Skip to main content

Full text of "History of Livingston County, New York, from its earliest traditions to the present"

See other formats


o V 

0* .lv: 




^ = c5 °X. 



■""■', "U 


^^^ o^ .:--^-/ „o 





^•^°' - .^ 

%/ .- ^-.^<^ \^"^'^ X^'^^ 

0^ "^^ ♦>f!T'' A 



'.♦ -^ 




'.^s^x^*^ r^ ' '^,. "'>^; 



"P^ aT* t.^41^.' .A. A. » . 


.^^ >, 

>i5 7 ^ 


Jajnes Wadsworth. 



Livingston County 






W. J. Van Deusen, Publisher, 

Jackson, Michigan. 

F. A. Owen Pubushing Company, 
Dansville, N. Y. 





WHEN I agreed to take a part in the preparation of this work 
it was only upon the stipulation that I should be at liberty 
to make use of so much of my father's history of Livingston 
County, published posthumously in 1876, as I thought desirable. 

The little leisure at my command put it entirely out of the question 
for me to contemplate the preparation of a history of the county, the 
substance of which, Indeed the very text of which, should not be 
drawn in very large measure from that source. Accordingly, I have 
in the main followed the arrangement and the text of that work 
through Chapter 10, making the changes and additions demanded by 
the result of historical research since my father laid down his pen. 
Mr. George C. Bragdon, of Rochester, has for the most part had charge 
of putting in form the town sketches from material furnished to him. 
The arrangement of the biographical section of the work has been in 
other hands. 

At the time of his death, Norman Seymour, of Mt. ^Morris, who had 
been from its beginning one of the most useful and interested 
members of the Livingston County Historical Society, had in course 
of preparation a history of Livingston County, and had collected a 
great amount of valuable material to that end; unfortunately for the 
people of the county, ^Ir. Seymour's death interrupted his work before 
it had been put in narrative form. Such glimpses as he permitted the 
public to have of his work by an occasional published sketch from the 
manuscript showed, however, how instructive his contribution to 
local history would have been. Mr. Seymour's family, through his son, 
Mr. Henry H. Seymour, of Buffalo, placed in my hands unreservedly 
for use in this volume all the matter collected by their lamented father; 
I wish in this place to express to them my deep sense of obligation. 

Likewise, my sincere gratitude is due to Mrs. Dr. Myron H. Mills 
and her daughters, of Mt. Morris, for their exceeding courtesy in per- 
mitting me the fullest liberty in examining and using the books and 
papers relating to historical matters of the late Dr. Mills, one of the 


best informed Indianologists of the valley, who wrote learnedly and 
most interestingly of early local history over the sobriquet of "Corn- 
planter," and whose father. General Mills, figures conspicuously in the 
pages of this history. 

Mr. William H. Samson, of Rochester, an enthusiastic student of 
the history of Western New York, an untiring investigator, an infal- 
libly just and discerning judge of men and events, and a brilliant 
writer, whose contributions to local history are unquestioningly ac- 
cepted; Mr. Frank H. Severance, the learned and accomplished Secre- 
tary of the Buffalo Historical Society, Hon. William P. Letchworth, 
of Buffalo and Glen Iris ; A. O. Bunnell, of Dansville ; David Gray, Esq. , 
of Buffalo; Dr. William P. Spratling, and Mr. Frank Crofoot, of Son- 
yea, N. Y., have earned my special thanks in furnishing me very 
valuable material in aid of this work. 

I am indebted to the contributions to local history of the late Col. 
John Rorbach and to Samuel L. Rockfellow of Mount Morris: Duncan 
D. Cameron, of Caledonia: Rev. E. W. Sears, of Caledonia; Miss 
Wilhelmina Mann, of (iroveland: W. P. Boyd, of Conesus; S. Edward 
Hitchcoci: of Conesus and others to whom credit is given in the pages 
of this book for matter appearing there. 

I desire also to express my obligations to the Council of the Livings- 
ton County Historical Society for their permission to use matter col- 
lected for the Society archives. 

In spite of the most careful proof reading errors will be found, for 
whicii I implore the reader to be indulgent. ^I must add in justice to 
myself, that I am not responsible for Chapt^ &JKXVn or for any 
errors that may be found there. 

The town sketches are necessarily brief and principally cover the 
earlier periods of town history. 

The work passes out of my hands tn the publisher with the regret 
that I have been imable to give to it the undivided attention which the 
subject justly demanded. 

Gcneseo, N. Y. Lockwood R. Doty. 



Topograph}- of the. County — Genesee River— Canaseraga Creek — Conesus Lake 
— Western Door of tlie Long House — Pioneer Customs- -Aboriginal Myths — Ancient 
Works and Remains — Jesuit Missionaries — Settlement hj- Sullivan's Officers and 
Men 17 


The Seneca Indians — The Kali-Kwas — Hiawatha — League of the Iroquois — ■ 
Aboriginal Traditions— Cusick's .■Account — Monsters — Great Battle of Geneseo — 
Iroquois Domination — Iroquois Alliance with the British 24 


The Senecas of the Chenussio — Seneca Fortitude — Their Customs in War and 
Peace — Incidents illustrating Seneca Characteristics — .\ New Year's Festival at 
Squakie Hill — Handsome Lake, the Peace Prophet — Seneca Trails — Extinguish- 
ment of Indian Titles to Reservations 38 


Pouchot's Map — Early mention of the Genesee Country — Earthworks and Fortifi- 
cations — Five Eras of Seneca Town history — F'our Villagesdestroyed by DeNonville 
— Canawaugus — Dyu-ne-ga-nooh — O-ha-gi— Indian burial place — Big Tree — Beards- 
town— Squakie Hill — 0-non-da-oh — Ga-da-oh — Ga-nos-ga-go — Sho-nojo-waah-geh, 
Big Kettle's town — Kan-agh-saws, Conesus — Dyu-liah-gaih — Chenussio — (iatlit- 
segwarohare — Sga-his-ga-aah, Lima — Ga-non-da-seeh, near Moscow — Deo-wes-ta, 
Portage vi lie 57 


Jesuit Missions — DeNonville's Expedition — Retirement of the Jesuits with the 
French 85 


Indian Notables — Red Jacket — Cornplanter — Henrv O'Bail — Han<lsome Lake — 
Little Beard— Tall Chief— Straight Back— Big Tree— Black Chief— Jack Berry- 
Captain Pollard — Hot Bread — Half Town — Sharp Shins — Tommy Infant — John Mon- 
tour— CJuawwa — Mary Jemison —James Stevens — Seneca White — Thomas Jemison — • 
Philip Kenjockety — Old Cannelioot 95 


The Western Expedition under General Sullivan, with a sketch of the Officers in 
his Command and an account of the Groveland .\mbuscade and the torture of Boyd 
and Parker — Other incidents of the Campaign 138 


After the Revolution— Phelps and Gorham Purchase — Robert Morris — Holland 
Purchase— Treaty of Big Tree — Charles Williamson — Celebration of the one hun- 
dredth Anniversary of the Treaty of Big Tree at Geneseo 179 



Early settlemeiit> in the County— James and William Wad-worth — Other Pioneers 
fiales of lands — Williamsburjjh — Picture of the C.enesee country — The Living- 
ston Lease — Importance to the Cjenesee country of General Wayne's Expedi- 
. tion 226 


Missionaries in the Genesee country — Religious Privileges — Visit of Loiiis 
Philippe — Dtike DeLiancourt — Jauies Wadsworth in London negotiating for sale of 
Lands — Town settlements commenced 249 


Pioneer Election — Famine — Rapid growth of the settlements — Transportation 
facilities— The period prior to 1812 262 


The War of 1812 and the participation therein by men of the Genesee country — 
Result of the War advantageous to the settlements — The "Cold Plague" — Condi- 
tion of Western New York in 1817 — First Newspaper in the County 283 


Erection of Livingston County — Name of County — Location of County Seat — 
Public Buildings— Early Courts 306 


Early Banking projects — Transportation problems — Post Rider — Stages — (ienesee 
Valley Canal — Steamboats on the Genesee— High School at Geneseo — Bible 
Society 321 


Abduction of Morgan — Anti-Masonrj- in politics — Alms-house established — 
Purchase of County Farm — Close of third decade — Politics 341 


The decade from 1830 to 1840 — Movement for a Railroad — Livingston County 
Anti-Slavery Society 354 


The decade from J840 to 1850 — Removal of Remains of Boyd and Parker and 
other victims of Groveland ambuscade to Rochester, and Proceedings attending 
the removal — Later reinteiment at Mount Hope— Livingston County Agri- 
cultural Society — The 94th Regiment of Infantry of the New York Slate 
Militia — The Campaign of 1844 — Election of Governor Young — Railroad pro- 
jects 369 


The decade from 1850 to i860— New Alms House — Last "Militarj- Training" in 
the Countv — Genesee Valley Bank— Completion of Avon, Geneseo and Mount 
Morris Railroad — County Politics 407 



The War of the Rebellion ; Livingston's part in it— History of the Wadsworth 
Guards, 104th Regiment— Tlie T04th at Gettysburg— Historr of the 8th N. V. 
Cavalry— 130th N. V. Vol. Infantry— 136th N. Y. Vol. Infantry— 14th N. Y 
Heavy Artillery— 13th N. V. Vol. Infantry— 33d N. V. Vol. Infantry— 27th N. Y. 
Vol. Infantry -25 

Covering the war period in Livingston and the succeeding years to the present, .496 

The Newspaper History of the County 539 


The Last Council on the Genesee — William P. Letchworth 555 

Craig Colony 582 

Some Indian Remains in the Genesee Valley 590 

Livingston County Civil List 594 

The Genesee V'alley Hunt 602 

The Medical Profession in Livingston County 607 

Sketch of .Avon 622 

" " Caledonia 645 

" " Conesus 701 

" " Lima 721 

" " Leicester 730 

" " Livonia 761 

" Ossian 780 

" " Mount Morris 785 

" North Dansville 826 

" " Portage 857 

" " Spring water 867 

" West Sparta 875 

" Xunda 888 

" " York 900, 958 

" "^^Groveland 933 

" "NGeneseo 963 

" " Sparta 1004 


Adverli^einent-i for VoJunteers 429 

Agriculture, Indian 38 

Allen, Ebenezer or "Indian" 

213, 786, 790 

Allen, Tract 786 

Alms House, fires 504, 505 

" " Extension 520 

" " Improved 513 

American Party Convention 415 

Amusements in 1824 332 

Andrews, Dr. B. P 616 

Anxel, Benjamin F 412 

Animals 655, 885 

Anti-Masonic Party 344 

" " Triumph 349 

" " Meetings 375 

Anti-Slavery Meeting 359 

" " Resolutions 362 

" " Society- 361 

Arthur, Chester A 904 

" Rev. W'm. A 904 

Artillery Company of Oeneseo 290 

Assemblymen 1822 to 1905 599 

Avon 622 

Base Ball Clubs 502 

Battles in War of 1812 291, 296, 297 

Batteaux 732 

Beanlstovvn 72 

Bears common 885 

Becker, Dr. Allen 613 

Berry, Gilberts 624, 627 

Berry, Jack 172 

Bettis, Dr. J. Ten Eyck 614 

Big Elm 631 

Big Springs 654 

Big Tree, Council 193 

" " Chief 71, log. 176 

" " Treaty 192, 208 

" " Treaty Annuities 217 

Treaty Celebrated 221 

Black Chief in 

Blakeslee, Col. Samuel 629 

Borden, Dr. G. T 613 

Bonner, I'rank J 783 

Bowen, Dr. I-'rederick J 615 

Boyd and J'arker, Tragedy 172 

" " " Burial 174 

" " " Remains..372, 386, 740 

Boyd, Thomas, his Reconnoissance 154 

" in Ambuscade 168 

Bradner, Lester 835 

Brooks, Gen. Micah 793 

Broom Corn 798 

Brown, Dr. John P 614 

Brown's Log Tavern 903 

Calder, James 902 

Caledonia 645 

Distinguished servants of 652 

Cameron, John 655 

Canal, Estimates and Co-t 324 

Engineering Difficulties 325 

" Extension 327 

" Tunnel 857 

" Troubles 863 

" Abandoned 329 

Canaseraga Creek 18 

Cana vvaugus 67 , 646 

Caneadea 555 

Council House 555 

Can-ne-hoot 136 

Carrick, Dr. Charles J 611 

Carroll, Charles H 319.320,339,347 

Carter, William 536 

Cavalry Company 294 

Census Statistics of 1825 340 

Chenussio 80, 154 

Council 156 

Church Quarrels 649 

Churches, Avon 636 

" Caledonia 657 

" Conesus 719 

" Groveland 951 

" Geneseo 990 

" Livonia 769 

Lima 728 

" Leicester 754 

Mt. Morris 785, 819 

North Dansville 846 

" Nunda 892 

" Ossian 783 

" Portage 865 

Springwater 871 

" Sparta loil 

West Sparta 886 

York 908 

Clinton, Brigadier General, 159 


Cold Summer of 1816 302 

Cole, Dr. De Forest 012 

Cole's Painting S62 

Collar Brothers. 702 

Companies lor the Civil War 427 

Conditions in 1817 302 

in 1830 353 

" in 1840 366 

" in 1S50 422 

Couesus 702 

Lake iS 

Salt and Mining Co. 770 

Railroad 772 

Conflicting State Claims iSo 

Conspirac}- of Jail Inmates 500 

Cornplanter or Ga-yanl-hvvah-gch... 103 
at Big Tree Council 

206, 218 

Coterie 844 

County, Livingston 17 

" ' Census in 1801 264 

Division Contests 309 

Plans 312 

County, Livingston, Agricultural 

Society 387 

County Livingston, Alms House.... 407 

" Officers 599, boo, 601 

New project 873 

" Seat, locating 314 

" Election of 1803 266 

of 1807 274 

of 1808 27b 

" " of 1S09 277 

inthe thirties 357, 358 

in 184b 397 

in 1854 414 

in 1855 41b 

Covenant Chain 36 

Craig Colony for Epileptics. 582 

Crisfieid, Dr. James E bi9 

Dansville 77 

Site of 256 

Village 82b 

" in 1812 830 

in 1814 836 

in 1830 835 

Library 844 

Deed to' ' Indian' ' Allen's daughters 214 

Ue Nonville's Expedition 88 

Denton, Dr. John 614 

Deo-wes-ta 83 

Destruction of Indian Property 150, 175 

De-yu-it-ga-oh 73 

Dickinson, Daniel S 651 

Dike, Dr. I. A. M 61.5 

Distinguished Visitors 797 

Distilleries 771, 777 

Doctoring, Indian 48 

Dodge, Dr. Frank B fai7 

Door of Long House 80 

Drieshach, Dr. Fred R 616 

Duncan, Mr. and Mrs. Robert 876 

Dutch Treaty with Iroquois 36 

Dyu-doo-sot 66 

Dyu-non-day-ga-eeh 72 

Dyu-hah-gaih or Oneida Village... 80 

Dyu-ne-ga-nooh 68 

Early Bridges (Leicester) 740 

Buildings (Mt. Morris) 789 

" Citizens (York) 906 

" Con<litions (Conesus) 707, 708 

County Boundaries '. 307 

" Days 20 

" Descriptions 234, 235 

" Industries (Conesus) 704 

" Lumber Industry (Livonia) . . 78b 

" Postal Service 232, 233, 241 

" Preaching and Churches 

(North Dansville) 480 

Early Presbyterians (Springwater). . 872 

" Prices (Lima) - 724 

" Religious Meetings (Leicester) 740 

" Statistics (Livonia) 786 

" Settlement and Settlers 226 

" Settlers Names (.-^von) 626 

(Conesus) 703 704 

(Nunda) 889 

" Taverns (North Dansville) 828 

East Avon 623 

Ellicott's Survey 220 

Eniniett, Rev. Samuel 272 

Epidemic of 1812 and 1813 287 

Exploration and Researches .57 

Famine of 1806 270 

Famous Horses Imported 529 

Farm Valuations in three decades... 538 

Father Fremin 86 

Faulkner, Daniel P. (North Dans- 
ville) 827, 830 

Faulkner, Judge, his death 520 

Faulkner, Dr. James (North Dans- 
ville) 831 

Features (Conesus) 701 

(Lima) 721 

" (Leicester) 730 

(Livonia) 761 

" (Ossian) 780 

(Mt. Morris) 785 

(Portage) 857 

(Springwater) 866 

Fillmore, Millard, in West Sparta.. 877 
and Hnngerford 878, 881 



Fillmore, to William Scott 880 

Financial Panic of 1857 420 

Fire and Water (North Dansville)... 845 

First Bank 352 

County Buildings 317 

" " Officers 314, 320 

" Court of Common Pleas 319 

" " " General Sessions ... 319 

Newspaper 303. 339 

" River Steamboat 334 

" Steamer on Conesus 509 

Fitzhngli Purchase 262 

Fortifications 59 

Fowler, Wells (York).. 903 

Fort (ieorge, Capture of 289 

F'oster, Dr. Francis V 611 

CTa-da-oh 76 

Ga-on-do-wa-nuh 71 

Ga-nos-ga-go 77 

Ga-o-ya-de-o 555 

Gathtsegwarohare 81 

Gansou, Cnpt. John 627 

Genesee Country, bettlemeut of 179 

(ieuesee, La>t Council on 555 

Genesee Valley Telegraph 404 

Bank 409 

Hunt 602 

" River Bank 411 

Geneseo 963 

Geneseo Artillery Company 290 

Geiger, Elias H. (Ossian).'. 7S3 

Game and Fish (Springwater) S73 

Geological Theories ^^.■orth Dans- 
ville) S27 

Gorge and I'alls (Portage) 857 

Gordon, James F. (Caledonia) 652 

Genesee Wesleyan Seminary (Lima) 725 

(Governor Clinton's Visit 339 

Great Barbecue (Portage) 864 

Gray, Dr. .\rnold (Springwater) 870 

Grover, Hosea 869 

Great F'lood of 1865 500 

" 1902 536 

Greeley Campaign ot 1872 507 

Grist, Story of a 275 

fireen, Dr. R. W 612 

Croveland 933 

Half Town 115 

Hale. Abram (Conesus) 704 

Hammond, .^mariah (North Dans- 
ville) 830 

Hand, Brigadier General ibo 

Handsome Uake 105 

Hard Times 310 

Harding, Chester (Caleilonia) 651 

Hastings, George (Ml. Morris) -5189 

Hemlock Lake iK, 768 

Hendee, Ephraim i.\von) 629 

Henderson, James (Conesus) 702 

Hermitage Settlement 256 

Hermit Melon (Conesus).'. 703 

Hill, Dr. Hugh 816 

Historic (iround (Leicester) 730 

Hogmire Col. Jonas (Avon) 629 

Holland Purchase 189 

Hopkius, Daniel M. (Leicester) 736, 737 

Mark (Mt. Morris) 787 

Samuel (Mt. Morris) .793 

Hornby Lodge (Portage) 861 

Horse Wager 270 

Horses, famous imported 529 

Horth, F'rancis (Conesus) 704 

Hosnier, Dr. Timothy (.■\von) 625, 

627, 628, 647 

Hosmer, James (.•^vou) 628 

George (.Avon) 630 

Col. W. H. C. (Avon) 628, 

631, 640 

Hosmer, W. H. C. Poems of 643 

Hosmer, Stephen T. (.\von) 642 

Horsford Jerediah.. 299 

Hot Bread 115 

Hunt Family (Portage) 860 

Washingtcm (Portage) 860 

Sanford (Portage) 860 

Hunting, Indian 43 

Ground (Springwater) 872 

Huron Indians 32 

Hyde, Corydon (Ossian) 783 

Immersions in Winter (Livonia) 769 

Improvements of .Stock 412 

in 1810 281 

Indian Council of 1801 264 

Chiefs 737 

" Depredations 266 

" Habits (Conesus) 706 

Intercourse with 45, 46 

Remains 590 

Sports 43 

Insane .\sylum 509 

Iroquois League 19, 25 

Jackson Health Resort (North Dans- 
ville) 841 

Jackson, Dr. James C. (North Dans- 
ville) 843 

Jemison, Mary 120, 125, 356, 789 

Jemison, Mary at Big Trie Coun- 
cil 206 

Jeuiison, Mary, Reservation to 207 

Jemison, Thomas 131 

" " Letters from 132 

Jesuit Missionaries 85 


Jolinsoti, EHslia (Portage) 

Jones Brothers 

Horatio 732, 

Jones, Jolin H. (Leicester) 

Jones, Dr. George C 

Dr. George H 

Kah-kwas 24, 30, 32, 

Kane and Moffatt I Caledonia) 

Kashaqua Creek 

Kan-agh-saws or Conesus 

Kelsey, John (Avon) 

Otto... 536, 

Kellogg, Charles (.\von) 

Kenjocket}', Philip 

Kirkland, Rev. Samuel 

Kline, Rev. Aaron 

Knowles, Family (Springwater) 

Paul (Avon) 

LaMont, Dr. T. H 

Land Divisions 

" Prices in 1804 

Land to Captain Jones and Smith 


Last Council at Old Council House 
" " Orlando Allen's Speech 
" " Nicholson Parker's 

Speeches 554, 

Last Council, Thomas Jeniisou's 


Last Council, Col. Kerr's Speech 

" President Fillmore's 


Last Council, David Grey's poem... 

Lauderdale, Dr. Walter E 

Leach, Dr. .\lbert K 

Letter of Seneca Chiefs 


Letchworth, William P 

Lewis, Jabez (Conesus) 


Little Beard or Si-g\va-ah-doh-gwili 

" "at Big Tree Council 

Litlleville (.^von) 623, 

Livingston County 

" Towns 

Set off 

High .School 

" " Bible Society 

" " Enlarged 

" " Patriotism 

" " Historical Soci- 

Livingston County Civil List... 


Town Fair 

8b I 






















Log Cabin, County Historical So- 
ciety's 528 

Log Caljin Tavern (Caledonia) 651 

Long, Col. Holloway (York).. 902, 904 

Lumbering (Portage) 864 

Magee, William 255 

Mackenzie, Dr. John A 611 

Mammoth Ox for Sanitary Commis- 
sion 497 

Markham, Col. William (Avon) 

625, 627 

Marl Deposits (Caledonia) 645 

Mastodon Remains in Geneseo 33b 

" " near Dansville... 508 

Maxwell, Brigadier General ibi 

McCartney, William 232 

McDonald, Alexander (Caledonia) 

649, 650 

McKay, Hector (Conesus) 702 

McKenzie, Donald D. (York) 901 

McMaster, Ebenezer (West Sparta).. 877 

McNair, John (West Sparta) 876 

David (West Sparta) 885 

McNaughton, Daniel (Caledonia)... b$o 
" John H. , poet and 

musician (Caledonia) 652 

McNiuch, Mrs. Jane (Conesus) 705, 706 

McPherson, John R. York 904 

Dr. Thomas (Caledonia) 653 

Medical Profession 607 

Society Members 1821 to 1843 609 
Presidents 1821 to 

1843 609 

Menzie. Dr. Robert J 618 

Merrick, Geo. W. (Nunda) 889, 890 

Militia, 94th Reg. of 394 

Encampments 408 

Mills, Rev. vSamuel 257 

" Gen. William A. (Mt. Morris) 791 
Dr. Myron H. (Mt. Morris).. 792 

" (Livonia) 767 

(North Dansville) 827, 828 

(Portage) 861 

" (York) 902 

Mineral Springs (Avon) 623 

Missionary Movement 249 

Montour's Indian Wife, (Leicester) 783 

Montour, John 18 

Monument to Sullivan's fallen sol- 
diers 382 

Morgan and Masonry 341 

Morgan, Col. .Abner 622 

Mormon Converts (Ossian) 783 

Morris Reserve T69 

Morris Robert 186,199 

Morris, Thomas 192, 202 



Morrissey, Dr. Jobn A 620 

Moscow Advertiser Announcements 304 

Moscow Academy' (Leicester) 739 

" Advertiser (Leicester) 738 

Moses, Dr. Elislia D. (Portage) 861 

Mound Builders 25 

Mover, Dr. Frank E 620 

Movements for Canal 323 

Movement for New County 838, 350 

Mt. Morris '. 785 

" in 1804 and 1813 788 

" Dams 798 

" Raceway 349 

Murphy's Fight 168 

Narrative of Donald McKenzie 

(Caledonia) 66a 

New Religion 52 

Connty Clerk's Office 525 

Jail Building 527 

Court House 529 

Newspapers of County ,S39 

Newtown, Battle of 14b 

North Dansville 826 

Northampton (Caledonia) 646 

Notable Land Purchases 262 

Nnnda 888 

O'Bail, Henry 105 

Odd Customs 47 

Ogden, vSanuiel j88 

O-ha-gi 69 

O-non-da-oh . 75 

Ossian 780 

Ossian Tract (Ossian) 781 

Owen, F. A.. Publishing Co., 

(North Dansville) 843 

Page , Dr. Roy A 618 

Patchin, Dr. Charles Y 617 

Patterson, .Alexander (Conesns) 705 

Patterson, (ieorge W. (Leicester).. 735 

Pearson Brotliers (.\von) 629 

Perine, Dr. F'rancis M bio 

Perry, Dr. Edward C 612 

Peterson .and Fuller (Caledonia)... 646 

Perkins, John (Leicester) 741 

Perine, Capt. William (North 

Dansville) 828, 834 

Phelps and Gorham's Purchase 184 

Pierson, John (.Avon) 629 

Pickering Letter 215 

Piffard, David (York) 903 

Piffard Church 929 

Politics in 1801 263 

Pollard 113 

Poor, Brigadier General 162 

Poor House Farm 350 

Population of the Senecas 55 

Populations in 1790 229 

Portage 857 

1830 to 1900 537 

Portage Riot 410 

Bridge, Old 510 

" Bridge Burning 511 

" Bridge, New 514 

'Post Rider 331 

Portage, Division of town 864 

Portland Cement Plant (Caledonia) 655 

Pouchot's Map 57 

Presidential Campaign of 1840 364 

"of 1844 395 

"of i8bo 423 

Preston, Dr. John C 611 

Prices in 1817 303 

in 1820 312 

Progress, 1802-3 2b5 

Quarries (Caledonia) 645 

ynawwa 119 

Railroad .Agitation 354 

Projects in early fifties 402, 403 

" .•\gitation of 1855 418 

Genesee Yalley, Troubles 403 
Genesee Yalley, Complet- 
ed ." 419 

Railroad, Dansville and Mt. Morris.. 505 

R.N. and P.. 506 

Railroad Bri<lges, (Portage) 866 

Raisings and Whiskey (York) 902 

Rae, Dr. Robert .'. 614 

Red Jacket 95,202,4,7,16,834 

Red Cross Society ( North Dansville) 845 

Religion, Seneca 48 

Remains, .Alioriginal 58 

Indian 82 

Regimental Histor\-: 

13th N. Y. Yois 427, 482 

27 " " 427, 491 

i3 " " 428, 488 

104 " " 428 

130 " " 457 

136 " " 472 

8 " Cavalrv 428,449 

14 " H. A 478 

Richmond, Dr. Charles H 613 

River Boating 332, 334, 336 

Rice, William (Avon) 625 

Rice, Dr. James (.\von) 630 

Rigg*. Judge (Avon) 634 

Royce, Samuel (Leicester) 737 

Rochester, Col. Nathaniel (North 

Dansville) 280, 828, 831 

Rorbach, Col. John 428 

Salt Companies 521 

" Industry (York) 905 



Salt Mines 523 

" Production 524 

Sanders, C. K. (Nunda).' S91 

Scliools and Sports 42 

Scotch Immigrants of 1797 260 

Pioneers (Caledoniii) 646 

Scott, James...: 271 

Scott, William (West Sparta) 882 

His Reminiscences (West 

Sparta) 272,884 

Scotch I'resbyterians (Caledonia).... 64b 

" Immigrants (York) 901 

Seditious Acts 241 

Senecas, Antiquity of the 19, 24 

" Defeat Kah-kwas 1,^ 

" Home Lite of the 41 

Flight of the 17b 

Settlement of Lots (Conesus) 710 

Settlements growing 23: 

Seymour, Norman (Mount Morris) 794 

Sga-his-ga-aah, orLinia 82 

Sharp Shins 117 

Sho-no-jo-waah-geli, or Mt. Morris 78 
Sleeper, Col. Reuben (Mt. Morris) 794 

Small Pox 240 

Smith, Gerritt 360, 362 

Smyth, General 

Smith, William M. (Caledonia) 652 

" Joseph (Leicester) 737 

" George (Livonia) 763 

in War of 1812 (Li- 
vonia) 764 

South Avon (.\von) 624 

Soldiers of War of 1812 (Conesus)... 704 

South Lima (Lima) 721 

Soutlnvorth, Alvah (Springwater) ... 871 

Sparta 1004 

Sparta in 1798 258 

Spencerport 958 

Springwater 867 

Squakie Hill 73 

Festival 50 

" (Mount Morris) 788 

Squaw Life 45 

Squires, Dr. George W 619 

Squires, Dr. Wm. P 611 

State Fish Hatchery (Caledonia).... 653 

Stump Pulling (Ossian) 782 

Stanley, Jesse (Mount Morris) 793 

Stage Lines 234, 241, 321, 331, 367 

State Road Improvement 263 

Stevenson, James 130 

Straight Back 109 

Strasenburgh, Dr. Frederick A 619 

Sullivan Expedition 22, 138 

" General 156 


Sullivan, His return 

His army congratulated... 

Sullivan's .\rmy (Conesus) 

Superstitions, Indian 24 

Supervisors — See Various Town 

Sympathy for the Greeks 

Taintor, Dr. Solomon 

Tall Chief 

Talleyrand's Visit 


Tea Party 

Thompson, Maj . Isaiah (Avon) 

Tliatcher, Rev. Daniel 

Tliayer murder 

Thirtieth Congressional District 

Tide of Immigration 

Tommy Infant 

Towns, Seneca 

Trade with Indians 

Trails, Indian 

Transportation 273, 305, 322, 


Trimmer, Dr. Will S 

Tuscarora Tract (Nunda) 

VanCampen, Major Moses (North 


Victor, Battle near, 1687 

Wadsvvorth, Charles F note 

Wadsworth, Craig W note 

Wadsworth, Craig W., Jr 

Wadsvvorth , James 

Wadsworth, James ,S 428, 

Wadsworth, James W 521, 

Wadswortli, James W. , Jr 

Wadsworth, Jeremiah 

Wadsworth, William 226 

Wadsworth, William A 

Wadsworth Land Purchase 

Wadsworth Land Sale 

Wadsworth Guard 408, 

War Methods, Indian 

" Plots 

'■ of 1812 

War Refugees 

" of the Rebellion 

" Bounties from County 

War ot i8t2 (Caledonia) 

Water Works (Caledonia) 

Water Lots ( Conesus) 

Warner Family (Lima) 

Walkins, Adoiphus (Lima) 

Water Rights' Litigation (Livonia) 

Walbridge, Orson (Springwater) 

Washington to Sullivan 

Wayne's Expedition 



















West Sparta 875 

Western Door of Long House 80 

Wheat Carried to Albany 266 

Whallev, John P. (Avon) 628 

White, 'William M. (Ossian) 783 

Wicker, Dr. Frederick A 614 

Williamsburgh 257, 938, 946 

" Fair and Races 239 

Williamson, Capt. Charles 181, 250, 254 

Wilson hung for murder 501 

Wiley, John iSpringwater) 869 

Wiard, Thomas (Avon) 627 

Williamson, Capt. Charles (Caledo- 
nia) 646 

Williamson, Capt. Charles (North 

Dansville) 832 

Williams, Col. George (Portage).... 858 
Witliington Family (Springwater).. 870 

Wolves troublesome (Conesus) 708 

Wolves (Ossian) 782 

and Thistles (Nunda) 891 

Woodruff, Solomon (Livonia) 761 

Woodruff, Philip (Livonia) 763 

Ya-go-wa-ne-a 32 

Young, John, Governor 398 

U. S. Treasurer 405 

(Conesus) 705 

York 900 

York Landing 91.5 

York, Streams of 922 

York Volunteers, War of 1S12 913 


Acker, Francis M 30 

Adams, George B. portrait facing . 50 

Adams, John H ." . . 48 

Adams, Sireno F 122 

Allen, M. P 38 

Alverson, Frank J 104 

Anderson, James D 43 

Annin, Jr., James 85 

Armsted, Cynes H 39 

Arnold. Norman C 60 

Atlierton, Charles 8 

Atwell, George \V 117 

Austin, Charles 91 

Averill, Henr\- E 70 

Baker, Alonzo D 75 

Baker, Monroe D 81 

Barber, Aaron 67 

Baylor, William 49 

Beuerlein, Barney 91 

Beuerlein, Jr. . Frederick 40 

Bigelow, Edward Everett 5 

Bingham, Charles L 135 

Bishop, William W 32 

Bonner, Frank C 65 

Bonner, Samuel 42 

Bradley, Michael C 98 

Bradner, familv 11:5 

Brinkerhoff, Fred T 87 

Bunnell, A. 132 

Cameron, DeLancey .\ 68 

Chamoerlain, Harlem G loi 

Clark, Oliver D 98 

Clark, Thomas 96 

Coffee, John D 124 

Cogswell, William 108 

Covert, Nathaniel P 97 

Crane, Scott W 114 

Crofoot, Fred H 46 

Crosier, Otis L 84 

Crouse, James H 27 

Ciilley, Fred A 12 

Curtis, Henry B 74 

Daley, Frederick E 36 

Delehanty, Timotli\ 70 

Dick, William 114 

Donohue, Joseph D 49 

Donovan, John F 90 

Dover, George D 76 

•^Dotv, Everett 100 

Eddy, Allen S 45 

Ewart, George S 21 

Famum, William H 47 

Faulkner, familv 15 

Feley, Milton .' 46 

Fenno, Willis \V 50 

F'ielder, Frank 103 

Fitch, John 92 

Foley, D 114 

Frazer, James B 83 

Gamble, Charles W 106 

Gamble, Murray L 7 

Gooding, William S 25 

Gore, Michael E 42 

Gregory, Walter F 116 

Griffin, James 5 

Grimes, Frank H 45 

Hagadorn, Dr. Levi 79 

Hill, Truman A 93 

Hitchcock, Solomon 22 

Holford, Fred D 63 

Hovev, Frank E 69 

Hubbard, Henry E 118 

Hughes, John H 102 

Hunt, Frederick Bancroft 10 

Hunt, William W 72 

Jones, Benjamin E 88 

Jones, Richard M 94 

Keisler, Mrs. Margaret Maloy ... 76 

Kellv, Charles J. '. '. ... 112 

Kersimer Peter W 112 

Killip, William W 37 

Killip, William W. portrait facing, 37 

King, A. J 47 

Kittredge, Rev. Josiah Edwards . . 58 

Knapp, Isaac B 71 

Kramer, Willia-u 107 

Lewis, Joseph D 80 

Light, Emme 82 

Linsley, Martin F 39 

Lockington, James E 102 

Lvude, Charles S 81 

McGee, Frank Paret ii.S 

Markliam, William Guy 95 

Martin, Amasa H lo.S 

Martin, .Amasa H. portrait facing . 105 

Marvin, Hyde D 77 



Maxwell, Williaui J 2^ 

McCurdv, Andrew 119 

McKay ,'h. Ro>> 57 

McLaughlin, Hilward J 83 

McLeotl, William ^^ 

McMalian, William W 36 

McNair, family 3 

McVicar, John M loi 

Meacham, Charles 64 

Menzie, David 32 

Merry, Edgar 78 

Miller, Garret S 09 

Mills, Dr. Charles J 83 

Mills, Myron H 137 

Mills. Myron H., portrait facin;^ . 137 

Morris, Charles F 118 

Morton, James H 57 

Moses, Grant E 67 

Moses, Lewis H 13 

Moses, R. H bb 

Murray, John Rogers 130 

Nash, Enos A 30 

Newton. Aurora D 11 

Nickersou, John O. • 24 

Noonan, Maurice 20 

Northrop, George C 29 

Northrop, George C, portrait facing 29 

Norton, William Henry 19 

O' Conner, Lewis C 108 

Olmstead, Theodore F 88 

Olp, Albert C 115 

Osborne, Edwin B 86 

Peck , Roy .\ 71 

I'ickard, Jay C 9 

I'iffard, David Halsey 17 

I'ilt, William D 77 

Prnpliet, John M 95 

Randolph, Willis J. ...... 31 

Rcdb.iiid, Frank 74 

Robinson, William Y 90 

Rockfellow, S. L 136 

Rogers, A. H 9 

Root, Charles H 64 

Russell, Daniel F 38 

Russell, Thomas 42 

Schanck, Willard I' 98 

Schmitz, Herbert 104 

Seymour, Norman 125 

Seymour, Norman, portrait facing 125 

Sherman, Walter H 28 

Short, S. Truman 44 

Sbultz, Warren D 72 

Steele, Prot . L. N lob 

Steele, Timothy C : . . . . 89 

Stephenson, Thomas V 73 

Stewart, Neil 13 

Stone, Truman Lewis 50 

Stroble, Charles N 40 

Swan, William H 74 

Swartz, Charles H 18 

Tliomson, .Adelliert L s6 

Vanderbelt, John O S6 

Van Valkenburg, Alfreil L 105 

Walker, Foster \V 41 

Ward, tamilv 109 

Warford, L. 'W 40 

Wasson, .Arcliibalil 87 

Weed, William J 33 

Welch, Richard R 24 

West, Lovette V 99 

Wheelock, Austin W 54 

White, John L lOO 

Wliitcman, Mrs. Rebecca E 124 

Whitmore, William 

Wiard, Frederick H 78 

Wilcox, Harvev W 8 

Wiilard, Dr. Charles C S3 

Willis, William N 15 

Wilner, Fred M 35 

Winu;.ite, Charles W 93 

Witt. John C 89 

Woodruff, Edward B 6 

Woodruff Oscar 26 

W'oodworth, family 62 

Wooiever, Charles W 109 

Worden, Charles A 123 


Upper Kall> of Genesee showing 

Portage Bridge iS 

Cnsick's Monster 29 

Middle Falls of Genesee 39 

Fouchot's Map . 57 

Ancient Earth-works in Livonia... 60 
Site ot Fortified Town near Bosley's 

Mills 62 

Diinsville Fortification 63' 

Site of Tnscarora Burial-place 70 

Site ol Big Tree V'illage and Mon- 
tour's (irave 71 

ludim Applf" Tree on Big Tree 

Reservation 72 

Indian Apple Tree on Sqnakie Hill 74 
Red Jacket's Hut and Residence of 

Captain Jones 95 

Mary Jemison Apple Trees in Lei- 
cester 123 

Mary Jemison Monument at Glen 

Iris 128 

Portrait of Thomas Jemison 131 

Log House built l)y Thomas Jemison 132 

Portrait of Kenjockety 135 

Map showing Sullivan's Route and 

Groveland Ambuscade 164 

Sullivan's Route traced on Soldier's 

powder horn 164 

Scene on west shore of Conesus 
Lake, showing Route of Boyd 

Scouting Part}- 166 

Tradition has made this Oak near 
the Boyd and Parker mound 
one of the instruments of Boyd's 

torture 172 

Burial Mound of Boyd and Parker, 
showing where the creek has 

cut it away 175 

Boyd and Parker Mound, looking 

from the west 177 

Map of Phelps and Gorham Pur- 
chase 179 

Augustus Porter Survey of Phelps 

and Gorham Purchase — 1792. . . . 185 

Portrait of Robert Morris 186 

Map of Holland Land Company's 

Preliniina-y Survey, 1797 189 

Cobblestone House — Site of Wads- 
worth dwelling occupied by 
Commissioners and others at 

Big Tree Treat}' 197 

The Pole marks probable site of the 
Council House at Big Tree 

Treaty 198 

Sketch from part of Josepii Elli- 

cott's map of 1800 220 

Portrait of Gouverneur Morris 222 

Portrait of Jeremiah Wadsworth 227 

Map of Williamsburgh 246 

Portrait of Major General Wads- 
worth ... 284 

Cobldestone District School House, 

Geneseo 316 

Old Livingston Countv Court House, 

Clerk's Office and Jail 318 

Programme of Canal Celebration at 

Nunda 324 

Announcement of Celebration of 

Completion of Canal 327 

Genesee Valley Canal Time Talile. . 328 
Livingston County High School... 330 

Genesee Lauds for Sale 334 

Portrait of Judge Charles H. Carroll 339 
Scalping Knife, A.xe anil Bullet 
Moulds dug up at Scene of 

Groveland .-imbuscade 370 

Monument to Sullivan's Men killed 

in Groveland Ambuscade 382 

Graves of Sullivan's Men at Mt. 

Hope Cemetery, Rociiester. . . 387 
Williamsburgh Cemeter} — Monu- 
ments of James G. Birney and 

Judge Carroll 395 

Portrait of Governor John Young.. 398 
Portrait of Brig. Gen'l James S. 

Wadsworth 428 

Camp I'nion Geneseo 429 

Picture of old Portage Bridge, from 

Compton's litographic print 511 

Picture of old Portage Bridge, from 

photograph by a London artist.. 514 
Log Cabin and Group of Members 
of Hist'l Soci'y in attendance 
at deilication ceremonies 516 



Livingston County Jail ami Sher- 
iff';; Residence 527 

Henry Clay 529 

Livingston County Court House.... 533 

Old County News papers 539 

OKI County News papers 540 

Old Caneadea Council House at 

(ilen Iris 556 

Group of Notables at Last Council 

of the Genesee 562 

I'ortrait of William Pryor Letch- 
worth 575 

Indian Mound unearthed at Stjua- 

kie Hill 590 

Pipe and Beads touml in Indian 

Mound at Squakie Hill 592 

Portrait of Lockvvoocl R. Dotv 596 

The M . F. H '. 602 

A Meet at .\shantee 604 

A Meet in the Karly Days of the 

Hunt Clul) '. 606 

The M. F. H. at the Hotuestead 

with the Pack 608 

Major \V. A. Wadsworth, M. F. H., 

and Hounds 610 

Finding the Scent 610 

First U. P. Church, Caledonia 658 

Moscow .'Xcadeniv 739 

Old Mill Wheel'at outlet of Cone- 

sus Lake, Lakeville 779 

Memorial Monument to Dr. M. H. 

Mills 793 

Portrait of William A. Mills 

Old View of Mt. Morris V'illage, 
Western part 

Portrait of Nathaniel Rochester. . . . 

Portrait of Moses VanCanipen 

Main Street, East Side, Dansville, 

Packet Boat Time Table 

Scene on Canal at Comminsville . . . 

Dansville High School 

Original Water Cure at Dansville... 

Portrait of Dr. James Caleb Jackson 

Jackson Health Resort — Main 
Building. . 

Dr. James H. Jackson and Jackson 
Health Resort 

Owen Publishing Co. Plant 

St. Patrick's Church, Dansville.... 

First German Lutheran Cburc'j, 

Methodist Church, Dansville 

St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Dans- 

Baptist Church, Dansville 

Bridge between Geneseo and York.. 

William Dotv's Inn 

Hotel at Willianisburgh 

Old Picture of (^eneseo Village — 
Looking north on Maiti Street, 
Court House in distance; Wads- 
worth homestead in foreground 

Portrait of L. L. Dotv 













IDWAY between lake Ontario and the Pennsylvania border, 
and centrally between Seneca lake and the Niagara river, in 
the heart of the fertile region known as the Genesee country, 
lies the beautiful agricultural County of Livingston. 

Watered by the chief river of Western New York, whose broad 
deep basin forms the widely famed valley that bears the river's 
name, and furrowed by a tributary whose extent is mainly within the 
county, its surface — also indented by two picturesque lakes — -presents a 
topography of diversified outline; the bold acclivities of the river high- 
lands rising with grand effect in the southwestern border, and offering 
fine contrast to the less striking rural scenery. 

The boundaries of the county, defined by statute more than by nat- 
ural limits, are, nevertheless, marked in their general contour, e.xcept 
at the north, by an elliptical rim, consisting of continuous ridges of 
hills, which, converging at the south, form a noble amphitheatre, in 
whose bosom nestles the most populous, though in geographical e.vtent 
the smallest township of the shire; while from fruitful valleys, watered 
by a hundred rivulets that seam its sides, the central township rises 
like a vast mound to the height of full three hundred feet. "^ While the 
configurations are quite varied, every part of the territory is, with rare 
exceptions, adapted to tillage; and not only are the leading physical 
features attractive to the eye, but the organic remains, and peculiar 
geological formation of the section, open to the student of nature's 
works a field of no ordinary interest. 

The Genesee river, which cuts the county into unequal parts, breaks 
through the mountain-like barrier at the southwest, and, flowing with 
its deep channel, for ten miles or more along the western border, at 
length enters Livingston county, foaming over a succession of catar- 
acts. Sweeping northward between high and precipitous banks, for a 
dozen miles, amid scenery of great variety, its waters abruptly leave 
the narrow chasm worn by centuries of attrition, to glide through this 

I. The town of Groveland. Dausville lies within the amphitheatre of hills. 


"Pleasant Valley," as, long ago, the red man named it. Embowered 
in grpves, or studded with stately elms and oaks, that grow upon its 
grassy margins, the river loiters for mile on mile, drifting from side to 
side of the rich and smiling landscape, whose broad expanse of grain- 
field and meadow, dotted with country homes, spreads like a vast park 
over the wide alluvial flat or plain known as the Genesee Valley, until 
reaching the northwesterly border, its channel crosses into Monroe 
county. In pioneer days this was the market highway for products of 
the lumber forest and the farm; but now that the woods which lined 
its terraced slopes for leagues on either side are cut down, a thousand 
little streams that fed it from the wilderness have disappeared ; and 
to-day the "river runs with narrnwed hounds," and with few or pre- 
carious facilities for internal commerce, even if the railway did 
not afford more speedy and certain modes of transit. 

Canaseraga creek, the river's principal branch, and in former times, 
•doubtless, its continuation from the point of confluence, is a sluggish, 
sinuous stream, having its source in Steuben county. Flowing in at 
the southwesterly quarter, it trends northwardly through a flat several 
hundred yards in width, its turbid waters entering the river near the 
center of the county. The summits of the two ranges of hills nearly 
uniform in height, that mark its course, stretch miles away from each 
other, and, with the river valley, form a Y shaped indentation; the 
creek giving the right arm, and the river the stem and left arm. 

Conesus lake is situated in the interior of the county; and Hemlock 
•lake lies partly within and along its eastern border. The dark waters 
and precipitous shores of the latter, in whose solitary nooks more than 
one hermit is said to have found a retreat in early days, give it much 
of the character of the lakes of Scotland; while the less marked eleva- 
tions that hem in the waters of the Conesus, fringed as they are and 
•diversified with cultivated farms, constitute it one of the most 
agreeable of rural pictures. Romance, loo, has lent her charms to the 
shores and waters of this lake;i and near its head, in Revolutionary 
times, encamped the colonial army under Sullivan; while within rifle 
shot of its banks was enacted the bloody episode of that enterprise, the 
fatal ambuscade laid by the Senecas for Boyd's scouting partv. 

1. Its story of love aud war has been woven into ]>oetic numbers by Hosnier, who has fixed the 
scene of a portion of his yoitnondio on the western slujre of the Couesns, in ver^e as a])plicat>te to 
its native tlienic as that of .Sir Waller Scott, in " Marniion," or tlie " Lady of tiie Lake." 

The Upper Falls at Portage, from Mr. Letchworth's grounds. 


In extent of territory the county does not rank among the larger 
ones of the state, but stands scarcely second to any in productive 
wealth; its wheat crop — unsurpassed in quality — once constituting a 
fifth of all that grown in the commonwealth. And if its annals do not 
cover so broad a page as older counties may boast, they yet embrace 
no little belonging to history, while its Indian traditions, especially, 
add value to our country's aboriginal lore. 

To certain localities, though by far too few, we shall find yet 
clinging the Indian names, often disguised, but not wholly lost, thus 
fixing the sites of ancient aboriginal villages. For it must be recol- 
lected that during many ages this region, in the expressive language of 
the natives, formed the Upper or Western door of the typical Long 
House or Federation of the Five Nations of Indians, and, for genera- 
tions unnumbered, comprised the favorite hunting grounds of the 
principal villages of the Senecas, the most powerful and warlike of the 
tribes forming the great Iroquois League. At just what period the 
solitude of the noble forest, which had covered this territory from the 
beginning of time, was invaded by these children of nature, cannot now 
be determined; but, the region once known, its rare natural advantages 
were fitted to attract and retain a people whose strength could preserve 
to them its permanent occupancy. Indeed, their traditions, often 
more extravagant than an oriental tale, declare that the Senecas estab- 
lished their homes here at a date more remote than our own Christian 
era. What people preceded them is a question left wholly to conjec- 
ture, since all authentic history of this region must begin with the 
arrival of the Dutch in New York, early in the seventeenth century. 
Prior to the settlement of Manhattan island, nothing was definitely 
known by Europeans of the Senecas as a separate nation; and not until 
the period of the Jesuit mfssions among this aboriginal family, two 
hundred and fifty years ago, was there any precise information gath- 
ered relative to their position in the League. 

Though reliable annals extend over two centuries and a half, it is 
with a period beginning near the close of the eighteenth century that 
this work will mainly deal. Step by step, after the Revolution, as 
settlements increased, will the fortunes of the pioneers and their 
descendants be followed. Nor can the history be complete without a 
brief portrayal of their customs and merry makings, as well as the 
hardships and enterprises of that early day, with some account of their 


journeyings hitherward, along unbeaten roads, over extemporized 
bridges, and through shifting fords, while yet a great wilderness lay 
between their new homes and the eastern settlements. The habits of 
every day life will be introduced, and something of political reminis- 
cences, of militia musters and general trainings, not omitting reference 
to educational, and to moral and religious mo\ements of early da\s. 
It is not the province of the simple chronicler to enter the domain of 
sentiment, or invoke the imagery with which fancy vivifies the PasJ ; 
and yet a glimpse of matters of ordinary experience, even but a life's 
span ago, reveals something of the golden haze of perspective, investing 
them with more than every day interest. It is the change, measured 
by the march of steam and electricity, that already softens the last 
generation but one into comparative remoteness, awakening tender 
associations in our minds at the mention of the old fashioned fire place, 
heaped with glowing logs, that cheered long winter evenings with its 
warmth and welcome. Deep rooted were the friendships formed about 
its ample hearth-stone, and they grew dearer with each passing year to 
the coimty's wandering children. The log house has disappeared, but 
how often come back the happy memories of its homely comfort, and 
what household traditions cluster around it that must be quite unknown 
to more modern and far richer mansions. Every season of the old 
time counted its joys. How we cherish the recollection of rainy days 
spent in the pine scented family garret, among smoke brown letters 
and forgotten newspapers, and manifoUi odds and ends, in broken chest 
and homespun tow bag. The great masters of harmony never arranged 
music so grateful as the sound of autumn rain pattering upon the low 
browed cottage roof, lulling the senses to sleep with its monot(mous 
melody. And the glory of the already ancient stage coach, so impos- 
ing in its entry, as driver and four-in-hand, in full career, dashed up 
to the tavern door, is gone with the last echo of the shrill post horn. 
The spinning wheel forgets its hum, and the flail has disappeared with 
the log barn and straw thatched shed. Many are the changes of a 
single life time; but if we miss the picturesque, we find the loss 
replaced by gain, in broader privileges and wider opportunities. 

A step beyond the actual, and we enter the domain of popular cred- 
ulity. A century ago the notions of our forefathers, in common with 
their generation, were tinged with that superstition which credits the 
existence of a race of supernatural beings peopling the recesses of for- 


ests; of witches who haunted those persons whom their capricious 
natures led them to annoy; or who, gipsy like, told fortunes, made and 
dissolved matches, interfered with household affairs, and discovered 
stolen property. Omens, too, were observed, dreams were not 
unheeded, and many a farmer plowed, planted and gathered, according 
to the aspects of the moon, while few domestic animals were held as 
free from direct planetary influences. 

A view of the Genesee country, prior to its occupancy by the whites, 
will be found interesting. Little enough is, indeed, known, and even 
that little, derived mainly from tradition, is obscured by the uncer- 
tainties that characterize Indian legends, especially in dates; but wholly 
to reject the account would be to drive an inquirer to mere specula- 
tion, whose conclusions must, at least, be equally wide of truth. 
Sketches of the more noted warriors, sachems and wise men who have 
resided here, and an outline of their relentless feuds, with some refer- 
ence to the statecraft and sagacity of the Indians, will be presented. 
The aboriginal natives, in their myths, peopled many parts of the vast 
wilderness stretching westw^ard far beyond the Mississippi, and east- 
ward to the ocean, with strange monsters, and their stories of this 
region are replete with accounts of winged heads, the feats of prodi- 
gious serpents, and the calamitous visits of giants, unearthly in size 
and formidable in power, who came eastward from the regions of the 
setting sun. 

Our account will not be wanting in the interest that attaches to 
aboriginal antiquities; for the remains of several ancient mounds of 
undoubted military origin, links in that chain of ancient defensive 
works which extended from the shores of Lake Erie to the lakes of 
central New York, have been found here. Natural history, too, has 
been illustrated by the discovery, in two or three places within the 
county, of the remains of that huge fossil animal known as the 

We shall note how the French, in Canada, obtaining their earliest 
knowledge of this section from the Jesuit missionaries, endeavored to 
get possession of it; and how^ a formidable expedition, under the Mar- 
quis De Nonville, dispatched hither with the design of conquest, mis- 
carried, as did all similar efforts of the French. The Jesuit mission- 
aries, first among Europeans to seek these wilds, established missions 
in the neighborhood of the Genesee river, nurturing them in that spirit 


of self sacrifice peculiar to their order, with the hope of plantinj^ here 
the standard of their faith, and enlarging the jurisdiction of the Rom- 
ish See. But these efforts proved abortive, tor here, as elsewhere in 
the New World, their creed found no permanent lodgment. From the 
letters of these religionists to the general of their order in Rome, we 
catch definite views, during the period embraced between the years 
1636 and 1637, of the homes of the Senecas. Thenceforward, nearly a 
hundred years, this region affords little to arrest the historian; but 
afterwards something like a connected account will be possible. 

The expedition of General Sullivan to the country of the Senecas, in 
the fifth year of the Revolutionary war, was charged by Washington 
with the destruction of the Indian villages on the Genesee, as a penalty 
for a long series of bloody wrongs perpetrated by the savages upon the 
whites. As a measure of future security to the settlements, it fully 
accomplished its object; this attained, red men and white alike briefly 
quit the region; the fcrmer, save as a broken remnant, never to return. 

Reference will be made to the part taken by our citizens in the war 
of 1812; and to the reasons which, a few years later, controlled them 
in asking for the erection of the county ; an event that occurred at a 
period of great derangement in the public finances, when communities 
were suffering from the effects of the unwise monetary policy of our 
second war with Great Britain. 

Several of Sullivan's officers and soldiers, allured by the natural ad- 
vantages of this region, led hither, soon after the Revolution, a tide of 
immigration to occupy the district then so recently wrested from the 
conquered tribes. The settlement grew with unexampled rapidity. 
The forests disappeared as though devoured, giving place to cultivated 
fields and incipient villages, and before the nineteenth century opened, 
the smoke of the pioneers' cabins might be seen drifting over widely 
separated valleys and hillsides. In order to show whence the early 
settlers mainly came, the origin of families will be tractd, where prac- 
ticable, and the fact will everywhere appear that, to a marked degree, our 
pioneers were actors in the war for independence, and were mingled with 
families of refinement and culture from the south and east, who early 
stereotyped the features of society here, and lent elevation to the aims 
of enterprise. Wholesome influences, thus early iiu|)arted, still operate 
with augmenting force. The people of this county have always been 
zealous patrons of education, foremost among the friends of i>olitical and 

Lower Falls of the Genesee at Portage, from Mr, Letchworth's groun is. 


intellectual advancement, and staunch supporters of the moral and 
religious movements of the century, and of their patriotism, that rich 
fruit of all virtues, the record of the great rebellion affords a thousand 

Biographical sketches also claim their place in this work; since 
actors in historic events, and men who have enjoyed the highest honors 
of the state and nation, as well as those of less note who impressed their 
individuality upf;n the times, have lived here, or, dying, have left their 
mortal frames to rest in oiir green and quiet churchyards. 



THE SENECA nation of Indians were found occupying the 
region between the Genesee river and Cayuga lake, when it 
first became known to the whites. * At what period their 
abode became fixed here is a question not easily solved, since it is to 
incidental facts and traditions we are to look for light u])i)n this sub- 
ject, and these afford but uncertain data. 

The country betw'een the Genesee and tlie Niagara rivers, when 
first visited by Europeans, was nominally held by the Kah-kwas, or 
Neutral Nation of Indians, though their villages were situated mainly 
along the latter river and extended nearly to the eastern shores of 
lake Huron; their hunting grounds, however, included, as they 
claimed, the broad belt of debatable land that lay along the Genesee. 
In this doubtful frontier inroads were frequently made by the Senecas, 
and conflicts between those two hostile tribes often took place. Soon 
after our knowledge of them begins, the Kah-kwas, as we shall see, 
were conquered by the Senecas, and were either driven southward or 

At the opening of the Revolutionary war, a small band of < )neidas 
and also a band of Tuscaroras, adhering to the British cause, — though 
.these two tribes mainly espoused the Colonial side, — left their eastern 
villages and removed to the Genesee, where each established a town; 
and a few of the Kah-kwas, descendants of those who had been adopted 
into the Seneca nation when their tribal organization was broken up, 
were found residing with the latter by the pioneers. 

Of the races that preceded the Senecas and Kah-kwas we have little 
information, and even that little is derived mainly from k)cal antiqui- 
ties. This evidence, fragmentary at best, shows that in the far off 
past nations unlike the red aborigines have arisen, flourished here, and 

I The Dutch arrived at New York in 1609, aud soon acqtiired some kiiowledjje of theW'esteru 
Indians, anioug others of tlie Xun-do-waho-tio, to whom tliey gave the name of Senecas: but so 
unsettled wa.s the orthography of the latter word, that the Colonial docnmcnts of our State give 
it in no less than 63 differeut ways. 


disappeared. The story is one of missing links and replete with 
mystery. Morgan says that the remains of Indian art here met with 
are of two kinds, and ascribable to widely different periods. The 
former belong to the ante-Columbian, or era of Mound Builders, w^hose 
defensive works, mounds c)r sacred enclosures are scattered so profusely 
throughout the west; the latter include the remains of fugitive races 
who, after the extermination of the Mound Builders, displaced each 
other in quick succession, until the period of the Iroquois commenced. ' 

The Senecas, first known to the whites as a part of the Five Nations, 
have a history of their own, independent of their connection with their 
associate nations, and, consequently, earlier than the Leagne of the 
Iroquois. This fact is found in certain special features of their system 
of consanguinity and affinity, wherein they differ from the ^lohawks, 
Onondagas, Oneidas and Cayugas, and in which they agree with the 
Tuscaroras and Wyandots, or ancient Ilurons, tending to show that 
they and the two latter formed one people later in time than the 
separation of the nations from the common stem.- It is most likely, 
however, that the Senecas were then north of the chain of lakes. 

The Iroquois called themselves Ho-de-no-sau-nee, or People of the 
Long House. Their League, formed about the year 1450, ^ embraced 
at first the Mohawks, Oneidas, ( )iiondagas, Cayugas and Senecas. 
Afterwards the Tuscaroras were admitted into the federation, con- 
stituting the sixth nation.-* Their territory then extended from the 
Hudson to the Genesee river. 

1. It -nas the opiuiou of Governor DeWitt Clintou, that previous to the oecupatiou of this 
region by the progenitors of the Iroqnois, it was inhabited by a race of men much more populous 
and much further advanced in civilization than they. Marshall, however, whose judgment is en- 
titled to great weight, is not satisfied with the evidence so far produced of the existence in this 
vicinity of a race preceding the Indian. He thinks the ancient fortifications, tumuli and artifi- 
cial structures that abound in Western New York, can all be referred to a more modern race than 
the Mound-Builders. 

2. The Seneca child belongs to the mother's tribe, not to the father's. If the mother is of the 
clan of the Heron, her children also are Herons, and they call not only their female parent, 
mother, but likewise call her sisters mother, either "great" or "little" mother, as the sisters 
chance to be older or younger than the real mother. 

3. The Five Nations were called MaQiias by the Dutch; Iroqnois by the French; Mingis and Con- 
federates by the English. They were sometimes called Afianuscltioni, or People of the Long Cabin. 

4. Of these, the Mohawks, Onoudagas and Senecas are called Fathers: the Cayugas and Oneidas 
are called Sons, and in great councils are always thus respectively addressed. 


Their legends say that the League was advised by Hiawatiia, the 
tutelar patron of the Iroquois, on the occasion of a threatened invasion 
of their country by a ferocious band ot warriors from north of the 
great lakes. Ruin seemed inevitable, and in their extremity they 
appealed to Hiawatha. He urged the people to waste their efforts no 
longer in a desultory war, but to call a general council of the tribes. 
The meeting accordingly took place on the northern bank of Onondaga 
lake. Here, referring to the pressing danger, Hiawatha said: "To 
oppose these northern hordes singly by tribes, often at variance with 
each other, is idle; but by uniting in a band of brotherhood, we may 
hope to succeed." Appealing to the tribes in turn, he said lo the 
Senecas: "You, who live in the open country and possess much wisdom 
shall be the fifth nation, because you best understand the art of raising 
corn and beans and making cabins." Then addressing all, he con- 
cluded: "Unite the five nations in a common interest, and no foe 
shall disturb or subdue us; the Great Spirit will then smile upon us, 
and we shall be free, prosperous and happy. But if we remain as now, 
we shall be subject to his frown; we shall be enslaved, perhaps annihi- 
lated, our warriors will perish in the war storm, and our names be for- 
gotten in the dance and song." His advice prevailed, and the plan of 
union was adopted. His great mission on earth accomplished, Hiawa- 
tha went down to the water, seated himself in his mystic canoe, and, 
to the cadence of music from an tuTseen source, was wafted to the 
skies. ' 

The Irocjuoisowe their origin as a separate people, if not indeed their 
martial glory, to the encroachments of a neighboring nation more 
powerful than they. Originally inclined to tillage more than to arms, 
they resided upon the northern bank of the St. Lawrence, in the 
vicinity of ^lontreal. Here, as one nation, they lived in subjection to 
the Adirondacks. But provoked by some infringement of rights, their 
latent spirit was aroused, and they struck for independent possession 
of the country. Failing in this, they were forced to quit Canada, and 

1. l,ougfeUow lays the scene of his beautiful Indian Kdda, Tlie Song of Hiawatha, among the 
Ojibways, on the southern shore of Lake Superior, in the region between the Pictured Rocks and 
the CJrand Sable. In this poem the great hard has preserved the traditions prevalent among llie 
North .'American Indians respecting this "child of wonder." 

Street, in his noble epic of Frotitrtiac, has preserved, especially in the notes, no little of inter- 
est connected with Hiawatha, whom he makes a mute commuuicatiug with the tribes by signs 
through a fellow-spirit. 


finally found Iheir way into central and western New York, where, on 
the banks of its fair lakes and rivers, they at length laid the founda- 
tions of a power compared with which tiiat of every other Indian 
nation falls far short. 

It is said that the Iroquois had planned a mighty confederacy, and 
it is argued with reason, that had the arrival of the Europeans been 
delayed a century, the League would have absorbed all the tribes 
between the St. Lawrence and the Gulf of ilexico; indeed, the whole 
continent would have been at their mercy. 

In principle the League was not unlike the plan of our own federal 
government. It guaranteed the independence of each tribe, while 
recognizing the due powers of the Confederation; at the same time 
personal rights were held in especial esteem. The aboriginal congress 
consisted of fifty sachems, of whom the Senecas had eight. This body 
usually met at the council house of the Onondagas, the central nation, 
where all questions affecting the confederacy were deliberated upon 
and decided. The business of this rude parliament was conducted with 
becoming dignity. The reason and judgment of these grave sachems, 
rather than their passions, were appealed to; and it is said to have 
been a breach of decorum for a sachem in the great council to reply to 
a speech on the day of its delivery. Unanimity was a requisite; 
indeed, no question could be decided without the concurrence of every 
member. The authority of these wise men consisted in the nation's 
good opinion of their courage, wisdom and integrity. They served 
without badge of office, and without pay, finding their reward alone in 
the veneration of their people, whose interests they unceasingly 
watched. Indeed, public opinion nowhere exercised a more powerful 
influence than among the Iroquois, whose ablest men shared with the 
humblest in the common dread of the people's frown. 

Subordinate to the sachems was an order of chiefs famous for cour- 
age and eloquence, among whom may be named Red Jacket, ^ Corn- 
planter and Big Kettle, whose reasoning moved the councils, or whose 
burnini; words hurried the braves on to the war path. No trait of the 
Iroquois is more to be commended than the regard they paid to woman. 
The sex were often represented in councils by orators known as squaws' 
men. Red Jacket himself won no little reputation in that capacity. 

I. See appendix No. i for a statement of Red Jacket's status in the tribe and au account by 
General Parker of political and social relations in the tribes or clans making up the League. 


The Indian women could thus oppose a war, or aid in bringing about 
peace. In the sale of the soil they claimed a special right to interfere, 
for, they urged, "the land belongs to the warriors who defend, and to 
the women who till it." The Iroquois squaw I^ored in the field, but 
so did females, even the daughters of princes, in the primitive ages. 
Rebekah, the mother of Israel, first appears in biblical history as a 
drawer of water; and the sweet and pious Ruth won the l<n-e of the 
rich and powerful Boaz, as a gleaner of the harvest. 

Though broken in power in our Revolutionary war, the Iroquois 
confederacy remained a distinct people long after the eastern and 
southern tribes had lost their standing; yet the excellence of their 
system has served only to delay their complete subversion to the 
whites, and their gradual extinction as a separate people. From sixteen 
thousand souls, they are now reduced to a fourth of that number and 
yet, with a persistency that must gain them at least poetic honors, 
they still preserve their several national divisions and keep intact their 
tribal clans or organizations. ' The end is sure, however, and, sooner 
or later, that marvel of pagan wisdom, the Confederacy of the Five 
Nations, must, even in name, disappear from living institutions. ^ 

Our scanty information about the early occupants of this region, 
forces us to complete the page of aboriginal story from traditions. 
We turn, therefore, to the narrative of the Indian Cusick, and to 
similar sources. •'' In an account thus derived, dates musfbe wholly 
wanting in accuracy. As an instance, Cusick says the final troubles 
between the Senecas and the Eries took place about the time of the 
arrival of Columbus, when in truth they did not occur until a hundred 
and sixty years later. 

We pass over .Cusick's account of the origin of the Great Island 
which we call North America, the fabulous rise of the Indian Con- 
federacy, six centuries before the Christian era, as he says, and other 
portions of the curious recital, and lomc down to the period of the 

1. These clans are, the li'olf. Rear, Beavt-t , Turilt', Vi'fj , Sm'pt-, //t-ion aud /itnck — eight iu all. 
Au Itidian and sqnawof the same clau might not niarrj*. as iu theory they were brother and sister, 
but must seek mates from another clan, though not necessarily of another tribe, than their own. 
Each clau jjossessed its /<'/^'w/ or symbol, which is a rude picture of a hawk, turtle or other ap- 
propriate emblem. 

2. See appendix No. 2 for au account of present conditions among the Senecas. 

3. The narrative, to which we are indebted for data here, is by David Cusick, a Tuscarora Indian, 
whose ancestors came from North Carolina and settled near l.ewistown, N. V. See .Schooler, 
Arch, of .\b<>r. Kuowl.. Vol. V 



allotment of homes to the tribes. The Senecas were directed to settle 
on a knoll south of Caiiandaigua lake, near the present village of 
Naples. Indeed, some traditions hold that they sprang from this knoll, 
hence their name, Nun'-do-wah'-o, which, in their tongue, signifies the 
Great Hill People. 

An agent of the Superior Power was sent to instruct them in the 
duties of life; seeds were given, with directions for their use, and dogs 
to aid in taking game. Villages sprang up and prosperity abounded, 
but the Divine agent having returned to the heavens, monsters of 
singular forms invaded the country from time to time, and devoured 
many persons. 

The monsters of the Indian were no borrowed prodigies, but the 
creation of his own untutored imagination, or natural beings invested 
by his fancy with supernatural attributes. The Flying Head, a strange 
creature which, their legends say, invaded the homes of the Iroquois 
after night fall, to devour the inmates, until the villagers were com- 
pelled to build huts so fashioned as to exclude it, has no prototype. 
This bodiless hobgoblin, whose features were those of a man with head, 
mane and two hairy legs like the lion's, appears to have had a dread 
of fire, for its disappearance is ascribed to that cause. An old woman, 
parching acorns in her lodge one night, was visited by a Flying Head.'- 
But, on observing the burning fruit which the squaw appeared to be 
eating, the Head sunk into the earth, and with it vanished a legion of 
its fellows, to the great relief of the Indians, who held them in deadly 

A great lake serpent traversed the trails from Genesee river to Can- 
andaigua lake, stopping intercourse, and compelling the villages to 
fortify against it. Later came Stonish Giants, a cannibal race from 
beyond the Mississippi, who derived their name from the practice of 
rolling in the earth until their bodies became encrusted witli sand and 
gravel, which rendered them impenetrable to arrows. Warriors 
gathered to drive them away, but they overran the country of the 

I. The engraviug presents Cusick's notion of the 
monster. The drawing is from a copy of the rare 
pamphlet edition of Cnsick's Narrative. The Indian 
name of the (lying head was Ko-neau-ran-neh-ueh. 


Senecas and others, anil destroyed the people ot several towns. The 
Holder of the Heavens now returned. By a stratafijem he induced the 
sciants to enter a deep hollow, and, as they there lay sleeping, he 
hurled down upon iht-m a mass of rocks, which crushed to death all 
save one, who sought asylum in the regions of the north. A snake of 
great size, having a human head, soon after appeared in the principal 
pathway leading eastward frum the sulphur springs at Avon. This 
too, was destroyed bv a band of braves, selected for their [irowess, 
after a conflict, in which was exhibited, if we credit tradition, some- 
thing mnre than umrtal valor. 

A thousand years before the arrival of Columbus, tlie Senecas were 
at war with ihe Kah-kwas. Battle succeeded battle, and the Senecas 
were at length repulsed with severe loss. Tidings of their disaster 
soon reached the great Atotarho, ' a war chief highly venerated by the 
League, whose seat was at Onondaga, and he sent an army to their 
relief. Thus strengthened, they assumed the offensive and drove the 
enemy into their forts, which, at the end of a long siege, were sur- 
rendered and the principal chief put to death. The remnant of the 
tribe became incorporated with that uf the conquerors. The latter 
now established their dominion in the country of the Kah-kwas, and 
for a time, in that remote age, the Senecas held the southern shores 
of lake ()ntario westward to Oak Orchard creek. 

Grave discords ap[)ear to have occurred in the League about this 
period, incited by Atotarho, whose power is symbolized by a body 
covered with black snakes, and whose dishes . and spoons were the 
skulls of enemies. His claim to a first rank among native dignitaries, 
was in the end admitted by the several nations, and the title bwrne by 
him still remains hereditary in the Onondagas. 

Two centuries later, a certain youth living near the original seat of 
the Seneca council fire, while in the bushes one day, caught a two 
headed snake, which he carried to his mother's hut. It was quite 
small, very beautiful, and appeared to be harmless. He fed it on 
bird's flesh, but its growth was so rapid that the hunters had soon to 
unite in supplying its ever increasing appetite. Their supplies, how- 
ever, were not enough to satis^- its voracious cravings, and it took 
to roaming through the forest and down into the lake in quest of food. 
At length it went to the hill top and there became insjiired with ill 

1. Or, more correctU-, perh:ips, To-do-da-ho. 


will toward its early friend, now a warrior. In dismay the young man 
removed to a distant village, and thus escaped the fate that was soon 
to befall his tribesmen. Game grew scarce before the serpent, and 
not only dreading evil from its wicked disposition, but fearing lest it's 
enormous appetite wtjuld reduce the tribe to starvation, the wise men 
resolved, in council, to put the monster to death. The hour of daylight 
one morning was fixed upon for the work. Rut just as day was break- 
ing, so runs the legend, the serpent descended with a great noise to 
the fort wherein the villagers took refuge at night, for securitv from 
a race of giants with whom they were at war. ^ So great had become 
the monster's size, that, after encircling the fortification, its head and 
tail are said to have met at the gate-way, and its huge jaws lay 
disterjded at the very entrance, thus cutting oft' all exit. The inmates 
were paralyzed with fear and did nothing for several days. Finally, 
driven by hunger, and sickened by the fetid odor exhaled from the 
serpent's body, they made efforts to climb over it, but all, save a 
young warrior and his sister, were devtjured in the attempt.'^ The 
young warrior, following the directions given in a dream, succeeded in 
piercing the seri)ent's vitals at a particular spot in the huge body, with 

1. The giauts were called Jo-g^ah-uh. Credit is due to some exteut to John M. Bradford's 
versiou of this tradition. 

2. Hosmer, following Horatio Jones's version of the legend, says the pair whose live*; were 
saved, were lovers : 

"remained at last 

Two lovers only of that mighty throng 

To chant with feeble voice a nation's funeral song. 

* * * 

Ou-wee-ne-you cried. 

Dropping a golden shaft- -and pierce the foe 
Under the rounded scales that wall his side I 

* * * 

Flame-hned aud hissing played its nimble tongue 
Between thick, ghastly rows of pointed bone. 

» * * 

A twanging sound !— aud on its errand sped 
The messenger of vengeance. 

* * * 

Down the steep hill, outstretched aud dead, he rolled 
Disgorging human heads in his descent : 

* * * 

And far the beach with spots of foam besprent. 

When the huge carcass disappeared for aye 

lu depths from whence it rose to curse the beams of day.'' 



a golden arrow delivered to him in a cloud. In its death throes the 
monster plunged down the acclivity, uprooting trees by its weight, and 
disappeared beneath the waters of the lake, its course thitherward 
being marked by a trail cif human heads disgorged at each bound, and, 
for generations afterwards, Indians say, the beach about the spot was 
whitened with skeletons of its victims. The Seneca council tire was 
now removed to a spot near Geneva, and afterwards to a mountain 
ridge west of the Genesee, not unlikely to Squakie Hill, as thought by 

Four centuries before the advent of Columbus, the Hurons began 
hostilities against the Five Nations. From these, as from all other 
contests with western tribes, the Senecas mainly suffered. In one 
most sanguinary conflict the enemy were repulsed, but at a great 
sacrifice of lives to the Senecas, and runners were hurried out along 
the Genesee for reinforcements. A brief delay followed, when the 
fighting was resumed, the enemy being now routed and driven from 
the field. Though successful in the end, this war forms a bloody 
epoch in the traditions of the Senecas. 

Notwithstanding their ill fortune, the Kah-kwas appear to have 
regained power; for, fifty years later, they once more held the country 
between the Genesee and the Niagara rivers, and were governed by 
a female chief named Ya'-go-wa'-ne-a, whose seat of power was at 
Kienuka, a town situated on a slope of the mountain ridge near the 
present site of Lewiston. In her keeping was the symbolic house of 
peace. She received chiefs of other tribes, formed treaties and 
made alliances. The fiercest strife was hushed in her presence, and 
warriors whose nations were at feud were bound to stay their quarrel 
while under her roof. Tradition concedes to her much wisdom, and 
relates how she long enjoyed peculiar influence, which, however, in a 
moment of passion, she forfeited. Two Senecas had been received 
at her castle, and while there smoking the pipe of peace were, in a 
flagrant contempt of comity, permitted to be murdered for an alleged 
outrage upon a subject of hers in a distant village. The rash act was 
followed by instant orders to her warriors to cross the Genesee and 
fall at once upon the Seneca villages, overpowering, if possible, the 
new made enemy before they became fully aware of her perfidy. 

While these measures were being hastened, a woman of the Kah- 
kwas, friendly to the Senecas, secretly made her way with the infor- 


mation to the war chief of the latter nation at Canandaigua, who 
received it with great surprise. As no time was left him for procuring 
aid from the outlying bands of his own tribe, much less from allies, 
he drew fifteen hundred warriors from the nearest towns, placed them 
in two divisions under different chiefs, and set out to meet the Kah- 
kwas. Halting near the fort at Kan-agh-saws^ (Conesus), the women, 
children and old men, who had followed with supplies, were allowed 
to come up, and remained here for safety. 

The enemy had already crossed the river in large numbers, as 
runners, momently arriving, reported. The two divisions of the 
vSenecas were accordingly moved forward and placed in ambush on 
either side of the pathway, while one of their number, disguised as a 
bear, was sent along the trail as a decoy. This the Kah-kwas soon 
met, but, suspecting nothing, chased the false bear into the midst of 
the hidden braves. Like a whirlwind the Senecas now fell upon 
them, their terrific yells, the din of war clubs and clash of s[)ears 
adding to the confusion. A wild scene ensued. The disorder of the 
Kah-kwas was temporary, however, and the conflict quickly became 
one of varying fortunes, but the enemy's weight of numbers pushed 
the first division back upon the second, w'hen the Senecas, inspired 
by the impending danger, were seized with a war frenzy, and at 
length drove the enemy from the field. The latter fled across the 
Genesee, leaving six hundred of their dead behind. The Seneca chief, 
declining to pursue, returned with his fori_es to Canandaigua, where 
he celebrated the victory with savage parade. Tradition fixes the 
place of this battle in the vicinity of Geneseo, and Schoolcraft, 
satisfied of the correctness of the location, calls it the Great Battle of 
Geneseo. ^ 

Before setting out- to beat off the invaders, the Seneca chieftain 
had despatched runners to the central fire at Onondaga, with an 
account of the situation, and the great battle chief of the League, 
Shorihowane, was soon on the war-path with a large force for support 
of the Senecas. Though learning the issue of the conflict, he yet 

1. Cusick gives the orthography, Kaw-nes-ats. The Indian fort was near Bosley's mill ; the 
more modem Indian village was located half a mile south of Conesus lake, on the flat between 
the inlet and Henderson's creek. 

2. Cusick, General Ely Parker, and other authorities agree in locating the battle-groifud at 
Geneseo. Colonel Hosnier thinks the battle occurred farther to the east. 


resolved fiirtht-r U> puiiisli llu- Kah-kwas by capturing their principal 
fort and extinguishing their council fire. ' It is said that his united 
force numbered five thousand warriors. Flushed with recent victory, 
they marched rapidly toward the Genesee, crossed over and made for 
the fort, which they attacked with great energy. The enemy, fully 
prepared, delivered a cloud of arrows in return, one of which early in 
the siege struck the war chief, whose death soon followed. The body 
enfolded in ])anther skins was carried across the Genesee, and there 
buried with befitting honors." The siege, meanwhile, was zealously 
pressed, and the queen at length yicKled and sued for peace, when 
hostilities ceased, and the Kah-kwas were- left in possession of their 

Just prior to the arrival of Columbus, the shock of an earthquake 
was felt, and comets and other omens of the heavens were observed. 
The meaning of these occurrences was not then divined, but a prophet 
soon appeared, who foretold the coming of a strange race from 
beyond the great waters. He announced that the expected strangers 
designed driving the Indians from their hunting grounds and wresting 
away tlunr homes, and he threatened the Great Spirit's wrath upon 
any who should listen to the palefaces. To add to these perturba- 
tions, another war broke out between the tribes west of the Genesee 
and the Five Nations, the weight of which, as usual, fell heavily upon 
the Senecas. Long and bloody conflicts ensued, and while hostilities 
were yet in progress, the great event foretold by the prophet — that 
most pregnant fact of all Indian history, the arrival of Columbus — 
w'as heralded by the fleetest of foot along the myriad pathwavs of the 
■continent. The imagination alone can picture the bewildering effect 
of the tidings. Wonder, awe, doubt and fear, each in turn, must 
have moved them, but, though iuished for a moment by this event, 
the decisive struggle between the warring tribes went forward. The 
cause of this contest was so slight that tradition says it originated in 
a breach of faith on the part of the Kah-kwas at a game of ball, to 

1, riif fort was called A'tut-i/iiiif-i-av, and was on I\ighteen Mile creek, in Erie County. 

2. .Some years ago the remains of a giant Indian were fonnd not far from Long Point on the 
Groveland side of Conesus lake. The head lay in a turtle shell, and by the side were found im- 
plements of war and other evidences of a noted burial. For some reason this grave has beeu as- 
sociated with thegreat war chieftain referred to in the text, though most likely without much 



which they had challenged the vSenecas. Careful writers, however, 
deriving their data from other sources than tradition, place this war 
at a much later period, and allege that it grew out of matters con- 
nected with the settlement of Canada by the French, which produced 
quarrels in the great Indian family. In these the Wyandots adhered 
to the French side, and the Five Nations to that of the Dutch and 
English. The Algonquins made common cause with the French and 
their allies, the AVyandots. The Kah-kwas had already formed an 
alliance with the Mississaugas, an Algonquin tribe residing west and 
north of lake Ontario. The Kah-kwas were related both to the 
Wyandots and Five Nations. Their country lay between that of the 
Canadian and western tribes and that of the Iroquois; hence, from 
choice not only, but from motives of prudence as well, they desired 
now to observe that policy of neutrality from practicing which, as a 
rule, they derived their designation of the Neutral Nation. The 
situation was one of extreme delicacy, and their state craft proved 
unequal to the occasion; for, in attempting to please both belligerents, 
both became offended. The Iroquois, or, more properly, the Senecas, 
turned upon them in fury, but were met by a nation worthy their 
best courage. If we may credit tradition, the cortflict lasted through 
twenty bloody moons, ending about the year KiSl in the decisive 
overthrow of the Kah-kwas, or, to give their Indian designation, the 
Attiouandaronk, whose name, as a separate people, now disappears 
from the roll of tribes. 

According to the early Jesuits, the Kah-kwas excelled the Hurons 
in stature, strength and symmetrj', and wore their dress with a 
superior grace. "They regarded their dead with peculiar veneration. 
Once in every ten years the survivors of each family gathered the 
remains of their deceased ancestors from the platforms on which they 
had been deposited, and buried them in heaps with many super- 
stitious ceremonies. This was called the 'feast of the dead.' Many 
of the mounds thus raised may still be seen."' This practice, it ijiay 
be remarked, was anciently observed by other tribes also. The 
skeletons of a family were often preserved from generation to gener- 
ation in bark huts built beside the former cabin of the deceased. In 
seasons of public insecurity, the bones from many family depositories 
would be consigned to a comniDn resting place. 

I. Marshall's Niagara Frontier. 


In 1()55 the Eries, who had often opposed the Senecas upon the 
hostile field, were also overthrown by the latter. The country west 
of the Genesee was now conquered. But "for mnre than a century 
this beautiful region was abandoned to the undisturbed dominion of 
nature, save when traversed by the warrior on his predatory errand 
or the hunter in pursuit of game. A dense and unexplored wilder- 
ness extended from the Genesee to the Niagara, with but here and 
there an interval, where the oak openings let in the sunlight, or the 
prairie lured the deer and the elk to crop its luxuriant herbage." ' 

We have thus briefly traced some of the leading features of Indian 
tradition bearing upon this locality. (Hir knowledge of the aborigines 
is still in part dependent upon tradition or the subject of conjecture 
only. But from stray threads of fact and story consistent theories 
have been framed, while research among tumuli and other traces of 
Indian occupancy, and the study of still living representa- 
tives of this strange people, serve to make their character better 
known, besides casting light upon their origin. Quitting the domain 
of tradition, we shall find that the veritable history of this region 
extends less than three hundred years into the abyss of the past. 
In 1614 the Dutch planted a trading post on the island immediately 
below the site of Albany. At this spot (now Kenwood), was the 
Indian "\'ale of Tawasentha;" - and here in 1618 the Dutch under 
Jacob Eelkins negotiated a treaty with the Five Nations, which bound 
them and the Dutch in an alliance which was never broken. This 
alliance was always alluded to by the Iroquois as "the covenant 
chain," frequently as "the silver covenant chain," and gradually all 
the Indian tribes from New Hampshire to vSouth Carolina and from 
the Hudson to the Illinois bound themselves therein. ^Vhen Brad- 
dock went upon his ill-fated expedition, the Iroquois notified him that 
they would bind themselves over again in "the covenant chain." 

From the time of this conference at Kenwood, they acquired a 
knowledge of the Indians, and, for a period of nearly fifty years, the 
friendliest relations existed between the two races. The English at 
length succeeded both to the territory and to this good imderstand- 
ing, and, with singular fidelity, the covenant chain was mutually 

I. MarshaU's Niagara Frontier 
- 2. Alhided to in the opening lines uf Longfellow's Hiawatha. 


preserved down to the opening of the Revolution, upwards of a 
century and a half, a fact that went far toward predisposing the 
Iroquois to take the British side in that struggle, as we well know 
the)' did, with most bloody effect. 



THE INDIANS residing along the river were known to the 
Jesuits as the Senecas of the Chenussio, ' and were noted for 
their thrift and good husbandry, as well as for their warlike 
deeds. The corn grown by them was of a superior quality. In de- 
stroying their crops General Sullivan's soldiers found ears of this grain 
full twenty-two inches in length; and the first sweet corn ever seen in 
New England was carried thither, it is said, in a soldier's knapsack 
from Beardstown in 1779. Squashes, beans and melons were also raised 
in great abundance. Orchards of apple and peach trees, produced 
from seeds or sprouts, grew near everv village. Pears, too, had been 
introduced, and there was no lack of wild fruits, such as plums, grapes 
and cranberries. Tobacco was successfully raised by the Indians here. 
Indeed, the natives considered the quality of this article produced by 
our rich warm valley soil so fine that they gave it a name signifying 
"the only tobacco."^ Indian cultivation, however, embraced but a 
very limited share of the territory, for beyond an occasional spot on 
the river flats, tilled by squaws, this region remained essentially a 
wilderness until the advent of the whites. 

