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ONTARIO COUNTY: 1800-1899
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From: Gazetteer and Business Directory of Ontario County, N. Y., for 1867-8
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FARMINGTON was formed January 27, 1789, and took its name from Farmington, Conn. Its location is on the north border of the County, west of the center. The surface is nearly level in the south, but in the north it is broken, owing to the drift ridge peculiar to this section of country, which rise 50 to 100 feet above the general surface. Toward the north and west the declivities are steep, but in the south they run off into gradual slopes. The streams are Mud and Beaver Creeks and Black Brook. A strip of land across the south part, embracing about three tier of
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lots, has a clay soil. A marshy section lies north of this, and yet farther north the soil is a gravelly loam, very productive, with good proportions of arable meadow and pasture lands throughout the town. The amount of money expended for common school purposes in Farmington for the year 1866-7, was $4,472.92; the amount apportioned $761; the value of school property, $5.590, and the average daily attendance 200.
New Salem (p. v.) is a small village of about 200 inhabitants, in the north part of the town. It contains about thirty houses, a church (Methodist Episcopal), and several shops. About half a mile east of New Salem are two churches, occupied respectively by the Orthodox and Hicksite branches of the Friends' Society. Both are large societies. In the southeast part of the town there is another nourishing Hicksite church. Brownville, formerly Norton's Mills post office, is a hamlet, as is East Farmington. West Farmington is a, post office, and Farmington. (p. v.,) in the south-west corner of the town, is a small station on the N. Y. C. R. R. At Brownville there was formerly a woolen factory, which has been discontinued.
Fine crops of grain are raised in this town, and it is also devoted to grazing. Farmington was the first sale made by Phelps and Gorham, the purchasers being Nathaniel Comstock, Benjamin Russell, Abraham Lapham, Edmund Jenks, Jeremiah Brown, Ephraim Fish, Nathan Herendeen, Nathan Aldrich, Stephen Smith, Benjamin Rickenson, William Baker, and Dr. Daniel Brown. The deed was given to Nathan Comstock and Benjamin Russell. All except Russell, Jenks, J. Brown, Fish, Rickenson, Baker and Smith, became settlers on the purchase. In 1789, Nathan Comstock, with two sons, Otis and Darius, and Robert Hathaway, came from Adams, Berkshire County, Mass., a part of them by the water route, landing at Geneva, with their provisions, and a part by land with a horse and some cattle. When the overland party arrived within 15 miles of Seneca Lake, a calf was added to their stock, which Otis Comstock carried on his back that distance. Arriving on the new purchase, they built a cabin, cleared four acres and sowed the ground to wheat. Their horse died, and Darius was obliged to act as a pack horse, going through the woods to Geneva once a week, where he purchased provisions and carried them twenty miles on his back, to their home in the wilderness. When winter approached the party returned to Massachusetts, leaving Otis Comstock to care for the stock during the winter, with no neighbors, other than the Indians and wild beasts, nearer than Boughton Hill and Canandaigua. In Feb., 1790, Nathan Comstock, with his large family, accompanied by several others, set out from Adams, Mass., for Farmington, and during the same year the little colony was increased by the addition
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of about twenty-five others. Many of these pioneers were Friends, and about 1794 a meeting was organized, being the first, and, for a long period, the only one west of Utica. The first birth was that of Welcome Herendeen, in 1790; the first marriage that of Otis Comstock and Huldah Freeman, in 1792, and the first death that of Elijah Smith, in 1793. Jacob and Joseph Smith built a grist mill in 1793, and the first saw mill, in 1795. Wheat was harvested in 1790. The stump mortar was the main dependence in preparing their grain for bread. In the fall of 1790, the clearings had been greatly increased, and considerable fields of wheat were sown. Nathan Aldrich having raised some seed wheat that season, Welcome Herendeen worked for him thirteen days for two bushels and a half, sowed it, and when relating the story in after years, having become owner of broad acres of wheat fields, used to remark that he never had to buy any wheat after that. The first settlers of Farmington brought with them apple seeds and peach and plum pits, and soon had bearing orchards. For years the new settlers in distant neighborhoods went there for apples, which were a great luxury in those primitive days. Farmington and Bloomfield cider, apples and apple sauce, was a great treat throughout the Holland Purchase in those times. The first frame building was put up by Joseph Smith and James D. Fish, of Canandaigua, for an ashery, on the farm of Welcome Herendeen. The first frame barn was built by Annanias McMillen for Isaac Hathaway, in 1793. The same year McMillen put up the grist mill before referred to, on Ganargwa Creek, for Jacob and Joseph Smith. Settlers were known to come forty miles to this mill. Not a vestige of it now remains. Dr. Stephen Aldridge was the first physician. Nowhere in all the newly settled region was success so uniform and unparalleled as in Farmington. The wholesome discipline and upright example of the Society of Friends preserved the settlement from an excessive use of spirituous liquors, and from other harmful indulgences, while the fruits of their proverbial industry and economy gave the town the pre-eminence it now enjoys...
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MANCHESTER was formed from Farmington, March 31, 1821, as "Burt" but the name was changed April 16, 1822. The town lies on the north border of the County, east of the center, and has a level surface in the south, while irregular sand and gravel ridges of the drift formation occupy the north part. Canandaigua Outlet, Fall Creek and Black Brook, are the chief streams. Hydraulic limestone is quarried to some considerable extent at various points along the Outlet. The soil is a gravelly loam, and for fertility is unsurpassed by any section of the State. There are a number of flouring mills in town, which do an extensive local business.
Clifton Springs, (p. v.) is a flourishing village on the N. Y. C. R. R., and is situated in the east part of the town. It was incorporated in 1859, and contains about 450 inhabitants. At this place
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are the celebrated Sulphur Springs, which have made Clifton a place of great resort for invalids, while the natural beauty of the village and surrounding country has drawn thither the tourist and the pleasure seeker...
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There are several extensive vineyards near the village of Clifton. Manchester is a post village of 374 inhabitants, and Manchester Center is also a post village, containing about 20 houses. Shortsville (p. v.) on the N. Y. C. E. R., is a thriving town, possessing considerable importance on account of its manufacturing interests. It is situated on the Canandaigua Outlet, which here offords no inconsiderable water power. The manufacture of seed drills and plaster sowers is carried on extensively, one company turning out about 400 yearly. This company holds patents on the Brown, Empire, and Jessup drills, considered the best in use, and gives employment to a number of mechanics. About 150 tons of castings are turned out annually at this place. A company is also engaged in the manufacture of an Improved Potato Digger. Plows, cultivators, spokes, and general wood work, are also important items in the business of this growing village. There is quite an extensive foundry in operation, also a woolen factory and paper mill. A large establishment for the manufacture of printing, writing and wrapping paper, is being erected the present year. A new school building, neatly and substantially constructed, is being put up, and a graded school will be established. There is one church (Presbyterian,) in the village. Port Gibson, (p. v.) is on the Erie Canal, and is the only point where that important public work touches the County. It contains about 50 houses, one church, two stores, and a number of shops. An extensive steam planing mill and stave factory, and a large malt house, are situated on the canal. Gypsum, (p. o.) formerly called Plainsville, is a small settlement, containing about 15 houses, a flouring mill, capable of manufacturing 50 bbls. per diem, a plaster-mill and a saw-mill.
$6,335.10 was expended in the town of Manchester for school purposes in 1866-7. The amount apportioned was $1,157.71, and the average daily attendance 396. The school property is valued at $13,742.
Settlement commenced in Manchester, as early as 1793, Stephen Jared, Joel Phelps and Joab Gillett, being the first settlers. Nathan Pierce, from Berkshire, settled in 1795, and put up a log house,
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with floors of split bass wood, and destitute of gable ends, doors or windows. The wild beasts were his only neighbors, and they were noted for their many annoyances. Theophilus Short erected the first mill, at Shortsville, in 1804, the first store was opened by Nathan Barlow, and the first school was taught by Elam Crane in 1800. Joshua Van Fleet was one of the earliest settlers. He was an officer in the Revolutionary war, was the first supervisor of Manchester, a Judge, magistrate and member of the Legislature from Ontario. James Stewart was the first physician. Peleg Redfield, an early settler, in his reminiscences says: "It was pretty easy for young men to secure farms in the earliest years of settlement. I knew many who received a dollar a day for their labor, and bought land for twenty-five cents per acre." Rev. David Irish preached in this town in 1797, and in Feb. 1800, a society was formed, but the first legally organized society was that of the Baptists, in 1804. Ebenezer Pratt, Joseph Wells and Jeremiah Dewey were the first trustees.
Among later events, Manchester is noted as having been the scene of the birth of Mormonism. Joseph Smith, father of the prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., was from New Hampshire, and first settled near Palmyra, Wayne county, but in 1819 occupied some land on "Stafford Street," in the town of Manchester. "Mormon Hill," called by the Mormons the "Hill of Shim," and locally known as "Gold Bible Hill," is on the road from Manchester village to Palmyra, and is in the town of Manchester. The father of the prophet was a Universalist, and subsequently a Methodist, and is described as having been a smatterer in Scriptural knowledge; credulous, indolent, a money digger and a believer in the marvelous. Mrs. Smith was a woman of strong, but uncultivated intellect, artful and cunning; and the first intimations that a prophet was to spring from that household came from her. Their son Alvah [sic - Alvin?], was originally destined to be the introducer of the new creed, and was pointed out by the father and mother as the chosen one. But Alvah's spiritual nature was overbalanced by his carnal appetite; he ate too many green turnips, sickened and died. The mantle then descended on Joseph Smith, Jr. "Joe" was a lounger, idler, and, according to the accounts given of him, was not altogether free from vicious habits, while bis intellectual ability was below the ordinary. But the embryo prophet was possessed of some of his mother's ambition, and, after catching a spark of Methodistic fire at a camp meeting, in Vienna, he became a passable exhorter. "Mormon Hill," had long been designated as the depository of hidden treasure, and old Joseph had often dug there while young Joseph accompanied his father in his midnight delvings, and witnessed the incantations of the spirits that guarded it. There is but little doubt that the primitive design of the Smiths was to make money, and
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that the idea of founding a new sect was an after thought. The account of the discovery of the gold plates, as given by Joe Smith himself, is briefly as follows: The prophet Joseph was directed by an angel where to find the gold plates, by excavations of the place now called "Mormon Hill," and was compelled by the angel, much against his will, to be the interpreter of this sacred record, and to publish it to the world. He was further instructed that the plates contained a record of the ancient inhabitants of the country, "engraved by Mormon, son of Nephi." That on the box containing the plates would be found "a pair of large spectacles, the stones or glass of which were opaque to all but the prophet;" that "these belonged to Mormon, the engraver of the plates, and without them they could not be read." Oliver Cowdry, a school teacher on Stafford street, was an intimate of the Smiths, and was identified with the whole matter. Martin Harris, a worthy farmer of Palmyra, a man given to religious enthusiasm and the running after new creeds, was wrought upon by the Smiths, till his sympathy was enlisted, and he gave out that himself and Cowdry were the chosen amanuenses to transcribe the new Bible, as it was interpreted by Smith, who, to guard against profane curiosity, declared that no one, not even his chosen co-operators, could be permitted to see them under penalty of instant death. Harris had never seen the plates, but the glowing accounts of their massive richness stimulated other than spiritual hopes, and he got a silversmith to estimate their value, taking as a basis the prophet's account of their size. Harris' wife was a rank infidel as regarded the whole affair, and she managed somehow to get possession of over one hundred pages of the manuscript and burn it up. It was agreed by the Smiths, Cowdry and Harris, not to reprint it, as the "evil spirit would get up a story that the second translation did not agree with the first." The after thought before alluded to, the founding of a new sect, seems to have been at the suggestion of one Sidney Rigdon, of Ohio, who made his appearance about the time the book was issued from the press. He had been a Baptist Elder, but had lost his standing in that society, and became the projector of the new sect. Joe Smith began to prophesy, Mrs. Smith assumed the air-and dignity of the mother of a prophet, and one after another enthusiast was drawn in to swell the proportions of the disgraceful swindle. Then occurred the hegira to Kirtland, then to Nairvoo, and', after a brief stay in Missouri, on over the Rocky Mountains to Utah, where dwellings, temples, cities and a State have been erected on its rotten and unstable foundations. Crooked Brook, the stream in which the baptism of Smith's mother and others of the first saints took place, runs through the northwest part of the town, and the occasion when these baptisms took place are remembered by many who are now living....
From: History of Ontario County, N. Y. by Walter H. McIntosh
Mormonism had its origin in Ontario County. The natural credulity of the ignorant has ever made them the dupes of design, and there has never been a creed promulgated so fallacious or so monstrous but that it has found followers. Indignant citizens have ejected the contaminating influence from their midst, and glorified by persecution, the evil has grown and perpetuated itself. Time hallows the past custom sanctions usage, and the usurper in the course of events becomes authority. The (Friends) society of Jemima Wilkinson soon dissolved, but the new religion with active workers drew proselytes from every quarter, and numbers thousands of firm believers. It is of interest then, to place on record here a brief outline of its founder. The father of Joseph Smith was from near the Merrimac river, New Hampshire. His first settlement was in or near Palmyra village, but in 1819 he became the occupant of new land on Stafford street, Manchester, near the Palmyra line. His cabin was of the rudest, and a small tract about it was under brushed as a clearing. He had been a Universalist, but had changed to Methodism. His character was that of was weak, credulous, litigious man.
