Skip to main content

Full text of "History of Yates county, N. Y"

See other formats



r .wr ' '-.r' t -f:-: 







bought witp the income 
Of the sage endowment 
fund given in 189i by 


'■^ <tf-. 



i]i ir. £ 


IfiDdili rary 








Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 













IN attempting the production of a History of Yates County, the pub- 
h"shers have not underestimated the difficulties and the magnitude of 
their task. Although Yates County is not a very old one, counting 
from its separate organization, it has, nevertheless seen more than a 
century of civilized occupation; and in this new world, as it is called, 
the settlement and growth of towns and villages, and the occurrence of 
important events in their progress, have advanced with almost marvel- 
ous rapidity, while the materials for history have accumulated in a cor- 
responding ratio. In making a history of this county the publishers 
entered upon the task with a determination to leave nothing undone 
to spare no labor or expense that could in any manner contribute to 
the successful and creditable accomplishment of the work. Whether or 
not they have succeeded is a question left to the judgment of the 

It is believed that the general history of the county will give entire 
satisfaction to all who may peruse it, but in some degree the subjects 
therein treated are in more condensed form than in works published 
earlier than this ; still it is thought that nothing is omitted from the 
present volume that is necessary to be preserved as a part of the record 
of Yates County, whether of general or town history. It is not claimed 
by the editor or by the publishers that this work is free from error, for 


it would be a thing unprecedented should there be found within its 
covers not a single inaccuracy ; nevertheless great care has been exer- 
cised to insure correctness in general and in detail. 

The publishers are under many obligations of gratitude to the people 
of the county for their generous support in making this work a success, 
but there are persons whose services in the preparation of chapters have 
been so specially valuable as to entitle them to more than passing notice. 
In this connection may be mentioned the names of Hon. George R. 
Cornwell, from whose pen the county has the benefit of an elaborate 
chapter on Education ; John N. Macomb, jr., who contributed the chap- 
ter on Free- Masonry ; Hon. William S. Briggs, for his recollections of 
the " old bar " of the county ; Steven B. Ayres, for the chapter on the 
Press ; Walter Wolcott, for the Military chapter; George C. Snow, esq., 
for the chapter on the Vineyards and their Products ; James Miller, for 
the chapter on Agr.iculture ; Charles H. Martin, esq., for the history of 
Starkey ; D. B. Cornell, for the history of Barrington. 

With the expression of these obligations the Memorial History of 
Yates County is placed before the public by the editor and the 



The Subject — Yates County Erected — The older Counties — The Terra Incog- 
nita — Formation of Albany County — Of Tryon County — Of Montgomery 
County — Of Ontario County — Of Steuben County — Yates formed from On- 
tario and Steuben Counties — A general Topographical view of Yates County 

— Its elevated Lands — The lakes of the County 17 


Doubtful Claims to Prehistoric Occupancy — The Indian Occupation — Its Nature 
and Extent — Ancient Indian Traditions — The Iroquois Confederacy — Sene- 
cas occupy the region of Yates County — Sites of Indian villages in this Locality 

— Their principal Trails — Remains of old Fortresses — The Seneca Tradition 

— The League of the Iroquois — Conquests by Confederates 23 


Early Explorations and Discoveries — The French in Canada — The Puritans in 
Nevr England — The English in Virginia — The Dutch in New York — Pound- 
ing of New France — Champlain incurs the enmity of the Iroquois — Its after 
Effects — Adventures of De Nonville and La Salle — Neutrality of the Iro- 
quois during the early French Wars — The French make friends with the 
Senecas — Joncaire's Influence — French forts built in the Seneca County — 
Discomfiture of the English — The Final Wars — Extinction of French power 
in America 39 


The English Dominion — A brief resume of Events — English conquest of the 
Dutch Settlements — Condition of the Indians — Still friendly to the French — 


Pontiac's League — The Senecas involved with Pontiac — Devil's Hole and 
Black Rock — Sir WiUiam Johnson makes friends with the Senecas— The 
Revolutionary War — Attitude of the Iroquois — Wyoming and Cherry Val- 
ley — Sullivan's Campaign — Destruction of Indian Villages — Cashong, in 
Yates County, Devastated — The Indians retire to Fort Niagara — Their treat- 
ment by the British — Close of the Revolution — Overthrow of British Rule 

— The United States of America 48 



Situation of the Indians at the close of the Revolution — They are recognized as 
rightful owners of the Territory — Treaties for the purchase of Indian Titles — 

— The Grand Council at Fort Stanwix — Red Jacket opposes the Sale — A 
brief sketch of the famous Chief — The Medal — The subject Resumed — Con- 
flicting claims by New York and Massachusetts — Their Settlement — Massa- 
chusetts owns the Genesee Country -^ Yates County a part of it — The New 
York Genesee Land Company — The Niagara Q-enesee Land Company — They 
Lease from the Six Nations — Looking to the formation of a new State — Im- 
itating the action of Vermont — The attempt fails — Prompt action of Gov- 
ernor Chnton — The Compromise and its Reward 57 


The land Titles — The Phelps and Gorham Purchase — Its extent and Boundaries 

— Troubles created by the Lessee Companies — How Settled — Consolidation 
of Interests — Extinguishment of Indian Titles — The old Pre-emption Line — 
Fraud Practiced — Town Surveys Sale to Robert Morris — The latter sells to 
English capitalists — Surveying the new Pre-emption Line — The fraud Dis- 
covered — New complications Arise — How Settled — Occupants of the " Gore'' 

— How Compensated — Settlement with Charles Williamson, agent of the 
Poultney Association GG 


Jemima Wilkinson, the Public Universal Friend — First Emissary of the Friends' 
Society sent to explore the Genesee Country — His unfavorable Report — A 
Committee of Investigation Chosen — The life of The Friend — Her sickness, 
recovery, and singular Transformation — Her Teachings — Friend's Society 
Formed — Her travels in New England and Pennsylvania — The Friends the 
pioneers io Yates County — Founding the New Jerusalem — Their Trials and 
Hardships — First wheat Sown — The first Mill — The coming ot The Friend 

— Her home and Meetmg-house — A dissension in the Society — Some prom- 


inent members Withdraw ~ 'The purchase of Jerusalem Township — The 
Friend's Purchase — Her removal to Jerusalem — Death of Sarah Richards — 
Troubles following her Decease — A serious Litigation — Ultimate success of 
, the Friend's Cause — Death of The Friend — Her last "Will and Testamment — 
False prophets enter the Society — Its decline and Downfall — Members of 
the Society 76 


Early efforts at Colonization and settlement — Extent of Ontario County — Steu- 
ben County set Off — Towns of Ontario and Steuben which were erected into 
Yates County — How first organized and their Extent — The District of Jeru- 
salem — Bentoo and Milo set off — Italy formerly part of Middletown — Mid- 
dlesex originally part of Augusta — Barrington and Starkey come from Steuben 
County — Torrey taken from Benton and Milo — A Brief allusion to the War 
1812-15 — Public sentiment in this Locality 96 


Organization of Yates County — The Acts of the Legislature regarding it — Glimpses 
at the inside History — Naming the County — Governor Yates its Godfather 

— The first Court- House snd Jail destroyed by Fire — The new Court-House 

— The second Jail Burned — The present Jail — The Clerk's and Surrogate's 
Offices — The County Farm and Property — The civil List — Federal Officers — 
State Officers — County Officers — County Societies and Organizations 105 







































The Subject — Yates County Erected — The older Counties — The Terra In- 
cognita — Formation of Albany County — Of Tryon County — Of Montgomery County 
— Of Ontario County — Of Steuben County — Yates formed from Ontario and Steuben 
Counties — A general Topographical view of Yates County — Its elevated Lands — 
The lakes of the County. 

THE county of Yates, brought into existence by the legislative 
enactment passed by the two branches of the State legislature 
and approved by the governor on the 5th of February, 1823, was 
given the name of "Yates" in compliment to the then chief executive 
of the Commonwealth. Under all ordinary circumstances a work which 
purports to be the separate history of a county would naturally com- 
mence with its separate organization, but should such a plan be deemed 
advisable ipuch of the early history made by the presence and deeds of 
men and families, and the occurrence of events within its territorial lim- 
its, would of necessity be omitted. And it is a fact well known that the" 
specially interesting events of early history in Yates County transpired 
prior to its erection and separate organization. Even as far back as the 
time when this region formed a part of the old county of Albany, orr 
ganized November i, 1683, during the possession and dominion of the 
famous Iroquois Confederacy, this locality was making history through 


its aboriginal occupants. And still earlier than that time, in 1638, dur- 
ing the Dutch dominion in the New Netherlands, there appears to have 
been an indefinite and immature knowledge and organization in the 
region of Western New York, as afterward known, and to it was applied 
the name of Terra Incog)iita, from the Latin, meaning "an unknown 
county." But the Dutch were not adventurous explorers, and there is 
nothing of record to show that they ever made any extensive journeys 
into this then remote region ; and whatever of jurisdictional authority 
they exercised over the country at all was confined to the locality of 
the Netherlands and New Amsterdam. 

Under recognized authority, with due formality, Albany County was 
the first organized jurisdiction that embraced the lands now included 
within Yates County. It so remained until the year 1772, when all 
that part of the province of New York lying west of a north and south 
line drawn through the center of Schoharie County, as now established, 
was erected into a new county and named in honor of the then chief 
executive, William Tryon, his surname being the name of the new 
erection. But Governor Tryon, being an officer and an appointee of 
the Crown, for New York was then a royal province, was not highly 
popular with the successful American colonists who overthrew the 
power of Great Britain ; wherefore immediately upon the close of the 
Revolution the name of Tryon was changed to Montgomery. In 1788 
all the region of the State west from Utica was included in the town- 
ship of Whitestown. On the 27th of January, 1789, Ontario County 
was created out of a part of Montgomery, and was named from the lake 
which in part formed its northern boundary. At that time all that is 
now Yates County was a part of Ontario, but seven years later, March 
18, 1796, Steuben was erected and within it was a portion of that which is 
now Yates, being the townships of Starkey and Barrington and a part 
at least of Jerusalem. However in 1814 the part of land in the "fork" 
of Keuka or Crooked Lake was re-annexed to Ontario County. No 
further material change affecting this immediate locality was made un- 
til the year 1823, when Yates County was erected out of Ontario. The 
towns of Starkey and Barrington were added to the new formation in 
1824. But before advancing thoroughly into the history of the dis- 
trict prior to its distinct organization it is proper that there be given a 


general topographical view of the county and of the towns which form 
the same ; and as the configuration of the surface has not meterially 
changed during the last hundred years this description may be given 
in the present tense. 

The county of Yates is situate in the eastern part of the rich Genesee 
country, so called, and, while not central therein, is no less productive in 
all that the earth yields than can be said of any other portion of that 
extensive region. Generally the surface is level, but the succession of 
undulations frees the county from marsh lands and affords a most ex- 
cellent natural drainage system. Being bounded on the east and west 
sides by the lakes — Seneca and Canandaigua respectively — the course 
of nature's dispensation has been entirely favorable, as the higher eleva- 
tions are usually found about midway between these waters. But nature 
has made a still further favorable provision for this region, as the lake 
commonly called Keuka happens to occupy the middle portion of the 
county and is not so wide as to cover any considerable extent of land 
surface in that direction. Keuka Lake, too, is regarded as distinctively a 
part of Yates County, for the greater portion of its waters are within the 
limits of the county. To this body of water, from its peculiar shore 
outlines, there has been applied the name Crooked Lake, an entirely 
■ appropriate designation, for the like formation is not to be found in this 
State. In extreme length the lake measures twenty-two miles, while 
its average width is about three-quarters of a mile. The peculiarity of 
formation consists in what is commonly called the west branch of the 
lake, being an arm or offshoot of the principal body and of about the 
same average width, and extending therefrom north by west a dis- 
tance of about four miles. From this singular dispensation of nature 
the pioneers gave to this body of water the name Crooked Lake. 
To the Seneca Indians, and to the people of the Iroquois Confederacy 
in general, the lake was known as 0-go-yo-ga, but of the meaning of 
that name we have no definite interpretation. The same sheet of water 
is also known as Keuka Lake, which is also an Indian appellation, like- 
wise of uncertain meaning. In this same connection it may also be 
stated that the Iroquois name of Seneca Lake was Ga-nitn-da-sa-ga 
Te-car-ne o-di, while the name applied to Canandaigua Lake by the 
Confederacy was Ga-min-da-gwa Te-car-ne- o-di, the letter a in 


the first and third syllables being sounded as in "far." The present 
name of Canandaigua is the fair English pronunciation of the Indian 
apellation, but the pioneers of Western New York preferred to call 
Ganundasaga Lake after the occupants of the region on its west side — 
the Senecas. 

According to a map and survey of the township of Milo and village 
of Penn Yan, said to be entirely reliable, made by J. H. French in 1857, 
we may note some comparative altitudes, using Keuka or Crooked Lake 
as a base. From the surveys and measurements made at that time it 
is learned that Keuka Lake is 50 feet higher in elevation than Canandai- 
gua Lake; 153 feet higher than Lake Erie; 271 feet higher then Sen- 
eca Lake; 331 feet higher than Cayuga Lake; 343 feet higher than 
Oneida Lake ; 348 feet higher than Cross Lake ; 398 feet higher than 
Onondaga Lake ; 487 feet higher than Lake Ontario ; 625 feet higher 
than Lake Champlain ; 718 feet higher than the ocean level; 52 feet 
lower than OwascoLake; 122 feet lower than Skaneateles Lake ; 182 
feet lower than Cazenovia Lake ; 475 feet lower than Otsego Lake ; 
573 feet lower than Chautauqua Lake. As compared with land elevation 
in this immediate vicinity it is found that Crooked Lake is 236 feet lower 
than the village of Dundee ; 42 feet lower than the hamlet of Himrods ; 
153 feet lower than Milo Center; 880 feet lower than Barrington Sum- 
mit' ; 372 feet lower than Bath ; 707 feet lower than Bluff Point; y'/6 
feet lower than Prattsburgh ; 1,324 feet lower than Italy Summit; 572 
feet lower than Rose Hill in Jerusalem. 

Again, as showing comparative altitudes within the county, to point 
out to the reader the various heights of land, we quote from the pub- 
lished computations and estimates made by Israel H. Arnold in 1870 
and referring particularly to points west of Jerusalem township, and for 
the purpose of determining the greatest elevations in Italy township, 
which is generally conceded to be the most hilly and mountainous sub- 
division of Yates County. For this investigation Mr. Arnold fixed his 
theodolite on the premises of Peter Pulver in the township of Italy. 
From the conclusions thus made we learn the heights of the following 
points : 

1 Dr. Wright gives the Harrington elevation as 625 feet above the lake. 


Italy Summit above Canandaigua Lake, sixteen miles due north, . . 1,525 feet 

Bristol Hills, fourteen miles distant northwest, above Pulver Cemetery, . 43 

Bristol Hills below Italy Summit, . 7 

Bristol Hills above Canandaigua Lake, . . . . .1,518 

Italy Summit above Seneca Lake, sixteen miles distant, .... i,597 

Italy Summit above Keuka Lake, distant six miles 1.324 

Italy Summit above Yates County poor-house, 690 

County poor-house above Keuka Lake, 634 

Keuka Lake aboye Seneca Lake, 273 

Italy Summit above Ansley's Stone House, three miles distant, on lot 14 
(peddoe Tract), 1,918 feet or about 120 rods east of the White School- 
House Corners on Branchport and Italy Hill road, 507 

Ansley's above William P. Hibbard's house, distant 660 feet, . 30 

Hibbard's above top of ridge, 100 rods east, 72 

Top of ridge above Shull's northeast corner, seventy-six rods east, . . 62 

Shull's above Keuka Lake, distant three miles, . .... 655 

Shull's above Nathaniel G. Hibbard's carriage-house, distant 176 rods, . 160 
N. G. Hibbard's above base of Keuka Hotel, Branchport, distance .400 

rods (one and one- quarter miles), ... . . 462 

Keuka Hotel above Keuka Lake, distance forty rods, . . . 29 

Keuka Lake above tide- water, . . 740 

From what has just been stated the fact clearly appears that the town 
of Italy can justly lay claim to the highest lands in the county, while 
following it in this respect are the somewhat rough and hilly towns of 
Middlesex, Potter, and Jerusalem. But in Italy as well as in the other 
towns named there is an abundance of fertile and productive land, sus- 
ceptible of high cultivation, and yielding fair rewards for the husband- 
man's efforts. 

The more level lands of the county are to be found in the towns of 
Benton, Milo, Torrey, Starkey, and Barrington, leading almost in the 
order of their naming. Milo is bounded on both its east and west sides 
by the lakes respectively Seneca and Keuka, and has a greater water 
front than any other town in the county except Jerusalem. In Milo as 
in the other lake towns the slope from the shores back toward the in- 
terior is generally gradual, but in places the ascent is somewhat precipi- 
tous, making remunerative cultivation by ordinary farmers quite uncer- 
tain ; but when these conditions arise the husbandman has but to turn 
the farm into a vineyard and the results are substantial and profitable. 
In Jerusalem in the locality commonly known as Bluff Point, where a con- 
siderable elevation above the lake is noticeable and the ascent of land is 


strong, agricultural pursuits have been largely abandoned, with the re- 
sult that almost the entire water front of the Bluff is set with vines and 
produce much better returns to the vineyardist than could be expected by 
the farmer. Thus there is but Ijttle waste or unproductive land in Yates 
County. And what has been said concerning the region of Keuka Lake 
front is also true of the eastern boundary of the county on Seneca Lake, 
in the towns of Benton, Torrey, Milo, and Starkey, although the latter 
region is not quite so productive in grape yield as on the Keuka shore. 
Now having located the county in the State, and having described its 
physical features in a general way, the chapters immediately following 
may properly be devoted to a record of its history prior to its civil or- 
ganization ; to a narrative of the experiences of those who were its dis- 
coverers and first occupants, and who by their performances opened the 
way for subsequent pioneer settlement and substantial internal develop- 
ment and improvement. To sufficiently narrate these early events it 
will be necessary to refer at some length to the entire region of country 
of which Yates County forms a part, for, as stated in the early portion of 
this chapter, many of the more interesting occurrences of our early his- 
tory took place before its separate erection was made or even contem- 
plated, and as far back even as the colonial period, when the French, the 
Dutch, and the English were planting their first settlements, each pro- 
gressing from a different point on navigable waters and drawing toward 
a common center, which center when approached resulted in a contest 
for supremacy, ownership, and jurisdiction over the soil and finally 
ended in warfare. Between these powers the strife was continued for 
many years, but the final culmination was the overthrow of British do- 
minion in America and the establishment of the United States of 
America, a free and independent government. 



Doubtful claims to Prehistoric Occupancy — The Indian Occupation — Its nature 
and Extent — Ancient Indian Traditions — The Iroquois Confederacy — Senecas oc- 
cupy the region of Yates County — Siles of Indian villages in this Locality — Their 
principal Trails — Remains of old Fortresses — The Seneca Tradition — The League 
of the Iroquois — Conquests by the Confederates.. 

THE claim has been made on the part of some presumably well in- 
formed persons residing in Yates Coimty that there have been 
found in some localities evidences of a prehistoric occupancy ; that 
there have been discovered certain relics and fossil remains and imple- 
ments of peculiar manufacture, the like of which are now unknown ; and 
that they must have been left by a race of people different from the red 
sons of the forest, the period of whose occupation of the region must 
have long antedated the coming of the ances'tors of the famed Iroquois. 
This claim is undoubtedly a mistaken one. To be sure there have been 
unearthed tools and untensils which were never in common use among 
the Indians, but the reader must remember that the French Jesuits and 
their followers traversed this country hundreds of years before any white 
civilized settlement was made by what we call our own people ; and it 
must be remembered, too, that the crude and to us unaccountable im- 
plements were then in the hands of comparative ancients, and were the 
product of a period in which was known but little of the mechanical 
arts as we see and understand and use them at the present time. Long 
years before the Indians of this locality and those of the afterward-called 
Canadian provinces were at deadly enmity and warfare there had been 
made European discoveries in the extreme northeast part of North 
America, and by a class of people who dwelt in a state of comparative 
barbarism ; and there are well authenticated records by which it is 
learned that this ancient people made visits to the Atlantic Coast and 
traveled or voyaged a considerable distance to the southward, even as far 
as the State we now call New Jersey. 

And it may have been possible that this people brought and left 
some implements and relics which have been discovered by later gen- 


erations of investigators, and by such discovery may have been pro- 
mulgated the theory of a prehistoric occupancy. The Indians, too, and 
especially the first of them that visited this region, are recorded asliav- 
ing been ready and apt in the construction of their weapons and tools, 
and discovering some ancient instrument imitated its construction for 
their own uses. That they had some immature and indefinite knowl- 
edge of metals and their value there is no possible doubt, but with the 
advent of civilized European settlement in the fifteenth century and fol- 
lowing, and the distribution of various utensils and implements among 
the red men, the necessity of their crude manufactures was obviated, 
and their tools and appliances were discarded and replaced with those 
which were better and more substantial. But in the regions bordering on 
great lakes, and particularly in the locality of the present State of Ohio, 
there have been made discoveries that are unmistakable evidences of an 
ancient occupancy, far back of the coming of the Iroquois ancestors or 
of their old antagonists, the Lenni Lenapes. Neither of these Indian 
people had any tradition that run to the time of the Mound Builders ; 
but the discoveries of such an occupation are constantly being made by 
the present generation of investigators. And there have been made 
discoveries in the region of Lakes Ontario and Erie in this Common- 
wealth that tend to show an ancient or prehistoric occupancy, but it 
can hardly be asserted that there have been found in the immediate 
region of Yates County any reliable evidences of such an occupation. 
There may be ill-defined outline possibilities from which we may readily 
theorize on this subject, but no substantial argument concerning their 
presence is to be advanced. Such an occupancy was possible, but quite 
improbable. It is extremely doubtful whether any ardent student of 
the ancient races will ever discover evidences of occupation in this region 
of either Aztecs, Cliff Builders, Mound Builders, or even the lost tribes 
the House of Israel. 

But before leaving this bi-anch of the subject we feel constrained to 
give place to the observations and discoveries of Dr. Samuel Hart 
Wright, which assuredly tend to show a prehistoric occupation of some 
character. The results of Dr. Wright's investigations, as taken from a 
recent publication, are as follows : 

" In Torrey and in Barrington are to be found relics of those earlier. 


mysterious races of whom but little but their death is known. Archaeol- 
ogists have called them Mound Builders, from the remains of their 
ancie^it life that lie scattered from New York to the Gulf of Mexico, and 
have attributed to them civilized customs and fabulous ancestry ; but 
later investigations show that they were races similar to the Indians. 
Whence they came will forever be unknown. Their arts and crafts par- 
took of a modern civilization. Stone and copper implements, rough 
pottery, and coarse cloth evidence their progress in the mechanical arts. 
Their remains dot the southwestern part of New York. Around Lake 
Lamoka and on the boundaries of Harrington their mounds appear, 
while on the summit of Bluff Point they built an earthwork whose coun- 
terpart is unknown within the limits of the State. It is located in lots 
five and six, now cut by a public highway, and is seven acres in ex- 
tent. The elements have nearly obliterated all trace of it and the plow 
has completed the destructive work. What was the purpose of this 
singular construction is shrouded in mystery. It could neither have 
been a defensive work nor a place of burial. From the spot where it 
stands the western branch of Lake Keuka is seen, and but a few rods dis- 
tant the eastern branch, with Penn Yan in the distance, looms in view. 
No more sightly position could have been selected. 

" The construction of the parallel ridges is peculiar. They were 
raised but twelve or eighteen inches above the surface, were eight feet 
in width, level on the top, and faced along the sides with flat stones. 
The only conjecture with the likelihood of truth is that the strange erec- 
tion was connected with the religion of that long gone race, the Mound 
Builders. How cannot be told. Who knows what god they wor- 
shiped or can tell the tenets of their faith ! Their history has long 
departed. Centuries ago it vanished from the earth. All things are 
fleeting, and gods, like men, soon pass away. 

" This ancient earthwork, like others of its class, was as inexplicable 
to the Senecas as to us. Their traditions ran not back of their own his- 
tory. In winter evenings, when gathered around the lodge fire, youths 
and warriors listened with bated breath to legends and myths that the 
ancients told, stories of wizards and flying heads, — for the Indians were 
a superstitious race, — but they heard nought of any people that pre- 
ceded them. In their opinion they were the first that had lived within 



their territories ; they were the autochthones ; at Bare Hill, in Middle- 
sex, they came out of the ground and thence spread northward and 
eastward to the positions where the French first found them ; they 'were 
Ongwe Honwe, the real men. So far as they could remember no 
change had ever occurred in their social and political institutions, save 
only their adherence to the LeagSe. The same sachems governed them 
as in the earliest dawn of their history, and their language and religion 
saw no change." 

So far as authentic history goes to show the first and original occu- 
pants of the region of this part of Western New York were the North 
American Indians. When the first Spanish adventurers set foot on -the 
soil of this country they found its territory to be inhabited by a race of 
people who called themselves Lenni Lenapes, meaning " original peo- 
ple." They occupied the region of country that bordered on the coast 
and along the valleys of the great rivers in the States now known as 
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, New Jersey, and others even to the ex- 
treme South. They styled themselves original people from the fact 
that they were then the most powerful Indian nation in this broad land; 
but they were not a warlike race of savages and were content to dwell 
at peace among themselves and with others, notwithstanding the claim 
t'nat they had a grievance against the people who were originally called 
the Mengwe, but afterward the Five Nations of Indians — the all-pow- 
erful Iroquois Confederacy. 

According to the ancient Indian tradition, and it is a story so often 
told that it seems to be an assured fact, there once journeyed from the 
country far west of the Mississippi River two nations of Indians, and 
that they by mere accident met one another. After meeting they 
joined together and traveled in common. On approaching the Missis- 
sippi they were told by their runners that the banks of the river were 
in possession of a warlike people, and from whom they should obtain 
permission to cross. For this purpose messengers were sent forward 
with the request that the pilgrim tribes be allowed to pass the river and 
settle on the other side. Permission was given to cross the stream, but 
the travelers were ordered not to take up their abode in the country of 
the Allegwi, they who were in possession, but to journey to the far East 
beyond the region of the Mississippi. Then commenced the crossing 


of the river, which required much time, as there were thousands of the 
emigrants. When a portion had crossed the Allegwi, fearing treach- 
ery or from pure wantonness, fell upon those who were on the east side, 
slew many of them, and scattered the others in the boundless forests. 
After a time all were gathered together, a council was held, and it was 
determined to return and make war upon the cruel and merciless Al- 
legwi. It was done and a long and bloody battle followed, with the re- 
sult that the Allegwi were beaten and driven from the region to the far 
South. The eastward journey was again resumed, but the Lenni Le- 
napes clamied that through the acts of their companions, the Mengwe, 
the brunt of the battle fell upon them, while the Mengwe hung in the 
rear and fought but little. Thereafter, though they traveled together, 
they had but little in common. And when the pilgrimage was ended 
the nations parted, the Lenni Lenapes occupying the country on the 
coast and along the great interior rivers, while the Mengwe settled in 
the region of the lakes and through the interior of New York State (as 
it afterward became) between the Hudson River and the western part 
of Lake Erie. The seat of government of the former people was dn 
the Delaware River, from which fact the Lenape in after years became 
known as the "Delaware," but the numerous tribe branches took 
names suited to the locality in which they severally lived, all, however, 
paying allegiance to the same parental head. Among the descendants 
of the Lenni Lenapes there was formed a crude system of government, 
and by firmly adhering to it they maintained for many years a suprem- 
acy over other Indian nations, in a numerical sense at least, but at 
length the so-called Iroquois Confederacy became of such strength that 
they waged a war against all other Indian nations, overcame them, and 
were for many years the acknowledged rulers of the whole country. 

As early as the year 1620 the Jesuit missionaries first visited the 
region of Western New York. They came to instruct the Indians, and 
if possible to extend the power and influence of the Romish Church. 
They found the extreme western part of this State, bordering on Lake 
Erie, to be in possession of a tribe of Indians whom they called the 
Neuter Nation. Their Indian name has been given by some writers as 
Kahquahs and by others as Attiwondaronk. The French called them 
the Neuter Nation because they lived at peace with the fierce tribes 


which dwelt on either side of them. They were reported by their first 
European visitors to number i2,ooo soiils, but that was beyond doubt 
a very great exaggeration, as the Iroquois in the days of their greatest 
glory did not number so many souls as that. However the Neuters 
were undoubtedly a strong people and were scattered over a consider- 
able region of country. The Enes also lived along the lake that now 
bears their name. 

Northwest of the Neuter Nation dwelt the Algonquins or Hurons, 
reaching to the shores of the great lake which bears their name, while to 
the eastward was the home of those powerful confederates whose fame has 
extended throughout the world, whose civil policy has been the wonder 
of sages, whose warlike achievements have compelled the admiration 
of soldiers, whose eloquence has thrilled the hearts of the most cultivated 
hearers, — the brave, sagacious, and far- dreaded Iroquois. They then 
consisted of but five nations, and their " Long House," as they termed 
their confederacy, extended from east to west through all the rich central 
portion of the present State of New York. The Mohawks were in the 
fertile valley of the Mohawk River ; the Oneidas, the most peaceful of the 
Confederates, were beside the lake that still bears their name; the Onon 
dagas were in the region of the lake so called, and in their territory, 
near the site of the present city of Syracuse, were lighted the council 
fires of the Confederacy; the Cayugas lived in and guarded the region 
of the lake called Cayuga ; while westward from Seneca Lake ranged the 
fierce, untamable Sonnonthonans, better known as Senecas, the warriors 
par excellence of the Confederacy. Their villages reached westward to 
within thirty or forty miles of the Niagara, or to the vicinity of the pres- 
ent village of Batavia. 

From what has already been narrated, and from what has otherwise 
been conceded as an established fact, the territory now embraced in this 
county was a part of the lands of the Senecas. In fact here was their 
favorite hunting and fishing resorts, but not within the region of the 
county is there understood to have been any extensive villages. To be 
sure during General Sullivan's campaign against the Senecas a detach- 
ment of his army was sent to destroy the village near the mouth of 
Kashong Creek, but the village there was then of but recent establish- 
ment and was the trading post of Debartzch and Poudre. These ad- 


venturous tradesmen had located some miles away from Kanandesaga 
(Geneva), where their operations would be less obstructed and where they 
might find less opposition. At the time of its destruction the village at 
Kashong was small, but there had been made some effort at improve- 
ment, as corn and vegetables had been planted about the place. 

It has been said that the Indians never built breastworks, and that 
such defences were beyond their patience and skill. But they certainly 
did build palisades, frequently requiring much labor and ingenuity. 
When the French first visited Montreal they discovered an Indian town 
of fifty huts which was encompassed by three lines of palisades some 
thirty feet high, with one well secured entrance. On the inside was a 
rampart of timber, ascended by ladders, and supplied with heaps of 
stones ready to cast at an enemy. When Champlain with his allied 
Hurons, or Algonquins, and St. Francis Indians attacked the principal 
village of the Onondagas in October, 1615, he found it defended by 
four rows of interlaced palisades so strong that, notwithstanding the 
number of his force, he was unable to overcome the resistance of the 
Onondagas, and was compelled to retreat. Also, in Genesee County, in 
the town of Le Roy, was one of the largest fortresses in Western New 
York, which contained when first discovered great piles of round stones, 
evidently intended for use against assailants, and showing about the 
same progress in the art of war as was evinced by the palisade builders. 

There are evidences, too, of fort or palisade constructions in Yates 
County, which were unquestionably the work of the Senecas. On the 
farm of Lewis Swarthout, in the town of Milo, on a slightly elevated 
piece of ground, there has" been discovered the remnants of an old 
structure of some sort, but of what particular character there is no evi- 
dence to determine. Some of the older people of the town have a 
distinct recollection of hearing some talk of the "old fort" at or near 
that place, but all traces of its existence have long since disappeared. 
It is said also that an Indian burial ground was in the same vicinity ; 
and Mr. Swarthout, the present owner of the property, says that in ex- 
cavating for his barn foundation he found the skeleton of a buried human 
being. From these things we may fairly infer that there was probably 
an Indian fortification of some sort at this place, but to inquire concern- 
ing the necessity of such a structure in this interior land of the Senecas 


would be putting forth a question unanswerable. In the town of Jeru- 
salem, too, there is said to have been an ancient Indian structure of 
some sort, but all inquiries concerning its true character have produced 
no substantial or satisfactory results. 

The land of the Senecas included an immense area, and throughout 
its whole extent they traveled and dwelt sometimes in one locality and 
again in another, as best suited the Indian fancy. Their principal vil- 
lages in this locality were at Ganundagwa and Kanandesaga (Canan- 
daigua and Geneva), the one at the foot of Ganandaigua and the other 
at the foot of Seneca Lake. Between these points ran the principal 
trail used by the Iroquois in traversing their " Long House." Up and 
down Seneca Lake on both sides, were other principal trails, while 
another of lesser importance led from Kanandesaga to the foot of 
Keuka Lake, known to the Indians as Ogoyaga. 

Between the Iroquois and the Hurons there prevailed a deadly en- 
mity, while the hostility between the former and the Eries was scarcely 
less fervent. Betwixt these contending foemen the peaceful Kahquahs 
long maintained their neutrality, and the warriors of the East, of the 
Northwest, and of the Southwest suppressed their hatred for the time as 
they met by the council fires of these aboriginal peacemakers. Down 
to about the year 1641 the Kahquahs succeeded in maintaining their 
neutrality between the fierce belligerants on either side, though the 
Jesuit missionaries reported them as being more friendly to the Senecas 
of the Iroquois than to the Hurons. What cause of quarrel arose be- 
tween the peaceful possessors of the lake shore and their whilom friends, 
the Confederates, is entirely unknown, but some time during the next 
fifteen years the Iroquois fell upon both the Kahquahs and Eries and ex- 
terminated them as a nation from the face of the earth. The precise 
years in which these events occurred are uncertain, nor is it known 
which of the tribes first felt the deadly anger of the Five Nations. 
French accounts favor the view that the Neuter Nation was first de- 
stroyed, while according to Senaca tradition the Kahquahs still dwelt 
on their land when the Iroquois annihilated the Eries. 

The Senaca tradition just referred to runs somewhat as follows : The 
Eries had been jealous of the Iroquois from the time the latter formed 
their confederacy. About the time under consideration the Eries chal- 


lenged their rivals to a grand game of ball, a hundred men on a side, 
for a heavy stake of furs and wampum. After two years the challenge, 
being thus often repeated, was accepted with result in the Eries' defeat. 
The vanquished then proposed a foot-race between ten of the fleetest 
young men on each side, and again the Iroquois were successful. Still 
later, at the home of the Kahquahs, the Eries proposed a wrestling 
match between ten champions on each side, the victor in each match to 
have the privilege of knocking out his adversary's brains with a toma- 
hawk. In the first bout the Iroquois was successful, but declined to 
play the part of executioner. The chief of the Eries, infuriated by his 
champion's defeat, himself struck the unfortunate wrestler dead as he 
lay supine where his victor had flung him. Another and another of 
the Eries was in the same way conquered by the Iroquois and in the 
same way was dispatched by his wrathful chief The jealousy and ha- 
tred of the Eries was still more inflamed by defeat, and they soon laid 
a plan to surprise and if possible destroy the Iroquois, but a Seneca 
woman, who had married among the Eries and was then a widow, fled 
to her own people and gave notice of the attack. At once the men of 
the Confederacy were assembled and led forth to meet the invaders. 
The two bodies met near Ho.neoye Lake, half way between Canandai- 
gua and the Genesee. After a terrible conflict the Eries were totally 
routed, the flying remnants pursued to their homes, and the whole nation 
almost completely destroyed. It was five months before the Iroquois 
warriors returned from their deadly pursuit. Afterward a powerful 
party of the descendants of the Eries came from the far West to attack 
the Iroquois, but were utterly defeated and slain to a man. Such is the 
tradition. It is a very pretty story — for the Iroquois. According to 
their own account their opponents were the aggressors throughout, the 
young men of the Five Nations were invariably victorious in the ath- 
letic games, and nothing but self-preservation induced them to destroy 
their enemies. 

From the destruction of the unfortunate Kahquahs and Eries down 
to the time of the last great sale of land by the Iroquois those Confed- 
erates were the actual possessors of the territory that now includes 
Yates County and as well the major portion of all that is now the State 
of New York. For all these 230 years the Iroquois have been closely 


identified with the history of this county, and the beginning of this com- 
munity of record forms a proper point at which to introduce an account 
of the interior structure of that remarkable Confederacy at which we 
have before taken but an outside glance. 

It should be said here that the name " Iroquois " was never applied by 
the Confederates to themselves. It was first used by the French and its 
true meaning is veiled in obscurity. In the province of Ontario an old 
map showed a tribe of Indians called " Couis," Hving near the site of 
Kingston, while another map designated the territory then occupied by 
the Iroquois as belonging to the " Hiro Couis." Plainly this is the deri- 
vation of Iroquois, but as to the meaning of " Hiro " or "Couis " there 
remains great doubt. The men of the Five Nations (afterward the 
Six Nations) called themselves " Hedonosaunee," ^ which means literally 
" They form a cabin,'' describing in this expressive manner the close 
union existing among them. The Indian name just above quoted is 
more liberally and commonly rendered " The People of the Long 
House," which is more fully descriptive of the Confederacy, though not 
quite so accurate a translation. 

The central and unique characteristic of the Iroquois League was not 
the mere fact of five separate tribes being confederated together, for such 
unions have been frequent among civilized and half civilized peoples, 
though little known among the savages of America. The feature that 
distinguished the people of the Long House from ail other confedera- 
cies, and which at the same time bound together all these ferocious war- 
riors as with a living chain, was the system of clans extending through 
all the different tribes. Although this clan system has been treated of 
in many works there are doubtless thousands of readers who have often 
heard of the warlike success and outward greatness of the Iroquois 
Confederacy, but are unacquainted with the inner league, which was its 
distinguishing characteristic, and without which it would in all proba- 
bility have met at an early day with the fate of numerous similar alli- 
ances. The word clmi has been adopted as the most convenient one to 
designate the peculiar artificial families about to be described, but the 
Iroquois clan was entirely different from the Scottish one, all the members 
of which owed undivided allegiance to a single chief, for whom they 

1 Morgan's map of the Iroquois country gives the name thus : Ho-de-no-snu-nee-ga. 


were ready to fight against all the world. Yet "clan " is a much better 
word than " tribe," which is sometimes used, since that is a designation 
ordinarily applied to a separate Indian nation. 

The people of the Iroquois Confederacy were divided into eight 
clans, the names of which were as follows : Wolf, Bear, Beaver, Turtle, 
Deer, Snipe, Heron, and Hawk. Accounts differ, some declaring that 
every clan extended through all the tribes, and others that only the Wolf, 
Bear, and Turtle clans did so, the rest being restricted to a lesser num- 
ber of tribes. It is certain, however, that each tribe, Mohawks, Oneidas, 
Onondagas,Cayugas, or Senecas, contained parts of the three clans named 
and of several of the others. Each clan formed a large artificial family, 
modeled on the natural family. All the members of the clan, no matter 
how widely separated among the other tribes, were considered as 
brothers and sisters to each other, and were forbidden to intermarry. 
This prohibition was strictly enforced by public opinion. All the clans 
being thus taught from earliest infancy that they belonged to the same 
family, a bond of the strongest kind was thus created throughout the 
Confederacy. The Oneida of the Wolf clan had no sooner appeared 
among the Cayugas than those of the same clan claimed him as their' 
special guest, and admitted him to the most confidential intimacy. The 
Senecas of the Turtle clan might wander to the country of the Mohawks, 
at the farthest extremity of the Long House, and he had a claim upon 
his brother Turtle which they did not dream of repudiating. 

Thus the whole Confederacy was linked together. If at any time 
there appeared a tendency toward conflict between the different tribes 
it was instantly checked by the thought that if persisted in the hand of 
the Heron must be lifted against his brother Heron; the hatchet of the 
Bear might be buried in the brain of his kinsman Bear. And so potent 
was the feeling that for at least 200 years, and until the power of the 
League was broken by overwhelming outside force, there was no serious 
dissension between the tribes of the Iroquois. 

Iroquois tradition ascribes the founding of the league to an Onondaga 
chieftain named Tadodahoh. Such traditions, however, are of very 
little value. A person of that name may or may not have founded the 
Confederacy. It is extremely probable that the League began with the 
union of two or three tribes, being subsequently increased by the addi 


tion of others. That such additions might have been made may be 
seen by the case of the Tuscaroras, whose union with the Confederacy 
in 17 1 2, long after the advent of the Europeans, changed the Five Nations 
into the Six Nations. Whether the Hedonosaunee were originally su- 
perior in valor and eloquence to their neighbors cannot now be ascer- 
tained. Probably not ; but their talent for practical statesmanship gave 
them the advantage in war and success made them self-confident and 
fearless. The business of the League was necessarily transacted in a con- 
gress of sachems, and this fostered oratorical powers until at length the 
Iroquois were famous among a hundred rivals for wisdom, courage, and 
eloquence, and were justly denominated by Volney the " Romans of the 
New World." 

Aside from the clan system just described, which was entirely unique, 
the Iroquois League had some resemblance to the great American Union 
which succeeded and overwhelmed it. The central authority was 
supreme on questions of peace and war and on all others relating to the 
general welfare of the Confederacy, while tribes, like the States, re- 
served to themselves the management of their ordinary affairs. In 
peace all power was confided to "sachems"; in war to "chiefs." The 
sachems of each tribe acted as its rulers in the few matters which re- 
quired the exercise of civil authority. The same rulers also met in 
congress to direct the affairs of the Confederacy. There were fifty in 
all, of whom the Mohawks had nine, the Oneidas nine, the Onondagas 
fourteen, the Cayugas ten, and the Senecas eight. These numbers, 
however, did not give the proportionate representation in the congress 
of the League, for all the nations were equal there. 

There was in each tribe the same number of war chiefs as sachems, 
and these had absolute authority in time of war. When a council as- 
sembled each sachem had a war chief standing behind him to execute 
his orders. But in a war party the war chief commanded and the sachem 
took his place in the ranks. This was the system in its simplicity. 
Some time after the arrival of the Europeans they seem to have fallen 
into the habit of electing chiefs (not war chiefs) as counselors to the 
sachems, who in time acquired equality of power with them and were 
considered as their equals by the whites in the making of treaties. 

It is difficult to learn the truth regarding a political and social system 


which was not preserved by any written record. As near as can be as- 
certained the Onondagas had a certain pre-eminence in the councils of 
the League, at least to the extent of always furnishing the grand sachem, 
whose authority, however, was of a very shadowy description. It is 
not certain that he ever presided in the congress of sachems. That con- 
gress, however, always met at the council fire of the Onondagas. This 
was the natural result of their central position, the Mohawks and 
Oneidas being east of them, the Cayugas and Senecas to the west. The 
Senecas were unquestionably the most powerful of all the tribes, and as 
they were located at the western extremity of the Confederacy they 
had to bear the brunt of war when it was assailed by its most formida- 
ble foes who dwelt in that quarter. It would naturally follow that the 
principal war chief of the league should be of the Seneca nation, and 
such is said to have been the case,, though over this, too, hangs a shadow 
of doubt. 

As among many other savage tribes the right of heirship was in the 
female line. A man's heirs were his brother and his sister's son ; never 
his own son nor his brother's son. The few articles which constituted 
an Indian's personal property, even his bow and tomahawk, never de- 
scended to the son of him who had wielded them. Titles, so far as they 
were hereditary at all, followed the same law of descent. The child also 
followed the clan and tribe of the mother. The object of this was evi- 
dently to secure greater certainty that the heir would be of the blood 
of his deceased kinsman. 

The result of the application of this rule to the Iroquois system of 
clans was that if a particular sachemship or chieftiancy was once estab- 
lished in a certain clan of a certain tribe, in that clan and tribe it was 
expected to remain forever. Exactly how it was filled when it became 
vacant is a matter of some doubt, but as near as can be learned the new 
official was elected by the warriors of the clan, and was then " raised 
up," i. e., inaugurated by the congress of sachems. If, for instance, 
a sachemship belonging to the Wolf clan of the Seneca tribe became 
vacant it could only be filled by some one of the Wolf clan of the Seneca 
tribe. A clan council was called, and as a general rule the heir of the 
deceased was chosen to his place, to- wit.: One of his brothers, reckon- 
ing only on the mother's side, or one of his sister's sons, or even some 


more distant male relative in the female line. But there was no positive 
law and the warrors might discard all these and elect some one entirely 
unconnected with the deceased. A grand council of the Confederacy 
was then called, at which the new sachem was formally " raised up," or 
as we should say " inaugurated " in his office. And while there was no 
unchangeable custom compelling the clan-council to select one of the 
heirs of the deceased as his successor the tendency was so strong in 
that direction that an infant was frequently chosen, a guardian being ap- 
pointed to perform the functions of the office till the youth should reach 
the proper age to do so. All offices were held for life unless the incum- 
bent was solemnly deposed by a council, an event which very seldom 

Notwithstanding the modified system of hereditary power in vogue 
the constitution of every tribe was essentially republican. Warriors, old 
men, and even women attended the various councils and made their in- 
fluence felt. Neither in the government of the Confederacy nor of the 
tribes was there any such thing as tyranny over the people, though 
there was a great deal of tyranny by the League over conquered nations. 
In fact there was very little government of any kind and but little 
need of any. There were substantially no property interests to guard, 
all land being in common and each man's personal property being 
limited to a bow, arrows, tomahawk, and a few deer skins. Liquor had 
not yet lent its disturbing influence and few quarrels were to be traced 
to the influence of woman, for the American Indian of that day was 
sint;ularly free from the warmer passions. His principal vice was an 
easily aroused and unlimited hatred, but the tribes were so small and 
enemies so convenient that there was no difficulty in gratifying this feel- 
ing outside his own nation. The consequence was that, although the 
war parties of the Iroquois were continually shedding the blood of their 
foes, there was very little quarreling at home. They do not appear to 
have any class especially set apart for religious services, and their re- 
ligious creed was limited to a somewhat vague belief in a " Great Spirit " 
and several inferior but very potent evil spirits. They had a few simple 
ceremonies, consisting largely of dances, one called the " green corn 
dance," performed at the time indicated by its name, and others at vari- 
ous seasons of the year. From a very early date their most important 


religious ceremony was the " burning of the white dog," when an un- 
fortunate canine of the requisite color was sacrificed by one of the 
chiefs. To this day the pagans among them still perform this rite. 

In common with their fellow savages on this continent the Iroquois 
have been termed " fast friends and bitter enemies." They were a 
great deal stronger enemies than friends. Revenge was the ruling pas- 
sion of their nature and cruelty was their abiding characteristic. Re- 
venge and cruelty are the worst attributes of human nature and it is idle 
to talk of the goodness of men who roasted their captives at the stake. 
All Indians were faithful to their own tribes and the Iroquois were faithful 
to their Confederacy, but outside of these limits their friendship could not 
be counted on and treachery was always to be apprehended in dealing 
with them. In their family relations they were not harsh to their chil- 
dren and not wantonly so to their wives, but the men were invariably 
indolent, and all labor was contemptuously abandoned to the weaker 
sex. They were not an amorous race, but could not well be called a 
moral one. In that respect they were merely apathetic. Their pas- 
sions rarely led them into adultery and mercenary prostitution was en- 
tirely unknown, but they were not sensitive on the question of purity 
and readily permitted their maidens to form the most fleeting alliances 
with distinguished visitors. Polygamy, too, was practiced, though in 
what might be called moderation. Chiefs and eminent warriors usually 
had two or three wives, but rarely more. They could be divorced at 
will by their lords, but the latter seldom availed themselves of their 

Such was the character of the Iroquois Confederacy and such were 
the characteristics of its tribes and people. For 130 years they were 
undisputed masters and for upwards of two centuries they were in pos- 
session of the territory now included within the county of Yates. 

After the overthrow of the Kahquahs and Eries the Iroquois lords of 
this region of country went forth conquering and to conquer. Stimu- 
lated, but not yet crushed by contact with the white man, they stayed 
the progress of the French into their territories, they negotiated on 
equal terms with the Dutch and English, and having supplied them- 
selves with the terrible arms of the pale- faces they smote with direst 
vengeance whomsoever of their own race were so unfortunate as to pro- 


voke their wrath. On the Susquehanna, the Allegheny, the Ohio, even 
to the Mississippi in the West and the Savannah in the South, the Iro- 
quois bore their conquering arms, filling with terror the dwellers alike 
on the plains of Illinois and in the glades of the Carolinas. They strode 
over the bones of the slaughtered Kahquahs to new conquests on the 
Great Lakes beyond, even to the foaming cascades of Michillimacinac 
and the shores of the mighty Superior. They inflicted such terrible de- 
feat upon the Hurons, despite the alliance of the latter with the French, 
that many of the conquered nation sought safety on the frozen borders 
of Hudson's Bay. In short they triumphed .on every side save only 
where the white man came, and even he for a time was held at bay by 
these fierce Confederates. 

The foregoing narrative is in brief an outline history of the famous 
Iroquois Confederacy from the time of the supposed Indian occupancy 
of the territory by their ancestors down to the early permanent settle- 
ments by the whites. From what has already been stated the reader 
has learned that the Seneca tribe, who occupied the imlnediate terri- 
tory now of Yates County, were the possessors and dwellers here- 
abouts, and with them directly and with the Confederacy generally 
were had the negotiations that eventually led to the sale of their lands 
to the Massachusetts Company. They were first induced to dispose of 
their lands to the obnoxious lessee company through the means of a 
perpetual lease, but that disposition was held by the power of the State 
to be invalid and the lease was consequently nullified. 

But the events just referred to occurred at a much later period, at a 
time when the power of the Confederacy had become substantially 
broken. The greatest blow against the strength of the Senecas was 
struck by General Sullivan in his memorable campaign against them 
during the progress of the Revolution. At this time, too, another corps 
of leaders was in the field in command of the local occupants of the 
soil. The conquest over all the other Indian nations by the Iroquois 
was made somewhere between the years 1640 and 1655, before white 
settlement had made any substantial progress in Western New York 
or the territory afterward so called. Therefore it will be observed that 
the negotiations and treaties for the extinguishment of Indian titles oc- 
curred more than a century after the Iroquois made their conquering 


tour, and that none of the red warriors who participated in the early 
struggle could have been living when the more peaceful conquest of 
their territory was made by the whites. But this is a subject that will 
be more fully discussed in another chapter of the present volume. 


Early explorations and Discoveries — The French in Canada — The Puritans in 
New England — The English in Virginia — The Dutch in New York — Founding of 
New France — Champlain incurs the enmity of the Iroquois — Its after Effects — Ad- 
ventures of De Nonville and La Salle — Neutrality of the Iroquois during the early 
French Wars — The French make friends with the Senecas — Joncaire's Influence — 
French forts built in the Seneca Country — Discomfiture of the English — The Final 
Wars — Extinction of French power in America. 

rULL four hundred years ago Christopher Columbus first set foot 
upon North American soil. He was sailing in the interest of the 
government of Spain, and the reports of his voyage soon induced other 
European powers to fit out similar exploring expeditions for a like pur- 
pose, the extension of their influence and domain in the New World. 
Within a very few years after the discovery of America by Columbus we 
find the French government sending out Jacques Cartier upon an errand 
similar to that of Spain, but the latter navigator touched the northeast 
coast, entered the St. Lawrence River, and gave to that stream the name 
it still bears. These were but the beginning of discoveries, and although 
an occasional visit was afterward made to the country by some advent- 
urous navigators it was more than 100 years later before any explor- 
ers ventured into the region of what afterward became Western New 
York. In 1603 Samuel de Champlain made a voyage to the country, 
having in view the fur trade, but the result of which was the establish- 
ment of a new colony. On the occasion of his second visit in 1608 and 
1609 he planted the settlement and explored the region of the St. Law- 
rence, though but to a limited extent. He, during the latter }'ear, voy- 
aged up Lake Champlain, which he so called in allusion to his own 


name ; he also discovered and named Lake St. Sacrament, but now Lake 
George. Upon the occasion of this voyage Champlain was accompa- 
nied by two other Frenchmen and a party of Huron and Algonquin 
Indians, and while on his part the voyage was one of discovery and 
exploration the Indians on the contrary were actuated by other motives, 
for they hoped to bring on a battle with the Iroquois in the belief that 
with their European allies supplied with firearms they would terrify and 
conquer their antagonists, which proved to be the case, as the parties 
met in battle near Lake St. Sacrament, and at the first discharge of their 
weapons by the Frenchmen two Iroquois chiefs were killed, while the 
others were so amazed at the noise and fatal effect of the guns that they 
fled in terror. Commenting upon this occurrence in particular, and 
upon the progress of settlement thus far, Turner says : 

" This was the first battle of which history gives us any account in a 
region where armies since often met. And it marks another era, the 
introduction of firearms in battle to the natives in all the northern por- 
tion of this continent. They had now been made acquainted with the 
two elements that were destined to work out principally their decline 
and gradual extermination. They had tasted French brandy upon the 
St. Lawrence, English rum upon the shores of the Chesapeake, and 
Dutch gin upon the banks of the Hudson. They had seen the mighty 
engines, one of which was to conquer them in battle and the other was 
to conquer them in peace councils where cessions of their domain were 

From the time of his first voyage to the St. Lawrence country down 
to the year 1627, when Cardinal Richelieu organized the Company of 
New France, otherwise known as the Company of a Hundred Partners, 
the Marquis Champlain was a frequent visitor to the region, and by that 
time a considerable number of Frenchmen had become colonists in 
America. But as early as 161 5 an association of French merchants had 
secured a charter to lands in America indefinite and almost unlimited 
in extent, and to the entire region was given the name of New France. 
Although there appears no record by which the fact can be demon- 
strated, yet it is generally conceded that the French claim included the 
whole Genesee country, as afterward called, and therefore included 
what is now Yates County. And although at that time explorations 


had not extended into this part of the country all European nations 
recognized the right of discovery as constituting a valid title to lands 
occupied only by scattered barbarians, but there were numerous dis- 
putes as to application and especially as to the amount of surrounding 
country which each discoverer could claim on behalf of his sovereign. 
But during this same period other powers than France and Spain were 
also active in the work of planting colonies in the new country. In 
1606 King James granted to the Plymouth Company the territory of 
New England, but it was not until the year 1620 that any permanent 
settlement was made under that grant. On the 9th of November of that 
year the Mayflower with its Pilgrim Fathers landed on American terri- 
tory and afterward founded the colony at Plymouth. In 1607 an Eng- 
lish expedition entered Chesapeake Bay and founded the colony at 
Jamestown, that being the oldest English settlement in the land. In 
1609 the doughty English navigator, Henry Hudson, while in the em- 
ploy of the Dutch East India Company, discovered the river which 
bears his name, and soon after that time the Hollanders established for- 
tified trading posts at its mouth and at Albany and had opened com- 
merce in furs. They, too, made an indefinite claim of territory west- 
ward. Thus at the end of 1620 there were three distinct streams of 
immigration with three attendant claims of sovereignty converging to- 
ward a common center. Let but the French at Montreal, the English 
in New England, and the Dutch on the Hudson all continue the work 
of colonization, following the natural channels, and all would ultimately 
meet in the Genesee country. In the work of advancing settlements 
the best opportunities lay with the French, while the Dutch were sec- 
ond and the English last 

The French were by far more active in advancing their settlements than 
were either the Dutch or the English. The Company of a Hundred 
Partners had agreed to transport to the Canadian territory a colony of 
6,000 emigrants, and to furnish them with an ample supply both 
of priests and artisans. Champlain was made governor of the colony 
and province, but his experiences for a few years were unfortunate. 
England and France were at war and a British fleet sailed up the St. 
Lawrence and captured Quebec. The French, too, suffered sorely at 
the hands of the Iroquois, whose territory Champlain and the Huron- 


Algonquins had invaded. They, the Iroquois, about the time of the 
capture of Quebec, made an expedition against the Canadian residents, 
both French and Indians, with disastrous resuks to the latter. But at 
length a peace was declared between the contending countries and the 
New France was again restored to its discovers, and Champlain resumed 
charge of its governmental affairs. 

With this restoration of peace and power the French became at once 
active in extending their possessions and influence. In this duty the 
van was led by the ever zealous Jesuit priests and missionaries. They 
first made firm friends with the savages throughout the Canadian region 
of country and gradually stretched out to the westward, reaching in a 
few years as far as the western shores of Lake Huron. But as energetic 
as they might be in extending their possessions in that direction the 
Frenchmen carefully avoided for a long time any contact with the 
Senecas of the Iroquois, for Champlain's foolish and wanton attack near 
Lake George had incurred for him the most bitter enmity of the Con- 
federacy, and all the arts and influence of the priests failed to overcome 
or pacify them. However, in 1640, the Reverend Fathers Breboeuf and 
Chaumonot, after their labors in the Western country, made a visit to the 
Neuter Nation and during the succeeding year to the Kahquahs, but 
not with either people did they succeed in establishing a foothold. But 
the Neuters and the Kahquahs received the Jesuits and harbored them 
for a time, which, coming to the knowledge of the Senecas, in a measure 
at least aroused the ire of the Confederacy and may possibly have con- 
tributed as an auxiliary event that finally led to the destruction of the 
peaceful nations. 

But as years passed away the men of the Iroquois Confederacy became 
more and more accustomed to the presence of white faces. In 1677 
Wentworth Greenhalgh, an Englishman, visited the Five Nations and 
counted not only their villages, but their inhabitants as well. At that 
time he reported the Senecas as having 1,000 warriors ; the Cayugas 
300; the Onondagas 350; the Oneidas 200; and the Mohawks 300. 
From this we may discover that the aggregate number of Iroquois in 
1677 was 2,150 men. But in 1712, by the acquisition of the Tusca- 
roras, who had been driven out of the Carolinas by the whites and allied 
Pohattans, the strength of the Confederacy was considerably augmented, 


then numbering about 2,6oo warriors. But the power of the Iroquois 
league was at last doomed to be broken. In 1669 Robert Cavelier de 
la Salle, a Frenchman of excellent family, rich in purse, and' filled with 
love of country and love of adventure, with only two companions, made 
a visit to the Seneca country, explored the region more thoroughly than 
had any predecessor, and drove the entering wedge which ultimately 
separated a portion of the Senecas from their brothers, thus weakening 
the power of the Iroquois. In 1678 La Salle received a commission from 
King Louis XIV. to discover the western part of New France, and in 
the next year the adventurer succeeded in penetrating the strongholds 
of the Senecas. He was authorized by the King to build forts and de- 
fences, but at his own expense, being granted in return the right to trade 
in furs and skins. Under La Salle's authority was made the visit to the 
Senaca country by Father Hennepin, the somewhat famous priest and 
historian from whose record has come the greater portion of all that is 
written by subsequent authorities on the subject of Indian history and 

In the fall of 1678 La Salle and his followers commenced the con- 
struction of a sloop, but it was not completed and launched until the 
succeeding spring. His men worked constantly, while meats for their 
subsistance were supplied by two Indians of the Wolf clan of the Seneca 
tribe. On the 7th of August, 1679, with a crew of thirty men, Le Griffon 
(The Griffin) set sail for a tour of the lakes and the exploration of the 
western part of New France. For a period of nearly half a century afttr 
the adventures of La Salle the French maintained a nominal though 
not substantial ascendancy in this region of the country. They made 
a foothold among some of the Senecas, but the great body of that tribe, 
true to their league with the eastern Indians, were but little inclined to 
forget, much less to forgive, the wrongs perpetrated by Champlain, and 
every movement on the part of the Frenchmen was watched with jealous 
interest. The Jesuits labored and the traders bartered with the Indians, 
and while the savages received one party and traded with the other they 
felt no interest in the welfare of the visitors. In 1687 the Marquis de 
Nonville, governor of New France, made a landing at Irondequoit Bay 
with nearly 2,000 French troops and about 500 Canadian Indians. True 
to their instincts the Senecas attacked the invaders as they were about 


to lay battle to one of their villages, but as the Senecas only numbered 
about 800 they were defeated. They burned their villages and fled 
to the Cayugas, leaving the Frenchmen for the time masters of the 
Genesee country. This victory of the almost unconquerable Senecas 
was a great achievement for the ^rench, for it gave them a strong foot- 
ing in the lake region and so disheartened the former possessors of the 
locality, the Senecas, that they abandoned their late villages and took 
up their homes at Kanandesaga (Geneva) and on the Genesee River 
above Avon. 

De Nonville then sailed to the mouth of the Niagara, where he erected 
a small fort on the east side of the river. This was the origin of Fort 
Niagara, one of the most celebrated strongholds of the country, and was 
the key of Western New York and of the whole upper lake country. 
And in later years, when the American colonies were struggling to throw 
off the British yoke, the remnant of Senecas left from Sullivan's destruct- 
ive expedition against them made this point their place of refuge dur- 
ing the remaining years of the Revolution. In 1687 De Nonville, the 
French commander, drove the Senecas from the region of Fort Niagara, 
but in 1779 General Sullivan reversed the order of things and drove 
them back from the eastern part of the Genesee country to their ancient 
home on the Niagara. And while the French were the direct cause of 
their former leaving they were also indirect auxiliaries in compelling 
their return. 

But the French did not long succeed in maintaining the positions 
they had gained in the land of the Senecas. De Nonville soon returned 
to Montreal, leaving a few troops to garrison the fort, and they became 
so weakened through sickness that the post was abandoned and not 
again occupied for nearly forty years. By this time, too, the whole 
Iroquois Confederacy had become aroused by the intrusions of the 
French, and under British instigation made an attack upon their strong- 
hold and seat of operations at Montreal. In 1688 came the English 
revolution, followed immediately by open war with France. Count 
de Frontenac was governor- general of New France under the French 
rule at this period, but his administration was no more successful than 
was that of his predecessor. He, too, invaded the country of the Iro- 
quois, but the result was a success to his arms. The war was continued 


with varying fortunes until 1697, during which time, on this side of the 
Atlantic, hostilities were constant. The English colonists in America 
were lending substantial aid to the Indians and constantly inciting them 
to depredations against the now common enemy. During this period 
the Senecas again possessed their ancient land, but the not infrequent 
visits of French troops had the effect of deterring them from attempt- 
ing a permanent occupation. 

The war between England and France was terminated by the Treaty 
of Ryswick in 1697, and by which was divined to a certain extent the 
possessions in America of the contending nations, but there were no 
certain provisions relating to the lands of the Senecas. The English 
claimed sovereignty over the entire region of country occupied by the 
Five Nations, while the French likewise asserted their rights to the 
same rich district ; but in actual possession of the disputed territory 
were the Iroquois themselves, who repudiated alike the claims of both 
Yonondio and Corlear, as they denominated the governors respectively 
of Canada and New York. 

Following close upon the peace of Ryswick came Queen Anne's war, 
an event having its outbreak in 1702, and by which the rival nations, 
the English' and French, again had recourse to arms. During this con- 
flict the Iroquois maintained a strict neutrality, thus commanding the 
respect of both contending governments : of the French because they 
dreaded the results of again arousing the fierce Confederates, and of the 
English for the reason that the Iroquois country furnished a shield of 
protection all along the frontier colonies. However during the prog- 
ress of Queen Anne's war the French profited by the neutrality of the 
Five Nations, for they were given an opportunity of strengthening their 
line of positions and fortifications. Moreover, being at acknowledged 
peace with the Iroquois, their missionaries and politic leaders could visit 
the Senecas in entire safety, and the result was the establishment of a 
friendly relation between the French and the Senecas and a part of the 
Cayugas. So rapidly, indeed, was this friendship formed and so firmly 
rooted had become the relation between the French and the Senecas 
that the latter were almost ready to take up arms against the English, 
and that despite the neutrality of the Confederacy and the bonds of 
union that bound together its members. 


About this same time another occurrence worked to the great ad- 
vantage and favor of the French among the Senecas. Chabert Jon- 
caire, a French youth, had been captured by the Senecas and was 
adopted by and grew up among them. He married a Seneca wife, but 
was released by the tribe from any compulsion of remaining among the 
Indians. Thereupon Joncaire w5s employed by the French to promote 
their influence with the natives. Pleading his claims as an adopted 
child of the tribe he was given permission by the chiefs to build a cabin 
on the site of Lewistown, which soon became the center of French in- 
fluence. This was the source of much anxiety and discomfort to the 
English, and all their influence with the eastern tribes was not sufficient 
to dislodge him, " Joncaire is a child of the Nation " was the reply 
made to every complaint. 

Whether due to the influence of Joncaire among the Senecas or to 
some other cause is not fully known, but the French soon succeeded in 
lodging themselves firmly in the affections of the tribe. In 1725 they 
commenced rebuilding Fort Niagara and completed the task without 
opposition, and by so doing came into possession of one of the most im- 
portant and strong posts in the country. The French undoubtedly 
were poor colonizers, but they nevertheless possessed the peculiar faculty 
of ready assimilation with savage and half- civilized races, thus gaining 
an influence over them. Whatever the cause, the power of the French 
constantly increased among the Senecas. The influence of Joncaire 
was maintained and increased by his half-breed sons, Chabert and Clauz- 
onnfe, all through the second quarter of the eighteenth century. 

In 1744 was begun another war between England and France, 
during which the Six Nations (being increased from Five Nations by the 
aquisition of the Tnscaroras in 1712) generally maintained a neutrality, 
although the Mohawks gave some aid to the English. This outbreak 
was closed by the Treaty of Aix-Ia Chapelie in 1748, and a nominal 
peace of eight years followed, although during the interval both coun- 
tries were earnestly engaged in increasing their possessions, strengthen- 
ing their fortifications, and preparing for the inevitable outbreak which 
must end the dominion in America of the one or the other. 

The storm of war broke in 1756, after two years of open hostilities. 
The Mohawks again took up arms with the English, but the Senecas, 


notwithstanding their affection for the French, were unwilling to go to 
battle against their friends at the eastern door of the Long House. 
The friendship of the Mohawks for the English was gained through 
the influence of Sir William Johnson, the skillful English superintend- 
ent of Indian affairs, and who had come to America in 1734 as the 
agent of his uncle, the latter being an extensive landowner in the Mo- 
hawk Valley. At the commencement of the last great struggle for 
supremacy in America the French were everywhere victorious. Brad- - 
dock, almost at the gates of Fort Duquesne, was slain and his army 
cut in pieces. Montcalm captured Oswego, and the French lines up 
the lakes and across to the Ohio were stronger than ever. In the next 
year the tide of victory set toward the British arms. Duquesne was 
recaptured by the Throne, while to the northward Frontenac was siezed 
by Bradstreet, and other victories prepared the way for still grander suc- 
cess in 1759. Then Wolfe assailed Quebec, the French stronghold in 
America ; and almost at the same time General Prideaux with 
2,000 British troops and provincials, accompanied by Sir William 
Johnson with a thousand faithful Iroquois, sailed up Lake Ontario and 
laid siege to Fort Niagara, which was defended by only 600 men. A 
strong resistance was made by the brave commander, but when his re- 
enforcements were about to come they were ambushed by Sir William 
Johnson's fierce warriors and unmercifully slaughtered. Hearing of 
this disaster the garrison at once surrendered and Fort Niagara passed 
into the hands of the British, and with the capitulation was the end of 
French supremacy and dominion over any of the territory of New York. 
In September, 1760, the Marquis Vandreuil surrendered Montreal, and 
with it Detroit, Venango, and all the other posts within his jurisdiction. 
This surrender was ratified by the treaty of peace between England and 
France in the month of February, 1763, which ceded Canada to the 
former power. 

This ended the French dominion in America. So far as the same 
applied to the locality of Yates County it had no special significance or 
importance except as this shire formed a part of the region that was 
claimed to be New France. That the Jesuit fathers visited this locality 
is quite probable, and it may have been through their agency that the 
old fort was built in the town of Milo. The chief seat of operations. 


however, in this locality was at Canandaigua or at Geneva, at the foot 
of the respective Lakes Canandaigua and Seneca, and any pilgrimages 
to this immediate locality were merely incidental. 


The English Dominion — A brief resumd of Events — English conquest of the 
Dutch Settlements — Condition of the Indians — Still friendly to the French — Pon- 
tiac's League — The Senecas involved with Pontiac — Devil's Hole and Black Rock 
— Sir William Johnson makes friends with the Senecas — The Revolutionary War — 
Attitude of the Iroquois — Wyoming and Cherry Valley — Sullivan's Campaign — 
Destruction of Indian Villages — Cashong, in Yates County, Devastated — ^The Irr- 
dians retire to Fort Niagara — Their treatment by the British — Close of the Revolu- 
tion — Overthrow of British Rule — The United States of America. 

THE preceding chapter has made mention of the fact that in 1606 
King James made an extensive grant of land to the so-called 
Plymouth Company, and in pursuance of that grant the colony of New 
England was founded in 1620 ; and further, that under the authority of 
a similar grant from the same source, made in 1607, the colony of Eng- 
lish settled in Virginia. The same power also made another charter, 
which was granted to John Smith, and which resulted in the founding 
an English settlement in what afterward became the Province and State 
of Maine. The same chapter likewise states that in 1609 Henry Hud- 
son, in the employ of the Dutch East India Company, founded a colony 
where is now the city of New York, which was first settled by the 
Dutch, although the discoverer and navigator — Hudson — was himself 
an Englishman. But the Dutch settlement was not confined to the 
vicinity of New Amsterdam, as they called their ancient burgh, but 
their line of possessions extended up the Hudson River as far and even 
beyond the present city of Albany. On this site last named was erected 
a fortification called Fort Orange. 

The rule of the Hollanders in the Netherlands, however, was not of 
long continuance. It commenced with the planting of their colony 


soon after Hudson's discovery and closed with the year 1664, its peo- 
ple and patron government having become involved in a dispute w ith 
England and the latter proved the master. The claims of each power 
were founded on the right of discovery, but the English extended their 
settlements the more rapidly and soon occupied the territory of the 
Dutchmen. More than that England was the stronger power and 
granted away the lands of the region to an indefinite extent, and that 
without regard to rights or claims of other governments; and when 
there came a conflict over the right to possession the weaker was com- 
pelled to yield to the stronger power. 

Having overcome the Dutch in 1664 the government of Great Brit- 
ain next turned her attention to the French, and although the latter 
were by many years the prior occupants of the countr)' and of this 
region, and had extended their settlements over a considerable country 
and claimed indefinitely westward and to the south, yet the English 
were not disposed to concede any rights to the French on this continent ; 
therefore, after extending and fortifying their own settlements, war was 
declared against the French with the results as told in the preceding 
chapter. The outbreaks and conflicts between these powers were by 
no means confined to this side of the Atlantic, for at home was the 
chief seat of war, while on this side were heard and felt but the echoes 
and reverberations from abroad. With the English the principle that 
" might makes right" ever prevailed in extending and advancing their 
interests until that government finally came in conflict with the united 
American colonies in 1775 and the years following, during which period 
the mother country was taught a salutary lesson. There proved to be 
at least one country on the earth which she could not subdue nor con- 
quer. But this is a subject which more appropriately belongs to later 
pages of this chapter. 

Notwithstanding the results of the war between the French and the 
English, and the disappearance of the former from the region, the 
Western Indians were still disposed to remember with affection and 
were yet inclined to wage war upon the English. The celebrated 
Pontiac united nearly all these tribes in a league against the redcoats 
immediately after the advent of the latter; and as no such confedera- 
tion had been formed against the French during their years of posses- 



sion the action of Pontiac must be attributed to some other cause 
than mere hatred of all civilized intruders. In May, 1763, the league 
surprised nine out of twelve English posts and massacred their garrisons. 
There is no positive evidence to sustain the assertion, yet there is little 
doubt that the Senecas were involved in Pontiac's league, and were 
active in the fruitless attack upoft Fort Niagara. They were unwilling 
to fight against their brothers of the Iroquois, but had no hesitation in 
killing the English soldiery when left alone, as was soon made terribly 
manifest in the awful tragedy at Devil's Hole in September, 1763, at 
which time a band of Senecas ambushed a train of English army- wagons 
with an escort of soldiers, in all ninety-six men, and massacred every 
man with four exceptions. And during the month of October of the 
same year the Senecas came in contact with a body of British troops 
who were on their way to re- enforce the post at Detroit. This battle 
took place within the limits of the present county of Erie. The victory 
was not for either side, but the Britons lost more men than did the 

But at last becoming convinced that the French had really yielded 
up their claims and possessions in this country, and that Pontiac's 
scheme had failed as to its main purpose, the Senecas agreed to aban- 
don their Gallic friends and be at peace with the English. In April, 
1764, Sir William Johnson concluded a treaty of peace with eight chiefs 
of the refractory Senecas ; and by the terms of the agreement there was 
conceded to the King of England a tract of land four by fourteen miles 
for a carrying-place around Niagara Falls. And it may further be said 
that by this time Sir Wrlliam Johnson had succeeded in winning the 
affections of all the Iroquois tribes and had enlisted them under the 
banners of the King. The treaty made with the Senecas by Sir Will- 
iam Johnson was considered sufficiently conclusive, but it was at that 
time provided that the same should be ratified by a grand council of 
the Iroquois to be held at Fort Niagara during the following summer. 
Accordingly General Bradstreet, with 1,200 British and American sol- 
diers, accompanied by Sir William and a large body of his Iroquois 
warriors, came to Fort Niagara as previously agreed. A grand coun- 
cil of the friendly Indians was held and satisfactory terms proposed and 
agreed upon, but the Senecas sullenly refused attendance at the pro- 


ceedings and were said to be meditating a renewal of the war. At 
length General Bradstreet ordered their immediate presence at the 
council under penalty of the destruction of their settlements and vil- 
lages, whereupon they came at once, ratified the treaty, and adhered 
to it pretty faithfully, notwithstanding the peremptory manner in which 
it was obtained. 

The English had now established a peace with each tribe of the Iroquois 
Confederacy; and there was also then existing a peace between the fre- 
quently contending nations, England and France,^ consequently there was 
no strife among the civilized people on this side of the Atlantic. The 
Iroquois, though the seeds of dissension had been sown among them, were 
still a powerful confederacy, and their war parties occasionally made in- 
cursions among the Western Indians, generally returning with scalps or 
prisoners. The Senecas made frequent complaints of depredations 
committed by the whites or some of their number who had villages on 
the headwaters of the Susquehanna and Ohio. " Cressap's war," in 
which the celebrated Logan was an actor, contributed to render them 
uneasy, but they did not break out in open hostilities. They, like the 
rest of the Six Nations, had by this time learned to place every confi- 
dence in Sir William Johnson and made all their complaints through 
him. He did his best to redress their grievances, and sought to have 
them withdraw their villages from those isolated localities to their chief 
seats in New York, so that they would be more completely under his 
protection. Ere this could be done, however, the attention of all men 
was drawn to certain yet unmistakable mutterings in the political sky, 
low at first, but growing more and more angry, until at length there 
burst upon the country that long and desolating storm known as the 
Revolutionary war. 

Sir William Johnson, who has been so frequently mentioned in this 
narrative, was an Irishman by birth, of good family, and well educated. 
In 1734' he was sent to America as the land agent of his uncle. Sir 
Peter Warren, an admiral in the English navy and the proprietor of 
large estates in this country. Sir William, soon after his arrival in 
America, was appointed superintendent of Indian affairs, and were it not 
for his skill in handling the savages it is quite likely that the entire Iro- 

• Turner says 1737 or '38. 


quois Confederacy would have become allied to the cause of the French. 
Associated with Sir William in his life and duties- among the Indians 
was his son, Sir John Johnson, and his nephew, Col. Guy Johnson. 
After the death of Sir William in 1774 the son succeeded to his posi- 
tion of influence among the Six Nations, while the office of superin- 
tendent of Indian affairs was givAi to his nephew. When Tryon County 
was organized and set off from Albany County Guy Johnson was the 
" first" judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and was associated in 
that office with the afterward celebrated John Butler. 

The war for American independence in fact commenced in the month 
of April, 1775, with the battle at Lexington, but before the actual out- 
break, as the danger of hostilities increased, the Johnsons showed them- 
selves clearly on the side of the King. Sir William said little and 
seemed greatly disturbed by the gathering troubles. There is little 
doubt, however, had he lived, that he would have used his power and 
influence in behalf of his royal master. But his sudden death termin- 
ated his career, while his position among the Indian tribes descended like 
an inheritance to his son and nephew. Upon the outbreak of the war the 
superintendent persuaded the Mohawks to remove westward with him, 
and made his influence felt over all the Six Nations except the Oneidas 
and Tuscaroras, though it was near two years from the breaking out of 
the war before they committed hostilities. John Butler established him- 
self at Fort Niagara and join-ed a regiment of Tories known as Butler's 
Rangers, and he and the Johnsons used all their influence to induce the 
Indians to attack the Americans. The Senecas held off for awhile, but 
the prospect of both blood and gold was too much for them to with- 
stand, and in 1777 they, in common with the Cayugas, Onondagas, and 
Mohawks, made a treaty with the British at Oswego, agreeing to serve 
the King throughout the war. Mary Jemison, the celebrated " white 
woman." then living among the Senecas on the Genesee, declares that 
at that treaty the British agents, after distributing presents among the 
Indians, promised a bounty on every scalp that should be brought in. 
However this is a question that has been widely debated. 

As had characterized their actions on other occasions the Senecas 
were reluctant to attack or make war against their brothers of the Long 
House, but they did not withdraw from the British interest and remain 


neutral during the years following 1777. They were relieved from any 
embarrassment by the fact that the Oneidas decided to take no active 
part in the war, while the Tuscaroras were confederates by compara- 
tively recent adoption, having become members of the Iroquois League 
many years after its formation and were not brothers within the strict 
meaning, of the clan system. From the latter part of 1777 the four 
tribes named were active in the British interests and Fort Niagara again 
became the center of operations, although the savage warriors were scat- 
tered all through the Genesee country and even eastward to the Susque- 
hanna River. The most prominent chief of the Confederacy during the 
Revolutionary period was Joseph Brant, or Thayendenaga, a Mohawk 
who had received a moderate English education under the patronage of Sir 
William Johnson. The then conspicuous Seneca chiefs during the same 
period were Farmer's Brother, Cornplanter, and Governor Blacksnake, 
but which of these was leader is not well known. At the massacre at 
Wyoming the author of the " Life of Brant " says the chief in com- 
mand of the Senecas was Guiengwahtoh, supposed to mean the same as 
Guiyahgwahdoh, " the smoke- bearer." That was the official title of the 
Seneca afterward known as " Young King," but the latter was then too 
young to have been at Wyoming, yet his predecessor (probably his 
maternal uncle) might have been there. Brant was certainly not there. 
At Cherry Valley, following the slaughter at Wyoming, the Senecas 
were present in force together with a body of Mohawks under Brant 
and a party of Tories under Capt. Walter Butler. 

These and other similar events, the sudden and unexpected attacks 
upon frontier settlements and outposts, and the merciless slaughter of 
their inhabitants induced General Washington and Congress to set on 
foot an expedition in the spring of 1779, having for its object a retali- 
ation upon the Indians and especially upon the Senecas for the out- 
rages perpetrated by them down to that time. This duty devolved upon 
Gen. John Sullivan, who at that time was an officer in the American 
army. The full force organized for the expedition amounted to 5,000 
men, which was formed in three divisions. Sullivan himself com- 
manded the troops that marched through and laid waste the Indian 
villages and improvements in the region of Seneca Lake ; and as that 
was the only part pf the several campaigns that is pertinent to this work 


this narrative will be confined to the acts performed in the region here- 

General Sullivan organized his force in Pennsylvania and ascended 
the Susquehanna to Tioga Point, where he was joined by Gen. James 
Clinton's force, the latter having come from the Mohawk country. 
From Tioga Point the combined forces proceeded westward to the Che- 
mung River, where they found Tories, Indians, and British entrenched 
behind a breastwork of logs and earth. On the 39th of August the 
attack was made by Sullivan's men, and being well provided with 
artillery the work of demolishing the entrenchments was quickly done. 
The British and Tories fought manfully, but a portion of the Iroquois 
fled before the destructive canonade. However Brant succeeded in 
rallying a few of the Indians, who fought desperately from behind 
trees, bushes, rocks, or whatever place afforded concealment or pro- 
tection. The battle continued about two hours, when the British and 
their allies were routed and fled in great disorder. This battle, which 
occurred on the site of the present city of Elmira, was the only regular en- 
gagement between the contending forces. The results here were so ex- 
ceedingly disastrous to the Indians that wherever Sullivan's men after- 
ward appeared the redskins fled in terror, and all that remained for the 
American troops to do was to burn and destroy the villages and grow- 
ing crops which were found in the vicinity of the line of march. 

From Chemung and Newtown Sullivan marched northward to the so- 
called " French Catharines town," at the head of Seneca Lake, thence 
down the lake on the east side to Kanandesaga, where was a village of 
some size. On the east side of the lake between Catharines town (Wat- 
kins) and Kanandesaga were several small Indian villages, all of which were 
destroyed. At the point last named Brant used every effort to induce 
his Iroquois warriors to make another stand against the invaders, but 
the attempt was of no avail. The Indians had already been severely 
punished and one of their chiefs, said to be the king of Kanandesaga, 
had been killed. This was enough for them and with Sullivan'a appear- 
ance every village was abandoned. So it was at Kanandesaga, where it 
is said were about sixty houses with gardens and apple "and peach 
orchards. Here Sullivan met with no opposition, and his men destroyed 
every building and all growing crops. 


From this point detachments were sent out to lay waste other villages 
of small note. One of these was within the present county of Yates, 
at the point commonly called Kashong, on the creek which still bears 
that name, in the town of Benton, and ori the farm recently owned by 
W. W. Coe. In regard to the destruction of this village that popular 
writer, W. L. Stone, says : " A detachment of 400 men was sent down 
on the west side of the lake to destroy ' Gotheseunquean ' and the plan- 
tations in the neighborhood." The point designated unquestionably 
refers to the same now called Kashong or Cashong. The diary of 
Captain Fowler, in every way reliable, mentions the village as " Kash- 
anquash," while the official report of General Sullivan gives the name as 
" Gotheseunquean," already referred to above. Which is correct and 
which is incorrect is not material to this narrative, but, however spelled 
or pronounced, the objective point of destruction was, as stated, in the 
town of Benton, this county. There was no battle at Cashong, as in 
many other cases the inhabitants fled before the approach of the troops. 

After using Kanandesaga as a base from which to operate in the de- 
struction of Indian villages General Sullivan proceeded westward upon a 
like errand, and then in the same manner to the eastward, laying waste 
every possible thing that could be of use to the Indians or for their sus- 
tenance, after which the campaign was regarded as successful and com- 
plete. And such proved to be the case, for the Indian occupants with- 
drew themselves to the protection of Fort Niagara and in that locality 
they remained until after the close of the war. • 

The results of Sullivan's expedition are best summed up in quoting 
from the official account of General Washington, which in part was as 
follows : " Forty of their towns have been reduced to ashes, some of 
them large and commodious, that of Genesee alone containing 128 
houses. Their crops of corn have been entirely destroyed, which, by 
estimation, it is said, would have provided 160,000 bushels, besides large 
quantities of vegetables of various kinds. Their whole country has been 
overrun and laid waste, and they themselves compelled to place their 
security in a precipitate flight to the British fortress at Niagara ; — and the 
whole of this has been done with the loss of less than forty men on our 
part, including the killed, wounded, captured, and those who died nat- 
ural deaths." 


A preceding paragraph has incidentally mentioned the fact that the 
king of Kanandesaga was killed at the battle at Newtown or Elmira. 
The main fact was undoubtedly correct, but it is highly questionable 
whether the dead official held' any such title as king, for no such office 
ever existed among the Iroquois Confederates. On the contrary reports 
go to show that Kayingwaurto \vas a subordinate Seneca chief and at 
that period in command of the Indians of that tribe who inhabited Kan- 
andesaga and its vicinity. He was a chief and nothing more. A re- 
port of the death of the chief was brought to General Sullivan a few 
days after the battle at Newtown by an escaped prisoner, and after an 
accurate description the general remembered having seen such a war- 
rior among the slain on the field of battle. On the person of the dead 
chief was found a written memorandum which strongly tends to prove 
the often disputed fact that the British agents agreed to a bounty for each 
white scalp taken by their redskinned allies. The paper found read as 

" This may certify that Kayingwaurto, the Sanakee chief, has been on an expedition 
to Fort Stanwix and taken two scalps, one from an officer and a corporal. They were 
gunning near the fort, for which I promise to pay at sight ten dollars for each scalp. 

'' Given under my hand at Buck's Island and the allies of his Majesty. 

"John Butler, Col. and Supt of Six Nations." 

As has already been stated the campaign of General Sullivan had the 
effect of driving the unfriendly Indians out of the eastern part of the 
Genesee country and of the State, and obliging them to seek refuge and 
protection at the British post at Fort Niagara. Not only had their vil- 
lages been wholly destroyed, but as well their corn-fields and gardens, 
leaving them with no means of subsistence through the winter follow- 
ing. They were fed and otherwise provided for by the agents of Great 
Britain, but with the coming of spring an attempt was made to persuade 
them to return to their old haunts and cultivate crops for another win- 
ter's use. This effort was partially successful, but instead of returning 
to their ancient camps the Indians settled and established villages in the 
region of Fort Niagara, not being willing to venture again into the ter- 
ritory where they might be subjected to another destroying visit as 
Sullivan's men had inflicted upon them. 

In the country around Niagara the squaw portion of the Indian popu- 
lation planted crops of corn and vegetables which yielded a harvest for 


the succeeding winter. But the supply was not equal to the demand, 
and the natives again, in the winter of 1 780-8 1, had recourse to their 
friends, the British. The warriors of the community were kept con- 
stantly busy by Guy Johnson and Colonel Butler marauding upon 
frontier settlements of their enemies, but the Indians had become so thor- 
oughly broken up that they were unable to produce such devastation as 
at Wyoming and Cherry Valley. With the surrender of Cornwallis in 
October, 1781, there was a practical cessation of hostilities, but it was 
not until the fall of 1783 that peace was formally agreed upon between 
Great Britain and the revolted colonies, henceforth to be universally 
acknowledged as the United States of America. By the terms of the 
treaty then made the boundary lines between the British lands and the 
territory of the United States was established along the center of Lake 
Erie, the Niagara River, and Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, 
and northward and eastward to the Atlantic Coast. Still for several 
years the British posts on the American side were held in the posses- 
sion of the King's soldiers, and the same leaders who controlled them 
during the war continued to exercise an unfriendly influence among 
them as against the United States and the State of New York. 


Situation of the Indians at the close of the Revolution — They are recognized as 
rightful owners of the Territory — Treaties for the purchase of Indian Titles — The 
Grand Council at Fort Stanwix — Red Jacket opposes the Sale — A brief sketch of 
the famous Chief — The Medal — The subject Resumed — Conflicting claims by New 
York and Massachusetts — Their Settlement — Massachusetts owns the Genesee 
Country — Yates County a part of it — The New York Genesee Land Company — The 
Niagara Genesee Land Company — They Lease from the Six Nations — Looking to 
the formation of a new State — Imitating the action of Vermont — The attempt Fails 
— Prompt action of Governor Clinton — The Compromise and its Reward. 

AFTER the close of the Revolution it was found that the treaty agree- 
ment entered into between the previously contending govern- 
ments had made no provision for the Indian allies of Great Britain. The 
English" authorities offered them lands in Canada, but all the tribes ex- 
cept the Mohawks preferred to remain in New York. ^ 


They were entitled to no consideration at the hands of the United 
States government, for by their action in participating in the war on the 
side of England they had forfeited their right to possession and were in 
much the same position as was the English government in that respect 
— a conquered nation having lost their rights in a conflict at arms. But 
the United States and the State»of New York treated the Indians with 
great moderation, and declined to avail themselves of their right to 
claim the lands formerly occupied by the Iroquois, and even admitted 
the unfortunate savages to the benefits of peace, although the latter had 
twice violated their pledges and plunged into a war against the colonies. 
However a property line, as it was called, was established between the 
whites and Indians, which line ran along the eastern boundary of Broome 
and Chenango Counties and thence northwestward to a point seven 
miles west of Rome. 

Conceding after some discussion and dissension that the Indians had 
some rights in the territory formerly occupied by them the legislature 
of New York passed an act constituting the governor and certain other 
designated persons as superintendents of Indian affairs. George Clin- 
ton, then governor, assumed at once the responsible duties of arranging 
a council with the chiefs and sachems of the several tribes, and for this 
purpose sent emissaries to confer with the Indians and bring them if 
possible to an amicable understanding of the matter. After much labor 
and the lapse of considerable time a council was held at Fort Schuyler 
on the first of September, 1784. There were present the New York 
representatives together with deputations from the Mohawks, Cayugas, 
Onondagas, and Senecas. The Oneidas and Tuscaroras were not at first 
represented, but after three days they appeared. During the proceed- 
ings the Cayugas and Tuscaroras exhibited to the commissioners a letter 
from the committee of Congress, wherein it was stated that the Indians 
should not treat with representatives of New York, as the governor had 
no authority to conduct such council, but that the committee of Con- 
gress would meet the Indians in council at Fort Stanwix on the 20th 
of September "to settle a peace with all the Indian nations from the 
Ohio to the Great Lake." After distributing presents and provisions 
among the Indians Governor Clinton resolved to postpone further 
action until the arrival of the United States commissioners. 


In the month of October, 1784, the treaty at Fort Stanwix was held. 
On the part of the United States there were present Commissioners 
Oliver Wolcott, Richard Butler, and Arthur Lee, while the celebrated 
Frenchman, Marquis de Lafayette, was with them in the capacity of 
interested spectator. The Indians were also present, being represented 
by chiefs and sachem^. The proceedings of this first grand council had 
no special relation to the lands of this locality, but at the meeting there 
was brought into prominent notice one who is claimed to have been, and 
beyond question was, a native of the territory afterward erected into 
Yates County. This personage was the famous Red Jacket, who, 
though a youth at the time of the council, afterward became a con- 
spicuous figure in the frequent treaty meetings. Upon the occasion 
above referred to Red Jacket was bitterly opposed to making any con- 
cessions whatever to the whites and openly advocated a renewal of the 
war. But in this effort Red Jacket was opposed by the noted war chief 
Cornplanter, and the council of the latter prevailed, with the result of a 
treaty fixing the western boundary of the territory to be considered as 
belonging to the Six Nations. Here the reader will pardon a slight di- 
gression from the general course of this narrative that he may take a 
glance at this celebrated son of Yates County, Red Jacket, although 
the son may be said to have occupied the somewhat anomalous position 
of being many years older than his parent. 

Sagoyewatha, the Seneca name of the chief, was born near Branch- 
port on the western arm of Ogoyago Lake, but as to the date of his 
birth there appears to be no record, nor is it known who of the Sene- 
cas were his parents. At the time of the treaty at Fort Stanwix the 
chief was a young man and had just been elevated to the position he 
held. He was the recognized orator of his tribe, not even second to 
the eloquent Cornplanter, but the latter held pre-eminence, was a war- 
rior of mature years, and one who had carved his way to fame among 
his people through his cruel and merciless slaughter of white men, 
women, and children. As a speaker for his tribe and nation Sagoye- 
watha stood without a peer. Indeed so powerful was his speech at 
the treaty ground that Levasseur, the French writer who derived his 
information from Lafayette, said of him: "His speech was a master- 
piece, and every warrior who heard him was carried away with his elo- 


Red Jacket had, when a youth, heard a number of prominent speakers 
among the Indians, and he determined to and did instruct himself in the 
art of oratory ; and his first or maiden effort was made on the occasion 
referred to, and that brought to him the name of Sagoyewatha, "The 
Keeper Awake," or Hterally " he keeps them awake," as more descrip^ 
tive of his oratorical powers. But among the whites he was generally 
called by the rediculous appellation of Red Jacket, a name which he 
transmitted to his descendants. 

He, too, had been an actor in the border wars, but had won no laurels 
in them. Brant and Cornplanter both hated him, declaring that he was 
both coward and traitor ; but theirs was the hatred of envy and jealousy. 
They were accustomed 'to tell of the time when he made a glowing 
speech urging the Senecas to battle, but while the conflict was going on 
was discovered cutting up the cow of another Indian which he had killed. 
After that he was frequently called " The Cow Killer," a name which 
was inserted in two or three public documents, but afterward crossed out 
and " Red Jacket '' substituted. 

The treason with which he was charged seems to have consisted in 
making several efforts for peace during Sullivan's campaign without the 
sanction of the war chiefs. At one time he is said to have secretly sent 
a runner to the American camp inviting a flag of truce. Brant heard 
of this and had the unlucky messenger intercepted and killed. Prob- 
ably some of the stories of his timidity and treachery are false, but there 
were many of them and all pointed the same way. Notwithstanding all 
this such was the charm of his eloquence, and such the clearness of his 
intellect, that he rapidly gained in influence and was made a chief, that 
is a civil chief or counselor of the sachems. 

At the beginning of the Revolution he was a youth of about twenty. 
The British officers had been attracted by his intelligence and frequently 
employed him as messenger, for which he was well qualified by hisfleet- 
ness of foot and shrewdness of mind. They compensated him by a 
succession of red jackets, in which he took great pride and from which 
he derived his name. In later years Red Jacket had risen to a high 
position, being mentioned by Proctor as "the great speaker and a prince 
of the Turtle tribe." As a matter of fact, however, he belonged to the 
Wolf clan. 


In 1792 Red Jacket and Farmer's Brother were two of fifty chiefs 
who visited the seat of government, then at Philadelphia. The former 
then claimed to be in favor of civilization, and it was at this time that 
Washington gave him the famous medal which he afterward wore on 
all great occasions. It was of silver, oval in form, about seven inches 
long by five wide, and represented a white man in a general's uniform 
presenting a pipe of peace to an Indian. The latter had flung down 
his tomahawk. Behind them is shown a house, a field, and a man 

The manner in which Red Jacket acquired his characteristic name is 
told by his biographer : On one of his visits to the seat of government 
General Knox, then Secretary of War, presented the distinguished Sen- 
eca with the full uniform of a military officer, with cocked hat and all 
equipments complete. Red Jacket requested the bearer to inform Knox 
that he could not well wear military clothes, he being a civil sachem, 
not a war chief If any such present was to be made to him he would 
prefer a suit of civilian's clothes, but would keep the first gift until the 
other was sent. In due time a handsome suit of citizen's clothes was 
brought to his lodging. The unsophisticated savage accepted it and 
then remarked to the bearer that in time of war the sachems went out 
on the war-path with the rest, and he would keep the military suit for 
such an occasion. And keep it he did. The foregoing anecdote is 
slightly at variance with the^prmer statement that Red Jacket was first 
clothed in military uniform by the British officers, but the reader must 
do as in all tales of Indian heroes, read all and believe whichever best 
suits his convenience or fancy. But Yates County is not the only 
claimant to the place of nativity of Sagoyewatha or Red Jacket. A 
State Historical Gazetteer published some thirty years ago fixes his 
place of birth in the. present town of Fayette in Senaca County, and the 
spot as being near Canoga Spring. This was undoubtedly an error, for 
there can be produced satisfactory evidence to show that the famous 
chief was born in what is now the town of Jerusalem in this county, 
and not far from the hamlet called Branchport. In fact it is said that 
Red Jacket himself told the late Judge Lewis that he was born at the 
place indicated. 

After the treaty and great council at Fort Stanwix held by the com- 


missioners respecting the general government the Board of Indian Af- 
fairs, under the authority of New York, met and frequently called the 
Indians together for the purpose of acquiring and purchasing their lands. 
The several councils thereafter held resulted each in the surrender on 
the part of the natives of vast tracts of their former territory, but in 
each and every case the authorities made to them a just compensation. 

In this manner matters progressed favorably for some time, but of a 
sudden there arose a spirited controversy which in various forms in- 
volved the question of title or right to purchase, the greater part of 
which was due to the imperfect understanding had by the King of the 
situation and extent of territory in America. It was the custom of the 
sovereign to make extensive grants, charters, or patents of land to cer- 
tain favorites, or for consideration, but with the most indefinite and un- 
certain boundaries. One of these vast and almost boundless areas was 
granted by King Charles to his brother James, the Duke of York, which 
included all the lands between the Connecticut River on the east and 
westward to the Delaware Bay, north to the province of Canada, and 
westward indefinitely. This neat little estate, had the title been subse- 
quently confirmed as granted, would haveincludedmillionsand millions of 
acres and would have made brother James " quite well off," to use a com- 
mon expression; but the same ruler made another grant of territory to the 
Plymouth Company, which likewise extended several degrees of lati- 
tude north and south and stretched east and west from the Atlantic to 
the Pacific. The last mentioned grant was made in 1620 and the former 
in 1628, and of course that last made overlapped the first, but did not 
vacate or supercede it. The first grant, that made in 1620, founded 
the colony tract for New England, while the latter eventually resolved 
into the colony, province, and lastly the State of New York. 

Many complications and controversies were the outcome of these 
conflicting grants. One of them very nearly involved the stalwart Green 
Mountain Boys in a civil war against the authorities of the province of 
New York, and would probably have so resulted but for the outbreak 
of the Revolution. The principal discussion concerning ownership and 
jurisdiction of the territory under the letters patent, and that which 
more particularly concerns the present reader, was that carried on be- 
tween the authorities of the province of the then called Massachusetts 


Bay and the representatives of the colony and province of New York, 
although at the time the controversy was adjusted both of these colonies 
had become States of the Union. To settle the dispute between them 
the States of Massachusetts and New York ceded all their domain to 
the federal authority, but before the latter had taken cognizance of the 
matter the States themselves had taken such action as obviated the ne- 
cessity of congressional interference. After the settlement of certain 
preliminaries the contestants agreed upon the appointment of commis- 
sioners of arbitration, who held a meeting at Hartford, Conn., on the i6th 
of December, 1786. The results of their deliberations are best told by 
Turner, as follows : 

"According to the stipulations entered into by the convention Massa- 
chusetts ceded to the State of New York all her claim to the govern- 
ment, sovereignty, and jurisdiction of all the territory lying west of the 
present east line of the State of New York ; and New York ceded to 
Massachusetts the pre-emption right, or fee of the land, subject to the 
title of natives, of all that part of the State of New York lying west of a 
line beginning at a point in the north line of Pennsylvania, eighty- two 
miles north of the northeast corner of said State, and running thence 
due north through Seneca Lake to Lake Ontario ; excepting and re- 
serving to the State of New York a strip of land east and adjoining the 
eastern bank of Niagara River, one mile wide, and extending its whole 
length. The land, the pre-emption right of which was thus ceded, 
amounted to about 6,000,000 of acres." 

The plain interpretation of this agreement was that the land in ques- 
tion should remain and continue within the State of New York and 
subject to its laws and government, but that its ownership should be in 
the State of ^Massachusetts, subject to whatever rights the Indian occu- 
pants may have had and then had. This right Massachusetts was at 
liberty to purchase from the natives. 

Thus vested with the legal title to the lands all that was required of 
Massachusetts was the purchase of the Indian claim, as New York had 
previously done in other localities. The greater part of the territory 
included within the county of Yates was also a part of the Massachu- 
setts tract. And the portion of this county which was not within the 
pre-emption lands, as sometimes called, is that which lies bordering on 


Seneca Lake in the towns of Torrey, Milo, and Starkey as at present 

The proceedings of the arbitration commission were held and its agree- 
ment reached during the year 1786 and in the year following, 1787, 
Massachusetts began casting about for a sale of her territory ; but at 
this juncture there appeared an* element of disturbance that not only 
threatened trouble for the Bay State's interests, but, as afterward devel- 
oped, that same troblesome factor threatened to disrupt the very insti- 
tutions of the State of New York. The troubles and vexations of the 
time were all caused by the unlawful operations of the New York Gene- 
see Company and its auxiliary association, the Niagara Genesee 

The constitution of the State of New York forbade the purchase of 
the fee of lands from the Indians by individuals, that right being re- 
served to the State alone. This measure was adopted to protect the 
nations against the acts of unscrupulous persons whose chief aim should 
be to defraud the easily misled Indians of their possessions ; but the 
right so reserved to this State, so far as related to the district ceded to 
Massachusetts, was passed to the latter under the deed of cession. 

During the winter of 1787-88 there was organized an association of 
individuals who styled themselves the New York Genesee Company, 
and the object of which was the acquirement of lands from the Indians ; 
not, however, by purchase, for that was forbidden by law, but by ob- 
taining leases of the lands for long period of years, and upon the pay- 
ment of small cash consideration and an annual rental. The New York 
Genesee Company was comprised of wealthy persons, most of whom 
resided in the Hudson River region, and who became members of the 
association purely for purposes of speculation. This company also 
caused to be organized an auxiliary association, called the Niagara 
Genesee Company, the membership of which was comprised chiefly of 
residents of Canada, with a certain few from this State ; but almost with- 
out exception those who composed the latter company were persons 
who had in some manner become acquainted with the Indians and who 
were able to influence them almost at will. 

Through the machinations of the lesser organization, the Niagara 
Genesee Company, there was executed a lease with the Six Nations, in 


which lease the party of the second part were the associates comprising 
the principal- company, and by the terms of which the second party 
therein named became the lessees of an immense tract of land for 
a period of 999 years from the 30th of November, 1787. The consid- 
eration provided to be paid by way of rental was the annual sum 
of 2,000 Spanish milled dollars, added to which was the promise of a 
bonus of $20,000. 

The lease consummated the new proprietary at once set about the col- 
onization of their district, which of course included within its limits the 
greater part of what is now Yates County ; but no sooner had the intel- 
ligence of this lease reached the ears of Governor Clinton than that offi- 
cial at once dispatched trustworthy agents to the land of the Seneca for 
the purpose of informing the natives of the fact that they had been 
duped ; that the lease would be declared null and void by the State 
legislature ; and that they, the Indians, should refrain from further nego- 
tiations with either lessee company or their agents. 

It appears that the originators of the scheme for the acquirement of 
Indian lands by lease had another project in view than the mere acqui- 
sition of title. At that particular time as well as previously and after- 
ward there was in progress a controversy between the authorities of 
the State of New York and the people of the independently organized 
district of New Hampshire Grants, but more commonly known as the 
State of Vermont. The people then had taken their grants from the 
governor of New Hampshire, Benning Wentworth, under the belief that 
the territory was a part of that province, but the decree of the King in 
July, 1764, had determined the eastern boundary of the province of 
New York to be the west bank of the Connecticut River. The people of 
the district would have readily submitted to the authority and jurisdic- 
tion of New York had not the governor of the latter insisted that the 
township charters be surrendered, and that new ones be taken from New 
York and full consideration be paid therefor. Against this the people 
rebelled, and most efifectually and determinedly resisted all attempts of 
the New Yorkers to dispossess or arrest them. In 1777, after the Dec- 
laration of Independence declared at Philadelphia, the people of the 
then called New Hampshire Grants assembled in convention and de- 
clared their district to be an independent State ; and thereafter, and for 


fourteen long years, they maintained that independence until finally 
admitted to the federal Union in 179 1. 

While the situation in Vermont had no parallel in the case of the 
lessee company, still the latter was inspired with the hope that in ac- 
quiring a long lease-hold interest in the lands of the Six Nations 
they, too, might organize a sejferate and independent State apart from 
the government of New York. Such was their discovered intention, 
but the prompt and energetic action of Governor Clinton thwarted their 
plans, afterward annulled their leases, and made them glad to sue for terms 
of peace and compromise. The result was that instead of possessing 
some millions of acres, and forming them into a new State, they were 
ultimately content with receiving a ten mile square grant off the old 
Military Tract in the northern part of this State. The lessees were after- 
ward further rewarded by the Phelps and Gorham proprietary by the 
grants of several towns ; but consideration of the latter grants was the 
influence the agents of the lessees commanded with the Indians in en- 
abling Phelps and Gorham to perfect their title by purchase from the 
Six Nations. 


The land Titles — The Phelps and Gorham Purchase — Its extent and Boundar- 
ies—Troubles created by the Lessee Companies — How Settled — Consolidation of 
Interests — Extinguishment of Indian Titles — The old Pre-emption Line — Fraud 
Practiced — Town Surveys — Sale to Robert Morris — The latter sells to English cap- 
italists — Surveying the new Pre-emption Line — The fraud Discovered — New com- 
plications Arise — How Settled — Occupants of the " Gore " — How Compensated 

Settlement with Charles Williamson, agent of the Pultney Association. 

WITH the exception of certain specially reserved tracts of land 
the Hartford convention of commissioners awarded to the State 
of Massachusetts, in settlement of her conflicting claims with New York, 
the greater portion of the territory of the last named State which lay 
west of Seneca Lake. New York, however, retained and held the right 
■of jurisdiction and sovereignty over this vast area, while the fee in the 


territory vested in Massachusetts, subject only to the Indian title which 
the latter State or her grantees miist purchase and extinguish. 

These lands being quite remote from the State which owned them 
the authorities thereof deemed it expedient that they be sold and the 
proceeds used to replenish the depleted exchequer of the Common- 
wealth. There was no lack of eager purchasers, prominent among 
whom were Oliver Phelps and Nathanial Gorham. The former of these 
persons determined to become interested in the purchase of 1,000,000 
acres of the tract, while the latter also had the same end in view, each 
at first acting independently. Later an association of purchasers was 
formed and a proposition duly made to the State for the sale of the 
pre-emption tract, or at least of 1,000,000 acres of it, at the price of- 
fered by Mr. Gorham ; that is at " one and sixpence currency per acre," 
payable in the " public paper of the Commonwealth." The Massachu- 
setts House of Representatives agreed to the sale on these terms, but the 
Senate failed to concur, whereupon no action was taken until the month 
of April, 1788. 

While the question relative to the sale of the land was pending, and 
prior to the April meeting of the legjislature, other competitors came 
into the field for the purpose of making purchases on the pre-emption 
tract ; but that there should not be any clash of interests or strife over 
the matter of purchase all the parties united with the Phelps and Gor- 
ham association. The result was that in April, 1788, the constituted 
representatives of the association, Phelps and Gorham, made a proposal 
to the legislature to take all the land ceded by New York to Massachu- 
setts, at the agreed price of $100,000, payable in Massachusetts paper 
currency, which, by the way, was at that time greatly depreciated in 
value. The preliminaries being settled and the proposition accepted 
the contract of sale was made complete. 

The first duty devolving upon the new owners after having purchased 
the pre-emption right was to make perfect title by the extinguishment 
title. This task fell upon Mr. Phelps, while to Mr. Gorham was en- 
trusted the duty of conferring with the New York authorities relative 
to running the boundary or pre-emption line. Gen. Israel Chapin was 
at the same time directed to explore the new region of country and re- 
port its character to the associate proprietors. 


Oliver Phelps found himself charged with a more difficult and doubt- 
ful undertaking than he at first anticipated. He found the lessees un- 
der the long lease in constructive if not in actual possession ; and he 
found, too, that all his endeavors at negotiations with the Indians must 
prove fruitless, as the lessee company exercised a controlling influence 
over the natives and over tht traders, interpreters, and others upon 
whose assistance he had relied in carrying out his own plans for the ac- 
quirement of the title. At last, realizing that a compromise of some 
sort would be the most satisfactory way out of existing difficulties, Mr. 
Phelps visited the principal lessees at Hudson, and there such negotia- 
tions were had that the lessees agreed to call a council of the Indians 
at Kanandesaga, make a surrender of their lease, and take a deed of 
cession from the sachems and authorized agents of the tribes, the grant- 
ees in the deed to be Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham for them- 
selves and their associates. 

Although there appears to be no record showing the actual consid- 
eration that moved the lessee company to consent to this arrangement 
it at the same time appeared to be pretty well understood among the 
holders of the long lease that theirs was an exceedingly doubtful title 
and one which would not be acquiesced in by the parties who executed 
it. More than that Massachusetts and New York both refused to con- 
firm the lease-hold, in the face of which opposition, together with the 
feelings of discontent prevailing among the Indians, the lessees were 
themselves easily persuaded to become members of the Phelps and 
Gorham association, or syndicate as it would now be called, and in that 
manner become owners under proper authority. 

Having made a satisfactory arrangement with the principal men in 
the New York Genesee Company, and in particular with its leading and 
governing spirit, John Livingston, Mr. Phelps at once made preparations 
for a grand council with the Six Nations to be held at Kanandesaga, 
but on reaching that place about June i, 1788, he found an existing 
difficulty or disagreement between the New York Genesee Company 
and the Niagara Genesee Company, and that the leading men of the 
latter were holding the Indinas at Buffalo Creek and had persuaded 
them not to attend the council. Thereupon Mr. Phelps proceeded to 
Buffalo Creek and succeeded in removing the objections of some of the 


principal men of the Niagara Genesee Company by promising them 
townships in return for their friendly influence with the natives. 