The Senecas were not only the most populous nation of the league, 
but were foremost on the warpath and first in warlike deeds. They 
gloried in their national title of Ho-nan-ne-ho-ont, or "the doorkeep- 
ers," for, as guardians of the upper entrance, they stood interposed as 
a living barrier between the hostile nations of the west and the eastern 
tribes of the confederacy. And in later times they proved a safeguard 
to the whites from incursions of the French and allies of the latter. 
The Senecas not only defended the western door, but often, on their 
own account, carried their arms into the country of the southern and 
western nations, while "other tribes sat smoking in quiet on their 

1. See Appendix No. 3 for tlie varied etymology of the W(»rd and an early account of the 'Vrtie- 
see River and Cnnaseraga Creek. 

2. Morgan mentions a similar fact. Kxperimeuts in tobacco raising were also made in this 
county by the pioneers, about the year 1795. The soil of onr fertile bottoms and sandy uplands 
seems well adapted to the production of this great narcotic. 

Middle Falls of Genesee River from Portige Bluff. 


mats." The League lield that any warrior was at liberty to form a 
party, place himself at the head and make war on his own account 
against foreign tribes, west or south. 

A band of braves on the war path presented nothing of display. 
Moving silently, in single file, they threaded the all but limitless forests. 
Each carried a little sack of parched corn, and usually a pcjuch of 
smoked venison. In expeditions of danger, at a distance from home, 
if this supply gave out, a tightening of the waist belt would often serve 
instead of the scanty supper. In later times the flint and steel, with a 
handful of dried leaves, would produce a fire in some well hidden spot, 
where, for a night, with feet to the smouldering embers, unwatched by 
sentinel, the party would commit themselves to brief slumber. In 
1680, the Senecas with six hundred warriors, invaded the country of 
the Illinois on the ^lississippi.' Schoolcraft says of the Senecas and 
other members of the League, that they roved at will from Lake Cham- 
plain to the Illinois, and extended their conquests along the Ohio into 
the region of Kentucky. At different periods they made inroads into 
the Carolinas and elsewhere at the south, their courage and skill secur- 
ing success in all quarters. The chronicles of no age afford examples 
excelling the fortitude with which these Iroquois braves suffered the 
tortures inflicted by their captors. "When taken in battle they asked 
nothing and expected nothing. The whole history of martyrdom may 
be challenged for a parallel to the almost superhuman courage and 
constancy exhibited by the Iroquois captain put to the torture at Fort 
Frontenac."- The captive warrior would often sing his song of defi- 
ance on being led with blackened face from the "cabin of death,"' — 
as the dark hut was called where the doomed were kept while prepara- 
tions fiir torture were proceeding — and boast, in the very teeth of his 
remorseless captors, while the fatal flames were crisping his flesh, of 

1. street thus refers to this e.vpeilition (the Tortoise, the Wolf ami the Bear being used figura- 
tively for clans of the Iroquois): 

"By the far Mississippi the lllini shrank, 

When the trail of the tortoiae was seen at the bank, 

On the hills of New Kugland the Pequot turned pale, 

When the howl of the woZ/swelled at night on the gale, 

Aiu\ the Cherokee shook in his green smiling bowers, 

When the foot of the bfar stamped his carpet of flowers." 

2. He was a Seneca. The account is given by Charlevoi.x. 

3. By some tribes called the "lodge of judgment." 


how many of their numbers he had slain, and how many scalps had 
been scored to him on the warpost. 

Mary Jemison said that to commemorate great events and to preserve 
the chronology of them, the war chief in each tribe kept a warpost, a 
peeled stick of timber ten or twelve feet high erected in the town. For 
a campaign the chief made a perpendicular red mark about three 
inches long and luilf an inch wide; on the opposite side of this, for a 
scalp, they make a red cross thus X ; on another side, for a prisoner 
taken alive, they make a red cross, in this manner, x, withaheador 
dot. "J These hieroglyphics enabled them to represent with iiu little 
certainty the facts they wished to record. 

The Senecas shared fully in the superstitions common to their race. 
Relief in witchcraft ]irevailctl, and omens had no little influence in 
shaping their action both in peace and war. On the gravest occasion 
a dream would secure listeners and its teachings seldom went unheeded. 
At a New Year's festival on Squakie Hill, after the sacrificial dog was 
killed, an old Indian who lived on the flats below told the following 
dream at the council house, the whole village giving their iiiHlivided 
attention: "I had got ready with my two sons the previousevening," 
said he, "to attend the festival, but before starting I fell asleep and 
dreamed that we had set out. Everything a|)peared strange along the 
path. vSquakie Hill seemed thrice its usual height, and looked as if 
covered with a deep snow, although there was very little. I stopped a 
moment, wlu-n twn winged men tlew by us, one of whom alighted on a 
tree near by. I was frightened and asked ' What means this?' 'We 
are devils' said they, 'and are come because Indians are bad men and 
get drunk.' They told me that unless I stop|)ed whiskey and became 
good, they would have me. The figure in the tree changed to a great 
negro, and taking his seat upon a limb, turned toward me with a hor- 
rible grin, thrusting at me a [)ole si.x feet long, on which was hung a 
dead Indian by the feet The face of the corpse was very ghastly and 
its mouth widely stretched. The devil remarked that all who ([uarreled 
or got drunk would be treated in the like horrid manner. The body 
•of the dead Indian was then whirled at me. The shock awoke me." 
Instead of a lecture on intemperance, a vice to which the tribe Vi-ere 
• greatly addicted, the old Indian wisely chose to enforce the moral by 

I. See Mar>' Jemisou's Life. Her luisti.'md, Hiakatoo, had a warpost on wliicli were recorded his 
military aud other exploits. 


availing himself of the regard held by his race for the supernatural. 
The dream seetned strongly to impress his audience. 

To form a correct notion of the every day life of the Seneca, we 
must penetrate into his domestic condition. We shall find him hospit- 
able at his home, however relentless he proved on the warpath. His 
hut was always open, and if a family or company of several strangers 
came from a distance, it was not unusual to give up to them the best 
lodge in the village during their stay. In timesof scarcity — and owing 
to their improvidence such times often came — they shared with each 
other even to the last morsel. Indeed, individual starvation was un- 
known, and, save where a whole tribe was brought to famine, none 
suffered for want of food. 

Their lodges in ancient days were of poles covered with bark or skins 
in form of the cone shaped wigwam, but when the axe came into use 
they built of poles or small logs in the style of a square or oblong hut. 
In general the size was ten feet by twelve within the walls, and about 
seven feet high at the sides. The door was invariably at the end. 
The root was steep and covered with chestnut tree, hemlock or cucum- 
berwood bark, in broad folds, tied to the roof poles with strands of 
the inner bark of the hickory. Two courses thus laid on would cover 
the one side of the roof, and a broad piece placed lengthwise at the 
ridge made all tight there. The fire was built on the ground, in the 
center, for there were no floors, the smoke finding vent through an 
opening in the roof. Neither tables nor chairs were provided within, 
but along each side, and across the end opposite the door, a rude wood- 
en bunk, raised a foot or more, and about three feet in width, covered 
with bark and skins, served instead of stools and beds. Four or five 
feet higiier was a shelf, on which were thrown provisions and domestic 
utensils. A village comprised from five to fifty huts, seldom more 
than the latter number, and, as the Indian dug no wells, were located 
near copious springs, or in later times on the banks of considerable 

The simple culinary art required a kettle for meats and vegetables, 
one or more wooden platters and three or four hunting knives to a 
household. Wild game was often spitted on a stick before the fire and 
the loaf of pounded corn and beans was roasted in the ashes under the 
embers. The Indian woman's cookery ofTered few temptations to the 
white man's palate. Her loaf was kneaded with unwashed hands, in a 


bark tray none too tidy, and her meats were prepared without atten- 
tion to the care which civilization demands. The Indian trail over 
Groveland hill ran near the foot of a long meadow of John Harrison's, 
where a fine spring of water often beguiled the natives to stop and 
cook their game. On one occasion they made a feast there of corn 
and venison boiled together. The deer was skinned, cut up and cast 
into the brass kettle, flesh, bones, entrails and all. 'Sir. Harrison, who 
was at work near bv, was urged by the Indians to partake of their 
pottage, but as he had seen it prepared, his appetite rebelled, and he 
declined with thanks. A pioneer on another occasion was invited to 
eat hominy with a strolling band of Senecas. who had already been 
some time at their meal. Tliere was but one spoon to the party, and 
that had been used by each in turn. The chief took the spoon and, 
after wiping it upon the sole of his moccasin, passed it to the guest, 
who, though welcome, feasted with long teeth. 

To us the Indian's home would not have been a place of comfort. 
Its single room, no.vious with smoke, and the members of the house- 
hold lounging here and there ujjon the ground, admitted neither of 
neatness or privacy nor of delicacy. On poles well varnished with 
soot, in the upper portion of the hut, if indeed the dusky atmosphere 
had [lermitted that part to be seen, might be noticed a motlev collec- 
tion of clothing, corn, skins of animals and dried pumpkins and 
squashes, intermingled with weapons and ornaments. The huts were 
without windows, tor the Indian knew little of the thousand nameless 
comforts which make our homes so grateful, but, being unknown, were 
unmissed by him. The Seneca here passed his winters in contentment. 
His wants were few, his food was ample in cpiantity and, to him. pala- 
table in kind: and if his hut was uncleanly, it may yet have been pref- 
erable to the abodes of squalor, in which many of the vicious and 
wretched of our great cities pass their lives. The squaw, who had 
planted, hoed and harvested the corn, prepared it for the winter's meal 
and cheerfully served it to her not e.xacting husband. And he was a 
happy ma!). Though taciturn in public, he was not tuisocial within 
his own domicile, where his neighbors often met to smoke his tobacco, 
laugh at his jest, not the most refined, and listen to his stories of war 
and the chase. 

The Senecas were willing to have schools established tor the educa- 
tion of their children. Accordingly, in December, 1815, the Presby- 


terian Synod of Geneva located one at Squakie Hill, in a building pro- 
vided through the efforts of tiie Reverend Daniel Butrick, and placed 
Jerediah Horsford in charge. The class averaged about twenty pupils, 
who proved attentive to rules and learned readily. The parents took 
kindly to the Ga-ya'-dos-hah sha-go'-yas-da-ni — meaning "he teaches 
thern books"— as they called the schoolmaster, and passed many 
hours in the class mom, curious spectators of proceedings so novel to 

Indian sports consisted of foot races, ball playing, pitching of cjuoits, 
and shooting with the bow and arrow. Dancing, too, was greatly en- 
joyed by both sexes. Foot racing was also a favorite pastime, and 
some of the Indian runners boasted that they could onttravel the 
horse in a long journey. Horatio Jones was heard to say that he had- 
known an Indian to strike a deer's trail in the morning and run the 
animal down before night. Morgan says that "in preparing to carry 
messages, they denuded themselves entirely, with the exception of the 
breech-cloth and belt. They were usually sent out in pairs, and took 
their way through the forest, one liehind the other, in perfect silence." 
"A trained runner would traverse a hundred miles a day. But three 
days were necessary, it is said, to convey intelligence fiom Buff.ilo to 
Albany. During the war oi 1812, a runner left Tonawanda at daylight 
in the summer season, for Avon, a distance of forty miles, upon the 
trail, delivered his message, and returned to Tonawanda again about 
noon the same day." 

Ball was usually played by a dozen or more quickfooted Indians. 
The ball once tossed up was to be kept up with bats, the longer the 
period the more successful the game. In the fall of 1799, a number of 
gentlemen from the city of New York, while spending a few days in 
Geneseo, subscribed a small ftind and invited the Indians of one of the 
neighboring villages to come over and play a game of ball. About 
three hundred responded, from whom a party of the more skillful was 
selected. The sport proved exciting both to players and spectators, 
and became so spirited that the most athletic batsmen were obliged to 
lie down now and then for short respites. 

In autumn, after the crops were secured, the Indian's season of 
hunting began. Men, women and children prepared for these occasions 
with alacrity. A stick leaned against the door from the outside, was 
sufficient to secure their homes from intrusion during their absence. 


Camping from place to place in chosen spots, for a week or more 
at a time, the hunters would follow the game during the day, 
and the evening would be spent in dancing and eating, and in drink- 
ing, too, when spirits were procurable. A grassy pint near William 
Magee's distillery, in Sparta, was a station to which they were partial. 
Here, after a day's chase, the Indians would dispatch a brass kettle of 
whiskey, and then form a ring for dancing. Both se.xes and all ages 
joined in singing, as, hand in hand, they moved around in a circle, one 
of their number keeping time with a stick upon the emptied brass 
kettle. A dry bladder, containing a few kernels of corn or beans, or a 
gourd rattle, would also be shaken by one of the dancers as an accom- 
paniment. White persons were always welcome spectators of these 

The inlet of Hemlock lake on the Spring water side, about the season 
of the falling leaves, was a favorite haunt of the natives for trout fishing ; 
and hither with her tribe, from year to year, came a female known as 
the handsome squaw, whose grace of person and freedom of motion 
were long recollected. Indeed, we were accustomed not many years 
ago, to hear old persons speak of the sprightly ways and gentle wildness 
of Indian girls; and, were we seeking incidents of a romantic nature 
in this connection, enough might be gathered for an entertaining 
chapter. Near Scottsburg, also, under a clump of wild plum trees, 
growing hard by the old grist mill, the Indians were in the 
habit of encamping, to hunt and fish in the neighborhood ; while at 
Caledonia spring the whole tribe annually gathered, to renew their 
friendships and to enjoy the fine fishing afforded by its noted waters. 
A spot near the head of Conesus lake and many other hunting seats 
were also used. 

But the day of the hunter in this region is well nigh passed away. 
A century ago his efforts were richly rewarded. The woods abounded 
with deer and rabbits, the openings with woodcock, and the air with 
pigeons in their season; while wild geese, ducks and other water fowl 
swarmed the shores of the lakes and rivers. Bears, panthers and 
wolves, as well as foxes and wild cats, were so common that pioneer 
merchants drove a thrifty trade in exchanging goods for scalps of these 
destructive animals, to be redeemed, in turn, by the authorities at 
fixed bounties. 

Intercourse between the natives and the white settlers was marked 


by good nature. The Indians were general!}' truthful and honest ; 
though, after taverns and stores began to multiply, the younger class, 
tempted by the novelty, fell into the habit of lounging and were now 
and then caught in petty thefts. Colonel Lyman, an early mer- 
chant of Moscow, says that while out of his store for a moment one 
day, Cayuga Tom, an overgrown young Indian, took down a pair of 
stockings from a cross pole and stuck them under his belt. The arti- 
cles being at once missed, Colonel Lyman said, "Tom, you stole those 
stockings, now you can take a round flogging or go to jail." "Well," 
grunted the native, and drawing his blanket closely about him, he 
bent forward his shoulders, inviting the blows. A rawhide was applied 
with so much vigor as to bring the blood at every stroke. When the 
punishment ended, Tom straightened up and remarked, with the utmost 
good nature, "All settled now," and handed back the stockings. In 
unloading some potash one afternoon. Colonel Lyman dropped his hat, 
a new one. His brother, who noticed him going bareheaded, 
said, "If you can't find your own hat, there lies a first-rate one on the 
counter inside, which I have just taken of an Indian in pawn." The 
hat proved to be the Colonel's own, which the cunning native had man- 
aged to pick up unseen and dispose of. The whites often bartered 
with the Indians for splint baskets, which were ornamented with iiigh 
colored paints, splint brooms, vvillowware, moccasins, venison, berries 
and fish. The native was never wanting in shrewdness when conduct- 
ing a trade. An Indian fisherman, in ofifering Deacon Stanley a string 
of fine brook trout, was asked "What's your price?" "One shilling 
one fish," was the answer. "But there is a little one! a shilling for 
that?" "Oh yes, him just as hard to catch as big one," was quickly 

The scjuaw usually had charge of the luggage, which she carried 
upon her back, fastened by the burden strap or tump line, a broad 
band of finely braided bark, suspended from the forehead, crossed at 
the shoulders, and fastened to a little belt behind. The usual small 
trading parties consisted of an Indian and his family, but sometimes 
two or three families united and drove a shaggy pony before a wagon, 
on which was piled their wares, the traffickers trudgjng along on foot. 
The men commonly wore the native costume, especially the inevitable 
blanket with its smoky smell. The .squaws, always bareheaded, wore 
cloth petticoats, often of fine texture, leggins of the same and deer 


skin moccasins, neatly worked with colored beads and shells. The 
little pappoose, bound to its light frame, was borne upon the mother's 
back, its arms pinioned and its little copper visage often exposed to 
the sun. This baby frame of strong, light wood was a couple of feet 
in length and about fifteen inches wide 'at the shoulders, the whole 
surmounted by a hoop, placed just above the head, upon which a cur- 
tain or vail was then |)]aced, to screen the child's face, and from which 
also hung some jingling ornament to attract the little one. The frame 
served the infant abroad and at home. While the mother looked 
after her domestic affairs in the cabin, it hung from a peg so arranged 
that, on passing, a touch from her hand would set it swinging. In 
the field, suspended from a limb, it was secure from snakes and other 
forest dangers, and the wind, by giving it motion, would lull the little 
occupant to sleep. Schoolcraft says that moss was placed between the 
heels of female infants, to make them m-toed ; in males, the adjustment 
of the moss was designed to produce a perfectly straight [)osition of 
the foot. 

It was not an uncommon thing for the first settlers to awake far in 
the night and find their fioors covered with Indians, who had thus 
snatched a few hours' rest, quitting before morning as quietly as they 
came. A piece of venison or other article would often be left by those 
uninvited lodgers in requital. The early settlers profited by the 
native's knowledge of the forest. The pioneer who had lost his way 
in the woods, as not unfrequently happened, was fortunate if he 
chanced to meet an Indian, for the latter's sense of location seemed 
unerring. It mattered not how far astray the bcAvildered traveler 
might be, the native wcukl never leave him with verbal directions 
merely, but, acting the part of guide, would pilot the traveler safely 
back into the proper path. Colonel George Smith says the Indians 
would go to any new and strange location, pitch their wigwams and 
chase deer in all directions, the weather being ever so stormy or cloudy, 
and, at the proper time, would steer as direct for their camp as could 
a surveyor with his compass. 

The Indians did not at once learn to curb their propensity to use 
weapons for settling disputes or for olUaining what they desired, and 
the pioneers saw many examples of their impatient tempers. When 
in liquor they were easily exasperated; then the whites sometimes 
came in for a share of the blows, though seldom with fatal results. 


But a knife or axe would be drawn on small provocatiun. An Indian 
named Yankee John caine to the house of William Fullerton. in Sparta, 
one winter evening, with a deer upon his shoulder,' He was cold and 
demanded liquor, though he evidently had been drinking. This 
denied, he became saucy, and at length drew his knife, in a threaten- 
ing way, upon Fullerton. The latter's Scotch blood was stirred. 
Stepping to the stairway, he took down from its wooden hook a heavy 
black horsewhip and gave the Indian a fearful weltmg, Mrs. Fuller- 
ton begged for mercy to the native, w!io by this time Ava? quite satis- 
fied to give up the whiskey, and to spend the remainder of the night 
in quiet, sleeping from choice, as he did, upon the pioneer's hearthstone, 
after partaking of a generous meal, liefore a well kept fire of smoulder- 
ing logs. Colonel Stanley saw much of the Indians while clerk fi)r 
Allen Ayrault, He relates that a young Indian, who had been drink- 
ing, came into the store one night, picked up a silk handkerchief and 
placed it under his belt. The act was observed, and the clerk, though 
alone, demanded the property, which was refused, A scuffle followed, 
the handkerchief was recovered, and the voung thief ordered to (juil 
the store, but he declined to go, Stanley stepped toward him, when 
the Indian drew a knife with serious intent, Stanley picked up an axe 
helve, knocked the knife from the Indian's hand, and the twcj clinched. 
The Indian, th(Migh the larger, was slightly intoxicated, and Stanlev 
managed tn hustle him to the doorway, elevated fully three feet from 
the ground, when, exerting all his strength, he thrust out his antago- 
nist, who fell upon the frozen earth with a groan, and lay for some time 
quite stunned by the fall, Stanley lost no tinie in closing tlie store 
that night. 

Surviving pioneers recollect many odd customs of the Indians. Col- 
onel George Smith witnessed the following ceremony over a young 
native: He was first made dead drunk. A " shavety knife," or razor, 
was sought for among the neighboring whites, but none being at hand, 
a hunting knife was sharpened. Placing a chip under the subject's 
right ear, a slit parallel with the outer edge of that member was cut 
all the way around, leaving a rim somewhat thicker than a pipe stem 
still attached at each end. The other ear was treated in the same man- 

I. )'ankfr' John was a large Indian, who had a halt in his gait. While hunting one day he 
was pursued by a bear. Attempting to escape, he started up a tree, but Bruin, too quick for him, 
pulled the Indian back, crushed his leg, and would have made short work of him had not the 
rednian's long knife speedily settled the bear's accounts. 


ner, and both were bound up in sheet lead. When the Indian became 
sobered he sat up, felt of his ears, and finding that all was right, raised 
his hands in great delight and cried out, "Ga-ya-dos-hah sha-go-vas- 
da-ni Geh-sa'-no-wa-nah-nuh,"' meaning "Now lam a great name; 
no longer boy; big Injun me I" 

The curative means of the Indians consisted of roots and herbs. 
Dancing and singing were often resorted to, and, in extreme cases, 
witchcraft was employed; for the older natives still held to the belief 
that disease was the result of sorcery. Indian medicine-men might 
often be seen in the woods gathering their stores of simples. Tall 
Chief and John Jemison were noted for their skill in medicines, espec- 
ially in applying remedies for the rattlesnake's bite, the ingredients 
of which they steadily refused to reveal, though they would go far and 
near to relieve a wliite patient. Mr. Horsford witnessed a dance 
designed to restore an Indian seriously indisposed. Three natives 
with false faces, each wearing a deer skin wrapped around the shoul- 
ders and another about the waist, entered the hut. They at once began 
a slow dance, passing, at each round, between the fire and the patient, 
who, cpiite naked, was seated upon the hearth. On stepping by the 
fire, two of the dancers would gather up ashei and scatter over the sick 
man, while the third shook a turtle shell rattle at him and then darted 
to the sides of the room and shook it about the walls and over the bed. 
The ceremonies continued several minutes, when the dancers took off 
their masks and. without a word, left the house. The squaM- of the 
household then brnught in food, which had been prepared for the occa- 
sion, and distributed it to the guests. 

The Senecas believed in a Great vSpii it, whom they feared, and in an 
evil spirit whom they hated, but whose power they held as scarcely 
inferior to that of the other. After death the good were to go directly 
to pleasant hunting grounds, where game would be always abundant; 
the bad to a place of temporary punishment, whence, in due time, 
they also were to be permitted to enter the happy home. The journey 
after death was one of considerable length. Hence, a dish of food and 
a wooden spoon were buried with the corpse, and the gun, tomahawk 
and scalping knife of the warrior were placed by his side in the grave. 

1. The latter Indian word was ofteu prouoiiiiced shinne-wauna. But the orUio>fra])liy of Rev. 
Asher Wripht, a niissiouary at Cattaraugus Reser\-ation, who rednced the Seneca language to a 
written system, is followed. 

3 H 


The Indian's heaven was designed for his race alone, though an excep- 
tion was made in favor of Washington, in reward for his acts of kind- 
ness toward the red man. 

Aboriginal belief that the soul survives the body rested on traditions 
like this:^ In ancient times a war broke out between two tribes. On 
one side the forces were jointly led by a great warrior and a noted 
hunter. The latter had killed much game for the skins, the remains 
being left for beasts and birds of prey. The battle was going against 
his side, and he saw that to save his own life he must quit the field. 
As he turned, the body of a great tree lay across his path. He came 
up to it, when a heavy blow felled him. On recovering, he foimd, 
strangely enough, that he could as easily pass through as over the 
obstruction. Reaching home, his friends would not talk with him; 
indeed, they seemed quite unaware of his presence. It now occurred 
to him that he too had been killed and was present in spirit only, 
human eyes not seeing him. He returned to the place of conflict, and 
there, sure enough, lay his mortal part quite dead and its scalp gone. 
A pigeon hawk, flying by, recognized the disembodied hunter and 
generously ofliered to recover his scalp, so, stretching away in its flight 
to the retiring victors, he plucked it from the bloody pole. The other 
birds had meantime prepared a medicine, whicii soon united the scalp 
to the head, when bears and wolves gathered around and joined in the 
dance. The hunter got well and lived many years, his experience 
strengthening their religious faith and teaching them how to use the 
remedies so strangely acquired, which, to this day, are among the most 
efficacious knovv'n to the Indians. 

The Senecas recognized a variety of subordinate spirits. Medicine, 
water, trees; their three favorite vegetables, corn, beans and squash, 
and other material objects, had each its tutelar deity. They observed 
six periodical festivals: the maple, the planting, the green corn, the 
berry, the harvest and, crowning all, the New Year's jubilee, at which 
the white dog was sacrificed. The Great Spirit was thus thanked for 
blessing their labors and invoked for future favors. Their thanksgiv- 
ing did not assume the character of prayer. Indeed, they did not 
appear to comprehend the nature and design of prayer, since sins of the 
heart were not contemplated by their system, which considered only the 
outward act. 

I. Mr. Horsford had this tradition from the lips of an aged Seneca. 


The New Year's festival at Squakie Hill, in 1816, opened on the 
morning of the 7th of February. ' A white dog was brought to the 
council house and strangled, care being taken not to break its bones or 
shed its blood, and hanged to a post. Its body was then striped with 
red paint, and five strings of purple beads were fastened about the neck. 
A stem of hedgehog quills was attached to the body, from which hung 
a clump of feathers, a rag filled with something like fine tobacco being 
placed under them. To each leg was tied a bunch of feathers with red 
and yellow ribbons. The day was spent in short speeches and dream 
telling. Near night, two Indians, with blackened faces, appeared in 
bear skins, with long braids of corn husks about their ankles and 
heads. Keeping time to a dolorous song, they began a tour of the 
village. Entering a house, they would pound the benches and sides 
and then proceed to the next, and so on throughout the village. 

The discharge of three guns opened the second day's proceedings, 
when five Indians appeared with long wooden shovels and began to 
scatter fire and ashes, until the council house became filled with dust 
and smoke. This ceremony was repeated at each house several times 
during the day, but to a different tune at each round. 

Speeches, exciting levity, and dreams occupied the third morning. 
About noon the fire shovelling was repeated with increased vigor. 
This over, the clothing of the actors and others was changed, their 
heads were adorned with feathers and their faces with paint. A num- 
ber of squaws in calico short gowns and blue broadcloth petticoats, 
ornamented with bead work and a profusion of silver brooches, joined 
in the dance, which, beginning at the council house, was repeated at 
every hut several times during the day. A species of gambling with a 
wooden dish and six wooden balls and a like number of white beans, 
was practiced from house to house. In the evening a party of dancers 
would enter a dwelling, and .soon a person dressed in bear skin and 
false face would come in, when the dancers, as if afraid, beat a retreat 
to the next house. 

The fourth day was devoted to ceremonies in which false faces and 
dancing held the princi|)al place. 

The maskers reappeared on the fifth day. They approached every 

I. Hon. Jerediali Horsford was present at this festival aiul noted the cereiiiouies from day to 
■day iu his diary. Lieut, (iovernor Oeorge W. Patter^ion attended the festival three years later. at the 
same place, in company with several young men of Grovelatui. and iu a similar way described 
the ceremonies herein mentioned. 


person for a trifling gift. An apple, a plug of tobacco or a few pen- 
nies was enough, in default of which the party refusing was often 
roughly handled. Two Indians, disguised as bears, came next. On 
their entering a house the inmates would at once quit it, when the 
mock bears pretended a disposition to tear everything in pieces or to 
overturn whatever fell in their way. A number of Indians followed 
them, flashing guns, as though forcibly to drive out the simulated 
bears. Next in order was a game of ball upon the ice, played with 
great energy by a party of seven on each side. Many a hard fall 
occurred, which always drew forth shouts of laughter. Three 
Indians then appeared in deer skins and rags, one of whom, personat- 
ing the evil one. had his clothing literally torn from his body by his 
companions, who quickly covered him with skins, and then led him 
from hut to hut. In each hut he would lie down and roll along the 
ground, tumble into the fire, paw out the ashes and scatter it about 
the room, all the while groaning and making great ado. A dancing 
group next entered the council house with painted faces, attired in 
skins, with feathers around their heads and with deer's hoofs or pieces 
of tin fastened about their legs. A large Indian with bow and arrows 
soon came in, bringing three lads. The four enacted a rude drama of 
hunter and dt)gs. The boys got down on hands and knees, barking, 
growling and snap[)ing at whatever came in their way, as they passed 
from door to door, demanding bread for their final feast, which two 
girls gathered into baskets. 

On the morning of the sixth day, seven lads, one of whom was cov- 
ered with wolf skins and used two short sticks for fore-legs, went from 
house to house. The dwellers brought out corn and placed it in a 
basket carried by an aged female. Next followed a dance at the 
council house. "The female dancers," says an eye witness, "were 
the most graceful, and, I may add, the most modest I ever saw tripping 
the fantastic toe upon the bare ground." An old squaw stepped into 
the ring with a live pig under her arm. She would strike it upon the 
head, when the dancers would spat their hands and sing. ^ About noon 
preparations were made for burning the white dog, which was taken 
down and laid upon a small pile of dry wood, ornaments and all. An 
Indian gave three yells. The wood was then placed around and over 
the dog. When old and young had gathered quite near Jim Wash- 

I. Quis-qttis, meaniug pigs or swine, was a word coustautly repeated. 


ington, a favorite speaker, he applied the fire, and, as it began to burn, 
he walked around inside the circle, occasionally throwing pulverized 
mint into the flames, all the while talking as if to some invisible being. 
The spectators appeared quite solemn, and at length joined in singing. 
When the pile was partly consumed Jim stopped. After a moment's 
pause, he put a qiiestion, which met with loud response from the circle, 
and then all dispersed. 

A general feast was now prepared at the council house. Two brass 
kettles, filled with squash, corn, beans, pumpkins and venison, which 
had been boiling for hours over fires in the center of the room, were 
placed on the ground, and the contents dipped away in calabashes and 
eaten with spoons, or from wooden sticks, with the bread gathered the 
day before. The evening was devoted to dancing, in which all joined. 
Finally, one after another withdrew, and by ten o'clock the council 
house was empty and silent. The ceremonial part of the festival was 
over, and though the seventh and last day was to follow, it was mainly 
spent in petty gambling and feats of strength. 

The burning of the dog was designed to appease the Great Spirit's 
wrath. So were the burnt sacrifices of ancient Hebrews. The cere- 
monies at the huts were intended to scare aw'ay bad spirits, which, as 
was imagined, had become secreted in the crevices. The Jews had 
professional e.xorcisers, who also professed to drive aw-ay evil spirits; 
while with the smoke of the burning mint these heathen red men 
believed their thanksgivings and petitions w(juld ascend to the Source 
of all good. None but a white dog, the emblem of purity, could be 
used. The same caution was observed in selecting the sacrificial heifer 
by the Chosen People. Other parallels might be noted, and the 
inquirer is tempted to ask, why the days of their celebration should cor- 
respond with the sacred seven of the Jews. Is it a coincidence simply? 
or does it aid.^^with other facts of a similar nature, in solving the origin 
of the aborigines? 

Late in the last century a new religion was announced by a native 
of Canawaugus, the Indian village located near Avon. The prophet 
of this new (aith was a half brother of Cornplanter, named Ga-nyu'-da- 
i-yuh, or Handsome Lake. Its effect was greatly to mitigate intem- 
perance, a vice then fatally jirevalent among the natives. The early 
life of the prophet had been one of idleness; but, in lighting his pipe 
one day after a debauch, he fell back upon his mat, where, for many 


hours, he lay as dead. Four beautiful young men from heaven, angels 
he called them, appeared, he said, and told hiin the Great Spirit was 
angry with the Indians because of their habits of drunkenness, false- 
hood and theft. They conducted him to the open gates of Paradise, 
where, for several hours, he witnessed scenes glorious beyond concep- 
tion. A command was there given him to proclaim what he had seen 
and heard. On recovering, he entered upon his mission with the zeal 
of a crusader. ^ Ungifted as a speaker, he called four young men pos- 
sessed of superior parts for missionary work, to whom he committed 
the heavenly precepts. Through them, and by his own personal inter- 
course, he incited young and old to better courses. His labors were 
crowned with abundant success. 

It has been urged that Handsome Lake was inspired to the work by 
Cornplanter, rather than from a higher source, that crafty chieftain 
■designing thereby to preserve for his kinsman the high position in 
councils so long held by himself. .But this is quite improbable, for 
Cornplanter was at no pains to conceal his doubts as to the truth of 
the revelation, especially after the following incident. He had a 
beloved daughter who fell very sick. His anxiety on her account 
induced him to appeal to the prophet. The latter, in turn, inquired of 
the four angels if the girl would get well. They answered, she would, 
and continued to give like assurances until shedied. Cornplanter then 
said that the revelation was but a pretense, and Handsome Lake 
became so incensed that he left the reservation of his half brother and 
went to Tonawanda. It is certain that Handsome Lake chose a course 
which quickly checked fhe sad inroads made by rum among the Iro- 
quois. He was aware from experience of the strength of appetite for 
fire-water, and knew that, single handed, he could accomplish little 
against the formidable evil; hence he sought the powerful agency of 
superstition. His name is justly venerated among his people, who 
call him the Peace Prophet, as distinguished from the noted brother of 
Tecumseh, who is known as the War Prophet. At his death, August 
10, 1815, his grandson, So-se-ha-wa, or Johnson, who was also born 
near Avon, succeeded him as a teacher and expounder, and, like the 
uncle, exerted a great and salutary influence among the Indians. 

I. Creiiit is <Uie to Morgan and to Nathaniel T. Strong, Esq., himself a Seneca, for data here. 
The father of Mr. Strong was one of the four chosen missionaries, and, like the sou, was a man of 
superior abilities. 


Trails, or footpaths, connected the Indian villaLces and distant 
places. Portions of these forest highways can yet be traced at certain 
points in the county, though the latter were generally cross trails inter- 
secting the great central pathway, which, starting at Albany and fol- 
lowing a well chosen route, terminated on Main street in the modern 
city of Buffalo. Morgan says, " This trail ran through the overhang- 
ing forest for almost its entire length. It was usually from twelve to 
eighteen inches wide, and deeply worn in the ground, varying in this 
respect from three to si.^i and even twelve inches, depending upon the 
firmness of the soil. The large trees on each side were freqiientlv 
marked with the hatchet. This well beaten footpatli, which no runner 
or band of warriors could mistake, had doubtless been trodden bv suc- 
cessive generations from century to century. It proved, on the survey 
of the country, so judiciously selected, that the great turnpike was laid 
out mainly on the line of this trail, from one e.xtremity of the State to 
the other." 

From Canandaigua were two trails. The one, after crossing the 
outlet of Honeoye lake and going over the hill in sight of Hemlock 
lake, came out upon the Conesus, near its southern end. when, follow- 
ing its shore to the foot and fording the outlet, the path proceeded 
west, and, passing over the site of Geneseo, led into Beardstown. 
The other, or main trail, leaving Canandaigua, passed over the site of 
West Bloomfield, through the Honeoye outlet, to the site of Lima, 
thence, westward, passing the site of Avon, crossing the river a few 
rods above the bridge, and entering the village of Canawaugus, about 
a mile above the ford. Pursuing then a northwest direction, it led to 
the Caledonia cold spring. 

" From Rochester there were two trails up the Genesee, one upon 
each side. That upon the west side, following the bank of the river, 
passed into the Indian village of Ca-na-wau-gus. From thence the 
trail pursued the winding of the river to 0-ha-gi a Tuscarora village 
on the flat, between two and three miles below Cuylerville. It next 
led to the Seneca village of Big Tree." Turning the bend, the 
trail entered Beardstown and thence led to Squakie Hill. Leaving 
the latter village, it continued up the river, crossing the outlet of 
Silver lake, and, entering Gardeau, followed on over the site of Portage, 
and thence to Caneadea, the last Seneca village on the Genesee. 

The east side trail started from the ford near the aqueduct, at Roch- 


ester, and turning a little back from the river, crossed Mount Hope. 
"It followed the windings of the river up to Mount Morris. From this 
place ran two trails up the Canaseraga creek, one upon eacii side. 
They led into the small Indian village of Ga-nos-ga-go, upon the site 
of Dansviile at the head of the valley." 

Branches intersecting these main [lathways at fording places, con- 
nected the smaller villages. Of this class was the trail leading from 
the Indian town on Conesus inlet westward over the hill, passing the 
battleground of Boyd's scouting party, thence through Groveland, by 
way of Williamsburg, to Beardstown. Over this Sullivan's army 
marched on its way to' the Seneca settlements. 

In numbers the Senecas exceeded any other nation of the League. 
In 1651.1, the period of their highest prosperity, they were reckoned 
at ten thousand. Thence forward their strength g'radually diminished. 
A few years later the Jesuits reported the fighting men at one thou- 
sand. In our Revolution they were able to furnish four hundred 
warriors to the British. Their own estimates are much larger. 
According to a tradition, they once took a census of their nation. 
A kernel of white flint corn, dropped by each into a husk basket, 
assumed to hold a dozen quarts, was thereby filled. This would 
indicate a population of nearly eighteen thousand. 

The Indian title to Little Beard's reservation was extinguished by 
the treaty of June 3U, 1802 at Buffalo Creek; that to Gardeau reserva- 
tion, except two square miles thereof west of the river in present 
AVyoming County, by the treaty of September 3, 1823 at Moscow, and 
that to Squakie Hill, Big Tree and Canawaugus reservations and the 
remaining two square miles of the Gardeau reservation, by the treaty 
of August 31, 1826 at Buffalo Creek. 1- In 1826 most of the Senecas 
left the country. A few families lingered another twelve-month, but 
their homes had passed into strangers' hands, and they, too, followed 
to the Buffalo and other new reservations. Indeed, coincident with 
the advent of the whites began the exodus, for, by 1816, there were 
not more than four hundred Indians within the limits of the present 
county, all of whom lived on the westerly side of the river. Cana- 
waugus, at the latter date, contained about ninety souls, of whom 
several were descendants of Cornplanter. The Big Tree village 
numbered less than a score, consisting in most nart of John Montour's 

I. See Appendix No. ^ for copies of each of these treaties. 


family; a little knot still remained at Beardstown ; Squakie Hill had a 
population of eighty; and at Gardeau lived Mary Jemison, some of her 
descendants and a few others, about four score in all. These consti- 
tuted the remnant of that aboriginal host which had long peopled this 
region and throughout the Genesee valley held undisputed sway.^ 

I. " Realm of the Senecas! no more * 

In shadow lies the ' Pleasant Vale;' 
Gone are the Criiefs who ruled of yore, 

Like chafT before the rnshinj; gale. 
Their rivers riiu with narrowed bounds, 
Cleared are their broad, old hunting grounds, 
And on their ancient battle fields 
The jd^reetisward to the plowman yields ; 
Like mocking echoes of the hill 
Their fame resounded and grew still, 
And on greeu ridge aud level plain 
Their hearths will never smoke again." 

—Proem to Hosmer's Vonnoudio. 




THE CHARTS of Western New York, prior to 1730, afford 
little or no definite information respecting the Genesee country. 
Pouchot's Map, prepared about the j'ear 1758,' a portion of 
which is there given, was perhaps the first attempt made to fix the 

location of Seneca towns, 
and even this, as will be seen, 
gives the position of very 
few. History, however, 
more than two centuries 
earlier, had shed a glimmer 
of light upon this region. 
Scarcely two score years 
had passed away after the 
advent of Columbus, when 
James Cartier, while explor- 
ing the gulf of St. Lawrence, 
in 1535, was informed by the 
savages living on its borders, 
"that, after ascending many 
leagues among rapids and 
waterfalls, he would reach 
a lake (Ontario), one hun- 
dred and fifty leagues long 
and forty or fifty broad, at 
the western extremity of 
which the waters were whole- 
some and the winters mild, 
and that a river (the Gen- 
esee) emptied into it from the south, which had its source in the 

1. M. Pouchot writes under date of April 14, 1758. that he handed to the Marqnis de Vandreuil 
a Map, and a memoir ou the subject of the French and English Frontiers in .\nierica. 


country of the Iroquois."' This, it may be sate to assume, is the first 
mention in [irint of the rej^ion of the Genesee. Next, Lescarbot, 
using the information gained by Cartier from the lips of the Indians 
of Canada, in 1535, says: "A little further west (of the Oswego river) 
at the Sf)uthern bend of the said lake (Ontario) there is another 
river (the Genesee), which comes from the country of the Iroquois. "^ 
Though scanty enough, these two references form the sum of direct 
historical mention of the (^enesee river and of the Indians in its 
neighborhood ])rior to the seventeenth century, so far as we have 
been able to learn. 

The original village of the Senecas, according to all tradition, was 
situated on a knoll, (ienundewah, near the village of Naples, as has 
been noted. After the extinguishment of the council fire at that 
ancient hill home by a great serpent, in the strange manner given in 
their traditions, villages sprang up elsewhere. Much obscurity rests 
about this particular era. The remains of a series of earthworks or 
rude fortified towns have been found extending from the county of 
St. Lawrence, by way of Jefferson, ^^'ayne, Ontario and Livingston, 
to Lake Erie, throu,gh (Cattaraugus and Chautau(jua counties upon a 
general line parallel to lake Ontario. It is estimated that more than 
two hunilrcd of them must have originally existed. They were 
especially numerous in this region. 

Squier,'' whose extensive researches among aboriginal remains in 
Central America and elsewhere fitted him for the task of careful 
inquiry, visited this county and other portions of the State three 
score of years ago. His object was to determine if these enclosures 
had a common origin with the vast system of earthworks of the 
Mississippi valley, whose construction in a remote age is assigned to 
the mysterious Mound-builders. But they proved to be wanting in 
the regularity of outline of those unique western structures. The 
Builders, he says, instead of planning them upon geometrical prin- 
ciples, like those of the west, regulated their forms entirely by the 
nature of the ground upon which they were built. The pottery and 

1. Miirshall's yia^ata Froiilier 

2. I.escarbot, Paris Kd., 1609, p. 381 

3. Hon. E. O. Sqitier, .See SmUltsonittti Coult ibuiiom. to KHo2vledge,\'o\. II. 


other relics found scattered among their ruins are "absolutely 
identical with those which mark the sites of towns and forts known 
to have been occupied by the Indians within the historical period;" 
and, instead of placing their construction back in the ages of the 
misty past, it may be referred to the period succeeding the discovery 
of America or not long anterior \.o that event. 

The Senecas, quite likely, on being driven from Genundewah, took 
the precaution to provide their new habitations with defenses against 
unfriendly tribes of the west and north; fur they were then in their 
weakest condition, and had most need of such security as their simple 
art of defense might afford. Earth walls would, without doubt, be 
f5rst suggested as the means of local protection against assaults by 
hostile neighbors. These earthworks generally "occupy high and 
commanding sites near the bluff edges of those broad terraces by 
which the country rises from the level of the lakes. When met with 
upon lower grounds, it is usually upon some dry knoll or little hill, 
or where banks of streams serve to lend strength to the position. 
A few have been found upon slight elevations in the midst of swamps, 
where dense forests and almost impassable marshes protected them 
from discovery and attack. In nearly all cases they are placed in 
close proximity to some unfailing supply of water, near copious- 
springs or running strean:s. Gateways opening toward these are 
always to be observed, and in some cases guarded passages are visi- 

In preparing to construct these defenses (Cusick says), "they set 
fire against several trees required to make a fort; the stone axes 
were then used to rub off the coals so as to burn quicker. When the 
tree burned down they put fire to it in places about three paces 
apart and burnt it off in half a day. The logs were then collected at 
a place wherfe they set them up around according to the bigness of 
the fort, and the earth heaped on both sides." Embankments were 
dispensed with, after the introduction of the .spade and other European 
implements enabled the Indians to plant their pickets more firmly in 
the ground. 

Traces of long occupancy are found in all these works. Relics of 
art, such as clay pipes; metal ornaments; earthen jars of clay 
tempered with pounded quartz and glass, or with fine sand, and 

I. Squier, Smithsonian Contridutions. Vol. 11.. p. 12. 



covered with rude ornaments; stone hammers, and even parched 
corn, which by lapse of time had become carbonized, were discovered 
by Squier and others in caches or "wells." The latter, designed for 
the deposit of corn and other stores, "have been found six or eight 
feet in depth, usually located on the most elevated spot within the 
enclosure." Fragments of bones, charcoal and ashes and other 
evidences of occupancy are always to be met with. 

Many of these works, traced by the pioneers, were covered with 
heavy forests, and, in several instances, trees from one to three feet 
in thickness were observed by Squier grtnving u|ion the embankments 
and in the trenches. This would carry back the date of their con- 
struction several hundred years. 

While the enclosures usually varied from one to four acres in area, 
ruins of much greater extent have been found. The larger ones 
were designed for permanent occupancy, the smaller for temporarj'' 

protection — "the citadels in 
v'^>'0^^^ \\^\\ ni.'i;///x- '^ noMomoMtm* w imm, . u-hich the builders sought 

safety for their old men, 
women and children in case 
of alarm or attack,'' or 
when the braves were absent 
on the warpath. The em- 
bankments were seldom 
more than four feet in 
height. The spot selected 
was generally convenient to 
lishing places and hunting 
grounds, and contiguous to 
fertile bottoms. Indeed, all inilicalicms render it probable that the 
occupants were fixed and agricultural in their habits. 

The remains of nearly a score of these earth works have been 
traced within this county, the largest of which, is located in the town 
of Livonia, on the farm formerly owned l)y James Haydock, now 
owned by John Peel. It is three miles northeast of Livonia Centre 
on the Lima road, and covers an area of sixteen acres. It occupied 
the "summit of a commanding hill, a position well chosen for defence. 
Sixty years ago, where the lines of intrenchments were crossed by 
fences and thus preserved from the encroachments t)f the plow, the 


embankment and ditch were distinctly visible. General Adams, who 
had often been over the ground before the removal of the forest, 
states that the ditch was then breast high."i Caches were laid 
open and many fragments of pottery picked up within the enclosure. 
The gateway opened toward the spring as shown in the engraving, 
and some indications existed of parallel embankments extending in 
that direction. Colonel George Smith, who was familiar with the 
works a century ago, was of opinion that the eastern ditch was 
straight rather than elliptical as in the engraving, and ran 
due north and south, or nearly so. Within the fort, the ground 
was then smooth and was covered by a growth of small timber. A 
steep bank bounded the fort on the west, while on the north and 
south the ground sloped gradually away. From the western boundary 
of the fort to the present highway and beyond the whole surface was 
a gentle descent. From the bottom of the ditch, in which stood 
several oaks, to the top of the bank was about five feet. 

Another work of similar character was situated on the farm form- 
erly of General Robert Adams, now owned by Morey Adams, two 
miles northeast of Livonia Centre, occupying "a beautiful broad 
swell of land not commanded by any adjacent heights, upon the west 
side of a fine copious spring, for which the Indians constructed a 
large basin of loose stones. Upon a little elevation to the left, as 
also in the forest to the northward, are extensive cemeteries." The 
area of the work was nearly ten acres and the earth walls were cpiite 
distinct in 1847. 

Two and a half miles southeast of the head of Hemlock lake, in 
the town of Springwater, a mound of similar character, though much 
smaller in size, was known to the pioneers in early days. Its precise 
location cannot now be fixed. 

The names of the various places already described have passed into 
oblivion. We are a little more fortunate respecting another work of 
the same class at no great distance from those mentioned. It was 
located about thirty rods northeast of Bosley's mills near the outlet 
of Conesus lake, and in the field now bounded by the Avon road and 
the highway leading due north from the latter. The aboriginal 

I. The diagram on piecedint; page is from actual measuremeuts, after out made by Mr. 
.Scjuier. who was aided iu tracing tlie outline by Mr. Haydock, who himself had been familiar 
with the ruius before they became greatly impaired. 



name, Kan-agh-sawsi^ clinjjs to the ruins of this inclosure, though it 
is generally called "Fort Hill." A tradition still extant, already 
given in connection with the Battle of Geneseo, peoples it with the 
women and old men of the Senecas. Upon a knoll of two or three 
acres, along the westerly side of which ran a small !?tream, there 
existed a line of embankments, two or three feet in height, the whole 
being covered, at the advent of the whites, with a low undergrowth 
of wild plum, hazel and other bushes, but no large trees. A fine 
spring which suiiplicd the occupants, continued to be used by the 


early settlers for many years. John Bosley came into the country in 
1792, and acquired the mill property in that year. The same year 
he planted this lot with corn and potatoes. A grist mill was soon 
erected on the site of the present mills. The excavations therefor 
revealed tomahawks and axes, and other iron relics were found within 
the ruins in sufficient quantities to iron the mill. Jarvis Raymond, 
who occupied the farm, picked up a rust eaten gun barrel here. 
Eighty years ago, during the construction of Olmsted's mill, a thigh 
bone, two inches longer than that of the tallest man of the day, was 

1. Or C.ah-nyuh-sas. The more modern village, neai- the head of tlie lake, liore the .same 
name. But, singularly enough, an eutirely different meaning is attached to the word. 


exhumed within the inclosure, and a shin bone of unusual size was 
also found. Large beads of green glass, coal ashes and burnt bones, 
a brass kettle, an iron pot and flint arrow heads in great numbers 
have also been discovered. Skulls to the number of two score or 
more were found at one time, and under a stump well nigh two feet 
through, w'hich stood near the crest of the hill, a skeleton was 
revealed some years ago. Orotesque ornaments, ivory or bone and 
metallic crosses and an urn of graceful form have likewise been 
gathered from the ruins of this wiM^k. 

Near the westerly bank of the Genesee, on the open flat of the 
Canawaugus reservation, might be seen as late as 1798, the embank- 
ment of an old fort which included very nearly two acres. "It cor- 
responded in situation and appearance with many others which I 
have seen in this part of the country," said Judge Porter, who sur- 
veyed the Indian reservatiiMis, "and which seemed to bear a high 
antiquity." This inclosure was located not far from the old Indian 
orchard, across the river in a southwest direction from the village 
of Avon. 

When Horatio Jones came into the country there was a "fort" of 
this description located on the flats near the river and distant about 
thirty rods north of the residence of the late Colonel William Jones. 
The highway running eastward to the river and which it strikes 
opposite Williamsburg, passes a few steps to the south of the inclos- 
ure. Before the land was placed under cultivation the embankments 
were two or three feet high and had every appearance common to 
this class of earthworks. The lot in which it was situated has been 
frequently plowed, yet the outline can still be traced and relics of 
the stronghold may now be gathered thereabouts. The tract of land 
on which it is situated is still called Fort Farm. 

On the farm of Andrew McCurdy, half a mile west of the village of 
Dansville, across the Canaseraga creek and a few rods south of the 
Ossian road, is another work of this character. 
Its site, a blufl; at the foot of which runs the Can- 
aseraga, overlooks the fertile valley to the east- 
ward and is commanded by no neighboring height. 
To the north of the inclosure a rapid stream 
takes its way through a gorge about fifty feet in 
depth, which, after running parallel to the creek 


for a short distance, bends alirnpily to the right, as in the engraving, 
and enters the Canaseraga. Near the confluence of these streams the 
inclosure was situated. The sharp acclivities which form the banks 
protected it on the north, east and west, while on the south side it 
was guarded by an earth wall and ditch (from two and a half to three 
feet deep), which were still quite distinct as late as the year 1859, 
when the field was plowed for the first time. Under a large oak 
stum[), which stood in the bottom of the ditch near the northeast 
corner, and which showed 214 annual growths, as counted by Profes- 
sor Brown, were found parts of three or four dark earthen jars, 
which, on analysis, yielded animal oil, indicating their original use 
to have been that of cooking vessels. Ashes and burnt bones of men 
and animals indiscriminately mixed, and in one place human skeletons 
entire or nearly so, an earthen pipe, a stone pestle and a deer's horn 
curiously carved, were found within the inclosure. 

A century ago a circular mound, composed in jiari of black earth 
and cinders, about thirty feet in diameter and from four to five feet 
in height, stood a few rods east of the old Havens tavern house in 
the highway leading to Groveland. The mound was quite entire in 
1806, when the family of James Scott came into the country, and 
excited consideraliie attention. Its origin was ascribed to the 
aborigines, and early settlers classed it among the fortified towns. 
The northerly side of the mound extended to the fence, the track 
way making a detour around its southerly side. A score of years 
later the road was widened and the mound was thus brought near to 
the center of the highway. Thirty or forty feet to the eastward was 
a deep hole into which, from year to year, portions of the mound 
were thrown, as it would be plowed and scraped away, until finally 
leveled with the surrounding surface. 

A mound similar to the last, though not so large, was to be seen 
less than a century ago near the highway leading from Scottsburg to 
Dansville. Its location was on the hill-side about midway between 
the two places, and lay partly on the farm formerly of James McAVhorter. 
Upon a side hill field of the farm of the late Henry Driesbach, two miles 
north of Dansville, was to be seen, in an early day, a succession of 
holes in two rows parallel to each other and regularly arranged. Their 
excavation is also naturally referred to the red man, and, with plausi- 
bility, to the era of fortified places. 


In the wood lot, on 'Mr. Austen's "Sweet Briar" farm, twenty rods 
to the west of the highway leading from Geneseo to Mt. Alorris, and 
about the same distance south of the road running to Jones bridge, is 
a small aboriginal inclosure embracing 2 acres. Its outlines are still 
defined. It was, most likely, used as a temporary abode by the ancient 
Builders while they were cultivating, from year to year, a favorable 
spot on the productive flats just below. 

Seneca town history may be said to have had five eras. The 
first applied to the original home of the tribe, Genundewah; the next 
brought the intrenched habitations to which we have just referred. 
Following these was the period of the four villages destroyed by De- 
Nonville in 1687; then that of the numerous towns established between 
1687 and 1779, all of which, with possibly one or two exceptions, were 
burned by General Sullivan; and lastly, of the five or six new villages 
which grew up on the return <jf the remnants of the Indians to the 
Genesee from Niagara, near the close of the Revolution. The older 
towns were confined to the easterly side of the river, while the later 
ones were located on the westerly side of that stream, usually at or 
near a bend in its channel. It must be borne in mind that Indian 
towns had not the definiteness of limit known to modern incorporated 
villages. They were nowhere marked by metes and bounds. A head 
man would select a spot which united beauty of location, convenience 
to good water and other advantages, and would there erect his hut. 
Any member of his tribe, who liked the site, was at liberty to build there 
a cabin and call the place home. If the chief was popular a town would 
be the result. Sometimes a solitary hut only would be found, as was 
the case between Beardstown and Big Tree, where a log house was 
standing when the pioneers arrived. It was called O-noh-sa-de-gah, or 
"burnt house." To this rude domicile General John A. Granger took 
his bride, and there resided while his frame house was building. Some 
confusion has arisen respecting certain villages, from the custom of the 
Indians to change, from time to time, both location and designation. 
The more ancient towns were located at a distance from the river or 
other body of water navigable by canoes, for, until the nation became 
strong, it would have been unwise thus to expose their families to chance 
parties of enemies, drifting noiselessly down upon their settlements. 

The four villages destroyed by DeNonville ' were Gan-na-ga-ro, or 

1. Sec .\ppen(1i.x Nn.4 for fieneral .lohu .S. Clark's description ol' these viilages. 


vSt. James, as called by the Jesuit missionaries, located on Boughton 
hill; Chi-nos-hah'-sjeh, or St. Michael, situated on Mud Creek in East 
Bloomtield, near the old stage road crossing; To-ti-ak-to, or Conception, 
in the northeastern bend of the Honeoye outlet, and Gan-nou-na-ta,' 
at the source of the Little Conesus or Gore Brook, in the town of Avon. 
The latter town is better known by its Seneca name, Dyu-do'o-sot', sig- 
nifying, "at the spring." and is the only one with which these pages 
have to do. The other three lay in Ontario county. 

Dyu-do'o-sot', - was situated on the Clarey Estate farm in Avon, a 
few rods from the line between the latter town and Lima, and two 
miles north of Livonia Station. John Blacksmith, the venerable 
sachem, whose recollections have usefully served the cause of aboriginal 
history, hunted in his youth over this section of country, and thus ac- 
quired an intimate knowledge of old Indian localities. He described 
the location of the town so accurately, that Marshall, while on a visit 
to Avon Springs a year or two afterwards, drove without ditificulty 
directly to the site, and there found indubitable evidences of former 
Indian occupancy. The spring which had sui)[)lied the village and 
originated its name, still poured forth a copious stream, and though 
the plough had nearly leveled the surface, the soil was yet loaded with 
beads, fragments of pottery, charcoal and other signs of an e.xtensive 
settlement of Indians. Hard by was their ancient burial place, still pre- 
served from desecration by its use for the white man's cemetery; thus 
mingled in death the dust of tw-o antagonist races that destiny seems 
to have forbidden to live and flourish together.'^ DeNonville, after de- 
stroying the three other ancient towns, lay at Dyu-do'o-sot' with his 
army, on the 21st of July.l'iS", through the day. He calls it a small 

1. The nil rac's are given in the M(jlia\vk dialift. 

•-'. Pronounced as chough written De-o-dou-sule. literally ■ at the spring." O. H. Marslinll, Esq., 
in a letter respecting this village, refers to the puzzling orthography of Indian proper names when 
conveyed through different languages. The name <>t Dyu-doo-bf>t. for instance, is given by DeN'on- 
ville, as (Jannounnata; in the pincrs 7>f'ihitl of taking possession of the village by the French, it is 
written Gannoudata; Belmont, in his history, calls it Ounenaba; Oreenhalgh, in his journal UP'"i. 
gives it Keinthe; La Hon tan calls it Danoncaritaoni, and Ackes Cornelius Viele writes it Kaunonada. 

3. The spot was visited by Colonel Doty in August, lSf>9. One of the then owners of the farm, Mr. 
Caton. was. at the moment, engaged in luirvesting barley in the Held, containing about 20 acres, where 
the grave-yard was located. He said that stone liammers, axes and beads were from time to time 
found in plowing. The graveyard, a small one, was then no longv;r uuich used, and was grown up 
with shrubber>'. Memliers of the Chai>pell and Wlialey families, and a few others, repcse there over 
the dust of the long forgotten Seneca warrior and councillor. 


village, distant two leagues from To-ti-ak-to, and remarks that one 
would hardly credit the quantity of old and new corn found by him in 
store there, all of which perished by fire, ' as likewise did a "vast 
quantity of hogs." As he entered this village, he found the symbol of 
British sovereignty, the coat of arms of England, placed there three 
years before by Governor Dongan, though the arms were ante-dated as 
of 1683. While DeNonville lay here, a Huron belonging to his force, 
brought in the scalps of a Seneca man and woman, whom he had found 
in an excursion to the eastward. The Huron, in reporting, speaks of 
the "multitude of paths by which the enemy had fled." In 1677, 
Greenhalgh counted the houses in the four Seneca towns. Dyu-do'o-sot' 
was found to contain twenty-four.- Influenced by a supersitition, 
never a solitary hut was rebuilt, but the Senecas sought now the banks 
of the Genesee, along which they reared their villages, and for ninety 
years remained undisputed masters of the region. 

On the western shore of the Genesee nearly opposite the sulphur 
springs at Avon, lay Can-a-wau-gus,' the northernmost of the river 
towns. Its site was a few rods south of the old toll bridge, on land 
formerly owned by heirs of vSimon McKenzie. Both the great central 
trail betw'een the Hudson and the Niagara rivers, and the principal 
pathway leading from the falls at Rochester to the homes of tribesmen 
on the upper Genesee, passed through it. The population of Canawau- 
gus at the period of its greatest importance, has been estimated at one 
thousand souls. ^ It was the birth place of Cornplanter, and of his 
scarcely less noted half brother, Handsome Lake, the Peace Prophet. 

1. On the basis aflordetl by DeN'onville, the corn ricstroyedat Dyu-do'o-sot' was uot less than a 
quarter of ii million bushels. He says. "We had the curiosity to tstimate the whole quantity, green 
as w ell as ripe com, which wc have destroyed in the four villages, and we found that it would amount 
to 3,i0,0flti miiiotsof green, and .50.000 minots of old corn." He adds, "There was no less corn in (Dyu- 
do'o-sot' or) Gannimnta than at any of the other villages. ' A minot is a French measure of three 
bushels: making the total of corn destroyed by the E.xpeditiou, 1,200,000 bushels! [Sec note to Mar- 
shall's trans, p. 37.] 

2. Greenhalgh says "Keint-he contains about 24 houses, well furnished with corn." (See Col. 
Docs. X. Y.. Vol. III.] 

3. Ca-nn-;va-gas, also Ga-no-wa-gas. literally "stinking water; " or, "ithas the smell of the scum." 
■Col. Hosmer's orthography of the name is followe<l in the text. 

4. Col. Hosiuer is authority for this statement. Previous thereto, according to tradition, the popu- 
lation was much greater. Col. Hosnier said in 1869: "My cousin James Hosmer, now over 70, thinks 
in his boyhood the t'anawaugus Indians numbered only 50O or 600." These estimates appear quite too 


Here, the latter received his revelation, and here often came the wise 
men of the Senecas to counsel with these and other noted residents. 
The Indian medicine-man often resorted to the healing waters of the 
neighboring spring, making his temporary home at this village, which 
thus acquired consequence in the minds of the natives. Their burial 
place, situated a score of rods to the north of the town, has often yielded 
up its bones to the plowman, and relics such as stone hammers, flint 
arrow heads, iron a.xes and other aboriginal weapons, have, from time 
to time, been found in the vicinity. "Often," says Colonel Hosmer, 
speaking in 1869, "I pay visits to the old Indian orchard, lying two 
miles away, as the crow flies, in southwest direction from the old 
bridge. Two apple trees have been spared by the axe, and I regret to 
say that their windbowed and mossy trunks will soon share the fate of 
the race who planted them. The early settlers of Avon discovered 
peach trees growing in the forest on the site of an ancient corn field of 
the Indians, the fruit of which was of good flavor. Many years since 
the council house at Canawaugns was standing. When last visited by 
me, a quarter of a century ago, it was in a state of decay — the roof, 
overlaid with bark, was falling in, and the storms had partly beaten 
down the walls. The building was low and about sixty feet in length. 
In the centre of the roof, which was bark bent to a rounded form over 
the ridge pole, was an open place for the escape of smoke, when the 
elders of the tribe convened." 

Mrs. Berry' was heard to say that in olden times there was an Indian 
village on the east side of the river, not far from the red bridge (Ijuilt 
in 1817); and that many huts were burned on that side of the river by 
a scouting party from Sullivan's army. 

Dyu'-ne-ga-nooh'2 was situated near the northwestern margin of 
the great spring at Caledonia. To the east and south of the Indian 
town lay oak openings, where the vSenecas pastured their rough coated 
ponies. To the southwest, a grove of wild plum trees and grape vines, 
on forest grown trellises, opened before the natives, supjilying them 
with fruit, while the waters of the spring afforded trout and other fine 
fish in abundance. Standing near the westerly border of the spring 

1. Wife of the Indian trader, Gilbert R. Berry. 

2. It is often written Z?<'-()o-«f-if(7/(-Hn, and means "clear cold water. "(7a«-('-o-(/<'-j'«, was the 
name given by the Senecas to the Caledonia spring, and signifies "clear small lake." 


was the fatal post to which the condemned prisoner was fastened for 
torture; and hither, from other Seneca towns, were brought captives 
of consequence, the prisoners of state. Horatio Jones pointed out to 
John i\IcKay, the precise spot where the post stood, as the two strolled 
one evening along the Spring creek. "John," said the former, "do 
you ever see ghosts after nightfall wandering through these woods? 
If Indian hunters are to be credited, sights are often seen here that 
would make your hair rise." The Indian burial place was located 
about twenty rods northeast of the spring, where in digging wells and 
cellars, bones in abundance have been disinterred. A young woman,' 
while in pursuit of her cows in an early day, passing near the burial- 
place observed a grass grown hillock by the footpath. Thrusting in 
her walking stick, she disturbed a quantity of bones from their slight 
covering, doubtless those of poor captives who had suffered torture at 
the stake. Articles of pottery, bearing curious devices, copper kettles 
similar in style to those in use among Spanish colonists, and rudely 
formed hatchets and arrowheads, have been met with here. Long 
after the permanent occupancy of the village ceased, it continued to 
be a noted stopping place for bands of natives and parties of pioneers, 
or travelers passing to and fro along the central trail leading from 
Albany to Niagara river. Turner cites the remark of an old Canadian 
emigrant, who, after the Revcjlution, often passed over this route. He 
said that camping here was so frequent that the fires of one party 
would be burning when another arrived. At this village rested for a 
few hours the fugitive families from Beardstown as they fled before 
Sullivan; and here, too, halted, next day, the force under Butler as it 
retreated toward Niagara. In 1796, a detachment of regulars on their 
way up lake Ontario to take possession of Fort Niagara in batteaux, 
were driven by stress of weather from the lake to the mouth of the 
Genesee. They came thence to the mouth of Allen's creek and quar- 
tered on the farm of Peter Shaeffer. When they broke up their quar- 
ters there, Mr. Shaeffer piloted them to Caledonia springs where they 
bivouacked for the night. - 

The village of the Tuscarora Indians, O-ha-gi ^ lay a mile 

1. Later Mrs. Johu McKay. 

2. Turuer's Phelps & Gorham's Pur. — p. 409 

3. A few steps south of the old canal culvert. Mr. Wright thinks the true orthography ni.-»y 
he Dyu-h.ih-yaih. meanin» "the current bites the bank," or. "eats it away." 



north <^f the Bi^- Tree town on the same side of the river. Its 
site was a gentle swell of land rising westward from a marshy fiat, 
some thirty rods south of the old Spencer warehouse. The canal 
passed through the old Indian town, on the easterly border of which 
there were standing until quite recently two apple trees planted by the 
natives. A spring of slightly brackish water which sujJijlied the vil- 
lage, and around which the houses clustered, is still in existence. 
Richard Osbon, whose farm now owned by Hon. James W. 
Wadsworth, lies just south of the site, came to this country in 
1806. He said that then plain traces of several huts were yet to be 


seen; but all e.xternal evidences of alniriginal occupancy have since 
disappeared. The Indian burial place which lay to the northeast of 
the village, from which it was divided by a little stream, is well 
represented in the engraving. Two or three great oaks stood, 
until recently, among the graves. In the season of fall shooting, 
pigeons in great numbers flocked to these trees, attracted by the 
peculiar water of the spring, a fact well known to hunters, 
w-ho seldom went away from the spot with ein])ty game bags. 



Within seventy years the Indian graves, scattered here and there, 
indicated by slight grassy knulls, could be distinctly traced. Major 
Spencer protected the spot with much care, the plow not being suf- 
fered to invade the red man's resting place. Some years ago it became 
necessary to cut a ditch along tiie northern edge of the old burial 
ground. Major Spencer visited the spot while the work was going on, 
and, seeing one of the vvorkmen opening his tools over the graves, he 


said with emphasis to the ditcher, "Hi, hi, you are standing on the 
bones of IndiansI have a care, sir. have a care!" 

Ga'-on-do-wa-nuh, located on the westerly side of the river near the 
great bend, was long known as the village of the wise and intliiential 
Seneca chieftain. Big Tree,' A mile above on the opposite side of the 
river, stood the great oak'-, and directly to the east, distant two miles, 
is the present village of Geneeeo. The reservation embraced two 

1. Ca-oti-<lo-7ca-nuh. was located on the farm lot ofEasoii 1". Slocuni, in Leicester. The name 
signifies "Big Tree's village." bnt the tree is supposed to be lying prostrate. 

2. This great c.ak. wiiiih has licciuif popularly known as the "Big Tree." and to which it has been 
ernmcously snpimscd 'aneseo is indebted for its amicnt name of Big Tree, was not remarkable for its 
height, being probably in the niighborhood <if>event! feel, but it was a very broad spreading tree, 
the bole meafiired twenly-eit ht feet in lircumfereme, tour feet from thi> ground. 


square miles, uniting with that of Beardstown on the south. The vil- 
lage occupied an area of about thirt\' acres, divided by a small brook, 
now dry, the present hi<i;hvvay leading to Cuylerville, crossing the bed 
of the stream at right angles. One of the apple trees, planted by the 
Indians, yet remains. It stands across the gully at the northeast, and 
points the spot where the orchard was located. Before the canal 
was dug. Colonel Lyman occupied a storehouse on the river just east 
of Big Tree village. The river for some distance is very crooked here. 
In an air line Gilmore's mill is Init a mile and a half below, but mea- 
sured by the river's channel, it is quite seven miles. The graves of 
John Montour and four other Indians occupy a spot a couple of rods east 
of the highway. Sugar maple trees were plentiful about Big Tree vil- 
lage while the Indians occupied it, and in the sugar season the Senecas 
from other towns were in the habit of visiting their tribesmen here. 
In 182(1 the village had become reduced to eight or nine bark roofed 
huts, and was among the last of the towns west of the river to .be va- 
cated. Descendants (jf its former occupants still venerate its site. 
About forty years ago a band of Senecas visited the spot, and spent 
some hours in mourning over the graves. Their lamentations were 
plainly "tieard by Mr. Slocum's family, who resided a half mile distant. 
Dyu-non-dav-ga'-eeh, ' or Beardstown, I'lng held the principal 
among the Seneca villages. When Mary Jemison reached there in 
17()1, siie found the Beardstown warrior.s preparing to assist the- French 
in retaking Fort Niagara, whence they soon returned in triunqih, 
bringing white prisoners and driving a number of oxen, the first meat 
cattle, by the way, ever brought to the (ienesee fiats. Against this 
town Washington especiallj- directed the expedition under Sullivan in 
1779. The tribal council fire lay elsewhere, but here lived the noted 
chieftain Little Beard, and about him had gathered the wise and brave 
of his tribesmen.- Here were planuLcl their forays and here they met 
for consultation, and whenever the Senecas were summoned to the 
warpath, the Beardstown braves were always among the foremost. 
Quartered for security at this village for months, perha])s for years, 
after the Revolution began, were families from Nunda, and other out- 
lying towns, while their natural i^rotectors were absent harassing the 
eastern settlements; and frr.m this s|)ot went nut Rrant and the Butlers 

I. Or "stL'ep hill creek." or ■•where the hill i^ (or lies) upon it.*' Ttie litilian. \\'illiain .loiies, suid 
Ihtit Beariistowii wiis cuUeJ Qa-nah-ftn-niit-hn-ali. The plnfc is often eiilled LUtte Heanlstowu. 

Old Apple Tree Planted by Indians on Big Tree Reservation. 


to the massacre of Wyoming, and to engage in other bloody work. 
From this spot, too, in the rain of an autumn day, fled the panic- 
stricken women, children and old men of the Senecas, and others who 
had sought its asylum, to escape the "Yankee army" when it broke 
camp at Conesus Lake. Sullivan calls Beardstown the capital of the 
western Indians, and adds, "we reached the castle or village, which 
consisted of one hundred and twenty-eight houses, mostly very large 
and elegant. The town was beautifully situated, almost encircled with 
a clear flat which extends for a number of miles where the most exten- 
sive fields of corn were, and every kind of vegetable that can be con- 
ceived." The diaries of other e.xpeditionary ofificers dilate upon the 
beauty and relative importance of the village. It occupied the eastern 
part of the site of Cuylerville, extending eastward toward the river for 
several rods beyond the canal. Russell Beebe, while in the employ of 
Oliver Phelps, cleared the lanil on which Beardstown was situated. 
He found the ruins ot many huts, and here and there a straggling house 
near the river, showing that at one time the village extended well in 
that direction. The Indian orchard stood near John Perkins's barn, on 
the road from CuylerviUe to the bridge, and a single apple tree, which 
survived the destruction by Sullivan's soldiers might, in recent years, 
still be seen there. "When planted, this tree was close to the ferry, as the 
river then ran. In excavating for the canal a few Indian bones were 
discovered, and fifty years ago Jacob Clute, on preparing to build a brick 
blacksmith shop near the distillery, dug up the skeletons of half a dozen 
natives. Tomahawks and knives, stone arrow heads and other relics, are 
still found about the old village. The Indian burial ground was situ- 
ated a mile south of Cuylerville, on the farm of the late Hiram Jones, 
where a partial examination of the mounds, about seventy five years ago, 
discovered a large quantity of human bones. Soon after the death of 
Little Beard, the families began to leave the village for Tonawanda, 
the number of occupants gradually lessening until Beardstown wjc^ 

De yu'-it-g.i'-oh,> known tu the whites as Squakie Hill, was situated 
on the westerly side of the river, opposite Mount Morris, and not far 
from the brow of the northern bluff terminating with the narrows of 

1. Monniuir. "wlifre the valley beKiiis tii e.xpaiid or wiflen out." .lohii Shiiiiks and other Iixlimis 
say that S.|iiaki.- Hill was iilsii called Uu-nuh-daianl-hwali, which means, "the hemlock was poured 
out." nieiiliiug the line leaves. 


the Genesee. It had ready access to the river, between which and the 
hill, lay a broad fiat, whose exhaustless soil, even under the scanty 
tillage of the Indians, yielded them corn and other vegetables in pro- 
fusion. The reservation embraced two square miles. By 1816 its 
population had become reduced to about eighty souls occupying a 
dozen bark roofed houses of small logs, scattered here and there as best 
suited the owner's notion, thrjugh all clustered about the council house. 
The latter, located on a level spot of two or three acres west of the 
present highway, and a feu- rods north of John F. White's residence 
building, was a log building about 25 feet by 40. Inside, a row of 
rough seats extended around the walls for spectators, the center being 
reserved for the council fire. The burial place lay to the northwest of 
the village, a few rods beyond the marsh or flat. Bones and weapons 
are yet found, and a few years since a silver earring was picked up on 
the old burial ground site. There were two houses half way between 
the village and the corn grounds, and at the latter place each family 
had a smaller hut in which they often lodged while planting and har- 
vesting their crops. Few traces remain of Indian occupancy at 
Squakie Hill. A part of Thomas Jemison's log house, located east of 
the highway, is yet standing and is still occupied as a dwelling. The 
orchard, to the south of the Jemison house, contains several apple trees 
planted by the Senecas, as likewise were a number of the venerable 
trees still standing on the flats to the east of Squakie Hill, and on the 
hill to the south, where the Peer rt^sidence, now occupied by John F. 
White, Esq., stands. 

A knoll just across the stream, south of where the cheese factory 
stood and east of the highway, was the spot where John Jeuiison was 
killed. The Senecas believed that this medicine man's ghost haunted 
the place. "Friends," said the Tall Chief, "you have killed an Indian 
in lime of peace and made tin- wind hear his groans and the earth 
drink his blood. If you go into the woods to live alone, the ghost of 
Jemison will follow you, crying. Blood I blood I and will give you no 
peace. "^ 

Samuel Magee was at the village in 1802. Before entering, he met 
a score of bareheaded squaws, each shouldering a hoe, on their way to 
the corn patch, under the leatl of one of their number, who, according 
to the habit, usually laid out ihe day's work. On reaching the village 

1. Ilosiner's notes. 

Apple Tree at Squakie Hill, Planted by the Senecas. 


Magee found a number of youngs Indians playing ball, an older set 
were pitching quoits, and a group of venerable natives were gravely 
watching the games. The shouting and boisterous laughing of the 
players obliged Magee to dismount, to the great mirth of the Indians, 
and to lead his scared horse through the town. Squakie Hill kept its 
population longer than any of the other river villages, and was the 
scene of their farewell dance, when the natives were about to quit the 
Genesee country. 

O'-non-da'-oh^ was located near the modern village of Nunda, though 
Thomas Jemison thinks a couple of miles nearer the river than the 
latter ttnvn. In this other Indians agree, but the precise spot is not 
determined. Philip Kenjockety told Colonel Doty at Versailles, that 
a large spring of very cold water suf)plied the village, and as he recol- 
lected CJ'-non-da'-oh in early youth, a hundred and thirty-five years 
ago, it was larger than Beardstown then was. Previous to the battle 
of Fort Stanwi.x the warriors of O'-non-da'-oh and other Seneca villages 
had been invited by the British to come and see them whip the Yan- 
kees. The Indians were not asked to take part in the fight but to sit 
down and smoke their pipes and look on. "Our Indians," said Mary 
Jemison, "went, to a man, but instead of taking the part of spectators 
were forced to fight for their lives, and, in the end. were completely 
beaten, and that with great loss in killed and wounded."- (J'-non-da'- 
oh shared in the disaster, losing among others its chieftain, Hoh-sque- 
sah-oh.'' His death was much deplored. The distress following their 
losses begot a feeling of insecurity and when the warriors again took 
the war-path the families composing the town removed to Beardstown. 
Kenjockety, who dimly recollected the exodus, followed with his par- 
ents. We find the village again occupied in 1780. In the spring of 
that year Joseph Gilbert, a Quaker, with his parents and family had 
been taken captives by a band of Senecas and Mohawks in Northum- 
berland county. Pennsylvania, and carried, with another pioneer, 
named Thomas Peart, to Caracadera where they were treated some- 
what roughly. Gilbert was soon separated from Peart "and removed 

1. Meaning "where many hills tome together." It will be observed that the Gilbert Narrative 
gives the orthography Xundoii: It is alsii given in ciirly doeuments .Viinrfji/. 

2. The Be.-irdstown Indians had 36 killed and a number wounded. 11 is not known just how 
many we're lost from 0-non^la-oh village. 

;l. Signitying "a man who carries it trimahiiwk." 


to Xiindow, almost seven miles distant, where, soon after his arrival, 
the chief himself brought Joseph some hominy and otherwise treated 
him with much civility and kindness, intending to adopt him into his 
family." For several weeks he resided with the chief, whose wigwam 
was superior to the huts of the other Indians. He was then taken 
back to Caracadera, his weakness of body from scanty nourishment 
being so great that he- was two days in accomplishing the journey of 
seven miles. 

Peart was also taken to Nundow where he spent the fall and winter. 
Gilbert occasionally visited him there. Gilbert finally escaped- to 
Niagara, and Peart was carried to the same place by his Indian mother, 
where the two captives rejoined their friends. 

Ga-da'-oh' was situated on the Genesee river, near the great land 
slide. The reservation originally embraced 28 square miles, lying on 
both sides of the river, the village being on the westerly shore. On 
the return of the Senecas to the Genesee, after Sullivan's invasion, 
Mary Jemison went with others to Beardstown. Food was scarce 
there, and the weather by this time had become cold and stormy. As 
the houses had all been burned, she resolved to look out for herself 
elsewhere. Taking two of her children upon her back and the three 
others following, she traveled on foot to Gardeau flats. "At that time, 
two negroes, who had run away from their masters, were the only 
inhabitants of those fiats. They lived in a small cabin and had planted 
and raised a large field of corn, as yet unharvested. They were in 
want of help to secure their crop, and I hired to them. I have laughed 
a thousand times to myself when I have thought of the good old negro 
who, fearing that I should be injured by the Indians, stood by me con- 
stantly with a loaded gun, and thereby lost as much labor of his own as 
he received from me. "^ She thus secured a supply of samp and cakes 
for the fearfully cold winter that followed. Deciding to take up her 
residence here, she occupied a part of the negro's cabin and the next 
season built a hut for herself. The lands at Gardeau subsequently 
became hers by formal grant at the Big Tree treaty of 17't7. She 
remained here until 1831. when she removed to the Rutl'alo reser- 

1. The Senecas name was h'au-Ta-n. meaning ■■down and \i\^ " <»r ;i vjtll.-v ;iii<l hilKjdf. in ii \\or<i 
a lilulT. The word is now spelled Gardeau And Onrdnn: 

i. Lik' of Miir.v .feniisoii. 


Ga-nos'-ga-go occupied the site of the vilhige of Dansville. It was 
a small Seneca town, of comparatively modern date, and for some 
cause had ceased to be occupied as a winter village at the advent of 
the early pioneers, "though fifteen or twenty huts were standing 
when white settlements commenced, and several Indian families 
lingered for some years in the neighborhood"! ilain street cuts 
through the Indian burial ground, which covered two or three acres 
including the site of the Lutheran church. In sinking wells in the 
vicinity, a number of Indian relics and skeletons were exhumed, and 
about fifty years ago workmen engaged in digging a cellar, near the 
southerly part of this burial ground, came upon two skeletons of 
giant sized Indians, which lay side by side. They had evidently long 
reposed there, some favoring element in the soil having preserved them 
beyond the ordinary limit. 

In a battle that took place between the Canisteo Indians and the 
Senecas, on a hill three miles to the northeast, a noted chief of the 
Senecas was killed. To mark the spot where he fell, an excavation, 
several rods in extent, shaped like a man with arms extended, was 
made by his tribesmen. - An Indian trail led by this novel memorial 
and the natives in passing were in the habit of clearing therefrom, 
with tender regard, the leaves and brush which the winds had drifted 
into it. The chief's remains were brought to Ga-nos'-ga-go for burial 
and, singularly enough, now lie underneath the altar of the Lutheran 
church, a Christian memorial to a pagan warrior. A rude monument, 
consisting of a pile of small stones brought hither, one by one, by the 
Indians, from a hill a mile distant, was worked by the white man's 
hands into the church foundation walls. The Indian trail, which led 
from the Genesee tc the Canisteo river and thence to eastern Pennsyl- 
vania, may yet in places be traced, especially at a point half way up 
Big Hill, where the path intersects the highway leading from Dans- 
ville to Hornellsville; and for many miles below the latter place its 
deeply worn course is yet visible. Ga-nos'-ga-go was established after 
DeNonville's invasion of 1684. In Pouchot's map, as will be seen, it 
appears under the name of Ka-nons-ke-gon, a Frenchman's iDode of 

1. Conrad Wek'li's Reccllectioiis. [See Turner's, Phelps & tiorlinni, 3,i9.] The meaning of 
the Indian word Ga-nus-ga-go is "HmonK the milk-weeds." 

2. Thespotcannot be fi.und. though some o( the earl.v settlers were heard to speak of the exca- 
vation which they had seen. 


indicating' in writinjj; the Indian spoken name. The two trails, pass- 
inji^ up either side of the Canaseraga connected the village with the 
towns along the river. 

Sho-no'jo-waah-geh' occupied both sides at Damon's creek, which 
runs on the northerly edge of the village of Mount Morris. The resi- 
dence of John M. Hastings, Esq., occupies a portion of the site. The 
name signifies Big Kettle's town, and is derived from the circum- 
stance of (ieneral Mills bringing a ccjpper still or kettle into the place 
to put into a distillery. In opening Grove street, hatchets, knives 
and beads were discovered in considerable quantities. Samuel Magee, 
who visited the Indian village in 17'J5, found the town ([uite compact, 
and the natives, who were enjoying themselves upmi the green, very 
civil. Magee, then a pioneer youth, and until then holding the red 
man in no little fear, lost his dread and grew fond of their company. 
When Jesse Stanley came to Mount ^lorris in 1811, an Indian mound, 
nearly a hundred feet in diameter and from 8 to 10 feet high, covered 
the site of the late General Mills' residence. The mound had long been 
crowned by a great tree, which had recently fallen under the axe, the 
stump remaining, though much weather beaten. Deacon Stanley was 
told that when freshly cut it discluseti a hundred ami thirty concentric 
circles or yearly growths. About the year 1820, the moimd was re- 
moved, and, in its removal, arrow heads, a brass kettle and knives 
were thrown out. A number of skeletons were also disinterred. 
Among the bones was a himian skeleton of enormous size, the jaw 
bone of which was so large that Adam Holtslander ])laced it, mask- 
like, over his own chin and jaw, although he was the largest man in 
the settlement, and his face was in proportion to the rest of his body. 
Metal, in the form of rude medals, a pipe and other articles, were 
picked out of the earth thrown from the excavation. Sho-noh-jo-waah- 
geh was generally called Allen's Hill by the whites; and the fiats 
directly to the east, cultivated by the Indians, they called Allen's 
flats, deriving the name from Ebenezer Allen, or Indian Allen, as he 
was generally called, the Blue Beard of pioneer history. This notori- 
ous character had acquired possession of a large tract of land where 
Mount Morris now stands, and of which the village is nearly the 

1. Literally, S/io-iio/i-jVj-iiaa'i, Big Kettle, and ,(7e/(, the location or town of, hence " the town of 
Big Kettli'." .Morgan says that the I'ainous Seneea orator. Big Kettle, once re.sided here, but this is 
imihably an error. 


geographical center, ' occupying for residence and also for business 
purposes a long log house that stood within the bounds of Mr. Has- 
tings' grounds. 

Kan-agh-saws, or Conesus, was a small Seneca town, situated half 
a mile south of the head of Conesus lake, on the flat between Hender- 
son's creek and the inlet, though nearer the former than the latter 
stream. Sullivan's invading army breakfasted at this village on the 
morning of the 13th of September, 1779, and there spent the earlier 
half of that day. They found it to consist of twenty-five houses, and 
the surrounding bottom lands covered with patches of corn, ripening 
melons, squash and beans. Close at hand was an orchard of 
apple and peach trees. The army, with the exception of the light 
corps which encamped a mile in advance, had bivouacked on Richard- 
son's farm at a late hour the previous evening. After marching all 
the afternoon through drizzling rain and over muddy paths, a scanty 
supper and short supply of water, added to damp garments, had not 
rendered the night one of comfort, and the men were glad enough to 
move forward at early dawn to a spot which, like this, promised boun- 
tiful rations of seasonable vegetables, good water and an opportunity 
to dry their clothing by the heat of the burning cabins of the little 
town. Arms were also to be examined and prepared for use against 
the enemy, who were expected to be found gathered in force near 
their villages, which lay at no great distance beyond the brow of the 
wooded hills in full sight to the westward of Kan-agh-saws.- Sullivan 
says in his repi)rt, "Here we found some large cornfields, which part 
of the army destroyed while the other part were employed in l)uilding 
the bridge" across the inlet. When the army broke camp to move 
over the temporary bridge, cabins, crops and orchards had disappear- 
ed. The destruction of every species of property had been effected 
under tbe eye of Sullivan himself and was complete. The Indian vil- 
lage was never rebuilt. The Senecas have a tradition that a fort 
belonging to their tribe once occupied the site of this town, but it is 

1. Called the Mount Morris tract. See reference to this in (^liapt^r 8. and copy of grant to .\llen's 
<iaughters in the appendix. 

