locks. At Zebulon Williams' store, where the depot now stands, were the head waters of navigation.

The following is the oath of office, taken by John Swift as first Supervisor:

"I, John Swift, do solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, that I will in all things, to the best of my knowledge and ability, impartially execute and perform the trust reposed in me as Supervisor of the town of Tolland, and the county of Ontario, and that I will not pass any account or any article thereof, wherewith I shall think the county is not chargeable, -- nor will I disallow any account or article thereof wherewith I shall think it is justly chargeable. Signed --   John Swift."

The acts of this town-meeting show the strong sense and honest purposes of the early yeomanry. They believed that good fences and well-defined regulations make good neighbors. It speaks well for the political wisdom and moderation of the pioneers, that, for eight years, there was not a single law-suit in the town.

V. Next to the "town-meeting" is the school. If individual integrity and responsibility will originate the "town-meeting," the town-meeting will soon build the "school house."

The first assembly of citizens was in 1793. The same year two school houses were erected ; one on the spot where David Daggett's house now stands. The land was given by Gen. Swift; the other was in East Palmyra, known as the Hopkins' school house. They were built of logs. There was then no complaint of long wood, or want of ventilation. There was true excitement the first day of school. The fall work done, Thanksgiving passed, the shoemaker having been the rounds of his itineracy, and the feet, little and great, having been "shod with the true preparation," the warm winter suit having been cut and made by the tailoress, then it is proclaimed that "the school-master " is abroad to line the inner man with "Daboll " and "Murray."

The ordeal of the first day was a severe one. Every wight




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and lass scrutinized the bearing of the new teacher, and cast upon how far it would be safe to venture, -- and, as the "master" must "board around," he becomes a part of every family. If he works out the sums, if he vindicates his ability and character to the scholars and parents, the schoolmaster is the great man for that year. Do any of you remember those slab seats, the great fire place, the flat, tingling "ferrule?"

I think I have heard from some of you legends about your early schoolmasters, especially one Englishman, a sage by the name of "Gunning," who was sometimes beguiled into a nap in the afternoon, while the boys and girls keenly enjoyed his dreams.

But in all this there was life, beauty and strength. Spelling, cyphering, parsing went bravely on. The "single and double Rule of Three," "Loss and Gain," the "Square and Cube Root," -- the higher Mathematics of "single and double Position," were sometimes all surmounted in eight, ten, or twelve weeks.

The study, the parsing of Pope's Essay on Man, the reading of the beautiful extracts in the "English Reader," or "Columbian Orator," often touched the latent genius of souls all pregnant with celestial fire, and started them on a career of improvement, that carried them up amid the sublimities of science and literature. Bless God and our fathers for the common schools! They have been the strong timbers in our civil fabric. Shall the school still continue the pure fountain of knowledge and virtue?

VI. Near the school house stood the church. For fifteen years, the school house was the first synagogue. We are told that on Sabbath days, the families of East Palmyra used to meet with the families of Macedon for worship in this village, coming up and down Mud Creek in boats. The early ministers, of different denominations, were Rev. Messrs. Condit, Johnson, Roe, Lane, Fairbanks, Bell, and Townsend.

Sabbath services have never been interrupted since the arrival of the Long-Island colony. For fifteen years private dwellings and school houses were the synagogues. In 1807, a meeting was called at East Palmyra to deliberate upon the erection of a house of worship. The question of locality called forth a sharp debate. Oliver Clark plead for the north side of the creek. $100 if on the




21

north side, -- $50 if on the south side. Humphrey Sherman advocated the south side. $100 if on the south side -- nothing if on the north side. The site was at length fixed, where the Presbyterian church, in East Palmyra, now stands. The building subscription amounted to $421. The edifice was fifty-four by sixty-four. Gideon Durfee and Humphrey Sherman gave the land, -- Sherman the west half, Durfee the east half. Sherman contended that there were some men for whom it was not meet to provide seats on holy ground, and insisted that his side of the house should be occupied by the women. It is unnecessary to say that this regulation was poorly carried out.

The house was raised in July, 1807. The architecture was neither Gothic, Corinthian, or Ionic, but exactly followed the style of the old South-Hampton church, built just one hundred years before .

The pulpit rested upon one pedestal, and was built up with bass-wood boards, so bent that its shape resembled a candlestick -- having reference, no doubt, to the light that was there to shine.

The dedication of this first church edifice west of the pre-emption line, was an occasion of great interest. It was, perhaps, the natural right of Benjamin Bell, the then acting pastor, to sound out the word of God for the first time from that pulpit. But he, it was said, "had preached politics on the wrong side." The Rev. Mr. Powell, a highly-esteemed "Welch clergyman, was invited to preach the dedicatory sermon. The services were commenced by singing the 67th Ps. Text -- Gen. 28 - 17: "This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." The preacher first alluded to those who had given the land -- to the noble structure of the house -- to the rich and beautiful country, and closed by exhorting them to assemble there every Sabbath to hear the word of God. The exercises were concluded by singing the 132d Psalm, L. M.

The first house of worship in this village, was built on the site of the old burying-ground. It was "set on a hill." It has since come down. Does it reach as high toward heaven?

Many of you can recal those early Sabbath days. You can remember the naked rafters -- the room, without fire-place or stove, and "Deacon Foster's ark." There has been some change in the




22

externals. Have we now the same winter-strained piety, that will make its way through snow drifts and pelting rain, and sit with reverence and attention to long sermons and prayers? Would your hearts so glow and burn at the great themes of redemption and eternity, as to repel the cold and the wind that blew through your hair? Have you such a hold upon your families, as to bring them, to the sanctuary, even thus bereft of attraction and comfort? Is the Bible to you and your children a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, directing your way through the wilderness? There was indeed rigor in their piety, but it bore the true superscription; it had the ring of the true metal.

If the Mormon prophet and the Hydesville ghosts did hail from Palmyra, they did not stay here. If we must own the deceivers, the deluded belong elsewhere. The hill, where Joe Smith dug for golden plates -- the printer -- the old press that struck off his Bible, and the proof-sheets, are still with us, but of the Mormon and the Rapppers, we know not a single follower. The prophet here is without honor, and the Foxes do not spoil our vines.

I can only notice the date of the organization of the different churches. The Baptist church was organized in the house of Lemuel Spear, in 1800. In 1811, the Methodist church was formed; the Episcopal church in 1804; the Presbyterian church in 1793.

In conclusion, I remark, 1st -- How soon are we forgotten! When we visit the ruins of ancient Palmyra, the "Tadmor of the desert," we expect obscurity. A year ago, I visited the old cemetery at Plymouth Rock, and found the grave-stones moss-covered and illegible. We were not surprised. They had stood up against the storms of more than two hundred winters. But shadow and dubiosity are gathering over even the memories of your fathers and mothers. Grim Forgetfulness has begun his reign even here. It is difficult to trace out the events and pioneers of even this modern Palmyra. If, from want of time and knowledge, I have omitted names deserving a place among their fellows, they are not therefore unhonored. We are obliged to sink particulars in generals, or rather to give specimens. True life and growth are uncon-scious -- noiseless. Silent works are the most effective. We record




23

the work of torrents and tornadoes; but the dew that comes down every night -- the constant flow of the streamlet -- are unwritten only by the verdure they nourish. We take notice of the "queen bee;" but the swarms of working bees that fill the cells with honey, are unmentioned. The name of the general is emblazoned; but the rank and file that achieved the victory, are unsung.

So in the history of this community. The prominent few are exponents of the quiet many. The "justices," "physicians," "generals," may have left some memorial in the city of the dead; but around them sleep the multitudes -- the strong anna that felled these forests -- the useful mechanics -- the patient mothers, that spun and wove, talked of General Washington, and taught the children the word of God -- to all these there is an unwritten history, that will be published at another day. Reputation on earth is short and uncertain; but character, usefulness, goodness, "are graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever." Jesse Hawley, while in prison for debt in Canandaigua, 1810, wrote some articles on the route, distance, and cost, of a canal through Western New York. The poor man was thought insane; but DeWitt Clinton saw method in his madness. Clinton has the monument; Hawley lies unhonored by his side. But there is another edition of human history, "corrected and revised."

2d. This review illustrates the necessity and dignity of hard work. I am told that the native forests, especially on the lower grounds, were exceedingly dense. The trees were Anaks. How many strokes of the axe -- how much plowing and drainage to clear and subdue these lands! The first dwellings were without a particle of iron. The nails were of wood -- the hinges and hasps of the door were of wood! What monuments of mechanical ingenuity and toil are our public buildings, stores, factories, eligible and even elegant mansions. How many strokes of the pick-axe and spade to open this canal -- raise up this railway! Who shall estimate the brain labor -- the heart work, in the way of mental, civil, and religious improvement!

What a change since John Swift struck the first blow! We are even claiming the immunities of cities. We have our railway,




24

our telegraph -- and when the sun goes down, instead of the pine knot and the "smoking lamp," a simple volition gives us the brilliant lambent flame. It can be said of us, as of the tents of ancient Israel in Goshen -- while darkness surrounds our neighbors, "we have light in our dwellings." "All things are full of labor." Our fathers have labored, and we have entered into their labors. Let not softness and delicacy think of bread without work; for it is still true, "that by the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat thy bread, until thou return unto thy dust."

3d. God is in history. His hand is in the history of this town. Many of the decisions of the fathers proved pivots, upon which turned the destiny of the children. The visit of William Hopkins to Long Island, just at the right time, doubtless diverted from many of you the possession of the land upon which Cincinnati now stands. The father of John Hurlburt offered his son the choice of lands in Rochester or Palmyra ; he preferred the same number of acres in Palmyra. Pardon Durfee, too, contemplated purchasing the site of Rochester; but when, on a survey of the country, he was attacked with fever and ague, he came home to Palmyra in disgust.

Let not the greed of gain count these decisions unfortunate. You might have rode as millionaires; but it may well be questioned whether the industrious principles and virtuous competency received from your fathers, are not a safer inheritance than the indulgence and dangers of overgrown wealth.

In 1845, a delegate to the General Assembly at Cincinnati, from South Hampton, Long Island, met the venerable Luke Foster -- who, as you will remember, was one of the first exploring party from Long Island. Half a century had passed away, and he had not heard from Joel Foster and Elias Reeves. Did they then compare the condition of their posterity, we doubt not the latter were in the majority as to numbers and true prosperity.

My hearers, you have a goodly heritage. The Lord hath dealt bountifully with you.

Lastly -- In relinquishing our views of the past, we inquire, what shall we do for the FUTURE? We have looked upon what you have received through the principles and achievements of others. Will




25

you transmit this inheritance to those who shall come after you?

There are some things in the early history of this town which we should regret and shun. Stephen Durfee used to say, " the first curse that came among us was whiskey." It was the ruin of many of the early settlers and their sons. "I," said the old veteran, "made the first move in the cause of temperance. In 1811, I raised my house without a drop of intoxicating drink." Afterwards, the "Friends " adopted strict temperance as a part of their discipline. Many a strong man has been cast down by this enemy. It is a painful fact, that so noble a patriot as John Swift should be beguiled of his discretion, and fall a prey to the enemy through so insidious a foe. We would indeed go backward with a mantle of charity; but as we look forward, we inquire, "Shall the sword devour forever?"

While you are warned to escape the dangers, I ask, will you imitate the virtues, and carry out the noble purposes of your ancestors? You stand upon their shoulders. What will you bear upon your shoulders?

Your fathers brought into this wilderness a Bible -- an open Bible. They brought a Sabbath -- a Puritan Sabbath. They built their sanctuaries. On the Sabbath morning, the sun spread over these valleys the old-fashioned Sunday quiet. No sight, no sound, but in harmony with the sacredness of the scene. It was a day of rest -- a day of heaven. What would they have said to these Sunday boats -- these Sunday engines, snorting defiance in the face of the Almighty!

Your fathers brought here Bible families. Mothers taught their sons and daughters the word of God -- "allured to brighter worlds, and lead the way."

My hearers: You move over the graves of your fathers. Do you cherish their faith and their virtues? Will you make as good a bequest to posterity as they did? Three other towns in the west have taken their name, "Palmyra" from this. You are writing history. Others will read it. These hills and valleys will remain. Your posterity will turn on their Thanksgiving days upon your memory. They will come on pilgrimages to look at




26

your grave-stones. Shall the review stir the noble sentiment, the high resolve to promote intelligence, extend liberty -- to honor God -- to save the world ?

Fathers -- Mothers -- ye children and grandchildren of noble sires -- I leave you to answer the claim of the past, by a career that shall make glorious the history of the future.







From: Gazetteer and Business Directory of Wayne County, N. Y., for 1867-8
by Hamilton Child
(Syracuse: The Journal Office, 1867)



[ 48 ]

...
Palmyra, (p. v.) in the south-west part, was incorporated April 9, 1819. It is an important canal village and station on the N. Y. C. R. R. It contains 5 churches (1 Presb., 1 M. E., 1 Bapt., 1 Cath. and 1 Episc.,) 3 banks, 1 printing office, (The Palmyra Courier,) gas works, the Palmyra Union School, (with nine teachers,) 2 machine shops and manufactories of agricultural implements, 1 scale manufactory, cigar manufactory, a flouring mill, vinegar factory, tannery, a printing press manufactory, and several hotels and stores; the population of the village in 1865 was 2,334.


 


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East Palmyra, (p. v.) a canal and R. R. station, contains 2 churches, (Presb. and Meth.,) a grist mill, store, and about 150 inhabitants.