Mrs. Smith, originally designing profit and notoriety, ws the source form which the religion of the Latter Day Saints was to originate. The Smiths had two sons. The elder, Alvah [sic] sickened and died and Joseph was designated as the coming prophet -- a subject the most unpromising in appearance and ability. Legends of hidden treasure has pointed to Mormon Hill as the depository. Father and son had visited the place and dug for buried wealth by midnight, and it seemed natural that the Smiths should in time connect themselves with the plan of a new creed, with Joseph Smith as its founder. As the scheme developed, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Heeis gave it their support, and Sydney Rigdon, joined the movement later. Cowdery was a schoolteacher in the district, and intimate with the Smiths. Harris was owner of a good farm two miles north of Palmyra village. The farm went to pay for the publication of the Mormon Bible. Harris, was an honest, worthy man, but a religious enthusiast. Rigdon came from Ohio and attached himself to the scheme of imposture. He had been a Baptist preacher, but had forfeited his standing by disreputable action. His character was that of a designing, dishonest, disreputable man. In him the Smiths found an able manager, and he found them fit agents of his schemes. Joseph Smith Jr., had in his possession a miraculous stone, opaque to others, luminous and transparent to himself. It was of the common hornblende variety, and was kept in a box, carefully wrapped in cotton. Placed in a hat, and looked upon, Smith alleged ability to locate hidden treasure. Mrs. Smith made and sold oil-cloths, and while so engaged, prophesied a new religion, of which her son should be the prophet. One morning as the settlers went to their work, a rumor circulated that the Smiths in a midnight expedition, had commenced digging on the northwest spur of Mormon Hill, and had unearthed several heavy golden tablets covered with hieroglyphics. It was stated that Joseph was able to translate this record, and was engaged upon the work. To make money and indulge a love of notoriety was the first plan, and to found a new religion a later thought. The mysterious symbols were to be translated and published in book form. Money was wanted and Harris mortgaged his farm for $2,500, which was to secure him half the proceeds of the sales of the Gold Bible. Joseph Smith told Harris that an angel had directed him where on Mormon Hill the golden plates lay buried, and he himself unwillingly must interpret and publish the sacred writing, which was alleged to contain a record of the ancients of America, engraved by Mormon, the son of [Nephi]. Upon the box in which were the plates had been found large spectacles, whose glasses were transparent only to the prophet. None save Smith were to see the plates, on pain of death. Harris and Cowdery were the amanuenses, who wrote as Smith screened from their view, dictated. Days passed and the work proceeded. Harris took his copy home to place in the hands of the type-setters. His wife was a woman of sense and energy. She seized 100 pages of the new revelation and they were burned or concealed. This portion was not again written, lest the first being found, the versions should not agree. The author of the manuscript pages from which the book was published, is unknown. One theory gives them as the work of a Mr. Spaulding of Ohio, who wrote it as a religious novel, left the manuscript with a printer, and being appropriated by Rigdon, was brought to Manchester and turned to account. The general and most probable opinion is that Smith and Cowdery were the authors, from these reasons: it is a poor attempt at counterfeiting the Scriptures; modern language is inconsistently blended and chronology and geography are at variance. It is a strange medley of Scripture to which is appended a "Book of Commandments,” the work of Rigdon, perhaps assisted by Spaulding's papers. The date of the Gold Bible is fixed as the fall of 1827. The first edition of the Book of Mormon was printed by E. B. Grandin, of Palmyra, New York and consisted of 5,000 copies. The work of printing began June 29. It was completed in 1830 and offered for sale at
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one dollars and twenty-five cents per copy, but it would not sell. Smith went to Pennsylvania clad in a new suit from funds provided by Harris; here he married a daughter of Isaac Hale and both were baptized by Rigdon after the Mormon ritual. This wife is living near Nauvoo, Illinois, in comfortable circumstances. The original edition of the book has this preface: "The Book of Mormon; an account written by the hand of Mormon upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi," and concludes with, "By Joseph Smith Jr., Author and Proprietor.” Later editions designate Smith "translator.” The contests give 15 "Books” and the edition contains 588 pages, common duodecimo, small pica letter. A formal organization was desirable. A meeting was held at the house of Joseph Smith Sr., in June [sic] 1830. The exercises consisted of readings and interpretations of the new Bible. Smith Sr., was installed "Patriarch and President of Latter-Day-Saints.” Cowdery and Harris were given limited and conditional offices. From the house the party adjourned to a brook near by, where a pool had been made by the construction of a small dam. Harris and Cowdery were first baptized at their own request. The latter, now qualified, administered the same rite to Joseph Smith Sr., Mrs. Smith, his wife, Hiram Page, Mrs. Rockwell, Dolly Proper and some of the Whitemer [sic] brothers. Calvin Stoddard, a neighbor, early believed in Mormonism, and was possessed with the notion that he should go out and preach the gospel. While in a state of doubt, two men, Stephen S. Harding and Abner Tucker, played a practical joke, which confirmed his faith. At midnight they repaired to his home, struck three heavy blows with a stone upon his door, awaking him; then one solemnly spoke, "Calvin Stoddard! The angel of the Lord commands that before another going down of the sun, thou shalt go forth among the people and preach the gospel of Nephi, or thy wife shall be a widow, thy children orphans and thy ashes scattered to the four winds of heaven.”
Next day the first Mormon missionary, in full faith began to preach from house to house and so began that missionary system so successful and so potential to this new sect. Soon after organizing, the Mormons migrated to Kirtland, Ohio, thence to Independence, Missouri, then to Nauvoo, where Smith fell martyr to the cause and where a temple long stood to mark the sudden energy of the growing sect. Away to Utah the people traveled, and far beyond the pale of civilization established a new city and grew in power. The creed of polygamy engrafted by a later prophet has been a distinctive and repellent feature, at variance with law and morality. To its existence may be attributed the decline and ultimate death of the system. While Mormonism originated with the ignorant, and was perpetuated in knavery, among its adherents are ranked many good people whose devotion to the religion entitled them to honor. The career of a Mohammed had like points in the origin of Mohammedanism, and age has deepened the faith of its votaries. Mormonism originating in Ontario, and the subject of ridicule, furnishes yet another evidence of human frailty, superstition, credulity and faith.
MORGAN AND MASONRY. -- Another character played a prominent part in Ontario history about the same period as there given. In the summer of 1826, William Morgan, a stonemason, began to prepare a work revealing the mysteries of Masonry, and arranged with David C. Miller, a printer in Batavia, to have it published. Members of the order, learning the fact, took measure to suppress the publication. An attempt was made to get possession of the manuscript. Morgan was arrested on a civil suit, but found bail. In August 1826, he was given up by his bail to the sheriff, and put in prison over the Sabbath, while his lodgings were searched and according to reports, a part of his papers, taken. The office in which the book was to be published was attempted to be fired by an incendiary. On September 12, Miller was placed under arrest by a constable on a warrent issued by a justice of the peace of Le Roy. He was taken to Le Roy, but accompanied by many persons. At Stafford, a hamlet on the road, Miller was taken form the carriage, in which he was being conveyed, to a Masonic lodge room, where an effort was made to so far intimidate him as to obtain he desired manuscript. A large party of Miller's friend had followed, gathered in the street and demanded his release. The prisoner was brought out, saw counsel and learned that eh was taken on a civil action for debt, but all bail was refused. Both parties then set out for Le Roy, where Miller demanded to be taken before the village justice. The demand was finally acceded and discharge followed arraignment, as no evidence was found. Miller hastened his return to Batavia, his friends foiling an attempt to again arrest him. In September 1827, three of the parties engaged in this transaction, Jesse French, Roswell Wilcox and James Hurlburt, were tired and convicted for false imprisonment, riot, assault and battery; French had a year in the county jail; Wilcox, six months and Hurlburt, three.
In September 1826, William Morgan disappeared from Batavia and for well-nigh fifty years, no solution has been fund to the mystery of his fate. In this connection, Canandaigua became notorious in history as playing a conspicuous part in the Morgan abduction. A warrant was obtained September 10, form a justice of the peace in Canandaigua, by Nicholas G. Chesebro, for the arrest of William Morgan, on a charge of stealing a shirt and cravat, which he had borrowed of one E. C. Kingsley. The warrant was served next day on Morgan at Batavia, and he was brought as a prisoner in a stagecoach to Canandaigua, and lodged in jail. Morgan was discharged by the justice issuing the warrant, there being no evidence adduced. He was immediately re-arrested in a civil suit for the recovery of two dollars upon the alleged tavern bill assigned by Ackley to the complaint. Judgment and execution at once followed, and Morgan became a prisoner for debt in Canandaigua jail. He remained in prison that day, and until about 9 o’clock of September 12. The jailor and his turnkey were conveniently absent, when certain parties went to the jail, represented that the judgment had been paid, and advised an immediate liberation of the prisoner. Morgan passed out, and at the street was seized, hurried into a closed carriage standing near the front entrance to the jail, and by Hiram Hubbard driven rapidly out of town westward, and from that time, his fate is obscure. Great excitement followed, and extended throughout the State. The feeling against Masonary was intense, lodges were dissolved and an anti-Masonic party was formed. Parties were indicted for Morgan's abduction, and convictions for minor offenses obtained, but no indictment for murder could be brought, since Morgan's body was never found. A body said to be that of Morgan was found on the beach of Lake Ontario, near the mouth of Niagara river, but no reliance is placed upon the statement. Tales of his being a wanderer in a foreign land and of being seen far away on the Western plains are diversion form the more probable statement that his life was taken shortly after his abduction.
The trials of those indicted too place at Lockport and Canandaigua. It was learned that the carriage containing Morgan passed through Rochester, thence was on the ridge road towards Lockport, where a cell had been prepared in the Niagara county jail. At Wright’s Corners, near Lockport, the programme was changed and the carriage was driven to Lewiston, and thence to Fort Niagara. Four men left the carriage, which was ordered to be driven away. This was about midnight of September 13. The surroundings were sinister and calculated to intimidate, but failed to effect their object. Morgan was confined in the magazine from the morning of September 14 to the 19th, when he was removed to the fort. He was excited and vehement at first, but later asked to see his wife and children. Every effort was made by those having him in charge to induce a disclosure of the place where the manuscript was concealed, but in vain. We quote from "Early History, by William Hildreth,” published in the Ontario Times of July 2, 1873. Three propositions were made: "to settle him on a farm in Canada; to deliver him over to the Masonic commander of some British war vessel at Montreal or Quebec or to drown him in the river.” The last proposition was met with strong opposition. High words and quarrels ensued among those present in council. The members became divided in opinion and when William Morgan disappeared from the magazine at Fort Niagara, on the 19th day of September, 1826, he left no witness of his fate to give testimony of what had become of him. The popular feeling spread and deepened, and enemies of Masonry gained thousands of supporters. The blast swept by, and Masonry has again become powerful, with the embers of opposition are extinct, or lie smoldering with scarce a sign of the fiery passion which swept the country and threatened its peace....
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Oft did the harvest to the sickle yield;
In the fall of 1788 a road was constructed to Canandaigua from a landing place in what is the town of Manchester, on the outlet, near where Dr. Stafford's mill now stands. It was the second road under-brushed upon the purchase, and the highway of emigration. Party after party debarked at the landing and moved on to other points and it was not until 1793 that the first settlers made their entry upon this field. The track was known as town 12, range 2, and was part of the original Farmington. It contains twenty-three thousand and forty acres of well-timbered land, whose price in real value was but $460.80. The present aggregated valuation is $ 1,121,825 and it has a population of 4,187 souls. Seventeen school-houses and nine churches give indication of educational and religious development. One now looks upon a ton wherein are seven villages, railway facilities, manufactures, and a famed sanitarium, where, eighty three years ago Joel [sic - Joab?] Gillet, Stephen Phelps, and Joel Jared made the first settlement in the midst of a wild land, forest hidden, and tenanted by beast and savage. Of these three men, Joel Jared made but brief sojourn. Stephen Phelps took up a tract, of which a portion constitutes the farm now owned by Ezra Pierce, Esq. He too, remained not long, but selling to Nathan Pierce, went to Palmyra and opened the second tavern there, and finally, in 1820, removed to Illinois; and Joel Gillet came to stay. He is recognized as the first resident pioneer of Manchester. He contracted for the north half of lot 19, and received his deed June 23, 1796. This pioneer farm is thus located: commencing in the village of Manchester, at the corner store occupied at this date by Wilson and Allen, it extended west to the Farmington line, and south to the south line of the cemetery. On this land, in the summer of 1793, Gillet built the first dwelling erected in the town; it stood near the cemetery and gave shelter to father, mother and eight children, three sons, John, Asa and Asel; five daughters, Sarah, Ziba, Lydia, Ruth and Anna. True to the principles of industrious self-reliance, but a year or so went by ere Mr. Gillet had erected a loom to weave the cloth they needed to wear.
Sharon Booth, aged nineteen, set out in the winter of 1790, with dog and gun, and came on foot to Utica. He was there joined by one Bishop, who accompanied him to Canandaigua, where he arrived in March. He found work up the lake, at five dollars and fifty cents per month, with Gamaleil Wilder for a time; then, returning to Canandaigua, engaged in teaming until March 1794, and assisted in hauling the timbers for the first courthouse. He purchased and built a house upon the north half of lot 23, township 12. On the 7th of August, following he was married, at the residence of the bride, to Ruth, daughter of Joel Gillet; and this was the first wedding in Manchester. Two others besides Mr. Booth settled in the town during 1794 -- Ambrose Phelps, who located on the south half of lot 23 and married Lydia Gillet, and Deacon John McLouth , whose dwelling was erected upon the site of the old Walker house on the north half of No. 21. The deed for his farm was received August 1, 1796. It is affirmed that his was the first framed barn built on the line of the Canandaigua and Palmyra road. This barn was used as a church, and Elder Shay was the preacher. McLouth is entitled to the distinction of having built the first cider mill in the town; it was an old-time wheel-mill and, if existing today, would be a curiosity worth seeing.
In 1795, Nathan Pierce and family, accompanied by the family of McLouth, his brother in law, came into the town. Pierce bought of Stephen Phelps by contract, an undivided half of lot 15, and later purchased of Oliver Phelps the other half-lot. His log cabin, without door, gable end or window, when completed, occupied the site of Ezra Pierce's residence.
Another settler of 1795 was Joshua Van Fleet, from Pennsylvania. He bought out Ambrose Phelps, who removed to No. 9. On March 25 of the years in question, Dorris Booth, daughter of Sharon and Ruth, was born, the first white child born in Manchester. Thomas Sawyer and family set out, during the winter of 1795 from Rutland, Vermont, for Ontario County. They had a span of horses and yoke of oxen, and with these arrived in March, and built, at Littleville, a small frame house, north of the town line, east of Patrick O'Brien's. An elder son, Hooker Sawyer, located on one hundred acres, now part of the farm of Schuyler Sawyer. He also built himself a frame house. These two were the first frame houses erected in town. Upon his land, Hooker put up a small shop, wherein he kept farm implements in repair, and this was the initial movement in mechanical industry in the town. From apples, given by a squaw, seeds were taken and planted and the trees which sprang there from, and which still yield fruit, constituted the first apple orchard in Manchester. A year from his arrival in the town, on March 12, 1796, Thomas Sawyer died. His funeral was the first, and his remains were buried in the old cemetery north of the residence of Oliver Royce, in the town of Hopewell. In 1802, Joseph Hooker, a son, married, Desire Root, who had come west in 1798. In 1796, Luke Phelps came to the settlement and located land; but clearing was not his trade, and the howls of wolves, terrifying to others, were musical to him, and the wolf-hunter was only happy when in pursuit of those cowardly depredators upon the early sheep-folds.
Another settler of 1796 was Bezaliel Gleason, whose log house was built on lot 37, near the house until recently the residence of Hiram and William Aldrich. It has been stated that Manchester was a part of Farmington, and in 1797 Farmington was known as a district.