2. See appendix to Marshall's Expedition of DeNonville. Snllivan gives the orthr yrapliy of 
Conesus thus— A'aiie.ciAsatcs: Col. Huble.v spells it Kanaflhs<is aw\ .Major N'orris, of the Xew Hampshire 
regiment, gives it A'«jM7A«ta.'! or Vnrksin. The name is alM^ said l") be derived from the old scoop net 
fishing ground at the outlet of the lake, but this would apply ipiite as well to the old fortified pliice 
near Bosley's or Olmsted's Mills. 


more than probable that this has reference to the fortified place near 
Bosley's ^lills. Its nanie is derived from the abundance of sheep 
berries which tormcrly ijrew on the western border of the lake. 
Poiichot gives the name Oni;)tade. 

l)yii-hah-gaih' was the village of the Oneida Indians. It will be 
recollected that the Oneidas, as a tribe, took sides with the colonists 
in the Revolutionary struggle. A few families, liowever, clung to the 
British cause. Of the latter, a portion removed to the Genesee, 
retreating thence to Niagara at the approach of Sullivan. When the 
Kenecas returned, a remnant of the Oneidas. consisting of 15 or 20 
families, also came back and established their homes on the easterly 
side of the river, a mile below Gilmore's mill. Near the site of their 
village, the river banks are quite bold. The Oneida youths were 
e.vyjert swimmers and often astonished the pioneers by their daring 
lea])s into the water. Charles Shackleton said they could dive as deep 
and stay as long beneath the surface as a fish. The spot became quite 
noted as a bathing place, and, on a warm afternoon, the river was 
frequently alive with their black heads. The whites were on good 
terms with them, and often visited the ground to play ball with the 
natives. The Senecas of the u])i)er villages imagined that the Oneida 
town harbored two or three witches, and about the year 1800 one of 
the suspected squaws was secured and taken to Beardstown, where, it 
is said, she was burned. This village was the occasional residence of 
two or three of the more noted Seneca wise men. It was among the 
first to be abandoned after the treaties. 

Chenussio was until 17().S the "'Western door of the Long House" 
and was in existence as early as \7r<0 and as late as 1770; at the time 
of Sullivan's cam])aign it had ceased to exist or had dwindled into an 
insignificance unworthy of mention. It was located on the east side 
oi the river at its confluence with Canaseraga Creek, a little south of 
Williamsburg, on the Colonel Abell farm, now owned by Major William 
A. Wadsworth. A small grove standing between the site of the old 
tavern (Allen's Tavern) and the Fitzhugh mansion "Hampton" now 
the residence of James W. Wadsworth, junior, marked, it is believed, 
the precise location of this village. Colonel William Jones recollected 
visiting the spot when about ten years of age, and could then trace 

1. Meaning "the stream or current duvouis it." that is, the bank. There is some uncertainty as 
to the eorrc'tness of this name when applied to this village, Ihougli it is believed to be acenmte as 


the remains of eight or ten Indian huts. Samuel Magee said that 
from the town square as originally laid out, to the river, was about 
eighty rods, and that, about halfway between the square and river, 
was quite a large Indian burial ground. In 1806 a number of the 
Indian graves were opened and rifled of brass kettles, tomahawks and 
other property usually buried with the dead. Agriculture has long 
claimed the spot, and the surface now presents no evidence of 
aboriginal occupancy, though occasionally articles of Indian handiwork 
are found in breaking up the soil. This village appears on the Guy 
Johnson map of 1761 as Chenussio; on the Pouchot map of 1758 as 
Sonnechio, in both cases at the point described and where Mary 
Jemison's narrative says it was in her day. In 1750 it was visited by 
Cammerhof? and Zeisberger, two Moravian missionaries, who called it 
Zonnesschio and describe it as then containing forty houses. All of 
these names are dialectical and orthographical variations of the 
modern word Genesee, signifying the beautiful valley. Gaustavan, a 
celebrated Seneca chief, was for many years a leading spirit of the 
town, and during the French and Indian war, being thoroughly in the 
interests of the French, it required all the diplomatic ability of Sir 
William Johnson and the influence of the other natives of the league 
to neutralize his efforts. In 1768 it had ceased to be the western door, 
which honor was then held by the great town of Chenandoanes — Little 
Beard's town — on the west side of the river. 

Cbenussio was the town that Boyd was sent to reconnoitre, and 
which Major Norris says General Sullivan expected to find on the east 
side of the river and two miles north of Gathtsegwarohare. Writers 
have confounded it with Little Beardstown, and it greatly perplexed 
the General in his examination of the maps. It was near this village 
that both Schoolcraft and Cusick fix the place of the bloody battle 
between the Kah-kwas, who had been sent into the Seneca country by 
their female chief, and the latter tribe. 

Gaw-shegweh-oh,*or Gathtsegwarohare, was located about two miles 
above the confluence of the creek and river, and is described in a sub- 
sequent chapter. 

1. Samuel Magce gave the name a.s L'lahulan. .An old Seneca, Samuel Wilwin, who was raised on 
the Genesee, said Gmc-she-gueh meant a spear, and that O-ehr^girehont meant rattlesnake. When the 
place wa.e first occupied by tne Indians.the jioint. at the confluence of the Genesee and the Caiiaseraga 
creek, abounded with rattlesnakes. They would lay curled up on the i)Oint. basking on sunshiny 
days, from which fact the town took its name. 


Sga-liis-ga-aah was a modern Seneca town occupying the site of the 
present village of Lima. The name signifies, "it was a long creek," 
and had reference to the stream whicli Hows at the foot of the ridge 
whereon tlie Indian town was located and which leads to one of the 
tributaries of Honeoye creek.' The importance of Sga-his-ga-aah con- 
sisted mainly in its convenience as a halting-place between the Indian 
village at Caledonia spring and that which lay near (leneva, on the line 
of the great central trail connecting the Hudson and the Niagara 
rivers. The village had entirely disappeared in 1797, when Matthew 
Warner came to the Genesee coiintrv. Fifty years ago Franklin Carter 
found traces of five lodges, in plowing his orchard lot situated on the 
easterly slope of the ridge. The lodges appeared to have stood a 
■couple of rods apart, fronting on a straight line.- Evidences of 
a large aboriginal population here have, from time to time, 
appeared. The Indian burial ground must have been quite extensive, 
as we may judge by the portions of it that have been disturbed by the 
plow and spade. Miles Bristol, in the first two years' plowing of his 
orchard lot in early days, found Indian axes in such ciuantities that 
their sale more than covered the cost of tillage; and William A. Bristol 
■on different occasions, found in the saine lot, situated ujjon this ridge 
back of his residence, a number of Indian skulls and bones; full fifty 
brass kettles, the bottoms of which were generally rusted out ; pipes, 
with the bowls ornamented by such devices as the huinan face and 
the heads of deer and other animals; beads and arrow heads, and several 
quarts of parched corn and beans. Many years ago, when the yard in 
front of the Presbyterian church was graded, Indian skeletons were 
■discovered by the hundred, as reported by those who then saw tliem. 
Fiftv years since an excavation was made at the corner of Main and 
Rochester streets, whith exposed the bones of a number of aborigines 
and articles usually found buried with them. The spot originally 
belonged to the church lot and it is a coinridence worthy of mention, 

1. This ridKC runs east and west, panillei witli Miiiii .'^tU'Ct. The central iwirtion of the Inilum 
town was a few rods south of tlie .Vmericim II del. 

2. The precise .s()Ot. where the remains of these Indies was fovnid, is about tweiii; -live rods to the 
rearof the Ameriean Hotel. .Morgan, in his"Ijei\.i;ue of the Iroiiuois." gives an engravinc of an Indian 
pipe found at Lima. It was id" black pottery, well tiuished, nnd nearly as hard as nuirhle. Col. Geo. 
Smith wai in Lima in 179S. There were then traces of an old fortihcation on the ridse where the In- 
dian village had teen lo"ated, the west end of the ditch crl^ssing the present highway on the ridge. 
i\ short distance west of the centre of the modern village, and remained hie for .some years after 179s. 


that the Indian burial oroiinds at Dansville and two or three other 
places in the county are used by Christian churches as cemeteries for 
white men. AuDtlier, lhnut;h smalk'r, Indian burial ground is known 
to exist about one mile north of the village of Lima, where hatchets, 
knives and other weapons have been occasionally found side by side 
with skeletons. In 1822 citizens discovered remains of Indians here, 
in a sitting posture, with earthen pots in their laps filled with corn and 
bones of squirrels. About the same period large trees, which grew 
over Indian graves, were cut away. Sullivan makes no mention of 
Sga-his-ga-aah, and, most likely, he was unaware of such a town, 
which, if then a winter habitation, had already been deserted for safe- 
ty, the families probabh' imiting with those of Beardstown or Cana- 
waugus, as was the case with many Seneca towns lying east of the 

Ga-non'-da-seeh was a favorite place of resort for the Indians in the 
season of pigeon shooting. The name signifies "New Town," and was 
located near the modern hamlet of Moscow, though never used for 
winter occupancy. 

The site of Deo-wes-ta is known to the whites as Portageville. It 
lay upon the neck of land on the easterly side of the river between 
Portageville and the lower falls. 

At or near the site of the present village of East Avon, was located 
a modern Seneca town called Gah-ni'-gah-dot, which signifies "the 
pestle stands there." 

It would be quite impossible to embrace, in a single chapter, every spot 
associated with Indian occupancy, for there is scarcely any portion of 
the cduniv where traces of aboriginal villages or burial places of the 
red men, have not been found. Oftentimes these consist of mounds 
of inconsiderable extent, or are the remains of temporary villages only. 
It is sought to preserve, with some particularity, a record of the places 
which belong to history. An instance of the many minor relics of In- 
dian abode is found near the village of Geneseo. Within a narrow 
circuit a mile west of the village, three small mounds may yet be traced, 
one of which occurs about forty rods south west of the Big Tree farm. 
This is three feet in height and near twenty five feet across; underneath 
a great oak, close by the old dairy is a second, somewhat smaller 
in diameter, and about half as high as the former; and, near the Jones 
bridge, on the easterly side of the river, is a third. When the railroad 


was being constructed, the skeletons of four Indians were exhumed 
from the latter. These spots are venerated by the Senecas, who, within 
the last half century, were in the habit of visiting them and spending 
hours in mourning over the ashes of their dead there buried. Gen- 
eral James S. Wadsworth met every suggestion to have the mounds 
leveled, with a peremptory refusal. "Let the dead rest," he would 
say, and the same regard continues to be observed. Strangely, indeed, 
is the dust of the red man and the white being mingled in our midst. 



THE Jesuits, true to their zealous spirit, were first among relig- 
ious societies to establish missions in the Seneca villages. In 
1616, Le Caron, a missionary of the order of Franciscans, 
passed through what is now known as the Genesee country, and other 
portions of the territory occupied by the Iroquois, but made no 
attempt to propagate his faith: A score of years later these inland 
tribes of aborigines became knowMi, by personal intercourse, to the 
Jesuits, who, as early as 1635, make particular mention of the Senecas. 

In August, 1656, Father Chaumonot left the Onondaga lodges to 
establish the mission of St. Michael, or Gandongare, in the present 
town of East Bloomfield. When the Father arrived at the village, the 
chiefs assembled a council to receive him and hear his message. He 
told them that his church intended to establish a mission in their 
country. He then gave them some presents. The way thus opened, 
he said, writes ilarshall; "I offer myself as a guarantee of the truths 
which I utter, and if my life is deemed insufficient, I offer you, in 
addition, the lives of all the French I have left at Onondaga. Do you 
distrust these living presents? Will you be so simple as to believe 
that we have left our native country, the finest in the world, to come 
so far, and to suffer so much, in order to bring to you a lie?" They 
were moved by this appeal, and the council, after solemn deliberation, 
resolved to receive the missionaries, and allow the Senecas to be 
instructed in their mysteries. The Jesuit visited the other villages 
with similar success, in one of which he found the principal sachem of 
the nation (Ga-no-ga-i-da-wi) bedridden with disease. Him he con- 
verted to the faith, and the distinguished chief, having subsequently 
recovered, became a powerful friend of the French and Jesuits. The 
name which he bore, and by which he is always mentioned by the 
French, is the title of a sachemship, still preserved among the 

In 1668 came Father Fremin to St. Michael's, to minister regularly 
at this most prosperous of the Iroquois missions. The field of his 


labors, however, embraced at least three of the four Seneca villages 
of that clay, one of which was Dyu-do o-sot, situated near East Avon. 
A contagious fever broke out among the natives soon after his advent 
among them, and much of the good missionary's time was spent in 
responding to the physical needs of the sick. His skill in the treat- 
ment of disease not only tended to mitigate the ravages of the fever — 
of which one hundred and fifty dicLl in tiie four villages — but secured 
the favor of the natives as well. DeNonville mentions tlie fact that 
Fathers Fremin and Garnier had been stationary missionaries for 
twenty years at the four Seneca villages destroyed by iiini, pr'nn to his 
invasion in 1687. The two other Seneca missions were called LaCon- 
ceiition and St. James. Dablon, rector of the college of Quebec, and 
Superior of the Jesuit missions in New France or Canada, says, in 
1672, that the Fathers count two or three thousand snuls at these 
three stations. 

Father Fremin addressed letters to the general of the order of the 
Jesuits at Rome, giving an account of the progress of spiritual things 
among the rude converts here, thus opening communication between 
this land of forest and wigwam and that ecclesiastical centre, which, 
for so many centuries, swayed the political, as it sought to swav the 
religious, destinies of the civilized world. Garnier writes to Dablon 
in July, l'i72, of the Senecas, who had threatened his lite. He says 
their minds being ill-disposeti, the devil uses every occasion to make 
them speak against the faith and those who preach it. An old man, 
he adds, who, some years before, came from the ountrv of the 
Cayugas, a pragmatical fellow of big words, does what he likes with 
the Senecas, and passes among them for a prodigy of talent, has per- 
suaded some of them that our reHginn causes them to die, and cites 
instances. Breviaries, ink horns and manuscripts were considered as 
so many instruments of sorcery, and their prayers as magical incan- 
tation. A niece of one of the chiefs was sickly, and the cliief was 
suspicious that the missionary, who spent much time in the rude 
chapel, was plotting with some demon for the death of the girl. 

Bishop Kip says, "There is no page in our I'ountry's histor\- mure 
touching and romantic than that which records the labors and sutier- 
ings of the Jesuit missionaries. In these western wilds they were 
the earliest pioneers of civilization and faith. The wild hunter oi- the 
adventurous traveller, wlu), penetrating the forests, came to new and 


strange tribes, often found that, years before, the disciples of Lovola 
had preceded him in the wilderness. Traditions of the 'Black 
robes' still lingered among the Indians. On some mossgrown trees 
they pointed out the traces of their work, and in wonder he de- 
ciphered, carvetl side by side on its trunk, the emblem of our salva- 
tion and the lilies of the Bourbons." 

Without arms or other compulsory means, but simply by kindness, 
the Jesuits sought to secure the desired end. Music, knowledge of 
the healing art, assimilation to the peculiarities of the strange people 
among whom they labored, and curiosity, toci, had their influence. 
Father Fremin says : "I neither see, nor hear, nor speak to anv but 
the Indians. My food is very simple and light. I have never been 
able to conform my taste to the meal or the smoked fish of the sav- 
ages, and my nourishment is only composed of corn which they 
potmd, and of which I make each day a kind of hominy, which I boil 
in water." Sometimes he was compelled to live on acorns. 

Father Fenelon, afterward famous as the Archbishop of Cambray, 
and author of Telemachus, was engaged for a short period at St. 

One of the good Father's letters to Rome gives this incident: "A 
woman being surprised by the falling sickness, cast herself int" the 
middle of a large fire. Before they could extricate her she was so 
badly burnt that the bones of her hands and arms fell from her one 
'after the other. As I was not then in the village, a yotmg French- 
man whom I have with me, and who performs worthily the functions 
of Dogique, hastened to her, and finding her in possessi(jn of her 
senses, spoke to her of God and His salvation, instructed her, caused 
her to perform all the religious offices necessary upon such an 
occasion and baptised her. The poor creature passed the eight or 
ten days of life which remained to her in prayer. This was her only 
consolation in her grievous sufferings. In an entire hopelessness of 
all human succor, she suffered with admirable patience in the faith 
of eternal life. Such works of grace make the most sensible im- 
pression in these barbarous regions, and greatly assuage the anxie- 
ties, the fatigues and the afflictions of a missionary." 

Though wedded to the interests of their order, the missionaries 
were not unmindful of the spirit of conquest then prevalent in their 
beloved France. Indeed, it has been said that the Seneca missions 


were suggested by the Grand Monarch, Louis XIV himself, the 
splendor of whose reign encouraged adventurous spirits to under- 
take distant enterprises, prompted by a desire to add to the glory of 
that proud ruler. Certain it is that to the missionaries were the 
French indebted for their knowledge of the Genesee country. 

The command of Lake Ontario, and control of a certain valuable 
fur trade, were, late in the seventeenth century, matters of conten- 
tion between the French and English; and especially were the rich 
lands of western New York a coveted object by the French Canadian 
authorities. M. de La Bar, an infirm old man, had long held the 
office of Governor-general of those provinces, but, being signally 
overmatched by the shrewd and eloquent Seneca Garangula, in an 
expedition he had undertaken against the Iroquois, his government 
recalled him in IdSS, and, -in his stead, appointed the Marquis De 
Nonville, a colonel in the French' dragoons, an officer equally 
esteemed for his valor, wisdom and piety. 

The Iroquois had of late grown defiant toward Canada, and the 
new governor, to curb their pride, resolved upon an expedition to 
destroy the villages and fields of the Senecas, then located near the 
Genesee, and to construct a fort at tlie mouth of the Niagara, which, 
in connection with Fort Cadaracqiii. would mil only hold that war- 
like tribe in check, but protect, as well, the savage allies of the 
Frencli, who, in small detachments, could then make predatory war 
upon the Senecas, which distance and want of a place of refugt? 
hitherto had prevented them from doing, as well as to accomplish 
other favorite objects of French desire. 

The watchful Iroquois, penetrating these hostile designs, lost no 
time in notifying Colonel Dongan, the English governor of New 
York. The latter at once informed DeNonville that the Indians 
were persuaded at) attack was meditated against them; and that, as 
they were subjects of the crown of England, any injury done them 
would I)e an open infraction of the peace existing between their two 
kings. DeNonville replied, that the Iroquois feared because they 
deserved the chastisement ; that the provisions collecting were nec- 
essary for the large garrison at Fort Cadaraccjui. and that England's 
pretensions to the Indian lands were baseless. 

Dongan seems to have taken iio measures to avert the blow; and as 
it could not be known upon which tribe the evil would fall, due pro- 


vision could not well be made for protection. The Seiieias weri.- 
destined to feel its exclusive force. The first open act of hostility was 
the seizure of some Iroquois chief, who had been hired within French 
power, near Kingston, Canada, b_v the Jesuit Father Lamberviile, 
under the pretext of preventing them from conveying- intelligence to 
their tribes. 

DeNonville's plans were wisely made, his army was commanded by 
able officers; and so perfectly were his orders obeyed, that his own 
armv and the reinforcements from Niagara, which he had directed to 
meet him, arrived simultaneously at the outlet ot Irondequoit bay, a 
coincidence considered ominous of success by his savage allies. 

On the afternoon of the 12th of July, 1687, the army set out from 
Irondequoit bay for the four villages of the Senecas, guided thither- 
ward by the trail along the eastern side of the river, and carrying 
thirteen days' provisions. They numbered two thousand French regu- 
lars and militia and nine hundred and eighty-three Indians. Advanc- 
ing m three columns through the oak openings, after a nine miles' 
march they encamped for the night. Next morning they moved early, 
with the design of approaching as near as possible the Indian village 
which held the tribal fire, before the enemy could seize upon two dif- 
ficult defiles necessary to be crossed, but which were undefended. The 
heat was sultry, and the- men were fatigued. There yet remained a 
third defile near the entrance of the village, where it was intended to 
halt for the night, and the army still advanced. The scouts discov- 
ered the fresh trail of the enwmy, and warned the troops to keep 
together. About three o'clock in the afternoon three companies of 
the French, together with the French Indians, fell into an ambuscade 
prepared by the Senecas, who were posted in the vicinity of the third 
defile. A smart but brief action ensued, with heavy firing on both 
sides. The Senecas were in turn thrown into confusion, and most of 
them flung away their guns and clothing and escaped to a dense woods 
and across a brook bordered by thickets. Ignorance of the paths and 
fatigue of the armv, left the invaders in no condition for immediate 
pursuit. The Senecas had eight hundred men under arms in the action 
and in the village at hand. They left twenty-seven dead on the 
field, and had a much larger number wounded, judging from the traces 
of the blood. The French had about half the number killed and 
wounded. The battle occurred a short distance west of the present 


village of Victor, near ihe northeastern edge of a large swamp, on the 
northerly side of a stream now called Great Brook. 

Some writers claim that the action took place on the eastein bank 
of the Genesee, ne;ir the modern village of West Avon. DeWitt 
Clinton located the battles^round on a farm purchased by Judge Porter 
in 1795, situated about six miles northeast of Avon, and half a mile 
east of Honeoye Falls, On ])liiwiiig this land, three hundreil hatchets, 
gun barrels and locks, lead and pieces of brass kettles, weighing up- 
ward of one thousand pounds, were there found, being more than 
sufficient in value- to pay for dealing it. Beds of ashes and small 
mounds of black earth, formed from chips, were also duguj). On the 
first settlement of this country unmistakable evidences of its having 
been the site of a large Indian village were numerous. vScj uneven 
was the ground, occasioned by the numberless graves, that the 
pioneers were compelled to level it with spades before teams could 
pass over it. But Joiin Blacksmith, wlm, in his youth had hunted 
over the country embraced within the limits of Monroe, Livingston 
and Ontario counties, and thus acquired an intimate knowledge of 
the old Indian localities, on attentively examining a maj) of the 
country overrun by the French, on which lakes, rivers and creeks 
were correctly delineated, placed his finger on a point a short distance 
west of the vill,age of \'ictor, as the place of conflict. 

After the battle, the troops being fatigued, the night was s[)ent on 
the spot where the ambuscade occurred. The following niorning it 
rained heavily, but >lackened alxuit noon, when the army set out in 
battle array to find the enemy. Moving forward, they found that 
the old village had been burned, and the intrenchments of the new 
village deserted. Encamping on the height neai- the jtlain nothing 
more for the day was done beyond protecting themselves troni tile 
rain whiili had. again set in. 

On the 15th the savages brought in two old men, whom the enemy, 
in their retreat, had left in the woods. Two or three women came to 
surrender themselves, and informed us, says the Marquis, that for the 
space of four days all the old men, women and children had lieen 
fleeing in great haste, being able to carry with them only the best of 
their effects. Their flight was toward the Cayugas. One of the old 
men, who had been of note in the village, and was father or uncle of 
the chief, told us the ambuscade consisted ot two hundred and twenty 


men, stationed on the hillside, to attack us in the rear, and of five 
hundred and thirty in front. The former force directed a part of 
their efforts against our rear battalion, where they did not expect 
such strong- resistance, as those battalions drovt- them back more 
rapidly than they came. 

In addition to the above, there were also about three lumdred in 
their fort, situated on a very advantageous height, into which they 
all pretended to withdraw, having carried there a quantity of Indian 
corn. There were none Init Senecas. After obtaining from the aged 
Seneca all the information he could impart. Father Bruyas, a Jesuit 
priest, baptised him. The French Indians then desired to burn the 
old man, but, on the solicitatinn of the white French, "thev cimtented 
themselves with knocking him on the head with a tomahawk." 

The Hrst act of the day was to burn the fort. It was eight hundred 
paces in circumference, flanked liy an intrenchment advanced for 
the purpose of communication with a spring on the declivity of a 
hill, it being the only . one where water could be obtained. The 
remainder of the day was employed in destroying Indian corn, beans 
and other produce. 

This fort, although the plow has leveled its trenches, and nearly 
obliterated the evidences of its former occupancv, is still an object of 
much interest. The same solitary spring referred to by DeNonville, 
yet oozes from the declivity of the hill. Its site has long been known 
as Fort Flill among the inhabitants in the vicinity. Its sunnnit is 
perfectly level, embracing an area of about forty acres. Marshall, to 
whom history is indebted for a clear and reliable account of the e.xpedi- 
tion, has preserved, in an interesting paper, facts to which we are 
here indebted. 

On the afternoon of the 16th, the camp was moved to approach those 
places where there was corn to destroy. "A party of our savages," 
says DeNonville, "arrived in the evening with considerable booty, 
which they had captured in the great village of Totiakton, four 
leagues distant. That village was found abandoned by the enemy, 
who, in returning, had set it nn Hre, but only three or fnur cabins 
were consumed. " 

"The 17lh," cnntinues the Marquis, "was occupied in destroying 
the grain of the small village of St. Michael, distant a short 
league from the large village, and prosecuted the work the 18th, 


after having moved camp, in order to approach those fields which 
were concealed and scattered in the recesses of the forest. On the 
night of the 19th. a slight alarm resulted from a shot fired by a senti- 
nel at an Illinois woman, a captive for nine years among the Senecas. 
She escaped from the enemy, and was wounded in the thigh. She 
said the Senecas had fled to the Onondagas, and that forty were 
killed, and fifty or more severely wounded in the late attack. The 
morning of the 19th camp was moved to near village of St. James, or 
Gannagaro, after having destroyed a great quantity of fine large corn, 
beans and other vegetables, of which lliere remained not a single 
field; and. after having burned so large a quantity of old corn that I 
dare not tell the amount, and encamped before Totiakto, called the 
Great village, or village of Conception, distant four leagues from the 
former. We found there a still greater number of cultivated fields, 
with' which to occupy ourselves for many days. Three captives 
arrived this day, a young girl and two women of the Illinois natives. 
In the sanguinary wars which long raged between the Senecas and 
Illinois, many persons had been taken by the former, who profited by 
their recent defeat to escape, though it should appear that many of 
the prisoners had been put to death by the Senecas. 
. "The 20th we occupied ourselves in cutting down and tlestrnying 
the new corn, and burning the old. On the 21st we went to the small 
village of Gannounata,' distant two leagues from the larger, where 
we caused the destruction, the same day, of all the old and new. corn, 
although the quantity was no less than in the other villages. It was 
at the entrance to this village that we found the arms of England, 
which the Sieur Dongan, Governor of New York, had placed there, 
contrary to all right and reason, in the year 1684, having antedated 
the arms as of the year 1683; although it is beyond question that we 
first discovered and took possession of that country, and for twenty con- 
secutive years have had Fathers Fremin, Garnierand others as station- 
ary missionaries in all their villages. One would hardly credit the 
quantity of grain wc found in store in this place and destroyed by fire. 
"This same day a Huron came in with two scalps of a man and 
woman, whom he liad knocked on the head, having found them near 
the Cayugas. He had noticed a multitude of paths by which the 
enemy fled. 

1. Or l>>iu-flof)-mt, on ihr little Conesus. tiear Avon. 


"We left the above mentioned village on 22d, to return to Totiakto, 
to continue there the devastation we had commenced. Notwithstand- 
ing the bad weather and incessant rain, we continued all day to make 
diligent' preparations for a departure, which was the more urgent, 
because the sickness increased in the army, occasioned by the great 
number of hogs killed by the French army, and our fcjod and fresh 
provisions diminished rapidly. 

"On the 23d a large detachment of almost all the army was sent to 
complete the destruction of all the corn still standing in the distant 
woods. By noon the corn was all destroyed. We had curiosity to 
estimate the whole quantity, green as well as ripe, which we have de- 
stroyed in the four Seneca villages, which we found would amount to 
350,000 minots of green, and 50,000 minots of old corn,* by which we 
could estimate the multitude of people in these four villages. - 

"Having nothing further to accomplish, and seeing no enemy, we 
left camp on afternoon of the 23d of July, to rejoin our beatteau-x, ad- 
vancing only two leagues. We reached beatteaux on the 24th. 

"On 2f)th we set out for Niagara, resolved to garrison that port as 
a protection for all our savage allies, and thus afford them the means 
of continuing in small detachments the war against the enemy, whom 
they have not been able to harrass, being too distant from them, and 
no place of refuge. Although only thirty leagues from Irondequoit 
Ray to Niagara, contrary winds so delayed that it took four days and 
a half to accomplish the distance, arriving on the morning of 30th, 
and immediately set to work choosing a place and collecting stakes fcir 
construction of a fort." 

By the second of August the temporary fort was completed, and the 
militia set out at noon for their quarters at Montreal. The following 
day DeNonville embarked to join the militia, and reached Montreal 
on 13th of August, leaving the regular troops to complete some details, 
with orders that M. de Troyes, a veteran officer, captain of one of the 
companies, should winter there with one hundred men. A sickness, 
caused by climate and unwholesome food, soon after broke out in the 
garrison, by which nearly all perished, including the commander. 
For so closely were they besieged by the Iroquois, that they were un- 

1. A Diinot is equal to three bushels. 

■2. Secnppeiulix for General Clark's deseiiptiou of these villages. 


able to supply themselves with fresh provisions. The fortress was 
soon after abandoned and destroyed, much to DeNonville's regret. 

The French gained little honor and no ad\antage in their expedition. 
Their inefficiency disgusted their Indian allies, one of whom, an 
Ottawa, said they were only fit to make war on Indian corn and bark 

The Jesuit missionaries retired with the French army, and their 
missions among the vSenecas were never revived. 

Red J&cket's Hut* Geneseo, and Residence of Kora.t!o Jones. 



MANY leading names among the sachems, warriors and wise men 
of the Senecas are more or less intimately associated with this 
region, and other, well known to the pioneers, whose 
career was identified with the Indians here, claim mention in these 

Red Jacket, Sa-goye-wat-ha, ^ was born at Canoga, on the west bank 
of Cayuga lake. He lived for a time in Gentseo, on the farm of (Je(jrge 
Austen, Esq., south of Fall Brook, and half a mile east of the 
Genesee. His relations with tiibesnien along the river were 
intimate and his visits here frequent and prolonged. His sa- 
gacity and wisdom are as well known as his great oratorical gifts. 
In these respects, this tioted chieftaiti had no superior among the best 
of his race. He was not a warrior, though he led a company of Sene- 
cas against the British in the war of 1812; but he was a negotiator, 
the diplomat -of his nation. Toward the t lose of his life he became intem- 
perate. On one occasion, the government having business with the 
Indians, sent an agent to Buffalo, who there met Red Jacket as the 
re|.)resentative of the Senecas. The day fixed upon came, but the chief 
failed to put in an appearance. Horatio Jones, whi) was to act as 
interpreter, after a 'ong search, found him in a low tavern quite 
drunk. The porter, who was about shutting u]) the house for the 
night, was preparing to put him out of doors when Jones interposed. 
As soon as the effects of the liquor were slept off, the chief wanted 
more, but was denied. He was i eminded of his neglect of the public 
business, and of the regret his course must cause the President. Red 

1. Rod .IackL■t'^ Indian name .signities, "He keeps them awake." in allusion to hi.« stirring elo- 
quence. His Yankee Uiime was tlius obtained: In his younser da.vs he was very swift of foot, and 
was often suffered by British ortieers engaged in the trader service, to carry messages of importance. 
One of these, as a reward, gave liini a richly cml)riiidered .scarlet Jacket which he wi>re with great 
pride. Wlicn tlie lirst (nie was w(n-n out another was given him. and. as lie always appeared thus 
arrayed, the name followed quite naturally. His original name was Oictiani. .signifving "Always 
ready." evidemly compounded from other dialects of tlie Six Nations than Seneca. The well known 
silver medal, oval in shape seven inches long by five inches tjroad. presented b.v order of I'resiflent 
Wa.«hington to Red .lacket. in 1792. is now owned liy the Bullalo Historical Societ.v. 


Jacket's under lip dropped for a moment, a peculiarity of his when 
annoyed; then, raising himself in his stately way, he said, with a mo- 
tion of his hand as if to ward off the approach, "All will blow over, I 
guess." In a quarrel at ('anandaigua in early days, an Indian killed 
a white man. A rising young lawyer, whose subsequent business 
career was a distinguished one, conducted the prosecution. Red Jacket 
the defense. In his appeal to the jury, the orator of nature rose to 
high eloquence, and. though speaking through an interpreter, jury, 
court and spectators were ail won to his cause. Captain Jones said it 
was cjuite impossible for him to ])reserve the full force and beauty of 
this atldress. The opposing advocate never again appeared at the bar, 
for, said he "If a heathen redskin's voice can so bewitch men's reason, 
wiiat call is there for either argument or law. " Red [acket obstinately 
refused to use the English language, and was a pagan in religion. 
Thatclier says a young clergyman once made a zealous eft'ort to 
enlighten the chief in spiritual matters. He listened attentively. 
When it came his turn, he said, "If you white people murdered the 
Saviour, make it up for yourselves We had nothing to do with it. 
Had he come among us we should have treated him better." Dining 
one day at Horatio Jones's. Red Jacket emptied a cup of salt into his 
tea, mistaking it for sugar. The mistake passed without remark, 
though not unnoticed by the guests. The chief, however, cooly 
stirred the beverage until the salt was dissolved and then swallowed 
the whole in his own imperturbable way, giving not the least sign that 
it was otherwise than palatable. 

"In debate Red Jacket proved himself the peer of the most adroit 
and able men with whom he was confronted. He had the provisions 
of every treaty l>etween the Iroquois and the whites l)y heart. On a 
certain occasion, in a council at which Gov. Tompkins was present, a 
dispute arose as to the terms of a certain treaty. 'You have forgot- 
ten,' said the agent: 'we have it written down on pajier.' 'The paper 
then tells a lie,' rejoined Red Jacket. 'I have it written down here,' 
he added, placing his hand with great dignity upon his brow. 'Tins 
is the book the Great Spirit has given the Indian; it dors not lie!' A 
reference was made t<i the treaty in question, when, to the astonish- 
ment of all present, the document confirmed every word the unlettered 
statesman had uttered. He was a man of resolute, indomitable will. 
He never acknowledL:;ed a defeat until everv means of defense was 


exhausted. In his demeanor toward the whites he was dignified and 
generally reserved. He had an innate refinement and grace of man- 
ner that stamped him the true gentleman, because with him these vir- 
tues were inborn and not simulated or acquired. He would interrupt 
the mirthful conversation of his Indian companions, by assuring their 
white host that the unintelligible talk and laughter to which he listened 
had no relevancy to their kind entertainer or their surroundings. 

"At the outset Red Racket was disposed to welcome civilization and 
Christianity among his people, but he was not slow to observe that 
proximity to the whites inevitably tended toward the demoralization of 
the Senecas; that to preserve them from contamination they must be 
isolated from the influence of the superior race, all of whom, good and 
bad, he indiscriminately classed as Christians. He was bitterly oppos- 
ed by the missionaries and their converts. He could not always rely 
upon his constituency, torn as they were by dissensions, broken spir- 
ited, careless of the future, impatient at any interruption of present 
gratification, and incapable of discerning, as he did, the terrible inex- 
orable destiny toward which they were slowly advancing. 

"In this unequal and pitiable struggle to preserve the inheritance 
and nationality of his people, his troubled and unhapp)- career drew 
slowly to its close. That keen and subtle intellect, that resolute soul 
which, David-like, unpanoplied, without arms or armor, save the 
simple ones that nature gave, dared encounter the Goliaths of the 
young republic, were dimmed and chilled at last. Advancing years 
and unfortunate excesses had accomplished their legitimate work. The 
end to that clouded and melancholy career was fast approachmg. But 
until the close, when death was imminent, he had no concern or 
thought which did not aJiect his people. He visited them from cabin 
to cabin, repeating his warnings and injunctions, the lessons of a life 
devoted to their interests, and bade them a Id^i antl affectionate fare- 
well. He died calmly, like a philosopher, in the arms of the noble 
Christian woman who has made this society the custodian of his sacred 
relics. He was a phenomenon, a genius, with all the frailties and 
all the fascination which that word implies — in natural powers equal 
to any of the civilized race. 

"Granted that he was vain; granted that he sometimes dissembled 
like one of our modern statesmen; granted that toward the close of 
his unhappy life he partook too often of that Circean cup which has 


proved the bane of so many men of genius of every race, we cannot 
change our estimate of his greatness; he remains still the consummate 
orator, the resolute unselfish patriot, the forest statesman centuries 
in advance of his race; the central figure in that little group of abor- 
iginal heroes which stands out in lurid rt-iief on the canvas of Amer- 
ican history." J 

Red Jacket was not sufficiently identified with this region to justify 
an elaborate sketch of him here, but it will not be out of place to lefer 
to the fate that awaited his bones. At his death, on January 20, 1832. 
his remains were Iniried in the Indian grounds on Buffalo creek, nearly 
•opposite the grave of Mary Jemison, a sim[)le marble slab marking the 

After many years the project of reinterring his remains'and those of 
cotemporary chiefs, lying in neglected graves in the vicinitv of Buffalo, 
engaged the attention of the Buffalo Historical Society. 

Mrs. Asher Wright, the devoted and \enerable inissionary, had 
written concerning the condition of these graves as follows: 

"About four miles from the City of Buli'alo, on what was the Buffalo 
Creek Reservation, may be found the f)ld Indian burial ground. This 
little spot, consecrated as the last resting place of many of the chiefs 
and head men of the Senecas. occupied the site of an ancient Indian 
fort. In lS42the line of the intrenchments could be distinctly traced, 
especially on the \ve5t and south. A little to the north of the principal 
entrance was the grave of the celebrated chief. Red Jacket, so long 
the faithfid friend and protector of his people against encroachments 
of the whites, and still as we might imagine, the watchful sentinel, 
solemnly guarding this little spot, where so many of his chosen friends 
recline around him, from the desecrating touch of tiie race whom he 
had so much reason to fear and hate. 

"Nearly opposite the grave of Red Jacket, on the south of the en- 
trance, was a solitarv white stone This marked the .grave ftf "i'he 
White Woman,' as she was popularly called, Mary Jemison." The 
stone was partly broken and the inscription defaced, for so strange 
was the story of the ancient sleeper that strangers visiting the place, 

1. From the address of Mr. Willinm c. Hr,\aiu at the t'erenioiiii'S atlt'iidiii!; the fimil reiuterment 
-of the remains of Red .lackel in the bm-ial lot at Turest Lnwn Cemetery. 

2. See Seaver's Life of Mary .lemisoii. 


and wishing to carry awa)' mementoes of their visit had dared to chip 
off considerable portions of the marble. 

"It is a little remarkable that so many of the characters who figured 
on the stage with her, and took part in the eventful scenes with which 
she was so familiar, should have been brought into such close proxim- 
ity to her in the last scene in which they were concerned on earth. 
Here they lie, side by side; the stern old warrior and his feeble victim 
might shake hands and exchange greetings. 

"No stones marked the graves of these primitive nobles, but while 
the tribe still resided on the Buffalo Creek Reservation the graves of 
Red Jacket, Young King, Little Billy, Destroy Town, Twenty Canoes, 
Two Guns, Captain Pollard, Jnbn Snow, Old Whitechief and others 
were pointed out to the curious traveler." 

The matter took somewhat definite form "when ilr. William C. 
Bryant, a member of the Board of Councillors of the Buffalo Historical 
Society, on September 22d, 187(>, visited the Cattaraugus Reserva- 
tion and laid the matter before the Council of the Seneca Nation, 
which was then convened there. Chief John Jacket, a grandson of the 
great orator — pipe in mouth, as became a great Indian Councillor — 
presided over the assemblage. After a full discussion of the subject, 
the assembled chiefs by vote gave the project their unqualified ap- 

On the 2d day of October, 1879, Messrs. O. H. Marshall and 
Mr. Bryant, officers of the vSociety, visited the Reservation, and 
obtained from their aged custodian, the remains of Red Jacket, which, 
thereafter and until their final sepulture in Forest Lawn, were deposit- 
ed, inclosed in a plain pine l)o.\. in the vaults of the Western Savings 
Bank of Buffalo. 

The following correspondence between the famous soldier and Indian 
chief. Gen. Ely S. Parker, who was chief of Staff" ot General (irant 
during the war, and wrote out the terms of Lee's capitulation, and 
Mr. Bryant gives an authoritative account of the vicissitudes of these 
remains; "" 

No. 3(JU :\Iull)erry Street, New York, May 8, 1884. 
W. C. Bryant, Esq., Buffalo, N. Y. : 

Dear Sir — Yours of the 25th ult. was duly received. I am very 
much obliged to Mr. ^Marshall for mentioning to you the circumstance 
of my having written him on the subject of the re-interment of Red 


Jacket's remains. My principal object was to obtain an assurance of 
the ^genuineness of the remains. This I did because I was informed 
many years ago that Red Jacket's grave had been .surreptitiously 
opened and the bones taken therefrom into the City of Buffalo, where 
some few Indians, under the leadership of Daniel Two Guns, a Seneca 
chief, recovered them a few hours after they were taken.- They were 
never reinterred, but were securely boxed up and secreted, first in one 
Indian's house and then in another. At length I saw by the papers 
that they were now lodged in the vault of some bank in Buffalo. I wished 
only to be satisfied that the remains which the Buffalo Historical So- 
ciety proposed to re-inter were really those of the celebrated chief Red 
Jacket. That was all. Whatever views I may have entertained re- 
specting this scheme, which is not new, is now of no consequence, for 
your letter advises me that the subject has been fully discussed 
with the survivors of the families of the departed chiefs, and also of the 
Council of the Seneca Nation, who have all assented to the project of 
re-interinent and to the site selected. 

I am, with respect, yours, etc. 

Ely S. P.\rkkr. 

Buffalo, June 25, 1.SS4. 
Gen. Ely S. Parker: 

Dear Sir — In 1852, Red Jacket's remains reposed in the old Mission 
Cemetery at East Buffalo, surrounded by those of Young King, Capt. 
Pollard, Destroy Town, Little Billy, Mary Jemison, and others, re- 
nowned in the later history of the Senecas. His grave was marked by 
a marble slab, erected by the eminent comedian, Henry Placide, but 
which had been chipped away to half of its original proport-ions by 
relic hunters and other vandals. The cemetery was the pasture ground 
for vagrant cattle and was in a scandalous state of dilapidation and 
neglect. The legal title to the grounds was and still is in the possession 
of the Ogden Land Company, although at the time of the last treaty the 
Indians were led to believe that the cemetery and church grounds were 
excluded from its operation. At the time mentioned (1852), George 
Copway, the well known Ojibwa lecturer gave two or more lectures in 
Buffalo, in the course of which he called attention to Red Jacket's neg- 
lected grave and agitated the subject of the removal of his dust to a more 
secure place and the erection of a suitable monument. A prominent 
business man, the late Wheeler Hotchkiss, who lived adjoining the 
cemetery, became deeply interested in the project, and he, together 
with Copway, assisted by an undertaker named Farwell, exhumed the 
remains and placed them in a new coffin, which was deposited with the 
bones in the cellar of Hotchkiss' residence. 

There were a few Senecas still living on the Buffalo Creek Reservation 
among them Moses Stevenson, Tliomas Jemison, Daniel Two (iuns, 


and others. They discovered that the old chief's grave had been 
violated almost simultaneously with its accomplishment. Stevenson, 
Two Guns, and a party of excited sympathizers among the whites, 
hastily gathered together and repaired to Hotchkiss' residence, where 
they demanded that the remains should be given up to them. The 
request was complied with and the bones were taken to Cattaraugus 
and placed in the custody of Ruth Stevenson, the favorite step-daugh- 
ter of Red Jacket, and a most worthy woman. Ruth was the wife of 
James Stevenson, brother of Closes. Their father was a cotemporary of 
Red Jacket and a distinguished chief. She was the sister of Daniel Two 
Guns. ^ Her father, a renowned warrior and chief, fell at the battle of 
Chippewa, an ally of the United States. 

When the demand was made by the excited multitude Hotchkiss 
manifested considerable perturbation at the menacing attitude of the 
crowd. He turned to Farwell and, indicating the place of deposit of 
the remains, requested that-Farwell should descend into the cellar and 
bring up the coffin or bo.\, which, by the way, was made of red cedar 
and about four feet in length. 

Ruth preserved the remains in her cabin for some years and finally 
buried them, but resolutely concealed from every living person any 
knowledge of the place of sepulture. Her husband was then dead 
and she was a childless, lone widow. As she became advanced in 
years it grew to be a source of anxiety to her what disposition should 
finally be made of these sacred relics. She consulted the Rev. Asher 
Wright and his wife on the subject, and concluded at length to deliver 
them over to the Buffalo Historical Society, which, with the approval 
of the Seneca Council, had undertaken to provide a permanent resting 
place for the bones of the old chief and his compatriots. 

I do not believe there is any ground for doubting the identity of the 
remains, and I think Hotchkiss and his confederates should be ac- 
quitted of any intention to do wrong. It was an impulsive and ill- 
advised act on their part. The few articles buried with the body were 
found intact. The skull is in excellent preservation and is unmistak- 
ably that of Red Jacket. Eminent surgeons, who have examined it 
and' compared it with the best portraits of Red Jacket, attest to its 

The Rev. Asher AVright was a faithful missionary among the Sene- 
cas for nearly half a century. 

There was no opportunity afforded Hotchkiss and his companions to 
fraudulently substitute another skeleton, had they been so disposed. 
I knew Hotchkiss well and have his written statement of the facts. 

1. Colonel Doty .sjnv Daniel Two (inns, who was a step solicit Ked .laeki't. im a visit to the Cat- 
taraugus reservation in I.Htiu. He said through an interpreter, that just before Red .lackct's death, the 
latter requested hiui to take charge of his remains. He was a.sked w here they then wore. 'That 
must remain a secret." said Two Guns. 


Farwell, who still lives, and is a very reputable man, says that when 
the remains were surrendered to the Indians the skull had (as it has 
now) clinging to it in places a thin crust of plaster of Paris, showing 
that an attempt had been made to take a cast of it, which probably 
was arrested by the irruption of Two Guns and his band. 

I have dictated the foregoing because on reperusal of your esteemed 
letter I discovered I had not met the question which was in your mind 
when you wrote Mr. Marshall, and I greatly fear that I have wearied 
you by reciting details with which you were already familiar. 

The old Mission Cemetery, I grieve to say, has been invaded, by 
white foreigners, who are burying their dead there with a stolid indif- 
ference to every sentiment of justice or humanity. 

Yours very respectfully, 

\VlLLI.\M C. P.kV.\XT. 

Finally, the 'nh day of October, 18.S4 was the day set apart by the 
Buffalo Historical Society for the final reinterment of the remains of 
Red Jacket and the other famous Indian chiefs in the burial lot at 
Forest Lawn, which had been donated for the purpose by the officers 
of the cemetery. 

The committee on selection of Indian chiefs for interment had maiie 
several visits to the old mission cemetery, of which mention has been 
made, accompanied by Mrs. Wright and by aged Indians who had been 
long familiar with the locality, some of them related to Red Jacket by 
ties of blood or marriage. The leading men of the Senecas, before the 
removal of the tribe from Buffalo Creek Reservation, laid in graves 
excavated in a small elevated area at or near the center of the ceme- 
tery. The earth there is a dry loam. The graves were two or m ire 
feet deeper than it is the practice now to dig them. They unifijrmly 
faced the rising sun. About forty graves in all were opened; few, if 
any, articles were found with the remains, save an occasional pipe and 
decayed fragments of blankets, broadcloth tunics, silken sashes and 
turbans, and beaded leggins and moccasins. But seven of the skele- 
tons could be positively identified, namely, those of Young King, 
Destroy Town, Captain Pollard, his wife and his grand-daughter. Tall 
Peter, and Little Billy, the war chief. Nine tithers, d'oubtless the 
remains of warriors famous in their day, were exhumed. These were 
all removed to Buffalo, and on the day appointed, the remains of Red 
Jacket and the warriors named, were, conveyed to Forest Lawn, in 
suitable oak caskets, and there interred with impressive ceremonies. 


On June 22, 1892. a magnificent culunin, suitably inscribed, SLir- 
moiinted by an heroic figure in bronze of Red Jacket, erected by tiic 
Buffalo Historical Society, was unveiled on the bu/ial plot, where it 
will remain an enduring monument to the splendid public spirit of 
that Society.^ 

Cornplanter, Ga-yant-hwah-geh, or Gy-ant-wa-chia,-' was the last war 
chief of the Senecas and of the Iroquois and one of the wisest and best 
of Seneca notables. As a councillor, indeed, none of his race was better 
esteemed. Canawaugus, near Avon, had the honor of being his birth- 
place; in after years he usually resided on the Allegheny river, yet he 
remained closely identified through life, by consanguinity and other- 
wise, with the Indians of the Genesee. He claimed that (jeneral 
Washington and he were of the same age. This would make 17o2 the 
year of his birth. He was partly white. The Indian boys early took 
notice that his skin was more fair than theirs, and he mentioned the 
matter to his mother, who told him that his father was a white 
trader named ABeel or O'Bail, who lived near Albany.' After growing 
up he sought out his father and made himself known. The father 
gave him food to eat at his house, but "no provisions on the way 
home. He gave me neither kettle nor gun, nor did he tell me liiat the 
United States were about to rebel against Great Britain," said the 
much offended half-blood.^ Cornplanter was among the first to adopt 
the white man's costume, and in latter years, might easily have been 

1. I am iiuiebted to Vol. 3 of the Transactions of the Buffiilo Historical Society and the .\nnual 
Report of the Board of Managers of that .Society for fti9".> for the acconntof the removal of thereniains 
of the chiefs and the correspondence relating thereto. [Editor.] 

2. Meaning "in, or at the planted field." 

3. .-Vt the periixl of the birth of Cornplanter the trade with the Six Nations was chiefly in the 
bands of the English. One of their principal traders was .lohn ABeel, generally name<l O'Bail or 
O'Beel; his name is nientionci in the annals of the time on several occasions. At one time it is 
stated that he made ['resents of considerable value to the Indians. It was one of the hospitable cus- 
toms of the people to give their fiiends a wife. John .\ Heel had his Iniiian squaw and Cornplanter 
was the fruit of the temporary union. Probably his mother was the daughter of an Indian sachem: 
this is evident from the fad that 'he best traders were regarded with great favoi by the Indians and 
the circumstance that three of her son» were recognized as chiefs of the Seneca tribe, namely: Corn- 
planter. and her younger sons Ilandsume Luke and Blacksnake. (Ta-wan-ne-ars ) From .Snowden's 
historical sketch of Cornplanter. to «hi<h the author adils the following note : 

"I have recently been informed that John AlSecl. the father of Cornplanter, was a Hollander. The 
original manner of writing the name was ABeel. The family now wrjte it Abeel. I regret that the 
name is inaccurately engraved on the monument erected at Jennesadaga." 

4. Coruplanter's letter to the Governor of Pennsylvania, in 1822. 


mistaken for a well-to-do farmer. He was of medium height, inclining 
to cor[)ulency, though late in life he became quite thin in person; was 
easy in manners ^nd correct in morals. His face was expressive and 
his eye dark and penetrating. He ranked above Red Jacket as a war- 
rior and was little inferior to him as an orator. He was at Braddock's 
defeat, where. Washington, then a colonial major, first distinguished 
himself. He held the original papers and treaties of the vSenecas, 
which he often carried about with him in a pair of saddle-bags, to 
silence disputes or to assert the rights of his people. On one occasion 
Red Jacket was boasting of what he had'said at certain treaties, when 
Cornplanter quietly added, "Y'es, but we told you what to say." He 
was a man singularly upright in all relations. Horatio Jones said, 
"He was one of the best of men to have on your side, and there you 
would be sure to find him if he thought yours the right side, but it was 
deucedly unlucky if he thought you wrong." He was much older than 
Red Jacket and looked, with pardonable jealousy, upon that rising 
young orator. 

Cornplanter greatly cotnmended himself to General Wasliington, 
who said of him : "The merits of Cornplanter and his friendship for 
the United States are well known to me and shall not be forgotten." 
Jn cecognition of his services in preventing the Si.\ Nations in the 
State of New York uniting in the confederacy of the western trilies in 
17'J0-'M, and thereby sparing the entire western frontier of Pennsyl- 
vania the bloody realities of war, and rendering the victory of General 
Wayne in 1794 possible, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania gave him 
a grant of a very extensive tract of land, in the patent of which it is 
designated "Planter's Field," and was called Jennisheo, in remem- 
brance of his former home on the Genesee river. It also erected in 
ltS66 a handsome memorial, at an expense of $1,000, on the sides of 
which are inscribed the following words: "Gy-ant-ma-chia, the Corn 
Planter, joim O'Bail alias Corn Planter, died at Corn Planter's Town, 
February IS, 1S36, aged about 100 years. Chief of the Seneca Tribe, 
and a principal chief of the Si.x Nations, from the period of the Revolu- 
tionary war to the time of his death. Distinguished for talents, cour- 
age, eloquence and love of his race, he dedicated his energies and his 
means during a long and eventful life. Erected by authority of the 
State of Pennsylvania, by act of January 25, 186(1." His name was 
acquired from his persistent efforts after he grew to manhood to induce 


the Indians to plant corn, which it is supposed was ingrafted in his 
youthful mind b}- his mother; and he prevailed on them not to rely so 
nuicli on the gun, the forests and the stream for food. 

Henry O'Bail, Gas-so- wah-doh,' was a son of Cornplanter and was 
also born at Canawaugus. He was generally addressed as Major 
O'Bail. In person he was portly and fine looking, and his manners 
were not without polish. He was placed at school in New Jersey by 
Benjamin Bouton, and graduated at Dartmouth college. He was 
somewhat boastful of his courage. In early times, while at the Man- • 
sion house in Avon, some question arose one day between him and 
Doctor Ensworth. O'Bail was told that nothing short of a duel would 
adjust the matter. The ground was paced off, and principals and 
seconds took their places. Word was given and O'Bail fired. The 
Doctor reserved his charge and walking close up to his opponent fired 
point blank at his heart. O'Bail, supposing himself shot, fell into the 
arms of his second, but recovered on learning that the pistols had been 
loaded with blank charges, a fact of which the Doctor had been duly 
apprised. While not wanting in honesty, O'Bail's business transactions 
were not always marked by that scrupulous promptitude so agreeable 
to early merchants. Colonel Lyman had trusted O'Bail for goods and 
went diiwn to Canawaugus to remind him that the debt was past due. 
"Oh, yes," said the Major, "I will pay you at once. Mr. Hosmer 
owes me. You know him of ctnirse, and I'll go to him and get the 
money." He went, but forgot to return, and, after two or three 
similar attempts, the debt was carried to loss account. Of his advan- 
tages of parentage and education the Major did not fully avad himself. 
He was fond of the Genesee country and was one of the last of the 
natives to quit this region. He left a son, Solomon O'Bail, who was 
born about I8(l(i. 

Handsome Lake, Ga-nyu'-da-iyuh,^ the Peace Prophet, was a younger 
half-brother of Cornplanter, as already stated, both having the same 
mother; he was born at Canawaugus about 1735. He stood high with 
his people both as a medicine-man and a spiritual guide. Mr. Hors- 
ford was told of a young Indian girl of Squakie Hill who was cured by 
him of a dangerous illness. All remedies failing, the friends dis- 

1. MeuuiiiK •■WnnipiiMi niemoriiil bi^lt." lU- was jiImp iiilleu 6Vi/i-»</i-.i/"-"'0. 

2. The nirtian name means "BBautitiil lake." The nameof thi^iirojihet of raortern paRanism is 
sometimes written Ga-nc-o-tii-yo: also Ga-na-di-uh-ga-ch. • 


patched a runner to the Prophet, with the clothes of the afflicted 
squaw. He took them, laid a handful of tobacco upon the fire, and, 
as it burned, otYered an address to tlie (ireat Spirit. After a moment's 
silence he observed, looking at the clothes, "This affliction is a pun- 
ishment to her for wickedly drowning a nest of young robins, and, a 
few hours later for repeating the offence. Twf> young deer must be 
killed — a yearling buck and yearling doe — the whole of both must be 
boiled at once and the entire village be called to the feast, and then to 
dance." Some days were spent in finding the deer, when the direc- 
tions of the Prophet were complied with, and the girl recovered at 
once. In person the Prophet was of medium size, of goodly presence 
and of modest and quiet demeanor. A reference to the Prophet is 
made in another chapter. 

Little Beard, Si-gwa'-ah-doh-gwih,' resided at tiie town to which he 
gave his name. He was noted botli as a warrior and councillor, and 
for great firmness and zeal, and, though not an orator, was a fluent 
talker. Physically he was a favorable specimen of the Indian chieftain, 
rather below the medium size, yet straight and firm. In faith a pagan, 
he always awarded respectful attention to the views of Christian 
teachers. Border annals show how fierce his nature was, yet, after 
tile Re\'(iuiti()n, he proved friendly to the pioneers and was esteemed 
by them for his good faith. No Indian was better informed, none 
more sociable than he, and with none could an hour be more profitabl)' 
spent. He conversed with good sense on the events of the colonial 
wars and the future of his race, and though it is a fact well established 
that he not only consented to the death of the scouts, Boyd and 
Parker, and quite likely suggested the exquisite tortures to which 
these devoted soldiers were subjected, yet , it must not be forgotten 
he was chief of the village menaced by Sullivan's army. Moreover, he 
took these two men in the act of securing information that \v<")idd 
enable the American general to march directly to the destruction of 
his peoples' homes, possibly to put to death any of them who chanced 
to fall into his hands, facts which serve to mitigate, [lerhaps, tiiough 
by no means to e.vcuse, this act of almost unparalleled barbarity. In 
a drunken quarrel at the old Stimson tavern in Leicester, in ISOf), 
Little Beard was thrown from the outer door, and, falling upon the 

I. Meaning ".Spear hanging down," conipouudetX of 0(i/t-si-^7vaa/t, spear, aiul Oh-sac/i-doh, it 
hangs down. I^is name is also written Sltigu-aif'ntvug/ik-U'i. 


steps, received an injury from which, as he was advanced in years, he 
shortly died. 1 The great eclipse, which occurred soon after his death, 
filled the Indians with superstitious fears. The manner of his taking 
off could not but give him offence, the natives thought, and they 
imagined he was about to darken the sun, so that their corn could not 
grow. The hunters assembled and shot arrows and bullets at the 
obscured luminary, while others screamed, shouted and drummed, 
until the brightness was fully restored. 

Tall Chief, A-wa-nis-ha-dek-hah,- lived alternately at Squakie Hill 
and at a group of five huts known as Tall Chief's village, located on 
^Murray Hill, Mt. Morris, near the residence of General Mills. The 
spring whence he got his supply of water, and called Tall Chief's 
Spring, is still used to su[)ply the residence of Mr. Swett; this is sit- 
uated near' the site of his lodge. Tall Chief was favored by nature 
with more than ordinary grace of person. He was very tall, his 
relatives claiming that he stood not less than si.\ feet si.K inches high; 
from this circumstance he derived his name. Straight as an arrow 
and quite senatorial in deporttnent, he was always cool and self-pos- 
sessed While not in the same class with Red Jacket and Cornplanter 
as an orator, he is said to have commanded profound attention when 
he spoke. He talked little and only when he had something of con- 
sequence to say; his language was always well chosen, and his views 
exhibited great forbearance and a mild and kindly temper. He was 
greatly esteemed by the early settlers, and was a chief of much influ- 
ence among his people. Thomas Jemison said that he closely resem- 
bled in featur'i the portraits of Washington. An Indian of his village 
had killed a companion. Believing that Tall Chiet could aid in secur- 
ing the guilty man, the authorities at once informed him of the deed, 
but he did nothing. They at length urged him to act. "Yes," said 
he, "may be, bime-by, somebody ketch um, kill um, may be, can't 
say." But he performed better than he promised, and the culprit was 
duly secured and handed over. Tall Chief's name appears to the Big 
Tree treaty, and is otherwise associated with the business affairs of 
his nation. The pioneers recollected him with peculiar interest. His 
habits some of them at least, showed the freedom of forest birth. 
Colonel Lyman, having an errand with him one warm day. called at 

1. Marshall sa>-«i he died on the Touawanda reservation. 

2. Meaning "Buruiug day." .\lso spelled thus: On-niU-shat-ai-kaii . 


his hut. The squaws uf his household were found sitting on the 
ground, enjoying the shade of a great tree. On risking for the chief 
they pointed to another tree, near at hand, where he was seen lying 
upon his hack quite naked, barring a cloth about the loins. The 
visitor was graciously received, though the chief did not offer to rise. 
After the object of the (-all was effected, he politely invited the Col- 
onel to remain lor a visit. The females e.xhibited no surprise, though 
the visitor was inclined to regard the chief's attitude as somewhat odd 
for a personageof his consequence. Tall Chief dined with Washington 
on the occasion of a visit of a deputation of his nation, sent to smoke 
the peace pipe with the President. After a-ceremonious dinner, a big 
pipe was lighted and Washington tried unsuccessfully to draw the 
smoke through the long stem. He handed it to Horatio Jones, who 
succeeded better. The President then took a whiff, and passed the 
pipe to Tall Chief, to whom he paid marked attention, and then to 
each in turn. The dignified Seneca was always proud of referriiig to 
this occasion. He possessed the secret Indian remedy for the rattle- 
snake's bite, and was often sent for, far and near, to ajjply it, and 
usually with signal success. 

Tall Chief belonged to the "Beaver" clan, and he is said by Dr. Mills 
to have been chief of Kanaghsaws village at the age of thirty, at the 
time it was destroyed by Sullivan in 1779. He was probably born 
about 1750 and went to Mount Morns in 17.S0 or thereabouts. He 
resided there and at Scjuakie Hill, as stated, until 1S27, when he 
removed to the Tonavvanda reservation. He died there in the fall 
of 1831, having retained to the last a great affection for the Genesee 
country, which he occasionally revisited. He left three sons and 
three daughters. He was buried in the old Indian ^Mission burial 
grounds of the Buffalo Creek reservation, not far from the graves of 
Red Jacket and Mary Jemison. His remains were disinterred and 
brought to ilount Morris and placed in the cemetery there May 27, 
1884, through the instrumentality of Dr. Mills and the generous co- 
operation of the Cemetery Association. It is an interesting circum- 
stance that two of the relatives of Tall Chief, who were present in 
Mount Morris, at the ceremonies of reinterment, Mrs. Mary Logan 
(mother of A. Sim Logan) and Alexander Tall Chief, recollected well 
their residence at Squakie Hill and remembered attending the school 
taught by Jerediah Horsford sometime prior to 1827. 


Straight-back, so named because of his erect walk and stately man- 
ner, was a son of Tall Chief, and seems to have acquired no little 
of the respect held by the whites for his father; it is said that he was 
a very fleet runner and was never beaten in a race by white or red man. 
William Tall Chief, ^ and Sundown were also sons of Tall Chief. All 
were born at Squakie Hill. In personal appearance William was quite 
striking, of "splendid physique," says one who knew him. He was a 
man of integrity, but more noted as a hunter than a councillor. In 
1846 he went to Kansas with a party of Senecas, to settle upon the. 
lands there set apart for the New York Indians. On their way thither, 
several of the band contracted ship fever on board a ilissouri river 
steamboat, and nearly fifty fell victims to the disease. Dissatisfied 
with the country, William set out to return, but died on the way, of 
consumption, and was buried at Beaver, Ohio. No stone marks his 
resting place. Colonel Doty saw his widow, who was a granddaughter 
of the White woman, and her grown up children, in the fall of 1865. 
They were possessed of striking personal appearance and seemed 
greatly interested in hearing about the former home of their relatives 
on the Genesee, recollecting much that had been told them of early 
days hereabouts. The beauty of Conesus lake, and the fertility of the 
Mount Morris flats, were facts that seemed to dwell most freshly in 
their memories. 

Big Tree, (ja-on-dah-go-waah'- was a useful friend of the American 
cause in the Revolution, and a leading adviser in all treaties and coun- 
cils of the Senecas. He was of the "Hawk" clan and a pure Seneca. He 
resided many years at Big Tree village, ^ which took his name. In 
person he was grave and dignified. In the summer of 1778, Washing- 
ton sent Big Tree to the towns of his tribe along the Genesee, in the 
hope that his personal influence and eloquence might win the Senecas 
to the cause of the colonies. He found the villages of Kanadaseaga-* 

1. His Indian name was //o-i.<-rfii-jft7;-/AW, ineauiiig, "he carries the medal," a name given 
him on account of the pride he took in wearing a medal. 

2. Sometimes called Great Tree. The name signifies "large tree, lying down. ' It is also 
written Karontowaneti. 

3. On the farm of the late Easou P. Slocnni. in Leicester, now owned by Hon. James W. 

4. The Indian village situated near Geneva. 


and little Beardstnwn crowded witli uarriors from remote tribes. The 
Senecas at first seemed incliiieci to hearken to his wishes, but learning 
by a spy that the Americans were about to invade their countrj', all 
flew to arms, and Big Tree put himself at their head, "determined," 
as he is reported to have said, although his errand and well known 
loyalty to the settlers woidd seem to discredit the incident, "to chas- 
tise an enemy that would [iresume to encroach upon his peojile's terri- 
tory." His mission proving unsucoessftd, he returned to the conti- 
nental army. At a meeting of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs 
held in Albany in March, 17S7, I3ig Tree and tour other Indian chiefs 
represented that nation, and, in the same year, his name was afifi.\ed to 
the famous John Livingston lease, a document forming a part of a 
grand scheme to secure all the Indian lands in the state. The consti- 
tution of 1777 forbade the sale of Indian lands, but by securing a lease 
ff)r nine hundred and ninety-nine years, as was the purpose of the con- 
trivers, the inhibition was to be avoided. The lessees, known by their 
title of The New Y(jrk Genesee Company of Adventurers, numbered 
eighty persons, among whom were several members of the legislature, 
county officers and leading citizens. Their plan, though long matur- 
ing, was doomed to total failure, and the project holds no enviable 
•place in history. ' Little Heard and Hot bread were also signers of 
the lease, as indeed were many others of the Iroquois leaders. The 
legislature must needs pass u[)on the lease. But here its design was 
readily penetrated and its summary rejection followed. John Living- 
ston himself, and two other partners in the company, held seals in the 
Assembly, and one had a seat in the Senate.- In 1788 Big Tree was 
invited by Governor Clintc^n to attend a coinicii at Fort Stanwix, and 
in the following year he, together with Brant, Little Beard and Hot 
Bread, addressed a letter to the (Governor, forcibly presenting their 

1. It is quite likely the movers iu this scheme had somethiug in view beyond the possession 
of the land. In November, 1793, James VVadsworth aiid Oliver Phelps each received a circniar let- 
ter, signed by John Livingston and Dr. Caleb Benton, as officers of a convention pnrporting to 
have been held at Geneva, proposing a plan of organizing the counties of Otsego, Tioga, Herki- 
mer and Ontario, then comprising the whole of central and western Kew York, into an independ- 
ent .State. But this daring atteni])t at revolution was met in the true spirit of patriotism. A 
meeting was held at Canandaigua to denounce it. As it found little or no favor it was aban- 
doned. [See Turner's, P/tf/ps's Ct* (iorhant's Purchase and Hough's Indian Treaties, for a full 

2. The IvCgislature afterward granted the company a tract ten miles square in Clinton county, 
in lien of their great expectations, rhe lease bi)re dale Nov. 30, 17S7. 


grievances. In December. 1790, a laroe deputation, consisting. amonL;: 
others, of Big Tree, Cornplanter and Half Trnvn, visited AVasliington, 
at Phiiadel])hia, and presented him with an address which has been 
[jresei'ved as a tine specimen of Indian ekiquence.' In 17'il, the legis- 
lature of Pennsylvania granted to Big Tree a patent to an island in the 
Allegheny river for a home but his death occurred before he took for- 
mal possession of it. He lamented the disaster to St. Clair's army in 
tiie Miama expedition, and, especiall)', the brutal treatment received 
by General Richard Butler, who was scalped and tomrdiawked while he 
lay wounded and bleeding. The Senecas hereabouts never forgave the 
deed, and Big Tree was heard to say that "he would have two Miama 
scalps in revenge for this cowardly act." Wliile in Philadelphia, in 
1792, with a large delegation of chiefs and warriors of the Six nations, 
he fell sick at his lodgings and died April I'Jth, after a few hours' ill- 
ness, of surfeit, a victim, says Turner, to the excessive hospitality 
extended to the delegation, and was buried at Philadelphia the follow- 
ing Sunday, April 22d, with something like public honors. His 
daughter was the mother of Captain Pollard. 

A son of Big Tree was quite noted as a runner and wrestler. Col- 
onel William Junes often wrestled with him, and being somewhat 
younger and less muscular, generally foimd himself undermost at the 
end of the scuffle. At one of the early day gatherings, the Indian 
as usual, challenged him. This time Jones managed to throw the 
native, who was greatly offended, and jumping up, drew from his belt 
a little tomahawk which he usually carried. This he raised and aim- 
ed at his antagonist. The bystanders were excited, but Jones, who 
remained cool, taunted him with cowardice for threatening to strike 
an unarmed man who had always till now been unlucky in these bouts. 
The Indian saw he was wrong, and, dropping his weapon, stepped for- 
ward to Jones and grasped him by the hand. The two continued 
attached friends and neither ever renewed the challenge. 

Black chief, Tha-on-dah-diis,'- resided at Squakie Hill where he 
died. His swarthy complexion procured him his English name. He 

1. It opens thus: "Father, the voice of the Seneca nation speaks to you, the great councillor 
iu whose heart the wise men of all the thirteen fires (or states) have placed their wisdom. It 
may be very small in your eyes and we therefore entreat you to hearlteu with attention, for we are 
able to speak of things which to us are very great." 

2. Meaning, "Long tree or log." 


signalized himself in war as well as in peace, and enjoyed, in a large 
degree, the confidence and respect of his people. He had four sons of 
giant size, one of whom was called Jim Washington. Black Chief was 
recollected by the younger portion of early settlers as sedate and taci- 
turn. "All my ideas of savage barbarity," says one, "were expressed 
in a single look of his. " He had an only daughter, whose generous 
nature and unusual grace of person made her a great favorite. After 
her father's death the tribe paid her peculiar honor. The Squakie Hill 
Indians held to a superstition, that during her lifetime the Iroquois 
would regain thuir ancient place among the nations; hence, no kind- 
ness toward her was omitted. Her path was often literally strewn 
with flowers, and the finest venison and rarest fruits found their way 
to her hut. A pestilence passed over the villages and many died, but 
so long as she remained unharmed, the natives could bear their person- 
al afflictions with resignation. The plague at length died away, and 
general health returned. But now she sickened, and although the 
wisest medicine men, even the Prophet himself, exerted their best 
powers, she died. The light that had been so beautiful in their eyes 
went out. Grief for many days filled the villages, and all that affec- 
tion could suggest was done to indicate their sorrow. Her remains 
were carried to a platform in a fine grove and placed in a sitting pos- 
ture. The rose and myrtle were scattered about the funeral couch, 
and corn in the ear, mint and costly furs, were hung around the life- 
less form or decorated her place of burial. Fires were lighted at night 
and watchers relieved each other at all hours. When it was no longer 
possible to keep her from interment, she was buried with every mark 
of regret. The quick fancy ot the Indians seems to have invested this 
girl with more than mortal purity and sweetness. 

Jack Berry or Major Berry, as he was usually called, lived at 
vSquakie Hill and Little Beardstown until he removed to the Buffalo 
reservation; his home in 1781 was at Little Beardstown. His father 
was a white trader lesiding near Avon, and the Major was in the habit 
of referring to his white relatives as father, uncle or cousin, as the 
case might be. He spoke the English language fluently, and often 
acted as interpreter for Red Jacket, on one occasion accompanying 
that chieftain to Washington in this capacity. He had a peculiar way 
of prefacing and clinching every sentence of the great orator's 
speeches, thus, "Jacket says," then interpreting his words he would end 


with, "that's what Jacket says." He was somewhat consequential and 
proud of his importance among the Indians, but proved on many occa- 
sions, a useful friend of the whites. It is said he dropped a hint to 
Horatio Jones, just before the latter ran the gauntlet as a prisoner at 
Portage Falls, which saved him many a blow from the savages' clubs, 
lu person he was rather short and stout. His house at Squakie Hill 
had a chimney and floor, conveniences possessed by but one other; and 
the wife of Thomas Jamison, the senior, bought the house of Berry 
when he went to Buffalo. He was somewhat given to his cups, but 
under all circumstances preserved his self-respect. He died in the 
winter of 1838-9. 

Captain Pollard, Ga-oun-do-wah-nah, ■ a Seneca sachem of the first 
class, and the noblest of the tribe after Cornplanter's death, lived at 
Big Tree village. His mother was a Seneca squaw, the daughter of 
Big Tree, and his father an English trader at Niagara^, whose name 
he took, and identified it with Indian affairs and their domestic mat- 
ters of this region. The celebrated Catharine Montour (Queen Cath- 
arine) became his stepmother and bore his father three sons, all of 
whom were renowned in the border warfare of those troublous times. 
He had great weight in councils; his judgment was sound, and his 
oratorical powers scarcely inferior to those of Red Jacket. "About 
the year 1820 Tommy Jemmy, armed with the unwritten decree of the 
Seneca council, put to death a squaw accused of witchcraft. He was 
arrested and imprisoned in ButTalo. The next morning a band of 
angry warriors. gathered in the streets of that city."'' "Among them," 
says Mr. Bryant in his biography of Orlando Allen, "was Red Jacket, 
who addressed them with fiery invective, and lashing the Indians into 
fury by his artful eloquence. A massacre seemed imminent, but just 
then the tall form of Captain Pollard was seen moving through the 
multitude. Commanding silence by a gesture, he urged the assembled 
warriors, in a temperate and eloquent speech, to disperse to their 
homes, and remain quiescent until an appeal to the white man's law 
and sense of justice should prove ineffectual. His voice was obeyed. 

1. Meaning, "Ilig Tree." .\lso written A'a-oti tt-tio-wa-tia . 

2. His ludiau name wa^ S/ta-go-{ii-yo/-/iti/i. He was a settler in Niagara in 1767, and a mer- 
chant there in 17.S8. 

3. From the article of W. U. Samson, Esq. in Post Express. 


The subsequent trial and acquittal of Tcimmy Jemmy were a triuni])h 
to Red Jacket, and a vindication of the assailed sovereignty of the 
Seneca Nation." "He was one of the most honest, pure-minded, 
worthy men I ever knew, white or red," says Hon. Orlando Allen. 
Horatio Jones said, "Morally speaking. Pollard was as good a man as 
any w-hite minister that ever lived." Some seventy years ago Thomas 
Jcmison was in Washington with a party of natives. Pollard and 
Captain Jones were both there. The latter one night at the hotel said 
to Pollard, "I- outran you, I think, some years ago." "Oh, yes." 
responded the chief, good naturedly. "but I have often wanted to try 
it over again, and you were never quite ready." Captain Jones 
laughed and said no more. He was a man of commanding presence, 
of dignified and benevolent aspect, showing but little traces of his In- 
dian lineage. He was one of the earliest fruits of missionary labors 
at Buffalo Creek, and became a most devoted and exemplary Chris- 
tian, and took an active part in the prayer meetings in the chapel on 
the Buffalo Creek reservation and, unlike Red Jacket, was an earnest 
advocate of civilization; he was extremely solicitous of being buried 
according to Christian rites, and arranged with Mr. Allen for such 
articles as were necessary for decent Christian burial. In youth he 
was an ambitious warrior, and made himself conspicuous in the many 
forays against the border settlements by the British and Indians dur- 
ing the Revolutionary war; he was one Of the fiercest warriors in the 
Wyoming massacre, but in after life always spoke with abhorrence 
and deep contrition of the events of his warrior days. He was for- 
mally selected by the Indians as their leader, or war captain, at the 
commencement of the war of 1812, and w-as an able and valiant ally of 
our forces during the entire struggle. In the summer ol 1.S34, when 
Black Hawk and the War Pro[)het and other Sac and Fox Indians 
were returning from their tour through the States and about to be re- 
leased by the government, they stopiied a day or two in Buffalo. Ar- 
rangements were made for their meeting the Indians on the reservation 
at the Seneca cotmcil house. Young and old gathered to witness the 
interview. Captain Pollard, who was familiar with the Black Hawk 
war, made the speech; "One of the most appropriate and telling ones 
I ever heard," says Orlando Allen, "not a Senator in Congress would 
have done it better." Both Black Hawk and the Prophet replied, and 
owned that they had had enough of fighting the United States. He 


died April 10, 1841, and was buried on the Buffalo Creek reservation, 
whence his remains were removed in 1884 to rest beside those of Red 
Jacket in Forest Lawn cemetery at Buffalo. ^ 

Hot Bread, O-ah-gwa-dai'-ya, ^ was one of the leading wise men 
at Canawaugus. He was quite gifted as a speaker and stood well 
with his brother chieftains and tribesmen. In person he was rather 
short, and his complexion more than usually dark. Hot Bread signed 
the letter of the 30th of July, 178'J to Governor Clinton, a document 
likely enough prompted by persons interested in the Livingston lease, 
and marked by more of spirit than courtesy. The letter claimed that 
the State had not observed treaty stipulations; that the money due 
the Indians had not been fairly divided, and they objected to having 
the State surveyor mark out the lands, even threatening the vState 
authorities, though somewhat obscurely. Hot Bread was indolent, 
and his appetite voracious. Red Jacket once said of him, "Hot 
Bread, waugh ! big man here," pointing to the stomach, "but very 
small here," bringing the palm of his hand with emphasis across the 
forehead. He died at Canawaugus, it is believed, of small pox. 
Many others of the natives died the same year of that disease. The 
number included Corn Tassel. Indeed, but few of the Indians recov- 
ered. About the year 1815 a disturbance took place between the In- 
dians and whites at Caledonia Springs. Hot Bread figured promi- 
nently in this. Some offence was taken, and the Indians rallied in 
their war paint and made an attack upon the settlers. The fracas 
was quelled at last without serious results. Hot Bread was one of the 
leaders of the anti-Christian party among the Senecas, and his name 
apears in the memorial addressed to the Governor of New York, in 
respect to the "Black coats," as the Indians usually designated clergy- 
men. This unique paper closes thus: "We ask our brothers not to 
force a strange religion upon us. We ask to be let alone, and, like 
the white people, to worship the Great Spirit as we think it best. We 
shall then be happy in filling the little space in life which is left us, 
and shall go down to our fathers in peace." 

Half Town, Ga-ji-ot,-' lived at Big Tree. His name appears to the 

1. I am imich iudebted to the accounts of W. C. Uryant and W. H. Samson, Esqs., for this 
sketch of Pollard. (Editor.) 

2. Meaning, "Hot Bread," [See Niles' Reg. Vol. XXVIII, 18,28.] Also written Oaghgziadahihea. 

3. Meaning "Stopper in a hole," and applies equally to a cork in a bottle, and to a rock iu 
the month of a hears deu, shutting him in. Half Town sometimes signed his name Achioul. 


Livingstun lease, and to the noted address to President Washington.* 
He possessed a strong mind and was a wise councillor. His demeanor 
was grave. In comple.xion he was very dark; in stature rather below 
the medium height. Though the Senecas fought against the colonies 
in the Revolutionary war, the remnant of their warriors took the 
American side in 1812. Two years before hostilities opened. Red 
Jacket informed our government that Teciimseh and other native 
leaders in the territories were trying to draw the Senecas into a great 
western combination then forming against the whites. The Senecas 
promptly volunteered their services, but their aid was declined by our 
authorities from motives of policy. The action of the British officers 
in taking possession of Grand Island in the Niagara river, a ter- 
ritory of peculiar interest to the vSenecas, was too much for the 
pride of the race; and Red Jacket, Farmer's Brother, Half Town and 
other chiefs called a council, to which the American agent was in- 
vited. Red Jacket here presented the reasons why his nation insisted 
on taking up arms on the side t)f the States. These were so cogent 
that the President concluded to accept their offer, and General Porter 
volunteered to lead them. The Indians bore themselves with signal 
bravery and humanity throughout the war. A body of them took 
part in the action near Fort (ieorge, in August, 1812, in which the 
enemy were routed and a number of British Indians were taken pris- 
oners. Captain Half Town, Red Jacket, Farmer's Brother and other 
chiefs, all took active parts and were in a number of sharply contested 
engagements. As a manager of moneys belonging to his nation, 
Half Town was at one time advised to place certain funds in a bank, 
at interest. He did not readily comprehend how money could grow, 
as it \vas not placed in the earth like corn, but locked up in an iron 
chest. Once made aware of the operation, however, he became 
keenly alive to its advantages. He was at Fort Harmer in 1789, 
where, with twenty-three other chiefs, he executed a treaty with the 
commissioners. General St. Clair, Oliver VVolcott and Arthur Lee. 
Big Tree was also numbered among the signers. Pennsylvania, in 
1791, granted eight hundred dollars to Corni)lanter, Half Town and 
Big Tree, in trust for the Senecas. An Indian war was then feared; 
settlers were intruding upon their lands, and otherwise exciting their 
enmity, and every movement of the natives was regarded with sus- 

I. Particularly referred to in the sketch of the chief Big Tree. 


picion. Half Town was the "white man's triend," and kept the 
neighboring garrisons of Venango and vicinity informed of every 
movement of the hostile bands, which, for a long time, hovered about ; 
and, but for the vigilance of himself and.other friendly chiefs, much 
evil would have resulted to'the whites. Cornplanter and Half Town 
kept a hundred warriors under arms, and their runners w'ere out con- 
stantly, watching the movements of war parties until the danger was 
.over. Colonel William Jones, who was personally acquainted with 
Half Town, thought he died at the Big Tree village. ^ 

Sharp Shins, Haah-tha-o,^ was a small Indian with diminutive 
legs, thin features and a squeaking voice, but possessed of a gentle- 
manly demeanor, and, though sometimes violent in temper, was gen- 
erally reckoned among the leading men of his people. In early life 
he was a noted runner for a long race. In 1815 Colonel Wadsworth, 
of Durham, made a visit to his relatives, the Wadsworth brothers, at 
Geneseo. Colonel Wadsworth was greatly respected by the Indians, 
with whom he had transacted much public business, and, in his honor, 
James Wadsworth invited several chiefs to dinner at his house. Cap- 
tain Horatio Jones came as interpreter. The Indians were dressed 
with care and conducted themselves with great propriety. They 
smoked in a friendly way, and talked freely of their past history and 
of the future of their race. Sharp Shins took a leading part in the 
conversation, and Colonel Lyman, who was there, recollected that his 
views were notably sensible and made a decided impression upon all 
present. Turner says, that on one occasion Sharp Shins attempted 
to amuse himself by throwing tomahawks at Horatio Jones. It soon 
became earnest. Jones threw them back with such effect as to harm 
the Indian seriously and render liis recovery quite doubtful. He, 
however, got well, and was afterwards careful how he provoked the 
Yankee warrior. Thomas Jemison describes, with much humor, the 
e.xperience of Sharp Shins in breaking a pair of unruly steers, espec- 
ially his earnest advice to them in a set Indian speech. 

Tommy Infant, Ha-no-gaih-khoh, lived at Canawaugus. In person 
he was above the ordinary size, being six feet and one inch high, 
though rather fine looking, and appeared like an overgrown youth. 
Hence his name. He was good natured, and many anecdotes are re- 

1 Dr. Mills believed that he died at Veiiaugo, Pa., whither he had removed. 
2. Meaning *'he climbs," as e. g. a ladder or tree. 


lated of his awkward size. Being in Avon late one evening, he took 
the liberty to enter a vacant house, through a door accidentally left 
open, and lay down for the night. The owner happened to come 
along and saw the prostrate Indian, and, in much surjjrise, asked: 
"Who's here" "Oh, it's no Dutchman," said the six-footer native in 
his ludicrous way, "It's me, little baby. Tommy Infant." A mer- 
chant in York owed him for some peltry. Tommy called two or three 
times, but the trader was in no hurry to pay him. After sitting two 
or three hours one day, without making any demand or saying a 
word. Tommy, as he got up to go, turned around and said to the 
merhant, "I sue somebody, maybe, don't know." He sued the 
merchant. The Infant died December 9, 1S()5, and was buried at 

John Montour, Do-noh-do-ga,^ was of mixed blood, a descendant of 
Queen Catharine, a half-blood of great beauty, whose father was said 
to have been a French governor of Canada, and whose mother was a 
squaw. Catharine became the wife of a noted chief, and allied herself 
with the Cayugas, establishing a village at the head of Seneca Lake.^ 
Here John was living at the opening tif the Revolution. He removed 
to the Genesee country, and after the peace of 1783, settled at Big 
Tree village. He appears in the Gilbert narrative as one of the lead- 
ers of a band of natives, who, in the spring of 1780, took several pris- 
oners in eastern Pennsylvania, among them the Gilbert family: and 
it would seem that his zeal kept him on the warpath during the 
whole struggle with the Colonies. He was acting with the force 
imder Butler, between the Genesee and Conesus Lake, when Sullivan 
lay at the inlet, and retreated to Fort Niagara when the American 
army advanced toward the river towns. While at Fort Niagara, it is 
said, the British gave the Indians some flour which contained a 
poisonous element. Many died. Montour lived, but the [loison re- 
sulted in an ulceration of his uppt-r lip, which was tpiite eaten away, 
leaving both teeth and jaw exposed. This gave him a fierce look 
though he was quiet and good natured. "At first thought," a pioneer 

1. Meaning "lietweeu burs." It niij^ht also lie translated "Hetween the combs.'' The 
English name is spelled also Mouture. 