This done a council was at once held with the Indians at Buffalo 
Creek with result, on the 8th of July, of the Six Nations releasing the 
lessee company from the provisions of their agreement so far as related 
to the pre-emption tract; and with the further result of a sale by the 
Six Nations to Phelps and Gorham, for themselves and their associ- 
ates, of the entire tract ceded to Massachusetts, estimated to contain 
2,500,000 acres of land. The consideration of the sale was the pay- 
ment to be made to the Indians of $5,000 and an annuity of $500 
forever. By the deed of transfer then executed by the chiefs and 
sachems of the Six Nations Phelps and Gorham, for themselves 
and their associates, became the owners in fee simple absolute of 
all the lands of Yates County that lay west of the pre-emption 
line. In fact that purchase covered the greater part of what is now 
Ontario, Wayne, Yates, Steuben, and Livingston Counties, and parts of 
Monroe and Allegany Counties. The strip of land lying east of the 
pre-emption line and west of Seneca Lake was claimed by the lessee 
companies, but the manner in which they afterward became divested of 
their title will be made clear later in the present chapter. 

While Oliver Phelps was busily employed in arranging for his nego- 
tiations with the Indians, and bringing to satisfactory terms the disturb- 
ing elements in the lessee companies, Mr. Gorham, the associate of Mr. 
Phelps, was engaged in preparing for the survey of the east and west 
boundary lines of the Massachusetts lands as preliminary to the survey 
and division into townships of the body of the tract. For this work the 
services of Col. Hugh Maxwell, an engineer of good repute, were 
engaged and the survey of the line was made during 1788. But the 
work of surveying the east line was not performed by Colonel Maxwell 
nor under his immediate direction. He was taken ill about the time the 
survey began and was obliged to return to his home, while the running 
of the line devolved upon his assistants and subordinates. Among those 
engaged in this work were at least one or more who were directly the 
subservient tools of the New York Genesee Company, and who, at the 
command of their principals, were dishonest enough to survey the line, 
not as contemplated by the letter and the spirit of the agreement 


between New York and Massachusetts, but so far as possible in the 
selfish interests of land sharks and speculators of the company above 
mentioned. At that time Geneva, or Kanandesaga, was a village of 
some importance, and was the chief seat of operations in the whole 
Genesee country and withal a very desirable acquisition. This point 
the ruling spirits of the lessee company desired to retain and control, but 
could not with a correct running of the line as contemplated in the pre- 
emption compact. The sudden illness of Colonel Maxwell opened to 
the lessees a convenient opportunity to defraud Phelps and Gorham by 
inducing the assistant engineers to deviate from the correct line, or what 
should be the correct line, and establish the boundary to the westward 
of Kanandesaga or Geneva, thus throwing the coveted district without 
the Massachusetts tract and bringing it within the territory claimed 
by the lessees under their contract of lease with the Six Nations. This 
was done. The engineer in charge made a deflection to the westward, 
and so established the original or first pre-emption line as to defraud 
Phelps and Gorham of thousands and thousands of acres and brought 
Geneva well over on the lessee tract. This palpable fraud was not dis- 
covered until some years afterward, and not until the territory had been 
surveyed into townships and sold to divers purchasers. And when dis- 
covered and the new pre-emption line run many complications were 
created with the unfortunate consequences ever attendant upon con- 
flicting titles. 

Tlie surveys into townships of the Phelps and Gorham purchase were 
made from the eastern pre-emption line as run in 1788. That line 
passed through Yates County, forming the eastern boundary of Barring- 
ton and Milo, as originally surveyed ; thence northward through Torrey, 
as now established, and Benton, passing across Kashong Creek about 
200 rods east of Bellona. What is commonly called the " old pre-emp- 
tion road ^ " is nowhere on the pre-emption line in the town of Benton, 
nor until one passes north from Cromwell's Hollow in Seneca town- 
ship, Ontario County. 

The survey of the territory into townships was commenced in 1788 

1 The road' dividing Starkey and Harrington and running about a mile into Milo is on the old 
pre-emption line ; also in Milo the straight road passing north and south through Milo Center, in 
Torrey for a short distance near Caleb Legg's, and in Benton for only a few rods on the McMaster 


and completed in 1789. So far as the character of the surface would 
admit the towns were supposed to contain contents of six miles square. 
Running from south to north were first surveyed the range lines. 
'Therefore the eastern boundary of Harrington being the pre-emption 
line the land between it and a parallel line six miles west from it con- 
stituted the " first range." Still another line six miles farther west 
and parallel to that last described included the townships of the secoqjl^ 
range. Traveling northward through each range monuments were 
placed at the end of every six miles, and by running lines at right angles 
to the range lines, at the designated points, there would be included six 
miles square, thirty-six square miles, or a township area. So it was in 
counting from south to north that the town of Harrington was num- 
bered " six " in the first range ; Milo, being next north, number 
" seven," first range ; Benton, number " eight," first range. From this 
is also shown the fact that south of Barrington and between that town 
and the Pennsylvania line were five other townships in the first range. 
This is but an explanatory example of the system of surveys employed 
in sub-dividing the Phelps and Gorham purchase, as it has been com- 
monly called. Jerusalem and Potter were in the second range and Italy 
and Middlesex in the third range. Township numbers ran from south 
to north and range numbers from east to west from the old pre emption 

In 1789 the enterpising land operators, Messrs. Phelps and Gorham, 
found themselves to be in a substantially embarrassed condition finan- 
cially. To be sure they were the possessors of upwards of 2,000,000 
acres of the best lands in the State of New York, and to a fair pro- 
portion of that vast area they had succeeded in extinguishing the Indian 
claim of title. However the expenses incurred in doing what had been 
done up to this timehad been enormous. The surveyor's chargeshad been 
large, while the payment to the Indians and the distribution of influenc- 
ing presents among them amounted to no small cost. Then, too, was 
the ever present contingent of hangers-on, pertons who had helped or 
claimed to have assisted in bringing about a peaceful settlement of diffi- 
culties, and who were persistent in their demands for money and lands. 
During this time the proprietors had succeeded in disposing of about 
half, slightly less, of their vast estate, but the purchasers were in the 


main persons who held shares or stock in the association, and. who had 
accepted town grants or deeds in exchange for their interests in the 
company. Therefore the year 1789 found Phelps and Gorham with a 
large amount of land remaining, but with very little ready cash, and the' 
payment agreed to be made to Massachusetts, the $100,000, was now 
due. The worthy proprietors kad reckoned upon paying the purchase 
price in Massachusetts money, which at the time they made the original 
contract was worth only about fifty cents on the dollar, but which on 
account of the State's having funded her debt and re-established her 
credit among other States of the Union had advanced to nearly par 
value. The result of this was that, instead of being able to make the 
payment with about $50,000 actual means, the proprietors found them- 
selves under the necessity of raising nearly $100,000, an obligation they 
could not meet. 

In this emergency Phelps and Gorham memorialized the Massachu- 
setts legislature, asking that they be released from the payment of the 
whole principal sum, and expressed a willingness to pay for that por- 
tion of the lands to which the Indian title had been extinguished. This 
proposition was agreeable to the State, the more so perhaps from the 
knowledge they had that the remaining territory could find ready sale 
to Robert Morris, of Philadelphia, the financier of the Revolution and 
a man of large means and influence. 

In the early part of 1790 a sale was effected to Mr. Morris, the deed 
or contract therefor being executed by Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel 
Gorham, and the lands embraced in the transfer included all that the 
grantors had purchased under the pre-emption right except such town- 
ships as had already been sold, of which there were about fifty. The 
consideration agreed to be paid by Mr. Morris was ;^30,000 New York 
money, or its ready equivalent of $75,000. 

Mr. Morris had no sooner become fully possessed of his new purchase 
than he proceeded to investigate its character and condition, and he 
soon discovered or had strong reason to suspect that a gross fraud had 
been practiced in running the east line. For the purpose of accurate 
information on the subject he engaged Adam Hoopes to explore the 
country, and particularly to re-survey the east boundary and determine 
upon the accuracy of the original line. But before anything had been 


done in this matter Mr. Morris's agent in England succeeded in mak- 
ing a sale of the tract to a party of English capitalists, comprised of Sir 
William Pultne)^ John Hornby, and Patrick Colquhoun. The nego- 
tiations were had with Charles Williamson, who acted in the capacity of 
agent for the persons named and received the deeds in his own name, 
which the actual purchasers, being aliens, could not hold. The consid- 
eration paid Mr. Morris was ;£'3S,000 sterling or, its equivalent, $170,- 
000. Mr. Morris's ownership was quite brief, but his profit was none 
the less substantial. The lands included within this sale amounted to 
about 1,200,000 acres. The deed was executed April 11, 1792. 

Among other things Mr. Morris had agreed with his grantees that he 
would cause to be made an accurate survey of the pre-emption line, 
and in accordance with this promise he directed the work to be done 
under the supervision of Major Hoopes. He also caused Andrew, Jo- 
seph, and Benjamin Ellicott to be engaged as assistants in the work. 
The work was performed in 1792, Benjamin Ellicott being in immediate 
charge and assisted by his brothers and others named Armstrong, Sax- 
ton, and Briscoe. 

This party of competent and trustworthy surveyors commenced at 
precisely the same point as had the previous engineers, at the eighty- 
second milestone in the Pennsylvania line, but the new men at once 
discovered that the original line began bearing to the westward at the 
very outset, and so continued with occasional variations until Sodus 
Bay was reached. The greatest variation from the correct line was two 
miles, sixty- five chains, and sixty-four links, and this at a point eighty- 
one miles from the place of beginning. Throughout the towns that 
now form a part of Yates County the line was shown to be from one 
and one-half to two and one- half miles farther west than it should have 
been. This survey made by the Ellicotts and others also demonstrated 
very clearly that the running of the old line so far from its true course 
was the result of fraud and not an error. 

This discovery worked to the great disadvantage of the State and to 
the owners and settlers, who had by that time taken possession of their 
lands. The State had sold and granted to divers individuals all the 
lands lying between the old pre-emption line and Seneca Lake, and 
many of the purchasers and grantees under these sales were in posses- 


sion. Now the true pre emption had been surveyed and fixed, and 
within the Phelps and Gorham purchase, as by that survey decided, 
were found the lands and improvements of persons holding titles from 
the State. Nothing now remained to be done on the part of the State 
other than to satisfy the claims of the injured parties. In many cases 
Mr. Williamson confirmed the State titles and received compensation 
therefor from the State by grants of lands in other localities from the 
public lands, while in other instances the governor appeased the claim- 
ants by grants of public lands, but generally was compelled to give 
from three to six acres for each one possessed by the person found to be 
on the pre-emption tract. 

The principal settlement in this region at that time was the Friends 
colony in the towns of Milo and Torrey and the vicinity generally. 
They were found to be in part on the pre-emption tract and in part on 
State lands. The chapter next following shows how they became 
quieted in their possession through the generosity of Charles Williamson. 

The new pre-emption line touched the waters of Seneca Lake at a 
point about two miles north of the village of Dresden, and continued in 
the lake the remainder of its length. The result of the survey showed 
Geneva to be wholly within the Massachusetts district and therefore a 
part of the Phelps and Gorham purchase. Neither Phelps, Gorham, or 
Robert Morris ever realized any additional remuneration on account of 
the discovery, but whatever of advantage or profit came of it fell to the 
Pultney association, of which Charles Williamson was active agent. 

One of the largest tracts of land that was brought within the purchase 
after running the new line was the i6,000 acres originally granted to 
Seth Reed and Peter Ryckman in consideration of services performed 
by them in acquiring title to the State by influencing the Indians to at- 
tend the council. Moreover both these persons were members of the 
lessee company and the grant was in part made to quiet and satisfy them. 

Charles Williamson claimed of the State on behalf of his principals 
compensation for the total amount of 37,788 acres of land, a portion of 
which land lay within the county of Yates as afterward established. 
One parcel was a 320-acre tract reserved by treaty to Joseph Poudre, 
and which was in the towns of Seneca, Ontario County, and Benton, 
this county; another was a tract of 2,600 acres surveyed to William J. 


Fredenburgh in the towns of Torrey and Mile ; another was the Lan- 
sing tract of 2,466 J^ acres also in Torrey and Milo; one of 400 acres 
surveyed to John Quick in Starkey ; one survey of 1,500 acres in Milo 
certified to James Walker; the Phillips tract in Starkey of 800 acres; the 
tract of Samuel Latta containing 200 acres in Starkey ; the Nathaniel 
Owen tract of 200 also in Starkey ; 3,996 acres surveyed to James Wat- 
son in Starkey; 600 acres in Starkey surveyed to Lansing and De Witt; 
and 3,600 acres belonging to John Carpenter and others, 1,000 acres be- 
longing to Charles McKnight and others, and a small gore of 463 acres, 
all in Starkey. Other particular instances might be cited, but they are 
not considered as having any importance in this chapter. The remain- 
ing portion of the land, that lying between the new pre-emption line 
and Seneca Lake, was practically undisturbed. It had been granted by 
the State of New York to individuals who held military land warrants 
or to others to stop clamorous tongues among the lessee companies. 

The land lying between the old and new lines became known as "the 
gore," and by that name it has ever since been designated. When the 
towns were organized as parts of Ontario County the unsurveyed lands 
were annexed to the regular towns for jurisdictional purposes. Starkey, 
however, lying in a great and separate body, became a part of Reading 
in Schuyler County, and was organized as a part of Yates in 1824. 

Much that might properly come within the province of this chapter, 
particularly that which relates to the sale and disposition of the several 
townships now forming Yates County, is omitted from the present nar- 
rative, but will be found in the chapters devoted to township history. 



Jemima Wilkinson, the Public Universal Friend — First emissary of the Fnends 
Society sent to explore the Genesee Country — His unfavorable Report — A Commit- 
tee of investigation Chosen — The life of The Friend — Her sickness, recovery, and 
singular Transformation — Her Teachings — Friends Society Formed — Her travels 
in New England and Pennsylvania — The Friends the pioneers in Yates County — 
Founding the new Jerusalem — Their Trials and Hardships — First wheat Sown — 
The first Mill — The coming of The Friend — Her home and Meeting-house — A dis- 
sension in the Society — Some prominent members Withdraw — The purchase of Jeru- 
salem Township — The Friend's Purchase — Her removal to Jerusalem — Death of 
SarahJRichards — Troubles following her Decease — A serious Litigation — Ultimate 
success of The Friend's Cause — Death of The Friend — Her last Will and Testa- 
ment — False prophets enter the Society — Its decline and Downfall — Members of 
the Society. 

AS early as the year 1786 Ezekiel Sherman made a visit of explor- 
ation and investigation to the region of the then called Genesee 
country, the object of which was to find some suitable location for tt e 
establishing of a permanent settlement by a peculiar sect or class of 
persons, the devoted followers of Jemima Wilkinson. At that early day, 
however, settlement of any kind in this region was attended not only 
with great hardship, but the Indian occupants of the locality were not 
yet fully reconciled to the singular situation in which they found them- 
selves on account of the disastrous results of the war just closed ; nor 
were these savage descendants of the once powerful Iroquois at all dis- 
posed to readily submit to the invasion of their much loved hunting and 
fishing region by any white people, no matter how peaceable may have 
been the settlement or how worthy may have been the object of the 

Finding the country not ripe for occupation Mr. Sherman returned 
to the place whence he came and reported to the society the results 
of his investigation. But far from being dismayed by the unfavorable 
representations of their emissary tlie society determined to send a 
committee of three persons to make a further investigation of the con- 
dition and situation of the new country and if possible. to fix upon a 
favorable tract for their future occupancy and habitation. 


Jemima Wilkinson, as she was originally named, or the Universal 
Friend, as she styled herself after her somewhat remarkable transforma- 
tion from the material to the spiritual being, was the founder and the 
conscientious leader of the sect or society just referred to. She was 
not, neither were her followers, religionists of the order commonly 
termed enthusiasts or fanatics, nor were they in any sense the followers 
of a false doctrine. On the contrary the people who allied themselves to 
the Friend were earnest, honest, upright men and women, and among her 
followers were numbered many persons who are remembered as having 
been among the foremost men of the region that was afterward erected 
into the county of Yates, and whose descendants many of them still 
occupy the soil of the county and are among the progressive citizens of the 
present time ; and although the society has been for many years extinct, 
and memory of it lives only in historical records, still no intelligent 
speaker has given voice to sentiments other than of praise for the 
society and admiration for its most zealous founder and head. 

The name of Jemima Wilkinson is known in almost every house- 
hold in the county, and the story of her life has been published many 
times and told by parent to child through all the generations of people 
from the coming of her society and self to this locality to the present. 
Nothing untold can now be said of her, yet any work of the historian 
that purports to treat of this region of the State would indeed be in- 
complete without at least a passing allusion to The Friend and her faith- 
ful people. Jemima Wilkinson was born in the town of Cumberland, 
Providence County, R. I., in 1758, and was the daughter of Jeremiah 
and Amy (Whipple) Wilkinson. Of their twelve children Jemima was 
the eighth and the only one of them that attained any special celebrity 
or prominence. The young life of this child was not unlike that of 
others of her condition and situation, nor is it understood that she pos- 
sessed peculiar traits that marked her in contrast with others of her 
time. She lived at a time when it was not an uncommon thing for 
numbers of people to separate themselves from established churches or 
sects and set up a new standard of religious discipline or worship ; and 
while it is known that Jemima was brought under the influence of one 
of these departures it is not believed that she was led by it. However 
during her young womanhood she underwent a remarkable and most 


singular change. In the summer of 1776, then being eighteen years 
old, she fell sick and of her disease none of the medical men of the 
time were able to comprehend, except that it was diagnosed as one of 
the ailments of the nervous system and not of the physical, for she ap- 
peared to suffer no pain. At last she wasted in bodily strength and 
friends despaired of her life ; but during her illness Jemima constantly 
told them of her strange visions, beautiful in her eyes, which to those 
around her were evidences of an approaching end and the hallucinations 
of a bewildered brain. Gradually she became more weak in strength as 
her illness continued, when finally, in October, she appeared to fall into 
a trance state and appeared almost lifeless for a space of about thirty- 
six hours. To the great surprise of her family she suddenly aroused 
herself, called for her garments, dressed, and walked among the assem- 
bled members of the household, though frail and wasted with her long 
prostration. From this time forth she disclaimed being Jemima Wilkin- 
son, but asserted that the former individuality had passed away and that 
she was another being, a minister of the Almighty sent to preach his 
gospel and to minister to the spiritual necessities of mankind. She took 
to herself the name of the Universal Friend, or the Public Universal 
Friend, and would recognize no other names even to the end of her life, 
although to her followers she was commonly known as " The Friend." 
The first public appearance of Jemima in her new character was made 
on the Sunday next following her rising from the bed of sickness, and 
on the day alluded to she attended worship and after the services were 
ended repaired to a grove of trees, where she delivered a discourse of 
some length. In the course of her remarks she displayed a surprising 
familiarity with scripture passages and astonished her hearers with the 
peculiar force of her delivery. From this time forward she preached 
frequently, and her audiences were comprised of persons of full mental 
power; not a band of religious discontents nor a party looking for a 
Moses to lead them out of a darkness, but rather men of worth, stand- 
ing, influence, and wealth, who with their families were impressed with 
the truth of the teachings of Jemima Wilkinson, although she at that 
time was scarcely more than a girl, being but about eighteen years of 
age. The Friend traveled about from place to place, visiting and 
preaching in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, and in 


many localities houses of worship were erected by her converted follow- 
ers. During the summer of 1782 she went to Pennsylvania, to the 
neighborhood of Philadelphia, accompanied by a small party of her ad- 
herents, and there she received a friendly welcome from the Quaker ele- 
ment of the region. She preached and labored among them for some 
time, with the result that many new converts, were gathered around her 
standard. Between this field and that of her former labors her minis- 
trations were divided until the year 1 790, when she made the pilgrimage 
to the new Jerusalem in what afterward became the town of Torrey in 
the county of Yates. To establish a community home in some 'new 
region of the land was the cherished desire of The Friend, and it was 
for this purpose that Ezekiel Sherman was authorized to visit the 
Genesee country in 1786, reference to which was made in a preceding 
portion of this chapter. 

Notwithstanding the unfavorable character of the report of Ezekiel 
Sherman the new society determined upon a still further investigation, 
and if possible to plant their colony in this section of the country. To 
this end Thomas Hathaway, Richard Smith, and Abraham Dayton 
were constituted a committee to represent the society and in 1787 set 
out upon their journey. They first explored some portions of Pennsyl- 
vania, particularly in the Wyoming Valley, but at last struck upon the 
trail made by General Sullivan's army of some years before, and this 
led them to and along the shores of Seneca Lake. After visiting Kan- 
andesaga, now Geneva, they came down the west side of the lake to 
Kashong, now in Benton, Yates County, and at the latter place fell in 
with two Frenchmen who were trading among the Indians, and who 
were respectively named De Bartzch and Poudre. By the traders the 
committee was informed that the region about them was unsurpassed 
for purposes of settlement and cultivation ; and in this opinion the 
worthy commissioners appear to have agreed, for they decided to make 
a favorable report of the locality, but to leave the exact situation of the 
colony to the discretion of whoever of the society should first come to 
make a home. 

The first settlement by members of the society was made during the 
latter part of the summer of 1788, and the pioneers to whom belonged 
the honor of that event were Abel Botsford, Peleg Briggs, John Briggs, 


Isaac Nichols, George Sisson, Ezekiel Sherman, Stephen Card, and 
others to the number of twenty-five persons. The descendants of a 
number of these heads of famihes are still residents of the county, re- 
siding in various towns. This party of pioneers proceeded along up 
Seneca Lake until their attention was attracted by the noise of falling 
waters. This indicated to thena a desirable site for a mill and to the 
spot their steps were directed. This was in August, 1788, and the 
exact point of location was on the outlet of Keuka Lake not far distant 
from the place where it discharges into Seneca Lake, at the location 
which has ever since been known as City Hill. Not only was the first 
permanent white settlement effected [at that time, but the sturdy pio- 
neers of the party at once cleared the land and sowed about twelve 
acres of wheat, the first event of its kind in the State west of Seneca 

During the year 1789 the little colony on the lake received large 
accessions in numbers, and even their faithful and devoted leader her- 
self attempted the overland journey to the new country in the same 
year, but an unfortunate accident that nearly proved fatal in its results 
changed her determination, and she returned again to her home near 
Philadelphia. However The Friend sent her trusted companion and 
earnest co-worker, Sarah Richards, to the settlement at new Jerusalem 
to investigate its condition and its people and report to the leader on 
her return. But it appears that Sarah was not pleased at all she saw 
among the colonists, upon which she upbraided them in an earnest 
lecture. After a brief sojourn Sarah returned to The Friend and did not 
visit the settlement again until 1791. 

The year 1789 was marked with many trials and hardships for the 
pioneers of the new country. Mills they had not, neither provisions, 
and many were threatened with starvation. To grind their corn a stump 
was hollowed out, and with a stone or mallet the corn was pounded 
sufficiently to call coarse meal ; but the supply of this commodity was 
exceedingly scarce and many families were compelled to subsist on 
nettles and milk and the meat of such animals as the forest afforded. 
But after the first year the fertile soil of the locality returned an abun- 
dant harvest, and from that time forward no family suffered for the 
necessaries of life ; for luxuries they sought not, for such was not the 


character of the followers of the Universal Friend. The distinguished 
patron and founder of the society became a dweller among its members 
during the year 1790, she having left Worcester, Pa., in March and 
completing the journey in about two weeks. In the same year, and 
after The Friend's arrival, the society erected a log meeting-house and 
also a house of abode for its leader. The former stood on the road 
leading from Norris Landing to the mill, near what has been more 
lately called the James M. Clark residence ; The Friend's house stood 
on what is yet called the Townsend farm, and although much worn by 
the storms of a century is still standing, itself a monument to its singu- 
lar and almost incomprehensible founder. The dwelling of The Friend 
was built by Elijah Malin and the means for its erection were furnished 
mainly by Anna Wagener, both of which persons were devout believers 
in the teachings of The Friend. 

So far as this narrative has progressed there has nowhere been made 
mention of any fact tending to show by what means the Society of 
Friends became possessed of the land upon which their first settlement 
was made. In a general way it was known to the society that the re- 
gion was a part of the Massachusetts pre-emption territory subject to 
ihe right of jurisdiction reserved to the State of New York ; and 
although a latent fact it was nevertheless true that certain of the follow- 
ers and adherents of The Friend were members of the somewhat noted 
lessee company, and through that chatinel and the influence of these 
members in the company, the settlement was permitted and effected 
without the formality of negotiations and purchase. It was assumed, 
too, that the' entire settlement was on the pre-emption tract, although 
in fact when the line had become determined it was found to be on both 
sides of the same. This discovery together with the subsequent run- 
ning of the new pre-emption line led to certain complications, but which 
were afterward satisfactorily adjusted. But the reader will inquire how 
was it that Ezekiel Sherman made such an unfavorable report regard- 
ing the hostile attitude of the Indians, and yet within a year or two 
afterward so large a settlement was permitted by them to be made 
without any interruption on their part ? In this connection it may be 
said that at this time the Six Nations had concluded their sale to Phelps 
and Gorham, but they still lingered about their favorite camps hunting 


and fishing, as if reluctant to yield up possession they had so long and 
so peaceably held. Moreover they were at almost open enmity with 
all white settlers and retired before the onward march of civilization 
with feelings of hatred for their late conquerers. Occasionally there 
would be an outbreak, but the savages made no demonstration against 
the Friends settlement, although it was the first in the region west of 
Seneca Lake. In truth it appears that the Senecas stood in wondrous 
awe of the strange people inhabiting the new Jerusalem. The Public 
Universal Friend not only held her own community of people in a com- 
mon bond of religious strength and union, but as well did her influence 
extend over the savage and warlike Senecas, and by them she was 
looked upon as something more than and totally unlike the average 
woman. She preached to them on various occasions, and her words 
being interpreted fell as seed sown upon good ground, for they showed 
to her and her followers invariable respect and refrained from any 
unfriendly demonstrations against the infant settlement. Not only^ 
that, but occasions are not wanting on which the Indians furnished The 
Friend with bountiful supplies of game and other necessaries and com- 
forts of life. On the other hand The Friend and her people always 
treated the Indians in a most friendly manner, offering them no affront 
and denying them no unreasonable request. They therefore became 
friends. In 1791, when the Senecas were on their way to the treaty 
grounds at Newtown (Elmira), a body of them to the number of about 
500 camped at Norris Landing. Among them were Cornplanter, Red 
Jacket, Good Peter, Rev. Mr. Kirkland, Horatio Jones, Jasper Parish, 
the latter being interpreters. On this occasion The Friend preached to 
the Indians and was received by them with much favor. On a still later 
occasion, in 1794, at Canandaigua, at the final treaty The Friend also 
addressed the Indians, using this text for the subject of her remarks : 
" Have we not all one Father ? Hath not one God created us all ? " For 
this and other similar appearances she was called by the Iroquois Squaw 
Shin-ne-waw-na-gis-taw- ge, meaning "A great woman Preacher." 

In 1788 the so-called "old pre-emption line" was surveyed and run, 
i)ut the Friends had not more than an indefinite idea of its exact loca- 
tion. They of course de.sired to possess the land in fee simple, for which 
purpose they addressed an application to George Clinton, governor 


of New York, believing themselves to be on the State lands, requesting- 
that they be allowed to make purchase. The governor directed them 
to attend the land sale at Albany, which was done with the result of a 
purchase of a tract embracing 14,040 acres, the certificate of title being 
given to James Parker, William Potter, and Thomas Hathaway and their 
associates as tenants in common, they representing and acting for the 
society. The certificate of sale was dated October 10, 1792, but the con- 
sideration has been variously expressed by standard writers. Turner in 
his history of the land titles in general, and the Phelps and Gorham pur- 
chase in particular, says the purchase price was " a little less than 2s. per 
acre," while Cleveland states that no consideration was expressed, "ex- 
cept the requirement that there shall within seven years be one family 
located on each 640 acres." The latter statement would appear to be the 
more reasonable, for had the State granted or sold the tract for actual and 
substantial consideration money restitution would necessarily have been 
required by the grantees when it was discovered that the pre-emption 
line rightly run brought a considerable portion of their lands on the 
pre-emption tract. This proved the case. The new line was run in 
1 79 1 and passed through the Friends settlement more than a mile 
eastward of the old line, showing that their location was in part on the 
Phelps and Gorham tract proper. But at this time Phelps and Gorham 
had passed their title to Robert Morris, and by the latter it was sold to 
the London Association, the agent of the latter being Charles Will- 
iamson. This unfortunate condition of affairs left those of the society 
no resource other than to seek a confirmation of their title from the 
agent of the association. The number of settlers on the gore, as it was 
called, in the Friends settlement was twenty-three and they addressed 
themselves to Mr. Williamson as follows: 

"Jerusalem, 13th of the ist Month, 1794. 

"Friend Williamson : We take this opportunity to let thee know our wishes, who 
are now on thy land at the Friends Settlement, in Jerusalem, in the county of Ontario, 
and in the State of New York. We, the subscribers, wish to take deeds from friend 
Williamson for the land our improvements is on, rather than any other person. Our 
desire is that thee would not dispose of the land to any other person but to us who are 
on the land. 

" Benajah Botsford, Eleazer Ingraham, Solomon Ingraham, Richard Smith, Abel 
Botsford, Enoch Malin, William]^Davis, John Briggs, Elnathan Botsford, Daniel In- 


graham, Richard Mathews, Elnathan Botsford, jr., Asahel Stone, Samuel Doolittle, 
John Davis, Benedict Robinson, Philo Ingraham, Samuel Parsons, Jonathan Davis, 
Elijah Malin, Thomas Hathaway, Mercy Aldrich, Elisha Ingraham." 

Charles Williamson, the representative of the London Association, 
to whom the above petition was addressed, showed to the petitioners the 
greatest consideration, treated th«m not only with fairness but with great 
liberality, and confirmed to them in the name of his principals the title 
to their lands agreeable to their request. 

From the time of the organization of the Society of Friends in 1776 
down to the closing years of the eighteenth century there appears to 
have been no serious interference with its prosperity and progress. Its 
numbers were comprised of persons and families who had heard the 
early teachings of its remarkable leader and were brought to this lo- 
cality from the States of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and 
Pennsylvania. Many of them were strangers to one another before 
coming to the new Jerusalem, but when arrived there became united 
by the fraternal bonds of love, and faith, and hope, and all were devotees 
of their leader. The Friend, originally Jemima Wilkinson. Their lands 
and estates were held in common, and while each family lived upon that 
set apart to it the whole belonged to the society, according to the cus- 
tom that prevailed in the body. In the society James Parker was per- 
haps the most influential and wealthy member, whose tract embraced 
a thousand acres and on which in parcels dwelt and labored himself, 
his son, and his sons-in-law. But during the latter part of the century 
referred to above Mr. Parker became for some unknown reason dissat- 
isfied with the workings of the society, or with the strict and rigorous 
demands of The Friend herself, and withdrew himself from its member- 
ship and any and all allegiance to it. The rupture was sudden, but none 
the less effectual, and there proved to be a permanent alienation of affec- 
tion between him and The Friend. Almost at the same time William Pot- 
ter, another leading member of the society, withdrew himself from his 
former connection in the body, and from that time dated the decline of 
power and influence, not only of The Friend, but as well the society of 
which she was founder and leader — its acknowledged head. Then fol- 
lowed a long litigation growing out of the question of title to parts of 
The Friend's tract, in which suit William Potter was plaintiff and George 


Sisson defendant, with determination in favor of the plaintiff and against 
the defendant, and therefore adverse to The Friend's interest. The 
opinion of the court pointed out a means by which The Friend's cause 
might find relief in equity, but in resorting to proceedings fell into the 
hands of an unscrupulous lawyer, who cheated his clients of a large re- 
taining fee. Directly the losses in defending and prosecuting the sev- 
eral suits fell upon individuals of the society, but indirectly they came 
upon the society at large and had much to do with The Friend's ulti- 
mate change of residence from the Seneca Lake region to the more 
remote and less desirable final abode in Jerusalem, a town so named in 
recognition of her presence within its border. 

But even before changing her dwelling place from the original site 
The Friend had in mind the thought of departing from the community 
and making her home in some remote locality, away from the dissentients 
who were the cause of so great trouble. To this end Abraham Dayton, 
a faithful servator of The Friend, was sent to Canada to negotiate with 
Governor Simcoe for a grant of a tract of land upon which she and her 
still devoted adherents could abide in peace. Friend Dayton succeeded 
in securing a grant of the township of Beauford, Canada West, but 
when the society were making preparations to emigrate to the region 
the governor annulled the charter on the ground that the same was 
made under the mistaken impression that the members of the society 
were Quakers, for whom he had great respect, but on learning the pre- 
cise nature or character of the society deemed it expedient to revoke 
the grant already made. However he renewed the same to Mr. Day- 
ton, who moved his family and property to the township and lived there 
during the remainder of his life. 

On September 2, 1790, Thomas Hathaway and Benedict Robinson 
became the owners of township number seven in the second range by 
purchase from Phelps and Gorham. In extent the purchase embraced 
thirty-six square miles and the consideration paid therefor was $4,320. 
Both Hathaway and Robinson were members of the society, and it is 
believed the purchase was made with the advice and sanction of The 
F'riend and upon its territory she designed at some time to establish her 
permanent home. At all events such was the intention of Benedict Rob- 
inson at least, as might readily be inferred from a letter addressed by 


him to Sarah Richards, the nearest companion and faithful counselor of 
The Friend. In January, 1792, Robinson conveyed to Sarah Richards on 
behalf of The Friend and in trust for her four whole lots and halves of 
two others, containing 1,400 acres of land, Thomas Hathaway having 
previously sold his interest in these lots to Robinson. By conveyances 
subsequently executed The Friefid became possessed of a large tract of 
land in this township, amounting in the aggregate to 4,480 acres. On 
this tract in 1791 The Friend, accompanied by Sarah Richards, made the 
selection of a site for her permanent home, visiting the land in person. 
The work of improving and clearing the land,, cutting roads, and erect- 
ing such houses and buildings as were necessary was at once com- 
menced and prosecuted under the immediate supervision of Sarah 
Richards, but it was not until the spring of 1794 that The Friend and 
the members of her household moved to the place. The locality of her 
domicile was called " Brook Kedron," a name applied by Thomas Hath- 
away. However the trusted Sarah Richards did not live to witness the 
completion of her task, she dying during the latter part of 1793. By 
her will she bequeathed her trust to Rachel Malin, and by the same 
means devised her property and estate to the same person. To her 
daughter, Eliza Richards, she gave only a small property in Connecti- 
cut and entrusted her future to the generous care of The Friend. 
Eliza, however, proved recreant to The Friend's teachings ; she escaped 
one night from The Friend's house and was married to Enoch Malin. 

This couple, Enoch and Eliza Malin, afterward became the cause of 
much trouble to The Friend and involved her and her estate in a. long 
and bitter litigation, It will be remembered that The Friend in making 
purchases of land seldom entered in person into the negotiations, and 
never took title to herself in her own name, but rather the conveyances 
were executed to her prime minister, Sarah Richards, in trust for The 
Friend either expressed or implied. By the extensive purchases of 
land in JerusalemSarah became possessed of the fee, while the equitable 
title was in The Friend ; but Enoch and Eliza were not so disposed to 
regard it, for Eliza, as the child and natural heir of Sarah, contended 
that a part at least of The Friend's estate, so called, was wholly the 
property of her mother, and acting on this assumption conveyed away 
portions of it to sundry persons. Finally, in t8ii, Rachel Malin, the 


successor to Sarah Richards, brought suit in equity against Enoch and 
EHza Mahn,and others claiming to hold title under them. The case was 
not finally determined until 1828, and resulted in a final decree sustain- 
ing the trust relation in Sarah Richards and by her passed to Rachel 
Malin, thus upholding both the legal and equitable titles in The Friend. 
But before this litigation was ended both the original parties, Enoch and 
Eliza Malin and The Friend herself, were dead and buried. The death 
of The Friend occurred on July i, 1819. 

The first house of The Friend in Jerusalem, that commenced under 
the direction of the ever faithful Sarah Richards, was first occupied by 
The Friend in 1794. It was built in three sections, two of them being 
wholly of logs and a single story in height, while the third was of logs 
covered with clapboards, a building of presentable appearance and two 
stories high. One of the log sections was used as a meeting-house by 
the society and was otherwise utilized as a school- room. The first teacher 
appears to have been Sarah Richards, followed by Ruth Prichard and 
John Briggs. This substantial structure was the abiding place of The 
Friend and her family until the year 18 14. Before that year, however, 
Thomas Clark commenced the erection of a more desirable house de- 
signed for the use of the distinguished leader of the society. His work 
was begun in 1809, but not before 18 14 was it sufficiently complete to 
receiv^ts tenant. The building was two and one half stories high, 
having large rooms with high ceilings, and was exceedingly well ven- 
tilated and lighted. For its time this was one of the most pretentious 
dwellings of the region and was the home of The Friend from 18 14 to 
1 8 19, in the latter of which years she died. But notwithstanding the 
demise of The Friend the home was occupied by her successors as long 
as the society continued in existence and after its extinction was put 
to such use as was required by its subsequent owners; and it still 
stands, showing somewhat the marks of time and the wearing of the 
elements. For the locality, even to the present generation of people, 
there has been ever shown a feeling of respect, for the final house of 
The Friend. is th-e only substantial monument ever erected to her mem- 
ory. Indeed for a time it covered her remains, her body having been 
deposited in a strong vault built in the cellar and securely walled in. 
After some years it was removed to a more suitable place of burial and 


laid beside the graves of those who had been followers of The Friend. 
But the necessities of later generations of occupants of the soil required 
these lands for agricultural uses, and the body was disinterred and re- 
moved for permanent burial to the cemetery at Penn Yan. 

Because of the persecutions of The Friend by those who had been her 
former followers and adherents»she felt it incumbent upon herself to 
remove from her first established home at the new Jerusalem to the 
remote locality in which her remaining life was spent. At the time or 
soon after the first of her society came to the Seneca country the region 
was given the name of new Jerusalem, and that name applied to the 
region inhabited by members of the society and was not a township so 
named, as has been erroneously supposed. But when The Friend had 
moved to her last abode the name Jerusalem had already been given the 
township. In 1789 Thomas Hathaway and Benedict Robinson made the 
purchase of the township, and in the same year it was duly organized 
and named. Very appropriately it was called Jerusalem, for it was then 
intended to become thfe permanent home of The Friend. To her and 
those of the society who held firmly to Lts tenets it was indeed a Jeru- 
salem, for in absolute control of all its lands they were safe from intru- 
sion by those who sought to destroy the power and influence of both 
society and leader. For a time only cai;i it be said that The Friend and 
her following were so exempted from wordly troubles, for with the death 
of Sarah Richards, and the sale of portions of The Friend's estate by 
Enoch and Eliza Malin, there were ever afterward many vaxations and 
complications that disturbed the quiet community even until after The 
Friend had died and until the society itself was dissolved. 

With the removal of The Friend to her new home in Jerusalem there 
went at the same time or soon afterward a fair proportion of her followers. 
Some of these bought lands for themselves, but many were given loca- 
tions on The Friend's tract, which was quite extensive, and which was 
so intended to be for the accommodation of those who sought to be near 
her and were not able to purchase. Still The Friend retained a consid- 
erable tract of land in the original location on the lake, some 300 
acres ; and although residing some twelve miles distant from the 
scene of former labors she occasionally visited the old settlement and 
preached to those who still lived in the locality. In traveling to and 


from her home and the old place The Friend would sometimes ride a 
horse, but as years advanced she betook herself to a three-seated 
vehicle, of almost ancient construction, as the most convenient and easy 
means of making the journey. In this old carriage, it is said on reliable 
authority, The Friend traveled from her home near Philadelphia to the 
new Jerusalem in 1791. During the earlier years of her residence 
here the carriage could not well be used, as the roads were then in a 
primitive state and almost impassable to such a cumbrous vehicle as 
was this. For this reason it was put aside for some years and The 
Friend made her journeys on horseback. She became, too, an expert 
rider and once eluded her persecutors, who sought to arrest her, by her 
skillful and rapid riding. But during the later years of her labors, 
being somewhat broken by overwork and suffering from a dropsical 
affliction. The Friend had recourse to her carriage to convey her about 
among the branches of the society. And the old carriage itself, having 
withstood the ravages of time is still in existence, and is kept as nearly 
as possible in its original appearance. It is now the property of 
William T. Remer, of Benton. To describe it understandingly to the 
reader would be a difficult task, but it is as it was when built except 
that the wheels have been reduced in size. On its back and sides are 
still seen The Friend's initials " U. F." in plain script, and also her coat 
of arms. The vehicle is entered by means of one door, and that on 
what farmers call the " nigh " side. The carriage is now more than 100 
years old and is appearently as strong as when built. Frequently is the 
old carryall seen on the streets of Penn Yan and the town of Benton, 
but on none but public days and for occasional use at funerals. 

Many of the persons who had once been the warmest friends and de- 
voted followers of the Universal Friend, after they had seceded from 
and severed their connection with the society, became her most unre- 
lenting and bitter persecutors; and while it is not deemed within the 
proper scope of this narrative to refer at length to the many false and de- 
famatory charges brought against her and studiously circulated by the 
seceders it does become necessary to state the fact that she was once ar- 
rested upon the charge of blasphemy. Several times did the officers of 
the law attempt to arrest her, not that they feared she might escape the 
jurisdiction of the courts, but to make the fact public that she was under 



arrest ; that she should be at least to that extent disgraced ; that if pos- 
sible she should be confined in jail at Canandaigua ; and that the tri- 
umph of their revengeful spirit might be complete. But The Friend was 
not to be taken unawares, neither did she fear the results of arrest and 
trial; but her people were determined she should not be unnecessarily- 
detained nor in any manner d^lsgraced, therefore they protected her 
against the persecutions of a relentless enemy. And when the time 
came right she quietly submitted to the service of legal process of ar- 
rest, and was provided with bondsmen and attorney and gave bail for 
her appearance without the necessity of leaving her own house. As 
required by the recognizance she duly appeared at the court at Can- 
andaigua, but the grand jury refused to indict her. At that time she 
was invited by the court and others to preach to them, which she did. 
After the sermon was ended Judge Spencer, being asked his opinion 
of the discourse, said : " We have heard good counsel, and if we live in 
harmony with what that woman has told us we shall be sure to be good 
people here and reach a final rest in Heaven." 

" The Last Will and Testament of the person called the Universal Friend, of Jeru- 
salem,' in the county of Ontario, and State of New York, who in the year one thousand 
seven hundred and seventy-six was called Jemima Wilkinson, and ever since that time 
the Universal Friend, a new name which the mouth of the Lord hath named. Con- 
sidering the uncertainty of this mortal life, and being of sound mind and memory, 
blessed to the Lord of Saboath and father of mercies therefor, I do make and publish 
this my Last Will and Testament. 

" 1st. My will is that all my just debts be paid by my executors hereafter named. 

" 2d. I give, bequeath, and devise unto Rachel Malin and Margaret Malin, now of 
said Jerusalem, all my earthly property, both real and personal, that is to say all my 
land lying in said Jerusalem and in Benton or elsewhere in the county of Ontario, to- 
gether with all the buildings thereon, to them the said Rachel and Margaret, and to 
their heirs and assigns forever, to be equally and amicably shared between them, the 
said Rachel and Margaret ; and I do also give and bequeath to the said Rachel Malin 
and Margaret Malin all my wearing apparel, all my household furniture, all my horses, 
•cattle, sheep, and swine, of every kind and description, and also my carriages, wag- 
ons, and carts of every kind, together with all my farming tools and utensils, and all 
my movable property of every nature and description whatever. 

" 3d. My will is that all the present members of my family, and each of them, 
be employed if they please, and, if employed, supported during natural life by the said 
Rachel and Margaret, and whenever any of them become unable to help themselves 
they are, according to such inability, kindly to be taken care of by the said Rachel and 
Margaret ; and my will also is that all poor persons belonging to the Society of Uni- 


versal Friends shall receive from the said Rachel and Margaret such assistance, com- 
fort, and support during natural life as they may need ; and in case any, either of my 
family or elsewhere in the Society, shall turn away, such shall forfeit the provisions 
herein made for them. 

" 4th. I hereby ordain and appoint Rachel Malin and Margaret Malin executors 
of my Last Will and Testament. In witness whereof I, the person once called Jemima 
Wilkinson, but in and ever since the year 1777 known and called the Public Universal 
Friend, hereunto set my name and seal the 25th day of the 2d mo. 1818. 

"John Collins, 1 

" Ann Collins, The Public Universal Friend, [l.s.] 

'' Sarah Gregory. 

'■ Be it remembered that in order to remove all doubts of the execution of the 
foregoing Last Will and Testament, being the person who in the year 1777 was known 
and called by the name of Jemima Wilkinson, but since that time as the Universal 
Friend, do make, publish, and declare the within instrument as my Last Will and Testa- 
ment, as witness my hand and seal the 7th day of the 7th mo. 1818. 

" Thomas R. Gold, her 

" John Briggs, Jemima X Wilkinson. 

''James Brown, jun'r. cross mark.'' 

With the decease of The Friend, in conformity with the provisions 
of her will, the property and estate which had belonged to her were 
passed to the beneficiaries named in the will, Rachel and Margaret 
Malin. For some time all things went along smoothly and well, but 
the society was practically without a leader. And about this time, or 
some years after The Friend's death, there came to the community one 
Michael H. Barton, who evidently felt that he had a mission in life to 
accomplish. He found favor in the eyes of some of the society, but • 
with others he was not so looked upon. He assumed the functions for- 
merly exercised by The Friend, preached at the meetings for several 
years, and otherwise took upon himself the care of the society. And 
the worthy Barton, too, seems to have been something of a politician, 
a practice hitherto not dreamed of in the society as a character becom- 
ing its leader; he took the stump for Harrison in 1840, hoping to be 
rewarded for his services by an appointment to office, but the death of 
the successful candidate put an end to his aspirations in that direction. 
Michael H. Barton died in 1857 and the society received no substan- 
tial benefit or enlargement during his ministrations. 

Succeeding Mr. Barton came two other prophets, self called as was 
their predecessor, and who, in endeavoring to infuse a new spirit 


into the society, only succeeded in working its ruin. While Barton was 
the politician Hymes was the historian; but the latter was less success- 
ful in his role than the former had been in his, and he was dismissed 
by the society. George Clark set almost at naught the rigorous relig- 
ious discipline of the society and labored only for his own selfish ends 
and personal emolument. He'survived the society he had sought to 
serve, in his own way, and afterward died in New York. But the 
greatest blow against the life of the now declining society came in the 
death of the faithful and zealous sisters, Margaret and Rachel Malin, 
the devisees under the will of The Friend and her immediate successors 
in the household. Margaret died in 1844, and by her will devised her 
interest in the estate to James Brown, jr., with the expressed desire that 
he replace her in the society and at the head of the late Friend's house- 
hold. By Margaret Malin's will James Brown became possessed of about 
700 acres of The Friend's estate, together with several thousand dollars 
worth of personal property. Rachel Malin died in 1848, leaving her 
property to the descendants of her brothers and sisters. This last death 
and the disposition of property following divided effectually the estate 
of the Universal Friend, and from that time it may be said that the 
society became practically extinct. The division of the property was 
not as The Friend herself originally designed when she made Rachel 
and Margaret her heirs and successors, but with each successive year 
the strength of the society became less, and outside and worldly influ- 
ence were constantly working its disintegration with their final and un- 
avoidable results of effectual dissolution. 

The preceding portion of the present chapter has related only the 
general outline history of The Friend and her society without regard to 
the individual members who comprised the society, and without ref- 
erence to the date of arrival in the region that was primarily called the 
new Jerusalem. Unfortunately there appears to be no record by which 
can be learned the date of settlement in this locality of the various fam- 
ilies that were allied to The Friend, but following the coming of the first 
representatives of the society in 1788 settlement by others became 
quite frequent, and during the first five or so years of the history of 
tliis county subsequent to 1788 there, were probably no settlers in the 
region who were not in some manner identified with the society or in- 


fluenced in their immigration to the locality by the community estab- 
lished by The Friend. There has been preserved, however, a fairly 
accurate list of those who were adult members of the Society of Univer- 
sal Friends, and it is proper in connection with this chapter, and as a 
part of the pioneer history of Yates County, that mention should be 
made of each to the extent of recording individual names. A preced- 
ing historical and biographical work has at considerable length recorded 
the lives of the families and individuals comprising the society, where- 
fore it becomes this chapter of the present work to furnish not more 
than the roll of membership. It is as follows : 

William Aldrich, Joseph Ballou, John Bartleson, Samuel Barnes, 
Samuel Barnes, jr., Elizur Barnes, Henry Barnes, Jonathan Botsford, sr., 
Jonathan Botsford, jr., Jonathan Botsford, brother of Elijah, Abel Botsford, 
Elijah Botsford, Benajah Botsford, son of Elnathan, John Briggs, sr., John 
Briggs, jr., Pelpg Briggs, sr., Benjamin Brown, sr., Benjamin Brown, jr., 
Georije Brown, James Brown, Abraham Dayton, Castle Dains, Jonathan 
Dains, John Davis, Samuel Doolittle, John Gardner, Amos Gurnsey, sr., 
Amos Gurnsey, jr., Jonathan Gurnsey, Spencer Hall, Arnold Hazard, 
David Harris, Nathaniel Hathaway, sr., Nathaniel Hathaway, jr., Thomas 
Hathaway, James Hathaway, Jedediah Holmes, sr., Jedediah Holmes, 
jr., Adam Hunt, Silas Hunt, Abel Hunt, Eleazer Ingraham, Elisha In- 
graham, John Ingraham, Nathaniel Ingraham, Remington Kenyon, 
Ephraim Kinney, sr., Beloved Luther, Elisha Luther, Sheffield Luther, 
Stephen Luther, Elijah Malin, Meredith Mallory, sr., Isaac Nichols, 
George Nichols, Joseph Niles, Israel Perry, Samuel Potter, Abraham 
Richards, Asa Richards, Richard Smith, Silas Spink, Asahel Stone, sr., 
George Sisson, Gilbert Sisson, Joseph Turpin, John Tripp, David Wag- 
ener, Jacob Wagener, Jaud Weaver, John Willard, Eleazer Whipple, 
Benoni Wilkinson, Simon Wilkinson. 

In the Society of Friends also were a number of persons, females, who 
adhered strictly to the life of celibacy advocated by The Friend, and 
these, too, are worthy of at least some mention. They were as follows: 
Sarah Richards, The Friend's intimate associate and counselor, who 
with her husband became members of the society during their married 
life; Mehitabel Smith, the sister of Richard Smith; Anna Wagener, 
sister of David Wagener ; Lucy, sister of Daniel Brown ; Rachel and 


Margaret Malin, The Friend's devisees and successors ; Mercy Aldrich, 
wife of William Aldricii and elder sister of The Friend ; Patience 
Wilkinson, also The Friend's sister and wife of Thomas Hazard Potter ; 
Alice Hazard, daughter of William Potter and wife of George Hazard ; 
Lucina Goodspeed ; Susannah Spencer, sister of Peleg Briggs, sr.; Mar- 
tha Reynolds; Patience Allen'; Hannah Baldwin; Sarah and Mary 
Briggs, sisters of Peleg Briggs, jr.; Lydia and Phebe Coggswell; Mary 
Gardner, widow, sister to Martha Reynolds; Mary Hunt, daughter of 
Adam Hunt; Lydia Davis, daughter of John Davis; Eunice Hatha- 
way, daughter of Freelove Hathaway ; Susannah Hathaway, widow ; 
Mary, widow of James Hathaway ; Lavina Dains, daughter of Jonathan 
Dains, sr.; Elizabeth Carr, called in the society "Mother Carr"; Anna 
Styer ; Sarah Clark, widow; Mary Holmes, sister of Jedediah Holmes; 
Catharine White, better known as Aunt Katie White, widow ; Mary 
Bean; Eunice Beard ; Lydia Wood, widow ; Mary Ingraham, daughter 
of Nathaniel ; Rachel Ingraham, daughter of Eleazer Ingraham; Chloe 
Towerhill, born in slavery, became the property of Benjamin Brown, 
and given freedom by The Friend's influence ; Elizabeth and Hannah 
Kenyon, mother and daughter — the daughter married George Nichols; 
Elizabeth Kinney, widow, mother of Ephraim, Isaac, Samuel, and 
Mary Kinney ; Rebecca Hartwell, mother of Samuel Hartwell ; Eliza- 
beth Luther ; Elizabeth Ovett, sister of Abel, Jonathan, and Elnathan 
Botsford; Susannah Potter, daughter of Judge William Potter; Re- 
becca Scott, widowed mother of Orpha and Margaret Scott ; Aphi and 
Margaret Comstodk, sisters of Israel Corastock. 

To those who have been mentioned in the above list Mr. Cleveland 
has given the appropriate name of " The Faithful Sisterhood," but to 
the roll so given adds as follows : " There was a noble array of devoted 
women not of this select band, who as wives and mothers, and true 
exponents of the highest morality and social virtue, illustrated the 
pioneer life with examples worthy to be held in honored remembrance, 
and gave The Friend's society a name for virtue, industry, and matronly 
worth of which no pen can speak in adequate praise." They are as 
follows : 

Sarah Alsworth; Huldah Andrews; Susannah Avery, wife of Daniel 
Brown; Abigail Barnes, mother of Henry Barnes ; Experience Barnes, 


wife of Eleazer Barnes ; Mary Bartleson, mother of Isaac and Bartle- 
son Shearman; Elizabeth Botsford, wife of Jonathan Botsford ; Eliza- 
beth Botsford, daughter of Jonathan Botsford, jr., and wife of Abel 
Hunt; Lucy, wife of Elnathan Botsford ; Lucy, daughter of Elnathan 
Botsford ; Mary, wife of Abel Botsford ; Mary, daughter of Abel Bots 
ford ; Elizabeth, wife of Peleg Briggs, sr.; Esther Briggs; Anna Briggs; 
Margaret Briggs ; Lavina Briggs ; Ruth Briggs, wife of Peleg Gilford ; 
Anna Brown; Anna Brown, 2d ; Abigail Brown; Catharine Brown, wife 
of David Fish and daughter of Benjamin Brown, sr.; Charlotte Brown ; 
Desiah Brown ; Rachel Brown, daughter of Thomas Clark and wife of 
Henry Brown, of Benton; Sarah, daughter of Benjamin Brown, sr., 
and wife of Judge Arnold Potter; Susannah Brown; Zernah Brown, 
mother of James Brown, jr.; Hannah Buckingham ; Mabel Bush ; Susan- 
nah Clanford, sister of David Wagener and wife, first, of Peter Supplee 

and afterward of Clanford ; Sarah Comstock, mother of Aphi and 

Martha ; BathshebaCohoon; Abigail Congol; Eunice Crary; Phebe Carr; 
Mary Dains, wife of Jonathan Dains; Johanna Dains, wife of Castle 
Dains ; Abigail, wife of Abraham Dayton ; Dinah Dayton ; Anice Day- 
ton ; Anna Davis, wife of William Davis ; Leah, wife of John Davis ; 
Rachel, wife of Jonathan Davis ; Sinah Davis, wife of Stewart Cohoon ; 
Anna Fannin, Hannah Fisher, wife of Silas Hunt; Frances Gardner; 
Mary Green; Kesiah Gurnsey; Mary Gurnsey, wife of Amos Gurnsey; 
Mary Gurnsey, Fear Hathaway, daughter of Susannah Hathawa)' and 

wife of Bruce ; Deborah Hathaway ; Freelove Hathaway ; Mary 

Hathaway ; Mary Hall ; Mary Hall, 2d ; Mary Malin Hopkins, wife 
of Jacob Rensselaer; Abigail Holmes; Elizabeth Holmes, wife of 
Elisha Luther; Margaret and Lucy Holmes; Mary Hunt, wife of 
Adam Hunt; Sarah, daughter of Adam Hunt; Anna Ingraham, wife 
of John Ingraham ; Abigail Ingraham, daughter of Eleazer Ingraham ; 
Experience Ingraham, wife of Nathaniel Ingraham ; Lydia, wife of 
Eleazer Ingraham ; Lydia, daughter of Eleazer Ingraham ; Elizabeth 
Jaques; Ruth Jailor; Hannah Kenyon, wife of George Nichols; Candice 
and Eunice Kinney ; Martha Luther, sister of Beloved and Reuben 
Luthpr and wife of George Brown ; Mary Luther, wife of Reuben Hud- 
son ; Lydia Luther; Sarah Luther, wife of Beloved Luther; Elizabeth 
Miller; Sarah Negers; Anna Nichols, wife of Isaac Nichols ; Margaret 


Palmer; Mary Perry; Sarah, Hannah, Susan, and Armenia Potter ; Pen- 
elope, daughter of William Potter and wife of Benjamin Brown ; Ruth 
Pritchard, wife of Justus P. Spencer; Orpha and Elizabeth Rose; 
Bethany, wife of George Sisson ; Lydia, daughter of George Sisson ; 
Mary Sisson ; Tamar Stone, sister of John Davis ; Elizabeth Stone ; 
Elizabeth and Rhoda ShearmafI ; Rachel, daughter of Peter Supplee 
and wife of Morris F. Sheppard ; Lydia and Mary Turpin ; Lydia and 
Mary Wall; Rhoda Wescott ; Almy Wilkinson; Deborah Wilkinson, 
youngest sister of The Friend, wife first of Benajah Botsford and after- 
ward of Elijah Malin. 


Early efforts at Colonization and Settlement — Extent of Ontario County — Steu- 
ben County set Off — Towns of Ontario and Steuben wliich were erected into Yates 
County — How first organized and tlieir Extent — The District of Jerusalem — Ben- 
ton and Milo set Off — Italy formerly part of Middletown — Middlesex originally part 
of Augusta — Barrington and Starkey come from Steuben County — Torrey taken 
from Benton and Milo — A Brief allusion to the War of 1812-15 — Public sentiment 
in this Locality. 

PRIOR to the year 1789 the region commonly called the Genesee 
country formed a part of Montgomery County. Therefore when 
Phelps and Gorham made their extensive purchase from Massachusetts 
and from the Six Nations they bought land in Montgomery County. 
But at that time there was no organization whatever in this part of the 
county; there had not been made any surveys and the Indian title had 
not been extinguished. However there was a settlement within the 
country and in this locality — that of the Friends in the new Jerusalem 
and within what was afterward erected into Yates County. The pur- 
chase by Phelps and Gorham, the survey of their lands into townships, 
and the ready sale of these townships to speculators and others, some of 
whom were desirous of making actual settlement on the town lands, was 
the first great step toward the creation of a county out of the lands and 
territory of Western New York. When the worthy proprietors first made 


their purchase and came to view their lands they had no thought that 
Kanandesaga was not a part of their territory, wherefore, being a trad- 
ing village of some importance and the most direct and convenient en- 
trance to their tract, they established themselves at that point as a seat 
of operations. 

The proprietors were correct in their conclusions that Kanandesaga 
was on their purchase, although through the selfish schemes of the les- 
sees the pre-emption line was so run as to fall west of the trading post 
and to bring that place within the territory claimed by the lessees. After 
the line had been established Mr. Phelps, the active proprietor of the 
association, although not perfectly satisfied with the survey, neverthe- 
less acquiesced and submitted, and changed his base of operations from 
Kanandesaga to Canandaigua. The result was that when Ontario 
County was erected, January 27, 1789, and the county seat established 
Canandaigua received the fortunate designation and the public build- 
ings were erected there. 

Ontario County, when erected in 1789, comprehended the entire re- 
gion of the Phelps and Gorham purchase, and even all of the country 
known as Western New York. Therefore all the towns surveyed in 
this locality, and which were afterward formed into Yates County, were 
formerly a part of Ontario, although directly at least two towns now of 
Yates were taken from Steuben County. The last named county was 
formed from the mother county, Ontario, in 1796. 

The towns which now comprise Yates County, and which lie west of 
the old or first pre-emption line, were surveyed and numbered during 
the years 1 788 and 1 789, but they were not generally named until they 
possessed a sufficient population to justify their organization. The Friends 
settlement extended over parts of the towns of Milo, Torrey, and per- 
haps a small portion of Starkey, and was called the new Jerusalem. 
This fact has led at least one writer of local history into an error, in that 
he states that the Friends settlement was organized into a town called 
Jerusalem, which embraced all the present county of Yates except Star- 
key and Barrington. The only town that was ever called Jerusalem,, 
under proper or recognized authority, was that which still bears the name, 
and which was originally " township number seven, second range.'' But 
let us take a brief glance at the towns of old Ontario which afterward 



became Yates County, and notice how, and when, and by what names 
they were organized. 

In 1789, the same year in which Ontario County was erected, the in- 
habited portions of the county were formed into districts for jurisdic- 
tional purposes, that they might be properly governed, and that the 
freemen resident therein might, avail themselvesof their rights and priv- 
ileges as electors At that time the population of the towns that now 
comprise Yates County was exceedingly small, and it became neces- 
sary to group a number of them together, having them partake of the 
nature of a township, but not actually becoming such. They were made 
into a joint organized district and allowed to elect local officers, but 
there was wanting the distinct township character. The district of Jeru- 
salem was in this way created and comprised all that is now included 
in the towns of Jerusalem, Milo, Benton, and Torrey. 

The district of Jerusalem remained undisturbed as to its territory until 
1803, when, having acquired a considerable population, it became nec- 
essary to sub- divide the same and create a new jurisdiction. The result 
was that in February, 1803, all the land now in Benton, Milo, and Tor- 
rey was separated from Jerusalem and erected into a district by the 
name of " Vernon." But it appears that a year previous to this event a 
town named Vernon had been .established in Oneida County, which 
necessitated a change in the name of the more recent creation. There- 
fore Vernon was changed to Snell, and so named in honor of Jacob 
Snell, who was then State senator from Montgomery County. This name 
stood until 1 810, when on account of some dissatisfaction the name 
Snell was dropped and Benton adopted in its stead. The latter name 
was applied in compliment to the first settler in the town proper — Levi 
Benton. He commenced an improvement near the north end of what 
is now called Flat street and about a mile west of Benton Center. The 
town of Benton, as at present constituted, covers township number eight, 
range first, with the addition of the land lying between the old pre- 
emption line and Seneca Lake, excepting the territory set off into the 
town of Torrey, which, however, it originally included. 

The town of Milo was separated from Benton March 6, 18 18. Within 
its boundaries was included surveyed township number seven, range first, 
together with all the land lying east of the town and west of Seneca 


Lake. Its separation from the mother town of Benton is said to 
have been due to the efforts of Samuel Lawrence, one of the represent- 
atives of Ontario County in the State Assembly. Mr. Lawrence pio- 
posed the name of Milan for the new town, but as that had been already 
adopted for another district this was called Milo. Benton, Milo, and 
Barrington, of what is now Yates, and other towns as well were deeded 
by Phelps and Gorham to Caleb Benton in behalf of the lessee company; 
and by Caleb Benton the same were conveyed to John Livingston, also 
one of the famous lessees. The first deed was dated January 16, 1789; 
the second April 27, 1789. 

The present town of Jerusalem occupies survey number seven, second 
range, together with a considerable tract of headland commonly called 
Bluff Point. This was annexed to Yates County and to Jerusalem on 
February 25, 1814. Jerusalem proper was deeded by the proprietary 
to Benedict Robinson and Thomas Hathaway, who were shareholders 
in the association. The purchase price of the township, $4,320, or 
eighteen pence per acre, was very small for so valuable a town, but the 
fact that the grantees were among the associated owners of the Phelps 
and Gorham purchase sufficiently explains the matter. Moreover tl.ey 
were both devoted followers of The Friend, and secured the township for 
the purpose of establishing for their patron a permanent home. 

The town of Italy formed originally a part of Middletown, the latter 
having been organized and so named in 1789, but afterward changed 
to Naples. Italy as now situated covers township number seven, range 
third. This was one of the towns not sold in parcel by Phelps and Gor- 
ham, but was by them sold with the entfre tract to Robert Morris, and 
by the latter to the Pultney Association. Afterward the town was sub- 
divided. The town of Italy was set off and organized on the 15th of 
February, 1815. 

Middlesex, lying next north of Italy, occupies the township surveyed 
as number eight, third range. It was included within the district 
formed in 1789 and called Augusta, but changed in 1808 to Middlesex. 
The survey of township eight, third range, included lands on the west 
side of Canandaigua Lake, but the part west of the lake never became a 
part of Yates County. This portion was originally conveyed by 
Thomas Maxwell to Arnold Potter, but there arose a question as to 


the sufficiency of the title conveyed by Maxwell. Subsequently Oliver 
Phelps quit-claimed to Potter and thus confirmed Maxwell's title. In 
1856 six lots in the southeast part of Middlesex were annexed to Potter 

The present town of Potter, number eight, second range, was origi- 
nally a part of the Middlesex district, and was set off and organized- 
April 26, 1832. It received its name from Arnold Potter, an original 
proprietor and the first settler in the town. Arnold Potter was the son 
of William Potter, one of the foremost men of the region in his time. 
He was originally a follower of The Friend and one of her faithful serv- 
ants. He, too, was one of the influential dissentients from The Friend's 
teachings, and whose separation from the society was a serious blow 
against its after prosperity. At one time William Potter, his son Ar- 
nold, and another son owned the entire town of Potter. 

The town of Starkey lies between the old pre-emption line and Sen- 
eca Lake, but when the new line was surveyed about two- fifths of the 
territory was brought into the Phelps and Gorham purchase. The 
greater part if not all of the lands of Starkey were surveyed and granted 
by the State on military land warrants. The land, too, was claimed by 
the lessee company as belonging to them under their famous lease. 
Charles Williamson, agent of the Pultney Association, quieted in their 
possession many of the owners found on the pre-emption lands, for 
which he received compensation from the State, while others were 
themselves given other grants in other localities by the governor of 
New York. The original name of this town, Starkey, was Fredericks- 
town, so created March 18, "1796, as a part of Steuben County, but 
changed in 1808 to Wayne in honor of " Mad Anthony " Wayne. 
Still later the name was changed to Reading. While under this name, 
on April 6, 1824, that part of the town now called Starkey was an- 
nexed to Yates County. 

Harrington, so named by its pioneers who came from the vicinity of 
Great Harrington, Mass., was surveyed as township number six, first 
range. When Steuben County was organized Barrington with several 
-other townships, the lands of Starkey being among them, were organ- 
ized into a district called Frederickstown and so named in honor of 
Frederick Bartles, who built a mill at Mud Lake in 1793. The name 


was afterward changed to Wayne, and when Barrington was itself or- 
ganized in 1822 the present designation was given. Barrington was 
one of the towns that came from Phelps and Gorham to the lessees by 
deed in satisfaction of their interest in the association, or as a reward 
for their influence and assistance in negotiating a treaty with the In- 
dians. The town was surveyed into lots and " drawn for " by inter- 
ested parties. A portion of the town went in some manner to Charles 
Williamson of the Pultney Association, while another and smaller part 
fell to the Hornby estate. 

Torrey is the junior of the towns that comprise Yates County. Its 
lands were situate on both the east and west sides of the old and new 
pre-emption lines ; also it comprises parts of townships number seven 
and eight, range first, and part of the State lands. Directly the town 
was taken from Benton and Milo, November 14, 1851. Within what 
is now Torrey was the first home of The Friend in the new Jerusalem ; 
and here, too, were built the first mills and meeting-house and sowed 
the first wheat in all the Genesee country. Moreover the settlement 
made here by the Society of Universal Friends was the first pioneer 
movement in New York State west of Seneca Lake. 

From the foregoing narrative the reader will discover the fact that 
nearly all the towns which comprise Yates County had an organized 
existence of some kind for many years before the county itself was 
erected. Therefore it is proper that some mention should be made of 
them as parts of older counties before writing of them as sub-divisions 
of Yates County. The county was brought into existence by an act of 
the legislature of the State of New York passed the 5th of February, 
1823. Why and how this organization was brought about will be ap- 
propriate subjects for consideration in the succeeding chapter. 

Although in no manner a part of the present chapter, and in no wise 
connected therewith, it nevertheless becomes necessary in this place to 
make some allusion to a series of events having their occurrence during 
and about the period intended to be covered by the present chapter. 
For a year preceding the War of 1812-15, during that period and 
even afterward for some time, the towns that were erected into Yates 
-County were making the most rapid growth and progress in the clear- 
ing of farms and erecting buildings. The settlement by incoming fam- 


ilies was something remarkable, and peace and prosperity everywhere 
prevailed. The settlement by the Friends had attained its greatest 
numerical strength ; the stronghold in Jerusalem had become well pop- 
ulated, while the goodly number of the society who still dwelt over in 
Milo and the region round about were fast developing the resources of 
their locality. « 

At that time Yates County had not been organized, nor was its erec- 
tion then even contemplated, and whatever of history the people of 
the locality were making by their lives and deeds was a part of the his- 
tory of the old county of Ontario. But then the formation of Yates 
County, although that consummation was not reached until 1823, nec- 
essarily transferred a wealth of history from old Ontario to the new 
Yates, and the early record, to be properly preserved, must be incorpo- 
rated in the volume designed to refer to the region most recently organ- 
ized, and that notwithstanding the fact that the organization was of later 
occurrence than the leading events. 

The second war with England had its actual outbreak in 181 2 and 
was closed during the year 181 5. However before the formal decla- 
ration the political situation was such that hostilities might have com- 
menced at anytime during the period of three or four years immediately 
preceding the first conflict at arms, but both countries were then busily 
engaged in making preparations for the impending and inevitable strug- 
gle. During those years, too, the condition of affairs was closely watched 
by the people living in the southern part of Ontario County, those 
occupying the particular region of country lying between Canandaigua 
and Seneca Lakes. But their watchfulness was not of the character 
that is born of warlike ambition, liut was rather the interest that comes 
from deep concern. It so happened that a. fair proportion of the inhab 
itants of this locality were then or had been members of the Society of 
Universal Friends, and one of the tenets of that society was opposition 
to all warfare, whether between countries, societies, sects, or individ- 
uals. This principle was not born of fear, but of love, which they 
taught and held should exist among the members of the human family. 

While such was the governing characteristic of the Friends there 
was another element of local population whose belief inclined them to 
advocate American independence as paramount to all other considera- 


tions. They were guided and actuated by the patriotic sentiment, 
" country first, the citizen afterward." This element of people com- 
prised the contingent of men furnished by the towns that afterward be- 
came Yates County, during the War of 18 12-15, but unfortunately 
there exists no record showing who they were or from what towns they 
came. Nor has there been preserved any record from which we may 
learn of the service they performed or of the battles in which they par- 
ticipated. Therefore the reader must be content with but the briefest 
allusion to the events of the period, and that in a general way, without 
reference to local interests, for there were no struggles or conflicts 
within the region that afterward was erected into the county of Yates. 
During the five years next preceding 18 12 the whole country was in a 
state of nominal peace, but throughout this period there was gathering 
that dark cloud which was destined to involve the nation in another 
foreign war. 

The events which led to the second war with Great Britain were 
numerous. The United States had scrupulously observed the provis- 
ions of the peace treaty made at the close of the Revolution ; had main- 
tained, too, a strict neutrality during the progress of the Napoleonic 
war with the British kingdom, when perhaps every consideration of 
gratitude should have induced a participation in it against the mother 
country. For several years the aggressive acts of the British had been 
the subject of anxiety and regret, and feelings of animosity increased on 
this side of the Atlantic. The embargo laid by Congress was found so 
injurious to commercial interests that it was repealed and the non-inter- 
course act passed in its stead. In April, 1809, the English ambassa- 
dor in Washington opened negotiations for the adjustment of diflSculties, 
and consented to a withdrawal of the obnoxious " orders in council," so 
far as they affected the United States, on condition that the non- inter- 
course act be repealed. This was agreed to and the President issued a 
proclamation announcing that on the loth of June trade with Great 
Britain might be resumed ; but the English government refused to rat- 
ify the agreement and recalled their minister, whereupon the President 
revoked his proclamation and the non-intercourse act again became 

War was formally declared on the 19th of June, 1 812, but the measure 


was not invariably sustained throughout the Middle States. The op- 
posing element was embraced in the Federal party, its chief ground 
of opposition being that the country was not prepared for war. The 
Federalists constituted a large and influential minority of the political 
element of Congress and had a considerable following in the sev- 
eral States not active in politics. They asked for further negotia- 
tions and not the denunciations of the ruling party (that is, the Demo- 
cratic and Republican, for it went by both names) upon the English 
government with savage and bitter attacks upon Napoleon, whom they 
accused the leading party with favoring. 

What may have been the feeling in this locality during the period of 
which we write would be indeed difficult to determine, but from all that 
can be learned it appears that the great mass of the people were 
heartily interested in the American cause, and were therefore identified 
with the Democratic and Republican parties' welfare, both at the polls 
and in the measures then being discussed for the conduct of the coming 
war. Opposed to them was the Federal party, which, though strong in 
influence and wealth, was numerically weak. They were wont to call 
their opponents " Screaming War Hawks " and took to themselves the 
dignified name " Peace party." The Friends occupied a neutral ground, 
not that they had no interest in occurring events or in possible results, 
but they were checked by a conscientious opposition to warfare in any 
cause. They were Federalistic in action without themselves being Fed- 
eralists, but they were nobly and truly patriotic and loyal in their 
Americanism, but never demonstrative or frankly outspoken in the ex- 
pression of their convictions. In their quiet and unassuming manner 
they lent substantial aid to the cause of freedom. 

The old inhabitants of this region, the Seneca Indians, following the 
advice of their renowned sachem, Red Jacket, at first declared for neu- 
trality, but when the British invaded their reservation lands that action 
was a signal for warlike operations and they became united with Amer- 
ican soldiers. The militiamen from Ontario County, therefore from 
Yates, were under the command of Gen. Amos Hall, who at one 
time commanded the American troops on the Lake Ontario frontier. 

But it does not become this narrative to dwell at length upon the 
scenes and events, as they have but a remote bearing upon the subject 


of which this work purports to treat. The results of the war are written 
ill the conflicts on Lake Erie, the repulse of the British on the Delaware, 
the invasion of New York, and the attempt to control the Hudson River 
and Lake Champlain. The battles at Black Rock and Lundy's Lane, the 
-capture of Niagara and Oswego, the burning of Newark, the battle at 
Plattsburgh, together with naval engagements in American waters were 
the chief events of the war, and were followed by the withdrawal or sur- 
render of the British forces and the final treaty of peace, which was 
ratified February 17, 1815. The Americans had fought their last battle 
with a foreign foe. 


Organization of Yates County — The Acts of the Legislature regarding It — Glimpses 
at the inside History — Naming the County — Governor Yates its Godfather — [The first 
Court-House and Gaol destroyed by Fire — The new Court-House — The second Jail 
Burned — The present Jail — The Clerk's and Surrogate's Offices — The County Farm 
and Property — The civil List — Federal Officers — State Officers — County Officers — 
County Societies and Organizations. 

YATES COUNTY was brought into existence by virtue of an act 
of the legislature of New York passed and adopted on February 
5, 1823. The organization of a new county out of the territory of 
old Ontario became necessary from the fact that the population and in- 
terests of its southern towns had by this time assumed large proportions, 
and the convenience of the people residing in them demanded a sub- 
division of the mother shire and the erection of a new body politic. 
This was the ostensible and apparent purpose of the persons most in- 
terested in the proposed new formation, and was the chief argument 
used by the promoters of the scheme, — the convenience of the people, — 
but underneath the surface lay the desire to gratify political ambition 
in the breasts of certain individuals. But whatever may have been the 
motive which actuated the movement it cannot be the province of this 
work to criticise or commend the action of the persons engaged in it. 
It was a fair proposition and one that could be productive of none but 



good results. The convenience of the majority of the people was a suf- 
ficient cause for building up a new county in the State, and had the 
prime movers in the enterprise been governed by other than pure sin- 
gleness of purpose the public at large never realized any but substan- 
tial and beneficial results in the final consummation. 

The enacting clause of the acti,above referred to reads in part as fol- 
lows : "All that part of the county of Ontario comprising the territory 
hereinafter mentioned, viz. : the towns of Benton, Milo, Middlesex, Italy, 
and Jerusalem, in Ontario County, shall, from and after the passing of 
this act, be a separate and distinct county by the name of Yates. And 
the freeholders and other inhabitants of the said county of Yates shall 
have and enjoy all and every the same rights, powers, and privileges 
as the freeholders and inhabitants of any of the counties of this State are 
by law entitled to and enjoy." 

Thus was the county erected, but not according to its present area 
and extent. By an act of the legislature passed the 6th day of April, 
1824, supplementary to the original act, an addition was made to the 
county's territory, as follows: From and after January i, 1826, all 
that part of the county of Steuben, including Barrington, and all that 
part of Reading lying north of the north line of lot No. 15, between 
the old and new pre-emption lines, and north of an east and west line 
between the lots numbers seven and eight from the new pre-emption 
line and the Seneca Lake, shall be annexed to the county of Yates. 
The second section of the same act also provided that all that part of 
the town of Reading within the limits aforesaid shall be a separate 
town by the name of Starkey ; and the first town meeting shall be held 
at the house occupied by Stephen Reeder. 

At the time of the passage of the original act creating this county 
Aaron Remer was one of the members of Assembly from Ontario, the 
mother county, and as such was of great use and value in bringing the 
county into existence. The news that the bill had passed was no sooner 
brought to the ears of the people of Penn Yan and its locality than a 
committee of strong and leading men at once waited upon the execu- 
tive at Albany to urge his approval of the measure. This committee 
comprised Aaron Remer, Morris F. Sheppard, Joel Dorman, William 
M. Oliver, William Cornwell, and others. They repaired at once to the 



capitol, paid their respects to Governor Yates, and addressed him to the 
effect that " they had called to have him own and acknowledge his new 
born child," one of the committee then handing him a copy of the bill. 
" Oh yes, gentlemen," responded the governor, " the executive will 
with pleasure immediately christen and proclaim his own darling off- 
spring." Then, taking his pen, the governor wrote in a bolder hand 
than usual these words: "Approved — Joseph C. Yates" This being 
done the bill was handed back to the visitors with the remark : " There, 
it is now a law." 

The county being duly erected the first step to follow was its full and 
complete organization, the erection of county buildings at the designated 
shire town, and the organization of courts and various other branches of 
local government. The act of 1823 also provided "that John Sutton, 
of Tompkins County, George H. Feeter, of Herkimer County, and Joseph 
B. Walton, of Otsego County, shall be commissioners for the purpose of 
examining and impartially determining the proper site or sites for a 
court-house and gaol." 

It was further provided that " there shall be held a Court of Common 
Pleas and a Court of General Sessions of the Peace, to be held in three 
terms, to commence as follows : ist Tuesday in June, 1st Tuesday in 
October, and the 2d Tuesday in January." Further it was provided 
that the first term of court should be held in the house of Asa Cole, in 
Benton, but still in the village of Penn Yan, and afterward and until the 
court-house should be completed at such place as the judge of the 
Common Pleas should designate. Until the " gaol be completed " it was 
directed by the act that prisoners should be confined in the gaol of On 
tario County. Also the Board of Supervisors was directed to meet at 
the house of Miles Benham,in Milo, to raise money for building a court- 
house and gaol ; the sum of $2,500 to be raised the first year and a like 
amount the year following. The worthy commissioners who had been 
designated to act in the matter of locating the county seat found them- 
selves beset on all sides with aspiring applicants. Penn Yan in Milo of 
course held the advantage, being the most available and central town of 
the county, but notwithstanding that the people residing in and near 
Dresden put forth a claim and re-inforced it with strong argument. 
Jerusalem also sought the prize, and had her representatives been sue- 


cessful what is now Kinney's Corners might have been the seat of jus- 
tice of Yates County. The claims of Dresden were mainly based upon 
its proximity to Seneca Lake, the waters of which were then a princi- 
pal thoroughfare of travel between north and south points. Moreover 
Dresden lay quite near the ancient site on. which first settled the pio- 
neer Friends, and theirs was alm«st historic ground. Jerusalem became 
the final home of The Friend, many of her substantial followers being 
then residents there, and within the borders of the town was as suitable 
a location as could be desired, and one which would be central and 
easily accessible to the people of the whole county. 

But in the little village of Penn Yan there dwelt men of worth and 
large influence ; men who had been chiefly instrumental in bringing 
about the county erection and whose judgment in the matter was not 
to be disregarded. Furthermore Abraham Wagener, with his charac- 
teristic generosity and public spiritedness, stepped forward with a do- 
nation of a large lot of land and upon which the county buildings 
should be erected. This tract comprised, according to the deed on 
record, two acres of land. Penn Yan also was then the most metropoli- 
tan village in the county, and with the great influence brought to bear 
in its favor it could not be otherwise than that the county buildings 
should be erected there. Wherefore, after patiently hearing all the 
arguments of interested parties, and after the customary mature delib- 
eration (as a matter of form perhaps), the commissioners designated the 
village of Penn Yan, in the town of Milo, as the seat of justice of Yates 
County. This important question being satisfactorily settled it only re- 
mained for the supervisors to proceed with the construction of the court- 
house, jail, and county building. The act had already provided for the 
raising by tax levy of $5,000, and had also provided that William Shat- 
tuck, of Benton, and George Shearman and Samuel Stewart, of Milo, 
should be appointed "commissioners to superintend the erection of the 
court-house and gaol at the place the commissioners first appointed shall 
designate, provided that suitable lot or lots therefor be conveyed to the 
supervisors of Yates County and their successors forever." It was 
this last proviso that Abraham Wagener satisfied when he deeded the 
two acre tract to the county. 

Under the direction of Commissioners Shattuck, Shearman, and Stew- 


art the first court-house was erected. It is still remembered by some 
older residents as a plain, substantial brick building, not vastly different 
in appearance from the present court-house, but somewhat smaller in 
size. Its interior was so arranged and constructed as to furnish acconn- 
modations for county officers, and also was provided with cells for the 
confinement of prisoners. In fact it was a sort of combination building 
for use both as court-house and jail. Yet it was honestly and faithfully 
built, and ample for the requirements of the county at that time. Un- 
like many more recent structures in this county and elsewhere the old 
court-house is understood as having been built within the appropriation. 

In 1834, as near as can at present be ascertained, the old court house 
of Yates County was destroyed by an unfortunate fire. The loss oc- 
curred just at noon on the 4th or 5th of the month. Of course it 
became necessary to erect a new building, the site for which was desig- 
nated as the same upon which the first structure occupied. The new 
court-house is still standing, although occasional repairs have been made 
since 1840. It was not completed and ready for occupancy until about 
1835, as is evidenced in the fact that the Common Pleas judges in Aug- 
ust, 1834, designated tlie house of Robert R. Beecher as the place for 
holding the next term of court. The second court-house was an im- 
provement upon the first in that it was larger, more comfortable, and 
relieved of the often annoying presence of jail occupants. The lower 
floor was arranged for county officers' quarters, while the upper story 
was finished for court uses. The building still stands, and while not at- 
tractive in appearance is nevertheless a firm structure. The new jail 
was built about the same time on the land fronting Liberty street. This 
was also a substantial building of stone and frame, but was burned 
about 1857, having been set on fire by a prisoner confined within its 
walls. The prisoner was Albert Hathaway, of Harrington, who had 
burned several buildings in his town, but was at last arrested, indicted, 
and put on trial. The defence made was the more recently popular 
plea of insanity and the trial resulted in acquittal on that ground. 

In 1857 the new and present substantial jail and sheriff's residence 
was erected. It is of stone, covered with a coating of plastic material. 
The cells are constructed with solid cast-iron fronts, making the jail de- 
partment secure as a place of imprisonment and remarkably free from 


the possibility of burning. It was built by Charles V. Bush, of Penn 
Yan, at a cost of about $8,000. In 1 889 there was erected on the court- 
house lot an elegant county building for the use of the clerk and sur- 
rogate. It is virtually a double building, the north side being the clerk's 
office and depository for county records, while the south side is occu- 
pied on the ground floor as thq surrogate's office and above for private 
offices by the same officer. This building was erected at an expense of 
about $10,000 or $11,000, an amount considerably in excess of the con- 
tract price. It was built by Hershel Pierce, of Dundee. 

This was the second building of its special kind in the county, the 
former having stood on the same site, but occupying less ground and 
being less ornamental. The old so-called county building was a small 
stone structure and was built soon after the burning of the first court- 
house. The front was occupied by the clerk's office and the rear part 
by the surrogate. It was an unsightly affiiir and unsuitable for the use 
required of it; therefore it was torn down to make room for a new 
and more convenient structure, one that should be a credit to the 
county which owned it. 

The foregoing is a record of the public buildings of the county of 
Yates which have been and are in use in connection with its administra- 
tion and governmental affairs. But the county has one other property 
which demands some notice in this place. Yates County had not been 
a separate organization for more than four or five years before its people 
and officers began discussing the question of establishing a home for the 
unfortunate and indigent element of local population. In 1824 the 
State legislature passed an act which made a general provision for the 
maintenance of the poor of the several counties of the State, and under 
this law the supervisors of the county took the initial steps toward the 
establishment of a county infirmary. The matter was under discussion 
early in October, 1829, at which time the supervisors filed with the clerk 
a certificate which read as follows : 

" In compliance with the tenth section of an act passed the 27th of November. 182^1. 


Thereafter the supervisors of the county agreed upon the purchase of 
lands for poor-house purposes. The deed was executed April 14, 1830, 
by Alfred Brown, of Jerusalem, to the superintendents of the poor of 
Yates County, Elijah Spencer, Joel Dorman, Jabez French, John War- 
ner, and James C. Robinson, whereby, in consideration of the sum of 
$1,200, the grantor conveyed to the grantees, or to their successors in 
office or legal representatives, 125 acres of land in the town of Jerusa- 
lem. This is the same tract of land now in part used by the county as 
a poor-house farm, although the area of the same has been increased so 
as to now contain 180 acres. 

The Yates County poor- house and its management have at times been 
the subjects of much discussion, and no little anxiety on the part of the 
supervisors, the press, and the people of the county as well. There have 
been charges of corruption and extravagance which may not have been 
wholly groundless. It was during the period extending from 1855 to 
i860 that the subject was uppermost in the public and official mind, 
but eventually the matter was adjusted, or settled, and affairs resumed 
their usual quiet state. From that to the present time there has been 
no serious disturbance concerning the county poor-house management. 
Now having at some length referred to the various properties and in- 
terests of Yates County it is proper that there should be also made a rec- 
ord of the names of persons who have been identified with the county in 
the administration of its affairs. In otherwords the present connection is a 
proper one in which to publish a complete civil list of officers who have 
represented Yates County either in Federal, State, or local government : 

Presidential Electors. — Truman Spenoer, 1832; Elisha Doubleday, 1836; Eli Sheldon, 
1848 ; Darius A. Ogden, 1852 ; Meletiah H. Lawrence, 1856 ; Myron H. Weaver, 1864 ; 
Everett Brown, 1888. 

Members of Con^rress.— William Babcock, 1831-32; Joshua Lee, 1835-36; John T. 
Andrews, 1837-38 (then living at Bath) ; William M. Oliver, 1841-42; Samuel S. Ells- 
worth, 1845-46; Andrew Oliver, 1853-54,1855-56; Daniel Morris, 1863-64, 1865-66. 

Canal Commissioner New York State. — Darius A. Ogden, November 7, 1876, to Febru- 
ary 8, 1878. 

Canal Appraiser. — Darius A. Ogden, appointed March 1, lSr)3. 

Inspector of State Prisons. — George Wagener, elected November 3, 1874. 

Prison Labor Commissioner. — Darius A. Ogden, appointed February 11. 1884. 

State Senators. — William M. Oliver, 1827-3(», precident^ro tempore in 1829; Richard 
H. WiUiams, 1846-47; James Huntington, 1856-57; Abraham V. Harpending. 1870- 
71; George P. Lord, 1880-83. 


Members of Assembly.' — Aaron Remer, 1823; Philip Robinson, 1824; Avery Smith, 
1825; James P. Robinson, 1826; Morris F. Sheppard, 1827-29; Aaron Remer, 1830- 
31; Joshua Lee, 1832; James P. Robinson, 1833; Meredith Mallory, 1834; Mordecai 
Ogden, 1835-36; Miles Benhara, 1837-38; Samuel S. Ellsworth, 1839; Heman Chap- 
man, 1840; Henry Spenoe, 1841 ; Richard H. WiUiams, 1842; Thomas Seamans, 1843; 
Bzekiel Castnur, 1844 ; George W. Wolcott, 1845 ; Nehemiah Raplee, 1846 ; Hatley N. 
Dox, 1847 ; John Wisewell, 1848 ; Melatiah H. Lawrence, 1849 ; Samuel Jayne, jr., 
1850; Charles S, Hoyt, 1851; De 'Vfitt C. Stanford, 1852; D. G. Underwood, 1853; 
J. R. Van Osdel, 1854 ; Henry H. Gage, 1855 ; A. V. Harpending, 1856 ; John Mather, 
1857 ; Daniel Morris, 1858 ; George R. Barden, 1859 ; Gilbert Sherer, 1860 ; Darius A. 
Ogden, 1861 ; Guy Shaw, 1862; 0. G. Loomis, 1863; Eben S. Smith, 1864-65; Charles 
S. Hoyt, 1866; Oliver S. WiUiams, 1867; Foster A. Hixon, 1868; William T. Remer, 
1869; George P. Lord, 1870-71; Morris B. Fhnn, 1872; George W. Spenoer, 1873; 
Hanford Struble, 1874; John Sutherland, 1875; Mason L. Baldwin, 1876; Joel M. 
Clark, 1877-78; Asa P. Fish, 1879-80; John T. Andrews, 1881 ; Stafford C. Cleveland, 
1882; Henry C. Harpending, 1883 ; Clark E. Smiih, 1884-85; George R. Cornwell, 
1886-87 ; William A. Carson, 1888; Calvin J. Huson, 1889 ; Everett Brown, 1890-91. 

Judges of Common Pleas.— Winiam M. Oliver, 1823-27; Samuel S. Ellsworth, 1828- 
32; Cornelius Masten, 1833-37 ; William M. Oliver, 1838-43 ; Andrew Oliver, 1844-40. 

Surrogates.— Abraham P. Vosburg, 1823-26; Andrew F.Oliver, 1827-39; Edward 
J. Fowle, 1840-43; Evert Van Buren, 1844-46. 

The constitution of 1846 abolished the office of surrogate except in 
counties where the population exceeds 40,000, and devolved its duties 
on the county judge. 

County Judges and Surrogates. — Andrew Oliver, 1847-50; John L. Lewis, 1851-54; 
William S. Briggs, 1855-70; Andrew Oliver, 1871-76; William S. Briggs, 1877-82; 
Hanford Struble, 1883. 

County Clerics. — Abraham H. Bennett, 1823-31 ; George Shearman, 1832-37; Abner 
\Voodworlh, 1838-40; Samuel Stevens, 1841-43; David H. Buell, 1844-46; Russell 
U. Fargo, 1847-49; Alfred Reed, 1850-52; Clarkson Martin, 1853-55; Lewis R. Gi-a- 
ham, 1856-61; Alexander Bassett, 1862-64; Samuel Botsford, 1865-67; Alden D. 
Fox, 18(i8-70; George W.Spencer, 1871-73; Joseph F. Crosby, 1874-76; Edward M. 
Carpenter, 1877-79; Horatio N. Hazen, 1880-82; Edward Kendall, 1883-88; Joseph 
Crosby, 1889-91; William S. Cornwell, 1892. 

n-easurers.—Wmam Babcock, 1823-26 ; Henry Bradley, 1829 ; Eben Smith, 1830- 
35; E. B. Jones, 1830-39; Leander Reddy, 1841; James D. Morgan, 1844; William 
Whitney, 1847-51 ; Stephen B. Ayres, 1852-54 ; John Ellsworth, 1855-60 ; James 
Burns, 1861-71 ; S. B. Ayres, by appointment, 1872; Seymour Tracy, 1873-75; Oliver 
G. Shearman, 1876-78; Jareb D. Bordwell, 1879; Daniel F. Randolph, 1880-85; 
J. Henry Smith, 1886-94. 

1 In the lists of county officers this explanation is necessary : The date of election is given of mem- 
bers of Assembly, county judge, and district attorney ; the date of appointment of first judges of 
Common Pleas ; and the date of commencement or term of office of clerk, sheriff, treasurer, and 
school commissioner. / 


Sheriffs. — James P. Robinson, 1823-25; Ebenezer Brown, 1826-28; Miles Benham, 
1829-31; Alfred Brown, 1832-34; Joseph Ketohum, 1835-37; Uriah Hanford, 1838- 
40; Jeremiah B.Andrews, 1841-43; Smith D. Mallory, 1844-46; Martin Holmes, 
1847-49; George Wagener, 1850-52; Nathanial Squire, 1853-55 ; Daniel Lanning, 
1856-58 ; William T. Remer, 1859-61 ; John Underwood, 1862-64 ; Joseph Crosby, 
1865-67; George Wagener, 1868-70; John L. Dmturff, 1871-73 ; Theodore Bogarf, 
1874-76; Spencer Clark, 1877-79 ; Charles Bell, 1880-82 ; Charles Speelman, 1883-85; 
Michael A. Pearce, 1886-88; Perry W. Danes, 1889-91 ; William T. Beaumont, 1802. 

District 4«orne2/s.— James Ta)'lor, 1826-30; Charles G. Judd, 1831-38; John L. 
Lewis, 1839-46; Dapiel Morris, 1847-50 ; D. J. Sunderlin, 1851-52; A. V. Harpend- 
ing, 1853-58; Henry M. Stewart, 1859-61; John L. Wolcott, 1863-67; Hanford 
Struble, 1868-73; Henry M. Stewart, 1874-76; John T. Knox, 1877-82; Andrew C. 
Harwick, 1883-85; Charles S. Baker, 1886-91 ; Thomas Cormody, by appointment 
from April, 1891, to January 1, 1892 ; John T. Knox, 1892. 

School Commissioners. — Henry A. Bruner, 1858-60 ; George P. Lord, 1859-66 ; Schuy- 
ler Sutherland, 1867-69; J. Warren Brown, 1870-72; Bradford S. Wixon, 1873-75 ; 
William F. Van Tuyl, 1876-81; Harlan P. Bush, 1882-84; James A. Thayer, 1885-90; 
Llewellyn J. Barden, 1891. 

While possibly not appropriate subjects of discussion and narration 
in this particular connection the writer nevertheless makes bold enough 
to here devote space to a record of the organizations and societies of 
the county. Of these there are but two in the county that are not 
local in their general character, and these are the Yates County Agri- 
cultural Society and the Yates County Historical Society, which will 
be treated in the order of seniority. 

As early as the year 1840 an agricultural society was organized in 
Yates County under the name as above given, and from that or the suc- 
ceeding year there has been held an annual fair in the county, generally at 
or near the county seat, but occasionally in some other town than 
Milo. The records of the first year of the society's existence are mea- 
ger and imperfect, and it is quite difficult to determine whether or not 
any fair meeting was held during 1840. The first exhibition was held 
in the court-house park, as were several after that time. For a time 
also they were held at Dundee. The society at length, about 1857 
or '58, obtained a few acres of land on what is now Pine street, not far 
from where the Catholic school is situated, and here the annual fair 
was held until the re-organized society obtained the new and more ex- 
tensive grounds on Lake street. 

The first county fair held at Dundee was in the year 1851, and was 



thereafter occasionally held there for some time. In 1871 the old 
grounds on Pine street were disposed of and a lease at once made for 
tlie new tract on Lake street. The latter was afterward purchased by 
the societ}'. The exhibition hall originally used has been transformed 
into a horse barn and a new and more appropriate building has been 
erected near the entrance to th^ grounds. The latter was built during 
the year 1891. The racing track, half a mile in extent, was laid out 
and built soon after the premises were occupied. The grand stand was 
erected by the Penn Yan Driving Park Association, a local organization 
of the county seat who a lease-hold interest in the grounds. 

But what can be said of the history of the Yates County Agricultural 
Society ? With each annual fair there is some change in the character 
of exhibits, each recurring event showing some new development of the 
county's resources. To describe them all would require a volume, and 
there would be shown a record of no special value or importance. 
Under the system of business inaugurated by the old society the offi- 
cers chosen annually were a president, a vice-president from each town, 
secretary, and treasurer. At a later period the same officers were 
elected with the addition of an executive board, one member from each 
town. In 1855, under the laws of 1853, a re-organization of the society 
was made and the officers thereafter annually elected were president, 
vice president, secretary, and treasurer. The society was organized 
March 14, 1840. From the time of organization, 1840, to the present 
the chief officers of the society have been as follows : 

There appears to have been no officers elected in 1840. 1841, John Hatmaker, pres- 
ident; Darius A. Ogden, secretary; Eben Smith, treasurer. 1842, Uriah Hanford, 
president ; D. A. Ogden, secretary ; E. Smith, treasurer. 1843, Ludlow E. Lapham, 
president; D. A. Ogden, secretary; Bzekiel Castner, treasurer. 1844, Romulus Gilder- 
sleeve, president; L. E. Lapham, secretary; Fitz A. Stebbins, treasurer. 1845, M. H. 
Lawrence, president; B. L. Hoyt, secretary; F. A. Stebbins, treasurer. 1846, Charles 
Lee, president; A. Bigelow, secretary; P. A. Stebbins, treasurer. 1847, John Mallory, 
president; A. Bigelow, secretary; F. A. Stebbins, treasurer. 1848, Adam Clark, presi- 
dent ; A. Bigelow, secretary ; F. A. Stebbins, treasurer. 1849 and 1850, same as in 
1848. 1851, Nathan Raplee, president; James Armstrong, secretary; F. A. Stebbins 
treasurer. 1852, M. Holmes, president; R. Gildersleeve, secretary; F. A. Stebbins 
treasurer. 1853, Nelson Thompson, president; Edwin R. Randall, secretary; Guy 
Shaw, treasurer. 1854, Nelson Thompson, president ; E. R. Randall, secretary ; George 
Wagener, treasurer. 1855, Nelson Thompson, president; George A. Sheppard, vice- 
president; W. S. Judd, secretary; J. S. Gillett, treasurer. 1856, Gilbert Sherer, pres- 


ident; Samuel V. Miller, vice-president; B. L. Hoy t, secretary ; W. 8. Judd, treas- 
urer. 1857, William T. Remer, president; Bzekiel Clark, vice-president; B. L. Hoyt, 
secretary ; W. S. Judd, treasurer. 1858, Job L. Babcock, president; Guy Shaw, vice- 
president; A. F. Stark, secretary; B. L. Hoyt, treasurer. 1859 and I860, no record. 
1861, Guy Shaw, president; John Southerland, vice-president; J. Mallory, secretary; 
B. L. Hoyt, treasurer. 1862, Guy Shaw, president ; John Smith, vice-president ; 
J. Mallory, secretary; B. L. Hoyt, treasurer. 1863, George Wagener, president ; John 
Southerland, vice-president; W. S. Judd, secretary; B. L. Hoyt, treasurer. 1864, 
John Southerland, president; Joseph Abbott, vice-president; W. S. Judd, secretary; 

B. L. Hoyt, treasurer. 1865 and 1866, no record. 1867, Thomas J. Lewis, president ; 
Charles H. Ketchum, vice-president; J. D. Jacobus, secretary; James Burns, treasurer, 
1868, Thomas J. Lewis, president; 0. H. Ketchum, vice-president; G. Y. Eastman, 
secretary ; 0. G. Shearman, treasurer. 1809, Charles H. Ketchum, president ; Darius 
Baker, vice-president; G. Y. Eastman, secretary; 0. G. Shearman, trea-surer. 1870, 

C. H. Ketchum, president ; D. Baker, vice-president ; S. C. Hatmaker, secretary ; 0. G. 
Shearman, treasurer. 1871, Dudley W. Dox, president; John N. Macomb, jr., vice- 
president ; John W. Stewart, secretary ; 0. G. Shearman, treasurer. . 1872, D. W. 
Dox, president; J. N. Macomb, jr., vice-president; J. D. Morgan, secretary; 0. G. 
Shearman, treasurer. 1873, William J. Rector, president; 0. G. Shearman, vice-presi- 
dent ; J. D. Morgan, secretary"; G. Y. Eastman, treasurer. 1874, William J. Rector, 
nresident; 0. G. Shearman, vice-president; J. D. Morgan, secretary; G. Y. Eastman, 
treasurer. 1875, Rowland J. Gardner, president ; Watkins Davis, vice-president ; 
J. D.Morgan, secretary; B. L. Hoyt, treasurer. 1876, R. J. Gardner, president; 
J. Warner Smith, vice-president; J. D. Morgan, secretary; B. L. Hoyt, treasurer. 
1877, Watkins Davis, president; Samuel B. Gage, vice-president; J. D. Morgan, secre- 
tary; B. L. Hoyt, treasurer. 1878, Samuel B. Gage, president; Dr. Byron Spence, 
vice president ; J. D. Morgan, secretary; B. L. Hoyt, treasurer. 1879, Samuel B. 
Gage, president ; James Miller, vice-president ; J. D. Morgan, secretary ; W. T. Remer, 
treasurer. 1880,- Ira Brundage, president ; Frank R. Cole, vice-president ; W. S. Judd, 
secretary ; 0. G. Shearman, treasurer. 1881 and 1882, Ira Brundage, president ; F. R. 
Cole, vice-president; James A. Thayer, secretary ; 0. G. Shearman, treasurer. 1883, 
Ira Brundage, president; A. C. Shearman, vice-president; J.A.Thayer, secretary; 
0. G. Shearman, treasurer. 1884, Frank R, Cole, president; James C. Spooner, vice- 
pre.sident ; J. A. Thayer, secretary ; D. F. Randolph, treasurer. 1885, F. R. Cole, 
president; J. C. Spooner, vice-president; George C. Snow, secretary ; D. F. Randolph, 
treasurer. 1886, F. R. Cole, president; Abner Gardner, vice-president; Charles D. 
Davis, secretary ; 0. G. Shearman, treasurer. 1887, Ira Brundage, president ; John R. 
Gardner, vice-president; C. D. Davis, secretary; Charles W. Taylor, treasurer. 1888, 
John H. Butler, president; H. C. Tallmadge, vice-president; James A. Thayer, secre- 
tary ; C. W.Taylor, treasurer. 1889, John H. Butler, president; H. C. Tallmadge, 
vice-president; J. A. Thayer, secretary; E. C. Gillett, treasurer. 1890 and 1891, 
Reading B. LefFerts, president; Oscar Hazen, vice-president; James S. Whitaker, sec- 
retary; E. C. Gillett, treasurer. 


In January, i860, there appeared in the press of the county an "Early 
Settlers Notice," which read as follows: 

" A meeting of those who were settlers of the territory embraced in Yates County 
prior to its establishment, February 5, 1823, and their descendants, will be held at the 
office of John L. Lewis, jr., in Penn Yan, on Saturday, January i, i860, at one o'clock 
in the afternoon, for the purpose of adopting measures to form a County Historical So- 
ciety, for the collection of the niemoil'als of the early settlement of the towns in the 
county and of the early settlers, and other kindred facts connected with the history of 
the county. 

"Dated January l6th, i860. 

" Samuel G. Gage, Abner Woodworth, S. S. Ellsworth, W. M. Oliver, A. F. Whit- 
aker, Charles Wagener, Henry Bradley, William S. Briggs, Charles C. Sheppard, 
John L. Lewis, jr., Josiah C. Swarthout, John D. Wolcott, M. H. Lawrence," and 
many others. 

In accordance with the notice a general meeting was held at the time 
and place indicated, and for the purpose of temporary organization 
Russell A. Hunt was chosen chairman and John L. Lewis, jr., secretary. 
Then a resolution was offered by William M. Oliver and unanimously 
adopted, as follows: 

" Resolved, That it is expedient to organize and form a County Historical Society 
for the purpose of collecting and preserving the memorials of the early settlement of 
the county and of the early settlers, and all other facts connected with the history of 
the county, including Indian antiquity and history, and that the necessary measures 
be taken for that purpose." 

By another resolution adopted at this meeting John L. Lewis, jr., 
William, S. Briggs, and M. H. Lawrence were chosen a committee to 
report articles of association for the purpose of incorporating the so- 
ciety under the general corporation law. The result was the filing a 
certificate of incorporation on the 4th of February, i860, which certifi- 
cate reads in part as follows : 

"We, the undersigned, Samuel G. Gage, William S. Hudson, Martin Brown, Squire 
B. Whitaker, Horace B. Taylor, George S. Wheeler, David H. Buell, and Joseph 
W. H. Havens, of Benton ; James D. Morgan, James Cooley, Cornelius C. Masten, 
John Hatmaker, Samuel S. Ellsworth, Russell A. Hunt, Darius A. Ogden, Ebenezer 
B. Jones, John Buxton, Charles Wagener, Stafford C. Cleveland, Adam Hunt, George 
A. Sheppard, Abraham W. Shearman, William T. Remer, Samuel H. Wells, Alexan- 
der F. Whitaker, William S. briggs, Melatiah H. Lawrence, George D. A. Bridgman, 
of Milo ; Uriah Hanford and Seneca M. Badger, of Jerusalem ; John Mather, of Mid- 
dlesex ; and Jeptha A. Potter, of Potter,— being severally citizens of the county of 
Yates, and of the State of New York, and of the United States, and of full age, do 


hereby certify that we have this day formed, and do hereby constitute a body politic 
and corporate, for ourselves and our associates and successors, under the provisions 
and in pursuance of the act of the legislature of this State, entitled ' An Act for the In- 
corporation of Benevolent, Charitable, Scientific, and Missionary Societies,' passed 
April 12, 1848, and the amendments thereto. 

" That the name and title of the said society and corporation, and by which it is to 
be known in law, is ' The Yates County Historical Society,' and its place of business 
is to be in the village of Penn Yan in said county of Yates ; that the particular busi- 
ness and objects of said society and corporation are of a literary and scientific charac- 
ter, being the collection and preservation of the facts and materials connected with the 
tarly history and settlement of the several towns in the county of Yates and of the 
settlers thereof, and with the civil, and ecclesiastical, and general history of said towns 
and of the county, and biographies of its citizens from its settlement aforesaid ; and of 
the various benevolent, charitable, scientific, and missionary and other societies and or- 
ganizations which do now exist and have existed in the said towns or county ; and with 
Indian history, antiquities, language, manners, and customs within the bounds of said 
county ; and with the natural history and topography of said county, and all other mat- 
ters not herein enumerated connected with the history of said towns and of the county ; 
and also the collection and keeping of a cabinet of curiosities and such books, maps, 
papers, and documents, and other articles as may relate to or be connected with the 
business and objects of the society. That the number of directors to manage said so- 
ciety and corporation is nine, and that the names of said directors for the first year of 
its existence are Uriah Hanford, Alexander F. Whitaker, Meletiah H. Lawrence, 
Charles Wagcner, Darius A. Ogden, William S. Briggs, David H. Buell, Jeptha A. 
Potter, and John Hatmaker.'' 

Further the certificate was signed and acknowledged before a justice 
of the Supreme Court by each of the corporators heretofore named, 
and by the filing of the certificate with the proper officer the Yates 
County Historical Society was brought into existence. On the 4th of 
February, i860, a meeting of the citizens friendly to the society was 
held at the court house in Penn Yan at half past 10 o'clock A. M., at 
which time the articles of incorporation were duly approved and adopted. 
At 2 o'clock in the afternoon the society re-assembled and proceeded 
to elect its first officers, with the following result : President, Samuel G. 
Gage, of Benton; vice-presidents, Jonathan Taylor, of Barrington, Eli- 
sha Doubleday, of Italy, James Brown, of Jerusalem, John Mather, of 
Middlesex, Samuel S. Ellsworth, of Milo, Baxter Hobart, of Potter, 
Walter Wolcott, of Starkey, and John A. McLean, of Torrey ; recording 
and corresponding secretary, John L. Lew is, of Penn Yan; treasurer, 
William T. Remer, of Penn Yan, now of Benton. Much other business 


was at this time transacted by the society, prominent in which was the 
appointment of committees for each town whose duty it should be to- 
report to the society the names of the pioneer and early settlers in each 
locality, together with other committees to inquire into and report on' 
various subjects of the county's history. 

This much of the society's history found its way into a printed pam- 
phlet published during the year i860. The history that followed was 
kept in the books of the recording officer of the society, and with his 
death and the division of his effects the records became scattered, were 
taken in fact from the county, and are now lost to its people and to the 
few surviving members of the corporation. From its first meeting 
and for fifteen or twenty years thereafter meetings of the society con- 
tinued to be held, but as the original and controlling members were 
of older stock they did not appear to acquire much of the younger 
blood in its membership, as their ways and methods were hardly in ac- 
cord with the popular younger ideas. The result was that after a lapse 
of about ten or twelve years the society began to decline, meetings were 
held less frequently, and the corporation became virtually extinct. 