The first election in the untied town was held April 4, 1797, at the house of Nathan Aldrich, and was superintended by Phineas Bates. Nathan Pierce was chosen a road commissioner, John McLouth, assessor, and Sharon Booth, collector. Joshua Van Fleet was elected a member of the "school committee", and Joab Gillet became pound-master. Closely following the earliest settlement came the first religious meeting. On November 24, 1796, person of the Baptist denomination met at the house of John McLouth, and agreeing thereto, sent an invitation to Elder David Irish, of Scipio, to pay them a visit. On January 14, 1797, Elder Irish, accompanied by Timothy Baker and Asa Caswell came from Scipio and Aurelius. A council met February 11, in which Elder Irish was moderator, and John McLouth, clerk. Two days later, fellowship was accorded by delegates form the two places named, and the First Baptist Church of Farmington was organized. The name does not indicate the locality, as all the church edifices were erected within the present limits of Manchester. When the town was divided the church changed its name, and became known thereafter as "The First Baptist Church of Manchester". This society was not only the first church formed in the town, but was the first Baptist church which was ever formed or organized in New York west of Cayuga lake. So far as learned, the first arrival in the settlement during 1797 was Benjamin Barney and family, from New Jersey. He came on during the summer, took up a farm of seventy-seven acres, and built a cabin upon the site of Wm. Bement's house. Returning east in the fall he moved on during the winter, and when ninety years of age, left Manchester to pass his remaining days with a son who had removed to Genesee county. A man named Jacob Rice had come into the town with Nathan Pierce in 1795. Later he contracted land crossed by the outlet at the site of Rice's sawmill. He erected his first house opposite the residence of Dr. Warn, and later caused a sawmill to be built on the banks of the stream. His son, Myron Rice, lived on the old homestead, in a dwelling upon the south side of the outlet. In 1798, Isaac Lapham and Jedediah Dewey came to the town; the former was from Massachusetts, the latter from Suffield, Connecticut. Lapham, in company with a man named McFarland, made the journey on horseback. The located and bought one thousand acres; each contracted for five hundred acres, at four dollars per acre. The land lay along the banks of the outlet, northward, in extent beyond the William Short road. The Genesee fever attacked McFarland, and in the fall he returned to New England and exchanged with Gilbert Howland for a farm of fifty acres. Phelps and Gorham deeded the land located by Isaac Lapham to his father, David Lapham, a resident of Adams, Massachusetts. The deed bears date November 13, 1798, and conveys lands contiguous and extending from the Manchester Centre and Port Gibson road westward. On June 18, 1801, these lands were conveyed from father to son. Mr. Lapham made improvements and sowed his first wheat in the fall of 1798. Besides a spring west of the dwelling of William Short stands a willow tree, sprung from a slip brought by Mr. Lapham from his Bay State home. The family numbered eight children, six boys, two girls. Epiphrea lives north of Manchester Centre, at the four corners, upon part of the homestead; Jared is in Michigan, Isaac in Delaware, Spencer in Palmyra, New York; Lucinda, wife of George Smith, of Palmyra; and Marietta, wife of Hinckley Fay, of Farmington. Jedediah Dewey left home in June 1798, and fell in with the family of Benjamin Burney, then seeking a new home. The lake was crossed upon a scow, and the journey continued in company with his new friends. Dewey located land west of Burney, with whom he lived pending the erection of his house, which stood upon the site of Jedediah Dewey's residence. At four dollars per acres his farm cost him five hundred and twelve dollars. His house built, he cleared a patch of ground and sowed two acres in wheat. Dewey then went to Connecticut, married Anna BEMENT in November, and with ox-team, sled, bride, and two cows, set out for his forest home, which was reached by February, 1799. The journey occupied three weeks, and the same distance has been traveled by descendants in fourteen hours. Desire Root came out with the couple and married, as stated, Joseph Sawyer. Dewey made purchase of his first hay in March, of Sharon Booth. Nine children were born to Jedediah and Anna, and the cradle in which they rested was but the hollowed section of a log. The first settler in the Village of Manchester was Sylvester Davis, who located there to follow his trade. His blacksmith shop, erected in 1798, a few rods east of the Manchester bridge, was the first in the town. For years he occupied his shop, and was in later years known as captain of militia. Controversy respecting boundary lines caused a new survey of the township, which was made during 1798 by James Smedley. During the winter a prayer meeting, held by Methodists at the house of Sharon Booth, gave a beginning to what ultimately became the first Methodist Church of Manchester. The first settler, near Plainsville or Gypsum, was Abraham Spoor, a resident of the locality in 1798, and following him during the same year came the Vanderhoofs, Jacob and John, from Morris county, New Jersey, and selected lands in and around Plainsville. Lots 81 and 64 were deeded June 5, 1800, to their father, Garret Vanderhoof, who came in during the summer.
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During the summer, Asa Reed, Aunt Mittie, his wife, and two sons, Asa and Calvin, came to Silver street, and was the second family to settle in that locality. The parents died in the town and the sons moved west. The love of hunting was with this family, a passion. To hunt "coons" was the delight of the father. On one night three large raccoons fell into his hands, and as he returned home with them he met neighbor David Aldrich, to whom he showed the results of his hunt, and said, "Dave, if I could but catch a coon that weighted a thousand pounds." Poverty stood in the way of the boys obtaining guns. Finally one was secured, but it would not stand cocked. The boys, proceeding to hunt, found a deer. Calvin in vain essayed to discharge the piece; finally Asa eying first the deer and then his brother said, "Hands too, Calvin! Hands too, I can cock it in less than fifteen minutes." Time sped and likewise the deer, and the Reeds did not have venison for supper.
Jacob White was the first settler in the neighborhood of the Armington schoolhouse, and occupied a house built near or upon the site of Goodale'S residence. On July 31, 1799, he obtained the deed of lots No. 6 and 81, paying therefore $750. Nathan Jones and family located on the Shaving street road, a mile west of Clifton Springs. Their habitation was in the lot where stands an old red painted house, a few rods west of Fall creek. Jones erected a saw mill upon the side of the older plaster mill yet standing. A purchase had been made by Ebenezer Pratt, early in 1798; he became the purchaser of lot 17, now including the farms of Dr. Pratt, Augustus Pratt, and D.B. Record, and then lying between the lands of Joab Gillet and Nathan Pierce. Two sons, Ebenezer and Elkanah, came out and settled upon the purchase. Their habitation was a doorless and windowless double log house, which stood in front of what is now Dr. Pratt'S front yard. The floors were of split bass-wood logs, hewed smooth. It is said that when the floor became soiled one of the brothers would take his adze ad go to work. The result would be a pile of soiled chips in the fireplace and a new floor. The house was used as a tavern until 1802, when Ebenezer built another, and set up a new tavern on the Gillet tract. This new structure was a one story frame, low but capacious. The old "yellow house" after many years, has vanished amid the wrecks of the past. The double log house was the first tavern in the town. In 1802, Ebenezer Pratt, Sr., with the rest of the family, joined the boys; and it was closely following this reunion that Ebenezer, united in marriage to Margaret Speer, had built and opened the tavern above noted.
Prior to 1798, three persons, Israel, Thomas and Nathaniel Harrington, alike in surname, yet of no kin, settled on Silver street. Thomas located upon thirty acres of the west end of lot 108 now known as the McCauley farm, and Nathaniel settled upon lot 109, and later sold to James Coates. Israel and his two daughters, Mary and Lucretia, made their home with Thomas, who married Mary, while Nathaniel did the same by Lucretia, and so established full relation by marriage. Nathaniel, having sold, as indicated, to Coates, went to the Holland purchase, and thence to Jackson, Michigan. All the family went with him from here. Jeremiah Hart, accompanied by his father, Joseph, came out in 1799, and purchased one hundred and two acres of lot 13, original survey. Deed was received in 1809, and was from Theodore Sedgwick of Massachusetts. The land is now owned by G. W. McLouth. Jeremiah, soon after locating, married Ella Harrington. Their children were Joseph, Ellery, and Daivd. Joseph was provided a farm on lot 29, whereon his son, Robert F., resides. The homestead fell to Ellery, and David died young.
On the 15th of November, 1799, Peleg Redfield bought of Oliver Phelps lot 69, and part of lot 67, township 11, giving in exchange his small farm in Suffield, Connecticut. Seven hundred and twenty dollars was the consideration for one hundred and eighty acres, located a mile and a half west of Clifton Springs, and now owned by a son, W. H. C. Redfield. Having located, Redfield erected the body of a log house, cleared three acres, and in February 1800, removed hither with his wife and six children. That part of the journey west of Utica was memorable. The family came with a span of horses and a sleigh; the latter was loaded with bedding, furniture, and the family; the snow was three feet deep, and progress was very slow. The cabin of Jedediah Dewey gave shelter until spring, and "bark would peel." The log house was then completed and the family moved in. By fall a double logged dwelling had been constructed, and therein was found ample room. In 1805, Redfield erected a good frame dwelling, and obtained for it nails and glass at Utica. The house, unchanged save in needful repair, is yet standing. The wife of Peleg Redfield was Mary Judd, the mother of ten children -- eight boys and two girls. She died subsequently, in her eightieth year, while Peleg survived till May 26, 1852, when he died, at the age of ninety. The eldest of the family, Heman J. Redfield, studied law in the office of John C. Spencer, at Canandaigua; removed to Batavia, where he is yet living. Manning, the second son, became a farmer, and was accidentally kills on February 26, 1850, while marketing grain at the flouring mills in Manchester village. Lewis H., became apprentice to James D. Bemis, of Canandaigua in 1812. In 1814 he was known as editor and proprietor of the Onondaga Register. He removed in 1829 to Syracuse and united his paper with the Gazette. In 1832 he sold The Syracuse Register and Gazette, and at present is a resident of the place. He is one of the oldest living printers in the State. The other children filled high positions in society, and justify the prominence, which attaches to their history.
The town was first divided into road districts, March 8, 1799. Three of the seven were in what is now Manchester. District No. 8 included the west half of the town, No. 6 east of the cente line and north of the Canandaigua outlet, and No. 7 the remainder. On April 2, a town meeting was held at Nathan Herendeen's house. Joshua Van Fleet and Hooker Sawyer were chosen road commissioners; Nathan Pierce, assessor; Joab Gillet, poor-master. Benjamin Peters, Peter Spekin and Benjamin Barney were made overseers and fence viewers of the three road districts mentioned. Nathan Pierce was made chairman of the school committee and the place of the meetings was voted to be at the house of William Clarke.
The first general election was held in 1799, for senators and assemblymen to represent Ontario and Steuben in the Legislature. The following is a record of election found on page 9 of the old town book:
"Farmington, May 4, 1799."I hereby certify that the inspectors of election of this town, that is Otis Comstock, Nathan Pierce, Asa Wilmarth -- returned certificates, subscribed by them, of the statement of votes received at said election for assemblymen and cenetors, which was as follows, viz: Charles Williamson had 34 votes for Assemblyman for the county of Steuben; Nathaniel Norton had the same in Ontario; Vincent Matthews and Moses Kent had each 24 votes for cenetors.
Asa Wilmarth, Town Clerk"
This abbreviated record shoes a unanimous choice. The two dozen voters of 1799 had increased in 1875 , to 1,010 cast for governor in the same territory. On May 3, 1800, election for member of congress was held, with 41 votes cast. Thomas Morris received 38 votes; William Stuart, 3 votes. Prominent among the families which had increased the number of votes by 17 in the town, within the year, by their immigration, were the HowlandS, Grangers, Throops, Rushes and Shekells.
The New England farmers scant in resource, traded their small estates and received good sized western farms. The proprietors, Phelps and Gorham, were no losers, as the income of settlers enhanced the value of adjacent tracts. Gilbert Howland, of Adams, Massachusetts, traded his farm of fifty acres to McFarland for five hundred acres, located in Manchester, in 1798. The family arrived February 1800. The deed given by Oliver Phelps is dated April 25, 1799, and conveys lots 39, 41, 76, and parts of 38, 84, 92, and 36, in consideration of one thousand five hundred and three dollars. On the day after the family's arrival, a great snow storm raged, and in its midst they went to the cabin of Job Howland, resident of Farmington. As Gilbert, striding through the snow, saw his brother Job standing in the door, he shouted as his greeting, "Job, you lied; you said it never snowed out here!" The two families resided together until a log house was built, just west of William Steele's place. Mrs. Howland had brought on a package of apple seeds, and finding all busy in planting beans, potatoes, and other articles for more immediate use, herself went to work and fired a large brush heap near the house, and upon its site prepared the earth and in drills planted the seeds. From these seeds grew trees, which are standing today, evidences of an enterprising woman's forethought. The family consisted of Gilbert, Elizabeth, his wife, and seven children, Jonathan, Nicholas, David, Charles, Job, Polly and Betsy. In 1819 Gilbert divided his lands into for farms among his children, and the old estate long remained in their hands.
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The settlement of Manchester began in the southwest, gradually extending to the north and east. John Shekell, of Frederick county, Maryland, was the first settler in what is now the village of Clifton Springs. On the hill top east of the village stands a frame building, publicly known as Mrs. Balcom's boarding house. This was the old Shekell mansion, to the east end of which stood the original double log house which was built in 1800, and opened as a tavern to travelers. With the arrival of the family in 1801, came the first slaves in the town, three in number, Nath, Rose and Lucy. They were in time set free and provided each with five acres of land, and provision made for maintenance as long as they lived. On September 29, 1802, Mr. Shekell received deed for lot No. 99, in township 11, 2nd range, excepting "the new Brimstone Spring, together with ten acres of land adjoining to same." Five hundred and forty dollars were paid for one hundred and thirty-five acres, which were bounded by the town line on the east, north by what would not be a prolongation of Teft avenue, west by a line coinciding with the west boundary of the village lot of William Cox, and south by a line outside corporate village limits. Shekell brought out a grown family. Richard settled the Sanger place, disliked the climate and selling to Harley Redfield, returned to Maryland. Benjamin married Nancy Jones, and lived upon the farm now occupied by Sidney Jackson. Other members of the family lived and died in town.
Samuel Rush was the father of eleven children. The ninth in order of birth was Russell M. Rush, born in 1793, and living with his daughter, Mrs. McLouth. Two sons of Samuel had preceded him, and settled in Farmington. Samuel Rush, with four children, Mary, Rhoda, Marquis and Russell, reached the house of the PrattS on October 16, 1800. It was decided to remain there till a house could be built. There were then two dwellings in the village of Manchester - the Pratt'S and that of Sylvester Davis, directly opposite. The Rush farm was on lot 73, of the first survey, and now constitutes the Anson Lapham farm. In 1806, he sold out and went to Farmington. In the fall of 1805, Russell worked for Bezaliel Gleason two months for a barrel of salt and a pair of shoes. Salt was high, and the ordinary rate of exchange was eleven bushels of wheat for one of salt, and then there were times of scarcity. Mr. Rush says: In 1814, Moses Buck, erected the first building used as a tavern where stands the hotel kept by Nathan Aldrich. The old stone building refitted by Willson and Allen was built by Nathan Barlow, in 1809. He was the first storekeeper in the town, and likewise the first postmaster. Elihu Osgood, who had worked a few years or so in 1802 for Nathan Pierce and for Joseph Hart and others, finally made a purchase, in 1802, of twenty acres from the southeast corner of lot 13. He built a log house where stands the residence of his son Thomas, and to it brought Amy LaMunion, his wife. In time the twenty acres have been increased to two hundred and ten children had grown up to lives of usefulness and honor. Amanda, wife of Orrin Reed, of Stafford street, is the only survivor of four daughters. Thomas still resides upon the old farm; Barrus is a resident of Manchester; Myron went to California, thence to the Sandwich Islands, to escape consumption, the foe of the family, and there died; and Edward is a resident of Canandaigua. At one time the annual crop of wheat from the farm sold at from $2500 to $3000, and the labor was done by the family. The first settlers on Stafford street were Zuriel Fish and Philip LaMunion, from Rhode Island, in the winter of 1799-1800. they started with a large ox-sled each, but spring came and the wagon took the place of the sled. Their land was reached about May 1, and preparatory work occupied the summer and fall. The house of FISH stood a half mile east of Orrin Reed's; that of LaMunion, near Norris Sawyer'S tenant house. The former took up two hundred acres, the latter, twenty-three. Icabod Ward and Samuel Dorrance, of Connecticut, had loaned money to Oliver Phelps, and as a repayment, the latter deeded to them large tracts in the northeastern corner of Manchester, and adjacent lots in Phelps and Arcadia. These lands were located, about 1800, but he parties named. The first settler locating upon these lands was Benjamin Throop. Selecting his land in 1801, he brought on his family in 1802. His possessions included lots 121, 122, 54, 112, and part of 111. Four dollars an acre were paid, and the Connecticut homestead was thrown in at twenty dollars per acre. The first log house was built in the center of what was then known as the six-mile woods, and stood a few rods west of the residence of J. A. Throop. The nearest house north in 1802, was that of Judge William Rogers, of Palmyra, and southward there was none nearer than Plainsville. Abram Spoor, living upon Abram Vanderhoof'S place, was the nearest neighbor. The first domicile was a flat-roof shanty; then a large hewed-log dwelling, one and a half stories high, was occupied; it had a pine floor and a brick chimney, and was altogether respectable for those days. Travel along the road was considerable, and the Throop home became a public hostelry. It was licensed in 1808, and continued to be for several years. Not only the whites patronized this in, but the Indians regarded it as a favorite stopping place in traveling from Oneida to Tonawanda, a reservation. As many as eighteen were kept overnight at one time. Benjamin Throop passed his days on the farm, and died at the age of eighty seven, on January 17, 1842. His wife, Rachel died in her ninety-ninth year. Azel Throop, the only survivor of the family, was ten years old when the family moved in, and still lives on the homestead with his son, J. Allen Throop. Gehazi Granger located one hundred and fifty two acres of lot 96, original surveys; to earn the money to make payment he worked in the Littleville mills, owned by Zacariah Seymour. At the end of six years he had paid for his land. He built his first house about fifteen rods east of the Shaving street schoolhouse, which stands on the corner of the original purchase. The farm is yet held by Julius N. Granger, Esq., who was married to Sarah Ann Douglas, of Brandon, Vermont. Mrs. Granger was sister to Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, a man esteemed by the American people and well-nigh made their president.