2. At Catharine's Town, or Gus-he-a-gifah-g^h, named after Queen Catharine, as she is gener- 
ally called. This noted aboriginal village was burned by Sullivan. The towns of Catharine and 
Montour in Schuyler County, perpetuate the name of Queen Catharine. 


said, "one would be led to expect him to take a scalp at a moment's 
notice." He was sometimes called "No-nose," and an impression 
prevails that a cancer ate away his lip. He knew something of med- 
icine, and, ^with remedies self applied, had stopped the progress of 
the ulcer. His imperfect lip made it difficult for him to drink. Once 
Colonel Lyman met him at the river in midsummer. Montour was 
thirsty and lay down on the bank to quench his thirst. He drank 
and drank, got up and lay down again, and drank as though he 
would never get his fill. As he rose, he said, "Lyman, the river is 
very low, very dry time." "Low," said the Colonel, "you have 
drunk all the water." The Indian laughed heartily. His probity 
was well know^n. Coming into Colonel Lyman's store one day, Mon- 
tour saw a pair of shag mittens hanging overhead. "Ah, Lyman, 
said he, "those are m'ine." "But stop" — the merch'ant was about to 
take them down — "let me describe mine first. I was at a certain 
place, a little drunk, staggered and fell, the hand covered by this 
mitten struck a burning log, which scorched it in such a part. Pull 
them down and see. " The Indian got the mittens. A quarrel had 
long existed between Ouaw'wa and Montour. The latter was quite 
athletic and very active, and always came out best, but in 1<S30 the 
pair got into a brawl at Squakie Hill. Jlontour had been drinking 
and Quawwa proved too much for him. He was knocked down and 
carried insensible to Big Tree. Here Doctor Bissell attended him, 
but he died in a week's time. He was buried in a blue broadcloth 
coat, white collar and silk cravat. His rifle, a noted piece, his toma- 
hawk, lielt and several other articles, lie beside him. His grave is a 
couple of rods east of the road, still marked by a grassy hillock. Four 
other natives, Stump Foot's wife, Westfall, and two others sleep be- 
side him. It is recollected that Montour's wife was an estimable 
woman, and that his two children, [udy and Bill, possessed more than 
ordinary comeliness of persfin. 

Ouawwa, whose Indian name was Deo-dyah-do-oh-hoh. and whose 
correct English name was James Brewer, disappeared as soon as he 
learned that Montour was fatally injured. Horatio Jones and Jellis 
Clute entered a crimplaint, and an officer was sent to the Buffalo 
reservation in search of him. The officer was advised to call on 
Thomas Jemison and Kennedy, who would assist him. They took 
hold jiromptly, and found the fugitive at his sister's, aiding her in 


making maple sugar. He was brought to Moscow and examined be- 
fore a justice of the peace, and committed to jail. As he was leaving 
for Genesee, his squaw, standing near Lyman's store, called out to 
him very piteously, "Ouawwal" "Ouawwa!" and kept it up long 
after he had disappeared from sight. He was indicted for murder 
and tried at the ]\[arch term of 1831, Judge Addison Gardiner 'presid- 
ing; he was convicted of manslaughter in the second degree and sen- 
tenced to four years in Auburn prison.^ He was troubled with the 
King's evil or scrofula. The disease developed'very rapidly after his 
incarceration. His death was regarded as imminent, and, on the 
representation of friends. Governor Throop pardoned him in Febru- 
ary, 1832. He was taken to Buffalo reservation, where he died in 
two or three days. Ouawwa had many friends among the whites, 
especially among the younger men, who regarded him as faithful to 
the last degree. Captain Jones and Jellis Clute, although they 
entered the fcirnial complaint, became bail for Ouawwa's appearance 
at the trial, the Captain stating "I have no fear but that Ouawwa 
will be on hand just as he promises, even though his own neck's in 
danger," and he was not disappointed. 

De-gi'-wa-nahs,2 or Mary Jemison, more commonly known as the 
White Woman, was born of honorable and well-to-do Scotch-Irish 
parents, about the year 1743, on the ocean voyage to this country in 
the ship "William and Mary." Her father, Thomas Jemison, a man 
of Christian character, settled upon an excellent tract of land lying on 
Marsh Creek in the frontier portion of Pennsylvania, soon after their 
arrival at Philadelphia. For a period of ten years or more, he led a 
busy and contented life in this home along the foot of South Moun- 
tain. In the autumn of 1754 lie moved a short distance from his 
former abode, into what is now known as Buchanan Valley. One 
day, in the spring of 1755, Mary was sent to a neighbor's for a horse. 
On her way thither she appears to have had a presentiment. A white 
sheet seemed to descend and catch her up and save her from a danger 
that impended over others. Returning early the next morning, she 
found her father shaving an a.Ne-helve near the dooi". Her two elder 

1. George Hosnier and Orlando Hastings appeared for the People: Judge Mason and A. A. 
Bennett for the prisoner. Horatio Jones was sworn as interpreter. Widow Rough-head, widow 
Johnny Johns and Tom Cayuga were among the Indian witnesses. 

2. Meaning "Two females let words fall." Her Indian name is often given tlins, Dt--ht--Xi'a-ini.'.. 


brothers were at the barn, and her mother and three children and a 
soldier's wife, who was on a visit with her three children, were in the 
house preparinu' breakfast. On Mary's arrival, the soldier took the 
horse to bring a bag of grain, but in a short time the discharge of 
guns alarmed the household, and the man and horse were presently 
seen lying dead near the door. A band of si.\ Shawnee Indians and 
four Frenchmen soon entered the house, made captives of all,'^ and 
hastened the breakfastless group with blows, into the woods. The 
father lost heart at the outset, but the nmiht-r preserved a cheerful 
spirit and spoke words of hope to the forlorn family. Mary's shoes 
and those of the soldier's little son were soim removed and replaced 
with moccasins. From this the mother concluded that the others 
would be put to death, and addressed words of advice, never to be 
forgotten, to her poor child. In an hour's time Mary was torn from 
her mother and carried into the bushes with the boy, who begged her 
to attempt escape with him, but she refused, as she knew the effort 
would be fruitless. ]Mary never more saw aught of her parents, save 
their bloody scalps strung on a pole. The band went down the (Jhio, 
to a small Seneca Indian town at the mouth of a small river, called in 
Seneca She-nan-jee, about eighty miles by water from Pittsburg, 
where Mary was adopted by two sisters, Seneca squaws, who had lost 
a brother in the war. The ceremony of adoption that took place so 
frightened the little captive that, for a time, she was deprived of 
speech. Her clothing, torn to rags in the journey, was thrown into 
the river and replaced with Indian raiment. Light work was assigned 
her and she was treated with great kindness. Her adopted sisters 
would not allow her to speak English in their hearing ; but, remember- 
ing the injunction of her mother, whenever she chanced to be alone 
she made a business of repeating her prayer, catechism or something 
she had learned, in order that she might not forget her own language. 
By practicing in that way, she retained it until she came to Genesee 
flats, where she soon became acquainted with English people, with 
whom she was thereafter thrown in almost daily intercourse and so 
preserved her native tongue to the last. Two years passed away, 
-some measure of contentment with her surroundings having been 
acquired, when a young Delaware, of goodly person and approved 

I. The two hoys, who were :U the ham, escaped into Viifjiiiia. as Mary learned after the 
Revolutionary War. 


courage, named She-nin-jee, came to the village and her foster sisters 
told her she must marry him. A child was born to her "at the time 
that the kernels of corn first appeared on the cob," but it lived only 
two days. Its loss occasioned the keenest grief to the youthful 
mother. Sickness, which proved well-nigh fatal followed, but "by the 
time the corn was ripe," she recovered. In the fourth year of her 
captivity, she became the mother of a son. whom, in honor of her father, 
she named Thomas Jemison. Her Indian mother lived on the Gene- 
see, and hither, with her fnstcr sisters, she now repaired. Her husband 
was to pass the winter down the river in fur hunting and join her in 
the spring. Various mishaps attended the journey hitherward, which 
involved a trip of si.x hundred miles through the wilderness, carrying 
her child every step of the way; but late in the fall they arrived at 
Beardstown, where a friendly welcome awaited the white girl from 
her Indian mother, whose friendship never relaxed. Hut her husband 
did not return, and at length the news was brought that vShe-nin-jee 
had sickened and died. About this period the British authorities 
oftered a bounty for the surrender of prisoners taken during the 
French war. A Dutchman, John Van Sice, who often visited the Indian 
villages, proposed to Mary to carry her to Niagara, but she had now 
become attached to the Indians, and ^he knew nothing of the where- 
abouts of her relatives, if, indeed, any survived. vSo she determined 
not to go. The Dutchman, with the bounty in view, sought to take 
her by force. While in her corn patch one day, she saw him running 
toward her. Dropping her hoe, she made for the village at full speed 
and escaped him. Some months later, the principal Chief of the 
village resolved to carry ^lary to Niagara. Her Indian bruther de- 
termined that she should not go against her will, and high words en- 
sued. He told the Chief that she should die by his hand sooner than 
be surrendered. Mary's sisters, in great consternation, hid her and 
her child in some high weeds that grew near by, agreeing that if the 
decision should be unfavorable, the fact should be indicated by placing 
a small cake on the door-step of her hut. A few hours after, ^lary 
crept to the place, and, to her great distress, found the cake. Creep- 
ing back, she placed her three year old boy on her back and ran for a 
certain s[)ring, as agreed, which she reached, greatly exhausted.' 

I. The spring "'a^ located on the f.-trin of Jolm I-. white, in Leicester, but is now covered np 
bv a railroad switch. 

Clump of Apple trees on The John Perkins firm in Leicester, neir site of Mary Jeraison Cabin. 
The tree from which these sprang was planted by the "White Woman." 


Here she remained, anxious and fearful, until the Chief started for 
Niagara, when her Indian brother sought her and brought her to the 
village, where she was received with joy. Soon after this she married 
Hio-ka-too, commonly called Gardeau, who was a warrior of note. By 
him she had four daughters and two sons, all of whom she named 
after her relatives. The girls were called Jane, Nancy, Betsy and 
Polly, and the boys John and Jesse. Jane died just before the Big 
Tree treaty, aged twenty-nine years. The other daughters married and 
had families. More than a dozen years of peace had come and gone, 
after her second marriage, when her quiet was rudely broken by the 
Indians taking up arms for the British in the war of the Revolution. 
Mary's hut became the stopping place of Butler and Brant whenever 
they chanced at Beardstown. She often pounded corn from sunset to 
sunrise for her warrior guests. When the Beardstown families re- 
treated before Sullivan, Mary, with her children, accompanied them 
to Fort Niagara, and was among the first to return to the Genesee. 
But destitution prevailed at Beardstown. She, therefore, took her 
children, carrying two on her back, the others f(jllowing, and, on foot, 
went to Gardeau, where she engaged to two negroes, who alone occu- 
pied the place, to husk their corn on shares. After the war was over 
she was again offered her liberty. Thomas was anxious for her to 
accept it, but she had Indian children; should she have the fortune 
to find her relatives, they might be received with coldness; hence she 
resolved to- spend her days among the Senecas. At the Big Tree 
treaty in 1797 the Gardeau lands, embracing 17,927 acres, were re- 
served in the grant from the Senecas to Robert Morris, atid by a 
treaty made at the same time and place the Gardeau reservation was 
granted to Mary.^ Red Jacket opposed the grant with great earnest- 
ness, and, even after it was made, he delayed moneys due her. 
Farmer's Brother was her friend and successful champion. 

Family troubles gathered around the AVhite Woman. Thomas 
and John had long disagreed. The former charged the latter with 
practicing witchcraft. He married two wives, and this greatly 
offended Thomas, who urged that bigamy was a violation of whole- 
some laws. Early in July, 1811, Thomas, who had been drinking, 
came to his mother's liouse in her absence, and there tonnd J<ihn, 

1. See appendix No. 6 for copy of graut of Garclciui Keservaliuii, and other mailer relating 
to the Gardean lands. 


whom he began to pound. The latter, in a moment of anger, seized 
Tliomas, dragged him to the door and killed him by a lilow of his 
tomahawk. (irief overwhelmed the mother. TIr- chiefs met, heard 
the case, and acc^uitted the murderer. In November of the same 
year, Hio-ka-too died of consumption at the age of more than a hun- 
dred years, during fifty of which he had lived with Mary. He was a 
leading warrior, taking part in the expedition to Wyoming, and was 
noted for strength, and, in his younger days, for fleetness. In May 
following, John's hands were again imbrued in a brother's blood. 
This time Jesse, the youngest and favorite son, was the victim. The 
two, with a brother-in-law, had spent the day in sliding a quantity of 
boards into the river for a raft. Some difficulty arose between John 
and a workman. Both had been drinking. Jesse had started home- 
ward. His brother's delay caused him to turn back, and he too be- 
came involved in the quarrel. John threw him, and, drawing his 
knife, plunged it several times into his heart. Either stab would 
have been fatal. The mother never recovered from the shock. A 
rude inquest was held, and John escaped punisiiment. He continued 
to reside at Gardeau, devoting himself to the practice of medicine, in 
which he had skill. Five years after Jesse's death, he was sent for 
to a distant vSeneca village. During his absence, the great land slide 
occurred, near his house.' On his return he became impressed with 
the belief that it was omintius of his end. He told his sisters he 
should live but a few days. A week or two later, in visiting Squakie 
Hill, he quarrelled with two Indians, who followed him a short dis- 
tance, dragged him from his horse into the bushes, and dashed his 
brains out with a stone. He was essentially a man of violence. 
Turner mentions seeing him on his way to the Buffalo reservation, at 
the head of a small band of Senecas, to kill the blacksmith, Reese, 
who had cut ofl" Young King's arm with a scythe in an altercation. 
Jemison was armed with a war club and tomahawk, his face covered 
with red paint, and long bunches of horse hair dyed red hung from 
his arms. 

I. In the month of May, 1817, a portion of the land on the west side of the river at the npper 
end of Gartlean Flats, thickly covered with heavy timber, suddenly gave away, and with a tre- 
mendous crash slid into the bed of the river which it so completely filled as to form a new chan- 
nel on the east side, where it has since continued to run. The slide as it now lies contains twenty- 
two acres and has a considerable share of the timber that formerly covered it still standing erect 
and growing, although it has suffered the shock pro<inced by a fall of some two hundred feet be- 
low its former elevation. This is called the "Great .Slide." 


Mary continued to reside on the portion of the (Jardeau reserva- 
tion in the Count)- of Genesee, now AVyoming, retained by her 
until her removal in 1831 to the Buffalo reservation. She was held 
in high esteem by the Indians, and during a large portion ot her life 
she formed the principal medium of communication between the 
whites and the Senecas. According to Indian ideas she always C(jn- 
ducted herself virtuously, and was discreet in the observance of native 
customs. She never spoke the Indian language with entire fluency. 
The use of the English tongue was so far retained by her, that she 
conversed with much freedom with Yankees, as she always styled the 

The following interesting picture of Mary Jemison was furnished 
by Dr. William B. ^lunson, of Independence, Ohio, in response to an 
inquiry made by Mr. Letchworth, who at the time had under con- 
sideration the erection of a statue of her at Glen Iris: 

"According to the picture which I have in my mind of her, she 
had the shape, form, and figure of an active, lively little old woman 
seventy-five or eighty years of age, about four and a half feet in 
height, exhibiting the remains of a fair complexion and regular fea- 
tures that had been in youth extremely beautiful. The cheek bones 
were not prominent, nor was the chin, and the nose was not large; 
but, considering her age, all these features were quite symmetrical. 
The head was of medium size, covered with gray hair smoothed back- 
ward; the neck was not long, but in due proportion to the size of her 
head and body, the shoulders were rounded and stooping forward or 
bent, a position which might have been acquired, or have been 
brought about by the manner of bearing burdens customary with 
Indian women, and from age and the effects of hardships encountered 
throughout her eventful life. The eyesight had become dim, but the 
features had not become wrinkled as much as might have been ex- 
pected from the many troubles and sorrows endured by her. 

"The 'White Woman' was quite intelligent, sociable, and commun- 
icative, but grave and serious after the manner of the Indians with 
whom her life from early childhood had been spent. With familiar 
acquaintances she would join in lively conversation and brisk 
repartee. Mentioning to her upon one occasion that I had read the 
history of her life, and that it had interested me very much, 'Ah, 
yesl" she replied, 'but I did not tell them who wrote it down half of 
what it was. ' It was thought at that time that she withheld infor- 
mation which the Indians feared might stir up against them the prej- 
udices of the white people. 

"In makins; visits to the "White Woman' we were in the habit of 


taking along s(jme trifling presents for her. At one time we carried 
along a bottle of the best Madeira wine. She manifested her grateful 
acknt)wledgment of the gift, and, taking the bottle of wine, went and 
hid it carefully away from the Indians. 

"She was residing in her own blockhouse, superintending prepar- 
ations of provisions for a journey to Bufifalo, about the last time I 
saw her, shortly before the final departure of the Indians from the 
Genesee country. She was assisted in the work by her daughter 
Polly and a number of young papooses. They had a large brass 
kettle swung over an open fire of wood upon the hearth. The kettle 
was filled with boiling fluid. Sitting, standing, and squatting 
around a large wooden trough filled with hominy made into dough, 
the mother, daughter, and grandchildren were busily engaged in 
making up balls of dough from the kneading-trough and incorpo- 
rating therein plenty of dried apples and pumpkin which lay beside 
the trough. As the balls were made up they were tossed into the 
boiling kettle, and when deemed thoroughly cooked, were taken out 
and laid upon boards or pieces of bark. I remember the food had a 
savory odor and appeared to be very good ; but we could not- vouch 
for the palatableness of the delectable dumplings, as they offered none 
of them to us. In viewing the preparation of this food, however, we 
saw most beautifully and satisfactorily solved the problem which so 
long muddled and belabored the brains of King George the Third, 
namely, the mystery of how the apple got into the dumpling. 

"The last time I remember seeing her was late in the fall season. 
She was habited in woollen petticoat and short gown that came mid- 
leg below the knees, buckskin leggings and moccasins, and, over all, 
a white, common woolen Indian blanket. It was just at night, and 
she was going in search of a stray Indian pony, and was led by a 
young Indian, one of her grandchildren. She went spatting through 
the rivulet of ice-cold water just north of the house, and although her 
sight was so dim she could scarcely see, to all appearance, to discern 
in twilight twice the length of a horse, on she went, in spite of every 
obstacle, with the same energy and determined purpose that had 
•characterized her whole life." 

Mr. Bryant says that immediately after going to Buffalo, she pur- 
chased the cabin and the small piece of ground which belonged to an 
Indian known as "Litlle Johnson." situated a short distance south of 
the old Indian burial ground. Her household consisted of herself, 
her daughter Polly and son-in-law, George Shongo, and five little 
grandchildren, three of whom were boys and two were girls. She 
brought with her the proceeds of the sale of the Genesee River lands, 
a sum not more than sufficient, with prudent management, to render 


her last days comfortable, and tn make a reasunable provision for her 
grandchildren, of whom she was very fond. It must be added, with 
regret, although the circumstance harmonizes with the mf)urnful 
tenor of her whole life, that this little fortune was, soon after her 
removal to Buffalo, lost through an unfortunate speculation on the 
part of a white man to v.-hose custody she had confided it. Mary 
Jemisnn was a rich landed proprietress on the (Genesee, and it must 
have been a hard blow, the discovery that her few remaining days 
were to be spent in poverty and dependence. It is known, however, 
that her simple wants were supplied by her daughter and son-in- 
law, who were not wanting in filial love and attention to this 
aged and sorrow-stricken woman.' Amid these surroundings, 
this pathetic figure passed away on September 19th, 1833. 
She was burietl in the cemetery near the vSeneca Mission 
Church, on the Buffalo Creek Reservation, and a marble slab 
was erected to mark the spot. This stone, in course of time, was 
hackeil away by relic seekers, until only a small jxirtion of it was 
visible above the ground, and all traces of the last resting place of 
this remarkable character would probably soon have disappeared, had 
it not been for certain leading members of the Buffalo Historical 
Society, in co-operation with Hon. William P. Letchworth, of 
Portage. In 1872 Mr. Letchworth had removed to his grounds at 
Glen Iris, of which an account is given in another place, the veritable 
Indian council house- in which the White Woman rested on the first 
night after she came into the Oenesee country, at the end of her long 
journey from C)hio, and it was thought by these gentlemen, to which 
suggestion Mr, Letchworth at last yielded, that it would be most ap- 
propriate that her remains should find a last resting place near the 
council house and by the Genesee, on which she had spent so many 
years of her life. Accordingly, the remains were removed from 
Buffalo by James Shongo, a favorite grandson, the son of her 
daughter Polly, and taken to the grave at Glen Iris, located a few 
feet northerlv of the council house, and here they were reinterred on 
the 7th day of March, 1S74, with appropriate ceremonies. Soon after, 
a marble monument w-as erected at the grave by Mr. Letchwoi th. 
One of its sides bears the inscription of the original tombstone: 

1. Account of William C. Bryant, Esq. 

2. Referred to in a later chapter. 



^lemory of 

The White Woman, 


Daughter of 
Thomas Jemison and Jane Irwin, 
Born on the ocean, between Ireland and Philadelphia, in 1742 or 3. 
Taken captive at Marsh Creek, Pa. in 1775. Carried down 
the Ohio. Adopted into an Indian family. In 1759 re- 
moved to Genesee River. Was naturalized in 1817. 
Removed to this place in 1831. 
And having surviveti two husbands and five children, leaving three 

still alive; 
She died September l'.)th, 1833, aged about ninety-one years. Hav- 
ing a few weeks before expressed a hope of jiardon through 
Jesus Christ. 
"The counsel of the Lord that shall stand." 

Another side is marked as follows: 

To The 
Memory Of 


Whose home during more than seventy years of a life of strange 

vicissitude was among the Senecas upon the banks of this 

river; and whose history, inseparably connected with 

that of this valley, has caused her to be known as 

"The White Woman of the Genesee." 

On another side is the inscription; 

The remains of 

"The White Woman" 

were removed from the Buffalo 

Creek Reservation and reinterred at this 

place with ajipropriale ceremonies on the 7th day 

of March, 1874 



The following is a copy of the will of JIary Jemison which was for 
the first time published by the Rochester "Post-Express" in its issue 
of December 15, 1S")4: 

In the name of God, Amen. I, ^lary Jamison, of the town of 
Castile, in the county of Genesee, and state of New York, being of 
sound mind and perfect memory (blessed be Almighty God for the 
same), and considering the uncertainty of this mortal life, do make 
and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form fol- 
lowing (that is to say, viz.:) I wnll that all my debts and funeral 
charges be paid out of my goods and effects. I give and bequeath to 
mv beloved daughters, Nancy Jamison, Betsey Jamison and Polly 
Jamison, in ecpial proportions, and to their heirs forever, the three 
quarters of the principal and interest of a certain bond and mortgage 
executed by Jellis Clute and ]\Iicah Brooks for the sum of four 
thousand two hundred and eighty-six dollars, dated September 3d, 
1823. I also give and bequeath to George Jamison, Jacob Jamison, 
John Jamison, Thomas Jamison, Second, Jesse Jamison, Peggy White, 
Jane White, and Catharine Jamison, the children of my beloved son, 
Thomas Jamison, deceased, the other remaining one-fourth part of the 
principal and interest of the bond and mortgage of the said ('lute and 
Brooks, to them and their heirs forever. I also will and bequeath to 
my three daughters above named, in equal portions, the remainder of 
my goods and effects, and I hereby appoint Jellis Clute, of Moscow, 
my sole executor of this my last will and testament— hereby revoking 
all former wills by me made. In witness whereof I have hereunto set 
my hand and seal this third day of September, 1823, one thousand, 
eight hundred and twenty-three. 

(Signed) Mary x Jamison. (L. S.) 

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the above named Mary 
Jamison to be her last will and testament in the presence of us who 
have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses in the presence of 
the testator. The words "three-quarters" in the 13th line and the 
words "one-fourth" in the 22d line interlined before signing 

(Signed) ]Micah Brooks, 
William Clute, 
Thomas Clute, 

I^)llard, -x 

James x Stevens, 


The will was admitted to probate in Erie County, April 7, 1835. 

A sketch of Captain Pollard, one of the, witnesses to the will, else- 
where appears in this chapter. 

"James .Stevens (his name usually appears in historical records, and 
properly so, as Stevenson), who was also one of the witnesses to the 
will, was a half-breed like Corniilanier and Captain Pollard. His 
mother was a Seneca princess, his father a Colonial military officer. 
In one of his admirable contributions to the history of AVeslern New 
York, William C. I^ryantsaid: 'When the Senecas decided to cast 
their fortunes with the British, at the opening of the Revolutionary 
war, Stevenson's mother was constrained by her fierce and jealous 
relatives to abandon the hated offs[)ring in the woods, near Cayuga 
lake; and the agonized parent, with the rest of her family, was 
hurried to the British post. Fort Niagara. Her poor babe, but little 
more than three years old, wandered for two days in the woods sub- 
sisting on such wild berries as chance threw in his way. When almost 
famished a kind Providence directed the poor child's steps to a rude 
hut on the banks of the lake, which was the home of an Indian re- 
cluse — a Penobscot hunter who had wandered far from the home of his 
tribe in the wilds of Maine. This kind old man took the child into 
his cabin, fed and nourished him, taught him to fish and hunt, and 
treated him with fatherly kindness. When the long and dreary war 
was over, the babe, grown to be a handsome stripling, took an 
affectionate leave of his adopted father, and wandered back to Buffalo 
■creek, where he was soon clasped in the arms of his delighted and 
weeping mother. ' Chief .Stevenson died a sincere Christian, Decem- 
ber 28, 1845, aged about eighty-seven. 

"One of the witnesses examined when the will of !Mary Jemison was 
admitted to probate April 7, 1835, was Seneca White, who was one of 
the most distinguished of the later series of chiefs and leaders of the 
Iroquois. He was one of three brothers, all prominent Senecas, and 
known respectively as Seneca White, White Seneca, and John Seneca. 
Their father was a white captive called 'White Boy,' or 'Old White 
Boy,' of whom many pleasing anecdotes were related bv the early 
pioneers. Seneca White was frequently called 'The Handsome Sen- 
eca' to distinguish him from the other members of the family of 
Seneca. We quote (jnce more from ^Ir. Bryant: 'Mrs. Asher AVright 
and her husband frequently spoke with admiration and affection of 

Thomas Jemison. (So-Sun-do-waahi 


Old White Boy. His first great sorrow occurred when he was en- 
gaged in ]5lay with his little red companions and they acquainted him 
with the fact that he was of a different color, and belonged to the 
hated race of pale faces. He came home sobbing to his Indian mother 
who confessed to him that he was not her son except by adoption. At 
that time he formed a resolution, to which he adhered all his life, that 
he woidd by a blameless and beneficent life make the name White Boy 
loved and respected by the most inveterate enemies of his race.' 
Seneca White was called Nis-ha-nye-nant in Seneca, meaning 'fallen 
day.' He died May 19, 1873, aged about 91. "^ 

Thomas Jemison, So-sun-do-waah, or "Buffalo Tom," as he came 
to be known in later life on the reservation, was born, according 
to his own statement, on the Genesee flats at Gardeau, in Decem- 
ber 1794, between Christmas and New Years. His father 
was Thomas, the eldest child of the White Woman and She-nin-jee, 
her first husband; his father was killed at Gardeau, in a drunken 
quarrel, by his half-brother, John, in 1811, as previously narrated. 
His mother's father was an English fur trader, trapper and hunter; 
his maternal grandmother, after his mother's birth, married for a 
second husband, Ebenezer, or "Indian," Allen; she was the Seneca 
squaw Sally, mother of Mary, or Polly, and Chloe. Jemison was 
married to a full blood squaw in 1818 and continued to reside at 
Squakie Hill until 1828, when he removed to the Buffalo reservation. 
Upon his marriage be built a log house at Squakie Hill, which he 
occupied until his removal to Buffalo. This building is yet standing 
on the Squakie Hill farm of John F. White, in an excellent state of 
preservation, and is still used. He became a tavern keeper on the 
Buffalo reservation and acquired some property in the City of Buffalo. 
In 1844 he moved with his family to the Cattaraugus reservation, 
where he purchased the improvements on a fine farm in the valley of 
the Cattaraugus Creek, and cultivated it with exemplary industry and 
success. He died on the reservation on September 7th, 1878, aged 
eighty-four years, and was buried in the cemetery on the reservation. 
His wife, three sons and three daughters survived him. His eldest 
son graduated at the State Normal School at Albany; indeed, he 
gave all his children a good English education. Besides his daughter, 

I. The above account of James Stevens .ind SeiSca White is from Mr. Samson's article in the 
Post-Express accompanying the publication of the will. 


Mrs. Sarah A. Kennedy, of Irving, N. Y., he has a number of living 

Jemison was a representative Indian in the Seneca Nation for nearly 
half a century. He was chosen a delegate with other natives and 
chiefs to go to Washington, during Jackson's administration, on busi- 
ness connected with the affairs of the Seneca Nation. He received 
from the President a massive silver medal, commemorative of the 
event, which he often wore and prized very highly. In 1835, he was 
chosen a delegate, with seven other chiefs and sachems, to visit Kansas 
and examine the country with a view to the removal of the Seneca 
Nation of Indians to that country. This commission, devised by the 
Ogden Land Company, made an unfavorable report. He was a high- 
minded man, who always commanded the respect of the whites. 
Lieut. Governor Patterson said that, "his word was as good as any 
white man's note in the valley. If he bought property on credit, it 
would be paid for on the day it fell due without grace." When a 
young man, he renounced paganism and accepted the Christian re- 
ligion, and in later years was a frequent attendant upon the mis- 
sionary chapel services on the reservation, and contributed 
generously his share in supporting them. He was over si.x feet 
in height, square shouldered, with a large head, heavy pro- 
jecting eyebrows, a broad face, and pleasing and strongly marked 
features, bearing a striking resemblance to Thurlow Weed. 
His English was as pure as any Yankee farmer's. He paid 
his last visit to the Genesee in 1872. Below are given copies of three 
interesting letters written by his daughter, Mrs. Kennedy, at his dic- 
tation, to Dr. Mills. 

Cattaraugus Rtservation, Sept. 12lh, 1875. 
Dear Ur. :\Iills, 

I am much gratified to think you think of me and hope you will so 
continue. I have received four papers from you since last January. 
I may come out and see you between this and January, but I am not 
positive for I am getting quite old. I learned a great deal in the last 
paper you sent me, there is a great deal in it that I did not know 
which is very interesting to me. In the papers you first sent I recog- 
nize most all the persons' names inentioned therein of the old settlers. 
I recollect of crossing and recrossing the old Cayuga Hridge not far 
from fifty-five years ago. In one of the papers you sent, I noticed the 
funeral oi Colonel Horsford which made me shed tears. He was the 


first white teacher among us at Squakie Hill, The inhabitants of 
Mt. Morris built the school house and the Moscow folks did not helji 
at all. I was then about twenty years old at this time. I recollect of 
going to school some half a dozen times, but my three sisters attended 
all winter, this was not far from sixty years ago. I moved away from 
Squakie Hill in the year of 1828 and lived on the Buffalo Reservation 
about fifteen years and was quite successful, but now I am old and 
getting down about where I started from. [ will be eighty years old 
next December and cannot work any more. My father was killed in 
1811 at Gardeau. 

In the year of 1833 I was a delegate with five other Indians to ex- 
plore Kansas in view of our removal there. We saw the Osage Indians 
and a white missionary by the name of Dodge who had been there ten 
years, and then we went to the Indian Territory among the Cayuga 
Indians who had removed from Cayuga Lake in this State some ten 
or fifteen years previous; they had a saw mill and grist mill among 
them. From there we visited the Cherokees, Choctaws, Seminoles 
and Creeks. From there we started for home on horse back for 
Little Rock. After arriving at Little Rock we sold our horses and 
took steamer for the Mississippi to Cairo; from thence up the Ohio 
river to Pittsburg and then took stage for home, for there was no 
railroads in those days. 

I got acquainted with your father when I was a young boy, he 
always gave me good advice. He told me to go to work and raise 
cattle, and so I did and when they were old enough he purchased them 
from me. I always thought a great deal of him. Please give my re- 
spects to your family. Very truly yours, 

Thomas Jimeson. 

Cattaraugus Reservation, 
April Kith, 1S7(.. 

My dear friend Dr. Mills, 

Your letter of the 3rd inst. I have received. Your question in re- 
lation to Tallchief I am not able to tell you when he was born. I have 
enquired of his grandson Joel Sundown csaid Sundown is sixty-eight 
years of age) also my sister, widow of William Tallchief son of old 
Tallchief, and I could not gain any information from either. The old 
man died on the Tonawanda Reservation in the fall of 1831 ; his son 
William went from the Buffalo Reservation and brought his remains 
and were buried in the burying ground near where my grandmother 
was buried. As near as I can judge his age must have been abcnit 
eightv. He was a large fine looking man and had three sons and three 

The second son of Tallchief was called Straightback ; he was the 


smartest Indian on the reservation to run. Captain Jones had a son 
we Used to call Colonel Jones and was the smartest white man in the 
town of Leicester. Captain Jones and his son and" Straii;htback were 
riding in a wagon and when they came to a nice smooth road the 
Captain said boys you both always say that you cannot be outrunned 
supposing you decide here, as there is no one present. I will drive nn 
forty rods and as a signal I will drop my hat for you in start. Tiie 
Captain has always said he could not decide who came out first, but it 
was reported that he favored his son as Straightback could not get the 
(Colonel to run again with him. 

I will mention two chiefs of my recollection residing at Squakie 
Hill over sixty-five years ago. The oldest was called Blackchief and 
the younger Sharpshins. The latter was a quite (?) and acquired 
considerable property, cattle and horses. 

Also three chiefs on the Caneadea Reservation called Colonel Shongo 
very nice looking man, Jimmie Hudson also the same, on the lower 
end of the reservation now called Nunda lived Killbuck. - 

The paper you sent me with the description of Indian Allen on Mt. 
Morris Tract I am very much pleased with. The oldest daughter of 
Indian Allen (Polly) married a white man by the name of Crow, he 
was a very bad man, a complete horse thief and was in company with 
a man by the name of Greig Allen one of Indian Allen's sons from a 
white woman. Indian Allen had three wives, two white women and 
one Indian. 

Polly Allen died about five years ago on the river Thames, Canada 
West leaving one daughter. Cloe married a white man by the name 
of Cooper of whom one son is now living on this Reservation by name 
of Sylvester Cooper. Cloe lost her husband about forty years ago or 
over. She married again a man by the name of Seely, they having a 
son now living on this Reservation by the name of AVilliam Seely. 
Cloe died nearly forty years ago on the Buffalo Reservation. 

(The above Polly Allen ougfit to be Mary Allen.) 

I promised when you were here, to visit you again, I am afraid I 
cannot fulfill. I am troubled with a bad cough which I have had for 
forty years, also with the asthma. 

I shall be very happy to hear from you as often as convenient. 

Your friend, 

Thomas jimeson. 

Cattaraugus Reservation, 
Aug. 2f>th, 1<S78. 
Dr. Mills, 

Dear Sir, I received the paper you sent me, and find it very inter- 
esting. My health is quite bad, not as good as last year. I am very 
feeble, it is almost impossible for me to ivalk forty or fifty rods, I am 

Kenjockety— Shen-dyuh-^wa-dih. 


so weak. I think I have been very fortunate in the length of my life, 
I c-an think back and see some of the most influential men of the City 
of Buffalo have died within my knowledge. They were N. R. Hall, 
Ex. President Fillmore, Geo. P. Barker, H. K. .Smith, Babcock, Gen! 
Porter and Solomon G. Havens, all lawyers. Dr. Pratt, Dr. Cliapin 
Dr. Burwell, Dr. Bissel, all the above named persons I was acquainted 

One of our Indians from Genesee died here last year, by the name 
of Joel Sundown. 

I would like to hear from you again. 

Very Respectfully etc. 

Thomas Jimeson. 

Philip Kenjockety, or Conjockety, Ska-dyoh-gwa-dih,i was the last 
survivor of the Genesee river Indians, whose personal recollections 
extended back to the invasion of General Sullivan. His grandfather 
was a member of the almost mythological race, the Kah-kwas, and 
was adopted into the Senecas. His father acquired influence among 
the latter nation and became a chief, and it was through his repre- 
sentation that the Senecas were induced to settle upon the banks of 
the Niagara river when driven from the Genesee. Philip's parents 
were residing at the Nunda village when the war of the Revolution 
broke out. and, when the residents of that village removed to Beards- 
town, Philip's family went also. Colonel Doty met him at the 
Cattaraugus reservation in the fall of 1865. He then claimed to be 
one hundred and twenty years old. He had come- down to the mis- 
sion house at the request of his visitor, to give his recollections of the 
Genesee country. For a person of his age he possessed great vigor of 
body. His mind was clear and his memory proved to be marvelously 
correct. When the subject of Sullivan's expedition to this region, in 
1779, was mentioned, he seemed to forget his age and everything else 
in the interest revived by the associations of that period. "Yes," he 
said, "I recollect the Wah-ston-yans" that is, Bostonians, as the col- 
onial or Yankee troops were called by the Senecas; "I was large boy 
then, large enough to shoot small birds with a gun. The Yankees got 

I. The changes in Kenjockety's name afford an instance of the difficnities attending Indian 
biography. O. H. Marshall, says, that when a yonth, he was called Ji-ya-go-^utuih, meaning 
"large dog." After the war of iSij, another name was conferred npon him, as is customary 
among the Indians, to wit: Gat-go-wah-dali, that is "dressed deer skin," from the fact that Philip, 
being a good hunter, kept himself supplied with deer skin sometime after the rest of his tribe 
were unable to obtain it. Ska-dyoh-gua-di k means "beyond the multitude." 


as far as Conesus lake, all was consternation at Beardstown; it rained; 
the warriors went out; the air grew heavy with rumors; even the birds 
brought tidings of the enemy's doings. "1 After the interview, as he 
was bidding good bye, he took the hand of Colonel Doty's son, and 
pointing to the clasped fingers, said, through the interpreter, "This 
bridges between three generations, between that long past and the 
generation under the new order." Kenjockety heard the Kah-kwa 
language spoken, and said a good many words were like Seneca. He 
described the face of the country in this region with great accuracy 
and added essential facts to its history. He died on the first of April, 
1866, aged fully a hundred and ten years. The home of the Buffalo 
Historical Society overlooks Park Lake, a small body of water taken 
from Conjockety Creek, so named from the circumstance that Ken- 
jockety had a cabin upon it. The Academy of Art in Buffalo has pre- 
served a fine portrait in oil (if this venerable Kah-kwa, the last of his 

There were a number of Indians of lesser note, who. eighty years 
ago, were well known to the settlers. Among these were Blinkey, a 
red man of much shrewdness, who had lost an eye, and thus secured an 
expressive name; Canaday, the brother of Blinkey, a fine looking Sen- 
eca, whose hut stood near the highway leading to Highbanks, on the 
north side of the river, at Squakie Hill, and Big Peg, who usually 
lived at Big Tree village. The latter possessed much good sense, was 
a speaker, and had mi little force of character. Accident secured him 
his name, as it often secures the names of other personages of more 
consequence. Green Blanket lived at Little Beardstown, and acquired 
his title from always wearing a blanket of a particular cnlor, to which 
he was very partial. 

Of the leading warriors of the Senecas of this region, whose fame 
rests mainly on tradition, a sketch will scarcely be expected here, es- 
pecially as Colonel Hosmer has so felicitously preserved their deeds in 
verse. The renowned chieftain. Old Can-ne-hoot, led the Senecas 
against the Mar([uis De Nonville, and, for the purpose of fiction, the 
poet has allowed him to die on the field of battle after the conllict. 
Conesus, whose romantic career has been so well given in Hosmer's 
Legends of the Senecas, is another. His name was a terror to the 
Chippewas, and often, with his band of braves, he chased the Adirr.n- 

I. Ketij(»ckety's recollections are incorporateil in the chapter on Sullivan's Expedition. 


dacks to their mountain lodges. ^ A small island near i\von, formed by 
the sweeping bend of the Genesee, was the home of this warrior chief, 
who, often in the dim and shadowy past, "belted for the fight" with 
western tribes.^ The list might easily be extended, but the limit as- 
signed to Indian history is already more than reached. 

I. "Old Can-ne-hoot arose at last, 

And back his shajjgy mantle cast 

While proud as became a king, 
Presiding in monarchal state, 
His glance surveyed the tawny ring 
Of counsellors that round him sate. 

His eloquence of look and word 
Dark depths of every heart had stirred; 
And 'twas uo time in dull debate 
For other tongues of war to prate." 


.2 The poet thus speaks of the chieftain's wood-embowered island home, near Avon; 
"You aged group of maples * * * 
Long, long ago Conesus made 
His dwelling in their graceful shade. 
His tribe could many a chieftain boast. 
Far-famed for deeds, but loved him most : 
Not by hereditary right 
Rank did he win above them all, 
But forced his way by skill in fight 
And wisdom in the couucil-hall.' 



THE Western Expedition under General Sullivan was the leading 
military event of the Revolution in 177'». It constituted the 
principal exception to Washington's defensive policy of that 
year, and its influence upon the after settlement of this region gives 
the enterprise the importance of an epoch in our local history. While, 
therefore, we briefly present its general features, attention may prop- 
erly be claimed to full details of the operations and results of the ex- 
pedition in the Genesee country. 

The measure, too long delayed, was provoked by the insolence of 
the Senecas and other Indian tribes, and their sanguinary allies, the 
Tories. With the exception of a portion of the Oneidas and a few of 
the Mohawks, it will be recollected that the Six Nations were all in 
arms against the colonists, and, to the lasting disgrace of the cabinet 
of Lord North, they were urged on by British emissaries to the com- 
mission of atrocities which have no parallel in modern history. Theii' 
remarkable organization and great numbers enabled them to keep the 
borders in a continual state of alarm, as well as to inflict upon the in- 
hatiitants a long series of injuries. The cry for protection against 
these predatory wrongs had gone up to the Continental Congress from 
many a hardy frontiersman, who found himself threatened with dangers 
through hourly multii^lying savageries. The settlers besought their 
Government to interpose its power and secure them protection for 
their homes and families against the inroads of a barbarous foe em- 
boldened by the long impunity that had attended his successive deeds 
of rapine. But delay followed delay as the aspect of public affairs 
became less threatening, and Congress busied itself with other subjects 
than those of Indian atrocities which had grown, unhapjjily, too famil- 
iar. They indeed appeared content to resolve, to rescind, to postpone 
all decision. ^leanwhile the western forest poured forth its savage 
hordes, and their spreading ravages compelled the border population 
to invoke aid from a nearer power. Their appeal, unheard at Phila- 
delphia, found its way to Poughkeepsie, then temporarily the State 


capital, where it awakened an interest beseeming its importance. The 
Legislature of New York at once initiated a remedy and made it prac- 
tical by enacting a law, which directed the Governor to draw from the 
militia of the State a certain quota, and send them against the Senecas. 
Thus it was that the first step was taken in the famous expedition of 
1779. Formal notice of this action was at once transmitted to Con- 
gress, and on the morning of the first of April the letter of the Legis- 
lature of New York, bearing date the thirteentii of March, was laid 
before that august body. This letter referred in forcible terms to the 
Indian ravages on the great frontier, and the distresses they had oc- 
casioned; to the extreme difficulty, as well as the large expense, of 
covering the extended border by military posts, and closed by declaring 
that an expedition against the Senecas would be the cheapest and most 
practicable mode of defending the households and settlements suffering 
from exposure, and that the Legislature had empowered the Governor 
to raise a thousand men by drafts from the State militia for that object. 

For months before, at intervals, the subject of Indian outrages had 
been considered in Congress. In truth, twice in the previous year 
that body had resolved to fit out an expedition against the Senecas 
and other western tribes. In October preceding, the subject had 
been referred to Governor George Clinton and Generals Schuyler and 
Hand, who conceived it too late in the season to prepare for an enter- 
prise of such magnitude. The massacre of Wyoming had, indeed, 
called forth special resolutions. But other matters were suffered to 
interfere, and no action resulted from such well-worded sympathy. 
Now, however. New York, a leading member of the Federation, had 
taken a decisive step toward protecting the outlying districts; and 
Congress feeling the justice of the demand, listened to the commtmica- 
tion with an attention wiiich presaged good result. Bold George 
Clinton was Governor of New York. He had held a ssat in the Con- 
tinental Congress, and its members were aware that he would yield to 
no tardy policy; indeed, he intended to conduct the expedition in 
person. And the Legislature, it was known, contained members 
equally earnest, who, when once enlisted in such a work, would be 
content with nothing savoring of procrastination. 

The Congress, therefore, without further delay, applauded the 
"spirited exertions of the New York Legislature to facilitate such en- 
terprise," and directed that the State's militia contingent raised for 


this purpose be allowed rations and Ci^ntinental pay. Proper meas- 
ures were also taken to collect an army of ample strength to effect the 
object. Washiniiton, no doubt, was quite ready to approve this 
action. He had passed the previous winter in Philadelphia, where 
Congress was sitting, to deliberate with the Board of War about the 
campaign of 1779, and, especially to urge action in respect to Indian 
outrages along the frontier. Correspondence with General Hand, who 
appears to have devoted particular attention to the subject of a 
western expedition, shows that he had been carefully examining the 
routes best to be taken, and securing information having particular 
regard to the distance and face of the country, and kind of naviga- 
tion. But the result of these deliberations could not have been en- 
couraging to the chief at that session, for our Continental council did 
not partake of his anxiety in respect to the situation of public affairs. 
To him the period was a momentous one. The country, exhausted 
by years of war, needed rest. Bread was scarce, wages were high, 
and employment abundant, while the pay of the soldier was small and 
uncertain, and the terms of many were about expiring. The army, 
indeed, had begun to melt away. The alliance with France had pro- 
duced a baneful feeling of security, which, it appeared to him, was 
paralyzing the energies of the countrv. England, it was thought, 
would now be too much occupied in securing her position in Europe 
to increase her force or extend her operations in America. Many, 
therefore, considered the war as virtually at an end, and were unwill- 
ing to make the sacrifices or supply the means necessary for important 
military operations. "Dissensions and party feuds were breaking 
out in Congress, owing to the relaxation of that external pressure of 
a common and imminent danger, which had heretofore produced a 
unity of sentiment and action." Congress had. in fact, greatly deter- 
iorated "since the commencement of the war. Many of those whose 
names had been as watchwords at the Declaration of Independence, 
had withdrawn from the National councils, occupied either by their in- 
dividual affairs or by the affairs of their individual States. "^ Never 
too sanguine, Washington was now beguiled into no feeling of secur- 
itv; but the coLintry was languid and exhausted, and had need of rest, 
and, all things considered, he deemed it wise to allow America "a 
breathing lime." He ihvrefore assented to a defensive policy for the 

1. Irvine's Washington. 


approaching campaign, with the single exception of this Western ex- 
pedition against the Indians. 

He held that Indian warfare, to be effective, should not be mereiy 
defensive, but that we must make "war upon them in their own style; 
penetrate their country, lay waste their villages and settlements, and, 
at the same lime, destroy the British post'at Niagara, that nestling 
place of Tories and refugees. " This policy prevailed, and the cam- 
paign, now finally decided upon, was set on foot at once. It consisted 
at the outset of an expedition from Fort Schuyler, under Colonel Van 
Schaick, with six hundred men, who, on the 19th of April, surprised 
and destroyed the Indian villages of Onondaga, and got back to camp 
without loss. The principal expedition of the campaign, however, 
was that to "Western New York, under General Sullivan. Washington 
had devoted much thought as to the best route by which to reach the 
Indian settlements, and his leading officers were consulted, as we 
have seen. General Schuyler, more familiar with the country than 
others, believed that the most eligible course would be to ascend the 
Mohawk river, and continue thence westward to the Seneca villages, 
and, if practicable, to Niagara. There were difficulties, however, in 
this plan, and, upon the whole, the line adopted was doubtless the 
best. It was Washington's original design that General Brodhead, 
who left Pittsburg in August of that year, with six hundred men, 
and destroyed several Indian towns on the Allegheny and other trib- 
utaries of the Ohio, should form a junction with Sullivan; but this 
part of the campaign was afterward abandoned. 

The command of the expedition had been tendered by Washington 
to General Gates; but that officer, ever jealous of the Commander-in- 
chief, declined the service in a cold and uncourteous letter. The 
leadership was then offered to General Sullivan, who accepted and 
entered with alacrity upon the honorable and responsible duty. 

The headquarters of the force was first established at Easton, Penn- 
sylvania, from which point a general order for the arrangement and 
marching of the army was issued on the 24th of May. In the latter 
part of June the troops moved to Wyoming, then recently the scene 
of that bloody massacre, which had _^so shocked the sensibilities of 
Christendom. By the last of July three thousand troops were as- 
sembled at Wyoming, and at one o'clock on the afternoon of the 31st 
of that month, the army commenced its march for Tioga, by way of 


the western branch of the Susquehanna river, the stores and artillery 
being conveyed up that stream in a hundred and fifty boats.-' 

This expedition, so fruitful in good results, was attended with more 
than its share of iKiiiifnl iiicitlent at each step of formation and 
earlier movements. At the outset, the otidcers of a Jersey regiineiu 
hesitated to obey marching orders. Washington received the intelli- 
gence of their wavering "with infinite concern, ■■ and declared that 
nothing had happened in the course of the war which gave him so 
much pain as their action. He was fully sensible of the justice of 
their demands. He was aware that they had appealed, without 
effect, to the Legislature of their State on the subject of the arrear- 
ages of their pay; that they had urged the starving condition of their 
families, and the burthen of accumulating debt; that their appeal had 
been slighted, and that they had obtained no satisfaction whatever. 
They next remonstrated. "Our pay," said they, "is only nominal, not 
real. Four months' [uiy of a private soldier will not procure his 
wretched wife ami children a single bushel of wheat I The situation 
of your officers is worse. The pay of a colonel of your regiment will 
not purchase oats for his horse, nor will his whole dav's pav procure 
him a singls dinner." The reuuinstrance closed by urging that un- 
less immediate relief was afl^orded they would be under the necessitv 
of quitting the service, and, unless provision for arrears was made in 
three days, they must be considered as having resigned. The emer- 
gency was serious. The cause of complaint was widespread and well 
founded; and had nut Washington now exerted his powerful influence, 
as well with the civil authorities as with the army, the expedition 
might have failed at this stage. But he succeeded in securing atten- 
tion to the appeal. The memorial was withdrawn and the pay sent 
to the regiments, who promptly took their places in the brigade, to 
vindicate anew throughout the campaign their reputation, won en 
many a battlefield, for unfliiieliing valor. 

It is said that Sullivan's requisitions embraced many articles 

I. The artuy, as it uow moved out, was composed as follows: 

(ien. Haud's Brigade — Hubley's and the German regiment, and .Schott's and Spaiilding's 
Independent Corps, composing Light Corps. 

(ieu. Ma.xwell's Brigade— Dayton's, Shreeve's. Olden's, Spence's regiments. 

Gen. Poor's Brigade — Cilley's, Reed's, Scammel's, Cortlaudt's regiments. 

"rotal fit for duty Jnly 22: Brig. Generals. 3: Colonels, 7; Lt. Colonels, 6; Majors, S; Captains. 
48; chaplains, 3; .Surgeons, lo; Drum Majors, 8; Fife Majors 3: Drummers and Fifers, 131, rank and 
file, 2,312. 


deemed extravagant by the Board of War. Among other things, a 
large number of eggs were called fur, while the quantity of rifle pow- 
der was greater, the board thought, than could in any event be neces- 
sary. It is certain that Congress received the requisitions with disfa-^ 
vor, and tardily granted orders for such supplies as by them were 
regarded esseiitial. All tliis tended to delay the movement, and give 
publicity to what it had been designed to keep secret. Washington 
meantime, grew anxious, and urged tiiat success depended upon ce- 
lerity. The ci>mmissariat, even at last, was but illy supplied either in 
quantity or quality. On reachmg Wyoming not a pound of salted 
meat remaining was fit to eat , and in other departments contractors 
had equally wronged the public service. Sullivan says that more tlian 
a third of his men were without a shirt to their backs. Many of the 
cattle furnished him were too poor to walk and some were even unable 
to stand. ( )f the fourteen hundred horses provided, at least fifty were 
worn out and unable to travel further than a single day's march 
beyond the Chemung river, where they were abandoned and ordered 
shot. The Indians afterward gathered the heads of these slaughtered 
animals and arranged them beside the trail. From this circumstance 
the locality derived its present name of Horseheads. 

On the 11th of August the army arrived at Tioga. A mile above 
the junction of the Tioga and Susquehanna rivers they approached 
each other to within a few rods. "Here a fort was built called Fort 
Sullivan, while the army, somewhat fatigued, lay on what might 
almost be called an island below," awaiting the arrival of Clinton's 
division. The water of the Susquehanna, through wdiich the troops 
had to pass, was up to their arm-pits, and to preserve the ammunition 
dry they hung their cartouch bo.ves upon their bayonets, carried high 
above their heads. From this point Sullivan detailed General Poor 
with a detachment of seven hundred men to meet Clinton. The 
precaution proved a wise one, for, after traversing thirty miles or 
more of wilderness, the detail came upon a body of Indians lying in 
ambush beside a well beaten trail at Round Hill, near Choconut creek, 
awaiting the coming of Clinton. The Indians were surprised, and 
being driven down the bank and dispersed, the detachment moved on 
and soon after came up with Clinton's division. After a brief halt the 
latter's march southward was resumed. 

The advent of Clinton's army into the region of Otsego lake, with a 


well appointed force, was an event so unexpected to the Indians and so 
formidable in character, that a widespread terror seized their families, 
and they fled in large number;; across the country, first, to near New- 
town, and, after the battle of the latter place, to the homes of the Senecas 
on the (lenesee, where, remote from white settlements, they fancied 
themselves secure, little suspecting the blow, now preparing through 
the agency of this very force, to fall upon those distant towns.' 

At ten o'clock on Sunday morning, the 22d of August, General Clin- 
ton appeared w^ith his division, in two hundred and ten boats. Salvos 
of artillery announced their arrival. The light corps was drawn up, 
Colonel Proctor's music was advanced to the front, and, with drums 
beating and fifes playing, the division floated past the light corps to 
the camp of the main aimy. The force, with this addition, now num- 
bered about five thousand men. 

Clinton's division, consisting of sixteen hninlred men. had come 
from the valley of the Mohawk, by way of Otsego lake and 
the easterly bank of the Susquehanna. As he neared Sullivan he 
dispatched a small detachment under command of Lieutenant Boyd, 
whose untimely fate a few days later near Conesus lake gives a tragic 
coloring to the expedition's history, to announce his coming; he 
arrived at the general headquarters in a soaking rain. 

The baggage was now got ready for the march. Several tents were 
cut up and a considerable force was detailed for work through the day 
and night, to make up this material into flijur sacks convenient for 
transporting on horseback. 

Having attained a comparatively open country, the line of march 
was arranged in the following order: General Hand's brigade in 
front in eight columns; (Jen. P(ior's brigade on the right in eight 
columns, flanked by a strong body of light troops; Gen. Maxwell's 
brigade on the left in eight columns, flanked by light troops; Gen. 
Clinton's brigade, in eight columns, in the rear; Col. Proctor's artil- 

1. In 1.S60, Judge Avery, of Fliut, Michigau, saw, on the Grand river, iu Canada, a venerable 
squaw nearly a hundred years old, of the Nanticoke tribe, named ll^ay-7i'ay, who was bom at 
Choconut, and resided near that place at the time Clinton's army was on its way to form a junc- 
tion with Sullivan. She recollected perfectly the dismay occasioned by that event, and also the 
flight with her people to the Genesee to seek safety, and when driven from the Seneca villages 
along the latter river by Sullivan, the continued flight with others, to Niagara. On the return of 
]>eace. Il'av-uay and her mother (she lost lier father in the Newton battle t came back with others 
and settled near Owego, where they recovered their kettles and other valuables left buried when 
they fled westward. Judge .\very has used his interesting pen with marked success iu rescuing 
many a fugitive leaf of early history from destruction. 


lerj' in the center, flanked on the riirht and left by d(nible files of pack 
horses, which separated his command from Poor's and ^laxwell's brig- 
ades; !Major Parr, with the riflemen, disposed considerably in front of 
the whole, with orders to reconnoitre all suspicious places previous to 
the arrival of the army. Colonel Cortland's regiment was added to 
Clinton's division. Olden's to Poor's brigade, and Butler's regiment 
and ^Slajor Parr's corps to Hand's brigade. 

On the 2(ith of Augvist the signal gun was fired, and the whole army 
took up its line of march. A great and unknown wilderness — formida- 
ble obstacles to the movement of an army — spread before them, 
Unbridged creeks and rivers were to be forded, mountain defiles to be 
threaded, and morasses to be crossed. The maps of the country were 
full of errors; while the guides, even the best that could be procured, 
were so little acquainted with the route that they "could not conduct 
a party out of the Indian path by day nor in it by night." General 
Hand had been informed that the region between the Chemung river 
and the Genesee was in great part particularly low, wet and swampy, 
and could be travelled only with difficulty, and so informed Washing- 
ton in March; yet nothing, as we know, could well be further from the 
truth. A wily foe, perfectly familiar with every pass, and at home on 
every trail, hovered always upon their flanks. Pioneers moved invar- 
ialily in advance, and riflemen were disposed in front to reconnoitre 
suspicious places, and thus prevent surprise. But w'hile these precau- 
tions were taken to guard against disaster, confidence and good nature 
prevailed throughout the ranks, and neither oi'ficers nor men were 
immindful of the demands of the palate. Besides the usual supplies, 
the Commander carried dried tongues and other articles of like char- 
acter; and a number of live cattle were driven along to supply then7 
with fresh meat. The general officers were entertained at Sullivan's 
table, where, with characteristic freedom, he criticised the Congress, 
and particularly the Board of War. This impolitic course, though 
evincing independence, was cause for much after controversy and 
personal embroilment. 

.Si.\- light brass field pieces and two howitzers were carried by the 
artillery. The morning and evening guns were always fired, even in 
the deepest recesses of the forest: and much as Sullivan was criticised, 
even on' the floor of Congress, for thus notifying the Indians of his 
progress and whereabouts, he never justified his course as he might 


have ilone, by quoting his orders from the Commander.-in-chief him- 
self. These orders in the handwriting of Hamilton, and bearing 
Washington's autograph signature, are still in existence. 

Sullivan was familiar with Indian warfare, and was well aware of 
the terror which the discharge of cannon occasioned in the Indian 
mind. The peace of New England had in a measure been preserved 
by providing a "big gun" for e.vposed settlements, to be now and then 
fired from the little garrison house. Indeed, the shaking of a linstock 
by a woman over an unloaded cannon, proved enough on a notable 
•occasion to hold at bay a band of savages. As the expedition was no 
longer a secret, he determined to make the most of this feeling of dread 
on the part of the red man. In his special orders of the 31st nf May, 
Washington said, "The immediate objects (of the expedition) are the 
total destruction and devastation of their settlements and the capture 
•of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible." Washington 
had hoped to keep .the route of the army a secret, but this was obvi- 
ously impracticable; and as the natives, encumbered by little or no 
baggage and familiar with the country, could easily keep out of the 
Avay of forces whose progress at best must be necessarily slow, it be- 
came apparent at once that an effective campaign must have for its 
•object the destruction of their settlements, since he could take no 
prisoners; and even if he had been able to do so, no suitable provision 
•could be made for their maintenance or transportation. The morning 
and evening guns afforded little information as to the army's where- 
abouts, for the Indian runners were constantly watching its progress 
and reporting its movements to the retreating chieftains. 

Washington was well aware of the effect of dash and clamor, and 
he particularly suggested that when going to attack the Indians, "it 
shoidd be done with as much impetuosity, shouting, and noise as pos- 
sible," and that it should be "impressed upon the minds of the men 
\whenever they have an opportunity, to rush on with the warwhoop and 
fixed bayonet. Nothing will disconcert and terrify the Indians more 
.than this." 

On Sunday, the 2'>th of August, the expedition arrived at Newtown, 
near the present city of Elmira. The Indians and Tories, one thousand 
strong, under the Butlers and Brant, were here found intrenched 
behind well constructed earthworks, a short distance below the modern 
icity, at a point wisely chosen tor defence. Sullivan at once began to 


engage them by openiniJ: his field pieces upon their defences, mean- 
time detaching General Hand's light troops to the left and Poor to the 
right around the mountain, the latter to fall upon their left flank and 
thus cut off their retreat in that direction. Poor was obliged, how- 
ever, to march over a mile in full view of the enemy, who readily 
penetrated his design. They observed, too, that when he opened 
signal fire other movements were making to surround them; and seeing 
that opposition was useless, they delayed no longer, but sounding the 
wild retreating whoop at once quitted their works and betook them- 
selves to precipitate flight, the artillery's well directed cannonade serv- 
ing, meantime, to cjuicken their motions. The engagement lasted two 
liours. Sullivan had seven men killed and about thirty wounded. The 
enemy suffered more seriously, and were pushed so closely that in 
their retreat Walter Butler's commission and the warrant of another 
Tory officer, together with several orderly books, fell into our hands. 
The defeat proved decisive. The leaders could not, during the whole 
progress of the expedition, again bring the savages face to face with 
the army marching to invade their homes, and though ever on the 
watch to embarrass its movements and to strike a stealthy blow, they 
were obliged constantly to retreat, slowly and sullenly, before the 
steadily advancing expedition. 

After the war. Brant told General Peter B. Porter, that Red Jacket, 
whose great influence was first fidly exerted in connection with this 
expedition, sought to perplex the Indians by holding private councils 
with the young chiefs and more timid sachems, to induce them to sue 
for peace, even on humiliating terms. Colonel Stone says that at one 
tiine Red Jacket so far succeeded in his plan as to send secretly a run- 
ner into Sullivan's camp, to make known the divisions existing among 
the Indians, and to advise the General to dispatch a flag of truce with 
certain propositions calculated to increase these divisions and to 
secure a peace dishonorable to them. Brant was privately informed 
of these proceedings, but fearful to disclose them, detailed two confi- 
dential warriors to waylay and kill the Ijearer of the flag of truce be- 
fore he should reach the Indian camp. 

The little Indian village of Newtown was laid in ashes, and the 
surrounding crops of corn and beans were also destroyed. From this 
point, on the night succeeding the battle, General Sullivan sent back 
to Pennsvlvania his heavy artillery, retaining only four brass three- 


pounders and a small howitzer. Having loaded the necessary ammu- 
nition on horseback, and beins>- otherwise ready, the army resumed 
the march early next morning for Catharine's Town, the home of the 
half-l)lood Queen Catharine Montour, which lay on a creek about tiiree 
miles from Seneca lake, encamping at nightfall within thirteen miles 
of that village. The ne.xt day a road was opened for the artillery, 
through a hemlock swamp, nine miles in extent. Over tiiis, as well as 
through several dangerous defiles, the army was now to pass. It had 
also to ford a swift running river which in many places was consider- 
ably liruad and waist deep, while its course was so serpentine that it 
had to be crossed seven or eight times in the day's march. Sullivan 
was cautioned by his scouts against entering the swamp until daylight, 
and Clinton, who brought u\> the rear and was much fatiguctl, on 
reaching its entrance at nightfall was so strongly assured that the 
lives of his horses and cattle, if not of his 'men, would be risked if he 
tried to go through before morning, that he diti not attempt the task 
till the next day. Sullivan, however, pressed on, determined to cross 
that night. Flanking parties were accordingly sent forward, and 
other precautions taken against surprise; but such was the boldness of 
the hills and so narrow were the defiles, that a score or two of Indians 
might easily have obstructed the progress of the troops and thrown 
thcarmv into confusion. The night was intensely dark, and as the 
men slowly groped their way, often sinking deep into' the treaciier- 
ous ground, they became weary and scattered, and not a few lay down 
heie and there on the pathway for tlie night, unable to go farther. 
The situation was one of no little peril; but fully alive to its demands 
the (jeneral encouraged his army forward, and by midnight had the 
satisfaction of reaching the already deserted town. The Indian scouts 
had keenlv watched the army until evening, but having no thought 
that they would continue the march in a night so dark, over a route 
presenting so many difficulties, they made their way at dusk to the 
town where, roasting their corn, they passed the evening busily in 
planning for the next day, the resolute commander of the invading 
forces meantime pushing forward his troops, amid difficulties whose 
daring character, singularly enough, secured him from the dangers 
incident to the movement. Such a stroke was characteristic of vSul- 
livan. Washington, well aware of his intrepidity and dauntless cour- 
age, had selected him as chief officer of the expedition, which involved 


risks like tiiis; risks for which he liad a relish. Th(iu_t;"h when the 
troops had safely accomplished that night's march. Sullivan, it is said, 
declared he would not repeat it for the honor of a command. Several 
of the cattle had been killed, and a number of pack horses lost in the 
mazes of the swamp. The men, however, all arrived safely, those who 
had dropped out coming in with Clinton in the morning. The army 
halted here until the second day to rest from the unusual fatigues. 
Catharine's Town, it was found, consisted of thirty houses, several of 
which were quite good. These were destroyed together with the 
orchards and growing crops of corn, beans and other vegetables. 

An incident here occurred which proves the absence of personal 
hatred on the part of the army, however ready they were to destroy 
the towns and crops of the Indians, as a military necessity. An old 
Cayuga squaw of great age had been left in Catharine's Town liv the 
Indians in their precipitate flight, and was found in the neighboring 
woods. The soldiers at once provided for her present wants, and 
treated her with kindness during their stay. Before leaving, the town 
having meanwhile been burnt, they erected a hut for the old woman, 
and gathered a quantity of wood for her use. They also left her a 
supply of provisions, which she was found using on the army's return. 
Such unexpected usage drew grateful tears from her venerable eyes, 
and made her quite communicative. She assured the ofificers that the 
squaws .generally were anxious for the Indians to remain in their vil- 
lages and make peace with the Yankees. 

On the 30th of August, Sullivan addressed an order to the army, in 
which, reflecting severely on the Colonial authorities forneglect in fur- 
nishing supplies of food and horses, he requested the officers to ascertain 
if the troops were willing to draw half rations of flour, meat and salt, 
until the leading purpose of the expedition should be aixomplished. 
The necessity of this measure, so essential to success, since the sup- 
plies, never sufficient in quantity, w-ere now much reduced by loss in 
various ways, was fully appreciated, and the suggestion was received 
with cheers by the wdiole army, resolved as they were to execute the 
orders of Congress for the devastation of the Indian country at any 
personal sacrifice. But they really suffered nothing from hunger, 
since vegetables, common to the country through w-hich they were 
passing, were found in profusion, and their wants were thus supplied 
from dav to day bv the several localities. Hominy or paunc, made 


from corn, the camp kettles serving as graters, was especially palata- 
ble, but caused bowel complaints to such an extent that its use was 
discontinued for a time. On the Sth of September, a captain and fifty 
men were detached with all the sick and lame, and ordered to return 
to the garrison at Tioga. 

The work of destruction to Indian property was pursued relentlessly, 
and desolation marked the army's route, drains and crops were 
destroyed. Orchards of apple, pear and peach trees, raised in most 
instances from the seeds and stones, under advice of the Jesuit mis- 
sionaries, met the fate common to other species of property. In one 
place fifteen hundred peach trees, bending under the ripened fruit, 
were cut down. This is much to be regretted. Indeed, the Indians 
themselves, in their incursions upon the white settlements, were in the 
habit of sparing fruit trees the growth of many years; and some of the 
officers desired Sullivan to mitigate his orders in this regard, but his 
instructions from Washington were specific, and he insisted that they 
should be literally carried out. This was effectually done. "The blow 
must be sure and fatal," said Sullivan, "otherwise the Indians will 
derive confidence from our ineffectual attempts and become more inso- 
lent than before." 

Washington's specific orders were thus stated: "The immediate 
objects of the expedition are the total destruction and devastation of 
their settlements. * * * jt will be essential to ruin their crops 
now in the ground and prevent their planting more. * * * j wnuld 
recommend that some post in the center of the Indian country should 
be occupied with all expedition with a sufficient quantity of provis- 
ions, whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settle- 
ments around, with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, 
that the country may not be merely overrun but destroyed. * * * 
After you have thoroughly completed the destruction of their settle- 
ments, if the Indians show a disposition for peace, I would have you 
encourage Jt * * * But you will not by any means listen to over- 
tures of peace before the total destruction of their settlements is 

Between Cayuga and Seneca lakes the enemy fled so suddenly before 
the army that the advance guard occasionally found kettles of corn 
boiling over the fire. At the Indian village of Kanadaseaga, or (Ga- 
nun-da-sa-gaj just west of Geneva, a fine white child about three years 


old was discovered by the army. It was entirely alone, nearly famished 
and quite naked, the only article on its person being a string of glass 
beads about its neck. When first seen it was playing at the door of a 
hut with a number of small sticks. On being spoken to it replied 
"Sago" (How are you?) and used a few other Indian words. It evi- 
dently was of Dutch parentage, and probably had been captured the 
year before, on the Pennsylvania border.^ A number of deer and 
bear skins were also found at the place, showing that the enemv had 
quit in haste. The army reached Kanandaigua Lake on the lOth, and 
■fprding its outlet marched a mile farther to the town of Kanan- 
daigua, consisting of twenty-three fine houses, some xii them framed, 
others log, but large and new, pleasantly situated about a mile from 
the west shore of the lake partl_v on the site of the present Canan- 
daigua. At this place the rear guard of the enemy remained so long 
that their fires were found burning. The torch was soon applied to 
the buildings and the army advanced a mile farther, where the corn- 
fields were, and encamped, when fatigue parties were detailed for the 
destruction of the crops, which was pretty thoroughly accomplished 
before dark. 

On the morning of Saturday, the 11th of September, the army re- 
sumed its march at six o'clock, moving for a mile through a thicket 
and swamp before the main path was gained. The infantry, owing 
to this cause, was considerably dispersed, and the movement forward 
was thus delayed. After marching three miles, the foremost ranks 
reached a. spot of rising ground. The rich country through which 
they were about to pass could be seen stretching for miles to the 
westward, a broken forest, mainly of oak and hickory, with intervals 
of fields covered here and there with remarkably high wild grass. At 
one ocl.ick they descended to a beautiful valley, and after a march of 
thirteen houi's, in a nearly southwest direction, substantially on the 

1. General SiilUvau took uo small iuterest iu the little fellow's welfare durinji the return 
march. It wa ■ Dlaced in a rough pannier or basket across a horse, balanced by an equal weijfht 
of baggage on the opposite side. On one occasion iu crossing a stream, much swollen by a storm, 
the water was freely ^patteied over it. Observing this, .Sullivan rode up. and taking out his hand- 
kerchief carefully dried the child's face. Captain Macbin, of the Kngineer parly, became the 
child's godfather, and had it christened Thomas Machiu. An excellent milch cow, which accom- 
panied the expedition from fir.,, to last, and which, on the return of the army to Tioga point, was 
carefully returned with the ofl'icer's horses to Wyoming, afforded nourishment for the little 
stranger. After the return of the aony the child- was taken to .Major Logan's house at New 
Windsor, near New bi.rsh, where it soon caught the small-pox and died. Its birthplace and par- 
entage remain alike unknown. 


line of the present road tlirough Bristol to the foot of Honeoye Lake, 
a distance of sixteen miles from Kanandaisjfua, encamped at the 
Indian town of Man-ne-ya-ye, which contained about twenty houses, 
and was near the site of present Honeoye, at the foot of Honeoye 
Lake, about half a mile east of the outlet, and south of jNIill Creek. 
Around it were several large cornfields and orchards of apples and 
other fruit trees. There was left at this point a garrison of fifty 
men, under Captain Cummings, of the Second Jersey Regiment, to- 
gether with "the sick, the lame, and the lazy," amounting to three 
hundred men all told. The garrison was directed to remain at this 
temporary post, and guard until the army's return the extra stores 
of ammunition and fiour, which otherwise would encumber the move- 
ment forward, now to become more active. 

The Captain took possession of one of the houses as a fort. Lieu- 
tenant Beatty in his journal gi \es the following description of the 
work: "'They was encamped round the house where we had left our 
stores and the camp was abateed in, and round the house they had 
uiade a small fort of kegs, and barrels of flour and had three [ueres of 
artillery in ir, and the house they had made full of loop holes, so as 
to fight out of it in case of necessity, and upon the whole I think 
they was very safe." 

Here Sullivan was informed by two prisoners that the Indians, a 
few rangers and stime British soldiers, had labored diligently during 
the previous season about the (ienesee river, in jjlanting crops to 
serve for their support while they were marauding along the frontier. 
These men had acted under the immediate orders of Walter Butler, 
who had [jassed several months of the summer along the Cenesee, 
making his headquarters at the cabin of Mary Jemison, the White 
W'oman. He was supplied with port wine by the barrel, and found 
amusement m his leisure hours in fishing ami hunting. This infor- 
mation communicated to the army, gave additional stimulus and de- 
termined men and officers alike to make thorough work when they 
should reach the richer planting grounds near the ri\-er. 

On Sunday morning, the 12th of September, it rained heavily, and 
the troops did not move until nearly noon. They forded the outlet 
near Honeoye Lake, and took a west course nearly on the line 
of the present east and west road leading west from the village of 
Honeoye to the summit of the dividing ridge, and thence in a south- 


west course, crossing the omlet of Hemlock its foot., ;uul 
continuing over the hill on the same course to the present Foots 
Corners, in the Town of Conesus, where the army encamped for the 
night on level ground, two miles north of the Indian Town Adjutoa — 
called also Adjuton — or Kanaghsavvs. ^ Early on Monday morning, 
the 13th of September, the army marched from their evening's bivouac 
to Kanaghsaws, where they made camp and breakfasted. This 
Indian Town, consisting of eighteen houses, was located about a mile 
northwest of Conesus Center on the north and south road that passes 
through the McMillan farm. Between the town and the lake, on 
Henderson's Flats, were the cornfields. The village appears to have 
occupied grounds 'in the vicinity of the McMillan residence, and ex- 
tended north across the creek and southward to the plateau now 
covered by an orchard, wiiich was probably an ancient palisaded site of 
the town. A local tradition exists that General Hand with the light 
tr<iops followed the road through Union Corners, and encamped on 
the night of the 12th on the Charles C. Gray farm, formerly L. B. 
Richardson's, southwest of Conesus Center, at the False Faces, ^ hut 
nothing of the kind is found in any of the journals. On a manuscript 
map, however, in the Congressional Library, made to represent the 
route of the army, it appears that a portion of the army did take the 
route described. The journal of Sergeant-Major George Grant says 
a fine stream of water ran through the town, and that "Captain Sun- 
fish, a negro, a very bold, enterprising fellow, commanded the town." 
Several journals also mention the fact that Big Tree, the noted Indian 
warrior, also made this his home. Here Sullivan, finding that the 
enemy had on its retreat destroyed the bridge over the inlet, a few 
feet from the present one, detailed a portion of the army to aid 
the pioneers in its reconstruction, and to repair the roadway over the 
low grounds leading to it. The remains of this rude bridge, com- 
posed of trunks of elm and white wood, were plainly visible in ISOd 
when lames Scott came into this region; and the abutments, stringers 
and some few of the logs that constituted the track-way could still be 
seen as late as 1813, and were removed, for the most part in June of 

1. J)r Gah-n.vuh-sas. 

2. From the circumstance thai foi many years alter tlie country was settled, there stood on 
the Richardson farm about fifty rods east of the residence, on eitherside of the old Indian path, 
two oak trees upon which had been cut in the bark rude representations of the human face. 


that year, for the purpose of repairin;^ the more modern bridge and its- 
ap[)roaches, and because it had become an obstruction to the highway. 
John White, of (Srovciand, then lived in that road district and assisted 
in its removal. ^V tradition is e.xtant that the army, in crossing here 
on their way to the Indian village on the Genesee, threw a three 
]jounder brass cannon into the stream, because of their inability to 
transport it farther. Hut Sullivan makes no mention of the loss of a 
field piece here, although his official report is cpiite particular, 
especially in reference to ordnance and ammunition. It seems most 
unlikely that so formidal)le a weapon intended for use in this region, 
Would be abandoned at this stage of the expedition, after surmounting 
more serious obstacles, especially as the army, having little to fear 
from the enemy, moved leisurely across the bridge. Moreover, had 
the piece proved burdensome, it could easily have been sent during 
the morning, while the army lay inactive here, back to Han-ne-ya-ye, 
where Captain Cummings would have welcomed it as additional arma- 
ment to his little fort. So strong, however, was the popular belief in 
this story that, when in Ajiril, 1S()S the rebels evacuated Richmond, 
and the whole country was alive with excitement, a ruinor reached 
Scottsburgand traveled along the line of the inlet, that this abandoned 
cannon had been recovered and was being fired in honor of the great 
event of the day. Firing was certainly heard in the direction of the 
lake, and scores of people flocked thither to see the old gun and listen 
to Us brazen voice; but they reached the spot to learn that the sound 
proceeded from a blacksmith's anvil, improvised for the occasion. 

As late as 177i), the principal Genesee tovi^n, called Cheiiussio, was 
located near the confluence of the Canaseraga creek with the (ienesee 
river, and here it was marked on the most recent maps to vvhich 
General Sidlivan had access. He was not aware of the fact that its 
location had been changed to the west side of the river, and seems 
to have known nothing of another t<iwn two miles farther up the 

When, therefore. General Sullivan reached his encampment on 
Sunday evening he supposed he was near the great (Senesee Castle, 
which was the objective point of his expedition. In order to secure 
more accurate information, he ordered Lieutenant Thomas Boyd of 
the rifle corps to take five or si.x men with him, make a rapid recon- 
noissance, and report at headquarters as early as sunrise the next 


morning. ^Major Adam Hoops, third aide-de-camp on Sullivan's 
staff, was present in the General's tent, and heard the instructions 
to Boyd. These were verbal, of course, but quite specific. "The 
country before us," said Major Hoops, "was unknown. We had 
heard of an Indian castle on the Genesee, which, by our reckoning, 
might be a few miles ahead of us." Sullivan called this castle, or 
village, the capital of the Indian country; and toward it Boyd was to 
take his course. On leaving his commander's tent he proceeded at 
once carefully to select his scouting party. Instead, however, of the 
smaller number, he took twelve riflemen, si.\ musket men of the 
Fourth Pennsjdvania Regiment, and eight volunteers, making, 
with himself and Hanyerry, the Oneida Indian guide, and Captain 
Jehoiakim, a Stockbridge Indian, twenty-nine men in all, '^ a force by 
no means as likely to effect the purpose as that which he had been 
directed to take with him. "Too few," says Minor, "if battle were 
intended; too many, if secrecy and celerity were prime requisites of 
the enterprise." Hanyerry (or Han Yost) acted as guide. Timothy 
^lurphy, a private soldier, of marvelous coolness and boldness, famous 
alike as a border fighter and scout, whom Boyd found at a camp fire, 
filling the eager ears of his fellow soldiers with stories of his Indian 
hand-to-hand fights, was also a member of the party. They set out 
at eleven o'clock in the evening on the trail leading to the Great 

From Kanaghsaws the trail led southwesterly across the low 
grounds, following the line of the present road near the inlet and 
crossing it at, or very near, the site of the present bridge, about three- 
fourths of a mile from the head of the lake. North of the bridge the 
banks of the inlet are low and marshy, in many places impassable for 
infantry, and at all points impassable for artillery and packhorses; 
while south of the bridge is a wet swamp almost impenetrable from 
the thick growth of underbrush. West of the lake and inlet is a steep 
hillside, the face of which, cut up by numerous ravines, is so steep that 
with considerable difficulty only could an army march directly up it. 
The trail after leaving the bridge, according to General Clark, con- 
tinued southwesterly up the hill, nearly on the line of the present high- 

I. There is a disagreenieut anioug the journals of the e.\pe<iitiou couceriiiiig the number 
comprising the scouting party that cannot be harmonized. The version of the Kev. David Craft. 
who has given careful study to the subject and has written a most comprehensive and accurate 
account of the Sullivan K.xpedition, has been adopted. 


way to the summit of the bluff, and thence turning northwest, followed 
along the edi^e of the ravines for a mile and thence directly west to 
Gathtsegwarohare. West of the bridge, between two very deep 
ravines, is a space nearly half a mile in width which continues 
up the hill on very favorable grounds for the advance of the army. 
It appears to be the only point where it could advance in the order of 
march laid down, requiring a space of nearly half a mile in w'idth for 
the several columns. Other authorities, however, place the point of 
ascent farther to the north, and the well-established fact of a nindian 
trail up the hill north of the point indicated by General Clark will jus- 
tify the statement hereinafter made, as to the course of the scouting 
party and the army. 

Noon was advancing, and yet the scouting party had not returned 
from its hazardous mission, though four of the little band dis[)atched 
by Boyd, including Captain Jehoiakim, had at daybreak l)r(night a 
brief report to the (General. A council of officers was now summoned 
at SuUivan's tent, which occupied the future site of the house of the 
old negro fisherman Harkless Williams. 

This assembly was striking. The leading personage, Major-Cien- 
eral John Sullivan, commander of the expedition, was a man of daunt- 
less resolution and genuine Revolutionary fire. One of the very first to 
strike for the cause of liberty, he held throughout the great struggle 
a conspicuous place; and after the war, in all measures tending to 
secure the adoption of the Federal constitution and the pacification 
of the country, he took an earnest and often important part. Three 
times Its chief magistrate, he continued to enjoy other high civil 
dignities in his native State, down to the close of his life. Webster, 
at Bunker Hill monument, in addressing Lafayette, refers to him as 
an immediate companion in arms of the immortal Frenchman, and 
groups him with Washington, Gates and Lincoln.^ He was an 
attached friend ot John Adams, and enjoyed the intimate companion- 
ship of Lafayette. At the moment appointed for the meeting, he 
enters the tent from a tour of personal inspection of the camp. His 
bearing is dignified and the expression worn on his sunburnt face is 
grave and even anxious; for the expedition is now on the very 

I. "Moniiineiits and eulogy belong to the dead. We give lliein this day to Warren and his 
associates. On other occasions they have been given to yonr immediate companions iti arms, to 
Washington, to Greene, to .Snllivan. to Lincoln." — Webster's Hnnker Hill Oration. 


threshold of its final work. His piercing eye moves from one to an- 
other; for he would gather the present feeling of each officer. Ami- 
able in personal intercourse, he salutes, as he takes his camp stool, 
the officers severally with warmth and native kindness. Forty years 
of age, erect in stature, five feet nine inches in height, his chest full, 
already inclining to corpulency, his eyes keen and dark, his hair 
black and curly, he presents a form and demeanor that challenge re- 
spect. The business of the council at once begins; for Sullivan is 
always impatient of delay. ' As the conference proceeds we may 
glance at his career. Born at Somersworth, then part of Dover, 
New Hampshire,' on the 17th of February, 174(1. he passed his early 
years on his father's farm. After reading law in the office of Judge 
Livermore, of the supreme court of his native State, he was admitted 
to practice, and for several years before the war was a leading- 
member of the New Hampshire bar. He early showed a military 
taste, and received in 1772 a provincial commission as major of 
militia. His father, the humble founder of one of the most distin- 
guished of New England families — a family that has furnished two 
governors, several high military and a long list of civilian officers — 
was a school master of Irish birth; he still retained the family name 
'f O'Sullivan,^ possessed a good education, a warm heart, and small 
earthly possessions. Deriving his mental activity and warmth of 
temperament from an Irish ancestry, Sullivan inherited, no doubt, 
from the same source, a jealousy of Great Britain. Not unfamiliar 
with political science, and alive to the bearings of public questions, 
the people turned to him at the first mutterings of that storm which 
culminated in the Revolution; and in 1774 he and Nathaniel Folsom 
were appointed delegates from New Hampshire to the first Continental 

1. The state of M.-iiue is uuiformly giveu as Geueral Sullivan's birthplace; but this is an 
error. When iu 17S7 he was a candidate for President of New Hampshire, as the office of gov- 
ernor was then called, for a second tertn, the opposition endeavored to prejudice his cause by 
urging that he was a foreigner — a native, not of New Hampshire but of Maine, and therefore not 
deserving of support: for, it was a.<ked. ".\re there not New Hampshire men competent to fill her 
Gubernatorial chair ?" But the stor>- availed his opponents nothing, for his father and mother, 
then both living, set the fiction at rest by asserting that Somersworth was in truth his birthplace 
—a fact which the people were thus made to believe — and they honored him with a reelection in 
17S- and again in 1789. The General's brother. James Sullivan, Governor of Massachusetts, was a 
native of Berwick, Maine, where he was bom after the parents removed from New Hampshire. 

2. The Irish prefix, O' was omitted by his children, however. The father lived to be more 
than a hundred years old, and was in the habit of visiting the General every year on horseback, 
from Maine. 