In the year 1887, or about that time, an effort was made to effect a 
re- organization of the old society under the name of the Pioneer His- 
torical Society of Yates County. The invitations and publications of 
the leading spirits in the movement met with general favor and a new 
organization was the result. Hon. Hanford Struble was elected pres- 
ident, and a largely attended society picnic and re- union was held 
in the court-house park. Judge Struble on this occasion delivered one 
of his most interesting and able addresses, and the meeting was voted a 
grand success. But even with the young energy infused into the pro- 
ject the society proved to be short lived, and now with the expiration 
of but five years no trace of the organization is to be found except in 
the memory of a few of the once active members. 



THE surface of Yates County is divided by five great ridges extend- 
ing in a nortiiwardly direction. These ridges gradually decline 
from a height of 600 to 1,800 feet above Seneca Lake to a gentle un- 
dulating region in the towns of Torrey, Benton, Potter, and Middlesex. 
The first ridge is between West River Hollow and Canandaigua Lake, 
and ends in an abrupt promontory about 1,000 feet above the valley 
beneath it and about 1,780 feet above the level of Seneca Lake. The 
next ridge eastward lies between West River Hollow and Flint Creek 
or Italy Hollow, ending near Potter Center and in the southern portion 
of the town of Italy, presenting almost perpendicular sides and rising 
quite as high as the one west of it. The next is called Italy Hill, and 
at its highest point, which is very near the middle of the eastern bound- 
ary of the town, rises nearly as high as those west of it. West Hill 
Ridge is next in order and joins with Italy Hill in the southern por- 
tions of Jerusalem and Italy, forming a large area of high land. Cross- 
ing Larzalier's Hollow, through which the waters of Lake Keuka once 
flowed into Kashong Creek, we ascend East Hill. This elevation is 
short, terminating at the north in level lands near the northern boundary 
of the town of Jerusalem and in Bluff Point at the south. There is a 
cutting through this ridge at Branchport to Kinney's Corners, which 
divided Bluff Point from the main land and made an island of it when 
the level of the lake was seventy-five feet higher than at present. From 
East Hill we descend into the valley of another former outlet of Lake 
Keuka, but more recent than the one through Larzalier's Hollow. Be- 
tween this hollow and Seneca Lake is an elevation which terminates in 
high lands in the town of Barrington. 

The three western ridges are capped with the coarse sandstones and 
shales of the lower part of the Chemung group. There are no good 
outcroppings of this rock in the county, but from surface indications it 

>By Berlin H, Wright, of Penn Yan, N. Y. 


would appear that some of the strata are highly fossiliferous. The 
coarse white sandstones have yielded us some fine specimens of Dictyo- 
phyton tuberosum (Conrad D.), Nodosum (Hall), and Lepidodendron corrxi- 
gatum (Dawson). Contrary to* statements heretofore made the Che- 
mung group does not appear in either Starkey or Harrington. The 
coarse, easily-broken sandstones of the lower Chemung are readily dis- 
tinguished from the fine-grained and tougher Portage rock, even in the 
absence of fossil remains; and in Italy Hollow, where the junction of 
the formations may be seen, the difference is very perceptible. 

The greater part of Yates County is occupied by the Portage group. 
The lower portion of the group contains much iron pyrites and is divided 
into thick, solid strata of sandstone separated hy ska ly beds. The sand- 
stone \s quarried in many places and. forms a valuable building material. 
In the southern part of Milo, on the farm of Mr. Valentine, there is a 
large area of naked rock, or covered in places with a few inches of soil. 
Here is a fine exhibition of glacial action in the polished and grooved 
surface. Some of the strice are of considerable depth and all parallel. 
Deposits oi tufa and travertine are found in moist ravines in this group. 
Concretions of various sizes and shapes are common and often mistaken 
for petrifactions. Small cubical crystals of iron pyrites (" fool's gold ") 
are not uncommon in some places. 

Fine water-falls occur in several places. In Eggelston's Gully in Bar- 
rington there is one of loo feet in one unbroken descent. Some very 
good examples of ripple- marks or mud-waves may her.e be seen. In 
Bruce's Gully in Milo are two falls of sixty and forty feet each. Here in 
Bruce's Gully, about forty feet from the base of the portage, Dr. S. Hart 
Wright found a fossil which Dr. J. S. Newberry pronounces the only 
Devonian representative of Agassiz's genus Pristocanthus he knows of 
The fossil remains are not plentiful, and can best be obtained in quar- 
ries and cuttings. At Whitaker's quarry in Milo we have obtained fine 
specimens of Orthoceras atreus (Hall) and 0. thyestes (Hall). Within 
the chamber of habitation of a large specimen of the latter, which we 
collected in this locality, we found two perfect specimens of Orthoceras, 
each about three inches long and with chamber of habitation one inch 
n diameter. The shell was broken off of one side in getting out the 
specimen, thus exposing the interior. 


At a quarry in the town of Milo we obtained some specimens of 
Lepidodendron, which seem to be L. primcevum (Rogers), but present the 
curious peculiarity of having leaf-bases depressed instead of being 
prominent. (See remarks on this by Dr. J. W. Dawson in the Quarterly 
.Journal of the Geological Society, May, 1881.) In the same quarry 
carbonized remains of immense fern petioles five inches broad and sev- 
eral feet long occur. Fucoides graphica (Hall) abounds in the argil- 
laceous strata and a magnificent specimen of Spirophyton, sp. ? was found 
in the upper shales. Ltmilicardium ornatuin (Hall) occurs sparingly. 
" Cone- in- cone " and pyritiferous nodules of curious shapes occur in the 
Big Gully. Cordiopsis robtista (Hall) is met with quite frequently. 
William Buxton, of Milo Center, has found three fine specimens oi Phim- 
alina plumaria (Hall) in the uppermost shales. One of the specimens 
is fourteen inches long. We have never found Spirifera Imvis (Hall), 
though ever on the lookout for it. At the Whitaker quarry in the town 
of Milo we discovered a fern which Dr. Dawson has indicated as a new 
genus. The following is his description taken from the Quarterly Jonr- 
«a/of May, 1881 : 

" The genus Asteropteris is established for stems of ferns having the axial portion 
composed of vertical radiating plates of scalariform tissue imbedded in parenchyma, 
and having the. outer cylinder composed of elongated cells traversed by lead-bun- 
of the type of those of Zygopteris. The only species known to me is represented 
by a stem 2.5 centimetres in diameter, slightly wrinkled and pitted externally, per- 
haps by traces of aerial roots which have perished. The transverse section shows 
in the center four vertical plates of scalariform or imperfectly reticulated tissues, 
placed at right angles to each other, and united in the middle of the stem. At a short 
distance from the center each of these plates divides into two or three, so as to form 
an axis of from ten to twelve radiating plates, with remains of cellular tissue filling the 
angular interspaces. The greatest diameter of this axis is about 1.5 centimetres. Ex- 
terior to the axis the stem consists of elongated cells, with somewhat thick walls, and 
more dense toward the circumference. The walls of these cells present a curious 
reticulated appearance, apparently caused by the cracking of the ligneous lining in 
consequence of contraction in the process of carbonization. Imbedded in this outer 
cylinder are about twelve vascular bundles, each with a dumb-bell shaped bundle of 
scalariform vessels enclosed in a sheath of thick-walled fibers. Each bundle is oppo- 
site to one of the rays of the central axis. The specimen shows about two inches of 
the length of the stem, and is somewhat bent, apparently by pressure at one end. 

" This stem is evidently that of a small tree-fern of a type, so far as known to me, 
not heretofore described, and constituting a very complex and symmetrical form of the 


group Palaszoic ferns, allied to the genus Zygopteris of Schimper. The central axis 
alone has a curious resemblance to the peculiar stem described by Unger (' Devonian 
Flora of Thuringia') under the name of Cladoxylon mirabile ; and it is just possible 
that this latter stem may be the axis of some allied plant. The large aerial roots of 
some modern tree-ferns of the genus Angio-pteris have, however, an analogous radi- 
ating structure. The specimen is. from the collection of Berlin H. Wright, of Penn 
Yan, N. Y., and was found in the Portage group (Upper Erian) of Milo, N. Y., where 
it was associated with large petioles of Terns and trunks of Lepidodendra, probably L. 
chemungese and L. primcEVum. 

" In previous communications to the society I have described three species of tree- 
ferns from the Upper and Lower Devonian of New York and Ohio ; and this species 
is from an intermediate horizon. All four occur in marine beds, and were, no doubt, 
drift-trunks from the fern-clad islands of the Devonian Sea. The occurrence of these 
stems in marine beds has recently been illustrated by the observation of Prof. A. 
Agassiz, that considerable quantities of vegetable matter can be dredged from great 
depths of the sea on the leeward side of the Caribbean Islands. The occurrence of 
these trunks further connects hself with the great abundance of large petioles (Rhachi- 
opteris) in the same beds, while the rarity of well-preserved fronds is explained by the 
coarseness of the beds and also by the probably long maceration of the plant-remains 
in the sea-water.'' 

Nowhere in the county does the rock change in character sufficiently 
to warrant the sub- divisions which Professor Hall gives to this group in 
Livingston and Allegany Counties. The entire thickness of the group 
in Yates County cannot be less than 1,000 feet. 

The next formation in the natural order downward is the Genesee 
slate. This extends the entire length of the county from north to 
south, and there are many fine exhibitions of the entire thickness of the 
dark, fissile, carbonaceous shales, but the fossil remains are but sparingly 
distributed. In a ravine near Shingle Point on Seneca Lake there is a 
stratum about two feet thick, and near the middle of the formation, 
which abounds in fossils, among which are the following: Lepidodendron 
J/. .^ very large and fine; Goniatites, sp.f very large and fine ; Leiorhyn- 
chus quadricostata (Vanuxem) ; Lingula spaiulata (Vanuxem) ; Discina 
lodensis (Vanuxem) ; Discina truncata (Hall) ; and a large number of 
small gasteropods. Septaria of all sizes from a few inches to two feet 
in diameter and of many curious shapes occur plentifully. The major 
part of them are over ten inches in diameter and flattened. They usually 
contain cavities which are lined with crystals. Usually the calcareous 
filling in the septaria and the body are worn away unequally, producing 


many curious forms, and many of the people along the exposure of 
these shales possess their " petrified turtles." 

This is the first formation encountered in passing down the outlet of 
Lake Keuka (Crooked Lake). At Randall's mills these shales form an 
abrupt cliff seventy feet high and intensely black. They extend to the 
oil-mill, a mile below where the water tumbles over a cascade of four- 
teen feet, formed by the Tully limestone. 

It seems proper at this point to describe what we believe to be a fault 
which occurs in the strata at the outlet. At the oil-mill the Tully lime- 
stone and Genesee slate are almost level in an east and west direction, 
and incline very slightly to the south. This condition maintains 
throughout the outlet and in the ravines leading thereto wherever they 
are visible. The Tully may be traced for many rods below the oil-mill,, 
standing out in bold relief, while the shales above and below it crumble 
away. It disappears, having "run out," and for about one-half mile 
we find the upper portion of the Hamilton group (the Moscow shale)- 
filled with its characteristic fossil remains. One mile farther down and 
forty feet lower we again find the Tully with the Genesee slate above it 
and the fossiliferous blue Moscow shales beneath, almost perfectly level. 
It is impossible to tell just where the fault occurs and its direction, ow- 
ing to the superincumbent soil. In Bruce's Gully, a little farther down, 
it is quite apparent that the break occurs about twenty rods from the 
entrance, and possibly by removing a few tons of soil the line could be 
found. We should say that it followed the general direction of the out- 
let and was, perhaps, its originating cause. Prof S. G. Williams, of 
Cornell University, examined the locality with me and fully concurs in 
the opinion expressed. 

This formation varies in thickness from eleven to fourteen feet and is 
divided into from three to five well defined layers, varying in thickness 
from one to four feet. The upper stratum is much the thinnest. The 
upper surface of the third layer at Bellona is covered with pits of many 
curious and suggestive shapes. Many people believe them to be veri- 
table tracks, and this belief has been strengthened of late by reason of 
sensational accounts of the wonderful " tracks of men, children, dogs, 
cows, mastodons," etc., which have been published by a correspondent of 
a Rochester paper, who took plaster casts of some of the mastodon and 


human (?) tracks and sent them to editors and scientific men. It is 
evident that the "tracks" are solely the result of the eroding action of 
the elements. Water has, without doubt, been confined in its course 
bi-tween these layers. It is a fact that these cavities do, in many in- 
stances, bear a striking resemblance to the tracks of men and animals. 
We have walked for a rod or more taking natural strides and stepping 
in well fitted pits each time. 

At several places the Tully limestofie is much flecked ; at Bellona the 
dip to the north is 4°- In the town of Starkey it is undulatory. The 
two upper layers have a remarkable growth of corals. At Bellona the 
following abound : Alveolites goldfussii (Billings), Favosites argus 
(Hall), Zaplirentes simplex (Hall), Heliophylliim halli (Edward and 
Haime), and Cystophylhtm americanuni (Edward and Haime). There is 
also a form that resembles the last in structure, but is greatly flattened 
and attains a length of two feet. Where these corals occur the lime- 
stone is so impure as to be hardly worthy of the name, being dark, loose, 
and " rotten." No brachiopods or other fossils are found with the 

The third layer contains a few fossils ; the fourth and fifth many. It 
is useless to look for Rhynchonella vanustula (Hall) above the lowest 
layer. They are most frequently found within a foot of the base, ac- 
companied by a small, circular, flattish species of Atrypa. This seems 
to be what Mr. Vanuxem named A. lentiformis, and which has been 
considered by more recent authors as identical with A. reticularis L. 
Although the two agree perfectly in markings we have never, among 
thousands of the latter species, found one that agreed with the former 
in shape. Nor have we ever collected from the Tully a specimen of 
Atrypa larger than a half-grown A. reticularis, such as are found in the 
shales below. The A. lentiformis (Vanuxem) is always less ventricose, 
smaller, and more nearly circular. Orthis tulliensis (Vanuxem) occurs 
with R. vemistula also, but more sparingly than the last, and we have 
never found either above or below the Tully. Loxonema nexilis (Phill.) 
is not uncommon. Proetus marginalis (Con.) has been found here. 

WiUiam Buxton found a very fine specimen at Bellona resembling 
Natitilus mdgister (Hall), but it does not enlarge so rapidly ; also a fine 
Cyrtoceras sp. ? William Coon, of Milo Center, N. Y., found the largest 


and most perfect Orthoceras we have ever seen from Devonian rocks in 
the TuUy limestone at Bellona. These are the only cephalopods we have 
ever seen or known of having been found in the Tully limestone in this 

There is a cave of considerable size in the gully near the " old Friend 
House '' in the town of Torrey. The entrance is only large enough to 
admit a small boy, and children have crawled in a distance of fifteen or 
twenty feet, projecting in front of them a long pole with a torch at the 
end, thus being enabled to see a considerable distance and to observe 
side chambers. About a rod from the entrance there is a sudden con- 
traction of the passage way which prevents further progress, but it en- 
larges greatly beyond this point. Some fine stalactites have been taken 
from beneath the limestone. 

The formation is finely exposed in Yates County, appearing in Kash- 
ong Creek in the town of Torrey, formerly the shore line of Seneca 
Lake, as far south as Shingle Point, and cropping out in the outlet of 
Lake Keuka. Near Hopeton is an outline which was once an island in 
Lake Keuka. This is called the " Sugar Loaf." On the west and south 
sides of Sugar Loaf, which is about sixty feet high, the rock is free from 
soil and certain fossils may be collected there in abundance. The top 
is capped with the Tully limestone, which projects several feet beyond 
the shales beneath. Frequent calcareous layers about two inches thick 
occur here. These consist wholly of fossil remains. The following are 
abundant at Sugar Loaf: Athyris spiriferoides (Eaton) ; Athrypa reti- 
cularis (Linn) ; ChcBtetes fruticosus (Hall) ; Strombodes distorta (Hall) ; 
Streptelasma rectum, (Hall) ; Amplexus sp. ? Spififera granulifera 
(Hall) ; S. medialis (Hall) ; and S.mucronota (Con.). The finest expo- 
sition of this formation and also of the succeeding Encrinal limistone, 
Ludlowville and Marcellus shales, is in Kashong Creek in the tou n of 
Benton. Here all the fossils found elsewhere in the county (below the 
Portage) occur, and many not found in other localities. As the re- 
maining formations of Yates County are best seen in Kashong Creek 
we invite attention to that locality. 

This creek has its source in the swampy lands in the western part of 
the town of Benton, and has at two different periods been the channel 
through which the waters of Lake Keuka have reached Seneca Lake. 


By the way it will be seen that it has its origin in the Portage group 
and runs through all the lower formations in the county. ' A few rods 
south of Bellona the Genesee slate and TuUy limestone appear near an 
old saw- mill. After leaving this point on the route to Seneca Lake, 
through Kashong Creek, we first descend through fifty-five feet of ne.-jrly 
horizontal shale, occasionally interrupted by layers of sandstone. In this, 
and about two-thirds the distance down, we found the spine or a new 
species of Ctenacanthus. This stratum terminates in a bed of pyritif- 
erous shales. This is followed by eight feet of coarse shales, which are 
remarkably rich in Strophodonta, and is succeeded by another layer of 
pyritiferous nodules twelve feet thick, and this by seven feet of calcar- 
eous shales, exceedingly rich in well preserved fossil remains, though in 
a portion of this layer (the argillaceous shales) fossils are abundant ; it is 
difficult to obtain perfect specimens. In the calcareous layers, which 
are from two to eight inches thick, fossils are most common and can 
usually be obtained free from gangue. The following are plentiful : 
Tropidoleptus carinatus (Conrad), Chronetes miicronata (Hall), Ortlius 
vanuxemi (Hall), 0. leucosia (Hall), Spirifera granulifera (Hall), Modio- 
inorpha concentrica (Conrad), M. macilenta (Hall), Atrypa reticularis 
(Linn), Michelinia stylopora (Eaton), and Mytilarca oviformis (Con). 
Several species of undescribed fossils in the genera Peterinea avicitlo- 
pecten, Platyostoma, Loxonema, Fenestella, Fistulipora, and Alveolites. 

Fragmentary portions of Pfacops rana (Green) and Dalmanites boothi 
(Green) are very common also, but perfect specimens of the former are 
not common and of the latter only three have been found here that we 
are aware of The articulations of Homalonotus dekayi (Green) are fre- 
quently found, but Mrs. B. H. Wright and William Buxton have found 
the only heads (two) that we know of from this locality. This stratum 
continues to the brink of the first fall, where the character of the rock 
changes from a loose, calcareous sliale to solid, compact layers of a lighter 
color. Here occur several pot-holes, one of which is two feet in diam- 
eter and the same in depth. These are near the brink of a fall of nearly 
thirty feet. In the lower portion of this layer are some fine Cypricard- 
ites, with most of the species found above. Then follows a calcareous 
stratum seven feet thick containing many crinoidal fragments. This 
rests upon the encrinal limestone, which is about three feet thick and 


forms the brink of the middle fall of twenty- nine feet. This encrinal 
limestone is quite hard, takes an excellent polish, and being made up 
almost wholly of crinoidal stems and rays makes a fine polished slab. 
There is but one brachiopod which is plentiful in this limestone. 

Pentamerella papilionefisis (Hall), Eridophyllum verneuilianum. (Ed. 
and H.), and Diphyphyllum gigas (Rominger) are very plentiful also. 
Among the crinoids are several undescribed species, — see Dolatocrinus 
liratiis (Hall) and Megistocriniis depressus (Hall). Fine gasteropods are 
plentiful throughout this and the preceding formations, but are best pre- 
served and obtained in best condition in this limestone. Among the 
commonest are Pluerotomoria filitexta (Hall), P. itys (Hall), Macrochei- 
Ins Jiam.iltonicB (Hall), platyostoma lineata (Conrad), Platyceras thetis 
(Hall), P. symmetricum. (Hall), and P. carinatum (Hall). After making 
a detour around the falls it is at once apparent that we are in a differ- 
ent formation by the greenish color of the shales. We believe that all 
the fossils found in this formation, the Ludlowville shale, are found in 
the higher beds, but the reverse is far from being true. Brachiopods are 
quite scarce and there is a general thinning out of representatives of all 
the orders. These shales are succeeded by darker ones, thirty-five feet 
thick, containing nearly the same fauna. These continue to the lower 
fall, which marks the beginning of the dark Marcellus shales, which 
continue to Seneca Lake. The only fossil which is here plentiful in the 
Marcellus shales is Orthoceras subtdatum (Hall). 

The thickness of these formations was obtained by taking a series of 
levels from Bellona to Seneca Lake. The results cannot be far from 
correct, as the dip in that direction is scarcely appreciable. My father. 
Dr. S. Hart Wright, a practical surveyor and engineer, assisted me in 
the work, and the results may be relied upon as correct. 



THERE are times in the history of nations when the voice of rea- 
son is unheeded; when the laws are trampled upon; when the 
counsels of the wise are disregarded and the dictation of statesmen 
ignored. It grows out of the struggles of men for power, in the race 
for political preferment, in contests for personal recognition with a de- 
termination to triumph regardless of expressed wishes of majorities, and 
to secure success at a sacrifice of the rights of others ; there is but one 
natural, legitimate outcome of such revolts — revolution. This genera- 
tion has witnessed and been participants in the crucial period of our na- 
tion's existence, when no settlement of the vexed questions was possible 
save by the arbitrament of the sword. 

From the hour that man first learned that it was possible to take the 
life of his brother the stronger has reached the goal of his ambition at 
the cost of blood ; some nations have gone out in the smoke of battle 
while others have enlarged their territory and brightened their civiliza- 
tion by victorious armies. Many are looking for the coming of a time 
when reason will so far sway the human mind as to make war no longer 
a necessity ; such may be the case and is earnestly hoped, yet it is hardly 
expected until man has gone at least one round higher on the ladder 
of evolution. For many years prior to i860 strong antagonism had 
existed in this country between two sentiments — the Soutti was the 
enemy par excellence oi irse. labor and the North of slave labor. Advo- 
cates of these principles were earnest and determined, and their respect- 
ive views enlarged until the remotest corners of our territorial limits 
became more or less impregnated with the prevailing ideas. The po- 
litical contest of the year was fevered and exciting. Never before had 
so much depended upon the result of the ballot. There were murmur- 
ings so significant that they could be felt, and preparations of a char- 
acter that carried alarm to a nation that had devoted all her energies 
and resources to the fertile labors of peace. Then followed an assault 


upon the integrity of the ballot and the will of the majority, an innova-, 
tion which, if successful, must of necessity destroy our republican form 
of government. The voice of reason was drowned in the thunder of 
cannon. The question to solve was. Should liberty and union no longer 
walk hand in hand, and if either was to go out, which ? How sudden 
the transformation of the peaceful citizen to the uniformed soldier! 
Volunteers were furnished in every county, town, and neighborhood of 
the great North. Nearly every citizen realized that it was his duty to 
be loyal and to serve his country in the way he best could. 

The county of Yates was no exception to the rule. She freely sent 
her sons and their blood crimsoned the soil of a hundred battlefields. 
They fell at Gettysburg and Lookout Mountain, in the Wilderness and 
at Cold Harbor, at Petersburg and in the valley of the Shenandoah. 
The Spartan mothers gave their sons with a heroism that has been the 
admiration of the world since those chivalric days, but they did not 
excel the mothers of America in their unselfish sacrifice of their house- 
hold idols. 

The hardships incident to soldier life, suffering from wounds and dis- 
ease and the surrendering of young lives, presents a chapter of patriot- 
ism that warms the heart of every American citizen in its contempla- 
tion, but the years and months that came and went, while the father, 
and the mother, and the wife, and the sister waited in their homes; when 
the heart stood still as the hurried stranger knocked at the door; when 
the hands trembled as the message was opened ; and when in hushed 
words they expressed a doubt whether the wound would kill or had 
already killed the soldier in whom so much of their interests centered. 
Who did the most or suffered the most when the shadows of war dark- 
ened our land ? who can say ? 

Little Yates was as strong in her devotion to the Union cause as any 
locality in State or nation. There were a few exceptions where stu- 
pidity, ignorance, and a lack of self-respect warped men out of line and 
let them sink from respectable notice; their influence then was lighter 
than air, and since they have not been trusted by either those who 
fought for or against the flag. Over $600,000 were raised to recruit 
the army, or about one tenth of the assessed valuation of the entire 
property of the county. Names of vast numbers of men and women 



could be mentioned who did not go beyond the county limits during 
the years of the Rebellion who struggled as earnestly. for the preserva- 
tion of the Republic as the soldier at the front, but we refrain from 
entering upon the list for fear of doing injustice to many who might be 
overlooked or for want of space whose deeds could be only meagerly 
narrated. They all did well their part. Who can do more ? The cost 
was great, but no more than commensurate with what was secured. A 
restored nationality ! A free people ! An enduring government ! To 
the eye of man the future is hidden in deep obscurity, but we feel as- 
sured that the storm of war with its destructive forces will never again 
break upon our fair inheritance. We have learned the full meaning of 
patriotism ; we have shown to the world that we know how to take care 
of our rights as a people, and that those rights will be maintained, let 
the cost be never so great. 


Devotion to the Union and loyalty to the national government were 
evinced in aconspicuous manner by the great northern uprisingin 1861. 
And in this movement no small part was taken by the patriotic citizens 
of Yates and the neighboring counties. The Thirty- third New York 
Volunteers, which was then raised in this part of the State, was one of 
the first regiments to go to the front. The regiment was recruited by 
companies as follows: A, C, and K in Seneca County; B in Wayne 
County ; D and H in Ontario County ; E and F in Livingston County ; 
G in Erie County; and I in Yates County. Of the latter a particular 
account will be given. 

An the 19th of April, 1861, three days after the attack on Fort Sum- 
ter, was issued the President's proclamation calling for 75,000 men. 
Immediately after the news of such proclamation reached Penn Yan a 
war meeting was called in Washington Hall. Gen. Alexander F. Whit- 
aker presided and George R. Cornwell was secretary. Several ad- 
dresses were made and the session continued till a late hour. A roll 
was presented and ^thirty-four names were obtained. A much larger 
gathering was held on the evening of April 2Sth, with bands of music 
parading the streets and playing national airs. Resolutions were 
adopted to raise a company of volunteers and recruits came forward 


freely. The Republican and Democratic Central Committees combined 
in a call for a county mass meeting and union assembly, which took 
place in the court- house park on Saturday, April 27th. A procession 
was formed under the direction of Gen. A. F. Whitaker, aided by Gen. 
George Wagener, and led by martial and brass bands. Morris Brown, 
esq., was president of the day and over 5,000 persons were in attend- 
anceon this occasion. Stirring addresses were delivered by Hon. Darius 
A. Ogden, Hon. Henry Spence, Gen. A. F. Whitaker, and Abraham V. 
Harpending, esq. At that meeting was appointed a finance committee 
consisting of Messrs. Farley Holmes, Ebenezer B. Jones, Darius A. 
Ogden, and Charles C. Sheppard, who circulated a subscription to raise 
funds to provide for the families of volunteers. 

The military company now recruited, and which at this time was 
known as the " Keuka Rifles," assembled on the 9th of May in Wash- 
ington Hall, and was there inspected by Maj. John E. Bean, of Geneva, 
and mustered into the State service. An election was held for officers 
on the same day, resulting in the following being chosen : Captain, James 
M. Letts; first lieutenant, Edward E. Root; second lieutenant, Will- 
iam H. Long. The company continued to drill under its officers until 
orders were received to go into camp at Elmira on the 19th of May. 
On that day the company departed and was escorted to the railroad 
depot by the Penn Yan firemen in uniform aild a vast crowd of citizens. 
The company was presented by the ladies of Penn Yan with a beautiful 
flag, and was addressed on its departure by Hon. D. A. Ogden and E. B. 
Jones. A testament was also presented to each member. The men on 
their arrival at Elmira were quartered in Rev. Thomas K. Beecher's 
church and on the 24th'of May became Company I of the Thirty-third 
New York Volunteers, and with the history of this regiment from that 
date the history of the company is identified. Eight of the companies 
previously mentioned had already arrived in Elmira, then an ordinary 
place of rendezvous for troops going to the front. The officers of these 
companies met on May 17th and decided upon forming themselves into 
a regiment, the two other companies afterward joining them. The or- 
ganization of the new regiment was rendered complete by the election 
of officers on the 2 1st of May. Robert F. Taylor, of Rochester, a 
gentleman of warlike taste and ability, who had served in Mexico, was 


appointed colonel. The other field and staff officers then elected were : 
Lieutenant- colonel, Calvin Walker, Geneva; major, Robert J. Mann, 
Seneca Falls ; adjutant, Charles T. Sutton, New York city ; quarter- 
master, H. G. Suydam, Geneva; chaplain, Rev. G. N. Cheney, Roch- 
ester ; surgeon, T. Rush Spencer. 

The Thirty- third Regiment, when organized, was assigned to barracks 
in Southport, where it remained until the departure for Washington. 
An interesting event of the sojourn in Elmira was the reception of a 
regimental flag from the patriotic ladies of Canandaigua. The regi- 
ment being formed in a hollow square Mrs. Chesebro, with a few felicit- 
ous remarks, presented the banner to Colonel Taylor, who in a brief 
speech expressed the thanks of himself and command for the beautiful 
gift, promising that it should never be dishonored or disgraced. Chap- 
lain Cheney also in response delivered an able and eloquent address 
to the delagation. This flag was made of the finest blue silk, bearing 
upon one side the coat-of-arms of the State of New York and on the 
reverse the seal of the county of Ontario adopted in 1790. Over, this 
seal appeared in bold gilt letters the words : " Ontario County Volun- 
teers." Surmounting the staff was a highly finished carved eagle with 
extended pinions, the whole forming one of the most elegant battle- 
flags ever wrought by fair hands. On the 3d of July the regiment was 
mustered by companies in the United States service for two years by 
Captain Sitgreaves, a regular officer. Five days later the command 
started for Washington and was assigned on arrival to Camp Granger, 
about two and one- half miles from the city. While the regiment was 
here encamped there occurred the disastroiis battle of Bull Run, July 
21, 1861. The distant sound of cannon all that day was distinctly 
heard in the camp. Toward evening the Thirty-third, along with sev- 
eral other regiments, received marching orders, but had proceeded no 
farther than the Treasury Department, when the orders were counter- 
manded. William Riker, sergeant, Company I, died at Camp Granger 
on August 28th, The regiment took up a new position at Camp Lyon 
near Chain Bridge, and was here brigaded for the first time, being 
placed together with the Third Vermont and the Sixth Maine under 
the command of Gen. W. F. Smith. On the 3d of September the en- 
tire brigade crossed the Long Bridge into Virginia. The Thirty- third 


first occupied Camp Advance, changing soon after for Camp Ethan 
Allen. While at the latter camp the regiment had its first skirmish 
with the enemy. Camp Griffin was the next place of residence, and 
while here occurred at Bailey's Cross-Roads a grand review of the 
army by General McClellan, attended also by President Lincoln and 
other distinguished personages. James M. Letts resigned December 
31st and was succeeded by Edward E. Root as captain of Company L 
An advance on Richmond along the peninsula between the York and 
James Rivers having been decided upon the Thirty-third Regiment 
embarked at Alexandria on March 23, 1862, and proceeding by 
steamer reached Old Point Comfort the next morning. Here the com- 
mand disembarked and went into camp about four miles distant on the 
James River. Yorktown was invested on the 4th of April, but hardly 
had the siege commenced when contrabands brought the intelligence 
that the enemy had evacuated the place. The Army of the Potomac 
followed in pursuit of the retreating Confederates, and on Monday, May 
5th, was fought the battle of Williamsburg. In the beginning of the 
action three companies of the Thirty-third (Company A, Capt. George 
M. Guoin, afterward lieutenant-colonel of the One Hundred and Forty- 
eighth Regiment N. Y. V.; Company D, Lieut. George W. Brown, 
commanding; and Company F, Capt. James M. McNair), with regimen- 
tal colors and color- guard, were ordered to occupy a redoubt a short 
distance from the enemy. This was quickly done amid a heavy fire of 
artillery and musketry, and the beautiful banner remained waving from 
the battlements throughout the fierce conflict, torn and tattered for the 
first time by shot and shell. Company C, Capt. Chester H. Cole ; 
Company E, Capt. Wilson E. Warford ; Company H, Capt. Alexander 
H. Drake (born in Yates County) ; and Company I, Capt. Edward E. 
Root were deployed by Colonel Taylor as skirmishers. The remaining 
companies of the regiment (Company B, Capt. Josiah J. White ; Com- 
pany G, Capt. Theodore B. Hatniiton ; and Company K, Capt. Patrick 
McGraw) were stationed on guard duty under the command of Lieut. - 
Col. Joseph W. Corning. All day the fight continued and toward night 
a sudden and furious attack was made by the enemy upon Hancock's 
position, then occupied in part by the Thirty- third. Companies A, D, 
and F were ordered out of the redoubt into line of battle as the Con- 


federates came rushing on, shouting " Bull Run ! Bull Run ! That flag 
is ours!," The enemy's flying artillery also moved forward and dis- 
charged shot and shell in quick succession. The Federal lines wavered 
and all seemed lost when the lieutenant- colonel, turning to Colonel 
Taylor, remarked " Nothing but a charge can check them." " A charge 
it shall be," he replied, and waving his sword aloft shouted " Forward, 
men!" "Charge bayonets!" added Lieutenant-Colonel Corning and 
the Thirty-third sprang forward on the double-quick, when its gallant 
action was imitated by several regiments along the line. Alarmed at 
this sudden counter- charge the enemy turned and ran in confusion, 
while the Thirty- third poured volley after volley upon the Confederates 
as they rapidly retreated over the plain. This daring exploit of the 
regiment decided the fortunes of the day and changed a seeming defeat 
into a substantial victory. Company I, commanded by Captain Root, 
and which with Companies C, E, and H was on the skirmish Hne, at 
this time encountered and fired upon a party of Confederates, who, sup- 
posing our soldiers to be friends, cried out, " Don't fire, you are shoot- 
ing your own men." Captain Root ordered them to surrender, and 
they were all made prisoners, much to their surprise and chagrin. One 
of their officers attempted to escape, but Captain Root started after him 
and compelled him to deliver up his sword. On the evening of May. 
7th General McClellan rode into camp on his favorite bay charger, 
"Dan Webster," and thus addressed the regiment while drawn up in 
line : 

" Officers and Soldiers of the Thirty-third: I have come to thank you, in person, for 
gallant conduct on the field of battle on the Sth inst. I will say to you what I have 
said to other regiments engaged with you. All did well — did all that I could expect. 
But you did more ; you behaved like veterans ; you are veterans ; veterans of a hun- 
dred battles could not have done better. Those on your left fought well; but you won 
the day ; you were at the right point, did the right thing, and at the right time. You 
shall have Williamsburg inscribed on your banner." 

The regiment was next engaged (May 24th) in battle at Mechanics- 
ville and on the 28th of June at Golden's Farm. Here its capture wa.s 
attempted by an overwhelming force of the enemy, consisting of the 
Seventh and Eighth Georgia Regiments, but in the effort the Confed- 
erates were repulsed with great loss. The Thirty- third was highly 
complimented for its bravery by General Davidson, a loyal Virginian, 


in his report of the action. An attack of the enemy was also success- 
fully resisted (June 29th) at White Oak Swamp during the retreat to 
the James. Colonel Taylor there commanded the Third Brigade (to 
which the Thirty- third belonged), the regiment itself being in command 
of Maj. John S. Platner. 

On the 1st of July occurred the engagement at Malvern Hill. The 
Thirty- third was here posted with others bf our forces among lines of 
batteries, which the Confederates several times fiercely attacked, but in 
vain. Charge after charge was made by the enemy, only to be repulsed . 
with fearful slaughter. The determined bravery of the Confederates 
evoked cheers from the Unionists themselves. But to carry the Federal 
position was beyond their power. " In several instances," says General 
McClellan, " our infantry withheld their fire until the attacking column, 
which rushed through the storm of canister and shell from our artillery, 
had reached within a few yards of our lines. They then poured in a 
single volley and dashed forward with the bayonet, capturing prisoners 
and colors and driving the routed columns in confusion from the field. 
The result was complete victory." In the afternoon of July 
3d the regiment, which all through the retreat had formed a portion 
of the rear guard of the army, reached Harrison's Landing. Afterward 
going by transport it arrived and went into camp (August 24th) at 
Alexandria, from there marching to the battlefield of Antietam. In 
this fight, which was on the 17th of September, the Thirty-third was 
foremost in action, losing alone fifty men in killed and wounded. 
Among the former was Sergeant- Major George W. Bassett, of Yates 
County, a brave and popular ofiRcer. He was shot through the head 
on returning to the front, after having carried Lieut. Lucius C. Mix, 
who had been severely wounded, from the field. First Lieut. William 
Hale Long, of Company I, was promoted November 25th to captain 
and assistant adjutant-general and on the 1st of December George 
Brennan, orderly- sergeant of the same company, was promoted to first 
lieutenant. The regiment crossed the Rappahannock on December 12th 
on pontoon bridges laid by the Fiftieth New York Engineers, and next 
day was in the battle of Fredericksburg, where its loss in killed and 
wounded amounted to over 200. Having remained in camp near White 
Oak Church during the first four months of 1863 the command on the 


2d of May participated in the storming of Marye's Heights. These 
were gallantly carried, and on the summit the regimental colors were 
unfurled in triumph to the breeze. In the charge up the heights many 
of the regiment were killed and wounded, among the latter being Cap- 
tain Root, of Company I. The battle of Salem Heights, fought May 
4th, was the last in which the fhirty- third was engaged. 

On Tuesday, May 12, 1863, Colonel Taylor informed the men in his 
command that, their term of service having expired, they were to go 
home on the coming Friday. The order for their departure was ac- 
companied by parting addresses from the corps, division, and brigade 
generals, each address containing a graceful acknowledgment of the 
past services of the regiment. Farewells were uttered by members of 
other regiments who had fought side by side with the Thirty-third, and 
on the 17th of May the regiment arrived at Elmira. The Saturday 
following the Thirty-third came to Geneva, where an address of wel- 
come was delivered by Hon. Charles J. Folger. A bountiful repast 
was also served at Camp Swift to the returned soldiers by the ladies of 
Geneva. On Monday, May 25th, the regiment proceeded to Canan- 
daigua, where a splendid ovation was received from the citizens. The 
buildings were handsomely decorated with the national colors and tri- 
umphal arches spanned the principal streets. The veterans, together 
with the Canandaigua firemen, formed in procession and marched to 
the Court- House Square and were here addressed by Hon. Elbridge 
G. Lapham. The procession again formed and passed through various 
streets to the fair grounds, where the regiment gave an exhibition of 
the manuel of arms. J. P. Faurot, esq., made a brief speech of congrat- 
ulation, to which Lieutenant-Colonel Corning responded. Colonel Tay- 
lor then returned to the ladies of Canandaigua the regimental banner 
received from them two years before. Handing the flag to the com- 
mittee he remarked that it had been given to his command with the 
pledge that it should never be sullied by cowardice or a dishonorable 
act, and it had never been. It was a beautiful flag when presented to 
the regiment, but was now torn and soiled, but to him and the regi- 
ment it was all the dearer. He had no doubt it would be dearer to 
those who gave it as a relic of the bravery and patriotism of the men 
of the Thirty-third, who, when he assumed command, were 800 strong. 


but now less than 400 remained. On receiving back tiie banner the 
ladies presented an address, which was read by A. H. Howell, esq. A 
parting speech to the regiment was delivered by Chaplain Augustus H. 
Lung. A sumptuous banquet, served at the Canandaigua House by the 
ladies of the village, closed the 'services. The same evening the Thirty- 
third returned to Geneva and on Tuesday, June 2, 1863, was assembled 
on the green in front qf the barracks, by Captain Beirn of the regular 
army, and there mustered by companies out of the service. On the 
20th of June a grand reception was given at Penn Yan to the members 
of Company I. Led by Lieutenant Brennan as senior officer they 
marched to the sound of martial music through the principal streets and 
were served with a collation at the Benham House. The flag presented 
to the company two years before was returned to the ladies of Penn 
Yan and appropriate addresses were made by Hon. D. A. Ogden and 
Rev. Frederick Starr. Several who had belonged to Company I, and 
to other companies in the Thirty third Regiment, subsequently re- 
enlisted in other commands. 

The following is the muster roll of Company I of the Thirty-third 
Regiment, added to which is a list of the regimental and line officers at 
the time of muster out : 

Officers of Company I. — Jame.s M. Letts, captain; Edward B. Root, lieutenant; 
William H. Lone, ensign; Charles Howe, first sergeant; William Riker, sergeant; 
Edward S. Rice, sergeant; Henry Atwater, sergeant; Richard J. Harford, corporal; 
Peter y. Mead, corporal; David A. Cook, corporal; John Dunham, corporal ; Lam on 
Morse, John Oliver, musicians. 

Privates, — Joseph Agins, Patrick Ambrose, John Ashley, Daniel G-. Baker, Oliver 
Baker, James Ball, Dorr Barber, Charles Bishop, James J. Boyd, CorneUus Bonney, 
Freeman M. Brazee, George Brennan, Patrick Brennan, Charles Brown, Charles Chap- 
man, Augustus A. Chidsey, Archibald Coleman, Charles Comstock, Thomas Conway, 
Bruen Cooley, George W. Corey, James W. Corey, Daniel Daily, John Davis, William 
Decker, Putnam Demming, John Durham, William H. Eddy, James Firmin, John For- 
shay, Charles Forshay, Sylvester Fredenburgh, Charles Gage, WiUiam Gates, John Gor- 
don,' George W. Goundry, Jonah Hartwell, Josiah Holcomb, John A. Holmes, Lewis 
B. Holmes, Martin Hope, Lewis G. Horton, Delos C. Hubbard, WiUiam Humphrey, 
William W. Hunt, Eugene Hunt, Thomas Hunter, Charles Hyatt, Fenton C. Hyland, 
William Johnson, William H. Keane, Clement W. Kidder, George Madden, Michael 
Mahar, Hackett Merritt, Charles Miller, Augustus Murdock, Christopher Nash, John E. 
Neary, John Newlove, Jeremiah S. Pierce, William F. Pierce, William Plaisted, Charles 
P. Quick, George Quick, Byron F. Randolph, Oliver Raplee, Henry M. Reppenger, 


Georpe Reynolds, James Royce, Lewis Shaw, George Shearman, Nehemiah Shultz, 
Charles Shuter, William V. R. SJoan, Owen Smith, Jeremiah Sprague, George S. 
Wells, Peter S. Wheaton, Samuel Wheaton, Edward Wheeler, James White, Menzo 
Wixson, John G. Wolcott, John Woodruff, George Youngs. 

Megimental and Line Officers. — Colonel, Robert F. Taylor ; lieutenant-colonel, Joseph 
W. Corning; major, John S. Platner ; adjutant, John W. Corning; quartermaster, 
Henry N. Alexander ; chaplain, Augustus H. Lung; surgeon, D'Bstaing Dickinson; 
assistant surgeon, Duncan MacLachlin. 

Company A: Captain, Edwin J. Tyler; first lieutenant. Prince Wesley Bailey: sec- 
ond Ueutenant, Thomas H. Sibbalds. Company B : Captain, Henry J. Draime ; first 
lieutenant, Lucius C. Mix; second lieutenant, John J. Carter. Company C: Captain, 
Chester H. Cole ; first lieutenant, Robert H. Brett ; second lieutenant, James E. Steb- 
bings. Company D : Captain, Henry J. Gifford ; second lieutenant, William E. Roach. 
Company B: Captain, Wilson E. Warford; first lieutenant, John Gummer. Company 
F: Captain, James M. McNair; first lieutenant, Henry A. Hills; second lieutenant, 
John F. Winship. Company G : Captain, George A. Gale ; first lieutenant, George W. 
Marshall ; second lieutenant, Byron F. Brain. Company H : Captain, Alexander H. 
Drake; first lieutenant, Otis Cole; second lieutenant, Sylvester Porter. Company I: 
Captain, Edward E. Root; first lieutenant, George Brennan. Company K: Captain, 
Patrick McGraw ; first lieutentant, Barnard Byrne ; second lieutenant, Edward Carey. 


Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, received on the 
last of June,' 1862, a communication signed by seventeen of the war 
governors of the North recommending him to "fill up all military or- 
ganizations then in the field that had become reduced by the unavoid- 
able casualties of the service, and to create new regiments for the 
defence of positions gained, by calling on each State for its quota of a 
body of men sufficient for such purposes." The President's reply in part 
was as follows : 

" Fully concurring in the wisdom of the views expressed to me in so 
patriotic a manner by you in the communication of the 28th of June 
I have decided to call into the service an additional force of 300,000 
men. I suggest and recommend that the troops should be chiefly of 
infantry. I trust they may be enrolled without delay, so as to bring 
this unnecessary and injurious civil war to a speedy and satisfactory 

The call for troops made as above by the President was dated July 
1st and on the 2d a proclamation was issued by Hon. Edwin D. Mor- 


gan, governor of New York, for the raising of the quota of the State. 
Governor Morgan subsequently issued an order fixing the quotfsof the 
several counties, and requiring a regiment to be raised in each senato- 
rial district, which for the time was re-named " Regimental District." 
For each district a war committee was appointed to take charge of the 
recruiting of the regiment of that district and to recommend the proper 
persons to officer such regiment. The war committee appointed by the 
governor for the Twenty-sixth Senatorial District held the first meet- 
ing at Geneva on the iith of July, said committee being composed of 
certain prominent citizens from the counties of Ontario, Seneca, and 
Yates. From the last named county the members of the war com- 
mittee were as follows : Hon. William S. Briggs, county judge, Morris 
Brown, esq., Stafford C. Cleveland, editor of the Yates County Chroni- 
cle, Charles S. Hoyt, M.D., Meletiah H. Lawrence, esq., Hon. Darius A. 
Ogden, and Gen. Alexander F. Whitaker. 

Recruiting immediately commenced, and on the 4th of August the 
rendezvous for the regiment to be raised in this district was opened at 
Camp Swift, Geneva. The position of commandant of this post was 
first ofiTered to Hon. Charles J. Folger, of Geneva, and then to Hon. 
Darius A. Ogden, of Penn Yan. Each having in turn declined Hon. 
Eliakim Sherrill, of Geneva, was chosen and was commissioned colonel 
of the regiment upon its organization. War meetings were held in all 
parts of the senatorial district, particularly in our county of Yates, 
where great enthusiasm was manifested, and recruiting went on rapidly. 
Company A, recruited entirely in Yates County, was the first company 
in the new regiment to rendezvous at Camp Swift. The second was 
Company B, recruited principally in Yates County. Recruits from this 
county were also in Companies C, D, E, F, G, H, and K. On August 
20th the regiment, which was called the One Hundred and Twentj'- 
sixth New York Volunteers, was organized and on the 22d it was 
regularly mustered into the United States service. 

On that date the One Hundred and Twenty sixth Regiment com- 
prised 39 officers and 956 enlisted men, or a total of 995. The regi- 
mental and line officers at the time were as follows : 

Officers. — Colonel, E. Sherrill, Geneva ; lieutenant-colonel, James M. Bull, Canandai- 
gua; major, W. H. Baird, Geneva; quartermaater, J. K. Loring, Waterloo; surgeon, 


Fletcher M. Hammond, Penn Yan; first assistant-surgeon, Charles S. Hoyt, Potter; 
seoond assistant-surgeon, Pierre D. Peltier, Oanandaigua ; chaplain, T. Spencer Harri- 
son, Dundee; sergeant-major, D. 0. Farrington, Geneva; quartermaster-sergeant, John 
Stevenson, Seneca Falls; commissary-sergeant, Richard Macey, Geneva; sutler, J. D. 
Cobb, Geneva. 

Line Officers. — Company A: Captain, T. N. Burrill; first lieutenant, S. A. Barras; 
second lieutenant, G. D. Carpenter. Company B: Captain, W. A. Coleman ; first lieu- 
tenant, R. A. Bassett; second lieutenant, M. H. Lawrence, jr. Company C: Captain, 
W. Scott ; first Ueutenant, T. R. Lounsbury ; second lieutenant, A. W. Porter. Com- 
pany D: Captain, P. D. Phillips; first lieutenant, C. A. Richardson; second lieutenant, 
S. F. Lincoln. Company E : Captain, H. D~. Kipp; first lieutenant, Geoige C. Pritch- 
ett; second lieutenant, J. H. Brough. Company F: Captain, Isaac Shimer; first lieu- 
tenant, Ira Munson; second lieutenant, T. B. Munson. Company G: Captain, J. P. 
Aikins; first lieutenant, Frederick Stewart; second lieutenant, S. H. Piatt. Company 
H: Captain, 0. J. Herendeen; first lieutenant, G.N. Redfield ; second lieutenant, A. R. 
Clapp. Company I: Captain, B. F. Lee; first lieutenant, G. Skaats; second lieuten- 
ant, G. L. Yost. Company K : Captain, Charles M. Wheeler ; first lieutenant, H. C. 
Lawrence ; second lieutenant, I. A. Seamans. 

The regiment left Geneva for the front August 26, 1862, and arrived 
at Baltimore the next day. By orders given by the veteran general, 
John E. Wool, who commanded the middle department, the One 
Hundred and Twenty-sixth proceeded to Harper's Ferry, reaching 
there the 28th. The regiment had been directed to report for instruc- 
tion and duty to Col. D. H. Miles, then commanding at Harper's Ferry, 
and which on its arrival was already occupied by the Thirty-ninth and 
One Hundred and Eleventh Regiments N. Y. V., the Thirty-second 
Ohio Volunteers, the Twelfth New York State Militia, the First Rhocle 
Island Battery, and a portion of the Fifth New York Heavy Artillery. 
On the 13th, 14th, and 15th of September Harper's Ferry was invested 
by three divisions of the Confederate army commanded respectively 
by Generals McLaws, Walker, and "Stonewall" Jackson. Early in the 
morning of the 13th the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Regiment ad- 
vanced from Harper's Ferry to Maryland Heights. It there received 
the main force of the enemy's attack, and made under very disadvanta- 
geous circumstances a brave and creditable defence. Its loss in this 
engagement was thirteen killed and forty-two wounded. Among the 
latter was Colonel Sherrill, who, receiving a severe wound in the face, 
was for some time disabled from active service. On the 15th the gar- 
rison at Harper's Ferry surrendered on parole. Any of the causes 


which are said to have brought about this disastrous result need not 
here be stated. Having marched to Annapolis the One Hundred and 
Twenty- sixth Regiment was transferred to Camp Douglas, Chicago. 
At this place were located for two months its far from desirable quar- 
ters, where the accommodations and sanitary arrangements were alike 
injurious to the health of all and fatal to many. Adjutant J. Smith 
Brown, of Colonel Berdan's United States Sharpshooters, here joined on 
the 17th of November the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth, having ac- 
cepted the adjutancy of the same. The regiment was exchanged No- 
vember 19th and proceeding to Washington was re- armed. The winter 
of 1862-63 was passed in camp at Union Mills, Va,, doing picket duty 
along the banks of the famous Bull Run. On the 27th of January, 
1863, Colonel Sherrill, having sufficiently recovered, rejoined the regi- 
ment, which during his absence had been under the command of Lieut - 
Col. James M. Bull. The camp was moved March 2d to Centerville, 
Va., where the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth united with the bal- 
ance of a brigade comprising the Thirty- ninth, the One Hundred and 
Eleventh, and the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth New York Volun- 
teers, and commanded by Brig.- Gen. Alexander Hays, who had won 
distinction in the Peninsular Campaign. On the 24th of June the reg- 
iment joined the Army of the Potomac, then marching to intercept 
Lee, who was making a second attempt to invade the North. The One 
Hundred and Twenty-sixth now became a part of the Third Brigade of 
the Third Division of the Second Army Corps under Hancock. Brig- 
adier-General Hays was at this time assigned to the command of the 
Third Division, and was succeeded as commander of the brigade by 
Col. George Lamb Willard, of the. One Hundred and Eleventh N. Y. V. 
After a most fatiguing march from Centerville the One Hundred and 
Twenty-sixth arrived in the early morning of July 2d on the battlefield 
of Gettysburg. Toward night it took part along with the brigades in a 
glorious charge that resulted in the defeat and dispersion of the oppos- 
ing forces of Southerners. As this charge was being made Colonel Wil- 
lard, the brigade commander, was killed, while on the side of the enemy 
fell Barksdale, who had commanded a Confederate brigade at the taking 
of Harper's Ferry. During the terrific cannonading between the two 
armies with which began the engagement of the day following volun- 


teers from the One Hundred and Twenty- sixth Regiment came forward 
and manned the guns in the batteries where the regular artillerymen had 
been killed or wounded. When in the afternoon a grand assault was 
made by the Confederates against the Federal lines the One Hundred 
and Twenty- sixth acted well its part toward the repulse of the foe. 
Five stands of colors were tal^n by the regiment on this occasion. 
Capt. Morris Brown, jr,, of Yates County, captured with his own hands 
one of these standards, on which was inscribed " Harper's Ferry " and 
the names of eleven other battles. The surrender of Harper's Ferry 
was redeemed at Gettysburg. The brave Colonel Sherrill, who, when 
Colonel Willard fell, had succeeded to the command of the Third Brig- 
ade, was mortally wounded, expiring the next day, and most fittingly 
on the anniversary of American independence. Five other officers and 
fifty five enlisted men belonging to the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth 
Regiment were killed in this, one of the most important battles of the 
war, while seven officers and t6i enlisted men were wounded. Among 
the slain officers was Color- Sergeant Erasmus E. Bassett, of Yates 
County, who fell during the first day's fight while bravely carrying the 
regimental colors. An active part was taken by the regiment after the 
battle in the pursuit of the enemy. 

From Gettysburg until the close of the war the One Hundred and 
Twenty-sixth participated in twenty different battles and skirmishes. 
In the autumn of 1863 the regiment won additional honor for its con- 
spicuous gallantry in the battles of Auburn Ford and of Bristow Sta- 
tion, which were fought respectively in the morning and afternoon of 
October 14th. Severe skirmishing also took place at Mine Run on the 
27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th of November. The services of the regiment 
were again called upon in the grand reconnaissance made February 6, 
1864, by the Army of the Potomac at Morton's Ford on the Rapidan. 
On the 24th of March Lieut.- Gen. U. S. Grant arrived and established 
his headquarters at Culpepper Court House. The regiment, having 
been transferred to Barlow's division, entered the spring campaign of 
1864 with less than 300 men, of whom 100 were on duty as provost- 
guard at corps headquarters. The Army of the Potomac crossed the 
Rapidan on the 4th of May and was afterward engaged in the follow- 
ing battles, in all of which the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Regi- 


merit took part : May 6th and 7th in the Wilderness (in this battle 
Brevet Maj.-Gen. Alexander Hays was killed while gallantly rallying 
his brigade) ; May loth at Po River ; May 12th to the i8th at Spottsyl- 
vania, where the Second Corps, to which the One Hundred and Twenty- 
sixth Regiment belonged, made a grand charge on the enemy's works, 
capturing 400 prisoners, 20 guns, and 30 stands of colors, together with 
the Confederate Generals Edward Johnson and G. H. Stewart, who were 
taken to the rear and put under guard of colored soldiers. From the 
23d to the 31st sharp skirmishing occurred along the North Anna and 
Tolopotomy Rivers. The One Hundred and Twenty sixth Regiment 
then took part in the terrible battle of Cold Harbor from the ist to the 
r2th of June. On the i6th the regiment moved to the front of Peters- 
burg and in the engagement on that day Col. William H. Baird was 
killed. Heavy fighting also occurred here on the 17th and i8th. The 
Second Corps on the 21st advanced to the left of Petersburg and on 
the 22d was attacked by the enemy in force and on the left flank. The 
One Hundred and Twenty- sixth Regiment was at this time commanded 
by Capt. Morris Brown, jr., of Yates County, who fell with others of 
merit in the heat of the action. 

On the 26th of July the regiment was engaged in battle at Deep Bot- 
tom on the James and from the 14th to the 20th of August at Straw- 
berry Plains. Having aided effectually in the destruction of the Wel- 
don Railroad the regiment was attacked on the 25th at Reams Station. 
In the following spring of 1865 the One Hundred and Twenty- sixth 
Regiment participated in the assault made March 25th on the lines 
around Petersburg, just after the attack by Lee upon Fort Steadman. 
From the 29th to the 31st the regiment was engaged on the skirmish 
line along the Boydton plank road. When the retreat of Lee's army 
began the Third Brigade, in which was included the One Hundred and. 
Twenty- sixth Regiment, was particularly active in the pursuit, and led 
by the gallant Gen. C. D. MacDougall charged (April 2d) and carried 
the enemy's entrenchments at Southerland's Station. The Confederates 
were again encountered April 7th at Farmville and at Appomattox on 
the 9th, where on that day Lee surrendered to Grant. The One Hun- 
dred and Twenty-sixth Regiment, having resumed its march, passed on 
the 7th of May through Richmond. Here it was greeted by the One 


Hundred and Forty- eighth New York Volunteers, in which regiment 
Companies B, F, and I had been recruited in Yates County. This was 
the first time the two regiments had met while in the service. The One 
Hundred and Twenty- sixth Regiment proceeded to Washington and 
took part in the grand review held in that city on the 23d of May. 
Orders were received June 2d ft)r the regiment to be mustered out and 
sent to the State rendezvous, and on the 3d the regiment was mustered out. 
The next day the men left Washington for Elmira, N. Y., arriving at 
that place on the 6th, and there meeting their former colonel, James M. 
Bull. The One Hundred and Twenty sixth Regiment, numbering at 
this time 221 men, received final payment and discharge at Elmira, June 
1 6th and 17th, 1865. 

The following is the muster roll of the One Hundred and Twenty- 
sixth on the mustering out of the regiment : 

Officers. — Major, J. Smith Brown, Penn Yan ; adjutant, John F. Randolph, Penn 
Yan ; quartermaster, John C. Stanton, Geneva; surgeon, Fletcher H.Hammond, Penn 
Yan; assistant-surgeon, Ferdinand M. Pasco, Red Creek; chaplain, T. Spencer Harri- 
son, Dundee. Company A : Captain, Ira Hart Wilder ; first lieutenant, Samuel Hughes. 
Company B: first lieutenant, Milo H. Hopper; second lieutenant; Charles A. Garling- 
house. Company C : Captain, John B. Geddis; first lieutenant, Thomas R. Lounsbury; 
second lieutenant, Jordan Snook. Company D : Captaih, Ten Eyke Munson ; first heu- 
tenant, Charles W. Watkins. Company E: first lieutenant, Henry M. Lee; second 
lieutenant, Clinton B. Pasco. Sergeant-major, Albert S. Andrews ; quartermaster-ser- 
geant, John Davis ; commissary-sergeant, Charles R. Lisk; hospital steward, George "W. 
Becker; principal musician, Lyman E. Jacobus. 

Muster-in roll of the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Regiment 
New York Volunteers: 

Company A. — Truman N. Burrill, captain; Samuel A., Barras, first lieutenant; 
George D. Carpenter, second lieutenant; Morris Brown, jr., orderly; Samuel Wilson, 
first sergeant ; Charles Forshay, second sergeant; Wallace Betts, third sergeant; 0. M. 
Paris, fourth, sergeant; Daniel Kelly, first corporal; Smith Fuller, second corporal; 
'Barnard Gelder, third corporal; Charles Stebbins, fourth corporal; David H GofF, fifth 
corporal; Smith Stebbins, sixth corporal; Lot W. Rogers, seventh corporal; Charles 
Norcott, eighth corporal ; William Beebe, drummer ; James McAllister, fifer. Privates : 
Richard M. Allen, Warren Allen, William Axtill, Oliver Baker, Wilham Baker, Daniel 
J. Beyea, Henry Bilson, Levi P. Brizee, George Burch, James Burns, George A. Bying- 
ton, Alvah B. Chissom, Levi Cole, John Conklin, John Cummings, Eben B. Danes, 
William H. Dubois, A. R. Feagles, Daniel W. Finch, John H. Frost, John H. Garrison, 
Barnard F. Gelder, William Hainer, Francis A. Harford, John Harris, James Henderson, 
Abner Herries, William Herries, James R. Hibbard, William P. House, Neil Kelly, 


Russell A. Lincoln, Orson R. Linkletter, David Little, John C. Mace, Patrick Manly, 
John D. Maynard, George W. McKnight, Arthur W. Middleton, George Millis, Charles 

E. Moore, Henry 0. Moore, Alexander Mosher, Lewis Murphy, Charles M. Nicholson, 
John J. Oakley, Alfred C. Olds, David H. Paris, Peter F. Paris, John W. Parker, Har- 
low P. Parsons, Lewis T. Partridge, Francis E. Pool, Robert H. Pool, William J. Pool, 
Charles H. Power, Calvin L. Reed, Sidney E. Rice, William Robinson, James Ryan, 
Albion 0. Sheppard, Cyrus Sherwood, William H. Shoemaker, Spencer Slingerland, 
Charles W. Sterling, George T. Stevens, William W. Strobridge, Charles P. Strong, 
David D. Taylor, David E. Taylor, James Taylor, David 0. Tears, Thomas Tobin, Isaac 
Traverse, Spencer Turner, Alexander Turner, Phineas Tyler, William R. Tyndall, Thad- 
deus B. Twitchell, John Vaughn, James E. Warner, Charles E. Waters, Martin Youngs. 

Com/pany B. — William A. Coleman, captain ; Richard A. Bassett, first lieutenant ; 
Melatiah H. Lawrence, second lieutenant; Oscar C. Squire, first sergeant; T. Spencer 
Harrison, second sergeant ; Erasmus E. Bassett. third sergeant ; Henry P. Cook, fourth 
sergeant ; Henry 0. Childs, fifth sergeant ; Edwin Jessop, first corporal ; Edward 
Knapp, third corporal; Martin V. McCarrick, fourth corporal; George Hays, fifth cor- 
poral ; George Chapman, sixth corporal ; Samuel A. Nichols, seventh corporal ; Henry 
S. Nichols, eighth corporal. Privates : William H. Armstrong, Charles W. Austin, 
Melvin Bance, Rollin G. Beach, William P. Bowen, James F. Butler, James Badger, 
Oren Bates, Ansel Brace, Reuben Bullock, Nathan D. Beeden, John Blansett, James M. 
Booth, Moses U. Booth, Isaac Bellis, William Cassion, Edwin Coryell, Benjamin F. 
Chase, Isaac P. DePew, Charles H. Dunning, George W. Davis, Oren Edgett, Rowland 
LeRoy Bmbree, Horace F. Ellis, John W. Finger, Mortimer Garrison, Charles W. Gay- 
lord, James H. Griggs, James K. P. Huson, Christopher Houghtailing, Will L. Hobart, 
William A. Hays, Amos V. Houghtailing, Charles M. Hyatt, Elsworth Haight, Egbert 
C. Hopkins, Frank R. Hamlin, Alexander H. Houghtailing, Charles C. Hicks, James E. 
Hicks, Joseph HoUowell, James H, Lathy, Luther C. Lott, Richard H. Miles, Nelson 
Millis, James H. Moshier, Edgar F. Millard, Wilham McAllister, Anson Matthews, 
Thomas T. McCarrick, George Moore, Elias A. Norris, Peter M. Norman, John H. Os- 
born, Caleb J. Osborn, Charles R. Pinneo, Franklin J. Pettingill, David Perigo, Stephen 
C. Purdy, Orin Potter, Amos J. Potter, Andrew Putnam, Albert A. Quick, Willinm 
Raymond, John N. Roney, Joseph B. Snyder, Orlando B. Smith, Albert S. Sprague, 
Wilber F. Stanton, Robert B. Sutton, Charles P. Stevens, Asa Sherwood, Charles A. 
Seward, Albert Thomas, Lewis Trimmer, George Tyler, Joseph R. Tuttle, John R, Tut- 
tle, Wilham H. Thomas, James W. Updike, James B. Walker, Jerry Wall, Josiah Wolf, 
Richard Wheaton, David J. Wilkin, Luther Weaver. 

Company C. — Albert F. Dow and Myron C. Morse, both transferred from Com- 
pany A. 

Company D. — Henry W. Bradt, Charles ,W. Ford, Decatur A. Hedges, Albert A. Mur- 
dock, Eugene M. Smith. 

Company E. — JohnH. Brough, second lieutenant; Fayette Green, first sergeant ; John 

F. Randolph, enlisted private and promoted corporal, sergeant, sergeant-major, first 
lieutenant, and adjutant , Charles E. Raymond, musician. Privates : Aaron H. Abeel, 
Jewett Benedict, Robert D. Blaurett, Albert L. Bogart, Jerome Brink, Taylor Brink, 



James A. Creed, Jonathan Creed, Theron T.Dunn, Alonzo Harris, Franklin E. Knapp, 
John Olf, Edwin Palmer, Henry Runyan, Sherman W. Robinson, Stephen Walker, 
Henry Wilson.' 

Compang F. — James M. Barden, Eli R. Hazlet, and A. W. Shearman. 
' Company O. — Frederick Stewart, first lieutenant ; De 'Witt C. Farrington, sergeaut- 
major. Privates: William Bain, John Barron, Patrick Bulger, James Collir.?, John P. 
Culver, Daniel Day, John Dunnagan, Frank Dunnagan, John Duffy, Jacob Goodsell; 
George Henry, David J. Hoffman, I^aniel Mead, James Place, A. J. Ralph, Milfred 
Rector, John Rector, James Snyder, Charles B. Shaw, James Toms. 

Company H. — Justus Cooley, jr., corporal; Abijah De Pew, private. 

Company H. — William Jj. Criscaden, corporal ; privates, George W. Erwin, James 
Norman, Hiram Wilson. 


Important service to the nation was rendered during the great Civil 
war by the One Hundred and Forty- eighth Regiment New York Volun- 
teers, which was raised in the counties of Yates, Ontario, and Seneca, 
and organized September 14, 1862. At the time of its organization 
the field and staff officers were as follows: Colonel, William Johnson, 
Seneca Falls; lieutenant- colonel, George M. Guy on, Seneca Falls; 
major, John B. Murray, Seneca Falls ; adjutant, Henry T. Noyes, 
Starkey ; quartermaster, Albert Woodruff, Lodi ; surgeon, Henry Sim- 
mons, Canandaigua ; first assistant-surgeon, C. H. Carpenter, Phelps; 
second assistant- surgeon, Frank Seeleye, Rushville. 

In Yates County were recruited Companies B, F, and I. Of these 
the following were the line officers: Company B: Captain, Hiram 
T. Hewitt; first lieutenant, Hiram Struble; second lieutenant, George 
W. Waddell. Company T: Captain, Harvey G. Gardner ; first lieuten- 
ant, Melvin D. Wilson ; second lieutenant, Aaron J. Cook. Company 
I : Captain, Martin S. Hicks ; first lieutenant, Morgan D. Tracy ; sec- 
ond lieutenant, John Cooley. 

The One Hundred and Forty- eighth left the place of rendezvous at 
Camp Swift, Geneva, on the 22d of September. The regiment when it 
departed consisted of twelve companies. Ten being the required num- 
ber orders were received on the arrival of the command (by steamer via 
Seneca Lake) at Watkins directing two of the companies to return to 
Geneva. The two companies that returned became, on the 3d of Oc- 
tober, part of the Forty-fourth Regiment N. Y. V. One of these two had . 


been raised in Yates County and was at first Company M of the One 
Hundred and Forty- eighth and later Company C of the Forty- fourth. 
Its line officers were as follows: Captain, Bennett Munger; first lieu- 
tenant, Elzer B. James ; second lieutenant. Charles Kelly. The One 
Hundred and Forty- eighth Regiment proceeded from Watkins by rail, 
arriving at Baltimore the next morning, and was there served with an 
excellent breakfast by the ladies of the city. The command went on 
to Washington, where it continued to drill for several days on Capitol 
Hill. It then left Washington, and going by transport by way of Fort- 
ress Monroe landed at Portsmouth, Va. From Portsmouth the reg- 
iment went by rail through the Dismal Swamp to Suffolk and was there 
stationed on guard duty in the rifle pits. Suffolk was then being put 
into a state of defence by the Union forces commanded by General 
Peck, of Syracuse. The One Hundred and Forty eighth after a few 
weeks moved from the entrenchments and encamped on Paradise Creek 
near Portsmouth. The whole regiment then relieved the Nineteenth 
Wisconsin and moved and went into camp, part in Portsmouth and part 
across the river in Norfolk. The different companies composing the 
One Hundred and Forty- eighth were for a considerable time on de 
tached duty, but were again collected together and were all encamped 
in the court-house yard in Norfolk and in other parts of the town. 
Here they remained until the opening of the spring campaign of 1864. 
The regiment then moved to Ybrktown and became part of the Second 
Brigade of the Second Division of the Army of the James, under the 
chief command of Gen. B. F. Butler. 

The advance of this army up the James River began on the 4th of 
May, 1864. The One Hundred and Forty- eighth Regiment, going by 
transport, arrived and landed with the rest of the troops at Bermuda 
Hundred. Skirmishes with the enemy occurred at Clover Hill on the 
8th and at Swift Creek on the I2th. Early in the morning of the i6th, 
during a heavy fog, a sudden and sharp attack was made upon our 
forces in front of Driiry's Bluff by the Confederates under Beauregard. 
The Union troops fought bravely and obtained some advantage, but 
Butler, evidently under a misapprehension, ordered a retreat. Another 
skirmish in which the One Hundred and Forty- eighth took part oc- 
curred on the 26th at Port Walthall Junction. The whole army re- 


turned to its entrenchments at Bermuda Hundred, from which position 
no offensive movements in the direction desired could possibly be at- 
tempted. As General Grant in his official report says: "This army, 
while here, though in a position of great security, was as completely 
shut off" from further operations against Richmond as if it had been 
in a bottle strongly corked. ,It required but a comparatively small 
force of the enemy to hold it there." 

The position at Bermuda Hundred could, on the other hand, in Gen- 
eral Grant's opinion, be held by a less force than Butler had under him; 
therefore on the 24th of May the Eighteenth Corps, in which was in- 
cluded the One Hundred and Forty eighth Regiment, was ordered to 
join the Army of the Potomac. The corps commander at that time was 
Gen. W. F. Smith, familiarly known as " Baldy " Smith, and who had 
formerly commanded a brigade of which the Thirty-third New York 
Volunteers had formed a part. The One Hundred and Forty-eighth 
joined the Army of the Potomac by way of the White House, to which 
place it arrived by transport, passing down the James and up the York 
Rivers. On the 3d of June the regiment participated in the battle of 
Cold Harbor. In the sanguinary contest in front of Petersburg a prom- 
inent part was taken by the One Hundred and Forty-eight, particularly 
in the fight at Rowlett's House on the 15th. At the mine explosion in 
the morning of July 30th the regiment with its division was ordered 
forward to the support of the attacking column that charged into the 
crater. On the 29th of September the very strong fortifications and en- 
trenchments below Chapin's Farm, on the north side of the James and 
known as Fort Harrison, were carried in an attack by the Eighteenth 
Corps led by Gen. E. O. C. Ord. The regiment distinguished itself in 
this action and proved to all that its designation as " the gallant One 
Hundred and Forty-eighth" was well deserved. In the assault on Fort 
Gillmore, however, on the same day, a repulse followed. At the battle 
of Fair Oaks, fought October 27th, the regiment suffered severely in 
killed and wounded. In the beginning of November the larger part of 
the One Hundred and Forty-eighth Regiment was detailed with other 
forces to accompany General Butler to New York city for the purpose 
of keeping order on election day, as it was anticipated that a riot would 
take place on that occasion. 


On the 2d of April, 1865, occurred the decisive conflict (participated 
in by the One Hundred and Forty-eighth) which resulted in the final 
defeat of Lee and the evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond. The 
next morning, "amid blazing roofs and failing walls, smoke and ashes, 
and the deafening reports of explosions," the soldiers of the Union en- 
tered the latter city in triumph. The very remarkable scene which was 
on that morning presented is thus described by E. A. Pollard, the South- 
ern historian : 

" By 10 o'clock, when several thousand of the [Federal] enemy had 
marched into the city, the scene had become fearfully sublime. It was 
a scene in which the horrors of a great conflagration struggled for the 
forepart of the picture, while the grand army, brilliant with steel and 
banners, breaking mto the circle of fire with passionate cheers, and the 
crash of triumphant martial music, dazzled the spectator and confounded 
his imagination. The flames had already spread over the chief business 
portion of the city, brands were flying toward the capitol, and it seemed 
at one time as if the whole of Richmond would be destroyed — that the 
whole wicked city would rush skyward in a pyramid of fire. A change 
in the wind, however, drove back the fire from the high plateau above 
Franklin street, where, if the flames had once lodged, they would soon 
have traversed the length and breadth of the city. . . . All that 
was terrible in sounds was added to all that was terrible in sights. 
While glittering regiments carried their strong lines of steel through the 
smoke; while smoke-masked robbers fought for their plunder ; while 
the lower streets appeared as a great pit of fire, the crater of destruc- 
tion ; while alarmed citizens who had left their property a ruin or a spoil 
found a brief repose on the sward of the Capitol Square, whose emerald 
green was already strewn with brands — the seeds of fire that the merci- 
less wind had sown to the very door of the capitol ; while the length- 
ening arms of the conflagration appeared to almost reach around those 
who had fled to the picturesque hill for a breath of fresh air, — sounds as 
terrible, and more various than those of battle, assailed the ear and smote 
the already overtaxed imagination. There were shells at theXonfed- 
erated arsenal exposed to the fire, from the rapid progress of which they 
could no longer be rescued, and for hours the explosion of these tore 
the air and shook the houses in their vicinity. Crowds of negroes 


roamed- through the streets, their wild, coarse voices raised in hymns of 
jubilation, thanking God for their freedom, and a few steps farther might 
be heard the blasphemous shouts of those who fought with the red- 
handed fire for their prey." ^ 

The regiment on April 2d took part in the charge by which Fort 
Gregg, south of Petersburg, was captured, and in the engagement on 
the 6th at Rice's Station. On the 9th of April Lee surrendered at Ap- 
pomattox Court House. While in Richmond after the surrender the 
One Hundred and Forty-eighth had the pleasure of greeting (May 7th) 
the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth New York Volunteers, in which 
regiment a large proportion of the members were from the county of 
Yates. The One Hundred and Forty- eighth Regiment was mustered 
out at Richmond on the 20th of June. The veterans who had com- 
posed the command then went by transport to Baltimore, where they 
took their departure for their several homes, having performed for their 
country a service that will ever stand high in public estimation. 

The field and staff officers of the One Hundred and Forty-eighth 
Regiment at the time it was mustered out were as follows : 

Officers. — Colonel, John B. Murray, Seneca Falls; lieutenant- colonel, Fred L. Man- 
ning, Seneca Falls; major, John Cooley, Penn Yan ; adjutant, D. C. Wilber, Seneca 
Falls ; quartermaster, Charles J. Martin, Waterloo ; surgeon, C. H. Carpenter, Seneca 
Falls; chaplain, Ferris Scott, Phelps; hospital steward, James M. Smith, Penn Yan. 
Company B : Captain, H. H. Hopkins. Company F: Captain, Aaron J. Cook; first 
lieutenant, Fred P. Cook. Company I: Captain, Edward Cole; second lieutenant, 
Luther Meeker. 

The muster- in roll of the regiment, by companies, is as follows: 
Company B. — Hirpm T. Hewitt, captain ; Hanford Struble, first lieutenant ; G-eorge W. 
Waddell, second lieutenant; R. Gr. Bacon, orderly; James M. Shoemaker, second ser- 
geant; George Beebe, third sergeant; Le Grand Terry, fourth sergeant; Myers T. 
Webb, fifth sergeant; Anson A. Raplee, Byron Beam, Charles Smith, Leroy Green, 
David Griawold, Perry W. Danes. James H. Coons, John Debolt, corporals. Privates : 
Henry N. Armstrong, Samuel S. Benham, Alfred Brown, Charles W. Bush, Andrew 
Bradley, Henry F. Buckley, Joseph Conkhn, George W. Chamberlain, Daniel Cook, 
Foster P. Cook, Richard Chapman, Charles Chambers, William H. Chambers, Harmon 
0. Chambers, John Clark, George Coons, Joseph B. Clark, William B. Davis, David 
Dunham, James M. Bgerton, Alvin B. Eaves, James S. Ellis, Charles H. Elwood, James 
E. Foster, George G. Fulkerson, Luidla C. Foster, BenjaminGrace, Alfred Griswold, 
Charles W. Gabriel, Myron A. Guthrie, Samuel Headley, Albert Headley, Alexander 

' Life o£ Jefferson Davis, with a Secret History of the Confederacy, page 496. 


P. Houghtailing, Freeman L. Hilligrass, Francis L. Hall, John L. Headley, David 
Houghes, Yolney S. Ha£F, John Kean, John H. Knapp, George Katterer, Jerome B. 
Lefaver, Thomas H. Little, Blisha Lackey, Warren McDuffee, Theodore Marsh, John 
Morrison, Samuel Minard, Andrew Morrison, Adam S. Miller, Theodore J. Murray, 
Thomas B. Raplee, Charles F. Rentz, Ira H. Robinson, Charles F. Ross, Charles Shick, 
Lyman A. Stoll, Peter G. Swarts, Charles M. Swarthout, James M. Smith, Thomas J. 
Strait, Squire V. Straway, Mason Spink, Samuel R. Tennant, George R. Tulbs, James 
Tuttle, John H. Tymeraon, Nelson E. Woodrub, James M. Witter, George M. Winans. 
Musicians, Stephen K. Hallock, Edward A. Tennant. 

Company if.— Harvey R. Gardner, captain ; Melvin D. Wilson, first lieutenant ; 
Aaron J. Cook, second lieutenant; William S. Vorce, orderly; Nathaniel H. Green, 
first sergeant ; Frank C. Fairchild, second sergeant ; William H. Kelsey, third sergeant; 
Deroy J. Harkness, fourth sergeant; Robert Mills, John Earl, William S. Huie, Charles 
W. Peters, WiUiam N. Reddout, James M. Gates, Charles G. Van Ness, David Criss, 
corporals; Philip A. Walthein, jr., and Henry A. Sayre, musicians ; EzraProuty, wagoner. 
Privates : James G. Ansley, George A. Ansley, Jonas Austin, George Broadbooks, 
Lansford 0. Babbit, John W. Barnes, Hiram H. Barnes, John H. Benedict, George W. 
Benedict, Lewis R. Carvey, Owen Conway, John Conway, Albert W. Clark, William 
H. Cole, John J. Conley, William A. Carr, John S. Caton, William H. Crocker, Daniel 
Davis, Cludius Farr, George W. Fisher, Joseph C. Foster, George W. Ford, Jacob W. 
Fountain, William J. Fountain, William H. Francisco, John C. Fox, Francis Farr, Fred-, 
erick Green, Benjamin Gleason, Lyman Gray, William Ginder, Nathan A. GofF, Lyman 
D. Green, Myron F. Hawley, William T. Hawley, John Headley, George W. Hall, Jer- 
ome S. Johnson, Jacob Korb, John J. Lawton, Alanson E. Lyon, William Lomereaux, 
Wilber Loomis, Daniel McGinniss, William M. Monagle, Ashley McDonald, George N. 
Miller, Lawrence McCumber, Willis Nicholson, Martin W. Parsons, Ezra P. Pnchard, 
George H. Parsons, John Pierce, Jacob H. Radley, Josiah Reed, Barney C. Ross, Al- 
bert I. Sharp, Charles W. Stark, Theodore .M. Stearns, Samuel Sailsbury, Joseph 
Sprague, John Slater, Loyal C. Twitchell, Manliue L. Taylor, Franklin Thompson, Nor- 
man Taylor, Jonathan G. Twitchell, Robert Underbill, Abraham R. Voorhees, William 
A. Wilson, William H. Wolvin, Levi Waters, Emory N. Wilson, George Wright, Isaac 
Wilkins, Thomas F. Wells, Charles E. Welles, Abram Youngs, jr. 

Company I. — Martin S. Hicks, captain; Morgan D. Tracy, 2d_ first lieutenant; John 
Cooley, second lieutenant; Edward Cole, orderly. Privates: George B. Alvord, Leon- 
ard M. Bohall, Robert Brown, Lucius B. Bennett, Walter W. Becker, Franklin Becker, 
Isaac D. Blood, Martin Butler, Isaac Benson, William B. Blouin, Stephen Coon, Lorenzo 
Capell, Lawrence Cooney, jr., Peter J. Conklin, Clark Castner, Ward Campbell, John 
Carr, James B. Crouch, Albert E. Dean, WiUiam A. Dunning, Patrick DuflFy, Henry 
M. Dunbar, Jourdan Davis, William H. Fries, Peter Finger, Oliver M. Finger, WiUiam 
D. Frey, Edward L. Granger, George S. Gardner,,' James German, Abraham Houghtail- 
ing, Isaac Hounsond, Sidney House, William Huber, Benjamin F. Hood, Robert Holmes, 
jr., George Hillier, Luther S. Hayes, John- J. Jackson, Caleb G. Jackson, Richard M. 
Jones, John Keating, Stephen H. Kitch, Dennis Lewis, Simeon Lackey, Damon Lay, 
Oliver F. Long, Charles C. MiUer, WiUiam Matthews, Luther S. Meeker, Abraham 


Miller, Lewis B. Moon, Seeley B. Palmatier, John D. Poole, Lorenzo W. Pettit, Oliver 
Preestler, Andrew Phelps, Willie B. Pierce, John L. Potter, Otis B. Ryall, George Rob- 
ertson, Aaron D. Robertson, J. Harvey Randall, Jarvis W. Randall, Lewis B. Randall, 
Charles H. Reno, George Scofield, Gideon C. Spink, Isaac Spink, Luther Sisson, Alonzo 
F. Spears, Samuel Strong, David Sands, Philip L. Shaw, Daniel T. Shaw, Blizer B. 
Tears, Augustus Whitaker, David P. Wilcox, William Wright, Charles B. Willis, Charles 
W. Wheeler, Lemuel Wheat, Alva H. Wheat, William Welcher, John C. Youngs. 

Company M. later Company of tAe Forty-fourth Regiment. — Bennett Munger, cap- 
tain ; Blzer B. James, first heutenant: Charles Kelly, second lieutenant; 0. L. Mun- 
ger, first sergeant; R. G. Kinner, George B. Henderson, Samuel J. Powell, and John 
O'Neil, sergeants ; Harvey Ackley, Fred D. Hills, Robert F. Shipley, Charles Pelton, 
Matt Fitzpatrick, George W. Hobart, James Barron, and Elnathan Mead, corporals ; 
John T. Johnson and Sylvanus Eaton, musicians; James Powell, wagoner. Privates: 
William Adams, Bdgar Adams, D. C. Bassett, Samuel Covell, Philo H. Conklin, A. J. 
Cole, William Criscadon, Thomas Donnelly, Stephen T. Dye, John Devlin, Cyrus H. 
Davis, James Dansenburg, William Blwell, George W. Francisco, Joseph H. Fletcher, 
Thomas Frunnman, Marion F. Graham, Emory C. Green, Josiah H. Gardner, Francis 
M. Grinold, Andrew A. Gidding, John K. Giddings, Peter Haines, Moses F. Hardy, 
William A. Herrick, Norman Harrington, Harrington Houghton, Peter H. Hibbard, 
Andrew J. Horton, George R. Hunter, James Kneeskern, J. H. Mandeville, Fred Mitchell 
John McLaughlin, BUsha Moon, John McGough, John McBride, Richard McBUigott, 
David 0. Mapes, Philip Morse, William N. Norris, Lucius L. Osgood, William O'Neil, 
Richard C. PhiUip, Alexander Perry, Clark Reynolds, George C. Raymond, Peter J. 
Strail, Reuben Sisson, Thomas R. Southerby, Hiram M. Squire, George W. Snyder, 
Albert Sturdevant, Jacob Stroup, Noah Shultz, Wilham W. Smith, Myron Smith, 
Jacob Traber, C. W. Taylor, Patrick Taben, George W. Wing, Orrin B. Watkins, Al- 
bert W. West, Jerome Wheaton, Martin R. Westcott, Alden D. Whitney. 


Among the many regiments which during the war were furnished by 
the Empire State the One Hundred and Seventy-ninth New York 
Volunteers is entitled to prominence for the bravery and the patriotism 
that this command in several engagements displayed. The ten com- 
panies of infantry composing the One Hundred and Seventy-ninth 
were raised in the following places: Company A in Horseheads ; Com- 
pany B in Elmira ; Company C in HornellsviJle ; Company D in Dun- 
kirk ; Company E in Buffalo ; Company F in Penn Yan ; Company G 
in Buffalo ; Company H in Elmira ; Company I in Newfield ; and 
Company K in Binghamton. The following were the field and staff 
officers of the regiment at the time of its organization on the Sth of 


April, 1864: Colonel, William M. Gregg; lieutenant- colonel, Frank- 
lin B. Doty ; major, J. Barnet Sloan ; adjutant, George W. Cook ; 
quartermaster, Nathaniel P. T. Finch ; surgeon, Joseph W. Robinson ; 
assistant- surgeon, William C. Bailey ; chaplain, Edwin 'A. Taft. 

The One Hundred and Seventy- ninth, having been organized, was 
sent intcrthe field by companies from the place of rendezvous at Elmira. 
Companies A, B, and C went on in April, 1864, and arrived in Balti- 
more on the 29th of that month. Companies A and C proceeded via 
New York city and Company B by the Northern Central Railroad, the 
three companies meeting in Baltimore. From there they went to 
Washington and encamped on Arlington Heights, opposite the city. 
They were here joined about the first of May by Companies D and E. 
Lieut.-Col, Franklin B. Doty also at this time reached the camp and 
assumed command. From Arlington, about the last of May, they pro- 
ceeded to White House Landing on the Pamunkey River, Va. 

Company F, with Maj. J. Barnet Sloan, left Elmira on the 1st of 
June and joined the regiment at White House Landing. The' One 
Hundred and Seventy-ninth remained here .until June loth, when it 
united with the Army of the Potomac at Cold Harbor while the battle 
of that name was going on. The regiment was attached to the First 
Brigade, Colonel Pierre of the First Division, General Ledlie of the 
Ninth Corps, commanded by General Burnside. The position in front 
of Cold Harbor was evacuated as the army hioved down the Peninsula, 
the One Hundred and Seventy-ninth Regiment being the last to leave 
the skirmish line. The James River was crossed at Wilson's Landing 
and a forced march was made to the front of Petersburg, where the reg- 
iment arrived on the i6th. The Ninth Corps the same evening sup- 
ported the Second Corps as it advanced on the Confederate position. 
At 6 o'clock in the afternoon of the following day the Ninth Corps as- 
sailed the enemy's works. In this assault the One Hundred and 
Seventy-ninth lost half its number in killed, wounded, and missing. 
Maj. J. Barnet Sloan, of Yates County, while bravely leading his regi- 
ment in the charge, received a mortal wound. Capt. Daniel Blatchford 
of Company E was also killed and Lieut.-Col. Franklin B. Doty, Cap- 
tains Robert T. Stewart, of Company B, and William Bird, jr., of Com- 
pany D, were wounded. Capt. John Barton of Company C was pro- 


moted to be major July 14th in the place of Major Sloan, who died of 
his wound on the i8th of June. 

It will be proper to here give some account of the young and gallant 
officer last named, who fell while in the service of his country. John 
Barnet Sloan was born in Penn Yan, January 17, 1839. In 1861, while 
a resident of New York city, lie enlisted for two years in the Thirty- 
first Regiment N. Y. V., with the rank of first lieutenant. When the 
Thirty-first was ordered from an island in the harbor of New York to 
proceed to Washington some violent characters connected with this 
regiment refused to go, and it was only by the energy of Lieutenant 
Sloan and considerable coercion that a mutiny was prevented while 
they were passing through the city of New York. By this simple oc- 
currence was awakened in the minds of these desperadoes the most 
deadly hatred and revenge. Soon after they arrived in Washington 
one of them made a furious assault on the lieutenant. He defended 
himself and thrust his sword through the body of the ruffian, who died 
instantly. The companions of the soldier thus justly killed were more 
than ever incensed, and two or three days later another of the insur- 
gents rushed with musket and bayonet at Lieutenant Sloan, who, draw- 
ing a revolver, shot him dead. The lieutenant immediately surrendered 
himself and asked for an investigation. A court- martial was appointed 
and after a patient hearing of three days acquitted him from all blame. 
General McClellan, to whom the verdict of the court had been sub- 
mitted for approval, asked "to see the young lieutenant who had been 
tried." When Lieutenant Sloan presented himself General McClellan 
remarked, " Lieutenant, you are acquitted ; you were born to be a sol- 
dier. I see that you have but one bar upon your shoulder; you are 
worthy to wear two." The lieutenant shortly afterward received by 
order of the general a captain's commission. His comrades in the 
■company in which he first enlisted, on learning that he was about to be 
assigned to the command of another company, petitioned that he might 
remain, and he became their captain. Shortly after the seige of York- 
town Captain Sloan's company with others was sent out to reconnoiter 
and became entirely surrounded by the enemy. After making a de- 
tour of about ten miles, and being all this while in the most imminent 
•danger, Captain Sloan with a number of his men succeeded in reaching 


the Federal lines, but while approaching they were mistaken for Con- 
federates and a shell, which fortunately failed to explode, fell in their 
midst. At the battle of Gaines's Mill Captain Sloan engaged in single 
combat with a Confederate cavalryman, whom he shot through the 
head, but not until the trooper had severely wounded him in the foot. 
Although wounded he fought to the close of that day's conflict and 
during the next two days in the battles of Savage Station and of Fair 
Oaks. His foot had now become swollen to such an extent that he 
could not walk. Our forces were in full retreat, and Captain Sloan 
was following after as he best could on one foot, supporting himself by 
a stout stick cut from the White Oak Swamp. The Confederates were 
in plain view and he would have been taken prisoner had not the lieu- 
tenant-colonel noticed the peril he was in and sent his own horse with 
directions to mount and repair to the hospital. Here Captain Sloan's 
wound first received medical attention. He was then furloughed and 
coming North was appointed a recruiting officer, and for several months 
acted in that capacity. He afterward returned to his regiment and 
was at the storming of the heights of Fredericksburg, where he was 
again wounded, this time by a minie-ball in the leg. The Thirty- 
first Regiment was mustered oiit in May, 1863, and Captain Sloan, for 
meritorious services on the field of battle, received a commission as 
major, bearing date and back pay from the previous month of January. 
Major Sloan, having re-enlisted, left Elmira on June i, 1864, with Com- 
pany F of his regiment, the One Hundred and Seventy- ninth. After his 
departure for the front a large number of the prominent citizens of Yates 
County, wishing to express their high appreciation of Major Sloan's 
military and soldierly qualities, assembled on June 4th in front of the 
Benham House in Penn Yan to witness the presentation of a beautiful 
sword, .pistols, and belt which had been contributed by them as a testi- 
monial of the esteem and respect which they held toward the young 
and brave major. Hon. Darius A. Ogden made the presentation 
speech, and in behalf of Major Sloan, who was then absent in the field 
of duty, John D. Wolcott, esq., the district attorney of Yates County, 
responded and passed the beautiful implements of war into the hands of 
John Sloan, esq., who was to forward them to his son. The following is 
the inscription on the sword : 


" Presented to Major John Barnet Sloan, June 4, 1864, as a testimonial of their ap- 
preciation of services rendered in defence of our imperrilled countr^, and his energy 
in raising the 179th Regt. N. Y. S. V., by 

" Hon. D. A. Ogden, Col. H. C. Robbins, S. C. Cleveland, 
Wm. Watts, F. Holmes, C. Hewins, 

J. S. Jillett, N. R. Long, L. O. Dunning, 

Wm. T. Remer, , Geo. H. Lapham, F. E. Smith, 

And others. 
" Gen. a. F. Whitaker, Chairman." 

Major Sloan received the published accounts of this meeting, but be- 
fore he received the beautiful and appropriate gifts themselves he fell in 
battle, June 17th, as before stated. His remains were brought to Penn 
Yan and there interred with due honors, the Rev. Frederick Starr, jr., 
pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, preaching the funeral dis- 
course. The post of the Grand Army of the Republic at Penn Yan was 
named in honor of Major Sloan on its organization in 1869. He was 
married September 24, i860, to Miss Mary A. Bradley, a sister of Lieut. 
David A. Bradley, of Company F, of the One Hundred and Seventy- 
ninth Regiment. Their children are Mary Barnet, the wife of Frank 

E. Wright, of Lewiston, Fergus County, Mont., and Martha E., the wife 
of the Hon. John D. Waite, of Utica, Fergus County, Mont. 

Company G joined the command July 29, 1864. The explosion of 
the mine under a portion of the Confederate entrenchments occurred 
the next morning An assault was then made by the Ninth Corps, with 
the First Division taking the lead, and the One Hundred and Seventy- 
ninth lost in killed Major Barton, Capt. Allen T. Farwell of Company 

F, Capt. James H. Day of Company G, and wounded Lieut. B. L. Sex- 
ton of Company D. Fifty enlisted men belonging to the regiment were 
killed, wounded, and taken prisoners. Private John H. Carley of Com- 
pany F was among the killed. The One Hundred and Seventy- ninth 
■did constant fighting in the trenches until the 19th of August. During 
the whole time the men were exposed to the most hair-breadth escapes 
and harrassing dangers, but the regiment escaped with only a few 
wounded. On the above date it moved round to the Weldon Railroad, 
which had been captured by the Fifth Corps, and which would have 
been lost again had it not been for the timely support of the Ninth 
Corps. The two corps, now united, attacked the Confederates and 


forced them to retreat a considerable distance. In tliis advance the One 
Hundred and Seventy-ninth Regiment had only three officers and fifty- 
six men fit for duty, so greatly had the officers and men been worn 
down by their duties in the trenches. The loss in the above engage- 
ment was small. On August- 27th Albert A. Terrill, captain of Com- 
pany A, was made major in place of Major Barton killed. 

Lieutenant -Colonel Doty, who had been wounded and absent in con- 
sequence for sixty days, rejoined his command August 23d. Compa- 
nies H, I, and K reached the regiment at Park's Station in September. 
On the 30th of that month the One Hundred and Seventy- ninth took 
part in the engagement at Poplar Springs Church, in which Lieut. 
James Booker, of Company K, acting adjutant, was mortally wounded. 
The next engagement, in which the losses were very slight, occurred Oc- 
tober 27th at Hatcher's Run. After this the regiment was generally in 
the trenches until April, 1865, occasionally changing positions from Fort 
Welsh to Fort Davis. The One Hundred and Seventy-ninth Regiment 
having now reached its maximum number Col. William M. Gregg, 
about the 1st of October, 1864, was mustered in and took command. 

During the first part of December, at the time of the celebrated raid 
of the Fifth Corps to the Notaway River, the Second Division to which 
the regiment was attached was sent out in pursuit and to give support 
if required. It performed a forced march of twenty miles and back 
within twenty-four hours. On the night of April i, 1865, the One 
Hundred and Seventy- ninth Regiment alone, by a splendid flank move- 
ment, assaulted the whole picket line on its brigade front, capturing 
about four times its number with only slight losses, and held its posi- 
tion until morning. It then took position on the front line for a gen- 
eral assault on the enemy's works, which were subsequently taken with 
an overwhelming victory that completely broke up the Confederate 
lines of fortifications. Colonel Gregg in this assault received a scalp 
wound from the fragment of a shell, which rendered him senseless for 
some time, and disabled him for one week from commanding. The 
lamented Lieutenant- Colonel Doty fell shot through the lungs and sur- 
vived only two days. As an officer, a courteous gentleman, a brave 
soldier, among the bravest of the brave, he had few equals. Captains 
Albert A. Pierson of Company D and Giles H. Holden of Company F, 


and Lieutenants Samuel G. H. Musgrove of Company H and Stephen 
Compton of Company A, were wounded, Captain Pierson severely 
through the left leg and the rest slightly. 

The One Hundred and Seventy-ninth participated in the pursuit of 
Lee as far as Burkesville and after his surrender it returned to City 
Point, from which place it went by transport to Alexandria and near 
there encamped. On the 23d of May the regiment took part along with 
the rest of the ever renowned Army of the Potomac in the grand re- 
view at Washington. No words can adequately describe the grandeur 
of this parade. Over 200,000 veterans — the heroes of many a fierce 
battle — marched in an apparently endless stream up Pennsylvania ave- 
nue and past the Presidential mansion, while the air was filled with 
strains of music and the acclamations of innumerable spectators, the 
whole forming a scene of unparalleled splendor, of which the partici- 
pants still speak with enthusiasm. General Grant expressed it as "a 
sight varied and grand," but it was more so; it was a sight but once seen 
in a life- time, and in one respect a magnificent exhibition of the tremen- 
dous power of our arms. 

"Yet sublime as was this spectacle," says the celebrated historian, J. T. 
Headley, "it sunk into insignificance before the grandeur of the one pre- 
sented a few days after, when this army, strong enough to conquer a hem- 
isphere, melted suddenly away into the mass of the people and was seen 
no more. Its deeds of renown had filled the civilized world and Euro- 
pean statesmen looked on and wondered what disposition could be made 
of it, and where it would choose to go or what it would do. It was one of 
the grandest armies that ever bore on its bayonet points the destinies of 
a king or a nation — a consolidation and embodiment of power seldom 
witnessed ; and yet, while the gaze of the world was fixed upon it, it dis- 
appeared like a vision, and when one looked for it he saw only peaceful 
citizens engaged in their usual occupations. The major- general, whose 
martial achievements had been repeated in almost every language under 
the sun, was seen among his papers in his old law office, which he had left 
at the call of his country; the brave colonel, who had led many a gallant 
charge, was in his counting-house acting as though he had been absent 
only a few days on business; while the veterans of the rank and file, 
whose battle shout had rung over scores of bloody fields, could only be 


found by name, as one bent over his saw and plane and another swung 
his scythe in the harvest-field or plied his humble toil along the streets. 
It was a marvelous sight, the grandest the world ever saw. It had been 
the people's war — the people had carried it on, and, having finished 
their own work, quietly laid aside the instruments with which they had 
accomplished it and again took up those of peaceful industry. Never 
did a government on earth exhibit such stability and assert its superi- 
ority over all other forms as did this republican government of ours in 
the way its armies disappeared when the struggle was over." 

The One Hundred and Seventy- ninth Regiment was mustered out 
at its place of encampment near Alexandria on June 8, 1865, by special 
order of the War Department. Going by way of Washington the regi- 
ment proceeded to Elmira, which it reached on Sunday morning the 
'I ith. It was met at the depot by prominent citizens and the commit- 
tee of arrangements, and escorted to the William Street Hospital build- 
ing, where a warm breakfast was served to the members of the command. 
After breakfast the veterans marched down toward the foot of Church 
street and encamped on a vacant lot on the south side near the stone- 
ware factory. Here they remained until the 22d and 23d of June, 
when they received final payment and discharge. 

Inscribed on the banners of the One Hundred and Seventy-ninth are 
the names of noted battles in which the regiment took a most noble 
part, viz.: "Petersburg, June 17th and July 30, 1864; Weldon Railroad; 
Poplar Springs Church; Hatcher's Run; and Petersburg on April ist 
and 2d, 1865." On account of the great bravery evinced in capturing 
the enemy's picket line and in the final assault before Petersburg Col. 
William M. Gregg was afterward promoted to brevet brigadier-general 
and Capt. Samuel G. H. Musgrove to brevet-major. 

The following is the roster of the regimental and line officers at the 
time of the mustering out of the One Hundred and Seventy-ninth 
Regiment : 

Officers. — Colonel, William M. Gregg; lieutenant-colonel, Albert A. Terrill; major, 
Giles H. Holden ; adjutant, George W. Cook; quartermaster, Nathaniel P. T. Finch; 
surgeon, Joseph W. Eobinson; assistant-surgeon, Phineas S. Rose; chaplain, Edwin A. 

Line Officers. — Company A: Captain, George D, Carpenter; first lieutenant, James 
A. Farr ; .second lieutenant, Stephen Compton. Company B : Captain, Martin V. Doty ; 
first lieutenant, Edward Lounsbury. Company C: Captain, Levi Force; second lieu- 


tenant, Thomas 0. Smith. Company D : Captain, Albert A. Pierson ; first lieutenant, 
John T. Andrews, 2d ; second lieutenant, Henry Mapes. Company E : Captain, Sam- 
uel Gr. H. Miisgrove; first lieutenant, Charles Carr ; second lieutenant, James Prevost. 
Company F : Captain, James Griswold ; first lieutenant, David A. Bradley ; second lieu- 
tenant, Charles F. Hager. Company G- : Captain, Henry Messing ; second lieutenant, 
James Lewis. Company H : First lieutenant, Fitz B. Calver, second lieutenant, 
Henry Spreese. Company I : Captain, Edwin C. Bowen ; first lieutenant, Charles 
Blackmar ; second lieutenant, Oscar Jftnnings. Company K : Captain, Moses M. Van 
Benschotten ; first lieutenant, Robert Hooper ; second lieutenant, William C. Foster. 

Muster-in roll of Company F of the One Hundred and Seventy-ninth 
Regiment : 

Company F. — Allen iT. Farwell, captain ; David A. Bradley, first lieutenant; Giles H. 
Holden, second lieutenant. Privates: Joseph Brown, Bleazer Baldwin, jr., Albert Ben- 
nett, Amos J. Bonney, Daniel R. Bacon, Josiah C. Baker, Charles Baker, John Banks, 
John H. Carley, Orlando V. Crans, Julius F. Cotton, Francis M. Campfield, Festus 
Demorest, Tuthill Dense, Edward S. Dunn, John W. Durham, James Decker, Thomas 
Dannaby, John Day, John Felan, Karl Frederick, Richard Fitzgerald, Daniel Guinea, 
Abram 0. Gray, George W. Green, Andrew Hurd, Samuel B. Hyatt, Martin Hope, 
George W. Heck, John Hall, Frederick Harris, James A. James, David Kennedy, John 
Kelly, Edwin Knapp, John Kennedy, Carmi Loveless, William B. Larzelere, Lewis R. 
Little, William Lounsbury, Charles Lounsbury, James B. Luce, Andrew McConnell, 
Michael McCarty, John Martin, John McCann, Varnum J. Northup, Ezra M. Northup, 
William L. Norton, Charles C. Owen, John Oakley, John Post, James Patterson, John B. 
Patrick, Ransom 0. Remer, Daniel P. Rigby, Charles B. Releyea, George M. Releyea, 
John Riley, Timothy Shaw, Newton B. Spencer, Henry C. Soofield, David Sherman, 
Norton A. Sage, Aaron R. Sherman, William Stephens, Patrick Stapleton, Wilbert 
Simmons, Michael Shanahan, James Story, Robert Thompson, George Wilson, Robert 
P. Walker, Daniel Weldon, George Wilhams, Abel Webb, Martin Wilkin, George 
White, Frederick F. Winangle, George W. West. 


Company B. — Privates : Judson C. Albright, Thomas V. Brown, Charles Donnelly, 
Wellington Graham, Charles W. Haverly, Edward F. Jones, Joseph R. Potter, Serel- 
low Travis, Samuel Van Dyke. 

Company C. — Privates : William Burke, Charles Beeman, Rice Barker, John M. 
Bennett, Hiram Ellis, John Everett, Danford Ellsworth, Adelbert Genung, Charles F. 
Grenall, Theodore D. Gillett, Nelson Hunt, Matthew Kenntdy, David Kennedy, Smith 
MoLoud, William Mahan, Edward P. Porter, Niram B. Squires, Horace Stoddard, 
Michael Wallace. 

Company E. — Privates : Zenas G. Bullock, Newton Colgrove, Ebenezer B. Clark, An- 
drew A. Granger, William F. Harkness, Henry Pitt, Charles H. Spencer. 

Company F. — Privates: Albert Van Dusen, Norman Wyant.' 


Company O. — Privates: Percival A. Conklin, Cornelius Demorest, Charles S. Dailey 
Alexander Eastman, William W. French, Mark Hazen, 'William W. Hoyt, William F. 
Kelsey, Uzel Marlett, Philip McG-innis, David S. Miller, Trumbull Magee, Philip Packard, 
Reuben Rockwell, Daniel Rockwell, James Soles, John H. Simmons, John T. Smith, 
Ira M. Smith, Robert Shedden, Luther Smith, Joseph Scott, Elijah Scott, John Scott. 
Ezra Tyler, William Wolverton, Horace H. Watrous, George Wooden. 


Company A. — James L. Robbins, second lieutenant; Francis M. Halloran, sergeant; 
Daniel M. Hulse, sergeant; Joseph Campbell, corporal; John H. Harrison, corporal. 
Privates: Mortimer Adams, James P. Anslej', George Beeman, Kingsbury M. Bennett, 
John Brown, John Burns, John A. Butler, Orrin A. Burrill, John Campbell, Rowland 
Champlain, Roswell S. Clark, Robert N. Coons, Theodore Criscadon, Hugh Criscadon, 
William C. Davenport, James Dunham, James H, Dunham, Thomas Evans, Daniel J. 
Fitzer, Abram Fredenburg, Sylvester Fredenburg, Charles G. Gottfried, Michael Hal- 
loran, Zachariah S. Helm, Witsall M. Henderson, James H. Kelly, James F. Lake, Ed- 
ward Lewis, Philip Loder, Jesse Lott, Alonzo T. Lyon, James Mace, Nelson Madison, 
John W. MoFarland, Stephen Matterson, Thomas Miller, James M. Miller, Edwin Mil- 
ler, Asa C. Phelps, William Poyneer, John R. Robinson, Joel Tomer, Richard M. Turner, 
John Turner, Henry Turner, Cornelius Van Huysen, Joseph Watkins, R. Wesley 
Welch, Leander S. Whiteborn, Henry Williams, Joseph W. Worden, Charles Wright. 

Company £- -Privates : John H. Brewer, Andrew H. Carr, Arnold Dawes, Hiram 
W. Lawhead. 

Company Q. — Melville D. Miller, private. 


Company D. — Richard B. Mahar, captain; Charles Stark, first lieutenant; Theodore 
G. Ross, second heutenant. Privates: Henry N. Ashby, Henry J. Ackley, George W. 
Austin, George 8. Ackley, James A. Briggs, Hugh Bulger, George H. Beamish, Chailes 
Britton, John F. Beebe, Abram Brown, Coradon H. Beebe, Eli Barrett, John W. Boothe, 
John Baker, Wolcott Cole, Lewis Clark, Lester Crandall, Edward Courtney, Edwin L. 
Corey, Thomas Creed, Jerome H. Carey, Edgar D. Carey, George Davis, Charles A. 
Darrow, Roderick Dingman, Dwight W. Dickinson, Timothy Drisooll, Leonard E. Du- 
fur, George A. Durham, Lucas Bnos, David H. Fitzwater, Elijah Fowler, Patrick Gill, 
Mordecai Goodwin, Moses R. Gage, William A. Gray, Mortimer Hotohkiss, Daniel 
Houghtailing, Lewis Halstead, Delos C. Hubbard, Joseph Ham, Thomas Harland, Thomas 
Haokett, John ^omer, William H. Hand, George Hennery, John Hall, James Hough- 
tailing, Hervey Jero, Lyman P. Johnson, Frank M. Lacy, Josiah B. Lyon, John Lenhart, 
Michael McAlpine, William Mitchell, John H. Parsons, Orrin W. Place, Whitfield H. 
Peck, George Peck, Wallace Polnianteer, John H. Ryall, Joseph Steele, James Steele, 
Albert W. Small, Philip Slater, Richard Sutfin, Edward Salsbury, Simeon Spink, 
Thomas Tunney, John Theis, Henry Tomyon, Smith Tupper, David 0. Tears, Charles 


G. Watkins, Cornelius Webber, John P. Williams, Charles Wright, Bertram A. Whit- 
more, Samuel C. Wales. 
' Company B. — Private, Greorge W. Randall. 
Company C— Private, George B. Barden. 


Oncers.— Colonel, 11. Berdan ; adjutant, J. Smith Brown. 

Company B. — William Elmendorf, second lieutenant; William Chidsey, orderly-ser- 
geant. Privates: George Barber, Nelson Bennett, Charles Bogart, Robert Bogart, 
Ervin Chidsey, Harrison DeLong, James Densmore, George Dovifning, Gideon Draper, 
Frank Blwin, Lewis Gage, John Gannon, Henry Gannon, David Gannon, George Gris- 
wold, Michael Hallon, Frank Kellogg, Lewis Ketchum, David Philbrook, John Phil- 
brook, Nelson Rector, James Robinson, George Russell, William Stapleton, William 
Stokes, Benjamin F. Warner, James Warner. 