In 1804, Theophilus Short came to Manchester. Shortsville lad then no inhabitants. The Canfield place was occupied by Levi Fuller, and in the vicinity dwelt Asel Kent. During 1802, Giles Sage entered the Silver street settlement and bought fifty acres from the west side of lot 109. The land is now owned by Wm. H. Coates. Mr. Sage married Lydia Herendeen, and of eight children there was but one son, Orson, who, removing to West Virginia, was one of those staunch Unionists who gave that region its fame and who suffered by the burning of his house at rebel hands, and whose personal services were given the country in the dangerous character of a spy. Another name prominently connected with Silver street is that of Ephraim Hill, who, on May 8, 1801, obtained a deed for tow hundred and eight acres of land, embracing parts of lots 71 and 108, paying therfor one thousand one hundred and six dollars and fifty cents. His removal with his family was made early in 1802. The journey was made in sleighs as far as the salt springs of Onondaga; thence the journey was made in a wagon, upon which the lightest goods were taken, leaving the heavy furniture for another time. Unfortunately, the cooking utensils were left behind, and food was boiled in a three-pail kettle, it being the only article of the kind brought through.
Arriving at Clifton Springs, the primitive road ceased, and the family had to create their own road. Hill, axe in hand, selected the route, and dodging large trees, cutting down brush and smaller ones, worked his way the remaining distance. He brought out a span of horses and eighteen head of cattle. The horses were stung to death by large, voracious yellow bottle-flies abounding in the woods. Only two acres of corn were raised the first summer, and upon this and what the forest could afford the cattle were fed. The family consisted of eleven children: two died east. Of the nine, eight were boys; six of them died of consumption. Two are living, Joel Hill in Catauqua and Ephraim; the latter lives in sight of the old homestead, just south of the Hopewell and Manchester line. When Ephraim was a youth, six families, all neighbors, lived along Silver street, and in those six families there were fifty children. In those same six houses live as many families, mainly descendants of the former ones. The ages of the parents are not about the same as there were then, and the number of children is but ten. The statement here applied has a wider range, and has a consequence full of interest to those who look to national welfare.
In the year 1803, Hezekiah Baggerly became a resident of Manchester, and purchased land now owned by Harrison Baggerly. Upon the site of the present family residence the first log house was built. Mr. Baggerly wrote his father, Henry, such encouraging accounts as led him to emigrate form the old home in Maryland to Ontario County, and take up his abode in Phelps, where his history may be found, and that of his sons Evertt, Tyson, John, Alpheus, Samuel, Henry and America. The ORME girls, Becky, Cynthia and Harriet, accompanied by one servant, made the journey on horseback to Manchester from Frederick (MD.) to see their sister, Charlotte, the wife of Hezekiah Baggerly. Cynthia became the wife of Richard Giddings. Her sisters remained single through life. The name of Henry Price, of Maryland, a settler of 1807, upon the land now owned by Dennis C. Archer, is prominent in early record. He was twice married; first to Sarah Walker then to Elizabeth Redmond. Twelve children were born to him, all of whom reached maturity. After a few years, Mr. Price sold his farm and removed to Clarkson, Monroe county. An early settler in Plainsville's locality was Abraham Spoor, upon the place now the property of Abram Vanderhoof. He was the father of five children. A peculiarity of the family is found in the fact that, with one exception, they were all professional singing teachers.
Timothy Bigelow and family set out form the northern part of Herkimer, during the winter of 1804-5, for Ontario county. He packed his goods on a two horse sleigh, and took his family in a cutter, and set out upon a toilsome journey by way of Utica and Oneida. When, finally, they rested on the eastern border of the Montezuma marshes, the melting influence of the spring weather made progress difficult. Bigelow had purchased lot 51, and parts of lots 111, 51, 104 and 106, three hundred acres of the forest. He erected a log hut, which stood a short distance back of the dwelling of Edwin Slacy, and became the first settler at Halliday's Corners. Mrs. Bigelow was a woman of strong powers of endurance. It is said that at the age of sixty she carried thirty pounds of groceries from Buffalo to her home in Erie county, thirty miles distance, and accomplished the journey in a day. She removed to Illinois and lived to see her 95th year.
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The rank of none is recorded, save of Mr. Pierce, who was captain, and present in the expedition against Quebec and Montreal, under the command pf General Arnold. Among the first to volunteer from Manchester, in 1812, was Nathan Pierce Jr., who had the misfortune to be captured, but was soon after discharged. Nicholas Howland was commissioned captain on May 28, 1812, in a regiment commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Thaddeus Remington. His parents were Friends, and averse to his going upon the lines; but when tidings came of Buffalo captured, scruples yielded, and at the hand of his company, he had begun his march when the news of the British retreat caused its return and disbandment.
The company was led by Lieutenant Peter Mitchell, who for a time served in the regiment as its adjutant. Heman J. Redfield was in the action at Queenstown Heights, and in 1813 was with General Harrison at Fort George, Upper Canada. In this campaign he received a brevet commission. His brothers, Manning and Harley, also stood in the American ranks, as did Joshua Stevens and John Wyatt, employees of Short's Mills. Moses and Jacob Eddy, father and son, were in the artillery company posted at Black Rock. John Robinson, Timothy Bigelow and Asel Throop were also volunteers of this town in 1812. Achilles Bostsford, the probable first shoemaker in Manchester, left his awl to fight for his country. Substitutes were furnished after drafting was inaugurated, and the usual price was $50. Russell M. Rush and Hooker Sawyer were in the ranks during the war. Omissions there may have been, and yet 19 soldiers went from a town, which at a general election cast not 100 votes.
SECRET SOCIETIES OF MANCHESTERThe first meeting for the organization of a Masonic lodge in the village of Manchester was held in the year 1815, at the hotel of Reuben Buck. A petition for a charter was sent to the Grand Lodge. At the initial meeting, 14 members of the order were present. A second meeting was held at the house of Elisha Johnson, and a permanent room was obtained of Mr. Buck, who was the first person elected and initiated as a member of the lodge obtaining permission to add a second story, to be used as a Masonic hall. A charter was granted November 20, 1816, and is signed by De Witt Clinton, Grand Master, Martin Hoffman, D.G.M., and John Wells, G.S. The organization is entitled Manchester Lodge, No. 269. A public installation of officers took place in the stone church between Manchester and Shortsville; and this was the first public meeting within its walls. E. Doty officiated at W.M.P.T. The address was by Mr. Collins, of Bloomfield. The officers installed were Elisha Johnson, Master; Theophilus Short, S.W.; Nathan Barlow, J.W.; John B. Rumsey, Secretary; Timothy Allen, Treasurer; Stephen Brewster, S.D.; Benjamin B. Brown, J.D.; J. D. Hoskins, and James Davine, Stewards; and Henry DePew, Tyler. The following named members of the lodge were present at the installations: John Crane, S. Clark, J. Miller, H. Howard, Reuben Buck, A. N. Buck, Nathan Pierce, John Averill, Rufus Pierce, Samuel S. Whipple, Peter Brown, James Stewart, Andrew Crocker, Zurial Brown, Benjamin Howland, William Popple, Peter Mitchell and John Robinson. The last annual meeting of the lodge was held December 17, 1828. A circular was sent to various lodges to devise means to restore Masonry to the position held prior to the Morgan affair. A meeting to discuss this circular, was held March 18, 1829, and was the last meeting of the lodge. Dr. Philip N. Draper, died December 15, 1927, and his was the last burial with Masonic honors made by the lodge.
POLITICAL HISTORYIn 1804, the first town meeting ever held within the limits of Manchester had its session at the house of Ebenezer Pratt (Jr.) In 1815 it was held in the shop of M. and R. Buck, and in 1818, at the store of Nathan Barlow.
The question of a division was early brought forward, but year by year was defeated, until the division party, by appeal to the Legislature, accomplished their purpose. On March 31, 1821, the act of division was passed and the new town was known as Burt.
The first town meeting was ordered to be held at the school house near the residence of David Howland, The people did not like the name given their town, and April 16, 1822, it was changed to Manchester.
The first meeting of Manchester was held in 1823, at the school house, but in 1824, "The annual meeting in and for the town of Manchester, was opened, agreeable to adjournment, on the rewins [sic - ruins?] of the old school hous, and for want of shelter was adjourned to Peter Williams' barn."
At the town meeting held in 1821, Joshua Van Fleet was elected supervisor; Gehazi Granger, clerk; Thomas Kingsley, David Howland and Peter Mitchell, assessors; William Popple, collector; Jacob Cost, Carols Harmob and Nicholas Howland, commissions of highway; Titus Bement and James Harland, overseers of the poor; William Popple, Robert Spear and John Schutt, constables; Addison N. Buck, Azel Throop and George Redfield, commissioners of common schools; C. Harmon, P. Mitchell and Leonard Short, inspectors of common schools.
During the period form the organization of the town in 1797, till its division in 1821, citizens of Manchester held positions of supervisor for 19 years. Nathan Pierce was elected to the office for 15 consecutive years. An office, not pleasant, but essential, was that of collector. The duty was the gathering up of moneys due from tax and fines. Sharon Booth filled the place in 1797, Isaac Lapham in 1800 and his brother, Joshua, in 1802. William Mitchell was elected from 1809 to 1819. During Mitchell's term all able bodied men were required to report at stated periods to some convenient point for general training; and fines were imposed on those absent. Mitchell, firm and courteous, levied on whatever came convenient, and live stock and fowls made up a large portion of his proceeds.
INITIAL EVENTS AND HUMORSThe first burial in the cemetery of the village of Manchester was Dorris Booth, who died January 11, 1801. She was the first person born in the town as we have stated, and was the eldest child of Sharon Booth. The first merchant in the business in the town was Nathan Barlow. The first physician was James Seward and the first shoemaker, Achilles Botsford. The first fire occurring in town was the burning of Booth's log house. Ten dollars bounty was voted for every wolf's head taken within the limits of the "deestrict". A certificate was give for a scalp. Isaac Hathaway gave a certificate for a wolf scalp on January 25, 1798. That was the first wolf scalp taken in the new town. The last wolf was killed in 1818 by Joseph Burney and Christopher Brady, in a hunt of which a large number of men and boys were present. Stock ran on the "common", -- that is, was turned loose and grazed in field and wood unfenced. The cattle were liable to stray away, and as a means of identification various markers were recorded. The first record of a stray was made December 10, 1802, by Cromwell Wells, who states he has "Found within my Inclosed Land a Lost spring Calf, Read and White," etc. Another stray is advertised, "Found within my inclosure a 3 year old bay colt having no ear marks on them, except a short tail." In early days, Timothy Ryan located in the southwest corner of the town, on a part of lot 22, now owned by a Hart Latting. HE paid for his farm and received his deed in 1808. He gave part of his attention to bee raising. On May 12, 1814, he was attacked by his bees and stung to death. He was buried in the old cemetery (Dillon cemetery) near the residence of Oliver Royce, and on his tombstone, is the following epitaph:
A honey bee, by stinging me, did stop my mortal breath.
This grave contains the last remains of my frail house of clay;
My soul is gone, not to return, to one eternal day."
EDUCATIONAL -- EARLY SCHOOLS AND TEACHERSAt the first annual town meeting, three persons were elected as the committee on schools and until 1815, all educational affairs were under their control, but in this year, "inspectors of common schools" were elected and consisted of a board of six members. Clara Crane was one of the early teachers in a log school house used by the settlers of Silver ands Shaving streets. The locality of the house is not known. Later, each street built a house for itself, and had its own school, The first school in the village of Manchester was taught by James Mitchell, in the loom house of Jacob Gillett. At a later date, a school house was built on the corner now occupied by Jeremiah Rushmore. The first teacher in that house was Miss Drazy McLouth, to whom the children came from the Pratt, Pierce and Howland neighborhoods. School districts were multiplied, and each locality had its own house. A building for educations purpose was then erected near the site of Hiram Jenning's residence. Finally, a brick house was built on the east side of the square. The first school in Shortsville was held in the house of Asel Kent, and was conducted by Manning Redfield. In 1807, a school house was built on the Elam Dewey farm, and the instructor, Rev. Fitzgerald, was especially remembered as a great snuff-taker. He was succeeded by Polly Pierce, who, in addition to English rudimentary instruction, added lessons in knitting. The first school house in Shortsville was built in 1811, where now stands the house of William Camp. The first teacher was Harry Robinson, followed by Sylvester Miner and Aaron Pomeroy. In the northeast part of the town, the first school was held in a lean-to attached to the dwelling of Dr. Ainsworth, on the Holcomb farm. This place is just across the line in Palmyra, but was attended by all the Manchester children convenient to it. As early as 1800, Benjamin Throop Jr., was a teacher there. Some years afterwards, a log house was built near the home of Isaac Moore. In 1809, John Huggins taught there. A neat frame was built, in 1816, near the present dwelling of Laban Wells, and from there it was removed to the four corners, localized as War Shanty.
A town library was projected in 1814 in the village of Manchester. The citizens of the town subscribed and took 1,000 shares of stock, at $1 per share. Standard books were purchased and free of use to stockholders, and at nominal rates to others. The library at one period, contained over 600 volumes. The remnant of this collection, in the hands of J. R. Pratt, M.D., evidence a judicious selection and an extensive use...
[ 189 ]
H I S T O R Y
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND FAMILY SKETCHES OF SOME
OF THE PROMINENT MEN AND FAMILIES
GEORGE S. CONOVER
LEWIS CASS ALDRIDGE
SARACUSE, N. Y.:
D. MASON & CO., PUBLISHERS
HISTORY OF ONTARIO COUNTY
TOWN OF MANCHESTER 329
its population (census 1890) 4,439, the towns of Canandaigua, Geneva and Phelps only having a greater number of inhabitants.