Congress. In Uecember of that year he, John Liingdon and Captain 
Thomas Pickering, "led a force against Fort William and Mary, near 
Portsmouth, took possession of one hundred barrels of gunpowder 
(afterwards used at the battle of Bunker Hill), fifteen cannon, and all 
the small arms and other stores, and carried them up into the country, 
concealing a portion of them under the pul[)it of the Durham meeting 
house. This was the first act of armed hostility committed in the 
colonies. " ^ 

In June, 1775, he was a])p<iinted one of the eight brigadier-generals, 
and was assigned to a command on Winter Hill, at the siege ol 
Boston. Dispatched soon after with reinforcements to the niMthern 
army in Canada, he displayed great military skill and resolution in 
the retreat. Commissioned as major-general, "he served under Put- 
nam on Long Island, and by a combat of two hours in the woods, 
aided by Stirling's vigorous defence on the right, contributed to the 
preservation of the American army. He was taken prisoner, but 
being exchanged for General Prescott, was with Washington at 
Westchester during the autumn. After General Lee's capture, Sulli- 
van took command of his division, and led the right at Trenton on 
Christmas night, 177f)." He cotnmanded the right Aving at Brandy- 
wine, and defeated the British left at Germantown, driving them two 
miles. In 177S he personally directed the siege of Newport, but not 
receiving the e.xjiected aid from the French fleet, the siege was aban- 
doned. In 177"i he was assigned, as we have seen, to conduct this 

Seeing that "matters were drawing to a hajjpy conclusion," he 
resigned his commission on the 9th of November, 177'). much against 
the wishes of Washington. The expedition, though conducted with 
eminent success, was keenly criticised in Congress, where political 
animosity must thus early be gratified, and he felt that certain mem- 
bers, especially of the Board of War, who appear to have blamed him 
for disasters which w-ere inevitable, had deeply wronged him. His 
health, too, was impaired by rough service and a bilious disorder that 
had seized him at the commencement and continued during the whole 
of the march, and his private affairs needed attention. Like other 

1. This bold act was "coiisuinniated by the seizure of the Kiug's propert>' and the disariniug 
and iniprisonineiit of his soldiers; and this, too, at a time when the universal langiiajie held in 
public was that of peace and anticipated reconciliation. It was not until four months afterwards 
that the first blood was shed at I.exinstou." 


■officers of the Revoluti(jn, his support had been drawn mainly from 
private means; but his personal concerns, less favorably situated than 
many, had become greatly embarrassed. On quitting the army, he 
resumed his profession; but the task of righting finances, shattered 
by long neglect, proved too great, and he died, as for years he had 
lived, surrounded by importunate creditors. Even death did not 
•close the rugged chapter of a life of rugged fortunes. Under an old 
provincial statute, a debtor's corpse might be attached and held from 
burial until redeemed. Availing of this on the day of the funeral, 
Sullivan's creditors sent an officer to execute the infamous law on his 
remains. Closing the house, the relatives dispatched a messenger for 
General Cilley, a former comrade in arms, who resided a short dis- 
tance away. On arriving, the old soldier directed the doors to be 
■opened and the services to proceed. Said he, "The funeral of this 
dear General must not be interrupted." He then drew from his coat 
two horseman's pistols carried by him through the Revolution and, as 
he cocked them, added "(io on with the ceremonies." Prayer was 
offered, and the remains were placed on a bier; the bearers took it up 
and proceeded to the grave. General Cilley, pistol in hand, following 
■close after. Tiie rites were completed without interference from 
creditor or civil officer; Cilley then turned soir(]wfidly awav, mounted 
his horse, and rode slowly homeward. 

Brigadier-general James Clinton, the officer ne.xt in rank on this 
■occasion, was of that honorable family which gave two generals to the 
Revolution, two governors to New York, and we had almost *aid. 
two vice presidents to the Republic. I Born in Ulster county. New 
York, three years earlier than Sullivan, his father was likewise an 
Irishman, and, on the mother's paternal side, was related to an officer 
in Cromwell's army. After receiving a liberal education, he served 
as a captain in the French war under Bradstreet, and at twenty took 
a gallant part in the capture of Fort F'rontenac. Seven years later, 
he held command of the regiments raised to protect the frontiers of 

I. George Cliuton, brother of the General, was Vice President of the I'liited States during: the 
second term of Jefferson. In 1813 DeWitt Clinton, his nephew, was favored with the nomination 
of the Republican members of the New York Legislature, for the Presidency. The Federalists 
made no nomination, and indirectly gave him their support. He received S9 electoral votes, 
while Mr. Madison received 128 and was thus reelected. Before the amendment to the Constitu- 
tion in 1803, the person, after the choice of the President, receiving the greatest unniher of elec- 
toral votes was Vice President. Had this provision been continued nine years longer DeWitt 
Cliuton would have been Vice President, as he stood uext highest to Madison in that canvass. 


Ulster and Orange counties against Indian incursions. In 1775, with 
the rank of colonel, he went with the chivalric Montgomery to Canada. 
In 1777, promoted to brigadier-general,. he, with his brother C/overnor 
CJeorge Clinton, was in command of Fort Clinton and Fort Mont- 
gomery, just below West Point. On the fith of October, the Fort was 
stormed by the British with three thousand men, as a diversion in 
favor of Burgoyne, who was moving down from the upper Hudson, 
and who. a few days later, lost the field of Saratoga, that decisive 
battle of the Revolution. After a gallant resistance the garrison of 
only five hundred men were overpowered, but succeeded in making 
their escape. Clinton, the last to leave the works, w;is pursued, fired 
at, and his attending servant killed. Still flying, he was severely 
wounded by a bayonet, but escaped on h(jrseback ; yet pursued, he 
dismounted, and slid down a percipice a hundred feet to the creek; 
whence, covered with blood, he made his way home, a few miles 
distant. He was stationed at West Point during the greater part of 
1778, engaged in throwing the great chain across the Hudson, to 
prevent the ascent of the enemy's ships. He was in charge of the 
Northern department during most of the war, and was present at the 
capture of Cornwallis. In 177'', he was directed to cooperate with 
Sullivan in this expedition. In order to effect the junction, his force 
of sixteen hundred men was conveyed up the Mohawk in batteaux, 
about fifty miles above Schenectady, thence across to Otsegt) lake, a 
source of the vSusquehanna river. Cooper, our great novelist 
has seen in Clinton's expedient- of damming the outlet of that 
beautiful sheet to collect its waters, then tearing away the 
obstruction in order to create an artificial current for floating his 
boats to the place of meeting with Sullivan, an episode of romantic 
interest. Clinton's appearance at this council is deferential, yet 
soldierlike. He has well endured the fatigues of the great march, for 
his constitution is like iron. His nature is affectionate and mild, but 
at the mention of danger ahead he is roused to interest. His counsel is 
wise, and is received with the attention due to so experienced an 
officer. ^ 

Brigadier-general Edward Hand, the leader of the vanguard, was a 

I. Oeiieral Clinton was the father of Governor UeWitt Clinton. He made his last appearance 
in arms on the evacnation of the city of New York by the British. He held civil positions after 
the war, and died at Little Britain, in Orange connty, greatly loved and honored, in December, 



native of Clyduff, Ireland, where he was born on the hist day of 
December, 1744. At twenty-eight he entered the Britisii army as 
ensign in the Royal Irish Foot, then on duty in this country. After 
serving two years, he settled in Pennsylvania. But his retirement 
was brief; tor, at the beginning of the Revolution, he entered the 
Continental service as a lieutenant-colonel. Made colonel of a rifle 
regiment in the spring of 1776, he was engaged in the battle of Long 
Island in the same year, and shared in the retreat from Brooklyn. 
He was also in the battle of Trenton in the following December. He 
commanded at Pittsburg during the succeeding summer and fall. In 
October, 1778, he was on duty at Albany, in command of the Northern 
department, and in April following was appointed brigadier-general, 
and assigned to command of the light corps in this expedition. In the 
previous autumn, Washington had called his particular attention to 
the subject of such an undertaking, and asked him to consult (General 
Schuyler as to its practicability. The correspondence reveals the de- 
gree of confidence reposed in his judgment. Afterwards, in Sep- 
tember, 17SU, Washington, recognizing his standing, placed him on 
the board of general officers convened in the old Dutch church at 
Tappan, for the trial of ilajor Andre, the famous British spy. Lord 
Stirling, Lafayette, Baron Steuben, Knox, Stark and other distin- 
guished officers to the number of fourteen, composed that tribunal. 
In the same year he succeeded Scammel as Adjutant-general of the 
army, and held that important post until the war closed.' In char- 
acter he was bold and chivalric. His love for horses, especially for 
his fine roan charger, an animal remarkable for lofty carriage and 
spirit, which he had brought on this expedition, though he generally 
rode an active gray, gained him no little notoriety, as also diil his 
excellent horsemanship. His military knowledge was valuable and 
extensive, and his general reading considerable. In this expedition 
he had exhibited ability and zeal, and, doubtless, at the council, his 
opinions were heard with attention. 

Brigadier-general William ilaxwell, in command of the New Jersey 
brigade, was also present at the consultation. He was commissioned 

I. General Haud died at Rockfoid, Lancaster coiitity, I'enu., ou the .vl of September. iSoj, 
aged 58 years. Judge James I,. Campbell, of Cherry Valley, had a lively recollection of General 
Hands heiiiK entertained with Washington at his father's, Col. Samuel Campbells hunse, iu 
Cherry Valley, in 17S3. On this occasion Governor George Clinton. General Hnmphrey, Colonel 
Marinus Willet and other officers were also present. 


a general officer in October, 1770, having entered the Continental 
service as colonel of a New Jersey regiment, and served under Mont- 
gomery in the Canada campaign of that year. He commanded the 
Jersey brigade at the battle of Branilywine, and also at Germantown. 
His caustic letter to the governor and legislature of New Jersey in re- 
spect to arrearages of pay due his officers and men, on the eve of leav- 
ing for the rendezvous of Wyoming, exhibits the positive side of his 
character, and shows his regard for the soldiers' welfare and his selec- 
tion by Lord Stirling, as the army lay at White Plains, to accompany 
his lady and daughter to the British lines, and the "great politeness" 
with which, in the words of the Countess of Stirling, he received them 
on their return, proves him to have been a gentleman of refinement 
and courtesy. ' 

Brigadier-general Enoch Poor was also at this council board. His 
brigade was ordered from Connecticut, where it lay unemployed at 
the time. He entered the continental service in couiniand of the 
New Hampsliire regiment. John Poore, the ancestor of the family, 
came from Wiltshire, England, in 1635, and settled in Massachusetts. 
The General was descended from Lieutenant Daniel of the Colonial 
militia, who died at Andover in 1713. General Poor served under 
Lafayette, and gained that distinguished officer's respect and affec- 
tion. During Lafayette's last visit to this country, he gave as a 
toast on one occasion, "Light Lifantry Poor and Yorktcnvn Scammel;" 
and when shown the grave of Poor, he was much affected, and turn- 
ing away, said, "^\h! that was one of my Generals." He survived 
^;his expedition only a year, dying on the eighth of September. 17S(), 
.aged forty-four years. He died from the effect of a wound received 
in a duel with a French officer, the tiifficulty growing out of a con- 
troversy on the subject of state policy. So beloved was he by the 
soldiery, that it was deemed unwise to allow the real cause of his 
■death to transpire, for fear of seri'Uis results ; hence the army was 
■permitted to believe that he died of bilious fever, and this error long 
remained uncorrected. He sleeps far away from his native hills, in 
the graveyard of the Protestant Dutch church at Hackensack, New 
Jersey. There, underneath a willow, rests a horizontal stone which 
marks the grave of this gallant (officer. Tiie army lay at Kiner- 

I. Geueral Maxwell resijtued his comniissiou on the 23d of June, 17.S0, aud retired from the 


hamach, near the boundary between this State and New Jersey, at 
his death. His coffin, draped with the national banner, was borne to 
the grave by officers of rank; and a long line of soldiers, both foot 
and horse, swelled the funeral procession, which extended from the 
upper end of the town to the church. Washington and Lafayette 
took part in the rites. Two field pieces, drawn by artiller)- horses, 
followed the hearse, but were not discharged on account of the 
■enemy's vicinity.' 

Other officers were present at this inuncil. Colonel William Butler, 
whose regiment, stationed at Schoharie when ordered on this expe- 
dition, and which numbered on its rolls the names of Lieutenant 
Boyd, Timothy Murphy and others of the scouting party, was doubt- 
less there. The Connecticut missionary, Samuel Kirkland, who, a 
■dozen years before, had been successfully employed among the 
Senecas in this region, and now serving as brigade chaplain, as well as 
guide and interpreter, was probably present. This good man was of 
Scotch descent, and had come to this region under the auspices of 
the Society for the Propagatinn of the Gospel among the Six Nations, 

No account of the proceedings on this occasion has come down to 
us.' We only know that Sullivan expressed anxiety at the prolonged 
delay of the scouting party ; and most likely he produced and read 
the instructions of Washington, which were drawn up by Hamilton 
and bore the signatures of those two immortal men. They direct 
the total destruction of the property of the Indians. Certainly before 
many hours had elapsed these orders in their fullest extent were 
•carried into literal execution 

When the concil broke up tiie army still lay encamped in full view 
before its commanders. The surroundings were picturesque. Five 
thousand soldiers had improvised their camp upon the plain and its 
immediate hillsides, their white tents contrasting vividly with the 
autumnal tint of woodland foliage. Anon the drum beat and sentry 
call emphasized at intervals the undertone of warlike preparation. 
The resounding echoes as the forest trees gave way for the bridge and 
the fruit trees loaded with apples and peaches fell before ringing 
axe strokes; the rustling of crisp corn trampled under heedless feet ; 

1. The iuscripliou ou the tomhstoue reads as follows: "In mcmorj- of the Hon. Brigadier- 
geueral Enoch Poor, of the State of New Hampshire, who departed thislife ou the Sth of Septem- 
ber, 1780, aged 44."— Barber & Howe's Hist. Coll. of New Jersey. 



all k'lit their busy music to the scene which had hcrctnfore been the 
domain of solitude and silence. The situation of the arm)- was in 
itself novel. Its arms now carried far into the heart of this remote 
and barbarous country were unsupported frnni behind throusi'h 
hundreds of miles of forest wilderness stretching- eastward back to 
the main force under AVashington, Before these martial pioneers all 
was unknown. Nothini;' indeed was felt to be certain save the reso- 
lute purpose of every soldier to waste the hostile soil and to e.\tin- 
guish the last vestige of Indian occujjancy. 

"While the American army lay encamped almost undisturbed, the 
devoted Indian villages of Heardstown, Canaseraga, Big Tree. Canawau- 


gus and other towns on the river, were scenes of consternation. As 
stated in a previous page. Colonel Doty in October, ISOS, visited the 
Cattaraugus Indian reservation, near Buffalo, tor the purpose of con- 
sulting Philip Kenjockety, a representative of the almost extinct tribe 
of the Kah-kwas. His parents resided with the Senecas on the Gene- 
see dLU"ing the early years of the Revolution. In 177'» they were 
living at Beardstown, and Philip recollected with marvelous distinct- 
ness some episodes of Sullivan's invasion. To the Indians residing on 
the Genesee river, and [lerhaps to the Six Nations generally, the 
American troops were known as Yankees, or, more familiarly, as 
"Bostonians" (Wah-stoh-nah-yans), and were looked upon, especially 
by the women and children, with great dread. The whole population of 
the Seneca villages became speedily aware that the army was forcing 


its way through the wilderness to destroy their homes and possessions. 
The corn that year was remembered to have been a great crop, and 
they were just engaged in gathering it when tiie army reached 
Conesus lake. Every day or two during the progress of our forces 
the arrival of messengers and wounded braves announced tliat the 
Yankees were drawing near. One of these runners had been taken 
prisoner by the invaders but managed to escape. His relation was 
full of detail and gave great alarm. The air seemed to grow heavy 
with omens, and the very birds gave signs of approaching evil. A 
small party of young warriors from Beardstown met the advance force 
of our army on a hillside, not many miles from the Genesee, and one 
of them, a favorite of the village, was wounded, but his companions 
conveyed him to his home. Skirmishes of this kind were frequent, 
and the wounded Indians managed to get back to their lodges only to 
add to the general gloom. After vSullivan reached Conesus lake a 
young Indian named Sah-nah-dah-yah, who could neither run nor 
walk well, because of a previous wound received in one of these skir- 
mishes, said he must again go out to fight the Yankees. His or-phan 
sisters begged him to remain with them. One of them clung about 
his person to keep him back, but he ])ushed her aside and left the hut. 
Arriving just at daybreak in the little Indian village near where 
Boyd's scouting party had passed the night, he was discovered by 
Murphy and sank under his death-dealing rifle. His moccasins, 
worked with a sister's care, were transferred to Murphy's feet and his 
scalp soon hung from Murphy's belt. 

Though the commotion in the Indian villages increased with the 
march of our men, none fled until, on the evening that witnessed the 
enemy's arrival near the lake, a "noise like thunder" was heard in that 
direction. An old warrior said to the wondering village that this was 
the echo of the Yankee's big guns — those terrible engines which cm- 
bodied to Indian superstition all the dread mysteries of hostile 
"medicine men." On hearing this portentous word, the women 
set up a wail, the children bawled out a wild accompaniment and the 
excitement grew every moment greater. By laying the ear to the 
ground the Indians could hear the tread ol the troops in Sullivan's 
camp. The day was misty and rainy by turns, but preparations for 
quitting their villages went actively forward, and in a brief space the 
few horses that could be collected were ready to begin the long journey 


to Fort Niagara, whither the families were told to direct their i)il_u;rim- 
age. Soon after their departure the shrill notes of a bugle, belonging, 
perhaps, to Boyd's party were borne to them upon the night air, creat- 
ing intense alarm among the fugitives. Kenjockety recollected that 
the Indians were followed next day for some distance by a small body 
of Yankees, but that they were protected by a detachment of British 
troops dressed in green uniform. This ended Kenjockely's relation. 

After the battle of Newtown, Butler and Brant with their demoraliz- 
ed forces sullenly retired, powerless to prevent the advance of the 
devastating army. Butler had reached the last Indian village of Can- 
awaugus, located on the west side of the Genesee, twelve miles north 
of the great Genesee Castle. Here he received reinforcements of reg- 
ulars from Niagara and determined tn make one more effort against 
the invaders. Gathering all his availalile forces of regulars, Tories and 
Indians, he left Canawaugus on the morning of the 12th of September, 
and probably reached the position on the hill west of Kanaghsaws on 
the evening of the same day. Here they posted themselves north of 
the trail at the heads of the ravines, about three-fourths of a mile west 
of the bridge and a mile and a half from Kanaghsaws, from which 
point all the movements of the expeditionary forces were under the eye 
of Butler who, according to a British account, "lay undiscovered, 
though only a musket shot from the rebels, and even within sight." 
This was a most admirable position for an ambuscade, and the plan 
appears to have been to attack a portion of the army after it had crossed 
the bridge, or to ambuscade the head cf the column while ascending 
the hill; but whatever may have been the original design, it was com- 
pletely frustrated by the fortunate movements of the unfortunate 
Boyd. It will be remembered thai the aiiiiy went into camp 
on the fiats near Foot's Corners, two miles north of the vil- 
lage of Kanaghsaws. Boyd and his party passed through the 
abandoned Kanaghsaws and, pressing forward for nearly half a 
mile along the base of the hill, turned to the left and marched actively 
up the acclivity. The trail they were following divided ; one path led 
to the abandoned Chenussio, the otiu-i' and [)rini'i|)ally travelled one 
took a direction quite unexpected to them to an important town twO' 
miles farther up the Canaseraga, the only one between the army and 
the Genesee. This was Gathtsegwarohare. The town was seven miles 
directly west of Kanaghsaws. on the east side of Canaseraga Creek 


about two iniles above its confluence with the Genesee River. Here is 
a beautiful plateau of about six acres admirably adapted for an Indian 
town, at present occupied by the house and surrounding grounds of 
the widely known ''Hermitage," the ancestral home of the Carrolls',, 
and now the property of JIajor William A. Wadsworth. The town 
contained twentv-tive houses, mostly new, and appears to have been lo- 
cated on both sides of tiie stream north of the residence. The tribe resid- 
ing here, called Squa-tche-gas by Sullivan, was the same that settled at 
Squakie Hill and to whom was reserved the two square miles in the 
Big Tree treaty of 1797. They were probably a remnant of one of the 
tribes of the historic Eries, occupying the territory to the south 
and east of Lake Erie, whose blood, language and league did not differ 
materially from the Iroquois Five Nations. As stated in a previous 
chapter, the Eries were finally overthrown about the year 1655 and a 
remnant was incorporated with the League. They were permitted to 
live by themselves, to have a separate council fire and keep up a show 
of tribal rites. 

Boyd had passed Butler's right flank in the darkness, without 
either party having discovered the other, and early in the morning 
reached the town which the inhabitants had abandoned. Halting his 
party at the outskirts, he with one of his men made a reconnoissance 
of the town, after which they all concealed themselves in the adjoin- 
ing woods. From here he sent four' men back to camp to report his 
discoveries and waited for day-break. Soon four Indians were 
seen entering the town, one of whom was the wounded young 
warrior Sah-nah-dah-yah mentioned above. A ball from Mur- 
phy's rifle quickly sealed his fate, another was wounded but 
with the two others escaped. Murphy, as was his custom, took 
of? the slain Indian's scalp, his thirty-third trophy. Boyd with 
his entire party immediately set out for camp. Having gone 
about five miles and thinking the army must be on its march towards 
him, he halted and dispatched two of his men to inform the General 
where he was and that he would there await the coming of the army. 
These men shortly returned with the information that they had discov- 
ered five Indians on the path, lloyd then resumed the march, and had 
gone but a short distance when he discovered the same party and fired 
on them. They ran, and Hoyd. against the advice of Hanyerry. pur- 

I. (ieiieral Clark savs twt>. 


sued them. The chase was kept up for some distanci?, fhe Indians 
alluring the scouting party to the enemy's lines, by allowing 
them to approach sufficiently close to draw their fire, but keeping 
out of danger. Butler, hearing the fiyht on hi.s right, his force 
facing Conesus, and fearing that he had been discovered and 
that an attempt was l)eing made to surpri'^e his camp, hastened to the 
spot where he found FJoyd's party still following the Indians. With- 
out being aware of their presence, Boyd was already in the fatal em- 
brace of the enemy and Butler had given such orders as to completely 
surround him. Twice he attempted to Isreak the enemy's line, but with- 
out success. The odds were fearful — eight hundred of the Indians and 
Tories to twenty-five Americans — but the scouts determined to sell 
their lives as dearly as possible, and relief from our army, which was 
only about a mile distant, was expected every moment. Covered by a 
clump of trees, our men poured a murderous fire upun the enemy as 
they were closing around them, numbers of whom were seen to fall. 
"At the third onset of the Americans, the enemy's line was broken 
through, and Murphv, tumbling a huge warrior in the dust who 
obstructed his passage — even to the merriment of his dusky companions 
— led forward the little band. Boyd, justly supposing if any one 
escaped with his life it would be Murphy, determined to follow him; but 
not being so fast a runner, he was soon overtaken and with him his 
Sergeant, Michael Parker."' vSuUivan says that Boyd was shot through 
the body daring the melee; if so, his inability to escape is thus account- 
ed for. In all fifteen of Boyd's party, including Hanyerry, were 
slain'- and eight escaped." 

Murphy, as he found the path unobstructed, exclaimed in hearing 

of the enemy, "Clear again, Tim., by , " shaking his fist at the 

same time at his pursuers.* He now pressed forward in the direction 
of the armv, and soon observed thai he was jnirsued by only two 

1. Cajitain John .Salmons account. 

2. AnioiiK theslaiu were Nicholas prungerman, .Sergeant in Captain Meals' Company, and the 
following privates of this regiment, viz: John Courej', William Faughey. William Harney, James 
McElroy and John Miller; also John Putnam, mentioned later in the text, and Benjamin Cnrtin 
(or Cnstin) of Schoharie. 

.'^. Here again there is disagreement among the journalists of the expedition as to numbei-s, 
■which it is impossible to reconcile. 

4. Mr. Treat's Oration, 


Indians, a tall and a short one. As they neared him from time to 
time, he pointed toward them with his well known but now unloaded 
rifle, and they, at every menace, slackened their pace. His mocca- 
sins, taken in the morning from the dead Indian, were growing too 
tight for comfort, and while under full headway he opened his knife 
and cut away the thongs which hound them al)out his feet and ankles, 
the blade accidentally entering and severely wounding his flesh. 
Shortly after this he reached a swale, where, his feet becoming en- 
tangled in the long grass and rank weeds, he fell. The spot proved fa- 
vorable for concealment and he did not immediately rise. His pursuers 
soon broke over a knoll so as to gain a view of the grass plot, and not 
discovering him, although he did them, they altered their course. 
Murphy now loaded his rifle and cautiously proceeded on his way to 
the camp. He well knew his fate if taken prisoner with the Indian's 
scalp in his pocket and the moccasins on his feet. Again setting 
forward, he soon found himself headed by an Indian. The discovery 
was instant and mutual and each took to a tree. After dodging each 
other for some time ^Nlurfihy drew his ramrod, placed his hat upon 
it and quietly pushed it a few inches beyond the tree. The Indian, 
supposing it contained a head, fired a ball through it. The hat drop- 
ped, and running up to scalp his man the savage received the bullet 
■of Murphy's rifle through his breast, and as he fell dead exclaimed, 

I. Murphy's life desenes a book to give his exploits at full length. The Schoharie valley 
is full of traditious of his braverj- aud daring. It would be difficult to maguify his a.-touishing 
skill with the rifle, or his courage and address as a border fighter. He is buried on the fann 
he had owned near Middleburgh. The Onistegrawa mountain, whose sides often echoed back 
the sharp ring of his death-tiealiug rifle, looks down upon his hmnble resting place. His simple 
tombstone bears this iuscriptiou : 

"Here, too, this warrior sire with honor rests. 
Who braved in freedom's cause his valiant breast, 
•Sprang from his half-drawn fun-ow as the cry 
of threatened libert\- came thrilling by. 

I,o, here he rests, who every danger braved, 
Marked and honored, mid the.soil he saved." 
He died June 27, iSiS, aged 67 years. 

".•ifter the battle of Monmouth, in 177.S, Morgans riflemen were sent to protect the settlements 
near Schoharie. .Among those whose term of service had expired before the autumn of '79 was the 
bold Virginian, Timothy Murphy. Instead of returuins; home, he enlisted in the militia, and con- 
tinued to wage a desultory w ar against the savages then hovering over the Mohawk settlements. 
By his fearless intrepidity, his swiftness of foot, his promptness for every hazardous enteri>rise. 
he was, though a mere private, entrusted with the management of every scouting party sent out. 


Murphy, David Ellerson. Edward McDonald. J"hn Vouse, Garret 
Putnam of Fort Hunter, afterwards in command of a spirited com- 
[)any of rangers in tin- ^lohawk valley, a French Canadian and two 
others regained the American camp. Putnam and the Canadian 
secreted themselves early in the Hight under a fallen tree around 
which was throwing a quantity of thrifty nettles, and thus escaped 
observation, althougli the two Indians in pursuit of Mm"])h\' passed 
over the log. 

John Putnam, a cmisin of (larret above named, also fnun the 
vicinity of Fort Hunter, lost his life in this affair. At his burial it 
was found that he had been shot while in the act of firing, iis a ball 
and several btickshot had entered the right armpit without injuring 
the arm. A soldier named Benjamin Curtin (or Custin), who belonged 
to the troops from Schoharie, attempted to follow Murjihy, but was 
overtaken and slain after he had killed his first antagonist in a hand- 
to-hand encounter. Poor Hanyerry, who had performed marvels of 
valor in the conflict of Oriskany, and who had rendered the American 
cause much real service, fell in this ambuscade, and was found literally 
hacked to pieces. 

While this tragedy was transpiring almost within ritle shot, the 
army, ignorant of the cause of delay, was uneasily watching for the 
return of the scouting party. As hour followed hour and still they 

He always carried a favorite double rifle, au object of the greatest terror to the Indians, who for 
a long while were awe-striick at its two successive discharges. In the hands of so skillful a marks- 
man, the greatest execution always followed its unerring aim. He had been several times siir- 
jirised by small Indian parties; but with remarkable good fortune had as often escaped. When 
the savages had learned the m>-stery of his double rifle knowing that he must reload after the 
second discharge, they were careful not to expo'^e themselves until he had twice fired. Once when 
separated from his troops he was surrounded by a large jiarty of savages. Instantly be struck 
down the nearest foe and fled at his utmost sj>ee(l. Being hard pushed by one runner, whom 
alone he had not outstripped in the flight, he suddenly turned and shot him on the spot. Stopping 
to strip his fallen pursuer, he saw another close upon him. He seized the rifle of the dead Indian, 
and brought down his victim. The savages, supposing all danger now passed, rushed heedlessly 
on with yells of frantic rage. When nearly exhausted, he again turned, and with the undischarg- 
ed barrel, fired, and the third pni*sner fell. With savage wonder the other Indians were riveted to 
the spot; and exclaiming that *he could fire all day without reloading,' gave over the pursuit. 
From that hovir, Murphy was regarded by the savages as possessing a charmed life. When 
Clinton passed along the Mohawk, on his way to 'rioga Point, he again joined his rifle corps, to 
share the dangers of the march into the wiUlerness."— Treat's Oration. 

Murphy was a member of Captain Michael Simpson's rifle company, in Col. Hutlers regiment. 
Lieut. Boyd was also an officer of this company, John Salmon, late of Groveland, likewise 
served in the same company. In the antnnin of 177S, after the battle of Monmouth, Morgan's 
riflemen, to which Simpson's company belonged, marched to Schoharie to go into winter 
cpiarters. It was here that the orders to proceed to the Indian country found them the following 


came not vague fears of evil began to be entertained. Sullivan had 
carefully estimated the time necessary for their return march, and 
again called up and questioned the four messengers who had arrived 
in the morning from Boyd, anxiously looking meanwhile for his brave 
Lieutenant or further tidings from him. The first hint of the danger 
reached Sullivan through the party still engaged at the bridge, and 
was doubtless brought by Murphy, who preceded the others. From 
this source the General was informed that Boyd and most of his de- 
tachment had been surrounded a short distance beyond the hill by 
the enemy in overwhelming numbers. 

General Sullivan had established a line of sentries along the base of 
the hill next the morass to guard the pioneers against surprise while 
repairing the bridge. Benjamin Lodge, who was the surveyor for the 
expedition, and with chain and compass had measured the entire 
route from Easton, had, about half an hour after the fight on the 
hill, gone a short distance beyond the picket line, when he was set 
upon by a party of Indians, who were pursuing the fugitives of tiie 
scouting party. Thomas Grant, one of the surveying party, 
thus tells the story : "Myself and four chain carriers who were about 
one and a half miles advanced of the troops, were fired on by several 
Indians who lay in ambush; a corporal by the name of Calhawn. who 
came voluntarily with me, was mortally wounded and died the next 
day. The Indians pursued us a fourth of a mile, but without success. 
We being unarmed were obliged to run. " Lieut. Lodge was com- 
pelled to leave his compass and run toward the nearest sentinel, who 
shot the Indian chasing him with upturned tomahawk and Lieut. 
Lodge escaped. General Sullivan ordered Hand's Brigade to cross the 
morass, push up the hill and dislodge the enemy. 

Butler on returning to his forces on the crest of the hill fnund them 
in confusion, and, discovering the preparations made to attack 
them, he beat a hasty retreat, leaving hats, packs, etc.. behind. 
Being thus thwarted in his plans to surprise the army, he 
withdrew his forces to Gathtsegwarohare and thence to Can- 
awaugus. General Hand remained on the hill in line of battle 
until the army had crossed and formed for the advance up the hill. 

Having destroyed Kanaghsaws and completed the bridge across the 
creek. General Sullivan pushed forward on the trail taken by Boyd the 
night before to Gathtsegwarohare. 


Boyd and Sergeant Parker were hurried forward, immediately after 
the affair, with the retiring enemy to the vicinity of Beardstown. On 
finding himself a prisoner, the Lieutenant, it is said, though the truth 
of the account may be accepted with much reservation, "obtained an 
interview with Brant, who, as well as Boyd, was a freemason. After 
the magic signs of brotherhood were exchanged. Brant assured him 
that he should not be injured. But Brant not long after being called 
off on some enterprise, the prisoners were left in charge of Walter 
Butler, who, placing them on their knees before him. a warrior 
on each side firmly grasping their arms, a third at their backs with 
tomahawk upraised, began to interrogate them about the purposes of 
General Sullivan, threatening them with savage tortures if true and 
ready answers were not given. Boyd, believing the assurances of 
Brant ample for his safety, and too high minded in any situation to 
betray his country, refused, as did Parker, to reply"' to questions 
touching the more immediate purposes of the army. The more than 
savage Butler was true to his threat, and when the prisoners peremp- 
torily refused to answer he handed them over to Little Beard and his 
warriors, who were already full of vindictiveness. The prisoners were 
seized, stripped and bound to trees; then commenced a series of 
horrid cruelties, directed especially against Boyd. When all was ready 
Little Beard lifted his hatchet, stained with recent blood, and with 
steady aim sent it whistling through the air. In an instant it (juivered 
within a hair's breadth of the Lieutenant's devoted head. The 
younger Indians were now permitted to follow the Chief's example, 
and from right, front and left their bright tomahawks cleave the air 
and tremble about the unriinching persons of the victims. Wearied 
at length of this work, a single blow severed Parker's head from his 
body and mircifully ended his misery. Poor Boyd, however was 
reserved for a worse fate. An incision was made in his abdomen and 
a severed intestine was fastened to a tree. He was then scourged with 
prickly ash boughs, and compelled to move around until the pain 
became so exquisite that he could go no further.- Again pinioned, 

1. Treat's Oiatioii. 

.2 "If I mistake uot," says Treat's oration, "it was Jiiciije Joiie-s who informed me 
that when his fatlier, the late -Captain Horatio Jones, visited the spot a few years aiterwards he 
found the intestines still wonnd aronnd the tree." This snpposed tree, called Boyd's Oak, is still 

Tradition has made this Oak, near the Boyd and Parker Mound, one of the 
InstruraenU of Boyd's Torture. 


his mouth was enlarged with a knife, his nails dug out, his tongue cut 
away, liis ears severed from head, his nose hewn off and thrust into 
his mouth, his eyes dug out and the flesh cut from his shoulders, and, 
when sinking in death after these enormities, he was decapitated and 
his disfigured head raised by the frenzied savages upon a sharpened 
pole. Thus fell a brave young soldier, whose life possesses more than 
ordinary materia! for a romance.'- 

As the advance of the army approached the town of Gathtsegwaro- 
hare about dusk of September 13th, they found themselves confronted 
by a strong force of Indians and rangers, drawn up in battle array to 
dispute their further progress. The infantry and artillery were at once 
pushed to the front. ^laxwell's brigade with the left flanking division 
were directed to gain the enemy's right, and Poor's brigade to move 
round to their left, while the right flanking division and two regiments 
from Clinton's brigade moved to Poor's right flank. The infantry 
were prepared to rush on in front supported by the remainder of 
Clinton's brigade. Thus disposed, the army moved forward and took 
possession of the town without opposition, the enemy retreating across 
Canaseraga creek, through a thicket where it was impossible for the 
army to follow. AVord was now passed to encamp for the night. 

On the morning of Tuesday, the 14th, parties were ordered out to 
destroy the corn, found in great plenty about Canaseraga, which they 
did by plucking the ears and throwing them into the river. About 
eleven o'clock, after having fired all the huts in the village, the army 
resumed march for the great (lenesee town. After crossing Canaser- 
aga creek at the fording place, they moved through a small grove and 
then over a "considerable swamp, and formed on a plain on the other 
side, the most e.xtensive I ever saw," says Colonel Hubley, "contain- 
ing not less than six thousand acres of the richest soil that can be con- 
ceived, not having a bush standing, but filled with grass considerably 

I. I.ieiit. Boyd was a uative of Northumherlaiid County, Pa. He was of ordinary height, 
strongly built, fine looking and vei-y sociable and agreeable in his manners, qualities which 
gained him many friends in Schoharie. 

He was born in 1757. His father and only sister died before the Revolution. His mother sent 
her three sons into the field, with the parting injunction, says Major VanCanipen, "never to dis- 
grace their swords by an act of cowardice, or by a moment's fear or reluctance when called to 
the defense of home and freedom." Lieut. Wm. Boyd, the second son. fell at Itrandywine, in 
1777. Thomas, who was the youngest, was at the surrender of Burgoyne and at the battle of Mon- 
mouth, before joining Sullivan. He went to Schoharie in the autumn of 177.S, nnd<;r Major Posey, 
whose commaiul consisted, it is believed, of three companies of .Morgan's celebrated rifle corps, 
under Captains Long, Pear and Simpson. Boyd belonged to the latter company. 


higher tlian a man. We nun'ed up this plain for about three miles, in 
our regular line of march, a beautiful sight. intL>ed, as a view of the 
whole could be had at one look, and then came to the Genesee river, at 
the fording place, whicli we crossed, being about forty yards over and 
near middle deep, and then ascended a rising ground, which afforded 
a prospect so beautiful that to attempt a comparison would be doing 
injury, as we had a view as far as the eyes could carry us of another 
plain besides the one we crossed, through which the river formed a 
most graceful winding, and, at intervals, cataracts which rolled from 
the rocks and emptied into the river." 'i'he army itself presented a 
novel appearance as it moved in regular ortler througli the rank grass, 
which grew so thick that motion was slow. Often nothing could be seen 
but the guns of the soldiers above the grass. Passing next over a rougher 
section the advance troops arrived about sunset at the "Capital town," 
or Little Beard's village, which was much the largest Indian town met 
with in tile whole route. Here they encamped. The fires in some of the 
Indian huts were yet fresh. Sullivan says of it: "We reached the 
Castle, which consisted of one hundred and twenty-eight houses, 
mostly very large and elegant. The i>lace was beautifully situated, 
almost encircled with a cleared flat which e.xtended for a number of 
miles, where the most extensive fields of corn were and every kind of 
vegetable that can be conceived." The location of this great Genesee 
Castle, the "Western Door of the Long House," was on the west side 
of the (renesee river, on the flat immediatelv in front of Cuylerville. 
It appears on Evans's map as Chenandoanes; in 1778 it was called Chen- 
(jndanah ; by Morgan it is called De-onun-da-ga-a, a Seneca name sig- 
nifying " where the hill is near," but more often it is called Little 
Beard's Town, from the name of the noted chief who resided there in 

Just before quartering here, Paul Sanborn, afterwards for many vears 
a resident of Conesus, then a private soldier on the extreme right of 
Clinton's brigade, was moving with his detachment and, as it wheeled 
quickly around in the direction of the village, he discovered the headless 
corpse of Boyd. Leaping over this, Sanborn alighted beside that of 
Parker's, as it lay in the long grass. At once making known his dis- 
covery, the remain.s were placed under guard of Captain Michael 
Simpson's rifle company, to which both Boyd and Parker belonged, 
and that evening the inniilated bodies and disfigured heads of these 

Burial Mound of Boyd and Parker, Showing wliere the Creeli has cut it Away 


heroic men were buried with niilitar}- honors under a wild plum tree 
which t>rew near the junction of two sm^ll streams, formally named at 
the meetini;- in Cuyler\ ille in 1S41, hereioafter described, Boyd's creek 
.and Parker's creek, respectively. The Reads of these two men were 
at once recognized by their companions, to whom Bovd's features 
were so familiar, and Parker's was identified beyond doubt fmni a 
scar on his face and his broken front teeth. Major Parr, who com- 
manded the rifle battalion to which Bovd's companv belonged, was 
present at the hurial; and John Salmon, late of (iroveland, then a 
private in Captain Simpson's company, assisted on the occasion.' 

On Wednesday morning, September 15th, at si.x o'clock the whole 
army were set to the work of destroying the orchards (one of which, it 
is asserted, contained l.dDO trees), the crops of corn, beans, potatoes 
and otlier vegetables. The corn was collected and burned in kilns. It is 
said that ears were fouiid here measuring 22 inches in length. Colonel 
Hubley says ihe crops "were in quantity immense, and in goodness 
unequalled by an}' I ever saw. Agreeable to a moderate calculation, 
there was not less than 2011 acres, the whole of which was pulled up 
and piled in large heaps, mixed with dry wood taken from the houses 
and consumed to ashes. '"- 

"By three o'clock in the afternoon, " says Col. Hubley, "the work 
was finished, the total ruin of the Indian settlements and the destruc- 
tion of their crops was completed."* General Sullivan here issued an 
order during the day. announcing to the "brave and resolute army,'' 
that the immediate object of the expedition was secured, ackn^-wledg- 
ing his obligtition alike to officers and soldiers, whose virtues and for- 
titude had enabled him to effect so much, and assuring them that "iie 

1. .-V rude nioimd partly worn away uow marks the spot of^ the burial, which is close by the 
present bridge across Beard's creek, ou the road from Geneseo to Cuyler\-ille. Beard's creek is 
formed by the two streams, Boyd's creek and Parker's creek, referred to above. The old Cuyler- 
ville grist mill yet stands a few rods west of the mound. 

2. See appendix No. 7 for Major VanCampeu's letters to Judge 'rreat. 

3. Several writers claim that Canawaugus, ou the west side, and Big Tree on the 
east side of the river were destroyed in this campaign. No reliable authority has been furnished 
in support of the theory. Sullivan says distinctly that he went no farther than the Oreat Town, 
beyond which, as he was informed, there was no settlement, and no villages are mentioned in any 
account as existing on the east side of the river, nor is mention made of any portion t>f the army 
being ou that side; on the contrarj-, several mention the fact that oW //;.«' wi.v were engaged in 
the destruction of the town and cornfields, and when completed at 3 o'clock on the afternoon of 
the isth, Ihf luhiile aimy came to an about face, and returned on the same route and in the same 
order in which they advanced. Butler left Canawaugus on the morning of the 15th for Niagara. 



would not fail to inform America at lartje how much they stand in- 
debted to them." The order closed by directing; that "the army will 
this day commence its march for Tioga." Eighteen days had now 
elapsed since it left Newtown on its way thither, during which time 
forty Indian towns, large and small, had been destroyed, together with 
160.000 bushels of corn and a "vast quantity of vegetables of every 

"While the army remained at this town, Mrs. Lester with a child in 
her arms came to our troops. On November 7th previous her hus- 
band with others was captured near Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, by the 
Indians; he was slain and his wife was carried into captivity. In 
their haste to escape from nur army, her captors left her behind and 
she escaped to our lines. Her child died a few days later. She sub- 
sequently became the wife of Captain Roswell F'ranklin, who was in 
the first party that settled Aurora, on Cayuga lake. 

A few of the leading Indians lingered near their beautiful homes 
while the work of destruction was in progress. President Dwight 
relates an incident in this connection. The Seneca chief, Big Tree, 
whom he describes as a man of lofty character and dignified deport- 
ment, had strenuously urged his countrymen to observe a strict neu- 
trality, but without success. This chieftain stood with others, on an 
elevated spot and saw his own possessions destroyed. "You see how 
the Americans treat tiieir friends." said some of those around him, 
favorable to,Great Britain. "Wiiat 1 see," calmly replied the chief, 
"is only the common fortune of war. It cannot be supposed that the 
Americans can distinguish my [)roperty frotn yours, who are their 
enemies. "' 

The Indian warriors and their allies, together with 150 British reg- 
ulars from Niagara, by whom they had been reinforced on the eve of 
quitting the Genesee, fled to Fort Niagara, which they reached on the 
18th of September. Meantime, the Indian women, children and old 
men were flocking thither from their burning towns, and, as the plain 
far and near became covered with knots of fugitives, it strikingly 
resembled, says an eye witness, the diversified landscape fornunl by 
groups returning from an English fair.- 

1. This iiicideut is also located at Kaiiaglisaws. 

2. Ketchmii's liiiffalo. Vol. II. ai)pendix, p. 339. 

Burial Mound of Boyd and Parker al Cuylerville. 


Temporary homes in a tew days were prDvided elsewhere for these 
refugees, but, as they still expected that British arms would triumph 
and their homes would be restored, they refused to quit the ijrotection 
offered by the fort. Indeed, the Senecas were now urged to make 
their future dwelling place in Canada, but they continued to remain 
here until the following spring, when the larger remnant of the tribe 
settled near Buffalo creek. 

Scanty supplies awaited the fugitive Indians at Niagara, and the 
winter was remarkably cold, the snow very deep and multitudes of 
deer and other animals perished from starvation. The refugees, fed 
on salted provisions, a diet so new to them, suffered from scurvy, of 
which they died in great numbers. 

The army set out on its return on the afternoon of Wednesday, the 
15th, on the same route by wiiich it had advanced. The bodies of 
the slain of Boyd's scouting party were found on the 16th by Captain 
William Henderson, of the 4th Pennsylvania regiment, who with 
sixty men had been detailed to search for them, and buried with mili- 
tary honors, that of Hanyerry with the others. The return march was 
continued without special incident to Easton, Pennsylvania, where 
the troops went into temporary quarters. 

The intelligence of the success of the expedition preceded the army, 
and everywhere it was received with tokens of gratitude. Congratu- 
latory addresses were voted by corporations to officers and men; mili- 
tary bodies complimented them, and the Continental Congress, on 
motion of Elbridge Gerry, resolved that its thanks "be given to his 
excellency General Washington for directing, and to Major-General 
Sullivan and the brave officers and soldiers under his command for 
eft"ectually executing, an important expedition against such of the 
Indian nations as, encouraged by the councils and conducted by the 
officers of his Britannic Majesty, have perfidiously waged an unpro- 
voked and cruel war against the United States, laid waste many of 
their defenceless towns, and with savage barbarity slaughtered the 
inhabitants thereof." It was further resolved, "that it will be proper 
to set apart the second Thursday in December next, as a day of Gen- 
eral Thanksgiving in these United States, and that a committee of 
four be appointed to prepare a recommendation to the said United 
States for this purpose." The proclamation in fitting language owns 
the hand of Providence, in "that He had gone out with those who went 


into the wilderness against the savage tribes;" and we may well 
believe that the hearts of the colonists fully responded, and that they 
cordially united in the ceremonies of the day thus set apart. 

Our whole army was greatly impressed with the beauty of this 
•country and the fertility of its soil; and the attention of settlers was 
directed hitherward by the glowing descriptions brought home by the 
soldiers. That restlessness which follows all great wars was particu- 
larly notable after the Revolution, making the period a favorable one 
for emigration; and a decade had not passed away before a number of 
privates and officers who had formed a part of Sullivan's armv and 
others, attracted by their accounts, removed hither or were preparing 
to make this region their future home. Thus did the Indian cam- 
paign of 1779 directly tend to the settlement of the Genesee country; 
while the bloody wrongs inflicted by its aboriginal lords resulted in 
their expulsion therefrom, and their speedy dowMifall as a separate 

In the spring of 1780 several Seneca families came back, and tem- 
porarily settled in the neighborhood of their former villages on the 
Genesee; but the greater portion of them never returned. The pre- 
caution had been taken by the natives, prior to Sullivan's arrival, to 
fcury a quantity of corn, beans and other seeds, first placing them in 
mats of black ash bark then concealing them in a "cache," or trench 
■dug in the earth, covering the whole with sand and litter. The 
.army did not find this buried grain, and it was withdrawn by the 
■Indians from its hiding places on ihtir return and used by them for 
the spring's planting.' 

1. See appendix for au account of thecele!)ratiou of the Centennial Anniversary* of Sullivan's 
Expedition into the Genesee country, held at Geneseo, September l6, 1879. .\lso Chapter 17, for au 
account of the various interments of the remains of Boyd and Parker and the other members of 
ihe scouting partj' who were killed in the Groveland ambuscade. 

Map showing Phelps and Corhara Purchase. 



THE SOLDIERS of the Revolution were quite ready at the 
close of the great struggle to return to the pursuits of peaceful 
industry. The fertile region which stretches beyond Seneca 
lake and as far westward as the Genesee river, had especially 
attracted the attention alike of officers and men of Sullivan's army, 
and the valleys and hillsides so precipitately abandoned by the 
lugitive red men, were by another decade to count among their per- 
manent occupants some of those who had first seen them under con- 
ditions far less pacific. 

Years, however, before the Continental army had penetrated to 
these remote homes of the Indians, the country along, the Genesee 
had been made familiar to the eyes of many a score of white 
prisoners, brought hither by that horde of dusky prowlers who, for 
nearly a quarter of a century, embracing that period of disquiet along 
the border which ended only with the Colonial war, lost no opportun- 
ity of harassing the frontier settlements, and whose predatory enter- 
]jrises lay so little under the restraints of regular warfare. 

During the French war, as well as during that of the Revolution, 
prisoners taken by the Senecas and other tribes allied with them 
were brought to these Western fastnesses, whose remote situation 
afforded them immunity, to be detained in the capacity of artisans or 
laborers, or surrendered to their friends on the payment of fixed 
bounties. When permanent peace at length released aU, those who 
were then remaining in captivity were prepared to impart useful in- 
formation respecting the country to the vanguard of the pioneers. 

In 17')5 there were twenty-four white prisoners "among the 
Chenesseo (Geneseo) Indians. "^ A year later Sarah Carter, a young 
white girl taken captive in Pennsylvania, reported that there were 
"forty Yankee prisoners among the Geneseo Indians, one of whom 
was a large, lusty negro" blacksmith tiien working at his trade for 

I See Mss. papers of Sir William Johusou iu the state Library. The Senecas are generally 
mentioned in those valuable paper* as the Cheiie-.scu or Genesee Indians. 


the natives. He had already bouj^ht the time of a young Connecticut 
girl for five pounds currency and had otherwise befriended those avIio 
had fallen into the hands of the natives. Squash Cutter and Long 
Coat, two chiefs of the Delaware tribe who lived much among the 
Senecas at that period, employed themselves in bringing in captives to 
the towns on the (jenesee and selling their time to the Indians, all 
of whom were exchanged or released before Mary Jemison, Captain 
Horatio Jones, Joseph Smith and other whites found enforced homes 
in this region. 

New England and Pennsylvania did most toward peopling the 
Genesee country. The capitalists of Connecticut and Massachusetts 
were first to risk their means in the inviting lands whJLh peace had 
thrown open to enterprise. But before any title could be given, an 
important question of jurisdiction involving a history of England's 
grants had to be settled. 

From about 1()80 to 1759 Western New York w-as claimed by 
France as a part of the province of New France or Canada. By virtue 
of the discovery of the Hudson River by Hendrick Hudson, Holland, 
under whose auspices he sailed, claimed the territory 'immediately 
watered by the North River and an indefinite breadth to the east, 
west, and south, to which she gave the designation of New Nether- 
laml. This vague claim embraced Western New York. 

At the close of the Revolution, this part of the State was claimed 
by two Commonwealths. Before the Colonial struggle both Massa 
chusetts and New York, under color of their respective royal English 
grants, had contended for its ownership, and peace was no sooner re- 
stored than the contest between them for this tempting domain was 

In the Congressional Library at Washington are two venerable 
folios in manuscript, containing the transactions from day to day, as 
well as the chief speeches and debates, of the \'irginia Company of 
London, from April, 1619, to June, 1624. These books have come 
down from Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, president and 
treasurer of the Company, whose name is conspicuous in English 
annals, through many a famous owner, and their origin, relating as it 
does to the first title of this region derived from the English crown, 
and connected as it is with the controversy between the two States, be- 
comes a matter of interest to us. The patent of that notable Com- 


pany was sealed by James I cm the fith of April, 160f), on petition of 
Richard Hackluyt and other ""firm and hearty lovers of colonization," 
who had humbly asked the |irivilege of establishing- "a colony of 
sundry persons of our people in that part of America commonly called 
Virginia, between the 34th and 45th degrees of north latitude," and 
stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The associates under the 
charter secured. Sir Thomas Gates and other "adventurers of the city 
of London," called the First Colony, were authorized to plant be- 
tween latitude 34 and 41; while Raleigh Gilbert and his associates 
cf the English town of Plymouth, constituting the Second or 
Plymouth Colony, might plant between the 38th and 45th degrees, 
their grant covering the whole vast belt of territory extending 
"throughout the main land from sea to sea," and including, of course, 
all of Western New York,^ The Virginia Company did not prosper. 
In the hope of improving its condition, the directors secured a more 
specific charter with enlarged privileges. But the change proved 
a snare. James was at the time ambitious of a Spanish match for his 
son Charles, while Gondonar, the astute minister of Spain, feared that 
the great \'irginia Company intended to take possession of the colonies 
and mines established by Spaniards in the New World. The latter, 
therefore, lent his powerful influence to those members of the court 
who sought the overthrow of the Company, and to conciliate the 
Spanish minister, as well as to gratify the Lord Treasurer, the Earl of 
Essex and his party, the King lent a willing ear to the movement to 
destroy the Company. A pretext was soon found, and in 1624 the 
Lord Chief Justice declared the charter null and void. This strange 
act of the most unkingly of kings was but one in that category of 
monstrous assumptions of the crown at 'this "period of vast contest 
and disjnite," which hastened the decisive struggle of the S3venteenth 
century between the sovereign and parliament. The rapacious oppon- 
ents of the Company had, with the sanction of James, no doubt, for 
some time been eagerly seeking to obtain its records. To [)revent 
interpolation, should they in a contest so unequal fall into the un- 
friendly hands of Warwick and his partisans, as they did. the original 

I. Set maniiscript charter iu Virginia Records, 1621-25, Library of Congress: also History of 
the Virginia Company of Luudou, by Edward I). Neill. The associates named of the First Colony 
were Sir Thomas C.ates, Sir George Soniers, Richard Hackluyt, and Edward-Maria Wingfield: and 
of the Second (or IMymouth) Colony, Thomas Hanham, Raleigh Gilbert. William Packer and 
George Pophani- 


records were secretly copied and carefully authenticated. The two 
manuscript volumes before referred to. written in the peculiar hand 
of the times "on a kind of elephant paper," which, after two hundred 
and fifty years, found a repository in our National arciiives and on soil 
so directly affected by the charter, constitute the duplicates produced 
under conditions so befitting' ths period in which they had their 
origin. They aftord conclusive evidence of the upright conduct of the 
Company, and dispel all charges of false faith made by the Spanish 
party, as it was called, at the English court. As the originals were 
taken possession of by that arbitrary body, the celebratetl "Star 
Chamber," and never restored, these are perhaps the only records now 
extant of the Company. 

That little band of (jod-fearing men, the Puritans or Pilgrims, were 
settled at Leyden in 1()17. After much thought they decided to emi- 
grate to America and live as a distinct body under the government of 
Virginia, if permitted here to exercise the freedom of their religious 
opinions. A jiatent, whose privileges were as ample as the \'irginia 
Company had authority to confer, was secured, and the Pilgrims set sail 
from Delft Haven on the ftth of September, 1620, in the Mayflower, 
intending to locate near the Hudson river. Accident, however, car- 
ried their little vessel to the barren headlands since well known as 
Plymouth Rock, far to the northward of the bounds of their charter, 
which thus became "void and useless." In the following Spring a 
grant was secured frcim the Plymouth Company of the territory on 
which they had unintentionally settled. The colony grew, and in 
1(>28 Charles I issued a charter for its government under the title of 
the province of Massachusetts Bay.i A half century later this patent 
was vacated, but renewed in 1()'>1 by William and Mary, who express- 
ly recognized the western boundary, as had each of the other patents, 
as extending from ocean to ocean. 

In 1663 Charles II conferred upon his brother, then Duke of York 
and Albany, afterward King James II, all land lying between the 
Delaware river and the Hudson and northwards to the bounds of 
Canada. This royal donation embraced the present State of New Jer- 
sey, which subsequently became the property of Berkley and Castaret, 

1. Ill 162S, the Council of Plymouth (or Plymouth Company) transferred to Sir Henry Roswell 
and his associates, constituting the Massachusetts Bay Company, a part of their immense grant, 
extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific. 


and also New York, which uniformly claimed, under the somewhat 
vague designation in the charter, the whole area of our present State 
and as far eastward as the Connecticut river. Massachusetts, on the 
other hand, claimed to the Hudson and likewise the western half of 
the territory of New York and westward to the Pacific, under the old 
charter of James I to the Council of Plymouth. The charters of 
these two leading provinces, coverint^ in large [lart the same terri- 
tory, led to controversies as settlements expanded, both as to the 
right of property and the right of jurisdiction. And as each assumed 
to make grants to settlers in the debatable region, especially in that 
portiiin which lay between the Hudson and the Connecticut, and to 
some extent in that lying westward beyond the country of the ilo- 
hawks, angry dissensions and bloodshed followed upon the disorders 
occasioned by intrusions upon lanils held under color of one or the 
other of the opposing interests. As early as 1767, Commissioners were 
appointed by the two provinces, who met at New Haven, and, after 
several days spent in discussion, "with grief found themselves obliged 
to return to their principals, leaving the controversy unsettled."' 
The Revolution, whose common danger hushed all minor disputes, 
soon came, but on the return of peace the questions were reopened. 
The Legislature of this State regarded the claim on the part of Massa- 
chusetts an ungracious one. The two States had fought and acted 
side by side during the Revolutionary struggle; "and after all the 
severe calamities by which these States hath been distressed in the 
progress of vindictive war," said they, "we flattered ourselves that 
the period was at length arrived when we should have an opportunity 
to rejjair our misfortunes without envy or interruption." Agents, 
however, were appointed by the two States to settle their respective 
rights. They met, consulted and separated, after uniting in a request 
for the friendly interposition of Congress, under the terms of the old 
Articles of Confederation. Governor George Clinton called an extra 
session of the Legislature, which convened in October, 1784. Referring 
to the controversy he says: "Since the close of your last session the 
Legislature of ^[assachusetts have thought fit to set up a claim to land 
lying somewhere within the ancient jurisdiction of this State, the 

I. See case of the Provinces of .Massachusetts Bay and New York, respecting the bonndary 
lines. I.ieut. Gov. Hutchinson and two others appeared for Massachusetts, and Robert R, Living- 
ston and two others fur New York. At subsequent conventions between the two States. John Han- 
cock and other eminent men took part. 


precise location being left in obscurity. They have requested Con- 
gress to appoint a Federal court to inquire and determine such 
claims." It was not, however, until the jnini commission ot the two 
States had concluded its labf)rs at Hartford, on the Idth of December, 
178f), that a compact was formed for the permanent settlement of the 
questions so long in issue. By this Massachusetts ceded to New Ynvk 
all claim and title to the government, sovereignty and jurisdiction of 
the lands and territory in controversy, and New York released to the 
former State and to her grantees, the right of pre-emjjtion of the soil 
from the native Indians, and all title and property, in that portion of 
this State lying west of the "pre-emption line," which commences 
at the southeast corner of Steuben county and extending northward 
through Seneca lake, terminates at Sodus Hay, embracing an area of 
about six millions of acres of the fairest portion of the State.' 

On the first of April, 1788 Massachusetts accepted the proposals of 
an association of gentlemen of capital, represented by Oliver Phelps 
and Nathaniel Gorham, for the purchase of its pre-emptive right to 
the whole section, for three hundred thousand pounds in the consoli- 
dated securities of that State, worth then about four shillings in the 
pound. These funds later advanced in value, and Phelps and (5or- 
ham were unaiile to meet their engagements. In February, 17')i), 
they offered to surrender all liut that one-third of their great purchase 
lying between Seneca lake and the Genesee river, and a small portion 
west of the river, to which, on [uly 8th, 17S8, they had secured by 
treaty at Buffalo Creek a release of the Indian claims, for the consid- 
eration of two thousand one hundred pounds. New York currency, and 
an annuity of $500.'! This offer was formally acceded to by Massa- 
chusetts in June of the same year, -and the consideration therefor was 
reduced to thirty-one thousand pounds. "The portion retained by 
them constituted what is now known as Phelps and Gorham's Pur- 
chase,'' and embraced all lands lying between the [ire-emption line and 
a line drawn from a point on the Pennsylvania boundary due south of 

1. Tlie release to Massachusetts also embraced 2,^0,400 acres between the rivers Owego and 
Chenango, known as the Massachnsetls Ten 'fownships. in Chenango county. 

2. There was snbseqnentlj- ninch complaint as to the terms of this treaty. .See appendix Xo. S 
for speeches of Red Jacket, Cornplanter and other chiefs and President Wasliiiigton respecting the 

;. .\ls() known as the Genesee tract. 

rrom Augustus Porter's survey of the Phelps md Corham Purchase -1792. 


the confluence of Canaseraga creek with the waters of the Genesee 
river thence north to such confluence; thence northwardly along tlie 
river to a point two miles north of the Canawaugus Indian village; 
thence due west twelve miles; thence northwardly, twelve miles dis- 
tant from the hounds of the river, to Lake Ontario. i The east line 
measured about eighty-five miles, the south line about forty-five miles, ■ 
and within the boundaries are the counties of Ontario, Steuben and 
Yates, and portions of the counties of Monroe, Livingston, Wayne, 
Allegany and Schuyler. On the 21st of Novemlier, 17''ii this 
tract was confirmed to Phelps and (lorham by an act of the Legislattu'e 
of Massachusetts. A survey of the tract- afterwards made showed that 
it exceeded both in ([uantity and value, one-third of the whole territory. 
For this diflerence the purchasers duly accounted. 

In 178') Mr. Phelps opened at Canandaigua the first regular land 
office for the sale of unoccupied lands to settlers ever established in 
America. The system he adopted for the survey of his lands by town- 
ships and ranges, was, with slight modifications, adopted by the (Gov- 
ernment for the survey of all the new lands in the L'nited States.^ 
These ranges were six miles in width, running north and south 
through the whole purchase, and numbered from east to west. The 

1. The ludiau deed signed at this treaty contains the following description of the tract : 
"Beginning in the northern bonndary line of the State of Pennsylvania, in the parallel of the 42d 
degree north, at a point distant S2 miles from the northeast corner of Pennsylvania or Delaware 
River, thence rnnuing west npon said line to a meridian passing throngh the point of land made 
the conflnence of the Shanahasgreaikonreche (Canaseragat creek with the w-aters of the Genesee 
by river, thence north along said meridian to the point last mentioned, thence northwardly along 
the waters of the Genesee river to a point two miles north of Shanawageras (Canawangns) village, 
thence due w-est 12 miles, then in a direction northwardly so as to be 12 miles distant from the 
most westward bend of the Genesee river to Lake Ontario, thence eastwardly along the said lake 
to a meridian which will pass throngh the place of beginning and thence south along the said 
meridian to the place of beginning." The deed was witnessed by the Rev. Sanuiel Kirklaud 
and others, and was approved by him under authority of a resolution of the Legislature of Massa- 
chusetts appointing him to superintend and approve the purchase. 

2. The portions of the purchase within the limits of the present county of Livingston are 
townships 6, 7. s, 9 and to in range 7, corresponding with the towns of Ossiau, West Sparta, Grove- 
laud, Geueseo and Avon respectively; townships 7. S, 9, 10 and the northwest quarter of 6 in range 
6, corresponding with Sparta, in part. Couesus. Livonia, Lima and North Dansville respectively, 
and township 7 and the western part of 10 in range 5, corresponding with the eastern parts of 
Spriiigwater and Lima respectively. The western part of Lima is in township 7 of range 7; the west- 
ern part ol Springwater, incliuling somewhat more than a third of that town, is in township 7 of 
range 6, and that portion of Lima lying between Itoncoyc outlet and the east line of Livonia con- 
tinued northerly is in township 10 of range 5. The survey was originally made by Colonel Hugh 
Ma.xwell in 17SS. A re-snrvey was made in 1791 and 1792. under the direction of Major Hoops, as 
appears in the api>endix. 


ranges, in turn, were subdivided by parallel lines, six miles ;tpart, 
running east and west, denominated t'jwnshi[;s, which were num- 
bered from South to norih. The ranges were seven in number, each 
embracing fourteen townships. The latter were mostly sululivided 
into lots of 160 acres each for the accommodation of actual settlers. 

Settlements did not immediately follow the purchase by Phelps and 
Gorham. Indeed, it was not until 17'J2, when, by the opening of 
roads eastw-ard and southward, access was facilitatetl to the new land of 
promise, that the tide of emigration thitherward iiegan. 

In the disposition of their lands Phelfis and Gorham accommodated 
their terms to the circumstances of purchasers. Several of their con- 
tracts drawn in January, ]7.S'>, contained the provision, "We engage 
to receive the one-half ot each obligation in good merchantable ox or 
cow beef at the market cash price, or in West India goods at cash 
rates, provided, however, that so far as we receive in those articles tei; 
per centum is to be added to the debt due to us." 

^Vith the exception of the parts that had already been soUl and two 
townships reserved by them. Phelps and (iorham sold the whole of this 
one third part of the original purchase to Robert Morris, the eminent 
financier of the Revolution, the friend of Washington and a signer of 
the Declaration of Independence, and conveyed the same to him by 
deed bearing date the 18th of November, 1790.1 The quantity of 
land conveyed was supposed to be about one million one hundred thou- 
sand acres, but it transpired later that the actual quantity was one 
hundred and si.Nty-seven thousand acres more; the price paid by ^Ir. 
Morris was thirty thousand pounds. New York currency. He also sub- 
secpieiitly [laid the sum of nine thousand four bundled and seventy-six 
pounds for the cpiantity ot land conveyed in excess of one million acres, 
in conformity with an agreement made at the time of the conveyance. ^ 

The lands acijiiired l)v this purchase soon passed out of the hands of 
Mr. Morris. Agencies had been established by him at the principal 
capitals f)f Europe for the sale of these lands, the value of wdiich the 
owner himself, though holding them in higii estimation, had essentially 

1, The wliole traiisactiou in relation to the Phelps and Gorham pnrchase was finally settled 
by an indentnre entered into between them and Massachusetts, bearing date March lo, 179], in 
pursuance of which the l)alance due from Phelps and Gorham, in respect to their retained portion 
of the entire territory, was paid on the 6th of .\pril, 1S13. 

2. This was at the rate of ei.iijh I pence half penny Massachusetts njoney. See appendix No. 
9 for account of survey made b\' Major Hoops of the ^torris purchase. 

Robert Morris. 


underrated. Just as he became fully aware of their great importance 
and before he could communicate with his foreign correspondents on 
the subject, William Temple Franklin, a grandson (jf Dr. Franklin, 
had sold them in England for thirty-five thousand pounds sterling to 
an association composed of Sir William Pultency,'- an eminent British 
statesman who, it would appear, was able to devote little personal at- 
tention to the affairs of the company; John Hornby, once Governor of 
Bombay, India, a retired capitalist of London, and Patrick Colquhoun, 
a philanthropic Scotchman of large means, and at the time High Sher- 
iff of Westminster, England, upon whom the details of settling the 
purcluise and disposing of the land principally devolved, a duty he 
performed with so much acceptance to his associates and with such 
enlightened liberality as to gain the respect of the settlers. 

The associates now required an agent who should proceed at once to 
the new purchase and personally superintend their interests. At this 
time Charles Williamson, a Scotch gentleman who had spent several 
years in America, had come to London, where he was honored with 
the friendship of William Pitt and other leading men of the English 
capital. He had held a captain's commission in the British service, 
and being ordered to this country with his regiment during the Revo- 
lution, the vessel which bore him was captured by a French privateer. 
Williamson was brought to Boston and there held a prisoner of war 
until the close of the struggle. Opportunity had been afforded him to 
become acquainted with the quality of our new lands of which he read- 
ily availed himself, and as he was quite willing to accept the offer of 
the associates to manage their estates, he was engaged for the term of 
seven years. He possessed qualities which, in many directions, pecu- 
liarly fitted him for the position, and the appointment proved a fortu- 
nate one for the settlers if not for his employers. He enjoyed the con- 
fidence of his principals, their material resources were ample, and if 
his discretion was not at all times judiciously e.xercised, his zeal 
could not be questioned. On reaching Philadelphia he made the 
acquaintance of Robert Morris. After secui'ing all the informa- 
tion about the Genesee counliy within reach, he made up his mind 
that a road must be opened to the purcluise. He was told that this 

I. Sir William's family uanie was Johnstone. He was one of a family of fourteen cliiUlren. 
His father was Sir James Johnstone. Sir William married Miss Pnlteney, niece of the Karl of 
nath, and took his wife's family name in 1767. The village of l)ath, in this State, was so named 
out of compliment, by Charles Williamson. 


could not be done, but with his usual indomitable energy he 
marked out and opened a road from Ross Farm (now Williams- 
port), to the confluence of the Canaseraga creek and the Genesee 
river, where, in 1792, he established his first settlement, Williamsburg. 
The associates being aliens coiild not take the title, and as a first step 
Williamson was naturalized in Philadelphia on the 9th of January, 
1792, and on the 11th of April of the same year the title of the estate 
was made over to him. On the 31st of March, 1801 Williamson con- 
veyed the lands to Sir ^\'i!liam Pulteney.' 

Captain Williamson's energy and hopefulness animated all who came 
within the range of his personal influence, while his enterprise antici- 
pated and supplied whatever became necessary to prumote the [)ros- 
perity of the rising towns. He is represented as a jolly Scotchman, a 
gentleman of liberal education, of fine social qualities, fond of his flag- 
on of wine and a good story, of fine horses and herds of sleek cattle. 
He had seen service in Europe and was a man of the world. He pos- 
sessed great activity, was upright and liberal in his dealings with the 
pioneers, and was always ready to impart information to any who 
sought homes in the (lenesee country. "He freejuently concludes a 
contract and removes every difficulty in the course of a few minutes' 
conversation," it was said of him. By his wisely directed enterprise 
he gave a great impulse not only to the settlements which he lost no 
time in establishing at Bath, Williamsburg, Geneva and Sodus, on 
the great tract belonging to his principals, but to the Genesee country 
at large. He was a Member of Assembly from Ontario and Steuben 
from 179f> to 1800, and was also first Judge of Steuben Common Pleas 
from IT'iii tn 1803 continuously. He returned to Scotlantl : and died 
at the close of the year 1807 while journeying from Havana to England. 

Almost simultaneously with the sale to the English associates, and 
on the 12th day of March. 17'M, Mr. Morris contracted to purchase of 
Massachusetts, through his representative Samuel Ogden, the two- 
thirds of the original territory, so relinquished by Phelps and (iorham; 
he had made a considerable profit on his sale to the Englishmen and 

I. The title of tliePiilteiiey estate has been the subject of fretiuent litigatiuii thiriug tlie last 
half century, in which attempts have been made to overthrow the title derived through William- 
son on the ground of his alleged alienage, and on the ground that the Indian title had uever been 
extinguished to the lands in question, though each time with marked want of success. 

The whole question was carefully e.xamined and the validity of the title distinctly affirmed iu 
the case of the Duke of Cumberland vs. Graves, by the Court of Apjieals of the Stale of New York. 
(3 Selden, ,",05, Thomas A. Johnson, J.) 


I ■ f 

^. o 

AiQAngiioj •'11 «""J " 



eagerly availed himself of the opportunity to secure these reverted 
lands. In January, 1791, he had written to Ogden, who was then in 
I'.iiston, "to make the purchase at any terms." A few days later he 
wr(jte him again: "I consider the purchase of such magnitude that I 
shall never forgive myself if I let it pass by me at anything less than 
the limits which I have fi.xed, and you may depend that if I get it I 
will make a greater fortune out of it in a short time than any other 
person can now believe." An expectation, it may be added, that was 
far from being realized. 

On the 11th of May, 17Vl, ( )gden having formally assigned his inter- 
est to Morris, a committee on behalf of the Legislature confirmed the 
latter's title by giving him five several deeds of conveyance for as 
many separate parcels of land, the first including about five hundred 
thousand acres, being the eastern portion and afterwards known as 
the "Morris Reserve," from the circumstance of its exception in the 
conveyance to the Holland Land Company, and the four others em- 
bracing the lands subsequently sold by Morris to that company 
and known as the "Holland Purchase. "^ The quantity of land 
conveyed was about three million eight hundred thousand acres; the 
consideration, one hundred thousand pounds, equal to $333,333.33 in 
^Massachusetts currency, and the area, all the territory within the 
State of New York lying west of the Phelps and Gorham purchase, 
excepting only the reserved strip of land one mile in width along the 
Niagara river, ^ and, with this exception Robert Morris became seized 
of the pre-emptive title to the whole of this territory relinquished to 

In 1792 and 1793 the sale was made by Morris of the lands con- 
veyed to hitn by the four deeds last mentioned, comprehending about 
three million three hundred thousand acres, to the Holland Land 
Company an association consisting of five capitalists of Amsterdam, 

1. The deeds were deposited with Nathaniel .ippleton and two others, and were delivered to 
Morris on payment of the purchase money. 

A sixth deed was granted under authority of a joint resolution of the Legislature of Massa- 
chusetts, adopted June 20th, 1792, covering the undivided sixtieth part of the lauds embraced iu 
the above deeds and reser\ed by each of them owing to a contract made by Phelps and Gorham for 
Ihesaleof i-6oth of the entire ten-itory to John Butler, who subsequently assigned to Robert 
Morris, and the latter was thus enabled to acquire title to the whole directly from the State of 

2. This strip was surrendered by a treaty of the Senecas with the .State of New York, made 
August 20, 1802, for $500. 


Holland.^ The consideration was fifty-five thonsand pounds sterlin;j^, 
of which sum 37,401) pounds was to be withheld until the extinguish- 
ment <>t the Intli;i;i title could be effected. As the jjurchasers were 
aliens they could not take the title in their own names, and the deeds 
were, therefore, made to parties in trust for them.- 

The attitude of the Indians, the Senecas included, at the peri(Hl of 
the purchase and down to tlie success of Wayne's ex[)edition against 
the Western tribes, was so unfriendly that considerations of jnibiic 
policy rendered any negotiation f<»r securing their interest in these 
lands inopportune. Mr Morris forbore to press fur a treaty to ac- 
complish this until 17*K), a postponement which exhibited great unself- 
ishness and patriotism on his part. .-. On August 25th of that year, he 
addressed trom Philadelphia the following letter to President Wash- 
ington , 

Sir — In the year 17**1 I purchased from the state of Massachusetts 
a tract of country lying within the -boundaries of the state of New 
York, which had been ceded by the latter to the former state under 
the sanction and with the concurrence of the congress of the United 

1. The names of the actual original proprietors were Wilhelni Williiik, Jan Williuk, Nich- 
olas Van Stophoi-st, Jacob Van Stophorst. Nicholas; Hubbard, Pieter VanEeghen. Christian Van 
Eeghen, Isaac TenCate. Hendrick Volleiihoveii, Christina Coster (widow), Jad Stadnitskie and 
Rntger J. Schininielpinnick. 

2. Deeds from Robert Morris and Mary his wife to the trustees of the pro]jrietors were as 

I. Bears date Dec. 24, 1792, Smd conveys two tracts of one million and half a million respect- 
ively, amounting to i'<^ million acres, to HermRS> ,eRoy and John Lincklaen, in trust. 

II. Bears date Feb. 27, 1793, and conveys dn© million acres to LeRoy, I^incklacn and Cerrit 
Boon, in trust. 

III. Bears date July 20, 1793, and conveys 8co,ooo acres to LeRoy, Lincklaen and Boon, in trust. 

IV. Bears date Jnly 20, 1793, and conveys 300,000 acres to LeRoy, William Bayard and Matthew 
Clarksou, in trust. 

After the Big Tree treaty of 'Sept. 15, I74|> by which the claims of the Indians to the above 
lands were released to Robert Morris, he made a confirmation to his grantees. 

Concurrently with the execution of this conveyance by Morris, articles of agreement were 
entered into by which, among other things, a right was reserved to the grantees to elect, within a 
certain period, to convert the jjurchase into a loan, in which case the conveyance was to innre 
by way of mortgage to secure the repayment of the purchase moi^y. The grantees choosing to 
hold the lands as a purchase, declared no election to hold them otherwise; but it was neverthe- 
less contended by Morris and those claiming under him that the whole transaction was to he 
considered as a loan, and that a right still existed in Morris or his assigns which a court of chan- 
cery would enforce. This question was put at rest by the e.xecntion of releases in February, iSoi, 
by Thomas L. Ogden, representing the claimants. 

For more than half his life the late Gov. Seward was the principal agent and attorney, and re- 
moved from Auburn to Westfield to superintend the dispospl of the Company's lands. On his 
voluntary retirement from the agency, he was succeeded by the Hon. CVeo. W. Patterson, late 
I,ieTiteuant Governor of the State of New York, elsewhere mentioned iu this volume. 


States. This tract of land is bounded to the east by the Genesee 
river, to the north by Lake Ontario, to the west partly by Lake Erie 
and partly by the boundary line of the Pennsylvania triangle, and to 
the south by the north boundar)- line of the state of Pennsylvania. A 
printed brief of title I take the liberty to transmit herewith. To per- 
fect this title it is necessary to purchase of the Seneca nation of In- 
dians their native right, which I should have done soon after the pur- 
chase was made of the state- of Massachusetts, but that I felt myself 
restrained from doing so by motives of public consideration. The 
war between the Western Indian nations and the United States did 
not e.xlend to the Six Nations, of which the Sfneca nation is one; and 
as I ai)[)rehended that, if this nation should sell its' right during the 
existence of that war, they might the more readily be induced to join 
the enemies of our countr\', I was determined not to make the ])iir- 
chase whilst that war lasted. 

When peace was made with the Indian nations I turned my thoughts 
towards the purchase, which is to me an object very interesting; but 
upon it being represented that a little longer patience, until the wes- 
tern posts should be delivered up by the British government, might 
be public utility, I concluded to wait for that event also, which is now 
happily accomplished, and there seems no obstacle to restrain me from 
making the purchase, especially as I have reason to believe the 
Indians are desirous to make the sale. 

The delays which have already taken place and that arose solely 
frotn the considerations above mentioned have been extremely detri- 
mental to my private affairs, but, still being desirous to comply with 
formalities prescribed by certain laws of the United States, although 
those laws probably do not reach my case, I now make application to 
the President oi the United Stat'i'^nd request that he will nominate 
and apfioint a commissioner U> be present and preside at a treaty, 
which he will lie pleased to authorize to b'_- held with the Seneca Na- 
tion, for the purpose of enabling me to make a purchase in conform- 
ity with the formalities required by law, of the tract of country for 
which I have already paid a very laige sum of money. My right to 
pre-emption is unequivocal, and the land is become so necessary to 
the growing population and surrounding settlements that it is with 
difficulty that the white people can be restrained from squattering or 
settling down upon tiiese lands, which if they should do, it may prob- 
ably bring on contentions with the Six Nations. This will be pre- 
vented by a timely, fair and honorable purchase. 

This proposed treaty ought to be held immediately before the hunt- 
ing season or another year will be lost, as the Indians cannot be col- 
lected during that season. The loss of another year, under the pay- 
ments thus made for these lands, would be ruinous to my aftairs; and 
as I have paid so great deference to public considerations whilst they 
did exist, I expect and hope that my request will be readily granted 


now, when there can be n(3 cause for delay, es|)ecially if tlie Indians 
are willintj to sell, which will be tested by the offer to buy. 

With the most perfect esteem and respect, I am, sir, vnur most 
obedient and most humble sei'vaat, 

Robert -Morris. 

George Washinijton, Esq.. President of the United States. 

President Washington was ready to further the business by naming 
a Commissioner to superintend the treaty on behalf of the United 
States in conformity with law. Captain Bruff, who held comtnand of 
the garrison at Fort Niagara, had held a conference with the Senecas_ 
and had presented them with a flag. In their answer to Captain 
Bruff's speech on this occasion they called Robert Morris the "big 
eater w'ith the big belly," and asked that he might not come to devour 
their lands. Washington told Mr. Morris that he should feel it his 
tluty to send Cajjtain Hruff's letter, together with the accompanying 
speeches of the Indians, to the Senate with the nomination, and that, 
so great was then the desire to coiiciliate the .Sj.x Nations, he did n ' 
believe the Senate would confirm any nomination contrary t 
wishes; the Senate, however, confirmed the nomination. 

The President appointed Isaac Smith, a member of Congress from 
New jersey, as the Commissioner ; but duties ot a judicial nature in his 
State subsequently imposed upon him prevented his acceptance, and 
Colonel Jeremiah Wadswortli, who had been a distinguished member 
of Congress from Connecticut, was ajipointed in his place. 

Unable himself to take part in the treaty, Mr. Morris appointed his 
son Thomas and Charles Williamson as his representatives; Captain 
Williamson, however, busy with his affairs at Bath, declined to act 
and so the responsibility for conducting the difficult and delicate 
negotiation fell entirely upon the younger ilorris. 

Soon after making the purchase from Massachusetts, Mr. Morris 
resolved to settle his son Thomas in the Genesee country "as an evi- 
dence of his faith in its value and prospects. " Thomas Morris was 
twenty years of age. He had been educated at (Jeneva and Leipsic 
and was then reading law. In obedience to the wishes of his father, 
he left Philadelphia in the early summer of 17')1 and coming by way 
of Wilkesbarre and what was called "Sullivan's path," reached New- 
town where he attended Pickering's council and received from the 
Indians the name of 0-te-ti-ana, which Red Jacket had borne in his 


younger (lays. Proceeding on his journey Mr. Morris visited Niagara 
Falls. On his return he passed through Canandaigua. The aspect of 
the little frontier village pleased him. and he resolved to make the 
place his hoine. Arranging his affairs in the East, he left New York 
in ilarch, 17'»2, and went to Canandaigua. In 1793 he built a framed 
hduse, filled in with brick — one of the two framed houses in the State 
west of Whitesboro. Mr. Morris was admitted to the bar and in 17"H 
attended the first court held at Canandaigua. He devoted much of 
his time to the care of -his father's propertv and the settlement and 
development nf Western New York, and was honored and esteemed liy 
the pioneers. In 1794, 1795 and 179('> he was a Member of Assemblv 
from Ontario county. For five years beginning with 1796 he was a 
Senator of the State of New York, and from December, 1801. till 
March. ISOo, he was a member of Congress — the first representative 
in Congress from that portion of the State of New York lying west of 
Seneca lake. He shared in the financial reverses of his father, and in 
1S1I4 appointed John Greig his attorney and removed to New York 
city, where he practiced law until his death in 184S. 

To his son and Captain Williamson, Robert Morris communicated 
the following instructions for their management of tiie negotiations 
on his behalf: 

Philadelphia, August 1, 1797. 
Thoinas Morris and Charles Williamson, Esqrs. : 

Gentlemen — [ send herewith my power of attorney constituting' 
you my attorneys, at)d as such authorizing you to hold a treaty with 
the Seneca nation of Indians and such other nations, tribes, or chiefs- 
as may be necessary and to purchase of them for my account all that 
tract of ccjuntry the pre-emptive right of which I bought of the state 
of Massaciuisetts, being liounded on the east by the Genesee river and 
certain boundar\ lines of Gorham and Phelps' Purchase, on the south 
by the north boundary line of the state of Pennsylvania, on the west 
by Lake Erie and certain boundary lines of the Pennsylvania Triangle 
and of a small tract or carrying place reserved to the state of New 
York near the river Niagara, and on the north by Lake Ontario. 

This tract of land you are too well acquainted with to render any 
otiier description necessary, and its importance to me you can properly 
estimate, although I have not that interest in it at present which I 
ought to have retained ; nevertheless there is a duty due from me to 
those to whom I have sold which I am as solicitous to perform as if 
the whole benefit was for myself; but, although I am not to reap all 


the benefit, I am to sustain all the expense. This circumstance does 
not induce a desire to starve the cause or to be niggardly, at the same 
time it is natural to desire a consistent economy to be observed both 
as to the expense ot the treaty and the price to be paid for the lands. 
In order to be as clear and distinct as possible" I put each article of 
these instructions numerically as they occur to me. 

First — -I send herewith a written speech with which I propose that 
my son shall open the treaty by dL-liverinti tht- same to the Indians in 
my name and in my behalf. 

Second — In addition to this S[)eech, you can each make such addi- 
tional introductory speeches as you may think proper and necessary. 

Third — The business of the treaty may be greatly propelled probably 
by withholding liquor from the Indians until the business is finished, 
showing and promising it to them when the treaty is over. 

Fourth — I propose that an annuity of four thousand or four thou- 
sand five hundred dollars forever shall be the price of purchase for 
the whoUr tract of ciuntiy to the pre-emption of which I have the 

Fifth — If they should want some money down, say .^,ii(K) to Id.uiio 
dollars, the annuity to decrease proportionately. 

Sixth — Annuities of twenty to sixty dollars per annum may be giv- 
en to influential chiefs to the extent of 250 or 3()U dollars per annum. 

Seventh — Some dollars may be promised before the treaty and paid 
when finished to the amount of .^n(l or OO'O dollars, or if necessarv, 
1,000 dollars, to the chiefs. 

Eighth — Captain Brant, although not belonging to the Seneca nation, 
yet being an influential character, he must be satisfied for his services 
on as reasonable terms as possible, after the purchase is made. 

Ninth — Jones and Smith as interpreters are to do their duty fully 
and faithfully or I will not convey the lands contracted for wiih them, 
but if they do their duty the deed of those lands shall be delivered up- 
on receipt of the money they are in that case to pay. 

Tenth — Mr. Johnston of Niagara is to be employed as an interpreter 
iind compensated with a reasonable liberality. 

Eleventh — Mr. Dean and Mr. I'aiiish may also be employed on 
similar terms. 

Twelfth--Mr. Chapin will render any services that consist with the 
duties of his station, and must have a proper complement or compen- 

Thirteenth — If there be others whom I omit or do not know whom 
it may be proper to employ, you will exercise your discretion :n regard 
to them 

Fourteenth— The whole cost and charges ot this treaty being at my 
•expense, you will direct everything upon the princi{)les of a liberal 
economy. The Indians must have jjlenty of food, and also of liquor 
when you see proper to order it to them. The commissioners, their 


secretaries, interpreters, and all who are officially employed at or 
about this treaty, must be provided at my cost. You will of course 
keep :i table for yourselves and such of them as ought to be admitted 
to it. Such gentlemen strangers as visit there with friendlv inten- 
tions, or from curiosity, you will of course entertain as often as yuu 
think proper. 

Fifteenth — The liquors and stores I sent up will be used and if not 
sufficient more must be got. 

Sixteenth — The articles sent up for presents to the Indian chiefs, 
their wives and children, you will distribute as you see proper, and 
you may tell them I did not send any goods for presents to the nation 
because I thought they could with the niDiiev thev will receive half- 
yearly buy what may suit them best. 

Seventeenth — If you think twenty to thirty cows given to the wom- 
en would have a good effect, this might be done in such way as to 
please them best. 