Company G. — George W. Morgan, first lieutenant; Alonzo S. Miller, first sergeant; 
Charles H. Hayes, John H. Lafler, and Dewitt C. Farrington, sergeants; George Haines, 
John G. Watkins, and Joseph Tinuey, corporals; Bbenezer Inscho, wagoner. Privates: 
Aaron Beard, Robert Briggs, George Barnes, Hiram Corey, Joseph S. Grouse, Alexan- 
der P. Campbell, Martin Davis, Franklin Daines, Ebenezer Finch, John W. Green, Au- 
gustus Gordon, D. Martin Inscho, Amos Jones, Hazard Jones, Samuel Lurch, Nelson 
Matthews, James Slierman, George S. Wells. 


Company B, Third Regiment Artillery N. Y. V. — Delos C. Hubbard, corporal. Pri- 
vates: Lee Bookstaver, Warren Brenensthul, James H. Eckerson, William F. Edgett, 
Nelson Elliot, Michael Farrell. David Fingar, Harlow Fingar, James H. Greening, 
George J. Greening, Thomas Griswold, Aaron Griswold, Johnson Henryes, Albert Hen- 
ryes, John Hughes, Patrick Lahan, E. M. Lester, John .Light, Andrew J. Matthews, 
Darius Matthews, Edward Matthews, Vosburgh McLaughlin, George H. McLaughlin, 
Warren Miller, William H. Miller, John G. Phelps, John F. Robinson, James M. Smith, 
Albert Travis, Edward A. Travis, John Travis, Robert H. Wilson. Company E. — Pri- 
vate, Charles Hammond. 

Company 6, One Hundred and Forty-fourth Regiment Artillery N. Y. V. — Privates : 
Samuel Andrews, James E. Almy, George H. Blakesley, Dewitt C. Bassett, Levi Bassett, 
John A.Bailey, Lee Bookstaver, Robert Bell, George W. Carr, Daniel Daily, George Davis, 
James A. Dayton, Llewellyn Dunn, George B. Dunn, William Fowler, George N. Ford, 
Adelbert Haight, Michael Holland, John Hunter, Mason Lang, Amos McLaughlin, 
Michael Mahar, John M. Mahar, Matthew Maddox, C. L. Paris, Patrick Quinan, Benja- 
min Rhodes, George Reynolds, George Sprague, Charles Shuter, Eugene L. Smith, Mar- 
tin Sohiem, Seymour H. Shultz, Jeremiah Sprague, Lee Thomas, Oliver Wyman, Haz- 
ard Wheeler. 


Company A, Seventy-sixth Regiment N. Y. V. — Hershel W. Pierce, second lieutenant. 
Privates : George A. Allen, Theodore Beach, Marvin Bejington, William Condon, Ly- 
man Culver, Benjamin F. Carpenter, Martin P. Campbell, Samuel Higgins, Alonzo Har- 
ris, Albert L. Hilton, Jesse Houghtailing, Charles E. Stamp. 

Company B^ One Hundred and Second Regiment N. 7. V. — Peter K. Deyo, first lieu- 
tenant; Aaron C. Frost, first sergeant; Charles L. Nichols, second sergeant. Privates : 
Morris Bartlett, Edward Beardsley, James J. Fox, Larimore Graham, Anson Matthews, 
James Sander, Charles H. Wheeler. 

Company I, Fifteenth Engineers. — Privates : Barrett A. Boyd, John L. Bronson, Harlan 
•P. Bush, Joseph E. Lewis, Asa Phelps, James Spencer, Albert T. Wilson. Company K. 
— Privates: AbleBriggs, J. M. Connolly, Joseph Eaves, S. B. Parshall, James Warner. 

Company L, Fourteenth Regiment Artillery N. 7. V. — Privates : Nathaniel S. Briggs, 
Stanford Bigelow, Dewitt C. Bell, Patrick Barrett, Henry 0. Briggs, Isaiah Brockway, 
John S. Constantin, John Coovert, Henry Carey, Charles E.Downing, Andrew Dunn, John 
B. Dunn, George Hunter, Thomas Hunter, George A. Jamison, Darwin King, John Kill- 
cuUen, Robert B. Lewis, George McDonald, George D. Moore, John Moxcey, jr., Melvin 
Perry, John C. St. John, Gideon C. Skink, William D. Semans, Samuel 0. Wheaton, 
John W. Woodruff, Joseph Woolf. Company M. — -George Brennan, first lieutenant. 

Company G, Sixteenth Artillery N. Y. V. — Morris F. Sheppard, captain. 

Company A, Twenty-second Cavalry N. Y. V. — Henry P. Starr, second lieutenant; 
Amos E. Wheeler, corporal. Privates : George Barrett, Frederick Eaves, Joseph Ham, 
Miles B. Hodge, Truman Slater, Miles A. TerriU. 

Company F, Twenty-third Regiment N. Y. V. — Privates : William H. Dunn, Charles 
Lewis, Oscar Nelson. 

Company I, Thirty-fourth Regiment N. Y. V. — John Finegan, sergeant ; Samuel C. 
Benham, sergeant. Privates: Harrison Clark, Orlando M. Crofoot, David Finegan, 
George Leddick, James E. Northup, James A. McCarrick, Frederick B. St. John, Jacob 



THE sentiment has been commonly expressed that the judicial sys- 
tem of the State of New York is largely copied or derived from 
the common law of England and slightly from the civil law of the Con- 
tinent. This is true in many respects, and resemblances may be traced 
therein. There are certain changeless principles running throughout 
the laws of every nation and people from Moses to Victoria. But these 


principles are few and often obscured by the varying manifestations 
given to them by different law-makers ; and although a close study of 
the laws and judicial practice in this State will disclose the possession 
of some principles in common with English and Continental laws, yet 
the same study will reveal the fact that in spirit and form the judicial 
system of the State of New Yojrk is an original growth and radically 
differs from the old system of Europe. The difference in the germinal 
idea which underlies and gives character to the systems is strikingly 
manifested in the simple act of entitling a criminal writ. It this State 
it is The People versus the Criminal ; in England it is Rex versus The 
Criminal. In the genius of the one the requirement is an independent 
judiciary responsible directly to the people only ; in the other it is a 
court subservient to the king. But this great idea of the sovereignty of 
the people, even over the laws, has had a slow, conservative, yet pro- 
gressive and systematic unfolding of the germ into organism. In the 
early history of the State the governor was in effect the maker, inter- 
preter, and enforcer of the laws. He could veto any enactment of the 
legislature. He was the chief judge of the court of final resort and 
those who sat in council with him were generally his obedient follow- 
ers. The execution of the English and Colonial statutes rested with 
him as did the exercise of the royal authority and wishes in the colony. 
It was not until the first constitution in 1777 that the governor ceased 
to contend for these prerogatives and to act as though the only func- 
tions of the courts and councillors were to do his bidding as servants and 
helpers, and the legislature to aid in preparing such laws as he approved. 
By that constitution he was entirely stripped of the judicial power which 
he possessed under the Colonial rule, and such power was vested in the 
lieutenant-governor and Senate, the chancellor and justices of the Su- 
preme Court, the former to be elected by the people and the latter 
appointed by the Council. But even this restriction was soon felt to be 
incompatible. With the spirit of the Commonwealth and by the con- 
stitution of 1846 the last connection between the purely political and 
judicial parts of the State government was abolished, and with it disap- 
peared the last remaining relic of the Colonial period. From this time 
on the judiciary became more directly representative of the people in 
the election. The development of the idea of the responsibility of the 


courts to the people, from the time when all their members were at the 
beck and nod of one well nigh irresponsible master to the time when 
all judges, even of the court of final resort, are voted for directly by the 
people, has been remarkable. Yet through all this change the idea of 
one ultimate tribunal from whose decision there can be no appeal 
has prevailed. 

Let us look at the present arrangement and power of the courts of 
the State and then at the elements from which they have grown. The 
whole scheme is involved in the idea of first a trial before a magistrate 
and jury, arbiters respectively of law and fact, and then a review by a 
higher tribunal of the facts and law, and ultimately of the law by a 
court of last resort. To accomplish the purpose of this scheme there 
have been devised and established, first, the present Court of Appeals, 
the ultimate tribunal of the State, perfected in its present form by the con- 
ventions of 1867 and 1868 and ratified by the people in 1866, and taking 
the place of the old court for the trial of impeachments and the correc- 
tion of errors to the extent of correcting errors of law. As first organ- 
ized under the constitution of 1 846 the Court of Appeals was composed 
of eight judges, four elected by the people and the remainder chosen 
from the justices of the Supreme Court and having the shortest time to 
serve. The chief judge was he who was elected by the people and had 
the shortest time to serve. As re-organized in 1869 and now ex- 
isting the court consists of a chief judge and six associate judges, who 
hold office for the term of fourteen years from the first day of Januarv 
after their election. Under this arrangement the first judges were 
chosen at a special election held in April, 1870. This court has power 
to correct or reverse the decisions of all inferior courts when properly 
before it for review. Five judges form a quorum and four must concur 
to render judgment. Four not concurring after two re-hearings the 
judgment of the court below must stand affirmed. The legislature has 
provided how and when the proceedings and decisions of inferior tri- 
bunals may be reviewed in the Court of Appeals, and may in its dis- 
cretion alter and amend the same. The judges are prohibited from 
holding any other office or place of public trust, or exercising any power 
of appointment to such place, from practicing as attorney, or acting as 
referee. They are removable by concurrent resolution of both Houses 


of the legislature upon a two- thirds vote of each House. Judges of the 
Court of Appeals and of the Supreme Court can hold office only till 
seventy years of age. 

Second to the Court of Appeals in rank and jurisdiction stands the 
Supreme Court, which, as it now exists, is made up of many and widely 
different elements. It was originally created by legislative enactment 
May 6, 1691, and finally by ordinance of the Governor and Council, May 
15, 1699, and empowered to try all issues, civil, criminal, or mixed, to 
the same extent as the English Courts of King's Bench, Common 
Pleas, and Exchequer, except in the exercise of equity powers. It had 
jurisdiction in actions involving $100 or upwards, and to reverse and 
correct the decisions of inferior courts. An appeal lay from it to the 
Governor and Council. The judges annually made a circuit of the 
counties under a commission issued by the governor, and giving them 
nisi prius, oyer and terminer, and jail delivering powers. At first there 
were five judges. The court was re- organized by the constitution of 
1777, under which the judges were to be named by the Council of Ap- 
pointment and the term of their office was limited to the age of sixty 
years. All proceedings were directed to be entitled in the name of the 
people instead of that of the king. In 1786 a law was passed requiring 
the court to try all causes in the county where they arose, unless they 
should be ordered to be tried at the bar of the court. The constitution 
of 1821 made many and important changes in the character and meth- 
ods of the court. The judges were reduced to three and appointed by 
the governor, with the consent of the Senate, to hold during good be- 
havior or until sixty years of age. They could be removed upon a 
two thirds vote of the Assembly and a majority of the Senate. The 
judges were exempt from military duty, could hold no other office, 
could receive no fees, could not practice as attorney or counselor, and 
could not sit in 'any case where they were interested or take part in the 
review of a' case passed upon by them in any other court. Four times 
a year the full court sat in review of their decisions upon questions 
of law. 

By the constitution of 1846 the Supreme Court as it then existed was 
abolished, and a new court of the same name and having general juris- 
diction in law and equity was established. This court was divided into 


General terms, Circuits, Special terms, and Oyer and Terminer. Its 
members were composed of thirty- three judges, to be elected by the 
people, and to reside five in the first and four in each of the seven other 
judicial districts into which the State was divided. By the judiciary 
act of 1847 General t.erms were to be held in each county in the State 
having over 40,000 inhabitants at least once in each year and in other 
counties at least once in two years, and at least two Special terms and 
two Circuit Courts were to be held yearly in each county except Ham- 
ilton. Since 1882 the Oyer and Terminer consists of a single justice of 
the Supreme Court. By an act of the legislature adopted in 1848, and 
entitled the Code of Procedure, all distinctions between actions at law 
and ."suits in equity were abolished so far as the matter of commencing 
and conducting is concerned, and one uniform method of practice in all 
actions was provided. Under this act appeals lay to the General term 
of the Supreme Court from judgments rendered in Justice, Mayor's, or 
Recorder's afld County Courts, and from orders and decisions of a justice 
at Supreme term or Circuit, and from judgments rendered at any trial 
term of the Supreme Court. 

In 1869 the judiciary article of the constitution of 1846 was amended, 
but continued the existing Supreme Court with the same jurisdiction. 
By this amendment it was provided that the legislature should, from 
time to time and not more often than once in five years, provide for the 
organization of General terms, consisting of a presiding justice and not 
more than three associates. It also directed the holding of General 
terms in each of the districts. The justices were to be elected by the 
voters of their respective districts. 

By chapter4o8 of the laws of 1870 the then organization of the General 
terms was abrogated and the State divided into four departments, and 
provisions made for holding the General terms in each. By the same 
act the governor was directed to designate from among the justices of 
the Supreme Court a presiding justice and two associates to constitute a 
General term in each department. The presiding justice was to hold 
his place during his official term and the associates for five years. The 
justices of each department once in two years were to prepare appoint 
ments of Circuits, Oyer and Terminer, and Special terms and designate 
the justices to hold each. In June, 1877, the legislature enacted the 


Code of Civil Procedure to take the place of the code of 1848. By this 
act many minor changes in the practice of the court were made, among 
them a provision that every two years the justices of the General terms 
and the chief judges of the Superior city courts should meet and revise 
and establish general rules of practice for all the courts of record in the 
State except the Court of Appeals. 

By an amendmentto the constitution, adopted in 1879, one additional 
justice was provided for in the second district. Under the authority of 
another amendment, adopted in 1882, the legislature, by the laws of 
1883, divided the State into five judicial departments, and provided for 
the election of twelve additional justices to hold office from the first 
Monday in June, 1884, and for a General term in each department. 

These are, in brief, the changes through which the Supreme Court of 
the State of New York has passed in its growth from the prerogative of 
an irresponsible governor to one of the most independent and enlight- 
ened instrumentalities for the protection and attainment of the rights of 
its citizens of which any State or nation, ancient or modern, can right- 
fully boast. So well is this fact understood by the people that by far 
the greater amount of business which might be done in inferior courts at 
less expense is actually taken to this court for settlement. 

Next in inferiority of rank and jurisdiction to the Supreme Court are 
the County Courts held in and for each county in the State at such 
times and places as its judges may direct. This court had its origin in 
the English Court of Sessions and, like it, at first had criminal jurisdic- 
tion only. By an act passed in 1683 a Court of Sessions having power 
to try all causes, civil and criminal, by a jury was directed to be held by 
three justices of the peace, in each of the counties of the province 
twice a year, with an additional term in Albany and two in New York. 
By the act of 1691 and the decree of 1699, referred to in connection 
with the Supreme Court, all civil jurisdiction was taken away from this 
court and conferred upon the Court of Common Pleas. Under the au- 
thority of the constitution of 1846 the County Courts have from time 
to time been given jurisdiction in actions of assumpsit, debt, and cov- 
enant, in sums not exceeding $2,000; in replevin not exceeding $1,000; 
and infactions for trespass and personal injury not to exceed $500. 
These courts have also been clothed with equity powers to foreclose mort- 


gages ;• sell infants' real estate ; to partition lands; to admeasure dower ; 
and to care for the persons and estates of lunatics and habitual drunkards. 
The judiciary act of 1869 continued the existing jurisdiction of County 
Courts, and conferred upon them original jurisdiction in all actions in 
which the defendant lived within the county and damages claimed did 
not exceed $1,000. Like the Supreme Court the County Court has 
now its civil and its criminal sides. In criminal matters the county judge 
is assisted by two justices of sessions, elected by the people from among 
justices of the peace in the county. It is in the criminal side of this 
court, known as the Sessions, that all the minor criminal offenses are dis- 
posed of All indictments by the grand jury, except for murder or some 
very serious felony, are sent to it for trial from the Oyer and Terminer. 
By the codes of 1848 and 1877 the methods, procedure, and practice, 
and the jurisdiction and control of actions arising within the county or 
against citizens of the county, were made to conform as nearly as pos- 
sible to the practice and jurisdiction in the Supreme Court. This was 
done with the evident design of attracting litigation into these courts 
and thus relieving the Supreme Court. But in this purpose there has 
been a failure, litigants much preferring the shield and assistance of the 
broader powers of the Supreme Court. By the judiciary act the term of 
office of county judge was extended from four to six years. Under the 
codes he can perform some of the duties of a justice of the Supreme 
Court. The County Court has appellate jurisdiction over actions aris- 
ing in the Justices' Courts and Courts of Special Sessions. 

Surrogate Courts, one of which exists in each county of the Stale, 
are now Courts of Record, having a seal, and their especial jurisdiction 
is the settlement and care of estates of persons, who have died either 
with or without a will, and of infants. The derivation of the powers and 
practice of the Surrogate Courts in this State is from the Ecclesiastical 
Court of England through a part of the Colonial Council, which ex- 
isted during the rule of the Dutch and exercised its authority in accord- 
ance with the Dutch Roman law and the custom of Amsterdam, tlie 
Court of Burgomasters and Schepens, the Court of Orphan Masters, the 
Mayor's Court, the Prerogative Court, and the Court of Probates. The 
settlement of estates and the guardianship of orphans, which was at first 
vested in the director-general and the Council of New Netherlands, was 


transferred to the Burgomasters in 1653 and soon after was transferred 
to the Orphan Masters. Under the first constitution surrogates were 
chosen by the Council of Appointment, while under the second constitu- 
tion they were appointed by the governor with the consent of the Sen- 
ate. The constitution of 1846 abrogated the office of surrogate in all 
counties having less than .4,ogo population and conferred its duties 
upon the county judge. By the Code of Civil Procedure surrogates were 
invested with all necessary powers to carry out the equitable and inci- 
dental requirements of their office — a much needed authority in view 
of the rule that the Surrogate's Court was one of limited jurisdiction 
and the surrogate had no powers except those expressly given by stat- 
ute. In its present form and sitting weekly Surrogates' Courts afford a 
cheap and expeditious medium for the care of estates and guardianship 
■of infaht§.'' 

The only remaining courts which are common to the whole State are 
the' Special Sessions, held by justices of the peace for the trial of minor 
criminal offences, and Justice Courts with limited civil jurisdiction. 
Prior to the amendment to the constitution of 1821, adopted in 1826, 
justices were appointed ; since that time they have been elected by the 
people. The office and duties are descended from the English courts 
of the same name, but are much less important, and under the laws ot 
this State are purely the creation of the statute. The office of justice is 
ot very little importance in the administration of Jaw, and with the loss 
of much of its old-time power has lost all of its former dignit)'. 

This brief survey of the courts of New York, which omits only those 
that are local in character, gives some idea pf the machinery provided 
for the use of the members of the bench and bar at the time of the erec- 
tion of Yates County in 1823. 


William M. Oliver came to Penn Yan at an early date from Cherry 
Valley, Otsego County. He was then a young man, but by his careful, 
prudent, and conservative counsels he very soon became one of if not 
the leading citizen of this village. His voice and influence were poten- 
tially felt in all pubHc enterprises. He was generous and liberal. His 
benefactions were freely bestowed upon those in need, and it may be 


truthfully said that no poor man ever applied to him for assistance in 
vain. For many years he shaped the politics of this county, and he 
was always esteemed the most sagacious politician in the county, and in 
the State he was consulted by the leading members of his party. In 
1823, the year this county was organized, he was appointed the first 
judge of the old Court of Common Pleas, which office he held until 
1828. He was again appointed to the same office in 1838 and contin- 
ued to hold the same until January, 1844. In the fall of 1836 he was 
elected State senator under the constitution of 182 1, which office he 
held one term — four years. The Senate at that time was composed of 
able lawyers. This was quite necessary then, as the Senate was a branch 
of the old Court for the Correction of Errors. Many of his opinions in 
cases decided in that court appear in the reports and compare favora- 
bly with the opinions written by other senators and judges composing 
that court. It is apparent that he secured and had the confidence of 
his fellow senators, for in 1830 there was a vacancy in the office of presi- 
dent of the Senate and he was elected to fill that office, and thereby 
became lieutenant-governor of the State. In this office he acquitted 
himself with credit to the satisfaction of his friends. He was subse- 
quently appointed one of the clerks of the Supreme Court of this State 
This office was very lucrative and then located in Geneva. But he did. 
not change his residence. While holding that office he was elected presi- 
dent of the "Yates County Bank,'' the charter for which had then lately 
been granted by the State legislature. He held this office until its 
failure in 1857. He was elected to Congress in the fall of 1840 and held 
that office one term. He was an honored and useful member of that 
body, and though a new member he exhibited so much sagacity and 
wisdom in the direction of public affairs that his counsel and advice 
were sought on all public questions by his party friends. It was Judge 
Oliver's misfortune that he accepted the presidency of the bank and 
resigned that of clerk of the Supreme Court, for while one paid him 
largely the other in the end brought upon him financial ruin and great 
mental sorrow and distress, from which he never recovered. We think 
it may be fairly said, however, that the failure of the bank of which he 
was president had its origin in causes which did not involve crooked- 
ness or moral turpitude on the part of its president. 


Henry Welles was born in Kinderhopk, and at an early day his father 
with his family removed to the east bank of our lovely Lake Keuka, 
where he spent his boyhood days. He read law with that eminent 
lawyer, Vincent Mathews, at Bath, where he commenced his profes- 
sional life. In about the year 1829 he removed from Bath to Penn 
Yan, where he Hved until the tiime of his death in March, 1868. Judge 
Welles was a man of strict integrity and always commanded the re- 
spect of his fellow citizens. He always stood in the front rank of his 
profession and had a large practice. He never acquired distinction as 
an advocate, but always gave his cases a patient examination and thor- 
ough study, hence his success before the courts. His first office was that 
of district attorney of this county. Several years prior to his election as 
a justice of the Supreme Court, and in June, 1847, he was appointed and 
acted as one of the associate judges of the old Court of Common Pleas. 
Here he laid the foundation of that confidence which led to his selec- 
tion and elevation as a justice of the Supreme Court. This latter office 
he held until his death. As an able, industrious, and conscientious 
judge none stood higher or was more highly esteemed. It was well and 
truly said of him by an honored member of the bar of this judicial dis- 
trict on the occasion of his death : 

" As a judge he was characterized by a sincere desire to do the right by a patient, 
painstaking industry, which was never satisfied short of an exhaustive examination of 
the subject under consideration, by a broad common sense, which his learning and 
experience had ripened into a comprehensive, judicial wisdom ; by a dignified courtesy, 
which was never provol<ed into petulance or irritability, and which never degenerated 
into unseemly facetiousness. As a man he was characterized by a simple ingenuous- 
ness, by fatherly kindness, by strict integrity, and by Christian courtesy." 

Roderick N. Morrison was among the lawyers in this county who at 
an early date deservedly obtained an eminent distinction. He was a 
man of broad culture, of commanding appearance, and an astute and 
successful lawyer. He built and until he removed from here resided in 
the residence of the late Abram Wagener and now occupied by Mrs. 
Ida Thompson Drake. He left Penn Yan in about the year 1833. 
Subsequently he went to California, where he achieved distinction. 

Before Mr. Morrison left Evert Van Buren, then a young man, removed 
here from Kinderhook. Mr. Van Buren and Mr. Morrison at once 
became rivals ; that is, in every important case they were sure to be 


pitted against each other. Van Buren was bright, witty, and wonder- 
fully sarcastic. He possessed unusual ability as a speaker and his ad- 
dresses to a jury were usually distinguished for eloquence and convinc- 
ing power. He examined a witness with great adroitness, and if a witness 
attempted to prevaricate he broke down under the fire of this eminent 
examiner. While Mr. Van Buren was not a great lawyer as such, yet 
he was one of the ablest advocates, if not the ablest, who has ever prac- 
ticed at the Yates County Bar. He removed from here to Chicago in 
1857, where he achieved success and wealth. 

James Taylor, about the time Mr. Morrison left, removed to Penn 
Yan from the town of Starkey, where he had previously practiced his 
profession. Mr. Taylor, while a resident of Starkey and in the year 
1832, was appointed district attorney of the county and held the ofifice 
for four years. He was a man of marked integrity, courteous and 
gentlemanly in his deportment, and had the confidence and respect, not 
only of his fellow members of the bar, but of citizens generally through- 
out the county. He was persuasive in argument, and by his great can- 
dor he became a strong man with a jury. He had a good practice and 
met with reasonable success. He was a ruling elder in the Presbyterian 
Church in this village and his influence in the church was conservative 
and healthy. He removed to Kansas in 1857, whither some members 
of his family had already preceded him. 

Justice S. Glover came to this village some few years prior to 1840, 
where he practiced his profession until he removed to Michigan. Mr. 
Glover had a good legal mind, but an uncontrollable temper, which 
really disqualified him in a great measure from general practice. He 
had great confidence in his own knowledge of the law and could not 
bear contradiction nor accept with patience an adverse decision of the 
court. His unfortunate temperament prevented that degree of success 
as a lawyer which he might otherwise have attained. 

James L. Seeley practiced law at Dundee, where he died a number of 
years since. He was an honest man and an honorable practitioner. 
His word was accepted by his professional brethren and was deemed as 
sacred as his stipulation in writing. He scorned any quibling or arti- 
fice. He was frank and open as the light of day. He had a good legal 
mind, — could readily observe distinctions in cases and reach the vital 


point in a case. He was very careful and conservative and always 
sought to prevent litigation rather than promoteit. He was not a good 
trial lawyer and seldom trusted himself to try an important case unas- 
sisted. His counsel and advice were sought by those who wished to be 
advised rightly and safely, and this was his strong point. 

Delazon J. Sunderlin was not admitted to the bar until 1846. His 
love for the profession had its origin in the courts of the justices of the 
peace of his neighborhood, where he had a large practice and gained 
much notoriety for his great ingenuity and success in the trial of cases 
previous to his admission. After his admission to the bar in 1846 he at 
once entered upon a full practice in this and the adjoining counties of 
Steuben and Schuyler. He at the time of his admission was a success- 
ful farmer in the town of Harrington, where he continued to live until the 
time of his death, except a short interval spent in Penn Yan. Mr. Sun- 
derlin was a stalwart man, capable of great physical endurance, which 
was often taxed to its utmost. He was a very successful trial lawyer. 
He never permitted a point to pass his observation and he was wonder- 
fully fruitful in discovering the weak points of his adversary's case, and 
exercised great skill and ingenuity in presenting his own case in its 
most favorable light He was always a hard man to meet and much 
more to beat, for when opposite counsel felt secure and confident of 
success it was not unlikely that Mr. Sunderlin would suggest new ques- 
tions and new difficulties to be overcome. One thing may be truly 
said of Mr. Sunderlin: When beaten by the couit he accepted the de- 
cision without a murmur. He was always courteous and gentlemanly, 
not only with the court, but the members of the bar also. He was 
liberal and honorable in his practice. In November, 1850, he was 
elected district attorney of the county and held the office one term. 
The duties of this office he discharged with ability and satisfaction to 
the people. 

Benedict W. Franklin came to Penn Yan to practice law in or about 
1836. He was born in Kinderhook and upon coming here he at once 
took rank with the best resident lawyers. He had a large clientage so 
long as he remained in practice. Mr. Franklin was a very industrious 
man; he worked upon his cases with great industry and with the utmost 
care — so much care did he bestow upon his cases before trial that fre- 

,^^/^:^ ,t2^d^ 


quently when the Circuit was reached he was exhausted with solicitous 
overwork. He was a fair lawyer, but too doubtful of his own opinions 
to make himself self-reliant. In temper he was somewhat irascible, but 
still he did not allow his disposition of temperament to interfere with 
the management of his cases. He was the adviser of many of the 
moneyed men of this county. As he grew older he somewhat lost his 
interest in the parctice of the law, especially in contested cases. Before 
his death he devoted the most of his time to the placing of money by 
way of loans upon bonds and mortgage, and at the time of his death 
was virtually out of practice. Mr. Franklin, though an impulsive man, 
enjoyed the confidence of all as an honest, upright, and truthful gen- 

James V. Van Allen came to Penn Yan from Kinderhook sometime 
about the year 1844 or 1845. He was then a young man and had not 
previously entered upon the practice of the law. Soon after coming 
here he accepted a position in the law ofifice of Mr. Franklin as a clerk, 
and subsequently became a partner of Mr. Franklin. He held the office 
of justice of the peace for the town of Milo for many years, and dis- 
charged the duties of that office with eminent ability and satisfaction. 
Mr. Van Allen was an office and not a trial lawyer. As an office law- 
yer he had no superior. He made the practice a study and successfully 
mastered its intricacies. As stated he was not a trial lawyer, and yet 
it does not follow that he was not a good lawyer. He possessed an 
analytical mind — quickly possessed himself of the vital points of a 
case, and he was a safe man to advise with. He was careful and con- 
servative in his advice, and his opinion upon any legal question was 
deemed both valuable and reliable. His practice was quiet, but lucra- 
tive. He was very companionable and enjoyed the society of his friends. 
He died very suddenly and unexpectedly in the prime and vigor of his 

A. V. Harpending finished his clerkship in the law office of Evert 
Van Buren, coming to Penn Yan from Dundee in the fall of 1840. He 
was admitted to the bar in the year 1844 and at once opened an office 
in Penn Yan, For about a year and a half after that William S. Briggs 
was his partner, though the latter had not then been admitted. Mr. 
Harpending was naturally a brilliant man. As a trial lawyer and be- 


fore a jury he showed genius and skill and was reasonably successful 
in his efforts. He had a good paying practice. H6 was genial, witty, 
and eminently social, was greatly attached to his friends, and had a 
host of them. He was elected to the office of district attorney of this 
county in the fall of 1853 and held the same one term. He repre- 
sented this county in the Assembly *n 1857, and was senator from the 
district of which this county was then a part at the time of his death, 
Vvhich occurred at Albany in the spring of 1871. Mr. HarpendJng dis- 
charged the duties of district attorney with zeal and fearless integrity, 
and such was the sentiment and opinion of all who were within his sphere 
of knowledge. His untimely death, coming to him as it did while 
holding and exercising the functions of an honorable office, with a 
bright future before him, created a deep sensation at his home and cast 
gloom and sadness over this entire community. 

Daniel Morris was born in the town of Middlesex and did not enter 
upon the practice of the law until he had reached mature manhood. 
The early years of his practice were spent at Rushville, where he ac- 
quired an excellent reputation as a successful lawyer. He was elected 
to the Assembly in the fall of 1858 and served one term. Subsequently 
he removed to Penn Yan, where he opened an office and practiced his 
profession. He was elected a member of Congress in the fall of 1864 
and was re-elected to the next Congress, having served two terms. 
Mr. Morris was in Congress during the exciting period of the war and 
warmely co-operated with' the friends of the national cause in the sup- 
pression of the Rebellion, and he took a deep interest in the welfare of 
the sick and wounded soldiers of the district. Mr. Morris did not have 
the advantages of an early education, yet by study and contact he be- 
came a well educated man. He was favored with good natural abili- 
ties and was a lawyer of considerable repute. He was strong with a 
jury and was successful in many important and close cases, and had 
he given his whole time to his profession he would have become 

Morris Brown came to Penn Yan from Hammondsport prior to the 
year 1856. He had previously become the owner of a large timber tract 
lying south of Milo Center. At first he gave much of his time to this 
interest, but subsequently resumed and continued in active practice to 


the time of his death. Mr. Brown was a man of fine and impressive 
presence, of broad culture, and dignified manner. He possessed natural 
abiUty of a high order, which was developed by reading and culture. 
He was a sound lawyer, and possessed the rare talent of presenting 
legal questions to a court in a terse and forcible manner. In 1843 '^^ 
represented in part the county of Steuben in the legislature of this State. 
He also held the office of register in bankruptcy, and at the time of his 
death he was senior member of the firm of Brown & Wood. 

David B. Prosser was a native of this county and did not commence 
to read law until he had reached his twenty- fifth year. The profes- 
sion of law as an occupation was more a necessity than choice with him. 
In his earlier years he had given attention to the business of surveying, 
and while engaged in this calling he ascertained that a body of land in 
Jerusalem was held and possessed by parties whom he believed had no 
legal title. He purchased this land of the legal owner and brought 
ejectment to recover its possession. Mr. Prosser became so much in- 
terested in the legal questions involved that he at once gave his time 
and attention to an examination of the legal questions involved in his 
suit. His own interest prompted him to a close study and most thor- 
ough reading of the body of our law pertaining to real estate, its tenure, 
and the rules of law governing its transmission and descent. He suc- 
ceeded in his cases in the highest courts of this State, and his accurate 
knowledge of that branch of the law, secured by his diligent study in 
their trial and preparation for the consideration of courts, made him a 
critical lawyer in that specialty. His success in these cases brought 
him into public notice at once and gave him a good clientage. Mr. 
Prosser was not an educated man, nor was he fluent in his speech, 
hence he was not an able man before a jury. Still he never hesitated to 
stand in his place and perform that duty to the best of his ability ; and 
though thus trammelled the jury did not often fail to get an intel- 
ligent idea of his views of the case. Mr. Prosser was always regarded 
by his cotemporaries as the best lawyer in the county. He had a re- 
markable retentive memory, was self-reliant, and wonderfully tenacious 
of his opinions. He was the cotemporary of Judge Welles, James 
Taylor, Charles G. Judd, Judge Lewis, James L. Suby, and Delazon J. 



Samuel H. Welles, the'only son of Judge Henry Welles, died in Oc- 
tober, 1867, only a few months before his father. He was in the prime 
of life when he died, and his death, entirely unexpected as it was, pro- 
duced a profound sorrow. Samuel H. Welles, though not brilliant, yet 
by the advantages acquired by a liberal education through the careful 
and painstaking tutelage of his fatlser, and the advantages of his sur- 
roundings, he became and at the time of his death was a good lawyer. 
He had secured a good practice and his business and patrons were in- 
creasing when removed by death. At that time he was postmaster of 
Penn Yan. Mr. Welles was a genial, courteous gentleman and had a 
troop of warm friends. 

John L. Lewis had a national reputation as njember of the Masonic 
fraternity and a Knight Templar. Judge Lewis had the advantage of 
excellent tutelage in his youth from his father, who was a highly edu- 
cated man and devoted his time to teaching. Hence early in life Judge 
Lewis was recognized as a scholar with scholarly tastes and habits. 
He possessed rare ability as a speaker, and in his prime was often called 
upon on public occasions for public addresses. His diction was classic 
and his delivery faultless. No young man has grown up with us who 
ever gave better promise of great distinction in his profession than did 
Judge Lewis. The writer would not be understood that Judge Lewis 
was a failure at the bar, only that he was unsuccessful in achieving that 
degree of success of which his real ability and early development gave 
promise. He seemed to have attained the highest measure of his suc- 
cess in his chosen profession at an early age. He was appointed dis- 
trict attorney of the county in 1841 and held that office until June, 1847, 
when he was succeeded by Daniel Morris, who was then elected by 
popular vote under the constitution of 1846. In 1851 he was elected 
county judge and held the office for one term. He continued in prac- 
tice until his death, which occurred in the year 1889. In his later 
years Judge Lewis was sadly afflicted in the death of his wife and his 
two children — his only children. These bereavements seemed to crush 
his spirit and no doubt unnerved him for the battle of life. In his 
prime he was a very genial man, was fluent and edifying in his con- 
versation, and enjoyed the confidence and respect of all. 

Charles G. Judd was a practicing lawyer in this county for many 


years. He died a few years since, full of years and experience. In 
1836 he was appointed to the office of district attorney and held the 
same until succeeded by Judge Lewis in 1841. Mr. Judd must have 
become a resident of this place as early as 1830, and hence was the co- 
temporary of Judge Welles, Roderick N. Morrison, Evert Van Buren, 
James Taylor, D. B. Prosser, and B. W. Franklin. For several years 
he was associated with Judge Lewis, the name of the firm being Judd 
& Lewis. Mr. Judd was a man of fine presence, but quite distant and 
reserved in his manner, which gave the impression that he was cold and 
selfish, but it may be that this was his temperament and did not cor- 
rectly represent the real man. Mr. Judd was an educated man ; he 
was a close student and a critical lawyer. He learned to practice under 
the old system, and he was an apt student, for in his day it was quite 
generally conceded that he was the most accurate and critical pleader 
then practicing at the bar. He was also a learned lawyer. He was 
gifted with a close and analytical mind. His reading was well directed 
and his conclusions logical. While it was conceded by all that Mr. 
Judd was learned in the law, at the same time the belief was quite gen- 
eral that he was too critical and was too narrow in his constructions. 
In other words, that he did not take sufficiently broad views of ques- 
tions under consideration. 

Andrew Oliver was born in Penn Yan, his father being Judge Will- 
iam M. Oliver. He had every advantage of early education which a 
young man could desire. After graduation he immediately entered his 
father's office, then a one-story brick office on the corner of the lot now 
occupied by Edson Potter, and after his admission entered upon the 
practice of the law in the same office. At that time the Yates County 
Bank was in full life and operation and Andrew was the attorney for 
the bank. This gave him a quiet business, which was well adapted to 
his habits and tasts. He never sought litigated business, and if by acci- 
dent such fell into his hands he always called to his assistance a trial 
lawyer. He was appointed first judge of the old Court of Common 
Pleas in January, 1844, and held that office until June, 1847, when un- 
der the constitution then just adopted he was elected county judge, 
which latter office he held one term — four years. In the fall of 185 i 
he was elected to the Twenty-eighth Congress and was re-elected two 


years after. After this service in Congress he retired to a farm in the 
town of Torrey near Dresden. Subsequently and in the fall of 1870 
he was again elected county judge and served for six years, the term 
in the meantime having been extended from four to six years. 
Judge Olivdr, though an educated ,man, was exceedingly modest — 
even timid. He was not a brilliant man, and it was only when thor- 
oughly aroused that he evinced capabilities which under ordinary cir- 
cumstances seemed dormant. He was a reasonably fair lawyer, and 
with time for thought his conclusions were usually sound. He seemed 
to lack that force of character essential in a presiding officer, hence it 
cannot be said that he was a success as a leading officer in the courts 
over which he presided. He always seemed popular with the people 
when before them for their suffrages. With all his excentricities he 
was still held in high repute and commanded the respect of his fellow 

Henry M. Stewart was born in Oneida County and came to this 
county with his father when a boy. He was educated in our common 
schools, completing his education at the Canandaigua Academy. He 
read law with Mr. Prosser and was admitted and commenced to practice 
his profession in Penn Yan in the year 1839. In 1840 he was an act- 
ing master and examiner in chancery. Mr. Stewart was elected dis- 
trict attorney of this county in the fall of 1856 and held the same office 
for two terms thereafter. Mr. Stewart's natural endowments were far 
above the average, but it cannot be truly said that he developed them 
as he might have done. He possessed a clear and logical mind, was a 
close and logical reasoner, had clear conceptions of the law as he read 
it, at once apprehended the vital questions involved, and presented 
them clearly to a court or jury. He was a forcible speaker and always 
treated his antagonist with fairness and the utmost candor. He was an 
honorable practitioner, scrupulously honest in all his intercourse, never 
resorting to any artifice to secure a point or gain an end. He had the- 
confidence and commanded the respect of all members of the bar ; and 
yet he was not a successful lawyer — that is he did not succeed in build- 
ing up a practice. And why ? He was too modest, too uncombative to 
seek or take any case which would require a fight or contest. Besides 
this he lacked that push and energy essential to success. This, however, 


may be said he never failed to meet and push with vigor and zeal the 
prosecution of any criminal who got ensnared in the meshes of the 
criminal law. 

John D. Wolcott was the son of Dr. Wolcott, of Starkey, and a 
brother of H. G. Wolcott, late of Dundee. He read law with Evert 
Van Buren in Penn Yan, and upon his admission to the bar com- 
menced the practice of the law. Soon after his admission he entered 
into partnership with Justus S. Glover, his brother-in-law, and this rela- 
tion continued until Mr. Glover removed from Penn Yan. He was 
elected to the office of district attorney in the fall of 1862 and held the 
office two terms. He discharged the duties with satisfaction and fidel- 
ity. Mr. Wolcott was educated in the common schools and at Starkey 
Seminary, where his father at one time resided. He was not a brilliant 
man nor was he a broad minded lawyer. Yet Mr. Wolcott by his in- 
dustry was quite successful in his practice, exhibiting at times much 
shre.wdness and tact in the trial of his cases. Doubtless had he not 
been cut down so early in life he would have developed qualities which, 
with his push and aggressiveness, would have developed a broader 
foundation and a more accurate knowledge of the general principals of 
the law. It may be fairly said of Mr. Wolcott that he was reasonably 
successful as a lawyer, and that he was a careful, saving, and prudent 
man and a good citizen. 

Hiland G. Wolcott was the son of Dr. Wolcott. He first read medi- 
cine with his father, but finally changed to the profession of the law. 
He was for many years a partner of James L. Seeley, but when Mr. 
Seeley was stricken in health he continued the practice alone. Mr. 
Wolcott was not a trial lawyer. Indeed he would never try any cause, 
not even his own. Yet it may be rightly said of him : He was a good 
lawyer. Especially was he noted for his knowledge of equity law and 
the practice governing that branch of the law. He was a practical sur- 
veyor, and as such had been called upon to measure and map the prin- 
cipal farms in the town of Starkey. This knowledge, and the fact that 
he made maps and kept copies of all the surveys he made, necessarily 
brought him a class of business which his knowledge thus acquired 
naturally qualified him to do. It will be seen that his specialty was 
office business. He had a large practice in the Surrogate's Court, and 


very justly had the reputation of being an excellent accountant. He was 
gentlemanly in his intercourse and had the confidence and esteem of the 
members of the bar. 

Henry A. Wisner was one of the older lawyers of Penn Yan, that is 
he was one of the early practitioners at the bar after the organization 
of this county. He came ffom a noted and distinguished family and 
was a highly educated man. He possessed an unusually bright mind 
and deservedly took rank as an able lawyer. His unfortunate habits, 
however, were an impediment to his usefulness as a man, and prevented 
the attainment of that measure of success which otherwise he might 
have reached. Judge Lewis read law with him, and in 1840 he was an 
acting magistrate of this town and his office was in the corner of his lot 
on which stood his residence, at the corner of Elm and Liberty streets. 

Charles S. Baker was born in the village of Burdette, Schuyler 
County, N. Y., December 27, 1835, the oldest child of Susan E. and 
Elijah Baker. The other children of this couple were Sarah, George, 
and Francis E., the first and last surving. As a child Charles S. was 
sturdy and well developed, and at an early age he assumed charge ot 
the stables connected with his father's boarding and canaling business, 
his duty consisting in preparing horses for market, caring for diseased 
and disabled horses, and otherwise supervising that branch of an exten- 
sive business. At the age of fifteen he entered the office of Brooks & 
Tomlinson, of Elmira, N. Y., for the purpose of studying law, his prev- 
ious educational opportunities having consisted of a common school 
education during the winter months and one year at Lima. During 
the last two years of his law study he taught mathematics in the Female 
Seminary at Elmira. He was admitted to practice law one year before 
he arrived at his majority and at once entered the employ of Brooks & 
Tomlinson, where he continued two years. At the expiration of that 
period some gentlemen residing and doing business in Dundee consulted 
Brooks & Tomlinson for the purpose of securing some young and com- 
petent lawyer to come to Dundee and open an office. With their ad- 
vice and recommendation Mr. Baker came to Dundee in 1857 and 
opened an office. He remained there until the spring of 1861, his en- 
ergy and ability gradually bringing to his office a remunerative prac- 
tice. December 27, 1859, he married Hannah Elizabeth Harpending 

/ fNc. CO. ■sy/f, 

%UyU^^u^uu q) ri^n-CiC^ 


(deceased), only daughter of Asbury Harpending, of Dundee. The issue 
of this marriage was one child, Asbury H. Baker, who survives them. 
In the spring of 1861 Mr. Baker moved to Penn Yan and entered into 
partnership with Abram V. Harpending. This continued until 1867, 
when Mr. Baker moved to Hudson City, N. J., and entered the employ 
of one Clark at 128 Broadway, New York, conducting the details of an 
extensive and important practice. At the end of the year he severed 
his connection with Mr. Clark and formed a partnership with J. W. 
Feeter under the firm name of Feeter & Baker. At about the same 
time he moved from Hudson City, N. J., to Clifton, N. J. In the 
spring of 1870, after suffering the most severe financial losses resulting 
from some injudicious endorsements, he returned to Dundee and re 
opened an office. After two years he entered into partnership succes- 
sively with James Spicer at Dundee and Hon. Hanford Struble at Penn 
Yan, the periods of time consumed by these two partnerships extend- 
ing to 1876. At that time he formed a partnership with Hon. Henry 
C. Harpending at Dundee. During his partnership with Mr. Harpend- 
ing he became interested in and lent his aid in the construction of the 
Syracuse, Geneva, and Corning Railroad, and from the time of its com- 
pletion until his death he was one of the attorneys for the company 
which built the road. After dissolving with Mr. Harpending Mr. 
Baker became associated with L. M. Hair and H. V. L. Jones, succes- 
sively, at Dundee, these two partnerships extending" to 1884, when he 
again moved to Penn Yan for the purpose of forming the partnership 
with Hon. WiUiam S. Briggs which continued until Mr. Baker's death. 
These brief facts simply record the different business relationships en- 
tered into by Mr. Baker, but fail utterly to give an idea of his life work. 
The writer is forced to admit he is unable to frame language fitting the 
description, Mr. Baker was honorable, just, generous to a fault, inde- 
fatigable in the performance of his work and duty, a consistent church- 
man, true as steel to his friends, and charitable to his enemies. 


William S. Briggs was born in the town of Milo, October 30, 1820. 
He was educated at the common schools and Lima Seminary, at the 


latter institution attending three years. Also during this time he oc- 
casionally taught school. In April, 1840, he commenced reading law 
with David B. Prosser and in 1846 was admitted after examination 
upon motion. Judge Briggs, for by this title has he been known for 
many years, has always practiced at the county seat. His first partner 
was A. V. Harpending, with whom he was associated two or three 
years, when Mr. Briggs was compelled on account of sickness to retire 
temporarily from professional work. He went upon a farm, but in Oc- 
tober, 1849, returned to the village and formed a law partnership with 
his old instructor, D. B. Prosser, with whom he was associated until 
1856, when Counsellor Briggs assumed the duties of the office of county 
judge, to which he was elected the preceding fall. As judge of County 
Courts Mr. Briggs thereafter served four successive terms, covering a 
period of sixteen years, and then declined a renomination for the same 
office. Following this Judge Briggs resumed his partnership with 
John T. Knox, which relationship was maintained until the firm was 
dissolved by Judge Briggs again going upon the County Court bench,. 
Mr. Knox at the same time becoming district attorney of the county. 
Judge Briggs thereafter served one term of six years, making his service 
upon the bench cover a period of twenty- two years. At the end of 
his last term a partnership was formed with Charles S. Baker, which 
was dissolved by the death of the latter in April, 1891. Hon. Martin 
J. Sunderlin succeeded Mr. Baker as a partner, which firm, known as 
Briggs & Sunderlin, is still in active practice. 

Hanford Struble. — For sketch of Judge Struble see Biographical De- 
partment of this volume. 

Martin J. Sunderlin was born in Barrington, April ii, 1833. His 
early education was acquired at the district schools of the town, after 
which he attended the Dundee Academy for two terms. He read law 
under the direction of his father, Delazon J. Sunderlin, then in practice 
in Barrington, commencing about 1853 and continuing about three 
years. He was admitted at May General term of court in 1856, at 
Auburn. In November following his admission Mr. Sunderlin began 
practice at Barrington in partnership with his father, under the firm 
style of D. J. & M. J. Sunderlin. This relation continued until 1864, 
when our subject temporarily left the profession on account of ill health. 


Two years later he resumed practice in connection with farm work in Har- 
rington, but in the spring of 1 872 he went into active practice at Watkins, 
where he remained until the spring of 1891, coming then to Penn Yan 
and becoming the business partner of Judge Briggs, succeeding the late 
Charles Baker. While a resident practitioner in Schuyler County in 
1882 Mr. Sunderlin was elected county judge, serving from January 
I, 1883, to January I, 1889. In politics Judge Sunderlin is a Democrat, 
and as the candidate of that party was elected to the judgeship. 

Benjamin L. Hoyt was born in Litchfield, Conn., on June 22, 1819. 
In 1820 the family came to New York State, living for a short time in 
each of the counties of Chenango, Tompkins, and Otsego. In the latter 
county Benjamin L. attended school in the old Cooper mansion and 
later at an academy at Amsterdam. His father's family also lived for a 
time at Philadelphia, but afterward came to Steuben County. Here 
Benjamin commenced the study of law with Morris Brown, of Ham- 
mondsport, but after a year or so came to Penn Yan and read in the 
office of Wisner & Lewis, In 1841 he was admitted to practice in the 
old Common Pleas Court and afterward, at Syracuse, he was admitted 
as a Supreme Court practitioner. Mr. Hoyt has ever since lived in or 
near Penn Yan, and has been known as a successful school teacher as well 
as a lawyer. In the law practice he was once associated with John L. 
Lewis. In 1850 he was elected justice of the peace of the town of 
Milo and held that office thirty-two years. He was justice of sessions 
two terms. Before his election to the justiceship 'Squire Hoyt was 
town inspector of common schools. In local school afi'airs he has been 
interested, being now one of the longest continued members of the 
Board of Education. For two years he was president of the board and 
then declined a re-election to the same position. In politics 'Squire 
Hoyt is a firm and unflinching Republican. 

James Spicer was born in Barrington, N. Y., October 23, 1826. His 
early education was very limited and confined to a brief attendance at 
the district schools. He read law with D. J. Sunderlin and was admit- 
ted to the bar in 1862. Mr. Spicer practiced mainly at Dundee, but 
for one year hewas at Watkins in partnership with Judge Hurd. Com- 
mencing in 1877 he practiced with Hon. Hanford Struble one year at 
Penn Yan. At Dundee Mr. Spicer's law partner was H. G. Wolcott 



until 1872, who was succeeded for three years by the late Charles 
Baker. His practice at the county seat then followed. In 1880 James 
Spicer organized the Dundee National Bank and since that time has 
been its president. This office and its duties have necessitated his, re- 
tirement in part from the general practice of the law, and he now re- 
sides on his farm of 171 acres one mile north of Dundee, one of the 
most beautiful farms in Yates County. He takes great pride in super- 
vising it and in raising blooded stock. 

John H. Butler, the editor and publisher of the Vineyardist, a well 
known paper issuing from the county seat, was a native of Le Roy, Gene- 
see County, N. Y., born July 3, 1836. His early education was received 
in the common schools only, while his legal education was acquired by 
reading law in- the office of Hon. C. J. McDowell, of Cohocton, whose 
daughter he married, and at the Albany Law School, he being gradu- 
ated from the latter in 1859. From the time of his admission to the bar 
until 1877 Mr. Butler practiced law in Steuben County, and during that 
time he was twice elected district attorney, first in 1866 and re-elected 
in 1869. He was also supervisor of his town for several terms and held 
other minor offices. He took an active part in the War of the Rebel- 
lion, having enlisted as a private and chosen a lieutenant of his com- 
pany. Coming to Penn Yan Mr. Butler became a member of the law 
firm of Brown, Wood & Butler, which continued until Mr. Brown's 
death, and was succeeded by the firm of Wood & Butler and later by 
Wood, Butler & Morris. In March, 1883, Mr. Butler withdrew from 
the firm and three years later he established the Vineyardist, a news- 
paper publication of which he was the founder and has continued to be 
its editor and publisher to the present time. Soon after coming to Penn 
Yan Mr. Butler was appointed register in bankruptcy for the Twenty- 
eighth Congressional District and held office till the bankrupt law was 
repealed. In politics Mr. Butler is a strong Republican. 

Silas Kinne is better known as cashier of Baldwin's Bank of Penn Yan 
than as a member of the Yates County Bar, yet he has been a lawyer 
since i860. He was born in Seneca County, May 6, 1836, and was ed- 
ucated at Ovid Academy, from which he was graduated in 1855. From 
Rutgers College he graduated with the class of '59. He then attended 
the Albany Law School and was admitted at the Albany County Gen- 


eral term in December, i860. For more than nine years prior to 1870 
he practiced law at Ovid, but in May of that year he came to Penn Yan 
to take the position of cashier in Baldwin's Bank, with which he has 
ever since been identified. Mr. Kinne is an active Democrat ; he was 
twice the candidate of his party for the office of county treasurer and 
once for county judge and surrogate. As was expected he was each 
time defeated at the polls, yet the run he made was certainly gratifying 
to himself and his friends. For six years he was trustee of the village 
and is now a member of the Board of Education. He is also a member 
of the firm of Potter, Kinne & Kendall, dealers in lumber, coal, etc. 

George E. Baley was born in Barrington, October 29, 1842 ; he was 
educated in the district schools, Starkey Seminary, Dundee Academy, 
and attended one year at the People's College at Havana. He read 
law with Hon. Jeremiah McGuire at Havana and also with Hull Fanton 
at the same place, and was admitted to the bar at Rochester in June, 
1867. Mr. Baley has always resided in Barrington and practiced his 
profession in connection with his other labors as farmer. 

Michael A. Leary, a prominent lawyer of Penn Yan, was born in Ire- 
land on the 7th of August, 1847, "i""^ came to this country with his 
parents, locating at East Bloomfield, Ontario County, when he was about 
eight years old. In Ontario County young Leary was educated in the 
districts schools and the Bloomfield Academy. In 1866 he came to 
Penn Yan and entered the academy, taking the preparatory course, and 
studied the classics for two years. In 1868 he commenced reading law 
in the office of John L. Lewis, and at the Monroe County General term 
in December, 1869, he was admitted to practice. In 1871 Mr, Leary 
entered into law practice with Hon. Daniel Morris, a relation that con- 
tinued until 1877. Since that time Mr. Leary has practiced alone. In 
politics Mr. Leary is a Democrat, and as such his voice has been heard 
through the county and elsewhere in Western New York. In 1873 he 
ran against Henry M. Stewart for the office of district attorney and 
was defeated by only 300 votes. As a candidate for Assembly against 
S. C. Cleveland he was beaten by 3 1 1 votes only, and in that canvass 
Mr. Cleveland had the sympathy of many hundreds of Democratic 
voters. Mr. Leary was never a candidate through his own political as- 
pirations, but rather through the sense of duty to his party. In 1884 


and in 1888 he was delegate to the Democratic National Conventions. 
In 1890 he was a member of the constitutional commission appointed 
to revise the judiciary article of the constitution of the State of New 

John T. Andrews, 2d, was born in Reading, Steuben (now Schuyler) 
County, March 9, 1842. His early education was acquired in the Dun- 
dee and Watkins Academies, supplemented by a preparatory course at 
Alfred University. In 1863 he entered Union College and was gradu- 
ated in 1864, having entered the junior class. In August, 1864, Mr. 
Andrews enlisted Company D of the One Hundred and Seventy-ninth 
New York Volunteer Infantry. In December he became its second 
lieutenant, but was promoted first lieutenant and afterward brevet cap- 
tain. Hewas mustered out of service June23, 1865. Returning from the 
service Captain Andrews spent three years in mercantile business in 
Dundee and in 1868 commenced reading law with B. W. Franklin, of 
Penn Yan. He was admitted in December, 1870, at Rochester. While 
Captain Andrews has ever since been identified with the profession his 
practice has become secondary to other interests. In 1873 he com- 
menced manufacturing on the outlet and is now the proprietor of one of 
the best paper-mills in the country. He is also connected with a law, 
real estate, and loaning firm at the county seat. In 1 88 1 Captain An- 
drews was elected member of Assembly. He was appointed postmas- 
ter at Penn Yan in July, 1890. 

Henry V. L. Jones, of Dundee, was born at Lodi in 1846, and got his 
first start by earnings saved from holding the plow and pitching hay. 
When fourteen he became a clerk in a small country store and when 
fifteen obtained a teacher's certificate. In 1864 he entered the Union 
army as a volunteer ; leaving the service with an honorable discharge 
he became a student at Ovid Academy ; in 1867 he entered Genesee 
College. Leaving this institution he became a student at Cornell. He 
graduated from that institution in the class of '70. After graduating 
he became a student in the law office of John J. Van Allen, of Watkins. 
In the fall of '72 he received the nomination to the Democratic ticket 
for school commissioner of Seneca County and was elected to that office. 
In 187s Mr. Jones was admitted to the bar and at once entered in a 
successful practice at Ovid, afterward coming to Dundee. At that place 


"he was twice elected to the office of justice of the peace by large ma- 
jorities. Mr. Jones has always been active in political matters and usu- 
ally has taken the stump during important campaigns, and frequently 
is the representative of the Democratic party in State conventions. In 
1878 he was united in marriage to Miss Ella Sawyer. Since going to 
Dundee Mr. Jones has rapidly risen in the local ranks. In 1886 he 
was a candidate for the office of district attorney and again in 1889 was 
a candidate for county judge. He received a handsome vote in both 
campaigns, but was overpowered by the heavy Republican majority. 

Darius A. Ogden was born in Penn Yan, March 10, 1850. He was 
educated at the Penn Yan Academy and entered Cornell for the scien- 
tific course. After three years he left the university. In 1871 he com- 
menced reading law with Morris & Leary and in 1874 at the Monroe 
General term was admitted to the bar. For two or three years Mr. 
Ogden practiced in Penn Yan, and then left the profession to take 
charge of the local gas company, with which he was connected eleven 
years. In April, 1891, he became proprietor of a hardware business in 
Penn Yan, succeeding the old firm of Morgan & Perkins. 

John T. Knox, the present district attorney of Yates County, was 
born in the town of Wilson, Niagara County, on February 26, 1844. 
His elementary education was acquired in the common schools and the 
Wilson Collegiate Institute. In September, 1863, he entered Hamilton 
College and was graduated in 1867. After teaching one year in the 
Cooperstown Seminary Mr. Knox came to Penn Yan and taught in the 
academy. During the school year of 1869-70 he was principal. In 
June, 1870, he entered the office of Judge Briggs for a course of law 
study and on January 4, 1871, was admitted to practice. In 1872 Mr. 
Knox became the law partner of Judge Briggs, a relation that was main- 
tained for six years and until our subject became district attorney, while 
his partner at the same time became county judge, thus ending the 
partnership. Mr. Knox was first elected attorney for the county in 
1877 and again in 1880. In 1891 he was again nominated for the same 
office and again elected. He was village clerk for twelve years and is 
one of the village trustees for the fiscal year 1891-92. Mr. Knox is a 
Republican; likewise he is a leader of his party in the county. 

Andrew C. Harwick was born at South Barre, Orleans County, N. Y. , 


November 30, 1849. He was educated at the Albion Academy, fol- 
lowed by the scientific course of Cornell University, from which latter in- 
stitution he was graduated in 1873. He read law with O. A. Eddy, of 
Holley, N. Y., and was admitted in October, 1876, at the Monroe 
County General term. Counsellor Harwick practiced at Albion for 
about a year and then came to J'enn Yan. Mr. Harwick was district 
attorney of Yates County from January, 1884, to January, 1887, and 
has been otherwise prominent in village affairs and politics. He is also 
a leading spirit in fire department matters and with a number of the 
social and fraternal bodies of the village. 

Delos A. Beliis, who since 1885 has filled the position of police jus- 
tice of the village of Penn Yan, was born in Harrington, March 17, 185 i. 
In the district schools and in the Dundee and Penn Yan Academies 
he received his education. In 1871, at Kalamazoo, Mich., he com- 
menced law study with Thomas R. Sherwood and afterward with 
Sherwood & Edwards, but in 1872 he came to Penn Yan and finished his 
course with John L. Lewis. At the Monroe County General term in 
October, 1874, Mr. Beliis was admitted to practice. From that until 
the present time he has practiced at the county seat. In 1883 Mr. Bel- 
iis was the successful candidate for justice of the peace of Milo, he be- 
ing the nominee of the local Democracy. In this office he has since 
served, being re-elected at the expiration of each succeeding term. In 
1885 the village trustees appointed him police justice and at the end of 
each subsequent three years' term he has been re-elected by the village 

William Hamlin Fiero was born in Milo, January 5, 1846, and was ed- 
ucated at the district schools, Penn Yan Academy, and Lima Seminary. 
From March, 1872, to June, 1875, he read law with Prosser & King, 
of Penn Yan, and was admitted at the June General term at Roches- 
ter in the last named year. Mr. Fiero has always practiced at the 
county seat and without a partner. He is a Republican and as such 
was, in the spring of 1889, elected justice of the peace of the town of 
Milo, an office he still holds. 

William T. Morris was born in Potter, September 12, 1853. Heat- 
tended the Penn Yan Academy and entered Cornell in 1869 and was 
graduated in 1873, having taken the scientific course with Latin added. 


He read law with his father, Hon. Daniel Morris, and with Foster & 
Thomson, of New York city, and was admitted at the Brooklyn Gen- 
eral term February 17, 1876. Mr. Morris remained with Foster & 
Thomson one year in the capacity of managing clerk, and in the fall 
of 1877 came to Fenn Yan, where he has since practiced. In Septem- 
ber, 1877, he was one of the law firm of Morris & Sheppard, but on 
April I, 1879, he became junior partner in the firm of Wood, Butler & 
Morris. March 3, 1883, the firm dissolved and Ralph T. Wood and 
Mr. Morris continued under the style of Wood & Morris until June, 
1884, since which time Mr. Morris has practiced without a partner. 
He was admitted to practice in the United States Circuit Court on June 
21, 1891. 

Calvin J. Huson, lately and particularly remembered as having been 
able to carry Yates County as Democratic nominee for the Assembly, was 
born in Barrington, January 30, 1855. I" the district schools and in the 
Dundee and Penn Yan Academies his education was acquired. In 1873 
he commenced a course of law study with Briggs & Knox and at the 
Monroe General term in April, 1876, he was admitted to practice. 
After his admission Mr. Huson went in the ofiice of Judge Struble and 
when the firm of Spicer & Struble was formed he became managing 
clerk. After two years he succeeded Mr. Spicer in the firm, which 
then became known as Struble & Huson. Four years later Judge 
Struble went on the bench and O. F. Randolph became partner with 
Mr. Huson under the style of Huson & Randolph. The latter soon 
retired and Mr. Huson practiced alone until January, 1889, when Will 
iam D. Dwelle became associated in the business under the name of 
Huson & Dwelle. Calvin J. Huson is a leader of the Democracy in 
Yates County and has frequently represented his county at Democratic 
State conventions. For a number of years he has been chairman of the 
Yates County Democratic Central Committee. In 1890 he represented 
Yates in the lower House of the State legislature. During the session 
of the legislature in 1891 he held the important office of Assembly 
journal clerk. On January i, 1892, Mr. Huson was appointed deputy 
comptroller of the State of New York, which position he now holds. 

Orville F. Randolph was born in the town ofTorrey, Augusta, 1855. 
He graduated from Starkey Seminary in 1873 and entered Oberlin 


College in the class of 'jQ, but left before finishing his course. He read 
law with Spicer & Baker, of Dundee, and with Briggs & Knox, of Penrt 
Yan, and was admitted at Buffalo in June, 1877. Mr. Randolph has 
practiced in Penn Yan and Dundee, but a part of his time has been 
spent in the West. From 1884 to 1886 he was in partnership with 
Calvin J. Huson. Since the suipimer of 1888 he has been connected 
with the office worlc of the Yates County National Bank. 

Abraham Gridley, more familiarly known as Captain Gridley by rea- 
son of his connection with a local military organization, was born at 
Auburn on the 29th of October, 185 i. His early education was acquired 
in the common district schools only, but by self- application and perse- 
verance he fitted himself for college. In 1869 he entered Cornell, tak- 
ing the scientific course, and was graduated in 1873. He then entered 
the Law Department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor 
and graduated in 1875. He came East and read law with Judge Stru- 
ble, and was admitted at Syracuse as an attorney in [878 and at Roch- 
ester in 1880 as a counselor at law. The present law firm of Carmody 
& Gridley was formed in 1889. 

Thomas Carmody was born in the town of Milo, October 9, 1859. 
He was educated at the district schools, the Penn Yan Academy, and 
attended Cornell University for three years, but was not graduated. 
During his studies at Cornell he read law with A. A. Hungerford at 
Ithaca. He was admitted at the Monroe County General term in 
April, 1887. In January, 1889, he formed a law partnership with 
Abraham Gridley at Penn Yan under the style of Carmody & Gridley. 
In April, 1891, Governor Hill appointed Mr. Carmody to the office of 
district attorney of Yates County. 

John H. Johnson, junior member of the late firm of Franklin, Andrews 
& Johnson, was born in Canandaigua, August 2, 1853. He was ed- 
ucated at the academy of his native village and entered Hobart Col- 
lege as a sophomore in 1874, but was not graduated. He read law with 
Smith & Hamlin, of Canandaigua, and was admitted at Rochester in 
1879. He practiced at Canandaigua until 1882, when he came to Penn 
Yan and became associated with the firm of Franklin & Andrews, and 
in 1888 he became a member of the firm. 

Henry C. Harpending, of Dundee, was born at Starkey on the 8th 


of September, 1847. He was educated at Dundee and at Starkey Sem- 
inary, where he graduated in 1868. He read law with Feeter & Baker, 
of New York city, and then with Mr. Baker at Dundee. He was ad- 
mitted to the bar in the spring of 1872 at Oswego, and immediately 
opened an office at Dundee. Mr. Harpending has for many years been 
identified with public affairs. In the spring of 18-73 he was elected 
justice of the peace and served four years. In the spring of 1883 he 
was elected supervisor and served one year. In the fall of 1883 he was 
elected a member of the New York Assembly ; he served one term. 
Mr. Harpending is the only Democrat, with two exceptions, that within 
the last twenty years has represented the Republican county of Yates 
in the State Assembly. 

Lewis J. Wilkin, a practicing lawyer at Dundee, read law in the office 
of Prosser & Briggs at Penn Yan and was admitted to the bar in 1856. 

William D. Dwelle was born in Potter, January 2, 1863 ; he was edu- 
cated at Penn Yan Academy and entered Cornell in 1879, graduating 
in 1883. He read law with Struble & Huson and Briggs & Baker, of 
Penn Yan, and Stevens & Selden, of Rochester, and was admitted at 
Rochester, April i, i886. Mr. Dwelle practiced alone until 1889, when 
the present law firm of Huson & Dwelle was formed. He has held the 
office of village clerk since April, 1888. 

In this connection there should also be mentioned the names of two 
other members of the legal profession in the county : Maj. Foster A. 
Hixson, of Vine Valley, and Lyman J. Baskin, of Starkey. Major Hix- 
son wasformerly prominently identified with the practice in the county, 
but since the war of 1861-65 l^^s directed his attention to other mat- 
ters. He is a grape grower in Middlesex. Lyman J. Baskin practices 
at Starkey. 



WHEN we consider the importance and elevated character of the 
science of medicine — its object, the preservation of the health and 
lives, and the healing of diseases, and the amelioration of the physical 
and mental sufferings of our fellow human beings, its extent embracing 
a knowledge of all science — it is evident that medical education should 
engage the earnest attention of the entire medical profession. The ad- 
vances made in all the branches of knowledge, and especially in the 
science of medicine during the past century, have exceeded in extent 
and value those of all past ages ; and it is no longer possible to com- 
press its vast domain within the narrow limits of " seven professor- 
ships." The present age owes its wonderful progress to experimental 
and scientific research. 

Evolution and development are the talismanic watchwords of the nine- 
teenth century, and the doctrine is now being accepted that things in 
the world do grow and are not made ; it is no longer universally ac- 
cepted as a matter of religious faith that the world was created by su- 
pernatural power, for many of our deepest thinkers, men of the most 
profound understanding, believe that it has been gradually unfolded by 
the action of natural causes. But not wishing to be accused of heresy 
it may be stated that whether the theory be according to Darwin, or 
Hackel, or Spencer, or some other philosopher, the law will be the same 
in any case, and away back behind "protoplasm," " germinal matter," 
and " celular germ " there exists abundant proof of a " first great 
cause," of an " infinite wisdom," for the depth of which language hath 
not expression. A flood'bf light on this subject is now pouring forth on 
the world, but its acceptation as a convincing truth rests in a great 
measure wholly with the individual. 

" The world," says Goethe, " is not so framed that it can keep quiet." 
All the natural energies are brought into full force by the spirit of enter- 
prise, by the spirit of progress. The telegraph wires wipe out all ter- 


ritorial boundaries and railroads penetrate the utmost confines of the 
earth, and by them States and territories are bound fast together in one 
web. Science and enterprise have spanned the continent with electric 
wires, cabled the Atlantic Ocean, given us the measurements of revolv- 
ing planets, spread forth the canvas to the gale, and made the trackless 
ocean a highway throijgh the world. By the use of scientific and cun- 
ningly devised instruments bleak skies and rude winds are foreseen and 
the navigator places himself in safety. The electric light has displaced 
gas as effectually as the latter did the "tallow dip," and is established 
upon a secure commercial basis. School- houses, churches, newspapers, 
and books open up to the poorest the lights and opportunities of 

The great and wide advancement in the different branches of medical 
science within the last generation is as much a marvel as the progress 
made in any other of the arts and sciences. The poorest laborer can 
now obtain advice and medicine far superior to that which royalty could 
command one or two centuries ago. " The advance in medical knowl- 
edge within one's memory," says Sir James Paget, " is amazing whether 
reckoned in the wonders of science not yet applied, or in practical re- 
sults, in the general lengthening of life, or, which is still better, in the 
prevention and decrease of pain and misery and in the increase of 
working power.'' 

The dawning of medical science which now sheds its light through 
the world began with Hippocrates nearly 2,300 years ago, and he first 
treated of medicine with anything like sound or rational principles. He 
wrote extensively, much of which has been translated, and serves as a 
foundation for the succeeding literature of the profession. He relied 
chiefly on the healing powers of nature, his remedies being exceedingly 
simple. He taught that the people ought not to load themselves with 
excrements, or keep them in too long ; and for this reason he prescribed 
" meats for loosening the belly,'' and if these failed he directed the use 
of the clysters. Three hundred years before Christ Erasistratus invented 
and used the catheter, introduced the tourniquet, and produced an in- 
strument for lithotriptic operations. Celsus flourished A. D. 50 to 120 
as the greatest of Roman surgeons. Through all the centuries, from 
the beginning of the Christian era down to the time of the discovery of 


the circulation of the blood by Harvey, 1619, medicine shed but a 
glimmering light in the midst of the darkness then enshrouding the 
world, and the greatest strides in the advancement of the various 
branches of medical science have been made in the last 100 years, and 
most of them may be placed to the credit of the last half century. 

Physiologists no longer believie with Parcelus in the sixteenth century 
that the planets have a direct controlling action on the body, the sun 
upon the heart, and the moon upon the brain ; nor do they now believe 
that the vital spirits are prepared in the brain by distillation ; nor do 
they admit that the chyle effervesces in the heart under the influence of 
salt and sulphur, which take fire together and produce the vital flame. 
On the contrary modern physiology teaches that the phenomena of the 
living body are the results of physical and chemical changes ; the tem- 
perature of the blood is ascertained by the thermometer ; and the differ- 
ent fluids and gases of the body are analyzed by the chemist, giving to 
each its own properties and function. 

While the eighteenth century witnessed greater advancement in the 
department of medical science than any or all of its predecessors, the 
crowing achievements seemed to have been reserved for the nineteenth, 
the present century. Among the thousands of elements that com- 
prise this century's advance in medical science mention will be made of 
but one, and that among the first discoveries, t. e., the use of anaesthet- 
ics, which benumb the nerves of sensation and produce a profound but 
transient state of insensibility, in which the most formidable operation 
may be performed while the patient sleeps and dreams of home and 
happy hours, and the physican is left to the pleasing reflection that he 
is causing no pain or suffering. / 

But it appears that as rapid as has been this advance during the last 
100 years so, correspondingly, have these developed new forms and 
phases of disease to baffle the skill of the most eminent physicians and 
scientists in the land ; and while diseases, malarious in their character, 
have for a time defied the attempts to overcome them, they have nev- 
ertheless been subdued and conquered. Medical skill has proven equal 
to every emergency. There is today known to botanists over 140,000 
plants, a large proportion of which are being constantly added to the 
already appalling list of new remedies. Many of these new drugs pos- 


sess little if any virtue, save as their sale adds to the exchequer of some 
enterprising pharmacist. A drug house in New England recently issued 
a circular in which they advertised 33 syrups, 42 elixirs, 93 solid ex- 
tracts, 150 varieties of sugar-coated pills, 236 tinctures, 245 roots, barks, 
herbs, seeds, and flowers, 322 fluid extracts, and 348 general drugs and 

The ancients were not so well supplied with drugs. It was the 
custom among the Babylonians to expose the sick to the view of pas- 
sers-by in order to learn of them whether they had been afflicted with 
a like distemper and by what remedies they had been cured. It was 
also the custom of those days for all persons who had been sick and 
were cured to put up a tablet in the temple of Esculapius, wherein they 
gave an account of the remedies that had restored them to health. Prior 
to the time of Hippocrates all medicine was in the hands of the priests 
and were associated with numerous superstitions, such as sympathetic 
ointments applied to the weapon with which the wound was made, m 
cantations, charms, amulets, the royal touch for the cure of scrofula, 
human or horse flesh for the cure of epilepsy, convulsions treated with 
human brains. 

While all this credulous supersticion of early ages, born of ignorance, 
existed to a vastly large extent, it has not been fully wiped out by the 
generally advanced education of the present day. The latest appeal to 
the credulity of the masses of the people is an invention to relieve the 
unfortunate sick, and is known as the " Faith Cure." The persons 
seeking to popularize this means of cure are either deceived themselves 
or are deceiving others. Upon this point a popular writer says: If the 
disease be an incurable one all the prayers in the world will not cure it. 
Filth brings fever ; prayer cannot interpose. There is probably no de- 
partment of medicine at the present time more promising of good results 
than is sanitary science. While physiology and pathology are making 
known to us the functions of the human body and the nature and 
cause of disease, sanitary science is steadily teaching how the causes of 
disease may be removed or avoided and health thereby secured. 

Progress during the coming .100 years, if only equal to that of the 
past, will more than have accomplished great works in the advancement 
of sanitary science ; but the accomplishment of this work calls not only 


for the labor of the physician, but for the intelligent co-operation of the 
people ; the physician cannot do it alone. If anything really great is 
to be done in the wa)' of sanitary improvement, and of preventing dis- 
ease and death, it must be done largely by the people themselves. This 
implies that they must be instructed in sanitary matters. They must be 
taught what unsanitary conditioWs favor the origin of disease, how dis- 
ease is spread, and the means of its prevention. It is true that that 
knowledge is of the greatest value to us which teaches the means of self- 
preservation, then the importance of a widespread knowledge of how to 
prevent disease and premature death cannot be overestimated. 

While it is never within the province of the duties of the historian to 
call attention to defective conditions, the writer of this chapter never- 
theless feels impelled to refer incidentally to the marked unsanitary 
condition of the county seat of Yates County. Penn Yan is no longer the 
cross-roads hamlet ; on the contrary it has had a municipal organiza- 
tion and character for a period of nearly sixty years, and in all this time 
there has not been made on the part of the local authorities any move- 
ment that has resulted in establishing approved sanitary regulations or 
improvements within the village. The great, the pressing, need is a 
complete and thorough system of trunk sewerage through the principal 
streets, with branches through a number of the lateral thoroughfares. This 
should be followed by a system of water supply, and abundance of pure 
and wholesome water being easily obtainable from the depts of Lake 
Keuka, and many and various are the methods to be suggested by 
which the supply could be forced through the street mains. Penn Yan 
as a hamlet and thereafter incorporated village is all of three-quarters 
of a century old. The general character of the earth throughout the 
village, and particularly west of Jacob's Brook, is sandy gravel ; there- 
fore exceedingly porous and readily absorbent of all deposits of liquid, 
filth, and sewage matter. And it is a fact that the whole earth in the 
vicinity named is scarcely less than a cesspool. 

But the great difficulty in the way of securing these sanitary improve- 
menis has been in the prejudice existing in the minds of ultra-conserv- 
ative residents against incurring any bonded indebtedness on the part 
of the corporation. This spirit is in a measure commendable, but at 
the same time it is open to criticism. "Show me a municipality," says 


a recent able writer, "that has no bonded indebtedness and I will show 
you a city that is at least fifty years behind the times." It is not the 
moderate indebtedness that injures the cities, but the indiscriminate 
and ill-advised bonding, forced upon the corporation by ruthless and 
incompetent public servants. This is a subject that should be discussed 
in every place of business, every household, and on every corner until 
the local authorities move in the matter. So long as there is no visita- 
tion of epidemic disease, malarious or otherwise, so long are the people 
safe enough, but should such come the distruction to human life would 
be. fearful beyond estimate. Therefore it behooves the people and the 
authorities to look well to their condition from a sanitary point of view, 
and discover whether or not something should be done at once to cor- 
rect existing evils and possibly preventing premature disease and 

But, to return from this degression, it may be asked. What can be said 
of the medical profession and its representatives in Yates County ? Like 
some other of the pioneer elements of the county the early medical prac- 
titioners recorded but little of their own history, and whatever is to be 
now learned of them comes only by chance, and it is with great difficulty 
that even the names of the first medical men are recalled. However run- 
ning throughout this volume will be found the names of physicians, early 
and late ; and in a department of this work in which are personal 
sketches will be found a record of the professional lives of many of the 
practitioners in the county. 


On the 4th of March, 1823, agreeable to a notice previously given, 
there assembled at the Yates Hotel, kept by Miles Benham, at Penn 
Yan, a number of the more prominent physicians of the county. The 
purpose of this gathering was the formation of a medical association 
for Yates County. Dr. Uri Judd was called to the chair and Dr. Will- 
iam Cornwell, jr., was appointed secretary. The meeting proceeded 
to vote for the officers of the society, with the following result : Presi- 
dent, Dr. Joshua Lee ; vice-president. Dr. Uri Judd ; secretary, John 
Hatmaker ; treasurer. Dr. Andrew F. Oliver ; censors, Drs. Anthony 
Gage, Andrew F. Oliver, John L, Cleveland, Ira Bryant, and Archi- 


bald Burnett. The physicians present at this meeting were Drs. Uri 
Judd, Wilham Cornwell, jr., Anthony Gage, Andrew F. Oliver, Ira 
Bryant, John Hatmaker, Archibald Burnett, Isaac S. Kidder, John L. 
Cleveland, Elisha Doubleday, jr., and Ezekiel B. Pulling. The first 
regular anniversary meeting was held in the Yates Hotel in the village 
of Penn Yan on June 3, 1823. Qn this occasion an appropriate address 
was delivered by the president, Dr. Joshua Lee, at which time the phy- 
sicians whose names have already been mentioned produced their 
licenses and became full members of the society. A code of by-laws 
was at the same time adopted and the corporate name given was 
"Yates Medical Society." At this time medical societies fully organ- 
ized were clothed with what would now appear to be unusual and ex- 
traordinary powers. The Yates Society, like others of the same char- 
acter throughout the counties of the State, held the power to examine 
candidates for admission to practice medicine and surgery, and admitted 
them not only to membership in the society, but as well licensing them 
as practicing physicians. 

At this early meeting among other things the society adopted a form 
of license which read as follows : 

" The President and Members of the Yates Medical Society. 

'■ To whom these presents may come, send greeting : 

" Whereas, Dr. Blanl<, on examination by the Censors of said Society, according 
to the form of the statute in such cases made and provided, hath been approved rela- 
tive to his knowledge in the theory and practice of physic and surgery, I do therefore 
Hcense him to practice physic and surgery within this State, and do also recommend 
him to the notice of the faculty and attention of the public. 

" In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and have caused the seal of 
said Society to be affixed at blank, this blank day of blank, in the year of our Lord one 
thousand eight hundred and blank. " Blank, President." 

The by-laws of the Yates Medical Society provided for the posses- 
sion of a common seal, upon which was an inscription bearing the so- 
ciety's name and the impression of a skeleton. It was also provided 
that the officers annually chosen to preside over and administer the af- 
fairs of the society should be a president, vice-president, secretary, 
treasurer, and five censors. 

Now, for the purpose of bringing to the attention of the reader the 
names of as many as possible of the older physicians of Yates County, 
it is proper that there be inserted at this time a list of those who be- 


came members of the society and signed its constitution and by-laws, 
thereby accepting their provisions, ahhough it may be possible that 
some of the names here given were not among the original members 
as shown by the old minute-book of the society. The membership was 
as follows: Joshua Lee, John Hatmaker, Andrew F. Oliver, John L. 
Cleveland, Samuel B. Bradley, Isaac S. Kidder, Ezekiel B. Pulling, 
Archibald Burnett, William Cornwell, jr., Elisha Doubleday, jr., Ira 
Bryant, Calvin Fargo, Moses Chapman, Walter Wolcott, Jarvis Darling, 
Isaac Beers, Uri Judd, Jeremiah B. Andrews, Anthony Gage, James 
Heermans, John Warner, W. W. Tyler, R. Randall, Henry Sprague, 
Caleb A. Lamb, Enos Barnes, David S. Wicks, Nathan S. Kidder, 
Isaac Chissom, Lewis Aiken Bardwell, Hosea Cohner, Richard Huson, 
and Nelson Peck. 

At a meeting of the society held June 23, 1828, the by-laws were 
amended, but did not materially differ from those originally adopted, 
and to the later articles are signed the names of others of the older 
physicians of the county and of some who are still in active practice. 
They were as follows : Forest Harkness, Odenathus Hill, Daniel H. 
Whitney, Benjamin Nichols, William D. Cook, B. N. Wisner, Abijah E. 
Perry, Francis M. Porter, Oliver P. Wolcott, Winans Bush, Sidney B. 
Willey, W. S^Purdy, P. T. Caton, Henry Smith, H. P. Sartwell, Joel 
Dorman, Asahel Clark, William Wixom, William Oliver, F. N. Ham- 
mond, Guy L. Doubleday, Eben S. Smith, George W. Brundage, J. I. 
Denman, A. B. Sloane, Byron Spence, A. R. Otis, Robert P. Bush, 
John D. Wolcott, Job S. Stevens, G. Z. Dimmock, William H. Crane, 
J. M. Waddell, C. B. Stone, Charles Woodward, Benjamin L. Hoh, 
R. R. C. Bordwell, B. M. Smith, Cyrus C, Harvey, Byron B. Havens, 
Amelia C. Christie, Nathan. L. Lusk, John M. Maloney, Schuyler Lott, 
E P. Stuart. B. H. Ovenshire, W. A. Wilson, O. E. Newman, C. M. 
Van Dyke, E. D. Seaman, Eugene Bardwell, William A. Oliver. 

The founder and leading spirit of the old Yates Medical Society was 
Dr. Andrew F. Oliver, the father of the present William Oliver and 
grandfather of the present William A. Oliver. Dr. Oliver, the pioneer 
physician, was born in Londonderry, N. H., in 1792 and became a res- 
ident and practicing physician of Penn Yan in i8i8. In 1827 he was 
appointed surrogate of Yates County. In 1845 he received from the 



Regents of the University the honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine, 
an unexpected and unsolicited tribute to his professional standing and 
merits. In 1857 he was elected a permanent member of the State 
Medical Society. He was president of the local society several terms 
and on several occasions its delegate to the State Society. He died in 
Penn Yan on June 11, 1857. Following his death the Yates Medical 
Society met in Penn Yan and adopted resolutions, one of which was as 
follows : 

'• Resolved, That the members of the Yates County Medical Society have received 
with the deepest regret and sorrow the announcement of the death of their truly la- 
mented friend and associate, Dr. Andrew F. Oliver. Long and faithfully has he dis- 
charged the arduous duties of his profession, proving himself a noble benefactor of 
suffering humanity and an honor to this Society, of which he was one of its most dis- 
tinguished members." 

Dr. Oliver was a practicing physician in Yates County for nearly 
forty years. Closely associated with Dr. Andrew F. Oliver in the laud- 
able enterprise of forming the old medical society were Drs. William 
Cornwell, jr., Joshua Lee, John Hatmaker, John L. Cleveland, and Uri 
Judd. In fact these physicians were not only present at the first meet- 
ing, but they were instrumental in bringing about the permanent organ- 
ization of the society and in promoting its after prosperity. From the 
time of the formation of the Yates Medical Society in 1823 down to the 
year 1880, a period of fifty- seven years, the organization of the society 
was kept active and never suffered to lapse or expire from want of in- 
terest on the part of its members, although there do appear to be years 
in which no records were preserved. The records disclose the mem- 
bership of the society as it stood in 1870 as follows: Officers: Walter 
Wolcott, president; Alexander B. Sloane, vice-president ; Guy L. Doub- 
leday, secretary and treasurer ; censors, Fletcher M. Hammond, Will- 
iam Wixom, Eben S. Smith, Guy L. Doubleday, Alexander B Sloane ; 
delegate to State Medical Society, William Oliver; members, John 
Hatmaker, Walter Wolcott, Israel Chissom, Winans Bush, William 
Wixom, William Oliver, F. M. Hammond, Guy L. Doubleday, Eben 
S. Smith, George W. Brundage, J. I. Denman, Alexander B. Sloane, 
Byron Spence, Ashbel R. Otis, Robert P. Bush, John D. Wolcott, Job 
S. Stevens, G. Z. Dimmock, Wemp.le H. Crane, Frank H. Smith. 

In 1880, at a meeting held October 26th, there was a practical, or at 


least a partial, re- organization of the society. The names of physicians 
present on that occasion are nowhere disclosed on the record, but at 
that time the name was changed from the Yates Medical Society to the 
"Medical Society of the County of Yates." At this time it was also 
provided that the officers of the society should consist of a president, 
vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and three censors, " together with 
such other officers as a majority of the members present at any annual 
meeting should determine." It was also provided that the annual meet- 
ing should be held on the first Tuesday of June of each year in the vil- 
lage of Fenn Yan, at which time the election of officers by ballot to hold 
for the ensuing year should take place. The semi-annual meeting was 
provided to be held on the second Tuesday of January of each year in 
the village of Penn Yan. 

Presidents and Secretaries. — 1823, president, Joshua Lee; secretary, 
John Hatmaker. 1824, president, Andrew F. Oliver; secretary, John 
Hatmaker. 1825, president, Andrew F. Oliver; secretary, John Hat- 
maker. 1826, president, John L. Cleveland; secretary, John Hatmaker. 
1827, president, Enos Barnes; secretary, John Hatmaker. 1828, presi- 
dent, Elisha Doulbeday; secretary, John Hatmaker. 1829, president, 
Anthony Gage; secretary, John Hatmaker. 1 830, president, John War- 
ner; secretary, John Hatmaker. 183 1, president, Uri Judd ; secretary, 
John Hatmaker. 1832, president, John Hatmaker; secretary, Andrew 
F. Oliver. 1833, president, Walter Wolcott; secretary, B. N. Wisner. 
1834, president, B. N. Wisner; secretary, John Hatmaker. 1835, presi- 
dent, James Heermans ; secretary, John Hatmaker, 1836, president, 
Elisha Doubleday; secretary, John Hatmaker. 1837, president, O. P. 
Wolcott; secretary, John Hatmaker. 1838, president, Elisha Double- 
day; secretary, John Hatmaker. 1839, president, Joshua Lee; secre- 
tar\', John Hatmaker. 1840, president, Henry P. Sartwell ; secretary, 
John Hatmaker. 1841, president, Henry Spence ; secretary, John Hat- 
maker. 1842, president, Winans Bush; secretary, John Hatmaker. 
1843, president, Elisha Doubleday; secretary, John Hatmaker. 1844, 
president, Elisha Doubleday; secretay, John Hatmaker. 1845, presi- 
dent, Walter Wolcott; secretary, John Hatmaker. 1846, president, 
H. P. Sartwell ; secretary, John Hatmaker. There is no record of offi- 
cers elected between 1846 and 1851. 185 i, president, Elisha Double- 


day; secretary, John Hatmaker. 1852, president, H. P. Sartwell ; sec- 
retary, William Oliver. 1854, president, Henry Spence ; secretary, 
William Oliver. 1855, president, Andrew F. Oliver; secretary, Will- 
iam Oliver. 1856, president, Andrew F. Oliver; secretary, William 
Oliver. There is no record of officers elected between 1856 and 1868. 
1868, president, John Hatmaker ; secretary, Winans Bush. 1869, presi- 
dent, John Hatmaker; secretary, William Oliver. 1870, president, 
Walter Wolcott; secretary, Guy L. Doubleday. 1 871, president, Walter 
Wolcott; secretary, John D. Wolcott. 1872, president, A. B. Sloane; 
secretary, John D. Wolcott. 1873, president, A. B. Sloane; secretary, 
John D. Wolcott 1874, president, Eben S. Smith; secretary, G. W. 
Brundage. 1875, president, Eben S. Smith; secretary, G. W. Brund^ 
age. 1876, president, William Oliver; secretary, G. W. Brundage. 
1877, president, William Oliver; secretary, Charles Woodward. There 
is no record of officers elected between 1877 and 1885. 1885, presi- 
dent, B. L Holt; secretary, C. M. Van Dyke. 1887, president, John 
M. Maloney; secretary, C. M. Van Dyke. 1888, president, N. L. Lusk; 
secretary, C. M. Van Dyke. 1889, president, B. L. Holt; secretary, 
C. C. Harvey. 1890, president, B. L. Holt; secretary, N. L. Lusk. 
1891, president, B. L. Holt; secretary, N. L. Lusk. 

Members of the Society in 1891 — B L. Holt, N. L. Lusk, William Ol- 
iver. William A. Oliver, J. M. Maloney, C. B. Stone, C. M. Van Dyke, 
M. E. Babcock, C. C. Harvey, Job S. Stevens, George W. Brundage, 
W. A. Carson, O. E. Newman, J. M. Waddell, A. R. Otis, S. Lott, B. B. 
Havens, E. S. Smith, M. E. Babcock, I. E. Ottoway. 

On the 29th of May, 1880, the legislature of the State of New York, 
at the urgent request of the medical profession throughout the State, 
passed an act for the especial protection of the legitimate profession 
against quackery. By the provisions of that act it became the imper- 
ative duty of all practicing physicians to make oath before the county 
clerk of the county in which they designed to practice, stating date and 
place of birth, and the authority under which they presumed to prac- 
tice physic and surgery. This registration was required to be made 
before October 1st following the passage of the act. And the further 
provision was made that all persons thereafter becoming physicians 
should likewise procure their registration before practicing in any 


•county of this State. This law still stands, but has been only partially 
complied with, and any persons practicing physic and surgery without 
having so registered are liable to penalty under the act. 

Physicians Registered in the Yates County Clerk's Office. — Cyrus C. 
Harvey, University of Buffalo ; Job S. Stevens, Medical College of 
Geneva; Byron H. Ovenshire, Department of Medicine and Surgery 
at Ann Arbor, Mich.; Benjamin L. Holt, College of Physicians and 
Surgeons, New York city ; Artielia A. Christie, Woman's Medical Col- 
lege of Pennsylvania ; Schuyler Lott, Albany Medical College ; A. R. 
Otis, Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, Pa.; W. A. Wilson, 
Albany Medical College ; William Oliver, Geneva Medical College ; 
Carlton B. Stone, Detroit Medical College ; W. H. Hawley, Central 
Medical College of Rochester, N. Y., license from the New York State 
•" Eclectic Medical Society," and by diploma granted by the Genesee 
Valley District Medical Society; Francis E. Murphy, Hahnemann 
Medical College, Philadelphia, Pa.; John C. Mills, Syracuse Medical 
College ; O. E. Newman, Cleveland Medical College ; Richard R. C. 
Bordwell, Bufifalo Medical College; Anna L Truman, New York Free 
Medical College for Women, New York city ; J. M. Waddell, Bellevue 
Hospital Medical College, New York city ; D. M. Smith, Bellevue Hos- 
pital Medical College, New York city ; H. W. Smith, Western Homoe- 
opathic College, Cleveland, Ohio; Elisha D. Smith, Homoeopathic 
Medical Societies of the counties of Ontario and Yates ; Nathan L. Lusk 
Medical University of Buffalo ; George Z. Noble, Union Homoeopathic 
Medical Academy of the State of New York ; William F. Jolley, Ec- 
lectic Medical College, Pennsylvania; J. Le Van Bender, University of 
Bufifalo; William H. Hawley, jr., Eclectic Medical Society of the Thir- 
teenth Senatorial District, auxiliary to the Eclectic Medical Society of 
the State of New York ; John M. Maloney, Georgetown College, George- 
town, D. C ; Mulford Skinner, Castleton Medical College, Vermont, and 
by license from the Steuben Medical Society of the Staie of New York • 
Alex de Borra, Medical University of Copenhagen, Denmark ; James C. 
Wightman, American Medical College, Cincinnati, Ohio ; William Wixom, 
Geneva Medical College; George M. Barber, Eclectic Medical In- 
stitute, Cincinnati, Ohio ; George W. Brundage, Geneva Medical Col- 
lege ; Alexander B. Sloane, Geneva Medical College ; F. L. H. Willis 


Homoeopathic Medical College of New York city; Henry Hill, Medical 
Department of the University of Vermont, Burlington; William A. 
Carson, Albany Medical College ; Eben S. Smith, Geneva Medical Col- 
lege ; John Cole, Medical Department of the University of Buffalo ; 
Frank B. Seelye, Buffalo Medical College ; Henry R. Barnes, Ontario 
County Medical Society; Frank H. Smith, Jefferson Medical College, 
Philadelphia, Fa.; Wemple H. Crane, Board of Censors of the Yates 
County Medical Society; Edward P. Stuart, University of the city of 
New York, Department of Medicine ; W. Wallace Barden, HomcEO- 
pathic Medical College, Philadelphia, Pa.; Samuel Hart Wright, Geneva 
Medical College ; A. B. Chissom, Medical Society of the county of 
Yates ; Herman W. Perry ; Byron B. Havens, Bellevue Hospital 
Medical College, New York city; Henry P. Shove, Hygieo-Therapeutic 
College, New York city ; Clark Otis, Hahnemann Medical College, 
Missouri ; Carl B. Smith, University of Buffalo ; George L. Preston, 
Eclectic Medical College of New York city ; Lucius W. How, Medical 
Department of Columbia College of the city of New York; William 
C. Allen, Hahnemann Medical College, Philadelphia, Pa.; Edgar D. 
Seaman, Medical Department of Columbia College of New York ; 
Emory A. Eiken, Miami Medical College of Ohio ; Byron Clark, Med- 
ical Department of the University of Maryland and College of Physi- 
cians, Baltimore; Ira E. Smith, Schuyler County Medical Society; 
Clarence I. Dodge, New York Eclectic Medical College, New York 
city ; William A. Oliver, Buffalo University of Medicine ; Marcus E. 
Babcock, University of Buffalo ; Adelbert de Roy Haines, Eclectic Med- 
ical Institute of Cincinnati, Ohio ; Franklin B. Smith, Hahnemann Med- 
ical College, Chicago, 111.; Asbury H. Baker, University of Buffalo ; 
Eugene O. Bardwell, University of Buffalo ; Charles M. Van Dyke, 
Starling Medical College, Columbus, Ohio; William F. Coburn, Chicago 
Homoeopathic Medical College ; E. C. Parke, New York Homoeopathic 
College; John E. Ottovvay, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.; 
Manville M. Macdonald, Medical Department of the University of the 
city of New York ; Wade Botsford, College of Physicians and Sur- 
geons, Baltimore, Md.; Charles O. Payne, Homoeopathic Hospital Col- 
lege, Cleveland, Ohio ; Peter H. Reynolds, Syracuse Medical College ; 
William W. Skinner, University of Buffalo ; J. Arden Conley, Eclectic 


Medical College, New York city ; W. C. Freeman, Trinity College, 
Ontario; Sanauel D. Rhodes, College of Physicians and Surgeons of 
New York city ; Louis C. Millspaugh, Medical Department of Univer- 
sity of the city of New York ; Albert Ellison, University of the city of 
New York ; Edwin J. Morgan, Harvard Medical College of Boston^ 
Mass.; Isaac N. Willard, Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York 
city ; John T. Culhane, Medical Department of Niagara University ; 
Michael McGovern, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Baltimore, Md.; 
Charles E. Doubleday, Medical School of Syracuse University ; Ells- 
worth H. Noble, New York Homoeopathic Medical College ; Hiram G. 
Mace, College of Medicine and Surgery of Michigan University ; Jay 
H. Wilkin, University of Buffalo ; John E. McTaggart, University of 
Buffalo ; Gideon Carl Fordham, University of Vermont ; Ira R. Ballou, 
Baltimore Medical College ; C. F. Farlin, College of Therapeutics of 


THE prevalence of the country newspaper is a good sign. Not 
even the public school is a more sure indicator of the diffusion of 
general information and the desire for the growth of intelligence. The 
newspaper — the country newspaper — is an American idea. Nowhere 
else in the world does every hamlet have its mouthpiece and every vil- 
lage its instructor and guide. It may be that the country newspaper 
in America is not all that it should be, but notwithstanding its faults it 
aids in the development of the national mind and is useful in an hun- 
dred ways. 

Yates County has been no exception to the rule which has given 
every locality its newsgatherer. Five years before the county's auton- 
omy was assured the first journal was established. Abraham H. Ben- 
nett was its proprietor and he called his venture the Penn Yan Herald. 
A glance over its pages reveals the fact that country newspaper work 


has changed since that day. Now the editor devotes his pages to local 
pews. Then he neglected that department and gave each week a gen- 
eral resume of the world's news as far as that was possible. And the 
cause of that is evident. (^-In 1818 Penn Yan was a village through which 
the stages ran once or twice a week on their way from Geneva to Bath, and 
each stage left here a newspaper gr two for the wealthier residents. The 
Herald copied this news matter and disseminated it throughout the 
countyrj Now dwellers in every town in the county have the city dailies 
delivered to them each morning. They do not depend on the weeklies 
for general news. Thus every year for the past half century the weekly 
newspaper has had to devote itself more and more to local matters. That 
has now come to be its almost sole occupation. 

y4n 1820 Bennett changed the name of his journal to the Penn Yan 
Democrat, and this title it has since retained. In 1835 Alfred Reed 
was associated with him in its management; in 1847 ^^ assumed entire 
control. Darius Ogden bought the establishment in 1850 and was its 
real proprietor for many years afterward, till Eli McConnell purchased 
it and paid off the liens that existed. Reuben Spicer was editor in 
1853 and George D. A. Bridgman in 1857. Fo'' many years, from 1865 
till 1888, Eli McConnell was proprietor. Then the newspaper became 
the property of the Democrat Printing Company. Walter B. Sheppard 
now owns the controlling interest. Through all the vicissitudes of its 
career the Democrat has supported more or less ably the political party 
whose name it bears. It has thus an honorable record for consistency 
and devotion to principle which entitle it to credit, and under its new 
editor gives promise of greater excellence and v\ider influence than it 
has ever before enjoyed. 

Till the establishment of the Democratic Whig in 1837, by William 
Child, the Democrat had the field largely to itself Its chief competi- 
tor had been the Yates County Republican, established by E. J. Fowle 
in 1824 and continued for ten years. In 1834 John Remmich bought 
it, changed its name to the Enquirer, and two years later it quietly 
died and was forgotten. The Republican, however, in Mr. Fowle's 
palmy days, was a good and substantial country weekly. It perhaps 
would not seem so now, for there were but five columns of reading mat- 
ter on each of its four pages, and these columns were largely filled with 


advertising matter. But sixty years ago publishing a country paper 
was a tiresome and expensive business. The cost of the white news 
paper on which it was printed was about four times what it is at present. 
All or nearly all news paper was then made of rags and cost more to 
manufacture than the better grades of correspondence paper now do. 
Everyone knows, too, that in those days there were no power or cylin- 
der presses in country newspaper offices. The old "Washington" 
press, worked by hand lever, was the only kind in use. 

The year 1833 was a prolific one in the newspaper world of Yates 
County. A man named Gilbert started a periodical called the Western 
Star and Thomas H. Bassett established another, the Miscellany. 
Four newspapers in the Penn Yan of that day must have rendered the 
profit of each rather precarious; at all events three of them shortly died, 
and it was not till 1837 that a printer was found of sufficient temerity 
to establish a successor. 

In that year was begun the publication of the newspaper which, take 
one thing with another, has been the most prosperous, best known, and 
widely read of all that have been produced in Penn Yan. William 
Child was the printer and the Democratic Whig was the newspaper. In 
1839 it passed into the control of Nicholas B. Suydam and for six 
years he was its publisher. Then, in 1845, Rodney L. Adams assumed 
control. He made the newspaper a force in the political world and in 
1852 sold it to Cleveland & Look. Four years later Mr. Look retired 
and Stafford C. Cleveland assumed entire control. Of all the printers 
who have graced Yates County with their presence he was easily cory- 
pheus. Of large statue and intelligent appearance Mr. Cleveland com ■ 
bined great strength of mind with an independent character, and soon 
won the respect and confidence of the people. His newspaper was 
changed in name upon his accession and became the Yates County 
Chronicle, a title it still retains. In 1881 Mr. Cleveland retired from 
the editorial position he had so long occupied and since that time 
the Chronicle has had two or three editors. Malcolm D. Mix was man- 
ager till 1883. Then Steven B. Ayres was editor till 1886. Samuel P. 
Burrill next filled the editorial seat till 1889. At that time the present 
proprietor, De Witt C. Ayres, purchased the newspaper, assumed its 
management, and has evidently settled down in the sanctum for a life- 



long occupation. At present the Chronicle is the most widely circu- 
lated newspaper in the county and deserves the prosperity that 
attends it. 

In 1844 Henry L. Winauts began the publication of a journal called 
the Democratic Organ. After two years of effort the task of making it 
thrive was abandoned. Not disheartened by this failure Rodney L. 
Adams started a daily called the Telegraph, and while its publication 
was continued longer than might have been expected it succumbed in 
six months. This failure stopped the publication of new journals' in 
Penn Yan for twenty years. 

But meanwhile Dundee, the second village of the county, had an at- 
tack of the newspaper fever, and under the guidance of Gifford J. 
Booth the Record ■was first printed in 1844. This little newspaper has 
had a checkered career. In 1847 it was published by a man named 
Hoagland ; then it passed into the control of John Diefendorf. Next, 
in 1857, it was owned by D. S. Bruner and then was edited by James 
Westcott. After his death the Record came near extinction, but was 
finally revived by two nephews of Mr. Westcott, sold by them to a syn- 
dicate of Democratic politicians, and finally in 1890 was bought by 
several influential prohibitionists and is now published as a temperance 
newspaper. Today it probably has a greater circulation than it ever 
before enjoyed. From the Record the name has been changed to the 
Home Advocate. 

G DA. Bridgman.who h^d 5o\d the Democrat m 1865, began the next 
year the publication of the Penn Yan Express. In 1869 it was edited by 
Thomas Robinson. In 1870 Mr. Bridgman returned to the editorial chair 
and in 1872 the journal passed under the control of the present proprietor, 
Reuben A. Scofield. In his hands it has met with great success. The 
politics have been Republican, of which party Mr. Scofield is a zealous 
partisan. The newspaper has so prospered that' today its circulation is 
second only to that of the \ates County Chronicle, and its owner has 
through it become well known throughout the county. 

The only other newspaper deserving of extended notice is the Obser- 
ver, which is printed at Dundee. It was established in 1878 by Eugene 
Vreeland, its present proprietor. At first and till 1882 it was independ- 
ent in politics, but at that time it joined the Republican party and has ever 


since been an advocate of its doctrines. Its owner, Mr. Vreeland, is a 
young man of pleasing manners and some ability, and is well regarded 
by his neighbors and friends. 

dBut of all the journals which have had their incipiency in our county 
the best known in other localities, the most unprofitable, and the short- 
est lived was the Penn Yan Mystery. It was a mystery indeed. For 
many years two writers, Leon and Harriet Lewis, had made Penn Yan 
their home. Their books, and those of Mrs. Lewis in particular, while 
not indicative of the highest creative power, still were readable and had 
great vogue among the class who perused with delight the old New York 
Ledger and kindred sheets. Mrs. Lewis died, and unsatisfied with his 
notoriety the survivor undertook the task of founding a weekly news- 
paper which- should bring him fame and possibly fortune too. It was 
not an ill advised scheme. A tremendous edition of the first number 
was sent out on January 4, 1879. It was read and liked. From New 
Hampshire to Alabama subscriptions and communications flowed in. 
Had the editor been a different man he might have succeeded. But as 
it was, discouraged by his financial condition or losing pluck, ere the 
second edition appeared he left Penn Yan between two days and has 
never returned. 

A word should be said, in passing, with regard to the Vineyardist. 
This is a bi-weekly, began in 1887 by John H. Butler and Samuel P. 
Burrill as an exponent of the g-rape interests on Seneca and Keuka 
Lakes. Within its limited scope it does good work and is well thought 
of by its subscribers. , Mr. Butler is now the sole proprietor. 

The newspaper serves more than one purpose. Primarily it is to dis- 
seminate knowledge of the day's events, but in another way and as the 
record of times gone by and partially forgotten it is still more val- 
uable. Of all the sources whence the local historian draws his materials 
it is the best and fullest. Ten years or fifty years after being printed 
and cast aside it is some day resurrected from its resting place and 
shows as a faithful mirror of the past that is gone forever. And, strange 
as it may seem, the parts least thought of by the average reader as he 
looks it over and grumbles, may be, at its brevity and lack of wit, have 
become the most interesting of all. The advertising with which the re- 
tailer has blazoned forth his trade is transmuted into the truest record of 


tlie time. Here one may learn what once the people ate, what they 
wore, and with what they passed their leisure hours. Set forth in 
printed page is a record as to whether men drove in coach and four or 
ambled through the woods on horseback. Where they ground their 
grain, as to the wear of poplin and muslin and calico, as to what drugs 
they poisoned themselves with, and whether women decorated their back 
hair with silver combs — all iere comes to light. The "notice "by 
which some farmer describes a runaway slave tells us that he owned one, 
and when another desires to hire laborers at $12 per month we are not 
at a loss in discovering the rate of wages. Thus, as in other lines of 
endeavor, the work that the printer does lives after him, re-awakening in 
after years a knowledge of events that else would be forgotten. 



" We live in an age of light and knowledge." 

rHE rise and progress of the school system of the State of New 
York form an interesting chapter in its history. The wisdom of 
the fathers in laying broad and deep foundations in all that pertains to 
intellectual and moral culture is manifest in the school history of the 
Empire State. Thanks to a wise public policy the interests of the 
schools have not for a moment been lost sight of, but their value as an 
important factor in the development and perpetuity of our institutions 
have increased and grown just in proportion as the general public have 
been developed by culture and educational privileges. 

The circumstances which have most influence in the happiness of 
mankind, the changes of manners and morals, the transition of commu- 
nities from poverty to wealth, from ignorance to knowledge, — these are 

' By Hon. George R. Cornwell, of Petrn Yan. 

'E-'iM "ly T Kcrn.m''- ^' ''-^ 



for the most part noiseless revolutions. Their progress is rarely in- 
dicated by what historians are pleased to call important events. They 
are not achieved by armies nor enacted by the law-making powers; 
they are sanctioned by no treatise and recorded in no archives. They 
are carried on in every school, in every church, in every society for mu- 
tual benefit and improvement, and in every cultured and well ordered 

In the study of the important events of the world's history the places 
where these events have culminated, or in which valorous deeds have 
been accomplished, are second in interest only to these events ; they 
"remain hallowed for all time." The student of history will search in 
vain for a more hallowed or sacred spot (except it may be the sanctuary 
or the home circle) than the school-room. " How beautiful and pleas- 
ant are thy memories!" The value of good schools cannot be over- 
estimated ; and it has been very truthfully said : " The public schools 
are the bulwarks of our institutions ; the palladium of our liberties." 
Right here let me say it is impossible to have good schools without 
faithful, conscientious, educated teachers. The public realize more and 
more the value of good instructors. The boy of today is the man of 
tomorrow. Time is more than money — absolute unrest is the order of 
the day. Our schools must keep pace with the general development of 
the times. 

In the schools of the county of Yates there has been for more than 
eighty years a noiseless progression toward all that is good and high 
and noble in manhood, and in which ignorance has been supplanted by 
knowledge. The past ten years show a marked improvement over 
the twenty years preceding, and still the necessities and demands were 
never so great as now. This shows a healthful condition, and there is 
no question but that our schools will continue to grow better and better 
so long as there is desire. 