Some of the first families locating in Palmyra came from Litchfield Co., Conn., including numbers who had quit their lands in the Wyoming, (a beautiful valley of the Susquehanna,) on account of controversies about titles to land, &c. Col. John Jenkins and Gen. John Swift were among the primitive adventurers who pitched their tents in the then howling wilderness of "Ga-nar-gweh," (the aboriginal name of the tract,) now transformed to the blossoming gardens, the cultivated fields and the happy "homes" of Palmyra. There is a humble stone in the old graveyard of this village, bearing the inscription -- "John Swift." But few names are more deeply imbedded in the foundations of this community. He has figured so conspicuously in the events connected with it, as well as the county at large, that his name is worthy of especial mention. John Swift was a native of Kent, Litchfield County, Conn. When 15 years old he became a soldier in the Revolution, and served seven years, till the close of the war. He was one of the Connecticut colony in the valley of the Wyoming, and in a bold attempt to fire the Block House of the Pennamites, he was shot through the neck, the ball passing between the spinal column and the esophagus. A like recovery was scarcely ever known in the history of surgery. After the settlement of difficulties, a company of Connecticut people was formed, and John Swift and John Jenkins were appointed agents to select and purchase lands for their occupation. Jenkins had been in the employ of Phelps and Gorham, as surveyor, and was acquainted with this section of the Genesee country. In 1789, they purchased Tp. 12, R. 2, now Palmyra, and commenced the survey of lots along Mud Creek in March. During the summer, John Swift moved into the town, and erected a log house and storehouse, a little north of the lower end of Main St., Palmyra. While asleep there, with their assistants, four Indians, attracted by the light, put their guns through the open spaces between the logs, killed one man named Barker, and shot a ball through the nose of another by the name of Church. It is probable this dampened the zeal of the Pennsylvania emigrants. True it is, the Susquehanna company was given up, and Swift, in order to effect a settlement sufficiently formidable to render it safe, spent the summer of 1790'in forming companies in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. In Sept. 1790, Swift moved his family into this unbroken wilderness. He built the first house of logs, covered with bark. His wife was the first woman who ventured a residence in this native wilderness. One evening, while making hasty pudding, three Indians came in and sat around the fire. At length they made signs of violence. At this, the heroine of the log cabin seized a red-hot poker, and used it so efficiently


 


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that they concluded a "swift" retreat was the tetter part of valor. John Swift was the first Moderator of the first town meeting ; the first Supervisor; the first pound tender; the first Captain, and at his house was held the first training. At his house, if we except Canandaigua and Bloomfield, was formed the first church west of Oneida Lake. Asa Swift, his son, was the first male child born in the town. He gave lands for the first grave yard, the first school house, and the first church in the village. Indeed from 1790 to 1812, the name of John Swift is identified with every enterprise, pecuniary, political and religious. In the war of 1812 he became a victim to his own inadvertence.. At its commencement he was appointed Brevet Gen. N. Y. Vols. In 1812, while stationed at Queenstown Heights, he led a detachment down the river, some six miles, to Ft. George; surrounded and took prisoners a picket guard of the enemy, with some 60 men. Instead of commanding the prisoners to ground their arms and march away from them, he suffered them to retain them. One of the captives inquired, "Who is Gen. Swift/" Most inadvisedly he stood forth and said, "I am Gen. Swift." In an instant the inquisitive prisoner put a ball through his breast. He was borne to the nearest house, where he died, and was buried July 12, 1814, aged 52 years. After the war the citizens of Palmyra disinterred his remains and deposited them in the old cemetery of the village. The N. Y. Legislature, out of respect to his patriotism and bravery, presented a sword to his oldest son, and directed that a full length portrait of Gen. Swift should be hung up in the City Hall of New York. Maj. Howe Cuyler was another, and an earlier sacrifice to the war of 1812, from Palmyra. He was the first lawyer that opened an office in Palmyra, and a man still remembered for his public enterprise and generous sympathies. He was the Aid of Gen. Hall. On the night of the 8th of Oct., 1812, he was killed at Black Rock, by a four pound ball from the British battery at Ft. Erie. He moved to Palmyra in 1804, from Greenbush. Soon after his arrival he purchased the village lot on which now stands the Methodist Chapel, and built and occupied the house yet remaining north of it. This being then a slave State, he brought with him two negro slaves, (Charles and Mahala,) and was the first, if not the only slaveholder ever residing in Palmyra. He took a laudable pride in village improvements, and gave a fresh impetus to things in that direction, providing himself a good garden and a dressed up door yard, painting his house and planting out shade trees, &c. In Nov. 1791, Gideon and Edward Durfee, and Isaac Springer, arrived from Tiverton, R. I. They came in wagons on the old Military road to the old castle at Geneva; from thence, without a path, they found their way to Palmyra. Prior to this, in the fall of 1790, the Durfees came on foot on a tour of discovery


 


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to the "Genesee" country," halting at the "Quaker Settlement," in Farmington, where they commenced a negotiation for land with Isaac Hathaway ; but afterwards preferring Swift's township, they bargained with him, and returned to Rhode Island, where they arrived on the 1st Jan., 1791. Their report was regarded with favor by their friends, and emigration was determined upon. Preparations being made, a colony of 100 men embarked upon their journey, with two yoke of oxen and a sled, about the last of Feb. the same year, reaching Palmyra the last of April. They planted that spring two or three acres of corn on the peak of land near the ' Howell Saw Mill," east of the village, which had been cleared of timber and burnt over by the Indians. They also planted apple- seeds, which they had brought, on the same ground, (the first tame apples planted in the town,) and from these originated the old orchard of the Durfee family, yet remaining on the "homestead." Afterwards Pardon Durfee brought from Rhode Island and planted in tne same garden, pear, and other fruit seeds, and it was from one of these that sprung the "Osband Pear," now propagated in fruit nurseries as the best of all summer pears. The seedling was given by Mr. Durfee to his brother-in-law, Weaver Osband, who brought it into bearing -- hence the name it has taken. Pardon Durfee came in in 1792, driving the cattle belonging to the colony. The next August a boat landed near the farm house owned by Martin Butterfield, bringing Gideon the elder, and Job, Stephen and Ruth Durfee. Lemuel Durfee arrived four years later. Ruth Durfee married Capt. Wm. Wilcox -- the first marriage in the town. It is said that Swift had failed to fulfil his engagements to Phelps and Gorham, but when the Durfee family came he "took heart," for they brought the hard coin, sufficient to pay down for 1,600 acres of land. This money enabled Swift to secure a warranty deed of the town. These were soon followed by Lemuel Spear, David Jackques, Jas. Galloway, Jonathan Willet and the Mattisons; and by Wm., James and Thos. Rogers, Festus and Isaac Goldsmith, Humphrey Sherman, Zebulon Williams and Weaver Osborn, from Rhode Island. David Wilcox, from Adams, Mass., came with his family in April 1791. Mary, his daughter, was born the 29th of next June, and was the first white female child born in the town. A colony was formed at Southampton, who in 1790 sent forward Elias Reeves and Joel Foster, as their agents, to buy land. Gen. Swift having failed to meet the payment for his purchase, they negotiated with Phelps and Gorham, in order to be sure of a good title. In April, 1792, the Long Island colony embarked at Southampton, in a sail boat built by Joel and Cyrus Foster. They sailed through the Sound to New York, thence to Albany; from there they transported their boat by land, 16 miles, to Schenectady; with "setting poles" they pushed the boat up the


 


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Mohawk to Rome. From there they conveyed the boat by land something less than a mile to Wood Creek; thence floating down to Oneida Lake, through the lake and the outlet, they came to Oswego River; thence into Seneca River; through that to Clyde River; through Mud Creek to Saw-mill Creek, landing near the present residence of Hiram Foster. The voyage occupied 28 days. The way now being open, the same old hive sent out repeated swarms of working bees. The Clarks, Posts, Howells, Jaggers, Culvers, Jessups and many others followed. This old boat did good service in going and returning with other companies. It was finally conveyed to Seneca Lake and used as a pleasure boat. In 1790-91, Lemuel Spear, Dr. Gain Robinson, David White and David Warner, with their families, came from Cummington, Mass. Also, Reuben Town, the first physician located in Palmyra, Isaac Kelley, Stephen Phelps, Webb Harwood, Abraham Laphan and Solomon Hathaway, were from Adams, Mass. Joseph Colt, the first merchant in the village, came from Lyme, Conn.; Silas Stoddard, from Groton, and Enoch Sanders, from Warren, Conn. Asa Lilly was from Athol, Mass. These came about 1800. The first store, a log edifice, on the spot where the R. R. Depot now stands, was kept by Zebulon Williams. Here were the head waters of navigation of Mud Creek, which was established as a navigable stream by an act of the Legislature in 1799. The town or district was first christened Tolland by the pioneers, (then in "Tryon" Co.) Ira Selby taught the first school (built in 1793,) in the village; which was succeeded in 1801 by a framed one built upon the same site. This building, like its predecessor, was used for both school and religious purposes; both being conducted for a number of years by Rev. Eleazer Fairbanks, who was the first pastor of the first church, (Presb.,) formed in 1797. Luther Sanford built the first framed barn. The first two-story framed house was built by Silas Harts. The first blacksmith was Zechariah Blackman. The first house burnt was Maj. Colt's smoke-house. Dr. Azel Ensworth was the first postmaster, also the first tavern-keeper and deacon. By reason of this latter double office, it was frequently Dr. E.'s good fortune to be the honored host of the clergy, either transient or resident. Sling was the favorite "treat" in those times, which was anterior to temperance societies. In his proverbial politeness the Dr. was duly observant of the prevailing custom, in treating his "minister" guests to sling made of West India rum, with white loaf sugar; while the "captains," "squires" and common people, were content with home-made whiskey and maple sugar.

Here the insidious monster, Mormonism, was nursed and cradled; which, like the "serpent in Eden," has chosen for its victims the fairest of God's creatures. For 37 years it has dragged its slimy footsteps through the annals of American history. Its progenitor,


 


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Joseph Smith Jr., was born in Sharon, Windson county, Vt., Dee. 23, 1805. He removed to Palmyra, with his father, Joseph Sr., and family, in 1815 or '16. They soon after moved just over the town line into Manchester, some two miles south-west of Palmyra village. Joseph Smith, the father of the "Prophet," previous to the Mormon dispensation, supported himself and family by digging and peddling "rutes and yarbs," selling cake, beer, &c. In 1819 or '20, they commenced digging for money for a subsistence. The vocation was noised around among the community, and not a few were credulous enough to believe that they were within roach of a "chest of gold," ("which had repeatedly eluded their grasp,") and contributed money to the Smiths to enable them to continue their excavations. They, however, used the money thus obtained for the support of the family, and in the meantime kept their friends in a fever of excitement while treasure hunting. Here we must pause to relate an incident replete with important interest, from its intimate connection with the rise and progress of Mormonism. Rev. Solomon Spaulding, while residing at Conneaut, Ohio, in 1809, formed the basis of a romance purporting to give the history of a lost race of people, from the numerous mounds and relics of dilapidated fortifications in this vicinity, which inspired the idea of this literary production. His original design was merely to amuse himself and friends by the imaginary history, entitled "Manuscript Found." It claims to have been written by one of the lost nations, and recovered from one of the mounds. After its completion it was left for perusal with a Mr. Patterson, publisher of a newspaper there; but possessing no real merit, Mr. Patterson refused to publish it. Spaulding neglected to call for it, and it was finally thrown among the waste paper, where it came under the observation of Sydney Rigdon, who was at that time connected with the office, and who took a copy of it. Rigdon upon hearing of the doings of the Smith family in Palmyra, conceived an idea, which resulted in the printing of the Mormon Bible. He at once proceeded to Palmyra, and had long and frequent private interviews with Joseph Smith Jr., when it is supposed they formed the plan of a Tow religious dispensation. From this romantic legend the Mormon Bible was transposed. Joseph Smith would repair at night to a cave in the hillside, and dictate to his amanuensis, (Oliver Cowdery,) what he "mysteriously translated from golden plates," which he pretended to have found while digging for money in Sept. 1823, by spirit of revelation, but was not permitted to take them from the earth until 1827, about the time the Bible was commenced. The greatest secrecy was observed during the pretended revelations, which were only given in the cave at night, without any light, no one else being able to read the inscription on the plates but he. When it was completed, they were in a great dilemma to know


 


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how they were to get it printed. This difficulty was soon obviated by Martin Harris, a convert, mortgaging his farm to defray the expenses, ruining himself in doing so. Application was made about June 1829, to Mr. Egbert B. Grandin, the publisher of the Wayne Sentinel at Palmyra, for the printing of the book. Grandin at once advised them against the supposed folly of the enterprise. All importunity, however, was resisted by Harris, and resented with assumed pious indignation by Smith. Upon the refusal of Grandin, they applied the same year to Mr. Weed, of the Anti- Masonic Inquirer, at Rochester, and there met with a similar refusal. They again applied to Mr. Grandin, who, upon seeing their determination, consented to print it, stipulating to print 5,000 copies of the book for a compensation of $3.000.

From such insignificant seed sprang the giant evil, which now, on the soil of a distant Territory, threatens the troops of the United States, subverts all principles of law and order, builds a mighty hierarchy of falsehood and licentiousness, and will draw millions of dollars from the public treasury to suppress it. That vice and crime are fostered by the peculiarities of life in Utah, no one can reasonably doubt. There has been no time, in a great many years past, when the American Government would not have been justified in using its strong hand to crush the hydra-headed monster which there holds hideous reign under the piteous pretence of being a religious sect. The basis of Mormonism is polygamy, and nothing else; the "prophets" are sensualists, whose sole desire is to keep a harem of concubines; and in no other way can they carry out their beastly designs, than by cloaking their hideousness under the pretence of a religious sect. There are two reasons why they can do this only so; the first is, that there is no influence that can be brought to bear upon the weak and ignorant among females with such swaying potency as the pretence that polygamy is the highest development of religious abnegation on their part, and is taught by the scriptures as a duty; ttae second is, that in this country, where religious freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution to all, the Mormons rest securely in the trust, that, as a religious sect, the Government dare not meddle with them.