Eighteenth — The price or annuity offered for the whole tract of 
country if they do not incline to giv€ up the whole may be put upon 
this footing, that the whole sum shall now be placed in the bank, and 
if they deliver me possession of only one-half the lands they shall draw 
only one half the annuity and I will draw the other half, and so in pro- 
portion to what they give up, and at any time thereafter when they 
agree to give up more land they shall then draw more of the annuity 
in proportion, and when they surrender the whole of the land, they 
shall draw the whole of the annuity. 

Nineteenth — They may signify at any time their intention of mak- 
ing a further surrender of lands (beyond what now may be agreed for) 
to the superintendent of Indian affairs, and I or my successors will 
immediately ap])oint proper persons to receive and survey the lands 
and assign to them or their agents the securities for the proportion of 
the annuity equivalent to the lands so surrendered. 

Twentieth — It will be most agreeable if they will deliver the whole 
lands now, and receive the whole of the annuity, but if they should 
only consent to deliver a part, let that part be as large a proportion 
as you can possibly obtain: and in this case it may be best perhaps 
to ask for it in the following manner: — miles on the Pennsylvania line 
beginning at the point on that line which bounds Gorham and Phelps' 
Purchase, and running west — miles, and from the terminating point 
on the Pennsylvania line to run due north to Lake Ontario, then east 
along the borders of said lake to the point of division on the north 
boundary of Gorham and Phelps' Purchase, and thence south along 
the west boundary lines of said Gorham and Phelps' Purchase and the 
Genesee river to the place of beginning; and in ad<lition to this an- 
other quantity either on the northern or southern side of the tract as 
may be most palatable to the Indians. If on the southern side it will 
commence at the western point on the Pennsylvania line where the 


above tract stopped and run as far on the Pennsylvania line as they 
will agree, and also to go as far north on the west side of the above tract 
as they will agree ; thence due west until a south line will strike the point 
where they stop on the Pennsylvania line unless they agree to go all 
the length of it to the corner of the Pennsylvania Triangle, and in that 
case the other line will rvin west to Lake Erie, or the boundary of that 
Triangle, which boundary would in that case also be the west bound- 
ary of the tract I contemplate. Should they prefer to cede a tract 
bounded by Lake Ontario, the east, south, and west boundaries will be 
fixed in a similar manner to what I have proposed for the others. 

Twenty-first — If the Indians will not sell and deliver the whole tract 
you must stipulate and obtain liberty for the surveyor to traverse the 
borders of Lakes Erie and Ontario and measure all the boundarv lines 
of the whole tract. 

Twenty-second — William Hayard will attend the treaty on behalf of 
the Holland company to whom I have sold a great part of these lands 
and perhaps Mr. Linklaen and (lerrit Boon may also be there. I 
would wish you to communicate freely and confidentially with these 
gentlemen or such of them as do attend, and particularly as to what 
part of the tract shall be taken into the purchase (in case the whole is 
not bought) after Tract No. 1 is secured. 

This Tract No. 1 is bounded on the east by the Genesee river and 
the boundary lines of Gorham and Phelps' Purchase, on the south by 
the Pennsylvania north boundary line running twelve miles west on 
that line, thence on the west by a line to be run from the point of 
twelve miles due north to Lake Ontario, and thence bounded on the 
north by Lake Ontario to the nortli point of said Gorham and Phelps' 
Purchase. This tract must be included in the purchase at all events 
and the rest may be made agreeable to the Holland com])any and the 
Indians, but I hope and expect that the whole will be purchased. 

Twenty-third — In case the whole of the tract is agreed for, but the 
Indians chi^ose to retain some part for their occupation, they will 
choose, I presume, Buffalo Creek, Tanevvanta, and lands bordering on 
Lake Erie. In fixing this you will consult as much as can be the 
interests and inclinations of the Holland c(Mnpany, conjointly witii the 
pleasure of the Indians. 

Twenty-fourth — Although I have proposed an annuity to the 
Indians as the price of their lands, yet if they prefer to be paid in 
money, I do not object. In that case I suppose seventy-five thousand 
dollars may be set down as the price of the whole, and in proportion 
for any part less than the whole, the money to be paid to them or 
their agent or agents within sixty to ninety days either at Philadel- 
phia, New York, or Canantiaigua, as may be agreed on between you 
and them, consulting Mr. Bayard as to the time and place of payment. 

Should any other matter occur that I shall think necessary to be 
intimated to you. I shall, if there be time, write to you again as often 


as may appear useful. You are, however, to consitier what I have 
already written rather as outlines for your conduct on this business than 
as positive orders not to be departed from. I have perfect confidence 
in your friendship and also in your integrity and discretion and there- 
fore I confide to your manauement the whole of this business without 
limitation or restriction except that if you make a purchase the tract 
No. 1 must be a part of it. If you can make the purchase on 
belter terms than I have proposed I am sure you will do it, and on 
the contrary should you be obliged to give more I shall acquiesce. 
You know it is high time this purchase should be made and it is of 
vast importance to all concerned to have it accomplished ; therefore 
you must effect it at all events, and I can only repeat that although I 
wish to buy as reasonably as may be, yet I do not mean to starve the 
cause, for I must have it. 

With sincere regard and affection, I am, gentlemen, your friend 
and servant. Robert Morris. 

It was resolved to hold the treaty at Big Tree, near the settlement 
which afterwards became Geneseo. In meadow lands within the 
corporate limits of the village of Geneseo, southwest from the park, 
about a quarter of a mile above the Erie railroad and about the same 
distance west of the Mount Morris road, there stood until 1000 a cob- 
blestone house; on the site of this building there was at the time 
of the treaty a small dwelling erected by William and James Wads- 
worth in 1701.1 This was rented by Thomas Morris for the 
accommodation of the principal persons at the treaty. He also caused 
a large council house to be erected which had for its covering boughs 
and branches of trees. An elevated bench was provided for the Com- 
missioners and other benches for the spectators. The probability 
is that the council house w-as located about five lumdred feet north- 
west of the Wads\i'orth dwelling. The Indian village of Big Tree 
was at this time west of the Genesee and so remained imtil ISoS, when 
it was moved to the east side of the river. 

The treaty had been appointed for the 20th of August, 17''7, and 
the Indians had ccillected in large numbers when Thomas Morris 
arrived on August 22d, "not the Senecas exclusively, but groups from 
other tribes, had come in to be fed from the stores of the Commis- 
sioners, and so greatly hungered were the natives that they were 
ravenous for food. Several of the oxen first killed for them were de- 
voured raw, reeking in the blood." 

I. James Wadsworth was in Europe at the time of the treaty. 


On the morning following the arrival of Thomas Morris he called 
them together and, after a speech of welcome, apologized for the non- 
arrival of the Commissioners who had been delayed by bad weather. 

It was obvious from the nutset that a number of white nn-n. who 
spoke a little of the native tongue and whose offers of employment 
had been declined by Morris, would attempt to persuade the Indians 
to reject all offers made them, with a view to securing their own 
terms. The natives were in a mood to be influenced in this direc- 
tion, for with few exceptions they were, said IJeneral Knox, greatly 
tenacious of their lands. To these venal whites Thomas Morris 
alluded in his address. Cornplanter, who was disposed to treat the 
whole subject fairly, immediately arose and expressed his satisfaction 
at being informed that the mischief-makers were known and would be 
properly dealt with. 

Late in the afternoon of the 2')th of August, the Commissioners 
arrived, Colonel Jeremiah Wadsworth to represent the United Slates 
and General William Shepard to represent the Commonwealth of 
Massachusetts. Captain Israel Chapin, who had succeeded his father. 
General Israel Chapin, as Superintendent of Indian affairs, attended; 
James Rees, subsequently of Geneva, was there and acted as Secretary, 
and among other prominent white men who were present and were 
greatly interested in the negotiation were William Rayard of New 
York, the agent of the Holland Land Company; two young gentlemen 
from Holland named Van Staphorst, near relatives of the Van 
Staphorst who was one of the principal members of the Holland 
Company, Nathaniel W. Howell, Jasper Parrish and Captain Horatio 

The Commissioners found the Indians receiving their annual pres- 
ents from the United States under the direction of Captain Chapin. 
The day following their arrival was Sunday, and intelligence having 
reached the Senecas of the death of the daughter of Captain Chapin, 
whom they greatly respected, they ajipointed a council for condolence 
with him, to which all the gentlemen from a distance were invited. 

At one o'clock on the afternoim of Monday the 28th, the council 
formally opened. It fell to Cornplanter to speak first. Turning to 
Thomas Morris he briefly addressed him, acknowledging the speech 
of invitation conveyed through Horatio Jones and Jasper Parrish, re- 
gretted that the Commissioners had been delayed, and closed by re- 

The' Pole Marks the Probable Site of Council House at Big Tree Treaty. 


turning the string of wampum which had reached him with the in- 
vitation. The Commissioners then presented their credentials and 
Colonel Wadsworth delivered his speech, assuring the Indians of his 
purpose watchfully to observe the proceedings in their interest. Me 
was followed by General Shepard. ]Mr. Morris then rose and said that 
his father was unalile to be present, but that Captain Williamson and 
he had been duly appointed to represent him, and, as instructed, he 
uould now suljmit Robert Morris's speech and a belt of wam[nim, 
which were laid upon the table. The speech was as follows: 

Brothers of the Seneca Nation — It was my wish and my intention 
to have come into your country and to have met you at this treaty, but 
the Great Spirit has ordained otherwise and I cannot go. I grow 
old and corpulent, and not very well, and am fearful of traveling so 
far during the hot weather in the month of August. 

Brothers, as I cannot be with you at the treaty, I have deputed and 
appointed my son Thomas Morris, Esq.. and my friend Charles Wil- 
liamson, Esq., to appear for me and on my behalf to speak and treat 
with you in the same manner and to the same effect as I might or 
could do were I present at this treaty with you, and it is my re- 
quest that you will listen to them with the same attention that you 
would to me. 

Brothers, I have the greatest love and esteem for my son and my 
friend. They possess my entire confidence and whatever they en- 
gage for on my behalf you may depend that I will perform the same 
as exactly as if I was there and made the engagements with you my- 
self; therefore I pray you to listen to them and believe in what they 

Brothers, it is now six years since I have been invested with the 
exclusive right to acquire your lands. During the whole of this time 
you have quietly possessed them without being importuned by me to 
sell them, but I now think that it is time for them to be productive 
to you. It is with a view to render them so that I have acquiesced 
in your desire to meet you at the Genesee river. I shall take care 
immediately to deposit in the Bank of the United States whatever 
my son and my friend may agree to pay you in my behalf. 

Brothers, from the personal acquaintance which I have with your 
chiefs and head men, I am assured that their wisdom and integrity 
will direct the object of the treaty to the happiness of yourselves and 
your posterity. It is a pleasing circumstance to me that my business 
is to be transacted with such men, because while on the one hand 
they will take care of your interests, on the other whatever is done 
between them and me will be strong and binding. I hope that wise 
men will always be at the head of your councils, but for fear that 
thiise that succeed vour [iresent leadin« men should not deserve and 


possess your confidence as fully as these do, you had better have your 
business so fixed now as not to leave it in the power of wrony-headed 
men in future to waste the property given to you l)y the Great Spirit 
for the use of yourselves and your posterity. 

Brothers, I have now opened my mind to you, and as I depend on 
my son and my friend to carry on and conclude the business with you 
I shall only add that the President of the United States, approving 
of this treaty and being your father and friend, has appointed an 
honorable and worthy gentleman, formerly a member of congress, the 
Hon. Jeremiah Wadsworth, Esq., to be a commissioner on behalf of 
the United States to attend and superintend this treaty, and the 
governor of the state of Massachusetts also appointed an honorable 
and worthy gentleman, formerly a general in the American army and 
now a member of congress, the Hon. AVilliam Shepard, Esq., to be a 
commissioner to attend this treaty on liehalf of the state of Massa- 
chusetts. These gentlemen will attend to what is said and done on 
both sides in order to see that mutual fair dealings and justice shall 
take place. Their office and duty will be rendered agreeable so far 
as depends on me because I desire n(ithin;j; but fair, open and honest 

Brothers, I bid you farewell. Ma\- the (ireat Spirit ever befriend 
and protect you. 

This closed the business for that sitting, and the council fire was 
covered (i<v the day. 

The council did not assemble until late in the afternoon of the fol- 
lowing day. Meantime the Indians were consulting among them- 
selves on the speeches already delivered, agreeing, as was their habit, 
in private on the measures to be adopted, the arguments to be used 
in support and fixing upon the speakers to present them, before 
meeting the white people in the more public council. On reas- 
sembling. Red Jacket thanked the Great Spirit for his care of the 
dignitaries and after a few general observations turned to Thomas 
Morris and said, "It ajipears to us as though something is kept back. 
From the candor and ve'racity promised by you we hope that all will 
be laid before the Indians fairly." On being assured of this, the 
chief observed that as the sun was nearly down it would be well to 
wait until the ne.xt day. 

On the morning of the 3<!tli Mr. ^loiris delivered a long and i-are- 
fully prepared speech, setting forth the reasons wliv. in his opinion, 
the Indians should sell their lands. Among other things he said; 
"You will receive a larger sum of monev than has ever vet been 


paid to you for your lands; this money can be so disposed of that not 
only vou but your children and your children's children can derive 
from it a lasting benefit. It can be placed in the bank of the United 
States from whence a sufficient income can annually be drawn by the 
President, your father, to make you and your posterity happy 
forever. Then the wants of your nld and poor can be sr.pplied, and 
in times of scarcity the women and children of your nation can be 
fed and you will no longer experience the miseries resulting from 
nakedness and want. Your white brethren are willing to pruvide 
you with the things which they enjoy provided you furnish them 
with the room which they want and of which you have tfio much. 
Brothers, yt)n may perhaps suppose that by selling your lands 
you will do an injury to your posterity. This, brothers, is not 
the case. By disposing of the money which you will receive for them 
in the manner which 1 have mentioned, your children will always 
hereafter be as rich as yiui are now." Concluding, Mr. Morris said 
that if the Indians declined his offer "neither my father nor any per- 
son in his behalf will ever come forward and treat with you mi the 
generous terms now proposed." 

It will be observed that Mr. Morris did not say that his father had 
already sold the lands to the Hollanders and was required to ex- 
tinguish the Indian title, and that he would be compelled to negotiate 
again if the Indians refused now. He also refrained from naming the 
price he was willing to pay. 

A few iiiinutes of silence followed the conclusion of the speech; then 
one of the chiefs said that if Mr. Morris had nothing to add it was 
their wish to be left to their <iwn jirivate deliberations. No public 
council was held on August 31st and September 1st. that interval be- 
ing employed by the Indians in considering the speech of Mr. Morris. 
Whiskey had now found its way to the Indians, and was interfering 
Avith the business that had called the council together. Farmer's 
Brother reported that several, among them Red Jacket, had been 
drinking and were quarrelsome. The chief, under advice, seized the 
■offending barrel of spirits and knocked in the head, but not in time 
to prevent a general fight, the pulling of hair and biting each other 
like dogs. 

On the 2d of September the sachems asked that the couni-il hre be 
uncovered. Farmer's Brother arose and stated that it was their in- 


tention t« answer Mr. Mmris's speech. Red Jacket followed in a 
short address whose drift was unfavorable to the object of the treaty. 
He referred in tjlowing terms V> the importance which the possession 
of iheir fine lands' had j^iven the Senecas among <jther nations of 
Indians. Said he: "It raises us in our own estimation. It creates 
in our bosoms a ])ioud feeling which elevates us as a nation. Observe 
the difference between the estimation in which a Seneca and an 
Oneida are held. We are courted, while the Oneidas are considered 
a degraded people, fit only to make brooms and baskets. Why this 
difference? It is because the Senecas are known as the proprietors of 
a broad domain, while the (Jneidas are cooped up in a narrow space." 
Mr. Morris parried this thrust with much address, and endeavored 
to convince Red Jacket that he was mistaken in this, recalling the 
contemptuous treatment recei\-ed by some of the Seneca chiefs when 
on a mission of peace with Colonel Pickering and others to the country 
(if the hostile Indians at the \\'est in 17').^. Red Jacket promptly 
answered, admitting the fact, but imputing the discourtesy to their 
going thither in bad company. "Had we gone alone," said he, "and 
on our own business, our reception would have been such as Senecas 
have a right to e.vpect; but when we interfered in the disputes of the 
United States, and accompanied its representatives, we forfeited all 
claims to such a reception," adding that the experience to which al- 
lusion had been made would warn them thereafter to confine them- 
selves to their own affairs. 

In the evening a private conference was held with tlie princi])al 
sachems, at which Mr. Morris offered the Indians $lO(l,n()() for their 
lands, a sum, he said, which placed in the Bank of the United States 
would yield them $6,000 a year interest. This offer they requested 
him to state in the [jublic council. The following day Red Jacket 
comnninicated through a private medium that his speech did not ex- 
press his own sentiments, but was made to please some of his people, 
and added that on the next occasion he should be less harsh. The 
assurance was not made good, however, for at the open council in the 
afternoon, referring to the former greatness of the Six Nations, the 
crafty chief covertly warned those who favored the sale, by alluding 
to the fact that their forefathers, who had parted with lands, had 
eaten up the proceeds and all was gone. He then referred to the 
plan pii)|)osed of invc'Sting the money, and asked that the proposition 


might be put in writing, Mr. Murris assented, explaining at the 
same time the operation of an investment. The idea was altogether 
new til the natives, who were unable as yet to count beyond a hun- 
dred and it became difficult to make them comprehend hi>w money could 
increase without being planted in the ground, or how great a sum 
$100, ()()() was. To aid their comprehension, he told them it would fill 
a certain number of kegs of a given size, and would require thirty 
horses to draw the silver hither from Philadelphia. The speech was 
well received and with it closed the business ot the day. On the 4th 
Cornplanter complained that the sachems were conducting the whole 
business themselves, and threatened to go home. It was evident that 
there were serious divisions among the Indians, and a quarrel at 
this session was narrowly averted. There was no meeting on 
the 5th. 

On the dth; in council. Little Beard, the chief warrior ot the Senecas, 
spoke, addressing himself more especially to his ciwn people. It woidd 
appear that this notable was the leader of those who were opposed to 
the sale. He therefore favored placing the negotiations in the hands 
of the alilest and shrewdest of the sachems, presuming that they 
would be more likely than those of less experience to defeat the pur- 
pose of the treaty. He began by observing that it was the custom 
among their forefathers to refer aU business relating to the nation's 
welfare, except war, to the sachems, "and therefore," he continued, 
"the belt of wampum delivered me by Cornplanter, I shall return to 
him and let the whole business be transacted by the sachems. What- 
ever they determine upon all the warriors will agree to." He sat 
down and Red Jacket arose slowly. Surveying the assemblage for a 
moment, he said the Indian> did not want to sell their lands though 
they had assented reluctantly to holding the treaty. There were 
expenses attending the convention, he continued, and his people 
were ready to offer Mr. Morris a single township on the Pennsylvania 
border at one dollar per acre. This land placed in market would 
sell, he said, for an advance sufficient to cover the expenses.. 

The negotiations had progressed slowly, and both Colonel Wads- 
worth and Mr. Bayard had grown impatient of further delay. The 
former was an old man, afflicted with gout and far from home; the 
latter wanted to see the lands of his principals freed from Indian 
occupancy, but as a large portion of the purchase money had been 


withheld by them, it mattered less to him if the demand of the natives 
should prove unreasonable. Mr. Morris, however, had cogent reasons 
for securing an Indian deed at a fair equivalent. The splendid 
fortune of his father, placed wholly at the disposal of the Continental 
authorities in the darkest hours of the infant Republic, had suffered 
greatly by the depreciation of the public credit. His e.'cpectation of 
retrieving a share of these losses through the purchase of this vast 
body of land had not been realized, and the fear now was that its 
inopportune sale, should the Indians prove exacting, might involve 
him in actual loss. He had hoped the Senecas would be content 
with $75,0UU, but $100,00U did not satisfy them. Mr. Morris, who 
better understood the Indian character than the Commissioners, 
knew that anything like the appearance of haste would defeat their 
purpose, and especially he felt that further delay was indispensable 
to counteract the impression that had been made on the Indians by 
the more recent speeches of their warriors. But so fixed were the 
two Commissioners in their purpose of bringing the proceedings to a 
close, that they insisted that when Red Jacket should make the 
above proposition — of which they had been previously advised — 
Morris ought boldly to reject it, and thus bring the natives to con- 
sider his offer, otherwise they would go home. To this Morris could 
only consent. No sooner, therefore, had the famous Seneca sat down 
than Mr. Morris told him the proposal did not merit a moment's 
consideration; that if they had no more reasonable offer to make the 
sooner the conference ended the better. Red Jacket sprang to his 
feet, and in great passion said, "We have now reached 
the point to which I wanted to bring you. You told us vvhen 
we first met that we were free either to sell or retain our 
lands. I repeat, we will not part with them. Here is my hand 
on it," Ihrnsling his arm across the table. "Let us shake hands 
aiid part friends. I now cover up this council fire." All was now 
tumult. "The whooping and yelling of the Indians," says Mr. 
Morris,' "was such that persons less accustomed to them would ha\-e 
imagined that they intended to tomahawk all the whites. One of 
their drunken warriors, in a. most violent and abusive speech, asked 
me how I dared to come among them to cheat them out of their 
lands. " 

1. See Anpeiulix No. ir'for Thomas Morris's tiarintive relatiiis to the Treaty of Bisj Tree. 


The result was a bitter disappointment to Bayard, and Mr. Morris 
was vexed at the miscarriage of their phms. He had hopes, liowever, 
of bringing on the business anew, if both Bayard and Colonel AVads- 
worth would engage not to interfere either by advice or otherwise. 
To this both readily agreed. The following day when Farmer's 
Brother called to express the hope that previous friendships would 
not be lessened by the failure of the treaty, Morris reminded him 
that Indian usage gave to him who lighted a council fire the right 
to cover it up. Hence as he had himself kindled this one, Red 
Jacket had no warrant for declaring it extinguished, and he urged 
that it was yet burning. To this, after a few minutes' reflection, 
the chief assented. Negotiations with the sachems having failed, 
custom justified an attempt to secure the approval of the warriors 
who defended the lands and the women who cultivated them and who 
had the right to take the business in their own hands when dissatisfied 
with the management of the sachems. Accordingly, after a few days 
spent in examining the accounts for supplies, paying for provisions 
consumed and collecting the cattle not slaughtered, Morris invited 
the chief women and some of the wari'iors to meet him, renewing to 
them his ofTer. He assured them of his readiness to concede such 
reservations as were required for their actual occupancy, and showed 
them how much good the money would do toward relieving the women 
of drudgery. He also stated that he had brought some presents from 
Philadelphia for them, to be distributed, however, only in the event of 
effecting a purchase of their lands, but as he had no cause of com- 
plaint against the women their portion of the gifts would now be 
divided among them, and in a few hours silver brooches glittered and 
glass beads sparkled uiion hundreds of the dusky daughters of the 
forest, while all were more or less fantastically arrayed in shawls and 
printed India goods. 

Some days were spent in rude festivities, alternated by serious 
consultations. A thrifty pig, well S(japed. was lei loose upon the 
green, and a dollar atid the porker were offered to the nni- who 
should catch and hold him by the tail. A thousand failures and 
many a break-neck fall resulted, but all tended to restore good 
humor and bring all sides together. The women and warriors 
collected together in little knots and were obviously discussing the 
sale. At length Mr. ^lorris received a request to call the council 


together for negotiation. Cornplanler, ijeinii the [irincipal war chief, 
opened the proceedings. He said the women and warriors had seen 
with regret the miscondurt of their sachems, and did not iiesitate to 
declare the conduct of Mr. Morris as iiaving been too hasty. Farmer's 
Brother, on the part of the sachems, stated that these proceedings of 
the Women and warriors were, in view of what liad occurred, in perfect 
accordance with their usages. From tlie moment tiiis new stage was 
reached, Ct)rn|)hinter became the principal speaker, and Red Jacket 
withdrew, no ioniser attending the meetings, but procuring some 
li(juor remained drunk until the terms were agreed upon. Mary 
Jemison took a part in the deliberations, both in and out of the 
council house, urging her claims for an allotment of lands in a manner 
that was more ])ertinacious than dignified. Red Jacket was opp<;)sed 
to recognizing her, but he was not present. The others were desirous 
of giving her a small reservation. 

The new negotiators went directly to business, and an agreement 
was reached whereby the Indian lands west of the Genesee, excepting 
ten reservations embracing .i.'^? square miles, were sold to Robert 
Morris for $100, ()()(), to be invested in the stock of the Bank ot the 
United States and held in the name of the President for the benefit 
<if the Indians. But just as this point was reached an incident 
cn'curred which threatened the success of the treaty. Young King, a 
descendant of Old Smoke, the most powerful and wisest sachem of his 
time, appeared upon the scene for the first time, and, so great was 
the influence which his birth had given him, the Indians declined 
to proceed further until all that had been done should be submitted to 
him. The Secretary was directed to read the journal and speeches and to 
explain the ofter and its effect. This being done, he, after much de- 
liberation, announced his disapproval, and it was only after long 
reasoning with'him that his consent to the sale of the lands was 

Four or five days were now spent in fixing the limits of the reserva- 
tions. Mr. Morris says the difficulty was not a small one. The Indians 
wanted them fixed by natural boundaries, such as the course of 
streams, but this mode was unsuitable from the fact that so little was 
known of the cpiantity of land it would give them, and for the sake 
of certainty it was finally settled that they should be marked by 
-square miles. This method, however, did not apply to the Gardeau 


reservation set apart to ]\lary Jemison ;i witli much shrewdness she 
objected to having it laid down in square miles, stating that she had 
various improved places, one of which was a patch of corn, another of 
potatoes and another of beans. She named certain boundaries to 
which ^Ir. Morris, in consequence of the impatience of the Commis- 
sioners, hastily assented, under the imiiressioii that the grant would 
embrace an inconsiderable quantity of land. When afterwards the 
survey was made Mary's farm was found in cuntain nearly 18,000 
acres. This reseivation was in turn by a treatv made in 1823 con- 
tracted to John Greig and Henry B. Giijson.^ At the first meeting held 
to allot to each village its proportionate part, "the utmost jealousy was 
found to exist among several of the chiefs. " The importance of the chief 
is measured in large degree by the number of his toUowers, and 
that number is limited by the extent of the land annexed to the chief's 
residence. Hence the struggle on the part of each sachem and chief 
warrior both to increase his own bounds and to lessen those of a 
rival. The contest was more violent between Red Jacket and Corn- 
planter than any others, the former wanting the principal reservation 
at Buffalo Creek, and the latter at his residence on Allegheny river. 
They were only brought to terms by being assured that where reser- 
vations were of an unnecessary size a deduction from the amount of 
the purchase money oflfered would be made. 

Joseph Ellicott was i)resent and laid down the extent of each reser- 
vation,^ showing the map and affcuding answers to ever)- inquiry of 
the eager chieftains. 

1. See appeudix. 

2. See appendix. 

3. The following were the reservatious agreed upou. The list appears iu one of the manu- 
script vohimes of the O'Reilly Collection iu the N. Y. Historical Society iu the handwritiTig of 
Joseph Ellicott, and beare date of Sept. l6, 1797. The orthography is here reproduced: 

No. I. At Kanuawaugus. Jeneseo River, 2 sqnare tniles. 
*' 2. .\t Big Tree, Jeneseo River, 2 sqnare miles. 
" 3. At Little Beard's town, Jeneseo River. 2 sqnare miles. 
'* 4. At Sqnawkie Hill, Jeneseo River. 2 sqnare miles. 
" 5. At Gardean, Jeneseo River, 2 sqnare miles. 
" 6. At Ka-onn-de-on, Jeneseo River. 16 square miles. 
" 7. At .\Ilegeniiy River, 42 sqnare miles. 
" S. .\t Kattarangus. about 42 square niiles. 

" 9. At Buffalo and Tannawanta Creeks, two reservations, 200 square miles. 
In all containing about 200,000 acres. See appendix No. 4. mentioned in Chapter 3, for ref- 
erence to various treaties by which the title to certain of these reservations was relinquislied by 
the Seuecas. 


It is perfectly obvious that whatever interest in these reserved 
tracts Morris had after the execution of the treaty was the same 
interest that he had before, that is to say, the pre-emptive right that 
^lassachusetts transferred lo him, or, differently expressed, the right to 
buy from the Indians, nothing more; and yet an extraordinary claim 
has been made to the title of certain of these reservations, based 
upon the treaty, by what is known as "The Ogdeii Lanfl Company." 
and litigation involving the subject is now pending.' 

The Senecas also intended to reserve the Oil S[)ring reservation, 
one mile square, containing their famous oil spring, three miles west 
of Cuba in the counties of Allegany and Cattaraugus, from which 
nil had been gathered for centuries. As it was not excepted in the 
deed, the title passed t(j Robert Morris and the Holland Company, and 
then to three extensive land owners of Ellicottville. These men sup- 
posed it was an Indian reservation, and treated it as such until 1S42, 
when one of them discovered that it was not one of the reservations 
mentioned in the treaty. Accordingly they had the land surveyed 
and sold. In 1850 the Indians began legal proceedings ami ultimately 
succeeded in getting jxissession of the prt)perty. Governor Black- 
snake sup[)lied the most important evidence on the trial of the suit. 
He was present at the coinicil at Big Tree and remembered that when 
the treaty was read (jver the omission of the Oil Spring reservation 
was noticed and commented on, and that Thomas Morris executed and 
delivered to Handsome Lake, the Prophet, a separate paper, reserv- 
ing this tract to the Indians. Blacksnake also had in his possession a 
copy of the first map of the Holland Purchase made by Joseph Elli- 
cott and presented by him, this ma|) showing by means of red ink the 
eleven Indian reservations. 

On the 15th, the details having all been agreed upon, the deed was 
drawn up and signed. 

The following is a co|)y of the entire treaty: 

Contract entered into under the sanction of the United States of 
America, between Robert Morris and the Seneka nation of Indians. 

This indenture, made the fifteenth day of September, in the year of 
our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-seven, between the 
sachems, chiefs and warriors of the Seneka nation of Indians, of the 

I. See appendi.x No. i2 for transactions of "'I'lie ogden Land Comi);»ny" with refel"encc to 
this snbject. 


first part, and Robert INIorris, nf the city of Philadelphia, esquire, of 
the second part. 

Whereas the commonwealth of Massachusetts have granted, bar- 
gained and sold unto the said Robert Morris, his heirs and assigns 
forever, the pre-emptive right, and all other the right, title, and 
interest, which the said commonwealth had to all that tract of land 
hereinafter particularly mentioned, being part of a tract of land 
lying within the state of New YorU, the right of pre-emption of the 
soil whereof, from the native Indians, was ceded and granted by the 
said state of New York, to the said comm<.)n wealth ; and whereas, at 
a treaty held under the authority of the United States, with the said 
Seneka nation of Indians, at Genesee, in the county of Ontario, and 
state of New York, on the day of the date of these presents, and on 
sundry days immediately prior thereto, by the Hon. Jeremiah Wads- 
worth, esquire, a commissioner appointed by the President of the 
United States to hold the same, in pursuance of the constitution, and 
of the act of the congress of the United States, in such case made 
and provided, it was agreed in the presence and with the approbation 
of the said commissioner, by the sachems, chiefs and warriors of the 
said nation of Indians, for themselves and in Ijehalf of their nation, to- 
sell to the said Robert Morris, and to his heirs and assigns forever, all 
their right to all that tract of land above recited, and hereinafter par- 
ticularly specified, for the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, to be 
by the said Robert Morris vested in the stock of the Bank of the 
United States and held in the name of the President of the United 
States, for the use and behoof of the said nation of Indians, the said 
agreement and sale being also made in the presence and with the 
approbation of the honorable William Shepard, esquire, the superin- 
tendent appointed for such purpose, in ])ursuance of a resolve of the 
general court of the commonwealth of jNIassachusetts, passed the 
eleventh day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven 
hundred and ninety-one; now this indenture witnesseth, that the said 
parties of the first part, for and in consideration of the premises 
above recited, and for divers other good and valuable considerations 
them thereunto moving, have granted, bargained, sold, aliened, re- 
leased, enfeoffed and confirmed; and by the presents do grant, bar- 
gain, sell alien, release, enfeoff, and confirm, unto the said party of 
the second part, his heirs and assigns, forever, all that certain tract 
of land, except as hereinafter e.xcepted, lying within the county of 
Ontario, and State of New York, being part of a tract of land, the 
right of pre-emption wiiereof was ceded by the state of New York to 
the commonwealth of Massachusetts, by deed of cession executed at 
Hartford, on the sixteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord, 
one thousand seven hundred and eighty-si.x, being all such part there- 
of as is not included in the Indian purchase made by Oliver Phelps 


and Nathaniel Gorham, and bounded as follows, to wit: easterly, 
by the land confirmed to Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham by the 
legislature of the commonwealth ot Massachusetts, by an act passed 
the twenty-first day of November, in the year of our Lord, one 
thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight; southerly by the north 
boundary line of the state of Pennsylvania; westerly by a tract of 
land, part of the land ceded by the state of Massachusetts to the 
United States, and by them sold to Pennsylvania, being a right 
angled triangle, whose hypothenuse is in or along the shore of Lake 
Erie; partly by Lake Erie, from the northern point of that triangle to 
the southern bounds of a tract of land one mile in width, lying on and 
along the east side of the strait of Niagara, and partly by the said 
tract to lake Ontario; and on the north by the boundary line between 
the United States and the King of Great Britain; excepting neverthe- 
less, and always reserving out of this grant and conveyance all such 
pieces or parcels of the aforesaid tract, and such privileges thereunto 
belonging, as are next hereinafter particularly mentioned, which said 
pieces or parcels of land so excepted, are, by the parties to these 
presents, clearly and fully understood to remain the property of the 
said parties of the first part, in as full and ample manner as if these 
presents had not been executed; that is to say, excepting and reserving 
to them, the said parties of the first part, and their nation, one piece or 
parcel of the aforesaid tract, at Canawagus, of two square miles, to be 
laid out in such manner as to include the village, extending in breadth 
one mile along the river, one other piece or parcel at Big Tree of 
two square miles, to be laid out in such manner as to include the 
village, extending in breadth along the river one mile; one other 
piece or parcel of two square miles at Little Beardstown, extending 
one mile along the river, to be laid off in such manner as to include 
the village; one other tract of two square miles at Squawky Hill, to 
be laid off as follows, to wit: one square mile to be laid off along the 
river, in such manner as to include the village, the other directly 
west thereof and (;ontinuous thereto; one other piece or parcel at 
Gardeau, beginning at the mouth of Steep Hill creek, thence due 
east, until it strikes the old path, thence south until a due w-est line 
will intersect with certain steep rocks on the west side of the (ienesee 
river, then extending due west, due north, and due east, until it 
strikes the first mentioned l)ound, enclosing as much land on the west 
side as on the east side <if the river. ()ne other piece or parcel at 
Kaounadeau, extending in length eight miles along the river and two 
miles in breadth. One other piece or parcel at Cataraugos, beginning 
at the mouth of the Eighteen mile or Koghquaugu creek, thence a 
line or lines to be drawn parallel to Lake Erie, at the distance of one 
mile from the lake, to the mouth of Cataraugos creek, thence a line 
^>r lines extending twelve miles up the north side of said creek, at the 


distance of one mile therefrom, theni^e a direct line to the said creek, 
thence down the said creek to Lake Erie, thence along the lake to the 
first mentioned creek, and thence to the place of beginning. Also, 
one other piece at Cataraiigos, beginning at the shore of lake Erie, 
on the south side of Catarangos creek, at the distance of one mile 
from the mouth thereof, thence running one mile from the lake, 
thence on a line parallel thereto to a point within one mile from the 
Connondauweyea creek, thence up the said creek one mile, on a line 
parallel thereto, thence on a direct line to the said creek thence down 
the same to Lake Erie, thence along the lake to the place of be- 
ginning. Also one other piece or parcel of forty-two square miles 
at or near the AUegenny river. Also, two hundred square miles, to 
be laid off partly at the Buffalo and partly at the Tannawanta creeks. 
Also excepting and reserving to them, the said parties of the first 
part and their heirs, the privilege of fishing and hunting on the said 
tract of land hereby intended to be conveyed. And it is herebv 
understood by and between the parties to these presents, that all such 
l)ieces or parcels of land as are hereby reserved, and are not particu- 
larly described as to the manner in which the same are to be laid off, 
shall be laid off in such manner as shall be determined by the sachems 
and chiefs residing at or near the respective villages where such 
reservations are made, a particular note whereof to be endorsed on 
the back of this deed, and recorded therewith, together with all and 
singular the rights, privileges, hereditaments, and appurtenances 
thereunto belonging, or in any wise appertaining. And all the estate, 
right, title, and interest, whatsoever of them'the said parties of the 
first part and their nation, of, in, and to the said tract of land above 
described, except as is above excepted, to have and to hold all and 
singular the said granted premises, with the appurtenances, to the 
said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns, to his and their 
proper use, benefit, and liehoof forever. 

In witness whereof, the parties to these presents have hereunto 
interchangeably set their hands and seals,- the day and year first above 

Robert Morris, by his attorney, Thomas Morris, (L. S. ) 
Koyengquahtah, alias Young King, his X mark, ( L. S. ) 
Soonookshewan, his X mark (L. S. ) 
Konutaico, alias Handsome Lake, his X mark, (L. vS. ) 
Sattakanguyase, alias Two Skies of a Length, his X mark (L. vS.) 
Onayawos, or Farmer's Brother, his X mark, ( L. S. ) 
Soogdoyawautau. alias Red Jacket, his X mark, (L. S. ) 
Gishkaka, alias Little Billy, his X mark, (L. S. ) 
Kaoundoowana, alias Pollard, his X mark, ( L. S. ) 
Ouneshataikau, or Tall Chief, bv his agent Stevenson, his X mark, 
(L. S.) 


Onnonggaihko, alias Infant, his X mark, ( L. S. ) 

Teahdowaingqiia, alias Thumas Jemison, his X mark. (L. S. ) 

Tekonnonck'e, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Oneghtaugooau, his X mark,(L. S. ) 

Connawaudean, his X mark, (L. S. ) 

Taosstaiefi, his X mark. (L. S. ) 

Kooentwahka, or Cornplanter, his X mark, (L. S. ) 

Oosaukaunendauki, alias To Destroy a Town, his X mark, (L. S. ) 

Sooeoowa, alias Parrot Nose, his X mark, (L. S. ) 

Toonahookahwa, his X mark (L. S.) 

Howvvennounew, his X mark (L. S. ) 

Kounahtaetoue, his X mark, (L. S. ) 

Taouyaukaiina, his X mark, (L. S. ) 

Woudougoohkta. his X mark. (L. S.) 

Sonauhquaukau, his X mark, (L. S. ) 

Twaunauiyana, his X mark, (L. .S.) 

Takaunoudea, his X mark (L. S. ) 

Shequinedaughque, or Little Beard, his X mark. (L. S. ) 

Jowaa. his X mark, (L. S.) 

Saunajie, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Tauoiyuquatakausea, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Taoundaudish, his X mark, (L. S. ) 

Tooauquinda, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Ahtaou, his X mark, (L. S. ) 

Taukooshoondakoo, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Kauneskanggo, his X mark, (L. S. ) 

Soonanjuwan, his X mark. (L. S.) 

Tonovvauiya, or Capt. Bullet, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Jaahkaaeyas, his X mark. (L. S.) 

Taiighishauta, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Sukkenjoonau, his X mark, (L. S. ) 

Ahquatieya, or Hot Bread, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Siiggonundan, his X mark, (L. S. ) 

Taunowaintooh, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Konnonjoovvauna, his X mark, (L. S. ) 

Soogooeyandestak, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Hautwanauekkau, by Young King, his X mark, (L. S. ) 

Sauwejuwan. his X mark,(L. S.) 

Kaunoohshauwen, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Taukonondaugekta, his X mark. (L. S ) 

Kaouyanoughque, or John Jemison, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Hoiegush, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Taknaahquan, his X mark, (L. S.) 

Sealed and delivered in presence of 

Nat. W. Howell, James Rees, 

Joseph Ellicott, Henry Aaron Hills, 


Israel Chapin, Henry Abeel 

Tasper Parrish, > t . . ^. 

ir ^ ^- ■, > Interpreters. 

Horatio Jones, ) ' 

Done at a full and general treaty of the Seneka nation of Indians, 
held at Genesee in the county of Ontario, and State of New York, 
on the fifteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord, one 
thousand seven hundred and ninety-seven, under the authority 
of the L^nited States. 

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal, the 
day and year aforesaid. J ERE. WADSWCJRTH, (L. S.) 

Pursuant to a resolution of the legislature of the Commonwealth nf 
Massachusetts, passed the eleventh day of March, in the year of our 
Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, I have attended a 
full and general treaty of the Seneka nation of Indians, at Genesee, 
in the county of Ontario, when the within instrument was duly exe- 
cuted in my presence by the sachems, chiefs and warriors of the said 
natinn, being fairly and properly understood and transacted by all the 
parties of Indians concerned, and declared to be done to their uni- 
versal satisfaction; I therefore certify and approve of the same. 

Subscribed in presence of Nat. W. Howell. 


Previous to subscribing, it was distinctly read and its import 
clearly explained to the Indians. Colonel Wadsworth then asked them 
if they understood it perfectly. If not he said it should be explained 
to them again. They replied that it was unnecessary, as they fully 
comprehended it, and that its terms were, in every respect, agreeable 
to them. They were then requested to sign it. Red Jacket here 
arose in behalf of Ebenezer Allen's daughter Polly, who wished to be 
informed of the situation of the land given by the Indians to Allen 
and his children. Mr. Morris replied that his father had already paid 
Allen for it and was now paying the nation for it again. To this 
Polly replied, "No, Mr. Morris, it was only the improvements my 
father sold." Morris answered. "The papers in my hands will prove 
the contrary." Turning to Colonel Wadsworth she said, " I forbid 
the Commissioners buying my lands given me by the Indians." 
AVadsworth told her that she had bad advisers, and that although he 
had nothing to do with her business, yet if she desired it he would 
examine her claim and give her a proper certificate if she would call 
on him in the morning. Nothing came of this [iroti-st, however, and 
there is evidence to support the belief that Polly Allen was defrauded 


at the treaty of Bij:; Tree. This is her case: Ebenezer Allen, or 
"Indian Allen," had two half-breed daughters Mary, otherwise Polly, 
and Chloe, and on July 15, 17'Jl, the Seneca sachems deeded to the 
girls a tract of land four miles square at what is now ]\Iount Morris. 
The deed declared that this land was to be in full of their share of all 
the lands belonging to the Seneca nation. This deed was executed at 
the treaty of Newtown; it was approved by Timothy Pickering, United 
vStates Commissioner, and was recorded in the County Clerk's office 
at Canandaigua. The following is an extract from the deed: 

"Whereas, our said brother, Jen-uh-sheo, the father of the said 
Mary and Chloe, has expressed to us a desire to have theshare of 
the vSeneca lands to which the said Mary and Chloe (whom we consider 
our children) are entitled to have, set off to thern in severalty, that 
they may enjoy the same as their separate portions; now, know ye, 
that we, the sachems, chiefs and warriors of the Seneca nation, in the 
name and by the authority of our whole n;'.tion, whom according to 
our ancient customs in like cases we represent, and in consideration 
of the rights of said Mary and Chloe, as children and members of the 
Seneca nation, and of our love and affection for them, do hereby set 
off and assign to them, the said Mary and Chloe, and to their heirs 
and assigns, a tract of land, on part of which the said Jen-uh-sheo, 
our brother, now dwells upon the waters of the Jenusheo river in 
the county of Ontario, in the state of New York, bounded as follows: 
Beginning at an elm tree standing in the forks of the Jen-uh-sheo 
river (the boundary between our lands and the lands we sold to 
Oliver Phelps and Mr. Gorham) and running from thence due south 
four miles, thence due west four miles, thence due north four miles, 
and thence due east four miles until the line strikes the said elm tree, 
with the appurtenances. To have and to hold the said tract of land, 
with the appurtenances, to them the said Mary Allen and Chloe 
Allen, and to their heirs and assigns, as tenants in common, to their 
use forever. "1 

vSome unrest at Washington resulted from a transaction which ap- 
peared to reccgnize on the part of the Commissioners the right of the 
Indians to alienate their lands iiiidcr the supervision of the United 
States without consulting New Yoik and Massachusetts, but Com- 

I. See appendi.v No. 15 for a copy of the entile deed, and a refeiciice to the fact tliat it ecu- 
veved the Mouut Morris tract, so called. 


missioner Pickering made the situation clear in the followiii;^- letter- 
to Secretary of War Knox: 

"It appeared to be understood by the Senecas that Messrs. 'SUn'- 
ris and Ogden, as the grantees of Massachusetts, had the right of 
pre-emption of all their lands. But at the same time there existed 
nothing to bar a division of their whole country among themselves; 
and if they could divide the whole, they could certainly set off 
a part to two individuals of their nation as their share. This was the 
(ibject of their deed to Allen's children, whom they called their 
children, agreeably to the rule of descent among them, which 
is in the female line; and in this deed the land assigned 
is declared to be in full of those two children's share of the 
whole Seneca country. Here was the ground of my ratification. 
Now you will be pleased to recollect that before the matter was 
opened in council I had repeated the law of the United States relative 
to Indian lands and the solemn declaration of the President last win- 
ter to the Cornplanter that they (the Indians) had the right to sell, 
or to refuse to sell, their lands, and that, in respect to their lands, 
they might depend on the protection of the United States, so that on 
this head they had now no cause for jealousy or discontent. This 
being by them well understiiod, 1 saw no way of avoiding the ratifica- 
tion of the assignment to their two children, without reviving, or 
rather exciting, their utmost jealousy, as it would have been denying 
the free enjoyment of their own lands by soine members of the nation, 
according to the will of the nation; and a denial, I was apprehensive, 
would lead them to think that the solemn assurance of the President 
was made but to amtise and deceive. Here you see my great induce- 
ment to the ratification." 

With this "deed to his daughters in his possession Ebenezer Allen 
WL-nt to Philadelphia and assumed to sell the land to Robert Tklorris 
for dry goods and trinkets; he returned with these articles to what is 
now Mount Morris and began to trade with the Indians."' The ut- 
most that Robert ]\Iorris could have acquired by this enterprise was 
the improvements upon the land, if any, belonging to Allen, the 
father; the land was deeded to the daughters and it could be fairly 
released only by a dee'i from them; yet this was not obtained and no 
recognition was accorded to rights which were then explicitly hi ought 

1. From W, H. .Samson's addvess. 


to the attention of the elder Morris. Our atliniration for the Litter 
is not enhanced by this transaction nor by his promise t(3 divide with 
his son the sixteen square miles wrested from Polly and Chloe. 
Ebenezer was apparently quite conscious that his part in the affair 
was discreditable, "for, otherwise he would have appeared at the treaty 
himself and substantiated his daughter's contention, iristead of sending 
Mary Jeinison to plead privately with Thomas Morris," as was done, 
if the following statement made by the White Woman, and appearing 
in the first edition of Seavers "Life of Mary Jemison," is to be 

"At the great treaty of Big Tree one of iAllen's daughters claimed 
the land which he had sold to Morris. The claim was examined and 
decided against her in favor of Ogden, Trumbull and Rogers and 
others who were creditors of Robert Morris. Allen yet believed that 
his daughter had an indisputable right to the land in question and got 
me to go with Mother Farley, a half Indian woman, to assist him, 
by interceding with Morris for it, and to urge the pro[)riety of her 
claim. We went to Thomas Morris, and having stated to him our 
business, he tokl us [plainly that he had no land to give away, and 
that as the title was good, he never would allow Allen, nor his heirs, 
one foot, or words to that effect. We returned to Allen the answer 
we had received, and he, conceiving all further attempts to be useless, 
went home." 

Red Jacket, who had acted a doulile part throughout, came prix'ate- 
ly to Mr. Morris on the night previous to the signing of the treaty 
and asked that a place be reserved near the top of the parchment for 
his signature after the others had signed. He had pretended to oppose 
the cession, he said, and to be consistent he could not publicly affix 
his name, but would do so before it went to the President, for it would 
not answer to have the treaty sent off to Philadelphia without his 
formal approval to it, as General Washington might think he had 
lost his rank and influence with the Senecas. 

The consideration paid to the Indians doubtless exceeded the ex- 
pectations of Robert Morris, who had fixed the price in liis own mind 
at $75,(H)U. He hail directed his representatives at the treaty to 
conduct everything on the basis of a "liberal econom\. " He had 
himself [jrovided two ])ipes of wine, which lie dispatched t)verland 
frinti Philadel|)hia tn tieneseo by wagons. The presents tlistributed 


and the rations supplied, added more than IjplS.UOO to the purchase 

Nor did this represent the entire expenditure made by Morris be- 
yond the amount fixed by the terms of the treaty, for it cannot be 
doubted that, during the interval between Red Jacket's act of cover- 
ing up the council fire and the renewal of negotiations, Thomas ilor- 
ris and the representatives of the Holland Land Company were secret- 
ly bribing the warriors. They not only paid them money but agreed 
to give them annuities so long as they lived. To what extent, there- 
fore, the reopening of the council and the decision of the Indians were 
due to argument and to what extent to venal bargains with the chiefs 
cannot be ascertained. The researches of Mr. Samson have, however, 
disclosed the very best evidence that the procedure advised by 
Robert Morris was effectively, if more generously, employed. It will 
be remembered that he said in his letter of instructions: "Annuities 
of $20 to $60 may be given to inlluential chiefs to the extent of $250 
or $300 per annum." And again. "vSome dollars may be promised be- 
fore the treaty and paid when finished, to the amount of §500 or 
$()00, or if necessary $1,000. to the chiefs." Here, for instance, is 
a receipt acknowledging the payment of one of the annuities: 

1. The following were provided as preseuts: 

1,500 rations of beef, oue day, at five dolls, per hundred 5 75 

Do '* of flour, at 2'., dolls, per hundred 3S 

Do " of whiskey, 25 grallous, at I*.;, dolls 37 

Do " oftobacco 5 

For thirty days would be 54,650 

750, 3 ft., blankets at $2 each 51,500 

750, 2!4 ft.. " at$i'.ieach 1,125 2.625 

150 pieces blue strotidiiig. 24 yds. in piece, at $1 3.600 

10c " green legging stuff, of 18 yds. in piece twilled. -J^i 

wide, at 6 s i,350 

200 pieces com. calico at 4s., 14 yds per. piece 1.370 

50 " com. Holland at 4S., 24yds per piece... 600 

500 butcher or scalping knives - 35 

50 bags Vermillion loo 

3C0 lb. powder 600 

800 lb. lead 50 

100 small brass kettles, 4 to 6 qts 100 

50 brass kettles of 12 qts too 

ICO black silk handkerchiefs 80 

Presents for the chiefs in broadcloth, red or green, of good 

quality '"o 

Several cows were also given to the s((uaw>. 


"Received of Messrs. Leroy, Bayard & McEvers and Thomas Mor- 
ris, Esq., by the hands of Erastus Granger, the sum of two hundred 
and fift) dollars, being in full for my annuity for the year 1801 due 
rne by agreement with Robert Morris at Big Tree in September, 
17'^7. ' 

Signed his 

Corn X Planter" 
In presence of jasper Parrish. , mark 

"It is ( Icar frdui this that Corn[)lanter's price was §250 a year so 
long as he lived, in addition to the cash pa\ menl at the treaty. Al- 
together, therefore, he received about $10,(100 for his share in this 
transaction. Doubtless Thomas Morris felt that Cornplanter's ser- 
vices were worth the price, for it was Cornplanter who conducted the 
negotiations fi>r the Indians after the council fire had been rekindled. 
Of course he was not the only one who was paid. Young King, the 
'bearer of the smoking brand,' received an annuity of $100, or a total 
of $3,800. In later years, as he thought of the power he could have 
W'ielded at the treaty, it is probable that he marvelled at his own 
moderation. Little Billy was another who sold himself. His price 
was the same as Young King's — $100 a year — and as Little Billy 
lived till 1834 he received $3,700. Pollard received $50 a year c^r 
$2,200. Even the haughty Red Jacket consented to receive money- 
and drew §100 a year.' And so we might go on, if it w-ere necessary, 
with thfse unpleasant iletails. 

"An interesting and unpublished anecdote regarding these annuities 
is furnished by William C. Bryant, Esq., the scholarly Indianologist 
of Buffalo. It seems that the annuities we're not always paid exactly 
on time and the Indians were often worried. Millard Fillmore, sub- 
sequently President of the fnited States, said to Mr. Bryant: 'I don't 
remember seeing Corn[)lanter but on one occasion. He came to my 
office on Court street, soon after my return from Washington, after 
Congress had adjourned. He was a bowed, wrinkled and decrepit Old 
man. He was attended by two or three younger Indians. He pro- 
duced a cajiacious bag, similar in size to an ordinary mail bag, antl 
took out a venerable treaty, which he e.\plained to me. He said that 
soon after the treaty was made, the annuity was promptly paid, first 
it came when the tender blades nf the corn broke from the mould ; 
then it came when the stalks were as high as a child's knee; ne.xl 


it lingered till the grain was full and filled with milk, and now the 
stalks are dry and rustling and the Indians are very hungry for their 
money.' "' 

It is much to be deplored that a faithful chronicle of this transac- 
tion must contain matter impugning the good faith of the purchasers 
and the loyalty of some of the warriors to the interests of their people. 
We cannot, nevertheless, withhold from the Indians that charity 
which is aroused by a contemplation of the allurements held out t(.) 
these untutored people by the avaricious, importunate and cunning 

The Indians went away satisfied that "Washington woulil guaid 
their interests securely, and that the purchase price of their lands and 
its earnings would be faithfully applied to their use. _ Everything did 
go well until ISll, when there was a failure on the part of the Govern- 
ment to pay. Then the anxious Indians held a council at BufTalo 
Creek, and Farmer's Brother. Young King, Pollard, Chief Warrior 
and other Seneca chiefs agreed upon the following letter, which w-as 
sent to the seat of Federal Government by special messenger: 

"To the Honorable William Eustis, Secretary at War: 

"The sachems and chief warriors of the Seneca nation of Indians 
understanding you are the person appointed by the great council of 
your nation to manage and conduct the alfairs of the several nations 
of Indians with whom you are at peace and on terms of friendship, 
come, at this time, as children to a father, to lay before you the 
trouble which we have on our minds. 

"Brother, we do not think it best to multiply words; we will there- 
fore tell you what our complaint is. Brother, listen to what we say: 
Some years since we held a treaty at Big Tree, near the Genesee 
river. This treatv was called by our great father, the President of 
the United States. He sent an agent, Colonel Wadsworth, to attend 
this treaty for the purpose of- advising us in the business and seeing 
that we had justice done us. At this treaty we sold to Robert ^Morris 
the greatest part of our country. The sum he gave us was $inO,()()il. 
The commissioners who were appointed on your part advised us to 
place this money in the hands ot our great father, the President of the 
United States. He told us that our father loved his red children and 
would take care of our money, and plant it in a field where it would 
bear seed forever, as long as trees grow, or waters run. Our money 
has heretofore been of great service to us. It has helped us to sup- 
port our old people and our women and children; but »ve are told the 

1. From W. H. Samson's address. 


field where our money was planted is become barren. Brother, we do 
not understand your way of doini^ business. This thing is very heavy 
on our minds. We mean to hold our white brethren of the United 
States by the hand; but this weight lies heavy. We hope you will 
remove it. We have heard of the bad conduct of our brothers toward 
the setting sun. We are sorry for what they have done; but you 
must not blame us. We had no hand in this bad business. Thev 
have had bad people among them. It is your enemies have done this. 
We have persuaded our agent to take this talk to your great council. 
He knows our situation and will speak our minds." 

Immediately upon the receipt of this letter at Washington $S,OOU 
was appropriated and the Indians once more received their money. 
This $S,unO was "in lieu of the dividend on the bank shares held by 
the President of the United States, in trust for the Seneca nation, in 
the Bank of the United States." 

No sooner was the Indian title extinguished than prejiaration was 
made fur careful surveys of the whole tract. Joseph Ellicott. a gentle- 
man eminently qualified professionally and otherwise to superintend 
the work, had been commissioned in July preceding the treaty by the 
Company's agent to send forward supplies of provisions during the fall 
for his surveying parties, and was prepared in the spring of 17'*8 to 
run the principal lines. David Rittenhouse, the eminent American 
philosopher, had personally attended to the preparation of the com- 
pass and other instruments for use in the survey. It had been decided 
to divide each township of si.\ miles square into sixteen subdivisi(jns 
to be called sections, and the latter into twelve lots each, three- 
fourths of a mile long and one-fourth of a mile in width and contain- 
ing about 120 acres; but the surveyors soon found that the location 
of the larger streams and other causes would render this course im- 
practicable. The plan was therefore early abandoned, and the lots 
were laid out into farms of three hundred and si.xty acres each, as 
nearly as was practicable. 

This done the Holland Company lost no time in developing the 
rich country which had come into its possession. Roads were con- 
structed, mills erected, and encouragement offered to actual settlers 
by a fair adjustment of terms of payment. The investment of the 
Holland Company in Western New York proved more fortunate for 
the development of the region than inv the capitalists themselves, for 
it is understood that when the affairs of the association were finailv 

From Joseph Ellicott's Mtip of 1800 


settled, their investment had paid them a profit nf no more than five 
per cent. 

The ronduct of the several t;reat purchasers was eminently wise, 
and Turner justly concludes that Western New York "could have 
hardly fallen into better hands. Both the English and the Dutch 
companies, under whose auspices as proprietors-, three-fourths of the 
whole State west of Seneca lake was settled were composed of 
capitalists "ho made investments of large amounts of money in the 
infancy of the Republic, when its stability was by no means a settled 
point. They were satisfied with reasonable returns for their vast out- 
lays, and patient under the delays of payment, as all must concede. 
Their correspondence reveals no disposition to oppress the settlers, 
or wish to have their business conducted in any other than a fair, 
honest or liberal manner." 

On the 15th day of September, 18'*7, the one hundredth anniversary 
of the making of the treaty of Big Tree, which practically terminated 
the Indian occupation in Livingston County, was celebrated with 
suitable ceremonies at (xeneseo, under the auspices of the Livingston 
County Historical Society. A brief reference to this interesting in- 
cident, which transports the reader at once over the interval of a cen- 
turv, and shifts the scene from the council house in the forest resound- 
ing with the oratory of Red Jacket, Farmer's Brother and Corn- 
planter to late nineteenth century surroundings in the Genesee Valley, 
may not be inappropriate. 

Among the guests of the Society present were Mr. Gouverneur Mor- 
ris, of Detroit, the eldest male descendant and great grandson of 
Robert Morris, and Mr. A. Sim Logan and Andrew John, eminent 
members of the Seneca Nation of Indians, in the Cattaraugus Reser- 
vation, each representing their ancestors, the contracting parties to 
the treaty. After a business meeting at the Society's log cabin, a 
visit was made to the cobblestone house, previously mentioned in 
this chapter, and the site of the Council House. Exercises were held 
in the afternoon in the Normal School building consisting in part of 
an admirable historical address by John S. Minard, Esq., of Fillmore, 
N. Y., the exhibition of valuable historical documents by Dr. George 
Rogers Howell. Archivist of the New York State Library, brought by 
him from Albany, and the presentation to the Society, by Dr. Howell, 
on behalf of Mr. Gouverneur Morris, of a photographic copy of 


Rembrandt Peale's [lortrait of Robert Morris, which is here 

At the banciuet which <jccurred in the e\enin;4, .Mi'. Morris paid a 
fine tribute to his ancestor, who was so conspicuous a figure in the 
events recorded in this chapter. Mr. John and Mr. Logan, both 
eloquent men, spoke as follows: 

Mr. John said: 

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: It is the greatest pleasure 
to me that the Managers of the Livingston County Historical Society, 
extend iheir invitation to our Indian people to participate at this 
commemtjraiion of one hundred years ago to-day of our forefather's 
signing, known as "The Treaty of Big Tree," and the Seneca Indians 
responded who are now present at this occasion of which I am proud 
to be one of the members, whom represented now of the said party of 
the first part to this great Treaty. Though the people wht> signed 
this treaty have passed away to the happy hunting grounds, and 
their descendants now to-day gathered here — the very grounds where 
our ancestors negotiated which involve a large amount of land. 

At that time our people, the Indians, ceded a large tract of land 
known as Western New York for a mere noininal sum of money for 
the consideration, excepting and reserving to the Indians certain 
privileges and reservations mentioned in treaty. This sale of land 
from the Indians to Rnbert Morris contained a large tract of land, for 
one hundred thousand dollars. The Seneca Indians are getting only 
six thousand dollars interest per annum at present, while the white 
people occupying the land mentioned in said Big Tree Treaty are 
getting millions and millions of dollars interest. From the stand- 
point of my race many incidents ot the most disgraceful tricks and 
robberies perpetrated upon the poor untutored sons of the forest. 
Still the Seneca Indians are happy and clinging upon the agreements 
and solemn obligations mentiimed in the treaties under which they 
are protected and are now enjoying within the borders of this great 
Empire State. 

The League of the Six Nations or Iroquois, as the French termed 
them when they spoke of this Indian Confederacy, was the most re- 
markable people in wisdom, oratory, political and the knowledge of 
the country during the early days when their glory was in full blast. 
The vast territory of country upon which they had immediate control 
comprises north by St. Lawrence, east by Atlantic Ocean, south by 
Tennessee, west by Mississippi river, from this vast territory of coun- 
try reduced that the control now at present by the Seneca Nation of 
Indians in the western part of this state about fifty-tive thousand 
acres of land. 

In speaking of the "Treaty of Big Tree" on the part of the party of 

Gouverneur Morris- 


the first part of which we are now represented here to-day are now 
enjoying upon one of the reservations reserved and the interest money 
from the United States treasury annually to the Senecas, in pursuance 
to the agreements of this Treaty, in relation to this Big Tree Treaty 
of which we are now celebrating to-day a Centennial, I will now show 
and hold up in my hands an original letter from the United States 
to the Senecas, the same reads as follows: 

War Department, May 14. 1798. 

Brothers: — By the Indenture made between you and Robert Morris, 
Esquire, under the authority of the United States at Genesee, in 
the County of Ontario in the State of New York, on the 15th day of 
September, 1797, in consideration of One Hundred Thousand Dollars, 
to be by the said. Robert Morris, vested in the stock of the Bank of 
the United States, and held in the name of the President of the 
United States, for the use and behoof of the Seneca Nation of Indians. 
Vou bargained and sold a large tract of country mentioned in the 
said Indenture to the said Robert Morris, excepting nevertheless, and 
always reserving out of this Grant and Conveyance all such pieces or 
parcels of the aforesaid tract and such privileges thereunto belonging, 
as therein afterwards particularly mentioned, which said pieces or 
parcels of land so excepted, are by the parties to the presents clearly 
and fully understood to remain the property of the Seneca Nation in 
as full and ample a manner as if the presents had not been e.vecuted. 
It being also [irovided by the same instrument, as understood by 
the parties, that all such pieces or parcels of land as are thereby re- 
served, and are not particularly described as to the manner in which 
the same are to be laid off, shall be laid off in such a manner as shall 
be determined by the Sachems and Chiefs residing at or near the re- 
spective villages where such Reservations are made, a particular 
whereof to be endorsed on the back of the deed and recorded with the 

I write this letter by order of the President of the United States, to 
inform the Seneca Nation of Indians that the one hundred tiiousand 
dollars, being the consideration money in the Indenture mentioned 
has been vested conformably to the intention of said instrument, and 
that the President being thereof satisfied, hath by and with the 
consent and advice of the Senate, accepted, ratified and confirmed the 
Convention or Treaty aforesaid. And that Joseph Ellicott, a beloved 
man, skilled in surveying has been employed to lay oft" the Reserva- 
tions, excepted and made in the aforesaid Deed. To him, therefore, 
the Sachems and Chiefs concerned will give their directions for laying 
off the same. 

I am also to assure the Seneca Nation that Joseph Ellicott is a 
gentleman of integrity, and that the Nation may confide to him the 


laying off of the Reservations aforesaid, having no doubt lie will exe- 
cute the trust with fidelity and impartial justice. 

Dividends upon the Stock of the Bank of the United States pur- 
chased with the one hundred thousand dollars, for the use and behoof of 
the Seneca Nation of Indians, will be paid half yearly, the first dividend 
about the middle of July next, which will be remitted to the Seneca 
Nation in such manner as they shall direct, and their orders for the 
remittance of future dividt-nds when they are paid, will be always 
attended to. 

Wishing you health, I am, Brcjthers, 

Your friend and obedient servant, 

James McHenry, 
Sec'y of War. 

To the Chiefs and Sachems of the Seneca Nation. 

AVe perceive by the foregoing letter how careful and watchful by 
the President of the United States for the welfare and interest for the 
Seneca Indians. In review just a few out of many unpleasant inci- 
dents that happen along about the 16th century, how dark and 
gloomy must have been over the people of this country, even one him- 
dred years ago to-day this country was owned by the Seneca Nation of 
Indians, and it was in a wild state, unimproved, uncultivated and un- 
settled excepting small spots here and there, villages, by Natives. By 
signing the Big Tree Treaty by Indians made this country a great 
change; to-day we see most inagnificent farms all over this country, and 
the civilization prevails among the people where one hundred years ago 
everything was wild. To-day the Seneca Indians are enjoying the 
fruits of civilization as well as the white people, especially when they 
are participating in this great Centennial Celebration. 

I will now conclude my short speech by extending my sincere 
thanks to the managers of the Livingston Count)' Historical Society 
for the honor extended to me in making this .address. 

]\Ir. Logan said: 

Mr. Toastmaster and (lentlenien: As a representative of the Seneca 
Nation of the Iroquois Indians, I come before you on this occasion 
as a representative of the people who once held sway over 
tliis entire continent, and as I have consented to make a short speech 
on this joyous occasion, I do so with a proper sense of the obli_gation 
I am under to my own race. We liave laid aside all those feelings of 
animosity which actuated our forefathers when they saw that the 
vast Cfumtry over which thej' roamed must give way to the civiliza- 


tion (if the white man, and we have learned that it is better for us to 
settle down and cultivate well a small piece of ground rather than to 
roam over all creation, and we have learned also that our children 
must take their places in the grand procession of progress, and, in 
order to do this, we must have elementary and high schools where our 
young men and women may be equipped for a successful career. It 
is well known to those who have studied my people that when we get 
the better of your civilization, we thrive under it, and our children 
take equal rank with yours in the acquisition of knowledge. It has 
been said, Mr. Toastmaster, that the only good Indian is a dead one. 
Give us your schools and your Christianity, and a fair chance in life, 
and do not treat us as dogs, and we will show by our love for our 
white brothers, and by our improvement that there are good Indians 
who are not dead. 

The Indians are not decreasing in this country; they are increasing, 
and so Mr. Toastmaster, you are likely to have the Indian problem 
on your hands for some time to come, and the only proper settlement 
of the Indian problem is to educate and Christianize my people. And 
it is a great deal cheaper to do this than to exterminate us. Presi- 
dent Grant stated that it has cost this government two millions of 
dollars to kill an Indian, but it costs only about $200 on the average 
to educate and Christianize an Indian, and an educated Indian is 
move glory to your race and to your civilization than a murdered one. 

Your Centennial celebration is a great event, and I am here to-day, 
not to gl'iry over the departure of my people from this region, but to 
assure you that, though we have parted with our fertile lands, and 
gone from your immediate midst, with a good heart we rejoice in the 
improvement which God has spread over this land, and we unite with 
you on this great occasion out of respect for our white brother and 
his government and for our great white father at Washington who 
recognizes the Indians as wards of his government, to look with a 
father's interest after the welfare of us, who, like you, are the children 
of the Great Spirit. 

Although, ^Ir. Toastmaster, my people are increasing in the United 
States, our ancient customs are gradually fading away, and we shall, 
under the influence of the progress of the age, in taking our places in 
the procession with you, lay aside the customs of our fathers, but we 
hope to prove ourselves worthy of the advantages which our white 
brothers have brought us, and act well the part which the Great Spirit 
created us to perform. 



IT WAS fortunate for this county that the earliest settlers here 
represented the enterprise, the culture and refinement, as well as 
the patriotism of the three States of Connecticut, Pennsylvania 
and Maryland, coupled with the proverbial independence, religious 
spirit and forecast of the Scotch emigrants. The Wadsworth brothers, 
and the Finleys, Jones, Fitzhughs, Carrolls and Rochesters, and the 
Scotchmen of Caledonia, may be mentioned as types of those who 
were first to establish their homes in this new country. Ireland, 
Germany and England were soon represented, and every Atlantic 
State added its quota to the daily growing settlements ivithin the 
boundaries now prescribed to this prosperous shire. 

Captain Williamson, speaking of the settlement of this region at- 
tempted by Oliver Phelps in 178"), says it "was attended with great, 
almost insurmountable, difficulties. There was no access to the 
country but by Indian paths, and the nearest settlement was above 
one hundred miles distant. I^he Allegheny mountains, then never 
passed, lay on the south, and Lake Ontario on the north, while to 
the west was one boundless forest. By the census of 17"»ii there 
were only 960 souls, including travellers and surveyors with their at- 
tendants, within the bounds" of the State, west of the pre-emption 
line. ' 

The large share which James Wadsworth had in developing the 
Genesee country will be recognized by all. He was graduated at 
Yale College at the age of twenty. About that period his father 
died. He went to Montreal and taught sch(K)l a year, and then re- 
turned to the paternal home at Hartford, Connecticut. An uncle had 
.administered upon the estate, and the property, about $45,000 in all, 
at that time a large sum, was divided equally among the three 
brothers, himself, William and a third w'ho remained in Connecticut. 
■On his way home from Montreal James had seen some very fine land 

J. See William.son's letters to a friend. Doc. Hist, N. Y. 

Jeremiah W&d^worth 
Uncleof James and Major General William Wadsworth. First purchaser of the Wadsworth 
lands from Phelps and florhara. From Portrait In possession of Hon. James W. Wadsworth. 


on the Onion river in Vermont, and made up his mind that he would 
go back there and make an investment, ijiit his uncle, Colonel Jere- 
miah Wadsworth, who had taken an interest in the Phelps and Gor- 
ham purchase, offered his nephews James and William one-half of his 
interest, or about one-twentieth of the reserved portion, at cost, and 
proposed to the former to give him the agency of the other half if he 
would remove to the Genesee. To this the brothers assented. It 
had been agreed that any co-proprietor who would settle on the lands 
might locate one thousand acres at the cost price, which was eight 
cents per acre. Phelps and (lorham had availed themselves of this 
provision in 178') and located at Canandaigua. The Wadsworth 
brothers the succeeding year took the two thousand acres at Geneseo, 
at a cost of one hundred and si.xty dollars. In the spring of 1700 they 
purchased a new- and substantial ox cart and three pairs of o.xen, and 
after many farewells William, with two or three hired men and 
jenny, a favorite colored slave belonging to the family, started across 
the country for Albany, while James went to New York to purchase 
an outfit for the new settlement, including a small quantity of "store 
goods" and household furniture. He then took passage on board a 
sloop for Albany. The trip up the Hudson occupied a week. Mr. 
Wadsworth had for a fellow passenger at this time John Jacob Astor, 
who was making his first trip to Canada and the Northwest to pur- 
chase furs. The acquaintance then formed between these two remark- 
able men ripened into intimacy and continued through life. At 
Albany Mr. Wadsworth found his Ijrcither with the men and team, 
ready to take the supplies to Schenectady, where they purchased a 
boat. This the men poled up the Jlohawk to Little Falls, whither 
William had preceded the water party overland, ready to draw the boat 
and its cargo around the falls. Another day's poling brought the 
boat to Rome, where they found two log houses, though there was but 
one as yet at Utica. Another portage by the o.x team and cart 
brought them over to Wood creek ; and when William saw all on board 
the boat at that point he started through the woods with his slow 
moving team for Canandaigua, following the trail traveled by Phelps 
and Gorham's party the preceding year. West of Whitestown the 
road, little more than an Indian path, was full of impediments. 
Fallen trees had to be removed, the approaches to small streams 
often to be laid with logs, and standing timber to be cut away before 


the cart could proceed. So well, however, was the work done that 
the roadway thus improvised was used for some time, and to this day 
William Wadsworth enjoys the credit of opening the first road through 
the wilderness between Whitestown and Canandaigua. 

"Arriving at Cayuga lake, there was no ferry scow, and the party 
chartered two Indian canoes which they lashed together, and making 
a deck of poles, succeeded in crossing. Between Whitesboro and 
Canandaigua their average progress w-as twelve miles a day."' On 
reaching Canandaigua William expected to find his brother and the 
boat, but was disappointed. In going down Wood creek the 'party 
had run the boat upon a snag, and it was there held fast for three 
days until overtaken by Augustus Porter, the brother of General 
Porter. He took a part of Mr. Wadsworth's cargo on his boat, and 
so far reduced the burthen that little trouble was now experienced 
in getting it again afloat. The two parties now started in company 
down the creek into Oneida lake, thence through the lake and river 
to the Oswego river, and up the latter stream to the outlet of Cayuga 
lake, thence to Mud creek. Passing up Mud creek to the outlet of 
Canandaigua lake, they then found their way to the lake, and the 
cabin of Phelps and Gorham at Canandaigua. William had reached 
that hospitable roof several days before the arrival of the boat, and 
becoming very anxious about his brother, fearing that he had been 
killed by the Indians, had gone down the outlet several miles and 
taken his position in the top of a tree which leaned over the stream. 
He saw them a long distance below, and joyfully welcomed them as 
they came under his lofty perch. Stowing a part of their supplies at 
Canandaigua and learning that there was a fine tract of unoccupied 
land on the Genesee near Big Tree, they started for that point, fol- 
lowing vSuUivan's route a portion of the way, and camping the first 
night at Pitt's flats, and the second night a little east of the foot of 
Conesus lake. The next morning William, keeping charge of the ox 
team, set out for the spot that had been described to them for a 
home, by the Indian trail leading to the Oneida village, while James, 
with a part of the men, shouldered axes and started on foot for the 
same place through the woods by the Big Tree trail. Reaching a 
point on the western edge of the table land west of the present village 
of Genesee, he began cutting down trees for a log cabin. The loca- 

1. Turner's Phelps ami fiorhain's I'urchase. 


tion of this cabin was about one huntlred rods west of the Mount Mor- 
ris road and forty rods south of the hme leading from the Park to the 
"Home Farm" boarding house. Mr. James AVadswortli marlced 

the spot by erecting there in after years a small cobblestone house 
long used in connection with the farm, and but recently demolished. 

William, getting lost in a swamp two miles northeast of the present 
village of Geneseo, tied his cattle to saplings and there passed the 
night. This delay causing some anxiety, James got on their track 
the next morning, and finding the bewildered party, conducted them 
to the spot selected by him for the cabin, where they arrived on the 
Kith of June, 17'»0. The party slept in the cart and upon the ground 
for two or three nights until their hut was ready to afford them shel- 
ter. The unwonted sound of axes brought to their camp Lemuel 
Jennings, the only earlier white settler in that vicinity, who had 
erected a cabin and was herding some cattle on the fiats in their 
neighborho'id for Oliver Phelps, i 

The Wadsworth brothers followed their first purchase of 2,000 acres 
at Geneseo for eight cents per acre, by a second of 4,000 acres the 
same season at fifty cents an acre, which was the price fixed by the 
Company for the land in the vicinity of Geneseo. A portion of the 
latter purchase was situated on the outlet of Conesus lake, where 
they had encamped the second night out of Canandaigua, and where 
they subsequently built a grist mill. 

In August, 1790 General Amos Hall, who had been appointed to 
take the census of Ontario county, then embracing the whole of the 
Genesee C(nmtry, reported the population embraced within the pres- 
ent limits of Lima at four families, comprising twenty-three persons; 
Sparta, one family of five persons; Geneseo, eight families, embracing 
thirty-four persons; Avon, ten families, sixty-six persons; Caledonia 
ten families, forty-four persons; Leicester, or "Indian lands, " as it 
was designated in the return, four families of whites, seventeen 

In September of the same year the new settlers had their first ex- 
perience with fever and ague. The Wadsworth household, with the 
exception of the negro woman Jenny, were all brought down witii it. 

I. James returned to Cauaudaigua on the first day of their arrival, and on his waj- back was 
henighted, but was guided to his home by a light held by Jenny, the colored woman, for William, 
who was hewing some planks for the cabin. 


The brothers Horatio and John H. Jones had preceded the Wads- 
worths a few weeks. On the arrival of the latter they were occupying 
an Indian cabin at Little Beardstown, while a cabin they had begun 
the year before was being completed. "They had come from Geneva 
by way of Canandaigua and Avon with a cart, Horatio's wife and 
three children, several hired men and some household furniture. Their 
cart was the first wheeled vehicle that passed over that route. From 
Avon they had no track but picked their way along the ridges and 
open grounds. Besides Horatio Jones's family, there were in August, 
1790, west of the river in the 'Indian lands' the families of William 
Ewing, Nathan Fowler and Jeremiah Gregory." 

Immediately after the Revolution all that part of the State lying 
west of a line running north and south and passing through the center 
of the present county of Schoharie was called Montgomery county, 
and the town of Whitestown embraced all the region west of Utica. 
In 1789 the county of Ontario was formed from the western part of 
Montgomery, but, notwithstanding this, town elections for the town 
of Whitestown continued to be held in all this region until 17'J1. At 
the election held in the latter year Trueworthy Cook of Pompey, 
in the present county of Onondaga, Jeremiah Gould of Salina, and 
James Wadsworth of Geneseo, were chosen pathmasters. The dis- 
trict of the latter embraced the territory west of Cayuga lake, cover- 
ing an area large enough for a State. 

Ontario county was at first divided into districts, the second dis- 
trict, Genesee or Geneseo, "embracing all west of the east line of the 
present towns of Pittsford, Mendon, Richmond." The first town 
meeting for this district was held on the 5th of April, 1791, at 

Captain John Ganson, an officer of the Revolution, was elected 
supervisor; David Bulleri, town clerk. The assessors chosen were 
Deacon Gad Wadsworth, a Revolutionary soldier from Connecticut, 
Israel Stone of Stonetown (now Pittsford), General William Wads- 
worth of Geneseo, General Amos Hall of West Bloomfield, an officer 
of two wars, and Nathan Perry of Hartford, now Avon. The constables 
were Jasper Marvin and Norris Humphrey. 

Roads opened slowly and settlements made small progress west of 
the river. Thomas Morris says that in 1791 and for several years 
thereafter there was only an Indian path leading from Canandaigua 


to the Niagara river, and there was not a habitation of any kind be- 
tween the Genesee river and Fort Niagara. 

The Revolution had left the Indians broken in strength, and the 
growing power of the government held them under restraint; but it is 
well known that influences unfriendly to the Republic were at work 
among the western tribes, and to some extent among the natives oc- 
cupying the villages along the Genesee, although the latter claimed to 
be friendly and generally deported themselves properly. The appre- 
hension of an Indian war deterred settlers from crossing to the west- 
ern side of the river. 1 In the latter part of the summer of 1791 
James Wadsworth went on horseback to Niagara for the purpose of 
informing himself as to the prospect of an Indian war. To a friend 
he wrote on his return: "You will not suppose that we are under 
much fears from the Indians when I tell you that I started from the 
(ienesee river without company, and reached Niagara in two days 
without difficulty. But, sir, it was a most solitary ride. I had an 
excellent dinner with Colonel Butler at Niagara. We were served 
with apples, chestnuts, hazelnuts and walnuts, but what surprised me 
most was to see a plate of malcatoon peaches as good as I ever ate." 

The summer of 1792 witnessed a large addition to the population 
of the Genesee country. In July of that year the Albany Gazette- 
says: "We are assured of the rapid increase of settlements there, 
encouraged by the situation, climate and soil — equal in goodness to 
any part of the United States — and that the fever and ague, which 
it is common to suppose is epidemical there, has scarcely been known 
the present season. The Indians are very friendly, attending solely 
to their domestic concerns and gradually acquiring civilized habits." 
The population had so far increased that at the fall election in that 

I. There are two sides to most public questions, and it cannot be denied that the Indians had 
many provocations, which artful men could use to influence them. In the summer of 1790 two 
of the .Senecas of Little Heardstown, minor chiefs, were murdered on Pine Creek, in Pennsylvania. 
.\ reward was offered by the Governor of thai State for the apprehension of the murderers. Little 
Beard and Red Jacket, in a letter of thanks to the executive, "hoped that the murderers might be 
taken and that they might see them executed, for it is natural to look for revenge of innocent 
blood. You must not think hard if we speak rash. The words come from a wounded heart as 
you have stuck the hatchet in our head, aud we can't be reconciled until you come aud pull 
it out. We are sorry to tell you that you have killed eleven oflus since peace, and we never 
said anything until the other day when in liquor." The letter is dated at "Geneseo River and 
flats. .August 12, 1790," and signed ii«/t' /?<oirf (of Beaver Tribe). Saugoyea-uiatau (Red Jacket). 
Ciiseliaskc (of Wolf Tribe) and Caunliesongo. 

a. Albany C<ljf//(f of July 9, 1792. 


year the canvass for governor was quite animated. The candidates 
were George Clinton, the incumbent, and John Jay, the Chief [ustice 
of the Supreme Court of the United States. The poll of the town of 
Canandaigua stood three to one for Jay; and it is said that the com- 
plexion of the vote in Geneseo, where fifty ballots were cast, was the 
same, but owing to the fact that the tally list was transmitted to 
Albany without being signed by the inspectors, the returns were re- 
jected. The result in the State was rendered so close by the rejection 
of Geneseo and certain other towns in the State, and the irregularities 
were so great that' the courts, after a heated controversy by the 
partisan press, were called upon to decide the question. The office 
was awarded to Clinton, against the earnest protest of Jay's friends. 

Postal facilities, as yet, were meager indeed. Twice a month a 
mail was carried on horseback between Albany and Whitestown. In 
July, 1792, "several patriotic gentlemen of the Genesee country 
established a post to meet the one from Albany, at Whitestown, 
which once a month will pass through Geneva, Canandaigua and 
Canawaugus to Williamsbtirgh on the Genesee river. ">■ In Sep- 
tember of that year the Postmaster General, Timothy Pickering, 
advertised for proposals for the extension of the post road from 
Canajoharie to Whitestown and thence to Canandaigua. 

Eastern newspapers as early as 1792 contained advertisements of 
Genesee lands. Captain Williamson, in August of that year, pub- 
lished an answer "to numerous applications for farms." He says,^ 
"to those who wish to make actual settlements on his lands," that 
he has "surveyors employed in laying off some hundred thousand 
acres which will Ik- ready to be viewed by the loth of September. It 
will be necessary for persons to receive instructions from Mr. Wil- 
liamson at Williamsburgh. The price fixed on the land is one dollar 
per acre. " 

In the fall of 1792 William McCartney bought a farm of 320 acres 
in the southerly part of what is now the town of Sparta, near the 
Steuben county line, and was the first white settler in that region. 
Indeed, for more than a year there was not a while man witiiin ten 

1. A\bauy Gaeetie, July), iyc)2. The proprietor of the G<izi-/tt' iouk charge of packages in- 
teuded for the Genesee couutr>' free of expense. 

2. Albany Gazelle, Aug. l6, 1792. James Abeel, in the Gazette of Aug. 20, advertises "13,000 
acres of most valuable laud iu Phelps and Gorhani's purchase in the Geuesee country." 


miles of him. Mr. McCartney was born in Barlocks, Dumfrieshire, 
Scotland, on the 2d of April, 1770. He came to America in the year 
17')1 in company with Andrew Smith, the latter settling at Rath, 
while the former as stated settled in Sparta. With little or no 
assistance he set to work to clear his purchase of the dense growth 
of oak, walnut and underwood with which he found it covered, and 
was the first to raise a crop of grain at the head waters of the 
Canaseraga. In the summer of 1796 he married a sister of James 
McCurdy, who resided within the limits of the present village of 
Dansville. Mr. McCartney was mild and frank yet firm in his deal- 
ings with his fellow men, and the pioneers speak of him as a man of 
strong good sense, and qualified not only to manage his own interests 
with wisdom but to administer in public affairs with great success; 
and the local records show that continuously, for more than a third 
of a century, he was called by the almost unanimous voice of his 
neighbors and townsmen to hold office. In 179() he was made a com- 
missioner of public roads, and directed the laying out and establishing 
of the highways of Sparta. This burthensome position he held for 
a number of years, as well as that ot town clerk and commissioner of 
schools down to 1806, when he was made supervisor, to which office 
he was reelected for twelve successive years. In 1817 he was sent 
to the Assembly, to which body he was reelected the following year. 
In 1819 he was again made supervisor and held the office continuously 
until his death which occurred in 1831. ' The same sterling business 
qualities that enabled him to lay the foundation of a competency he 
carried into the discharge of his official duties, and in the board of 
supervisors, where he so long held a seat, composed of such men as 
Colonel Fitzhugh and General William Wadwsorth, Mr. McCartney 
was notably one of the leading men. 

In 1793 Thomas Morris and Oliver Phelps each built a small frame 
house at Canandaigua, and when completed these were the only 
frame houses west of Whitestown in the present county of Oneida. 

By January, 1793, letters and newspapers were conveyed by stated 
private posts, though at infrequent intervals, through all the Genesee 
settlements and as far west as Canandaigua. Writing to his father 
on the 4th of February, 17'i3. Thomas Morris says, "Our post goes 

I. He died OH tile yth of Feb., 1S31, aud was buried iu the cemetery near the South Sparta 
ineetiug house. 


(east) once a fortnight," and speaks of the great mildness of the pass- 
ing winter and of the influx of settlers. In May of that year Moses 
Beal romnienced running a weekly stage from Allumy llnough Sche- - 
nectady to Johnstown and Canajoharie, "at three cents a mile for pas- 
sengers and fourteen pounds of baggage gratis." And tiie same 
month a stage was established between Canajoharie and Whitestnwn to 
connect with ReaTs stage. This essentially increased the postal 
facilities of the pioneers of the Genesee. 