It is the purpose of this chapter to give a general review of the school 
system of the State in connection with the public schools of the county 
of Yates, including a more detailed account of the several academies 
and institutions of learning in the several towns as well as a more par- 
ticular history of the schools of the village of Penn Yan. In the ac- 
count of the schools of the county at large this article must necessarily 


be brief, because data concerning them is meager and often unreliable. 
More attention, however, will be given to the principal institutions of 
learning as the information respecting them is better preserved and 
more readily procured. The facts recorded here are stated upon the 
authority of the State and county records, or, when because of the care- 
less manner in which many of th*se have been kept, or from the nature 
of the fact stated, nothing could be there found, the most authoritative 
attainable information has been sought. It is proper to state also that 
many facts here presented are from the pen of the late Hon. S. C. 
Cleveland, for many years the editor of the Yates County Chronicle and 
who was also publisher of a history of Yates County, and from other 
valuable records, the writer claiming no credit except as a compiler and 
gatherer of facts. 

The common school system of the State of New York may be traced 
to a law passed by the legislature of 1812, which provided for the di- 
vision of the State into school districts. As early as 1795, however. 
Gov. George Clinton, in his message that year to the legislature, recom- 
mended to the people " the establishment of common schools through- 
out the State," and an annual appropriation of $50,000 for five years 
was made by the legislature of 1795 for the purpose of public instruc- 
tion. The enactments in relation to public instruction were revised 
and consolidated in the general law of 1864, which was several times 
amended until 1867, when the free school system of the State was fairly 
established. It may be proper to mention that in the early history of 
the schools of the State much inactivity was manifested, and in some 
quarters the movement was met with positive opposition. 

In 1874 there were 11,299 school districts in the State and 18,605 
teachers. In 1890 there were 11,675 school- houses in the State and 
31,703 teachers employed. The value of school- houses and sites in 
this State in 1868 was $16,450,485. In 1874 it had advanced to $29,- 
216,149 and in 1890 to $41,606,735. The total receipts for school 
purposes for the year ending July 25, 1890, were $20,473,660.92. The 
expenditures were a little less. State Superintendent of Public In- 
struction Andrew S. Draper, in his annual report to the legislature, ses- 
sion of 1892, says : 

The total number of pupils in the schools during the past year was 


1,281,039. The whole number of teachers was 31,982. The amount 
of money paid them was $11,012,986.43. The average weekly wages 
of teachers in towns was $8.27, in cities $17.89. There are 12,072 
school houses in the state, 45 of logs. The average cost of educating 
each child in the state at large has been $2641. The cost to each in- 
dividual of the State was $2.66. The superintendent is of the opinion 
that the safety of the commonwealth depends upon the enactment of 
an effective compulsory education law. There are eleven normal 
schools in operation in the State, with a total expense last year of 

In 1890 there were in operation in the State eighteen colleges of arts 
and sciences for gentlemen, nine for ladies, and four for ladies and gen- 
tlemen, with a total attendance of 7,446 during the year. The total 
value of college property for arts and sciences was $8,485,868.45. 

There are also within the bounds of the State five schools of law, 
sixteen schools of medicine, four schools of pharmacy, three polytech- 
nic schools, nine schools of theology, and eight schools of special de- 
partments. From the best obtainable information there are at present 
3,500,000 children in the elementary schools of our country, 275,000 
pupils in the secondary schools, and 60,000 students in the colleges. 
There can be no question but that our schools are assuming proportions 
to which they are entitled. 


The common schools of Yates County, including the higher academic 
institutions of learning, are among the very best of their class in the 
State. The school statistics show that Yates is not behind her sister 
counties in all that pertains to good schools. By the census of 1890 
Yates County had a population of 21,001. By the School Commission- 
er's Report, dated June 30, 1891, there were in Yates County 5,546 chil- 
dren between the ages of five and twenty one years; there were 127 
teachers employed and 4,121 scholars attending school during the year 
ending as above. 

Number of volumes in school libraries, . 3,715 

Number of school-houses in Yates County, 108 

Value of school libraries, exclusive of Penn Yan, 12,772 00 

Value of school-houses and sites, . $107,240 00 


Assessed valuation of property in the school districts of Yates 

County, ....... $11,702,733 00 

• There was expended for school purposes in Yates County dur- 
ing the year ending July 25, 1891, . . . $45,502 20 
The State school tax paid by Yates County in 1890 was . $12,519 69 
The common school fund received from the State by Yates 

County for 1890, exclusive of Regents' fund, was . $17,111 12 

In Yates County are 103 school districts and nine parts of districts, 
two union free school districts, and one school district organized by 
special act. The school districts are divided among the nine towns 
composing the county as follows : Harrington, 12; Benton, 12; Italy, 
II ; Jerusalem, 19; Middlesex, 8 ; Milo, 12; Potter, 12; Starkey, 11 ; 
and Torrey, 6. The Penn Yan Union School District, organized by 
special act, is formed by a portion of the towns of Milo, Jerusalem, and 
Benton. There is one union free school district in the town of Potter. 
In the town of Starkey is Starkey Seminary, besides one preparatory 
school chartered by the Regents of the State University. Keuka Col- 
lege is located in the town of Jerusalem. The school-houses in Yates 
County are as a rule in first-class condition, with improved seats, and 
are furnished with all the appliances that are used in modern schools. 

The Teachers Institute held regularly each year, together with the 
examinations held by the county commissioners under the rules of the 
Board of Regents of the State, have done much for the improvement of 
the schools. Naturally the more prominent and better equipped of the 
schools in the county are the Penn Yan Academy, Keuka College, Star- 
key Seminary, and the schools located in the following places, viz. : 
Branchport, Dresden, Dundee, Italy Hollow, Benton Center, Potter Cen- 
ter, Barrington, Middlesex Center, and Rushville. Of some of these in- 
stitutions of learning a more particular mention will be made. Since 
1859 the schools of each county in the State have been more particularly 
under the care and supervision of a county superintendent or, as other- 
wise called, school commissioner. The school commissioners of Yates 
County have been as follows : Henry A. Bruner, Schuyler Southerland, 
Bradford S. Wixom, Harlan P. Bush, George P. Lord, Joseph W. Brown, 
William F. Van Tuyl, James A. Thayer, and Llewellyn J. Barden, the 
present school commissioner. All of these have performed valiant and 
loyal service and have done much for the lasting good of the schools of 
the county. 



The Penn Yan Union School District was established by Chapter 715 
of the laws of 1857. By said act the following named persons: Levi 
O. Dunning, Benedict W. Franklin, Ebenezer B. Jones, Jeremiah S. 
Jillett, Darius A. Ogden, Charles C. Sheppard, Martin Spencer, Daniel 
W. Streeter, and George Wagener, were constituted a corporation by 
the name of the " Board of Education for the Village of Penn Yan." 
The corporation, upon its organization April 30, 1857, took possession 
of the schools of the district, consisting of the Head street and Maiden 
lane school property. The erection of the Penn Yan Academy was 
soon after commenced and was completed during the summer of 1859, 
and opened the 1st of September of that year. Its first catalogue was 
issued in the spring of i860. The institution is described in that year's 
catalogue as follows : 

" The academy is located on Main street, near the center of the village, and has 
ample grounds, neatly graded and ornamented with shade trees. The building is a new 
brick edifice two stories high, ninety feet long, and sixty feet wide. It contains two 
large school-rooms, five recitation-rooms, a chapel, laboratory, library, and music- 
room. They are heated throughout by furnaces, thoroughly ventilated, and in the 
selection and arrangement of desks, seats, etc., every modern improvement has been 
carefully consulted. In its internal arrangement it is regarded as a model. The in- 
stitution is furnished with a superior set of philosophical and chemical apparatus, to 
which additions are constantly made as circumstances demand ; and by a full course 
of experiments and familiar lectures every facility is afforded for the prosecution of the 
natural sciences. A perfect skeleton, a complete set of charts, models, etc., furnish 
good advantages also for the study of physiology. The library, accessible to all stu- 
dents, is open every Friday afternoon. The department of music is under the care of 
an efficient and experienced teacher. Drawing, painting, declamations, and written 
exercises, private and public examinations will receive especial care and attention." 

The academy building is now (1892) heated by steam, with more 
perfect ventilation, and many improvements have been added. The 
first officers of the Board of Education were: Ebenezer B. Jones, 
president; Daniel W. Streeter, secretary; Oliver Stark, treasurer; 
Morris Earle, collector. 

The first faculty of the Penn Yan Academy was Rev. Otis L. Gib- 
son, A.B., principal, professor of ancient language ; Richard Green, B.S., 
professor of natural sciences and mathematics ; Sherman Morse, teacher 
in English branches ; Miss Frances A. Sweet, preceptress, teacher of 



modern language and belles-lettres; Miss Susan R. Gibson, assistant ; 
Miss Sophia Travis, Miss Jennie M. Gibson, teachers in junior depart- 
ment; Miss Harriet Hopkins, teacher of vocal and instrumental music; 
Richard Green, librarian. The enrollment at the academy during the 
first year (1859-60) was 126 gentlemen and 167 ladies ; total, 293. The 
average enrollment at the academy during the past thirty years has 
varied somewhat, averaging about 360, and some years considerably 

The presidents of the Board of Education of the Penn Yan Union 
School District have been as follows: Ebenezer B. Jones, 1859-61; 
Charles C. Sheppard, 1861-63 ; Benedict W. Franklin, 1863-65 ; Charles 
C. Sheppard, 1865-73; Darius A. Ogden, 1873-76; Levi O. Dunning, 
1876-77; Stafford C. Cleveland, 1877-80; Darius A. Ogden, 1880-89; 
Benjamin L. Hoyt, 1889-91 ; George R. Cornwell, 1891-92. 

The following gentlemen have served as secretaries of the board : 
Daniel W. Streeter, 1859-60; Jeremiah S. Jillett, 1860-63; Lyman 
Munger, 1863-65; Jeremiah S. Jillett, 1865-66; Levi O. Dunning, 
1866-73 ; John T. Knox, 1873-74 ; Benjamin L. Hoyt, 1874-77; George 
R. Youngs, 1877-80; Reuben A. Scofield, 1880-82; Fred S.Arm- 
strong, 1882-84; George R. Youngs, 1884-92. 

Memhem oj the Board of Education. — Ebenezer B. Jones, 1857-73 ; Charles 0. Sliep- 
pard, 1857-74; Benedict W. Franklin, 1857-74; Darius A. Ogden, 1857-89; Levi 0. 
Dunning, 1857-78; George Wagener, 1857, 1870, 1871, 1882; Jeremiah S. Jillett, 
1857, 1872; Martin Spencer, 18.57,1800; Daniel W. Streeter, 1857, 1861; Lyman 
Munger, 1862, 1867; John H. Lapham, 1803, 1870; Seymour Tracey, 1869, 1872; 
William 8. Briggs, 1870, 1874; John M, Latimer, 1873-76; John T. Knox, 1873-79; 
Stafford C. Cleveland, 1874-84; William B.Sheldon, 1874, 1875; Samuel S.Ellsworth, 
1875-78; John C, Scheetz, 1877-80; John P. Plaisted, 1877-80; Reuben A. Scofield, 
1880-89; Fred S. Armstrong, 1880-85; Morgan H. Smith, 1885-88. 

The present members of the Board are: Benjamin L. Hoyt, 1871 ; George E. Corn- 
well, 1873; John S. Sheppard, 1876; G.eorge R. Youngs, 1877-80, 1882; Perley P. 
Curtis, 1880; John T. Andrews, 2d, 1884; Silas Kinne, 1888; Edson Potter, 1888; 
Steven B. Ayres, 1889. 

Officers of the Board, 1892. — George R. Cornwell, president; George R. Youngs, sec- 
retary; Morris P. Sheppard, treasurer; E. Lewis Jacobus, collector. 

The following have been the principals of the Penn Yan Academy 
since the founding of that institution of learning : Rev. Otis L. Gibson, 
1859-61 ; Willard P. Gibson, A.M., 1861-63 I Winsor Scofield, A.M., 


1863-66; Cicero M. Hutchins, A.M., 1866-68 ; Rufus S. Green, A.B., 
1868-69; John T. Knox, A.M., 1869-70; Samuel D. Barr, A.M., 
1870-72; Burr Lewis, A. B., 1872-73 ; Rodolphus C. Briggs, A.B., 1873- 
75; Francis D. Hodgson, A.M., 1875-83; Henry White Callahan, 
A.M., 1883-90; F. Theodore Shultz, A.M., 1890. 

Preceptresses.— Yv&nces. X. Sweet, 1859-CO; Mary B. Clark, 1860-61; Susan R. Gib- 
son, 1861-64; Louise F. Dana, 1864-67; Louise M. Randle, 1867-76; Helen M. Stark, 
Emnaa H. Murphey, 1876-79 ; Edith Van Dusen, 1879-80 ; Margaret A. Emerson, 1880- 
87; Louise J. Starkweather, 1887-91; Estella MullhoUand, 1891. 

Other teachers who have served in the academy acceptably, and have 
generally gone from Penn Yan to fill higher places, have been Richard 
Green, Sherman Morse, Robert P. Bush, James P. Harrington, Charles 
B. Shaw, Fred S. Armstrong, George E. Draper, Alsbn D. Chapman, 
Berlin H. Wright, Frank D. Van Deventer, Samuel Cornell, William 
H. Hermans, Fred W. Palmer, William F. Van Tuyl, and John W. 

Among the important and acceptable lady teachers of the academy 
have been Harriet L. Porter (now the wife of E. W. Mills), L. Belinda 
Porter, Sophia Travis (now the wife of our distinguished fellow citizen 
and institute conductor, Prof Henry R. Sanford), Ceresa Sloan, Louise 
Bannister (now Mrs. Steven B. Ayres), Harriet Gleason (now Mis. 
Peleg Gardner), Susan A. Longwell, Augusta M. Jones (now the wife 
of R. G. Kinner), Anna B. Delano, Annette Swarthout, Mrs. J. S. Reed, 
Laretta A. Ludlow, Mrs. Laura L. Woodward (wife of Dr. C. W. Wood- 
ward), Mrs. Sarah M. Butterfield, Mary B. Emory (now the wife of 
F. W. Steelman), Mrs. Sarah E. C. Thompson (now the wife of E. C. Kel- 
sey), Sarah E. Kelsey (now the wife of Charles Stark), Lizzie B. Teall, 
Minnie I. Miller (now the wife of Henry W. Shearman), Libbie I. Coates, 
Helen W. Stark, Oda B. Bennett (now the wife of M. A. Leary, esq.), 
Mrs. C. W. Coffin, Mary A. Bennett, Abigail K. Wolcott (who occupies 
at present a position in the high school at Milwaukee, Wis., and is re- 
garded as a teacher of great merit), Emma Wolcott (wife of Martin C. 
Stark), Sarah Hammond (wife of Morris F. Sheppard), Alice L. Patchin, 
Libbie W. Crane, Helen L. Whitaker (now the wife of Albert Brigden), 
Fannie J. Eraser, Delia J. Waite (wife of John R. Clark), Kate M. Wick- 
off (now Mrs. James W. Russell), Theresa C. Hendrick, Helen C. Sav- 


age, Nellie St. John (now the wife of Clinton W. Brooks), and Mrs. 
Susan Jones (widow of Joseph Jones). Nearly all these are entitled to 
especial mention as competent and faithful instructors, well deserving 
the love of the scholars and the commendation of the Board of Educa- 
tion and patrons of the school. 

The teachers in the Penn Yan.^ Union School District in 1892 are as 
follows: F. Theodore Shultz, A.M., principal, English classics, German, 
Latin ; Estella MullhoUand, preceptress, French, Latin, and Greek lan- 
guages ; Edwin S. Parsons, mathematics, history ; Minnie E. Heermans, 
higher mathematics, natural sciences ; Laura E. McDowell, principal of 
preparatory department ; Cornelia M. Morrell, arithmetic, reading, 
methods of teaching; Maria Hammond, arithmetic, geography, reading; 
Mrs. Ella R. Walters, rhetoric, history and English literature; Mrs. Jen- 
nie W. Miller, principal of intermediate department; Alice Griggs, 
geography, reading, arithmetic, language lessons ; Mary Bridgman, 
geography, reading, language lessons. Primary department. — Head 
street : Carrie I. Warfield, principal, and Sara J. Griffith. Maiden Lane : 
Mrs. Kate M. Russell, principal, Margaret Koehler, and M. Agnes Tay- 
lor. Chestnut street: Alice R. Wixson, principal, and Jennie M. Huson. 
Lake street : D. Lois Dean. Louise J. Starkweather, librarian. 

The Penn Yan Academy was founded upon a system of permanence 
and sure support, and has been a prosperous school from the start. In 
its inception it was opposed by some of the leading men of the district, 
but since it became a fixed fact, and proved of such incalculable value to 
the village and country, opposition completely vanished and the timid 
ones and those who doubted its necessity and efficiency were loudest in 
its praises. From the hour it was completed and opened to the youth 
of the district and county its benefits have been so manifest, its bless- 
ings and benign influence so unceasingly showered upon all the people 
that at present all are agreed that upon the schools rests in a great 
measure the future of the district. 

The exercises of the graduating class of the Penn Yan Academy for 
1 891 were held Thursday evening, June 25th, at the Sheppard Opera 
House in Penn Yan. The following address (showing the present con- 
dition of the schools) was delivered on that occasion by the president of 
the Board of Education, George R. Cornwell : 


" It gives me great pleasure, in behalf of the Board of Education, to greet this corn- 
pany of young ladies, members of the class of '91, as honored graduates of Penn Yan 
Academy, and to extend to each and all of you our most hearty congratulations upon the 
successful completion of your studies, and for the high degree of scholarship attained. 
The academy diplomas about to be presented are a certificate and testimony that you 
have mastered and completed the course of study of our schools, and are a high honor 
in themselves, in that they tell of years of persistent application and faithful labor. 
The Regents' diplomas to which you are entitled and will hereafter receive are honors 
■conferred by the State and entitles the holders to admission to its colleges without 
further examination. It is, no doubt, and should be a. source of gratification to you 
that your labors have been crowned with success The comparative few of the many 
who have attended our schools, privileged to claim these honors, show that.they are 
only obtained by the severest ordeal and test. Your names will henceforth justly ap- 
pear upon the honor roll of the academy. We sincerely hope and trust your achieve- 
ments will lead to further efforts, and be but stepping stones, leading you on to still 
higher development and culture. To say we are glad for what you have accomplished 
does not fully express all we feel. In a certain sense we look upon you as our children ; 
our graduates, born of our schools; are proud of you as such, and feel more than a 
•common interest in your welfare. That you may live useful lives, imparting to others 
what of good you have received and reflect upon all with whom you may be associated 
the culture and attainments you have acquired, is certainly the sincere and ardent de- 
sire of not only the Board of Education, but also of your kind instructors and all your 
friends. Let me assure you you go forth from this your ahna ?)iater bearing with you 
its benediction and blessings. We quote the following appropriate beautiful lines : 

" How beautiful is youth ! how bright it gleams 

With its illusions, aspirations, dreams ! 

Book of Beginnings, Story without End, 

Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend ! 

All possibilities are in its hands. 

No danger daunts it, and no foe withstands ; 

In its sublime audacity of faith, 
• Be though removed ! ' it to the mountain saith. 

And with ambitious teet, secure and proud. 

Ascends the ladder leaning on the cloud," 

"Young ladies, we bid you godspeed, and that your future, so bright and promis- 
ing, may be more than realized. To Professor Shultz and to all the instructors con- 
nected with our schools: Congratulations to you, and each of you, and words of 
commendation for faithful service and devotion are in order. That you have been 
loyal in your work, efificient, painstaking, industrious, ambitious to excel, that you 
have-been diligent and energetic in the discharge of your duties, having the best in- 
terests of the schools at heart, all will admit. Your work has prospered in your hands. 
Well worthily have you filled the place of the long line of able, faithful, efficient in- 
structors who have preceded you. Our regret at being obliged to part with the serv- 
ice of our esteemed preceptress is most sincere. Miss Starkweather will carry with 
her the love of the students, the good will of all with whom she has been so long asso- 
•ciated. It is with regret also we part with two others of oui valued teachers, viz.: 


the Misses Smith and Hunter, both of whom have given eminent satisfaction in their 
departments of instrui'tion. With these exceptions we understand the teachers for 
the past year have decided to remain. The value of good teachers cannot be over- 
estimated. The public realizes and appreciates the wonderful influence of the teacher 
in shaping the future of the child. In this respect the teacher occupies the highest 
possible place in position and importance, a place worthy the highest ambition and 
devotement of the human mind. The teacher in a large sense takes the place of the 
parent, and in this day of bustle and excitement, whether it be right or wrong, the in- 
tellectual culture and even the moral training devolves more and more upon the teacher 
in our public schools. You are to be encouraged then in your labor of love ; feeling 
and knowing your work is more enduring than marble, lasting as the human mind. 
That you may give well directed thought to all your plans, laying deep and broad 
foundations of intellectual and moral culture, upon which the minds of the children 
committed to your care may grow and thrive, is the sincere desire of all who love them 
and the future of our land. 

" What more can be said than to reassure you of the faithful, sustaining co-opera- 
tion of the Board of Education in all your future work.? Congratulations are also in 
order for the public and especially for the patrons of our schools. The school interests 
of Penn Yan have not suffered during the past year. The splendid system of grada- 
tion, inaugurated by our former principal, Professor Callahan, found a success in all the 
departments and has been carefully adhered to by his able successor. Professor Shultz. 
Our corps of teachers, well equipped in their several departments, have not only been 
efficient and painstaking in all their work, as has been said, but the high character of 
our schools has not been allowed to degenerate. In some classes the advancement is 
almost phenomenal, showing better results than in the former history of the academy. 
Note the following extract from the Penn Yan Express of June 17th. 

" ' The June Regents' examinations have been exceptionally good this year. In many 
cases complete classes passing the ordeal without a single failure. The number 
claimed as having passed is 309, making a total for the year of 713, being an increase 
over last year of 107,' 

" It is proper to state especial credit is due Professor Shultz for these excellent re- 
sults. His untiring labor coupled with rare experience and tact have infused our 
schools with seeming new life and energy. The attendance during the past j'ear has 
been uniformly good and shows an increase over former years from resident pupils. 

" Penn Yan Academy especially, we are glad to say, is known far and wide as being 
one of the very best institutions of its class. Its rank is far higher than the average. 
In the year 1886 its position, as reported, was fortieth in the list of over 300 institutions 
of like character within the bounds of the State. The proportionate standing, we are 
informed, in 1 891 is still better. Our academy should be the pride of our village. Its 
alumni are scattered up and down throughout the length and breadth of the land, 
pointing back to this as \\\tvc good angel 2i-a(^ always with affection. It may appro- 
priately and truthfully be said : ' Her children rise up and call her blessed.' 

" Thirty-two years have lapsed since the organization of our present system of 
schools. Our fathers who labored so hard to establish and consolidate the Union 


School District of this village have gone. Their work remains and the grand results 
a.ccomplished lives after them, a blessing for their children. Our thirty-second cata- 
logue is about to be issued showing the work of the past year, also the curriculum and 
calendar for the next. During all the years of their existence the patrons of the 
schools have wonderfully sustained the board and teachers in their work. The board 
cannot but feel gratified for the many acts of confidence shown. We rejoice today in 
our blessed system of free education. Wise and beneficent laws are being constantly 
enacted for the care and maintenance of the schools. The culture and intelligence of 
the State is concentrated upon the best possible methods for their improvement. The 
signs are hopeful. The ambition of the parent to give his child better advantages 
than he possessed, and the desire for liberal education, seems the leading thought. 
Our schools cannot stand still ; a generous public will not allow them to decline ; pro- 
gress is the sign of the hour, thanks to a wise public policy; generous thought and pro- 
vision by the State is the rule. Let us do our part and see to it that our schools keep 
pace at least with the increasing needs of our district. 

" In conclusion we extend cordial greetings and clasp hands with all who are striv- 
ing to build up and foster institutions of learning — believing the greatest public diffu- 
sion of intelligence is for the general good ; but while we are cordial with others we 
must not forget ' our own Mecca.' You are to be congratulated, fellow citizens, upon 
the great good accomplished by your schools in the past. Let us hope for their con- 
tinued prosperity and usefulness." 

A meeting of the Alumni Association was held at the Penn Yan 
Academy June 26, 1891. Steven B. Ayres, acting as chairman, called 
the Association to order and stated the object of the meeting. Miss 
Belle Dinturff wa.s appointed acting secretary. The following repre- 
sentatives of ten classes were present : 

William S. Cornwell, '81 ; Steven B. Ayres,'78; Dr. A. D.Haines, '82 ; Mrs. E. Hames, 
'82; Mrs. J. Miller, '82 ; Miss M. Mahar, '85; Miss B. Dmturff, '87 ; Miss E. Hunter^ 
'88 ; Miss B. Cole, '88 ; Miss L. Hulett, '88 ; Miss N. Hadley, '89 ; Miss Frances E. 
Cornwell, '87, (now Mrs. Eemsen M. Kinne); Miss D. Turner, '89; Miss L. Bridgman, 
'90 ; Miss A. Johnson, '90 ; Miss K. Moore, '90 ; D. Sprague, '90 ; Miss L. A. Hood, 
'91 ; Miss E. Fox, '91 ; Miss A. Mahar, '91 ; Mrs. Shutts, 'SO; Miss L. Agan, '82 ; Miss 
Julia Meehan, '82 ; Miss Kate Burns, '80 ; Thomas Spenoe, '86 ; Miss M. Sheppard, 
'87; Miss M. Bridgman, '88; Miss N. Fanner, '88; Miss K. Taylor, '88; Miss M. Koeh- 
ler, '89; Miss D. Dean e, '90 ; Miss S. arififeth, '90; Miss A. Taylor, '90; William 
Gregory, '90 ; Miss N. May Scofield, '91 ; Miss M. G. Hobart, '91 ; Miss N. A. Carroll, 
'91 ; Miss J. A. Scofield, '91 ; Miss K. Earley, 91. 

A committee on constitution was appointed, consisting of Thomas 
Spence, Miss M. Sheppard, Mrs. J. Miller, Miss L. Hood, and Miss B. 
Dinturff. The oflScers for the ensuing year are: President, Steven B. 
Ayres; vice-presidents, Miss Kate Taylor, Mrs. J. Miller, Miss N. May 


Schofield ; secretary, Miss B. Dinturff ; treasurer, Miss E. Cole ; ex- 
ecutive committee, Dr. A. D. Haines, Miss M. Hunter, Miss L. Agan, 
Miss L. Hulett, and W; Gregory. After informal discussion on various 
topics the following banquet committee was appointed : Misses K. 
Burns, B. Dinturff, K. Moore, D. Sprague, L. Covell. 


Tradition says that the first school in Penn Yan was taught by Ruth 
Pritchard, who died in 1816. She is said to have been a rare good 
teacher for that day, and among her varied accomplishments was her 
very fine handwriting. The first building remembered as being used 
for purposes of instruction within the present limits of the village of 
Penn Yan stood on the southeast corner of the present academy lot. 
When this school-house was erected cannot be determined, but it was 
probably built about 1812, as it was considered an old building as early 
as 1822. Public worship was at that time held in this school- house by 
the members of the Presbyterian denomination in Penn Yan and vicin- 
ity, and religious services continued to be held there until the completion 
of their new church in 1824. Among the first who taught in this edi- 
fice were John L. Lewis, Dr. William Cornwell, Gordon Badger, a Mr. 
Scofield, John Smith, and Jason Andrews. 

The next school-house, which was of brick, was located on the west 
side of Liberty street and nearly opposite the present Penn Yan Acad- 
emy. The following were the more prominent of those who taught in 
this school: Jerome Corey (assisted by Achsa A. Cornwell, afterward 
Mrs. J. S. Glover), Emily Cornwell, Hannah Benedict (afterward the 
wife of James Miller), Henry C. Wheeler, a Mr. Wilkinson, and Adol- 
phus B. Kneeland. The old brick school-house was succeeded by the 
present edifice on Head street, which was erected about 1843. Among 
the earlier teachers in the Head street school were Richard Taylor, 
William Augustus Coleman, Henry A. Bruner (afterward school com- 
missioner of Yates County), Sherman Morse, Charles Edson, Henry M. 
Stewart, and Caroline L. Cornwell as assistant of Sherman Morse and 
later as sole teacher of the school. (She afterward became Mrs. John D. 
Wolcott.) Salina Easton was also a teacher of rare merit in the Head 
street school. Richard Taylor, above mentioned, was justly eminent in 


his calling. He was wonderfully enthusiastic in his chosen profession 
and deserves the plaudit of " well done." Among those who have later 
taught in this building are Mrs. C. W. Coffin, Lizzie B. Teall, Lillian 
M. Gridley (now the wife of George S. Sheppard), and Maria Ham- 
mond, the daughter of the late Dr. Fletcher M. Hammond. 

In 1824 a school-house was built near the new " Yates County Malt- 
House " on Seneca street. The school was a large one and did good 
service until the erection, in 1842, of the present Maiden lane school- 
house. Among the teachers who were in the original school- house (on 
what is now known as Seneca street) were Selden Chadwick, Jethro 
Bonney, and Benjamin L. Hoyt, the latter of whom also for many years 
taught several very successful. schools in the town of Milo, and has been 
a continuous member of the Board of Education for more than twenty 
years and is at present the oldest member in service. 

Joseph Bloomingdale was the first principal of the Maiden lane 
school, which had a large attendance from the start, and at which many 
of the most prominent men and women in the county were educated. 
Howard R. Miller afterward taught in this school with great success, 
assisted by Miss A. Jocelyn, whom he subsequently married. They are 
both living at present on Staten Island near New York city. A more 
congenial, well meaning couple would be hard to find. Howard R. 
Miller and his wife were respected and beloved by the entire commu- 
nity and did a work of lasting good. 

Especially worthy of mention among the other teachers of the Maiden 
lane school are Harris Cole, Asa F. Countryman, John W. Stewart, E, 
Herman Latimer, JaneStark (now the wife of C. V. Bush), Eliza M. Casey, 
and Prof. Henry R. Sanford, at present one of the best known and most 
superior teachers in the State. In former years Emma Heermans (after- 
ward Mrs. William D. Squier) was a teacher here, as was also Mary 
Husted and a number of others, nearly all of whom did excellent service 
in the several departments of the school. The district was No. 12 in 
the old series. The more recent teachers are Rose Longwell (now the 
wife of Thomas M. Markland), Kate M. Wyckofif (now Mrs. James W. 
Russell), and Coralyn Chapman. 

Another district which was absorbed by the Penn Yan Union School 
District was District No. 9 at the foot of Lake Keuka. Van Rensselaer 



Vorce, according to tradition, taught the first school here. Samuel V. 
Miller was also for several years a teacher there, and was afterward school 
inspector and the first town superintendent in Milo, in which office he 
served eight or ten years. John L. Cleveland, from Schoharie County, 
opened the first select school in what is now Penn Yan in 1814. Among 
his pupils were George A. She|)pard, Charles C. Sheppard, Charles 
Wagener, and James D. Morgan, sr. 

The Board of Education have had in contemplation for about two 
years the erection of a building on the academy lot facing Liberty street 
At a special school meeting of the voters of the district held on the 31st 
day of October, 1 89 1, the sum of $8,000 was voted to be levied for 
that purpose. This school building will be for the accommodation of 
the intermediate department of the academy. It will be substantially 
built of brick, two stories, about sixty feet square, and supplied with 
modern improvements. The second story will be utilized for the public 
school library and for the literary societies connected with the schools. 
It will, when completed, be not only an ornament to the village, but a 
much needed and substantial improvement. 

The primary schools of the district were made free by the charter, 
and the Penn Yan Academy was made free to all residents of the dis- 
trict from and after 1875. District No. 4 of Milo was added to the 
Penn Yan Union School District in 1879, and the new brick school- 
house on Chestnut street was erected that }ear. This school building 
is amply sufficient for the accommodation of all primary pupils residing 
in the eastern part of the district. The cost of erecting the school- 
house, together with the price of the lot on which it stands, was not far 
from $3,200. The Board of Education established a school on Lake 
street in 1876 and erected the present brick school building there in 
1879 at a cost of $2,200. These primary schools were a necessity and 
have proved a great success. The demand for a primary school on 
East Main street will be met as soon as possible. 

There are at present within the district the academy building proper, 
a school-house on Head street, one on Chestnut street, one on Lake 
street, and one on Maiden lane ; also the building on Liberty street in 
rear of academy sufficient for the accommodation of sixty pupils (the 
■overflow from the intermediate department of that institution). Eigh- 


teen teachers are now employed in the district and the daily average at- 
tendance in the schools is about 650. 

A primary school, under the direction of the resident Catholic pastor, 
was opened in Penn Yan in October, 1883. The building is of brick 
and is a model school building, heated by steam, with modern improve- 
ments. The school is well conducted and has an attendance of about 
165 pupils. The entire cost of the lot, including the buildings and fixt- 
ures complete, was about $10,000. The Rev. Eugene Pagani, for 
fifteen years past the resident priest, has had the general supervision and 
care of the school. 


This chapter would be incomplete without an honorable mention of 
a former institution of learning located m Penn Yan, and in which much 
was done in earlier years toward the diffusion of knowledge and for the 
culture and general good of the community. The legislature of 1828 
incorporated this school by the name of the "Yates County Academy 
and Female Seminary." It was opened for instruction on the first Mon- 
day in January, 1829, with an attendance of about seventy pupils, and 
Gardner Kellogg, a graduate of Bowdoin College, was principal. The 
school building was large and commodious and stood on the east side of 
Main street, opposite the county buildings. To the school was attached 
a boarding-house, with rooms for the accommodation of about fifty 
students. Seymour Gookins and Richard Taylor, well known to 
the early citizens of Penn Yan, were for several years the two leading 
teachers. The catalogue for 1834—35 show an attendance of 341 
pupils. The " Yates Academy " (as it was usually called) prospered 
for some years, but about 1842 it ceased to exist for want of sup- 
port. It was a most valuable institution in its day, and some of the best 
citizens of the county, of the generation now largely passed away, 
were instructed within its walls. The loss sustained by the county of 
Yates by its failure can not be estimated ; it is beyond possible compu- 
tation. Lacking as it did the support of the present common school 
system, but relying entirely upon tuition fees for its support, it was 
allowed to perish. The possibilities of this school, under the fostering 
care of our present system of free education, no one can tell. That it 


would have proved of incalculable good to the community — a blessing 
to the people far-reaching and boundless in its scope — is beyond ques- 
tion. But " from its ashes," after twenty years, arose the present Penn 
Yan Academy, and that the institution of today may " live long and 
prosper " is the ardent desire of all who love the future of our land. 
The following is a statement of the present condition of the Penn Yan 
Union School District : 

Number of volumes in school library, 

Number of pamphlets in school library, 

Number of families in the district, 

Number of children in the district between the ages of five and twenty 

one years, . . . . 

Number of teachers employed in district. 
Value of books and pamphlets in school library, 

Received from the School Fund for the year ending July 25, i 
For teachers' wages. 
For hbrary, 

From tax, ... 

From tuition bills, ..... 

From Teachers' Institute, rents, etc., 
From Regents of University, 

Value of school grounds, 

Value of buildings, 

Value of furniture, ... 

Value of apparatus. 

Value of library. 

Value of museum, 

Total cost for year ending July 25, 1891, 


Starkey Seminary owes its origin to the denomination known as 
Christians. The institution was founded January 5, 1840, and is the 
oldest of like character within the bounds of Yates County. The first 
building was erected in 1841. Other buildings have been added until 
the property is estimated to be worth $25,000. It is supplied with 
modern improvements, with scientific apparatus sufficient for advanced 
teaching, and has held its own from the time it was opened until the 
present as a first-class educational institution, and one of which the 
county of Yates may well be proud. Its alumni, numbered by hun- 











I : 

% 2,752 












% 4,500 


1 2,000 













dreds, are scattered throughout the length and breadth of the land, 
pointing back to this grand institution as their inspiration, and proving 
by their lives an honor to Starkey Seminary and a blessing to the 

Its first trustees were men of the highest standing both intellectually 
and morally, men of culture and ability, and well worthy to have 
charge of an institution of this character. They were as follows : Jo- 
seph Bailey, Obadiah Chase, Caleb Cowing, Livret Gabriel, John Guth- 
rie, Horace Henderson, James Huntington, Isaac Lanning, Clarkson 
Martin, Ezra Marvin, Seth Marvin, O. E. Morrell, Hiram A. Newcomb, 
Henr}' Spence, H. G. Stafford, Eli Townsend, and Daniel D. Van Allen. 
Elder Ezra Marvin was its first president and 'Daniel D. Van Allen 
was its first secretary. At a meeting of the Central Conference held at 
Eddytown on the 15th of January, 1840, it was resolved that the in- 
stitution be called "The Seminary of the New York Central Christian 
Conference." Elder Marvin was president of the Board of Trustees un 
til the time of his decease, with the exception of seven years, when he was 
pastor at Enfield. He was the indefatigable friend of the seminary from 
its inception until the close of his long and useful life. He died in 
Starkey in 1871. He was an effective minister and a man of ability and 
practical character. But for his persistency Starkey Seminary would 
not have achieved an existence in his day. He was born at Laurens, 
Otsego County, N. Y., in 1806, and married, in 1827, Huldah, the 
daughter of Elder Ezra Chase, of the Christian connection. 

Its first term began November 28, 1842. The first principal was the 
Rev. Charles Morgridge, who occupied this position for seven terms. 
The next was Abram Miller, who was principal for two terms. He was 
followed by Thomas E. Turner, who remained two years. Edmund 
Chadwick, A.M., then assumed control and remained principal until 
1 86 1, a period of fourteen years. Professor Chadwick was succeeded 
by O. F. Ingalsby, A.M., whose administration extended over a period 
of twelve years. During the labors in behalf of instruction by these two 
latter gentlemen the institution reached its highest possible efficiency 
and usefulness. 

Prof. Edmund Chadwick, who is among the more noted teachers of 
Starkey Seminary, first took charge November 8, 1847. At his coming 


such men as Abbott Lawrence, Charles Francis Adams, Albert Fearing, 
Thomas Mandell, and others of Boston and vicinity contributed funds 
toward the purchase of apparatus for the school. Professor Chadwick 
was born in Milton, N. H., in i8i2, and graduated at Bowdoin Col- 
lege in 1840. He also studied two years at Lane Theological Semi- 
nary and was graduated as a theological student at Bangor, Me. His 
health failed as a preacher, and he then took charge for two years of the 
Classical and Mathematical Institute at Nashville, Tenn. He next be- 
came principal of Starkey Seminary and continued to occupy this posi- 
tion for fourteen years. Professor Chadwick and his second wife, who 
for some years was preceprress of Starkey Seminary (her maiden name 
was Adaline Ward), both did for this institution a work of lasting good, 
retrieved and built up its fortunes, and through their efforts the school 
was placed on a firm, lasting, and secure foundation. 

The first preceptress of the seminary was Mrs. Turner, the wife of 
Thomas E. Turner, the third principal. The second preceptress was 
Cassandra D. Hobart, who became the first wife of Prof. Edmund Chad- 
wick. The third was Adaline Ward, formerly preceptress of the Dun- 
dee Academy, and afterward the second wife of Professor Chadwick. 
Miss N. N. Doane was for a number of years preceptress under Professor 
Ingalsby. Helen C. Bassett also held this position for several years. 

Prof. B. F. McHenry was principal of Starkey Seminary from 1873 to 
1877. Robert D. Evans, A.M., succeeded him as principal and held 
the position for two years. In 1879 O. F. Ingalsby, A.M., again be- 
came principal and served seven years in that capacity, and was suc- 
ceeded by W. J. Reynolds, A.M., who resigned after holding the posi- 
tion for one year. G. R. Hammond, Ph.D., was then principal for five 
years and was succeeded in 1891 by O. H. Merrill, A.M., the present 
incumbent. The principals of Starkey Seminary have been gentlemen 
of unusual ability and devoted to the interests of the institution. 

The teachers now employed in Starkey Seminary in addition to the 
principal are: Elizabeth Bolley, preceptress, Coreall C. Wilcox, A.B., 
Frank H. Hansner, Charles E. Cook, Ida E. Peake, Lelia C. Nelson, 
Warren H. Dennison. The courses of study include the common Eng- 
lish branches, a complete academic and college preparatory course, with 
art, music, commercial, and stenographic departments. 


The location is healthful and the scenery beautiful, and there is no 
saloon within three miles of the school. The value of the buildings is 
$21,700; of the grounds, $2,300; of the library, $1,700; of the appa- 
ratus, $1,788. The present Board of Trustees consists of W. E. Bassler, 
president; I. C. Tryon, secretary; L. A. Earle, treasurer; Cyrus Bar- 
ber, Rev. M. G. Borthwick, Rev. Henry Brown, Rev. E. Burnap, S. E. 
Butler, George I. Edgerton, Benjamin French, G. R. Hammond, Ph.D., 
W. M. Hatfield, L. G. Phinney, D. L. Royce, Omar Smith, Hon. Han- 
ford Struble, and Rev. T. R. Wade. 


The Dundee preparatory school was chartered by the Regents of the 
University in 1888. The following named gentlemen comprise the 
Board of Trustees: Hon. George P. Lord, Hon. Henry M. Huntington, 
H. V. L. Jones, E. M. Sawyer, S. R. Harpending, Dr, A. R. Otis, Le- 
roy Sutton, C. S. Goble, Henry Goble, Eugene Vreeland, T. D. Beek- 
man, and Frank N. Sayre. The ofificers of the board are Hon. George 
P. Lord, president; Frank N. Sayre, secretary; T. D. Beekman, treas- 
urer. Prof. E. E. Gates is principal and Amy M. Parsons is preceptress, 
with an able corps of assistants. In this school students are graduated 
who have taken the full course of instruction and are prepared for col- 
lege entrance. 

The school building is situated on Harpending avenue and was 
erected at a cost of $7,500. In the erection of this school building the 
public spirit and liberality of the citizens of Dundee were manifest, as 
the entire cost of the building and grounds, together with the superior 
hbrary and apparatus, was provided for by subscription and not by tax. 
The average attendance is about eighty. 

The Public School building is situated on Seneca street. It has been 
completed about one year, at a cost of $7,000, exclusive of lot. It is 
an excellent building, supplied with modern improvements. Prof Jerry 
Thompson is the present principal and has three assistants. The trus- 
tees are Dr. C. C. Harvey, John J. Knapp, and Edwin Jessup. The 
school is very properous and the attendance is so great as to necessi- 
tate the building of additional room. The citizens of Dundee may well 
point with pride to their excellent system of schools. 


In 1849 Daniel Smith, James Shannon, and Isaac Maples bought the 
old Methodist Church in Dundee and had it refitted as an academy. 
Richard Taylor, a noted teacher, was its first principal. He was suc- 
ceeded by Charles T. White. Among- its first pupils were Hon. George 
P. Lord, Hon. Martin J. Sunderlin, Loren G. Thomas, and Rev. D. 
Corey. About thirty others «,mong the earlier students afterward be- 
came school teachers. Among the later teachers in the Dundee Acad- 
emy were Thomas E. Turner, William Marvin, H. M. Aller, P. G. 
Winfield, Hanford Strubte, Ziba H. Patton, Edmund Chadwic k and wife , 
Thomas Robinson, and Archibald Grant. Ira H. Stout was principal 
in 1872. This academy did a grand work for Dundee in its day, but 
for reasons hard to tell (like the first academy located at Pehn Yan) it 
was allowed to be discontinued. The immeasurable good it accom- 
plished is appreciated by the old citizens of that locality, and as long as 
life shall last they will never cease to remember the old Dundee 

Among the earliest teachers in the Eddytown settlement was Rhoda 
Royce, who afterward became the wife of Caleb Cowing. Some of the 
other teachers there in early times were Bashan Roberts (one of his 
pupils being Isaac Lanning), Dr. John Warner, Alfred Gridley, Dr. 
William Cornwell (who quite early taught a school in the north part of 
Bennett's settlement), John Fulkerson, John Culver, Jonas Wickes, and 
Jane Quinn. Subsequent teachers in the town of Starkey of more or 
less note have been Elmer Keeler, John T. Andrews, Edwin C. An- 
drews, Walter Dickinson, James L. Seeley, Alice Demorest, Stephen 
and Zebora Edgerton, Richard Durham, Philander Cogswell, Henry 
Burgess, D. D. Warner, Ichabod Kneeland, C. Longstreet, Hijand G. 
Wolcott, Hershel W. Pierce, Hiram Cornell, John D. Wolcott, Henry 
A. Bruner, Lewis J. Wilkin, James H. Pope, Richard Taylor, and Dr. 
Samuel Hart Wright. 

Beyond all doubt the first school within the present limits of the 
town of Starkey was taught by Orpha Scott some time before 1800. 
She and her mother came to the Friend's settlement in 1790. She was 
well educated and a woman of rare ability. She married Pearly Gates 
and died in Gorham at the age of nearly one hundred. 

As early as 1826 the town of Starkey was divided into nine school 


districts and two parts of districts. The town has long been noted for 
its high grade schools and for the public spirit of its citizens in this 


Keuka College had its origin and was planted in the county of Yates 
through the agency and untiring labors of Christian ministers. The 
enterprise was first suggested at a meeting representing the Central 
Association of Free Baptists and the New York State Conference of the 
Christian Convention held at VVhitesboro, Oneida County, in the spring 
of 1887, and was fully determined upon at a joint convention of the two 
corporations held at Oneonta the ensuing fall. The plan was submitted 
to the citizens of Penn Yan and of the county of Yates in the winter of 
1887-88, with the proposition to locate the institution on Lake Keuka 
near the village of Penn Yan. Several meetings were held and the prop- 
osition was met by a very generous response. A bona fide subscription 
of the sum of $50,000 was soon placed in the hands of the committee. 
It is proper to state that the greater part of the subscription has been 
paid, but a portion, we regret to say, has as yet been withheld. 

The institution was finally located in the town of Jerusalem on the 
westerly shore of Lake Keuka, four miles from Penn Yan, four from 
Branchport, and eighteen from Hammondsport, on a point of the lovely 
Keuka, on a farm of 157 ^ acres, which seemed to have been made and 
kept on purpose for this institution. A small lot was added by dona 
tion, making in all a little more than 160 acres. A liberal subscription 
by citizens residing about the lake to the building fund was raised and 
on the 1 8th of April, 1888, work on the center building was com- 
menced. The building, 260 feet in size and four stories high above the 
basement, was finished and duly dedicated on the i8th of August, 1890. 
Brethren from the Christian connection, having decided not to merge 
Starkey Seminary into the college, withdrew from the compact in the 
year 1890 and the work went on without their assistance. The ideas 
contemplated in the founding of this institution were as follows: By 
combining a vigorous academy, a thorough college, a great summer as- 
sembly, a college town where families shall reside while their children 
are in school, gentle and helpful Christian influence without sectarian 



bias, plainness and cheapness of living, freedom from saloon tempta- 
tions, healthful and delightful surroundings, revenue from the college 
building by using it for summer guests during vacation when such 
buildings are unproductive, the sale of lots of the park on which cotta- 
ges shall be erected, by which a college town is secured and families 
from remote districts become active and interested friends of the col- 
lege, the advertisement of the college through the summer assemblies, 
and the courses of lectures at these assemblies, by which information is 
imparted, desire for improvement begotten, and interest in the educa- 
tion of youth is inspired. The power to do a large work is secured, 
students and friends are attracted, and growth is assured. More than 
$100,000 in cash has been already expended in the plant, which is now 
worth at least $200,000. Nearly $50,000 in notes, securities, and do- 
nations toward an endowment is in hand, and additions are being 
steadily made to this sum, inspiring faith that an ample endowment will 
ere long be secured. The college is pre-eminently for the common 
people, especially the children of farmers and other industrial classes. 
The border counties of New York and Pennsylvania need just such an 
institution and are showing that they appreciate it by giving it a liberal 

The attendance the first year was 157 and indications favor the be- 
lief that the current year will show nearly double that number of stu- 
dents enrolled. Its aim is to supply a thorough education to both sexes 
at a very low cost. It takes students direct from the district school, 
fits them for college, and puts them through a regular college course. 
It also provides a scientific and business course for such as are not able 
to pursue a full classical course. It is proposed to provide ample accom- 
modations for all who may come. Between forty and fifty neat sub- 
stantial cottages have already been erected on the grounds, and the 
lots surrounding the college are rapidly increasing in value. The 
library is fast assuming generous proportions and arrangements are be- 
ing made to supply the institution with needful philosophical and other 
apparatus. The department of music is not lost sight of, but competent 
teachers are in the employ of the Board of Directors. 

The present Board of Managers consists of Rev. George H. Ball, D.D., 
president; Prof. Frank E. Passmore, treasurer; Rev. T. A. Stevens, 


secretary; Rev. J. M. Langworthy, Rev. A. F. Schermerhorn, Rev. 
B. M. Briggs. The Board of Instructors consists of L. C. Millspaugh, 
M,D., principal; Marvin L. Spooner, M.A., vice-principal ; Ella J. Ball, 
M.A., lady principal; Clarence E. Brockway, B.A., J. Nelson Green, 
Ph.B., E. G. Folsom, M.A., A. M. Hagaman, with several assistants. 

The college and assembly are both for the public ; whatever of value 
or interest belong to them aim at the elevation, improvement, and cre- 
ation of superior men and women. This supreme purpose has inspired 
the founders from the beginning ; with these objects kept constantly in 
view and as the foundation stones of this beautiful college who can 
measure the boundless influence for good of its future ? This grand 
temple of learning, builded by the prayers and labors of the servants of 
the Master, will stand for centuries, a beacon light pointing upward and 
onward always toward all that is good and true and noble in manhood 
and womanhood. The charming lake, the site " beautiful for situation," 
the wide field to be cultivated, the generosity of the people brought it 
here, and here may it stand a " blessing for all time." Having pros- 
pered thus far through faith and the help of God its founders and sup- 
porters confidently expect Keuka College to grow for centuries, doing 
more and more for humanity and standing an object of joy and pride 
to all the people. 1 

The Rushville Union Free School was organized under the general 
law April 23, 1868, by combining District No. 7, towns of Potter (in 
Yates County) and Gorham (in Ontario County), and District No. 13, 
towns of Potter and Middlesex. The following trustees were elected : 
Emmet C. Dwelie, William G. Holbrook, and Nathaniel H. Green to 
serve one year ; T W. Crittenden, Orlan E. Blodgett, and Hiram Brown 
for two years ; Moses B. Watkins, S Judson Jones, and F. B. Seeley for 
three years; S. Judson Jones was elected president of the board. The 
school-house is a two- story brick building and cost with the grounds 
$15,000 The grounds are ample, consisting of three acres, one acre be- 
ing covered with thrifty maples, making a beautiful grove for which the 
district is indebted to Prof. A. D. Whitney, a former popular principal. 

1 At a meeting of the State Board of Regents held at Albany February u, 1892, a provisional 
charter, without degree-conferring powers, was voted Keuka College. It is expected that full 
powers will be ere long conferred on this institution. 


The school has been extremely fortunate in having a good Board of 
Trustees. It has been 'composed of intelligent, liberal men, all of them 
interested in the cause of education. The gentlemen composing the 
present board are Dr. W. A. Carson, president; D. J. Harkness, secre- 
tary ; S. Judson Jones, Joshua P. Legg, James De Witt, Loyal C. 
Twitchell, Henry M. Smith, Ward M. Taylor, and F. P. Williams. The 
teachers are : F. W. Fisher, principal ; Miss Harriet N. Davis, precept- 
ress ; Mrs. Ann G. Jones, primary. The successful manner in which 
the primary department has been conducted by the " veteran " in- 
structor, Mrs. Ann G. Jones, is deserving of special mention. This lady 
has had charge of this department since the Union School was founded. 
She was also a teacher for several years in the district school of Rush- 
ville, and has taught continuously for forty years. The citizens of 
Rushville and vicinity may well feel proud of this grand institution of 

Middlesex Center has a new district school-house of ample dimensions 
and capacity for the accommodation of the place and vicinity. It is of 
brick, substantially built, and cost $3,000. The citizens of Middlesex 
(as they should) take great pride in their village school. 

The village of Branchport, in the town of Jerusalem, is possessed of 
one of the best and most substantial of school- houses. Its construction 
is qf stone, and it has long been considered as one of the best managed 
district schools of the county. 

Perhaps no town in the county is supplied with all that goes to make 
up good district schools than is the town of Benton. The school-houses 
are a model of neatness and convenience. Great care is also taken by 
the trustees in the selection of well qualified teachers. The school at 
Benton Center is known as an exceptionally fine school, as is also the 
one near Ferguson's. 

One of the finest and most substantial school buildings in the county 
was erected in 1887-88 in the village of Dresden, in the town ofTorrey. 
It has accommodations for 150 students and has all the improvements 
of the best regulated district schools. The citizens of Dresden have 
reason to be proud of their splendid school facilities. Its cost, including 
lot, was not far from $4,000. 

In closing this chapter congratulations are in order to all who are in- 


terested in the success and prosperity of the public schools. The free 
school system of the State of New York has been a source of incalcu- 
lable good to all the people. The educational interests of the county 
have kept at least even pace with its development and growth in other 
directions. It is safe to say that the schools of Yates compare favorably 
with those of her sister counties throughout the State. Their generous 
and hearty support in the past is a credit to the good sense of the citi- 
zens. The old school-houses are fast giving way to convenient and 
substantial structures with all modern improvements. The people are 
awake as never before to the value of institutions of learning. 

The signs are full of hope and encouragement; the present is an age 
of culture and general diffusion of knowledge such as the world never 
before witnessed. The old adage that " knowledge is power " is being 
verified more and more. " Excelsior ! " the motto of our State, should be 
adopted as the motto of every girl and boy in the land. " Upward and 
Onward " should be the watchword. With our schools what they should 
be under the blessing of the Infinite we shall show progress in all that is 
good and beautiful and true. 


THE growing of grapes for commercial purposes is of comparatively 
recent date. The early settlers in this county found vines growing 
luxuriantly in the thickets where soil and moisture were congenial, in- 
digenous to the soil so far as we know. " With regard to the necessity 
of attention to the most advantageous climatic conditions," says 
William Saunders (of the agricultural department), " it is enough to re- 
mark that when these are favorable good crops of fruit are the rule, and 
that, too, even in the absence of experience in cultivation, but in un- 
favorable locations the application of the highest attainments in the art 
and science of grape culture, so far as relates to pruning, manipulation 


of culture, and management of soil, will not insure success. Grape 
culture has now reached a point from which but little further progress 
can be made without a close recognition of the requirements of the plant 
in connection with local climatic conditions, the most important being 
that of freedom from heavy dews, freedom from those cryptogamic dis- 
eases, mildew and rot. The topographical configuration of a locality is 
of far more importance than its geographical formation. When the 
atmospheric conditions are favorable satisfactory results may be obtained 
even from poor soils, but in incongenial climates the very best soil will not 
guarantee success." The climate being exceptionally free from fogs and 
heavy dews, and the topographical' formation of the shores of lakes 
Seneca, Keuka, and Canandaigua being eminently fitted to the growth 
of choice fruit, have done much toward making the business a success. 
The history of the grape industry is so closely allied in the counties 
of Yates and Steuben that it becomes necessary to give some facts which 
do not apply to Yates alone. In 1836 J. W. Prentiss began planting a 
vineyard in the town of Pultney, Steuben County, at a point about four 
miles south of the Yates County line. This seems to be the first vine- 
yard planted for raising grapes to be sold for table use in this section of 
the State. From 1840 to 1852 he shipped to Bath, Steuben County, 
one or two tons of Isabellas in bulk annually, which sold for six cents 
per pound to regular customers. Production, however, increased faster 
than consumption, consequently he was soon compelled to look for a 
more extended market. In 1854 he shipped to New York city about a 
ton of Isabellas packed in tubs made by cutting apple barrels in halves. 
Each tub was packed half full, when a thin board was put over, press- 
ing somewhat, a thin hoop being tacked under to prevent too much 
pressure. The tub was then filled and covered much like a tobacco pail. 
The tub when filled held seventy- five pounds. These sold at fifteen cent- 
per pound, arriving in market in good condition. He continued ships 
ping, but the next ton broke the market and Mr. Prentiss, being his own 
salesman, had to have boxes made of pasteboard to contain ten pounds; 
then re packed the fruit from the tubs into the boxes, and managed by 
using time and perseverance to make satisfactory sales. This shipment 
closed the business for that year. In following years they were packed 
and shipped in boxes made by Mr. Prentiss at his vineyard, and sold by 


commission merchants. In 1852 Mr. Reisenger, a German vineyardist, 
heard of Mr. Prentiss's success and came to see. Upon being satisfied 
that tlie cultivation of the grape could be made a success he made a con- 
tract with David Wagener to plant a vineyard of Catawbas, especially 
for wine and brandy. Wagener was to find the land and pay all expenses 
and Reisenger was to do the work, dividing the profits equally. There 
were about three acres set in 1853. The spot selected for this vineyard 
was on the lake shore about three miles south of the line dividing the 
counties of Yates and Steuben. The roots were set after the manner of 
planting in Germany, four feet apart each way and trellised about four 
feet high. It was soon found a change was needed. Three fourths of 
the vines were taken out, the trellis made higher, and it is now one of 
the most productive vineyards on the shores of Lake Keuka. 

The Isabella was planted almost exclusively at first ; it was brought 
from the South in the early part of the century, where it had been the 
standard variety for many years. The newer and more desirable varie- 
ties were seldom found outside of the grounds of the originators. It 
was yet to be demonstrated by trial whether any other varieties could 
be planted to advantage. 

It is not the design to give in detail the names of the planters and 
dates of planting; only a few of the earliest will be mentioned, and 
these for the purpose of showing the sterling points and gradual increase 
of the industry. The earliest planting of a vineyard in Yates County 
seems to have been made by W. W. Shirland on a piece of land situ- 
ated in the town of Benton almost at a point where the towns of Ben- 
ton, Torrey, and Milo meet. It was set to Isabellas in the early part of 
November in the year 1855. It has since been replaced by Concords. 
Mr. Shirland began changing to Concords in 1866. The vineyard is 
one of the best and most productive of the man}' in the county. One 
of the pioneers in the business was John Mead in Benton near the Torrey 
line, who planted his first vineyard in 1861. It contained three acres- 
at that time it was counted a large one ; it comprised half an acre 
of Isabellas, a large proportion of the balance being Concords ; some 
Catawbas were planted; later the Isabellas were taken out and Con- 
-cords substituted. The Catawbas were so uncertain in ripening that 
they were abandoned. The Concords are still in full vigor. There is 


no record of Concords being planted previously. The original vineyard, 
together with additions thereto made at later dates, is now owned by 
Joshua Mead. One of the earliest if not the earliest planter of Dela- 
wares was Henry Rose, who set in 1861 three acres in the town of 
Benton, though included in the corporate limits of Penn Yan. This 
vineyard is still in good bearing, the original vines bearing good crops 
annually. It has since been enlarged. 

Joseph F Crosby, in Barrington, began planting in 1864; in that year 
he planted six acres, comprising one of Delawares, one of Dianas, one 
and one-half of Catawbas, and two and one half of Isabellas. The Dela- 
ware, Catawba, and Diana were just coming into prominence. Mr. 
.Crosby was freely criticised by his neighbors for planting so largely, but 
facts show his judgment to have been good, as can be undoubtedly 
proved by an examination of his vineyards lying just north of Cros- 
by's Landing. He planted freely in 1866. There were at this date 
several vineyards on the lake shore in the towns of Barrington and 
Milo of the Isabella variety. The Catawba had yet to be tested ; 
they were proving of value in Pleasant Valley, at or near Hammonds- 
port, and in Pultney on the west side of the lake; in consequence thereof 
those who intended planting began adding Catawbas to the list of desir- 
able varieties. The price of roots was high; some parties used cut- 
tings put in the vineyard the same as though already rooted ; in some 
instances this proved successful, while in others a perfect failure — the 
practice never gained a firm footing and was soon abandoned. On 
Blufif Point in the town of Jerusalem planting began as early as 1862. 
William F. Van Tuyl, on the east side of the Point, purchased in the 
spring of 1862 of William Coons forty Catawba roots at the very rea- 
sonable price for the time, six cents each, and of Samuel Wagener 1,200 
Catawba cuttings at $5 per thousand. In 1 864 he bought of Judge Lar- 
rowe, of Hammondsport, 4,000 cuttings at $3 per thousand, of which he 
says : " The majority of these cuttings were planted or set in the vineyard 
where they were intended to grow, the result being that about one-half 
of them grew and made strong roots so that we were enabled to fill out 
the ground as we put two cuttings in each hill." Isabellas also formed a 
part of this vineyard. The first sales are reported as follows : Isabellas 
taken to PennYan in a dry goods box and sold at nine cents per pound 


September 15, 1865 ; September 17th Catawbas sold to Judge Larrowe 
at Hammondsport at twelve and a half cents per pound, he to furnish the 
boxes in which they were marketed. Abram Van Tuyl planted at the 
same time and manner as William. These vineyards are yet in full vigor. 

Franklin Culver as early as 1861 planted on the east side of the Point 
near Kinney's Corners an acre or two of Isabellas, which have since 
been removed and their places filled by more desirable varieties. Plant- 
ing had begun on Seneca Lake; occasionally a man wlio had as he 
thought a choice location had planted small vineyards. Anson Dunlap 
on the shore of the lake near Starkey Station had planted as early as 
1862, as he sold a quantity of grapes at Hammondsport in 1866. 

On lands now owned by the Seneca Lake Grape and Wine Company 
there was a vineyard of about three acres, part Catawbas and part Lsa- 
bellas, planted by James Valentine about 1862. A stock company 
called the Seneca Lake Wine Company bought a large tract of land, in- 
cluding the above, and in 1867 extended the planting to more than 125 
acres, which up to a late date was probably the largest vineyard in the 
State of New York. The varieties included lonas, Catawbas, Champions, 
Hartfords, Prolifics, Concords, Delawares, and others. A large stone 
building was erected in 1870 for the manufacture of wines. The busi- 
ness had already been started in another building now used for a barn. 
Vine Valley in the town of Middlesex, on the shores of Canandaigua 
Lake, is peculiarly adapted to the growth of the Delaware, ripening it to 
perfection ten days in advance of otlier locations. 

But few grapes were planted previous to 1865 and only in small vine- 
yards. The results warranted larger, until the valley is literally filled with 
good productive vineyards covering hundreds of acres. Between the 
years 1865 and 1870 planting was done at a rapid rate; lands that had 
previously been counted of little value, in close proximity to the shores 
of the lakes, some of it steep and covered with a dense growth of young 
timber, being counted the best for grapes. Before worth perhaps twenty 
or twenty-five dollars per acre it rapidly advanced in price, $250 and 
more being paid, many large proprietors selling in lots of five and ten 
acres for vineyard purposes. Grapes had been selling at good paying 
prices. It was held that no fertilizers would be needed. The prospect 
was good for a money-making business. Vineyards instead of being 



small as heretofore were much more extensive. The vineyard owned by 
H. P. Sturtevant & Co., at the end of Bhiff Point, one of the finest in the 
county, was commenced in 1865. The Pratt & Jiliett vineyard, now 
owned by Harvey Pratt, was commenced in 1864. The McDowell vine- 
yard and many others were commenced within a year or two s\lcceed- 
ing. McDowell paid for loqa vines $800, Delawares $250, Con- 
cords $80, and Catawbas $100 per thousand. They were planted 6x6, 
8 X 8, or 10 X 10 as the judgment or fancy of the planter dictated. Wire 
for trellises cost eleven to twelve cents per pound, No. 12 being the 
size most used. Most of the cultivation was done by hand. These prices 
and methods applied very generally throughout the county. 

Eli R. Stever planted on Bluff Point the first lona vineyard of any 
amount in 1867. That year he , planted twenty-five acres. It was 
known to be a grape of the best quality, either for the table or wine. 
He contracted to pay $370 per thousand for the roots and give the 
wood for six years. They came from Dr. Grant, of lona Island, N. Y. 
They were propagated under glass. The year following twenty- five 
acres more were planted to lonas ; these were bought of William Grif- 
fith, of North East, Pa. They were grown in the open air, costing $120, 
with the fruit for the first year, per thousand. Before planting the land 
was thoroughly underdrained, time and money being spent without 
limit to have all done that could be in the way of perfect preparation to 
make it a success, but they were finally abandoned, being of no value. 
In 1868 Mr. Stever planted fifteen acres of Delawares; these are still 
in good bearing. In the fall of 1865 and spring of 1866 twenty- five 
acres of the " Gulick Brown " vineyard at Kinney's Corners were 
planted, consisting of Delawares, Concords, Catawbas, Isabellas, and 
Dianas, Concord roots costing $80 and sometimes $100 per thousand. 
J. Warren Brown in 1867 planted lOO Delaware vines, and a much 
larger number of Isabellas. The Delaware roots were called first-class, 
but were so small that the whole 100 were taken to the place of planting 
in a pan. The Delawares planted at that time are still in prime order 
and have given good crops annually; the Isabellas have been grafted. 

Planting Vvent on rapidly until in 1872 over 400 acres were planted 
in the town of Jerusalem alone. In Vine Valley there were about 140 
acres, while J. T. Henderson, C. N. Wixom, the Seneca Lake Wine and 


Grape Company, together with maay others, kept pace on the Seneca 
Lake. The prices had been good, the vineyards generally successful, 
until about 1870, when a surplus of fruit caused grapes to sell for an 
average of three cents per pound. It looked as though enough grapes 
had been planted to supply all demands for a long time to come. Many 
who had contemplated planting gave it up ; lands decreased in price al- 
most as fast as they had advanced five years before. From 1871 to 
1876 the acreage of vines was not extended in any great amount, yet 
prices were gradually working up again and the prospect generally 
seemed to warrant more grapes. The demand for both table and wine 
was increasing. Beginning about 1876 to plant again the acreage has 
been extended until it is estimated about 7,000 acres are in bearing, 
with an average yield of above 10,000 tons annually. 

In 1 88 1 George C. Snow, on the Esperanza Vineyards located on the 
west branch of Lake Keuka, planted the first Niagaras. The package 
used for shipping at first was a box made of wood, holding ten pounds 
placed in crates holding six boxes. These gave place to boxes hold- 
ing five pounds, with eight boxes in a crate, and these were superceded 
by a box containing three pounds with twelve in a crate. These were 
first made by the Messrs. Prentiss at Pultney and Fairchild at Ham- 
mondsport. In 1866 Messrs. Hopkins Brothers, at their factory in Penn 
Yan, began making boxes. This was the first factory in Yates County. 
They sold five-pound boxes in crates at $80 and the three-pound boxes 
in crates at $65 per thousand. 

James W. Stever, of Branchport, and George W. Fenton, on the 
east side of Lake Keuka, soon after began manufacturing. Baskets began 
to be used in any amount in 1877. They rapidly superceded the box. 
Baskets containing ten pounds were used until about 1882, when the 
present " pony " or five-;pound basket took precedence. There are now 
eight basket factories in operation, with an annual output of 3,000,000. 
Shipping began exclusively by express, the rate being $1.65 per 100 
pounds to New York city and the same to all the large cities on the 
seaboard. They began to be shipped by freight by Charles Hunter & 
Co. in 1868 at sixty- five cents per 100 pounds in car lots, the rate be- 
ing the same to New York, Philadelphia, or Baltimore. About ten 
years later the Northern Central Railroad attempted to carry grapes by 


freight in small lots. It was far from satisfactory ; the time spent in 
transit was too long and quite uncertain, the roads not having facilities 
for handling such perishable freight. The care they received was too 
rough, the result being they were not put into market in good order. 

In 1880 J. P. Barnes established the Barnes Fruit Line, running cars 
for fruit alone from Hammonds,port to New York via Bath and Ham- 
mondsport and Erie Railroads. The grapes were loaded at Hammonds- 
port and unloaded without breaking bulk in New York in very good 
time. This gave a good outlet to the Yates County growers via boat 
to Hammondsport, and was a success. In 1884 Mr. Barnes organized 
his Boston line from Blood's station on the Erie road to Boston, 
giving this county the opportunity to take advantage of the Boston 
line at Bath. In 1884 Mr. Barnes also started his fruit line via the 
Northern Central Railroad, starting his cars at Canandaigua and 
getting his grapes between that point and Watkins. At this place 
the cars were closed and forwarded rapidly to their destination. Within 
a year or two succeeding the Northern Central Road assumed control 
of its fruit business and is giving excellent service. This company, the 
Hollowell & Wise Fast F"ruit Line over the Fall Brook Railroad and 
the Barnes line from Hammondsport over the Erie road, are transport- 
ing nearly the whole output by freight both east and west. 

The organization of the Pleasant Valley Wine Company, near Ham- 
mondsport, opened up a large market for grapes. This company was 
organized in i860. The Urbana Wine Company was organized in 
1865, followed by others until there are nine wine companies on Lake 
Keuka alone. These use in the aggregate several thousand tons of 
grapes annually, drawing quite a percentage of their supply from Yates 

The method of pruning continues practically the same as first 
adopted. It is the thorough renewal system ; occasionally some other 
method has been attempted, but not to any extent. Grafting has been 
■done quite extensively. Many of the early planted Isabellas have been 
■changed by this process into more desirable varieties. The method 
pursued is the cleft graft and is the quickest way to change varieties 
that is known. 

In 1886 John H. Butler, a practical and extensive vineyardist^ started 


in Penn Yan the Vineyardist, a journal devoted to grape culture and 
kindred interests. It is a horticultural paper, but a large part of its 
space is given over to discussing the intricacies of grape growing. Its 
columns have been open at all times to correspondents. It has been 
invaluable to growers as a medium through which errors could be cor- 
rected, new ideas relating to the business set forth, reporting on new 
varieties, etc. It has been well sustained. 

Some diseases have made their appearance. The downy mildew 
has been by far the most destructive, sometimes defoliating vineyards 
as well as causing much rotting of the fruit. The foliage of the Dela- 
ware is very susceptible, but the fruit is almost free. Both fruit and 
foliage of the Catawba is subject to its ravages. Powdery mildew has 
not been of frequent occurrence. It sometimes attacks the Concord, 
doing much damage, but is usually not widespread. Black rot is of 
recent date. In 1889 Colonel Pearson, of the Department of Agricult- 
ure, made a careful examination of the vines in this section and found 
occasionally an infected berry. Careful search for a whole day resulted 
in finding a handful of infected berries among the Catawbas and occa- 
sionally a spotted leaf. It is a dangerous and contagious fungus dis- 
ease, more persistent and destructive in warm, wet seasons. It is supposed 
when once fastened on a section or vineyard it will be almost impossible to 
stop it if the conditions are right for its dissemination. Some of the older 
growers say it has been long known under the local name of the " ap- 
ple rot," some seasons causing heavy losses. This as well as other 
fungus diseases can be controlled by any of the salts of copper applied 
in the form of a very weak solution in water in the shape of a fine 
spray. Machines are made for the purpose, John H. Butler, Horace F. 
Mills, and G. C. Snow being the first to apply the fungicide by horse- 
power in 1890. 

Anthracnose is found, but seldom and very light ; further than these 
the vines are free from disease. Among insects 'Cae. phylloxera\i2L% done 
much damage. They infest the roots of nearly every vine. It has no 
doubt caused the almost total failure of the lona. Most varieties are 
not damaged to any great extent. 

Sometimes the Delaware, Catawba, and Clinton foliage is attacked by 
the thrips ; if bad they cause much damage. No method has been de- 


vised whereby they can be killed. Within a year or two the steel 
blue beetle has- made its appearance in sufficient numbers to cause a 
perceptible loss. No effort has as yet been made to check its ravages 
except by catching them by hand. 

Some important changes have taken place. The early vineyards 
were trellised with wooden slats» nailed to stakes. Wire costing eleven 
and a half cents per pound, fastened to the stakes with wrought 
nails next came in vogue, and the wrought nails were succeeded by 
small staples made expressly for the purpose. Wire now is used cost 
ing about $50 per ton. From all sorts and kinds of packages which 
have been tried the five and ten-pound baskets have taken precedence 
over all others. Transportation of grapes has become a well defined 
business. Improvements have been made where experience showed 
the need. The handling of the enormous amount of grapes between 
the vineyards where they are grown and the purchaser has been so sys- 
tematized that seldom a basket is lost or damaged, and at rates about 
one- half below those charged twenty-five years ago. Where two tons 
broke the New York market in 1852 today thousands of tons are con- 
sumed, with the same increase in proportion in all the markets. The 
Isabella at first was supposed to be the only variety which could be 
grown here ; it has now been almost entirely superceded by other and 
vastly better varieties. From plantings of an acre or two in widely 
separated localities we now find an aggregate acreage estimated at 
7,000, yielding the last three years an annual average of 10,000 tons. 


THIS county was formed from Ontario on February 5, 1823. Bar- 
rington and Starkey were added April 5, 1824. The surface of 
the earth in this county is undulating, and is divided by five great ridges 
extending in a northerly direction, which gradually descend from a 

* By James Miller, of Jerusalem, 


height of from 600 to 1,800 feet above Seneca Lake to a gentle un- 
dulating region in the towns of Torrey, Benton, Potter, and Middlesex. 
The soil varies from a tenacious clay to a gravelly loam, hut the greater 
portion is a medium and contains clay intermixed with gravel and 
loam, and is well adapted to grazing or tillage. It contains an abund- 
ance of lime for agricultural purposes, and of potash, also, except on 
the highest ridges. . 

The TuUy limestone crops out on the Keuka outlet and, as it is said 
to contain two per cent, of phosphoric acid, might be utilized for agri- 
cultural purposes, as that is the most deficient element of plant food in 
the soil. There are also numerous deposits of muck which might be 
utilized to improve the uplands. The county has great natural ad- 
vantages for agriculture, horticulture, and vinticulture. Much of the 
soil is of superior fertility. The climate, too, is- tempered by the great 
lakes north and west of the State and the smaller interior ones, the 
borders of which are well adapted to fruit and especially to grape and 
peach growing. The former are of superior quality and their pro- 
duction has increased from small to vast proportions. At the time of 
the formation of the county only a small portion of the original forest 
had been removed. Most of it was settled, but only small clearings had 
been made. Nearly all of the settlers then lived in log houses. Pot 
and pearl ashes and wheat were mainly depended upon for sale, and 
only a small amount of the latter was produced and that sold for but 
fifty cents per bushel. So the incomes of farmers were small, but as. 
only a few implements were used to cultivate the soil and secure crops, 
and as garments were manufactured and made at home, it supplied other 
wants. Wages were low. Farm hands labored for from $6 to $8 per 
month. Girls worked for from four shillings to si.x shillings per week. 

A protective tariff was enacted in 1824, which encouraged manu- 
facturing and diversified labor. Proportionately, too, many people had 
been engaged in agriculture. After the tariff act the price of agricult- 
ural products improved and wages advanced. A " woolen bill " was 
enacted in 1828, which rendered the duty of woolen goods more specific, 
and the production of wool thereafter became profitable and a great 
source of wealth. The value of farm lands rapidly advanced, and also 
all farm products and domestic animals. Labor also advanced and an 


era of great prosperity followed. Competition reduced the price of all 
manufactured goods so that they could not be profitably made at home, 
and household manufacture gradually declined and the spinning-wheels 
and other appurtenances were consigned to the garret. Log huts were 
abandoned for commodious houses and stately mansions. But this era 
of prosperity was checked by ^e gradual reduction of the tariff from 
1833 to 1842, when it was at minimum rate. A financial crisis had oc- 
curred in 1837 ^n<^ prices of all farm products and domestic animals had 
declined. Good cows sold for $10 and all other animals in like pro- 
portion. Wages of farm hands had declined from $15 and $18 per 
month to $10 and $12. 

A protective tariff was again enacted in 1842, which once more re- 
vived prices of farm products. This was changed to a revenue tariff in 
1846, but the Irish famine of 1846, the Mexican war, the discovery of 
gold, and the Crimean war maintained strong prices until 1857. 
After the close of the latter war another period of depression occurred and 
continued until 1861. After the commencement of our Civil war, and 
after the enactment of the protective tariff of 1861, another era of pros- 
perity prevailed, which was checked only by the financial panic of 1873. 
Prices again improved in 1878, but were depressed in 1885 by over 
production from the vast amount of fertile soil brought under cultiva- 
tion in the West, but as that has now been mainly occupied, and as the 
demand has equalled the supply, agriculture has an apparently bright 
future if farmers will become educated and avail themselves of every 
advantage and pursue mixed husbandry. 

Wheat and wool with some barley were mainly depended upon in this 
county down to 1852, when the railroad from Watkins to Canandaigua 
was completed (now a branch of the Northern Central), which furnished 
transportation for fruit and perishable products. Since that time the 
products have been more diversified. Less wheat and wool have been 
produced and more of other cereals, especially barley. Fruit and grape 
growing has become a leading industry in many localities. The pro- 
duction of potatoes, hay, poultry, and eggs have greatly increased. 
The value of poultry sold in 1854 was $12,494; of eggs, $9,010. In 
1864 the value of poultry sold was $21,460; of eggs, $13,511. In 
1874 the value of poultry sold was $33,179; of eggs, $32,876. 


The number of bushels of potatoes produced in 1854 was 57,912 ; in 
1864, 126,813; in 1874, 194,246. The vahie of grapes produced in 
1854 was $57; in 1864, $77,000; in 1874, 2,784,439 .pounds. As the 
census was not taken in 1885 we cannot state the increase, but up to the 
present grapes must have increased threefold ; also small fruit, more 
especially raspberries. All other varieties of fruit have also greatly in- 
creased in production. 

It would be difficult to find an area of equal extent with Yates County 
having a more fertile soil or with as great natural advantages. Hundreds 
of men have commenced with small means, or none at all, and became 
wealthy or secured a competency ; and for the benefit of young men we 
will name one of them, John Merrifield. He was visited in November, 
1891, and found at work on his farm, although he is in his eighty- third 
year. He commenced to work for $6 per month and increased from 
year to year until he received $10 per month. He saved his wages until 
he could work land upon shares, and soon was able to purchase a farm, 
and at one time owned three good farms. He has been industrious, 
frugal, and temperate. There are just as good opportunities for young 
men to succeed in the future as there have been in the past. Land can 
be purchased for less than the improvements have cost, and with im- 
proved husbandry would be more profitable than more sought occu- 

Notwithstanding the fact that the products of the county are im- 
mense they could be doubled before the end of the present century, 
which would be more than double the value of the soil and quadruple 
the profits. This cannot be accomplished without some radical changes. 
Waste places must be cultivated. The cultivation must be deeper to 
return to the surface the elements of plant food which have been leached 
from it. Farmers must be more thorough in subduing noxious weeds 
and thistles and wet soils must be under- drained. More manures and 
fertilizers should also be applied. Improved breeds of domestic animals 
ought to be substituted instead of the quality now kept. Improved 
modes of feeding should be adopted. To obtain the best results ani- 
mals should constantly have a full supply of nutritious food. Profit- 
able results have been greatly reduced many times during extreme 
droughts and by the exposure of cattle to inclement weather late in 



the season when pastures have become scant and lost much of their nu- 
trition from frosts, and also by compelling animals to subsist on coarse, 
dry, and unnutritious food during the winter. This can all be obviated 
by the use of silos and by securing the southern corn for seed. Double 
the amount from a given area can be produced and the cost of keeping 
can be greatly lessened ; and as the fodder corn may have double the 
value of a crop to husk, and requires less labor, it would be much more 
profitable for farmers of this county'to purchase corn and other food 
from the west, which would increase the manure, and with a judicious 
use of commercial fertilizers they could compete with the West, as crops 
are more certain and local markets better in the East. 

We have the best financial system and government in the world, and 
as the future success of farmers greatly depends on their stability it 
will be for the interest of every tiller of the soil to sustain them against 
agitators who are trying to array labor against capital. Capital has 
greatly aided agriculture by furnishing transportation for farm products, 
loaning money and furnishing it to pay for their products, and as every 
young man has opportunity to become a capitalist if he wishes to be, 
he ought to improve his opportunity and not envy those who have suc- 
ceeded more than he. Many of our millionairs were rocked in the cra- 
dle of poverty, and with a stable government the child of poverty today 
may be the capitalist of the next generation. But the changes de- 
manded by some of the agitators would greatly jeopardize his oppor- 
tunity. They demand money issued and loaned by the government at 
two per cent, on land. This would greatly increase the price of land, 
and those who have none could not be benefited by it and it would be 
more difficult to obtain. Interest should be regulated by supply and 
demand the same as other commodities. High rates of interest can be 
obviated with good credit and prosperity by industrious economy and 



THE rapid growth of this great western world has given us full grown 
institutions at a time when in other countries they would have been 
in their infancy. It is unnecessary for the historian to begin with an 
effort to unveil the origin of Freemasonry or to show its growth with the 
growth and progress of an early civilization, to trace its development 
through untold centuries. It is enough to say that wherever the hand 
of man has established a civilized community there is to be found Free- 
masonry as one of its chief corner stones. Yates County was no ex- 
ception. A few years after the hardy settler had cleared off a portion 
of the forest from the beautiful and fertile country lying between Penn 
Yan and Dresden a great highway was opened near the original east 
line of the Phelps and Gorham purchase, which, taking its name from 
this line, has ever since been known as the Pre-emption road. It ran 
from Geneva to the southern portion of this great tract and promised 
to become the great line of trade of all that beautiful country. At in- 
tervals of three or four miles along this highway were to be found tav 
erns of a rude and primitive fashion. These taverns were built where 
neighborhood roads crossed the main highway and were gathering 
points for the neighbors as well as resting places for the traveler. The 
principal article of refreshment to be found at these resting places was 
the whisky of the country, which, owing to the cheapness of corn, ignor- 
ance of the adulteration of modern chemistry, and freedom from legal 
restraint, was within the reach of the poorest wayfarer. The proprie- 
tors of these taverns not infrequently kept small stocks of those goods 
most needed by neighboring settlers. Sometimes a wagonmaker or 
a blacksmith built his shop or set up his anvil at the same four corners, 
and soon the proprietor and perhaps a few of his neighbors began to 
think that their settlement was the beginning of a great city that .would 
certainly grow up and surround their log cabins. At one of the most 

1 By John N. Macomb, jr., of Branchport, N. Y. 


promising of these centers was tiie tavern of Thomas Lee, jr., which 
stood wheie the road from Dresden to Penn Yan joins the Pre emption 
road, now occupied by the handsome residence of Guy Shaw. All 
indications seemed to point to the growth of a prosperous town upon 
this site. 

Prior to 1810 a few Masonic lodges had been established in the coun- 
try west of Utica. Some of the members of these lodges had found 
their way into the neighborhood of which we are writing, and in that year 
a "warrant of dispensation" was issued by the Grand Lodge author- 
izing a few of these brethren to organize a lodge and do all regular Ma- 
sonic work. The lodge was named Vernon, from the former name of 
the township, and its number on the Grand Lodge registry was 190. 
It was instituted on the 8th of May, 1810, by Parley Phillips, of Geneva. 
The names of the members of the lodge at its institution were : Dr. 
Joshua Lee, master ; Benjamin Shaw, senior warden ; Thomas Lee, jr., 
junior warden; John Hobart, Robert Patterson, James Schofield, Reii 
ben Weed, Joseph Havens, Harry Smith, George C. Shattuck, and John 

On the 1 2th of June Timothy Stewart was the first initiate. Vernon 
Lodge held its meetings for some years in the house of Thomas Lee, jr. 
As the lodge grew in pumbers and as funds increased a better room 
was needed, and directions were given for building and a committee 
was appointed to superintend the work." This work must have been 
carried on slowly, for although it was begun in the spring of 1815 it 
does not appear to have been finished for more than a year. August 
6, 1 8 16, it was "Voted that we receive no petitions in the lodge until the 
room is finished or made more safe for doing business." During this 
period and for some time after bills were presented to the lodge for 
labor and materials, amounting in all to about $600. One account 
dated January 8, 1817, was presented by Thomas Lee, jr., " for ma- 
terials of building the lodge-room, whisky, etc," amounting to $273.45, 
from which it would appear that they must have had an old-fashioned 
" raising." The lodge continued to occupy at Thomas Lee, jr.'s until 
February 9, 1819, when the first regular meeting was held at Asa 
Cole's on Head street in Penn Yan, west of Main street. A special 
meeting had been held there a month before, however, as we find in 


the minutes that on December 27, 1818, it was "voted that the instal- 
lation of officers elect be postponed on account of the severity of the 
weather until Thursday next, the 31st inst , then to take place at Asa 
Cole's at PennYan." 

On the 14th of November, 1820, the lodge resolved to move to a room 
over Cornelius Masten's office and on the 19th of August, 1 823, the lodge 
removed to Smith M. Cole's on Head street, Penn Yan, a few rods east of 
Main street, where it continued to meet until it moved into the new 
building of M. F. Sheppard, August 23, 1825. The lodge had un- 
doubtedly met at times in its old home in the house of Thomas Lee, 
jr., after the first meetings were held in Penn Yan, and it was not until 
September 16, 1823, that it was "Voted that this lodge does hereby 
relinquish all claim or demand on the lodge- room in the house of 
Brother Thomas Lee, of whatsoever name or nature, and that Brother 
Thomas Lee does relinquish all dues from the lodge to him, (he hav- 
ing so agreed,) and that the moveable property of said lodge be given 
tip to the lodge when called for." The Sheppard block, which stood 
on the west side of Main street just south of Head street, was burned 
December 6, 1826, and the lodge moved back to the room at Smith M. 
Cole's. The subject of a Masonic Hall to be built and owned by the 
lodge had frequently been considered and lots had been offered to the 
lodge. On the 9th of January,iS27, a committee was appointed to buy 
a lot to cost $50 and build a Masonic Hall upon it at a cost not to 
exceed $650. For this purpose a committee was " authorized to re- 
ceive the funds of this lodge from the hands of the treasurer to defray 
the expense of said building as far as the same will extend, and to circu- 
late a subscription among the fraternity to assist in said building with 
the understanding that moneys paid on said subscription be refunded 
as soon as funds come into the hands of this lodge." On the 25th 
of March, 1828, the lodge had evidently taken possession of the Masonic 
Hall ; at that time the lower floor of the building was rented to Brother 
Hiram Nash, who was authorized to finish it at a cost of not more than 
$175 and to pay himself with the rent at $30 per annum. 

By the end of the year 1830 the great tidal wave of anti-Masonry 
had swept over the country and Vernon Lodge was one of the wrecks 
left in its path. The records of the meetings show very few in attend - 
.ance. On the 4th of December in that year it was 


"Resolved, That a committee be appointed to sell all the real and personal property 
of this lodge for the purpose of paying the debts of said lodge, and that the Master 
and Wardens are hereby authorized to execute a deed and such other papers as may 
be necessary to secure a title to the purchaser of said premises." 

In the early history of Vernon Lodge we find that it prospered 
financially and very soon became a lender, the members borrowing the 
lodge funds in sums varying from $i6 to $30. Charity, that greatest 
of all virtues, abounded. The records show many instances of relief 
being extented to the unfortunate. On September 7, 18 13, it was 
" Voted that ten dollars be paid to Augustus, George, and Stephen 
Reketh to redeem our brothers in Algiers, in bondage," and on March 
I, 1814, " Brother Timothy Smith received of this lodge twenty dol- 
lars for the alleviation of his late misfortune, having his property 
burned and plundered by the British in taking Buffalo." As early as 
1824 the subject of a Masonic Home was brought before the lodge. 
On September 20th of that year Rev. Brother Joshua Bradley visited 
the lodge and " delivered an address on the importance of forming a 
Masonic Association, submitting a plan of general association with 
power to loan, to buy a farm, and build an academy for Masons' orphan 
children, with a view to incorporation to disseminate correct Masonic 
information requesting representation of this lodge at a convention to be 
holden at Waterloo on the second Wednesday in October next." 

The festivals of the two Saints John seem to have been observed from 
the first, either at home or with some sister lodge. On June 24, 1824, 
Vernon Lodge laid the corner-stone of the First Presbyterian Church 
in Penn Yan. The minutes of that date read . " It being the anniver- 
sary of S. John the Baptist Brother A. Woodworth attended as marshal, 
formed in procession marched to music, were joined by the Grand 
Lodge, received the ladies in form, marched to the site of the First 
Presbyterian Church in the village of Penn Yan, attended the ceremony 
of laying the corner-stone of the edifice in Masonic form by the Rev. 
Mr. Lansing as grand chaplain and Dr. Joshua Lee as grand master, 
were favored with Masonic discourse by the Rev. Mr. Pomeroy, marched 
in procession to a bower, and entertainment prepared by Brother Smith 
M. Cole; after refreshment returned to the lodge-room." 

On St. John's day, 1826, an invitation was received from Union 
Lodge, No. 372, at Prattsburgh, to join in the celebration of the festival. 


Consent was given to the organization of Reading Lodge (now Dundee 
Lodge, No. 123) on April 22, 1823, and to Italy Morning Star Lodge 
on February 21, 1826. 

Disputes sometimes arose between brethren. These were brought 
before the lodge instead of being taken into court and were usually set- 
tled by a committee appointed by the lodge. A difficult case having 
arisen between Thomas Lee, jr., and Avery Smith, it was, as usual, re- 
ferred to a committee, but the committee failed to make peace between 
the brethren and the matter was referred to the lodge as a committee of 
the whole and all members within eleven miles were summoned to at- 
tend this meeting. Harmony was finally restored. In those days of 
sparse settlement some of the members lived at considerable distances 
from the lodge. They were usually compensated for this disadvantage, 
as we find on February 9, 1819 : " Voted, that Brother J. Schofield be 
exonerated from paying his quarterly dues to this date in consequence 
of his residing at an extreme distance from the lodge." Occasionally 
some of the brethren, although beginning well and coming to the lodge 
" of good report," became backsliders and were subjected to discipline. 
This usually consisted of suspension for a definite period. One brother 
was suspended for six months for anti- Masonic conduct. As this action 
bears date August 17, 18 18, his offence could have had nothing to do 
with those enemies of Freemasonry who found a " good enough Mor- 
gan until after election." A committee appointed to investigate charges 
against a brother reported " that he was guilty of defrauding brethren 
and of other degrading and anti- Masonic conduct, and that he is irre- 
claimable." He was expelled. A committee was appointed to "ad- 
monish" a brother "for immoral conduct," against whom charges had 
been preferred. The committee reported at the next meeting " that 
they had talked with him and that he had promised a reformation, and 
yet, instead of reforming, the comm'ittee reported that they have since 
seen him frequently intoxicated." He was summoned to attend the 
next meeting, but he failed to do so, and a committee was appointed " to 
watch over his conduct." He was finally suspended for a short time 
and the committee was continued. Several reports of an unfavorable 
nature were made and at last he was expelled. Two brothers were ex- 
pelled and it was voted that their expulsion be published in the Geneva 
Palladium. This action was, however, afterward rescinded. 


While the new lodge- room was being built at Thomas Lee's the lodge 
was short of funds ; an account was rendered for work and the stewards 
were ordered to " tax the members that attend sixpence a night so far 
back as will discharge the same." This plan of taxing those who at- 
tended was afterward given up. It was a good deal like the minister 
who scolds the thin congrega^on in stormy weather for the shortcom- 
ings of the " rainy day Christians." 

In those early days traveling was difficult and expensive and the 
lodges were less frequently represented in the Grand Lodge than has 
been the custom during the past fifty years. The only notice of Vernon 
Lodge having been represented in Grand Lodge was in 1826. Brother 
Cornelius Masten was appointed to represent Vernon Lodge at that 
meeting and he was directed " to hail the Grand Lodge of the State of 
New York called the ' Country Grand Lodge,' of which Stephen Van 
Rensselaer is grand master." The unfortunate division which made 
two Grand Lodges in the State for a period of four years was happily 
healed the next year; but it is worthy of note that the rural lodges 
were a unit in their resistance to the aggression of the city Grand Lodge, 
and were finally successful in their demand for a just recognition. Upon 
his return Brother Masten presented an account against the lodge of 
$20 for Grand Lodge dues, evidently for several years past, and $65.25 
for his expenses in attending Grand Lodge — all of which was paid. 

Many of the members of Vernon Lodge were prominent in the build- 
ing up of Yates County and their names come down to us as among the 
historical landmarks ofPenn Yan and its vicinity^ Of all those brethren 
only one remains with us who was made a Mason in Vernon Lodge — 
Brother Russell R. Fargo, now living in Pulteney, N. Y. He was made 
a Mason on January 17, 1826. He was supervisor of Milo in 1846 and 
county clerk in 1847-49. The masters of Vernon Lodge were Dr. 
Joshua Lee, Benjamin Shaw, Thomas Lee, jr., John Powell, Dr. An- 
drew F. Oliver, Cornelius Masten, Samuel Lawrence, and Ebenezer 

After 1830 Freemasonry in Penn Yan remained in a dormant con- 
dition for fifteen years, during which time a number of brethren moved 
into the village, which had made a very encouraging growth. After 
the storm of anti- Masonry had spent its force, and those who promoted 


it had received all the political rewards that seemed likely to come from 
making it a political issue, it naturally died out, and Western New York, 
always ready for the excitement of some new delusion, turned its at- 
tention to Millerism and other like sensations. 

In 1845 certain brethren in Penn Yan applied for and received a dis- 
pensation for a lod|^e to be named Penn Yan Lodge. It held its first 
meeting August 12, 1845. Its oflficers were Samuel L. Bigelow, mas- 
ter, and Elijah Higby and Elisha H. Huntington, wardens. Clement 
W. Bennett was one of its early initiates. He shortly afterward moved 
to Washington, D. C, where he received many of the higher degrees and 
orders of Masonry. He was at one time commander of Washington 
Commandery, No. i, of that city, and was present in its ranks at the 
laying of the corner stone of the Washington Monument in 1849 and 
again in 1885 at the dedication of that stupendous edifice, and the only 
member of that commandery thus present on both occasions. Penn 
Yan Lodge does not seem to have been successful, for after a few months 
existence it ceased, leaving very little to mark its brief career. A new 
dispensation was issued to Samuel L. Bigelow as master and Hiram 
Depew and Elisha H. Huntington as wardens, authorizing them to 
organize Milo Lodge, No. 108. 

The first meeting of this lodge was held on April 15, 1846. On 
June 6th following a charter was granted by the Grand Lodge, and 
from that time to the present the history of Freemasonry in Yates 
County has been simply the quiet record of successful and prosperous 
existence. Milo Lodge met for a short time in the old Masonic Hall on 
Court street, but soon arranged to occupy Odd Fellows Hall, which has 
been its home ever since. December 23, 1852, Milo Lodge gave con- 
sent to the organization of Seneca Lake Lodge, No. 308, at Dresden. 
The members of Milo Lodge have ever been earnest and enthusiastic in 
all Masonic work and several of them have attained to the higher 
honors of Freemasonry, six of them having received the thirty- third 
degree. It is said that it is the only lodge in the State that has been 
represented in the chief offices of the four grand bodies of Freemasonry, 
severally by four of its members. These are Hon. John L. Lewis, who 
was grand master of the Grand Lodge of New York from 1856 to i860 ; 
Darius A, Ogden, grand high priest of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter 


from 1863 to 1865 ; John N. Macomb> jr., grand master of the Grand 
Council of Royal and Select Masters from 1889 to 1891 ; and Charles 
G. Judd, grand commander of the Grand Commandery, Knights Temp- 
lar, from 1858 to i860. A short sketch of these brethren will appear 
after the history of each of the bodies with which they were more prom- 
inently identified. It is wor^Jiy of remark in this place that Judge 
Lewis, besides holding the position of grand master, as above stated, 
was grand high priest of New York from 1852 to 1855, and general 
grand high priest of the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the 
United States from 1865 to 1868. He was also sovereign grand com- 
mander of the Supreme Council of Sovereign Grand Inspectors- Gen- 
eral of the Thirty-third degree of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of 
the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite. 

Hon. John L. Lewis was born July 17, 1813, in Torrey, Yates County, 
N. Y. After receiving an excellent education under the direction of his 
father, who was one of the pioneer school teachers of Yates County, he 
came to Penn Yan. He was for a year clerk in the postoffice ; after that 
he devoted himself to the study of law, part of the time in the office of 
Henry A. Wisner and afterward in that of William M. Oliver. He was 
admitted to practice in the State and United States Courts, and was dis- 
trict attorney of Yates County from 1839 to 1847, ^"^ county judge 
and surrogate from 185 i to 1855. He was Regent of the University 
from February 7, 1 871, to the time of his death. He was a member of 
the four subordmate Masonic bodies in Penn Yan and the presiding 
officer of each of them, besides holding many other positions in them 
of great importance and responsibility. It was, however, in his con- 
nection with the Grand Lodge and Grand and General Grand Chapters 
that his great reputation was made as a wise and accomplished Mason. 
The history of those bodies for man)? years is his history. It was 
through his firm and consistent course, tempered with kindness and 
courtesy, that the two great unions between contending Grand Lodges 
were brought about, and in effecting these results he won for himself 
the enviable character of peacemaker. He was an easy and fluent 
speaker, thoroughly conversant with the history and principles of 
Freemasonry, always prepared to interest and to instruct. As a Ma- 
sonic writer his reputation was world wide, and while occupying thepo- 


sition of general grand high priest he was appealed to by companions 
upon the other side of the Atlantic for true Masonic light. He died in 
Penn Yan on the \ Ith of June, 1889, full of years and honors. 

Dundee Lodge, No. 123, was organized as Reading Lodge in 1823, 
and was located in Eddytown about two miles from Dundee. Its first 
master was Dr. Hosea Palmer. Samuel Kress was the first initiate and 
succeeded Dr. Palmer as master. In common with nearly every lodge 
in Western New York it went down during the evil days of anti- 
Masonry. Probably no meetings were held after 1830. In 1847 it was 
again chartered and since then has enjoyed a fair share of the pros- 
perity that has attended upon Free Masonry in this progressive age. In 
the second organization Dr. Hosea Palmer again became master and 
held that position for some time. He was succeeded by John T. An- 
drews and Edgar Hoagland. In i860 the Masonic Hall was destroyed 
by fire and the furniture and records were burned. In 1861 the lodge 
took possession of the rooms it now occupies, Dundee Lodge has 
prospered financially and was the first lodge in Yates County to pay off 
its quota of the hall and asylum fund. It is now out of debt. The fol- 
lowing have been masters of Dundee Lodge since i860: Dr. E. W. 
Rogers, Dr. J. A. Chapman, Dr. J. H. Shaw, James Spence, Uriah 
Hair, Darius W. Perry, M. M. Rollinson, Myers T. Webb, Joseph Gibbs, 
G. Anson Beam, Luther M. Hair, H. V. L. Jones, Theodore M. Horfon, 
Charles Gobie, and Edward M. Sawyer. 

Seneca Lake Lodge, No. 308, Dresden, was organized under charter 
June II, 1853. Orrin W. Giles was the first master and Ambrose H. 
Condit and Caleb J. Legg were wardens. The organization of this 
lodge came after all excitement in our county had passed away, either 
connected with the early settlement of the country or its growth and 
progress, or that connected with the anti- Masonic strife, and its history 
contains nothing of the startling nature that we look for in an earlier 
time. One of its members, Brother E. A. Hotchkiss, moved to the West 
and became grand high priest of the Grand Chapter of Minnesota. The 
following brethren have been masters of this lodge : Orrin W. Giles, 
Ambrose H. Condit, Aaron R. McLean, George W. Brundage, William 
Van Norman, Aaron M. Davis, William D. Trimmer, Lewis B. Dun- 
ning, Edwin L. Swarthout, William Brown, Amos A. Norman, John 
Thompson, and Judson V. Brown. 


Rushville Lodge, No. 377, was organized in 1854 in the prosperous 
village of the same name. It has partaken of the prosperity of that 
favored portion of oiir county, and like some other ambitious lodges 
has owned its own home and has been a landlord, as there are two stores 
under the lodge hall. Its growth has not been great, but it has kept 
upon its membership roll the names of many of the substantial men of 
the neighborhood. 

Penn Yan Chapter, No. 100, of Royal Arch Masons is the only body 
of Capitular Masonry in Yates County. It was organized August 31, 
1825, by Companion Richard L. Smith, of Auburn, assisted by a num- 
ber of companions from abroad. A Masonic address was delivered by 
the Rev. D. McDonald, of Geneva. The charter bears date February 3, 
1825, and the officers named therein are John Powell, high priest; Cor- 
nelius Masten, king; and Henry Bradley, scribe. Penn Yan Chapter 
and Vernon Lodge made an agreement at once for renting Mechanics 
Hall in the new M. F. Sheppard block, heretofore mentioned. Each 
body was to pay half the rent, which amounted to $30 per annum. 
The chapter was well supplied with regalia, furniture, etc., and very 
wisely carried an insurance for $300 upon it. When this building was 
burned in December of the next year the insurance money which it re- 
ceived paid its debts and left it with a small sum on hand. The chap- 
ter had a successful existence during the few years that remained before 
the gathering of the clouds before the storm of anti -Masonry warned 
the members of danger. In addition to the eighteen charter members 
there were added as neophytes eighteen and by affiliation eight, mak- 
ing a total membership of forty-four, reduced somewhat by withdraw- 
als. John Powell held the chief office until December, 1826, when 
Cornelius Masten was elected high priest. He was succeeded the next 
year by Dr. A. F. Oliver. The minutes show but one meeting in 1828 
and none after that. A dispensation for a rivival of the chapter was 
issued July 4, 1846. The chapter was re-organized September lOth of 
that year. The chapter was consecrated and the officers were installed 
by Thomas Maxwell, high priest of Geneva Chapter, No. 36. In the 
revival the old charter was restored to the chapter. The new officers 
were Dr. Andrew F. Oliver, high priest ; John Powell, king ; and Cor- 
nelius Masten, scribe. The chapter found a new home in Odd Fel- 


lows Hall, which it has occupied ever since and which soon after be- 
came Masonic Hall. January 21, 1850, Penn Yan Chapter gave its 
consent to the revival of Fidelity Chapter, No. T], at Trunransburgh. 

Darius A. Ogden was made a Royal Arch Mason in Penn Yan Chap- 
ter, served as its high priest and represented it in the Grand Chapter of 
the State of New York where he was elected grand high priest, which 
office he held for two years. He continued in active duty in the Grand 
Chapter and as chairman of the committee on foreign correspondence, 
and as such conducted the relations of the Grand Chapter of New York 
to its sister Grand Chapters with ability. He had been a member of 
all the Masonic bodies in Penn Yan, and had received the thirty- third 
degree as an honorary member of the Supreme Council of the Scottish 
Rite in the Northern Masonic jurisdiction. In civil life he had held 
important positions, having been for some years consul at Honolulu. 
He was canal commissioner and member of Assembly. For many 
years he had been a member of the Board of Education of Penn Yan 
and a trustee of Willard Asylum. He was born in Northville, N. Y., 
August 14, 1813, and died in Penn Yan on May 4, 1889. 

Ontario Council, No. 23, Royal and Select Masters, was organized in 
Geneva, N. Y., on the 23d of February, 1864, by Grand Master Charles 
H. Piatt, who issued his dispensation for that purpose on that date. A 
charter was afterward granted to it by the Grand Council on the 5th of 
February, 1865. For about fifteen years it continued to hold its assem- 
blies in Geneva, with a moderate degree of success. At the assembly 
held on December 6, 1880, it was decided to ask the grand master for 
his dispensation to move the council to Penn Yan; to this request he ac- 
<:eded, and on St. John's day, December 27th, the officers were installed 
in public, with the officers of Milo Lodge and Penn Yan Chapter, in the 
Masonic Hall in Penn Yan. From that time Ontario Council has con- 
tinued to shed the beauties of Cryptic Masonry upon the neophyte in 
Penn Yan, which is expected to be its home for time to come. The 
thrice illustrious masters of Ontario Council have been Corydon Wheat, 
William P. Durrant, John N. Macomb, jr., Franklin E. Smith, Orville F. 
Randolph, John L. Lewis, Edward Kendall, J. Henry Smith, and Henry 
R. Sill. 

John N. Macomb, jr., was appointed grand lecturer of the Grand 


Council on the 9th of September, 1880, and held that and other sub- 
ordinate positions in that body until the lOth of September, 1889, when 
he was elected grand master of Royal and Select Masters in the State 
of New York, which position he occupied until September 8, 1891. He 
was made a Mason in Milo Lodge, No. 108, F. and A. M., on August 6, 
1875, and received the Fellov* Craft's degree on August 20th, and the 
Master Mason's degree on September 3d. He was elected master of 
Milo Lodge on the 20th of December, 1878, and served as such for two 
years. On St. John the Baptist's day, June 24, 1885, he was appointed 
district deputy grand master of the Twenty- first- Masonic District, and 
continued to discharge the responsible duties of that office until the cor- 
responding date in 1889. On the 24th of January, 1876, he received 
the Mark Master's degree in Penn Yan Chapter, No. 100, of Royal 
Arch Masons, the remaining degrees of Capitular Masonry being re- 
ceived on the following dates: Fast master, February 14th; most ex- 
cellent master, April loth; and Royal Arch Mason, April 24th. On 
the 9th of December, 1881, he was elected high priest and held that po- 
sition for one year. On February 8, 1888, he was appointed assistant 
grand lecturer of the Sixth District, which office he still holds He re- 
ceived the degrees of Cryptic Masonry in Ontario Council, No. 23, R. 
and S. M., in Geneva, on the Sth of February, 1877. On the 4ih of 
March, 1878, he was elected thrice illustrious master of the council, 
and continued in that office for four years. He is the present grand 
representative of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of 
Tennessee, near that of New York. On the 20th of June, 1876, he re- 
ceived the order of the Red Cross, and on the i8th of July the order of 
the Temple in Jerusalem Commandery, No. 17, K. T. He was elected 
to preside over the commandery as its eminent commander on May 7, 
1878, and filled that position for six years. He is the grand repre- 
sentative of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Kentucky, 
near that of New York. In the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite he 
received the degrees and holds membership in the bodies in the valley 
of the Genesee at Rochester, N. Y. On September 19, 1882, he re- 
ceived the thirty-third degree in the Supreme Council of the Northern 
Masonic Jurisdiction at Boston, and became an honorary member of 
that body. 


In the year 1848 the first effort was made to estabh'sh an encampment 
of Knights Templar at Penn Yan, in the then unoccupied territory 
extending from Utica to Rochester, and from Lake Ontario to Pennsyl- 
vania. On the 17th of May, with this end in view, John L. Lewis, jr., 
and Davison Moshier went to Rochester, where they received the orders 
of Masonic Knighthood at the hands' of that veteran Mason, William E. 
Lathrop. Associating with themselves several other Knights of the 
Order in February, 1849, they applied to Robert R. Boyd, grand mas- 
ter of the Grand Encampment of the State of New York, for a dispen- 
sation to organize an Encampment^ at Penn Yan. Owing to some in- 
formality this petition was not received ; it was, however, renewed in 
the following June in proper form, and was presented to Grand Master 
Boyd, accompanied by the required fee in the form of a draft for $90, 
which was placed by the grand master (who was at that time also grand 
secretary of the Grand Lodge) in the tin box that contained the Grand 
Lodge funds. In the scramble for the spoils, which formed an import- 
ant event in that unfortunate and unhappy communication of the Grand 
Lodge, the victors bore off, among other treasures, this particular draft, 
payment of which was stopped at the bank, and it was not until the 
25th of February, 1850, that the dispensation was placed in the hands 
of the petitioners. It, however, bears this endorsement : " Granted on 
payment of fees, June 7, 1849. J. M. Hatch, G. R., p. t." 

On the 9th of June, 1850, a charter was issued signed by James 
Hegeman, grand master ; William E. Lathrop, D. G. M. ; George L. 
Thatcher, grand generalissimo; and John L. Lewis, jr., grand captain- 
general, authorizing Davison Moshier as grand commander; John L. 
Lewis, jr., as generalissimo; and Cornelius Masten as captain- general, 
to confer the Orders of Knights of the Red Cross, Knights Templar, 
Knights of Malta, Knights of the Christian Mark, and Knights of the 
Holy Sepulchre. The. petitioners for the dispensation were as follows 
Davison Moshier, of Monroe Encampment, No. 12, Rochester, N. Y. 
John L. Lewis, jr., of Monroe Encampment, No. 12, Rochester, N. Y. 
Cornelius Masten, of Morton Encampment, No. 4, New York, N. Y. 
William M. Oliver, of Columbian Encampment, No. i, New York, N. Y. 
John Daggett, of Genesee Encampment, No. 10, Lockport, N. Y. 

1 The name encampment was changed to commandery in 1857. 


Clement W. Bennett, of Washington Encampment, No. i, Washington, 
D. C; William C. Bishop, of Louisville Encampment, No. i, Louis- 
ville, Ky.; and John Trimble. The last named is recorded as having 
received the Orders of Knighthood in Ireland, but no encampment is 

The name " Jerusalem " givf n to this encampment was from the 
original name of the township in which its asylum is situated. The first 
conclave was held on the 1st day of March, 1850. At this time the 
only commandery occupying any portion of the territory named in the 
beginning of this sketch, besides Jerusalem, was Salem Town, No. 16, 
at Auburn. Within a few years Jerusalem Commandery had conferred 
the Orders of Knighthood upon the greater part of the material resi- 
dent within easy reach of its asylum, none from the more distant por- 
tions of its jurisdiction applying except on two occasions, when they 
were looking toward the organization of new commanderies. 