But we are of those who believe that Mormonism is in no true sense a religious institution, and that its assumption of being such, should not be sufficient to free it from the strong hand of the law. The longer the Mormons are left alone, the more powerful they grow; and this will be so, as long as there are sensual and brutal men who seek to set aside the laws of morality and Christianity, and practice licentiousness under the sanction of, or with a certain immunity from the law. In the future history of our country, the Western Territories, in the heart of which Utah lies, are destined to play a most important and influential part. The march of progress


 


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is steadily westward with us, and each succeeding year sees the springing up of new towns further and further away from the reach of railroads. Out of the way of the steady onward march of civilization and freedom, polygamy must be swept, and that soon. Scarcely any crime known to the Decalogue, but is openly -- or almost openly -- practised in Utah. Polygamy, itself a crime by the laws of every State in the Union, is of that nature that it calls to its assistance all other crimes. It calls in murder without hesitation, and no man's life is safe in Utah, who is not himself a polygamist, unless he is sheltered by a United States Fort. All local officials work the machinery of justice, in such a way as to play into the hands of polygamy. It is all in all, and woe to the man or thing that obstructs its course. To the list of their iniquities, the "Saints" (as they style themselves, after the brazen fashion of hypocrites, generally,) took occasion during our late war, to add that of treason. From Brigham Young down, the desire was general in Mormondom, that the Union should be destroyed, and slavery given a new lease of life. Not a soldier was sent out, not a dollar was given, to aid the Union cause. No doubt the "prophets" saw that in the future, the same power which was wiping the stain of slavery from our national life, would raise its arm to strike down polygamy. May the vision prove a true one...






From: History of Wayne County, N. Y. by Walter H. McIntosh
(Philadelphia: Everts & Ensign, 1877)



[ 148 ]





 P A L M Y R A.
_______


"PALMYRA. * a post-township of Ontario county, fifteen miles north of Canandaigua and two hundred and twenty-three from Albany; bounded north by Ontario and Williamson, east by Lyons, south by Farmington, and west by Boyle. It comprises two townships of Phelps and Gorham's purchase, being No. 12 in the second and third ranges. The town has Mud creek running eastward through its whole length. a little south of the centre. This creek affords fine advantages for mills, and is of some little use for navigation. The soil is of a superior quality, and the settlements of a date to give much of farming ease and independence to the inhabitants. There is a large meeting of Quakers, and there is one Episcopal church, with a competent number of common-school-houses and schools. A road from Canandaigua to Sodus bay leads across the east part, and there are many other roads in various directions. The village of Palmyra has a handsome collection of houses, and is a place of considerable business. In 1810 the population amounted to two thousand one hundred and eighty-seven, with two hundred and ninety senatorial electors; and the household manufactures produced thirty-three thousand seven hundred and nineteen yards of cloth. The number of families, three hundred and fifty-five." Such is the record given by Spafford of a town old in settlement, important in its history, and celebrated as the birthplace of what is known as Mormonism.

PlONEER  EVENTS.

In 1750 parties from Connecticut visited the valley of Wyoming, a beautiful spot, located along the Susquehanna, in northeast Pennsylvania. It lies between two mountains, and has an extent of twenty-five miles by a width of three. A survey was made of this spot, and a map of it drawn by John Jenkins. The valley was purchased of the Six Nations in 1754, and a deed obtained by the Connecticut colony. In 1762 a body of two hundred settlers located in the valley, and these were increased at intervals by others, until in 1774 the population numbered nearly two thousand. Conflicting claims between the settlers from Connecticut and Pennsylvanians led to disputes known in history as the Pennamite war. Many of the colonists, desiring undoubted title to their lands, determined once more to emigrate and seek new homes. To them Palmyra owes her first settlement. A name deservedly prominent in this connection is that of John Swift, whose dust lies in the old grave-yard of the village of Palmyra. He was a native of Kent, Connecticut, enlisted when fifteen, and served several years. When difficulties in Pennsylvania had been settled, a company was formed, and John Swift and John Jenkins were constituted agents to make choice and purchase of land for their occupation. Jenkins, as surveyor for Phelps and Gorham, had become familiar with the country, and with Swift proceeded to Canandaigua, and contracted for township No. 12, range 2, and at once began the survey of farm lots along Mud creek. Jenkins built a cabin under the brow of the hill, on the bank of the creek, about two miles below Palmyra village. His party consisted of four men, Alpheus Harris, Solomon Earle, one Barker, and Daniel Ransom. Near the cabin was the hunting camp of a party of Tuscarora Indians, to whom provisions had on several occasions been given.

Very early one morning, while the surveyors lay asleep in their bunks and their fire smoldered low, the Indians crept up to the cabin, put their guns through between the unchincked logs, chose their marks, and fired. Barker was shot dead, Earle was wounded, and the others were unharmed. Jenkins, with a stick, and Ransom, armed with an axe, encountered their assailants so vigorously as to put them to flight. Two rifles and a hatchet were left behind. At daylight Barker was buried; and, taking Earle to Geneva, the alarm was given, and the Indians being pursued, two of them were overtaken on the Chemung.

In that rude time, the nearest jail was at Johnstown, and to attempt to take the captives thither was to incur the risk of rescue. It was determined to try them by "committee law." A court was held at Newtown, and their execution decreed. The helpless assassins were taken blindfold into the woods, and, at a signal, each was struck with a hatchet. One Indian fell dead under the blow, the other parried the stroke, and took to flight. He was overtaken, and beaten to death with stones and sticks. Such was the first trial and execution in the Genesee country, -- savage abhorrent, and yet justified by existing circumstances. Another of the Indians, who bore the name of "Turkey," was marked by a blow from Jenkins' staff: he contracted the smallpox during the war of 1812, and died in a hut near Moscow. The Indians, fearing the malady, took him to the woods and left him to die alone. Earle, recovering from his wound, became the pioneer ferryman at the Seneca outlet. The news of this attack resulted in an abandonment of the Susquehanna movement, and Swift proceeded to Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, where he labored to induce emigration.

In September, 1790, John Swift moved, as the first pioneer of Palmyra, into the unbroken wilderness, and established his family in a house built of logs, covered with bark, and located at "Swift's landing," just north of the lower end of Main street in Palmyra. His wife was well calculated for frontier life, and endowed with both vigor and courage, as a single instance will show. She was engaged in preparing a meal of hasty-pudding one evening when three Indians entered, and, without ceremony, took seats around the fire, and gravely watched her proceedings. Finally, their conduct gave umbrage to Dame Swift, who caught the poker, and assailed them so lustily that they were glad to make a hasty retreat. Her act is notable, from the fact that to later arrivals, from a sense of dread of offending, she gave of food needed for the family to satisfy their importunate demands.

Initial events cluster about the name of John Swift; from 1790 to 1812 it is associated with every enterprise, monetary, political, and religious. He built the first grist-mill, in l810, opposite George Harrison's present mill. At the first town meeting he was moderator, and was chosen supervisor and pound-tender. At his log cabin he, as captain, held the first training, and, save those of Bloomfield and Canandaigua, the church formed at his house was the first west of Oneida lake. Asa Swift, his son, was the first male child born in the town. He donated lots for the first grave-yard, school-house, and church in the village of Palmyra. In the war of 1812 he was made brevet-general, and in 1814, while at Queenstown Heights, led a party to Fort George, where he captured a picket-post and some sixty men. An oversight permitted the prisoners to retain their arms, and when one of them asked, "Who is General Swift?" he answered, "1 am General Swift!" and in a moment a fatal shot was fired. Swift was taken to the nearest house, and there dying, was buried July 12, 1814. When the war ended the citizens of Palmyra exhumed his remains, and buried them in the old cemetery. As an acknowledgment of services rendered, the State legislature presented a sword to his oldest son, and ordered a full-length portrait of General Swift to be placed in the city hall, New York.

The second settler in Palmyra was Webb Harwood, from Adams, Berkshire county, Massachusetts. He moved in with his wife about the close of 1789, and, building, occupied a cabin on the rising ground near the first lock on the Erie canal west of Palmyra. With him came three single men, -- Noah Porter, Jonathan Warner, and Bennet Bates. In a census taken during the summer of 1790, the name of Webb Harwood occurs with that of David White as the only families enumerated. This fact favors the ascription of pioneer settlement to the farmer. Harwood died in 1824. A son, William, became a resident of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and daughters married Mr. Coe and Isaac Mace. David White came in with his family in 1790. His death and funeral was first in Palmyra. Among some of those who followed Swift from Wyoming were William Jackway, John Hurlburt, Jonathan Millett, Nathan Parshall, Barney Horton, James Galloway, and Mrs. Tiffany. Lemuel Spear is given as the third settler. He was from Massachusetts, and had served as a soldier during the Revolution. Mr. Spear had purchased land of Isaac Hathaway, paying for the same twenty cents an acre, and to this tract, situated a mile above Palmyra village, he moved his family during the month of February, 1790. He came on with two yoke of oxen, some cows, and a number of sheep. He found his way by blazed trees from Vienna to his purchase, and his sled ran roughly upon little else than a track. The weather was mild and the stock fared well upon the growth of the flats, a portion of which had known Indian tillage. The family, eleven in number, passed several months

__________
* For much of the material of the history of this town we are indebted to reminiscences from the pen of James Reeves, who, in 1870-71, published aeries of historical sketches in the Palmyra papers, based upon records in his possession.


 


              HISTORY OF WAYNE COUNTY, NEW YORK.               149


1822. The enumeration gives the names of one hundred and fifty-five persons. Of all these only one -- William F. Jarvis -- is a member of the church to-day. The rest are dead or have removed to other localities. In the old chapel, as it was usually called, the Genesee conference held its seventeenth session during June, 1826. Bishop McKendree presiding. A camp-meeting was held at the same time in a fine grove near by. On Sabbath morning the bishop preached in this glove to a congregation of thousands. It is said that not less than ten thousand persons were on the ground during the day.

In 1847, during the pastorate of Rev. B. McLouth, the church edifice was moved to Cuyler street, enlarged and remodeled at considerable expense, and there it still stands, directly south of the Jarvis block. Here, in 1856, the East Genesee Conference held its ninth session, under the presidency of Bishop Ames. During the pastorate of Rev. Thomas Tousey, which began in the fall of 1863 and continued three years, a new church edifice was projected. Through the persistent effort of the pastor subscriptions to the amount of fifteen thousand dollars were procured, and on the 23d of July, 1866, the ground was broken for the new temple on the former site of a hotel, on the corner of Main and Church streets. On August 21 following the corner-stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies, and on the 31st of October, 1867, during the pastorate of Rev. C. S. Fox, the completed edifice was dedicated to the service of Almighty God; six thousand dollars being raised on that day to remove all indebtedness. The church is of brick, with trimmings of cut stone. It consists of a main edifice, eighty-five feet by fifty-two, with a wing sixty-nine feet by thirty-four. The principal spire has an altitude of one hundred and fifty feet. The auditorium has sittings for more than six hundred persons. The wing contains a lecture-room, two, class-rooms, and a kitchen. The roof and spire are slated. The auditorium and other rooms are frescoed. The entire cost, including the site, was thirty thousand dollars. In October, 1872, the Central New York Conference held its fifth session in the new church, under the presidency of Bishop Peck. The church is now within the bounds of the Genesee Conference and the Geneva district. The present membership is three hundred. There is a Sunday-school connected with the church, which consists of twenty-four officers and teachers and one hundred and seventy-five scholars. The superintendent is George R. Farnham. The pastors who have officiated in the new church are named as follows: C. S. Fox, Robert Hogoboom, I. H. Kellogg, John Alabaster, J. P. Farmer, B. H. Brown, and the present pastor, C. W. Winchester. The church is in a harmonious and flourishing condition, free from debt, -- a potent agency for human welfare.


ST. ANN'S CONGREGATION (CATHOLIC)

was organized about 1849 by Rev. Edmund O'Connor, pastor of St. Mary's, Canandaigua. He paid occasional visits and said mass in Williamson's Hall. The Catholics were few in number, and were emigrants from Ireland. Gradually numbers increased, and the congregation is now about nine hundred and twenty in all. Of children attending Sunday-school there are about seventy.

In 1848 or 1849, Rev. E. O'Connor purchased from William Aldrich the old brick academy, situated on Church street, and converted it into a Catholic church. It was in use as such till 1860, when the present brick church, sixty by forty feet, was erected upon the adjacent lot, and the old structure taken down. In July, 1850, Rev. John Twohay was appointed resident pastor by Right Rev. John Timon, bishop of Buffalo. The appointment extended to Lyons, New York, Fairport, Newark, and the country surrounding. He was succeeded by Rev. Michael Gilbride, who was pastor from November, 1852, till January 30, 1854. Next came Father James Donelly, and remained till July 20 of the same year. Rev. Thomas Walsh succeeded, and served till July 22, 1855.