"The famous Genesee flats lie nn tlie bnrtlers of the Genesee river; 
they are abcuit twenty miles in length, and about four miles wide; 
the soil is remarkably rich, quite clear of trees, and producing grass 
near ten feel high. I estimate these flats to be well worth 200,000 
pounds as they now lie. They are mostly the property of the In- 
dians. Taking a view of this country altogether, I do not know an 
extent of ground so good. Cultivation is easy, and the land is grate- 
ful. The progress of settlement is so rapid, that you and myself may 
very probably see the day when we can apply these lines to the Gen- 
esee Country: — 

" 'Here happ)' millions their own lands possess, 
No tyrant awes them, nor no lords oppress.' 

"Many times did I break out in an enthusiastic frenzy anticipating 
the ]jrobable situatii)n of this wilderness twenty years hence. All that 
reason can ask may be obtained by the industrious hand; the only dan- 
ger to be feared is, that luxuries will flow too cheap." 

"From Canandaiji'ua I traveled about twenty-six miles through a 
fine country, with many settlements forming; this brought me to 
Genesee river. On this river a great many farms are laying out; six- 
ty-five miles from its mouth is a town marked <Hit by the name nf \\"\\- 
liamsburgh, and will in all probability be a place of much trade ; in 
the present situation of things it is remote, when considered in a com- 
mercial |)(iiiit of view; but should the fort of Oswego be given up. and 
the lock navigation be completed, there will not be a carrying place 
between New York and Williamsburgh.* * * 

"After I had reached the Genesee river, curiosity led me on to Niag- 
ara, ninety miles — not one house or white man the whole way. The 
only direction I had was an Indian [)ath, which sometimes was doubt- 


fill. The first day I rode fifty miles, through swarms of mosquitoes, 
gnats, etc., beyond all description."! 

Another writer at about the same perioil says of the advantages 
attending a settlement in the Genesee country: 

"But the peculiar advantages which distinguish these lands over 
most of the new settled countries of America, are these following; 1. 
The uncommon excellence and fertility of the soil. 2. The superior 
quality of the timber, and the advantages of easy cultivation, in conse- 
quence of being generally free from underwood. 3. The ;il)uiidance 
of grass for cattle in the woods, and on the extensive meadow grounds 
upon the lakes and rivers. 4. The vast quantities of the sugar maple 
tree, in every part of the tract. 5. The great variety of other fine 
timber, such as oak, hickory, black walnut, chestnut, ash of different 
kinds, elm, butternut, basswood, poplar, pines and also thorn trees of 
a prodigious size. 6. The variety of fruit trees,, and also smaller 
fruits, such as apple and peach orchards, in different places, which 
were planted by the Indians, plum and cherry trees, mulberries, 
grapes of different kinds, raspberries, huckleberries, blackberries,, 
gooseberries, and strawberries in vast quantities; also cranberries, 
black-haws, etc. 7. The vast variety of wild animals and game which 
is to be found in this cduntry, such as deer, moose deer, and elk of 
very large size, beavers, otters, martins, minks, rabbits, squirrels^ 
racoons, bears, wildcats, etc., many of which furnish excellent furs and 
peltry. 8. The great variety of birds for game such as wild turkeys,, 
pheasants, partridges, pigeons, plover, heath-fowl, and Indian hen, 
together with a vast variety of water-fowl on the rivers and lakes, 
such as wild geese and ducks, of many different kinds, not kn<nvn in 
Europe. '*. The uncommon abundance of very fine fish, with 
which the lakes and rivers abound, among which are to be found ex- 
cellent salmon of two different kinds, salmon-trout of a very large size, 
white and yellow perch, sheep-heads, pike, suckers and eels of a 
very large size, with a variety of other fish in their different seasons. 
Hi. The excellence of the climate in that region where these lands are 
situated, is less severe in winter, and not so warm in summer, as the 
same latitudes nearer the sea. The total e.xemption from all periodical 
disorders, particularly the fever and ague, which does not prevail in 
the Genesee country, on account of the rising grounds and fine situa- 

I. (Massachusetts Historical Collection I.) Col. Hist. II. 110.S-U09. 


tions. 11. The vast advantages derived from navigable lakes, rivers 
and creeks, which intersect and run through every part of this tract 
of country, affording a water communication from the northern parts 
of the grant by the Genesee river one way, or by the Seneca river an- 
other way into the great lake Ontario and from thence by Cataraqui 
to Quebec, or by the said Seneca river, the Oneida lake and Wood 
creek, to Schenectady on the Mohawk river, with only a short land 
carriage, and from thence to Albany, with a portage of sixteen miles; 
affording also a water communication from almost every township of 
the southern part of the grant by means of the different branches 
of the Tioga river, which joining the Susquehanna, affords an outlet 
to produce, through an immense extent of country on every hand, to 
Northumberland, and all the towns upon the great branch of this riv- 
er, down to Maryland and Virginia; and (with a portage of twelve 
miles) even to Philadelphia with small boats; and when the improve- 
ments are made in the Susquehanna, and the projected canal cut 
between the Schuylkill and that river, there will be an uninterrupted 
good water communication for boats of ten or fifteen tons from the 
interior parts of the Genesee country all the way to Philadelphia. 
12. But above all, the uncommon benefits these lands derive from the 
vicinity to the thickly settled countries in New York and New Eng- 
land governments on the one hand, and Northumberland county in 
Pennsylvania on the other, from all which quarters, from the great ad- 
vantages which are held out, there must be an overflow of emigrants 
every year, until these lands are fully settled, which expectation is 
already completely evinced, from the rapid population that has taken 
place on the east boundaries of the grant upon the Tioga river, and 
between the Seneca and Cayuga lakes up to Ontario, where, in the 
course of three or four years, above eight hundred families have 
fixed themselves in this fertile country, most of whom having emigrat- 
ed from the Eastern States of New England, New York and Pennsyl- 
vania, have all the advantages which are to be derived from a perfect 
knowledge of the country, and from that kind of education and local 
resource, which soon renders the situation of a new settler comfortable 
and happy, enabling them, at the same time, to assist new comers, 
who may be less acquainted with the nature of the country. 

"At present wheat can be sent from the Genesee Settlement to 
Philadelphia, at one shilling sterling per bushel: but if the water com- 


munication be opened between the two rivers, the cost will not exceed 
fourpence. i 

"Dry goods can now be sent to these new settlements at about eii;ht 
shillings sterling per hundred weight, which will probably be reduced 
to three shillings when the navigation is completed. 

"No country in the world is better adapted for raising cattle than 
the Genesee grant. One of the first settlers in that country asserts 
that he can every season cut wild grass on his own farm in the 
Genesee flats sulificient to maintain 2,<X)0 head of cattle through the 
winter; and that such hay, with rushes and vegetables which are 
found above the snow, generally keep the cattle fat without any ex- 
pense. Hogs can also be reared in the woods at little or no expense 
to the farmer. "As the distaiTce from Philadelphia (between which 
and the Genesee lands a road was to be completed in 1791) is somewhat 
less by land than two hundred miles, there can be no difificulty in driv- 
ing fat cattle and hogs to that market for sale; as they can transport 
themselves at a very small expense, and as the demand for provision 
increases every year, and a liberal price is given for beef and pork, there 
can be no doubt but the rearing of cattle and hogs, as well as horses, 
for sale in the low countries, will soon become a great object of profit 
to the settlers, as the extensive ranges of meadow ground on the flats, 
and the blue grass, white clover and pea-vine in the woods, must en- 
able the farmer to feed almost any number he can raise, or find capital 
to purchase. In many parts of the tract there is little or no under- 
wood, and excellent pasture in the forests between the trees, in conse- 
quence of their being in general of an enormous size, and of the consid- 
erable distance between them , thereby affording even a wide range for 
cattle in the upland country, as well as in the flats and meadows, 
which have already been represented to be luxuriant beyond descrip- 
tion, in a species of coarse grass, very fit for hay. It is said that there 
are many wild horses upon the tract, which is an additional proof of 
there being winter food in the flat land.s and in the forests. 

"The present settlers have already got a fine stock of cattle and 
hugs, and find that they thrive and increase very fast; but as yet there 
are very few sheep, although, it is supposed, they would succeed well 

1. This communication was begim in 1793. 


on thf hills, after the country is more fully peopled. Several genteel 
families are preparing to settle on the tract this season, which will 
greatly facilitate the population of these lands. 

"The crops of wheat, Indian corn, and other small grains were very 
abundant last year; so that the present settlers are in a situation to 
assist and supply the wants of new-comers. 

"The market for grain and provision raised in the Oenesee country 
will be on the spot for some time to come, and the constant influx of 
■settlers, who may be expected, until the whole of these lands are occu- 
pied, will, at least for a time consume all the surplus produce; after- 
wards the city of Philadelphia will probably be the best market; and 
while the country is in progress of being settled, the hemp and flax 
raised by the Genesee farmers, and also the ashes and sugar made up- 
on these lands, and the skins and furs procured by hunting, must ulti- 
mately goto Philadelphia and New York; but this will be the business 
of the merchant, who will receive all these articles from the farmer in 
return for dry goods, implements of husbandry, salt and rum, and 
such other articles as the settlers mav want. 

"Wheat is at present, 1791, one dollar per bushel (4s. 6d. sterling); 
Indian corn, 2s. (>d. ditto: salt from the Onondaga works, (><) miles 
east of the grant is half a dollar a bushel.' 

The following is an account of a visit of a gentleman to the Genesee 
ct)untry in February, 1792: "From Canandaigua to the Genesee river, 
twenty-six miles, it is almost totally uninhabited, only four families 
residing on the road. The country is beatitifully diversified with hill 
and dale, and in many places, we found openings of two and three hun- 
dred acres, free from all timber and even bushes, which, on our ex- 
amining, proved to be of a rich, deep soil. It seemed that, by only 
inclosing with one of these openings a proportionable quantity of tim- 
bered land, an inclosure might be made similar to the parks in Eng- 

"At the Genesee River I found a small Indian store and tavern; 
the river was not then frozen over, but was low enough to be forded. 
As yet there are no settlements of any consequence in the Genesee 
■country. That established liy a society of Frieniis, on the west side 

I. Doc. Hist. II., 1II1-1122. 


of the Seneca lake is the most considerable: it consists of about forty 
families. But the number of Indians in the adjoining country, 
when compared with the few inhabitants who venture to winter in 
the country, is so great, that I found them under serious apprehen- 
sions for their safety. Even in this state of nature, the county of 
Ontario shows every sign of future respectability. No man has put the 
plough in the ground without being amply repaid; and, through the 
mildness of the winter, the cattle brought into the country the year 
before are thriving well on very slender provision for their subsistence. 
The clearing of land for spring crops is going on with spirit. I also 
found the settlers here abundantly supplied with venison, "i 

The institutions of socisty came slowly. Up to the month of June 

1793, owing to neglect to appoint judges, no courts had ever been 
held in Ontario county, then embracing the country west of Seneca 
lake, although the county had been organized ujiward of four years. 
The first Circuit Court and Court of Oyer and Terminer was held at 
"Patterson's Tavern," in Geneva, on the 9th of June 1793, the pre- 
siding judge being John Sloss Hobart, one of the three judges ap- 
pointed in 1777 on the organization of the judiciary. A grand jury 
was empanelled and charged, but no indictments were found. The 
first Court of Common Pleas and General Sessions was held at the 
house of Nathaniel Sanborn in Canandaigua on the 4th of November, 

1794. The presiding judge was Timothy Plosmer with Charles Wil- 
liamsim and Enos Boughton as associates. At this term James 
Wadsworth, Thomas Morris, John Wickham and \'incent ^Matthews 
appeared as attorneys. 

In the autumn of 1793 the Marquis de Talle_\rand, the famous 
French statesman, was piloted through the wilds of the Genesee by 
Benjamin Patterson, who resided in Steuben county. The Marquis 
was then an exile and had leisure to inspect the natural features of 
this valley. Standing on the bluff near the present dam at ^lonnt 
Morris, he said, after admiring for an hour the scenery spread out 
before him to the eastward, "It is the fairest landscape that the 
human eye ever looked upon." 

The Albany Gazette of the 15th of July, 1793, contains this ad- 
vertisement: "Williamsburgh Fair and Genesee Races. There will 
be held ;it Williamsburgh, at the great Forks of the Genesee river, 

I. Doc. Hist. II., 1131-1132. 


an annual fair for the sale and purchase of cattle, horses and sheep, to 
commence on Monday, the 23d of September, and continue on Tues- 
day. It is expected at this fair that a number of fat bullocks and 
working oxen of the best New England breeds, with which the coun- 
try is well supplied, will be shown. As the situation of Williams- 
burgh lays convenient for the Niagara market, it is also expected that 
both horses and young cattle will meet with ready sale at high prices, 
the demand from Upper Canada being considerable. On Wednesday 
there will be run for over the race ground a purse of fifty pounds, 
and also a subscription purse. On Thursday there will be arun for 
the sweepstakes, and races for small prizes. On Friday there will be 
shooting matches and foot races. As this meeting will be held in the 
centre of a country abounding in provisions, strangers will find no 
difficulty in providing themselves and horses, and pains will be taken 
to afford them every possible accommodation. Particular convenience 
will be made for such horses as are brought to compete for the 
different prizes. The horses must be regularly entered and carry 
weight according to the established rules at the races in the Low 
Countries. " 

The following year (1794) fourteen horses were entered for the fifty 
pound purse, and cattle were driven from all the adjacent country to 
the show. The fair and races continued for several years to be highly 
successful, while the sales of stock were quite large. The exhibitions 
were held on the flats lying between the present highway and the 
Canaseraga creek, west of the residence on the Colonel Abell farm, now 
the property of Major William A. Wadsworth. 

In 1793 the small-pox, a disease of which the Indians had justly a 
great dread, broke out among the Senecas on the Genesee. The In- 
dian agent at Canandaigua, General Chapin, employed male nurses to 
go to Little Beardstown and other villages and take general charge of 
the sick. The papers of the agency contain the account of "Solomon 
Jennings for thirty-nine days musing the Indians with the small-pox 
at Genesee river, seven pounds, sixteen shillings." The general 
government employed and paid blacksmiths for the Indians, as well, 
and Chapin's papers contain the account of George Jones, rendered in 
November, 1793, for fifteen months' services as blacksmith for the 
Senecas at Genesee river, tools and sundry supplies, one hundred and 
twelve pounds. 


The new stage lines appear t<> have promoted postal facilities but 
little at first, for in February, 1794, the Albany Gazette, expressing 
regret at the deficiency of mail communication between Albany and 
the Genesee river, says, "a respectable if not a major part of the 
letters and papers brought m the mail to the post-office in this city 
are destined further westward, but for want of regular conveyance 
are rendered useless from the length of time elapsing before they can 
reach the place of destinaticm."!- It appears that there was a sort of 
provisional post-office at Williamsburgh in 1793, for Timothy Pickering, 
writing to General Chapin from Detroit in August, 1793, says: "Tlie 
enclosed letter I request you to forward to Philadelphia, either by ff)r- 
warding it to the post-office at Williamsburgh, or let it be carried by 
an Indian runner to the post-office at Whitestown," and the same year 
the Secretary of War directs General Chapin "to write him weekly" 
by Captain Williamson's post. 

In 1793 a plan was developed to divide this State, and erect the 
western half into a separate commonwealth. The crafty managers of 
the Livingston lease were doubtless at the bottom of this project. 
Failing to receive the approval of the Legislature to their contract for 
the Indian lands, these men proposed, it would appear, to accomplish 
their design in this revolutionary manner. A variety of reasons, 
though not the real ones, were assigned for this step. James Wadsvvorth 
and other large landowners were invited to take part in the movement. 
But it received no countenance from him nor from others in this 
region. The adjournment of the November term of the Court of Com- 
mon Pleas and General Sessions of Ontario, in 1794 was chosen as 
the occasion for a meeting to declare the popular opposition to the 
measure. The attendance was large. Timothy Hosmer, First Judge 
of the county, presided, and a series of resolutions were adopted set- 
ting forth that certain restless and turbulent characters from the 
eastern district of this State, evilly disposed towards the welfare of 
the country, had for some time past endeavored to stir up sedition 
among its peaceable inhabitants and incite them to acts both treason- 
able and improper, in proposing that the counties of Ontario, Otsego 

I. Timothy Pickering, Poslma<ter Oeueral, writes to Geu. Chapin, niider date of June 3d. 179.1, 
"The postroad is extended by law to Canaiidaigiia. x x x The post will not be riding till Sep- 
tember. X X X I shall order the mail once in two weeks from Whitestown to Canandaigtia." — 
See Chapin's Mss. papers, X. V. Hist. Soc. 


and a part of Tioij;a and Herkimer Hhnuki immediately shake off all 
dependence from the State of New York, and support their independ- 
ence by force of arms if need be; that the passions of the dishonest 
and disorderly, the ambitious and timid, had lieen Mattered to exj^ect 
that laws would be passed by the proposed State for screening in- 
dividuals from the payment of their just debts for six years and that all 
Indian lands and all public lands should become a prey to the rapacity 
of their hiiiis^ry followers, and that they had engaged to sustain their 
measure with armed troops, collected from X'ermont and elsewhere. 
Referring to the threats of the revolutionists, the resolutions say: 
"We have nothing to fear from any banditti they can collect for for- 
cing us into measures we heartily disaiijirove," and that, sensible of 
the many advantages they derive from their connection with one of 
the most respectable States in the Union, and desirous of a continu- 
ation of the same, they highly resented the ill-timed and improper at- 
tempt made by the characters above alluded to to disturb their peace. 
The proposed state could not defray the necessary e.xpenses of the 
most moderate state governmerit, and it would be unjust to raise 
enormous taxes for such an object on uncultivated lands, and they 
recommended that the Cleneva meeting, appointed to be held on the 
25th of November, be not attended, as it was called by strangers to 
the county. 

The meeting expected, after such a public declaration, that the 
State administration would take the inost vigorous measures to sup- 
press any attempt that might be made to destroy the peace and quiet 
of the county. Judge Cooper, in his charge to the grand jury of 
Otsego county, referred to this meeting and endorsed its action. 
Other officials and other public meetings discountenanced it, and the 
project, however formidable at one time it appeared, seems never 
to have been revived. 

The loss of the colonies was accepted with ill grace by the British 
authorities in America. The treaty of 17S.'i had, indeed, ended the 
war, but a spirit of hostility remained, and under one i)retext or 
another the forts at Oswego and Niagara and other military posts on 
the western lakes continued to be occu[)ied by British garrisons. 
British officers aft'ected to claim the territory of Western New York, 
the valleys of the western lakes and the region of the Mississippi and 
every art was employed by them to keep alive the prejudices of the 


Indians and to incite them to unfriendly acts. The growth of the 
settlements along the Genesee was an especial cause of jealousy, both 
to the British and the Indians, though they did not venture directly 
to interfere. But when, in 1794, Charles Williamson began a settle- 
ment at Sodus Bay, the authorities of Canada resolved to jnit a stop 
tt> it. Lord Dorchester, then Governor-General of Canada, hekl 
a talk with the Indians, in which he artfully sought to provoke them 
to a hostile course, and found them disposed to second his measures. 
An alliance was formed, it is said, and a concerted movement agreed 
upon, having for its object the repossession of Western New York. 
Presents were freely distributed, "the British Superintendent of In- 
dian Affairs," says Colonel Hosmer, "being profuse of costly pres- 
ents to his fierce allies ; and broadcloths, blankets and silver orna- 
ments w'ere tauntingly exhibited to the white settlers of Avon and 
vicinity by the young braves of Canawaugus," who had received them 
of the Canadian authorities. There was good ground for believing, 
as our government did, that the Ministry of Great Britain enter- 
tained the idea of making war upon us. As a first step, the Deputy 
Governor, Simcoe, dispatched Lieutenant Sheafifei of the British 
army to Williamson with a formal protest against the further prose- 
cution of the settlement at Sodus Bay, and all other settlements in 
Western New York, during the inexecution of the treaty. William- 
son happened to be at Bath at the time, and SheafTe informed his 
agent, a Mr. Moffatt, of the nature of his mission, and stated that he 
would return in ten days. Williamson was sent for, and Thomas 
^lorris met the British officer and conducted him to Williamson, who 
stood beside a table on which lay a brace of loaded pistols. The 
meeting was friendly and even cordial, for the two gentlemen had 
known each other years before, when both w-ere in the English ser- 
vice. The protest was delivered and read, and Williamson desired 
tile Lieutenant to inform his principal that no attention could be paid 
to the missive, but that the settlements there and elsewhere would be 
proceeded with all the same. 

News of this proceeding on the part of the British authorities was 
not slow^ in spreading through the Genesee settlements. Its abrupt 
nature, and the morose and qiiarrelsome temper of the Indians wMio 

I. Hetter known aflerw.Trds as Major General Sir Roger Hale Sheaffe. He commonded at the 
battle of Quecustown, after Hrodie's death, aud was otherwise conspicuous during the warof 1812. 


swarmed the forests, and had become "rude and saucy tu the white 
settlers, " says George Hosmer, "and would impudently enter their 
houses, take the prepared food from the tables and commit other 
offences," and who were known as ready and willing allies of the 
authorities across the border, caused no little anxiety and alarm 
among the pioneers, who were destitute of arms and ammunition, and 
were scattered over a large territory, remote from assistance. A few 
sold out their betterments at a loss, and returned to the East. But 
the insolence of the demand excited the spirit of the settlers, many of 
whom had but recently laid down their arms, and many were the 
offers of personal service to repel any attempt to take Captain Wil- 
liamson prisoner and send him in irons to England, as had been 
threatened. A letter written at this period expresses the feeling of 
the sturdy settlers. "We are prepared to give a cordial and warm 
reception to our Canada friends, and shall not fail to persuade them 
to make six foot locations in the rich soil of the (ireat Sodus and 
along the (Jenesee should they come over with guns loaded and 

The Lieutenant no sooner left than Captain W'illiamson dispatched 
an express rider to President Washington and another to Governor 
George Clinton, advising them of the peremptory character of 
Simcoe's order and of his own purpose to resist any attempt to inter- 
fere with the settlements. He requested that arms might be fur- 
nished and authority given to collect and organize the militia and 
volunteers. Governor Clinton was found at his home in Little Britain 
near Newburgh. The independence of the act stirred the stern old 
patriot, and he lost no time in directing that the arms that had been 
assigned to the militia of the western frontier and the cjuota for 
Ontario county should be immediately forwarded. "For," said he in 
his order, "the principle set up in Governor Simcoe's protest cannot 
for a moment be tolerated, and if any attempt should be made on the 
part of the British to carry it into execution, force must meet force. 
To this end, exert every means to keep the militia of your division in 
the most perfect readiness for actual service." A law had recently 
passed the Legislature authorizing the erection of fortifications on the 
northern and western frontiers, and commissioners were selected to 
carry it into execution. They decided to establish block houses at 
Fort Stanwix, at Onondaga Salt Springs, Canandaigua, Canawaugus 


and at Bath. The Albany G.'.zette of the 11th of September, 1794, saj-s, 
"vSeveral of the block houses and pickets on the western frontier are 
already completed, and all of them are in great forwardness. Each 
will be furnished with a piece of cannon and all necessary ammunition, 
and seven hundred stand of arms for use if inhabitants of the frontier 
are on their way." 

"While all this was progressing," says Turner, "in four days after 
the affair at Stxlus, in fact before Governor Simcoc would have had 
time to execute his threats, the great measure of deliverance for the 
Genesee country and the few scattered border settlers of the west, 
had been consummated. 'Mad Anthony'^ — and there had been 
'method in his madness' — had met the confederated bands of the 
hostile Indians of the West, and almost under the walls of a fortress 
of their British allies achieved a signal victory ! Those upon whom 
Governor Simcoe was relying for aid (for it is evident that he looked 
to a descent of the western Indians upon the Genesee country in case 
the war was renewed), were humbled and suing for peace. This 
alone would have averted his worst intentions, and added to this was 
the consideration that Mr. Jay had sailed for London on the I2th of 
May, clothed with ample power from our government to arrange all 
matters of dispute. 

"Tiiose familiar with the history of our whole country in the earliest 
years of its separation from England, are aware how important was 
the well planned and successful expedition of General Wayne. Im- 
])ortant in its immediate consequences, the putting an end to pro- 
tracted, harassing Indian treaties, and the founding of that great 
empire of wealth, prosperity and unparalleled progress, our Western 
States. But few can now realize its local consequence in the Gene- 
see country. It gave security where there was little of it before, and 
inspired hope and confidence with those who were half determined to 
retrace the weary steps that had brought them into the wilderness; 
for they felt that if war was to be added to all the sufferings and 
privations they were encountering, it were better to abandon the 
field, if not forever, to a period more propitious. The news of Wayne's 
victory was communicated by Brant to General Chapin, and it circu- 
lated briskly among the backwoods settlements. Here and there 
were seen small gatherings of pioneer settlers congratulating each 

I. General .\titIioiiy Wayne, of ReVointu>nary fame. 


other upon the event, and taking fresh courage to grapple with the 
hardships of pioneer life. All was contirmed when, in a few days, the 
Senecas were seen coming back, upon their war path, humbled, 
quaking with fear at t-he mere recollection of the terrilile onslaught 
that Mad Anthony had made upon the dusky legions that had gatheretl 
to oppose him, and uttering imprecations against those who had 
lured them from home to take part in the contest and then remained 
far away from danger, or shut themselves up in a strong fortress, 
mere spectators in a conflict while they and their confederates 
were falling like autumn leaves in a shower of hail." 

Colonel Hosmer says, "Tidings of Wayne's victory came like a 
reprieve after sentence of death, a skylark's call after a raven's 
croak." The Indians were thoroughly subdued, and, chagrined by 
their terrible reverses and the bad faith of their Canadian allies, they 
determined to settle down quietly in their villages and renew their 
amicable relations with tlu'ir white neighbors. The British, also, 
bound by the terms of the Jay treaty, ceased from troubling, and the 
Genesee settlements were finally permitted to progress in peace. 

Early in September, 1794, Daniel Kelly, John Jones and John Har- 
rison, all of whom were afterward notable farmers of Groveland, and 
all became deacons in the same church, left their Pennsylvania home, 
on the north branch of the Susquehanna, for a visit to the Genesee 
country by way of the Williamson road, "which was without bridges 
over creeks, or crossways in bad places, the underbrush and logs being 
removed a rod wide," says Mr. Harrison. William Ryans was also 
of the party. They had two horses between the four, riding and 
walking in couples by turns. The party on horseback would trot on 
far ahead, and hitching the horses beside the road, w^oulil start for- 
ward on foot, leaving their companions to come up and resume the 
saddle. A journey of eight days brought them to Wiliiamsburgh, 
where, on the 13th of September, 17'i4, tliey put up at William 
Lemon's tavern, a small frame house, and the first frame house built 
in the town of Groveland. Ryans was displeased with the country 
and homesick, and started back the following morning, taking with 
him one of the horses. The three others went to Geneseo to pur- 
chase lands of the Wadsworths, who were then laying the cellar wall 
of their homestead. James Wadsworth at once saw iliat they were 
good judges of farming lands, and advised them to look at some lots 






i | -.■■■"• V-w^J-<g : 


-^?4 iJ^^- ^ril'g 


■"-i» i*QjV 



Map of Willlamsbursh, made by John Smith in 1794. The "Colonel Abell" dwelling house 
is on loU, 13, 14, IS and 16. 


lying along the road leading to the foot of Conesus lake, describing 
the lands minutely to them, and specifying particular parcels on 
either side of the highway. They at once took the path up the hill, 
over the rtiute now traversed by .South street, just as a cold, drizzling 
rain began to fall. Daniel Kelly selected a lot of over a hundred 
acres on which the present Lakeville cemetery is located, and John 
Harrison selected the farm lying directly east of it, across the main 
road. This done, they went down to Peter Steel's tavern, a little 
log cabin situated in Upper Lakeville, for dinner. They reached there 
drenched to the skin, and John Harrison no sooner got to the fire than 
a chill seized him, which was so severe that it drove him almost into 
the heap of smouldering coals. The first salutation that met his ear 
was the unwelcome remark of an old root doctor from a neighboring 
settlement, "You've got the ager, stranger, fast enough." After an 
hour spent here, they returned to Genesee. Kelly paid earnest money, 
but Mr. Harrison was sick and far from home, and it was therefore 
concluded that he had better not part with the little money he had. 
It was agreed, however, that he and Kelly should return by the first of 
the following ^lay to complete the purchase of the lands selected by 
them. 1 They then went to Lemon's tavern for the night. Harrison's 
ague came on again, and a daughter of John Ewart, who resided at 
Williamsburgh, was also down with it. The party were ready by 
daylight to return to Pennsylvania, and Mr. Harrison, sick as he was, 
decided to return with them. They had now but one horse, and as 
Mr. Harrison was weak he took the saddle. In going down the hill 
leading to the inlet of Hemlock lake Harrison began to shake, and 
calling to his companions to secure the horse, he threw himself ofl: and 
started forward on a run. "shaking and stooping," he says, "as if I 
had my back broken. ^ly companions laughed at my odd motions, 
but I felt too wretched to notice their jokes. Still, I liked the new 
country, as well as my companions who had escaped that abomination 
of new settlements, the fever and ague, and we all three came back 
and located the following May, a step I have never regretted." Mr. 
Harrison says that Williamsburgh, at this, his first visit, contained, 
besides the frame tavern and a house occupied by John Ewart, some 

I. They (lid not get back, however, until the i2lh of May, auti Mr. Wadsworth had by that 
time sold the lot selected by Johu Harrison. The latter then purchased in Grovelaud. Kzra Gray 
occupied a part of Mi. Harrison's first purchase. 


five or six log houses built by Captain Williamson. On their way 
home they met persons going toward the village they had just left. 
with cattle to exhibit at the approaching fair, and heard frequent men- 
tion of the races soon to come off, at which fourteen speed horses were 
entered for the fifty pound purse. 



WHILE full heed was given to the material interests of the 
new settlements, the attention of religioi'is societies was also 
drawn to the spiritual demands of the frontier. The Legis- 
lature of Connecticut, at its session in October, 17')2, passed an act 
enjoining contributions from all the churches of that State on the first 
Sabbath in the month of May, annually for three years, to support 
missionaries and promote Christian knowledge in the northern and 
western frontier settlements, "where the ordinances oi the gospel are 
not established and in places destitute of the stated means of grace." 
The moneys thus raised were placed in the hands of the good and wise 
Jonathan Edwards and two associates.' Eight missionaries were sent 
out by them in the summer of 1794, one of whom, the Rev. Aaron 
Kinne. proceeded on horseback by way of Catskill westward, passing 
thriiugh Geneva, where he preached to a large audience, to the Gene- 
see river. He preached at Canawaugus, Big Tree, Williamsburgh and 
other settlements, travelling more than thirteen hundred miles and 
preaching more than four score sermons, besides administering the 
sacrament. His hearers often came eight or ten miles to listen to him. 
The following year he again visited these places. When he reached a 
settlement it "seemed a day of gladness." Many with open arms 
embraced him, and often with the remark "We are glad you have 
come back. We have not heard a sermon since you were with us last 
year." He found the people possessed of but limited school privileges, 
and generally observed a great scarcity of books, especially of a re- 
ligious character. 

In July 1795 the Rev. Daniel Thatcher, a missionary, under the 
auspices of the Presbyterian General Assembly, organized a church at 
Lima,'- and one in Geneseo, which subsequently removed to and still 

1. The orgauizatioii was denominated the "Missionary Society of Connecticut," and was the 
first organization of the kind in the Cnited States. Its meetings were held at the State Honse in 

2. Then ca1le<l Charlestown. 


remains at Lakeville. Neither of these societies was immediately 
prosperous. That at Lima continued feeble until 1799, when it was 
reoiganized as a Congregational society, and that at Geneseo, irreg- 
ularly supplied and destitute of stated public worship, remained in- 
effective for some years and until the removal to its present location. 

The missionaries seemed reluctant to cross the river. Society 
there' for several years paid little regard to the demands of the 
church, or, indeed, to the mere ordinary restraints of order, and it 
was a common remark, untd the Scotch settlement was formed at 
Caledonia, thai "Sabbath day never crossed the Genesee river." 

In 1802 the Hampshire Missionary Society of Massachusetts sent 
out missionaries to the new settlements. These also visited the Indian 
villages along the Genesee river. The Society represented that it 
had been favored with liberal subscriptions by the public for the ex- 
penses of ministers and for the purchase of bibles and other religious 
writings to be distributed among the settlers. The letter of introduc- 
tion from the trustees of the Society to the missionaries is written in 
liberality of spirit. They were enjoined to avoid mere doctrinal dis- 
putations, and not to complain of the unavoidable hardships incident 
to a new country, which they were voluntarily undertaking. 

The broad forests and fine natural scenery of Western New York, 
and a desire, perhaps, to see the Indian in his native haunts, appear to 
have possessed a fascination for European travelers. The visit of Talley- 
rand has already been mentioned. Louis Philippe, afterward Citizen 
King of France, tarried many days along the streams and among the 
habitations of the early settlers, and in June 1795 the Duke de Lian- 
court, "one of the most eminent noljlemen of France," says General 
King, passed through the Genesee valley, visiting every settlement and 
spending several weeks with Captain Williamson, Mr. Wadsuorih and 
others. He was accompanied by a young Englishman, three or four 
servants and a favorite dog named Cartouche, who made a good meal 
of one of black Jenny's fine chickens at Geneseo, greatly to her dis- 
gust. The Duke was a close observer, and has left an interesting 
record of what he .=aw. He liked Capt. AV'illiamson, who explained to 
him that, after spending si.x months in visiting and surveying the 
estate of his principals, he concluded to establish several settlements 
rather than one capital colony. The most eligible spots were there- 


fore fixed upon, and Bath, Williamsburgh,' Geneva and Great Sodus 
were begun. By the summer of 179') three grist and seven saw mills 
had been erected, and the eight hundred thousand acres that iiad 
been disposed of at an average price of three dollars per acre had re- 
funded the whole purchase money and other expenses incurred, and 
left a net profit of fifty thcjusand pounds sterling. The Duke says 
that AVilliamson personally directed everything and was attentive to 
all who had business with him. Contracts were promptly concluded 
and new settlers were treated with marked consideration. The titles 
secured from him were perfect; and the terms, which were reasonable 
and easy, required that all who purchased land of him should 
clear a certain number of acres and place a family upon the farm 
within eighteen months, half the purchase money to be paid at the 
end of three years and the remainder at the end of six years. No 
settler was allowed to want. Occasionally a poor famdy was supplied 
with a cow, and, where a willing farmer was found struggling, with a 
yoke of oxen and even a house to shelter him, where adversity render- 
ed such an act a matter of humanity. Williamson was everywhere. 
No detail was too insignificant for his personal attention, and no com- 
plaint was too trivial. His manner was mild and just, and his policy 
is commended in fitting terms by the titled Frenchman 

De Liancourt brought a letter of introduction from General Chapin 
to William Wadsw'orth, whom they found at Geneseo preparing to leave 
the next morning for Canandaigua, where he was to meet his militia 
command for a general muster. Of the ride to Geneseo the Duke 
says, that "along the whole route from Canandaigua to Geneseo the 
woods, beautiful to the eye, are not so crowded with trees as on the 
other side (of Canandaigua). Several parts of the forest have been 
burnt over by the Indians." The Duke was invited to spend the night 
at ^Ir. Wadsworth's house, and, as there was no tavern then in Gene- 
seo, he accejjted. It was then eight o'clock in the evening and Mr. 
Wadsworth was just mounting his horse to visit a friend. The Duke 
describes Wadsworth's domicile as a "small log house as dirty as any 
I have ever seen." vStores of all kinds, meats, vegetables and live 
poultry were crowded in and about the house, and the Frenchman's 
olfactories were ofifended by the odors, and he was not overpleased with 

1. A rull accouut of this now extinct village will he found in the sketch of the town of 


the beds. But so hearty a welcome was extended to him that he could 
overlook what his fastidious taste did not approve, and he was well 
pleased with the rough courtesy and Vjluff manner of his host. The 
Duke rose early in the morning to see Mr. Wadsworth, then a captain, 
before he set out for the muster. He foimd him undergoing the 
operation of hair-dressing at the hands of his negro woman Jenny. 
An Indian came in and bought a barrel of whiskey of him, and two 
persons from Williamsburgh were negotiating the purchase of some 
lands while his hair was receiving the final touches. Orders were 
given to the domestics and to his man of business, and a pressing re- 
quest was made of the Duke to pass several days under his roof, all 
in the space of a few minutes. When the Captain's fine horse was 
brought to the door he grasped the Duke's hand, mounted his black 
charger and galloped away. "After the Captain left," says the Duke, 
"his nephew, a youth of about fifteen vears of age. rondintcil us to 
the flats which border the river." 

On the flats, three miles from Mr. Wadsworth's. residence, the Duke 
found a recluse named De Boni, whose character and history greatly 
interested him. Hermit-like, De Boni occupied a log hut, twelve feet 
square, built by himself and a faithful mulatto servant named Joseph. 
Twenty acres of land supplied them with grains and garden vegeta- 
bles, and an occasional day's labor of Joseph secured them milk and 
eggs of their neighbors. De Boni was a Frenchman, a native of 
Alsace, born of parents of w-ealth and position. A quarrel with a 
neighboring land proprietor led to a duel in which his antagonist, a 
gentleman of greater age than himself and a man of consequence, 
was wounded. The dread of a lettrc de cachet induced him to quit his 
native country and find his way to San Domingo, where he enlisted 
as a private soldier. Opportunity soon afforded a discharge, and his 
ability and attainments as a civil engineer secured him a situation in 
the government of the island. He also became a planter and was en- 
joying a good income when civil dissensions suddenly broke out, and he 
w-as forced to quit the island. He came to America with little money 
and few effects. At Hartford he met Colonel Jeremiah 'Wadsworth, 
who, commiserating his condition, offered him the land he was found 
occupying, and aided him in securing a small sum of money. The 
Duke's party, now increased by the addition of two countrymen, sent 
■word to De Boni that the party would dine with him the ne.xt day. 


The hermit expressed tmich satisfaction on their arrival, and though 
habitually peevish, exerted himself to make their visit agreeable. 
They found him a man of forty years of age, and of easy and agree- 
able manners. His reading had been extensive, his understanding was 
sound and his conversation entertaining. His nature was over-sensi- 
tive, and misfortimes had quite soured his temper and made him a 
misanthrope; and even the sprightly conversation of his countrymen 
did not dispel, except at intervals, tlie settled gloom that overhung 
his spirits, nor jirevent occasional bitter references to mankind, whom, 
in the gross, he appeared deeply to hate. He spoke kindly of Joseph, 
a busy and cheerful fellow, who stood in the relatirjn of a friend rather 
than of a servant, and dwelt upon his capacity as a husbandman, gar- 
dener and cook, and the shrewdness with which he managed to 
secure the assistance of farmers and their teams to cultivate his land. 
Of the Indians occupying a small village located near his domicile he 
spoke kindly. Their freednm from the restraints of society and their 
dislike of the encroachments of the whites seemed to agree with his 
own singular mood, and he reasoned acutely in favor of that form of 
society which gives back to the whole all property and dispenses with 
all law. Two of the i^arty passed the night with him, and at parting 
he expressed his thanks for the attention that had been shown him. 

On their return the party were made acquainted with many facts 
relating to the progress of the settlements. Day laborers were then 
scarce and readily commanded one dollar a day. Merchandise was 
brought by Mr. Wadsworth from Connecticut to supply his store, in 
wagons drawn by oxen, and the cost of transportation was met by 
fattening and selling the oxen at Niagara for beef at enhanced prices. 
Land was worth from $2 to $2.50 per acre, and under the contracts 
the purchase all fell due in four vears. the interest running from the. 
date (jf the contract. 

The Duke and his party quit Geneseo on the morning of the 16th 
of June 1795 for Niagara. He says the road from Geneseo to Canan- 
daigua "is a good one for this country. As usual it leads through the 
midst of woods. Within the space of twelve miles we saw only one 
habitation." Of Canawaugus he says, "the inhabitants here are yet 
but few, but among them is one of the best inns we have seen for 
some time past. Mr. Berry keeps it, a good civil man," but of whose 
sobriety he does not speak so flatteringly. 


The Duke makes particular reference to the oak openings along the 
road. These singular tracts, entirely free of timber and showing 
signs of former cultivation, as well as the open flats of the Genesee, 
"where ten thousand acres might be found in one body, encumbered 
with not even bush, but covered with grass so high that the largest 
bullock, at thirty feet from the path, would be completely hid from 
view,"' excited much speculation in early days. The first settlers 
supposed that the openings were poor lands, and it was only when 
compelled to test their quality that they discovered, to their agreea- 
ble surprise, that the soil was of great excellence, and lands which 
before could have been bought for a quarter of a dollar an acre at 
once advanced to ten dollars. 

In May IT'Jf) Charles Williamson was placed in nomination ft)r the 
Assembly, the district embracing the counties of Ontario and 
Steuben, which then included all this region, and out of 63S 
votes cast he received all but eleven. Lemuel Chipman wa> 
elected to the Assembly on the same ticket. The returns from th^ 
town of Sparta, which had cast its suffrages for him, were sent tu 
Albany signed only by the clerk of the poll and not by the inspectors. 
The vote of the town was therefore rejected and lost. Captain Wil- 
liamson secured useful legislation for this region, and lost no oppor- 
tunity of making the advantages of the Genesee country known to his 
■colleagues and others. Other effective influences were also at work to 
bring the region to the attention of capitalists. James Wadsworth 
was in London in the spring of 1796, negotiating for the sale of Gen- 
esee lands. He writes in May, "My letters and friends have intro- 
duced me to an extensive acquaintance and a number of cajiitalists. 
I think I may be justified in saying that I have been able to inspire 
greater confidence in American new lands among gentlemen of prop- 
erty and respectability here than any who have preceded me on simi- 
lar business." He found an earnest coadjutor in Sir William Pulteney, 
with whom he was on terms of social intimacy. An observer, writing 
from Ontario county a few years later, says, "No land agent in the 
Genesee country is so successful as James Wadsworth. He sells three 
times as much as any one else." With the increasing sales of land 
and growing immigration the roads began to improve. In Septem- 
ber 1796 Thomas Morris, writing to his father, says, "From Bath to 

1. Williamsou's letters to a friend. 


the Genesee river the r(jad is very practicalile for wagons to travel, 
although at this season it is nut always good." Williamson had pro- 
cured legislation on the subject (if public highways, and the Indians, 
who had previously oppnseil the cutting of a road through their lands 
from Canandaigua to Niagara, agreed in a C(jnference held in October 
IT'il), at which Cornplanter was a principal speaker, to grant the priv- 
ilege. "■ 

In the Spring of 1796 William Magee- came to Sparta with his fam- 
ily and settled in the Canaseraga valley, on what was formerly known 
as the Ward farm. He had selected the land the previous year, and eti- 
gaged his brother Henry, who was then residing on Captain John 
Smith's farm, to put up a log cabin against the arrival of himself and 
familv. He left New Jersey in September 1795, Intt thiods in the Sus- 
quehanna detained him several months, and it was not until May that 
he was enabled to place his little family on a flat boat and make the 
slow journey up the river. From Hortiellsville to Sparta thev came 
by wagons laden with household effects, a pair of copper stills and seed, 
passing over the site of Dansville, where not a building of any des- 
cription had as yet been erected.-^ The house then building, about 
seventy rods east of the Canaseraga, was not yet dtme on their arrival 
and the family took temporary shelter in an Indian hut near by. The 
country was indeed new. The nearest neighbor north was Henry 
Magee, distant by way of the road which then ran on the flats near 
the swamp three miles, and as the gullies were yet unspanned by 
bridges and the steep places unleveled, locomotion was not very rapid. 
To the south the nearest neighbor was Darling Havens, who was keep- 
ing tavern in a log cabin three iniles away. Groveland hill did not 
count a single settler. The road, a path by way of Havens' tavern, led 
to the Williamson grist mill and saw mill, the latter standing a few 
rods below the former, near Dansville; and the only settler on the road 

1. Albany Gazette (if October 17, 1796. 

2, William Magee was a native of Ireland, which couutry he left in I7.s.i, and landed at I'hil- 
adelphia the same year. From there he went to Greenwich, New Jersey, where in 178S he married 
Hannah (Jiiick, who was of Low Dntch descent. From thence he came to the Genesee conntry. 

^. It was an entire wilderness. I mean where the village now stands. South of the village 
nearly a mile there was one log cabin owned and occupied by Neal McCay, and one other cabiu 
occupied by .^mariah Hammond, north of the present village, near the Indian trail that passed 
through the place. He came into the place the same year that my father came into Sparta, 1796. 

— Sam'l Magee's Mss. Recollections. 


between the tavern and the mill was Captam John Clark, who then 
lived near the old Drieshach tavern stand. The site oi Uansville was 
a dense thicket of pine underbrush with here and there a stately pine 
tree. A mere wagon-track led to the mill, and to right and left "the 
pine bush was so thick that a person could not possibly see one rod into 
it on either side.""^- Both flat and hillside were a dense wilderness. 

About a mile north of Henry Magee's house, on the main road, was a 
small settlement called Hermitage. Residing there were Captain John 
Smith, a surveyor of some note, and a brother, tieorge Smith, Alex- 
ander McDonald, a distiller, James Butler, an Irish boot and shoe 
maker, Scotch John Smith, Joseph -Roberts and several sons, all young 
men grown. Hector McKay, Robert Wilson. James Templeton, u lail- 
or, Nicholas Beach and Levi Dunn. 

In 1798 Thomas Howey opened a blacksmith shop at Hermitage. 
At that time there was no other blacksmith in the town of Sparta, and 
yet he had not business enough to engage him more than half the time, 
the remainder of his time he employed in farming. He was stout and 
not well suited to horseback riding, and consequently one day, when 
his family stood in need of some flour, he consulted with a fellow coun- 
tryman, James Butler, residing near the site of Driesbach's tavern, 
who advised him to make an Irish slide-car, as being better suited to 
traveling the Indian path, -for there was no road. Butler gave him a 
description of the article and he made one which was pronounced all 
right. Taking an early start, he got along very well until he reached 
James Rodman's distillery. Here he was treated to a little 
good whiskey, after which he went on to the mill, got his grist, load- 
ed up his slide-car and came back as far as Rodman's. Several more 
liberal potations of whiskey on an empty stomach rendered it expedient 
for him to take passage on the slide-car himself. After going about 
two miles he broke down. Being in no condition to place the grist 
on his horse, he concluded to leave it on the side of the path and 
make his way back to Rodman's and remain there all night. 
Repairing his car the following morning, he returned to his 
grist (jnly to find that meantime a drove of wild hogs had discovered 
it, torn the bags into shreds and eaten up the flour. How could he ex- 
plain the loss to his wife? A broken cog on the mill wheel was 
charged with the delay, and for a time the excuse passed muster; but 

1. Samuel Magee. 


finally his wife and the neighbors got hold of the secret and Howey 
never heard the last of it. 

Williamsburgh contained at this time three frame buildings and 
several log houses, perhaps twelve in all, mostly built by Captain Wil- 
lianis<in. The inhabitants were Captain Starr, the tavern keeper, 
Samuel Ewin, John Ewart, William Harris. Green Smith, Thomas 
and William Lemen. distillers, and Matthias Lemen, a tanner and 
currier. "The first sermon we listened to after our arrival," says 
Samuel ]Magee, "was in what was known as Williamson's big barn at 
Hermitage, some two hundred feet long, say some of the early settlers, 
built to accommodate horses that came to the races, since owned and 
used by Judge Carroll. Rev. Samuel Mills preached to an attentive 
congregation." Here and there was an Indian who had come stealth- 
ily in and taken a seat as far as possible out of view, where he watch- 
ed the exercises with curious attention. Samuel Mills resided one 
mile south of Williamsburgh on the east bank of the Canasei'aga. 
His sons, all men grown and residing with him. were Samuel, Jr., 
Alexander, Lewis, Philo and William A. In the summer he held ser- 
vice in the Williamson barn, and in the winter at private houses. 

In 1797 the State took the road from Fort Schuyler to Geneva under 
its patronage. A lottery had been granted by the Legislature for 
opening and improving certain great highways of the State, and 
among the number was this road. The inhabitants on the line of the 
road voluntarily subscribed four thousand days' work to put it into- 
condition, and the commissioners "were enabled to complete the road. 

\ of near one hundred miles, opening it (>4 feet wide and paving 
I with logs and gravel the moist parts, * * * and what in the month 

/ of June 1797 was little better than an Indian path, was so far improv- 

/ ed that a stage started from Fort Schuyler on the 3()th of September 
and arrived at the hotel in Geneva in the afternoon of the third day 
with four passengers, "1 and stages then ran weekly from Canandaigua 
to Albany. The new road so quickened travel, that within the space 

of five weeks in the following winter five hundred sleighs with fami- 
lies pa.ssed through Geneva. 

In 1798 there was quite an addition to the population of Old Sparta 
from Pennsylvania, in the persons of James Rosebrugh. \Villiam Mc- 
Xair and his three sons James, Andrew and Robert, three other sons by 

I. Williamson's Letters. 


a former wife, John, Iluy;h and William R., the latter unmarried, and 
James and Samuel Culljertson and John Niblack. The next year came 
Jesse Collar and two sons, younj^ men, who settled at Collartown, now 
Scottsburj^. l'hili|) (Jilnian and a larj^e family of boys also arrived 
soon after and located near James Henderson's, within one mile of Collar- 
town and near the head of Conesus lake. The same year Charles Car- 
roll of Bellevue and his brother liaiiirl visited the Genesee country, 
•crossing the mountains on horseback, a servant accompanying them 
with a led pack mule with provisions. They spent several weeks in 
"reconnoitering the country, but my uncle thought the iirosjiect too dis- 
couraging," says Judge Carroll, "and they returned without i)urchas- 

A weekly line of stages was established the same year between old 
Fort Schuyler and Geneva by John House and Thomas Pcnvell. ' 

At the election of Governor in May, 179S, Pittstown,- (ieneseo and 
other towns, constituting the present county, gave 5(>2 votes for Jay 
and 79 for Livingston. 

At this time the town of Sjjarta embraced the leriitory 
of the present towns of vSparta, West Sparta, (iroveland, Conesus 
and Springwater, and though the po]niIation was sparse, there 
were no less than eight grain distilleries in the town.* The means 
of transportation would not admit of sending grain to market 
in its natural condition, and as a barrel of whiskey occui)ied 
far less space this mode was resorted to. Rye was [irincipally used 
for stilling, which was generally done in the winter season when the 
still slops were fed to stock. It is not to be presumed that with such 
facilities for imbibing there could be much check upon ajipetites, and 
many are the incidents rclaling to the results of insobriety among the 
■early settlers. A pioneer who lived near the river would now and then 
(take a drop too much, to the great annoyance of his higli-spirited wife. 
She had tried several expedients to break him of the habit but without 

1. The geography of the new country was as yel imperfectly iinderstootl. The Albany Ga- 
zette, the best informed of the eastern papers, in referring to an advertisement in its cohinuis. 
says that "4000 acres of land is offered for sale in township 7, range 6 (in Steuben connt>-) adjoin- 
ing the settlement of Daniel Faulkner at Dansville, near U'illiaiiishurgh." 

2. Kichniond, Ontario County, from which Livonia was formed in iSoS, was then known a^ 

3. These distilleries were con<luctcd by Wm. I. emeu. Win. Magee. .-Mcxauder McDonald, 
ilector McKay. Nicholas Heach, John Uyland, James Kodman, and James Scotl. 


effect. So one night as he was returning- late and much the worse 
for new whiskey, she stepped suddenly before hini in the road wrapped 
in a white sheet. This brought him to a full halt. "Who are ye, any 
way?" said he. The spectre gave no answer. "Who are ye?" Still 
there was no answer. ."If you're a good spirit you'll do ine no harm, 
so no fear on that score. If you're the devil, as I suspect, I've married 
into your family and as you're too much of a gentleman t" injure a 
relative, I fear no danger from that cjuarter, so I pass." The ghost 
retired discomfited, and the bibulous wayfarer trudged home. 

The first school house built in Old Sparta was a log hut of small size 
erected at Hermitage in the fall of 1798, and opened the following 
May with a man named Blanchard as teacher, and a dozen or fifteen 
scholars gathered fiom a long distance, Samuel Magee, then a lad, 
coming two and a half miles through a dense wilderness "As 
there were others who had quite as far to come," said he, "I did not 
complain. Ditworth's spelling book was then in use. In the 
winter the school was well attended. I have known many a young 
man and woman in the winter schools twenty-five years old and up- 
wards and very poor scholars at that." 

The residents of Hermitage did their trading at Geneseo, where the 
current price of a barrel of salt, all of which was brought by teams 
from the Onondaga salt works, was five dollars. Tea was so great a 
rarity that the wife of Judge Rosebrugh, on receiving a small quanti- 
ty as a present a few months after coming to Sparta, invited several 
of the settlers to her house to enjoy it with her family. The men 
left their plows and in their shirt sleeves, their coats on their arms, 
started on foot while their wives mounted horses and threaded their 
way over Indian trails to the hospitable roof. The story runs that the 
guests came near having the opportunity of testing the quality of the 
novel plant as an article uf food rather than of drink. Its [jrepara- 
tion having been left to a domestic better skilled in "greens" than in 
bohea, as "store tea" was then called, Mrs. Rosebrugh by accident 
overheard one of the children of the household asking the servant "why 
she put so much bohea into the kettle," and on looking found a good 
part of her treat ready for stewing. 

In the latter part of the summer of 1798, the Senecas got the im- 
pression that the government was not going to pay them the interest 
on the hundred thousand dollars received frnm Robert Morris. 


Their chiefs earnestly besought the Indian agent and other leading 
whites to see to it that their people were not disappointed in obtaining 
their money. "We expect," said they, "that an annuity of $0,000 
will be ready for us at the falling of the leaves." General Chapin 
wrote the Secretary of War, "I hope, sir, this business may be attend- 
ed to, and that the money may be sent in dollars, as no other money 
can be divided among them to their satisfaction. To have it sent in 
silver dollars ma)- occasion more expense, yet such at the time the 
agreement was concluded was the understanding of all parties." 

The French Revolution caused much alarm am^ong the neighboring 
governments of Europe, and to none more than to England. In 1797 
there was great fear of an invasion, and the British Parliament in that 
year laid upon every estate the obligation of raising a certain number 
of fencibles. The Scottish Earl of Broadalbin, in carrying out this 
requisition, directed that every person on his broad earldom who had 
two sons must place one of them in the fencibles or leave his estates. 
The measure was unpopular in Scotland, and availing themselves of 
the alternative, a number of young men sailed from Greenock in March 
1798, and after a passage of six weeks landed at New York. Captain 
Williamson was apprised of the arrival of so desirable a party of colon- 
ists of his countrymen, and lost no time in inviting thetn to locate 
on his lands. They decided, however, to ha've a committee of their 
number examine the lands; a favorable report was made, and in 
March 1799 a party of twenty-three of them, one-third of whom were 
females, set out on foot from Johnstown, Montgomery county, for 
the present town of Caledonia. After a journey of ten days they 
reached their destination. The land was laid off into small farms 
which were assigned by casting lots. ^ The whole party set to work to 
build a log house for each family, and beyond a trifling expenditure 
for nails for the doors and for fastening the clapboards upon the ga- 

I. lu Willianisou's Letters he says, "The plan of this settlement occupies about acres, 
distributed in the following manner: 

For the Ministry loo acres. 

" Schools about 60 

Ten gentlemen, 500 acres each 5.000 

Ten farmers, 100 " " 1,000 

Forty " 78 " " 3.120 " 

For the village, 60 lots of 12 acres each, 720 

10,000 " 


bles, their domiciles were completed without the use of money. All 
about them was wilderness, full of Indians and alive with deer, wolves 
and rattlesnakes. "A man." said John Mc\'ean, "might travel twen- 
ty miles north or south from the settlement and not see one house 
except an Indian hut." Fever and ague made its appearance, and one 
b}- one it attacked the new comers, but they soon recovered. 



THE PREOCCUPIED farmers of the new settlements found little 
leisure for politics. In the address of a committee of Federal- 
ists, of which Judge Porter was Secretary, to the people of the 
old county of Ontario, "It was regretted that the inhabitants of 
this county have in former elections betrayed so much remissness 
and neglect in giving their votes, that not more than one-third of the 
electors have voted," and so modest were candidates here that, says 
the address, "it is to be remarked that Members of Congress from the 
Western district (embracing the counties of Onondaga, Cayuga and 
others) have uniformly been elected from counties east of this."* 
A convention followed at Canandaigua in March, which nominated 
Thomas Morris for Congress and two Federal candidates for the As- 
sembly, of whom the latter were elected. 

In 1800 Charles Carroll, ^ of Bellevue. Maryland, induced his friends 
and neighbors. Colonel William Fitzhugh and Colonel Nathaniel Rocli- 
ester to join him in a visit to the Genesee country in quest of a town 
site contiguous to a water power. They came on horseback by way of 
Bath, over the Williamson road, accompanied by a servant and a led 
mule. Captain Williamson advised them to go to the Falls, as the 
present city of Rochester was then called, where they bought of Indian 
Allen one hundred acres embracing a mill site at the edge of the fall, 
and also a tract in the center of the present city, on the west side of 
the river, of the Pulteney estate. Returning up the valley, Carroll and 
Fitzhugh purchased 12,000 acres in Sparta and Groveland, on which 
they subsequently resided, and Rochester purchased seven hundred 
acres in the latter town. Their families had been intimate in Mary- 
land, and in this new country they proposed to continue this intimacy 

1. See .'Vlbauy Gazette of Feb. iSoo. 

2. Mr. Carroll was boru at CarroUsburg, Md. (uow in the city of Washiugtou), Nov. 7, 1767; he 
died in Groveland Oct. 28, 1823. His remains lie in the Williarasburgh cemetery. 


and friendship. They returned to Maryland and in 1807 sent mit an 
agent named Begole to take charge of their lands. ^ 

At the legislative session of ISOO an act was passed for improving 
the State road from Utica to Geneva and incorporating a turnpike road 
company. The capital stock was fixed at 2,200 shares at $50 per 
share. The Commissioners under the act were Charles Williamson, 
Benjamin Walker, Jedediah Sanger and Israel Chapin. Books were 
opened for subscriptions to the stock at Geneva, Canandaigua, Utica 
and Albany. The prospectus estimated that there could annually be 
drawn from Onondaga, Cayuga, Ontario and Steuben upward of 
500,0(11) bushels of wheat, with a due proportion of other produce, and 
it concluded as follows; "Travellers all agree that the settlement and 
improvement of these counties have been more rapid and prosperous 
than that of any other tract of country of the same surface was ever 
known to be. Spirit of emigration still in its infancy, owing to the 
extreme difficulty of passing to and from it, as the present state of the 
roads for nine months in the year renders it almost impracticable to 
travel it even on horseback." 

At the election for State Senator in 1800 Sparta gave 37 votes 
for Jedediah Sanger, Hartford (Avon), 71 for the same candidate, 
Pittstown (Livonia), 69; Charleston (Lima) gave 94 for Nathaniel 
King and 22 for Jedediah Sanger, and Geneseo gave 75 for Sanger. 

The fall of 1801 proved to be quite sickly. The weather was un- 
commonly wet and bilious fever was very prevalent, though not of a 
very fatal type. Indeed, agues and other bilious complaints were 
common prior to 1804. Maple sugar making was common among 
farmers at this period, many of them making from five hundred to one 
thousand pounds in a season. The soil produced abundantly and 
bountifid harvests rewarded the labors of the husbandman. 

At the State election in May 1801 the candidates for Governor 
were Stephen Van Rensselaer and George Clinton, and the vote in 
the towns embraced in the present limits of Livingston county stood 
as follows: Charleston gave Van Rensselaer 51 votes and Clinton 63; 
Sparta, 10 for Van Rensselaer and 29 for Clinton; Geneseo, 22 for Van 
Rensselaer, 63 for Clinton ; Pittstown, 81 for Van Rens.selaer, 27 for 
Clinton; Northampton, 78 for Van Rensselaer, 10 for. Clinton; Hart- 
ford. 41 for Van Rensselaer, 25 for Clinton; giving Stephen \'an 

1. Begole settled at Hermitage aud became the father of a large family. 


Rensselaer a majority of GG in the county. Govcrnnr Clinton was 
elected, however, by a majority of 3,965. 

The census of Ontario county taken this year showed 1 ,(>')! electors 
possessing a freehold of 100 pounds value, 247 electors possessing a 
freehold of 20 pounds value and 923 electors who rented tenements of 
forty shillings annual value. Sixteen hundred and thirty-four free- 
holders was the ratio to one Senator, and 860 electors to one Member 
■oi Assembly. 

The Indians, who had now e.\perienced the advantages of machinery, 
Avere no longer content to hew the material for their houses with the 
axe, nor pound their corn and other grains in the mortar. They 
wanted saw mills and flouring mills. At a council held in May IHOl, 
after deciding to annex the property of Squakie Hill and Little 
Beardstown reservations to Buffalo Creek, and Big Tree to Tona- 
wanda, they authorized their head men to negotiate for the disposal of 
Canawaugus reservation to secure means to erect a grist and saw 
mill, in case the land would amount to their cost. Soon after this 
their chiefs began to advise them to dispose of the other reservations 
along the Genesee, remarking that "our great reason for this exchange 
is that there are bad Indians living on these lands, and by placing 
them more compact will be the means of keeping them in better 
order," and they applied directly to Captain AVilliamson and Thomas 
Morris to aid them in exchanging their lands for other property. 

The observation of the Indians had advanced them another step 
toward civilization. At a council held near Geneseo in November 
1801, at which the principal chiefs of the Senecas and representatives 
of the Onondagas, Cayugas and Delawares took part. Red Jacket, 
speaking for his people, said, "We have assembled at this time to re- 
ceive our annuities. We have been treated fairly, but we wish next 
year that fine broadcloths be omitted and coarser woolen cloths be 
sent in their place, that a small portion may be divided to all, for our 
old men, women and children are now looking to you for something to 
screen them from the cold winter blasts and snows At this season, 
too, our young men betake themselves to the forest to procure game. 
They want more powder and lead. We no longer find our game at 
our doors, but are obliged t<i go to a great distance for it. and even 
then find it scarce to what it used to be. The white people are scat- 
tered so thicklv over the countrv that the deer have almost fled from 


us, and we find our-;elves obliged to pursue some other mode of 
getting our living. vSo all our villages have determined to take to 
husbandry, and we have concluded to accept the proposition of Presi- 
dent Washington when he told us we must learn the customs of the 
W'hite people, and he would provide us oxen to plow the grf)und and 
relieve our women from digging; with cows which our girls could 
learn to milk, and to make butter and cheese, and with farming 
utensils and spinning wheels. He told us we must make use ot beef 
instead of moose and elk meat, swine instead of bears, sheep in place 
of deer. Brothers! we desire you to make known to the President, who 
is in the place of General Washington^ that we agree to accept his 
oiler, for we find ourselves in a situation which we believe our fore- 
fathers never thought of." 

A gentleman travelling through this region in June, 18(i2, writes 
to the Albany Gazette that "the spirit of improvement which pervades 
all parts of this State the present season has no example in our history. 
Turnpike roads are now progressing with spirit in all directions. A 
chain of them stretch the whole extent of the route from Schenectady 
to Canandaigua, a distance of 193 miles, which it is expected will be 
completed by the middle of October. " Writmg in the latter month 
on the subject the Gazette says, "On the great turnpike much work 
has been performed, and although not finished the road in its 
whole extent has received most valuable repairs." Proposals were 
also made to the energetic Commissioners to carry the turnpike to 
Presque Isle, Niagara Falls. 

In the same year James Wadswortli offered to set apart one thou- 
sand acres of land adjoining the rix'er to encourage an English settle- 
ment, and adds, "I am disposed to offer substantial encouragement 
to the first English families who remove into this town." 

At the Senatorial election in May, 1803, Ontario county gave 808 
votes for Hyde, the Democratic candidate, and 105') for Matthews, 
the Federal candidate, showing a large increase in tlie aggregate 
vote in the count} . 

In October of this year the Holland Land Company advertised 
three millions of acres of land for sale. By 1SU3 there were about thir- 
ty families settled in Geneseo. In April, of that year James Wadsworth 
had fixed the price of the bottom lands adjoining the river at $4 to 

1. John .Ad.Tiiis. 


$5 per acre, according to quality aiul situation, ami offered five 
thousand acres of these lands for sale. 

In 1803 Ontario county elected three Federal Members of the 
Assembly, Nathaniel W. Howell, B. P. Wisner and Amos Hall, over 
their Democratic competitors, Daniel Chapin, John Swift and E. 
Patterson, by an average majority of 350. At the State election in 
!May, 1804, Ontario county gave 792 votes for Lewis for Governor, 
and 1178 for Aaron Burr. The number of votes for Assemblyman in 
^lay, 1S()4, ill Hartford (Avon) was 134; Geneseo, 118, Sparta, 95; 
Leicester, 81; Southampton, 114. 

The summer of 1804 proved to be one of great scarcitv. James 
"Wadsworth, writing on the 19th of July of that year, says, "So great 
a scarcity of provisions has never been experienced in this country." 
The growing crop, however, proved a good one, and in November 
of that year a wagon load of Genesee wheat was carried to Albany 
from Bloomfield, 220 miles. The quantity was one hundred busliels 
and was drawn by four yokes of o.xen. It w'as purchased at Bloomfield 
for five shillings per bushel, and sold in Albany for seven shillings and 
three pence, the net proceeds of the load being not less than $100. 
The journey, notwithstanding the condition of the roads at that season, 
was performed in twenty days. This was the first venture of the kind 
yet undertaken of transporting by land grain from so great a distance, 
and was only justified by the e.xceptionally high price then ruling in 
the Eastern market, l A team with an ordinary load could make the 
trip over the turnpike from the Genesee to Albany and return in a 

The price ot unimproved lands in 1S04 east of the Genesee ranged 
from $2 to $4 per acre, and for farms of one hundred acres, of which 
twenty to thirty were improved, with log house and barn, would sell 
for from $6 to $20 per acre; west of the river the best unimproved land 
sold for $1.50 to $2.50 per acre. 

Among the annoyances to which the pioneer farmer was subjected, 
not the least was the depredations of the Indians. The misappropri- 
ation did not always arise, perhaps, from deliberate intent to commit 
a larceny, but it required some time for the native to become accus- 
tomed to the white man's notion of the rights of property. It was 
not an uncommon thing for a farmer to find an Indian astride a horse 

I. .■\lb.Tiiy Gazette, Nov. 22, 1804. 


in search for which he had spent days, and the coolness with which 
the native would listen to the reprimand was often as provoking as 
the loss of time occasioned by the search. Saddles, hogs, meat and 
wearing apparel were not infrequently taken. It was no satisfaction 
to obtain a judgment for costs against an Indian, for the officer could 
seldom find anything to levy upon. Farmers, therefore, resorted to 
General Chapin, the Indian agent, who, at the annual payment of an- 
nuities, would deduct properly authenticated accounts against the In- 
dians, and thus compel their chiefs to put a check upon the lawlessness 
of their followers. '^ The case, however, had two sides. The policy 
of the government toward the Indians was not fully defined. Gen- 
eral Knnx, in writing to General Chapin, called it "helter-skelter 
conduct," and often the wrong doing was traceable to the practice of 
dealing out whiskey and rum to the Indians, often by direct order of 
the government agent;* and sometimes the misdeeds of the uncivil- 
ized red men were committed to retaliate for the thieving of the 
whites upon them. The latter class of petty evils was so serious that 
the Indian agent was supplied with an annual allowance for paying 
the Indians for articles taken from them by the whites. 

In January, 1805, the weather was exceedingly cold. On the 5th of 
that month John Kennedy, of Sparta, perished on the road as he was 
returning from mill. His team was near hini when found. Two 
men were frozen in Livonia and others died from the same cause. 

The year 1805 proved to be one of prosperity to this region. James 
Wadsworth says, "People here are very healthy, and everybody who 

1. Below is given specimens of these accounts: 

"Received of Isr'l Chapin Thirty Dollars in fnll of .Shirts, vest, etc. stolen from me in June last 
by the Indians of Squaka Hill. Wll. \VAD.SWORTH." 

Canandaigna, 3 Ap'l, iSoi. 

Israel Chapin. Esq., Indian Agent, "Gcuesco, 23d September, 1799. 

To John Bosley. Dr. 
For 650 (six hundred and fifty) pounds of Pork, being hogs killed by the Indians (of Sqnaka Hill> 
as acknowledged by them in the presence of Mr. Parrish and Capt. Jones. 
Dolls. 40 Cents 62," 
(This bill is receipted by James Bosley for S20. ) 

2. In the .Spring of 1792 Israel Chapin, Indian Agent at Canandaigna, supplied to Farmer's 
Brother and party, on their return from Philadelphia, 240 pounds of beef, 300 pounds of flour, 100 
pounds of pork and 10 gallons of whiskey. 

In October of the same year General Chapin delivered 4;<> gallons of whiskey for the purpose of 
enabling Red Jacket's family to build :i house. 


minds his business is j^rowing rich." Fanners had come in large 
numbers, but there was as yet much lacl< of persons of other occupa- 
tions. In September of this year James Wadsvvorth wrote, "There 
is not a good tanner within twenty-five miles of tiie (-lenesee river." 

In the month of January, 1805, the same gentleman was interesting 
himself in the establishment of postal facilities. On the 5lh of this 
month he wrote to Postmaster-General Granger on the subject, and 
said, there being then no post-office at Geneseo, "We at present some- 
times send our letters to Canandaigua, distance thirty miles, and some- 
times to Hartford, distance ten miles. As the postmaster at the latter 
place — Mr. Hosmer — is not a little careless we are subjected to many 
inconveniences. * * * * By establishing a P. O. at this place you 
will very much accommodate this and the neighboring towns. I 
imagine that the receipts of the office will more than pay the expense 
of transporting and returning the mail once a week from Hartford to 
this place." Mr. Wadsworthin early days, was in the habit of offering, 
to exchange new Genesee lands for old Connecticut and other eastern 
lands. On the 1st of August, 18U5, he writes Samuel Finley. "I am 
desirous of encouraging the most respectable settlement from Marl- 
borough to this town. I have determined to offer two important 
farms, together with a new farm of 100 acres, to three respectable 
families of Marlborough or the adjoining towns. You are therefore 
authorized to offer these three farms to three inhabitants of industry 
and established and approved principles in exchange for their farms, 
subject to this condition, that their farms shall be appraised by Esq. 
Joel Foote." Mr. "Wadsvvorth also authorized a friend to advance §1^ 
to each of two good men of Berkshire county, to come and view the 
Genesee country. He took great pains to diffuse accurate information 
as to climate, crops and lands, and also worked indefatigably to stim- 
ulate the growth and prosperity of the settlements. In August, 1805, 
Mr. Wadsworth writes, "I am resolved on making the experiment this 
fall of sending mule colts to the Genesee river," and ordered the 
purchase of one hundred. 

A feeling of prosperity was experienced by many of the settlers. Mr. 
Wadsworth wrote in August of this year, "I feel myself rich in Gen- 
esee lands, and rich in the faith that in a few years they will command 
|20 to $30 per acre." 

The fever common to the earlv settlers, known as the "CJenesee 


fever," still made its appearance, and nearly all the first settlers were 
attacked by it. It was of a low typhoid type and proved fatal in sev- 
eral instances. In others it left the constitution permanently impaired. 
Notwithstanding this, the currents were setting strong in the direc- 
tion of the GeiTesee country. Pittstown (Livonia) was receiving ac- 
cessions, from the prudent and industrious class of New England agri- 
culturists; indeed, all parts of the country were receiving additions. 
In December, 1805, yir. Waclsworth writes, "Such is the prodigious 
influ.x of settlers to the (ienesee river that provisions will be very 
scarce ne.xt summer." 

A total eclipse of the sun occurred near mid-day on ilonday, June 
16, 1806. The centre of the eclipse passed over Lake Erie, 
the Genesee country and Albany, and thence outward into 
the Atlantic t)cean to the southward of Nova Scotia. The at- 
mosphere during the forenoon had been perfectly clear, and the 
sun was very bright until fifty minutes past nine, when a little dark 
spot became visible about 45° to right of zenith. Shades increased, and 
at a cjuarter past ten o'clock stars were seen and the atmosphere began 
to assume a pale and gloomy hue. At a qiiarter after eleven the 
sun was wholly obscured. It now appeared like a black globe with a 
light behind. The darkness which equalled a deep twilight lasted 
three minutes. Business was suspended, fowls went to roost, birds 
were mute except the whip-poor-will, whose notes partially cheered the 
gloom, and an occasional bat flitted from its hiding place. The dew 
fell, the thermometer dropped a half dozen degrees, a certain chilli- 
ness was felt and nature everywhere seemed to have taken on a sober 
aspect. At about eighteen minutes past eleven o'clock a bright spot 
showed itself to the left of the sun's nadir similar to the f(jcus of a 
glass when refracting the sun's rays, and as this increased a change, 
how pleasing can scarcely be conceived, took place in the complexion 
of things, and at about forty minutes past twelve the sun again shone 
forth in full splendor. Such a spectacle is so rare that it is not a mat- 
ter of surprise that the Indians, who looked with peculiar horror up- 
on celestial phenomena, should have regarded so unusual an event an 
omen of fearful import. On this occasion they were filled with alarm. 
John Hunt, one of the pioneer settlers in the town of Groveland, says 
that Dan ^IcKay, an Indian trader residing in Geneseo, was at Canea- 
dea on the morning of the eclipse, and taking his watch out he told 


the Indians that at such an hour the sun would be totally obscured. 
As the sky was perfectly clear and their untutored minds knew noth- 
ing of science, they refused to credit his statement, and went so far as 
to wager ten dollars with him that the event he assumed to foretell 
would not come to pass. Having thus staked his money on the cer- 
taitity of the eclipse's occurring, he put out his horse and waited the 
event. As the hour approached and the sky became overcast, the 
■countenances of aWS poor Indians were also overcast, and there 
was depicted thereon the greatest anxiety and consternation, and they 
ran to and fro in the most abject terror. The eclipse, however, was 
soon over with, and as the sun again poured down its flood of light the 
spirits of the Indians rose, and they resumed their wonted composure. 
They paid their lost bet like men, and McKay started home ten dollars 
the richer for having possessed a little more education than his dusky 

In 1806 three Clintonian Members of Assembly were elected by the 
counties of Ontario and Genesee, which then voted together. 

The spring of 1806 was one of famine. James Wadsworth, under 
date of May 23d, says: "There is literally a famine in this land of 
milk and honey. A severe drought last summer cut off about half the 
crop of corn. The farmers, they hardly knew how themselves, con- 
siuiK-d their hay by the month of March, and have been compelled to 
feed out their grain to keep their cattle alive during a long, backward 
spring. They now find themselves destitute of bread to support their 
families. Six or eight families of the town of Southampton have 
applied to the overseer of the poor for assistance. I am supporting 
three or four families and expect to be called on by more soon. My 
brother has been compelled to turn forty fat oxen from our stables, to 
preserve the grain they were consuming for ]ioor families who Tiave 
not the means of subsistence." 

A writer to a friend at the East, in May, 18U6, says: "On my ar- 
rival I found upwards of thirty families at Mount Morris ready 
to go to work. Some of them have handsome properties." The 
settlements were still sparse, however. Richard Osbon, who settled 
in Leicester in 1806, said there was then but one house between Tus- 
carora, afterward the residence of Major Spencer, and Caledonia 
Springs. Where now is Vermont street in Conesus there was then 
no road and no settler, nor was there for several vears thereafter. 


Reverend Andrew Gray, a pioneer clergyman of the Presbyterian 
church, was preaching in Sparta in 1SU6, tiiough he subsequently ac- 
cepted a missionary appointment among the Indians near Lewiston 
(Livonia), and did not return to Sparta until after Buffalo was burned. 
In 180() the road from Bath through Dansville and Williamsburgh to 
Avon, was by law declared a post road. In the fall of 1806 the Post- 
master-General, Gideon Granger, established a post-office at Geneseo 
and provided a mail to Avon once a fortnight, the whole service to 
cost $2<') a year, and, says a letter of that day, "it accommodates us 
perfectly." A gentleman writing from Geneseo this same fall, says, 
"You are mistaken in supposing that in coming to this country you 
come to a desert; you will find better roads here than in Haddam,' 
and you will find most of the people who have been here two or three 
years enjoying the comforts of civilized life." 

In June, 18(16, James Scutt left Northumberland county, Pennsyl- 
vania, with his family consisting of his wife and ten children,- in a 
large covered wagon drawn by four horses and a yoke of oxen, reach- 
ing Sparta on the 1st of July. From Dansville they were obliged to 
cut a r<3ad most of the way to their new home. They settled in the 
woods on the Swick farm. There was no wagon road in any direction, 
except the one they had just opened. An Indian path ran from Con- 
esus to Hemlock valley, and nothing more. To the eastward stretch- 
ed an unbroken wilderness to Xaples, a distance of eighteen miles. 
In the territory now constituting the town of Springwater there was 
not a stick cut nor line drawn. A good many Indians roamed through 
the woods, and bears, wolves and deer by the score made their pres- 
ence known, while , panthers were far more common than welcome. 
Two years before bringing his family, ]Mr. Scott, who was an Irishman 
by birth, and a soldier in our Revnlutionary army from love for his 
adopted C(5untry, had visited Sparta on horseback in company with 
his wife, for the purpose of prospecting. The country suited the 
couple and in the fall two sons and one daughter came out, erected a 
log cabin, cleared oft' a piece of ground and sowed it with wheat. 
The next summer another son came out with a cnw. All went back 

1. Coutiecticut. 

2. One of whom was the Hou. Win. Scott of Scottsburgh. The names of the other children 
were Matthew, Anna, James, John. Charles, Jane, Thomas, Isabella and Samuel. 


to Pennsylvania in the fall and returned with the family. "The Sab- 
bath following our arrival in Sparta, "said Esquire Scott, "my father, 
one of the girls and four of us boys attended meeting at the house of 
George ^litchell, a log domicile two and one-half miles south of Scotts- 
burgh, where Samuel Emmett, a Methodist minister, preached a ser- 
mon to a congregation of twenty-five or thirty persons, who had gath- 
ered from a circuit of two or three miles. His text was Ecclesiastes 
X, 1. I had heard the good man preach in Pennsylvania five years 
before, and seeing him here renewed agreeable associations. His 
voice was loud enough to lift the bark roof from the low-browed house, 
and he had all the earnestness of early Methodism. There was much 
shouting, and some of his hearers fell with 'the power,' as it was called. 
The doxology was sung but no benediction was said except 'meetin's 
over.' The season was one of great scarcity, especially of wheat. We 
had learned this before quitting Pennsylvania, and had brought suffi- 
cient to last until our ripening crop, and a bountiful one it proved to 
be, could be harvested. Four of us brothers, of whom I was youngest, 
went over to Groveland hill to help in harvest. We worked for the 
brothers Hugh, Abraham and John Harrison. William and Daniel 
Kelly, and Thomas Bailey, William Magee on the Canaseraga fiats, 
Jacob Snyder, who had a crop at Hermitage but had moved to Hen- 
derson's flats before it ripened, and Thomas Begole. agent for the 
^Maryland Company. > In the fall we all went to MountMorris fiats and 
husked corn for Captain William A. Mills. Each hand of us got two 
bushels of corn in the ear for a day's work, and a brother with the 
two horses and wagon got si.\ bushels a day. By this means we se- 
cured a supply of corn for the winter. There were then but few in- 
habitants in the village of Mount Morris or Allen's Hill. Captain 
Mills was keeping tavern in a log cabin, and there were perhaps a 
dozen other log houses, occupied by the widow Baldwin, Deacon Stan- 
ley, Adam Holtslander^ and Grice Holland. A Mr. Hampton lived 
in a log house that is now called the Colonel Fitzhugh place,-'' and 

1. The purchase of Charles Carroll, Win. Fitzhugh aud Col. Rochester was then so called. 

2. Mr. Holtslauder resided at Mount Morris uutil 1S49, when he removed to Michigan, and 
died at Mount Morris in that State Febuarj* 27, 1S72. 

3. Now the residence of James W. Wadsworth. junior, and called from the former owner of 
the site "Hampton. " 


Joseph Richardson kept a store and tavern at Williamsburgh. I recol- 
lect seeing two sons of Mary Jemison at ^Nlount Morris. There were 
but few inliabitants at Geneseo, then generall)' called Big Tree. I re- 
member the two Wadsworth brothers, who had a store there in charge 
of William H. Spencer, either as partner or clerk, Colonel Lawrence, 
a Mr. Coates, Charles Colt and John Pierce. I know of none now who 
lived there at that time. 

"At Dansville I recollect David Shull, owner of the Williamson Mill, 
Samuel Culbertson (with whom I learned my trade as cloth-dresser, 
a good man), Peter LaFlesh, Neal McCay, Jared Irvvin, the first post- 
master, Matthew Patterson. David, James and Matthew Porter, Peter 
and Jacob Welch, Jonathan Stout, John Metcalf, Amariah and Lazarus 
Hammond, Owen Wilkinson, William Perine and Isaac Vandeventer. 
The first town meeting we attended in Sparta was in 18U7, and was 
held in the present town of Groveland, then forming a part of Sparta, 
at the tavern of Christian Roup, a log house standing nearly a mile 
south of the Presbyterian church. I recollect seeing at the polls. 
Captain John Smith, Joseph Richardson, Robert Burns, John Hunt, 
Andrew Culbertson, William and Daniel Kelly, Samuel Stillwell, 
James Rosebrugh, William ^McCartney, Alexander FuUerton, James; 
/Scott, the McNair brothers, Thomas Begole and William Doty. It 
was an orderly gathering, but little of political excitement. " 

^h^ first settlements in this section, as in all new countries in early 
o^ys, were located near navigable streams; and the little produce that 
v^ foimd its way to market was either floated down the Susquehanna and 
Delaware rivers to Philadelphia and Baltimore (the latter then afford- 
ing the best market) in arks, during the short season of three or four 
weeks of high water in the Spring, or to Montreal by the Genesee 
and Lake Ontario. The latter was the shorter route, but was attend- 
ed with delays and expense of portage around the falls at Rochester and 
below. The cost of sending a barrel of potash from the mouth of 
the Genesee across the lake to Montreal, in 1807, was one dollar, a 
sum which, measured by the price of grains at the place of production, 
was several times in excess of the present rate. Though in 1807 
James Wadsworth says that the road from Geneseo to Canandaigua 
was excellent, the wagonways were impassable for loads in the spring 
and fall, and so imperfectly were they yet bridged and graded that, 
except in midwinter, transportation overland was quite out of the 


<luestion. It must be recollected that the streams a hundred years 
ago averaged twice their present size. The clearing of the lands has 
■greatly diminished their power of absorption, and aged Indians a few 
years ago pointed to tracts of farming lands which were known to 
them in their childhood as marshes and swamps. The Commissioners 
appointed by the vState to consider the feasibility of a canal from Lake 
■Ontario to tidewater, reported as late as 1816 that the cost of trans- 
porting a ton of merchandise from Buffalo to Albany was one hundred 
-dollars, and the time required twenty days. As experience has shown 
that wheat will not bear profitable carriage over ordinary highways 
Ijeyond two hundred and fifty miles, it was not until the completion 
•of the Erie canal, which at once reduced the cost of freightage to one- 
tenth, and subsequently to one-thirtieth of overland charges, that our 
agricultural interests were fully developed. To the ark, however, the 
pioneer farmers were greatly indebted for transporting their marketable 
products, and they of ten referred to it with satisfaction. It was invent- 
•ed by a Mr. Kayder, residing on the Juniata river. The high prices 
of both flour and lumber at Baltimore, and the plentifulness of both 
articles in the new settlements, induced him to try the experiment of 
preparing a long, fiat float of timber, such as he supposed would suit 
the purpose of city builders, to be broken up and sold for lumber 
after discharging cargo. A temporary house or covering was placed 
•over the cargo, which often consisted of five hundred barrels of flour. 
Four or five men could navigate it at the rate of eighty miles a day.l 

In 1807 Portage contained only two houses, both of logs. No one 
lived at Nunda at that time, but there was a store at Hunt's Hollow 
kept by Mr. Hunt; the settlement also contained three dwelling 

In April, 1807, Ontario and Genesee elected one Federal and two 
■Clintonian Members of the Assembly, and the vote on Governor in 
Ontario county stood, Lewis, 1462, Tompkins, 1240. The votes of the 
town of Avon were rejected in consequence of the inspectors having 
held the election for four days. The cavass showed 156 votes for Lewis 

1. Ill speakiug of markets at Bath iu 179.S, Captain Williamson gives the following prices: 

Wheat per bushel $1.00 Oxen, per yoke $ 70.00 

Rye " " ; 75 Cows, each 15.03 

•Oats and Com per bushel .-io An ox cart 30.00 

Parley per bushel 70 A log house, 20 x 20 50.00 

" " " of 2 rooms 100.00 



and 42 for Tompkins. Taking the whole of what is now Livingston 
county together, the votes were divided almost equally between Tomp- 
kins and Lewis. 