On the 9th of April, 1852, consent was given to the organization of 
St. Omer's Commandery, No. 19, at Elmira, and soon afterward De- 
Molay Commandery, No. 22, was organized at Hornellsville ; these 
concessions cut off a very important part of the territorial jurisdiction of 
Jerusalem Commandery. On the 20th of January, i860, consent was 
given to the organization of Geneva Commandery, No. 29, and this re- 
duced Jerusalem practically to the neighborhood of Penn Yan, for 
although Ovid, in Seneca County, is still within its jurisdiction, the resi- 
dents of that village find it more convenient to go to Geneva for their 
orders of Masonic Knighthood, and they accordingly go, " asking no 
questions for conscience sake." 

It has been the custom for many years for the subordinate command- 
eries to turn out as a guard of honor to the Grand Commandery of the 
State at its annual conclaves, and Jerusalem Commandery performed this 
pleasing duty for the first time in October, 1885, at Rochester, and 
afterward was found in its place in the column in 1886, at Elmira ; and in 
1887 at Utica. In the Grand Commandery of the State Jerusalem 
Commandery has been honored by the election of Charles G. Juddto the 
office of grand commander in the years of 1858 and 1859. He was 
born in Williamstown, Ma^s., October 14, 1803. He was graduated 
from Williams College in 1824. He studied law and was admitted to 


practice. In early life he came to Penn Yan, was district attorney from 
1 83 1 to 1839, and ranked high in his profession and in mental attain- 
ments. He was an exemplary and public spirited citizen, respected 
and beloved by all who knew him. He was made a Mason in Milo 
Lodge, No. 108, April 9, 1847, and was master of that lodge for one 
year from December, 7, 1848. He was made a Royal Arch Mason in 
Penn Yan Chapter, No. 100, September 6, 1847, and was its high priest 
during the year 1852. He was made a Knight Templar in Jerusalem 
Commandery, No. 17, March 19, 1850, and was chosen eminent com- 
mander in 1853, and again in 1855, serving until 1859. In 1857 he 
was elected grand generalissimo of the Grand Commandery. He died 
at his home in Penn Yan, on December i, 1886. 

In the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite dispensations were issued for 
the organization of three bodies to be held in Penn Yan. These were 
named Penn Yan Lodge of Perfection, Jerusalem Council of Princes of 
Jerusalem, and Yates Chapter of Rose Croix. These dispensations all 
bear date July 25, 1863, and are all directed to the same brethren, 
whose names are as follows : John L. Lewis, Darius A. Ogden, Guy 
Shaw, William T. Remer, Peter S. Oliver, James Burns, Clement W. 
Bennett, Spencer S. Raplee, and .Samuel R. Fish. These bodies were 
organized and kept in existence for some years under these dispensa- 
tions. The several degrees over which they had jurisdiction, viz : the 
fourth to the eighteenth, inclusive, were conferred upon a few Masons. 
It was found difficult for the little band of faithful workers in Penn Yan 
to keep these bodies in good condition in addition to the duties that de- 
volved upon them in connection with the bodies already existing, so 
they were obhged to allow the dispensations to lapse and no charters 
were granted. 




WERE it possible for the plain, methodical and matter of fact 
writer of history to become at all romantic or sentimental, he 
might justly say: "Beautiful Ogoyago of the Senecas, what changes 
has the devastating hand of man wrought in your appearance during 
his reign of an hundred years ? " Where once alone did glide the 
noiseless canoe are seen large and elegant steam craft, each freighted 
with the fruits of innumerable vineyards, or laden with pleasure-seeking 
passengers. But to lay aside romancing and come to the material facts 
it may be stated that the now called Lake Keuka is peculiarly the pos- 
session of Yates County despite the fact that its upper waters lie in an 
adjoining shire. Seneca Lake bounds Yates County on the east, and 
Canandaigua Lake on the west ; but with these bodies the county has 
nothing in common except incidentally and remotely. But with Keuka 
the situation is different. Local capital and industry have developed 
its resources and placed upon it the most elegant lines of steamers that 
ever graced an interior lake. 

To the ancient Senecas this lake was known as Ogoyago, while to a 
later generation of the same occupants the name Keuka appears to have 
been applied to the lake. But this is a disputed question and the 
writer may be treading on dangerous ground in making the above asser- 
tion. It is claimed, and upon good authority, too, that the true Seneca 
name of this lake was Keuka, meaning " Lake with an elbow," which 
is truly descriptive of its outline formation. It is also asserted that 
Ogoyago in Seneca means "Land between the waters," fairly descrip- 
tive of the promintory called Bluff Point. Both of these statements 
may be and perhaps are true, and yet the original assertion will stand 
unimpeached ; for one of the customs of the ancient Senecas was to 
name their lakes and rivers after some peculiarly prominent point of 
land in their immediate vicinity. If to them Bluff Point was Ogoyago, 
so, too, might the lake be called, and that regardless of the fact that 


Keuka, " lake with an elbow," was more properly descriptive of the char- 
acter of the lake itself 

But this is a comparatively unimportant subject to argue in this place. 
Both sides can present strong arguments in support of their positions ; 
but the matter is satisfactorily set at rest in the fact that common con- 
sent has adopted the name of Lake Keuka as proper and fitting to 
Yates County's own body of water. It may be stated, however, that 
the white-faced pioneers gave the name Crooked Lake, by which also 
the lake has ever since been known. 

Navigation on Lake Keuka has passed through many stages and con- 
ditions since the first occupancy of the region by the white man. First 
there was the dugout or birch bark canoe used alike by the red men and 
the white-faced pioneer. This was followed by the flat boat period, of 
which Capt. John Beddoe seems to have been the pioneer. His craft 
was of three tons burthen and was brought to Lake Keuka from New 
York, being carried over the territory intervening between navigable 
waters. Captain Beddoe's voyage was made from the foot of the lake 
to his tract or purchase of land in Jerusalem in 1798. The flat boat 
period, however, was not commenced until some years after John Bed- 
doe's voyage, nor was he even to be counted among the early regular 
lake navigators. 

In 1833 the Crooked Lake Canal was opened for business. This 
brought to Lake Keuka an importance not before enjoyed, and follow- 
ing it was an era of prosperity that even the most ardent pioneer en- 
thusiast had never dreamed of But this was nothing more than a single 
onward step, and the importance of the canal and occasional sail boat 
period was more than dwarfted into insignificance by the appearance of 
the first steamboat — the Keuka — built and put upon the lake in 1837, 
and commanded by Capt. Joe Lewis ; John Gregg, engineer. The 
Keuka was owned by the Crooked Lake Steamboat Company, the prin- 
cipal stockholders in which were S. S. Ellsworth, of Penn Yan ; John 
Magee, and W. W. McKay, of Bath ; Thomas W. Olcott, of Albany ; 
and B. Whiting, of Geneva. Capt. Joe Lewis, of Geneva, commanded 
the Keuka until 1841, and was then succeeded by John Gregg, her for- 
mer engineer. Four years later the boat stranded and beached near the 
foot of the lake. She was disma-ntled and her cabins taken to form the 
nucleus of the present summer resort known as the Ark. 


In 1845 Captain Gregg built the steamer 5/i?«3^« and was her captain 
until the spring of 1864, when he sold her to Capt. Allen Wood. She 
was burned in July, 1864. The steamer George R. Youngs was built in 
1865 by Capt. Allen Wood, who commenced running her in the month 
of September of that year. In i868 Captain Wood built the screw 
steamer Keuka, which ran for a few years and was then sold and re- 
moved from the lake. 

In 1 87 1 the firm of Crosby & Company, composed of Morris F. 
Sheppard, Joseph F. Crosby, and Farley Holmes, bought the George R. 
Youngs of Capt. Allen Wood, and changed her name to the Steuben. 
In 1872 they formed the Lake Keuka Steam Navigation Company, of 
which Farley Holmes was president ; Morris F. Sheppard, secretary and 
treasurer ; and Joseph F. Crosby, superintendent. They built the 
steamer Yates. Morris F. Sheppard and Joseph F. Crosby sold out 
their interest in the Lake Keuka Steam Navigation Company to Farley 

In 1878 the Keuka Steamboat Company was organized at Ham- 
mondsport, and built the Lulu. In 1880 the Keuka Navigation Com- 
pany was organized with Nelson Thompson, president ; Ralph T. Wood, 
vice-president; Morris F. Sheppard, secretary and treasurer; and 
George A. Sanders, superintendent. They purchased the Lulu of the 
Keuka Steamboat Company and built the steamer Urbana. In 1881 
the Keuka Navigation Company bought the Yates and Steuben of the 
Lake Keuka Steam Navigation Company. In 1882 George A. San- 
ders resigned and W. W. Eastman was appointed superintendent. In 
the winter of 1883-84 the steamer Yates was burned at her moorings in 
Penn Yan. 

About this time William L. Halsey, of Rochester, formerly of Steuben 
County, became interested in the company. In 1883, owing to some 
misunderstanding with his associates, Mr. Halsey organized the Crooked 
Lake Navigation Company, with a capital stock of $12,000, and officers 
and directors as follows : William L. Halsey, president ; George H. 
Lapham, vice-president; T. O. Hamlin, secretary and treasurer; O. C. 
Knapp, superintendent ; directors, W. L. Halsey, O. C. Knapp, T. O. 
Hamlin, W. W. Quackenbush, W. M. Johnson, George S. Weaver, Allen 
Wood, and George H. Lapham. The new company built and put upon 


the lake the large steamers Holmes and West Branch during the year 
1883, and set up an opposition to the old line. The result was a most 
bitter enmity between the contending companies, which has continued 
even to the present time. The Crooked Lake Company put the fares 
down to ten cents to any point upon the lake. The old company im- 
mediately followed by reducing them to five cents. In 1884 Mr. Hal- 
sey died and T. O. Hamlin succeeded to the presidency of the company 
still retaining, however, his positions as secretary and treasurer. In 
1887 Mr. Knapp died and was succeeded by William N. Wise as su- 
perintendent. In 1885 Morris F. Sheppard was elected president and 
treasurer of the Keuka Navigation Company ; Nelson Thompson, vice- 
president ; and William T. Morris, secretary. 

In 1886 the Lake Keuka Navigation Company was formed with the 
following officers: Morris F. Sheppard, president and treasurer; F. M. 
McDowell, vice-president; William T. Morris, secretary; and W. W. 
Eastman, superintendent. They purchased the steamers Urbana and 
Lulu of the Keuka Navigation Company which was dissolved. 

In 1887 the Crooked Lake Navigation Company built at Penn Yan 
and put upon the lake the steamer William L. Halsey, a boat slightly 
larger than the Holmes. The present officers of the company are as 
follows : Theodore O. Hamlin,' president, secretary, and treasurer ; 
H. M. Halsey, vice-president; W. N. Wise, superintendent; George E. 
Mumford, H. M. Halsey, George S. Weaver, J. W. Davis, George Gib- 
son, J. H. Coryell, W. W. Quackenbush, and T. O. Hamlin, directors. 
On January i, 1890, the owners of the Lake Keuka Navigation Com- 
pany sold out to Charles W. Drake of New York city. 

On October 17, 1891, the Lake Keuka Navigation Company signed 
a contract with the Union Dry Dock Company of Buffalo, N. Y., for a 
new steamer 150 feet in length, twenty-five feet beam, steel hull, twin 
screws, double boilers, two triple expansion engines of the capacity of 
700 horse- power, and steam stearing gear. The speed provided for in 
the contract is twenty miles per hour. The material and workmanship 
are to be according to the specifications required by the United States 
government in its, contracts for first-class naval vessels. The cost of this 
boat, including its furniture and upholstery, will be something over $40,- 
000. The hull will be constructed in Buffalo, and the boilers, engines, 


and other machinery will be constructed in Brooklyn, by the Cowles 
Engineering Company, who have furnished the machinery for many of 
the recently constructed very fast vessels, and the boat will be put to- 
gether and launched at Hammondsport. The delivery to the company 
is guaranteed to be not later than May 15, 1892, which insures to the 
travellers on Lake Keuka additional accommodations for next season, 
which will in time revolutionize the inland lake traffic of this entire sec- 
tion of New York State. The construction of this boat is another step 
in the scheme for the development of Lake Keuka, adopted by the par- 
ties who have recently become so largely interested in it. 



THE town of Milo, as at present constituted, occupies a prominent 
central position among the civil divisions of Yates County. Like- 
wise it is the most important town in the county, deriving that charac- 
ter from the fact that within its territorial limits is located the greater 
portion of the village of Penn Yan, the seat of justice of the county ; 
and although the village has a partial separate organization from the 
town, yet they are a unit as far as the election of town officers is con- 
cerned. Milo is also one of the larger towns of the county, and is the 
only one that has a front on the waters of Seneca Lake and also on 
Lake Keuka. This double frontage is of value to the town and its peo- 
ple in that the special product of the locality, the fruit of the vine, can 
be successfully grown on both the east and west sides in particular, 
while the interior lands are also made productive in the same industry 
by reason of their favorable situation between the lakes. The like con- 
dition may exist in other towns, but no locality, except Bluff Point in 
Jerusalem, perhaps, possesses natural advantages equal to Milo. But 
Bluff Point is an exceedingly high promontory of land, not valuable for 


general agricultural pursuits, while Milo is a vast tract of comparatively 
level land, and has rich and fertile soil, which yields abundantly to the 
husbandman's efforts, both in farm and fruit products. In addition to 
this Milo possesses the principal water- course of the county, i. e., the 
outlet of Lake Keuka, which in its flow from Keuka to Seneca Lake has a 
descent of 269 feet, affording a water-power not to be excelled in this 
region of the State. The building of a number of large mills along the 
outlet has made Milo something of a manufacturing locality, which, 
added to its other resources, makes this the most important town of the 
county. Milo is bounded on the north by Benton and Torrey ; east by 
Seneca Lake ; south by Starkey and Harrington ; and west by Lake 
Keuka and the town of Jerusalem. Originally the town of Milo formed 
a part of the district of Jerusalem, an organized territory in the nature 
of a township, and embracing the greater portion of what is now Yates 
County, and forming a part of Ontario County at that time. In 1803 
the town of Benton was formed and organized, and included within its 
boundaries all that is now Benton, Milo, and Torrey. At first the new- 
formation was called Vernon, but as that name had been given to an- 
other town in the State, Vernon was changed to Snell ; and still later, 
on account of a dissatisfaction that had arisen over that name, to Ben- 
ton, in honor of Levi Benton, the first settler within the town now so 

In the survey of this region under the ownership of Phelps and Gor- 
ham, a subject fully treated in a preceding chapter, the greater part of 
what is now Milo was designated as township No. 7, first range, con- 
taining, presumably, thirty-six square miles of land. Being in the first 
range the eastern boundary of township No. 7 was the old pre-emption 
line. Had not difficulties and complications followed the first survey 
of the line referred to, it is probable that Milo, as afterward organized, 
might have contained only the territory of township No. 7, but on 
account of what did occur after the survey, the region to the eastward 
was annexed to and formed a part of this town. Township No. 7 was 
one of the several areas of land which were conveyed by proprietors 
Phelps and Gorham to the New York Genesee Land Company, better 
known as the lessees, in satisfaction to them for the withdrawal of their 
claims to the Genesee country under their famous long lease. By the 


grantees the lands of the town were set off into lots and drawn for by 
the stockholders of the company. However, there was a strip of land 
in No. 7, and commonly called " the garter," which was conveyed by 
Caleb Benton, on behalf of the lessees, to James Parker for the Society 
of Friends, embracing 1,104 acres bordering the pre-emption line on 
the west side. 

To the eastward of the old pre- emption line lay a vast area of fertile 
lands, claimed alike by the lessees and the State. Also there was the 
tract known as Lansing's Location. The Friends, the pioneer settlers 
of the region, made two purchases of these lands embracing 14,000 acres, 
the deed therefor being executed by the governer to James Parker, 
William Potter, and Thomas Hathaway, as representatives of the 
Friends Society. The land between the old and new pre-emption lines 
was deeded to the Friends' agents by Charles Williamson, he represent- 
ing the English owners as successors to Robert Morris. The latter be- 
came owner through a^ conveyance to him by Phelps and Gorham. 
There were other owners of lands now a part of Milo, which were 
found to be within the proper and intended Phelps and Gorham pur- 
chase on what was called the gore, but to these owners the State of 
New York was obliged to make restitution and satisfaction. 

According to the survey of the town of Milo, or rather of township 
No. 7, range one, the western line brought a small portion of its terri- 
tory to the west of Lake Keuka. This never became a part of the town 
proper upon its organization, but was annexed to and made a part of 
Jeruselem, upon the organization thereof in 1803. The town of Milo, 
as a distinct and separate jurisdiction of Ontario County, was brought 
into existence by an act of the legislature passed at the session of 
1818. The first proposed name for the town was Milan, but as another 
town of that name was formed about the same time, Samuel Lawrence, 
one of the representatives in the Assembly from Ontario County, sug- 
gested for this town the name of Milo ; but why so named neither rec- 
ord or tradition furnishes an explanation. As originally constituted 
Milo embraced all of township No. 7, first range, except the portion 
west of Lake Keuka, and all the territory east of it and west of Seneca 
Lake. The town was called upon to surrender a portion of its lands to 
the formation of Torrey, all of which is fully explained and narrated in 
the chapter relating to that town. 


Pioneer Settlement. — The first settlers in Milo were members of the 
Society of Universal Friends, who came to the region in 1788 and lo- 
cated upon lands the ownership of which they knew not of. As a mat- 
ter of fact, at that particular time there was a question of some doubt 
as to whom the lands did rightfully belong ; whether to Phelps and Gor 
ham, the Lessee company, or to the Senecas of the Six Nations. But the 
Friends made their settlement and improved the lands, not in defiance 
.of any right of others, but because the country was congenial to them, 
and they must have had some fiirm belief that they could acquire title 
without difficulty or disturbance. This they afterward did acquire. 
But the settlement by the Friends is not a proper subject of narration 
in this connection, as the site occupied by them was set ofif from Milo 
and made a part of Torrey, and as such will be found treated in the 
history of that town. 

The settlement of the Friends occupied in particular that portion of 
the town of Milo that was formed into Torrey, but in general their set- 
tlements reached out into the western localities from the lake, and ex- 
tended even into what became Benton. The names of the members of 
the Friends Society are mentioned in one of the earlier chapters of this 
work, and therefore no repetition need be made in this connection. 
Neither is it necessary to this chapter that they be mentioned other- 
wise than as pioneers of the locality. 

In 1869 Samuel V. Miller and Job L. Babcock, acting in the interest 
of the Yates County Historical Society, by patient and persistent ef- 
fort succeeded in making a reliable list of the early settlers of Milo ; 
those who dwelt on what were then the leading north and south thor- 
oughfares of travel through the town, and which were commonly known 
as the Lake road, the Bath road, the Telegraph road, and the East road. 
The results of their labors were reported to the society and eventually 
were given publicity through the press of Penn Yan. From their le- 
port it is learned that the first settlers on the Lake road, commencing at 
the Barrington line and following northward, were these persons: Jere- 
miah Decker, Henry Jacobus, Jonathan Gillis, James Coble, Mr. Wilson, 
T. Dixon, W. Helms, John Haight, Simeon Jacobus, Warren Smith, 
Dr. E. Shattuck, and George Lamb, each of whom is credited with hav- 
ing lived on their respective lands in 1806, and are presumed to have 


made their settlements about that time. John McDowell is said by the 
report to have settled at the foot of the lake in 1802, although his 
descendants contend that his settlement was made there in 1792. 

On the Bath road, so-called, commencing where George W. Plymp- 
ton now lives and going southward, the pioneer settlers were John 
Reywalt, Joseph Quick, J. W. Hedges, William Yager, Levi Macomber, 
Charles Lockwood, Charles Bundy, Simeon Thayer, sen., William Bailey, 
Joshua Beard, Hiram Post, Samuel Boots, William Hedges, Isaac 
Hedges, Ezra Cummings, Benjamin Thompson, Moses Thompson, 
Jonathan Bailey, John Seeley, and George Marring. These also are 
credited with having been settlers in 1802 and 1803. 

The road south of Penn Yan has had less inhabitants, there appear- 
ing only the names of Peter Coldren, J. Hollenbeck, Susannah Clau- 
ford, Peter Althiser, and Philip Yokum. They were settlers of 1802 
and 1803. On the east road there appears these names: Thomas and 
Israel Ferris, Jedediah Royce, Lewis Randall, Samuel Lockwood, 
Abraham Downing, Deacon Maples, Ezra Smith, John Culp, John Capell, 
Rev. F"erris, Reuben Ferris, Peter Eastman, Noah Russage, Jonathan 
Rector, Abraham Ferris, James Randall, Absalom Travis, John Miners, 
John R. Powell, Roger Sutherland, Abraham Prosser, Benjamin Down- 
ing, Pet^r Heltibidel, George Gardner, Abner Gardner, R. Champlin, 
Simon Sutherland, credited with having settled about the years 1802 
and 1803. On the road east from the lake dwelt about the same time 
Ephraim Althiser, Philemon Baldwin, and David Hall. 

Let the present generation of dwellers in Milo glance over the fore- 
going roll, and then see how very few of them can trace their ancestry 
back to the residents along these roads during the first years of the 
present century. It was indeed an arduous task to enumerate them, 
how much more difficult would it be to take each named head of the 
family and relate who they were, where they came from, who were 
their children, and finally, what eventually became of each of them. 
No person now living could accurately do this work. 

Records of Early Families. — John and Peleg Briggs were pioneer 
settlers on the location where is now the hamlet called Milo Center. 
They were followers of the Friend. The children of John and Elizabeth 
(Bailey) Briggs were John, jr., David, Ruth, Ann, and Esther. The 
Briggs family came to this locality from North Kingston, Rhode Island. 


Adam Hunt and Mary his wife were natives of Rhode Island, and came 
to the Friend's settlement as pioneers, locating near Miio Center on the 
Garter. Their children were Sarah, Silas, Mary, Abel, Hannah, Lucy, 
and Lydia. 

Lewis Birdsell settled on lot 18, in 1792. He contracted with Enoch 
Malin to build the first dam, flume and saw-mill at the foot of Main 
street in Penn Yan, for a consideration equivalent to fifty-five pounds. 
Shortly afterward Mr. Birdsell sold the property to David Wagener 
and moved to Seneca County. 

Thomas Lee and Waty (Sherman) Lee, his wife, with a large family, 
settled on lot two, in 1790. Their children were Abigail, Mary, Eliz- 
abeth, Waty, Joshua, Nancy, Patience, Thomas, jr., James, and Sherman. 

John Lawrence, follower for a time of the Friend, came to Milo from 
New Bedford, Mass. He was one of the leading men of the settlement 
and in comfortable circumstances. His wife was Anna Hathaway, rel- 
ative of the prominent Thomas Hathaway. The children of John and 
Anna Lawrence were Melatiah, Mary, Samuel, Reliance, Anna, Olive, 
John, Sabra, and Silas. John Lawrence, the pioneer, built the first mill 
structure on the privilege now utilized by John T. Andrews. 

William W. Aspell and family settled near Milo Center in 1816. He 
was born in Ireland. His children, by a second marriage, however, were 
David B., Mary A., and Elizabeth S. 

Richard Henderson was born in Ireland March 17, 1767, and died 
January 23, 1850. His wife, Anna Wagener, was born September 10, 
1777, and died November 13, 1864. Their children : Samuel, born 
March 5, 1797, married Harriet Arnot, and died April 12, 1834; David, 
born December 25, 1798, married December 9, 1819, died February 15, 
1883; Maria, born August 11, 1800, married Samuel Gillette May 9, 
1820, died April 6, 1886; Mary, born March 16, 1803, married John- 
son A. Nichols, died April 16, 1889; Rebecca, born November 8, 1805, 
married George Nichols, first, and afterward Nehemiah Raplee, lives at 
Bath; Elizabeth, born January 14, 1809, married Caleb J. Legg, lives 
in Torrey ; Richard, born January 15, 18 10, died May 15, 1864; Anna 
B., born July 11, 1812, married Barnum Mallory, lives in Illinois; Jane, 
born June i, 18 14, married Smith L. Mallory, lives west; Harriet, born 
November 17, 1816, married Louis Millard, lives in Dundee ; James W., 


born March 19, 18 19, married Martha A. Drake, and hves at Milo 
Center ; Rachel, born July 9, 1821, married James C. Longwell, lives at 
Penn Yan. Children of Richard and Rosalinda Henderson : Samuel S., 
born October 9, 1836; Charles, born February 27, 1838, died May 28, 
1872 ; Marvin and Marsden, born April 2, 1842 ; James A., born Oc- 
tober 6, 1845. Richard Henderson, the pioneer, settled between Milo 
Center and Himrods about the year I79S- 

Josiah Jones and family settled near Himrods in 1806. His wife was 
Sarah Ellis, who, as well as himself, was a native of Rhode Island. Their 
children were Timothy, Seth, Nancy, Abigail, Eunice and Lydia (twins). 

George and Hannah Davids Fitzwater, husband and wife, came to 
Milo from Pennsylvania in 1799. Their children were John, Sarah, 
George, Hannah and Thomas (twins), and Rachel. 

Samuel Castner was a pioneer of Milo. His wife was Mary Magda- 
lene, daughter of David Wagener. Their children were Rebecca, Mary 
Ann, Rachel W., Ann M., Elizabeth, and Susan S. 

Eliphalet Norris was born in New Hampshire in 1763, and in 1792 
came to this town, locating at what became known as Norris' Landing, 
where he established a trading store. In 1 793 he married Mary, daughter 
of Thomas Hathaway, who bore him five children, viz.: Thomas H., 
Benjamin G., George W., James H., and Joshua F. 

Silas Spink settled on the Gore in 1790. He was a native of Rhode 
Island, and journeyed to the home of the Friends in company with sev- 
eral other persons who sought a home in the New Jerusalem. Silas 
Spink married Martha Briggs, and had two children, Mary and Silas W. 

John Supplee was a pioneer on the Friends tract, coming thither from 
Philadelphia prior to 1 790. In that year he married Achsa, the daughter of 
Jonathan Botsford. Mr. Supplee first located in Torrey, but after one 
or two years moved to the locality of Himrods. He was one of the early 
distillers of the region, but in 181 5 turned his attention to the more 
agreeable occupation of running a saw-mill on Plum Point. He, in 1825, 
built two small river boats, named respectively Trader and Farmer, 
in which lumber, grain, and produce were carried to Albany. Peter, 
John, and Jonathan were the children of John and Achsa Supplee. 

Mary Gardner, the wife of George Gardner, formerly of Rhode Island, 


became one of the early settlers in the Friends colony. Her husband 
remained in the East, and she and her children, Dorcas, Abner, and 
George, came to the Genesee country, locating first near the Friend's 
home, but later moved to Milo. Dorcas Gardner married Eleazer In- 
grahani, jr., and had seven children : John, Abigail, Mary, George, 
Rhoda, Rachel, and Nancy. Abner Gardner married Mary Champlin, 
and had these children : Mary, George W., Rowland J., and Abner. 
Abner, sen., died in i860, and his wife two years earlier. 

Another of the pioneers of Milo was Stephen Card, whose settlement 
dates back to 1788. Both he and his wife, Hannah Card, were natives of 
Rhode Island. Stephen Card and John Reynolds cleared the land and 
sowed the first wheat west of Seneca Lake. Mr. Card first settled near City 
Hill, but afterward moved to a farm near Himrods. The children of 
Stephen and Hannah Card were John and Sarah Card. Isaac and 
Anna (Boon) Nichols were numbered among the Rhode Island contin- 
gent of pioneer settlers in Milo. They were followers of the Friend, 
steadfast and true. Isaac Nichols located on the Garter, and after him 
the place was named Nichols's Corners, afterward and now known as 
Milo Center. Isaac Nichols died in 1829, and his wife nine years later. 
Their children were George, Alexander, Benjamin, and Jacob. George 
married Hannah Green, and had one child, George B. Nichols. Alex- 
ander married Polly or Mary Chambers, and by her had these children : 
Josiah G., Johnson A., Alexander, and Loring G. Nichols. 

John Plympton and Rhoda, his wife, both natives of Massachusetts, 
came to Milo in 1 795, and settled on lot 17. John died at Deerfield, Oneida 
County, and his wife in 1833, at West Bloomfield. Their children were 
Esther, Rachel, Moses A., Aaron, Rhoda, John, Polly or Mary, and 
Henry. Aaron Plympton married Elizabeth Heltibidal, by whom he had 
four children, Daniel L., George W., Ezra W., and Mary E. 

Aaron Bayard and his family were pioneers of Benton, having set- 
tled in that town in 1798. Their children were Joshua and Benedict. 
The former married Martha Blake, and moved in 181 1 to Milo, locating 
on lot 72. Their children were Allen, Samantha, Martha Ann, Eme- 
line, Marietta, Franklin, Calista, Serepta, and John B. 

Sarah Sutherland, widow of Stephen Sutherland, of Dutchess County, 
N. Y., with three of eleven children were early settlers of Milo. The 


children referred to were Mead, Lewis, and William. From these three 
sons have descended the several members of the Sutherland families who 
now live in Milo. 

Isaiah Youngs settled in 1802 on the Potter location, near Seneca 
Lake. He was a native of New Jersey and there married Mary Hag- 
gerty. Their children were Experience and Temperance (twins), Ste- 
phen, Peter, George, Mary, and Benjamin. George Youngs was prom- 
inently connected with the early history of his town, and of the village 
of Penn Yan. He married Rebecca Pitney, by whom he had these 
children : George R., Isaiah, Caroline, Harriet, Rebecca, and Phebe Ann. 

Thomas Bennett and Charity (Hedges) Bennett, his wife, became set- 
tlers on lot 29 in 181 2. After clearing and improving a farm Mr. Ben- 
nett moved his family to Starkey. Their children were David J., Polly,. 
Elizabeth, Jerusha, Abraham H., Esther, Thomas, Sally, Samuel, Nancy, 
Stephen, Mehitable, Sophia, and Charity. 

Benajah and Joshua Andrews were pioneers in the Friend's settlement. 
The former was an early school teacher, and the latter was a merchant. 
Benajah died during young manhood. Joshua married, in 1792, Mary,, 
daughter ot Thomas Lee, sen. Their children, Jeremiah B., Elizabeth, 
Sarah, and Maria. 

John Buxton was born in Yorkshire, England, August 5, 1764, and 
came to this country, and to Milo, in 1800, his family at that time con- 
sisting only of himself and wife. Their children were Catharine, John, 
Thomas, Bridget, and Mary Ann. John Buxton, jr., married Lois Lord, 
of Sharon, Conn., by whom he had three children, John J., Lois Lavina, 
and William W. 

George Goundry and his wife, Elizabeth (Heslop) Goundry, were 
both of English birth. In 1798 they came to America and to Geneva. 
George was employed to look after the Hopeton mill, which brought 
him to this county. In 1802 he bought a farm on the Garter. The 
children of George and Elizabeth Goundry were Thomas, Elizabeth, 
Catharine, George, Ann, Julia A., Matthew, and Cornelius. 

Jephtha F. Randolph and his family came from New Jersey and set- 
tled on lot 15 of the Potter tract in 1809. His children were William^ 
John, Daniel, David F., Finch F., Eliza, Morris, Jephtha F., and Aza- 


John and Solomon Finch, brothers, with their families settled on Sen- 
eca Lake in 1808. John moved from this town to Michigan. Solo- 
mon married Sally Randolph, by whom he had eleven children, viz.: 
Azariah, Nathaniel, David, Solomon, John R , Betsey, Keziah, Catha- 
rine A., Caroline, Jeffrey, and Lewis. The second wife of Solomon 
Finch was Fhylura Markham. 

Amzi Bruen, the ancestor of the Bruen families now living in Milo, 
was born in New Jersey in 1799. His wife was Catharine Hall, daughter 
of John A. Hall. The children of Amzi and Catharine Bruen were 
John H., George, Sarah A., Horace R., Eveline H., Austin H., and 

The pioneer of the Struble family in Milo was Adam Struble, who 
was of Holland Dutch descent, but himself a native of New Jersey. 
His wife was Mary Dean. In 18 14 the family came to Milo and settled 
near Himrods. Adam Struble died in 1867 and his wife, Mary, in 1868. 
Their children were Moses, Henry, Levi, Louisa, Dean, Sidney, Phebe, Ira, 
Hannah, Elizabeth, Morgan, Fowler, and Ellen. Hanford Struble, the 
present county judge of Yates County, and Dr. Henry A. Struble are sons 
of Levi Struble by his marriage with Mary Misner. Among the forty or 
more pioneers from Pennsylvania, who with their families settled near 
Himrods, was Malachi Davis and his family. His wife was Catharine Gil- 
kerson, and the children who came to this town were Jonathan, Samuel, 
Rachel, Jesse, John, Malachi, and Nathaniel. 

Jacob Fredenberg is said to have been a settler in Milo of earlier date 
than the Friends. He was a refugee from Massachusetts, having fled 
the State during the famous Shay's rebellion, and took up his abode 
with his wife and children on Jacob's Brook, in the north part of Milo 
as afterward organized. He is said to have come here in 1787. The 
Senecas permitted the settlement but restricted his liberties. 

The family of James Knapp settled in Milo in 1815. He had been 
a soldier of the Revolution, and was with General Sullivan on his famous 
campaign against the Senecas. His wife was Lucy G. Ball. Their 
children were Anna B., Samuel C, Augustus, and Pamelia. Augustus 
Khapp married Margaret Heltibidal, by whom these children were 
born: George H., Marsena V, R., Aaron P., Samuel A., Mary L., 
Charles F., Oliver C, William C, and Franklin. 


In 1803 Jonas Yocum, Philip Yocum, his son, George Heltibidal, son- 
in-law, John Reynalt, and Peter Coldren with their families came from 
Northumberland, Pa., and settled near Penn Yan. George Heltibidal 
was a man of influence and large means, and had much to do with the 
early affairs of the locality. He died in 1808. His children were 
Elizabeth, Peter, Catharine, Ggorge, Polly, Jacob, Margaret, Phebe, and 

David Lee came from Putnam County and located at the foot of the 
lake in 18 12, but afterward moved to Pulteney. His wife was Patty 
Mead, by whom he had eight children : Polly, Jacob, Robert, Rachel, 
Joseph R., Jehiel, Erastus, and David B. 

In 1 80 1 John Capell, then a resident of Middlesex, Mass., married 
Sally Blood and immediately afterward came to Yates County and to 
Milo, where he worked at his trade, that of millwright. He eventually 
moved to a farm just out of Penn Yan. The children of John and 
Sally Capell were Harriet, Columbus, John, Eliza Ann and Mary Ann 
(twins), Daniel, Racelia, Henry, William P., Emily, and Thomas A. 

Simeon Thayer was the pioneer in Milo of a family that has been as 
prolific as perhaps any in the town. He was born in this State, as also 
was his wife, Elizabeth Lucas, whom he married in 1805. They first 
settled on Lot 35, but afterward moved to the lake shore about five 
miles from Penn Yan. Their children were Jacob, Joseph, James, Sam- 
uel, Sally Ann, Simeon, David, William, Laura, Emeline, Reuben, An- 
drew, and John. 

Samuel V. C. Miller was a native of New Jersey, born in 178 1. In 
1806 he married Esther Cutter, also of New Jersey, and came to Milo 
in 1822, settling on the Lake road. Samuel, the pioneer died in 1852, 
and his wife in 1858. Their children were Maria, Isabel, John C, 
Sarah F., Samuel V., Abram ar^d Esther (twins), Susan C, Ephraim C, 
David, Phebe A. W., Stephen W., and Robert E. 

Libbeus and Comfort (Booth) Cleveland were natives of Vermont, but 
became residents of Milo in 181 1. They were the parents of four 
children: Hannah, Naomi, Stephen H., and Harriet. Comfort Cleveland 
died in 1831, and in 1839 Libbeus married Lavina Onderdonk. 

Augustus Chidsey, native of Connecticut, became a resident of Milo 
in 1 817, settling on lot 17. His wife was' Anna Rathbun, by whom he 


had five children : Freelove, Augustus C, Sarah, Samuel B. and Joseph. 
His second wife was Sarah Bidlack, who bore him three children, 
Frank, Anna, and Ambrose. 

Charles and Catharine (Smith) Babcock were natives of Connecticut 
and New York respectively, and became residents of Milo in 1816, set- 
tling on lot 45. Both died in 1829. Their children were Job, Eunice, 
Abiram, and Stephen. 

Thomas Baxter was born at Kinderhook, N. Y., in 1776, and his 
wife Lavina Benjamin Baxter, was born ten years later. They lived for 
many years in Seneca County, but in 1839 moved to Milo, locating on 
lot 29. He died in 1864. Their children were Mahala, William, Eliza- 
beth, Isaac. Phebe, Caroline, and Gilbert. 

Terry Owen and his wife, who before marriage was Polly Finch, both 
of Orange County, N. Y., came to Milo in 1810, settling near Seneca 
Lake, south of Dresden. Terry died in 1821 and his wife in 1844. 
Their children were Nathaniel, Hannah, Jonathan, William, Julia, 
Daniel, Ira, Isaac, and Maria. 

Three brothers and one sister, Frederick, William, Luther, and Sophia 
Spooner, children of Benjamin and Freelove Spooner, settled in Milo' 
during the pioneer period, about or after 1800. Frederick and his wife 
Martha were parents of four children : Calvin, Benjamin, Polly and Ber- 
lin. William's children were William, Elizabeth, Bennett, Polly, Alan- 
son, and Cynthia. The children of Luther and Hannah (Allen) Spooner 
were Luther, Allen, Freelove, Benjamin, Leonard T., and James C. 

Peter Eastman and Sarah his wife located on the "Pine Tract" in 
Milo in 1818. They afterward moved to Seneca County, Ohio. Their 
children were John W., Daniel W., Polly, James T., Peter O., Moses 
W., William W., Henry M., and CharlesL. 

George F. Swarthout was the fifth son of Anthony Swarthout, jr., and 
was born in the town of Ovid, October 28, 1790. He married Rowena 
Russell, of Barrington, December 3, 18 18, and settled in Barrington in 
1819. In 1843 he settled in Milo, three miles south of Penn Yan, 
where he died July 13, 1853. His children were Seymour, William 
R., Irene, Willis, Norton R., Anthony, John, George, Nancy N., and 
Heman S. 

John Armstrong settled on lot 12, on land purchased by his father in 



1793. His wife was Sarah Embree whom he married in 1822, and by 
whom' he had two children, Mary Ann and Henry. The former was 
born in 1823 and died in 1858. Henry was born in 1824, married 
first Adaline Hunt, by whom he had three children, Charles H., Marion, 
and John. His second wife was Mercy J. Briggs. The youngest son, 
John, now lives on the old fayn. He married Lucy, daughter of John 
Sheppard, and has one child. 

Charles Roberts came from Philadelphia to Milo in 1799. He mar- 
ried Hannah Stone and settled on lot 14, near Milo Center. He was 
the first town clerk of Milo, holding that office from 18 18 to 1837. He 
died in 1839, and his wife in 1861. Their children were Charlotte, 
Charles H., Robert, and Clarissa. 

Andrew Stone was a pioneer of Milo. His wife was Mary Davis, 
by whom he had these children : Jesse, Hannah, Sarah, John, Mary, 
Samuel, Andrew, Ruth, and Eliza. The family came to the county 
in 1799. Thomas Hollowell was the head of a pioneer family in 
Milo, which family consisted of his wife and three children, William, 
Joseph and Thomas. William was born in 1774, and married Hannah 
Hunt. Joseph, born in 1776, married Eleanor Smith, of Milo, who 
bore him ten children : Mary, Thomas, Joseph, Hannah, Ann, Martha, 
William, John B., James, and George. 

In addition to the above families of parents and one generation of 
their descendants, all of whom were pioneers in Milo, there can also be 
mentioned others who are also to be placed in the same class, and a 
faithful record requires at least the mention of their names. Peter H. 
Brown settled in the town in 18 16. John Corner and his family came 
here in 1812. Allen Vorce and his family settled on lot 51 in 1818. 
Jonathan J. Hazard and Patience his wife and their family became resi- 
dents of Milo during the early years of this century. Their children 
were Jonathan J., Griffin B., Joseph H., Thomas, Susanna, and Abigail. 
The Perry family were early settlers in the town, and were in good 
nufnbers. The children of the pioneer parents, James and Eliza- 
beth Perry, were Thomas, Lewis, Phebe, David, Enos, Abigail, Amaril- 
iis, Dehla, and William. Gilbert Baker became a settler on lot 8 in Milo, 
in 181 1. His wife was Margaret Connor, by whom he had children, 
viz. : John C, Samantha, Jane, Darius, Lucinda, Eliza, Jonathan G., 
Cynthia, and Gilbert D. 


Where now is situated the principal business portion ©f the village of 
Penn Yan, was prior to 1796 an extensive area of untilled and unin- 
habited land. In that year David Wagener became the owner by pur- 
chase of nearly all this tract, extending north to about the present 
Court street, and including about 275 acres of land. David Wagener 
was the head of one of the most prominent pioneer families of Yates 
County, and he was, moreover, a faithful and ardent follower of the 
Friend. He was born January 25, 1752. His wife, Rebecca Supplee, 
whom he married January 13, 1774, was born November 25, 1749. As 
near as can be determined at this time, David Wagener came to the New 
Jerusalem in 1791, from which will be discovered the fact by reference 
to the following record, that nearly all of his children were natives of 
Pennsylvania, near or at Norristown, from whence the family came to 
Yates County. The children of David and Rebecca were as follows: 
Abraham, born November 9, 1774; Mary Magdalene, born February 
14, 1776; Anna, born September ro, 1777; Melchoir, born January 
31, 1779; Elizabeth, born August 27, 1780; David, born April 27, 1783 ; 
Rebecca, born January i, 1785; Lament, born November 13, 1787; 
Rachel, born September 11, 1789; Rebecca (2d), born February i, 

It is said that David Wagener came to live upon his lands at Penn 
Yan soon after making the purchase ; and that he dwelt for a time in a 
log house. In 1796 he commenced the erection of a saw-mill on the 
south side of the outlet, but in constructing a dam across that stream 
contracted a severe cold that ultimately resulted in his death. He died 
August 26, 1799, and his body was buried in the cemetery west of 
where the village was built up. He donated this land for burial pur- 
poses, and was himself the first person to be interred therein. 

To his eldest child, Abraham, David Wagener devised that part of 
his lands which lay north of the outlet, while to his second son, Melchoir, 
likewise descended the lands south of the stream. Abraham subse- 
quently purchased Melchoir's portion and the latter moved to Pultney, 
Abraham came upon the lands immediately following the death of his 
father, completed the improvements the latter had begun, and became 
one of the foremost men of the county. No man contributed more than 
he to the establishing and building up the village. The story of his life 


and actions is told on later pages of this chapter, relating particularly to 
village history. 

Abraham Wagener settled near Himrods in 1792, but afterward 
moved to Penn Yan. On May 26, 1796, he married Mary Castner, by 
whom he had seven children : David, Samuel, Jacob, William, Mary, 
Charles, and George. In i8a9 Mary, wife of Abraham Wagner died, 
and in 18 1 1 he married Joanna Edmandson of Philadelphia, who bore 
him these children : Abraham N., George, Annette, Henry N., Hen- 
rietta, Henrietta (the first child of that name having died in extreme 
infancy). Abraham Wagener died May 21, 1853. 

The surname Sheppard is well known throughout Yates County. 
The pioneer of this prominent family was Morris F. Sheppard, born 
at Germantown, Pa., November 28, 1774. In 1799 Mr. Sheppard 
came to Penn Yan. He had heard of the Friend, possible he knew her, 
but he never became her follower. By occupation Mr. Sheppard was a 
cloth fuller and established himself in that business soon after arriving 
here. Later he added a tannery to his business interests. On October 
22, 1801, Mr. Sheppard married Rachel, daughter of Peter Supplee, by 
whom he had children as follows : George Ashbridge Sheppard, born 
September 11, 1802, died February 26, 1874; Sarah Fletcher Shep- 
pard, born July 26, 1804, married September 14, 1843, to Eli Sheldon, 
died October 5, 1849; John Shoemaker Sheppard, born June 18, 1806, 
died at. Geneva March 2, 1828; Charles Clement Sheppard, born June 
9, 1808 ; Susan Sheppard, born February 26, 1812, died July 28, 1842. 

Charles Clement Sheppard married, May 26, 1835, Jane W., daugh- 
ter of Henry Bradley. Their children were Jane S., born July 21, 
1838, married William Patteson, died in Chicago in 1865 ; John Shoe- 
maker, born August 18, 1840, married January 21, 1866; Morris F. 
Sheppard, born July 20, 1843 ; Henry Bradley Sheppard, born July 10, 
1 84s, died April 6, 1865 ; Susan Sheppard, born September 26, 1847, 
died April 24, 1861 ; Charles Clement Sheppard, jr., born October 20, 
1851, died December 30, 1855; Sarah Fletcher Sheppard, born De- 
cember 15, 1856, wife of Hatley K. Armstrong. Charles C. Sheppard 
died January 17, 1888. 

Dr. William Cornwell came to Penn Yan about the year 1809. He 
was an educated physician, and in connection with his practice taught 


school for a time. He also studied law and was admitted to practice. 
He married Sarah Chidsey, of an old and respected family of Milo, by 
whom he had ten children : John, Achsa Ann, Emily, William Augus- 
tus, Henry Baldwin, Elizabeth, Samuel, Caroline, George Rathbun, and 
Frances Helen. 

Those who have been mentioned in the foregoing brief sketches were 
pioneers in Milo, and upon them fell the burden of the labor incident to 
all pioneer improvements. They, and perhaps others whose names are 
now lost, paved the way for succeeding generations of their children 
and their childrens' children ; and substantial has been the reward and 
inheritance left to many of them. Of the old pioneers the majority 
were probably farmers, while some wrought at trades, and still others 
were merchants or manufacturers. But each and all of them were 
earnest, industrious workers in the direction in which nature best en- 
dowed them with qualities of mind, body and heart. 

Pioneer settlements in Milo began with the coming of the Friend's 
colony in 1788, and so. rapid was the growth in population and develop- 
ment that the year 1820 found the town to possess 2,612 inhabitants, 
about 400 families, and there were then in operation seven grist-mills, 
fourteen saw-mills, three fulling-mills, one oil-mill, four carding ma- 
chines, six distilleries, three asheries, and two trip-hammers. Today the 
town has but three grist-mills, no fulling-mills nor carding- machines, 
no more than three saw-mills, and fortunately but one distillery. 

In 1 81 8 the town of Milo was set off from Benton and given an in- 
dependent corporate organization. The first town meeting was held 
April 7th, at the house of Isaac Nichols, and then the first town ofiicers 
were elected as follows : Avery Smith, supervisor ; Charles Roberts, 
town clerk ; George I. Remer, collector ; Benedict Robinson, George 
Nichols, and George Youngs, assessors ; Richard Henderson and Roger 
Sutherland, overseers of the poor ; Isaac Hedges, David Briggs, and 
Solomon Finch, commissioners of highways ; Isaac Nichols, Thomas 
Hathaway, and Allen Vorce, school commissioners ; Samuel Hender- 
son, Joel Gillette, John Randolph, James N. Edmondson, Peter Young, 
and Luther Sisson, school inspectors ; George I. Remer, Stephen Youngs, 
David J. Bennett, and Walter Wolcott, constables. Prior to 1855 the 
annual town meetings were held at Milo Center, but the setting off of 


Torrey in 1853, and the increase in number of inhabitants in and about 
Penn Yan, so changed the center of population in the town that a vote 
of the electors determined upon the county seat as the place for hold- 
ing elections. 

The designation of Penn Yan as the seat of justice of Yates County 
gave Milo an'important advantage over the other towns, and was of the 
greatest benefit, directly and indirectly, to the people of the town. The 
civil jurisdiction of Milo extends over and includes the village, and the 
whole people, electors, unite in the election of town officers. This situ- 
ation has advantages and objections, but these are not proper subjects for 
discussion here. Penn Yan has a corporate character independent from 
Milo, and elects its own officers for municipal government. Likewise 
the village of Penn Yan has a history which is distinct from that of the 
town at large, and this is made the subject of special and extended 
mention on the later pages of the present chapter. Outside of the vil- 
lage of Penn Yan Milo has three trading localities or centers, but neither 
of them has ever organized a population of importance sufficient to en- 
title it to any corporate character. The hamlets of Milo are Himrods, 
Milo Center, and Second Milo as at present known. 

Himrods, the hamlet proper, is located on lot No. 6 of the Potter 
location, and was originally called Himrod's Corners, after WilhemusL. 
Himrod, the founder of a store at the place in 183 1. Through the vil- 
lage courses Plum Point Brook, a small stream having no present im- 
portance because of the devastation of the forests of the locality, but 
formerly furnishing power sufficient to run mills. Himrod's Corners was 
the name of the postoffice established here in 1832, and so continued for 
many years and until changed to the more dignified, and perhaps more 
appropriate name of Himrods. 

But Himrod's Corners and Himrods have never succeeded in acquir- 
ing any special importance either in mercantile pursuits or in point of 
population. Its greatest glory was attained in the construction of the 
Northern Central Railroad, a condition subsequently slighted improved 
by the building of the Fall Brook line as at present known. 

The pioneer industry of the hamlet, or its locality, was the distillery 
business established about 1794 by Richard Matthews; and this appears 
to have been about the only enterprise, except farming, that was con- 


ducted in the vicinity until Mr. Himrod started his store in 183 1. 
Stephen Card was a pioneer in the Friend's settlement, but in later 
years took up his residence where Himrods now is, and here he built 
and maintained a public house, such as the present generation would 
call a tavern or hotel. This he conducted for many years. The next 
hotel was that built by Garrett S. Ayers in 1835, which passed through 
several owners and finally was transformed into a double dwelling. In 
1 86 1 William S. Semans built the Eagle Hotel, a fairly large and well 
appointed hostelry. It is now the property of John Sheppard, and con- 
ducted by his son-in-law, Frank Knapp. 

The mercantile business interests of Himrods have been represented 
by numerous proprietors since the time of Wilhemus Himrod, the suc- 
cession including Gilbert R. Riley, Ellis & Baker, John and Jephtha 
F. Randolph, Marshall & Sherman, William S. Ellis, Philip Drake, 
Jonathan G. Baker, Miles G. Raplee, Peter Wyckoff, Cornelius Post, 
William S. Semans, Amos E. Van Osdol, Covert & Chubb, George 
Swartz and Hiram Swartz. The last two named are the present lead- 
ing merchants of the village. In addition to these there may be men- 
tioned the grain business of S. Nelson Jones. 

The first Baptist Church of Milo is the only religious society having 
an abiding place at Himrods. The earlier meetings of this denomination 
in this locality commenced in the year 1803, and were conducted by 
Elder Simon Sutherland at Nichols Corners and other places best 
suited to the convenience of the members. In 1804 an organization 
was begun at the house of Thomas Hollowell, and completed in 1805, 
March 13th, at the Raplee school house at East Milo, then having a 
membership of twenty- nine persons. It was not until 1833 that the 
society had sufficient strength to erect a church home, but at the time 
named the edifice at Himrods was built at a cost of $1,400. This house 
was used by the society until 1868, and then replaced by the present 
large and attractive church building. As this is the only church build- 
ing at Himrods, or in that immediate vicinity, its congregation is made 
up of church goers of various denominations as well as by the Baptist 
portion of the community. The present membership reaches nearly 
125. Among the ministers of the First Baptist Church of Milo can be 
recalled the names of Revs, Simon Sutherland, John B. Chase, B. R. 


Swick, Enos Marshall, Hezekiah West, James Pease, J. Batchelder, A. 
Wells, J. Sabin, A. W. Sunderlin, J. Parker, A. B. DeGroat, M. Liver- 
more, John Rooney, W. W. Holt, and others whose names have become 

In the extreme south part of the town of Milp, about two or three 
miles west from Himrods, in the Goundry neighborhood, so-called, was 
built many years ago a Freewill Baptist Church. The society was or- 
ganized about or soon after 1838, the result of the labors of Stephen S. 
Lanning and Ezra F. Crane, ministers of the Freewill Baptist faith. 
Gilbert Baker was one of the most prominent leaders of the society, 
and the one upon whom fell a burden of the society's indebtedness. 
The church was built at Baker's Corners, on lot eight, at a cost of about 
$1,250. The society was prospered for a time, but at length fell into a 
decline with result in final dismemberment. 

Milo Center as commonly known but properly Milo, is a small ham- 
let of about two dozen houses, a store, a shop, hotel and possibly a few 
other light industries situated in the eastern- central part of the town- 
ship. This point was originally known as Nichols Corners, so-called 
from the pioneer family of the locality, of which family Isaac Nichols 
was the head and parent. And even to this day the surname Nichols, 
representing descendants from the same ancestor, is frequent in this part 
of Milo. Isaac Nichols's son, Isaac, jr., appears to have been the prime 
mover in the endeavors to establish a village at this point, and what- 
ever was accomplished in this direction was mainly due to him. He 
opened a public house at the Corners in 1820 and was the first post- 
master after an office had been established there. George B. Nichols 
and Herman Smith were the pioneer merchants of the berg. During 
the stage coach period Nichols Corners or Milo was a point of some im- 
portance, but when railroads superseded the slower means of travel the 
village lost much of its old-time importance. It is now no nearer than 
a mile from Milo station on the Northern Central road. 

During the period of its existence the Center has had a number 
of successful merchants, among whom can be recalled the names of 
Nichols & Smith, Joseph C. Stull, William Holden, Denreau & Fiero, 
Abel B. Hunt, Moses W. Eastman, George Hollowell, H. F. Anderson, 
Schuyler Sutherland, George W. and W. H. Millard. Among the va- 


rious landlords, proprietors of the public house in the village, have been 
Isaac Nichols, jr., Philip Drake, Manchester Townsend, F. F. Randolph, 
John Clark, M. Depew, Patrick Byrne and others. The present land- 
lord is Silas Spink. 

The only public building at the village is the Milo Center Methodist 
Church, a society having an incipient organization as early as 1797, 
and drawing its membership, from throughout the entire township. The 
pioneer meetings which resulted in the founding of the church were con- 
ducted by William Smith, a local preacher of some prominence. Early 
meetings were held at the Spink school-house, the log school house in 
the Friend's settlement, and at William Smith's and Joseph Hollowell's 
residence. In 1821, or about that time, the societ}' became definitely 
organized, and in 1833 the articles of association were fijed to make the 
organization perfect. A lot was purchased from Isaac Nichols, upon 
which, at a cost of $2,000, the first church edifice was erected. It was 
dedicated in September, 1833. In 1862 substantial repairs were made, 
but in 1869 the building was remodeled and enlarged at an expense of 
$4,000. Among the early class leaders were Samuel Kress, sr., Samuel 
Castner, Abraham Prosser, William W. Aspell, Thomas Goundry, Ben- 
jamin B. Spooner, M. D. Jackson, John B. Hollowell, Archibald Stro- 
bridge, H. F. Anderson, P. J. Seeley, Samuel Depew, H. T. Aspell, Will- 
iam Hollowell, L. M. Millard, S. C. Hatmaker, N. B. Raplee. 

Second Milo is the name that has been applied to one of the hamlets 
of the town of Milo, but this name appears to have been given the only 
public building of the place, viz., the Second Milo Baptist Church. 
Formerly and even to the present day this particular locality has been 
known as Cat Head. But Second Milo has never acquired much of a 
population ; neither has it any important industries or business inter- 
ests. The erection of the meeting-house brough-t^to^the place what- 
ever of importance it possesses. The hamlet is situate in the central- 
western portion of the township, at the four corners made by the inter- 
section of the telegraph road and the principal east and west thorough- 
fare of the town. 

Although Second Milo is a settlement of no great extent, it is never- 
theless the center of a rich agricultural district. In this locality are the 
excellent farms of James A. Thayer, Isaiah Youngs, Lewis Swarthout, 



Ira Owen, Abner Gardner, Rowland J. Gardner, J. P. Castner, Andrew 
Longwell, Gilbert Baxter, Daniel Plaisted, Frank Maloney, and others of 
whom mention might worthily be made in the same connection. In fact 
this particular locality can boast of as rich and productive farm lands as 
can be found in Yates County, and the husbandmen resident hereabouts 
are as thrifty, progressive, and jpublic- spirited as their lands are valuable. 

West from Second Milo about one mile is historic ground, but con- 
nected with it is but very little known history. On the farm of Lewis 
Swarthout, on a little circular rise of ground of some two acres in ex- 
tent, once stood a fortification of some kind, but by whom built, by 
whom occupied, and for what particular purpose, both record and tra- 
dition are silent ; they furnish no satisfactory information. That the 
fort at one time existed there can be no shadow of doubt, for traces of 
it even at this late day are still discernible. The only mystery sur- 
rounding the subject grows out of the doubtful causes that necessitated 
its construction. Here was the interior country of the Senecas' vast 
possessions, and not within hundreds of miles was there an enemy ; 
from which we reason that the Indians themselves could not have built 
the fortress. The French Jesuits and adventurers traveled the country 
of the Iroquois and built forts at various places for their own protec- 
tion. But of the principal defenses erected by them we have sufficient 
record, and any mention of this one is not to be found. It is hardly 
fair or reasonable to suppose that this fort could have been the handi- 
work of a pre- historic race of occupants. 

The Second Milo Baptist Church had its inception in the early meet- 
ings held by Elder Simon Sutherland during the first years of the pres- 
ent century, although it was not until the year 1832 that the society 
was provided with a church home. The first organization was effected 
in 181 1 under the name of South Benton Baptist Church, for then Milo 
as a township was unknown. But when Milo was set off from Benton 
and formed into a township the name became inappropriate. There 
was already another Baptist society in the town, and for convenience 
and accurate designation the name of this society and church was 
■changed to the Second Baptist Church of Milo, and afterward to the 
Second Milo Baptist Church. The first church building of the society 
was erected in 1832 at the southwest corner of lot 21, at a cost of 


$1,200. In 1851 a new meeting-house was built for the society on 
the same site at a cost of nearly $3,000. Reuben P. Lamb was the first 
pastor of the society, he assuming the duties in 1830, and was ordained 
in 1 83 1. He resigned in 1836 and was succeeded by Elder A. W. 
Sunderlin, the latter remaining fourteen years. Others in succession 
among the early pastors were Philander Shedd, John Smith, N. Fergu- 
son, George Balcom, S. S. Bidwell, William Dunbar, Thomas Allen, 
and Moses Livermore. The Second Milo Baptist Church now numbers 
about 150 members. 

The Ark has become one of the fixed institutions and localities of 
the town of Milo, and one which is deserving of at least a passing no- 
tice in this chapter. There once was a boat on Lake Keuka, called 
Keuka, which in the course of events became a wreck and was beached 
near the north end of the lake. Calvin Carpenter, an old lake sailor 
and boatman, purchased the abandoned craft, took from it its cabins, 
mounted them on a scow, and anchored near the now popular. sulphur 
springs. The boat with its cabins was called The Ark, and from that 
time, 1850, to this present the locality has always been known as "The 
Ark." The investment by Mr. Carpenter was in the nature of a busi- 
ness venture and it proved a success. In 1873 the old structure was 
removed and replaced with a substantial frame building, but the old 
name was retained. In 1880 the property was sold to David E. Dewey, 
who has succeeded in building up the Ark and its surrounding locality 
into a popular summer resort. 

Manufacturing on the Outlet. — From the foot of Lake Keuka to Sen- 
eca Lake the distance is about seven or eight miles. The surface of the 
former above the latter is 267 feet. From a time far back of the first 
white settlement in this region the discharge waters of Lake Keuka 
have passed through a narrow channel and coursed generally eastward 
through the present towns of Milo and Torrey, and eventually emptied 
into Seneca Lake. It was the falling of these waters over the rocks that 
first attracted the attention of the Friend's emissaries to this side of Sen- 
eca Lake, and they were the first to utilize the power for manufacturing 
purposes. From that time to this present the so-called outlet has been 
the chief center of manufacture in Yates County, and the greater por- 
tion thereof has been an industry of the town of Milo. At not less 


than a dozen places along the stream, and at every point where the 
waters could be profitably diverted, has there been some industry built 
up and operated. During the first twenty-five or thirty years of the 
present century the manufactures were chiefly lumber, flour, feed, and 
potashes, while abundant have been the distilleries in the same locality. 
The saw-mills are all gone. The distilleries and potashes have like- 
wise disappeared, and the flour and feed- mills number but three within 
the jurisdiction of Milo. Of the latter the farthest down the stream in 
this town is the present May's mills, the waters here being utilized for 
running a feed-mill and a saw- mill. This was one of the ancient 
Wagener mill- sites, and has passed through different ownerships and 
uses, .'<t one time being the fulling mill of Caleb Legg, then of the Hen- 
dersons, and finally deeded to Walter May about twenty-two years ago. 

In 1828 an act of the State legislature authorized a survey to be 
made in order to determine upon the advisability of constructing a 
canal of sufficient magnitude to admit of freight- boat passage between 
Seneca and Keuka Lakes. The scheme was found practicable and the 
result was that in April, 1829, the Crooked Lake Canal was ordered to 
be built. Work of construction was commenced in 1830 and was com- 
pleted in 1833. It was eight miles long, but along its course it was 
found necessary to put in twenty-seven locks. Lake Keuka was its 
feeder and Seneca Lake its outlet. This canal was of inestimable ben- 
efit to Penn Yan and to the country up Crooked Lake, and while it 
took much of the water that was needful in supplying power to the 
factories along its course the owners derived great advantage in that 
they were aided by the canal in transporting their products to market. 
The canal was in operation about forty years and then abandoned by 
the State, but for a time it was maintained at the expense of intersted 
manufacturers of the town and locality. 

A few years after the abandonment of the old Crooked Lake Canal 
a few of the enterprising business men of Penn Yan, prominent among 
whom were Oliver G. Shearman, William H.Fox, John T. Andrews, 2d, 
Franklin E. Smith, George Wagener, and Calvin Russell, inaugurated 
a movement having for its end the building of a railroad along the line 
of the unused State highway. For this purpose they caused to be in- 
corporated and organized the Penn Yan and New York Railway Com- 


pany. Oliver G. Shearman was its president; Franklin E. Smith, sec- 
retary ; Henry Tuthill, treasurer ; and OHver G. Shearman, Henry 
Tuthill, John T. Andrews, 2d, William H. Fox, John S, Sheppard, 
George Wagener, Perley P. Curtis, John H. Butler, and Calvin Russell, 

In the face of many obstacles, and opposed by doubting influences 
on the part of ultra-conservative citizens and a few malcontents, these 
men set themselves to work to accomplish the task of procuring a line 
of road to connect Penn Yan and the lake with the Fall Brook line at 
Dresden. As an incentive they, or part of them at least, purchased the 
old Sheets & Castner and Gillett mills, which they moved back from 
Main street and then rebuilt, with results that are today apparent to 
every resident of the locality, although to the investers themselves it 
was a personal sacrifice and pecuniary loss. More than this, they raised 
the grade of the street in front of the mills and caused to be built the 
substantial stone arch bridge that now crosses the outlet in the very 
heart of the village. 

In 1878, after many months of planning, and scheming, and arguing 
with the powers, they succeeded in obtaining from the legislature an 
act which authorized the Commissioners of the Land Office to convey to 
the Penn Yan and New York Railway Company all the lands between 
the blue lines of the Crooked Lake Canal, with certain reservations, re- 
strictions, and conditions, which are not material to this narrative. The 
consideration of this transfer by the State was $100, but the cost in 
fact to the proprietors of the enterprise and paid by them individually 
amounted to at least fifteen times that sum. Having at last secured a 
clean right of way from lake to lake by virtue of the deed referred to 
and the purchase of other interests, an arrangement was at once made 
with the Fall Brook Coal Company to build and equip the road. This 
work was completed about the 1st of August, 1884, and the first train 
passed over the line on the 3d of that month. Immediately after this 
event the Penn Yan and New York Railway Company sold, transferred, 
and set over to the Fall Brook Company all the right, title, and interest 
which the former had acquired, either from the State or from individ- 
uals. More than that the Penn Yan and New York Companj- paid their 
grantee company a bonus of $20,000 for bringing about this much de- 


sired consummation. This fund was created through the efforts of the 
local company, and was contributed by the generous residents, princi- 
pally of Milo, Benton, and Torrey, and a few from Jerusalem. 

This digression from the general course of our narrative has been 
suggested by the fact of the almost inseparable connection existing be- 
tween the present operating ngilroad company and the several manu- 
facturing interests along the line of its road. Each leans upon the other 
in a great measure, and their interests are mutual. The daily output 
of freight from the mills alone is said to average about seven or eight 
car loads. Passenger traffic must be added to this, also incoming 
freights, to furnish any adequate idea of the magnitude of the company's 

However important or interesting might be the recital of history of 
the old mills that formerly and originally occupied the sites now used 
■ in the manufacturing on the outlet, the same cannot be done with any 
degree of accuracy or thoroughness. Therefore let them be passed, and 
let the attention of the reader be turned to the chiefest of those that do 
now exist, and which have contributed so much to the prosperity of 
the village and town during the last fifteen to twenty-five years. The 
manufacturing industries situated within the limits of the village will be 
found mentioned in that branch of the present chapter which relates 
particularly to the county seat ; wherefore it becomes necessary to here 
refer to those that are located outside the village and in the town of 

With the single exception of May's mills, the present operating in- 
dustries on the outlet below the village limits and as far down as Dres- 
den, are those devoted to the manufacture of paper from straw, and 
slightly from rags. The pioneer of this special industry in this locality 
was William H. Fox, who with his brother, under the name of L. & 
W'. H. Fox, bought the old Youngs & Hewins mill, so-called, or rather 
the old Yates mills, formerly occupied for the manufacture of flour, feed, 
plaster, and as a saw mill, and converted it into a paper mill. This was 
in 1865. After about one year L. Fox retired from the firm, and W. H. 
Fox continued the business as sole proprietor until 1884, when Perley 
P. Curtis became a partner, under the style of Fox & Curtss, which firm 
has operated continuously and successfully to the present time. Their 


manufactures embrace all grades of wrapping paper, for which they 
operate two machines. The daily output of this firm runs from six to 
nine tons. The Fox & Curtis plant is called " Keuka mills." 

The Cascade mill was started in 1867, by a company comprising 
George R. Youngs, William C. Joy, S. S. Raplee, and John Wilkinson. 
It was in Torrey, but as an industry incident to the outlet it may be 
appropriately mentioned here. The firm saw money in the paper mak- 
ing business, or at least they thought they did, but results showed dif- 
ferently. The plant was destroyed by fire, and about the same time 
the firm failed. After this the mill privilege was for some years idle, 
but in 1882 Charles J. Cave, of New York, purchased the site and 
erected on it a straw paper-mill, producing the same general commod- 
ity as do the others. This mill has two machines and puts out four or 
five tons of paper daily. 

The Milo mills are the property of John T. Andrews, 2d, of Penn 
Yan. Near the site was formerly Tuall's distillery. From that owner- 
ship it passed to Russell & Co., composed of Calvin and Henry Russell 
and Frank Krum. They bought the privilege about 1868, and distilled 
high wines until 1871, when the property was changed into a paper- 
mill. The firm dissolved about 1874, all its members except Calvin 
Russell retiring. In the spring of 1882, John T. Andrews, 2d, became 
Russell's partner, and so continued until December, 1888, and then 
succeeded to the entire ownership and management of the enterprise. 
Mr. Andrews made radical changes and enlargements to the property 
in 1889, in fact building an almost entire new factory. The new mill 
commenced making straw wrapping paper in April, 1890. It has three 
improved machines with a total capacity of about twelve tons of paper 
per day. This is the most extensive mill of its kind on the outlet, and 
one of the largest in the country. 

The Seneca mills come next in point of time of founding. They are 
owned and operated by Russell & Co , Calvin Russell being the active 
partner in the concern. The firm has two machines with a capacity of 
six or eight tons of paper per day. The plant and property include an 
area of about forty acres. This mill also furnishes the electric light for 
Penn Yan village. This privilege was formerly used as a pulp- mill, and 
the site has a history reaching back into the early years of the century. 


It is to be regretted that more particular mention cannot be made of 
this present large enterprise, but the most faithful inquiry directed to 
the active proprietor has failed of its chief purpose, and been unre- 
warded by data. 

The Yates mills, so-called, until quite recently owned and operated 
by Shutts & Wilson, were sta4;ted in 1887, succeeding the spoke factory 
and feed- mill formerly of Seymour Shutts, and afterward owned by 
John Shutts. During the late fall of 1891 the firm of Shutts & Wilson 
was dissolved, Mr. Wilson retiring. Soon after this the Shutts Manu- 
facturing Company was incorporated and duly organized for the pur- 
pose of operating the mills. The product of this factory is straw board, 
or, more commonly known, card board. Under the new management 
the capacity of the mills is increased. A short distance below the Fox 
& Curtis mills stands an unoccupied factory building of good propor- 
tions and of fair appearance. Here was once a cloth-mill; then a flax- 
mill. Originally a saw- mill occupied this site. 

In accordance with a generally observed custom in closing this branch 
of the present chapter, it is deemed expedient to append the succession 
of supervisors and justices of the peace of the town of Milo from the or- 
ganization of the district to the present year. These are considered the 
leading offices filled at each town meeting; the supervisor being the 
power of the town, while the justice is regarded as his second in author- 
ity and importance. The succession is as follows : 

Supervisors. — Avery Smith, 1818-23 ; Samuel S. Ellsworth, 1824- 
27; George Youngs, 1828-31 ; Jeremiah B. Andrews, 1832; James C. 
Robinson, 1833 ; Joshua Lee, 1834; Abel Buckley, 1835; Samuel 
Stevens, 1836; Gilbert Baker, 1837; George I. Remer, 1838; Jere- 
miah B. Andrews, 1839-40 ; Smith L. Mallory, 1841-42 ; Nelson 
Vorce, 1843; Ray G. Wait, 1844; Samuel J. Potter, 1845 ; Russell R. 
Fargo, 1846; Charles Lee, 1847; Adam Clark, 1848-49; William 
Baxter, 1850; James Lawrence, 1851-52; Charles Hubbard, 1853, 
■55; John C. Sheetz, 1854, i860, 1863-67; Stephen B. Ayres, 1856; 
Daniel W. Streeter, 1857, '59; Nathaniel K. Beardsley, 1858; Charles 
Wagener, 1861, 1868; Melatiah H. Lawrence, 1862; Theodore Bogart, 
1869-71, 1873; George D. Stewart, 1872; Franklin E. Smith, 1874; 
John C. Sheetz, 1875; Daniel Lanning, 1876-79; Evan J. Potter, 1880; 


Rowland J.Gardner, 1881 ; Samuel S. Ellsworth, 1882-83; Franklin 
E.Smith, 1884; Edson Potter, 1885-87; Charles Hunter, 1888-89; 
William T. Beaumont, 1890-91. 

Justices of the Peace. — James Parker was four times appointed justice 
of the peace, the third time in 1799, and again in 1804; Benedict Rob- 
inson in 1796; Eliphalet Norrisin 1799; HezekiahTownsend, in 1808, 
and held the office many years; Abraham Wagener in 1808, i8i i, and 
1820; Thomas Lee, in 1813 ; Morris F. Sheppard in 1813 and 18 16. 
George Youngs and Henry Wisner were also justices by appointment. 
Since the office became elective the succession of justices, with dates of 
election, has been as follows: George Youngs, 1829, ''t,'}), '37, and '41 ; 
Avery Smith, 1830; Henry A. Wisner, 1831 ; Luther Sisson, 1832; 
George B. Nichols, 1834; Asa Norton, 1835; Samuel J. Potter, 1836, 
'40; R. G. Wait, 1838; Samuel Stevens, 1839; Darius A. Ogden, 
1841; Amos Y. Carr, 1842, '46, '50; Thomas H. Locke, 1843, '47! 
Jesse Davis, 1 844; A. J. Mclntyre, 1845; Peter Youngs, 1848; Green 
Kenyon, 1849; Benjamin L. Hoyt, 1850, '53, '57, '61, '65, and '69;. 
James V. Van Alen, 1851, '55 ; George Van Osdol, 1852 ; Hixson F. 
Anderson, 1854, '58, and '62; William S. Seamans, 1856, '60, '64, and 
'84; John Sloan, 1859; John L. Lewis, jr., 1863, '6"], and '71 ; Jacob 
H. Sheppard, 1866, '70; Jeptha F. Randolph, 1868 ; J. Wells Taylor, 
1 87 1, '72, '80; D. A. Ogden, 1873; Charles D. Davis, 1874; Benjamin 
L. Hoyt, 1875, '79; D. F. Randolph, 1876; Lewis B. Graham, 1877; 
Charles D. Davis, 1878, '82, and '86; Abraham Gridley, 1881, '85; 
Deles A. Bellis, 1883, '87, '91 ; Garrett A. Bigger, 1888; William H. 
Fiero, 1889; David B. Aspell, 1890. 


In the northern portion of township No. 7, of the first range, better 
and more commonly known as the town of Milo, at a point near and 
about the foot of Ogoyago, or Crooked Lake, where the waters find an 
outlet through a narrow channel, and eventually discharge into Seneca 
Lake, nature provided a splendid site upon which civilized man might 
build up a thriving, prosperous village. That consummation has been 



reached, in fact was attained nearly three-quarters of a century ago, but 
each succeeding year has witnessed some material improvement, some 
development of new resources, until by slow stages it has grown to con- 
tain a population of more than 4,000 souls, and is provided with all the 
enterprises, the industries and commercial advantages that can be found 
in any interior village in the Empire State. 

Little did that worthy old pioneer, that steady- going, honest plodder, 
follower of the " Friend," David Wagener, think or dream that on the 
tract of land bought by him in 1796, would ever be built up a munici- 
pality, and become the seat of justice of a county. But could David 
Wagener have lived a half score of years longer, and observed the 
march of improvement and settlement on his ancient estate, it is ex- 
tremely doubtful if he would ever have consented to the adoption of 
that singularly odd and unique appellation of Penn Yan, for the little 
burgh. And it would have been an equally astonishing thing had that 
good and earnest pioneer been able to then look into the far off future 
and see standing where he built the primitive grist-mill, on the south 
side of the outlet, a large four- storied, modern structure, capable of 
manufacturing an hundred barrels of flour daily, when his own little 
mill could at best produce not more than one or two barrels in the 
same time. These, and a thousand and more of other changes might 
be recalled, to show the advancement in almost every branch of trade 
that has been worked in the last three-quarters of a century. These 
comparisons are interesting to old and young alike; to the aged, for 
they show that the grand march of improvement and progress in this 
locality lias kept even step with the onward movement elsewhere, and 
interesting to the younger generations, for it brings to them an under- 
standing of how their forefathers lived, and against what obstacles they 
had to contend to establish themselves securely in life and leave a 
goodly inheritance to their children. 

The founding of a village where Penn Yan now stands was the out- 
growth of necessity, and not of design. It was a natural consequence, 
and not the result of speculative schemes. David Wagener 1 bought 

1 In this connection the statement may be made that the northwest corner lot in Milo. No. 37, 
■was originally the property o£ George Wheeler, a pioneer in Benton. The land was given by him 
to Robert Chissom and James Scofield, who are said to have settled thereon in 1791. 


the lands because they were desirable, and not that he is believed to 
have contemplated the building up of a village. But Mr. Wagener did 
not live to enjoy the substantial fruits of his purchase in this immediate 
locality. He died in 1799, and his estate in lands, on which the village 
stands, was inherited by his sons, Abraham and Melchior Wagener. 
In area the estate embraced 276 acres, lying both north and south of 
the outlet; that part north of the stream fell to Abraham, while his 
brother became the owner of the lands on the south side. Eventually, 
however, Abraham succeeded to the ownership of the whole tract. 

To Abraham Wagener, therefore, attaches all credit for taking the 
initial steps that resulted in a substantial village corporation. In 1801 
he took active measures in having surveyed and constructed a highway 
leading from Canandaigua to Newtown (nov/ Elmira). This road soon 
became an established mail route, and a postoffice was located soon 
afterward at Abraham Wagener's house. He was the first postmaster, 
and the name of the office was Jerusalem, being, as this locality then 
was, within the district called Jerusalem. 

On the first of January, 1800, Mr. Wagener moved into " town," and 
occupied a dwelling built the year before for his use. This was the first 
frame building erected on the village site, and stood where later was the 
Miles Benham tavern, the old structure forming a part of the hotel as 
afterward established. The building was burned in 1841. When Mr. 
Wagener came here to reside there were three log cabins within his 
tract, all standing on the stream called Jacob's Brook, and occupied by 
Indians and their families. These primitive inhabitants were tenants by 
the sufferance of Mr. Wagener, they having no title nor claim to the 
land they occupied. They are said to have remained for a time, but 
the constant arrival of white settlers caused them to retire from the 

The stream heretofore mentioned as "Jacob's Brook," a name by 
which it has ever since been known, has its source or head waters in the 
town of Benton, whence it flows into the village and passes through 
the business center, a few rods east of Main street, and discharges into 
the outlet in rear of the Russell & Birkett grist and feed- mill. Con- 
cerning the derivation of its name, Jacob's Brook, there has for many 
years been a difference of opinion, some authorities contending that the 


name was applied in allusion to an old Indian who lived near the stream, 
and whose name was Jacob, while others assert that the name was given 
in reference to Jacob Wagener. The latter is probably correct. 

For fourteen years after his appointment Abraham Wagener held 
the office of postmaster at his little village ; but he was otherwise 
honored in public affairs. Ij^ 1808, he was appointed justice of the 
peace for the town of Snell, which then included all that afterward be- 
came Benton and Milo. This office Mr. Wagener held for about twenty- 
five years, and from his long continued incumbency thereof became 
' generally known as " Squire " Wagener, by which name he was called 
as long as he lived. 

Abraham Wagener, the founder in fact of the village, was in all re- 
spects the honorable, straightforward, public-spirited citizen ; a man of 
large means and much influence in the town. The land on which the 
court-house was built was his voluntary gift, while also the main thor- 
oughfare through the village was donated and laid out by hinri. Of 
course these things greatly enhanced the value of his property in the 
locality, but at the same time they forwarded the interests of other per- 
sons who, perhaps, were less able or less inclined to give than was he. 
Squire Wagener continued to reside in Penn Yan, as the village after- 
ward was named, until 1833, in which year he moved to Bluff Point, 
where he occupied an elegant stone mansion which he had erected dur- 
ing that year. However, before his removal to Bluff Point, Squire 
Wagener built a second residence in the village, which stood on the 
land now in part occupied by the Knapp House, about where the din- 
ing-room of that hostelry is situated. This dwelling is believed to have 
been erected in 1816, and to it was given the name of Mansion House. 
This name was preserved in after years, when the building was changed 
in character and occupancy and put to hotel use. In rear of the house 
stood the old famous Wagener apple tree, so-called from its owner, the 
one who planted the seed, nourished and cultivated the sprout, and dis- 
tributed its seed in return throughout the vicinity, the yield of which has 
always been known as the Wagener apple. Now the old Mansion House 
has become a part of the more modern Knapp House ; the apple tree has 
been cut down that the land may be used for other purposes, and the 
founder of the village, its pioneer and most influential and useful citizen. 

cfi dY^^A/i^ / '^^ 


lies buried in the old cemetery which his father gave to the people for 
the interment of their dead. 

The Wagener lands proper extended from the outlet northward to 
the immediate vicinity of what is now called Court street, while still 
farther north was another tract which passed through the same descent 
of title and ownership, and eventually found its way to divers owners. 
It was upon the latter tract that the first village was established, at the 
point where Head street crosses Main street. The highway first men- 
tioned formed the dividing line between the towns of Benton and Milo, 
as afterward established, but the village was built up without reference 
to town lines. Therefore, the little hamlet lay in parts of two towns, 
but for some years, and until Milo was set off, all the people voted and 
acted in the same manner as if but one town held their village. When 
Milo was separated from Benton the residents south of the east and 
west road voted for their own town candidates, while those north of the 
road were subjects of Benton and voted for nominees therein. And 
even to the present day, notwithstanding the fact that the village has 
become incorporated as a city of the lesser class, the residents north of 
Head street are yet Benton people and vote as residents of that town 
for town officers, while those south of the street are citizens of Milo and 
vote for officers therein. In addition to this the residents within the 
corporate limits of the village of Penn Yan choose their own officers for 
local government, and in the corporation elections the people of the 
town do not participate. 

While Abraham Wagener was undoubtedly the most prominent and 
influential man in the village during the days of its infancy, there were 
others who contributed in no small degree, building up and improving 
the locality during the same period. Morris F. Sheppard was one of 
the persons worthy of mention in this special connection. Like 'Squire 
Wagener, Mr. Sheppard was a native of Pennsylvania. He also was a 
pioneer in this locality, one of the early settlers in the little hamlet, and 
one who became identified with its business interests when the settle- 
ment was founded. He started a tannery and also a fulling or cloth- 
mill on his own lands, on Sucker Brook. These he conducted for 
several years, until the cutting away of the forest trees along the brook 
deprived him of a sufficient \^ater supply, and thus compelled him to 
relinquish bis manufacturing enterprises. 


Mr. Slieppard was also the friend of and fellow- worker with 'Squire 
Wagener, and it was through their joint efforts that the village became 
an important point at so early a day. These men were the leaders of 
what has been conveniently termed the Pennsylvania element of local 
population, while the opposition, the Yankee contingent, were under the 
guidance of Mr. Stewart. After the senior Sheppard retired from active 
participation in business he was succeeded by his son, Charles C. Shep- 
pard, who appears to have inherited his father's business qualities, and 
who also was a man of worth and capacity, not only during the early 
days of village life, but in after years, even down to a time within the 
memory of now middle-aged men. 

In the same connection there may be mentioned the name of Asa 
Cole, whose place of abode and lands lay within the town of Benton. 
Asa was a pioneer farmer, and in connection with that occupation 
opened and for years maintained a hotel or tavern at the head of the 
street. The establishing of the public house was an important event in 
the early history of the village, as its vicinity at once became a center 
of trade. Here the stage drivers were wont to stop for rest and re 
freshment, and here the weary traveler found a comfortable lodging. 
In those days the hotel was a popular resort for all classes of people, 
where the news from abroad was always to be learned, while the land- 
lord himself was generally regarded as somewhat above the average of 

But at last the worthies who constituted the influential portion of the 
little settlement found themselves involved in a serious dispute, all be- 
cause they could not agree upon a proper and fitting name for their 
village. Numerous conferences were held, but public sentiment was so 
divided that no result could be reached. In the meantime various 
names were given the village, but most of them were applied in a spirit 
of derision. A number of the residents called the place Unionville, 
while to outsiders, who viewed the controversy from a distance, it be- 
came known as Pandemonium. The Pennsylvanians of the locality 
wished a name that would recall some locality of their native State, 
while the Yankees, the settlers who came from New England, possessed 
an equally strong 'desire that a name be given that would suggest a 
locality from whence they emigrated. However, this difficult problem 

iv,.,, %.FGKi,-r,.mrr/ 




was at length solved by the good offices of Philemon Baldwin, upon the 
occasion of a " barn raising." After the last rafter had been made fast 
in place Mr. Baldwin climbed up the frame to the plate and there ad- 
dressed the assembled people. He referred to the dispute concerning 
the name, and then remarked that as part of the inhabitants were Penn- 
sylvanians and part Yankees a compromise was fair to both factions, 
and suggested the name Penn Yan as sufficient for both parties. This 
proposition was agreed to and the christening was completed. The 
naming was soon afterward ratified in the change of the post station 
from Jerusalem to Penn Yan. 

The "head of the street" remained for many years the center of busi- 
ness and residence, but as years passed away dwelling-houses became 
more frequent along both sides of the highway leading to Wagener's 
mill. In fact it was not many years afterward that this locality began 
to assume the character of a hamlet. The vicinity of the outlet and the 
foot of the lake formed a highly desirable site for a village, for boat com- 
munication with points up the lake opened a thoroughfare of trade and 
travel in that direction. In 1800 a road was surveyed from the foot of 
the lake about two-thirds of a mile eastward, Joseph Jones, Ezra Cole, 
and John Plympton being the commissioners to do the work. Another 
road led from the Lee place to Wagener's mills constructed in i8o6, and 
three years later commissioners Morris F. Sheppard and Charles Rob 
erts laid out still another highway leading from Plympton's Bridge to 
the mills. 

The opening of these roads was made necessary to accommodate the 
Milo people in getting to and from the mills on the outlet. But about 
the time the work was commenced, possibly earlier, another little settle- 
ment had sprung up near the foot of the lake. This locality at once 
became a rival to the hamlet at the head of the street. The tract was 
laid out in village lots and many improvements were made there. The 
name of Elizabethtown was given the place, and it boasted of a hotel, 
store, and several dweUings. The tavern was built by Wallace Finch, 
who was succeeded by Peter Heltibidal, and the latter in turn by George 
and Robert Shearman. Afterward it became known as the Kimball 
Hotel, but was torn down many years ago. Another hotel stood where 
Charles D. Welle's dwelling is erected, but that hostelry eventually was 


put to other uses, and now forms part of the houses of Mr. Wells and 
Calvin Carpenter. The name of this locality was changed in the course 
of a few years from Elizabethtown to Summer Site, and as such contin- 
ued until it finally merged into and was absorbed by its more successful 
rival — Penn Yan. 

The little rural villages, one at the head of the street and the other 
at the foot of the lake, each trying for mastery in the matter of import- 
ance, could produce but one result, and that the gradual growing to- 
gether and final dissolution of the name of the lesser burgh. The Wag- 
ener mills occupied a site about midway between them, and the natural 
tendency of travel and trade was in their direction. Abraham Wag- 
ener's dwelling^ stood near the corner not far from the mills, and he of 
course drew improvements toward his own home. On the corner just 
north of his house was a store, but by whom built and by whom first 
conducced the writer knoweth not. 

During the first twenty or thirty years of its existence the village of 
Penn Yan was rapidly increased both in population and industries. The 
people who located there represented all trades and professions inci- 
dent to their period, but to mention each of them would be a thing next 
to impossible. Some were prominent in local affairs, while others were 
conservative in both thought and action, and did not therefore appear 
conspicuously in the settlement. By 1817 or 1818 the place had ac- 
quired a population sufficient to warrant the starting of a newspaper — 
the Penn Yan Herald — through which channel the business portion of 
the community could proclaim themselves and their wares to the inhab- 
itants of the region. But the one great event which gave to the old 
village its greatest upward start and brought to it a considerable popula- 
tion, was the erection of Yates County, and the designation of Penn Yan 
as the county seat. This occurred in 1823, and from that time dated 
the certainty of future growth and prosperity. With the establishment 
of the county seat attorneys came to practice at the courts ; to get the 
quiet people into trouble and then kindly help them out again. 

A writer of village history of Penn Yan, covering the period from 
about the beginning of the present century down to about 1832, informs 

1 The dwelling of Mr. Wagener was originally built where Quackenbush's drug store now is, but 
was afterward moved to the Knapp House site. 


us as to the principal interests represented at the head of the street, and 
from his reminiscences we are able to furnish the present reader with a 
fairly accurate list of the businesses conducted, together with the own- 
ers thereof. 

Lawyers. — Cornelius Hasten, George H. Green, William Shattuck, 
John Willey, Abraham P. Vosburgh, Thomas J. Nevens, Levi Lyman, 
David B. Prosser, Henry Welles, Welles & Treat, Everett Van Buren, 
Prosser & Winants, Prosser & Eno, B. W. Franklin, Henry M. Stewart, 
William Cornwell. 

Merchants. — William Babcock, Hezekiah Roberts, Henry Bradley, 
Bradley & Bissell, Ira Gould & Co., Eli Shelden & Co., L. G. Budlong 
& Co., E. Mount, John Sloan, John H. Bostwick & Co., James W. Nor- 
ris, William and John Brooks, B. Tyler & Co., Tyler & Fowle, Augustus 
Stewart, Milliken & Bradley, Wheeler & Sawyer, William T. Scott & 
Co., Moore & Coffin, Seabury Kissam, H. J. Lee. 

Physicians. — John Hatmaker, Walter Wolcott, Uri Judd, Roscius 
Morse, A. Woodworth, Francis M. Potter, William Cornwell, William 
D. Cook. 

Watchmakers and Silversmiths. — Frederick A. Seymour, Charles 
Scott, A. B. Terrill, C. H. Guiger. 

Carriage Makers. — Melzer Tuel, Amaza Tuel, James Cooley, Timo- 
thy Brigden, Heman Squires. 

Carriage Painters. — George Stimson, Charles Meeks, Edward Bow- 
ers, James I. Broom. 

Carriage Trimmers. — John D. Applegate, Lewis Ingalls, Albert Little. 

Cabinet and Furniture Makers. — Samuel F. Curtis, Amasa Holden, 
N. P. Hawks, William Morris. 

House Painters. — Stephen Williams, Jacob Woodruff", Alexander 

Mason. — Isaac Youmans. 

Dentist. — Joseph Elmendorf. 

Saddle and Harness Makers. — James Sears, L. Himrod & Co., 
Charles P. Babcock, John C. Babcock, Charles Risden, William D. Mc- 

Carpenters. — Jacob Hovey, Hubbel Gregory, Abraham Prosser, Eli- 
pha Peckins, Rogers, John Horn, D. Reed. 

Hatters. — Ebenezer Jenkins, Sutton Birdsall. 



Grocers. — Higley & Haskil], Benjamin Remer, John Norcott, Henry 
A. Tyler, George W. Mason. 

Baker. — John D. Applegate. 

Tailors. — Lewis Vanderlip, J. Seymour, George Cooley, Luther Lee, 
Samuel FuUager, Henry M. Locke, Morris Earle, Mihon P. Burch. 

Shoemakers. — Hitchcock &^cofield, John Scofield, Joseph Elmendorf. 

Blacksmiths. — John Powell, Powell & Elliott, Powell & Simonds, 
Aaron Wood, Abraham Stetler, Reuben Stetson, James S. Powell. 

Cooper. — Gideon Maynard. 

Stoves, Iron, and Timvare. — P. Carson & Co. 

Gunsmiths. — Gilbert & Bales. 

Wool Carding and Cloth Dressing. — Morris F. Sheppard, Higley & 

Tanners. — Morris F. Sheppard, Henry Hubbard, Hubbard & Warner. 

Butchers. — Nathan E. Lacey, Lyman H. Newton. 

In 1824 and the years following, the newspapers, or at least one of 
them, published at the village, was called the Yates Republican. Its edi- 
tor and proprietor was Edward J. Fowle. At the time or during the 
period first mentioned, a number of hotels were in operation at the head 
of the street, prominent among which was the "Penn Yan Hotel, Stage 
House and Livery," Major Asa Cole, proprietor. On the opposite side 
of the highway and on the corner was "' Luman Phelps's Inn." Mr. 
Phelps died in the business and was succeeded by David H. Buell, and 
still later by Dr. Jeremiah B. Andrews. Another public house in the 
same locality was that known as "Smith Cole's Inn." 

Among the men who were prominent in public and local affairs, and 
dwellers within the village proper at an early day, were William Bab- 
cock and Elijah Spencer, who were members of Congress ; Aaron Re- 
mer and Morris F. Sheppard, members of Assembly; Cornelius Masten, 
county judge; Abraham P. Vosburgh and Edward J. Fowle, surrogates; 
William Babcock and Henry Bradley, county treasurers; Abner Wood- 
worth, Edward Genung, Robert Buell, and Luther Winants, justices of 
the peace. 

Of course the readers will not be led into the belief that the persons 
and firms above mentioned were in business at the head of the street at 
the same time, for such was by no means the case. They were in busi- 


ness during the first thirty or thirty-five years of the present century, 
constantly coming and going as is the custom at the present day. 

The year 1832 or thereabout found the village containing a popula- 
tion of about 1,500 persons, and although the head of the street contin- 
ued thereafter for some time as the chief center of trade, along down 
Main street, particularly on the west side, was a number of residences 
the places of abode of the three prominent citizens as it is now. There 
were two churches, the Presbyterian and Methodist ; the former well 
up the street, while the latter stood west of the site now occupied by 
the church of that denomination. 

The court- house stood about on the same ground as does the present 
building, and was built in fairly close resemblance to that now in use, 
though not quite so large. Where is now the residence of John S. 
Sheppard stood a hotel building built originally it is said by a retired 
English sea captain, and which was called " Washington House," but 
afterward remodeled and put to use as a boarding and select school, and 
then called "Yates County Academy and Female Seminary." At this 
time the postoffice occupied a small one-story building standing about 
where is now the residence of George C. Snow. The incumbent of the 
office was Ebenezer Brown. 

The lower part of the village acquired an advantage over the upper 
part through the location and survey of the Crooked Lake Canal. The 
purpose of this water-way was to furnish boat passage from Crooked 
Lake to Seneca Lake, a distance of eight miles. The act authorizing its 
construction was passed by the legislature of 1828, and the canal was 
ordered built by an act of the following year. The work of construc- 
tion was commenced in 1830, and fully completed in 1833. This con- 
summation brought business to the lower end of the village, and corre- 
spondingly depressed trade up at the corners. The coming of the freight 
and packet boats became as common a thing as was the stage and mail 
coach, but the arrival of the former meant more than the latter. A 
hotel was soon afterward built for the accommodation of the boatmen. 
It rejoiced in the odd name of "Owl's Nest," and stood on Seneca street 
just west of Jacob's Brook. 

One of the more prominent men at the lower end of the street, dur- 
ing the period of which we write, was George Shearman. He came to 


the village in or about 1808 or '09, and from that time forth was closely 
identified with its business interests. He had a store, standing very 
near the corner of Main and Jacob streets, and was in trade something 
like twenty-five years. On the land now occupied by Hon. George R. 
Cornwell's block Mr. Shearman built a hotel, the American, which 
will be remembered by many of the present residents of mature years. 
Mr. Shearman also was proprietor of a potash works and a distillery; 
likewise a mill on the outlet. In fact he built and established two mills 
and two distilleries. He contributed toward the building up of his part 
of the town as much as any man during that period. 

But, however gratifying it might be to the reader to refer to each 
and every of the old buildings and enterprises of Penn Yan during the 
first half century of its history, the space already used in that connec- 
tion warns us that we must pass to another branch of the subject and 
give some attention to things that were and are, as well as to those of 
which it can only be said that they have been. The old buildings are 
nearly all gone, some by the ravages of fire and other elements, while 
many have been torn down, having become unsightly and not well 
adapted to the uses of later occupants. The first buildings were mainly 
frame structures, built in rows, having room enough in many cases for 
a half dozen or more tenants on the ground floor, while the upper floors 
•were occupied by lawyers and doctors, tailors and other light trades- 
men. And after the destruction and removal of the first and possibly the 
second series of buildings of frame, the owners along the businees streets 
commenced to build with brick. 

According to the best recollection of older citizens of the village the 
first brick-yard was situated out west of the village proper, near and 
just beyond the present sand-bank, while another of about the same 
period was near the foot of the lake. But about the year 1820, as near 
as can now be determined, a brick- yard was started on the south bank of 
the outlet near the site of the present planing- mill. Dr. Rayment, Eras- 
tus and Albert Page are said to have been among the early proprietors 
at this point. The clay supply, however, soon became exhausted and the 
owners moved to a more abundant field across the highway — Lake street, 
as now laid out. A yard was in operation here for more than thirty 
3'ears, and the brick there made were used in building many of the 


older residences and blocks now in the village. It was discontinued 
about twenty-five years ago. The imported bricks and "bats" were 
afterward used in filling depressed places, and were covered over with 
earth. Lake street, along where the yard was in operation, was in this 
way built up to grade level. 

Speaking of these depressions recalls the most noticeable one in the 
village, that at the foot of Main street, starting near the north end of 
the, Knapp House block and extending south across the outlet. In 
front of the block the foot passenger descended several steps, like stairs, 
and thence was a gradual decline down as far as the mills and the canal, 
while on the opposite side of the outlet was a sharp ascent before level 
ground was reached. The present mills stand at least fifteen feet higher 
than did the Wagener mills, and the bridge has likewise been raised to 
grade. All the space between the Knapp House and the laundry is 
" made land." 

Incorporation of the Village. — After the lapse of about thirty years 
from the time of the first improvement within the limitsproper of Penn 
Yan the village was found to contain a sufficient population to jus- 
tify its people in assuming municipal character. In fact such course 
became necessary in order that certain established interests might be 
protected ; that there might be regulated its internal police ; that a fire 
department might be established and controlled, and that necessary im- 
provements might be made without first obtaining the sanction and 
consent of the town of Milo, the people of which town were not will- 
ing that their moneys should be appropriated to uses of improvements 
from which they derived no substantial benefit. To accomplish this 
end the citizens of the village caused to be presented to the State leg- 
islature a bill which was enacted into a law on the 29th of April, 1833. 
The enacting clause was as follows : 

"All that district of country hereinafter described shall be known and distinguished 
by the name of the ' Village of Penn Yan,' that is to say, all that part of the town of 
Milo, and all that part of the town of Benton, in the county of Yates, bounded as fol- 
lows: Beginning at the northeast corner of lot No. 37, township Ko. 7, first range 
thence south 21^ degrees east. Co chains. 50 links, to the northwest side of the high- 
way leading by Samuel Gillett and Robert Shearman's to the Crooked Lake ; thenre 
along the northwest side of the highway, south i6i degrees west, 15 chains ; thence 
38 degrees west, 2 chains to the north side of Gillett street ; thence on the north side 
<jf the highway, south_59 degrees west, 27 chains, 42 links ; north 21^ degrees west, 


26 chains to the south side of lot No. 37 ; thence along said line north, 88 degrees west, 
37 chains and 62 links to the southwest corner of said lot ; thence along the west line 
of said lot, north three degrees, 27 minutes east, 64 chains to the town line between 
Benton and .Vlilo aforesaid ; thence along said town line south 80 degrees east, i chain, 
25 links, to the southwest corner of lot No. 64, in township No. 8, first range ; thence 
along the west line of said lot, north 3 degrees, east 24 chains and 25 links ; thence 
south 87 degrees east, 49 chains ; thence south 3 degrees west, 24 chains, 50 links, to 
the place of beginning." 

The second section of the act declared that "the inhabitants of said 
village shall be a body corporate by the name of ' Trustees of the Vil- 
lage of Penii Yan.' " 

The first annual meeting was provided to be held on the first Monday 
of June next (1833), at the court-house, at which time the voting pop- 
ulation were authorized to elect five trustees, one clerk, one treasurer, 
three assessors, one collector, one police constable, and five fire wardens. 
The seventeenth section of the act divided the village into three fire 
districts, viz.: District No. i, to include all that part of the village lying 
north of Court street ; No. 2, to include all the village lying south of 
Court street, and its east and west continuation, and north of the out- 
let ; No. 3, to include all that part of the village lying south of the outlet. 
But the village of Penn Yan at the present time includes a much 
larger area of territory than was embraced within its original limits. 
This extension was made necessary by increasing population and busi- 
ness -interests, while many who were originally outside the village 
sought to be admitted therein that they might have the benefit of its 
excellent school system, as well as other advantages not accorded them 
as residents of the township. 

The village organization was made complete by the election of offi- 
ceis provided by the act of the legislature, which officers, when qual- 
ified (the trustees), passed and adopted ordinances for the government 
of tlie village, regulating the police and health departments, and pro- 
viding for adequate protection against the loss and destruction of 
property by fire. The officers chosen at the election above referred to 
were as follows : Trustees, Abraham Wagener, R. N, Morrison, Rus- 
sell R. Fargo, Morris F. Sheppard, and John Brooks ; assessors, Eben 
Smith, J. W. Squier, E. J. Fowle ; clerk, Henry Eno. The whole num- 
ber of votes cast at the election was 252. Abraham Wagener was 
elected president of the board of trustees. 


In this connection it would be desirable to furnish a succession of the 
principal officers from the organization of the village to the present 
time, but such a list is impossible from the fact that the old minute 
books have been lost. In the office of the village clerk there are found 
two books of proceedings of the board, covering the period from about 
1852 to the present time, but the most persistent efifort has failed to 
discover any earlier record. Therefore rather than to furnish a partial 
list of village ofificers it is deemed preferable to give none at all. 

The village of Penn Yan was incorporated in 1833, and by that pro- 
ceding it was in part separated from the mother town, Milo, yet not 
wholly so. The officers who govern the town have a certain control 
and jurisdiction over the village, and both join together in the election 
of township officers. The village is subject to taxation for the benefit 
of the whole town, and the township outside is in the same manner 
subject to taxation for certain village improvements. In addition the 
village raises a fund by tax on its own property, which is devoted 
to the maintenance of its special institutions and for its own special 
benefit. The people of the village vote the tax which creates this fund 
and the trustees expend the same according to their own judgment. 

The early pages of the present chapter have been devoted mainly to 
the history of the village prior to its incorporation, but the question 
naturally arises, what can be recorded as its history subsequent to that 
time? It is absolutely impossible to supply to, the reader the name of 
every proprietor of a, or to follow correctly the changes that 
have taken place with each succeeding year since 1833, but the village 
and its people have certainly made a history, and an important and in- 
teresting history it has been. It is written in the existence, past and 
present, of every church society, each school building, and the multitude 
of scholars who have passed through its course; written in every busi- 
ness block and manufacturing industry that has been built up during 
the last sixty years. Therefore these must be the subjects of narration 
on subsequent pages. 

Educational Institutions of Penn Yan. — Be it said to the honor of 
the Board of Education of Penn Yan that no interior municipality in 
the State of New York can boast of a better system of common school 
and academic courses than this village. As a recent writer has truth- 


fully remarked, " illiteracy has but poor excuse in this community." 
But while fairly within the province of this chapter to enter into a de- 
tailed history of the schools of Penn Yan, the necessity for so doing is 
in a measure removed by the thoroughness of the educational chapter 
in the general history. However, a history of this village without at 
least a brief reference to its educational institutions, past and present, 
would indeed prove an unfaithful record. 

The first school taught within the limits of what afterward became 
the village of Penn Yan was that conducted by Ruth Pritchard, the 
faithful friend and co-worker of Jemima Wilkinson. This most esti- 
mable woman had kept a school in the Friends' log meeting-house in 
1796, and afterward at Benton Center. In 1797, having then been mar- 
ried to Justus P. Spencer, she resided near this locality and while here 
started a little school and thereafter taught the youth of the settlement 
for some years, and until the time of her death in 18 16. During this 
period, and in 18 [4, John L. Cleveland maintained a select school and 
numbered among his pupils several who afterward became prominent 
men in the village. George A. Sheppard, Charles C. Sheppard, Charles 
Wagener, and James D. Morgan, sr., attended Mr. Cleveland's school. 
John L. Lewis, sr., is also remembered as having been a teacher for 
about three years, commencing in 1815. In 1820 Mr. Gregory con- 
ducted a grammar school. 

The old school-house of the village, it is said, stood on the upper 
corner of the present academy lot, and was used not only as a school, 
but as well by the Presbyterian society as a place of worship. A short 
time prior to 1830 a brick school was built west of the older house, be- 
ing located on the west side of Liberty street as afterward laid out. 
The latter was in use until 1843, when district No. 13 of Milo built the 
school on Head street, as afterward called. So near as can be learned 
from scattering records and untrustworthy memory, the early teachers 
in the several school buildings alluded to were as follows : John L. 

Lewis, Gregory, Gurdon Badger, John Smith, Jason Andrus, in 

the old frame building on Main street ; Pierpont Dyer, Joshua E. R. 
Abbott, R. P. Lamb, Jerome Corey, assisted by Ascha A. Cornwell, 
afterward Mrs. J. S. Glover, Emily Cornwell, Hannah Benedict, Henry 
C. Wheeler, James L. Seeley, Samuel H. Chapman, Wilkinson, 


Adolphus Kneeland, Philetus Olney, Richard Taylor, John Porter, 
William A. Coleman, Henry A. Brunner, Sherman Morse, Celinda 
Soper, Sophia Elwood, Charles Edson, Henry M. Stewart, Rev. Edward 
Brown, Cornelia Locke, Caroline Cornwell, Salina Easton, and others 
as early teachers in the Liberty street and Head street buildings. 

In 1824, or the year following, the lower end of the village had built 
its first school-house, standing on what is now Seneca street, but then 
know as Ray street, and nearly opposite the site of the Shearman & 
Lewis malt house. This building was in service until 1842, when the 
Maiden Lane school-house was erected. Among the teachers men- 
tioned in connection with the Seneca street school were Crinus B. 
Feagles, Austin Feagles, Selden Chadwick, Jethro Bonney, Hiram Kid- 
der, A. C. Spooner, B. B. Stark, Mr. McGuinn, Benjamin L. Hoyt, and 
a Mr. Moore. Mr. Hoyt taught this school in 1840 and 1841. The 
lady teachers remembered in connection with this school are Nancy 
Raymond, Armenia Tyler, and Susan Shaw. 

In 1842 the school-house in Maiden Lane was erected, and here at- 
tended a fair proportion of those who afterward became and still are the 
leading business men of the village. The play ground extended to Main 
street, the scholars then having more freedom and latitude than appears 
to be the lot of the present generation of pupils. Where are now the 
stores of Roneke & Rogers, Donahue, Hazen, the First National Bank, 
L. P. Wagener, and others below, was the ball grounds occupied by 
the scholars under the instruction of Joseph Bloomingdale and teachers 
immediately succeeding him. The Maiden Lane school has been main- 
tained to the present day. Originally it was in District No. 12 of the 
town of Milo, but for many years has been a part of the free school 
system of the village. Recalling the names of teachers connected with 
this school, these are found : Joseph Bloomingdale, Howard R. Miller, 
Mary A. Jocelyn, Harris Cale, Samuel Keifer, Asa Countryman, Jay 
Calkins, John W. Stewart, E. Hermon Latimer, Laura Latimer, Anna 
Matthews, Jane Stark, Mary A. Bennett, Sarah S. Hammond, Julia 
Hard, Eliza Casey, Charity Bishop, Henry R. Sanford, Almira L. Ho- 
bart, and possibly others whose names are forgotten. 

At the foot of the lake, in 1825 or thereabouts, was organized dis- 
trict No. 9 of the town of Milo, but the district itself has now become 



mainly absorbed by the Union District. About 1824 or '25 Van Rens- 
selaer Vorcfe had a school in Aaron Plympton's old log house, and after 
the building of the district school he was its first master. Following 
him as pedagogue were Henry H. Tapper and Electa Williams. Other 
early teachers here were William W. Hartshorn, Isaac W. Hartshorn, 
John T. Petkins, James Hartshiprn, Joseph Bloomingdale, Edward Ran- 
dall, Mr. Gillette, and Samuel V. Miller, the latter in 1840 and 1841. 
Still later teachers were Sherman Morse, Jerome Corey, Lucien Corey, 
and Eber Stone. The maintenance of a school in this part ol the vil- 
lage was necessary even after the absorption of the locality by the 
Union district. Under the direction of the Board of Education in 1879 
the brick school on Lake street was erected, at a cost of about $2,500. 
Since that time the school here has been a part of the excellent system 
of education adopted by the board, and is now one of the juvenile or 
primary departments of the village. 

The Chestnut street school, so-called, likewise originally formed a 
part of the Milo district No. 4, and became a village institution by ab- 
sorption in 1879. Its patronage is derived from the residents east of 
the railroad. The union district erected the school building in 1879, 
the cost of the entire property being more than $3,000. The first vil- 
lage school east of the tracks was established by the board in 1876, but 
prior to that, and as early as 1845, ol'^ district No. 4 had its school, 
and a prominent institution it was. Among the teachers there at an 
early day were Jethro Bonney, Benjamin L. Hoyt, B. F. Cook, and 
William P. Gaylord. 

The several institutions heretofore referred to as being schools inci- 
dent to the village had their origin in the district arrangement of the 
town of Milo, and afterward became schools of the village, or more 
properly the union district. But in this narrative no mention has yet 
been made of that leading institution, the Academy, the chiefest of the 
educational interests of the village, and one with which there is con- 
nected more history, perhaps, than with all others combined. A de- 
scription of the academy, its origin, growth, and value, together with 
mention of the persons connected with it in various capacities, is re- 
served for the closing pages of this branch of municipal history. But 
in the present connection there should properly be made some refer- 


ence to other educational institutions of the village than its public and 
district schools; those that are and have been commonly called private 
or select schools. With these the village of Penn Yan has in times past 
had an abundant supply. 