The present incumbent, Rev. William Casey, was appointed pastor on August 1, 1855, and has therefore been pastor over twenty years. To his promptitude and energy is owing the rapid and durable progress of his church; he is an assiduous and faithful pastor. He commenced the frame church in Victor, purchased the lot in Ontario, on which the new church has been built, and during his pastorate built the churches at Fairport and Macedon, and at the last-named occasionally gives his services.

The corner-stone of the new St. Ann's was laid on the 26th of July (St. Ann's day), 1864. It was consecrated and laid by very Rev. Michael O'Brian, vicar-general of the diocese of Buffalo, and then pastor of St. Patrick's, Rochester. He was assisted by the pastor and several neighboring priests.

The Rev. Edward Quigley preached on that occasion. In February, 1861, the house was blessed by Bishop Timon, and although not finished, began to be used for divine service. Completed in 1870, a new altar was erected, new pews built, and the church frescoed. On October 23, 1870, the house was dedicated by Right Rev. Barnard J. M. McQuaid.

In September, 1856, Father Casey purchased from George G. Jessup, Esq., for [two] thousand dollars, the two lots, with house and barn, south of the old church. The house has twice been remodeled. It was built as at present in 1873, at a cost of three thousand dollars, by George Williams, builder. In 1868 the pastor purchased from Carlton H. Rogers, Esq., three and a quarter acres of land southeast of village cemetery. He had it laid out and consecrated for a Catholic cemetery. The church property is worth about fifteen thousand dollars, free from incumbrance. It is anticipated at no distant day to enlarge and beautify the church.
 

"OLD GIBBS," THE SEXTON.

The character which is frequently more interesting or instructive dies with the man. To rescue one of these from forgetfulness we allude to Old Gibbs, who was for many years sexton and grave-digger to the Presbyterian church. Having never been naturalized, he took the law in the natural way, and what he conceived to be right was law for him The pastor's daughters, thinking to escape the eye of their father, took seats in the gallery of the old meeting-house on the hill, where they indulged freely in their pranks. Gibbs bore it patiently for some time. One day it became unbearable: he walked quietly behind one of the young ladies, placed his hands under her arms, and brought her over the bench in a twinkling, so swiftly the preacher did not observe it, and the culprit dared not complain. A young lady was in the habit of going to meeting in the evening, to have some fun; she sat on the back seat, in the long room, under the church. Gibbs had his eye on her. He had this advantage: when you thought he was looking at you, he was looking the other way; and when he looked the other way he was sure to be looking at you. Gibbs took her by the arm to lead her out; she resisted; a scuffle ensued, but Gibbs conquered. The minister thought some one had fainted, and the meeting went on. Not so young America; they called a meeting after service, and voted to lynch the old man the first time he ventured out of all evening. Gibbs took the alarm, and was sure to be at home before sundown, for some time. A very good man died whose praise was in all the churches. It was proposed to erect a stone to his memory, by subscription. Gibbs was to circulate the paper. He offered it to a wealthy man and recent convert, who declined, saying, "We all had a stone in our hearts to that good man." "Yes," said Gibbs, "and you have had it there so long that your heart has become stone too, and for this reason I want to transplant it to its proper place." He was constant in his attendance at meeting, but seldom spoke. On one occasion he rose and said, "Brethren, I don't want to take much time, but my pork-barrel is very low," and sat down. He was fond of drawing illustrations from his occupation. In summer he was the gardener of Palmyra village. At a meeting one June evening he rose and said, "This church reminds me of cowcumbers at a season of revival; like the plant, in June you grow and flourish, but when the wind gets into the north you are all dead." About this time he was seen ringing the bell at the Episcopal church. "How is this?" said one. "Oh," said he, "like the ministers, I have had a louder call over the way." He often enumerated the numbers he had buried, and the whole families he had laid side by side in his vocation. His serio-ludicro face, on these occasions, none but a Scott or a Dickens could delineate. The last time I saw him he was leaning on his spade in the grave-yard, with one eye upon earth and the other upon heaven, discoursing the ingratitude of corporations. "I have asked," said he, "for a little spot that I could prepare and beautify with my own hands for this poor body, with some humble stone and unique inscription, to tell the stranger that in twenty-five years these hands have gathered in nearly three hundred bodies, and it was not granted." Soon after he made his way to Buffalo. In his destitution he called on a humane lady who had known him in Palmyra, rehearsed the story of his labors, his poverty, and his grief. She give him money to take him to a neighboring county In a few months all that remained of Old Gibbs was deposited in the potter's field, unwept and unhonored. We shall never see his like again.
 

MORMONISM  AND  ITS  FOUNDER

Mormonism had its origin with the family of Joseph Smith, Sr., who came in the summer of 1816, from Royalton, Vermont, and settled in the village of Palmyra. The family consisted of nine children, viz.: Alvin, Hiram, Sophronia, Joseph, Samuel H., William, Catharine, Carlos, and Lucy. Arrived at Palmyra the elder Smith opened a "cake and beer shop," as his sign indicated, and the profits of the shop, combined with occasional earnings by himself and eldest sons at harvesting, well-digging, and other common employments, enabled him to provide an honest living for the family. The shop, with its confectionery, gingerbread, root-beer, and such articles, was well patronized by the village and country youth, and on public occasions did a lively business. A hand-cart, fashioned by Joseph Smith, Sr., was employed to peddle his wares through the streets. For two and a half years the family resided in the village, and in 1818 settled upon a wild tract of land located about two miles south of Palmyra. Anticipating a removal hither, a small log house had been built, and in this they made their home for a dozen years. The cabin contained two rooms on the ground floor, and


 


150               HISTORY OF WAYNE COUNTY, NEW YORK.              


a garret had two divisions. Some time after occupation a wing was built of slabs for a sleeping-apartment.

The land thus settled was owned by non-resident minor heirs, who had no local agent to look after it; hence the squatters were not disturbed. Mr. Smith finally contracted for the land, made a small payment, and occupied the tract till 1829, when the new religion was ushered into existence. The family were an exception to Vermonters, and did little to improve their state or clear the land. A short time before leaving the farm they erected the frame of a small house and partially inclosed it, and here they lived in the unfinished building till they took their departure. The old cabin was put to use as a barn. The Smiths left in 1831, and that once wild tract, the abode of the squatter family, is now a well-organized farm located on Stafford street, running south of the village. The Smiths obtained a livelihood from this lot by the sale of cordwood, baskets, birch-brooms, maple sugar, and syrup, and on public days resumed the cake and beer business in Palmyra. Much the larger portion of the time of the Smiths was employed in hunting, trapping muskrats, fishing, and lounging at the village. Joseph Jr., was active in catching woodchucks, but practically ignored work.

Nocturnal depredations occurred among neighbors, and suspicion rested upon the family, but no proof of their being implicated has been adduced. "A shiftless set" was an appropriate designation to the Smiths, and Joseph, Jr., was the worst of the lot. During his minority he is recalled as indolent and mendacious. In appearance dull-eyed, tow-haired, and of shiftless manner. Taciturn unless addressed, he was not believed when he did speak. He was given to mischief and mysterious pretense, was good-natured, and was never known to laugh. Having learned to read, the lives of criminals engrossed his attention, till from study of the Bible he became familiar with portions of the Scripture, and especially found interest in revelation and prophecy. Revivals occurred, and Smith joined a class of probationers in the Methodist church of Palmyra, but soon withdrew.

In September, 1819, the elder Smith and his sons Alvin and Hiram, in digging a well near Palmyra, threw up a stone of vitreous though opaque appearance, and in form like an infant's foot. This stone was secured by Joseph, and turned to account as a revelator of present and future. In the role of fortune-teller, small amounts were received from the credulous, and the impostor was encouraged to enlarge his field by asserting a vision of gold and silver buried in iron chests in the vicinity. The stone was finally placed in his hat to shade its marvelous brightness when its services were required. Persisting in his assertions, there were those who in the spring of 1820 contributed to defray the expenses of digging for the buried treasure. At midnight, dupes, laborers, and himself, with lanterns, repaired to the hill-side near the house of Smith, where, following mystic ceremony, digging began by signal in enjoined silence. Two hours elapsed, when, just as the money-box was about to be unearthed, some one spoke and the treasure vanished. This was the explanation of the failure, and it was sufficient for the party. The deception was repeated from time to time in the interval between 1820 and 1827, and, despite the illusory searches for money, he obtained contributions which went towards the maintenance of the family.

A single instance illustrated the mode of procedure at a search for money. Assuming to see where treasure lay entombed, Smith asserted that a "black sheep" was necessary, as an offering upon the ground, before the work of digging could begin. William Stafford, a farmer, had a fat black wether, and agreed to furnish the sacrifice in consideration of an equitable division of the results of the venture. The party repaired with lanterns at the appointed hour of the night to the chosen spot; Smith traced a circle, within which the wether was placed and his throat cut; the blood saturated the ground, and silently and solemnly, but with vigor, excavation began. Three hours of futile labor ensued, when it was discovered that the elder Smith, assisted by a son, had taken away the sheep and laid in a stock of mutton for family use. Such were the foolish and worse than puerile acts which served as a prelude to the crowning act in the life of Joseph Smith, -- the inauguration of Mormonism.

In the summer of 1827 a stranger appeared, and made frequent visits at the Smith cabin. Smith announced a vision wherein an angel had appeared and promised the revelation of a true and full gospel, which should supersede all others. Again the angel appeared to Smith, and revealed "That the American Indians were a remnant of the Israelites, who, after coming to this country, had their prophets and inspired writings; that such of their writings as had not been destroyed were safely deposited in a certain place made known to him, and to him only; that they contained revelations in regard to the last days; and that, if he remained faithful, he would be the chosen prophet to translate them to the world."

Fall came, and Smith assumed the role of a prophet. He told his family, friends, and believers, that upon a fixed day he was to proceed alone to a spot designated by an angel, and there withdraw from the earth a metallic book of great antiquity, -- in short, a hieroglyphic record of the lost tribes and original inhabitants of America. This mystic volume Smith alone could translate, and power was given him as the Divine agent. The expectant revelation was duly advertised, when the prophet, with spade and napkin, repaired to the forest, and at the end of some three hours returned with some object encased in the napkin. The first depository of the sacred plates was under the heavy hearthstone of the Smith cabin. Willard Chase, a carpenter and joiner, was solicited to make a strong chest wherein to keep the golden book in security, but no payment being anticipated, the interview was fruitless. Later a chest was procured, and kept in the garret. Here Smith consulted the volume upon which no other could look and live. William T. Hussy and Ashley Vanduzer, intimates of Smith, resolved to see the book, and were permitted to observe its shape and size under a piece of canvas. Smith refused to uncover it, and Hussey, seizing it, stripped off the cover, and found -- a tile-brick. Smith claimed to have sold his visitors by a trick, and treating them to liquor, the matter ended amicably. A huge pair of spectacles were asserted to have been found with the book, and these were the agency by which translation was to be effected. A revelation of a Golden Bible, or Book of Mormon, was announced, and the locality whence the book was claimed to have been taken has since been known, as "Mormon Hill," and is located in the town of Manchester. Smith described the book "as consisting of metallic leaves or plates resembling gold, bound together in a volume by three rings running through one edge of them, the leaves opening like an ordinary paper book." Translation began, and the result was shown to ministers and men of education. The "Nephites" and "Lamanites" were outlined as the progenitors of the American aborigines. The Bible was evidently the basis of the work, and portions of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Matthew were almost bodily employed. Smith, being unable to write, sat behind a blanket and evidently read to his scribe, whose name was Oliver Cowdery, who had been a schoolmaster, and wrote at dictation. It was desirable to get this manuscript into print. George Crane, of Macedon, a Quaker, and a man of intelligence, was shown several quires of the "translations." His opinion was asked and his aid solicited. Mr. Crane advised Smith to give up his scheme, or ruin would result to him, and as is well known, the Friend spoke prophetically.

Followers may be obtained for any creed. He formed an organization denominated "Latter-Day Saints." They are enumerated as Oliver Cowdery, Samuel Lawrence, Martin Harris, Preserved Harris, Peter Ingersoll, Charles Ford, George and Dolly Proper, of Palmyra, Ziba Peterson, Calvin Stoddard and wife Sophronia, of Macedon, Ezra Thayer, of Brighton, Leeman Walters, of Pultneyville, Hiram Page of Fayette, David Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, as well as Christian, John, and Peter, Jr., of Phelps, Simeon Nichols, of Farmington, William, Joshua, and Gad Stafford, David and Abram Fish, Robert Orr, K. H. Quance, John Morgan, Orrin and Caroline Rockwell, Mrs. S. Risley, and the Smith family. A man named Parley P. Pratt, from Ohio, stepped off a canal-boat at Palmyra, and joined the organization. Martin Harris desired the new book printed, and avowed to his wife his intention of incurring the expense. She knew that the result would be a loss of the farm, and while her husband slept secured and burnt the manuscript. The burning she kept secret, and Smith and Harris, fearing that they might be produced, dared not rewrite the manuscript. Again translation was effected, this time within a cave dug in the east side of the forest hill, and guarded by one or more disciples. In June, 1829, Smith, accompanied by his brother Hiram, Cowdery, and Harris, called on Egbert B. Grandin, publisher of the Wayne Sentinel, at Palmyra, and inquired the cost of an edition of three thousand copies. An estimate was furnished, but publication refused. An application to Thurlow Weed, of the Anti-Masonic Inquirer, at Rochester, met a like rebuff, and Harris was advised "not to beggar his family." Elihu F. Marshall, a book publisher of Rochester, gave terms. Mr. Grandin was again visited, and a contract was made whereby for three thousand dollars five thousand copies of the Book of Mormon were printed, bound, and delivered in the summer of 1830. Harris gave bond and mortgage in security for payment. John H. Gilbert did the type-setting and press-work, and retained a copy of the book in the original sheets. Harris and his wife separated. She received eighty acres of land, and occupied her property in comfort till her death. The mortgaged farm was sold in 1831. It is land located a mile and a half north of Palmyra. Anticipating profits from the sale of the work, Smith obtained cloth for a suit of clothing from the store of David S. Aldrich, of Palmyra, and in November, 1829, went to northern Pennsylvania, where he was married by Sidney Rigdon, after the Mormon ritual, to a daughter of Isaac Hale.