Under its original civil organization this town formed a part of Farmington (created 1789) and in connection therewith its early settlement was made, and when organized separately this town was called "Burt," the name being changed to Manchester April 16, 1822. The pioneers of Number 11, range 2, were Stephen Jared, Joel Phelps and Joab Gillett, all Yankees, who located about on the site of the village of Clifton Springs in 1793, and here made the first improvement. In 1795 Nathan Pierce and John McLouth came from Berkshire, Mass., and also settled in the town, the former building a strong log house. The other pioneers were John Van Fleet, Sharon Booth, Jedediah Dewey, Benjamin Barney, William Mitchell, Israel Thomas and Nathaniel Harrington, all of whom were in the town as early as 1798. Mr. Booth located in the town in 1794, and soon afterward married Ruth, daughter of pioneer Joab (or Joel as some authorities state) Gillett, which was the first event of its kind in the town. The child of these parents, Dorris Booth, born 1795, also connected the family with another first event. John McLouth built a cider mill, so it is said, in the town. Later on, 1804, Theophilus Short built the first mill on the outlet where Shortsville now stands. From him this thriving little village took its name. About a mile above Shortsville, and on the outlet at a place called Littleville, Oliver Phelps built one of the first mills in the county. This mill stood not far from the present Shortsville Wheel Company's works, and was built in 1791. Further mention of this mill will be found in the chapter on Hopewell. The first school in the town was opened in 1800, and was taught by Elam Crane. On March 12, 1796, Thomas Sawyer died, the first death in the town, and his remains were buried in the cemetery in Hopewell. Thomas Sawyer was a settler in 1795, and his brother, Hooker Sawyer, and Jacob Rice came about the same time. Luke Phelps and Bezaleel Gleason were pioneers of 1796.
Benjamin Barney and family came from New Jersey and settled in the town in 1797. Jedediah Dewey and Isaac Lapham came in 1798. Sylvester Davis located and built a blacksmith shop on the site now of Manchester village in 179$, the first shop of the kind in the town. In the same year Abram Spoor located on the site of Gypsum village and was
330 HISTORY OF ONTARIO COUNTY
soon afterward followed by Jacob and John, sons of Garret Van Derhoof. The year 1799 was notable for the number and prominence of its pioneer settlers in the town, there then coming Peleg Redfield, Nathan Jones, Joseph Hart, Jacob White, Asa Reed, Daniel Macomber and others whose names have perhaps been forgotten. In the same connection we may further mention poineers heads of families, among whom were Gilbert Howland and his large family, John Shekell, Samuel Rush, Zuriel Fish, Philip La Mueuix [sic], Benjamin Throop, Abram Spoor, Gehazi Granger, Hezekiah Baggerly and Timothy Bigelow.
However, it is not deemed necessary to here refer at length to the lives and history of the pioneers of Manchester, for, in a subsequent department of this work will be found full and complete family and personal sketches, collected with much care by personal application to present representatives of early and pioneer settlers. Joe Smith, the Mormon prophet, resided in this town with his father; and Mormon Hill, the place where the gold bible was found, is situated a little northwest of the center of the town.
In 1797 the two townships which then formed Farmington (Manchester being one of them) were found to contain a population sufficient to warrant an organization and the election of officers. The first meeting was therefore held on April 4, and among the officers chosen were several from the Manchester side of the town. Nathan Pierce was elected road commissioner; John McLouth, assessor; Sharon Booth, collector; Joshua Van Fleet, school commissioner; and Joel Gillett, pound. master.
In 1799 the town (Farmington) was divided into road districts, three of which were in what is now Manchester. In 1804 the town meeting was held in Manchester for the first time, the session being at Ebenezer Pratt's house. Later town gatherings in the town prior to its separate organization were those held in 1815 and 1818. About this time (1818 and 1819) the people became anxious for a division of Farmington and the organization of a separate town, but it was not until March 31, 1821, that the Legislature passed the enabling act, and authorized the organization of the town of "Burt." However, this name seemed to be unsatisfactory to the townspeople, consequently on April 16, 1822, the name was changed to Manchester.
TOWN OF MANCHESTER 331
The first town meeting of the new town was held in 1821, at which time the following officers were elected: Supervisor. John Van Fleet; town clerk, Gehazi Granger; assessors, Thomas Kingsley, David Howland, Peter Mitchell; collector, William Popple; commissioners of highways, Jacob Cost, Carlos Harmon, Nicholas Howland; overseers of the poor, Titus Bement, James Harland; commissioners of schools, Addison N. Buck, Azel Throop, George Redfield; constables, Wrn.. Popple, Robert Spear, John Schutt; inspectors of common schools, C. Harmon, P. Mitchell, Leonard Short.
The supervisors of Manchester have been as follows: * Peter Mitchell, 1827; Nathan Pierce, 1828-9; Nicholas Howland, 1830-31; Peter Mitchell. 1832; David Howland, 1833; Nicholas Howland, 1834-35; David Howland, 1836; Peter Mitchell, 1837; Ezra Pierce, 1838-42; Peter Mitchell, 1843; Alfred Dewey, 1844; Peter Mitchell, 1845; Mead Allerton, 1846-48; Proctor Newton, 1849; Joseph H. Dewey, 1850; Peter Mitchell, 1851; Jedediah Dewey, Jr., 1852; Ezra Pierce, 1853; Nathaniel K. Cole, 1854-55; Ezra Pierce, 1856-57; N. K. Cole, 1858; Andrew J. Hanna, 1859-60; Wm. H. C. Redfield, 1861-64; Abial Allen, 1865-69; Wm. H. C. Redfield, 1870-71; Sidney D. Jackson, 1872-74; Sherman Mosher, 1875-77; J. Addison Howland, 1878; D.C. Mattison, 1879; J. A. Howland, 1880-82; Jeremiah Lyke, 1883; Edward J. Sheldon, 1884; Jeremiah Lyke, 1885-86; J. A. Howland, 1887-89; Jeremiah Lyke, 1890-91; John C. Parker, 1892-93.
Present town officers: Supervisor, John C. Parker; town clerk, Grover Partridge; assessors, David H. Townsend, John McClellan, Sharon Booth; justices of the peace, John W. Parker, James W. Rafter, Almeron Dunham, Charles L. Brant; overseer of the poor, Charles A. Moore; commissioner of highways, Theron Y. Allerton; collector, William Potter; constables, John Rodney, Harry S. Forshay, John Lannon, George W Rockwell, John W. Wood; commissioners of excise, Richmond P. Pratt, Harvey K. Carpenter, Isaac Benson.
Schools of Manchester. -- In all matters pertaining to education and the welfare of the youth in general, the town of Manchester has maintained a position ever in the front rank. Even during the pioneer days
* The record of town meetings from 1821 to 1827 is missing.
332 HISTORY OF ONTARIO COUNTY
of the town, schools were established at convenient places, and the system thus inaugurated has always been maintained on the same generous plan. At this time the town has sixteen school districts, three of which -- Nos. 3, 9 and 12 -- have not school houses. In 1892 the number of children of school age was 868, to instruct whom nineteen teachers were employed, at an expense of $5,501.77. The amount realized by the town for school purposes, from all sources, was $8,049.73. The total value of school property in the town is $24,000; the value of the school building in District 7 is $13,500. Of the thirteen school buildings in the town, eight are of frame, two of brick, and three of stone.
It is a well known and conceded fact that civil, political and military history of Manchester bears favorable comparison with any other of the towns of the county. In this respect the people of the town have ever felt a just pride. Among the pioneers and early settlers of the town were a number of men who served with credit during the Revolutionary War, and among whom may be recalled the names of Nathan Pierce, Peleg Redfield, Joshua Van Fleet, Jacob Gillett, Samuel Rush, Thomas Sawyer, Israel Harrington, Nicholas Chrysler and Ebenezer Pratt.
In the second war with England the town also furnished a number of men for the service, among them being Nathan Pierce, Jr., son of the pioneer Nathan Pierce; Nicholas Reuland, who held a captain's commission; Lieut. Peter Mitchell, who commanded a company, and also Heman J. Redfield and his brothers Manning and Harley; Joshua Stevens, John Wyatt, Moses Eddy, Jacob Eddy, John Robinson, Timothy Bigelow, Asel Throop, Achilles Botsford, Russell M. Rush, Hooker Sawyer, and others whose names are not remembered.
However, it was during the War of 1861-65 that the town of Manchester made its most glorious record and displayed it most genuine martial spirit. In a preceding chapter of this volume will be found a record of the Ontario county volunteers in the war, and there also will be found a list of the battles in which the commands participated; and a glance at the record will disclose the fact that Manchester was represented by volunteers in nearly every principal command to the strength of which the county furnished troops, and there was hardly a branch of che service not represented by men from Manchester. In 1860 the town
TOWN OF MANCHESTER 333
had a population of 3,280 inhabitants, and in the war which followed during the succeeding four years the town is credited with having furnished a total of about four hundred men, or more than twelve per cent. of its population. Nearly all of the regiments having Manchester men now have elaborate histories prepared, in which are furnished complete rosters of the troops by companies, wherefore in the present connection we need only refer generally to the town's record during the war.
In Ontario county Manchester has been called the town of many villages; and whether said in honor or derision matters not, as the assertion is true, and is reasserted with emphasis by every loyal resident of the town. These villages, three of which are incorporated, are Clifton Springs, Shortsville and Manchester, Port Gibson, Manchester Center, Plainsville (Gypsum) and Littleville, a total of seven and a showing which cannot be equaled elsewhere in the county.
The Village of Clifton Springs. -- The pioneer on the site of the present village of Clifton Springs was John Shekell, a Marylander, and a man of much worth and influence in the new community. The building more recently occupied as a boarding-house, standing on an elevation in the east part of the village, was the Shekell mansion, built in 1800, and opened in 1801 as a public house. Mr. Shekell was specially noted in the settlement from the fact that he possessed three slaves, but these were set free and well provided with dwelling places.
The second settler in the village locality was William Hanna, and the third Arnold Warfield, both bringing families from Maryland, following the example of the pioneer, John Shekell. About the year 1811 Wm. Entricken, also from Maryland, settled here and opened a blacksmith shop, but before this time, in 1806, Landlord Powell of the famous Geneva Hotel laid the foundation for later growth by building a public house where the village has since been built up. In 1808 St. John's church was built, but the building was sold in 1812 to the Methodist Society. About the same time a district school was built and opened, while to John Bradt attaches the honor of having been the first storekeeper. Rose & Spangler were later merchants.
The Sulphur Springs of this village have made the locality famous throughout the United States. Elsewhere will be found a detailed history
334 HISTORY OF ONTARIO COUNTY
of this celebrated resort and its chief promoter and founder, but at this time we may briefly state that the valuable medicinal properties of the water here found were known to the first residents, for as early as the year 1806 a hotel was erected here as a dispensary. However, it was not until later years that the village assumed a position of niunicipal importance in the town, and this result was achieved almost wholly through the efforts of Dr. Foster, aided and assisted by a few liberal and progressive people of the locality The Foster House was erected in 1869, by William Foster; the Clifton House in 1870, by Thos W. Warfield, and the name changed to Warfield House in 1871, but again became Clifton House in 1875. In 1850 Clifton Springs was made a post-office, and in 1859 the population was so increased, and the interests of the persons engaged in developing and improving the locality were such as to require the incorporation of the village, which was accordingly done.
At the present time the village of Clifton Springs presents an appearance fully as attractive as any municipality of the county. It is in no sense a busy manufacturing place; such has not been the aim of its founders and promoters, but as a quiet resorting place for persons seeking rest and recuperation, Clifton Springs has become famous throughout the land. The public buildings include five churches, two good schools (one public and one select), a water supply system, and a fire department. The village population numbers about 1500, and its mercantile representatives about equal the demand, but there does not appear to be an excess in this direction.
The water supply of the village is owned by the Sanitarium Company and is a private institution, although the main pipes extend through some of the principal streets and furnish water to private families. A hose company is organized in connection with the water supply department, and is also a part of the Sanitarium equipment; still in case of fire in any part of the village, the company promptly responds. The Citizens' Hook and Ladder Company is an institution of the village corporation.
As has been stated, the village was incorporated in 1859, and its boundaries extend beyond the limits of the town of Manchester on the east, hence include a small part of the town of Phelps. In fact the
TOWN OF MANCHESTER 335
public school is located on the Phelps side. of the line. The present trustees of the village are D. C. Mattison, Albert Everts and James Brady. The president of the village is William Llewellyn.
The Clifton Springs Seminary, a large, comfortable and in every way praiseworthy educational institution, occupies a commanding site in the west part of the village. It is well patronized, and its graduates rank well with those of some of the famed preparatory schools of the State. This institution was founded many years ago under the name of "Clifton Springs Female Seminary," and was a school exclusively for girls. However, under its present management and name it is open to both sexes. The present principal is Prof. Wm. A. Deering.
The Union School of the village and district is also an attractive appearing and substantially constructed building, standing on an elevation in the eastern part of the village. Its affairs are managed by a Board of Education, of which Dr. Henry Foster is president.
The principal manufacturing industry of Clifton Springs is that carried on by the Clifton Springs Manufacturing Company, a body corporate, organized May 2, 1885, with a capital of $30,000, afterward increased to $40,000. The product of this large concern consists of nearly one hundred and fifty varieties of tinware articles, each of which is manufactured with a patented "anti-rust" attachment. The present factory building was erected in 1890, and in it are employed about forty men. The officers of the company are Rush Spalsbury, president; H. C. Evard, treasurer; J. A. Brook, superintendent.
W. A. Judd, successor to the firm of Bostwick & Judd, is an extensive manufacturer of tinware articles, and employs ten men. Bostwick & Judd began business in 1892, succeeding a still older business established by Mr. Bostwick.
The Clifton Springs Press, under the efficient management and ownership of H. L. Wright, was established in 1871, and then known as the Clifton Spring News. The last mentioned paper was the outcome of a discussion among interested residents of the village, and by them an arrangement was made with J. W. Neighbor, of the Phelps Citizen, whereby the News should be printed at Phelps, the local editor being Charles G. Gustin, succeeded in 1873 by W. S. Drysdale. John M. Waterbury was local editor in 1874; George H. Woodruff in 1878, and
336 HISTORY OF ONTARIO COUNTY
Harry C. Burdick in 1880. W. W. Gillis came next in 1882, and was followed in 1884 by F. L. Brown, the latter changing the name of the paper to the New Era (indeed it was a "new era" in the history of the paper), and subsequently to the Clifton Springs Press, which last mentioned name has ever since been retained. In 1885 W. H. Neighbor became editor, and was succeeded in 1886 by H. L. Wright, the present proprietor, who edits and prints the Press at Clifton Springs, in a comfortable and well-equipped office. The persons who were active in establishing the first paper were J. W. Neighbor, A. J. Hanna, Byron Harmon, C. W. La Du, E. J. Warfield, Dr. Henry Foster and J. J. Dewey.
St. John's Church at Clifton Springs dates back in time to an organization effected as early as 1806-7, with which event were prominently connected the Shekells, John and Samuel, Darwin Seager, William Warner, George Wilson, Archibald Beale, Davis Williams, Thomas Edmonston, Alexander Howard and William Powell. A church edifice was begun at once, but before completion was sold to the Methodists. Following this the parish of St. John's became extinct, and was not revived until 1866, followed in 1871 by the consecration of a new edifice by Rt. Rev. Bishop Coxe. The parish and congregation of St. John's are small, the communicants few, and at present the church is without a rector.