The first school of the kind of which there appears to be any record 
was that managed by John W. Willey, who also was a lawyer and after- 
ward attained some distinction as the first mayor of Cleveland, Ohio. 
Thomas J. Nevins taught public and private schools, and it was largely 
through his efforts and influence that the academy was founded. Jane 
S. Bellows and her sister Martha Bellows were also select school teach- 
ers in the village, the former in 1825 and the latter afterward. In the 
same connection mention may also be made of Mary Jones, Charity 
Sheldon, Reuben P. Lamb, Dan. B. Bradley, Uriah Hanford, Orra An- 
drus, Jason Andrus, Asa P. Norton, Samuel H. Northrup, Jerusha 
Kinney, Roscius Morse. These are said to have been teachers prior to 
the founding of the academy. John Brown, said to have been a 
superior teacher, conducted a select school near the rear of the Baptist 
Church. Among the other teachers in the same building were Robert 
Murray, Artemas Bigelow, Evan W. Evans, Charles Hopkins, William 
H. Lord. Other select teachers, whose school buildings were in various 
parts of the village, were Joshua E. R. Abbott, L. P. Paddock, Nathan 
W. Ayer, John Owen, Mrs. William L. Porter, Helen M. Chamberlain, 
Mrs. Robinson, Miss Ryckman, Sarah Wisner, Maria Lathrop, Louise 
West, Miss Hubbard, Maria Benham, Adelia Benham, Miss Minor, Ann 
Arnold, Miss Teall, Elizabeth Philbrick, Celinda Soper, Jane Stark, 
Sabra Lapham, Isabella Sherman, Sarah Welles, Josephine Ellsworth, 
Henrietta Starkweather, and others whose names among the multitude 
of teachers from time to time conducting temporary schools in the vil- 
lage may possibly have been forgotten of overlooked. 

St. Michael's School. — A Catholic parochial school was started in 
Penn Yan in October, 1883, under the general supervision of the Rev. 
Father Eugene Pagani, the worthy priest in charge of the local parish. 
The school building and property are conveniently situated in the west- 
ern part of the village. The lot cost $1,200, upon which was erected a 
commodious school- house at an additional expense of $6,400. Interior 
improvements and fixtures increased the total cost to $10,000. St. 


Michael's school is conducted by several faithful sisters of the Order of 
St. Joseph, and is in all respects a useful and worthy institution. Being 
a denominational school, the expense of its maintenance is borne by the 

The Penn Van Academy. — The present superior educational institu- 
tion of the village, known and»distinguished by the name of Penn Yan 
Academy, was founded and establish|ed during the year 1857, and al- 
though then an original conception and consummation, it was indirectly 
the outgrowth of one of the ancient educational interests of the village and 
locality, But the plan upon which it was proposed that the new academy 
should be started and maintained was so complete and elaborate, and 
contemplated so radical an improvement over a preceding institution, 
that between the two and their systems of management there was no 
resemblance whatever. The first was one of the infant interests of an un- 
organized village in a newl}' erected county, while the later was designed 
to be a modern school, founded for the purposes of higher and more ad- 
vanced education, upon a broader and more liberal scale. In fact the 
establishment of the Penn Yan Academy in 1857 was a grand onward 
movement, a long stride in the work of advancement and progress; but 
like all such reformations, the subject was not discussed nor the work 
itself accomplished without some opposition and bitterness of feeling, 
encouraged and fostered by the same element of population that in 
every community invariably opposes each and every proposition, no 
matter how worthy the object, that calls for an unusual expenditure of 
means or a departure from ancient customs. However, the academy 
was founded and put in operation by the voice of a good majority of 
the people, and despite the efforts of its opponents, and not one person 
lives to-day, whether in favor of or opposed to the plan at the outset, 
but that realizes that what was done was for the best interests of the 
village and locality, and of the greatest value to the people of the 
•county. But as we are supposed to refer to events, so near as may be 
in their order of occurrence, the attention of the reader mustfirst be di- 
rected, briefly however, to the old academy. 

It was during the time in which Thomas J. Nevins was conducting a 
■school in the village that the prominent men of the place began dis- 
■cussing the advisibility of establishing an academic school to the end 


that the youth of the locaHty might be given the advantages of thor- 
ough education in the English branches. The result was an applica- 
tion to the State legislature of 1828, followed by an act passed by that 
body incorporating the Yates County Academy and Female Seminary. 
The first board of trustees designated by the act, were : Cornelius 
Masten, Samuel S. Ellsworth, Thomas J. Nevins, George Sherman, 
Ebenezer Brown, Ira Gould, Henry Bradley, James C. Robinson, Eben 
Smith, Joseph Ketchum, Aaron Reamer and Andrew F. Oliver, These 
persons, leading and influential men of the village and locality, organ- 
ized and established the school in accordance with the provisions of the 
act. The academy building was opened for pupils on the first Monday 
of January, 1829, with Gardiner Kellogg, a graduate of Bowdoin, as 
principal. The building occupied for the academy was the old Hol- 
comb hotel structure, standing then where Charles C. Sheppard after- 
ward lived. Attached to the building proper was a boarding house for 
young ladies, with accommodations for about forty persons. Mrs. Kel- 
logg, mother of the principal, had charge of this department of the in- 

But the old Yates County Academy and Female Seminary proved to 
be a rather short-lived affair, but just what causes led to its decline and 
final downfall is now difficult of determination. Principal Kellogg, too, 
remained its master but a year or two when he and his good mother 
took their departure, he being succeeded by Seymour Gookins who 
presided over its affairs for nearly six years. During the principalship 
of Mr. Gookins the academy reached the height of its glory, the cata- 
logue for 1834 showing the attendance of 202 male and 139 female 
pupils. James Taylor, Miles Benham, Charles Hubbard and Samuel 
Wise were then members of the board of trustees, while David Malin, 
Bachelor of Arts, was announced as senior tutor and classical teacher. 
Likewise, Richard Taylor was junior tutor and mathematician ; Charles 
S. Davis, teacher of English ; Chloe Parmele, preceptress ; Mary Niles, 
assistant preceptress ; Clarissa Hagaman, teacher of music ; Sarah Hill, 
primary teacher. In 1835 the total attendance was 315, of which 185 
were males and 130 females. This year the primary department was 

After Mr. Gookins left William H. Schram and wife conducted the 


school for a time, but were in turn succeeded by W. H. Schenck and 
wife. Daniel B. Wakefield next followed as principal for a short period, 
but was superceded by Richard Taylor and Joseph Bloomingdale, 
under whose joint efforts an attempt was made to re-establish the in- 
stitution on a paying basis, but without substantial success ; the Yates 
Academy, so-called for brevity, was doomed and its fall was inevitable. 
Its whole career covered a period of about eleven years. 

From about the year 1840 down to the founding of the present Penn 
Yan Academy, the village was without an institution of academic char- 
acter other than could be discovered in the select schools from time to 
time started, but only to run a short course of existence. At last, dur- 
ing the fifth decade of the present century, the progressive men of the 
village and immediate locality were awakened to the necessity of hav- 
ing a high school for the better and more advanced education of the 
youth of the village ; an institution that should furnish knowledge to 
its pupils beyond the limited course afforded by the common village and 
district schools. Therefore recourse was again had to the State legisla- 
ture, with result in the formation of the Penn Yan Union School District, 
embracing then, as it does now, a larger area than is contained within 
the village limits proper. The original board of trustees was as follows: 
Ebenezer B. Jones, Charles C. Sheppard, Benedict W. Franklin, Levi 
O. Dunning, Darius O. Ogden, George Wagener, Jeremiah S. Gillett, 
Martin Spencer, Daniel W. Streeter. The organization was perfected 
April 30, L857, with Ebenezer B. Jones as president. 

For the purpose of erecting a school building the trustees purchased 
land on the west side of Main street, at an expense of about $2,000. 
On this lot contractor Charles V. Bush, following the plans prepared 
for and adopted by the board, erected the academy at a cost of $8,000. 
The work of construction was completed during the summer of 1859, 
and the building made ready for occupancy the same year. 

While it is not within the province of this chapter to comment upon 
the character or value of any of the village institutions, the writer never- 
theless feels constrained to reproduce for the reader's benefit the words 
of a recent contributor to the pages of the annual school catalogue for 
the years 1883-84, as follows : " Founded upon a system of permanence 
and sure support, it has been a prosperous school. It has been of. in- 


calculable worth to the village and the surrounding country, and has 
given opportunities of advanced education to hundreds of pupils, to 
whom they would have been largely inaccessible if this school had not 
existed. The wisdom of its projectors has been abundantly vindi- 
cated. The primary schools were declared free upon the organization 
of the district, and the academy was made a free school to all the res 
idents of the district in 1875. 

As a preceding chapter of this work has referred at length to the 
educational institutions not only of the county at large but as well those 
of the village of Penn Yan, it is not deemed prudent in this connection 
to enter into a more extended narrative of the local schools, nor even 
to furnish a succession of the trustees who have from time to time been 
chosen to office. But it is entirely proper at this point that there should 
be recorded the names of persons who have been called to the position 
of principle of the academy, and as well the persons who have held the 
honorable offices of president and secretary of the board of trustees. 

The present members of the board of education are these : George 
R. Cornwell, Benjamin L. Hoyt, John S. Sheppard, John T. Andrews, 
2d, George R. Youngs, Perley P. Curtis, Edson Potter, Silas Kinne, and 
Stephen B. Ayers. Officers of the board : George R. Cornwell, pres- 
ident ; George R. Youngs, secretary ; Morris F. Sheppard, treasurer ; 
William P. Gaylord, collector. 

Succession of Principals. — Rev. Otis L. Gibson, 1859—1861; Willard 
P. Gibson, A.M., 1861-1863 ; Winsor Scofield, A.M., 1863-1866; 
Cicero M. Hutchins, A.M., 1866-1868; Rufus S. Green, A.B., 1868- 
1869; John T. Knox, A M , 1869-1870; Samuel D. Barr, A.M., 1870- 
1872; Burr Lewis, A.B., 1872-1873; Rudolphus C. Briggs, A.B., 
1873-1875; Francis D. Hodgson, A.M., 1875-1883; Henry White 
Callahan, A.M., 1883-1890; F Theodore Shultz, A.M., 1890—. 

Presidents. — Ebenezer B. Jones, 1859-1861 ; Charles C. Sheppard, 
1861-1863, 1865-1873; Benedict W. Franklin, 1863-1865; Darius A. 
Ogden, 1873-1876, 1880-1889; Levi O. Dunning, 1876-1877; Staf- 
ford C.Cleveland, 1877-1880; Benjamin L. Hoyt, 1889-1891 ; George 
R. Cornwell, 1891 — . 

Secretaries. — Daniel W. Streeter, 1859-1860; Jeremiah S. Giilett, 
1860-1863, 1865-1866; Lyman Munger, 1863-1865 ; John T. Kno.x, 


1873-1874; Benjamin L. Hoyt, 1874-1877; George R. Youngs, 1877- 
1880; Reuben A. Scofield, 1 880-1 882 ; Fred S. Armstrong, 1882- 
1884; George R. Youngs, 1884— r. 

Church History of Penn Van. — The first religious services in the 
county of Yates were those conducted by the society of Friends, although 
the claim has been made th^ Catholic missionaries said masses in the 
region at an earlier day. The Friends came in numbers in 1788, and 
worshiped in their own peculiar manner during that same year. Four 
years later the Methodist circuit riders appeared and labored in the 
region, and planted the seed of their afterward prosperous church so- 
cieties. As there was no settlement within what afterward became the 
village of Penn Yan earlier than 1800, it is not expected that religious 
services could have been held here prior to that time. But such mea- 
ger records as do now exist, most of them being founded on unreliable 
tradition, and still less trustworthy memory of man, leave us in some 
doubt as to whether Methodist or Presbyterian services were first to be 
conducted within the afterward named village of Penn Yan. The Gen- 
esee Conference was organized in 18 10, but there appears to have been 
no local church organization prior to 1826. However, common con- 
sent has generally accorded to the Presbyterian society the honor of 
having been the first to plant their church within the environment of 
the village. 

The Presbyterian Church and society of Penn Yan was the almost 
direct outgrowth and branch of the older society of the same denomin- 
ation in Benton. As early as the year 1819, in the month of June, 
Rev. James Hotchkins preached in the little old school- house in this 
village, at a time when there were but two female and no male mem- 
bers of the church within its limits; and these persons were then mem- 
bers of the Benton society. During the summer of 1820, at the invi- 
tation of local residents, Rev. Richard Williams came here to reside, 
and thereafter preached in the village in the morning and at the Ben- 
ton church in the afternoon. In 1821 the session of the Benton church 
held a meeting in Penn Yan, and examined Maria Masten, Sarah Corn- 
well and John Hatmaker, who were afterward received into the church 
on confession of faith. These were the first persons to be received into 
the Penn Yan branch of the church, and John Hatmaker was chosen its 
first elder. 


With the constant increase of village population other persons ex- 
pressed a preference for the Presbyterian doctrine and form of worship, 
and in February, 1823, Mr. Hatmaker, as duly authorized delegate, 
presented a petition to the Presbytery, asking for the organization of a 
separate and distinct church. On this petition appeared the names of 
thirty-eight members of the Benton church. The request was granted, 
and the society was organized on the 3d Tuesday in Feburary of that 
year ; an organization that was made fully complete on the 2d day of 
September following. Dr. John Hatmaker and Silas Lacy were chosen 
elders, and Henry Knapp and Mr. Lacy were elected deacons. For a 
period of four years from the first preachings by Mr. Williams the new 
society had no church home, but in 1824, the same year in which the 
Benton society erected its church, the local edifice was erected. It was 
a small, unpretentious building of frame material, but sufficient for the 
purposes pf the society at that time. ^Its location was on the east side of 
Main street, near and just above the residence of T. F. Wheeler. 
From the time of the organization of the society down to the year 1841, 
the Presbyterian church maintained a steady and healthful growth, both 
in membership and influence, but in the year last mentioned there 
occurred a serious division among its members, growing out of a dis- 
cussion relative to church action and doctrines, and increased in feeling 
by the divided sentiment over the question of slavery. The result was 
the withdrawal of a majority of the members from their church con- 
nection, in which action they were counseled and followed by the pas- 
tor, the Rev. Ovid Miner. The dissenters not only severed their rela- 
tions with the mother society, but organized for themselves, and built 
a church edifice at the corner of Main and Chapel streets, the same 
building, though now enlarged, at present occupied by the society of 
the Methodist Episcopal church. 

In this connection it may be stated that the new society, which by 
the way styled themselves Congregationalists, and adopted that form of 
church government, never acquired any substantial strength. They 
built the edifice now owned by the Methodist society, in 1841, but in 
years afterward themselves became involved in a controversy, with re- 
sult in the dismemberment of their organization. A portion of their 
membership formed a new society styled the Wesleyan church; some 



returned to the mother society which they had deserted, while still 
others drifted into other churches or remained unallied to any religious 
—^Notwithstanding the serious blow against the welfare of the church, 
caused by the withdrawal of the majority of its member's, the society in 
about four months secured the services of the Rev. James Richards, and 
agreed to pay him an increased salary. Also they determined upon radi-. 
cal changes and improvements in the church edifice, which were accom- 
plished, but at the expense of a heavy debt which hung over the society 
for many years. But with the lapse of time and the return of many of 
the former members the church again assumed her former position 
among the influential societies of the village. In 1864 the building was 
again subjected to repairs and enlargement to meet the requirements of 
the society, and on the 22d of October of that year the church was re- 
dedicated. However, fifteen years more of increasing strength demon- 
strated that the old church home was no longer sufficient for the society's 
uses, and the building of an entirely new and more spacious and elegant 
modern house of worship became imperative. The site chosen was at 
the corner of Main and Clinton streets, upon which was erected by far 
the most beautiful edifice in the county. It needs no other description 
on these pages. Conspicuously carved on the corner stone are the years 
" 1 824-1 879," denoting the time of erecting the first and the latest 
churches of the society. 

The succession of pastors of the First Presbyterian church of Penn 
Yan has been as follows: Richard Williams, from September, 1820, to 
February 19, 1825; Chauncey Eddy, 1826 to September 19, 1831 ; 
Samuel A. Allen, October 8, to December 8, 1831 ; Stephen Crosby, 
February, 1832, to August i, 1836; Ovid Miner, April i, 1837, to Feb- 
ruary 17, 1841 ; James Richards, June 8, 1841, to November 18, 1847 ! 
William W. Robinson, from early in 1848 to November 14, 1850 ; James 
Eells, September 23, 185 1, to October 27, 1854; W. W.Taylor, Decem- 
ber, 1854, to April I, i860; L. S. Fine, October I, i860, to June, 1862 ; 
Frederick Starr, March i, 1864, to May, 1865; David Magie, 1865 to 
1872; William Lawrie, 1872 to 1873; D. Henry Palmer, 1873 to the 
present time. 

The Methodist Episcopal church in Penn Yan was not regularly organ- 


ized until the year 1826, at which time the village society was made a 
distinct appointment. Although there may be no record by which the 
question can be acurately determined, yet there is reason to believe that 
Methodist services were held and conducted in the village several years 
earlier than the organization. As a matter of fact Methodism in the 
county, or what afterward became the county, dates back to 1 792, and al- 
though there could not have been services in the village until after the 
latter was founded, there is good reason to suppose that class services 
at least were held here soon after the year 1805, or about that time. 

In 1826 Abram Prosser, the first known class leader, caused to be 
erected for the M. E. society a frame church. Its site was on Chapel 
street, in rear of the present edifice of the society, and about where the 
horse sheds now stand. Becoming too small for the requirements of 
the congregation, the old building was vacated, and the church property 
of the Congregational society, located at the corner of Main and Chapel 
streets, was acquired by purchase. This occurred in 1857, but two years 
later it was found necessary to enlarge the building. Additional altera- 
tions and enlargements were again made in 1881. The old first church 
building was removed from its original site to a lot just east of the land- 
ing place of the old line boats. 

Numerically, financially, and in influence and good works, the Metho- 
dist Episcopal society is strong. In 1828 the church had a membership 
of but thirty persons ; in 189 1 the number is found to be four hundred 
and thirty. As a regular appointment the first services were con- 
ducted by John B. Alverson, who continued in charge three years, the 
last year being made nominally supernumerary, so as not to conflict with 
the church rule. Commencing with Rev. Alverson the succession of 
pastors of the church has been as follows : 

John B. Alverson, 1826-28; Abner Chase, 1829; Manley Tooker, 
1830; Chester V. Adgate, 1831-32; Wilbur Hoag, 1833; Robert 
Parker, 1834; Thomas J. Champion, 1835; Seth Mattison, 1836; 
Thomas J. Champion, 1837 ; Allen Steele, 1838 ; Freeborn G. Hibbard, 
1839; William P. Davis, 1840; F. G. Hibbard, 1841-42; Clinton W. 
Sears, 1843; Isaiah McMahon, 1844-45; Willi'am H. Goodwin, 1846- 
47; Alpha Wright, 1848-49; Israel H. Kellogg, 1850-51; Daniel 
Dana Buck, 1852-53; Thomas Tousey, 1854-55; Nathan Fellows,. 


1856-57; John C. Nobles, 1858-59; Sanford VanBenschoten, 1860- 
61; Charles W. Bennett, 1862-63; D. D. Buck, 1864-65; Thomas 
Tousey, 1866-68; James E. Latimer, 1869; William R. Benham, 1870 
-71; M S. Leet, 1872-73; J. P. Farmer, 1874-75; K. P. Jervis, 
1876-77; A. N. Damon, 1878-80; E. M. Mills, 1881-83; J- H. 
McCarty, 1884-86; J. V. Benham, 1887-89; L. F. Congdon, 1890. 
Rev. C. N. Adgate died during his pastorate in 1832, and Rev. Schuyier 
Seager was appointed to fill out the term. Rev, J. P. Farmer resigned 
in 1875, and the term of appointment was filled by Rev. F. S. Stein. 

Baptist preaching in this locality was conducted by Elder Simon 
Sutherland and Rev. Samuel Carpenter as early as 181 1, but it was not 
until the year 1829 that any movement was made in the direction of 
establishing a Baptist society in Penn Yan. In the year last named 
about eighteen or twenty former members of the old Second Milo 
church severed their relations with the mother society for the purpose of 
founding a Baptist church in the village. Among the persons so with- 
drawing from the old society are remembered these: Stephen and Polly 
Raymond, Gideon Burtch, Thomas, Lydia and Mehitable Benedict, 
Samuel and Isaac Raymond, WiUiam and Lucy Freeman, Pond and 
Pamelia Curtis, Eunice Randall, Artemas Enos, Sister Youmans, Sally 
Nash, Mary Telford and Sister Firman. 

The early meetings of the new society were held in residences of 
members, in old Masonic hall, schools, the court-house, and in the 
printing office of Brother Bennett. In April, 1831, a meeting was held 
in the old academy, at which time were chosen these trustees: Morris 
Earle, Stephen Raymond, and Abraham H. Bennett. At a meeting 
held February 1 1, 1834, it was resolved to build a brick church on Main 
street, to be in size forty feet front and sixty feet deep. At the same 
time the society chose a building committee, as follows : William M. 
Oliver, Morris F. Sheppard, Elipha Peckins, Abraham H. Bennett, Will- 
iam Babcock, and S. S. Barker. The first house of worship occupied 
the same site as the present church of this society. It was a plain brick 
building and cost $9,000. It was occupied by the society until 1870, 
and then torn down to make room for the elegant edifice to be erected 
the next year. The new church was built by Moses E. Buck, at an ex- 
pense of $15,000, besides the material in the old building. The entire 


new building, including lot, represented a total of $a5,ooo. The trus- 
tees were the building committee of the new edifice, and were as follows : 
Andrew F. Chapman, Martin F. Hicks, Henry A. Douglass, George 
W. Shannon, Ephraim Sanford, Jeremiah Raymond, Henry Briggs, 
Watkins Davis, and Gilbert Sherer. The new church was appropriately 
dedicated May 18, 1 871, the sermon of the occasion being delivered by 
Rev. T. Edwin Brown, of Rochester. 

The following named persons comprise the succession of pastors of 
the Baptist church and society, viz.: Samuel Carpenter, David Hulburt, 
John D. Hart, Ira Bennett, Orel Montague, Samuel Adsit, Howell 
Smith, Hiram K. Stimpson, Charles Morton, Samuel D. Bainbridge, 
Charles N. Chandler, Edwin P. Brigham, N. Judson Clark, G. M. Peters, 
T. R. Peters, J. P. Farmer, D. Crosby, D. R. Watson, and Edward M. 

St. Mark's Church and parish became a separate organization by ac- 
tion taken by the proper authorities on the 8th day of May, 1837, 
but prior to that time, and during the period from 1826 to 1837, Epis- 
copal services were undoubtedly held in the residence of Rev. William 
Bostwick, missionary at Hammondsport and Bath. Upon the organi- 
zation of the local parish Henry Rose and Abraham Dox were chosen 
wardens, and John N. Rose, Dr. Henry P. Sartwell, Seabury Kissam, 
Francis M. Potter, Erastus Page, Ebenezer Lord, B. W. Franklin, and 
William C. Parsons were likewise chosen vestrymen. In 1838, the 
year next succeeding that in which the parish was organized, the church 
edifice was erected on the lot where now stands the dwelling of William 
N. Wise. It was consecrated on the 8th day of August. Its cost was 
about $7,000. The services of the church held prior to the erection of 
the edifice were conducted regularly in the old Masonic Hall on Court 

" The church in Penn Yan," says a recently written historical article, 
" has had a checkered history. Its growth has not been proportionate 
to that of churches in neighboring villages. This, no doubt, was due 
principally to the frequent changes and long vacancies in the rectorship. 
During the Rebellion the bitter partizan spirit which influenced all 
classes was permitted to invade the parish, and finally culminated in the 
withdrawal, about 1870, of a large number of its members. But the 


organization of a -second parish was not effected until 187,1. The new 
parish assumed the name of Grace Church. Rev. George M. Stanley 
was called to be its rector, but resigned after a brief pastorate of about 
six months. The Missionary Board of the parish having withheld the 
necessary aid, services were soon discontinued and the work of erecting 
a church on the corner of M^n and Clinton streets was abandoned." 

The old parish, after the loss of so many of its members, was able to 
maintain but a feeble existence. Rev. B. F. Taylor officiated for a 
time and was succeeded by Edmond Burke as lay reader, and after his 
ordination to the deaconate, September 15, 1872, was placed in charge 
of the parish. At this time the finances of the church were so low 
that the rectory and a part of the church lot were sold for debt. After 
the departure of Mr. Burke no regular services were held until 1875, 
but with the coming of Rev. H. L. Dennis, missionary, both branches of 
the church attended the services. Rev. William Catterson became res- 
ident clergyman on October i, 1877, and in Easter week of 1878 there 
occurred a practical reorganization, with the election of officers to the 
places that had been three years vacant. Horatio W. Perkins and Au- 
gustus W. Franklin were elected wardens, and John C. Sheetz, Henry 
Tuthill, William H. Fox, George Y. Eastman, E. B. Sample, Thomas 
Emory, H. Rose, and C. J. Page, vestrymen. 

The church had for some time considered the question of erecting a 
more suitable edifice, but the condition of the parish did not appear to 
justify such action. But after some hesitation the vestry was induced 
to exchange the old property for the lot at the corner of Main and 
Clinton streets to which they acquired title, and on which, on the found- 
ation already in part laid, was built the present attractive English 
gothic structure. ' Its cost entire amounted to about $9,000, and it has 
a seating capacity sufficient for 250 persons. The names of the follow- 
ing rectors appear in succession on the church register : Edmond Em- 
bury, B. W. Stone, Henry Stanley, O. F. Starkey, P. F. Stryker, 
Anthony Schuyler, George N. Cheney, John Long, T. F. Wardwell, 
G. W. Mayer, William Catterson, George S. Teller, William H. Lord. 
The latter, Mr. Lord, became rector of the parish in 1884 and has con- 
tinued in that capacity to the present time. 

St. Mark's parish contains about eighty-five families, while the com- 


municants number about I2Q. The officers are: Horatio W. Perkins 
and Augustus W. Franklin, wardens; John C. Sheetz, George Beebe, 
Edson Potter, Wade Shannon, Perley P. Curtis, D. H. Stoll, George 
C. Snow, and Henry Rose, Vestrymen. 

In 1849 there were resident in and about Penn Yan about fifteen 
Catholic families. In 1891 the parish of St. Michael's Church numbers 
about 300 families. In the year first mentioned the Right Rev. John 
Timon, bishop of Buffalo, authorized Thomas Hendricks to raise by 
subscription funds sufficient to build a church, which was done. Abra- 
ham Wagerver generously donated a lot on Pine street for the erection 
of the edifice, the deed therefor being excuted to the bishop. On this 
lot John Southerland built the church at a cost of $2,200. The church 
was dedicated during the same year and was christened St. Michael's 
Church. Afterward and during the pastorate of Father Dean the par- 
sonage was erected, costing $1,500 ; and still later Father English en- 
larged the church edifice, frescoed its interior, placed new seats in the 
auditorium, painted the building, and otherwise improved the property 
at an expense of $1,500. He, too, paid the debt against the church 
and cemetery. The succession of priests in charge of St. Michael's 
Church and parish with their term of service has been as follows : 
Michael Gilbride, about three years ; P. Canny, two years ; Joseph F. 
Dean, two years; Joseph McKenna, seven years; D. English, more 
than six years; Edward McGown, about six years; W. A. Gregg, 
until January, 1877, when the Rev. Eugene Pagani, the present pastor, 
was appointed by the bishop to the pastoral charge of the parish. 
Connected with St. Michael's parish is a parochial school, an account 
of which will be found on a preceding page. 

The Fire Department. — The present excellent fire department of the 
village had its origin in the little embryo organization that came into 
spontaneous existence during thej early years of Penn Yan history. 
No sooner did it become an assured fact that this place was at some 
time to become a village, than the inhabitants began casting about for 
some means of protection against fire. The first organization of any 
sort was the famous bucket brigade, not a mythical, but a real, live 
company, whose duty it was, and enjoined upon it by ordinance, to re- 
pair at once to the scene of conflagration, armed and equipped with at 


least one stout leathern bucket. At that time the local laws also pre- 
scribed that every householder should keep a bucket in some convenient 
place within his domicile, and in case of fire whatever male person 
should be present was expected to take his place in the line and " hand 
the bucket." 

With the rapid growth in population and its consequent increase in 
number of buildings, it soon became necessary to provide other and 
more effectual means for extinguishing fires, and this led to the pur- 
chase of the old famous engine called the " Cataract ; " but the bucket 
brigade was by no means abandoned, as the Cataract had but little 
greater power than a large " squirt-gun." However it was the imple- 
ment of the period and was the first engine appliance of the village, 
and as such was in use for about a score or more of years. 

In the fall of 1835, after the burning of the old court-house, the vil- 
lage authorities, for Penn Yan had then been incorporated, took meas- 
ures looking to the organization of a fire department. A meeting was 
held and Thomas H. Locke was chosen chief engineer of such a depart- 
ment as should be formed. He at once called for volunteers for a 
company of fire fighters, and it was not long before the ranks were well 
filled. About this time the trustees authorized the chief to proceed to 
Rochester and there purchase an engine suitable for the requirements 
of the village. The old brake engine, called the " Neptune," was the 
result of Mr. Locke's mission, together with a good supply of leather 
hose. The Neptune was first called into service on the occasion of the 
burning of " Brimstone Row," so-called, extending from Wheeler's cor- 
ner north to Hamlin's store. Of course a hose company was formed 
to operate in conjunction with the engine. 

The Cataract was kept in a small shanty on Head street, and the 
Neptune became the possession of the lower end of the street, being 
kept in an engine-house which stood just west of where the Shearman 
House is located. Subsequently another brake engine somewhat sim- 
ilar to the Neptune was purchased, and then the department began to 
assume more tangible shape and form. There were two engine com- 
panies, No. I and No. 2, and their co-operating hose companies. These 
fire department equipments supplied the village for many years, and 
until the purchase of the steamer in 1872. 


In 1864 a charter was granted the village, and in the act then passed 
provision was made for a regularly organized and well appointed fire 
department and its commanding and governing officers. By the act 
the trustees were authorized to appoint one chief engineer, two assistant 
engineers, and three fire wardens; also to procure fire engines and 
other necessary and convenient apparatus, and to organize fire compa- 
nies and provide for and maintain the same. Under this regime the 
chief and his assistants were chosen by the village trustees, a system 
that was continued in force until 1873, when another law was passed 
which provided' that the engineers and secretary of the fire department 
should be elected by electors of the village, a system that is in effect 
at the present time. 

Keuka Engine Company was organized in October, 1871, with 
eighty-three members. This body then petitioned the trustees to be 
allowed to organize themselves into afire company, provided they were 
given charge of engine house No. 2 and engine No. i. The petition 
was headed by Morris F. Sheppard and followed by eighty-two other 
strong men. The result was the organization of the now celebrated 
" Ellsworth Hose Company," so named in honor of Gen. S. S. Ells- 
worth, of Penn Yan. Originally this was an engine company, but par- 
took of the character of a hose company in 1872 by the regular detail 
of a number of its members to act as hosemen. 

Ellsworth Hose Company now numbers full forty men. It is or has 
been provided with uniforms for both active duty and parade occasions. 
The officers of Ellsworth Hose are as follows: President, John Under- 
wood; secretary, John Cramer; treasurer, George Brooks; fireman, 
Fred Swarts; first assistant, A. J. Obertin ; second assistant, Ralph 
Brown. The company meetings are held twice each month. 

Hydrant Hose Company had its organization in 1866, under the orig- 
inal name of Hydraulic Hose Company, but afterward changed to its 
present designation. The company now numbers forty members, but 
its duty appears somewhat abridged in that it is not called into service 
except in case of fire on Main street, there being no hydrants on any 
other village thoroughfare, the regular hose duty being performed by 
Ellsworth Hose Company, which operates with the steamer throughout 
the fire district. The officers of Hydrant Hose are as follows : Fore- 


man, Andrew McKay ; first assistant, Peter Curran ; second assistant, 
Arthur Jessup ; secretary, William Holloway; treasurer, George C. 

Hunter Hook and Ladder Company, more commonly known as the 
"Truck" Company, was organized in its present character in 1880, the 
same year in which the truck was purchased. Like the other compa- 
nies the truck has forty members, and is officered as follows: President, 
Richard Willoughby ; secretary, E. A. Chapman ; treasurer, J. O. 
Smith ; captain, George Wilkins ; first assistant, F. Crane ; second as- 
sistant, P. Carley. This company was named in honor of Charles Hun- 
ter, of Penn Yan. 

The present Penn Yan Fire Department comprises, as will be seen 
from what has been stated, two hose companies, one hook and ladder 
company, both with necessary apparatus, and one second-class Silsby 
steam engine, the latter being in charge of an engineer and fireman. 
The department officers are as follows: Jay T. Parker, chief engineer ; 
Andrew C. Harwick, first assistant; Frank McAdams, second assistant; 
H. E. Bell, secretary and treasurer. 

However desirable it might be to furnish a complete succession of 
chief engineers of the fire department since Squire Locke's appointment, 
such a list cannot be given on account of the loss of records. But there 
can be recalled the names of many persons who have served in that 
capacity during the last twenty-five or thirty years. In 1863 Charles 
Elmendorf was chief, and was succeeded by Abraham Miller. From 
that until the present time there have served as chiefs, among others, 
these persons: David G. Gray, Oliver C. Knapp (1871), R. F. Scofield, 
Charles Bell, Charles Hunter, W. S. Bruen, Jay T. Parker. 

Banking Houses of Penn Yan. — There was no banking house in this 
village prior to 183 1. In fact there was but little need of such an in- 
stitution, for currency and coin were scarce commodities, and produce 
of various kind was a recognized medium of exchange between the 
debtor and creditor. During the first twenty-five or thirty years of vil- 
lage history there were but few business houses in the place, while the 
country roundabout was likewise comparatively undeveloped. How- 
ever, the village had its usual contingent of money lenders ; men of 
capital who conducted a quasi banking business whenever and where- 
ever occasion presented. 


The first steps taken in the matter of organizing a bank under au- 
thority of the law occurred during the year 1831, when on the 2d of 
April the Yates County Bank was chartered and incorporated. Its 
original capital stock was $100,000, which, as shown by the books of 
the concern upon its organization in September following, was sub- 
scribed for and owned by these persons : William M. Oliver, Andrew 
F. Oliver, Abraham H. Bennett, George Young, Mordacai Ogden, 
Alanson Douglass, Thomas W. Olcott, Alexander Marvin, James Har- 
ris, Samuel Stevens, Green C. Bronson, Ira G. Smith, Lot Clark, Eben 
Smith, Elias Patterson, William B. Welles, Henry B. Gibson, Olivia 
Hochstrasser, Grattan H. Wheeler, William W. McCay, Hervey Wheeler, 
Samuel S. Ellsworth, Asa Cole, and John Spicer. 

The old Yates County Bank appears to have been a politico-financial 
institution, as it procured its charter through the influence, and was 
afterward managed and conducted in the interest of the so-called Hun- 
ker element of the Democratic party. In fact so radical in this respect 
became its controlling officers as to work disastrously to the welfare of 
the institution and contributed to its early downfall. It was organized 
under the then existing safety fund system, but was managed under un- 
safe business principles. William M. Oliver was its president and active 
financial officer, while John A. Welles acted in the capacity of cashier. 
The first place of business of the bank was in Mr. Oliver's office near his 
residence, but was afterward removed to the building standing where is 
now located Lown & Co.'s store. Here the bank ended its business 
career by a disastrous failure in 1848, by which failure many of the de- 
positors lost to the extent of their credit accounts for a considerable 
time. Under the law as it then stood the directors could vote to pay, 
in liquidation of their debts, whatever per cent, they saw fit, and taking 
the benefits of this power the Yates County Bank voted to pay fifteen 
cents on the dollar. But there were persons who understood the inside 
workings of the bank who would not be satisfied with this meagre pay- 
ment, and by speaking out at the proper time succeeded in realizing 
nearly the full amount of their claims. However, the safety fund sys- 
tem, under which the bank was chartered, brought to the other creditors 
a fair proportion of their deposits, but not until after several years of 
anxious suspense. 


The Farmers' Bank of Penn Yan was brought into existence by a 
charter dated August 20, 1839, and was closed on account of unprofit- 
able business in 1843. The active spirits in the organization of this 
bank, and in the conduct of its affairs, were Judge Samuel S. Ellsworth, 
Alvah Clark, and E. H. Huntington. The State issued currency to 
the concern, taking as security bonds, mortgages, and other collateral. 
The place of business was in the store now occupied by Frank Quack- 
enbush as a drug store, and the old deposit vault still occupies a part of 
the ground floor. Originally and for a short time the bank did business 
on Main street, just north of Jacob, but was soon afterward moved to 
the store above mentioned. The Farmers' Bank was commonly known 
to the people as the " Red Dog Bank," and so called from the fact of 
its bills having red colored backs. The house eventually failed, upon 
which the State sold the securities and used the avails to pay depositors 
and creditors. The capital stock of the Farmers' Bank was $100,000. 

The Bank of Bainbridge was chartered by the State in April, 1847, 
and became a local institution two years later. In 1849 Nathan B. Kid- 
der, formerly of Geneva, caused to be erected the bank building now 
occupied by the First National Bank, and about the same time pur- 
chased the Bainbridge concern and moved it to Penn Yan. He was its 
virtual owner, though its management was entrusted to Henry B. Ben- 
nett, afterward assisted by James Tims. By the former the bank was 
run about two years and then closed, although the reports state that 
Mr. Bennett continued to redeem its currency until 1863. 

At that time, in the early fifties, Oliver Stark was an insurance agent 
of the village, a man of prominence and some means. He occupied the 
bank building in connection with his former busirjess, and soon after- 
ward determined to do general banking in connection therewith. F"or 
a number of years he was highly successful, but eventually he became 
involved by embarking in too extensive enterprises, and final disaster 
and failure was the natural result. Many residents of the locality were 
heavy losers by this failure, and but little was realized on settlement of 
the bank's affairs. The name under which the proprietor did business 
was " Oliver Stark, Banker." Mr. Stark operated as a banker for a 
period of about fifteen years. 

J. T. Raplee's Bank is well remembered as one of the financial insti- 


tutions of Penn Yan ; and remembered by some persons with feelings 
of deep sorrow and regret. It is understood that Mr. Raplee com- 
menced business soon after i860, although a State work gives the time 
as July 15, 1858. He occupied the old Yates County Bank building, 
and for some time did a successful business ; but, unfortunately for him, 
Mr. Raplee was a rabid Democrat, and so thoroughly impregnated his 
business with his political sentiments as to bring himself into disfavor 
with the majority of the people, and finally worked the ruin of his 

Following the downfall of the Stark and Raplee banks there appears 
to have been no banking concern in the village for some time. But 
merchants and dealers of the locality found temporary accommodation 
in this direction through the malting firm of George R. Youngs & Co., 
which was at that time one of the largest and safest business houses in 
in the county. 

In October, 1869, Mason L. Baldwin, of Benton, established a private 
banking house in Penn Yan, and under the name of " M. L, Baldwin, 
Banker," continued a successful business until 1881. In the year last 
named, and the month of May, " Baldwin's Bank of Penn Yan " was in- 
corporated under the laws of the State of New York. Its capital stock, 
all paid in, was $50,000. Its first board of directors comprised W. H. 
Fox, John T. Andrews, 2d, A. W. Franklin, Silas Kinne, and Mason L. 
Baldwin. The president chosen on the organization of the bank was 
Mr. Baldwin, and the cashiership was voted to Mr. Kinne, both of 
whom are still serving in their respective offices. This bank has been 
and now is a successful institution, having an accumulated surplus of 
more than $50,000 ; a sum in excess of its capital. The present 
directors of Baldwin's Bank are as follows : Oliver G. Shearman, John P. 
Plaisted, W. H. Fox, Silas Kinne, and Mason L. Baldwin. Assistant 
cashier, Fred S. Plaisted. 

The First National Bank of Penn Yan was organized by the purchase of 
the charter of the First National Bank of Watkins, and the removal 
thereof to this village, in pursuance of an act of Congress passed in 
1873. The re-organized bank had and still has a capital stock of $50,- 
000. Its first board of directors was Ezekiel Castner, John C. Sheetz, 
James Forbes, William S. Briggs, John Southerland, George H. Lap- 


ham, and Fred S. Armstrong. At the opening of its doors for busi- 
ness, April I, 1873, the officers in charge of the bank's affairs were 
John C. Sheetz, president ; William S. Briggs, vice-president ; George 
H. Lapham, cashier. Mr. Sheetz retired from the presidency in 1885, 
and was succeeded by Mr. Lapham, the latter being now the chief man- 
aging officer of the bank. H. K. Armstrong became cashier on Mr. 
Lapham's advancement, and in 1889 A. W. Kendall was appointed 
assistant cashier. Also in 1889 Judge Briggs retired from the vice- 
presidency and Theodore F. Wheeler was elected to the vacancy. In 
1890 Mr. Armstrong resigned the cashiership, and Mr. Kendall was 
elected to that position. Since 1889 there has been no change in the 
direction, which is as follows : John C. Sheetz, John Southerland, Clar- 
ence W. Perkins, John T. Knox, Theodore F. Wheeler, George H. 
Lapham, and James H. Gamby. At the commencement of business in 
1873 the First National Bank had a surplus of $7,000, an amount that 
has since increased to more than $25,000. The reports of the first fif- 
teen years of the bank's business show net profits of $103,731.56, of 
which $75,500 was paid in dividends to stockholders; $23,000 carried 
to surplus; and $5,231.56 to undivided profit account. For the period 
named the bank has shown a net profit of fourteen per cent, per an- 
num, with bad debts and losses all charged ofT. 

The Yates County National Bank was incorporated December 30, 
1878, under the national banking laws, with a capital stock of $50,000. 
About the same time the bank opened its doors for business. Its first 
board of directors was as follows : Andrew Oliver, Charles C. Sheppard, 
Nelson Thompson, John Lewis, Morris F. Sheppard, Theodore Bogart, 
George R. Cornwell, George S. Sheppard, and Ralph T. Wood. The 
officers were Andrew Oliver, president ; Morris F. Sheppard, vice 
president; Frank R. Durry, cashier. In 1881 Mr. Oliver retired from 
the presidency and was succeeded by Morris F. Sheppard, the latter 
having been the chief managing and executive office from that until 
the present time. The vacancy created by Mr. Sheppard's advance- 
ment was filled by the election of Theodore Bogart. The latter was 
afterward superceded by John L. Dinturff, and he still later by the 
present vice-president, Daniel Lanning. The Yates County Bank is and 
ever since its incorporation has been a safe, strong, and well managed 



financial institution, and one, too, that enjoys a full share of the public 
confidence and support. During its thirteen years of business the bank 
has accumulated a surplus of more than $15,000. Its place of busiriess 
is at No 34 Main street. The officers and directors of the bank are as 
follows: Morris F. Sheppard, president; Daniel Lanning, vice-presi- 
dent ; Oliver H. Stark, cashier. Directors, Morris F. Sheppard, Daniel 
Lanning, S. W. Van Deventer, John H. Butler, S. H. Sheppard, Will- 
iam T. Morris, Oliver H. Stark. 

Local Improvement Companies. — Of this class of institutions the vil- 
lage has but four, which will be treated in the order of seniority. 

The Penn Yan Gas Light Company was incorporated May 12, i860, 
with a capital stock of $10,000. The corporators were Darius 0. Og- 
den, Levi O. Dunning, George McAllister, S. H. Welles, John McDou- 
gall, and Charles M. Stark. The first officers were D. A. Ogden, 
president ; S. H. Welles, secretary and treasurer. Since the organiza- 
tion the capital stock of the company has been twice increased; first, in 
August, i860, to $12,000, and again in June, 1868, to $24,750. The 
company now has about six miles of main pipe. Its principal works 
are on Jackson street. The present board of directors is as follows : 
William T. Morris, Thomas W. Summers, W. H. Fox, Edson Potter, 
and Morgan D. Tracy. Officers, William T. Morris, president and 
treasurer ; Thomas W. Summers, secretary and superintendent. 

The Lake Keuka Ice Company (Limited), was incorporated March 
30, 1888, having a capital stock of $3,500, by Daniel Beach, Oliver G. 
Shearman, Samuel S. Ellsworth, PerJey P. Curtis, Thomas G. Ross, 
Morgan D. Tracy, and William T. Morris. The officers were O. G. 
Shearman, president; S. S. Ellsworth, vice president; P. P. Curtis, 
treasurer; W. T. Morris, secretary; Morgan D. Tracy, general mana- 
ger. From the time of organization to the present there has been no 
change either in the direction or officers of the company. 

The Penn Yan Opera House Company (Limited) was incorporated 
in 1889, having a capital stock of $10,000 in 200 shares; but the capi- 
tal stock by no means represents the total value of the company's real 
and personal property. As its name implies, the purpose for which the 
company was organized was the building of a suitable and commodious 
opera house in the village of Penn Yan ; and that the designs of its cor- 


porators and stockholders were carried out to the full satisfaction of 
every patron of such institutions, is amply attested on each occasion of 
a public assemblage beneath its roof. In fact, it is a common remark, 
and one founded in absolute truth, that no similar village in the State 
of New York has a superior, more elegant, or better equipped place of 
amusement or entertainment" than has the village of Penn Yan in the 
Sheppard Opera House. As has been stated, the nominal capital stock of 
the company is $i 0,000, but the property with its franchises represents 
an investment of $23,000, an amount that was mainly contributed by 
the public-spirited citizens of the village. The plans for the house were 
prepared by Leon H. Lempert, of Rochester. The builders were H. O. 
Dorman & Co., of Corning. The opera house has a seating capacity of 
800. The work of construction was commenced in 1889, and com- 
pleted in 1890. It was then christened "Sheppard Opera House" in 
honor of Morris F. Sheppard, its principal founder, and one of the 
largest stock owners of the company. The directors of the company 
are Morris F. Sheppard, John H. Lown, Hanford Struble, Samuel S. 
Ellsworth, James MacKellar, Charles V. Bush, William T. Morris, T. S. 
Burns, Edward Kendall. Officers, Morris F. Sheppard, president; J. H. 
Lown, vice president; W. T. Morris, secretary; C. V. Bush, treasurer; 
C. H. Sisson, manager. 

The Penn Yan Electric Light and Power Company was incorporated 
in August, 1 891, with a capital stock of $100,000. The directors are 
Henry Russell, Calvin Russell, H. Q. Stimpson, Calvin Russell, jr., C. T. 
Birkett, H. L. Woodruff, and W. S. Bruen. Officers, H. Q. Stimpson, 
president; Calvin Russell, vice-president and treasurer; W. S. Bruen, 
secretary. The electric lighting system was introduced in Penn Yan in 
1889, and the present company is the outgrowth of the firm that owned 
and managed the original plant. 

Societies and Orders — Keuka Lodge No. 149, I. O. O. F., was orig- 
inally instituted May, 2, 1845, having these charter members: Andrew 
Oliver, Peter S. Oliver, John Gregg, George R. Youngs, and Samuel 
H. Welles. First officers : Andrew Oliver, N. G. ; George R. Youngs, 
V. G. ; Peter S. Oliver, secretary; Samuel H. Welles, treasurer; John 
L. Lewis, jr., warden ; Charles G. Judd, conductor. 

The first twelve years of the lodge's history were exceedingly pros- 


perous, but for the next score or so of years the society appears to have 
suffered from inactivity and want of attention, which nearly proved 
fatal to its existence. A new charter was granted March 18, 1879, and 
the lodge became re-established upon a permanent basis. The char- 
terees under the new dispensation were George D. Stewart, Charles N. 
Burrill, Joseph T. Slaughter, James B. Norris, Moses W. Eastman, and 
George Kinner. The officers elected at that time were George D 
Stewart, N. G. ; Charles N. Burrill, V. G. ; Joseph T. Slaughter, secre- 
tary ; Moses W. Eastman, treasurer. 

Succession of Past Grands (since re-organization) : Et R. Bordwell, S. 
B. Briggs, G. H. Brown, P. W. Danes, W. B. Davies, C. Elmendorf, E. 
G. Hopkins, G. F. Hopkins, C. Hunter, A. Jessup, George B. Kinner, 
G. S. Klingman, J. T. Knox, R. B. Lefferts, F. H. Lynn, J. F. 
Morris, J. B. Norris.H. W. Perkins, R. C. Peters, J. F. Randolph, D. C. 
Robinson, R. F. Scofield, G. D. Stewart, N. S. Dailey, A. C. Harwick, 
W. R. McFarren, George W. Miller. 

Keuka Lodge has a present membership of ninety persons, and is 
officered as follows : John T. Knox, district deputy and grand master ; 
George W. Miller, N. G. ; Frank M. Royce, V. G. ; Ralph N. Cole, 
secretary; Arthur Jessup, permanent secretary; C. Elmendorf, treas- 

Penn Yan Encampment of Patriarchs, No. 98, \. O. O. F., was or- 
ganized in pursuance of charter dated April 6, 1882, having for char- 
ter members George D. Stewart, John L. Lewis, Joseph T. Slaughter, 
Levi O. Dunning, Charles N. Burrill, Charles Lee, James B. Norris, 
and George B. Kinner. The first principal officers were these : George 

B. Stewart, C. P. ; Charles Lee, H. P. ; Joseph T. Slaughter, scribe ; 
L. O. Dunning, treasurer. The encampment has a present member- 
ship of fifty, and is officered as follows : Benjamin S. Briggs, C. P. ; 
John J.. Hood, H. P. ; William Sattler, S. W. ; William Holloway, J. W. ; 

C. Elmendorf, scribe; George W. Miller, treasurer. 

J. B. Sloan Post No. 93, G. A. R., was granted a charter on April 22, 
1869. The original members were Martin S. Hicks, Abb W. Shear- 
man, Jere S. Weed, George Titus, S. Harvey Ackley, Hanford Struble, 
Truman N. Burrill, J. Lorin Robbins, Cassius N. McFarren, Josiah C. 
Baker. The first officers were Martin S. Hicks, commander ; A. W. 


Shearman, S. V. C. ; Jere S. Weed, J. V. C. ; Charles B. Turner, adju- 
tant ; S. H. Ackley, Q.M.; T. N. Burrill, O. of G. ; J. L. Robbins, 
O. of D. ; Hanford Struble, chaplain. 

Although Sloan Post began its existence and history under the most 
favorable auspices, it was not long before dissentions found their way into 
its ranks with such result that»its usefulness was virtually distroyed and 
its life practically at an end. But the necessity of a G. A. R. organiza- 
tion was so strongly manifested on several occasions that a number of 
the older members united upon its re- establishment. Upon their pe- 
tition the charter was re- issued on the 17th of May, 1872. Therefore 
it may be said that the old society has never lost its identity. From the 
time of reorganization Sloan Post has been one of the strongest orders 
having an abiding place at the county seat. During its existence the 
total muster roll has shown 215 members, the present number being 
100. The present officers are these : Commander, John F. Randolph ; 
S. V. C, Charles H. Dunning; J. V. C, Russell H. Carr; adjutant, 
Edward Kendall ; surgeon, David Philbrooks ; chaplain, O. R. Towner; 
Q. M., Philo H. ConkUn ; O. of D., D. C. Robinson ; O. of G., James 
Taylor; Q. M.S., G. B. Barden ; Sergent Major, John H. Veeder; 
delegate, Charles Kelley. Past commanders, Martin S. Hicks, 1869-71 ; 
C. N. McFarren, 1872-73 ; Jerry S. Reed, 1874-75 ; Morris F. Shep- 
pard, 1876; D. C. Robinson, 1877; H. M. Mingay, 1878, 1884; John 
F. Randolph, 1879-80, 1891 ; James M. Smith, 1881 ; Hanford Stru- 
ble, 1882-83 ; Richard H. Andrews, 1885 ; Perry W. Danes, 1886-88; 
George W. Hobart, 1 889-go. 

Minneseta Lodge No. 234, K. of P., was chartered July 28, 1886, with 
original members as follows : D. D. Turner, William M. Johnson, S. B. 
Abies, John T. Andrews, 2d, Edward Kendall, George R. Cornwell, 
Theodore G. Ross, James A. Thayer, William C. Allen, Charles C. 
Hayes, Bert Stiles, A. H. Veasey, Frank R. Knapp, A. C. Clube, Toby 
Bush, H. A. Struble. The Pythian Knights are ranked among the 
stronger and more influential orders of the village, the present members 
numbering ninety, and of whom nearly all are in good standing in the 
society. The lodge rooms, too, are the best in the locality. The pres- 
ent officers of the lodge are as follows : F. N. Swarts, P. C. ; H. A. 
Struble, C. C. ; H. C. Sherman, V. C. ; Stephen Bailey, P.; J. A. Ams- 


bury, K. of R. S.; Charles Bell, M. F.; J. J. Mclnerney, M. E.; John 
Ackley, M. A.; Charles Jobbitt, I. G.; William O.Brien, O. G. 

Harwick Lodge No. 152, A. O. U. W., was instituted May 3, 1878, 
with charter members as follows : William W. Eastman, Arthur S. 
Bush, Charles Bell, George F. Morgan, David B. Gray, Horace C. Guth- 
rie, Delos A. Bellis, M. E. Botsford, C. Irving Paige, Charles H. "Sisson, 
Charles F. Morgan, E. H. Hopkins, C. Elmendorf, Francis E. Murphy, 
Fred N. Miller, and William A. Henderson. First officers : P. M. W., 
Andrew C. Harwick ; M. W., H. C. Guthrie ; foremam, D. G. Gray ; 
overseer, C. W. Morgan ; recorder, Charles Elmendorf; financier, E. H. 
Hopkins; recorder, C. H. Sisson ; G., M. E. Botsford; I. W., C. I. 
Paige; O. W., Charles Bell. 

Harwick Lodge has a present membership of forty-four persons. Its 
present officers are as follows: P. M. W., William Holloway ; M. W., 
Gilbert A. Brown; foreman, George B. Dunning; overseer, Taylor Dunn; 
recorder, John T. Gaige ; financier, A. C. Harwick ; recorder, H. C. 
Guthrie; G., C. Elmendorf; I. G., E. B. Sample; O. G., Allen Meade. 

Keuka Council No. 179, R. T. of T., was chartered February 2, 1889. 
Its charter members were F. S. Sampson, Ella F. Sampson, Eda L. 
Comings, George A. Comings, S. N. Thayer, Minerva Thayer, Amelia 
A. Carroll, William F. Whaites, I. J. Wilmarth, A. G. Tompkins, Cor- 
nelia S. Tompkins, A. J. Preston, William H. Moore, C. E. Brockway, 
Lewis Radder, Cora Radder, A. M. Todd. First officers, A. G. Tomp- 
kins, S. C; A. M. Todd, V. C; C* E. Brockway, chaplain; Ella F. 
Sampson, recording secretary; A. J. Preston, financial secretary; George 
A. Comings, treasurer ; Lewis Radder, herald ; Cora Radder, deputy 
herald ; S. N. Thayer, guard ; William F. Whaites, sentinel ; F. S. 
Sampson, medical examiner. 

Metawissa Tribe No. 124, 1. O. of R. M,, was organized in pursuance 
of a charter granted the 23d Sun of the Hunting Moon. The charter 
members were Frank M. Fletcher, George S. Klingman, Fred S. Sayer, 
John Hood, George Brown, W. T. Murphy, Homer Pelton, J. M. Smith, 
Isaac Sands, Eugene Harrington, John Ball, James Ball, Dayton Coons, 
Charles Welles, Charles Southerland, David D. Taylor, Wilson Taylor, 
Edward Dunning. 

Masonic. — Having an abiding place in the village of Penn Yan are 


four Masonic organizations named and known respectively as Mile 
Lodge No. io8, Penn Yan Chapter No. lOO, Ontario Council No. 23, 
and Jerusalem Commandery No. 17. Under all ordinary circumstances 
each of these societies should receive in this place the same mention 
that is made of other societies, but inasmuch as Freemasonry in Yates 
County is made the subject of special chapter in the present volume, the 
necessity of extended mention here is avoided. To all, therefore, who 
are interested in the order, the request is hereby made that they refer 
to a preceding chapter of general history. 

Manufact7iring Industries of Penn Yan. — That branch of commercial 
industry commonly called manufacturing has never succeeded in gain- 
ing a substantial and permanent foothold in this village. This may in 
a measure be accounted for in the fact that the locality unfortunately 
possesses but a single stream capable of furnishing natural power to any 
considerable extent ; but the stream which furnishes power — the outlet 
of Keuka Lake — however limited its capacity, is nevertheless taxed to 
its utmost degree, and but little of its water passes to Seneca Lake with- 
out having been utilized by at least half a dozen large factories. How- 
ever, the majority of these manufactories are outside the corporate limits 
of the village, and are institutions of the town of Milo rather than of 
Penn Yan. 

The principal manufacturing establishment of the village is the indus- 
try owned and operated by the gresent firm of Russell & Birkett, and 
known as the Penn Yan mills. These mills comprise two large frame 
buildings, each having extensions of additions of less size. One is 
known as a roller flour-mill, and the other as a feed and grist-mill. 
They stand on almost historic ground, for here David Wagener first 
diverted the waters of the outlet in pioneer times, and while at work 
building the dam across the stream Mr. Wagener contracted a cold that 
ultimately resulted in his death The work was afterward taken up and 
completed by Abriham Wagener, who also built the pioneer mills on 
the privilege 

The old property was owned by Mr. Wagener for some years, and 
then passed by sale to Aaron Remer, John Sloan, Abner Woodworth, 
and John J. Rosenbury, the purchase price being about $25,000. Next 
Ezekiel Casner' became proprietor of the mill on the north side of the 

I For an extended biographical sketch of Mr. Casner see page 519. 

1lh'£^^ ^ 



stream. He came to the village in 1824, and was employed by Abra- 
ham Wagener, who was his uncle. John Scheetz^ afterward came to 
Penn Yan and became partner with Mr. Casner, and the firm of Casner 
& Scheetz, proprietors of the old " brown mill," was of many years 
standing, and of excellent reputation in the county. The death of Mr. 
Casner, in 1882, ended the partnership, after which the property to- 
gether with the mill south of the outlet was sold to the " syndicate," 
comprising John T. Andrews 2d, Calvin Russell, W. H. Fox, Oliver G. 
Shearman, Seneca L. Pratt, and P. P. Curtis, which company made great 
improvements in the property and buildings in 1883, But the syndicate 
company became involved in some misunderstanding, with result in an 
action in partition and the final sale of the plant to John T. Andrews 2d. 
The latter with Mr. Russell as partner operated both mills for some 
time, when Mr. Russell became its owner, afterward associating with 
himself in the business his son-in-law, Clarence T. Birkett, under the 
name of Russell & Birkett. 

The old "white mill," built by Abraham Wagener, was sold by him 
to Jeremiah Gillett, and from the latter descended to his sons, Jeremiah 
S. and Richard Gillett. This property has since undergone more 
changes in proprietorship than did its companion property on the op- 
posite side of the stream. Among the persons interested in its opera- 
tion can be recalled the names of Edward Gillett, James Longwell, Oli- 
ver F. Reed, James Forbes, and William W. Armfield, each of whom 
were after the Gillett Brothers, and before its sale to the syndicate, 
which last company rebuilt the entire structure and replaced the white 
mill with the present large roller-mill. Since 1883 the history of the 
latter has been identical with the grist and feed- mill. 

St. John's Mill, so-called, stands about half a mile down the outlet, 
on a site originally occupied by a saw- mill, but afterwards put to divers 
uses by many proprietors in succession. Joseph St. John became in- 
terested in the property about 1857, when he and A. W. Franklin built 
a grist-mill, which was destroyed by fire. Before that time, however, 
Mr. St. John operated it as a saw-mill. The present grist-mill replaced 
the former building of the same character, and has since been operated 
as above named. 

Above the St. John Mill stands an old unoccupied factory, on a site 

1 For an extended biographical sketch of Mr. Scheetz see page 495. 


where the waters of the outlet were diverted for manufacturing purposes 
nearly if not quite three-quarters of a century ago. The more recent 
use of the privilege has been in operating a planing- mill, sash and door 
factory, known as the Armstrong mill. 

Near the property last described, and a few rods further up the 
stream is another factory now in disuse. Here formerly stood a plaster- 
mill, much in use during the canal days, but afterward turned into a 
basket factory. Its last occupant was A. W. Franklin. 

The present Penn Yan planing-mill, and in fact the only completely 
equipped industry of its kind in the village, is that operated under the 
name of M. B. Miller & Co., limited. The plant on Lake street was 
first estabhshed by John S. Sheppard in 1870, and by him operated in 
connection with his extensive lumber business. The building, which 
was of frame construction, was burned in 1884, and replaced by a more 
substantial brick structure during the same year. In 1876 the plant 
was leased by Mr. Sheppard to Miller & Holloway, but after the fire the 
property and leasehold came back to the owner of the fee. Since that 
time Mr. Miller has acted in the capacty of manager under the firm 
style first above mentioned. 

Potter, Kinne & Kendall is the firm name of one of the largest lum- 
ber dealers of the village or county. Their principal offices and yards 
are on Benham street, with a second point on the Northern Central 
Railroad. In connection with their lumber business the firm also has a 
planing and matching-mill. The present firm is the successor to the old 
partnership of R. B. Lefferts and Edson Potter. 

The Commercial Iron Works Company was organized in 1872, with 
a capital stock of $15,000. J. H. Benton was its president; John Whit- 
taker, secretary and treasurer ; and John Lynn, superintendent. In 
1876 the principal machine shop was erected, it being in size 35 x 84 
feet. The foundry adjoining is 40 x 40 feet in diminsions. The pres- 
ent officers are the practical owners and managers of the company's 
works. John Whittaker is the president ; John Lynn, secretary and 
treasurer ; and Fred H. Lynn, general foreman. The company employs 
ten men. The shops are on the south side of Lake street, in rear. 

Prior to 1872 Timothy Brigden was the owner of a carriage and 
wagon factory which stood on Jacob street. In the year named the 


property was burned, after which the firm of Beebe, Whitfield & Co. 
became owners of the land, upon which were erected the present ex- 
tensive buildings which comprise the factory plant of George Beebe. 
Their manufactures were the same as previously produced by Mr. Brig- 
den. Messrs. Beebe & Whitfield were partners for about eleven years, 
Mr. Beebe then becoming sole proprietor. He is a general manufac- 
turer of carriages, but his specialty is the " Dandy Speeding Cart," a 
vehicle of improved pattern and quality, and one that is received with, 
great favor by the driving fraternity. 

The carriage works of Whitfield & McCormick are located on Jacob 
street near Main. The partnership comprises William H. Whitfield 
and Michael McCormick, each of whom is a practical man in his line 
of trade. The firm was established in May, 1888. Its general business 
is the manufacture of fine carriages, carts, cutters, etc., together with 
general repair work. Mr. Whitfield has charge of the office and busi- 
ness management, while Mr. McCormick is the practical man in the 
manufacturing department. 

The Parks Manufacturing Company is the almost direct outgrowth of 
a still older business industry carried on by James Cooley in th£ line of 
wagon making. Mr. Parks succeeded Mr. Cooley in 1853, and two 
years later took Deacon J. D. Applegate as partner. In 1857 ^^- Ap- 
plegate retired, and Sherer and Caton succeeded, the firm becoming 
Parks, Sherer & Co. The new partners soon retired, and Mr. Parks 
continued until 1876, and then sold out to Birdsall & Co., who changed 
the plant to a threshing machine factory. After this sale Mr. Parks 
built a shop in rear of Cornwell's Opera House and carried on the car- 
riage business until 1885, when he re- occupied the old stand on Head 
street. The firm now was Parks & AUington, but two months after C. V. 
Bush was made a partner, continuing only thirty days. Then the Parks 
Manufacturing Company was formed, comprising Marvin Parks and 
C. W. Morgan. 

The firm of O. G. Shearman & Co., malsters, was organized in 1882 
as successors in part to the firm of Shearman & Lewis, grain dealers. 
The latter partnership was formed as early as May i, i860, since which 
time it has continued to carry on business. The firm of O. G. Shear- 
man & Co. comprised Oliver G. Shearman, John Lewis, E. C. Dwelle, 


and George R. Youngs. Under this ownership the "Yates County Malt 
House" was built in 1882. As its name indicates, the purpose of this 
erection was the manufacture of barley into malt. The building has a 
capacity of 75,000 bushels. In 1888 Mr. Youngs withdrew from the 
firm, whereupon the name and style was changed to Shearman, Lewis 
& Dwelle, as at present knojvn. 

The old malt house standing on the street leading from the Knapp 
House to the locks was built in 1856, by George R. Youngs, Daniel 
Foster, Daniel W. Streeter, and Jared C. Munson, under the firm name 
of D. W. Streeter & Co. Mr. Munson soon dropped out of the con- 
cern, and the name was then changed to George R. Youngs & Co. Mr. 
Streeter subsequently failed, and under the style of Youngs & Foster 
the business of malting was continued until about 1866 or 1867, when 
Captain Henry Tuthill and " Doc." Tuthill, became its proprietors by 
purchase. Later the firm became H. Tuthill & Son, and so continued 
until the failure of the concern in 1890 

Robert C. Hewson's feed mill on Sucker Brook was established in 
1890. The extensive evaporating plant owned and operated by the 
same proprietor was started about 1880. 

The large grape basket factory owned by S. L. Pratt was built dur- 
ing the spring of 189 1. It stood at the foot of Monell street, and was 
eighty- two by thirty- five feet and three stories high. This was the 
best equipped mill of its kind in the county, but it was destroyed by 
an unfortunate fire during the latter part of August, 1891. 

The carriage and cart works of T. S. Watrous were put in opera- 
tion on Stark avenue in February, 1890. They furnish employment to 
five men. 

The Struble Kidney and Liver Cure Company was incorporated in 
1890, having a capital stock of $50,000. The object of the company 
was and is to furnish to suffering humanity a prompt and sure cure for 
diseases of the kidneys and liver. The medicine prepared is the same 
as used for fifteen years by Dr. H. A. Struble in his professional work. 
The incorporators of the company were Hanford Struble, H. N. Hunt- 
ington, James Spicer, Henry Sherman, Fred U. Swarts, M. B. Shaw, 
and H. A. Struble. The officers are, Fred U. Swarts, president ; M.. B. 
Shaw, vice-president ; H. C. Sherman, secretary ; H. N. Huntington, 
treasurer ; and H. A. Struble, general manager. 


The Hammondsport Vintage Company was established in Penn Yan 
in 1886, by Charles Hunter, Frank Hallet and Charles M. Rarrick. In 
1887 Mr. Rarrick became sole proprietor and has so continued to the 
present time. Originally the place of business of the firm and com- 
pany was in the so-called concrete building on Canal street, but with 
the building of the Cold Storage block the factory and plant were 
transferred to that place. The products of the company are sweet and 
dry wines and brandies ; also they are dealers in champaigns. The 
cellar has a capacity of 30,000 gallons of wine. 

Borgman's Cider- Mill and Distillery was built by Barney Borgman 
in 1869. The manufactures of this mill are cider and champaign. Ca- 
pacity, 20,000 gallons. 

The Penn Yan Hub and Spoke Works were established in the fall of 
1888, by E. A. Price & Co., for the manufacture of hubs and spokes of 
all kinds, and incidental to the leading product, as a custom saw-mill. 
Sixteen men are employed in and about the shops on Head street. 

Hotels. — A preceding portion of the present chapter has referred at 
some length to the hotel interests and proprietors of the past in the 
village of Penn Yan ; wherefore it becomes the province of this divis- 
ion of the subject to refer only to such public houses as are in existence 
at the present time, and that in the most brief manner. 

The hotels of Penn Yan are numerous, almost " too numerous to 
mention." This happens to be a locality in which the most liberal con- 
struction is placed upon the meaning of the existing laws, rendering it 
quite difficult to define just what does or does not constitute a hotel, 
tavern or inn. The object in establishing so many hotels in the village 
is plain and perfectly well understood, and is a subject that needs no 
comment in this place. Many of them will receive no mention in this 

The Benham House is the largest and most convenient of the hotels 
of the village. It was built soon after the burning of the old Amer- 
ican, and has been one of the leading public houses of Penn Yan from 
that time until the present. It was named for its proprietor, and still 
holds the original appellation, notwithstanding the changes of proprie- 

The Shearman House, on Elm street, was so named by its proprie- 



tor, Charles Shearman. The house was established many years ago 
by " Arn " Tuell, a local celebrity, but succeeding proprietors have 
made frequent additions to the building. The present owner and pro- 
prietor, Fred U. Swarts, purchased the property in 1888, becoming its 
landlord January 1st of that year. 

The Knapp House was formerly and originally called the Mansion 
House. It was built for a dwelling in 18 16, by Abraham Wagener, 
but after he moved to Bluff Point the house was remodeled and made 
into a hotel. It became the Knapp House through the ownership of 
Oliver C. Knapp, who not only materially enlarged the building, but 
veneered it with brick. Since the death of Mr. Knapp the property 
has been managed as an estate. 

The Central House, on Jacob street, was established by Charles 
Kelly soon after he returned from the army. He bought the property 
in i860. The old building was burned in 1872, after which the pres- 
ent substantial brick hotel building was erected. The Central House 
has a capacity for accommodating forty guests. 

The other hotels of the village, which are public houses for the re- 
ception and accommodation of travelers, are the Hayes House, located 
near the Northern Central depot, the Suburban Hotel on Head street, 
in the extreme north part of the village, and the Hyland House, in 
Maiden Lane. 

Mercantile Business Interests. — In the village of Penn Yan the mer- 
cantile interests in every branch of trade are well represented, and while 
it is quite natural that every representative should believe his particular 
line to be overdone in the matter of competition, still to the unpreju- 
diced and candid observer this does not appear to be the case. The 
mercantile business of Penn Yan is principally transacted on the thor- 
oughfares Main, Elm and Jacob streets, with other stores scattered 
throughout the place. It is neither the purpose nor the intention of 
this division of the present chapter to advertise in any manner the 
business of Penn Yan merchants, but if any tradesman can derive any 
benefit or advantage from the mention of his name or business in this 
connection he is certainly welcome to the good that may come out of it. 

The book and stationery trade is fairly well represented. The most 
extensive dealer in this line is George R. Cornwell, at No. 39 Main 


Street. Mr. Cornwell embarked in this business in October, 1858, as 
successor to E. Denton. He purchased the building soon afterward, 
and about 1875 fitted up and equipped the Cornwell Opera House, 
occupying therefor the rooms over his and the adjoining store. Mr. 
Cornwell is also an extrensive dealer in sewing machines and musical 
instruments. The other booksellers and stationers of the village are 
H. C. Guthrie, H. Sherwood and Mrs. A. V. Mastin. 

The leading grocers of the village are F. W. Steelman, Lucius P. 
Wagener, Charles Hunter, McMath & Morgan, MacKay & Co., Nor- 
man Lockwood, Johnson & Hazen, B. F. Fenner, John Brown, T. S. 
Burns, C. W. Coffin, Eaton Brothers, McCarty Bros., and M. W. Phalen. 

The general dry goods trade is represented by tour large and sub- 
stantial houses. The oldest of these is the present firm of T. O. Ham- 
lin & Co., at No. 44 Main street. This business house was first estab- 
lished in Penn Yan b.y Myron Hamlin, a former merchant of Dundee, 
then known as Harpending's Corners. Mr. Hamlin established himself 
where Stewart & Burnham's shoe store now is, but soon afterward 
moved the stock to the opposite side of Main street, about where D. A. 
Ogden's hardware store is located. In 1842 Abraham F. Hazen, who 
was a former clerk in the store, became Mr. Hamlin's partner, having 
charge of a branch store at Rushville for a single year, and afterward 
locating at the county seat in connection with the principal business. 
After five years of pleasant and profitable partnership Mr. Hazen re- 
tired from the firm of Hamlin & Hazen and established himself in trade. 
In 1858 Mr. Hamlin occupied the store now owned by his son, and as 
his sons arrived at full age they were associated with him in the busi- 
ness. The firm name thus became M. Hamlin & Sons, and so contin- 
ued until two had retired and Theodore O. Hamlin only remained, when 
the style of M. Hamlin & Son was adopted. This continued until the 
death of the senior member in 1886. Theodore conducted the business 
thereafter until February, 1890, when H. C. Underwood became his 
partner, under the present firm name. George E. Hamlin, one of the 
sons, left the firm in 1865 and went into the carpet business in New 
York. Another son, Charles Hamlin, engaged in business in Syracuse, 
leaving the firm in 1877. Abraham F. Hazen, above mentioned, went 
to Dundee a poor boy, in 1833, walking a part of the distance from 


Chemung County to that place. He was taken by Mr. Hamlin as clerk 
at $5 per month, increased to $7 the second year. He was Mr. Ham- 
lin's clerk also in Penn Yan from 1837 ^^ 1842, when he was taken in 
as partner. After conducting the Rushville branch store one year he 
came back to the county seat and continued in the main house until 
about 1848, when he boughbthe dry goods stock of Daniel S. Marsh, 
which business he managed successfully about five or six years, then 
selling out and going to New York. In the latter city he advanced 
through the grades of clerkship and managing clerk to finally becom- 
ing the leading and senior member of the large house of Hazen, Todd 
& Co., jobbers of dry goods. About four years ago Mr. Hazen retired 
from active business. (Here is another apt illustration of the possibil- 
ities open to every earnest, industrious young man.) 

The present firm of Lown & Co. is composed of J. H. Lown and 
H. J. McAdams. Their business is the indirect outgrowth of that estab- 
lished in 1 87 1 by Jones & Lown, then being located where is now T. F. 
Wheeler's drug store. In 1877 the firm name changed to J. H. Lown 
& Co., and still later to the present name. The Lown block was built 
in 1889-90, and occupied by the firm. Their stock includes dry goods, 
carpets, millinery, crockery and glassware. 

The dry goods house and firm of Roenke & Rogers was established 
in April, 1 88 1, by Julius R. Roenke and Jerome D. Rogers. Their 
place of business is_^at the corner of Main street and Maiden Lane. 

Cassius N. McFarren became a dry goods merchant of Penn Yan in 
September, 1891, by the purchase of the stock and former business of 
George Cramer. 

Dealers in Drugs and Medicines. — The village has four substantial 
representatives of this branch of trade, viz.: Theodore F. Wheeler, es- 
tablished in 1864, as successor to Lyman Munger; W. W. Quacken- 
bush, established 1867, as successor to Lapham & Bullock; E. Fenton, 
April, 1877, successor to Miles Lewis ; Frank Quackenbush, established 
April 28, 1879. 

Hardware Dealers. — Hollowell & Wise, J. C. Shannon & Son, Wix- 
son & Woodruff, D. O. Ogden. 

Clothiers, Furnishers, and Merchant Tailors. — McAdams Brothers, 
McMahon Bros,, Seligman & McNiff, Marks Bros., the Globe Clothing 


store, E. Donahue, M. C. Stark, John Walters, Charles Bandel, Jacob 

Boot and Shoe Dealers. — J. Henry Smith, Wagener Bros., Stewart & 
Burnham, A. Deckerman, 

Fair Stores. — A. J. Obertin, Hood & Co., Singer & Strong. 

Agricultural Implements. — J. C. Shannon & Son, C. C. Hicks, James 
M. Smith, D. O. Ogden, Hollowell & Wise, Wixson & Woodruff, A. F. 

Cigar Manufacturers. — James Meade, John Birmingham, Joseph F. 
Markey, C. A. Mansen, Peter Curran. 

Furniture Dealers. — Clarence H. Knapp, A. C. Klube. 

Undertakers. — Clarence H. Knapp, Hopkins Brothers. 

Elevators. — Freeman & Barber, George Bruen. 

Coal Dealers. — S. S. Ellsworth, Freeman & Barber, Sheppard-Com- 
ings Co., Potter, Kinne & Kendall. 

Harnessmakers and Dealers. — Arthur Jessup, A. V. Hasten, J. F. 
Bridgman, William Hollowell, L. P. Wickham, William Corcoran. 

Insurance Agents. — Norris S. Dailey, A. C. Harwick, H. M. T. 
Ayers, Bush & Co., Silas Kinne, M. F. Hobart, W. P. Gaylord. 

Jewelers. — E. H. Hopkins, S. B. Dunton. 

Livery and Boarding Stables. — W. T. Beaumont, Emmet Hazard, 
Patrick Burns, C. H. Southerland. 

Lum.ber Dealers — Potter, Kinne & Kendall, Eugene Lewis, Charles 
D. Welles. 

Meat Markets. — Charles S. Bell, William McEvoy, Hyland & Cav- 
iston, James Dolan, L. A. Sprague, W. H. Stark, Gilbert Carroll, A. & 

D. O. Carroll. 

Nurseryman. — Justus O. Rupert. 

Painters and Glaziers. — D. Clinton Robinson, George W. Kritzer, 

E. Thomas, I. M. Ballard. 

Dentists. — H. R. Phillips & Wrean, Charles Elmendorf, R. W. Rey- 
nolds, W. W. Smith, O. S. Voak. 

Photographers. — Frank Carey, Fred F. Crum. 
Bakers. — C. R. Robinson, George Zeluff. 





IT requires no stretch of conscience, no exaggeration of fact, to say- 
concerning the town of Benton, that among the towns of Yates 
County, or even among the towns of Western New York, it ranks with 
the foremost in point of thrift, ^¥ealth, enterprise, productiveness, and 
generous hospitaUty on the part of the present generation of inhabitants 
therein. And what is true regarding them is also said to have been 
characteristic of their ancestors. The early history of settlement, de- 
velopment, and improvement in this town was not dissimilar to that of 
other towns in the same region, the localities bordering on Seneca Lake. 
The lands here were a part of the Phelps and Gorham purchase, and 
being surveyed, the greater portion of the town, as at present constitu- 
ted, comprised township No. 8, of the first range. This implies that its 
eastern boundary abutted the old pre-emption line, which was the fact; 
but in making disposition of the lands east of the line and west of the 
lake, the district of territory between these boundaries was included 
within Benton. 

Originally, before Benton as a town was set off, township No. 8, first 
range, together with the land east of it, and Milo as well, were all a 
part of the district of Jerusalem, a provisional township of old Ontario 
County, organized as such for jurisdictional purposes upon and soon 
after the erection of the mother county. The district of Jerusalem was 
organized in 1789, but the town itself, within substantially its present 
limits, was not organized until 1803. 

The district of Jerusalem was settled mainly by the followers of the 
Universal Friend, whose principal habitations were on the shores of 
Seneca Lake and the vicinity of the mouth of the outlet, and in the town 
of Jerusalem, as now designated, while scattering settlements of this 
peculiar people extended northward into the town of Benton proper, or, 
more strictly speaking, into township No. 8 of the first range. This 
settlement by the Friends commenced about 1788, and continued until 


the closing years of that century. In the meantime settlement was being 
rapidly made by other pioneers than the Friends, and who had nothing 
in common with them either in religious belief or sympathy with the 
Friend's teachings. In fact they were believers in the Christian religion 
as taught by established denominational churches, and the peculiar man- 
ner and method of worship indulged in by the Friends found no favor 
in their eyes. Therefore they sought to be set off into a separate town- 
ship, using as a means of accomplishing that end a petition to the 
Court of Sessions about to be held at Canandaigua ; which petition was 
as follows : 

■'The petition of many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem humbly sheweth : That whereas, 
many of the reputable inhabitants of No. 8, in the first range in this town do wish to be 
incorporated into a town by themselves ; and to prevent disputes and preserve friend- 
ship among us, we pray this Honorable Court to set off said No. 8 into a town by the 
name of Wilton, with all the liberty and privileges which other toAvns in the State of 
New York have and enjoy. And your petitioners in duty bound will ever pray. Feb- 
Tuary 1, 1799. (Signed), GrifiBn B. Hazard, Enoch Shearman, Benjamin Durham, Silas 
Hunt, James Parker, John Plympton, Benjamin Briggs, William Ardery James Sco- 
field, G-eorge Wheeler, Nathan Wheeler, Elisha Woloott, Elisha Woodworth, Ezra Rice, 
Samuel Buell, jr., Eliphalet Hall, Joel P. Sawyer, Daniel Stull, Daniel Brown, Perley 
Dean, Francis Dains, Jesse Dains, JoshuaJ Andrews, Levi Benton, Enos Fuller, Silas H. 
Mapes, Smith Mapes, Dyer Woodworth, Otis Barden, Jeremiah Jillette, John Knapp, 
.James Springsted, WiUiara Gilbert, WiUiam Hilton, jr., William Hilton, David Eiggs, 
Elisha Brown, Ichabod Buell, Samuel Buell, George Bennett, Cyrus Buell, David Eiggs, 
Phihp Eiggs, George Wheeler, jr., M. Lawrence, Thomas Lee, jr., James MoCust, 
Thomas Hathaway, Daniel S. Judd, Daniel Lazeleie, Dennis Shaw, James Allen, Thomas 
Clark, James Beaumont, John Neil, James Brown, Ellis Pearce, Henry Mapes, Simeon 
Lee, William Cunningham, John Meeckelnane, John Bruce, Hezekiah Townsend, Mat- 
thew Cole, Reuben Eiggs, Ezra Cole." 

Referring to the names included in the foregoing list the reader will 
observe many who were among the pioneers of Benton, as now consti- 
tuted, while not a few were dwellers in the district of Jerusalem outside 
the town proper, but who, for some cause, probably as heretofore stated, 
were desirous of having the separation made as the petition asked. But, 
notwithstanding the evident strength of the petition, its prayer was not 
granted by the court. However, four years later, in 1803, Jerusalem 
was made a separate town, and on the I2th of February, of the same 
year, under the name of Vernon, another township was created, includ- 
ing all that is now Benton, Milo, and Torrey. The name Vernon was 


continued until 1808, when an act of the legislature changed the name 
to Snell, there having been erected previous to 1803 a town in Oneida 
County also named Vernon. For some reason the people of the town 
of Snell became dissatisfied with the name, and had recourse to the 
legislature with result in another change, this time to Benton ; and so 
named in honor of Levi Bentsin, the first settler within the limits of the 
town as it now stands. 

The first reduction in the extent of territory of Benton was made in 
1818, when Milo was erected, and took from the mother township No. 
7 of range first and all the land east thereof and west of Seneca Lake. 
The second and last curtailment of Benton's territory was made in 1851, 
by the erection of Torrey, for which both this town and Milo sur- 
rendered their lands, and the most desirable agricultural sections of 

Township No. 8 of the first range, which includes the greater part of 
what is now Benton, is bounded north by Ontario County ; west by 
Potter, No. 8, second range ; south by Milo, No. 7, range one, and a 
part set off to Jerusalem ; and east originally by the old pre-emption 
line. The land east of the line was included in Jerusalem first, and 
afterward followed the various town organizations that eventually be- 
came Benton. To correct an erroneous impression that exists in some 
minds, it may here be stated that the main road leading from the resi- 
dence of Hon. Guy Shaw north to Bellona is nowhere between those 
points touched by the old or the new pre-emption line. The old line 
lies east of this road, and, as near as can be determined from maps in 
existence, passes along the short stretch of north and south road lying 
west of the residence of James McMaster. The new pre-emption line 
runs into the lake just north of Dresden, in Torrey. 

The subject of this chapter is the town of Benton as at present con- 
stituted. Among the sub-divisions that form Yates County, Benton 
occupies a position of prominence, for, in point of agricultural pro- 
ductiveness it ranks first and foremost. This enviable condition is of 
course largely due to the exceedingly rich quality of soil that extends 
over nearly its entire surface. Topographically the lands of the town 
may be classed as level generally, with a gradually rolling surface afford- 
ing an excellent natural drainage system. The lands of the town are 


considerably higher than in the vicinity Penn Yan, and travel between 
the county seat and Benton Center is necessarily up a long hill. Bellona, 
on Cashong Creek, is in one of the most depressed localities of the town, 
but not so low, perhaps, as in the vicinity of Flat street. But nowhere 
in the entire township do there exist hills or vales of such height or 
depth as to embarrass or prevent cultivation in any form or character. 

If any of the towns of the county can lay claim to possessing Indian 
history in connection with its early history, in that respect Benton's 
claim is of first importance. In the extreme northeast corner of the 
town, on the farm now owned by William W. Coe, the Senecas had 
built up a little village which had been commonly called "Cashong," 
but which General Sullivan, in his official report of his famous expedi 
tion in September, 1779, designated as " Gotheseunguean." Fowler, in 
his diary of early history, calls the name " Kashanquash." However, 
convenience and euphony have changed the name to Cashong, by which 
the stream in the locality is still designated. Here was a little village 
of a few cabins, but in the vicinity the Indians had growing crops and 
bearing orchards. At a later date than 1779 two traders, Dominick 
De Bartzch and Pierre Pondre, maintained a post for traffic with the 
natives. They, too, claimed the lands in the vicinity. But in this nar 
rative these persons will not be considered or treated as having been 
the pioneer settlers of the town. In the " draught " of town lots in 
Benton, De Bartzch fell pwner to No. 22. 

Pioneer Families of Benton. — A history of Yates County published 
nearly a score of years ago devoted to Benton more than 200 of its pages, 
the greater part of which had particular reference to the old families of 
the town. In view of this fact, and in deference to a general re- 
quest made upon the publishers of the present volume by a large and 
influential majority of men of the county, many of them descendants of 
pioneers, the local chapters of this work will contain less of biographical 
and geneological record than did its predecessor work. But at the same 
time an effort will be made to mention briefly as many of the pioneer 
families as can be recalled. It is not that the pioneers of Benton are 
not worthy of extended mention, but the fact that they have been so 
fully written in the history referred to would seem to preclude the ne- 
cessity of again treating at length concerning them, and would appear 


to make this volumn but a repetition of the former, and therefore lose 
much of its value and importance. 

Common consent accords to Levi Benton the honor.of having been the 
pioneer of Benton. In his honor the town received its permanent name. 
He was the cousin of Caleb Benton, who was one of the New York Gen- 
esee Land Company, the latter being the chief disturbing factor that 
had much to do with retarding the settlement and development of 
the Genesee Country, on account of the nefarious scheme of leasing all 
the Iroquois lands against the express will of the State of New York. 
Levi Benton, with his family, came and made a settlement on lot thirty- 
seven, during the year 1789. Mr. Benton was prominently connected 
with nearly every leading enterprise in the town ; was frequently a pub- 
lic officer and one in whom the people had every confidence. His wife, 
whom he married in Canaan, Conn., was Molly or Mary Woodworth, 
and by whom he had nine children: Polly, Olive, Levi, Luther, Calvin, 
Joseph, Nancy, Hannah, and Ruby. In 1816 Levi Benton and his 
wife moved from the town and took up ther fi^al abode in Indiana, 
where both died at an advanced age. The name Benton has no repre- 
sentatives in the town at the present time. 

Major Benjamin Barton was the pioneer in the northeastern section 
of the town. He bought the 700 acre tract of Dominick DeBartzch 
and made his settlement there, on Cashong Creek, sooh after Levi Ben- 
ton's coming, probably during the same year. . He was a surveyor, and 
had much to do with laying out early roads and running lot lines. He 
built, about 1796 or '97, a large frame house at Cashong, with the evi- 
dent intention of maintaining it as a hotel, for it had that important ad- 
junct of all taverns of the period — a spacious dancing hall. Also Major 
Barton was a public man, filling the office of sheriff of Ontario County 
from 1802 to 1806. In 1809 Major Barton moved from the town. 

John Dye succeeded Major Barton in the ownership of the Cashong 
farm, so-called, and is said to have built a grist-mill on the creek as 
early as 1805. The saw- mill near the same site is believed to have 
been built by Thomas Gray, also a pioneer. Mr. Dye died in 1820, 
and was succeeded by Andrew Brum, who won fame, if not fortune, 
in having exhibited the first elephant in the region. 

The most numerous, and perhaps the most prominent family now in 



the locality of Cashong, are the descendants of Jephtha Earl, senior. 
Mr. Earl, in 1821, became owner of the mill property at Bellona, placing 
it in charge of his son Jesse. It afterward became the property of an- 
other son, Jephtha Earl, jr. The latter, born in 1806, still lives in the 
town, in an elegant house near Earl's Landing on Seneca Lake. He 
moved here from Bellona in 1830. Of the Earl family, only Jesse, 
Jephtha, jr., and Arthur, sons of Jephtha, senior, became residents in 
Benton. In 1829 Jephtha married Eliza Hutchinson, who bore him 
seven children. Arthur Earl was born in 1810; married Sybil Conklin 
and had nine children. 

Otis Barden was at the head of one of the most respected pioneer 
families of Benton. He was a native of Massachusetts and descended 
from revolutionary stock. He made his " pitch " of land, as all New 
Englanders say, on lot fifty, while his brother Thomas located in the 
township north of Benton. This was in 1789. Otis married Elizabeth 
Parker, the daughter of James Parker of the Friend's settlement. Their 
children were Betsey, Sally, Charlotte, who married Aaron Dexter ; 
Susan, who married George Carpenter; Otis, who married Cata Butler; 
James P., who married Charlotte Gage ; Henry, a prominent physician 
who married Caroline Purdy ; Ira R., who married Susan Hanley ; 
William M., who married Olive Hanley; Eleanor C, who became the 
wife of Daniel Ryal, and Lois E., who married Henry H. Gage. 

Thomas Barden, brother of Otis, married Olive, daughter of Caleb 
Benton, and had eight children: Thomas, Ezekiel C, Levi, Otis B., 
Olive, Isaac, Richard, and Polly or Mary. 

Thomas Barden, father of Otis and Thomas above mentioned, with 
his wife and five of their children — Sylvanus, MiJly, Eunice, Lois, and 
George — moved to Benton in 1799. George Barden, the last named 
of these children, married Dolly Witter and raised thirteen children, 
viz. : Dolly, Hannah, George R., Ehzabeth, Sylvanus, James, Levi, 
Philo, Lucy A., Minerva, Mary J., Martin W., Tilson C. 

In 1792 Ezra Cole and his family, formerly of Litchfield, Conn., but 
directly from UnadiUa, N. Y., came to Benton and settled on lot 113, 
where the hamlet Benton Center now in part stands. Ezra Cole built 
a log house first, but afterward, in 1804, a large frame building which 
he opened as a tavern. Here he lived until his death, in 1821. The 


children of Ezra Cole were Matthew, Delilah, Lois, Nathan P., Daniel 
A., Asa, Smith M., Sabra, and Ezra. 

Asa Cole and Smith M. Cole, sons of Ezra, afterward became resi- 
dents of the little village of Penn Yan, and each followed his fathers' ex- 
ample in that he became tavern keeper. Their location was at the cor- 
ner of Main and Head street, as now known. Both were active men 
in the affairs of the village and town, but Smith M. afterward moved to 
Flat street in Benton, and maintained a tavern stand where Charles B. 
Shaw now lives. Asa married, first, Sally Sprague, by whom he had 
two children ; and second, Lydia Francis, by whom he had one child, 
Frank R. Cole, whose pleasant residence and large farm are located just 
north of the village limits. Of Asa Cole it may be said that he served 
during the war of i8i2 as lieutenant in Captain Bogart's Geneva com- 
pany. During his after life he was ever known to friends and neigh- 
bors as Major Cole. 

Samuel Buel was the head of one of the pioneer families of Benton, 
and one of the contingent of former residents of Unadilla that came and 
settled near the Center in 1792. Samuel Buel was a native of Connec- 
ticut. He was a soldier during the last French and Indian war, and 
held a captain's commission during the Revolution, and served at Fort 
Edward in this State. At this place Cyrus Buel, son of Samuel, was 
captured by the British and held three years in captivity, in Canada. 
Being released he returned to his family. Samuel Buel married, first, 
Sarah Holmes, who bore him six children : Sarah, Samuel, Cyrus, 
Paulina, Betsey, and Ichabod. His second wife was Susan Morse, by 
whom he had eight children : Henry, Catharine, Anna, Hannah, Esther, 
Artemas, Mary, and Matilda. Samuel Buel, the pioneer, died in 1809. 

Eliphalet Hull was another pioneer of 1792 in Benton, and likewise 
one of the Unadilla colony that during that year settled near Benton 
Center. Mr. Hull is remembered as having been prominently con- 
nected with early events; was the first school teacher in the town ; the 
first Methodist class- leader in the region, and a teacher in singing of re- 
markable ability. His wife was Huldah Patchen, by whom he had 
eight children : Salmon, Hannah, Daniel, Sarah, Martha, Anna, Elipha- 
let, and Seth. Seth Hull, brother of Eliphalet, came to Benton in 1800. 
The surname Hull, descendants of these families, is not now known in 
the town. 


George Wheeler was a settler jn Benton in 1791. He was an exten- 
sive land .owner, and as such possessed all now of Penn Yan village 
lying north of the outlet and west of Benham street with its continua- 
tion, Sheppard street. The wife of George Wheeler was Catherine 
Lyon, by whom he had eight children : Ephriam and Samuel, both of 
whom died in childhood, and were buried where the cemetery now is, 
east of the Center; Eleanor, George, jr., Nathan, Susan, Margaret, and 
Zachariah. George Wheeler, the pioneer, died in 1824, and his wife in 

Philip Riggs, widower, with a family of children settled near the 
center, on lot 116, in 1795. The children were David, Benjamin, 
Reuben, John, Mary, Hannah, Anna, Betsey, and Susan. It is under- 
stood that the surname Riggs has no representative in Benton at this 

In the south part of Benton, and in the extreme northern part of the 
present village of Penn Yan, Robert Chissom was the pioneer settler. The 
lands on which he located were a part of the purchase of George Wheeler, 
whose daughter Mr. Chissom had married. His log house stood about 
where is now the Ayers residence, and was opened by him as a hotel. 
Mr. Chissom died in 1806. His children were Catharine, Peter, 
Ephraim, Hannah, and George. 

Moses Chissom, brother of Robert, located in Benton in 1794. He 
married Mary, daughter of Philemon Baldwin, by whom he had eleven 

Philemon Baldwin was one of the odd yet valuable characters of the 
town during the days of its infancy. His occupation was that of a far- 
mer and miller. It is said that Philemon Baldwin suggested the name 
by which the county seat should be Called and known — Pang Yang, — 
changed by common consent to Penn Yan. Mr. Baldwin's immediate 
descendants were Asa, Philemon H., Amos, Caleb, Rune, George, Mary^ 
Sally Ann, Elizabeth, and Esther. 

Elisha Wood worth became a settler in Benton in 1798, on lot 41, the 
premises now in part owned by John Merrifield. In Mr. Woodworth's 
family were these children: Erastus B., Elisha, Polly, Sally, Abner, 
Amy, Ariel, Anna and Amelia. Polly Wood worth married Dr. Calvin 
Fargo, an early physician of Benton, to whom there were born these 


children: Hiram S., Russell R., Julia^ Elizabeth, Abigail R., John C, 
and Elisha W. Abigail Reed Fargo, one of these children, married Will- 
iam Hoyt Gage, son of Reuben Gage. 

Moses Gage, his wife Sarah, and his children, Mariam, Buckbee, 
Reuben, Aaron and Isaac D., came from Dutchess County and settled 
in this town in the year iSoF. Here Moses died in 1812, and his wife 
in 18 1 3. William Hoyt Gage, now residing on Flat street, is the son 
of Reuben Gage by his marriage with Azuba Hoyt. The other chil- 
dren of that union -were Jesse, Horace, Martha, Aaron, and Reuben F. 
William H.was the youngest child but one. The surname Gage, repre- 
sentatives and descendants of pioneer Moses Gage, are numerous in Ben- 
ton at this time, and are among the most enterprising and public spirited 
residents thereof. 

In 1792 Samuel Jayne came to the Genesee Country, and in 1797 be- 
came the owner of a farm on lot 8, where his son Samuel now resides, 
1 89 1. His wife was Eleanor VanZile, by whom he had three children, 
Samuel, Henry and William. 

John Coleman was born August 30, 1770. His wife, Christiana 
Rhine, whom he married May 24, 1795, was born August 18, 1771. In 
1798 John Coleman bought fifty acres of land at Bellona, and brought 
his family to the place the next year. The wife and children journeyed 
down Seneca Lake on a raft, landing at Earls, while the husband came 
overland with his cattle and other stock. The children of John and 
Christiana Coleman were John, born March 4, 1796; Margaret, born 
May 24, 1797, married William Taylor and died in Benton ; Henry R., 
born October 15, 1800, died May 3, 1880; EHzabeth, born November 
4, 1803, married William Bamborough ; Daniel, born May 27, 1806, 
killed by accident while on wedding tour ; Sally, born October 14, 1 808 ; 
Charles, born April 30, 181 1, and lived and died in Benton, December 
23, 1883. Charles Coleman, the youngest son of John, married Mary 
Ann Seely. Their children were George C, who died from wounds re- 
ceived in the army ; Charles Edward, now in Nebraska ; and William 
Henry, who owns and occupies the old home farm of his father, about 
a mile west from Bellona. Charles Coleman was six times elected jus- 
tice of the peace in Benton. 

Truman Spencer was the third pioneer settler in Benton. He came 


during the year 1788, and made a purchase from Levi Benton of land 
on lot 8, in the locality afterward known as Spencer's Corners. In 
1789 James Pattison and his wife, and their daughter Lois (Pattison) 
Spencer, wife of our pioneer, came to the location and occupied the 
cabin which Truman Spencer had previously built. James Pattison 
died in 1792 and his wife in 1821. David Spencer was the first child 
born to Truman and Lois Spencer, and his birth, September 8, 1 790, 
was the first event of the kind in the town. The other children born 
to them were Nancy, David P., Laura, Olive and James. By reason of 
his services in the militia organizations, Mr. Spencer became kn9wn as 
captain. As the civil list will show, Capt. Spencer was one of the 
presidential electors in 1832. His wife died in 1830, after which he 
married Martha, widow of George Wheeler. Truman Spencer died in 
April, 1840. From this old pioneer has descended a good number of 
active, energetic citizens of Yates County. 

Captain Lawrence Townsend, a soldier of the Revolution, made a pur- 
chase of land in Benton in 1790, and moved to the locality during the 
winter following. His place, which was a tavern, and he its landlord, 
was on the continuation of Head street east of and not far from the resi- 
dence of Thomas Gristock. The children of Lawrence Townsend were 
John, Anna, Henry, Phebe, Jarius and Abraham. * 

Aaron Remer was the son of John Remer, a pioneer of what is now 
Torrey, having settled there in 1800. Aaron was born in New Jersey, 
and on coming to Torrey located at or near Lawrence's Mills on the 
outlet, in which he became interested. Leaving there he settled where 
Thomas Gristock now lives. His wife, to whom he was married in 1804, 
was Phebe Townsend. He died in 1841, and his wife died in 1867. 
Their children were Lawrence T., Ann, Phebe, Mary, Jane, William T., 
and Sarah.. Aaron Remer was known as captain, from the fact that he 
organized a cavalry company in Benton during the war of i8i2-'i5. 
The company was in active service for about three months. Captain 
Remer was in ail respects the representative and worthy citizen. He was 
one of the members of Assembly from Ontario at the time of the erection 
of Yates County, and was an active agent in bringing about its separation 
from the mother county. He was the first member of Assembly from 
Yates, in 1823. In 1831 and 1832 he again represented this county. 


Stephen Whitaker was the first settler in the locality of lot No. 
20 in Torrey, he having come to the town in 1799, and there he resided 
until his death in 1 827. He came to the Genesee Country from New Jer- 
sey. Stephen Whitaker was a man highly respected in Benton ; he was 
one of the founders, and the chief one, too, of the first Presbyterian church 
and society in the town, and was one of its most devoted, conscientious 
and worthy members. In town affairs he was frequently called upon to 
fill offices of trust. Mr. Whitaker was married four times ; first in 1772^ 
to Susannah White, by whom he had one child; second, in 1779, to 
Ruth Conklin, who bore him eight children ; third, to Mary Cross, in 
1793 ; and fourth to Agnes, the widow of Daniel Potter. The children 
of Stephen Whitaker by his second marriage were Jonathan, Mary, De- 
borah, Stephen, Ruth, Isaac, Phebe, and Ann. Jonathan, eldest child 
of Stephen, was born in 1780; married in 1806, Mary Bailey. Their 
children were Squier B., Stephen M., Alexander F., William H., Eph- 
raim M., Ruth Ann, Marietta, and George W. Squier B. Whitaker was 
thrice married ; first to Mercy Amsbury, second to Lydia C. Amsbury, 
and third to Mary L. Olmsted. James S. Whitaker, of Penn Yan, is the 
son of Squier B. Whitaker by his marriage with Lydia C. AmSbury. 
William Harlow Whitaker was born August 16, 1813, and died July 
29, 1881 ; nferried Ann Eliza McDowell, November 30, 1837. Their 
children were William H., Jonathan, Augustus, Marietta, Frank, 
Aurelia, Kate L. and Charles F. 

Enos Tubbs, an old revolutionary soldier, settled on lot 31 in 1788 
or 1789. He was twice mafried, having no children by his first wife, 
and eight by his second. 

The name Havens stands for pioneership in Benton, the representa- 
tives coming to the town in 18 10 and the years following. The family 
is numerous in the town to-day. 

Benjamin Dean came to the county in 1798, locating first near 
Seneca Lake, but in 1 804 settling in Benton, on lot 74. He had several 
sons who preceded him to this region. 

Perley Dean was a pioneer on what became known as Flat street, on 
lot 39. He came here in 1793. 

Elisha, Daniel and Martin Brown, natives of Connecticut, but directly 
from Vermont, located on lot 31 during the year 1793. Later on lot 
78, just west of Benton Center. 


David and Experience (Pierce) Peckins were natives of Massachusetts 
and came to Jerusalem in 1810. Their children were Hannah, Elipha, 
David, Lydia, James, Alexander, Sabra, Elisha, Martha, George, and 
Samuel. Elisha Peckins remained in this county and lived for many years 
in Benton. His wife was Martha Raymond, by whom he had four 
children : Myron, Arabella, Charles R., and Jane. Myron Peckins 
married Sarah J. Taylor, daughter of Alva Taylor of Benton, and now 
resides in Penn Yan. Charles R. Peckins married Eleanor Briggs, 
daughter of Seth B. Briggs, an old and respected resident of Benton. 
Further mention of Myron and Charles Peckins will be found elsewhere 
in this volume. 

One of the most prominent families in the southwest part of Benton 
was that of which James Taylor was the highly respected head. Their 
settlement was made in 1821, on lot 1 12. They were not pioneers, but 
were a family worthy of at least passing mention in this chapter. On 
the same lot Briggs Belknap settled in 18 19. In the same general local- 
ity, on lot 87, Noah Davis settled in 1813, and his brother, Thomas 
Davis, in 18 14. They were pioneers in that locality. 

James Smith and family, from Orange County, settled south of Ben- 
ton Center in 1812. Their children were Job, Julia Arin, Mary, Sophia 
H., Emily T., and Susan T. Sophia H. Smith became the wife of Eli 

The Guthrie family, many representatives of which still reside in the 
county, settled in Benton in 18 19. 

The Crozier family, of which Adam Crozier was the head, settled in 
the town in 1821. 

But the families whose names and lives have been recorded on the 
preceding pages did not constitute the entire contingent of persons en- 
titled to mention in connection with the early history of Benten. The 
families named were perhaps the leading ones, possible the most prolific, 
and more closely identified with the history of the town, past and pres- 
ent, than were others of whom briefer mention was made. In a town 
like Benton, where settlement commenced in 1788 and concluded only 
when all its lands were taken up and improved, it is difficult to deter- 
mine just where pioneership actually ceases. But that the record may 
be made as complete and reliable as possible, it is proposed to devote 



some further space to a mention of the names of some others of early 
settlers in the town, but of whom there cannot be made any extended 

The Angus family, of whom Walter Angus was the pioneer head, 
settled in the town in 1800. A large number of his descendants are 
still residents in Benton, living mainly on the shores of Seneca Lake. 

In the north part of the town there were resident prior to 1804, 
either as individuals or heads of families, Joseph Corey, Joseph Ritchie, 
Dyer, Rilish and Artemas Woodworth, Lyman and Enos Tubbs, Tim- 
othy Goff, Elisha Smith, Elihu White, .Silas H. Mapes, James Spring- 
sted, Jesse Lamoreaux, Abram Florence, Stephen Wilcox, Joseph 
Smith, Richard Wood, Isaac Horton, James Davison, and others, per- 
haps, whose names at this time cannot be recalled. 

Dr. John L. Cleveland, a former resident of the county, and a medical 
practitioner of some importance, became a citizen of Benton, living at 
the Center in 18 18. 

Russell Youngs and his wife, Anna (Buell) Youngs, settled in Benton 
in 1 80 1. Their children were Alma, Polly, Maria, Milan, Oliver and 
Fanny. The youngest child, Fanny, became the wife of Samuel H. 
Chapman. He is remembered as having been a school-teacher of long 
experience, and court crier for more than thirty years. In politics Mr. 
Chapman was a Whig, then a Republican, but during his later life he 
was interested in the cause of prohibition. The children of Samuel H. 
and Fanny Chapman were Charles E., who died in hospital during the 
war; Mary Jane, now at home; Henry O., who died in 1849; Alson, 
who died in 1889; Russel, who is a prominent wagon-maker at the Cen- 
ter ; Eugene, who lives in Torrey, and Fred, who manages the home 
farm. Samuel H. Chapman died April 16, 1885. 

William Hilton settled on lot 56 in 1794. His wife, Ruth, died in 
1826, and he in 1828; Robert Patterson settled on lot 43 in 1798 or 
1799 ; the Weed family, who are still numerous in the county, settled 
on Flat street in 1 808 ; Ephraim Kidder located in the town in 1800; 
the wife of John McMaster, the progenitor of a large family, many of 
whose descendants still live in the town, located in Benton in 18 10; the 
McFarrens came to the county in 1806; Jared Patchen settled on lot 
70 in 1807 ; John Powell, a former blacksmith in Penn Yan, made his 


settlement in 18 16; the Lamport family came to Benton in 1812; Abel 
Peek's family settled in 1813; the Randall family came in 1812; the 
Ketchum family were early settlers in Flat street; the children of Ebe- 
nezer Boyd, Robert, Lewis, and Phebe, settled in Benton in 18 14;, Ja- 
cob Winants was a settler in Benton in 1800, and left a large family, 
five of them being residents of the town at an early day. 

The western part of Benton was originally heavily timbered, and was 
known as the West Woods. In this locality settlement did not com- 
mence as early as in the eastern sections, and it was not until 18 16 or 
thereabouts that improvements were made here. Among the more 
prominent of the first families in this region of the town were the Rec- 
tors, Cranks, Wheelers, Simmonses, Fingers, Hooses, Carrolls, Moons, 
Millers, and others, perhaps, whose names are lost by time. 

Many of the families whose names have been mentioned on preced- 
ing pages have descendants still numbered among the families of the 
town to-day, while there were others, pioneers perhaps, who lived here 
for a time and then moved to some other locality. Looking over the 
lists of residents of Benton at the present time the fact will appear that 
many families who were not pioneers have substantial descendants now 
in the town, and they, too, among the most thrifty and forehanded of 
its people. Elsewhere in this work will be found some brief mention 
of persons and families who have been identified with the development 
and prosperity of Benton during the last fifty and less of years. 

It has been the custom of all past historical writers to furnish at least 
a partial list of town officers in connection with town chapters ; and it 
appears to be conceded generally that the ofiice of supervisor is as rep- 
resentative a position as can be selected from among township officers 
of which to furnish a succession. Benton was brought into existence 
in 1803, but the records of the town during the first seven years of its 
history, whether under the names of Vernon, Snell, or Benton, do not 
appear to be in existence. From all that can be learned Samuel Law- 
rence was supervisor during 1808 and 1809, and was succeeded by 
Elijah Spencer in 1810. Of course the reader will understand that 
names of persons may be found in the following succession of supervis 
ors of Benton who were residents of township 7, or Milo; but none such 
will appear after 1 8 1 8. The same may also be said of Torrey, which was 
not made a separate town until 185 1. 


Supervisors of Benton. — Samuel Lawrence, 1808-09; Elijah Spencer, 
1810-14, 1817-19; Joshua Lee, 1815-16; Meridith Mallory, 1820; 
AbnerWoodworth, 1820-21, 1831-32; Jonathan Whitaker, 1823, 1825, 
1829; John L. Cleveland, 1824; Elijah Spencer, 1826-28; Aaron Re- 
mer, 1830; Anthony Gage, 1833; Samuel G.Gage, 1834-35, 1838-42; 
Heman Chapman, 1836-37 )► Abner Woodworth, 1843; Aaron Ed- 
monds, 1844; Hatley N. Dox, 1845-47; James Simmons, 1848; Alfred 
Baldwin, 1849; William S. Hudson, 1850; Edward R. Briggs, 1851; 
Henry Hicks, 1852; William Taylor, 1853; Isaac N. Gage, 1854; 
George W. Spencer, 1855; William T. Remer, 1856; George A. Shep- 
pard, 1857; John Merrifield, 1858-59, 1865-67; Samuel Allen, i860; 
Homer Mariner, 1861-62; Caleb Hazen, 1863-64; Samuel Jayne, 
1868 ; Henry C. Collin, 1869-70; Wemple H. Crane, 1871 ; Samuel B. 
Gage, 1872-73; Mason L. Baldwin, 1874-75; George W. Taylor, 1876- 
jy; Myron Peckins, 1878-79; Ebenezer Scofield, 1880-81 ; Bradley T. 
Mallory, 1882-83; Horace Underwood, 1884-85; James M. Lowii, 
1886-87; Frank Coe, 1888-89; James B. McAlpine, 1890-91. 