In June, 1830 the organization took place. Smith read and expounded some passages of the new bible, and then installed his father as "Patriarch and President of the Church of Latter-Day Saints," while Harris and Cowdery were invested with limited authority. Baptism was administered by Smith to Cowdery, and Harris' and other baptisms were conducted by Cowdery. The pool where the rite was celebrated was formed by obstructing a brook near the place of assembly. Smith was not baptized, he averring that brother Rigdon had performed the ceremony in Pennsylvania.


 


              HISTORY OF WAYNE COUNTY, NEW YORK.               151


A few days elapsed, and a party of about a dozen went to Fayette, and similar observances, in the presence of a congregation of about thirty persons, followed. Sidney Rigdon, a renegade Baptist clergyman, resident in Ohio, had so far kept in the background. He now came to Palmyra as the first regular Mormon preacher. All the churches were closed to him, but the hall of the Palmyra Young Men's Association was opened, and a small audience assembled to hear the first discourse. The attempt was never repeated by Rigdon or any other of his creed in Palmyra. In the summer of 1830, the Mormon founders removed to Kirtland, Ohio, and from Rigdon's former congregation increased their number, till over one hundred persons had embraced Mormonism. The imposture was now under headway, and the "prophet" and his followers had departed from western New York, and with them we have done. It remains to account for the production of the book of Mormon, which, however heterogeneous, has nevertheless evidence of scholastic ability in the design. Its authorship is attributed to Rev. Solomon Spaulding, who in 1809, having graduated from college, settled in Cherry valley, and thence removed to Ohio. The region in which he settled abounded in ancient mounds, of whose builders no knowledge is existing. Mr. Spaulding beguiled his hours in a fanciful sketch of their origin, and the race which then existed. The work was entitled, "The Manuscript Found," and was completed in 1812. The manuscript was sent to a Mr. Patterson, at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with the idea of joint publication. It was not printed, and in 1816 was reclaimed by the author, who died in 1827, at Amity, New York. The manuscript was "missed or stolen" from the widow, and the "Book of Mormon" came into notice. It is believed that Sidney Rigdon, a printer at work for Patterson, had copied the manuscript and brought it into Smith's possession.

From the plot of shrewd, unprincipled men a creed has gone out whose disciples grew strong by persecution, crossed the great plains to Salt Lake, and then founded a community which enrolled its thousands of followers, and set at defiance moral law and national authority. Foreign converts, halting from the train at Palmyra, gaze upon Mormon Hill with open-mouthed awe, and wonder as the pilgrims at an eastern shrine, and the pioneers, who knew the Smiths and their deception, look on in pity and contempt. They depart and join the "saints," -- now in their evil days -- the period of their dissolution.

(pages 151-154 under construction)





 


              HISTORY OF WAYNE COUNTY, NEW YORK.               155


...[in Rose Township]... A number of people in this part of the county worked themselves into the delusion that "money chests" of gold and precious stones lay buried beneath the surface in this town, to which they were guided by invisible spirits through a "medium." On several farms northeast of Rose Valley they assembled at night and silently dug for the treasure. A single word spoken before it was found was fatal; the treasure would disappear and the evil spirits would rise against them. In this way the delusion was fed and kept ablaze by those interested, who were always sure to break the silence, when the deluded would run frightened away. On one occasion a kettle was previously buried, and when struck with a spade an exclamation caused the treasure in it to vanish. To these ignorant men this supplied the most absolute proof, and the effects of this foolish delusion are still visible in many places by partially filled excavations, where they labored with a zeal and energy worthy a better cause.

The interpreter of the "money diggers," as they were called, pretended to see the "money chests," or hidden treasure, through a large, peculiar stone, which he always retained with him. He held it to his eyes, and claimed the power to see through it into the earth. Several visionary citizens of this town, with more strangers who came here regularly, united in their mystic meetings previous to all their diggings. As an inducement to persons predisposed to the marvelous, it was related that the son of a certain minister, then living in town, who was eighteen years of age and of good habits, saw, one evening, in his father's granary, which was lighted up by supernatural light, an image in the form of a "little child." Then again it appeared in his bed-chamber, and, when addressed by the young man, replied that it was from the "Court of Glory," and had come to reveal to him the hidden treasures of the earth, and that if he would pray for the span of seven days it would appear the next time in the form of a "beautiful young lady." In due time the "beautiful young lady" appeared and made the promised revelation, the circle was formed, one of the number was made captain, and the digging commenced. Night after night was passed in hard labor under the particular direction of this invisible spirit. Circles were carefully marked out around the pit to keep the devil out. The money, or a portion of it, was to be used for charitable purposes, and to alleviate the sufferings of humanity. But after many fruitless attempts and much disappointment the captain, becoming incredulous, and losing confidence in the invisible guide, through the interpreter, denounced the "beautiful spirit" as being the devil. Of course this rebellious action could not be tolerated, and must be put down. Accordingly, the captain was notified in writing to appear on a certain day to a trial before the spirits and the circle. On the back of the notice he wrote "protested," but named a day one week later, when the circle convened and the trial began. Innumerable spirits were seen by the minister and his son, and from ten A. M. to four p. M. the patriarchs of old were called as witnesses, and everything was going against the captain. The last witness was the spirit of Samuel, the prophet. The captain with all his power conjured Samuel to tell the truth and reveal the devil's work. He was just ready to give up his case when, to his astonishment, and the dismay of the circle, the prophet began performing under his own control. The preacher and his son burst into tears to see poor old Samuel hopping about the room on one foot, then down on the floor, playing bear with a great load on. his back. The captain, having absolute control of the spirit, conjured him to faithfully answer such questions as he should put to him. "Can you at pleasure transform yourself into a 'devil,' 'lamb,' or 'young lady?'" Answer, "I can." "Have you been the only witness here to-day in the form of all the old patriarchs?" Answer, "I have." "Are you the devil himself?" Answer, "I am." The captain was triumphant. The deluded parson, son, and all the circle were ready to give up that it was all the work of the devil. Yet to such an extent did the captain believe in the power of the devil that he related, as a real occurence, that a friend of his, while riding, was seized and taken up by the devil, carried through the air seven miles, and, after a terrible struggle and fright, was released and dropped in a barnyard. The captain was sent for, who, with the aid of a physician, restored him. It is stated that many a time while the others were in the pit digging for their "gold" and "money chests" the devil would appear to the sentry on the watch in the form of a bellowing bull or by heavy sounds of groaning, or shrieks, which would put the whole party to flight....

(remainder of text under construction)










LANDMARKS

OF

WAYNE  COUNTY

ILLUSTRATED

EDITED  BY

HON.  GEORGE  W.  COWLES

OF  CLYDE,  N.Y.


ASSISTED  BY  H. P.  SMITH  AND  OTHERS






SYRACUSE, N.Y.
D. MASON & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS
1895




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CHAPTER  VII.

Further Improvement in Means of Transportation -- Discussion of the "Grand Canal" -- Investigation and Surveys -- Progress and Completion of the Great Work -- Its Effect Upon Wayne County -- Other Public Improvements -- The First Railroad -- The Railroads of Wayne County -- Brief History of Mormonism -- Inception of Spiritualism.
The reader of the foregoing chapters cannot have failed to perceive the supreme importance to the inhabitants of Wayne county of better means of transportation and communication between their homes and the eastern markets, and the consequent deep interest manifested by them in the preliminary discussions, surveys, etc., which finally culminated in the construction of the Erie Canal. Not that they were for several years convinced of the practicability of the future accomplishment of the great work, for they were not. It is the destiny of all daring innovations and new and important projects, to call out the sneers and ridicule and opposition of the pessimists; and the Erie Canal was no exception to this universal experience. Outside of a few practical engineers and men who had gained a knowledge of the feasibility and existence of similar waterways in other countries, the masses of the people were unbelievers and scoffers, and even the well-informed long doubted the success of the various measures necessary to the completion of the project.

The inhabitants of Wayne county, as well as those in other districts along the line of the proposed canal, continued their efforts in opening and improving highways, and clung persistently to the settled belief that over them, or by way of Lake Ontario, the transportation of their surplus products and their incoming merchandise must continue indefinitely. In this connection a legislative act of April 15, 1816, named commissioners to layout a road from "the bridge at the Canandaigua outlet to Great Sodus Bay, where vessels that navigate Lake Ontario can conveniently come." Another act of the same month and year, designated commissioners to open a road "from the bridge crossing the Genesee River opposite the village of Rochester on the most direct




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and eligible route to the Four Corners, on the Ridge road, in the town of Murray" (then in Genesee county). Prior to the enactment of these laws, and on March 31, 1815. the Legislature had incorporated the Montezuma Turnpike and Bridge Company, which was authorized to build a road from. Throopvil1e to the village of Montezuma, and "from the west" side of the marsh lying along the border of the Seneca River opposite said village of Montezuma to the village of Palmyra." This company was afterwards authorized to extend their road eastward to Camillus in Onondaga county.

On the 14th of March, 1817, the Oswego Falls and Sodus Bay Turnpike Company was incorporated, its purpose being to construct a road from "the west side of the Oswego River, near the termination of the road from Utica," to Port Glasgow, "on the eastern shore of Sodus Bay."

Again, in April, 1819 (in which month and year the village of Palmyra was incorporated), the Sodus Bay Bridge Company was incorporated, to build a bridge "over Great Sodus Bay at or near the route of the Niagara Ridge or State Road, in the town of Wolcott." On the 22d of. March, 1822, commissioners were named by the Legislature to layout a road, "from Adams' Mills, in the town of Wolcott, and from Cooper's Mills, in the town of Sterling, to the bridge over the Seneca River in the town of Conquest," aud thence "to the State Prison in Auburn." A year later, April 3, 1823, commissioners were appointed to layout a road from near Oswego Falis to Hannibal, and thence through Sterling to Wolcott Cemetery" (to connect) "with one of the present roads leading to the bridge at the head of Sodus Bay."

The reader will clearly observe the general trend of these several improvements; they were a part of the general struggle to obtain better means of communication with the East, a struggle that was to largely cease after the opening of the Erie Canal.

It is not necessary in these pages to enter into a lengthy and detailed account of the inception and progress of the canal. Every intelligent reader has been made familiar with it through one or more of the very numerous publications in which its history is found. The subject of water communication from the Hudson River westward was discussed some years prior to the beginning of the present century, and in 1792 the Western Inland and Lock Navigation Company was organized, and within the next few years completed the canal around the rapids at Little Falls and improved the channels of the Mohawk and Wood




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Creek, greatly facilitating navigation from the Hudson to Oneida Lake and conferring vast benefit on the State at large.

The claim is made that Gouverneur Morris suggested the construction of a canal westward to Lake Erie to Simeon De Witt, then surveyor-general, as early as 1803, and that De Witt, like most others at that time, considered the scheme wildly visionary. [1] Morris talked with James Geddes, a practical engineer of Onondaga county, about the project, and he believed the scheme a feasible one, and began correspondence with other engineers on the subject, thus awakening general interest. In 1805 Jesse Hawley, a native of Connecticut, was buying wheat in the Genesee Valley, transporting it to a mill at Seneca Falls, and thence carrying the flour to the Albany market. However he may have become impressed with the desirability of a canal, he wrote a series of newspaper articles in favor of the undertaking, which created considerable favorable influence. The subject finally became a political issue and was taken in hand by Hon. Josuha Forman, of Syracuse, who was elected to the Assembly on the "canal ticket." Mr. Forman from that time on until the canal was an accomplished fact was its enthusiastic advocate, and to him as much as to any other person is due the credit for the great work. He secureq a small appropriation of $600 and Mr. Geddes received authority to make a preliminary survey. As between the two proposed routes, the one by way of Lake Ontario and the other direct to Lake Erie, Mr. Geddes reported in favor of the latter. This took the line directly along or across the southern part of Wayne county, and we quote as follows regarding the local features of the project:

Mr. Geddes suggested that there might "be found some place in the Ridge that bounds the Tonawanda Valley on the north, as low as the level of Lake Erie, where a canal may be led across and conducted onward without increasing the lockage by rising to the Tonawanda Swamp." The latter difficulty was involved in the route

__________
1 There is a tradition that Governor Colden as early as 1724 expressed the hope that sometime the western part of this State might be penetrated by boats independent of Lake Ontario. In his memoir on the fur trade, written in the year just named, certainly occurs the following passage: "There is a river which comes from the country of the Sinnekes and falls into the Onondaga River, by which we have ail easy carriage into that country without going near the Cataracqui (Ontario) Lake. The head of this river goes near to Lake Erie and probably may give a very near passage into that lake, much more advantageous than the way the French are obliged to take by the way of the great falls of Niagara." It seems possible that the old governor had a faint vision of clear water communication to Lake Erie.