The Methodist Episcopal Church at Clifton Springs was organized in 1808, under the missionary labors of Rev. John Baggerly, and soon afterward the society purchased the edifice built by the society of St. John's, which they occupied from 1810 to 1841, when the building was burned. Another church house was built in 1843-44. In 1846 the society was reorganized and called the "Third Methodist Society in Manchester." In 1867 the large brick church edifice superseded the old home of the society. The congregation and membership of this church are large. The present pastor is Rev. J. V. Benham.
The First Universalist Church of Clifton Springs was organized April 1, 1852, with twenty original members, and under the pastoral care of I. I. Brayton. The full church organization was completed in 1858. The first house of worship was erected in 1852 and '53. The membership and congregation of this society are not large. The last
TOWN OF MANCHESTER 337
pastor was Rev. G. B. Russell. For many years the pastorate of this church was filled in connection with the Universalist Church at Geneva.
St. Agnes' Roman Catholic Church at Clifton Springs was organized, and the parish also, in 1856, and during the same year the church edifice was built. For several years this church was an out-station, and Father McDermer was the first resident priest. The present priest is Father Patrick Lee.
The Baptist Society of Clifton Springs is the youngest of the several religious organizations having an abiding place in the village, its formation dating back only a few years. The church edifice is located on the hill in the east part of the village and is a very attractive structure. The present pastor is Rev. H. F. Cope...
344 HISTORY OF ONTARIO COUNTY
The Village of Shortsville. -- In all respects this is the most important village in Manchester, and in point of manufactures it ranks second only to Geneva in the county. In 1804 Theophilus Short came to this locality and built both flour and saw-mills, from which fact the little hamlet thus built up became known as Short's Mills. In 1822 Mr. Short built a second flour mill north of the first one, but before this, and in 1818, William Grimes had a woolen mill in operation, while the year 1818 witnessed the founding of a foundry and furnace.
All these old industries, however, had their period of existence many years ago, and are now unknown to the locality. They were succeeded by other and more important enterprises which have been continuously maintained until the present time, and all have combined as elements of strength in building up one of the most progressive little villages of Ontario county. In truth it may be said that the increase of businees interests in Shortsville has never declined since the founding of the village; on the contrary there has been maintained a steady progression and the village was never more prosperous than now, although one of the large factory buildings is idle while the ravages of fire destroyed one
TOWN OF MANCHESTER 345
or two others. From this the statement may be made that the history of Shortsville is best written in the history of its manufactures, its churches, schools, and other enterprises, public and private. In 1889 the village interests were of such character and importance that the people thereof procured its incorporation, the proceedings being cornpleted in November. Within its limits there are about 1,000 inhabitants, and few there are of them who are not in some manner directly interested in the welfare of the municipality. The present trustees are J. Morgan Stoddard, president, and C. M. Sisco, E. P. Babcock and E. D. Mather; village clerk, Charles Davidson.
On the old mill site where Theophilus Short built his pioneer mills, now stands the extensive works of the Empire Drill Company, incorporated with $150,000 capital. In 1855 Hiram F. and Calvin P. Brown established a business of manufacturing grain drills in a somewhat small way. Their product was originally called the "Pioneer Force Feed Drill," but in later years became known as the "Empire Drill." The first year they produced thirty completed drills; in 1892 the company made 4,000 drills. Two men began the work, now nearly one hundred are employed.
The Star Paper Company was organized in 1867 and on the outlet where formerly stood one of the Short mills and the old distillery a building was erected. In 1871 the old wooden mill site was utilized as the "Diamond" paper mill. The company had a capital of $50,000, and for many years did a large and successful business. Dr. J. P. H. Deming was its president; Stephen T. Seymour, secretary and treasurer. However, this was one of the industries of the village which ultimately failed, its affairs being closed about five years ago.
The Ontario Paper Mills is the name of one of the substantial and enduring industries of the village, and under the present proprietorship of James Jones does a large business. These mills have also been in operation many years.
The Shortsville Wheel Company was incorporated January 7, 1889, by Charles W. Brown, Jennie B. Heath, Charles E. Brown and Calvin P. Brown. The works were situated on the outlet about half a mile above the village. The company above named sold to the American
346 HISTORY OF ONTARIO COUNTY
Wheel Company, but the latter failed and the plant passed into the hands of Calvin P. and H. L. Brown, by whom it is now operated.
The Shortsville Cart Company was organized in December, 1891, and continued operations for about two years.
In this connection mention may also be made of the general planing mill of Charles M. Clark, which does a successful business; and also of the former enterprises known as G. Van Sickle's Champion Grain and Hay Unloader, and the machine and implement shops of H. C. Sheffer &Co.
The first school in Shortsville was conducted in Asel Kent's dwelling and Manning Redfield was its teacher. The first school-house was built in 1807 on the farm of Elam Dewey, just outside the village proper. In 181 i the first district school in the village was built, the first teachers being Harry Robinson, Sylvester Miner and Aaron Pomeroy. In educational matters Shortsville has kept even step with the villages of the county, but in 1886 it advanced beyond many others and erected a large and attractive Union school building, being the property of district number seven.
The Myron Buck Free Library is one of the institutions of the village, and was established in a handsome memorial building on Main street, and although only a few years old is recognized as a contribution of much worth to the village residents.
On the 16th of April, 1888, Edgar D. Mather opened a private bank in Shortsville, which was another progressive step in village history, this being the first bank to be established here.
The First Presbyterian Church of Manchester was in fact organized in January. 1860, although meetings were held and an effort at organization several years earlier. A Sunday-school of the Presbyterian Society was started in the village in 1857. In 1859 and '60 a church edifice was completed, which was replaced in 1884 by the present beautiful structure which now adorns Main street, near the center of the village. This church is by far the largest and most influential in this part of the town, numbering about 265 members, while the Sunday-school has about 250 pupils. Since the organization the pastors and supplies in succession of this church have been as follows: Revs. Charles H. Chester, William J. Stoughtenburgh, Richmond James,
TOWN OF MANCHESTER 347
James M. Harlow, Chester C. Thorn, E. G Cheesman, W. O. Carrier, J. C. Lenhart, W. I. Coburn, and John T. Crumrine, the latter being the present pastor, who was called to the church in December, 1892.
The other church societies of Shortsville are the Protestant Episcopal, the Methodist Episcopal, and the Roman Catholic, each of which are of comparatively recent organization, and neither of which has a resident pastor. Trinity Church was built about 1884, and is a small chapel edifice standing on Main street. The Methodist Church is organized and beyond the condition of a mission, and its pastorate is supplied by Rev. J. E. Showers. St. Dominick's Church and parish was organized about ten or twelve years ago, and holds monthly services under the charge of Father Patrick Leel, of Clifton Springs.
The Village of Manchester. -- This locality at an early day acquired some prominence as a manfacturing center, and here there was in operation a pioneer woolen-mill, hence the townspeople called the hamlet Manchester, in allusion to the great manufacturing city of the same name in England. The mill referred to was built in 1812, and the village was established soon afterward. In 1822 the town was given the same name as the village.
On this site of the pioneer woolen-mill now stands the roller flourmill of W. G. Mason, which, with the spoke factory adjoining, comprises all, there is of manufactures in the village at this time. The original settler on the village site was Valentine Coon, from whom the locality was first called Coonsville. In 1892 the village of Manchester was incorporated, having a population of about 450 persons. In 1891 the Lehigh Valley road was built through the village, thus giving an impetus to trade, and, what is still better, extensive round-houses have been built conveniently near the center of the village, with a promise of large machine shops in the near future. The trustees of Manchester village are Dr. J. R. Pratt, president, and W. A. Wilson, W. G. Mason and Isaac Reed; clerk, Elmer Ver Planck.
The First Baptist Church of Manchester was originally organized as the First Baptist Church of Farmington (before the division of the town), and dates back to 1797, although not until 1810 was the first log meeting-house built, followed by a stone chapel in 1815. In 1822 Farmington was divided and Manchester was formed, whereupon the
348 HISTORY OF ONTARIO COUNTY
society took the name of the First Baptist Church of Manchester. The property on which the present large church edifice now stands was purchased in 1849, and in the same year the meeting-house was built. The church has a present membership of about 190 persons, and a Sunday school with about seventy-five members, all under the pastoral care of Rev. Edwin C. Long.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Manchester (village) also had its origin in pioneer times, but no reliable record of its early history seems to have been preserved. The present church edifice was built in 1841, and recent repairs have given it an attractive appearance. The society has about 130 members on the church roll, the Sunday-school about 100 pupils. Pastor, Rev. De Witt Tooker.
Manchester Center is the name of a small hamlet situate about midway between Manchester village and Clifton Springs. Having a location on the outlet of Canandaigua Lake, this has been a manufacturing point of some note during the early history of the town, but the growth of Shortsville and Clifton Springs have drawn trade from the Center to those places. The recent construction of the Lehigh Valley railroad has given an impetus to trade in this locality, and the Center is undoubtedly benefited thereby.
Port Gibson enjoys the distinction of being the only village in Ontario couuty which touches the Erie Canal, in fact the port owes its very existence to the construction Of the canal, which famous waterway was completed and opened for traffic in 1825, Among the leading men of Canandaigua who were prominently interested in the construction of the canal was Henry B. Gibson, and in his honor this hamlet was named Port Gibson, and in the laying out of the village tract the names of other influential residents of the county seat are preserved, for here are found Grieg street (for John Grieg), Atwater street (Moses or Freeman Atwater), Granger street (Francis Granger), Bemis street (James D. Bemis), and others. However, it was during the palmy days of exclusive canal transportation that Port Gibson enjoyed its greatest glory, for with the construction of railroads across the State canal traffic began to decline, consequently the village also lost its importance in a corresponding degree. The village now has two or three stores, several shops, a school and a M. E. Church, the latter having a membership
TOWN OF MANCHESTER 349
of 128 persons, and now being under the pastoral charge of Rev. John Easter. The total value of church property (edifice and parsonage) is about $9,000.
Littleville was first called Parker's Mills, the latter name being given in allusion to Edward Parker, the former proprietor of the grist-mill at that place. Norman C. Little afterward purchased the site, and the name was thereupon changed to Littleville. However useful and profitable these mills may have been, they have been discarded as such, and the buildings have recently been remodeled and fitted for use 'as an electric power station, form which point it is proposed to furnish electric lights for Clifton Springs, Shortsville and Canandaigua, and also to furnish power for the electric cars in the last mentioned village. A further account of this place may be found in the history of the town of Hopewell.
Gypsum is the name of a small hamlet situate on the line between Manchester and Phelps, and about two miles north of Clifton Springs. In this locality Pioneer Van Derhoof settled, followed by other Dutch families, from which fact the place or vicinity was originally called the Dutch settlement, later it became known as Plainsville, and still more recently as Gypsum. Having its location on the outlet, this has been a manufacturing point of some note in the past, and the opening of a plaster bed here also added to the industry of the place.
The Baptist Church at Gypsum was the second society of that denomination in the town, having been organized in 1813 under Elder William Rowe as first pastor. The early meetings were held at various convenient places in the town, and it was not until about 1835 that the somewhat historic old stone meeting-house was built.,,,
TOWN OF FARMINGTON
The first township sold by the Phelps and Gorham proprietary was number eleven in the third range, and its purchasers were a company of Massachusetts citizens, then residing mainly in Berkshire county, who were members of the old and honored society of Friends, whose desire was to leave their former home and take up their abode in a then wild, uncultivated and almost unknown region called the Genesee country. The purchasers of number eleven were Nathan Comstock, Benjamin Russell, Abraham Lapham, Edmund Jenks, Jeremiah Brown, Ephraim Fish, Nathan Herendeen, Nathan Aldrich, Stephen Smith, Benjamin Rickerson, William Baker and Dr. Daniel Brown.
388 HISTORY OF ONTARIO COUNTY
Nathan Comstock and Benjamin Russell appear to have been the leading spirits of this enterprise, as the conveyance of the town was made to them individually, and the lots were afterward chosen by draft, a New England custom, and agreeable to the results of the allotment the deeds were given. The purchase being completed pioneership at once began, the honor of being first settler falling to Nathan Comstock, and his sons Otis and Darius, and Robert Hathaway, all of whom, during the year 1789, came to the town, made a clearing and sowed a small field of wheat, built a cabin, and thus accomplished the first permanent settlement in the town. Closely following this little party, however, came pioneer Nathan Aldrich, who brought seed for planting and sowing, but when winter approached all save Otis Comstock returned to their New England homes.
On the 14th of February, 1790, Nathan Comstock and his large family, accompanied by pioneers Nathan Aldrich and Isaac Hathaway set out upon their journey to the town, and on the next day Nathan Herendeen and his family, comprising his son Welcome and his sons-in-law, Joshua Herrington and John McCumber, with their wives and children, likewise set out for the new country. These pioneers were united at Geneva, and from thence journeyed together to Farmington, which name was given in allusion to the town of Farmington in Connecticut.
Referring briefly to first events, we may note the fact that Nathan Comstock and his party built the first dwelling and made the first clearing of land. Nathan Aldrich is credited with building the second dwelling, while Nathan Herendeen followed as third in the same improvement, and was first to raise a barn, this being in 1794. In 1790 a son was born to Joshua Herrington and wife. It was named "Welcome," after its uncle, but the surname was afterward changed to Herendeen. Otis Cornstock and Huldah Freeman were married in 1792. Elijah Smith died in 1793. Jacob and Joseph Smith built the first grist-mill in 1793, and the first saw-mill in 1795. The first wheat was harvested in the town in 1790. In this connection we may state the claim to building the first barn by Annanias McMillan for Isaac Hath away in 1793. The grist-mill was built the same year by McMillan for the Smiths on Ganargwa Creek. The first physician was Dr. Stephen Aidridge.
TOWN OF FARMINGTON 389
The greater part of the pioneers who are named above settled in the general southeast portion of the town, in what after ward became school district number one. In the same locality, and sufficiently early to be numbered among the early settlers, there came in 1790 John Payne, Jonathan Reed (the pioneer blacksmith), Samuel Mason (cabinet maker), John Dillon, Adam Nichols and Joseph Wells. Joseph Smith and James Fish started an ashery in this locality in 1793, and in 1800 Thomas Herendeen had a tannery in operation. In the region just west of that last mentioned Jacob Smith settled in 1791; Jonathan Smith in 1790, and at now unknown dates came Ichabod Brown, Abiather Power, George Jenks, John Young, Mr. Shotwell and Ebenezer Wells. In the southwest part of the town lived pioneers Isaac Hathaway, from whom Hathaway's Corners took its name, Asa Wilmarth, who run an ashery, Levi Smith, Arthur Power, Moses Power, Robert Power, Eseck, Jesse and Willis Aldrich, and Samuel Cooper, were also early settlers in this locality. Levi Smith and William Dailey were in in the same neighborhood, though farther south. Still farther west along the town line, in 1793, Annanias McMillan built the pioneer mill for Jacob and Joseph Smith, and two years later a saw-mill was built in the same locality. Both were operated until about 1840. The Smith families came to this vicinity in 1791, and other early settlers were Jephtha Dillingham, Richard Thomas and David Smith.