Justices of the Peace. — Under an amendment to the constitution of 
1 82 1, passed in 1826, justices became elective and not appointive ofii- 
ces ; but in Benton there appears no record showing the election of any 
justice prior to 1830. From that time the justices, with date of election 
of each, has been as follows: Abner Woodworth, 1830-34; Samuel C. 
Lyon, 1 83 1, 1835 ; John A. McLean, 1832, 1836, 1847; Jesse T. Gage, 
1833, 1837, 1841, 1853; Edward Young, 1838; Samuel G. Gage, 1839, 
1847, 185 1 ; Robert R Buell, 1842, 1846, 1850; Levi Patchen, 1843; 
James Young, 1843; Alpheus Veasie, 1844; Josiah S. Carr, 1848; 
Charles Coleman, 1849, 1857, 1861, 1865, 1869, 1873; George B. Stan- 
ton, 1852; William Comstock, 1854, 1858, 1862; William S. Hudson, 
1855; James Durham, 1856, i860; Martin Brown, jr., 1859, 1863; Ed- 
win Lamport, 1862, 1864; Thomas H. Locke, 1866, 1870, 1874, 1878; 
Henry R. Taylor, 1867, 1871 ; Daniel Millspaugh, 1872, 1876; Myron 
Peckins, 1876; William Best, 1879; Walter W. Becker, 1880, 1884; 
Rowland S. Manley, 1881 ; Charles R. Peckins, 1882, 1886, 1890; 
George B. Barden, 1883, 1887; William H. Coleman, 1885; Emmet C. 
Payne, 1888 ; Ashley W. Barden, 1889. 

Villages and Hamlets. — That part of the incorporated village of Penn 


Yan which Hes north of Head street forms a part of the town of Benton ; 
and the electors therein have a voice and ballot in the election of town 
officers of Benton, and village officers of Penn Yan. But the voters of 
Benton outside the village have no voice in the election of municipal 
officers ; therefore any extended reference to the village as a part of the 
township is nonappropriate to this chapter. 

Outside of Penn Yan the principal central point for trade and busi- 
ness in Benton is the little hamlet called Bellona, situate on Cashong 
Creek, in the northeast part of the town. From the time of the found- 
ing of the village about 1810, until the present time, the population has 
at no time exceeded 300 souls ; but, in a way, Bellona has been and is 
an important point. Its business interests have been comprised in the 
saw and grist-mills, the indispensible tavern, and two or three stores. 
Bellona was made a mail station in 1813, with Martin Gage as post- 
master. He held office until 1839, and was then succeeded by Dr. 
Anthony Gage. The stone mill at Bellona was built about or soon 
after 1835. 

Benton Center is the name of a little village having no corporate or- 
ganization, situate very near the middle of township No. 8 as originally 
laid out and surveyed. It is distant from the county seat about three 
and one-half rpiles, on the main thoroughfare of travel north from Penn 
Yan, and at the intersection of the road just mentioned with the only 
east and west road that leads directly and entirely across the town. 
The proximity of the Center to Penn Yan precludes the possibility of 
its ever becoming a trading point of importance. Having no natural 
water-power, it is not of value as a manufacturing locality. The first 
settlement in Benton was made east of and near the Center by Levi 
Benton, while the lots Nos. 113, 114, 115, and 116, that contribute 
lands to the hamlet proper, were themselves occupied at an early day. 
Still the village had no postoffice until 1825, when Joel Ross was ap- 
pointed postmaster. David Buell succeeded him, since whose time 
John A. Haight, Isaac N. Gage, Asahel Savage, Myron Cole, Edwin 
Lamport, and Oliver C. Guthrie have held the same office. Benton 
Center has two churches and church societies, each of which is men- 
tioned on succeeding pages of this chapter. 

Ferguson's Corners is the lesser in importance of the three hamletf 


of the town. Its situation is in the extreme northwestern section of 
Benton, and its size is scarcely greater than the average of corners or 
cross roads. A postoffice was established here in 1842, but discon- 
tinued in 1865. 

Church History of Benton — It has been said, and with much show of 
truth, that Benton is the mother of churches in Yates County. The only 
locality that had a church prior to Benton was that occupied by the 
Friends, and theirs was but a primitive log building. Moreover, the 
Friends were a sect that colonized in the region, worshiping in peculiar 
form and manner, not recognized by the established churches or relig- 
ious denominations then extant, and one that proved not to be founded 
upon substantial basis and without perpetuity. 

The Methodist Church in Benton had its inception in the missionary 
preachings held as early as the year 1792 in Levi Benton's barn, at 
which time and period Ezra Cole was a local preacher and organizer. 
In 1793 he organized a Methodist class, among the members of which 
were himself and his wife, Matthew Cole, Lois Cole, Delila Cole, Elipha- 
let Hull and wife, George Wheeler, jr., and wife, and Mrs. Sarah Buell. 
Eliphalet Hull was the first class leader ; George Wheeler the second. 
At that time Benton was in the Seneca Lake circuit, and so remained 
until 1806. A Genesee conference was formed in 1809, and a Crooked 
Lake circuit in 18 14. The first meeting-house of the society was 
erected in 1807, on the farm now of M. L. Baldwin, about a mile south 
of Benton Center. Except that of the Friends, this was the first meet- 
ing-house erected in what is Yates County. George Wheeler, jr., fur- 
nished the land for the building. 

The first twenty years witnessed increasing strength in the class and 
society, but misfortunes and some secessions worked injuriously until 
about 1826, when a revival re-established its strength. In 1828 the 
Benton circuit was formed, including the several classes in the town, 
with result in the erection of a house of worship west of the Center at 
Havens Corners. Five years later a parsonage was built near the 
church. The Center did not become a station until 1841, and for all prior 
time such services as were held were conducted either by local preach- 
ers or circuit riders. The church at the Center was built in 1855, and 
substantially remodeled and repaired in 1859. 


The Methodist Church at Bellona is but a bVanch or offshoot from the 
mother society of the town. The first services were held in 1805 in the 
log school house, and in 1809 such interest had come to be shown that 
a regular place for preaching was established. The class at Bellona 
was formed the same year, among its members being Benjamin Bid- 
lack, Henry Oxtoby and wife, Jacob Wood and wife, and John Davis 
and wife. In 18 10 a meeting-house was commenced and enclosed 
during the first year, but it was not until 1820 that it was fully com- 
pleted. It stood on the hill just north of the village. 

In 1 841, under the direction of H. R. Coleman, Summers Banks, 
J. W. Wood, George Waite, and Charles Coleman, as building com- 
mittee, the new centrally located church edifice, 36x56 feet in size, 
with steeple and bell was erected. Two years later, in 1843, Bellona 
was made a separate charge, and Seth Mattison was its first preacher. 
In 1866 extensive repairs were made to the church edifice, making it 
when completed an attractive and commodious house of worship. The 
committee in charge of the work were Charles Coleman, Summers 
Banks, George H. Banks, J. H. Huie, C. Lazenby and George Brooks. 

The Baptist Church and society of Benton Center, and in fact of the 
town, had their origin in the meetings and services that are said to have 
begun as early as 1797, although there exists no tangible proof to show 
that any organization took place prior to 1800, when Elder John Goft 
was appointed and ordained to the charge of the society. David South- 
erland and Moses Finch were elected deacons. At that time it was 
known as the Vernon Church. Elder Goff was pastor of the church for 
thirty- six years, and is remembered particularly on account of the great 
length of his discourses at regular church meetings, funerals and wed- 
dingcelebrations. In 1836 he emigrated to Michigan. 

The first church edifice of this society was erected in 1818, and stood, 
not at the Center, but on the road next east and leading^to the north. 
At that time there were a number of Universalists in the town, and they 
contributed toward the fund with which the church was built. Occa- 
sionally Universalist services were held in the church. In 1848 the 
commodious church edifice at the Center was erected. The trustees, 
Samuel G. Gage, George R. Barden, James Southerland, John Church, 
and Charles Gilbert acted as building committee. The parsonage prop- 
erty was purchased in 1856, costing $1,200. 


Elder Goff began his pastorate in 1800 and served thirty- six years. 
Next, after a vacancy of two years, Elias Buck was called, remaining 
two years. William H. Delano came in 1840 and served four years. 
John W. Wiggins was called in 1845, ^"^ Daniel Litchfield in 1847, the 
latter serving four years. Elder Almon C. Mallory was ordained in 
185 I, and continued in chasge of the church twenty-four years. Sub- 
sequent to the pastorate of Mr. Mallory the elders in charge have 
been T. S. Hill, Albert Martin, V. P. Mather an^ S. D. Works. 

Among the earlier members of the Baptist Church at Benton Center 
can be recalled the names of Samuel Buell, Moses Finch, David South- 
erland, David Riggs, William Gilbert, Benjamin Fowle, Francis Dean, 
Simon Southerland, Smith Mapes, Isaac Lain, Elisha Benedict, Eph- 
raim Kidder, Isaac Whitney, Buckbee Gage, Benjamin Dean, Samuel 
Raymond, Robert Watson, Jonathan and Jesse Brown, Stephen Wil- 
kins, David Kidder, David Holmes, David Trimmer, John L. Swart- 
hout, Stephen Coe, Charles and Joel Gillette, James Southerland, 
Heman Chapman, Jacob Wats.on, Henry Nutt. 

The Presbyterian Church of Benton, the mother of several other so- 
cieties of that denomination in the county, was organized through the 
efforts and influence of pioneer Stephen Whitaker. He was a Presby- 
terian and laid the foundation of the society in the prayer and conver- 
sation meetings held at his own house as early as the year 1802. On 
the 7th of November, 1809, Rev. John Lindsley organized a society at 
a meeting held at Mr. Whitaker's house. The original members were 
Stephen and Mary Whitaker, John and Susannah Armstrong, John and 
Sarah Hall, George and Elizabeth Armstong, John and Sarah McLean, 
Solomon Couch, William Read, Rebecca Boyd, Terry Owen and wife, 
and William Roy. The first ordained elders were Stephen Whitaker, 
John Hall and Solomon Couch. The society had no regular pastor 
until 1820, when on September 13th Rev. Richard Williams was in- 

In 1 8 16 the full organization of this church was effected, and the 
name "The First Presbyterian Congregation of the Town of Benton," 
was adopted. The first church edifice of the society was erected in 
1 82 1 on the southwest corner of lot No. 12. Here services were held 
until January, 1839, and then transferred to the church then recently 


acquired at Bellona. Here they have since been continued, but a good 
proportion of the old membership and their descendants became united 
with the church at Penn Yan. In fact it was considered that there was 
a virtual removal of the old church to the county seat. 

The church building occupied by the Benton Presbyterian Society 
on its removal or transfer to Bellona village was the same formerly oc- 
cupied by the society of the Dutch Reformed Church. The latter had 
its organization in 1833, '^^^ 'he church edifice was built the same year 
at the individual expense of John Pembrook and Jacob Meserole ; but 
the sale of pews nearly made good the amount expended by them. The 
society continued only about six years, and the building was sold in 
1839 to the Presbyterian Church and society. The latter absorbed the 
former congregation. 


THE town of Starkey is situated in the southeast corner of Yates 
County, and is bounded on the north by the town of Milo, east 
by Seneca Lake, south by the town of Reading, Schuyler County, and 
west by the towns of Barrington and Reading. Yates County was or- 
ganized in the year 1823. The town of Starkey was not included in 
the organization until the next year, 1824. 

Starkey was originally a part of the old town of Frederickstown, af- 
terward Reading. The name of Frederickstown was changed to Wayne, 
in honor of General Anthony Wayne, April 6, 1808. Reading was 
founded in 1808 and included the town of Starkey, which was organ- 
ized in 1824 by act of legislature. 

The early history of the town of Starkey is rather obscure. The pi- 
oneers have passed away, and their descendants have scattered so that 
but few if any remain. So far as can be ascertained, the earliest at- 

1 By Charles H. Martin. 



tempt at settlement was made by Elnathan, jr., and Benj. Botsford, 
and a brother-in-law, Achilles Comstock. They bought 400 acres of 
Charles Williamson, not surveyed, built a log house and made a large 
clearing in 1798. Their property was destroyed by a forest fiie, and a 
survey deprived them of half of their land. They became discouraged 
and abandoned their claim and returned to the Friends' settlement in 
Jerusalem, whence they came. There is a tradition that the first 
permanent inhabitant was William Eddy. The east side of Seneca 
Lake was the route of General Sullivan in his expedition against the 
Indians, and was the first to be settled by the whites. The dwellers on 
the east side had noticed for some ^time a column of smoke ascending 
from a particular place on the west side. Their curiosity was excited, 
and a party was formed to investigate. On a bright Sunday morning 
the expedition paddled their canoes across to the Seneca landing, north 
of what is now Glenora. After landing the familiar sound of a bell was 
heard. Following the sound it led them to a cow ; and following the 
cow she led them to the cabin of William Eddy, the first settler of 
Eddytown, and as believed, the first of Starkey. 

William Eddy settled on the farm south of Eddytown now owned 
by Dennis W. Disbrow, where he remained several years. Later in 
life he became possessed with the delusion that he had a fortune waiting 
for him in his native country. He sold his property and returned t(f 
Ireland to find, like many other fortune hunters, that his fortune was 
but a myth. He failed to find a person that had ever known or heard 
of him. He ended his life in an alms house and died a pauper. 

Assuming William Eddy to have been the first permanent white settler, 
we find the next in order was a colony from Sandgate, Vermont, who lo- 
cated in and around Eddytown, in the eastern part of the town of Starkey. 
Among the number were the three brothers, Mathew Royce, Simeon 
Royce, Reuben Royce, Abner Hurd and his three sons, Timothy 
Hurd, Aaron Hurd, and Ransom Hurd, all in 1802. Andrew Booth 
came later, 181 1, and was from the same locality as was Moses Hurd, 
who came in about the same time of the first colony and settled near 
Rock stream, and gave the early name of Hurd's Corners to that 
place. New Jersey furnished a large quota. Among the number was 
David Hay, 1804; Andrew Raplee, 1806; Teval Swarts, 1 807; Joseph C. 


Lewis, David Shannon, Stephen Reeder, Joshua Tuthill, James Sprouls, 
and Hiram Titsworth, who located in different parts of the town, mostly 
north of Dundee. 

Richard Lanning and his three sons came from Wilksbarre in 1802. 
George Plummer came from the same place in 1807, and located on the 
hill between Dundee and Eddytown. John Starkey and David Semans 
were originally from Maryland, but later from Seneca County. Peter 
Wallace, John O. Cook, Reuben Thomas, Gideon Thomas, Thomas 
Rozell, and Col. Elisha Ward settled the southwest part of the town. 

The mention of Col. Elisha Ward's name recalls the memory of a 
horrible tragedy with which the family was sadly connected. Colonel 
Ward lived m the extreme south part of the town on the county line. 
He was a well-to-do farmer and lived in better style than his neigh- 
bors. The family consisted of the parents and an infant child. There 
was boarding with them a man named Baldwin, affected slightly with 
insanity, but never known to be violent or dangerous. He became ap- 
parently very fond of the child, and the baby became equally fond of 
him. Baldwin would quiet the child when the mother failed. On a 
certain day the child was unusually fretful. The mother gave the child 
to Baldwin who said he could "still " it. He took it out of doors, laid it 
on the stump of a tree, and siezing an axe, severed its head from the 
body. Turning to the mother he said, " the child is stilled." The 
mother was frantic. She caught the headless body of her child and for 
a long time refused to relinquish it. Baldwin was afterward cured of 
his malady and became an able lawyer. 

The early settlement of the town appears to have been rapid. The 
fertility of the soil, the beauty of the scenery, the low price of the land, 
the easy terms of payment, the kindness and lenity of the land of- 
fice agents in extending the time of payment in case of sickness or fail- 
ure of crops, were inducements that favored the rapid development of 
the county and attracted a very desirable class of settlers. 

The land was originally covered with dense forests. That of the 
eastern portion, sloping towards the Seneca Lake, was timbered 
in part with fine specimens of oak, maple, black walnut, hickory, red 
cedar, and other varieties, and in the western portion (the valley of Big 
Stream) pines of magnificent growth were interspersed with other 


kinds, all of which would have been of great value if retained until a 
later period, but was then an incumbrance to be removed in the easiest 
manner. The manner then employed was to chop the trees in lengths 
of fourteen to sixteen feet, "log" them into heaps and burn them. 
What would have been worth millions of dollars if kept until later have 
been thus destroyed. » 

It is doubtful whether the town of Starkey, after nearly one hundred 
years of careful cultivation and improvement, is of any more value than 
it would be could it be restored to the condition it was when abandoned 
by the Indians. 

The principal water course of the town is Big Stream. This stream 
enters the town on its western boundary, and flowing in a southeasterly 
direction through the entire breadth of the town, finally discharges its 
waters over a precipice of more than loo feet into Seneca Lake, forming 
a beautiful waterfall. Big Stream, in those early days of which we write, 
and later, was a splendid water-power, and furnished power for fifteen 
saw-mills, four fulling-mills, (i. e., mills where wool was carded and cloth 
was dressed,) two woolen factories, and five grist or flouring- mills. The 
mill privilege in West Dundee alone furnished power for three saw- 
mills, one grist-mill, a fulling-mill and tannery. Now in a drouth there 
is hardly water enough to run a steam engine. The shrinkage of water 
in the streams is without doubt due to the destruction of the forests. 
There are now but two saw-mills and two grist or flouring-mills on the 
stream. The only grist and flouring- mill in the town in running order 
,is the Pecha mill at Glenora. The mill was built by James Barkly of 
Geneva, N. Y., in the year 1837. Larmon G. Townsend soon after its 
completion became partner and afterward owner. The original cost of 
the mill was $16,000. It was sold at auction in the year 1864, and bid 
off by H. G. Stafford for $1,030. Mr. Stafford sold it for $S,000, after 
putting on repairs costing $1,500. The present owners have added 
many new improvements. The Pechas, father and son, are English, 
and are practical millers, and thoroughly understand their business. 
The mill has always been in good repute and is a great convenience to 
the surrounding country. The old Martin stone mill, still remaining, 
has been abandoned, and of the remaining four mentioned three were 
destroyed by fire and the fourth was removed. Just across the town 


line in Barrington the late Clinton Raplee built a grist and saw- mill, 
and his sons have added a large basket factory. 

Rock Stream, much smaller than the above, crosses the entire breadth 
of the town from west to east and empties into Seneca Lake at Rock 
Stream Point. 

The town of Starkey has an excellent soil well adapted to the culti- 
vation of all kinds of grain, veg^ables and fruit. The soil is various, 
including sand, clay and loam. The cultivation of fruit has become one 
of the leading (if not the leading) industries of the town. Large vine- 
yards have been established along the shores of the Seneca Lake, and 
inland for four or five miles. The acres devoted to grapes and other 
fruits can be estimated by thousands. Other fruits have not been neg- 
lected. Apples, pears, plums and peaches are raised in abundance, 
and the raising and evaporating of raspberries has assumed large pro- 
portions. Strawberries, black- berries, raspberries, as well as the other 
fruits mentioned above, are shipped in large quantities in their season. 
The fruit crop is the main reliance of many families for support, and 
the freighting is a goodly source of profit to the railroads. 

At the first town meeting the contest centered on the office of super- 
visor. The nominees were John Starkey and Isaac Lanning. The 
election was hotly contested. Mr. Starkey was the successful candi- 
date. The next year the same candidates were nominated and Mr. 
Lanning was elected and held the office for several terms. The Lan- 
nings were a conspicuous family in the early history of the town. The 
father, Richard Lanning, was the first justice of the peace appointed by 
the governor, and was the first elected by the people. Isaac was one 
of the leading politicians of the town. In later years he was postmaster 
for several terms. Early in the anti- slavery agitation he became a rigid 
abolitionist. His house was one of the stations of the "Underground 
Railroad,'' and many a poor slave was helped by him on his way to 

Richard Lanning, James Watson and John Starkey were justices of 
the peace by appointment of the governor when the town was erected. 
Richard Lanning held the office for several terms. Isaac Lanning car- 
ried on a large business in blacksmithing for many years in Eddytown. 

Starkey has five postoffices, Dundee, Starkey, Eddytown, Glenora 


and Rock Stream. Caleb Fulkerson and Andrew Harrison kept inns in 
1808, the first in the town. John Sears built the first grist-mill. It was 
located east of Eddytownon lands formerly owned by General Hurd, now 
by Mrs. Youngs. Mr. Sears found the stones used in the mill in a 
ravine on the same premises, and picked and fashioned them into form 
himself So far as known John Starkey built the second grist-mill in 
what is now Dundee. ^ 

The early merchants of Eddytown were Henry Smith, James Hunt- 
ington, Benjamin Cheever, John Bogart, Isaac P. Seymour, King & 
Noyes, Harvey G. Stafford, and George W. Summers. 

Col. Stafford was for many years the leading merchant of the town. 
He came to Eddytown in 1822 and engaged with Benjamin Cheever 
as clerk, and in 1827 became partner, and subsequently purchased 
the business. He removed to Dundee in 1846, and was partner in the 
firm of Stafford, Martin & Co. After that partnership was dissolved 
he engaged in banking and other business. He was postmaster under 
Fillmore's administration. He lived to tfie great age of eighty-eight, 
and died November 10, 1891. 

The village of Dundee accupies the space of three-fourth of a mile 
north and south, and one and one-half miles east and west. It has the 
old and new pre-emption lines for its eastern and western boundaries. 
The village is located in one of the most beautiful of the many beautiful 
valleys of the State. It occupies a central position in the town of 
Starkey, and is the largest village in the township, and the second 
in the population in the county. The population according to the last 
census was a trifle over 1,200. Dundee was incorporated in 1848. 
Of the 250 voters within the village limits when it was incorporated only 
four are residents now, and most of the others have passed into another 
state of existence. The four remaining are Hon. J. T. Andrews, V. 
Oldfield, C. H. Martin, and Andrew Harpending, all well advanced in 

The first settlers where Dundee now stands were Isaac Stark, Anson 
Stark, William Durland, Hendrick Houghtaling, Elias Fitzwater, Jon- 
athan Botsford, John Walton, Benjamin Potter, Isaac Houghtaling, 
Lazarus Reed, Joseph Green, residing chiefly on or near Big Streams. 
Whether Isaac Stark was the first to settle on what is now the site of 


Dundee, or whether the Houghtaling families were here before him, is a 
mooted question that I have not been able to decide and on which the 
older inhabitants disagree. It is probable that both families came in the 
same year. In 1807 Isaac Stark built a double log house on the site 
now occupied by James Bigelow's residence, corner of Main street and 
West avenue. (Mr. Stark was grandfather of Mrs. Ernest Daily.) He 
owned all the land from the corner of Main street east to the village 
limit and south to Big Stream. Mr. Stark offered the whole tract for a 
pair of gray horses. The owner of the horses declined to accept the 
offer. The land was originally so densely covered with pitch pine trees 
that the older inhabitants used to say a "single ray of sun- light 
could not penetrate them, and it was dusk at noon." The Houghtal- 
ings owned 200 acres on the north side of Seneca street. The land was 
called " pine barrens," and was considered of little value. 

Harpending's Corners was the name by which Dundee was known at 
that time, and the word " corners " fully describes the place. There 
were then only the four principal streets, viz. : Main, Seneca, Water and 
Union, if we except Millard street, which was only a country road, and 
Spring street, then socalled Potash lane, a private alley leading to an 
ashery located at its western terminus. To say Harpending's Corners 
was not an inviting or pleasant place to look upon would be to state 
the question in a very mild form. The appearance of the village was 
dreary and desolate. The streets were rough and uneven, filled with 
piles of lumber, shingles and staves, and were profusely decorated with 
stumps. Cows, pigs, and geese ran at large, and pig-troughs were in 
front of some of the dwellings. There were no side-walks, no shade 
trees, no churches, no lawyers, no justices or other town officers, no 
stages, livery or other .public conveyances, and what will indicate the 
very low grade of civilization, there was not a billiard or gambling room 
in the village. Not to say that there was not any of the last named 
business. There was a large amount in a small way, which was usually 
transacted in the hay- mows of barns and horse sheds. "Old Sledge" was 
the game, and the stakes were " a shilling a corner," whatever that might 
imply. Long rows of unsightly rail fences were on all the streets. 
There were about thirty buildings, large and small (mostly small), 
and illy kept, scattered along the four principal streets singly and in 
small huddles. 


There were no agents or drummers in those early times. The " com- 
mercial traveler " was not known. The system of selling goods by 
sample was not inaugurated until many years later. It has come to 
stay and gives employment to an army of very competent men, and is 
a matter of great convenience to merchants, many of whom never visit 
the cities to make their purcl^ases. The merchants "went below " twice 
each year, spring and fall, and their goods were transported by canal. 
" Going below " implied a trip to Troy, Albany, and sometimes to New 
York. After receiving their goods their shelves would be reasonably 
full. Then there would be a rush of customers for new goods, and as 
the shelves became empty the goods would be condensed on the lower 
shelves and a strip of wall paper would be stretched over the empty 
shelves. In two months after the goods were received the assortment 
would be broken, and in a month a great many articles could not be 
obtained. Often there would not be a pound of sugar in the town, and 
a scarcity of many other articles. Money was scarce and a great por- 
tion of the business was in barter. " Store pay " was almost considered 
" legal tender." All kinds of grain and other produce were among the 
exchanges. Ashes was a very important factor, there being two ash- 
eries where potash was manufactured. Lumber and staves were taken 
at low figures — five dollars per thousand bought very good lumber. 
Shingles were bought in very large quantities. It was not an unusual 
sight to see large numbers of horse and ox-teams loaded with shingles 
on the streets, and if there was a woman on the load, as was often the 
case, it was considered mortgaged. 

There was one hotel, owned and kept by Samuel Harpending, grand- 
father of the present proprietor. Harpending House has been owned by 
some member of the Harpending family for more than seventy years, 
and has always been deservedly popular and noted for its good cheer. 
The original proprietor, " Uncle Sam," as he was familiarly called, was 
a character in his way. Large and burly of figure, the ideal of a coun- 
try landlord, clear headed and jhrewd in business affairs, kind and gen- 
erous of heart withal, though tempestuous of temper. When once 
aroused it was no gentle shower that distilled, but a thunder storm, a 
hurricane, a tornado. His vocabulary of abusive language was won- 
derful, and woe to the unlucky wight who chanced to fall under his 


displeasure. He made things lively while the storm raged, but it would 
subside as quickly as it had been raised, and he would be just hs ready 
in half an hour to do his victim a favor as he was to pour on him his 
wrath. The old man had always a retinue of dead- heads about him, 
and I believe that custom has been continued by his successors. No 
one was refused food and shelter at the Harpending House for want of 
money. He gave liberally to the churches — to the first three built, 
each a building lot and a subscription equal to that of any of the mem- 

In those days Harpending's Corners was a dependent of Eddytown, 
taking the crusts aud crumbs thrown to it, and eating its humble pie 
with thankfulness. Eddytown was the favored village, with its five 
stores, church, two hotels, lawyers, doctors, and a variety of mechanics. 
It had a daily mail and a daily line of four- horse stage coaches. It 
was favorably located on the direct stage road between Gerteva and 
Elmira (then Newtown), and was then the principal village on the route, 
a place of more business importance than Watkins (under whatever alias 
that village was then known). Real estate in Eddytown commanded 
nearly double the price that the same kind of property could sell for in 
this place. The policy of Eddytown toward Harpending's Corners was 
one of repression, and she used her power and opportunity for that 
purpose. It had already begun to look upon the upstart as a possible 
business rival. Eddytown controlled the politics of the town and dis- 
posed of the political favors, which explains why then there were no 
town officers located in this place. Eddytown had a monopoly of 
shows, general trainings, Fourth of July celebrations, etc. Town meet- 
ings were always held there, and when elections were held on three suc- 
cessive days at three different places. Harpending's Corners, although 
the most centrally located, was always left out in the cold. In order to 
prevent the elections from being held at the " Corners " they were often 
held in remote corners of the town. I recollect that in the election of 1832 
(General Jackson's last run for the Presidency), that election was held the 
first day at Torrence's Tavern, on the farm now owned by Daniel Sproul, 
the second day at Rock Stream, and the third at Eddytown. This was 
the usual custom, but it was the last time that it occured. In the spring 
of 1 83 1 Samuel Kress, a very competent man, ran for the office of jus- 



tice of the peace and was defeated, not from any personal objection to 
the candidate, but merely on a local issue. There was no pretence that 
Mr. Kress was not qualified for the office, and he belonged to the party 
in the majority. The political magnates willed that there should be no 
justice located [at Harpending's Corners, and it was some years be- 
fore one was allowed, and then only that Eddytown should furnish 
the material. They sent James L. Seeley, who was duly elected. They 
might have done a worse turn. Mr. Seeley was honest and thoroughly 
competent and acceptable, and became one of the leading citizens. 
This was doing justice by installments. Following the election of Mr. 
Seeley a full quota of officers was allowed, although not from choice. 
Harpending's Corners had tired of acting as''tail to the Eddytown kite, 
and demanded and received as her right what had before been granted 
as a favor. 

In the' spring and summer of 1831 there was a small boom in build- 
ing. Samuel Huson built a store and dwelling on the corner of Water 
and Union streets. John Sweeney, Dr. Benjamin Nichols, B. B. Beek- 
man, Thomas Swarthout and E. J. Smith, each built dwellings on Main 
street, west side. The Harpending House was enlarged and the Bap- 
tists erected the first house of worship in the village. From this time 
the future of the village was assured, and Eddytown as a business place 
was doomed, its prestege was gone. Little by little its trade left and 
was absorbed by its young rival. One by one its stores disappeared ; 
some closed out, some removed, and others went out legitimately 
(failed), until in time there was none left. 

Starkey Corners was a place of considerable business importance. It 
had a church, Methodist Episcopal, one store, two hotels, and a good 
supply of mechanics. The store and one of the hotels have gone; the 
other hotel is the Reeder homestead. A few dwellings occupied by the 
owners is all that remains of the hamlet which in early times had quite 
as much business as Harpending's Corners. 

In the summer of 1834 the changing of the name of the village was 
agitated. There had been an attempt to call it Plainville, which failed, 
there being another village of that name in the State. This probably 
produced more excitement than any event before or since. The num- 
ber of names proposed were only limited to the number of the inhabit- 


ants, nearly every one having a pet name largely of the " ville " order. 
The Harpending family very naturally wanted the old name in part 
retained, and proposed "Harpending" or 'Harpendale." Rev. E. W. 
Martin's choice was La Grange, while others thought Stark or Stark- 
ville the better name at a meeting called to decide the matter. James 
Gifford proposed Dundee, which was accepted. The real contest was 
between Dundee and La Grange. Mr. Gifford afterward emigrated 
West and_ founded the city of Elgin, 111., to which he gave another 
Scotch name. Mr. Gifford built the first house in Elgin. He named 
another village in Illinois Dundee. From these names it would be 
supposed that he was a Scotchman. This was not so. He was an old- 
fashioned singing-school teacher and selected his names from the mnsica 
sacra. While Eddytown and Starkey's Corners was favored with a daily 
mail and a daily line of four-horse stage coaches, and Wayne and Tyrone 
had the same accommodation, a weekly mail service, and that carried 
on horseback, was the postal accommodations for this place until 
1838. The Hon. J. T. Andrews, while in Congress, with difficulty had 
the service increased to semi-weekly mail. The late Nehemiah Raplee 
was postmaster, and the postoffice was kept in the kitchen of his dwell- 
ing. There was no public conveyance to and from Dundee until about 
the year 1841. Then Col. Benjamin Tuthill, of Starkey's Corners, mail 
contractor, put upon the road a one-horse vehicle in which the mail and 
passengers were carried to and from Starkey Landing, on Seneca Lake. 
The mail service had been increased to a tri-weekly mail. The accom- 
modation was ample and the old red one-horse " 'bus " was never so 
crowded but that there was room for one more. 

Saturday was considered a holidaj'. The people from the country 
flocked into the village. Shooting at a "mark," wrestling, jumping, 
and base- ball playing (old style), and other sports were indulged in. 
The day usually closed with one or more scrub-races and several fights — 
whisky was cheap, three cents a glass or a shilling a bottle. The race 
course was Seneca street, and the stakes were one, rhree, and on extra 
occasions five dollars. Also a special purse. of ten dollars was some- 
times risked. 

In speaking of the early inhabitants and their relation to the early 
history of the village, the late Gen. Nehemiah Raplee was a prominent 


figure. For more than a half century he was a resident of this place, 
and in its early days was associated with its material development. He 
was always alive to the interest of the village, and in many ways con- 
tributed to its advancement. He held many important offices and was 
elected as a Democrat to the Assembly in 1848, when the county was 
Whig by a large majority. Subsequently he was elected associate judge, 
and for some years was brigadier-general of militia. He was always 
ready to lend a helping hand to the young and those starting in life. His 
endorsement, and Samuel Harpending's, were on many notes, and were 
always honored at the bank. Many now in good circumstances were- 
indebted to such help for their start in life. After misfortune had over- 
taken him he said to the writer that he never asked favors of those he 
had helped but of those on whom he had no claim. He made no con- 
cealment of his likes or dislikes and was a man of decided opinions, and 
being a trifle belligerent sorrietimes, made enemies. Those who only 
remember him in the latter days of his life, when crushed and broken 
by misfortune would hardly recognize in him the handsome, active, 
busy, hustling business man of early days. 

Fires. — Dundee has been severely scourged by fires. The three most 
disastrous occurred in the year 1859-60-61. The first started on the 
east side of Main street in the center of a frame block, and burning in 
both directions destroyed all but one building (Mrs. Wolcott's) be- 
tween Hollister and Seneca streets, and on Seneca street east to the 
Sleeper residence. The second large fire was started on the west side 
of Main street on the site of the Wilson house, and burning north de- 
stroyed every building to the corner of Union street. The losses in this 
fire were estimated at $60,000, insurance $37,000. In this fire George 
Sayre lost a store. A. C. Harpending, a dry goods merchant, lost a 
block of three brick stores, estimated loss $20,000, insurance $4,500; he 
had no insurance on his stock. Hamlin & Martin, dry goods, estimated 
loss $20,000 ; real loss not more than $12,000, fully insured. W. B. 
Hamlin lost a block of three brick stores. W. H. Sawyer, dry goods, 
$12,000, and twelve other concerns including clothing, millinery, and 
drug stores, oyster saloon, law office, daguerrean and record office. 
There was no other spot in the village where so large an amount 
was exposed ; a greater amount was destroyed than in all previous 


fires. The great fire commenced about one o'clock on Saturday morn- 
ing of March i, 1861. It was first discovered in a barn in the rear of a 
brick block on Water street. A gale was blowing at the time and the 
fire spread in all directions. Everything went down before it. It was 
said that there were forty buildings burning at one time. This was the 
third great fire. The people were panic stricken and gave up the town 
as doomed. There was not a building left on the corners. All the 
landmarks were gone and men blundered and stumbled in the darkness 
and fell into the cellars. There were but half the number of inhabitants 
that there is now, and in proportion to the size of the town it was a 
more disastrous fire than those of Chicago or Boston. There was no 
places for business left, and so the merchants erected rough board shan- 
ties of 100 feet in length, where they transacted their business until 
other buildings were erected. In these fires N. F. Murdock lost twelve 
stores and his dwelling and barn. W. B. Hamlin lost one brick and one 
frame block. He had three buildings on the same foundation in one year. 
Hamlin St Martin lost two stocks of goods in three months ; begin- 
ning with $20,000 stock and ending with $300. Justus Ellis lost two 
hotels, three brick stores, one bowling-alley, three barns, and several 
mechanics shops. The Harpending House was burned leaving the vil- 
lage without a hotel. The business part of the east side of Main street 
has been burned over three different times. The two last fires were 
undoubtedly incendiary. Henry Light was indicted and tried for the 
offence. The jury did not agree. Eleven jurors voted for conviction, 
one for acquittal. He was given his choice between another trial or 
enlisting for three years in the army. He chose the latter, soon de- 
serted and was lost sight of 

Banks. — The first banking institution was " Jep" Raplee's exchange 
and banking office opened in 1856; soon after it was changed into a 
State bank, 1857, and moved to Penn Yan 1858. The bank buildipg and 
fixtures were sold to H. G. Stafford, who continued the business until 
1 87 1, when it closed. Lewis J. Wilkin opened a banking office in 1868 
and continued in business until 1880, when he sold to the DundeeNational 
Bank. The National bank began business April i, 1880, with a capital 
of $50,000, with James Spicer, president; Morris F. Sheppard, vice- 
president ; and Frank R. Durry, cashier. Mr. Spicer still retains the 


office of president; the vice-president, M. F. Sheppard, was succeeded 
by T. D. Beekman, January 1887. Mr. Beekman is still vice president. 
The cashier, F. R. Durry, was succeeded by George S. Sheppard, 
January i, 1881. Mr. G. S. Sheppard held that office until August, 
1882, and was then succeeded by G. S. Shattuck, who still retains that 
position, November, 1891. • 

Dundee State Bank, February 28, 1882, Andrew Harpending, presi- 
dent; Lewis J. Wilkin, cashier. Present officers, George P. Lord, presi- 
dent; William C. Swarts, vice-president; Lewis J. Wilkin, cashier; H.J. 
Youngs, assistant cashier. Capital, $50,000. 

Former Business Firms. — The following list of former business firms 
are given from memory. There may be a few errors, and possibly some 
omissions, but the list is nearly accurate. The firms are given in the 
order of their existence as near as can be ascertained, and date down to 
a few years. Jonathan Botsford, John Starkey, Starkey & Simmons, 
Honey Sz: Simmons, Doolittle & Simmons, Calvin Honey (failed 1830), 
Simmons & Huson (Alonzo), Burgess Truesdell, Myron Hamlin, Sam- 
uel Huson, Newell F. Murdock, 1832, William and J. H. Kinnan, 1834, Ira 
Fisher (peddler), Huson & Lewis, Samuel Kress, Huson & Simmons 
(G. W.), Caleb Westcott, Lewis & Kress, W. B. Hamlin, 1835, E- W. 
Lewis & Co., 1837, Miller & Huson, Cyrus Miller, A. C. Harpending, 
1835, Smith & Silsbee, James Holden, J. D. Morgan & Co. (hard- 
ware), S. Huson, 1839, George W. Simmons, E. W. Lewis & Co. 
(G. W. S.), Huson & Maltby, R. H. Murdock & Co., A. Maltby & 
Co. (Raplee), Maltby & Bradley, Benham & Horn, S. S. Benham, 
Stafford, Martin & Co., 1846, (first time for Martin 1847), Eaton, 
Spicer & Co., Spicer & Church (failed), Hollistfer & Parks (failed), Mor- 
gan & Caton, Caton & Wickoff, James Watson, Edmund H. Pierce, H. B. 
Newcomb (failed), Valentine Oldfield, J. T. Raplee, William B. Hamlin 
& Co.,. 1 849, (C. H. Martin), John Caton (hardware), F. Holden, Clapp 
& Crittenden, W. H. Sawyer & Bro. (E. L.), Eaton, Spicer & Co., A. 
Maltby & Co. (Huson), David E. Bedell, Horace Kidder, John Spicer, 
Rothchild (clothing), George P. Rose (jewelry), two or three other 
clothing stores a short time, A. Wolf (clothing), L. C. Murdock 
(drugs), Hamlin & Martin, Maltby & McLean, Hiram Murdock, Smith 
& Benedict, Beam & Noble, W. Benedict, William Sawyer (clothing). 


Jacob Koons, Smith & Kingsley, John Backman, Horn & Benedict, 
C. R. Tenant, Smith & Headley, Morris Grant (fire bug), Ira D. Fowler, 
Martin Vosburgh & Co., 1866, Green, Rhode & Knapp, C. E. Smith, 
Woodward Bros., James Headley, Luther Brown, Rhode & Knapp, A. 
Maltby & Son, A. Hollister, C. P. McLean & Co.^ George Z. Noble, M. E. 
Bennett & Bro., George Harrington, Harpending & Bro., Boardman & 
Tate, Martin & Vosburgh, R. Vosburgh & Son. 

Present Business Firms. — In the dry goods trade the firm of C. P. 
McLean & Co. is the oldest. Mr. McLean commenced business 
about thirty years ago in partnership with Augustus Maltby. The 
present firm commenced business in 1872. The firm are doing a large 
and apparently a profitable business. They keep a general stock, in- 
cluding all articles sold in a country store. Wall & Murdock are in the 
same trade. They are young men, very ambitious, and are selling a 
large amount of goods. Mr. Wall came from Grand Rapids, and was 
a clerk for Martin & Vosburgh several years. At the present time 
there are four grocery stores, Floyd Ludlow, John C. Koons, James 
Headly, and Charles Wixon, aU reliable and prospering. The clothing 
business is represented by L. D. West and Samuel Levi ; both carry 
large stocks and have a custom deportment. A. T. Gay is doing a 
tailoring business at his dwelling. The boot and shoe business is rep- 
resented by John H. Knapp and George Kingsley. The diy goods and 
clothing houses have shoe departments and are doing a good business 
in that line. The two millinery and fancy goods stores are conducted 
by George H. Harrington and Mrs. Clary Finch, where attractive as- 
sortments of goods can be found at all times, and at reasonable prices. 
Charles Tenant and Levi Sproul represent the jewelry business of the 
village. The two drug stores of W. T. Millard and S. A. Price, with their 
extensive assortments would compare favorably with those of our largest 
cities. L. C. Davis has a variety store. 

The buying and shipping of grain and fruit, which before the building 
of the Syracuse, Geneva & Corning Railroad, was merely nothing, 
has become the largest business of the village. Three large elevators 
were erected near the depot. They are owned by C. Swarts, W. S. Earn- 
est, and Charles Watson respectively, giving the natural grain and fruit 
market fine facilties for the purchase and shipping of cereals. Each of 


them are doing a lively business. The Goble brothers, Charles, George 
and Harry, erected on the completion of the railroad, near the depot, a 
large planing- mill. This is one of the most important manufacturing 
enterprises of the village. Charles Rowland occupies the old location 
of the Dundee Manufacturing Company, and makes a specialty of the 
manufacture of the Dundee dhilled plow. All other work in the foundry 
line receives attention. 

Harrison Howell, successor to Strader Howell (his father) is proprie- 
tor of the barrel factory on Union street. The demand for fruit barrels 
the present season has been so great that he has had orders for barrels 
a month ahead, and it was not unusual to see a line of a dozen teams 
waiting their turn. He also has a large basket factory, giving employ- 
ment to a large number of girls and boys. 

Timothy Lynch, William Hamilton, William Paige and J. Ruddick 
compose the quartette of blacksmiths, all in a huddle on Union street. 
Two wagon shops, Jesse C. Knapp and J. Baker, in the same neighbor- 
hood, with Rowlands foundry complete the manufacturing and mechani- 
cal interests of Union street. 

Up to the month of November, 1843, the town had been without a 
newspaper. In that month the want was supplied by Gifford J. Booth 
who issued the first number of the Dundee Record. Some time in the 
first years of its publication William Butman became a partner and the 
firm of Booth & Butman continued the publication until 1847. At that 
time Edward Hoogland became owner and editor. Mr. Hoogland was 
an old newspaper reporter and had worked on the New York Herald. 
The Record under Mr Hoogland's management was a spicy and read- 
able paper, and his retirement from the editorship of the paper was re- 
gretted by all his patrons. Mr. Hoogland removed to Kansas where 
he remained until his death which occurred many years ago. 

J. J. Diefendorf became editor and owner of the Record \w 1853 and 
held the position until 1857 or 1858, when it was sold and David Bruner 
became editor and owner. In i860 the entire plant of the Record was 
destroyed by the fire of November 30, and Henry Bruner became a 
partner in January, 1861. The Bruners sold out to George D. A. 
Bridgman in the fall of 1862. Bridgman made a Democratic paper of it 
and supported Horatio Seymour for governor. The change was not 


popular and he sold at the first opportunity to " Elder " J. M. Westcott. 
Under the management of Mr. Westcott it did not thrive, and at his death 
it came into the possession of his grandsons, who sold it to Dr. Noble, 
and after having a half dozen or less owners it was merged in the Home 
Advocate, and the Dundee Record was a thing of the past. The next 
paper was the DiiHdee Herald, published by Dennison & Hobson. It 

was short-lived and was finally sold to Robinson. In 1869 Mr. 

Robinson traded the Dundee Expositor with George D. A. Bridgman 
for the Petm Yan Express. Bridgman conducted the paper for one year, 
and in March, 1870, he stopped its publication and moved the material 
to Penn Yan. He then repurchased the Penn Yan Express of Robin- 
son, arid in the deal Robinson took the material of the Expositor and 
moved it to Charleston or Savannah. 

Early Merchants. — In the year 1808 or 1809 Benjamin Potter built a 
double log house on the west side of Main street just across Big Stream. 
The building was occupied as dwelling and tavern, and was the first 
public house in what is now the village of Dundee. Twelve feet north 
of the house he located his blacksmith shop. The twelve feet between 
the buildings was enclosed and occupied by Jonathan Botsford, known 
sobriquet of " Ducklegs," or " Ducklegs Johnny." This was the first 
store in what is now Dundee. The place had no name then (it was be- 
fore the Harpending's Corners era) and was sometimes called Stark's 
Mills. Of Johnny's antecedants it is known that he was the son of 
Jonathan Botsford, who came in with the Universal Friend and was 
one of her adherents. It is safe to assume that his business was not a 
success, for after his store had remained closed for two days the door 
was forced and Botsford was found hanging by the neck stark and dead. 

Potash in those early days was the main reliance of the merchant. 
It was about the only article that commanded cash, and was marketed 
with difficulty. The time of which I am now writing was long before 
the building of the Erie Canal, and the only water communication was 
by the way of the Seneca and Oswego Rivers to Lake Ontario, and the 
market was Montreal. 

Soon after Botsford's suicide we find John Walton occupying the same 
premises. He afterward built a store and dwelling combined, south of Big 
Stream near the apple trees on the old fairground. The building re- 


mained until a few years since, when it was taken down. Mr. Walton 
was a native of Nova Scotia. His business, though small, was a paying 
one, — at least he paid. It was managed with the most rigid economy. 

The only public conveyance of the times was the four horse " tally- 
ho " stage coach, and the fare was six cents per mile. To avoid this 
expense Mr. Walton traveled'the distance to and frofti New York or Al- 
bany on foot to make his purchases, saving about $40 each trip. He 
became involved in law suits and was compelled to close his business 
and leave the town. He returned to Nova Scotia, where he remained 
until his death, which occurred many years ago. After Mr. Walton 
closed his business the hamlet was for some time without a store. Ed- 
dytown monopolized the business and was the most important place be- 
tween Geneva and Elmira (then Newtown.) 

The next merchant in order was John Starkey. Mr. Starkey was a 
native of Maryland, but came here from Seneca County. He built a 
store on the west side of Main street, on the brow of the hill where 
Nathan Sayre's dwelling now stands. This building was afterward 
moved on to the Presbyterian church lot, and after being occupied for 
mechanics' shops, gambling rooms, and dwelling, was purchased by the 
Presbyterian Society, a " lean-to " was attached to it and it was used as 
a meeting-house. The old building was destroyed by fire in i860. 
Mr. Starkey was an able, enterprising and successful merchant. The 
late Nehemiah Raplee made his debut in this place as clerk for Mr. 
Starkey. In company with his brother-in-law, Clayton Semans, Mr. 
Starkey built the old red grist-mill, the second grist-mill in the town, 
near the Big Stream bridge on Main street. The mill was burned a few 
years since. Soon after it was completed Semans sold his interest in 
the mill to his partner, and about the same time another brother-in- 
law, Samuel Kress, became a member of the firm. On April 6, 1824, 
the town of Starkey was organized. It was taken from the town of 
Reading. In honor of Mr. Starkey it was given his name, and he was 
the first supervisor elected. After remaining in business a few years 
the firm of Starkey & Kress was dissolved. The mills and other real 
estate were sold to Nehemiah Raplee; consideration, $9,000. Mr. 
Starkey removed to Starkey's Corners, which was considered the more 
eligible business place, there built a store, and for a time left the hamlet 


again destitute of a mercantile establishment. After residing in Star- 
key's Corners some years Mr. Starkey removed to the village of Lodi 
where he remained until his death. 

Hoftey & Simmons. — In the year 1824 Samuel Harpending erected 
on the southwest corner of Main and Union streets, in what at the time 
was a pasture lot,- a one and a half story frame store for the firm of 
Honey & Simmons. The inevitable ashery belonging to the store was 
on Union street. The firm remained in business about three years, 
when it was dissolved. Honey built a new store on the corner of Main 
and Spring streets (" Potash lane "), and carried on the business alone, 

Simmons continuing the business at the old stand with Doolittle, 

first, and later, Samuel Huson as partner. 

Calvin Honey occupied a very prominent place in the early history 
of the village. His failure, the first that occurred in the village, gave 
undue prominence to a very ordinary man. Mr. Honey came from 
Troy, N. Y. He had formerly been engaged in the Hudson River 
trade, running a sloop, of which he was the owner, between Troy and 
New York. It is supposed that he had at some time had some experi- 
ence as clerk in some mercantile establishment in Troy. He had accu- 
mulated a capital of $1,300, which he invested in the business of the 
firm of Honey & Simmons. Thirteen hundred dollars was no mean 
sum in those times. The firm of Honey & Simmons was successful, and 
Mr. Honey had probably added to his capital before commencing busi- 
ness on his own account. After the dissolution of the firm of Honey & 
Simmons, Honey built a store on the corner of Main and Spring streets, 
was not successful in business, and in 1830 made an assignment for the 
benefit of his creditors to Samuel Kress. Honey was a dull, heavy man, 
and his personal appearance was not prepossessing. He was short, square 
built, stoop shouldered, dull eyed, of a tallow- colored complexion, and 
had a downcast look. His appearance was that of a common laborer. 
It used to be said that " he would sell a bill of goods on credit, place a 
dunning letter in the package and sue the purchaser before he reached 
home." After his failure he removed to Mount Morris, where he re- 
mained several years, and after serving a term in Auburn prison for 
grand larceny he returned to Dundee, where he remained until his 
death. The last years of his life he supported himself and family by 
working as a common laborer. 


Alonzo Simmons was born in Washington County in the village of 
Whitehall. In his obituary notice we read that his " parents were only 
in moderate circumstances, consequently his only heritage was an iron 
will, and industry and perseverance that knew no bounds." Mr. Sim- 
mons was a clear-headed business man and a very successful merchant. 
He served in the War of i8i^ with honor. After pursuing various av- 
ocations until 1824, he came into what is now Dundee, and in company 
with Calvin Honey occupied the store at the corner of Main and Union 
streets, built for them by Samuel Harpending. After a few years the 
firm of Honey & Simmons was dissolved, and Mr. Simmons continued 

the business at the old stand, first with Doolittle as partner, and 

afterward with Samuel Huson. After closing his business here he 
moved to Avoca, Steuben County, and continued in the same business 
with his brother George as partner. From there he removed to Rock 
Stream, continuing in business until 1843, when, having accumulated a 
large and constantly increasing fortune, he retied from active business 
and purchased a farm at Reading Center, where he resided until his 

Doolittle came from Seneca County. Of his business qualifi- 
cations little is known. He was a large man of fine presence. He 
would now be called a "dude," but "dandy" was the term then ap- 
plied to him. He is said to have been a man of violent temper, and 
was not popular with his customers. A story used to be told of his 
carrying an elegant silk umbrella. One day while passing from his 
store to his boarding-house, during a violent storm, a sudden gust of 
wind wrenched it from his hand and deposited it in arnud-puddle. This 
so enraged him that he jumped upon the offending article, stamped it 
in the mud and left it a perfect wreck. Mr. Doolittle did not remain 
long. He returned to his former residence, when he was lost sight of 

Burgess Truesdell's former residence was Columbia County, N. Y., his 
occupation school teaching. His advent in this place dates from 1826. 
He bought on the southeast corner of Main and Seneca street a build- 
ing formerly occupied as a "tavern." The corner room, former bar- 
room, dimensions about 15 x 20 feet, he fitted up for a store. The room 
was small but ample for the amount of business. 

In 1832 or 1833 he sold the premises to Col. J. J. Smith for hotel pur- 


poses, and built a small store on the corner of Main and Spring streets. 
Spring street was a private alley leading to an ashery owned by Mr. 
Truesdell. In 1835, or about that time, he sold his store and business to 
Cyrus Miller, and was for a short time in business with his brother Al- 
vin, at Starkey. He then bought the farm now owned by Mr. Brun- 
dage, in Starke)'^, where he remained until he removed to Elgin, III, 
where he was one of the pioneers. There he resided until his death, a 
man of few faults and many virtues. By a fortunate purchase of land in 
the early settlement of Elgin he became one of the magnates of that 
city. It has been and still is a puzzle to the later merchants, who have 
sold ten times the amount of goods sold by these fathers in the trade 
and hardly make ends meet, to know how it was done — how so small 
a business could be made to pay. Small expenses and large profits 
solves that problem. The business of those times was mostly conducted 
by the owner and a boy or low-priced young man as clerk. Ten to fif- 
teen dollars per month was the maximum price ; the minimum price 
was about nothing at all. The profits were enormous, often 75 to 100 
per cent; $3,000 to $6,000 was a good yearly business. 

Myron Hamlin came to Harpending's Corners (now Dundee) in 1830, 
and was originally from Salisbury, Conn. Previous to his locating here 
he had been in business at some point on Lake Champlain. He was 
surprised to find in his business competitor his old school-teacher, 
Burgess Truesdell. He bought the store on the southwest corner of 
Main and Union streets (the McLean corner), formerly occupied by 
Honey & Simmons. He brought with him not much experience as a 
merchant, but plenty of the proverbial push and shrewdness of the 
Connecticut Yankee. His business was well managed and prosperous 
from the outset, and it was here that he laid the foundation of his future 
success. About this time great questions began to agitate the public 
mind. The commencement of the temperance movement dates from 
about 1830, and the anti- slavery movement came to the front at the 
same time. To Myron Hamhn belongs the honor of conducting the 
Jirsi temperance store in Dundee. It was the custom of those times for 
country stores to sell liquors, and this custom continued many years 
later. In 1839 there were nine stores in Dundee, and eight of the nine 
sold intoxicants. Whisky paid better than any other merchandise. 


For a few months Mr. Hamlin followed the prevailing custom and 
sold all kinds of liquors; but becoming convinced of the evil and mis- 
ery caused by the traffic, he not only banished alcoholic stimulants from 
his store, but waged a fierce and brave war against the evil. Upon 
his counters could be seen stacks of temperance tracts and periodical;;, 
and every package that left* his store contained one or more of these 
missives. The passage from temperance to anti-slavery was natural 
and easy. In the early days of the anti- slavery movement it cost some- 
thing to be an abolitionist. It cost a merchant in the loss of custom 
It often cost a minister the loss of his pulpit and living. More than 
half a century has passed, and the younger generations have but small 
appreciation of the rancor and hatred bestowed on those who believed 
in and advocated the right of a man to the ownership of himself, his wife 
and children. Anti-slavery meetings were broken up, the speakers in- 
sulted and hustled, and often pelted with ancient and unsavory eggs. 
The press thundered and the pulpit hurled its anathemas against the 
"cut- throats and incendiaries." "Cursed be Canaan" was the theme 
of many a sermon, and the late Dr. Van Dyke preached in Brooklyn that 
slavery was a Divine institution. 

About this time William Lloyd Garrison was mobbed by the solid men 
of Boston; Lovejoy was murdered and his printing press was thrown in 
the Mississippi at Alton, 111., and the office of the anti-slavery paper ed- 
ited by the Quaker poet Whittier was burned by a Philadelphia mob. 
Being an abolitionist was no joke in those days. But no personal con- 
siderations influenced those pioneers in the cause. They believed their 
cause to be right, and advocated it regardless of personal considera- 
tions. The party in the village at that time consisted of four members 
all told — M. Hamlin, the Rev. E. W. Martin, James Gifford, and Alonzo 
De Wolf The number was small but there was a wonderful amount of 
back- bone in that quartette. They never fought on the defensive, partic- 
ularly Mr. Hamlin, who was intensely aggressive. In the spring of 1835 
Mr. Hamlin opened a branch store'Jon the east side of Main street, occu- 
pying the building vacated by the Kinnans, with his brother, William B. 
Hamlin, manager. In 1836 he sold his whole business to his brother and 
removed to Buffalo, where he remained but a short time, finally settling 
in Penn Yan, where he remained until his death, having for fifty years 
been the leading merchant of the county. 


The year 1831 was noted for a new impetus given to building and 
other interests of the village. The first church (Baptist) was built in 
1832, and in the 3'ear 1833 the Methodist and Free Church (now Cath- 
olic) were erected. An old Eddytown merchant once told the writer 
that the decline in business in that place dates from the building of the 
churches in Dundee. In the spring of 183 i Samuel Huson erected on 
the northeast corner of Union and Water streets, on the site of the store 
now occupied by Wall & Murdock, and others in the Murdock block, 
a store and dwelling. The land up to that time had been used for farm- 
ing purposes. Mr. Huson managed his business discreetly and it 
was a success. His ambition was not so much to do a large busi- 
ness as to do a paying one. He was very popular with his patrons 
and well liked by his employees. About two years after commencing 
business Edwin Lewis was admitted as partner, forming the firm of 
Huson & Lewis. This firm continued two years when Mr. Lewis re- 
tired and George W. Simmons was admitted as partner in the firm of 
Huson & Simmons. This firm did a thrifty business for several 
years, and closed out their goods to Cosad & Carmon, who removed 
them to Junius, Ontario County. 

Newell F. Murdock's former residence was McLean, Cortland County; 
his business, tanner and shoe and harness manufacturer. Before coming 
to Dundee he had been engaged in the mercantile business about four 
years. He came to what was then Harpending's Corners, in the year 
1832, and rented part of the corner store of Myron Hamlin (there 
were two stores in a building 28 X40). Hamlin occupying the other room. 
In the year 1833 he built a frame store on the east side of Main street, 
on the site now occupied by John H. Knapp. A peculiarity of his was 
that he never insured his buildings. Hhis policy worked well for many 
years, but in the end proved disastrous. In all of the large fires he 
suffered loss. The loss included three blocks of stores, his private dwell- 
ing and other buildings, all uninsured. He died in 1861, after a mer- 
cantile experience of over thirty years, a man universally respected. 
His death removed one of the landmarks of the village. 

Cyrus Miller was a wool- carder and cloth- dresser when most of the 
family clothing was made at home. He purchased of Burgess Truesdell 
his store and goods in the year 1834. Mr. Miller was a limited mar- 


chant. His stock was limited, and so were his sales ; one-half pound of 
tea, and other articles in proportion, was the limit he would sell to one 
person. He " did not want to break his assortment." This was in the 
early days of his mercantile life. Later he was not so limited. Fire 
and water ruined him. A canal boat having on board his fall pur- 
chases sank, and soon after his store was burned. This finished him as 
a merchant. He, honest man that he was, he surrendered his property 
to his creditors and began life anew. The last heard from him he was 
practicing medicine in some western State. 

In the spring of 1832 Col. J. J. Smith bought of Burgess Truesdell the 
lot on the southeast corner of Main and Seneca streets, on part of the 
purchase now occupied by W. H. Millard's drug store. He erected a frame 
store, which he rented to William H. and Joel H. Kinnan. The Kin- 
nans came from North Hector, where their father resided, a wealthy 
farmer. Some of the family still reside in that locality. The firm ap- 
peared to sell a large amount of goods, but failed to make their business 
a paying one, and after a struggle of two or three years they were 
obliged to surrender. This was the second failure at Harpending's Cor- 
ners. William returned to North Hector and engaged in farming, and 
Joel H. removed to Westfield, Chautauqua County, and engaged in his 
former business, with what success the writer is not informed. Both of 
the partners have been dead several years. 

William B. Hamlin was born in the town of Salisbury, Conn., where he 
resided until he came to Dundee. His father owned a large tract of land 
on which William worked in the summer, and taught school in the winter, 
as was the custom with farmers in Yankeedom in those days. His first 
experience in mercantile affairs was as a clerk for his brother Myron. 
This was in 1835. The succeeding year he purchased his brother's 
business, and for more than thirty years conducted one of the largest 
business concerns in Yates County. The first years of his business life 
he pursued a very conservative policy. In the year 1842, six years 
from the time he commenced business, his sales were QiAy seven thous- 
and dollars, and he was in a small way making money. If he had con- 
tinued this policy, the natural outgrowth of his Yankee training, increas- 
ing his business as his capital increased, his success would have been 
assured. The next year, 1843, his sales were more than doubled. 


amouating to $16,000. This sudden increase may not iiave been to his 
advantage. He became possessed with the idea of selling a larger 
amount of goods than any other concern in Yates County. He had 
great energy and was very ambitious. His industry and powers of en- 
durance were wonderful, and all his efforts were directed to this one object, 
large sales; profits were incidentals, although really his profits were 
larger than are now obtained by the merchants. Mr. Hamlin's busi- 
ness increased further than his capital and he was forced to raise money 
at ruinous rates of interest. This, with large running expenses, was the 
cause of his failure. His credit was always of a high order up to the 
day of his disaster. He had failed, but he had accomplished his pur- 
pose. His sales had increased every year until they amounted to over 
one hundred thousand dollars, the largest amount ever reported 
to the revenue assessor in Yates County. In conversation with the 
writer after his failure, Mr. Hamlin said in substance : " 1 have been 
thinking over the events of my past life, and I am pretty well satisfied 
I have had things pretty much my own way. I am much better pleased 

with my career than I would have been if it had been like IMr. ," 

mentioning the name of a very successful man whose business had been 
much smaller with a handsome fortune as the result. C. H. Martin 
was connected with Mr. Hamlin in business from 1842 to 1864, ten years 
as clerk and twelve years as partner. The firm was Hamlin & Martin. 
Anthony C. Harpending, one of the most successful merchants of 
Dundee, commenced business in 1835 under very favorable circum- 
stances ; he had the prestege of the family name and was backed by his 
own and his wife's family, both wealthy. He had abundance of capital, 
and unlike most of the older merchants, was never pinched for means to 
carry on his business. He soon gathered a valuable lot of customers, 
many of whom he retained through all the years of his mercantile career- 
He was systematic, looked closely to the details of his business, and 
kept all well in hand. His business was usually managed with great 
caution, but he sometimes took risks that resulted in loss. The ques- 
tion of Mr. Harpending's place as a merchant may be a mooted question 
by some. I know of no better test than success, and making success the 
standard would place him in the front rank of the older or younger 
merchants of Dundee. The result of his business made a better showing 



than that of any who preceded or followed him, that notwithstanding 
heavy losses by fire and otherwise. Mr. Harpending built a block of 
three brick stores on the west side of Main street; they were burned in 
the fire of November, i860. He then built two frame stores on the same 
premises. In the same fire he lost almost his entire stock of goods, 
which resulted in heavy Icjss. His death, which occurred in 1880, 
removed one of the most prominent merchants of the county. 

This town has eight churches, including Starkey Seminary, with a total 
valuation of $62,000, viz.: Baptist Church, Dundee, $15,000; Presby- 
terian, $12,000 ; M. E. Church, Dundee, $8,000; Olivet Baptist, $3,000 ; 
Starkey Seminary, $18,000; Third Presbyterian Church, $3,000; Chris- 
tian Church, Starkey and Reading, $2,000. Starkey had a population in 
1875 of 2,500. As late as 18 12 George Putnam shot two deer on the 
space between the Harpending house and West's clothing store. Joel 
A. Taylor is the oldest man living that was born in the town of Starkey, 
his age is eighty two. Henry Smith opened a store in Eddytown in 

The Churches} — It would be interesting if we could trace the religious 
movement back to the early times when the settlers, few in numbers 
and poor in purse, congregated in their log cabins for prayer and praise, 
and when the larger congregations were gathered together in barns and 
groves to hear the preached word. Unfortunately the pioneers have 
passed away. The march of time has wiped out all those old land-marks, 
and the memory of those times, treasured in many hearts, but scantily 
recorded, have passed away with them beyond any hope of recovery, 
and there are few traditions that would give us much light on the hap- 
penings of those long-ago times. We must begin at a later date and 
tell what has happened under our own observation. 

In the year 1830 we find the Methodists strongly intrenched at 
Starkey's Corners. Their church edifice, now standing, was built in the 
year 1 821, and from that time the church has flourished and grown 
until it has become one of the strongholds of Methodism in the county. 
Among the members were numbered the Tuthills, Van Aliens, Hurds, 

1 For much of the information contained in this chapter the writer is indebted to a history of 
the Dundee Methodist Church, prepared by the Rev. S. F. Sanford, on the occasion of the laying 
of the corner stone of the new Methodist Episcopal Church. 


Seamans, Truesdells, Hunts, Pierces, and Hyatts, of blessed memory. 
At that time the village and church were at their zeniths ; since then 
there has been a gradual decline of both. The village has disappeared 
and the church has been weakened by deaths and other causes until it 
has become one of the weaker churches in the connection. 

What has been ^aid of the Methodist church would in a degree apply 
to the Presbyterian. They had selected Eddytown as their base and 
had become a strong body. The Eddytown church was organized in 
April, 1822, and the church edifice was built soon after. The church 
was strong in numbers, and among its members were some of the lead- 
ing men of the county. One of the members, James Taylor, was a 
leading member of the bar of Yates County, and afterward a resi- 
dent of Penn Yan. Other names were John O. Cook, John Taylor, 
James H. Carmichael, Hiram Titsworth, Isaac P. Seymour, Hon. James 
Norton, P. Broaderic, Harvey Weeks, Clarkson Martin, Benjamin 
Cheever, Dr. Enos Barnes, Nathaniel Roscoe, Thomas Wilson, Pardon 
Gifford. The Rev. Charles White officiated either as pastor or " sup- 
ply." Mr. White was a ripe scholar, and, after his connection with the 
church was dissolved, was for years principal of Ovid and Prattsburgh 

The first Baptist organization was in 1812, at Eddytown, which at 
the time was in the extensive town of Reading, and was called the 
"Baptist Church of Reading," finally re-named the " Baptist Church of 
Starkey." The church did not flourish there ; it was overshadowed by 
the Presbyterians, so it drifted away, stoppirig for a while at Beartown 
school-house, but finally settling at Harpending's Corners, where it ob- 
tained a permanent foothold, and there, under a new organization, it has 
remained. Harpending's Corners at that time was considered of little 
importance, and for several years its possession was not disputed by 
other denominations. Elder Samuel Bigelow was a zealous man of 
great energy, just the man for the times. His ministrations were scat- 
tered over a great deal of territory, and their efifects cannot be as easily 
estimated as they could be if they had occupied less space. There is a 
class of unrecognized benefactors; their service is none the less because 
it is unrecognized. Elder Simon Sutherland often lent a helping hand. 
In his old age, with tremulous voice, he loved to tell in his quaint way 



of his journeyings from Second Milo to Eddytown and Harpending's 
Corners, through the wilderness, guided by marked trees (there were 
few roads in those days), taking his chances against wild beasts, the 
terror of the forests, to dispense the everlasting Word. Of the unrecog- 
nized benefactors Rev. Simon Sutherland deserves a high position. 
His ministerial labors extended over a series of fifty years, for which he 
not only never asked but refused to receive any compensation. 

The labors of those fathers in the ministry have never been appre- 
ciated as they deserve. It is a pity that more is not known of them, 
their privations and hardships. This is a busy world now- a- days, and 
it does not pause to inquire of what does not concern it. Theirs is a 
common story, often told. All labor, all self-denial, little else; a small 
pittance given grudgingly and called charity. It seemed to make no 
difference with those pioneer preachers or their labors. They were en- 
couraged and buoyed up, not by what they had or expected to have 
here, but by the anticipation of what was to come in the future. Like 
the great apostle they labored with their hands for their support, and 
after a day of toil would return to their poor homes, and taking the 
Bible from the shelf perhaps would read that "It is easier for a camel to 
pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the king- 
dom of Heaven," and they would thank God devoutly that they were 
not rich. Or they might read of the beautiful city with streets of gold 
and foundations of precious stones. This was their inheritance, this 
was durable riches. They were positive in these possessions. To 
others it might be romance ; to them it was real, and so they labored 
and prayed and went to their reward, and the world was better for 
their having lived in it. 

The preaching of those days would not have been acceptable in these 
times, neither would the present style have pleased the pioneers. They 
were stalwarts and required strong spiritual food and a good deal of it, 
including hard doctrinal sermons. There was more fire and brimstone 
than love in the sermons of those days. It would be curious to know 
what those patriarchs in Israel would have thought of the churches of 
the present times, with their entertainments, festivals, fairs, theatricals 
and private progressive euchre and dancing parties. It would be safe 
to assume that they would have thought us " all miserable sinners," 


and that the whole concern was going to the "bow-wows." But who 
will say that the old way is better than the new ? The church has en- 
larged its functions. It has taken hold of the social as well as the spir- 
itual life of its members, and what bigotry once denounced as sinful 
liberality, now tolerates as innocent recreation. 

The year 1832 was a notable one in the religious history of the vil- 
lage. In that year the first church edifice erected in Dundee was com- 
pleted (the Baptist.) The Presbyterian Church was organized and the 
first class of the Methodist Church was fornied. The Presbyterian 
Church was a cion from the Eddytown church. Its beginnings were 
exceedingly small ; a mere handful, so to speak, were organized into a 
church in that year. The church was supplied with preaching from 
the parent church. The Rev. William Billington supplied both pul- 
pits, preaching in the morning here, and in the afternoon in Eddytown. 

The proportion of salary paid by the Second Presbyterian Church of 
Starky (I believe that was the title), was $100 a year. Even this small 
sum was not raised without difficulty. Mr. Billington was very popu- 
lar with both congregations, and his removal was generally regretted. 
He moved to the western part of the State, and a short time ago was 
living at a very advanced age. So far as remembered the male mem- 
bers of the church as organized were : John Taylor, James H. Car- 
michael, Aaron Porter, Mr. Hatch, Joseph Ireton, Thomas Wilson, 
and Alonzo De Wolf — a very small number. Mr. Bell was a very lib- 
eral giver to the church, and among his gifts was the lot upon which 
the parsonage was erected. Joel A. Taylor, Ezra D. Cook, Benjamin 
B. Beekman and BaltisTitsworth came into the church a few years later, 
and were active and efficient members. To the latter two, the late Mr. 
Beekman and our esteemed citizen, Baltis Titsworth, the church is un- 
der many obligations. Both have done good service and have tided 
the church over many difficulties. Without the help and the generosity 
of these families the present beautiful structure would not have been 
erected. John Taylor and James H. Carmichael were ruling elders in 
those early days of the church. How readily the picture of those 
worthies comes up before me, seated on a bench, one on each side of the 
preacher's desk, calm, sedate and dignified. A smile in church would 
to them have been a sin. Grand old men they were, long since gone 
to their reward. 


During the early years of the church the late Myron Hamlin and 
Nehemiah Raplee contributed liberally to its support. Soon after the 
church was organized the present site of the new church edifice was 
purchased. On the lot at that time was the building formerly built and 
occupied by John Starkey as a store, an old dilapidated concern, 
" painted red." The building, repaired and added to and seated with 
benches, was used orv Sundays as a place of worship, and on week days 
was rented for school purposes. For about ten years it was the meet- 
ing place of the church, when it was removed, and the building demol- 
ished about five years ago was erected in its place. The price paid for 
the lot and building was about $400, and the repairs $150 more, mak- 
ing an aggregate of $550. From the best information obtainable this 
is the only church building that was completed without debt, except 
the Baptist Church, which was built and donated by H. Shannon. The • 
building was not elegant, but it was comfortable and served the purposes 
of the church until a better one could be afforded. 

Following are the names of the ministers who have served as pastor 
of Dundee Presbyterian Church, with the date of their terms of service : 
William Billington, 1832; B. Foster Pratt (first time), David Perry, 
B. Foster Pratt (second time), Avon H. Powell, 1 845-1 848; William 

Bridgeman, 1848-1849; Frazer, John C. Moses (first time), 1852 

-1857; J. K. Warner, 1857-1859; W. W. CoUins, 1859-1861 ; J. C. 
Moses (second time), 1 862-1 87 1 ; Walter S. Drysdall, 1871-1872; 
S. A. Rawson, 1873-1874; Nathan Bosworth, 1874-1883; W. H. 
Tracy, 1884-1887; Stanley B. Roberts, 1887-1891, 

In the latter part of 1830 the Baptists called the Rev. E. W. Martin, 
of Geneva, to be their pastor. This pastorate continued until 1841 or 
'42, and is the longest on the records of the church under its present or- 
ganization. It would probably have continued longer had it not been 
for the anti slavery question. During all those years the spirit of peace 
and harmony brooded over the church. Its membership was largely 
increased and the foundation was laid for its present commanding po- 

In the early months of 1831 the question of building a "meeting- 
house " Was agitated. Such a house had become a necessity, and a 
subscription was circulated to raise the necessary funds for that purpose. 


A considerable portion of those subscriptions were payable in labor and 
materials. Andrew Raplee headed the list with a gift of $100. He 
also gave a large amount in timber for which there was no charge. Sam- 
uel Harpending donated the lot and $100. These were the largest sub- 
scriptions on the list. Excepting the above, which were cash, no amount 
appeared on the paper over $50. It was no easy matter to raise the 
comparatively small amount needed to build the church edifice pro- 
posed. It required a resolute and patient effort, and after obtaining all 
possible by subscription, there was still a deficiency. The building of 
the church was commenced in the spring of 1831. Benjamin B. Beek- 
man was the contractor. There were the usual delays, and it was not 
completed until some time in June, 1832. The building, as compared 
with the present edifices in this village, was a small affair, but it aver- 
aged well with the same kind of buildings of the times. It cost less 
than $2,000, but small as that amount appears it was too large for the 
subscriptions, and a deficiency was reported of $300 at date of dedica- 
tion. This seemingly small amount, which now-a-days would be 
paid for a pair of diamond ear-rings or a seal-skin sack without much 
consideration, remained unpaid for some years and was a grievous bur- 
den. The members were poor, with a few exceptions, and the greater 
number were in debt for their farms. The aggregate wealth of the 
church did not exceed $40,000, and was probably less. The debt was 
a source of annoyance to pastor and people. At a meeting called for 
the consideration of " ways and means " for payment, the pastor pro- 
posed to allow $50 a year to be deducted from his meager salary, to be 
applied to extinguish the indebtedness. This offer was accepted, and 
that amount for three years was regularly deducted from his yearly 

Before a deed was given for the lot a defect was discovered in the or 
ganization of the church. It was considered doubtful whether by that 
organization it was legally entitled to become owner and holder of 
real estate. The machinery of the Baptist Church is so extremely sim- 
ple that this defect was easily remedied. The male members met at 
the pastor's house and organized the " Baptist Church of Plainville." 
The meeting in a private house was a common occurrence. The ordin- 
ation services of Elder Bigelow were held in his dwelling. The school 


houses during the secular days of the week were used for school pur- 
poses, hence the necessity of resorting to private dwellings. The regular 
Sunday service was sometimes held in private houses. The writer re- 
members one held at the dwelling of Thomas Roszell. At the close of 
the service there was a general invitation for the congregation to re- 
main to dinner, and the graeter part accepted. The tables were boun- 
tifully spread with good things, and the most pleased of the party were 
host and hostess. At the time of the organization of the Baptist Church 
of Plainville the male members were Andrew Raplee, Thomas Roszell, 
Dr. Millard Deacon, Moses S. Littell, John Beers, Levi French, Deacon 
Lewis La Fevar, father of the late Deacon La Fevar, Samuel Conklin, 
Ephraim Bennett, Abram Sheldon, Henry Osman, Joel Hayes, David 
Peterson, Daniel Miller, Alonzo W. Sunderlin (afterward ordained a min- 
ister), David B. Bartholomew, Abia Ketchum, David Hayes.sen., Richard 
Townsend, John Harmon, and Daniel Wilson. 

In the year 1834 the name of the church was changed from Plainville 
to Dundee. Of the members of the Baptist Church of Plainville at its 
organization not one is now living. The following is a complete list 
of the pastors that have served the Baptist Church since its first organ- 
ization : Samuel Bigelow, Baptist Church, Reading, 1812 ; E. W. Mar- 
tin, Plainville, later Dundee, 1831-1842; C. S. Smith, 1841-1843; 
J. J. Fuller, 1843; Philander Shedd, 1845-1850; O. Montague, 1850- 
1852; J. L Seeley, 1852-1855; F. Glenville, 1855-1856; T.S.Harrison, 
1857-1862; Daniel Taylor, 1863-1866; L. C. Bates, 1867-1869; Will- 
iam Cormac, 1867- 1870; G. W. Abrams, 1870-1871 ; William H. Pease, 
1873; James Mullen, 1873; W. N. Tower, 1876; William Entworth, 
1880; Isaac B. Thompson, 1881-1883 ; W. F. Benedict, 1883-1886; 
Jesse A. Hengate, 1886-1890; R. H. Colby, 1891. 

In the year 1833 a band of Christian ministers invaded Dundee for 
the purpose of holding a series of meetings, and if sufficiently encouraged, 
of forming a church. Among the number were the Revs. Ira Brown, Mil- 
lard Badger, and Dr. Holland, (whether it was the "Timothy Titcomb " 
Holland or another person of the same name the writer does not know; 
some persons who made his acquaintance aver that it was the veritable 
Timothy.) The ministers applied to the Baptist trustees for the privi- 
lege of holding the meetings in their church. The request was refused. 


From one standpoint the refusal was unwise. It alienated friends and 
exasperated nearly the whole community. In those early times the 
people in all matters of difference usually " took sides," and so a fierce 
and bitter controversy was the result, and the church was placed in a 
wroi^ position, on the defensive. And so it came to pass that from the 
refusal of the trustees came the building of the Free Church. The 
ministers secured the use of a large barn belonging to Jacob Hackett, 
located on the lot now owned by Mr. Oldfield. In that barn they held 
their meetings of several days' duration, and in it was organized the 
Christian Church of Dundee. 

While the dissatisfaction at the refusal, of the Baptist trustees was 
highest the project of building a free church was agitated, and a sub- 
scription to raise the necessary funds was circulated. The responses 
were liberal and there was soon enough to warrant the commencement 
of the undertaking. Samuel Harpending came down with his usual sub- 
scription of fifty dollars and the building lot. The terms of the sub- 
scription were curious. After reciting the grievances it went on to say 
in substance that the proposed church should be absolutely free to any 
or all sects, denominations or individuals, that no one should be debarred 
from its use on account of religious belief, whether Pagan, Mahometan, 
Jew or Christian. The terms of the subscription paper gave to the infidel, 
deist or atheist, or the deciple of Buddah, the same rights and privileges 
as those of the most orthodox sects. The terms of the subscription 
were never repudiated while under the control of the free church or 
Christian trustees. From its pulpit Christians, Presbyterians, Method- 
ists and Universalists have proclaimed their doctrines and dogmas. 

The Christian Church organization was continued for many years. 
The building of Starkey Seminary diverted the attention of the church 
to that place, and the organizing of the church at Rock Stream so weak- 
ened this church that it ceased to exist. As was the case with the other 
churches, the subscriptions for the building of the free church were in- 
sufficient and the curse of debt rested upon it. For the payment of the 
debt it was mortgaged, and as time went on and the excitement that 
brought it into existence was forgotten, no provision for the payment of 
the debt having been made, the mortgage was foreclosed, and at 
the Sale the church was bid off by Daniel Shannon, who donated 


it to the Christian Church. There was a proviso in the deed given for 
the lot that when it ceased to be used for religious purposes it should 
revert to the original owners. The Christian Church having aban- 
doned it, the lot became the property of the Harpending estate and was 
sold with the building to the present owners, the Catholics. 

The Methodists from the sjjiallest beginning numerically have become 
the largest in the village. The first Methodist class was formed in the 
year 1833. It was the outcome of a "protracted meeting" held in 
connection with the Baptists the previous year. The class numbered 
but few members. I can remember only the three Pierce brothers, 
Abel, Samuel and Abner, Arch Strowbridge, Thomas Swarthout, Asher 
Spicer, Nash Sawyer, Dill Sawyer, Isaac H. Maples, Edward J. Smith, 
Burges Truesdell, Charles Chandiler. If there were any others among 
the male members their names have escaped my memory. The wives 
of males named were all members. An effort was at once made to se- 
cure subscriptions for the building of a chapel. The chapel was 
built by donations of labor, timber and other materials, but still there 
remained a debt on it that harrassed the society for a number of years. 
Samuel Harpending donated a lot and fifty dollars, his usual subscrip- 
tion. In 1835 the quarterly conference made a recommendation to 
liquidate the debt. This chapel was used until 1849, when it was moved 
off the lot and used for an academy and other purposes, and is now a 
part of the Casino. 

A large brick church was built on the same site. It is a singular co- 
incidence that each of the three Protestant churches have built three 
houses of worship. The chapel was queerly arranged, being long and 
narrow, with galleries on two sides and one end, a single aisle running 
from the door to the altar, with long benches running from the aisle to 
the wall. The aisle separated the sexes, the men and women sitting on 
different sides. This was at the time the custom in all the churches. 
The. benches were not ornamented, but for comfort were an improve- 
ment over pews of the churches of the times and the other churches of 
the village. 

Among the conspicuous and active members who came into the 
church in those early days were David Smith, Lewis Millard, Loren 
Barnes and James Wright, and afterward William McLean. These with 


the older members formed a band of earnest workers. The church be- 
gan to be heard from the first, and its meetings both for preaching and 
prayer were largely attended, and the church soon became a power in 
the village. 

The preaching was " served " by circuit preachers. These preachers 
were hard workers and poorly paid. Three sermons on Sunday, with a 
ride of miles between their appointments, were their usual work. A few 
specimens will illustrate how small was the amount paid for their serv 
ices. The circuit was very large, covering most of Yates County, and 
parts of Steuben and Schuyler. The three ministers received that year 
(1826) $231.71. The succeeding year Abner Chase was still presiding 
elder, and Dennison Smith and Nathan B. Dalson were the circuit 
preachers and received $345.56 for this year. 

In 1830-31 R. M. Everts and C. Story served the circuit and received 
for their services $388.72, including presiding elder's claims. Who re- 
members the Methodist circuit preachers of olden times ? There was a 
tacit regulation in their dress and equipage. The sulky, the clerical 
coat, usually of indigo-blue broadcloth, the white neck cloth, and sum- 
mer or winter the inevitable tall white beaver hat. They always drove 
fine horses, and it was generally understood that the circuit preachers 
were good judges of horse-flesh. There have been greater preachers 
than those poorly paid ministers of the circuit, but the list of names is 
one that any church might be proud to recognize. Some of them be- 
came eminent in there denomination. Many of the churches for the 
first few years had a hard struggle for existence, and had it not been 
for the fidelity and devotion of the early members would have perished 
in their infancy. The circuit system was good for those early times, 
but the country has outgrown it, and except in newly settled portions 
it has gone into disuse. The name of Abner Chase often appears in 
the early history of the church. He honored the office of presiding 
elder for two or more terms. His record is one of fidelity and confi- 
dence — fidelity on his part to his duties and obligations to his church, 
and confidence on the part of those over whom he presided. Outside 
the church he was respected and reverenced for his sterling worth. 

On all the great moral questions of the times the Methodist Church 
has been on the right side. Early in its history stringent temperance 


resolutions were passed, and it was strongly anti-slavery. The building 
of the last church gave it an impetus and its future looks brighter than 
ever before. 

The great religious awakening of the century occurred in the years 
1831—32. Never since the times when Wesley and Whitfield preached 
repentance throughout the»length and breadth of the land, has there 
been anything comparable to it in extent and interest. In the years 
mentioned Rev. Charles G. Finney (afterward president of the Oberlin 
College) preached and held revival meetings in this and adjoining 
States. The interest created by those meetings spread and widened 
until it reached the smaller villages, the hamlets, and' the school dis- 
tricts. The additions to the churches during those years were num- 
bered by thousands. 

In the fall or early winter of 1832 there was held in what is now 
Dundee, then Plainville or Harpending's Corners, the first "protracted 
meeting." My recollection is that the meeting was projected by the 
Methodists, and after its commencement the Baptists joined and made it 
a union meeting, or it may have been union from the commencement. 
It was held in the Baptist Church. The Methodists were represented 
by their circuit preacher, the Rev. W. Jones, and the Rev. Dr. Com- 
stock, of Trumansburg, and the Baptists by their pastor, Rev. E. W. 
Martin, and the Rev. Joseph Sheardown, an evangelist of considerable 
local fame. The meeting was continued twenty- two days, and the 
converts numbered considerably more than 100. As a result of these 
meetings the churches received numerous additions, and from the con- 
verts and others the first Methodist class was formed. 

It was during the progress of these meetings that Jacob Hackett put 
in an appearance. During the afternoon service, and while the Rev. 
William Green was preaching, Hackett entered the church on the west 
side, and passing half way up the aisle, halted, and pointing his finger 
at the preacher said in a loud voice: " I, Jake Hackett, the second man 

in the Trinity, command you to come down, you d rascal.'' There 

was a great commotion for a few minutes. He was soon ejected and 
the services went on. The next morning Hackett appeared on the 
street in a perfectly nude state — the costume of Eden before the fig-leaf 
era was no more scanty than was his. He had started for the church, 


but was soon captured and returned to his home. From this time he 
went from bad to worse until it became necessary to confine him with 
straight-jacket and chain. 

Having introduced Hackett I think I will give him a chapter, thinking 
his strange life and its tragic ending may interest the reader. Some- 
time in his early career John Shoemaker built a fine dwelling on the 
farm now owned by the Raplee's, half a mile west of Hillside Cemetery. 
The house was completed and ready to be occupied, when, on a dark 
night, it was burned to the ground. The fire was evidently incendiary, 
and suspicion rested on Hackett, but there was no proof of his guilt. 
There was the usual nine days wonderment, and as years passed the 
circumstance was nearly forgotten. 

Hackett was easily wrought upon religiously, and at a funeral some 
years after the burning, while the services were progressing, he arose in 
tlie congregation and made confession that he caused the burning of 
Shoemaker's house, and afterward deeded him fifty acres of timber- 
land in restitution. Sometime subsequent to the burning Hackett built 
a saw mill on Big Stream, half a mile west uf the Raplee mills. What- 
ever he attempted was always well done, and the mill was no exception. 
The building of this mill was a pet scheme. It was his pride to make 
it the best mill on the stream. The mill was finished, but before it was 
started there came a flood and carried away the dam. The dam was 
rebuilt in the most substantial manner. Nothing that could give it sta- 
bility was omitted. Standing on the dam after it was finished, and 
raising his arm, Hackett defied God, man, or the devil to tear it away. 
It was a strange coincidence that while returning to his home, on the 
evening of that same day, a heavy rain set in and before the next morn- 
ing the dam was washed out. It was never rebuilt. The wheels of 
that mill never made a revolution. Year after year, for half a century, 
it rusted and rotted and went to ruin ; piece by piece, it fell into the 
stream and was carried away by the current, until now not a vestage re- 
mains. It was said that Hackett never visited the spot after his dam 
was destroyed. Whether this was truth or romance I do not know. 
Later in life Hackett purchased the Crosman farm in " Beartown " now 
owned by Mr. Phillips. On this farm he spent his last days. Caleb 
Cowing bought an adjoining farm. They were cousins and came from 


Massachusetts, and traveled together on foot the 200 miles between Old 
Rochester and Canandaigua. They should have lived peaceful lives, 
which they did not. A dispute soon arose between them regarding the 
disposition of the surface water that in rainy times overflowed parts of 
their farms. The neighbors said that in their disputes Hackett was in 
the right. Frequent disputes occurred, and there was bad blood be- 
tween the parties. A meeting to settle the difficulties was arranged. 
It was held in a school house located on the line between their farms. 
It was a strange meeting. In the darkness of a November night they 
met ; no witnesses were present ; high words were heard by persons 
passing by the place; criminations and recriminations. Cowing was 
cool, crafty, and exasperating. Hackett impulsive, wild, and turbulent. 
Cowing agravated his opponent in every possible manner. Hackett, 
raged, stormed, and blasphemed. Cowing afterward said that Hackett 
off^ered to fight it out to the death. The proposition was declined. At 
that argument Hackett would have had his opponent at an advantage. 
The meeting continued until well in the night, when they parted. The 
next morning they met and quarrelled. It was their last meeting. They 
both returned to their homes. Hackett sat down to his morning meal, 
but before he tasted of food fell forward on the table a corpse. Hackett 
was not all bad. In his dealings he was just, a good neighbor, and very 
kind and benevolent to the poor. 

These papers have treated of the formation of the churches. The 
results of that period may be of sufficient importance to warrant a few 
lines, more or less, to be added to those already written. Who would 
have ventured the prediction on New Year's day of 1885, that on New 
Year's day of 1888 there would have been built within three years four 
beautiful churches, at an aggregate cost of $40,000, and that three 
good buildings of the same kind would have been demolished to make 
room for new and better ones. The Rev. William Tracy commenced 
his labors as pastor of the Presbyterian Church eight years ago, with 
a membership of sixty-five. The church had then been organized fifty- 
two years. During his pastorate of four years there were added ninety 
members. The number at the time of his resignation was 147, after 
deducting for deaths and removals nearly one and one-half of the orig- 
inal number. There was but one communion while he was pastor, in 


which there was no addition. Mr. Tracy was followed by Rev. Stan- 
ley B. Roberts four years ago, who has just closed his pastorate and 
removed to (Jtica. During Mr. Roberts's labors there were added 
no. The pulpit is now supplied by their new pastor, the Rev. Augus- 
tus Frederick. 

Mr. Hungate closed his four years' pastorate with the Baptist Church 
and accepted a call from the Baptist Church of Hornellsville. Mr. 
Hungate'.s labors were acceptable to his people and his removal was 
very much regretted. Within the past eight years the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church has had phenomenal additions, and the other churches 
report satisfactory gains. 

The Catholic Church has been organized about twelve years. It 
numbers about 125 members. Service is held once in three weeks. 
Father Eugene Pagani, the priest, is very popular with his church, and 
has made hosts of friends outside of his own pastorate. At the present 
time he is under treatment for disease of the eyes, which has nearly 
deprived him of sight. All who know him wish him a speedy recovery. 

The Olivet Baptist Church was organized in 1884. The Rev. R. 
Kocher was pastor four years and was succeeded by Rev. D. T. Van 
Doren, May, 1888, to September, 1890; Rev. N. C. Hill, from Octo- 
ber, 1890, to February, 1891. The church edifice was built in 1885-86. 
and dedicated in 1886. The church has had a healthy growth up to 
the present "time. Joseph Taylor, a hcentiate and student of Cook's 
Academy, has supplied the pulpit since May last. 

Glenora — Glenora is beautifully situated on the w^est shore of Seneca 
Lake. The banks of the lake rise abruptly to a height of 200 feet or more. 
The Northern Central Railroad bridge spans the chasm made by Big 
Stream at that dizzy height. The mercantile business is represented 
by one store, and the manufactures by a flouring-mill, saw- mill and a 
large factory manufacturing grape and other fruit baskets. There is a 
" Union hall " for the accommodation of religious gatherings and other 
purposes. The village was formerly called Big Stream Point, and was 
a place of business importance. Larmon G. Townsend, an energetic 
merchant, controlled the mercantile business of the hamlet. He came 
from New Haven, Conn., and commenced business as a merchant. He 
soon enlarged his sphere, taking in the grain and produce business, and 


finally became owner of the flouring and saw-mill and a woolen factory. 
The business was too much for his capital, and like most business too 
much extended ended disastrously. The village has of late years be- 
come a summer resort. Major Budd's summer hotel is always well 
patronized, and there are several cottages rented or occupied by 
owners. . • 

Rock Stream. — The village of Rock Stream is located in the extreme 
southern limit of the town of Starkey. It has two stores, two churches, 
Christian and Presbyterian, and a variety of mechanics. It has been a 
place of considerable business importance. It was first known as Hurd's 
Corners, from a family of that name, early settlers. The Hathaway fami- 
lies are among the older families. Gilbert Hathaway was a large land 
owner, and kept a public house for many years. 

Mr. C. W. Barnes was for many years a merchant at Rock Stream 
and carried on a large business in merchandise and country produce. 
Mr. Barnes was the senior partner in the firm of Barnes & Sharp, 
which was dissolved many years ago. Alonzo Simmons, a very suc- 
cessful merchant, amassed a handsome fortune here, and retired to 
Reading Center in 1843. The village is located in one of the finest 
sections of farming land in the State, and has the Northern Central 
Railroad on the east and the Syracuse, Geneva & Corning on the west. 

Reminiscences. — Under a pile of rubbish in the southwest corner of 
an old " grave-yard," now included in the public school lot, with noth- 
ing to mark the place, lie the remains of Isaac Andrews, private secre- 
tary to Gen. George Washington during the war for Independence. Mr. 
Andrews drew the forms of the pay rolls used by General Washington, 
and which I have been inforined are still used in the army. Mr. An- 
drews was by profession a teacher and surveyor. Over his grave the 
wagons rumble carrying supphes of fuel, etc., to the public school, and 
the children innocently and unknowingly pursue their noisy sports. 
Mr. Andrews was a scholar and Christian, and a gentleman. He was 
also a Mason. His funeral was the first Masonic funeral held in the 
town and was largely attended. 

Gen. Timothy Hurd was a captain of militia in the War of 18 12, and 
with his company (or with as many as he could persuade to go over), 
crossed the Niagara River into Canada. He was later elected briga- 


dier-general of militia. He settled in Eddytown, built himself a large 
dwelling, and became one of the leading men in the Methodist Episcopal 
Church and in the town. He built a saw-mill in 1809 on Big Stream 
south of Eddytown, and later a grist-mill. It is claimed that his was 
the first saw- mill on the stream. Isaac Stark's was senior one year. 
His family occupied a very high social position. Leveret Gabriel, a boy, 
came from Vermont with General Hurd, and afterward settled south of 

Stephen Reeder and his brother-in-law, Joshua Tuthill, bought 360 
acres of land at Starkey Corners and divided it equally between them, 
Tuthill taking the north half and Reeder the south. Josiah Reeder 
came at the same time, 181 1, and located on fifty acres in Eddytown, 
on the northwest corner of the Dundee road. 

Henry Schenck sold to Teval Swarts the farm now owned by William 
C. Swarts, one and one-half miles north of Dundee. The farm contains 
107 acres, consideration $900. The farm has remained in the Swarts 
family since its purchase, and is the only farm in the town that has never 
been incumbered with a mortgage nor has it been bequeathed. When 
it has changed owners it has been by purchase and sale. Teval sold it 
to his son Peter for a money consideration. Peter sold to his son, Will- 
iam C. Swarts, the present owner. 

Among the prominent families who came early to the village of Dun- 
dee, then Harpending's Corners, that of Benjamin B. Beekman deserves 
particular mention. Mr. Beekman was one of the older citizens. He 
came from New York city in 1830 and stopped for a few months in 
Eddytown, moving to Dundee in 1831 with his wife and oldest son, 
Cornelius. From that time until his death he was a prominent figure 
in the affairs of the village. He built on contract the first Baptist 
"meeting-house," and erected for himself three brick blocks of stores 
and two dwellings, all of which remain the property of the estate except 
one dwelling. He was for many years a ruling elder of the Presbyte- 
rian Church, and to him and his neighbor, Baltis Titsworth, is the 
church indebted for many helps in time of need. Mr. Beekman's busi- 
ness was originally that of builder or carpenter ; later in life he engaged 
in the furniture and undertaking business, and was very success- 
ful. His oldest son, Cornelius, emigrated to California in 1849, ^"d is 


now a resident of Jacksonville, Oregon. In i8 — he ran for governor, 
and claims he was fairly elected, but was defrauded of his rights. Of 
the other sons, Abram and John have made a success of their business 
in Bath, N. Y., and T. Dewitt,. after succeeding his father in the furni- 
ture business, sold out and is now'one of the firm of F. H. Sayre & Co., 
hardware merchants of Dundee. 

John T. Andrews has for many years been a prominent figure in 
Dundee. He came to the village sometime in the early forties and has 
resided here since. The Andrews family originally came from near the 
Hudson River and settled in the town of Reading in 1812. While a 
resident of Steuben County he held the office of justice of the peace, 
was elected sheriff and member of the Twenty-fifth Congress. After 
coming to Dundee he retired from business until 1866, when he be- 
came a partner in the firm of Martin Vosburg & Co. until 1874; since 
then he has not engaged inactive business. At the age of eighty- eight 
years he is active and in appearance has many years of life before him. 

Griffin B. Hazard built a saw- mill in 181 1, and a grist-mill in 181 2 
on Big Stream, south of Dundee. The mills, with 600 acres of land, 
came in possession of his son James P. Hazard, who kept them until his 
death, which occurred in 1872. James Hazard invested a large amount 
in the building of a mill that was never finished and was a total loss. 



JERUSALEM is practically and substantially the mother of towns 
in Yates County. The district, sometimes called township, of 
Jerusalem, was organized in 1789, as one of the subdivisions of Ontario 
County, and included within its limits all that is now Milo, Benton and 
Torrey, as well as its own original territory. On the erection of Steu- 
ben County in 1796, the region or district called Blufi" Point, or so much 
of it as lies south of the south line of township seven, was made a part 

vY /^^^A^'Z.^^^-c^ 


of the new formation ; but in 18 14 an act of the Legislature annexed 
Bluff Point to Jerusalem, and to which it has since belonged. 

In 1803 the town of Jerusalem was definitely erected, embracing 
tojjrnship seven, second range, and so much of township seven, first 
range, as lay westward of Lake Keuka and lot No. 37. At or about 
the same time the other territory that had previously formed a part of 
the district of Jerusalem was organized into a town and called Vernon, 
afterward Snell, and finally Benton. 

The town of Jerusalem, as at present constituted, is the largest of the 
towns of Yates County ; also it is one of the most important towns of 
the shire. As compared with the eastern towns of the county, Jerusalem 
may be called quite hilly, and in some places mountainous. Bluff 
Point, if standing independently, might properly be called a mountain, 
at least its southern extremity, but with its surroundings becomes not 
more than a formidable hill, elevated, at its highest point, more than 
700 feet above Lake Keuka. Rose Hill in Jerusalem is 572 feet above 
the lake, while the county poor-house is 634 feet higher than the lake. 
The highest general elevation in the town is on the west side near 
Italy, from whence there is a gradual descent as one travels eastward 
toward the West Branch inlet. Still further east is another though 
lesser rise of land, the summit of which is about two miles from the lake. 
It will be seen, therefore, that Jerusalem possesses superior natural 
drainage advantages. At the same time the town is exceedingly well 
watered, as it has more lake frontage than any town in the county, not 
even excepting Milo. A considerable depression in the surface is 
noticeable in the northeast part of the town, the locality being desig- 
nated by the name of Shearman's Hollow. 

Shearman's Hollow possibly includes historic ground, for it is alleged 
that in the southeast corner of lot 48, near the school-house site, are the 
remains of an old fort ; and that this fort was neither American, Indian 
or French in its construction. Therefore, if such allegations are true, 
the fort, or whatever may have been its character, was undoubtedly of 
pre historic origin. But there have not been discovered relics to show 
whether the fortification was the work of the mound-builders or some 
other ancient race. But as this is a subject of entire speculation,, and 
can only be treated facetiously, it might more properly be passed and 
remain a mystery. 


Jerusalem, too, contends for whatever of honor attaches from the fact 
that Red Jacket, the famous Seneca chief, first saw the hght of day on 
the shores of Keuka Lake, at a point near the village of Branchport. 
But the people of a town in Seneca have very recently, in 1891, erected 
a monument to the memory of Red Jacket, and on the stone is recorded 
the fact that the celebrated Vlsarrior was born very near the spot on which 
it stands. It may be said, however, that the claims of Jerusalem to the 
place of birth of the chief were and are founded on the statements made 
by himself on the occasion of one of his speeches at Geneva. But even 
this is not an important question, and whatever may be the truth it will 
neither benefit or injure the people of Jerusalem one single whit. 

Township seven of the second range formed a part of the vast Phelps 
and Gorham purchase, a full history and description of which may be 
found among the general chapters of this work. The proprietors, 
Oliver Phelps arid Nathaniel Gorham, sold township seven, second 
range, to Thomas Hathaway and Benedict Robinson in 1789, but not 
until the following year was the deed executed. In 1790 the town was 
surveyed into lots under the direction of Noah Guernsey, and it was 
found that the measurements, both north and south, overran six miles 

Hathaway and Robinson purchased this township that it might be 
made the permanent abiding place of the Public Universal Friend, and 
that on the lands surrounding her home there might be built up 
dwelling places and farms for those of her followers who remained faith- 
ful and true to her leadership and teachings. Such seems to be the 
understanding of those best informed concerning the Friend's affairs, 
although at the time the purchase was made she had not been to the 
vicinity of the New Jerusalem, but was still at and near Philadelphia. 
If this be true, then the settlement and colony at Hopeton and on 
Seneca Lake were but temporary. It is not understood, either, that 
there was as yet any disturbance or dissension in the Friend's society. 
But whatever motive may have prompted the Friend to cause the pur- 
chase of the town to be made cannot now be well explained, but from 
what was done w*e may suppose that she was looking carefully into the 
future of herself and her society. At all events it is general!}' under- 
stood that the purchase was made at her solicitation and under her ad- 


vice. But the worthy proprietors found themselves unable to pay the 
consideration money for the whole township, whereupon they recon- 
veyed to their grantors a strip about two miles in width and extending 
across the south part of the town. This tract contained some seven 
thousand acres of land. It passed through a number of ownerships and 
finally came into the possession of Captain John Beddoe, after which it 
was ever known as the Beddoe Tract. 

On the west side of the town, Hathaway and Robinson conveyed a 
strip of land extending from the north line of the Beddoe Tract to the 
north line of the township to William Carter as grantee, but the latter 
also appears to have defaulted in his payment, as he conveyed back the 
strip, embracing 4,000 acres, to Phelps and Gorham. This tract, after 
passing through several owners, was finally sold on foreclosure of mort- 
gage held by the State of Connecticut. It was bought in by Gideon 
Granger, of Canandaigua, who perfected the title to the tract and after- 
ward, June 30, 1816, sold it to Henry and Oren Green for $12,000, or 
$4.00 per acre, and this became thenceforth known as the Green Tract. 
The rest of the lands of the town appear to have been retained by 
Thomas Hathaway and Benedict Robinson for the use of the Friend 
and her society. However, it appears that Thomas Hathaway sold or 
conveyed his interest in the township to his associate, Benedict Robin- 
son, and the latter appears to have been the principal actor in the mat- 
ter of after transfers. Commencing in 1792, the Friend made frequent 
purchases of lots and parcels of land in township seven, so that when 
her acquisitions were completed she was the possessor of 4,480 acres of 
land in the town, but not in her own name. According to her belief 
and holding she could not hold real or other property in her own name 
and right, or at least she would not do so, and the conveyances were 
made to one of her trusted lieutenants, generally Sarah Richards, but 
occasionally Rachel Malin^ each of whom held the property in trust for 
the Friend. 

In 1 79 1 the Friend and Sarah Richards made a selection of land in 
the town upon which should be erected her domicile and other buildings 
for a permanent residence. They selected a tract in the vale of the 
Brook Kedron, as they were pleased to term it, and Sarah Richards 
directed with her own hand the improvements necessary to be made. 


In 1793, after clearings had been made, some ten or twelve acres of the 
land were enclosed and a log house erected. But the faithful Sarah 
never lived to see the completion of her undertaking, for she died dur- 
ing the latter part of 1793. 

During the spring of 1764 the Friend left the Seneca Lake place, 
and took up her home at the newly- built log house in Jerusalem. She 
was followed here by many of her former adherents, but was not sub- 
ject to the intrigues of her enemies until some years later. For the 
poorer members of her society the Friend provided a home upon her 
own tract, while those of her society who were able to buy and build 
for themselves, did so on the lands of the town. Therefore the Univer- 
sal Friend herself was a pioneer in this town, as were those of her fol- 
lowers who also made this an abiding place. Many, however, of her 
society remained at the original settlement near the lake, and never be- 
came residents of Jerusalem. 

The Public Universal Friend, Jemima Wilkinson, was of course a 
pioneer of this town, the same as she had been in the locality and set- 
tlement on Seneca Lake. In 1790 she first came to the Genesee 
country and four years later she established herself permanently in the 
town of Jerusalem. One of the general chapters of this volume has 
narrated at length concerning the Friend, her life and works, in view of 
which nothing further need be said in this place. 

Early Settlement in Jerusalem. — So far as they were able and so far 
as they considered it a prudent measure, the Friend and her followers 
settled her lands in the town with none but members of her society. 
Still there were localities which the Friend did not control, and there- 
fore such sections were settled by whomsoever saw fit to purchase. And 
even in the Friend's society, after the lapse of not many years, there 
grew such differences and dissensions, that strangers to her doctrines at 
last obtained a foothold within the lands she aimed to control in owner- 
ship and occupancy. 

The first settlers in district No. i of the town of Jerusalem were as 
follows : The Friend and her family, consisting of Rachel, Margaret, 
and Elijah Malin, Samuel Doolittle, Solomon Ingraham, Mary Hopkins, 
Mary Bean, and Chloe, a colored woman ; Elnathan Botsford's family 
consisted of himself and his children, Lucy, Sarah, Benajah, Mary, El- 


nathan, jr., and Ruth ; Achilles Comstock, Sarah, his wife, and their 
children, Alphia, Martha and Israel ; Ezekiel Shearman, his wife and 
children, Isaac, John and Bartleson ; Asahel and Anna Stone, and their 
children, Aurelia, Mary and Asahel, jr.; Samuel Barnes and wife, and 
their children, Elizur, Julius, Samuel and Henry ; Parmalee Barnes and 
wife ; Amos Guernsey and John, his son, and Clarissa, his niece ; Castle 
Dains and wife, and children, Abel, Saloma, Anna and Simeon ; 
Ephraim Dains and family ; Jonathan Davis and family ; Benjamin 
Durham and family ; Daniel Brown, wife and two sons, Daniel and 
George ; Elizur and Nathaniel Ingraham, and their fannilies ; Reuben 
and Mary Luther, and Susanna Spencer, Phebe Cogswell, Mary Holmes, 
Elizabeth Kinyon, Lucy Brown, Martha Reynolds, Hannah Baldwin, 
Patience Allen, Mary and Sarah Briggs, and Ephraim, Isaac and Eliz- 
abeth Kinney. 

One of the prominent members of the Friend's society was Ezekiel 
Shearman, who, in his zeal to serve his leader, acted as one of the com- 
mittee to visit the Genesee country in 1786, for, the purpose of select- 
ing a site for a home for the society. Mr. Shearman was a Rhode 
Islander, and was one of the first to come to the region of the New 
Jerusalem and there make a home. Soon after coming, or in 1790, he 
married the widow ofjohn Bartleson, the latter a follower of the Friend 
from Pennsylvania. In 1794 Mr. Shearman moved to Jerusalem and 
located on lot 47. He lived and died in the town, dying in 1824, and 
his wife in 1843. They had three children : Isaac, born in 1792 ; John, 
who died young; and Bartleson, born in 1797, who became one of 
the leading men of the town of Jerusalem, and died at an advanced age. 

Daniel and Anna Brown, husband and wife, and their sons, Daniel, 
George and Russell, were among the pioneers of the Friend's tract. 
But this family became alienated from the Friend not many years af- 
terward. They settled on lot 5, then an almost unbroken wilderness, 
and with no neighbors nearer than two or three miles. By industry, 
perseverance and energy Daniel Brown and his sons succeeded in build- 
ing up one of the best farms of the town. Daniel Brown, jr., married 
Lucretia Coats. He, too, became a prominent man in the town ; was 
justice of the peace for many years. He kept public house, called 
"Grandfather's House;" also he built a distillery in the town. The 


children of Daniel, jr., and Lucretia Brown were Alfred, Anna and 
Mary. Alfred was born in 1798, and was sheriff of the county one 
term; Anna, born in 1