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that had been contemplated by Joseph Ellicott. He supposed the summit on that line would not be more than twenty feet above Lake Erie, and that upon it a sufficient supply of water might be obtained from Oak Orchard Creek and other streams. In this he was mistaken; the summit was found to be seventy-five feet above Lake Erie. and to be supplied with no adequate feeder. It is entirely probable that the canal could never have been a success through Western New York, except for the discovery through the great genius of Mr. Geddes, that it could follow the course finally adopted, permitting a continuous flow eastward from Lake Erie. Commissioners were appointed at the legislative session of 1810 to thoroughly explore the proposed routes of water communication across the State, which they did and reported on the 2d of March, 1811. They recommended the route favored by Mr. Geddes. The estimated cost of the work was $5,000,000. The Legislature approved this report by continuing the commission and voting $15,000 for further operations. Attempts to obtain congressional aid for the undertaking failed, and in the following year the Legislature authorized the commissioners to borrow $5,000,000 on the State credit, for the construction of the canal. The oncoming of the war with Great Britain put a stop to the undertaking; but in 1815, it was revived and public meetings were held in various parts of the State, where enthusiastic speakers advocated the speedy completion of the work. The Legislature of 1816 appointed a new canal commission, and in the next year Governor Clinton prepared an act authorizing the beginning of the work. The canal was divided into three sections, eastern, middle and western, Mr. Geddes being made chief engineer of the western section. Up to the year 1820 nothing but the survey had been accomplished. on this division, aside from the adoption of the route advised by Mr. Geddes. In 1820 he was succeeded by David Thomas, who in that year made an examination of the course adopted from Rochester to Pendleton and made some modification east of Oak Orchard Creek in Orleans county. A more important change was made in reference to the point of passing the mountain ridge in Niagara county, and which determined the site of the city of Lockport. The whole western. part of the canal was put under contract in 1821. The work was pushed energetically, and during the autumn of 1825 the canal was navigable as far west on the western section as Holley (Orleans county), and during the following season reached the foot of the ridge at Lockport. The great rock-cutting at the latter place was the last piece of work finished between




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Buffalo and Albany. William C. Bouck, afterwards governor of the State, was the commissioner in charge of the construction of the western portion of the canal. On the 29th of September, 1825, he wrote from Lockport to Stephen Van Rensselaer, another commissioner, as follows:

Sir: The unfinished parts of the Erie Canal will be completed and in a condition to admit the passage of boats on Wednesday, the 26th day of October next. It would have been gratifying to have accomplished this result as early as the first of September, but embarrassments which I could not control delayed it. On this grand event, so auspicious to the character and wealth of the citizens of New York, permits me to congratulate you.

By extra exertion the final filling was finished on the 25th of October, and in the forenoon or the next day a flotilla of five boats left Buffalo, laden with the highest State officers and other prominent men. Cannon had been stationed a few miles apart along the whole line of the canal, to be discharged in order as fast as they were reached by the boats. A few boats had started westward from Lockport about the time of the sailing of the flotilla from Buffalo, and met the latter in Tonawanda Creek, whence all sailed on eastward. [1] Enthusiastic crowds of people, among them, we may be sure, many who had ridiculed and opposed the undertaking, met the fleet at the various villages -- Newark (what there was of it), Palmyra, Lyons, and Clyde in a general celebration of the event. [2]

The Erie canal was at first 362 miles long, and its original cost was $7,143,780.86. Under an act of Legislature of May, 1835, the canal was enlarged from a width of forty feet at top and twenty-eight at bottom, to seventy feet at top and fifty-two and one-half at bottom, and so much straightened as to reduce its length to 350 and 1/2 miles. The cost of the enlargement was more than $30,000,000.

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1 It was considered an impossibility to make the Erie Canal. People said it might be possible to make water run up hill, but canal boats never. Some said they would be willing to die, having lived long enough, when boats in a canal should float through their farms; but afterwards when they saw the boats passing by, they wanted to live more than ever, to see what would be done next. -- Reminiscences of George E. Mix.

2 At the promInent points from Rochester to Albany, where the fleet was to pass by daylight, celebrations had been arranged: there were processions, congratulatory addresses, firing of cannon, music and other demonstrations of popular enthusiasm; even when small villages were passed in the night, crowds were assembled, and some form of greeting tendered. "It was," said one of the western committee men, "like a continuous or protracted Fourth of July celebration."




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This great waterway was quite generally known in early years as "the grand canal;" and its wonderful influence upon the material conditions in Wayne county and Western New York generally, it was "grand" indeed. Those who had from the first ridiculed the project, were now either silent or converted into enthusiastic eulogists, as they saw the laden freight boats and the well-patronized packets silently and rapidly (as compared with other existing means of travel) floating eastward and westward along the turbid tide. Wayne county lands, even to the lake shore, appreciated in value; farmers were encouraged to new energy and to extend their planting and sowing; money became more plenty, and freights fell from $100 per ton to Albany, to ten dollars; a new era of prosperity began. Villages along the canal line that already had an insignificant existence, took on new life and growth, while others sprang into being around the warehouses and docks that were built especially to accommodate the active traffic. Clyde, Lyons, Newark and Palmyra, with other points of shipment in the county, promptly felt the influence of the canal (while Newark may be said to owe its existence to the same influence).

The first boat on this division of the canal left the basin on the east side of the Genesee River at Rochester, loaded with flour for Little Falls, on the 29th of October, 1822. The first cargo of wheat from Ohio reached Rochester in 1831, the vanguard of the great current of western grains that have since gradually grown into active, if not ruinous, competition with those of New York State. When navigation opened in 1823, 10,000 barrels of flour were shipped eastward from Rochester in the first ten days after the opening.

Among those who were early engaged in the canal trade in this county were Joel and Levi Thayer, of Palmyra, who built a number of freight boats. The two men were twins, and on that account one of their boats was named "The Twin Brothers." Davenport, Barnes & Co. were extensive produce and commission men at Jessup's Basin, and were succeeded by S. L. Thompson & Co. Aaron Griswold built a boat near King's Bridge in 1822, which plied between that point and Lyons and was the first boat to run into the town. Mr. Griswold, in association with Stephen Ferguson, built two boats in 1826, near Lock Berlin, one of the settlements that was born of the canal. Griswold was an early merchant at that place. Seymour Scovell was an early merchant of Palmyra; became a canal contractor and built the boat "Myron Holley," one of the early crafts on the canal. Esbon and Ransom




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Blackmar were merchants and extensive shippers by canal in Newark, a village that was practically created by the great waterway. There were occasions during the most active period of canal business, previous to the opening of railroads, when fifty or more teams were in waiting to unload produce at the warehouses and docks in Newark. The active market for grain and kindred products thus established, led to the building of quite a number of flouring and grist mills in Lyons and elsewhere within the county. In March, 1827, the Palmyra Manufacturing Company was incorporated, with $30,000 capital, to produce flour, etc., by George Palmer, Joel McColium, and Thomas Rogers, 2d; and in the same spring the Pultneyville Steam Mill Company was incorporated by Daniel Grandin, Joseph Granger, Andrew Cornwall, Russell Whipple, Roswell Nichols, Jeremiah B. Selly, and Philander B. Royce. The capital stock was $15,000 and the purpose to grind grain.

Every phase of this condition of prosperity was shared, either directly or indirectly, by all the towns of Wayne county, and the influence thereof is felt to the present day.

Following soon upon the opening of the canal, and on April 14, 1827, the Legislature incorporated the Canal Turnpike Company, to build "a good and sufficient road along the north bank of the canal from Lyons, through Clyde, to intercept the Montezuma turnpike on the Cayuga marsh." The capital of the compaily was $20,000. In April of the following year (1828), commissioners were named in an act of the Legislature to layout a road between Palmyra and Manchester in Ontario county. Other similar improvements followed in later years.

The immediate and unequivocal success of the Erie Canal inaugurated what may be termed a period of "canal fever" throughout the State of New York and to a less extent in several other States. During the ten years succeeding the opening of the Erie, the various Legislatures were besieged with petitions and bills for the incorporation of canal companies, as they were a little later in the interest of railroads. The first of the canal schelnes having a direct bearing on Wayne county was the Sodus Canal Company, incorporated March 19, 1829, with capital stock of $200,000. This company was authorized to construct a canal from the Canandaigua outlet, or Seneca River, "where the Erie Canal crosses said streams, near Montezuma, to such convenient place on Great Sodus Bay as is accessible to vessels navigating Lake Ontario." This canal was to be finished in ten years,




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and was designed to open a large waterway from Lake Ontario to the head of Cayuga Lake, at Ithaca, with a possibility of future connection with the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay. It was a most attractive scheme! In Tompkins county, and especially at Ithaca, it commanded widespread attention, as that place was belived to be the one that would be most benefited by it. Eloquent speakers advocated the project and inspired visions of future commercial greatness for the little village at the head of the lake, as well as for the less important trade centers of Wayne county. An old painting of Ithaca and the lake in that vicinity, made just after the canal was projected, shows the water thickly studded with vessels, many of them apparently large sea-going ships. A little work was done on the canal at Sodus Bay, after sUbscriptions to the stock had begun, and later the State Legislature was asked to aid the undertaking. This request was refused and the project began to languish. Capitalists did not support it as had been expected, and in 1861, after repeated amendments and extensions, the charter expired by limitation. In 1862 a new act was passed providing that if the general government would supply money to finish the canal, it should have perpetual right of transit through its waters for government vessels, free of toll. But Uncle Sam declined the. speculation and the Great Sodus Canal, like very many other similar projects, died from lack of nutrition. It is probable that thIs canal scheme was in some measure due to lingering influence of the early hopes we have before alluded to, of a southern water outlet for the products of the Genesee country.

The only other canal company in which Wayne county felt a direct interest was called the Ontario Canal Campany, which had its inception at a public meeting held in Canandaigua August 24, 1820. There the plan was discussed of building a lateral canal from Canandaigua Lake. to "the Grand CanaL" A committee was appointed consisting of John C. Spencer, James D. Bemis (long a conspicuous newspaper publisher of Canandaigua), Asa Stanley, Dudley Marvin, and William H. Adams, to locate a route for the canal. Their report was made December 21, 1820, to the effect that the proposed waterway would be nineteen and one-half miles long; that its northern terminus should be at the Erie Canal three and one-half miles west of Palmyra village; that the descent from the lake to Ganargwa Creek was 225 feet, requiring twenty-three locks in the canal; that the gross cost would be not more than $60,000. The proposed capital of the company was $100,000.




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A committee of fifteen persons was then appointed to petition the Legislature for an act of incorporation, and the desired act was passed March 31, 1821. Stock sUbscription books were opened May 23, by Commissioners Nathaniel Gorham, Zachariah Seymour, Asa Stanley, P. P. Bates, and William H. Adams. Subscriptions were liberal at the first, and ultimately reached about $50,000, when the following persons were elected directors of the company: Evan Johns, H. B. Gibson, Israel Chapin, Asa Stanley, John C. Spencer, Mark H. Sibley, Robert Pomeroy, and H. M. Mead. At this stage for some reason the project was abandoned. It is propable that the extensive shipping facilities supplied by the Erie Canal led to the conclusion that the lateral canal would not prove a paying investment.

The next event of importance in chronological order, with which we are interested, was the erection of Wayne county on the 11th of April, 1823. (For act of Legislature creating the county see Session Laws, 1823). The new county, with Ontario, Seneca and Yates, was made to constitute the Twenty-sixth Congressional District, and with Cayuga, Onondaga, Ontario, Seneca and Yates, constitute the Seventh Senatorial District. By subsequent enactments changes were made in these districts as follows: By act of June 29, 1832, Wayne and Senecacounties became the Twenty-fifth Congressional District; by act of September 6, 1842, the same counties were made the Twenty-seventh District; act of July 19, 1851, Cayuga and Wayne were made the Twenty-fifth District; act of April 23, 1862, Wayne, Cayuga and Seneca were made the Twenty-fourth District. In 1836 Cortland county was added to those above named as constituting the Seventh Senatorial District. (Lists of the various officials of the county will be given in their proper plaee on a later page).

Closely following the formation of the county the various courts were established, as described in. a later chapter; civil officers were elected, and all the machinery of county government was soon working harmoniously. A kind of local enthusiasm pervaded the inhabitants of the county, as would naturally follow their separation from the larger and more widely-diffused population of Ontario county, and various public improvements were inaugurated to closely precede the oncoming of the first railroad -- and Mormonism.

A legislative act of February 15, 1825, divided the town of Lyons and erected Arcadia; and on April 18, of the same year, the town of Williamson was divided and the town of Winchester (now Marion)




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erected. February 25, 1826, the towns of Butler and Rose were erected from Wolcott; and April 20, 1829; Walworth was erected from Ontario. An attempt, which was not very successful, was made under legislative sanction of April, 1825, to drain Crusoe Lake, in the town of Savannah. Andrew Chapin, David Arne, jr., and Merritt Candee were appointed commissioners to direct the work, which was to consist of cutting ditches to the channel of the stream which runs to Lake Ontario through the town of Wolcott, on which the furnaces in Wolcott are situated."

On the 20th of April, 1825, William Patrick, John G. Gillespie, and Paul Reeves were named by the Legislature as commissioners to lay out a road from Lyons to the Ridge road "near the dwelling of P. Reeves, in the western part of Williamson;" and in April, 1826, a road was.authorized from Main street in Canandaigua to Palmyra, the commissioners being Nathan Barlow, of Canandaigua; Stimson Harvey, of Farmington; and Thomas Rogers, of Palmyra.