In the west part of the town the earliest settlers were Jeremiah Brown, one of the original purchasers of the town tract, and near him were Gideon Grinnell Peter Smith, and others named Harris and Pratt. In this general neighborhood also were David Brown, Otis Comstock, William Smith, David Gulls, Zurial Brown, Nicholas Brown, Hezekiah Lippett and others now forgotten. The settlers last mentioned were early residents of what was known as the Brownsville district, a locality which at an early day was of much note as a center of trade. In this vicinity David and Stephen Brown had a distillery and an ashery, while Stephen Brown and Elias Dennis started a carding and cloth mill. Other early manufacturers hereabouts were James Van Vieck, and the Haskinses, Amos, James and John. Reuben Smith was in trade, as also, later on, were Paul Richardson, Abner and Stephen Brown and Albert Nye. Peter Cline is remembered as an old tanner, and Otis Brown
390 HISTORY OF ONTARIO COUNTY
a blacksmith. Joseph Jones made hats for the early settlers. The pioneer of Brownsville is said to have been David Gillis.
East of Brownsville was the pioneer abode of Dr. Stephen Aldrich, the first physician of the town, and in this district we may name as early occupants of the land Gideon Herendeen, Elisha Gardner, Turner Aldrich, Ebenezer Horton and others of later date. Here, too, was made an attempt to found a hamlet, for in the locality pioneers Talcott and Batty started an ashery in 1817; Reuben Hoyt built a tannery; John Sheffield kept hotel; Augustus Bingham had a blacksmith shop, and other trades were also pursued in the neighborhood. In the north part of the town, about where the quiet little hamlet of Farmington or New Salem is situated, pioneer Nathan Comstock and his farni]y made their first settlement. With him came his. sons, Otis and Darius, also Robert Hathaway, and later on four other sons, Nathan, jr., Jared, Joseph and John, were added to the settlement. Otis Hathaway was the founder of the village and its first merchant. S. Pattison built the saw-mill on the creek. Other early settlers in this locality were Hugh Pound, Isaac Lapham, James Brooks and Benjamin Rickerson.
The central and eastern portions of Farmington were not settled as early as many other sections, the marshy character of the land at that time making them not specially desirable as a place of residence. These localities, however, had their pioneers, and among them we may mention John and Elijah Pound, Stephen Ackley, James Hoag, Calvin Whipple, Job Howland, Major Smith, Jonathan Archer, William Dillon, Pardon Arnold, George Smith and Ahez Aldrich. In the northeast part of the town Moses Power settled in 1798, and later on there came Isaac Price, Simpson and Benjamin Harvey, Peter Pratt, Lawrence McLouth, Perez Antisdale, Samuel Rush, Benjamin Peters and others now forgotten.
In this connection the statement may be made that the foregoing brief mention of the pioneer families is not intended to be a sketch of each, for such notices are reserved for another department of this work. However, in recording the early history of the town, at least a passing notice is due to the pioneers, and for more detail of early and late families the attention of the reader is directed to the personal and family sketches.
TOWN OF FARMINGTON 391
From what has been stated in this chapter it will be seen that Farmington was settled generally as early as other towns of the county, and was accomplished as early as elsewhere. Prior to 1821 its civil history was associated with Manchester, although the general characteristics of the inhabitants were radically different, yet all were worthy, industrious and self-sacrificing people. The settlement of this town was completed about 1820, and Manchester was set off from it in 1821. From the year last mentioned to the present time there has been no material variation in population, but there appears to have been less tendency toward vacating the town in favor of other localities than is noticeable in the history of the towns of the county generally. By referring to the census reports of each decade we may get a fair idea of the changes in population since 1830. In that year the population was 1,773; in 1840 was 2,122; in 1885 was 1,876; in 1860 was 1,858; in 1870 was 1,896; in 1880 was 1,978; in 1890 was 1,703.
As we have already stated, the original purchasers and pioneer settlers of Farmington were of the once extensive Society of Friends; earnest, honest, faithful and patient Christians and workers, whose everyday walk in life was in full accord and keeping with their religious belief and teachings. From the time of their first settlement, beginning in 1790, the Friends held regular meeting services, and although wholly devoid of display or demonstrations of any sort, the members were none the less zealous or devoted. Ostentation was foreign to their characteristics and repugnant to their doctrines; and it is a serious question whether these sturdy plodders were not the first settlers in the county to hold and conduct religious services, although the Friends themselves made no claim to this honor, as it did not become them to do so. When they came as pioneers to the Genesee country their action was disapproved by the body of the Friends' society in the east, and being without consent and approbation, the emigrants were for a time cut off from the parent society; but when, a few years later, representatives from the east made a vIsit to Ontario county and discovered the happiness and progress everywhere discernible in the Farmington colony, the errors and faults of the former separatists were condoned and forgiven, and the factions became united. Throughout several of the towns in this part of the State there dwelt families of the Friends, and by them
392 HISTORY OF ONTARIO COUNTY
regular meetings were held at various places. In Macedon there were many families of the society; in Farmington about thirty families, and in Palmyra about forty-five. In 1796 the first Friends' meeting-house was built of logs in the north part of Farmington, near the hamlet called New Salem. In December, 1803, the building was destroyed by fire, and in 1804 was replaced with a larger building, of frame construction, but perfectly plain in exterior and interior finish. The first speaker of the Friends in this town was pioneer Caleb McCumber, who died in 1850. From its first humble beginning the society increased in numbers, influence and usefulness for a period of about twenty-five years, when, in 1828, Elias Hicks, an able and eloquent speaker, was moved to so teach and preach sentiments not at all in harmony with previous usages, and the result was in a division in the society, a large number of the people flocking to the standard of the new doctrinal expounder, and thenceforth the seceders were called Hicksites, while those who remained faithful to their old allegiance at the same time became known by the name of Orthodox Friends. About the year 1816 the society had erected a new meeting house of greater proportions than the older structures, the building committee comprising Darius Comstock, S. Pattison, Ira Lapham, Nathan Aldrich, and W. Herendeen. The Hickstes took possession of the new building, and the Orthodox members returned to the old meeting-house, still standing in the same vicinity. The committee charged with the erection of the meeting-house of 1804 was comprised of pioneers Nathan Herendeen, Caleb McCumber, Stephen Aldrich, John Sprague. Nathaniel Walker, Nathan Comstock, Hugh and David Pound, Isaac Wood, H. Arnold, and Jesse Aldrich.
In the course of time the house of meeting occupied by the Orthodox Friends was burned, and to replace it the members built a neat and commodious modern structure, the first services therein being held in June, 1876 In addition, it may be stated that another Friends' meeting-house was built in the southeast part of the town, between lots 21 and 22, in which preparative meetings, were for many years conducted.
Having due regard for the educational and physical welfare of their children, the Friends established what has been called a Manual Labor School, in which the youth of the town might acquire necessary education,
TOWN OF FARMINGTON 393
and pay therefor in manual labor on the lands connected with the institution. On March 19, 1838, Daniel Robinson, Isaac Hathaway, and Asa Smith conveyed lands to the extent of 12.14 acres to trustees Gideon Herendeen, Asa B. Smith, and John Ramsdell, in whom the management of the school was vested. It must be said, however, that notwithstanding the worthy character of the institution, it failed to produce desired results, and therefore enjoyed not more than a brief existence.
As must be seen from what is stated in this chapter, the majority of the early settlers and nearly all the pioneers of Farmington were Friends, and as such, possessing distinguishing traits and characteristics, they made their spiritual life a part of the temporal by erecting houses for meetings, and giving strict attention to attendance and discipline; and although a century has passed since their work in the town began, the present generation of inhabitants seems to possess much of the old and worthy spirit of their ancestors, and still remain a majority in the town. However, many of the later of the early settlers were not of the Friends' religious convictions, and when their numbers became strong enough they established churches of their own denominations. As early as 1817 a Presbyterian society was organized in Farmington, under the fostering care of the Geneva Presbytery, but its members were few and it passed out of existence after about fifteen years of vicissitudes.
The Farmington Wesleyan Methodist Church and society was organized January 12, 1846, and enjoyed a prosperous life of about forty years. The first trustees were Lewis Lumbard, Wm. Pound, Benjamin Haight, Wm. Plum, and Rufus Holbrook, and the first pastor was Thomas Burrows. The church edifice was built at New Salem, on property originally deeded to the trustees by Joseph C. Hathaway. The parsonage property was the gift of Miss Fanny Robson, and the cemetery lot was deeded to the society by Benjamin Soule and wife. Notwithstanding these and other benefactions, the society was destined to dissolution, but not until within the last three years did it finally cease to exist. The church edifice was sold to the trustees representing Farmington Grange, Patrons of Husbandry, who took possession of the property in 1892.
394 HISTORY OF ONTARIO COUNTY
New Salem is the name of a small hamlet situated in the extreme north part of the town, in the locality where pioneer Nathan Comstock made the first improvement. The early settlers of this place and the various business enterprises established by them are sufficiently stated in a preceding paragraph, hence need no repetition here. The hamlet hardly retains its old importance, but the name "Pumpkin Hook," applied in derision, still clings to it. The post-office name of the place is Farmington. Its present business interests comprise the stores of Mrs. A. K Nichols and C. H. Betz, the latter being also postmaster. About half a mile west of the "Hook" is the grist- mill of Warren Young. The Hicksite and Orthodox Friends' meeting-houses are about half a mile east of the hamlet.
The hamlet of West Farmington, as originally called, but Mertensia, as more recently known, is sItuated in the southwest part of the town, in school district No. 6, and has little importance, except as a station on the Central road, and the possession of one or two small stores.
Farmton is the name of a station on the Lehigh Valley road, and was established in 1892, on the completion of the road. Industries and interests it has not, and the possibilities of the future are not proper subjects for discussion here.
Although the old school established by the Friends failed to secure the success hoped for by its promoters, the educational system of the town has kept even step with that of other towns of the county. Extracting briefly from the commissioner's report for 1892, it is learned that in Farmington there are thirteen school districts, only one of which has no school-house, and the twelve are frame buildings, having a total value of $8,160. The school population of the town is 488 children, for whose instruction thirteen teachers are employed at an annual expense of $3,079 20. The town received moneys for school purposes in 1892 to the amount of $4,131.62.
Present Town Officers -- C. H. Herendeen, supervisor; A H. Stevenson, town clerk; Edwin J. Gardner, Charles G. McLouth, John F. Sadler. justices of the peace; Edwin A. Adams, Henry C. Osborn, Wm. H. Edmonston, assessors; Julius Aldrich, commissioner of highways; Hinckley Fay, overseer of the poor; Edward H. Randall, collector....
From: History of the Township of Farmington, New York:
[1 & 2]
The first township sold by the Phelps and Gorham proprietary was number eleven in the third range. and its purchasers were a company of Massachusetts citizens, then residing mainly in Berkshire County, who were members of the old and honored society of Friends, whose deiire was to leave their former home and take up their abode in a then wild, uncultivated and almost unknown region called the Genesee country. The purchasers of number eleven were Nathan Comstock, Benjamin Russell, Abraham Lapham, Edmund Jenks, Jeremiah Brown, Ephraim Fish, Nathan Herendeen, Nathan Aldrich, Stephen Smith, Benjamin Rickerson, William Baker and Dr. Daniel Brown.
Nathan Comstock and Benjamin Russell appear to have been the leading spirits of this enterprise, as the conveyance of the town was made to them individually, and the lots were afterward chosen by draft, a New England custom, and agreeable to the results of the allotment the deeds were given. The purchase being completed pioneership at once began, the honor of being first settler falling to Nathan Comstock, and his sons Otis and Darius, and Robert Hathaway. all of whom, during the year 1789, came to the town, made a clearing and sowed a small field of wheat, built a cabin, and thus accomplished the first permanent settlement in the town. Closely following this little party, however, came pioneer Nathan Aldrich, who brought seed for planting and sowing, but when winter approached all save Otis Comstock returned to their New England homes.
On the 14th of February, 1790, Nathan Comstock and his large family, accompanied by pioneers Nathan Aldrich and Isaac Hathaway set out upon their journey to the town, and on the next day Nathan Herendeen and his family, comprising his son Welcome and his son-in-law, Joshua. Herrington and John McCumber, with their wives and children, likewise set out for the new country. The pioneers were united at Geneva, and from thence journeyed together to Farmington, which name was given in allusion to the town of Farmington in Connecticut.
[ 3 & 4 ]
Referring briefly to first events, we may note the fact that Nathan Comstock and his party built the first dwelling and made the first clearing of land. Nathan Aldrich is credited with building the second dwelling, while Nathan Herendeen followed as third in the same improvement, and was first to raise a barn, this being in 1794. In 1790 a son was born to Joshua Herrington and wife. It was named "Welcome," after its uncle, but the surname was afterward changed to Herendeen. Otis Comstock and Huldah Freeman were married in 1792. Elijah Smith died in 1793. Jacob and Joseph Smith built the first grist-mill in 1793, and the first saw-mill in 1795. The first wheat was harvested in the town in 1790. In this connection we may state the claim to building the first barn by Annanias McMillan for Isaac Hathaway in 1793. The grist-mill was built the same year by McMillan for the Smiths on Ganargua Creek. The first physician was Dr. Stephen Aldridge.
The greater part of the pioneers who were named above settled in the general Southeast portion of the town, in what afterward became school district number one. In the same locality, and sufficiently early to be numbered among the early settlers, there came in 1790 John Payne. Jonathan Reed (the pioneer blacksmith), Samuel Mason (cabinet maker), John Dillon, Adam Nichols and Joseph Wells. Joseph Smith and James Fish started an ashery in this locality in 1793; and in 1800 Thomas Herendeen had a tannery in operation. In the region just west of that mentioned, Jacob Smith settled in 1791, Jonathan Smith in 1790, and at now unknown dates came Ichabod Brown, Abiather Power, George Jenks, John Young, Mr. Shotwell and Ebenzer Wells. In the southwest part of the town lived pioneers Isaac Hathaway, from whom Hathaway's Corners took its name, Asa Wilmarth, who run an ashery, Levi Smith, Arthur Power, Moses Power, Robert Power Eseck, Jesse and Willis Aldrich, and Samuel Cooper, were also early settlers in this locality. Levi Smith and William Dailey were in the same neighborhood, though farther south. Still farther west along the town line, in 1793, Annanias McMillan built the pioneer mill for Jacob and Joseph Smith, and two years later a saw-mill was built in the same locality. Both were operated until about 1840. The Smith families came to this vicinity in 1791, and other settlers were Jephtha Dillingham, Richard Thomas and David Smith.
In the west part of the town the earliest settlers were Jeremiah Brown, one of the original purchasers of the town tract, and near him were Gideon Grinnoll. Peter Smith, and others named Harris and Pratt. In this general neighborhood also were David Brown, Otis Comstock, William Smith, David Gillis, Zurial Brown, Nicholas Brown, Hezekiah Lippett and others. The settlers last mentioned were early residents of what was known as the Brownsville district, a locality which at an early day was of much note as a center of trade. In this vicinity David and Stephen Brown had a distillery and an Bshery, while Stephen Brown and Elias Dennis started a carding and cloth mill. Other early manufacturers hereabouts were James Van Vleck, and the Haskinses, Amos, James and John. Reuben Smith was in trade, as also, later on, were Paul Richardson, Abner and Stephen Brown and Albert Nye. Peter Cline is remembered as an old tanner, and Otis Brown a blacksmith. Joseph Jones made hats for the early settlers. The pioneer of Brownsville is said to have been David Gillis.