Meanwhile evidences of prosperity were visible in all directions. The several villages of the county were growing, though their relative status and prospects were soon to be changed by the railroads; scbpols and churches multiplied in number and improved in character and influence; banks were established; additional newspapers were founded, and other institutions indicating healthful growth came into being. What was called the Palmyra High School was incorporated in March, 1829, by James White, Ovid Lord, Henry Jessup, and others. It was a stock organization with capital of $12,000. This school absorbed the house and lot of district number one. The Wayne County Bank, at Palmyra, was chartered April 30, 1829, and the Bank of Lyons was incorporated May 14, 1836. Miller's Bank was established in Clyde in 1837. These financial institutions, as well as the people at large, and particularly tradesmen, were destined to suffer considerably from the financial stringency and succeeding revulsion which swept over the country in 1836-8; but Wayne county was, as it is at present, largely agricultural, and hence felt the effects of the stringency less severely than many other localities.

The first railroad in the State of New York was built between Albany and Schenectady by the Mohawk and Hudson River Railroad Company, and was finished in 1831; its length was sixteen miles. The cars were at first drawn by horses, but soon after the completion of the road a steam locomotive was brought from England and the first steam railroad




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passenger train in America was run over the road. In spite of the very many objectionable features of this pioneer railroad and its equipment, it was clear to sagacious men that a rival of the canal was at hand. The Auburn and Rochester Railroad was chartered in 1836, but the construction was not commenced until 1838. The first time table for this road was made public September 8, 1840, and trains were run on the 10th over a part of the line. The work of construction was energetically continued and on July 5, 1841, an excursion train passed over the road between Rochester and Seneca Falls. In November of that year trains were running between Rochester and Albany.

As yet no railroad passed through Wayne county; but the immediate success of the existing lines led to the early agitation of the subject of building many others. As early as 1836 a meeting was held in Lyons to consider the project of constructing a road that should extend eastward from Rochester and pass through Palmyra, Lyons, Clyde, etc., to Syracuse. While it was several years before further steps were taken in this direction, it was a foregone conclusion that sooner or later the rich territory now traversed by the direct road, as it is termed, between Rochester and Syracuse would be favored with railroad communication. A company was finally organized under the corporate name of the Rochester and Syracuse Direct Railroad Company and the road was rapidly pushed to completion. This company with the Auburn and Syracuse, and the Auburn and Rochester companies were consolidated in 1850 as the Rochester and Syracuse Railroad Company. The first regular passenger train passed over the road on May 30, 1853. The improvement was welcomed in general rejoicing in the several villages of Wayne county and elsewhere. An act of Legislature passed April 2, 1853. authorized the consolidation of several companies then existing, as follows: Albany and Schenectady, Syracuse and Utica direct, Schenectady and Troy, Utica and Schenectady, Mohawk Valley, Syracuse and Utica, Rochester and Syracuse, Rochester, Lockport and Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Rochester, and Buffalo and Lockport. This consolidated company took the name of the New York Central Railroad Company, which in later years absorbed various other lines and added "Hudson River" to its title. The consolidation described went into effect on the 17th of May, 1853. The combined capital of the company was $23,085,600. This road was laid with a double track in 1849 and with two additional tracks during the seventies. It was the first railroad in the world having four tracks and is in other respects one of the most extensive and best managed railroad in the United States.




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The Sodus Point and Southern Railroad was projected during the fall of 1851, by a company bearing that title, and was to run directly through Wayne county in a general northern and southern direction, from Newark to Sodus Bay. A general survey was made, the right of way was secured without much difficulty and the work of construction was begun. The company became embarrassed for funds and work was suspended in 1854, leaving a long line of grading, which was afterwards utilized and is now a part of the road.

The Lake Ontario Shore Railroad, as it was originally termed, traverses the northern tier of towns of Wayne county and has been of great utility. Its termini are Oswego and Lewiston. The company for its construction was organized in Oswego March 17, 1868, and Gerrit Smith was elected president; Oliver P. Scoville, vice-president; and Abraham P. Grant, treasurer. De Witt Parshall, of Lyons, was a member of the first board of directors. Work was begun at Red Creek August 23, 1871, amid the firing of cannon and the cheers of a multitude of people. The road was finished in 1876. It finally passed under control of the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad Company, and with the other lines operated by that company, was absorbed by the great New York Central and Hudson River system.

The New York, West Shore arid Buffalo Railroad was completed from.New York to Buffalo and opened on January 1, 1884; but about two years later it was leased by the New York Central. It never especially affected Wayne county, running as it does, nearly parallel with the Central.

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THE MORMON HILL -- From an Old Print.

Most readers of this work, it may be presumed, are familiar with the general history of Mormonism; but from the fact that its originator




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lived within the limits of what is now Wayne county, and that his early operations were conducted in or near Palmyra village, it seems proper that it shall receive brief mention in these pages, for future reference, if for no other reason. It will also preserve for reference by future generations, facts regarding the beginning of what became a stupendous religious movement, which might otherwise be lost. For this purpose we can do no better than condense from the writing of the late O. Turner in his history of the Phelps and Gorham Purchase (1851):

"Joseph Smith, the father of the prophet, Joseph Smith, jr., was from the Merrimack River, N. H. He first settled in or near Palmyra village, but as early as 1819 was the occupant of some new land on 'Stafford street,' in the town of Manchester near the line of Palmyra. 'Mormon Hill' is near the plank road about half way between the villages of Palmyra and Manchester. The elder Smith had been a Universalist, and subsequently a Methodist; was a good deal of a smatterer in scriptural knowledge; but the seed of revelation was sown on weak ground; he was a great babbler, credulous, not especially industrious, a money-digger, prone to the marvellous; and withal a little given to difficulties with neighbors and petty law suits. Not a very propitious account of the father of a prophet -- the founder of a state; but there was 'a woman in the case.' Mrs. Smith was a woman of strong, uncultivated intellect; artful and cunning; imbued with an illy-regulated religious enthusiasm. The incipient hints, the first givings-out that a prophet was to spring from her humble household, came from her; and when matters were maturing for denouement, she gave out that such and such ones -- always fixing upon those who had both money and credulity -- were to be the instruments in some great work of revelation. The old man was rather ber faithful co-worker, or executive exponent. Their son, Alva, was originally intended or designated by fireside cQnsultations and solemn and mysterious outdoor hints, as the forthcoming prophet. The mother and father said he was the chosen one; but Alva. however spiritual he might have been, had a carnal appetite; eat too many green turnips, sickened and died. Thus the world lost a prophet and Mormonism a leader; the designs impiously and wickedly attributed to providence, defeated; and all in consequence of a surfeit of raw turnips. Who will talk of the cackling geese of Rome, or any other small and innocent causes of mighty events, after this? The mantle of the prophet which Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Smith and one Oliver Cowdery had wove of themselves -- every thread of it -- fell upon the next eldest son, Joseph Smith, jr.




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"A most unpromising recipient o such a trust was this same Joseph Smith, jr., afterwards, 'Joe Smith.' He was lounging, idle (not to say vicious); and possessed of less than ordinary intellect. The author's own recol1ections of him are distinct ones. He used to come into the village of Palmyra with little jags of wood from his backwoods home; sometimes patronizing a village grocery too freely; sometimes find an odd job to do about the store of Seymour Scovell; and once a week he would stroll into the office of the old Palmyra Register for his father's paper. How impious, in us young dare-devils' to once and a while blacken the face of the then meddling, inquisitive lounger -- but afterwards prophet, with the old-fashioned ink balls when he used to put himself in the way of the old-fashioned Ramage press! The editor of the Cultivator at Albany -- esteemed as he may justly consider himself for his subsequent enterprise and usefulness, may think of it with contrition and repentance, that he once helped to thus disfigure the face of a prophet, and remotely the founder of a state.

"But Joseph had a little ambition; and some very laudable aspirations; the mother's intellect occasionally shone out in him feebly, especially when he used to help us solve some portentous question of moral or political ethics in our juvenile debating club, which we moved down to the old red school-house on Durfee street, to get rid of the annoyanCe of critics that used to drop in on us in the village; and subsequently, after catching a spark of Methodism in the camp meeting, away down in the woods on the Vienna road, he was a very passable exhorter in evening meetings.

"Legends of hidden treasure had long designated Mormon Hill as the depository. Old Joseph had dug there, and young Joseph had not only heard his father and mother relate the marvellous tales of buried wealth, but had accompanied his father in the midnight delvings and incantations of the spirits that guarded it.

"If a buried revelation was to be exhumed, how natural it was that the Smith family, with their credulity, and their assumed presentiment that a prophet was to come from their household, should be connected with it; and that Mormon Hill was the place where it would be found.

"It is believed by those who are best acquainted with the Smith family, and most conversant with the old Gold Bible movement, that there is no foundation for the statement that their original manuscript was written by a Mr. Spaulding, of Ohio. A supplement to the Gold Bible, 'The Book of Commandments,' in all probability was written by




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Rigdon, and he may have been aided by Spaulding's manuscripts; but the book itself is, without d0ubt, a production of the Smith family, aided by Oliver Cowdery, who was a school teacher on Stafford street, an intimate of the Smith family, and identified with the whole matter. The production, as all will conclude who have read it, or even given it a cursory review, is not that of an educated man or woman. The bungling attempt to counterfeit the style of the Scriptures; the intermixture of modern phraseology; the ignorance of chronology and geography; its utter crudeness and baldness, as a whole, stamp its character, and clearly exhibit its vulgar origin. It is a strange medley of scripture, romance and bad composition.

"The primitive designs of Mrs. Smith, her husband, Joe and Cowdery, was money making; blended with which, perhaps, was a desire for notoriety, to be obtained by a cheat and a fraud. The idea of being the founders of a new sect was an after-thought, in which they were aided by others.

"The projectors of the humbug, being destitute of means for carrying out their plans, a victim was selected to obviate that difficulty. Martin Harris was a farmer of Palmyra, the owner of a good farm, and an honest, worthy citizen; but especially given to religious enthusiasm, new creeds, the more extravagant.the better; a monomaniac, in fact. Joseph Smith, upon whom the mantle of prophecy had fallen after the sad fate of Alvah, began to make demonstrations. He informed Harris of the great discovery, and that it had been revealed to him that he (Harris) was a chosen instrument to aid in a great work of surprising the world with a new revelation. They had hit upon the right man. He mortgaged his fine farm to pay for printing the book, assumed a grave, mysterious, and unearthly deportment, and made here and there among his acquaintances solemn enunciations of the great event that was transpiring. His version of the discovery, as communicated to him by the prophet Joseph himself, is well remembered by several respectable citizens of Palmyra, to whom he made early disclosures. It was in substance as follows:

"The prophet Joseph, was directed by an angel where to find, by excavation, at the place afterwards called Mormon Hill, the gold plates; and was compelled by the angel, much against his will, to be the interpreter of the sacred record they contained, and publish it to the world. That the plates contained a record of the ancient inhabitants of this country, 'engraved by Mormon the son of Nephi.' That on the




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top of the box containing the plates, 'a pair of large spectacles were found, the stones or glass set in which were opaque to all but the prophet;' that 'these belonged to Mormon, the engraver of the plates, and without them the plates could not be read.' Harris assumed that himself and Cowdery were the chosen amanuenses, and that the prophet Joseph, curtained from the world and them, with his spectacles, read from the gold plates what they committed to paper. Harris exhibited to an informant of the author the manuscript of the title page. On it were drawn rudely and bunglingly, concentric circles, between, above and below which were clear characters, with little resemblance to letters. Apparently a miserable imitation of hieroglyphics the writer may have somewhere seen. To guard against profane curiosity, the prophet had given out that no one but himself, not even his chosen co-operators, must be permitted to'see them, on pain of instant death. Harris had never seen the 'plates, but the glowing accounts of their massive richness excited other than spriritual hopes, and he upon one occasion got a village silversmith to help him estimate their value; taking as a basis, the prophet's account of their dimensions. It was a blending of the spiritual and utilitarian, that threw a shadow of doubt on Martin's sincerity. This, and some anticipations he indulged in, as to the profits that would arise from the sale of the Gold Bible, made it then, as it is now, a mooted question. whether he was altogether a dupe.

"The wife of Harris was a rank infidel and heretic, touching the whole thing; and decidedly opposed to her husband's participation in it. With sacrilegious hands she seized over a hundred of the manuscript pages of the New Revelation and burned or secreted them. It was agreed by the Smith family, Cowdery and Harris, not to transcribe these again, but to let so much of the New Revelation drop out, as the evil spirit would get up a story that the second translation did not agree with the first.' A very ingenious method, surely, of guarding against the possibility that Mrs. Harris had preserved the manuscript with which they might be confronted should they attempt an imitation of their own miserable patchwork. The prophet aid not get his lesson well upon the start, or the household of imposters were in the fault. After he had told his story, in his absence, the rest of the family made a new version of it to one of their neighbors They showed him such a pebble as may any day be picked up on the shore of Lake Ontario -- the common hornblende -- carefully wrapped in cotton and kept in a mysterious box. They said it was by looking at this stone, in a hat,




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the light excluded, that Joseph discovered the plates. This it will be observed, differs materially from Joseph's story of the angel. It was the stone the Smiths had used in money digging and in some pretended discoveries of stolen property.

"Long before the Gold Bible demonstration, the Smith family had with some sinister object in view, whispered another fraud in the ears of the credulous. They pretended that in digging for money, at Mormon Hill, they came across a chest, three feet by two in size, covered with a dark-colored stone. In the center of the stone was a white spot about the size of a sixpence. Enlarging, the spot increased to the size of a 24-pound shot, and then exploded with a terrible noise. The chest vanished and all was utter darkness.'