East of Brownsville was the pioneer abode of Dr. Stephen Aldrich, the first physician of the town, and in this district we may name as early occupants of the land Gideon Herendeeen, Elisha Gardner, Turner Aldrich, Ebenezer Horton and others of later date. Here, too, was made an attempt to found a hamlet, for in the locality pioneers Falcott and Batty started an ashery in 1817; Reuben Hoyt built a tannery; John Sheffield kept hotel; Augustus Bingham had a blacksmith shop, and other trades were also pursued in the neighborhood. In the north part of the town, about where the quaint little hamlet of Farmington or New Salem is situated pioneer Nathan Comstock and his family made
[ 5 & 6 ]
their first settlement. With him came his sons, Otis and Darrius, also Robert Hathaway, and later on four other sons, Nathan, Jr., Jared, Joseph and John, were added to the settlement. Otis Hathaway was the founder of the village and its first merchant. S. Pattison built the saw-mill on the creek. Other early settlers in this locality were Hugh Pound, Isaac Lapham, James Brooks and Benjamin Rickerson.
The central and eastern portions of Farmington were not settled as early as many other sections, the marshy character of the land at that time making them not specially desirable as a place of residence. These localities, however, had their pioneers, and among them we may mention John and Elijah Pound, Stephen Ackley, James Hoag, Calvin Whipple, Job Howland, Major Smith, Jonathan Archer, William Dillon, Pardon Arnold, George Smith and Ahez Aldrich. In the northeast part of the town Moses Power settled in 1798, and later on there came Isaac Price, Simpson and Benjamin Harvey, Peter Pratt, Lawrence McLouth, Perez Antisdale, Samuel Rush, Benjamin Peters and othets.
In this connection the statement may be made that the foregoing brief mention of the pioneer families is not intended to be a sketch of each, for such notices are reserved for another department of this work. However, in recording the early history of the town, at least a paseing notice is due to the pioneers, and for more detail of early and late families the attention of the reader is directed to the personal and family sketches.
From what has been stated in this chapter it will be seen that Farmington was settled generally as early as other towns of the county, and was accomplished as early as elsewhere. Prior to l821 its civil history was associated with Manchester, although the general charateristics of the inhabitants were radically diffenent, yet all were worthy, industrious and self-sacrificing people. The settlement of this town was completed about 1820, and Manchester was set off from it in 1821. From the year last mentioned to the present time there has been no material variation in population, but there appears to have been less tendency toward vacating the town in favor of other localities than is noticeable in the history of the towns of the connty generally. By referring to the census reports of each decade we may get a fair idea of the changes in popUlation since 1830. In that year the population was 1,773; in 1840 was 2,122; in 1855 was 1,876; in 1860 was 1,868; in 1870 was 1,896; in 1880 was 1,978; in 1890 was 1,703.
As we have already stated, the original purchasers and pioneer settlers of Farmington were of the once extensive Society of Friends; earnest, honeHt, faithful and patient Christians and workers, whose every day walk in life was in full accord and keeping with their religious belitf and teachings. From the time of their first settlement, begining in 1790, the Friends held regular meeting services, and although wholly devoid of display or demonstrations of any sort, the members were none the less zealous or devoted. Ostentation was foreign to their characteristics and repugnant to their doctrines; and it is a serious question whether these sturdy plodders were not the first settlers in the county to hold and conduct religions services, although the Friends themselves made no claim to this honor, as it did not become them to do so. When they came as pioneers to the Genesee country their action was disapproved by the body of the Friends' Society in the east, and being without consent and approbation, the emigrants were for a time cut off from the parent society; but when, a few years later, representatives from the east made a visit to Ontario county and discovered the happiness and progress made everywhere discernible in the Farmington colony, the errors and faults of the farmer separatists were condoned and forgiven, and the factions became united. Throughout several of the towns in this part of the state there dwelt families of the Friends, and by them regular meetings were held at various places. In Macedon there were many families of the society; in Farmington about thirty families, and in Palmyra about forty-five. In 1796 the first Friends' meeting house was built of logs in the north part of Farmington, near the hamlet called New Salem. In December, 1803. the building was destroyed by
[ 7 & 8 ]
fire, and in 1804 was replaced a larger building, of frame construction, but perfectly plain in exterior and interior finish. The first speaker of the Friends in this town was pioneer Caleb McCumber, who died in 1850. From its first humble beginning the society increased in numbers, influence and usefulness for a period of about twenty-five years,. when, in 1828, Elias Hicks, an able and eloquent speaker, was moved to so teach and preach sentiments not at all in harmony with previous usages, and the result was in a division in the society, a large number of the people flocking to the standard of the new doctrinal expounder, and thenceforth the seceders were called Hicksites, while those who remained faithful to their old allegiance at the same time became known by the name of Orthodox Friends. About the year 1816 the society had erected a new meeting house of greater proportions than the older structures, the building committee comprising Darius Comstock, S. Pattison, Ira Lapham, Nathan Aldrich, and W. Herendeen. The Hickeites took possession of the new building, and the Orthodox members returned to the old meeting-house. The committee charged with the erection of the; meeting-house of 1804 was comprised of pioneers Nathan Herendeen, Caleb McCumber, Stephen Aldrich, John Sprague, Nathan Walker, Nathan Comstock, Hugh and David Pound, Isaac Wood. H. Arnold, and Jesse Aldrich.
In the course of time the house of meeting occupied by the Orthodox Friends was burned, and to replace it the members built a neat and commodious modern structure, the first services therein being held in June, 1876. In addition, it may be stated that another Friends' meeting-house was built in the southeast part of the town, between lots 21 and 22, in which preparative meetings were for many years conducted.
Having due regard for the educational and physical welfare of their children, the Friends established what has been called a Manual Labor School, in which the youth of the town might acquire necessary education, and pay therefor in manual labor on the lands connected with the institution. On March 19, 1838, Daniel Robinson, Isaac Hathaway, and Asa Smith conveyed lands to the extent of 12.14 acres to trustees Gideon Herendeen, Asa B. Smith, and John Ramsdell, in whom the management of the School was vested. It must be said, however, that notwithstanding the worthy character of the institution, it failed to produce desired results, and therefore enjoyed not more than a brief existence.
As must be seen from what is stated in this chapter, the majority of the early settlers and nearly all the pioneers of Farmington were Friends, and as such, possessing distinguishing traits and characteristics, they made their spiritual life a part of the temporal by erecting houses for meetings, and giving strict attention to attendance and discipline; and although a century has passed since their work in the town began, the present generation of inhabitants seems to possess much of the old and worthy spirit of their ancestors, and still remain a majority in the town. However, many of the later of the early settlers were not of the Friends' religious convictions, and when their numbers became strong enough they established churches of their own denominations. As early as 1817 a Presbyterian society was organized in Farmington, under the fostering care of the Geneva Presbytery, but its members were few and it passed out of existence after about fifteen years of vicissitudes.
The Farmington Wesleyan Methodist Church and society was organized January 12, 1846, and enjoyed a prosperous life of about forty years. The first trustees were Lewis Lumbard, Wm. Pound, Benjamin Haight, Wm. Plum, and Rufus Holbrook, and the first pastor was Thomas Burrows. The church edifice was built at New Salem, on property originally deeded to the trustees by Joseph C. Hathaway. The parsonage property was the gift of Miss Fanny Robson, and the cemetery lot was deeded to the society by Benjamin Soule and wife. Notwithstanding these and other benefactions, the
[ 9 & 10 ]
society was destined to dissolution, but not until within the last three years did it finally cease to exist. The church edifice was sold to the trustees representing Farmington Grange, Patrons of Husbandry, who took possession of the property in 1892.
The foregoing article is from "the History of Ontario County, New, York, published by D. Mason & Co., Syracuse, N. Y. 1893.
On September 17,1790, the first white child was born, Welcome Herrington, later known as Herendeen. He married while young and moved to Michigan. He attained a weight of 350 pounds.
IN 1790 Isaac Hathaway, from Adams, Mass., located at what has since been known as Hathaway's Corners. His wife and two children were brought through the wilderness upon an ox-sled.
Lwvi Smith, one of the pioneers of the town, purchased a farm of about 200 acres from Nathan Aldrich, and made payment by giving the labor of a day for an acre of land. The farm thus won by day's labor is the present heritage of his son, P. A. Smith.
IN 1790, Joseph Smith and James D. Fish started an ashery near the Friends south meeting house, for the manufacture of pearlash, an article prominent at the time as finding ready sale, and returning considerable profit. The building was a frame structure and as such was known as the first of its class in town.
John Pound, and Elijah, his brother, from New Jersey, were the first farmers upon the land owned by Gardner L. Sheldon.
In 1802 James Hoag arrived from New Jersey and building a small shop began a successful business as shoe and harness maker.
In 1790 Job Howland located on Black Brook in the eastern part of the town and built a saw-mill.
A tannery was built in 1800 by Thomas Herendeen. He conducted the business about fifteen years, was succeeded by Peter C. Brown, and by him continued until 1826. Its site was near the Allan Payne farm.
The first mill in the town was erected by Ananias McMillan. It was built for Jacob Smith in 1793, and was a small frame concern used for custom grinding. The settlers went there from considerable distance to get their grain ground. Two years after the mill was in operation, a saw-mill was put up on the opposite side of the creek. The grist-mill was run till 1839, and the saw-mill till 1841.
It is said by the oldest inhabitants that the neighborhood of these mills was an accustomed hunting and fishing ground of the Indians. Their fish and game were offered the settlers in exchange for fish and flour. The Indians would come into the grist-mill bringing their fish or galne and lay them down before Mr. Smith and say, "The skano trout" or "The skano game," and then be off before any answer could be returned. In a few days they would be back for their
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"gifts" and say, "Skano injun meal." The miller humored their caprice And gave them as they desired. It was often seen that the location of a mill was the origin of a village. A well-chosen mill-site was a promising place for a settlement. The mills ground slowly and the farmers found time hanging heavily upon their hands. Could repairs be made or a social glass be enjoyed it was found less irksome; and hence the blacksmith shop and the distillery were not unfrequently found in close proximity to the mills. It sometimes transpired that the miller, having set the grist-mill to running, could adjourn to the blacksmith shop and shoe the customers' horses. This was done by Mr. Smith, who was thus enabled to do two things of profit at one and the same time. Jared Smith affirmed that the boards of the house in which he resided, and which was built in 1799, were nailed on with wrought nails of his father's manufacture.
THE PIONEERS.The crashing down of the old forest trees under the vigorous axe strokes, the burning of the great logs and underbrush, the pulling of stumps, and rude forms and appliances for tilling the soil marked the early settlers' coming. The pioneer's work was hard, uneventful, his chances for social and intellectual improvement shut out by solitude.
Yet he did a valuable work and laid the foundation of wealth and progress. If he was rude in manner and dress, he was cheerful and healthy. The table fare was simple and unadulterated, and as a result the children of the pioneers grew to maturity strong in mind and body, and lived much longer than the average of the race.
Farmington has presented a direct advance from the felling of the first tree down to the present fine farms, with neat buildings and broad fields. The advent of the pioneers was chilled by the ostracism of the society they loved, and in the midst of hardships their minds were set on the future. We see them regain fellowship, and set up a local society. We find them cheerfully submitting to loss of property to vindicate a principle, establishing a school to bring the boon of education within the reach of all, and buying up costly property to exclude the sale of liquors from their midst. Almost the whole town was settled by residents of Adams, Massachusetts, and nowhere could better material be found. In the purchase of the land in this town, but one of the original proprietors failed to become a permanent citizen and pay for his land. Alone in his forest hut one passed a winter, a solitary picket on the outpost of civilization; another journeyed long to find a mill where the first grain could be crushed; others planted the peach and the plum pits, and sowed the seeds of the apple, so that in after times the new settlers from different localities journeyed thither for fruit. The apples, cider and applesauce were a fine treat to the pioneers in the clearings of the Holland purchase. On some winter's day the keeper of a log tavern would set out in a sleigh and secure a load; and on his return, the news would circulate far and wide, and on ox-sled and horse-sleigh the settlers would gather to the feast and the frolic. Singular in customs, plain in dress and speech, yet full of energy, the Comstocks and their brethren have left an impression upon the society of Farmington, honorable to themselves and beneficial to the community.
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Despite the manifest hardships endured by the pioneers, they were satisfied. The people were united and willing to give each other aid. There was equality in condition. People were not accustomed to the distinctions of wealth and store-clothes. The garments ,worn were generally the same in all seasons. They commonly went clad in clothing made in their own families, as the result of necessity and economy. The matrons and maidens were not averse to labor, and loved the buzz of the spinning wheel and the double shake of the loom. Sabbath and holiday were the occasions when "boughten clothes" made their appearance. Yet, often suits made by the female members of the family were worn with evident pride by child and parent. The girls made their own dresses, and they were not cast aside with the season.
Amusements were mingled with labor, and pastimes were more prevalent than now. There were corn-huskings and apple-parings, quiltings and choppings, knittings for the benefit of the poor, etc., etc. There were celebrations of memorial occasions, political rallies, and all the ludicrous features of muster-day. There were raisings of barns, and bees for logging -- these last ending with a huge bonfire and a good time, and the consumption of pumpkin pies, sweet cider and rye whiskey. Visits deserved the name. They were given and received with pleasure. Several went together and the hum of conversation was unceasing. Horseback-riding was common, since the horse could pass where tree and stump forbade the use of wheeled vehicles.
If a party for social enjoyment was announced to be held in the neighborhood, none stopped to inquire who were to be there, but each set out for a good time.
THE EARLY SETTLERS.
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"Voted, Ten dollars for every wolf's head that is caught and killed within the bounds of said district.
"Whereas, David Smith was voted in constable, the town has reconsidered his standing as constable for the present year. Sharon Booth is made constable.
"Voted, One hundred and fifty dollars to be raised to defray town charges.
"It was agreed that the town meeting should be for the future held at the house of Nathan Herendeen in said town."
On April 25, 1797, the town called a special meeting and elected John McLouth assessor, and Joseph Smith poormaster and sealer of weights and measures, to fill vacancy, the others not serving.
On May 15th, another meeting was held, and the people finding their self-imposed tribute too high, conc1uded to take off one hundred dollars from the amount voted to defray expenses.
The town of Farmington was named from Farmington, Connecticut.
PRESENT OFFICERS OF THE TOWNSHIP OF FARMINGTON.
A. H. Stevenson, Town Clerk.
(Mr. Stevenson has held this office for fourteen consecutive years.)
Charles G. McLouth, Justice of the Peace.
Edwin J. Gardner, Justice of the Peace.
James S. Carson, Justice of the Peace.
A. B. Katkamier, Justice of the Peace.
George Whittaker, Collector and Constable.
Marvin D McLouth, Overseer of the Poor.
Julius F. Aldrich, Highway Commissioner.
E. A. Adams, Assessor.
J. J. Berry, Assessor.
Milton A Smith, Assessor.
Charles Gardner, Constable.
Fred Robbins, Constable.
At the town meeting held in March of 1897, the cemetery formerly connected with the Wesleyan Methodist Church, was declared town property and duly incorporated, with Ellery G. Allen, Joseph Popenhusen and Theodore Bastian, trustees.