"It may be safely presumed that in no other instance have prophets and the chosen and designated of angels been quite as calculating and worldly as were those of Stafford street, Mormon Hill and Palmyra. The only business contract -- veritable instrument in writing, that was ever executed by spir{tual agents, has been preserved, and should be among the archives of the new State of Utah. It is signed by the Prophet Joseph himself and witnessed by Oliver Cowdery, and secures to Martin Harris one-half of the proceeds of the sale of the Gold Bible until he was fully reimbursed in the sum of $2,500, the cost of printing.

"The after-thought that has been alluded to: the enlarging of original intentions -- was at the suggestion of Sidney Rigdon, of Ohio, who made his appearance and blended himself with the poorly-devised scheme of imposture about the time the book was issued from the press. He unworthily bore the title of a Baptist elder, but had by some previous freak, if the author is rightly informed, forfeited his standing with that respectable denomination. Designing, ambitious, and dishonest, under the semblance of sanctity and assumed spirituality, he was just the man for the uses of the Smith household and their half-dupe and half-designing abettors; and they were just the fit instruments he desired. He became at once the Hamlet, or more appropriately perhaps, the maw-worm of the play.

"Under the auspices of Rigdon a new sect, the Mormons, was projected, prophecies fell thick and fast from the lips of Joseph; old Mrs. Smith assumed all the airs of a mother of a prophet; that particular family of Smiths were singled out and became exalted above all their legion of namesakes. The bald, clumsy cheat found here and there an enthusiast, a monomaniac, or a knave, in and around its primitive




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locality, to help it upon its start; and soon, like another scheme of imposture (that had a little dignity and plausibility in it), it had its hegira or flight to Kirtland; then to Nauvoo; then to a short restIng place in Missouri, and then on over the Rocky Mountains to Salt Lake City. Banks, printing offices, temples, cities, and finally a State have arisen under its auspices. Converts have multiplied to tens of thousands; while its illegal and disgusting practice of polygamy called down upon it the detestation of a11 civilized people and the wrath and interference of the general government."

It is a somewhat remarkable coincidence that another pseudo-religious movement, the consequences of which were ultimately scarcely less momentous than those of Mormonism, should have had its rise in Wayne county. Reference is made to the very beginning of what is now known throughout the world by the general name of spiritualism. Like Mormonism, this other new doctrine had its origin in deception. It began in the little hamlet of Hydeville in the town of Arcadia, where John Fox and his family settled. Mr. Fox bore a good reputation and carried on his trade of blacksmithing. On the night" of March 31, 1849, the two daughters of Mr. Fox, Margaret and Catharine, and their cousin, Elizabeth Fish, claimed to have heard a mysterious rapping which greatly frightened them. A simple system of brief communication was devised, probably by the girls and their mother, the latter being possibly deceived by her daughters, and the sounds were attributed to spirits from another world. Among the communications said to have been received through the rappings, was one to the effect that a man named John Bell had killed a peddler and buried the body in his cellar. This created much excitement, the news spread, and digging was begun to find the remains of the murdered man. The little place was visited by hundreds of people from the near by villages. The diggers struck a vein of flowing water, which prevented further investigation in that line. As the mysterious rappings continued, thousands of people visited the Fox home, some of whom believed in the supernatural origin of the sounds, while others ridiculed the whole thing. It was not long before a financial return became a part of the plans of the daughters, and to reach a larger audience they removed to Rochester and appeared in public, their operations becoming widely known as the "Rochester Rappings." The alleged intercourse with disembodied spirits led to the evolution of so-called "mediums" who professed to be especially adapted for. the reception of the news from the other




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world. From the simple rappings of the Fox sisters, was developed by others still more bold in their deceptions, the appearance of apparitions, the sound of voices, and various other demonstrations. The mania spread in its later varied phases until ultimately it reached over the civilized world. Late in the life of the Fox sisters they claimed to explain the mystery of the rappings, stating that they were produced by certain movements of some of their joint bones, which could be moved without detection.






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...
PALMYRA VILLAGE. -- Situated on the west border of Palmyra near the southwest comer of the town, on the Erie Canal, and just south of the New York Central and West Shore railroads, this village is one of the finest and one of the most historic in Wayne county. It was the birthplace of Mormonism and Morganism, and closely connected with the institution of spiritualism, all of which are detailed in other pages of this




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volume. It is also the site of the first permanent settlement -- that of John Swift in 1790 -- in the district of Tolland. Swift built a wool carding machine, an ashery in 1791, laid out Main street in 1792, and established a boat landing at the mouth of Red Creek in 1793; he also reserved fora gospel and school lot the site of the present old cemetery, and surveyed out village lots of four acres each on the south side of Main street the same year. In the rear of these, ten-acre lots were laid out, and the first village property, including the present residence lot of C. D. Johnson, was sold to James Galloway. The gospel and school lot was reserved for a burial place in 1796. Stephen Phelps purchased a part of Galloway's lot and built, in 1796, on the site of the Powers Hotel, the second tavern in the village. June 13, 1796, Swift sold nearly all his landed property to Sarah Brockway for $2,000; this was, reconveyed to him June 8, 1799, for $2,500. Capt. John Hurlburt, in 1795, bought lots of Swift on the north side of Main street in the upper part of'the village, and about the same time John Russell purchased the first lot east of Chapel street, the site of the Presbyterian Church. Theodatus Sawyer, a brother-in-law of Swfft, bought one of three lots between Fayette and Cuyler streets, which he sold to Constant Southworth, who in 1806 sold to William Howe Cuyler, from whom Cuyler street was named. The other purchasers of these three lots were Stephen Phelps and Joseph Colt. Swift's landing at first promised to become the village, for there Zebulon Williams, as previously stated, early established the first store, but the prevalence of fever and ague checked further progress.

In 1812 the village consisted of Main, Canandaigua, and Church streets, the Ensworth tavern, Abner Cole's office, the house of Rev. Eliphalet Rowe on Canandaigua street, the dwellings of James Benson and George Beckwith (Washington Hall) on Church street, a church on the old cemetery site, the drug store of Dr. Gain Robinson, a low building occupied by William Jackway and Platt and Zebulon Williams, a distillery, the store of N. H. & G. Beckwith, the tailor shop of A. H. Reed, the saddlery of Abraham Shattuck, the drug store of Mr. McIntyre, the stores of Nathan Thayer, Samuel Wagstaff, and O'Rourke, the Durfee mill and dwelling, the cooper shop and house of William Cook, known as the" Long House," the "Democratic" and "Federal" school houses, the store of Selby & Phelps and the Phelps tavern, the dwellings of Ezra Shepardson, William P. Wilson (the tanner), Levi Daggett (blac~smith), Benjamin Cole (brother of Abner), Mr. Blackman (blacksmith),




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John B. Robson, Levi Thayer, Peleg Holmes, John Swift, Deacon Jessup (tanner), Stephen Skellinger, William T. Hussy, Samuel Jennings (merchant), Mr. Johnson (tailor), Dr. Robinson, Joseph Colt, Silas Hart, Dyer Ensworth, John Russell, and a few others, the house, office, and store of William Howe Cuyler, and the clothiery of Andrew G. Howe, where the Episcopal Church now stands.

The first merchant inside the corporation was Joseph Colt; Hubbard Hall was his partner for a time. About 1831 Colt died, and his son Joseph S. carried on business until he removed. Colt owned two Durham boats, and it is said that Cooper Culver, William Clark, Silas Stoddard, John Phelps, and Gilbert Howell took them, in 1804, to Schenectady, loaded with pork and flour, and returned with a load of merchandise, occupying two months making the trip; other trips followed. Hall succeeded the Colts, and was followed by Seymour Scoville. Patrick O'Rourke and Samuel Jennings were also early merchants; the latter's building was burned in November, 1876. James and Orren White built the first brick building, two stories high, in the village, on the site of the Episcopal church; they were succeeded by Israel J. Richardson, afterward a lawyer, and Samuel Allen, later stage proprietor between Palmyra and Canandaigua. T. C. Strong occupied a building where the Baptist church now stands, which was opened as a supply store by Lashrr & Candee, canal contractors, who brought here the first stock of gilt-framed mirrors. Nathan Thayer was succeeded by Joel and Levi, brothers, who also had an ashery where the gas house now is. The latter were twins, and built several canal boats, one of which was named Twin Brothers. The first canal collector was Philip Grandin.

Subsequent merchants were: Davenport, Barnes & Co., succeeded by S. L. Thompson & Co.; George N. Williams; Barach, a brother of George Beckwith; Stephen Phelps apd Ira Selby; and Leonard Wescott, Daniel G. Pinch, Giles S. Ely, Zuell & White, J. C. Lovett, William H. Farnham, M. Story, A. C. Sanford, Thomas Birdsell, Pliny Sexton (the first hardware dealer and jewelry merchant), Martin Butterfield, George W. Cuyler, Bowman & Seymour, H. M. Johnson & Co., Bowman & Walker, Brigham, Royce & Co., Alexander McInyre, Dr. L. Cowen, Cassius C. Robinson, Hoyt & May, William H. Peckham, Elihu Durfee, Thomas Douglass, James F. Barker, David Hotchkiss, and Franklin Williams. The first physician was Dr. Reuben Town.




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Joseph Smith, sr., came here in 1816 from Royalton, Vt.; his family consisted of Alvin, Sophronia, Joseph, jr., Samuel H., William, Catharine, Carlos, and Lucy. He opened a "cake and beer shop," and used a hand-cart in peddling his wares through the streets. In 1818 the family moved to a wild farm, two miles south of the village, and lived in a log house about twelve years. In 1831 they removed. "They were a shiftless set, and Joseph, jr., was the worst of the lot." The Mormon "religion" was instituted, as detailed in a previous chapter, by Joseph Swith, jr., and the organization known as "Latter-Day Saints" came into existence in June, 1830. Even to this day members of that sect come to Palmyra and drive to "Mormon" hill; upon which they gaze with reverential awe. ...






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... Some fifty-five years ago a peculiar event transpired in Rose in the Stewart neighborhood, the central scene being the present farm of Silas Lovejoy. The occurrence is best told, as follows, from a former publication. A number of people in this part of the county worked themselves into the delusion that "money chests" of gold and precious stones lay buried beneath the surface in this town, to which they were guided by invisible spirits through a "medium." On several farms northeast of Rose Valley they assembled at night and silently dug for the treasure. A single word spoken before it was found was fatal; the treasure would disappear and the evil spirits would rise against them. In this way the delusion was fed and kept ablaze by those interested, who were always sure to break the silence, when the deluded would run frightened away. On one occasion a kettle was previously buried, and when struck with a spade an exclamation caused the treasure in it to vanish. To these ignorant men this supplied the most absolute proof, and the effects of this foolish delusion are still visible in many places by partially filled excavations; where they labored with a zeal and energy worthy a better cause.

The interpreter of the" money diggers," as they were called, pretended to see the "money chests," or hidden treasure, through a large, peculiar stone, which he always




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retained with him. He held it to his eyes, and claimed the power to see through it into the earth. Several visionary citizens of this town, with more strangers who came here regularly, united in their mystic meetings previous to all their diggings. As an inducement to persons predisposed to the marvelous, it was related that the son of a certain minister, then living in town, who was eighteen years of age and of good habits, saw, one evening, in his father's granary, which was lighted up by supernatural light, an image in the form of a "little child." Then again it appeared in his bed-chamber, and, when addressed by the young man, replied that it was from the" Court of Glory," and had come to reveal to him the hidden treasures of the earth, and that if he would pray for the span of seven days it would appear the next time in the form of a "beautiful young lady." In due time the "beautiful young lady" appeared and made the promised revelation, the circle was formed, oue of the number was made captain, and the digging commenced. Night after night was passed in hard labor under the particular direction of this in visible spirit. Circles were carefully marked out around the pit to keep the dpvil out. The money, or a portion of it, was to be used for chantable purposes, and to alleviate the sufferings of humanity. But after many fruitless attempts and much disappointment the captain, becoming incredulous, and losing confidence in the invisible guide, through the interpreter, clenounced the "beautiful spirit: as being the devil. Of course this rebellious action could not be tolerated, and must be put down. Accordingly, the captain was notified in writing to appear on a certain day to a trial before the spirits and the circle. On the back of the notice he wrote "protested," but named a day one week later, when the circle convened and the trial began. Innumerable spirits were seen by the minister and his son, and from ten A. M. to four P. M. the patriarchs of old were called as witnesses, and everything was going against the captain. The last witness was the spirit of Samuel, the prophet. The captain with all his power conjured Samuel to tell the troth and reveal the devil's work. He was just ready to give up his case when, to his astonishment, and the dismay of the circle, the prophet began performing under his own control. The preacher and his sqn burst into tears to see poor old Samuel hopping about the room on one foot, then down on the floor, playing bear with a great load on his back. The captain, having absolute control of the spirit, conjured him to faithfully answer such questions as he should put to him. "Can you at pleasure transform yourself into a 'devil,' 'lamb,' or 'young lady?'" Answer, "I can." "Have you been the only witness here to-day in the form of all the old patriarchs?" Answer, "I have." "Are you the devil himself?" Answer, "I am." The captain was triumphant. The deluded parson, son, and all the circle were ready to give up that it was all the work of the devil. Yet to such an extent did the captain believe in the power of the devil that he related, as a real occurence, that a friend of his, while riding, was seized and taken up by the devil, carried through the air seven miles, and, after a terrible struggle and fright, was released and dropped in a barnyard. The captain was sent for, who, with the aid of a physician, restored him. It is stated that many a time while the others were in the pit digging for their "gold" and "money chests" the devil would appear to the sentry on the watch in the form of a bellowing bull or by heavy sounds of groaning, or shrieks, which would put the whole party to flight. ...




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