The months of January and February, 1807, were remarkably hard 
ones. The snow was very deep and steady cold weather prevailed. 
The smaller streams were frozen and the inhabitants of Sparta were 
compelled to go long distances to mill. The mill at Hermitage had 
been neglected and the water had frozen up. Samuel Magee was 
started to Bosley's mill with an o.\ sled with a grist for his father, one 
for Robert Burns and- one or two others. Starting long before day- 
light on a Monday morning, he found the weather bitter cold. Rid- 
ing and walking by turns, he reached the mill and was informed by 
Mr. Bosley that the water was frozen up hard and had been for several 
days, and the latter added, "I have more grain in the mill waiting 
its turn than I could grind in a month if I could begin to-morrow." 
"The building, as I saw for myself," says Mr. Magee, "was full up- 
stairs and down, and with no prospect of a thaw, so I started for 
home." Reaching Moses Gibson's tavern at the foot of Conesus lake, 
Gibson advised him to go to Henderson's mill, on the outlet of Hone- 
oye lake, seventeen miles distant. He remained over night, and 
starting early the next morning reached the mill without meeting a 
single team, and passing but two houses in the whole distance. He 
found a large number of grists ahead of him, but had the promise of 
getting his grinding done in the night time. But his grist was not 
reached until Saturday night, and he started for home early Sunday 
morning by way of the foot of Hemlock lake. On. reaching Scotts- 
burg the snow had left him, and he carried his grist on the hind 
wheels of Jacob Collar's wagon, reaching his home at ten o'clock 
Sunday night, having spent eight days in securing a single grist. 

In ISOS the Tuscarora lands, as they were then called, but later 
known as Major Spencer's farm, were occupied by squatters who 
gave great annoyance to land owners. The locality soon acquired a 
name more expressive than classical, "Buggarsburgh, " and was held 
in dread by neighboring farmers. The denizens of this unthrifty 
neighborhood so frequently visited the sheep folds on Wadsworth's 
flats, that the path thitherward became well trodden and was used 
for years afterwards, while their visits were always sure to subtract a 
unit from the sum of the fine flocks kept there. The squatters were 


dreaded by the whole surrounding counlrv, hut finally a Phila- 
delphian named Jacobs bought the land and succeeded in clearing it 
of its lawless occupants. Among the number ^vas a former stage 
driver who had a worn-out horse whose legs were ill-mated, and 
when it dropped its foot seemed U> step clear over back on its fet- 
locks. Being at Genesee on some public day, his horse became the 
butt of the crowd. After a good deal of fun at his expense, he offered 
to bet a hundred dollars that Dobbin could travel one hundred miles 
in twenty four successive hours. The wager was taken, and it was 
agreed that he should go five miles north on the road to Avon and 
return, making ten miles each round trip, and make ten trips. The 
owner toed the mark when time was called, and actually made nine 
trips, or ninety miles, with two hours an:l a half to spare, when the 
parties who had taken the bet were glad to buy off. 

The election of 18U8 brought out a larger vote than usual, and re- 
sulted in 383 votes being cast for the Federal candidate for Senator 
and 47U for the Democratic candidate. ^ The vote of Lima, however, 
was rejected, owing to the fact that the returns, while declaring that 
"the poll was closed according to law," and giving the number of 
votes for each candidate, did not designate the office. 

A division of the great territory of Ontario county was early agi- 
tated by the settlers along the river, who found it irksome to attend 
the courts and examine the records at Canandaigua. In February, 
1808, a project was started to erect a new county, with the count)- 
seat at Avon, and a subscription paper was circulated to raise money 
to build a court house at that place. It had the countenance of Gen- 
eseo and the surrounding country, but was successfully opposed by 

The credit system in business transactions prevailed to a verj^ 
large extent in the new settlements, and was productive, as it always 
is, of great evils. In August 1808 Mr. Wadsworth wrote to Major 

I. The vote stood as follows: Federal. Democratic. 

Sparta — . 18 126 

Avou ilS 38 

I^ivonia, 32 22 

Lima 82 69 

Oeiieseo 88 76 

Caledonia, 19 42 

Leicester 26 97 


Spencer that he Avas trusting a great deal and urged him to restrict 
his credits more. 

At the election of ISO') the town of Sparta cast V>S votes for Assem- 
blyman, of which the Democratic candidates each received 168 and 
the Federal candidates 30. Avon gave the Federal candidates 139 
and the Democratic 60; Livonia gave the Federalists 76 and the 
Democrats 50; 'Lima cast 103 votes for the Federalists and 19 for the 
Democrats; Geneseo gave the Federalists 89 and the Democrats 73; 
Caledonia gave 45 votes for the Federalists and 106 for the Demo- 
crats; and Leicester cast 27 votes for the Federalists and 21 for the 
Democrats. In 1809 Ontario count)' gave a Federal majority of 107. 
The previous year it gave 470 Democratic majority. 

A writer for an Eastern paper in May 1809 says "we have had 
a very severe winter. The oldest Indian does not recollect a winter 
equally severe. " 

In the summer of 1809 Asa Nowlen was advised to come to the 
Genesee country and open a blacksmith's shop. He was assured that 
a shop could be built for him in ten days. Iron he was told was easily 
procurable from Pennsylvania eighty miles distant. Nowlen had heard 
that the new country was unhealthy, but James Wadsworth assured 
him that "there was just as much foundation and no more for hang- 
ing witches in Boston a hundred years before as there is now for the 
report that our water is bad and that the inhabitants are all subject to 
the fever and ague." 

In March of this year ^Ir. Wadsworth made the following interest- 
ing announcement: 


"The subscriber offers for sale the following townships and tracts 
of land, in the counties of Ontario, Genesee, and Allegany, in the 
State of New York. 

"A tract containing upwards of 60,000 acres, situated within si.x 
miles of the landing in Falltown, on the west side of the Genesee 
River — this tract is divided into lots of about 100 acres. In order to 
encourage and accommodate industrious and enterprising settlers one- 
half of the land, consisting of every other three hundred acres 
throughout the tract, wilTbe sold for wheat, pork and neat cattle; the 


wheat and pork to be delivered at Falltown Landinjj;. The very- 
flourishing settlements of West Pulteney, Braddock's Bay and Fairfield 
are within this tract. The inhabitants in these settlements have been 
remarkably healthy. Vessels of 200 tons sail from Lake Ontario up 
the Genesee River to the lower falls; this place is called Falltown 
Landing and is only six miles from the tract now offered for sale. 
A barrel of flour can now be sent from Falltown Landing to Montreal 
for one dollar, and a barrel of pot-ashes for one dollar and a half ; 
these prices will be reduced as the business of transportation increases. 
Most articles of American produce command as high prices at Mon- 
treal as at New York. 

"The intervals and swales in this tract are timbered with elm, 
butternut, white and black ash, walnut, etc., the uplands with sugar 
maple, beech, basswood, hickory, wild cherry, white oak, black oak, 
chestnut, etc. There are a number of groves of excellent white pine 
timber. There are no mountains or ledges, and scarcely one hundred 
acres of waste land in the tract. Some of the intervals or flats will 
produce, if well cultivated, 80 bushels of corn, 800 weight of hemp, or 
2,000 weight of tobacco on an acre, and other crops in proportion. 

"Also the Township of Troupton, situated eighteen miles south of 
the village of Geneseo and adjoining the village of Dansville. This 
tract is within twelve miles of Arkport, a landing place on the west 
branch of the Susquehanna river; a barrel of flour may be trans- 
ported from Arkport to Baltimore for a dollar and a half and other 
articles of produce in proportion; the situation of this township is 
considered very healthy, the lands are fertile and well watered. 

"Also the town of Henrietta being township No. 12 in the seventh 
range on the west side of Genesee river; this tract is within eight 
miles of Falltown landing, and adjoins the flourishing towns of Hart- 
ford (now Avon) and Northfield; the lands in Henrietta are excellent 
and the settlement very flourishing; the lots adjoining the Genesee 
river containing handsome portions of timbered flats, are put at five 
dollars per acre, the back lots at four dollars per acre. 

"Also a number of lots in a tract of land, usually known by liie 
name of Allen's Flats, or the Mt. ^lorris tract, situated in the 
forks of the Genesee river, fifteen miles south of the great State 
Road to Niagara and four miles from the village of Geneseo. 
The tract contains about 10,000 acres, 3,000 acres of which are flats or 


interval. It has lately been surveyed into lots of convenient size; the 
village lots contain from one to forty acres, and the farm lots about 
one hundred acres each. The village is situated on elevated ground 
timbered with oak, and bids fair to be a very healthful situation. 
The subscriber will sell the upland and lease the flats, or will sell both 
upland and flats, as applicants prefer. 

"It is fully ascertained that the flats or intervals on the Genesee 
river are perfectly adapted to the cultivation of hemp. Mr. Stephen 
Colton, from Long Meadow, raised ten hundred weight of excellent 
hemp the last season on one acre of flats in Genesee. One hundred 
and si.x bushels of Indian corn have been raised on one acre in Allen's, 

"Hemp may be transported by water from the mouth of the Gen- 
esee river to Montreal; or it may be sent from Arkport down the 
Susquehanna river, in arks to Baltimore, or it may be sent by land 
to Albany. 

"The price at which lots in the above tract are put, is from two to 
five dollars per acre. The subscriber usually requires the purchase 
money to be paid in four equal installments to be made in two, three, 
four and five years from the time of purchase, with one year free of 
interest; in some of the tracts he gives a credit of six and eight years. 

"Liberal encouragement will be given in different settlements to 
carpenters, blacksmiths, shoemakers, millwrights and other trades- 

"The subscriber, in order to encourage the settlement of substan- 
tial New England farmers, will exchange a few lots for improved 

"The tract of country in which the above described townships are 
situated, tho' north of New Jersey, resembles that state in the mild- 
ness of its climate. Peaches, apricots and nectarines grow to great 
perfection on the Genesee river. 

"A valuable salt spring is discovered in Braddock's Bay township. 
Salt can now be afforded at this spring at one dollar per bushel; when 
the works are extended salt will probably be afforded at fifty cents a 
bushel, the same price at which it is sold at the Onondaga salt works. 

"A turnpike road IS completed from Albany to Canandaigua; and 
from Canandaigua to Geneseo, and thence to the above mentioned 
settlements there are excellent wagon roads. 


The subscriber has still for sale a number of reserved and other lots 
of land, in the midst of fiourishing settlements, in the towns of Gen- 
eseo, Hartford, Bloomfield and Pittstown; some of these lots contain 
handsome improvements. 


"Genesee, (Ontario county) March. IS(i')." 

In the fall of 18U'>, General William Wadsworth visited Chancellor 
Livingston at his residence at Claremont on the Hudson, with a view 
to making himself acquainted with the tjualities of the Merino breed 
of sheep, and the best manner of rearing them. He also ordered 
fruit trees from Prince's Garden on Long Island for his orchard. 

In 1810 Colonel Nathaniel Rochester of Hagarstown, Maryland, 
came to Dansville with a view of locating. He had visited the place 
ten years before in company with Charles Carroll and Colonel William 
Fitzhugh. He purchased a mil! site and a residence of Jacob Opp,and 
in 1811 brought his family, consisting of his wife and several children. 
He erected a paper mill, which he sold in 1814 to the Rev. Dr. 
Endress. Robert Marr of Franklin county, Pennsylvania, was em- 
ployed as foreman. Under his contract Marr was to commence on 
the 1st of October, ISKi. ' After remaining in Dansville two or three 
years. Colonel Rochester purchased a farm in Bloomfield and moved 
thither; here he remained until 1817, when he went to Rochester. 

In 1810 the Democrats carried the election in Ontario county which 
elected five Democrats to the Assembly ; and Genesee county, which 
then sent but one member, also elected a Democrat. These two 
counties embraced the territory of this county. Peter B. Porter, a 
Democrat, was elected to Congress from the district composed of 
Ontario and Genesee counties. The same year the vote for Governor 
in the towns comprising the present county stood 343 for Tompkins 
and 32C) for Piatt. In the previous year, at the election for State Sen- 
ator, the vote of the county was equally divided between Phelps and 
Swift, the opposing candidates. 

Enterprise marked the progress of the settlements. The farmers 
had as vet formed no agricultural societies, but they never met with- 

I. Marr brought wiUi him from Chamhersburg, Pa., Horace Hil\ ami another man named 
Dugan, who were the first paper makers employed in the mill. Thomas H. Rochester, aged l.^. 
John Ward and Wm. Street were apprentices.— (Letter of Thomas H. Kochestcr t j the Hon. Wni. 


out comparing views and exchanging suggestions. "Agriculture 
might be rendered doubly productive," writes a farmer from this re- 
gion in ISli). ''We want some prominent character to give it a new 
direction, to lead into new channels. But who shall do it? Our great 
men have other fish to fry. Our papers are filled with comments on 
European politics, on orders in council and royal decrees, which our 
farmers do not nor will thev ever understand, and it would be no ser- 
vice to them if they did." This impatience was generally felt, and 
prompted farmers to improvement in their stock and to better modes 
of planting. In that year a dairyman was brought from Orange coun- 
ty and placed on Wadsworth's home farm, fruit trees were ordered 
from Long Island, and experiments were made with different grains 
and utensils. 

The dirt roads, owing to the character of the soil and the imper- 
fect manner in which they were laid out and worked, were always an 
impediment. AVhen the ground was soft the wagon way was sure to 
be cut up and rendered next to impassable by the narrow tired wheels 
in common use. To remedy this, the great Western Turnpike Com- 
pany in the summer of 1810 determined "that all wagons passing 
over their road, the wheel tires of which are six inches broad or up- 
wards, shall be exempted from paying toll at any of its gates for the 
period of two years. "^ Every teamster was thus prompted to pro- 
vide himself with broad tired wagons. John White, of Groveland, had 
seen ten horses on a wide tire wagon which would exactly track with 
the narrow tire wheels, and would completely fill up and smooth over 
the ruts made by the ordinary vehicle. 

The months of January and February, 1812, were exceedingly cold. 
"a tremendous winter," as a letter dated the latter part of March of 
that year says. "The ground is now covered with snow and we are 
obliged to give out grain. The wintering of our stock will cost us 
half as much as it is worth, and my brother has had the blues for six 
months." The winter had set in with unusual severity and proved to 
be the coldest of any then experienced. A month later the same writ- 
er says; "Our section of the country is very flourishing. Wheat and 
all kinds of produce command money, and settlers are flocking 
to the Genesee river from all quarters. The embargo renders busi- 
ness dull, but almost any tradesman, with or without a family, would 

I. Albany Oazette, July g, iSio, 


find constant employmfnt in our little village (Geneseo). A good! 
shoe and boot maker and tailor would make property fast. Farm 
hands command from ten to twelve dollars per month." Merchandise 
had uniformly been brought up the vSusquehanna and thence over- 
land from Elmira to DansviUe. But in the fall of 1812 (Jeorge Smith 
brought the last load of goods by that route in a covered wagon drawn 
by six horses. 

The year 1812 added little to the population of this region, notwith- 
standing the promise of the early season. "The war is a complete 
damper to all sales of new land. I have not filled out a dozen land 
contracts this season," says the principal land owner of this section, 
"indeed, more settlers have gone out than have come into the Gen- 
esee country. " 



THE WAR of 1812, though favored by the great body of the 
people, embracing the Democratic party and many of the op- 
position, was nevertheless opposed by an influential though 
small minority of the Federals. The Eastern States, with the 
e.xception of Vermont and a large part of New York and New Jersey, 
were op[)osed to it. Pennsylvania and the South and Southwest favor- 
ed it. 

The district comprising the county of Livingston was largely Dem- 
ocratic, and gave the war a cordial support. Major General William 
AVadsworth, commanding the militia of the division which embraced 
the county, promptly offered his services and they were as promptly 
accepted. Colonel Lawrence, of Geneseo, also volunteered and was fol- 
lowed by a large part of his command. 

War was declared on the 18th of June, 1812, and on the 
morning of the 13th of October of the same year about 230 men, 
under command of Colonel Solomon Van Rensselaer, crossed the 
Niagara river from Lewiston to drive the British from Queens- 
town Heights. Colonel Van Rensselaer was severely wounded be- 
fore the little force moved from the Canada shore. Though 
General Wadsworth was charged with the duty of superintend- 
ing the moving of the troops and was entitled by his rank to com- 
mand the force, he promptly requested Captains Wool and Ogilvie, offi- 
cers of the regular army who had seen service, to direct the move- 
ments; and they resolutely pushed up the hill, assaulted the intrench- 
ments and drove the enemy out. As the Americans entered the works, 
General Brock came up from the direction of Fort George with a 
force double their number, and attempted to drive them out. The 
battery that had just been taken by our troops was so efficiently 
worked, however, tliat the British were driven back in confusion, and 
General Brock, among others, was killed. Reinforcements were at 
once ordered from Lewiston. but the reluctance of the undisciplined 


militia, tullv l,5ii(i in luunbcr. to cross the river and talce part in de- 
fending the heights on the plea that they had volunteered to 
defend the "lines" and not to invade foreign territory, so delayed 
the work of preparation that an additional force of regular soldiers of 
the enemy sent from Fort George under General Sheaffe arrived, 
and the Indians also collected from Chippewa, and by the middle of 
the afternoon, after an obstinate fight, retook the intrenchments 
and either killed or made prisoners all who had so gallantly and success- 
fully stormed the heights in the morning. Had our forces been sus- 
tained, as they should have been, by their companions who stood pas- 
sive on the opposite side of the river, they might have held the advan- 
tage so brilliantly won. General Van Rensselaer who had crossed to the 
American side to urge the militia to cross, on finding that they would 
not do so, despatched a letter to General Wadsworth, then in com- 
mand, informing him of the predicament, and leaving the course to 
be pursued to his judgment, assuring him that if he thought best to 
retreat boats would be furnished and fire opened on the pursuers; in- 
deed, every measure would be taken to render the retreat as safe as 
possible. The note, however, reached General Wadsworth too late. 
He was already engaged with General Sheaffe when the despatch was 
placed in his hands.' 

The indisposition of the militia to respond to the call of their officers 
so displeased General Van Rensselaer that he quit the service and re- 
turned to Albany. He was succeeded by General Ale.vander Smyth, 
who "took command of the American forces on the frontier. " The 
surrender at Oueenstown had depressed the spirits of the army as well 
as of the whole country . On taking command General vSmyth plan- 
ned a descent upon Canada. Many of the New York militia had 
shown an unwillingness to cross the Niagara river, and, to stimulate 
their patriotism and encourage enlistments for a "month's duty," he 
issued on the 10th of November, 1812, a flaming proclamation from his 
"Camp near Buffalo." In view of the utter failure of this enterprise 

I. General Van Rensselaer says of General Wadsworth, in his account of the battle of Queens- 
town, "General Wadsworth, a brave and merilorious officer, was requested to superintend the 
moving of the troops," and in his letter of resignation he ineutious as distinguished in this battle 
General Wadsworth and his aid, Major Speucer. 

In the battleof Queenstown. when his aninnniition ran low. Major Spencer (Win. H. Spencer) 
serving as aid to General Wadsworth, got olf his hoi"se, ran along among the wounded and dead, 
gathered the cartridges from their pouches into his hat, and distributed them to the adv.Tucing 
soldiers with the incouraging injunction, "Here, hoys, are more balls. Now give it to 'etn! " 

Major General William Wadsworth, 
From Portrait in Possession of Major William A. Wadsworth. 


and of his total want of military skill, the manifesto reads like the 
vaporing's of a master of comedy. The call, addressed "To the Men of 
New York," opens with a brief review of military operations, followed 
by a sharp criticism of the course of his predecessors in command. It 
continued thus: "In a few days the troops under my command will 
plant the American standard in Canada. They are men accustomed 
to obedience, silence and steadiness. They will conquer or they will 
die." Referring to the "ruthless deeds" of the officers of the British 
King, he proceeds, "Where I command, the vanquished and the peace- 
ful man, the child, the maid, and the matron, shall be secure from 
wrong. The present is the hour of renown. * * * » * 

You desire your share of fame? Then seize the present moment. 
If you do not you will regret it. Advance then to our aid. I will 
wait for you a few days. Come in companies, half companies, pairs, 
or singly. I will organize you for a short tour. Ride to this place 
if the distance is far, and send back your horses." 

This call was promptly responded to in Western New York. A 
company of about thirty was raised in the village of Dansville, under 
command of William B. Rochester as Captain. Sparta and Groveland 
united in raising a company of about the same number. James Rose- 
brugh was Captain and Timothy Kennedy Lieutenant. When they 
were ready to march the weather was cold and the frozen ground was 
covered with snow. The volunteers marched on foot to Buffalo, where 
they were at once mustered in as infantry. Soon after, -on a cold win- 
ter night, the army was marched down to the river at Black Rock and 
placed in boats, which lay in large numbers under the shore. After 
some hours' delay, expecting any moment to receive orders to move 
across and support the advance force that had already been sent over, 
the sound of a bugle was heard from the Canada side of the river, fol- 
lowed soon after by the announcement that the expedition, of which so 
much had been promised, had been abandoned. Smyth himself remain- 
ed on the American side. Orders shortly came that the volunteers 
should return to their homes and the regulars to winter quarters. 
General Porter, who strenuously urged that the army should cross 
over, published Smyth as a coward. The army was indignant, and 
the country felt disgraced. Smyth, who was promptly relieved of his 
command by the Government without trial and excluded from the 
regular army, made his way to his home in Virginia on horseback 


accompanied by his aid, to escape being mobbed b)' the soldiers 
and populace. An officer who had served with him met him on the 

road near Geneseo and says, "Smyth looked as if the d 1 had 

sent his compliments to the braggart. He travelled under the con- 
stant apprehension of being attacked." In passing the Benway farm 
in Groveland, he sighted a hawk on a tree several rods from the road, 
and pulling a pistol from its holster brought down the game without 
slopping his horse. He spent the night at Stout's tavern in Dans- 
ville, where he had an opportunity to observe many a silent evidence 
of the popular prejudice against him. 

These two failures caused much depression of spirits throughout 
the country, and also a long and bitter discussion. The militia were 
much blamed by some for not promptly crossing the river and aiding 
General Wadsworth in the battle of Oueenstown. But while some 
condemned them without measure, others justified their course. 
General Wadsworth himself, though blaming them for not performing 
their duty, was prompt to defend them against the wholesale aspersions 
of Eastern journals. In a letter to General Van Rensselaer he wrote, 
"I do not now say where the regulars or militia were who were not 
there to be counted off and afterward surrendered. It is clear they 
were not where they ought to have been. It is Major Spencer's, as it 
is my opinion, that the whole force surrendered by me, or, rather, 
which was embodied, did not exceed, including officers, 400 men. I am 
conscious that on the 13th and on every other day during the campaign 
I did, or endeavored to do, my duty. With this I shall rest satisfied, 
however editors may estimate my services. I am aware the niilitia 
have faults, but they have merit too, and of that merit they ought 
not to be deprived unless it is intended to render them useless in 

General Wadsworth was made jirisoner at Oueenstown and placed 
on parole. He went to (ieneseo, and while there and before his ex- 
change General Smyth's fiasco occurred. He was impatient to re- 

I. AccompauyiiiK the letter were certificates from Colonel (Winfield) Scott ami Lietiteuant 
Israel TArner, 13th U. S. Inf. The fonner certifies that the number of troops under his command, 
formed in two divisions in the 13th, did not exceed 130, exclusive of (17) officers, at the time the 
letreat was ordered. There were 253 militia infantry and rifles embodied. These certif- 
icates General Wadsworth requested General Van Rensselaer not to publish, adding, "Too much 
has already been published. We diii not lug politics into the camp, and I do not see why we 
should he lugged into the political discussions of the day." 


turn to the service. He writes in December, while still on parole, 
that "the epidemic which originated on the lines has spread through 
the country by the returning volunteers, and is proving fatal to many 
•of the inhabitants. I am not well and not without apprehension that 
the epidemic may lay claim to me, but not, I hope until I am e.\- 
■changed and can see General Smyth punished for his impudence and 

Turner, in his "Phelps and Gorham Purchase," says: "All the long 
•delay of action, all the waste of time and neglect of opportunities that 
the militia had witnessed; and lastly, the errors of the commanding 
General in reference to the crossing place, and the inadequate prepar- 
ations for crossing did not dampen the ardur or patriotism of 
the men of Western New York. In fact, we have it upon the 
authority of General Van Rensselaer himself that he brought 
on the conflict because the temper of these men would not firook further 
delay. * * * * They soon realized the fatal omission to 
supply boats for crossing, and this, in itself, was a most untoward be- 
ginning of the day's work." And after graphically portraying the 
scenes of that attempt to cross the river under a heavy fire, he says: 
■"It is amid the clash, the smoke, the excitement of battle, that cour- 
age rises and enervates; it sinks even with the brave, when they are 
surrounded by the dead and the dying, and are in the state of in- 
action. Still the militia pressed forward and endeavored to cross. 
When they refused to do si^ it was under the deliberate conviction, m- 
duced by all they had seen of that fatal morning's work, that all was 
lost; that with the vastly inadequate means of crossing a sufficient 
force could not be landed at one time, to insure a conquest, and only 
enough for successive sacrifices. In no case, in all the annals of 
battles, have undisciplined militia continued to stand firm, and press 
on when there was so much to discourage; so little to hope for. 
* * * * Too long have the surviving men of Western New 
York, and the memories of the dead, been allowed to rest under cen- 
sures mainly undeserved." * * * Those of them who crossed 
the river and bravely fought, and gallantly strived for laurels in 
a conflict so illy arranged and povided for, have had but little credit 
for it." 

From about the 1st of December, 1812, to the middle of March, 
1813, a disease spoken of by General Wadsworth in the letter just 


quoted and known to physicians as tj'phoid pneumonia, prevailed in 
Western New York as an epidemic and malignant in form. Dr. 
Lyman X. Cook, of Dansville, who had good opportunity profession- 
ally for judging of its severity, says: "I doubt its ever having been 
more malignant or fatal at any time or place. The cold chill, which 
suddenly came on, was of such severity and duration that it was gen- 
erally denominated the 'cold plague," and many cases terminated 
fatally without reaction being restored. The fatality was about the 
same as in cholera — one in three — but as fatal cases leave a stronger 
and more lasting impression on the mind than cases of recovery, I pre- 
sume the rate of mortality is generally believed to have been greater." 
Such, indeed, is the impression. The pioneers refer to the "epi- 
demic" as usually jiroving fatal. There is scarcely a burying ground 
in the country that is not strewn with the graves of its victims. The 
disease originated in the British army in Canada, and passed into the 
American army in camp on the Niagara frontier. Hospital accom- 
modations were then so poor that where patients were in a condition 
to be removed they were allowed to return to their homes, and while 
the medical profession did not hold that the disease was contagious, 
yet, as it broke out in the settlements so soon after its appearance in 
the army and the return of the sick soldiers, the conviction fastened 
itself upon the minds of the pioneers that it was communicated in 
this way, which is probably true. It rapidly spread over the United 
States arriving in Florida in about three years. This disease, which 
"has repeatedly prevailed in different portions of the United States, 
as an epidemic, often of wide extent, and in its earlier visitations 
producing an amount of mortality truly appalling," is described as "a 
state of congestion or inflammation, more or less intense, of the lungs, 
accompanied by that impairment of the sensorial powers and morbid 
condition of the circulation and of the organism generally, which 
characterize the more grave forms of typhus fever. Instances are 
known in which the patient was found dead, or died within three or 
four hours after being apparently well."' Of the cough, which 
usually came on within the first twenty-four hours, and the "remark- 
able ])ink-colorcd suffusion of the whole face," an early set- 
tler says: "Swollen-faced, rose-colored patients would be found 

1. Watsou's Lectures ou the Principles .iu<I Practice of Physic, p, 602. Prof. -Samuel Henry 
I>icksoii calls the disease, Pneumonia T\-phoides. 


barking in every house throughout the settlement, calomel 
and hemlock for sweating, the usual remedies, were in con- 
stant demand. Some got well, but many died. Though long 
years have passed away since the horrors of the epidemic were a pres- 
ent thing, yet the general features of the disease are so clearly fixed 
in my recollection that I feel safe in asserting that the spotted fever, 
which has so recently prevailed in this region, is identical with epi- 
demic or cold plague." In this view some medical authorities concur, 
though it is authoritatively held that the two diseases are totally 
different. One is inflammation of the lungs, the other inflammation 
of the covering of the brain and spinal cord, the only resemblance 
being that both are epidemical. 

(^n the 27th of May, 1813, Fort George, which stood on the Canada 
side of the Niagara river opposite Fort Niagara, was taken by the 
Americans. On the night of the 6th of June following the British fell 
upon the American camp, but were repulsed. At this time the army 
was 6,000 strong, under command of Generals Lewis, Chandler, Boyd 
and Winder, who were with their brigades, and Colonels Scott and 
McComb with their regiments, while Commodore Chauncey, Captain 
Perry and other naval officers were present. The capture of Fort 
(leorge was the first e.xtensive military operation of the war. 

After the capture of Fort George General Dearborn, commanding 
the American army, landed and the next day ordered the British 
General Vincent and his flying troops to be pursued, when it was too 
late. Generals Winder and Chandler were sent in pursuit, but were 
assaulted at Forty ^Mile Creek on the 3d of June by Lieutenant Colo- 
nel Harvey and both Generals were taken. As soon as Dearborn was 
informed of this disaster, he sent forward General Morgan Lewis with 
more troops to join Colonel James Burn and bring Vincent to action, 
which Lewis was well disposed to do. Delays ensued and at last, on 
the 23d of June, the final mishap of our campaign in Canada that 
summer occurred. Colonel Charles Boerstler, then lately promoted 
to the command of the 14th Regiment of Infantry, was permitted 
to take 600 men to a considerable distance, contrary to obvious in- 
junctions of prudence, — 600 men out of reach of support — to destroy a 
British lodgment. On the 24th of June he arrived at a point a short 
distance from the Beaver Dams, and seventeen miles from Dearborn at 
Fort George, when, as he was about to attack a stone house in which 


Colonel Bishop was intrciicht-d, he was suddenly beset by between 
500 and 600 Indians on one side and a small party of English under 
Lieutenant Fitz Gibbon on the other. After a long fight, Boerstler, 
alarmed by the threats of the savages and deluded by offers of capitu- 
lation, out of reach of succor and with only a hopeless struggle before 
him, surrendered his whole command with tears in his eyes. 

Congress had been in session a month when this event occurred, the 
climax of continual tidings of mismanagement. Such was the feeling 
of impatience aroused by these disasters, that a committtee of Con- 
gress waited on President Madison with the request that General 
Dearborn be removed from a command which so far had been most 
unfortunate. The President assented to this request, and another 
general was appointed to the command of the American forces. 

In September, 1813, the Independent Artillery Company of Gene- 
seo, under command of Captain John Pierce, about ()0 strong, vol- 
unteered for three months' service. When the order came to move, 
private John Haynes of Lakeville was engaged in clearing a piece of 
new ground; the other members were likewise engaged in their ordi- 
nary vocations. They were sent to Lewiston Heights and there 
assigned to guard duty in Major (Jeneral "Wadsworth's division. 
They took out a brass six-pounder. All the members save one, who 
■came from Groveland, were from the village and town of Genesee. 
Their Lieutenant was John Gray. Their first term of service was 
■without special incident, save that in common with other militiamen 
they refused to cross the Niagara river. Captain Pierce had been 
placed in charge of a battalion and the men, after the end of their 
term, without being formally mustered out, returned to their homes. 

In September, 1814, the company again volunteered as minute men 
and were ordered to the Canada frontier and there detailed for garri- 
son duty at Fort George, near Lewiston. When the British crossed 
the river to retake Fort Niagara, a band of Indians and a company of 
British regulars attempted to capture this company. Unable to 
withstand the attack of this force, which proved to be much greater 
than their own, the men were ordered to save themselves. Each 
therefore made his best speed. Looking around soon after starting, 
private Haynes saw the enemy close upon their rear and the men 
striking back with their swords. A private soldier named Jones and 
.another named Hubbard were never heard of after this retreat. In 


the same melee private Timnthy Ortnn was killed by the roadside, a 
hundred yards east of Lewiston village. Mr. Haynes had been 
ordered by the Lieutenant commanding to get away as best he could, 
but encumbered with knapsack, sword and musket he could not 
readily mount his horse. "Hand me your musket," said the officer. 
This done, Haynes mounted, and as he did so the cannon passed him, 
the horses being pushed to the top of their speed. In crossing a ditch 
one of the horses stumbled and a few feet further along being forced up 
the steep bank, they both fell. Some one called out, "For God's 
sake go, they are coming!" He looked back and saw the enemy in 
full force close upon them; so severing the traces he left the cannon 
and brought off the horses. 

A few days after Orton's death his father and Esquire Fay went out 
after his remains. He had been buried, but the man who performed 
this act at once pointed out the grave, for he immediately recognized 
a strong family likeness between father and son, and he had also re- 
marked a conspicuous scar on the face of the corpse made by the kick 
of a horse, thus leaving no doubt as to its identity. The remains were 
reinterred near Lakeville^ a fortnight after the death, in presence of 
hundreds of sympathizing friends and neighbors. 

The company took part in the battles of Lundy's Lane and Bridge- 
water, and fifty who were ordered to Fort Erie participated in the 
battle of Chippewa in the sortie at Fort Erie — one of the most 
splendid achievements of the war — and in the action that preceded 
tlie blowing up of that fort. On the evening preceding the sortie. 
General Porter came into the fort to obtain reinforcements for the 
party about to storm the enemy's works which were situated in the 
swamp near at hand. A muster of the garrison was accordingly 
ordered. Of the company about SO were present. Stirring speeches 
were made and the Generals said that the British ititrenchments were 
soon to be .stormed and they were short of men to carry muskets. All 
who had nerve enough for the duty were, therefore, asked to volun- 
teer. Although the dragoons were not required to carry muskets, 
21 of the company stepped forward. Dr. D. H. Bissell, late of 
Geneseo, and Judge Gilles were among the first to do so; and in the 
•order of march these two men continued on the right of the line up 

1. He lies in the buri.Tl ground on llie hill, beside the highway leading from Geneseo. The 
Sfrave is marked by a stone with this simple inscription : "Timothy Orton, Died Dec. 19, 1813." 


to the enemy's breastworks. The force marched from the fort to a 
large oak tree and there halted a moment. One of the generals here 
asked if any one present had a full canteen of spirits. Dr. Bissel offered 
his. Each general and staff officer took a drink and returned it 
nearly empty. Five minutes later they were engaged in a deadly 
conflict with the enemy. 

In December, 1813, General Lewis, having replaced General Dear- 
born as commander of the American forces, left Colonel vScott in 
charge of Fort George, at that time our only foothold in that part of 
Canada after nearly two years' fighting. Eager to share the honors 
of the capture of Montreal, Scott left the fort under the command of 
General !McClure of the New York militia and joined the force organ- 
izing for the Montreal campaign. After Scott's departure, the British 
Lieutenant-General, Drummond, resolved with 1,200 men to retake 
Fort George. McClure proved no match for Drummond in spirit, if 
in force, or for Colonel Murray, who brought on the English advance. 
After a vaporing proclamation to the Canadians, as if they were a 
conquered people, the General, on the defeat of one of his scouting 
parties, called a council of war, which resolved to abandon the fort as 
untenable, although Scott left it well provided with artillery and am- 
munition, with open communication to one side of the river and 
complete for resistance. The fort was abandoned and dismantled 
and McClure, not satisfied with simply abandoning a good position, 
set fire to the flourishing village of Newark, destroying one hundred 
and fifty houses and turning more than four hundred women and chil- 
dren out of doors. On crossing the river he saw from Fort 'Niagara 
these people taking shelter from the wintry blasts at Oueenstown, 
opposite and fired red-hot shot at that place to deprive them of shelter 
there also. 

This barbarous conduct inllanied the enemy and gathered a force 
of British and Indians, after making due preparations they attacked 
Fort Niagara, which, after a feeble resistance of the garrison, surrend- 
ered at discretion. Thenceforward until the close of the war the 
British held this fort. After capturing it, on the 19th of De- 
cember, 1813, and in retaliation fi)r the burning of Newark, 
they laid Youngstown, Lewiston, ^lanchester (now Niagara Falls) 
and the Tuscarora Indian village in ashes. On the 3(ith of December 
the little villages of Black Rock and Buffalo were destroyed in like 


manner. I With Fort Niagara the British captured 300 men, an im- 
mense quantity of commissariat stores, 3,(11)0 stands of arms, several 
pieces of ordmance and a large number of riHes. Sixtv-five of our men 
were put to death with the ba)-onet, and the British had reason to feel 
that they had amply revenged McClure's cruel course. 

Turner, in speaking of this event, says: "The citizens commenced 
their flight soon after the first repulse of our troops at Black Rock; 
but few lingered until after daylight. After putting in requisition 
all the available means of conveyance — even to the last yoke of oxen 
and sled — many of the women and children were under the necessity 
of fleeing on foot, wading in the snow at an inclement season, illy 
prepared for the vicissitudes they encountered. In all the distance 
from Buffalo to Batavia during the day there was upon the road an al- 
most unbroken procession of citizens and panic stricken soldiers pressing 
on in the retreat as if they were hotly pursued; and the wounded and 
sick, in sleighs or upon litters. Other avenues of flight, especially the 
south road, through what is now Aurora, Sheldon, Warsaw, etc. to 
the Genesee river, presented similar scenes. The taverns were soon ex- 
hausted of their means of feeding the hungry throng and pri i^ate houses 
) ielded to-the importunities of the famishing stinted supplies of pro- 
visions that had been stored for the winter's use. From the start 
upon the frontier, the first and second day, the throngs were con- 
stantly increasing by the addition of families along the roads that 
would hastily pile a few of their houeshold goods upon sleighs, horse 
or hand sleds, and join in the flight. After the first day"s flight, those 
who were considerate enough to realize that they were out of danger 
would take quiet possession of deserted houses without the formality of 
a lease. Upon the old Buffalo road Batavia was the first stopping 
place, and the small village was soon filled to overflowing; private 
houses, offices, out-houses, were thrown open to shelter the wearied 
and suffering who had been driven from the frontier. As a measure 
of precaution, the books and papers of the Holland Land Company's 

I. When the news that Buffalo was bnrueil reached Couesiis. through Captain Tyler of Livouia 
(who was killed in the war), two brothers, Joseph Richardsou, a cripple, andjonathau Richardson, 
resolved to take their teams aud convey soldiers to the lines. Joseph was killed at Black Rock by 
a ball, which passed through his heart. The friends sent to Buffalo for his remains and they were 
buried in Livonia. Jonathan was taken prisoner, carried to aioutreal and Halifax, and after si,\ 
mouths reached home. On his way to Montreal he was urged forward on the march at the point 
of the bayonet. While in prison he was nearly starved to tleath. Joseph Richardson, Jr.. son of 
the Joseph named above, made his escape before Buffalo was taken. 


Office were removed over the river to Lima. * * * * West 
of a north and south line that would pass through the village of Le- 
Roy more than one-half of the entire population had been driven 
from their homes by the enemy, or had left them in fear of extended 
invasion. Entire backwoods neighborhoods were deserted, hundreds 
of log cabins were desolate, and the signs and sounds of life were 
mostly the deserted cattle and sheep, lowing and bleating, famishing 
for the lack of fodder there were none left to deal out to them. Be- 
tween the boundary that has been named and the Genesee river there 
had been less of flight ; the tide flowing eastward had been partially 
arrested; many wishing to stop as near their deserted homes as their 
ideas of safety would allow found friendly shelter for the winter 
among those who remained undisturbed. The largest portion of the 
refugees, however, were hospitably provided for east of the Genesee 
river. " 

In the spring of 1814, Captain Enos Stone of Rochester, Lieutenant 
Claudius V. Boughton of Pittsford and Abell Parkhurst of Lima, 
Ensign, raised a company of cavalry for short service. Governor 
Tompkins had received permission from President Madison to organ- 
ize a few thousand six-months men, and this company was accepted 
under that authority. The enlistment roll was opened in March and 
the company was full in April. The men were drawn mainly from 
Lima, Bloomfield and Pittsford, with a few from Leicester. They 
rendezvoused at Rochester and were there mustered into Porter's 
Volunteer Dragoons. This force was ordered to the mouth of the 
Genesee river, where a command of 2,5i)0 men was collected and 
stationed along the side hill facing the lake, to prevent the British 
troops from moving up the river, as they were then threatening to do. 
Scarcely had the dragoons reached Charlotte before several of the 
enemy's vessels entered the harbor and commenced throwing shot and 
shell into our lines. Temporary earth works were thrown up and fire 
opened on the ships which soon hauled away. 

Soon after this aftair General Porter and several of his officers, 
among whom -was Dr. Bissell, took a trip on horseback through 
Ontario arid Cayuga counties for the sake of drill and to encourage en- 
listments. At Aurora, General Porter, Colonel Stone and Captain 
Boughton plunged into the lake, and the company officers rode in 
after them and mischieveously crowded them further from shore, to 


the great merriment of the male spectators, but to the annoyance of 
their superiors and the consternation of the ladies who had 

Captain Stone, soon after entering the service, was promoted to 
a colonelcy, and Lieutenant Houghton took command of the com- 
pany. Colonel Stone was afterwards suspended from command for 
permitting, as officer of the day, his soldiers to burn the village of 
St. Davis, opposite Lewiston, in settlement of some animosities be- 
tween them and the Canadians. He was indignantly disarmed by the 
commanding officer and discharged, and while on his way home from 
the army died at LeRoy of a broken heart. He felt that he had been 
greatly wronged and doubtless was innocent of any intentional im- 
propriety. The burning of this village occurred just after the battle 
of Chippewa had been won. and while General Brown was resting in 
doubt whether to attack Fort George or to follow up and attack 
Riall. It was the only wrong of the campaign and was promptly 
punished, though a worthy officer suffered disgrace thereby. 

Captain Boughton afterward resided in Victor, Ontario county, and 
represented that county in the Assembly. Lieutenant Parkhurst died 
at Lima about the year 1832. 

The company entered the service 162 strong and when mustered 
out numbered only 48 men. The others had either been killed in 
battle, died of wounds or camp disease, or were taken prisoners. But 
very few had deserted. 

On the 15th of July, 1814, General Porter with his brigade of 
volunteers. Major Wood of the Engineers and Captain Ritchie with 
two pieces of artillery, drove in the British pickets at Fort George 
and formed the brigade within a mile of the fort, in full view of the 
enemy, with little opposition. Colonel Wilcocke with his American 
Canadians, Captains Hall, Harding and Freeman, of the New York 
Volunteers, and a company of Indian warriors, advanced under cover 
of a copse of trees to within musket shot of the fort and gave Major 
Wiiod, with hardly any loss, an opportunity to examine the works; 
a few of Captain Houghton's New York Cavalry were surprised 
and captured. 

After the battle of Lundy's Lane, on the 25th of July, in which 
(General Druminond was so badly worsted, a whole week elapsed 
before he was able to move forward. On the 3d of August 


he stationed 4,000 troops two miles east of P'ort Erie with 
a wood between the fort and his encampment. Finding the fort 
too strong for assault he determined to besiege it. The following 
day he made an unsuccessful attempt on the American magazines, 
which General Brown had transferred to Buffalo, prudently guarded 
by Major Morgan with part of the rifle regiment taken from Fort 

During several days Drummond was busy with preparations to 
take Fort Erie, while Gaines, who had command of the fort, was 
equally active in preparations for defense. Both sides were rein- 
forced and at sunrise of August 13th, Druminond's arrangements 
lieing completed, the engagement commenced with a severe cannon- 
ading. About sunset of the 14th a British shell burst in the magazine 
of the battery commanded by Captain Williams and blew it up with 
a tremendous explosion, but without doing any material damage. 

At two o'clock on the morning of the 15th, the British troops in 
three columns of about 1,500 men each moved in obscurity and 
silence to the assault. Their watchword was "steel," and General 
Drummond's written orders of attack recommended a free use of the 
bayonet. Afterward, when the two armies were in deadly conflict, 
his voice was often heard shouting, with profane brutality, to give 
the "damned Yankees no quarter." Several instances of revolting 
cruelty on the part of the British soldiers occurred. To repulse 
Drummond's attack the American forces had been well disposed. 
General Gaines' position was on the margin of the lake, where the 
Niagara river empties into it. The ground was a level plain, a few 
feet above the water, and was strengthened by breastworks in frcmt. 
intrenchments and batteries. Fort Erie, small and unfinished, was 
defended by Captain Williams, supported by Major Trimble's infantrjv 
General Porter, with his brigade of New York and Pennsylvania 
volunteers, occupied the center. The left was defended by Major 
McRae, with the 9th Regiment under Captain Foster, and New 
York and Pennsylvania volunteers uniler Captains Bbughton and 
Harding. The fight continued until nearly dawn, when the enemy fled 
in complete disorder and dismay, and our victory was a decided and 
glorious one. 

During the month following this engagement very little was done 
bv either armv. At the end of that time (General Brown, who had 


again assumed command of the American forces, determined upon a 
sortie from Fort Erie. The British Army, consisting of three in- 
fantry brigades of l,20(l or l,5(i(> men each besides artillery, was 
encamped in a field surrounded by woods, nearly two miles from its 
batteries and intrenchments, in order to avoid the American fire. A 
brigade of infantry attended the artillerists when at work. Two bat- 
teries were completed and a third was in rapid course of construction. 
all mounted with heavy guns, one of them a 68 pounder and all well 
supplied with ammuniticjn. These works (leneral Brown determined 
to attack. For seven days preceding the sortie there was a continual 
equinoctial storm of rain, which did not, however, prevent frequent 
skirmishes, and favored many desertinns from the English camp. 
General Brown decided to attack the enemy's works by da)% as being 
then least guarded, and an attack least expected. He had carefully 
made himself acquainted vvith the topography of the vicinity, and 
had had his soldiers cut roads through the woods, unperceived, close 
to the enemy. Colonel Jessup with the 25th Regiment remained 
in charge of the fort, and soon after noon of the 17th of September the 
men were paraded and got ready for the attack. The left column, 
destined for Drummond's right, was placed under General Porter, to 
pePiCtrate circuitously between the British batteries and camp, thus to 
surprise and overpower the one-third at work before the other two- 
thirds off duty in camp should come to their help. Of Porter's three 
columns. Colonel Gibson with two hundred of his rifle regiment and 
some Indians led the advance. Lieutenant Colonel Wood, with 400 
infantry headed by INIajor Brooke of the 23d, and with the 1st regi- 
ment, had the right, supported by 50i) militia of the regiments of 
Colonels Dobbin, JNIcBurney and Fleming, which force was to attack 
the batteries. The rain fell in torrents, hence the free use of fireams 
was rendered impossible. Porter led his column close up to the 
enemy's intrenchments, turned their right without being perceived 
by their pickets and soon carried by storm battery No. 3, together 
with a strung blockhouse. 

In half an hour after the first shot the three batteries and two block- 
houses were taken, the magazine blown up, all the guns rendered use- 
less and every object of the sortie accomplished, with considerable 
loss, indeed, Init with a success l)eyond (Teneral Brown's most san- 
guine e.xpectations. 


The Americans retired wiih .^SS prisoners, many of them officers, 
and the total British loss was reckoned at 1,000. (leneral Brown's loss 
was about half that number. 0\vin.t; to the rain, which prevented 
the free use of rifles and muskets, the most of the battle was fought 
hand to hand. 

This sortie was by far the most splendid achievement of the cam- 
paii^ii, whether we consider the boldness of the conception, the excel- 
lence of the plan or the ability with which it was executed. To (Jen- 
eral Brown the whole credit is due, although he had the enthusiastic 
support of Porter and several of the younger field officers. Brown 
was advised not to make the sortie, and at a council of officers held the 
evening before they decided against it, but he did not give up. In 
his emphatic manner he said, "As sure as there is a God in heaven, the 
enemy shall be attacked in his works, and beaten too, so soon as all the 
volunteers shall have passed over." 

General Izard joined Brown and Gaines in October 1814. At Wash- 
ington and everywhere the belief prevailed that Izard would capture 
Drummond. On the ISth of October ')()(J men of Izard's second bri- 
gade under Colonel Bissell, the 5th Infantry under Colonel Pickney, a 
battalion of the 14th under Major Barnard, the 15th under Major 
(iriedage,the 16th under Colonel Pearce,with rifle companies command- 
ed by Captains Irvin and Darman and a small l)ody of dragoons, were 
sent to Cook's mill, twelve miles north of Chippewa, to capture some 
flour there. The next day the Marquis of Tweedale, with a select 
corps of 1,20'J men from the British intrenchtnents, attacked Bissell, 
who defeated and put them to preci[)itate flight in great confusion. 

The Americans abandoned and destroyed Fort Erie November 5, 
1814, and crossing the river went into winter quarters at Buffalo, Black 
Rock and Batavia. On the 15th of February, 1815, the war ended, 
and the settlers were once more permitted to lay down their arms and 
return to their homes and the peaceful vocations of their rural life. 

No attempt has been made, in this cha[)ter, to give a detailed account 
of this struggle, and nothing has been said of the operations of our ar- 
mies in other parts of the country than the Niagara frontier, the writer's 
aim being simply to give some accoinit of those military operations in 
which the settlers c)f the Genesee country were directly interested, and 
in which they participated. The complete history of the war has al- 
ready been written by historians with nhose wnrks the reader is pre- 


sumably familiar, and it is neither the province of this work 
nor the desire of the writer to review it. Conscious that the details of 
this disjointed narrative are very meager, enough has been told 
to show that the early settlers of this region responded readily when 
their country was in danger, as they and their fathers had done in the 
Revolutionary war; and it is seen that the service they were called 
upon to perform was of the most arduous and dangerous character. 
In it some gave their lives, while others returned to their 
homes, to enjoy for many years the fruits of their dearly bought vic- 
tory. And some until a few years since we still had with us, aged 
but honored and useful citizens, to whom it was a pleasure to listen as 
they recounted the trials and sufferings, the reverses and victories of 
this second war with CJreat Britain. 

The result of this struggle was highly beneficial to the Genesee 
country. Many of the difficulties with which the early settlers had to 
contend were removed, and life and property became more secure. The 
jurisdictional limits of Great Britain were defined and established, and 
thenceforth there was no interference with the progress of the settle- 
ments, as there had been previously with ,Sodus and other places. 

Little mention has been made here of individual settlers who partici- 
pated in the war, but the names of others will appear in the town 
sketches. Livingston furnished her full quota of troops when men were 
needed, and her record is one of which we have just reason to be proud. 
It is said that one town alone (Avon) lost more men in defense of the 
frontier than the entire county of Niagara, Of the patriotic devotion 
of the early settlers no more need be said than this. 

After the close of the war. the tide of emigration set strongly in 
the direction of the Genesee country and the growth of the settle- 
ments was exceedingly rapid. The "cold summer" of 1816 acted as 
a check for a time, but subsequent favorable seasons with their abun- 
dant crops gave a new impulse to emigration, and in spite of the great 
drawback of a lack of markets for their surplus grain settlers came in 
a steady stream. The wild forests disappeared, well tilled fields be- 
gan to dot the landscape, and flourishing villages sprang up here and 
there, where a few years before only dense forests, with the red men 
as their only inhabitants, had existed. 

About the 1st of October, 1814, Jerediah Horsford settled in Mount 
Morris. This good man was born in the town of Charlotte, Chit- 


tendeii county, Vernnjin, on the Stli of March, 17'»1. His parents 
lived in a sparsely settled part of the State, and all about them was 
a dense forest. At the age of six years he was sent to the district 
school, two miles distant. The following winter a school was opened 
about si.\ty rods from his father's house, but it was not intended by 
his parents that he should attend, and probably it had not occurred 
to them that he could go during the winter season when the ground 
was covered with snow, as he had not up t<") that period of his life 
known the hi.xury of shoes. But he urged his parents to allow him to 
attend school, and he actual!}' did so for several winters 
barefooted. His method of surmounting this difficulty was both orig- 
inal and ingenious. Procuring a thick pine board large enough for him 
to place both feet upon he heated it thoroughly before the, fire. 
Taking this in his hand he would start at the top of his speed through 
the snow, until his feet began to suffer from cold. He would then st(jp, 
stand upon the board until his feet were warmed and then start again, 
and after two or three such stoppages would reach the coveted goal.-* 
It maybe imagined that one who evinced such zeal and determination 
in his efforts to acquire an education, would make the most of his op- 
portunites. This was true of young Horsforcl, who, although working on 
his father's farm every summer and often in winter being required to 
assist in chopping and preparing the year's supply of wood, kept up his 
studies and made such good progress that at the age of eighteen he was 
employed at ten dollars a month to teach a district school, a vocation 
he [lursued for four winters consecutively. With the opening of his 
first school he united with a dozen young men in his native village in 
the formation of a debating society, which for several years held meet- 
ings regularly and proved an eflicient aid to Horsford in his intellect- 
ual advancement. 

In the spring of 1.S14 Mr. Horsford resolved to seek his fortune in a 
new country at the West. With this object in view lie gathered his 
little property, consisting of an old horse and a very cheap lumber 
wagon and single harness, all worth about S7o, and §2tH) in cash, and 
on the 2','th of March started for the Genesee X'allcy. He located at 
Mount Morris and commenced farming, a pursuit he followed until 
late in life. In 1S16 he was married to Maria C. Norton, daughter of 
Ebeuezer Norton of Goshen, Connecticut. Soon after settling here 
he was honored by Governor DcWitt Clinton with a lieutenant's com- 


mission in tiie militia. This was soon followed by a captain's com- 
mission, which he held for six years, when he was promoted to a colon- 
elcy. Holding this commission for two years he asked for and obtain- 
ed an honorable discharge. 

In the spring of 1S17 Mr. Horsford removed to Moscow, where he 
opened a public house. This business he followed for twelve years 
using and dealing in into.xicating liquors, as was the universal custom 
in those days. Mature reflection upon the subject, however, convinc- 
ed him that the traffic in alcoholic drinks was immoral in tendency, 
productive of a vast amount of suffering in the community and, in 
fact, wrong. He therefore abandoned the liquor business, but kept 
his house open for a few months until, finding that he could not make 
any profit except by selling liquor, he took down his sign fully deter- 
mined never thereafter to engage in business which cotdd not be car- 
ried on without the aid of intoxicating drinks. 

"When I ccmimenced business in Moscow," said Mr. Horsford, "the 
travel on the east and west road through the place had become very 
considerable, especially in the winter season when emigrants from the 
east were in great numbers passing to the west and southwest." At 
this time there were three public houses in Moscow, each of which 
was doing a fair business. "In those days it was the cus- 
tom, and the practice was almost universal with families that 
were moving, to take their own beds and provisions along with them, 
cook and eat at public houses as they could and spread their beds, 
which were not always any too clean, on the floor at night, when they 
usually seemed to rest quite soundly. This practice was by no means 
confined to low life. I will cite one instance of the opposite extreme. 
At the close of the administration of Hon. Quincy Adams, Peter B. 
Porter, his Secretary-(.)f-War, on retiring from office at Washington 
came across the country from Philadelphia on his way home in a 
heavy lumber wagon, described at that time as a 'Pennsylvania wag- 
on,' drawn by two heavy horses. Mr. Porter, his wife, children, ser- 
vant girl and teamster all passed a night at my house. At the usual 
hour for retiring beds were brought in from the wagon and spread on 
the floor for Mrs. Porter, the children and domestic. Mrs. Porter, in 
consequence of her position, was asked and even urged to let the young- 
er portion of the family occupy the beds on the floor, and herself 
retire with her husband. This proposition she very respectfully de- 


•clin^. saying she had slept on the floor every night since leaving 
Washington and preferred to do so until she should reach her own home 
at Black Rock. It was not unusual to have four or five beds spread on 
the floor at the same time, and occupied by families moving." 

During the winter of 1814-15 Mr. Horsford taught the district school 
at Hunt's Corners, in the town of Groveland; in the summer of 1815 
the district school at Mount Morris, and during the winter of 1815-lC) 
he taught an Indian school at vSquakie Hill, under an engagement with 
the Synod of Geneva. At this time the number of Indians young and 
old residing at this place was about eighty. 

The "cold summer" of 1816, before alluded to, was a time of great 
calamity. Save for thfe loss of life. Turner says it was as severe in 
Its effects as the war. He says, "June frosts almost entirely destroyed 
the summer crops; in the forepart of the month pools of water were 
covered with ice. Upon one occasion, especially, in a forenoon, 
after the sun had dissipated the frosts, the fields and gardens looked 
like prairies that have been scorched by fire. Summer crops, other 
than the hardier grains, were crisped and blackened ; the hopes and 
■dependence of the people were destroyed. The wheat harvest was 
mostly delayed until September, previous to which in all the more re- 
cently settled towns and neighborhoods there was much suffering for 
food. Wheat was from $2 to §3 per bushel before harvest, and in the 
absence of summer crops the price but slightly declined after harvest. 
The inhabitants of nearly the whole of the Holland Purchase, and all 
of Allegany, depended upon the older settlements in Ontario for bread. 
The Indians upon the Genesee river had a sinall surplus of corn of the 
crop of 1815, which the white inhabitants bought, paying as high as 
$2 per bushel. In the new settlements wheat and rye were shelled out 
while in the milk, and boiled and eaten as a substitute for bread, while 
in many instances, the occupants of log cabins in the wilderness sub- 
sisted for weeks and months upon wild roots, herbs and milk. The 
season of 1816 was the climax of cold seasons; that of 1817 the com- 
mencement of a series of fruitful ones; of plenty, and would have been 
•of prosperity if there had been remunerating markets for produce. 

The condition of W'estern New York in 1S17 is well described by 
Franklin Cowdery, in the Cuylerville Telegraph of March 18, 1848, 
of which journal he was then the publisher, in an article entitled 
""Forty Years a Typo." He says: "Western New York, in 1S17, was 


verdant and woody, and roads and bridges not much for accomtnt.ida- 
tion. The ice in the winter and a rope ferry in the summer were the 
substitutes for a bridge over the Genesee river between Moscow and 
Geneseo. The only paper mill was Dr. James Faulkner's at Dans- 
ville, a place of hardly tenements enough to entitle it to the naine of a 
village. Mount Morris had a tavern, a few mechanics, and a small 
store kept by Allen Ayrault. Himi. John H. Jones, of Leicester, kept 
an inn and was first Judge of Genesee County. 

"Moscow square, covered with bushes, had been just laid out and 
a few small frame erections put up, and two or three tenements re- 
moved there from Leicester about a mile, standing. An academy, 
in a rough looking cabin of two rooms, male and female departments, 
with perhaps a dozen or fifteen students in all, was kept by Ogden M. 
Willey and Miss Sarah H. Raymond, of Connecticut. A low brick 
school room, at the east end of the square, was the meeting house on 
Sundays. A blacksmith shop, a tavern, a store, and a printing office, 
made up the rest of the village. Deputy Sherifi: Jenkins kept the inn, 
N. Ayrault, P. ^L, the store, and Richard Stevens was the blacksmith. 
There was a Dr. Palmer, lawyer Baldwin, and a justice '.vho had been 
a minister. Rev. Silas Hubbard; and there was a hatter, H'Mner Sher- 
wood, and a tanner and shoemaker, Abijah Warren.'" In a subsqeuent 
article Mr. Cowdery adds: "There were other inhabitants at the be- 
ginning of Moscow, not in mind at the setting up of our preceding 
chapter, namely, Benjamin Ferry, tanner and shoemaker, successor to 
A. Warren; Moses Ball, cabinet maker; Theodore Thompson, grocer; 
Levi Street, stage proprietor and eventually inn-keeper; Peter Palmer, 
Sen., a cooper and natural poet, and Widow Dutton, one of whose 
daughters is the lady of Dr. Bissell, Canal Commissioner. " ' 

The printing (jffice referred to by Mr. Cowdery, belonged to Heze- 
kiah Ripley, who had in January, 1817, established the first paper pub- 

1. Colouel I.ymau gave the foUowiug as the prevailing prices for fariu products and mauti- 
factured articles in 1817: 

Wheat, per bii., 31 cents. Butter, per pouud, 6 cents. 

Corn, per bu., 18 cents Eggs, per dozen, 6 cents. 

Oats, per bu., 12?^. 
Horses and cattle were ver^' cheap. 

Satinet, per yard, 28 shillings. Molasses, per gallon, 10 shillings. 

Cotton Shirting, per yard, iS cents. Whiskey, per gallon, 1 shilling. 

Nails, per pound, iS cents. 
Wedding suits for men were made of the best satinet, and the usual marriage fee was oue 
dollar, payable in cash, produce or deer's tallow. 


lished in the county, and two or three weeks later employed Cowdery 
as a "typo." It seems incredible now that the thinly settled Genesee 
country at that time could have had any need of a public journal, or 
the ability to support one. yet this newspaper venture in the wilder- 
ness seems to have at least maintained its existence, thmigh subscrib- 
ers must have been few and far between, and advertisers even more 
rare phenomena. 

On the 15th of July. ISl'i, William Burbank advertised in the 
".Moscow Advertiser" that he had taken the stand at the river, be- 
tween Geneseo and Moscow, "which he is fitting up for the accommo- 
dation of travellers. * * * He also assures travellers that no exer- 
tions shall be wanting to give them a safe and expeditious conveyance 
across the river. A new boat will be immediately built, when he will 
be able to ferry any teams that shall travel our roads."' 

In the same paper as the above, in the issue of March 11, ISl'l, under 
the head of "Assembly Proceedings," it is stated that "the bill to di- 
vide the towns of Livonia and (Tfoveland, in the county of Ontario, was 
rejected in committee of the whole, for want of sufficient notice of the 

Another notice in the same number of this pioneer journal serves 
to show where the early settlers found their most remunerative mar- 
ket. William H. Spencer announces that "any person living the west 
side of the Genesee river, who contemplates sending pork, flour or 
ashes, to the Montreal market the present or ensuing season, can be ac- 
commodated with storage, and have their property forwarded if de- 
sired. Warehouse Point is about four miles below Moscow. The 
advantages of the place for .storing property is, that it saves 12 or 15 
miles boating, that would be required, was the landing to be at the 
Ferryplace, between Geneseo and Moscow." 

A large share of the advertising patronage of this paper was from 
those who offered "one cent reward and no charges paid, "for run- 
away indentured apprentices, and those who advertised thefts and tres- 
passes on their wood lands. 

In August, 1810, the "Advertiser" announced that a new post-office 
had been established at York, and ]\Ioses Hayden, Esq., appointed post- 

I. Ala term of Court held at Balavi.i in November 1S05, a license was granted to James 
Barnes to ferry across the Genesee river at Leicester. 


master. "This office is on the new inail-rnute from this village to 
Rochester. " 

At an early day the staple product of the Genesee valley was wheat 
and the principal income was that derived from its sale for shipment 
to Baltimore or Montreal. In 1820 eight or ten boats were employed 
on the river in transporting the crops of the county purchased at Gen- 
eseo, Mount Morris and Canawaugus. A portion of the crops of the 
valley was sent to Arkport, and thence in arks or flat boats to Balti- 
more, which afforded a good market. Produce intended for the Mon- 
treal market was sent down the river to Rochester. The large farm- 
ers sometimes marketed their own wheat, a course not unattended 
with expense. One of them relates that his wheat was ground at 
Wadsworth's mill near (jeneseo; he then drew it to Avon; paid stor- 
age there; paid freight down the river and storage above the falls at 
Rochester; freight to Carthage (below Rochester) and storage there; 
freight to Ogdensburg and storage there ; freight to Montreal and 
storage there; commission for selling, and "cooperage everywhere" 
on the line. After paying for a draft on New York, he had eigh- 
teen pence per bushel left for his wheat, without counting the cost and 
labor of transportation to Wadsworth's mill and thence to Avon 
bridge. 1 

Such were some of the difficulties which the early settlers had to 
meet, but after years brought the canals, the network of railroads 
and shipping facilities such as these pioneers never imagined possible, 
^ime has worked wonders, and the busy, wealthy and prosperous 
county bears little resemblance to the sparsely settled and isolated 
Genesee country of eighty years ago. 

I. On the 1st day of November, 1S03, the foUowiug uotice was published iti relation to the 
bridge mentioned in the text : 

"Genesee bridge proposals will be received by Commissioners .\sher Sexton and Benjamin Elli- 
cott for building a bridge over the Genesee between the towns of Hartford and Southampton in 
the connties of Ontario and Genesee." 



THE COUNTY of Livingston was erected from parts of the 
counties of Ontario and Genesee, by act of the Legislature, 
on the 23d of February, 182L It is now divided into seventeen 
towns, Avon, Caledonia, Conesus, Geneseo, Groveland, Leicester, 
Lima, Livonia, Mount Morris, North Dansville, Nunda, Ossian, 
Portage, Sparta, Springwater, West Sparta and York. 

It is situated between the parallels of -42° 33' and 43° 0' north lati- 
tude; and 0° 37' and 1° 8' of longitude west of Washington. Gene- 
seo, its capital town located near the center, is two hundred and ten 
miles in a direct line west of Albany, and sixty-one miles east of 
Buffalo, twenty-eight miles south of Rochester, and si.xty-three miles 
north of the Pennsylvania border. It is the third county in the niid- 
•dle range east of Lake Erie. Its extreme length from north to south 
is thirty-seven miles; and its greatest width east and west is thirty 
miles. It is bounded on the north by the county of Monroe, on the 
■east by Ontario and Steuben, on the south by Steuben and Allegany, 
and on the west by Genesee and Wyoming. Its general form is that 
of an imperfect square. Its area is 655 square miles, or 419,200 acres. 
Its population at the census of 1900 was 37,059; when organized in 
1821 it had a population of about 19,800. Its greatest popula- 
tion according to the census was in 1840, at which time by including 
the town of Ossian since then annexed, it numbered 43,43(> inhabi- 

When erected the county contained twelve towns. Of these 
eight, Avon, Freeport (Conesus), Geneseo, Groveland, Lima, Livonia, 
Sparta and Springwater, embracing about two-thirds of the territory 
and a like share of the population, were taken from Ontario; and 
four, Caledonia, Leicester, Mount Morris and York, embracing the 
remaining third of the area and population, were taken from Gene- 
:see. In February, 1822. the northwest part of the town of Dansville, 
in Steuben county, was annexed to Sparta. In March, 1S25. Freeport 


■was changed in name to Bowersville, and in April of the same j-ear 
the latter was changed to Conesus, which it still retains. In May, 
1846, the towns of Nunda and Portage were added from Allegany; 
and in March, 1857, Ossian was annexed from the same county. In 
February, 1846, Sparta was divided, and three towns, Sparta, West 
Sparta and North Dansville, erected therefrom. 

The county originated in the conviction that such a change would 
essentially forward the administration of justice and otherwise pro- 
mote the convenience of the body of the people. The boundaries of 
the counties of Ontario and Genesee at the time of the division em- 
braced an area of not less than thirty-seven hundred square miles, an 
extent of country nearly three times as great as the whole state of 
Rhode Island. The same territory now forms the counties of Ontario, 
Genesee, Monroe, Livingston, Yates, Orleans, Wyoming and part of 
Wayne. Nor were the two old counties unimportant in point of popu- 
lation or wealth. One hundred and si.Kty thousand souls, or more than 
a tenth of the whole population of the State at that time, had already 
made their homes there, and immigration was daily adding to their 
numbers; while the valuation of their real and personal estate was 
fifteen and one-half millions of dollars, or one seventieth. of the aggre- 
gate valuation of the Commonwealth. 

The movement for division was sharply contested from the outset, 
for, though the active opposition to the measure was in a minority, it 
was a minority of no little strength. Favoring division, however, was 
a party of more than equal zeal, who appealed to the daily experience 
of the pioneers, and cited the benefits that had resulted from subdi- 
viding the original counties. Indeed, there were those among the 
population, men by no means advanced in years, who could remember 
all the subdivisions that had occurred. The original counties of the 
province of New York were formed, as it will be remembered, in 1683, 
and for nearly a century the old county of Albany embraced all the 
vast territory of the present State lying north of Ulster county and 
west of the Hudson river, including of course the whole of the Gene- 
see country. But the progress of settlement at length broke in on 
those long established boundaries, and in 1772 Tryon county, named 
after one of the British governors, was taken from Albany. It in- 
cluded all of the then province of New York lying west of the Scho- 
harie creek. In 1784 Tryon was changed in name to Montgomery, 


in honor of the heroic general who fell at Quebec. Montgomery had 
five subdivisions, one of which, Kingsland, covered most of the west- 
ern settlements. Ontario was taken from Montgomery in 1789, and 
included the whole area to which the pre-emptive right had been 
ceded to Massachusetts, and most of which, being afterwards 
sold by that State to Phelps and Gorham, passed into the possession 
of the Holland Land Company and the Pulteney estate. Hence, 
Ontario county, when organized, covered the whole territory em- 
braced within the bounds of the vState west of the pre-emptive line,' 
and which now forms twelve counties and part of a thirteenth. ^ Thus 
at successive periods, as will be observed, the county of Livingston 
has been a part of Albany, Tryon, Montgomery, Ontario and (iene- 
see, and portions of it of Steuben and Allegany counties. 

The large territory of the two counties of Ontario and Genesee im- 
posed unequal burthens on the towns. The more distant ones were 
put to an undue share of expense and loss of time in the transaction 
of business at the respective county seats. The, rapid -growth of the 
Genesee country, then regarded as next to incredible, rendered fre- 
quent transfers of land necessary, and a more ready access to the 
county records became each day a matter of greater moment. Liti- 
gation, of which all new countries have their full share, compelled the 
frequent attendance of jurors and witnesses as well as suitors. These 
were drawn from their distant fields and workshops and compelled to 
submit to the tedious delays attending over-crowded courts, at serious 
cost of time and money. 

We of this age of turnpikes and railroads, of daily mails and pro.x- 
imity of records of land titles, and especially of adequate court facili- 
ties, are little likely to realize the extent of the evils experienced half 
a century ago. Then highways newly laid out and indifferent at best, 

1. The pre-emptive line was situated a mile east of Geueva. 

2. The territory theu formiug Ontario County was commouly kuowu as the "Genesee Coun- 
try." From Ontario have been formed the following counties: Steuben (1796); Genesee (1802); 
Allegany (l8o6); Cattaraugus (1808); Chautauqua (180S); Niagara 11S08); Erie (1821): Monroe (1821); 
Livingston (1821); Yates (1823); Orleans (1824); Wyoming (1S41I: Wayne, in part (lS23>; in all, thir- 
teen counties, excepting a part of one. Oliver Phelps was appointed First Judge, on the organi- 
zation of the county in 1789, and General Vincent Matthews was the first lawyer admitted in the 
court which theu held jurisdiction over that vast region. The Genesee river became the boundary 
line between Ontario and Genesee on the erection of the latter county, and so continued until 
the erection of Monroe and Livingston counties. The ground now covered by the city of Roches- 
ter, lying on both sides of the river, was theu divided between two counties until the erection of 


were next to impassable in seasons of mud and ruts; ^ the temporarj' 
bridges, and indeed there were few others, were often carried away 
by floods, while the snows frequently laid an embargo on winter 
travel. Instead of thirty-nine post-offices within the bounds of this 
county, there were then but ten. The mails, infrequent, for even 
Avon boasted of but three a week and transported principally in 
sulkies and on horseback, were tardy and irregular. Where at pres- 
ent a business visit to the county seat is the work of part of a day, 
then from portions of the old counties it was the labor of three or 
four days. Now, as the population has become fixed and suitably pro- 
vided with courts, the transaction of legal business is a matter of 
some certainty; then, as court facilities did not keep pace with the 
fast increasing causes, business fell into arrears and all was involved 
in uncertainty, save the certainty of heavy expenses and constant de- 
lays; and further, as Canandaigua and Batavia, the shire-towns, 
were not the natural centres of business of the territory embraced 
within this county, the people were not attracted thither for trade, 
nor did the principal avenues of traffic always lead toward those 
towns, hence they were forced away from the points where they were 
in the habit of transacting business. 

Although the subject of a division of the county had been much dis- 
cussed, it was not until 1820 that it came formally before the Legisla- 
ture. At the session of that year the standing committee on the erec- 
tion of towns and counties in the Assembly, to whom a large number 
of petitions for the new county were referred, advised, since "the 
various interests should be better understood and the opinions of the 
inhabitants be more definitely expressed before the Legislature could 
act intelligently upon the subject, and as little injury could be produced 
thereby, that the question be postponed until a future session," add- 
ing, "we are sensible that some of the towns are at an inconvenient 
distance from the seat of justice, and have claims upon the Legisla- 
ture for better accommodations." To this the Assembly agreed. 

Through the summer of 1820 the matter was much canvassed. 
Meetings were held and petitions were circulated by the multitude, 
increasing, it is said, "with fearful rapidity." In December, 1820, a 

I. Col. I.yman said that he ouce had a team goue three niontli.s to .\lbaii3-, and at cue place 
the teamster said he did his best to get on for three days, stayiu^ three uights at the same place, 
"ludeed between Canaudaigna and Geneva, I have seen forty horses to one heavy wagon, who did 
their best but could not move it but a few rods at a pnll." 


notice appeared in the Moscow Advertiser, and also in the Albany 
Argus, stating that the subscribers, Charles Colt, William Finley, 
John Pierce, Dav-id Warner and their associates, intended to apply to- 
the Legislature at its next session for the erection of a new county, 
to comprise the towns subsequently erected into Livingston. The 
friends of the proposed county of Monroe were also moving. 

The majority of the people along the river and those residing in 
towns contiguous to it favored this division, while the northern part 
of Livonia, East Avon and Lima objected, and the more distant sec- 
tions vehemently opposed any change. A remonstrance from LeRoy, 
Batavia and the western parts of Genesee, signed by six hundred and 
fifty persons, opposed division on the ground that "no county ought 
to be erected composed of territory lying on both sides of the Genesee 
river, as it would subject half the inhabitants to great inconvenience 
and expense; and that the division would only promote the interests 
of a few lawyers, merchants and tavern keepers residing at the new 
county seats." Three hundred remonstrants, inhabitants of Canan- 
daigua, Gorham and Naples, objected to any division of Ontario- 
county, alleging that the "arguments advanced by the advocates of 
the several petitions, being, in our opinion, alike fanciful and falla- 
cious, it is equal matter of surprise that there should be one as that 
there are seven applications for new counties," as was really the case. 
Division, they held, would destroy the symmetry c)t the old county 
and uselessly multiply offices and expenses. "At present," say they, 
"county charges fall lightly on individuals and the times, financially, 
are unpropitious." More than this, they insisted that the effects of 
the Erie canal were "yet to be experienced, and the results of this 
great work might easily render a division unwise." They also urged 
that the extensive range from which to select men of integrity and 
talents, which division would circumscribe, secured able men on the 
bench, in the Legislature and for other public stations. This argu- 
ment was most pertinent just then, for John C. Spencer, the distin- 
guished statesman, and Myron Holly, scarcely less honored, as well as 
other men of no little note, were at that time members of the Assem- 
bly from that county or occupying other places of trust. 
1; The period was one of great pecuniary distress. The war of 1812, 
but five years closed, had caused a suspension of the banks and com- 
pletely deranged the business of the country. The debt it had ere- 


ated, together with the unpaid liabilities of the Revolution, the debt 
contracted for the purchase of Louisiana and other items of interna- 
tional obligation, brought the public debt up to over ninety millions 
of dollars, a sum then deemed so formidable as to raise a doubt of the 
nation's ability to pay it. At the same time "the whole paper sys- 
tem, after a vast expansion, suddenly collapsed, spreading desolation 
over the land, and carrying ruin to debtors. The years 1819 and '20 
were a period of gloom and agony. No money, either gold or silver; 
no paper convertible into specie; no measure or standard or value left 
remaining. The local banks (all but those of New England), after a 
brief resumption of specie payments again sunk into a state of suspen- 
sion. * * No price for property or produce. No sales but those 
of the Sheriff and the Marshal. No purchasers at execution sales. 
No sale for the product of the farm — ^no sound of the hammer, but 
that of the auctioneer, knocking down property. Stop laws — property 
laws — replevin laws — stay laws — loan office laws — the intervention of 
the Legislature between the creditor and the debtor; this was the busi- 
ness of the legislation in three-fourths of the States of the Union — of 
all South and west of New England. No medium of exchange but 
depreciated paper; no change even, but little bits of foul paper, 
marked so many cents, and signed by some tradesman, barber or inn- 
keeper; exchanges deranged to the extent of fifty or one hundred per- 
cent. Distress, the universal cry of the people. Relief, the universal 
demand thundered at the doors of all legislatures, state and federal."'- 
The people in this section, mainly engaged in agriculture and still 
largely in debt for their farms, experienced the full weight of these 
evils. Their lands, as yet but partially cleared, were but measurably 
productive, and as they had been contracted for in more favorable 
times at prices ranging from five to ten dollars an acre, the large 
arrearages of purchase money, now- excessive, were bearing heavily, 
indeed ruinously, upon purchasers. Hence, in many instances they 
were driven to the alternative of obtaining a reduction or of giving up 
their "betterments," as their improvements were called, and commenc- 
ing anew. In Conesus a committee consisting of Elder Hudson and 
Ruel Blake were sent, with this object in view, to confer with the 
agents of the Pulteney estate of whom the lands in that town were prin- 
cipally obtained. They were met in proper spirit by Robert Throup, 

I. Benton's "Thirty Years in the United States Senate." 


the agent of thai great property, and such was the influence of these 
good men and the wisdom of the agent that the contract price on 
many lots was reduced one half, while at the same time the price of 
grain in payment of obligations was increased one half. 

A few prices of those times will serve to give an idea of the prevail- 
ing market rates. Wheat delivered at what is now Littleville was 
sold at thirty one cents a bushel to pay taxes. Oats were worth less 
than a shilling a bushel, and butter six cents a pound. Instead of 
trading by the use of money, the people were obliged to resort to bar- 
ter. Eight bushels of wheat would buy but a barrel of salt or a pair 
of cowhide boots, while under this mode of exchange a good cow was 
valued at ten dollars, a yoke of working .oxen at thirty dollars, a 
horse fifty, pork two dollars the hundred, while Indian corn seems to 
have had no market value whatever. And yet the people were clam- 
orous for a new county, although it involved a large expense for the 
erection of county buildings and the salaries of officers. That such, 
under the circumstances, was their desire is sufficient proof of the 
necessity of the measure. 

The advocates of division were met by an opposition but little in- 
ferior to themselves in earnestness, which did not stop with remon- 
strating, but sought to remove the causes of complaint. Every facil- 
ity was to be afforded by courts and county clerks. An instance may 
be given in the action of Judge Howell of Ontario county, then recent- 
ly appointed, who opened his first term by sunrise ai>d continued the 
sessions day after day until late in the night, giving'scarcelv time for 
meals or sleep. "He ran his court by steam." The calendar was 

exhausted; it could not be otherwise. JPlte people of Canandaigua 

were in raptures. They boasted that a week's term was sufficient to 
dispose of all business before the court, and insisted that the evils 
complained of were but temporary. The remedy, however, came too 
late. The people were determined to have a new county, and the only 
question that now remained was as to the manner of division. Here 
differences of opinion prevailed. Three plans, zeahuihly urged by 
their respective friends, were proposed. 

The first was the Avon or "long county" project, designed to em- 
brace in one substantially i>oth Monroe and T^ivin.nston, with the 
county seat at Avon. Its friends are represented in the petition de- 


posited in the State Library by eight hundred and fifty names, main- 
Iv from Avon, Caled(jnia and York. 

A second plan, strongly urged from the south, proposed two coun- 
ties, omitting from the southerly one the towns of Sparta, Ossian, 
Nunda and Portage, giving the whole of Caledonia to Monroe, and 
embracing Castile, Perry and Covington on the south. This would 
have brought the then thriving village of Moscow at the centre, with 
the avowed object of making that the county seat. A prominent 
citizen of Moscow was sent to Albany for the purpose of urging this 
view upon the Legislature. 

The third and successful plan was to form the two counties, Monroe 
and Livingston, from territory depending chiefly upon the river for 
a market, and to make Rochester, then a small village, one of the 
county seats; and a majority of those endorsing this plan favored Gen- 
eseo as the other. The friends of this mode of division were represent- 
ed at Albany by Colonel Nathaniel Rochester and Judge Carroll, wht), 
as well as their constituents, acted in harmony throughout. 

The subject was now transferred to Albany. The numerous peti- 
tions and remonstrances were referred, on Friday, the 20th of January, 
1821, to a select committee of the Senate, of which Senator Charles E. 
Dudley, a name for all time to be associated with the prog- 
res's of astronomic science, was chairman. In due tune the committee 
reported "that the convenience and interest of the inhabitants of 
those portions of the counties of Ontario and Genesee included in the 
application, will be much advanced by the erection of a new county.'' 
Leave being given, Mr. Dudley brought in a bill entitled "An act to 
erect a new county by the name of Livingston, out of parts of the 
counties of Ontario and Genesee, and for other purposes," and it was 
read twice by unanimous consent. On the third of February the bill 
was examined in committee of the whole, Senator Bouck, at a later 
day Governor, in the chair. It passed the Senate two days afterward, 
and on the 21st the Assembly concurred without opposition. The bill 
then went to the Council of Revision, which body on the 23d of Feb- 
ruary 18^1, "resolved that it does not appear iniproper to the 
Council that this bill should become a law of the State." To this, in 
the Volume of original laws deposited in the State Department, is 
affi.xed the signature of Governor De Witt Clinton. It stands as 


chapter fifty-eighl of the laws of that year, and immediately preced- 
ing it is the act erecting the county of ^lonroe. 

The county was appropriately named in honor of Chancellor Robert 
R. Livingston, the most useful as he was the most consjjicuous of the 
early friends of agriculture in tliis country. Eminent as a jurist and a 
statesman, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the devoted 
friend and [jatron of Robert Fulton, a man who faithfully loved and 
served his country in its period of suiireme peril, he was, in a word, a 
type of that best [Product of the human race, a patriot statesman of the 
Revolutionary period. 

For more than two hundred years the Livingstons filled the highest 
offices in vScotland. As is well known, James Livingston was appoint- 
ed to the Regency of the Kingdom during the minority of King Jatnes 
1. The proud title of Earl was borne by many of the family. The 
fair and unfortunate !Mary Queen of Scots was born in Linlithgow 
Castle, of which Lord Livingston was hereditary governor, and dur- 
ing the invasion of that country by Somerset, Mary was again placed 
under his protetion. 

Five days after the erection of the coimty, the Council of Api)oint- 
ment issued general commissions to Gideon T. Jenkins as Sheriff, 
James Ganson as Clerk, James Rosebrugh as Surrogate and George 
liosmer as District Attorney. A month later Moses Hayden was 
commissioned as First Judge. 

The act designated three commissioners. Dr. Gamaliel H. Barstow, 
afterwards State Treasurer, Archibald^S. Clark, and Nathaniel Gar- 
row, to designate the place and fix the site for the and 
jail. They were directed to meet at the public house of James Gan- 
son, in Avon, thence to proceed to [)erform the imposed duty. 

It IS easy to believe that an advantage so tempting to a new town as 
the county seat was not to be gained without rivalry, and such was 
the case. Several candidates for the honor now appeared. ^ViIliams- 
burgh, the pioneer settlement, urged its claim. Avon, too, agaifi en- 
tered the lists, although too far one side. But the latter objeqtion 
was sought to be counteracted by the prejudice, amounting almost to 
gross injustice, then existing against the southern part of the county, 
whose resources, from being settled later than the northern portion^ 
were as yet imperfectly developed and less understood. The people on 
the line of the great State Road leading from Albany, by way of Can- 


andaigua, to Buffalo, then the principal thoroughfare for emigrants, 
affecte<l to regard the south towns as still a wild, even a sterile region, 
more suitable for hunting than for tillage. At a meeting in Lima, a 
leading member of the county bar in advocating the claims of Avon 
urged that although the latter village was not the centre of the terri- 
tory it was the center of the new county's wealth. Said he: "The 
county seat should be here, as we shall now be required to pay all the 
taxes, for the southern towns are so poor that they produce nothing 
but buckwheat and pine shingles." This sneer was not forgotten ; 
the name "Buckwheat" clung to the speaker to the end of his days. 
A Lima gentleman, at the same meeting, said they" might set it down 
as a settled question that the people of Lima would never agree to go 
one step south and be compelled to associate with the buckwheat 
growers and shingle makers of Sparta and Springwater. " 

Next to (ieneseo in point of general favor for the location of the 
shire town, stood, perhaps, the little hamlet of Lower Lakeville. At 
a public meeting held there about this time, a majority of the leading 
men present, representing Lima, Groveland, Conesus and other towns, 
favored its selection for this purpcjse. But other influences finally pre- 
vailed. The Commissioners in due time decided in favor of Geneseo, 
and not without good reason. The village was situated near the geo- 

\ graphical centre of the county and was the place of the largest com- 
\mercial resort. The surplus produce of an extensive district here 
y found an outlet by way of the river. Indeed, this village soon became 

/ a point at which more wheat was sold than at any other inland mar- 
ket in the State, and at prices rangmg as high and sometimes even 
higher than at Rochester. In population it then numbered fully five 
hundred, and far and near by way of eminence it was usually called 
"the village," and familiarly spoken of as "Big Tree." 

At the time of 'which we write the teeming mart of Dansville, 
although an enterprising town, had not attained its present leading 
relative position; nor had the fair village of Mount Morris then de- 
veloped to any considerable extent its importance as a commercial 
centre; neither did Lima, then boasting of but half a dozen houses, 
give promise of reaching the eminence it has since acquired as a seat 
of learning. Had any one of these facts been otherwise the manner 
of territorial division might have been essentially different. Indeed, 
the weight of influence since, at different times, brought to bear 


frum some of these quarters, and especially from the southerly por- 
tion of the county, for effecting a removal of the county seat or to 
establish a half shire, has been very great; and on several occasions 
one of these objects has nearly been effected. 

The law required that liefore the site became fixed a suitable lot for 
the court house and jail should be duly conveyed to the supervisors. 
Prisoners were to be confined at Canandaigua until, in the opinion of 
the Sheriff, the proposed jail was so far completed as to be safe to 
receive them, and in the cautious language of the day the act de- 
clared that when the prisoners should then be brought to Geneseo, 
"such removal shall not be considered an escape." The supervisors 
were required to determine at their first annual meeting what sum 
it was proper to raise for providing a court house. 

The act also appointed General William AVadsworth, Daniel H. 
Fitzhugh, and William Markham, Commissioners to superintend the 
construction of the public buildings, with ample authority to that 
end. These gentlemen duly qualified and entered upon their duties 
with characteristic energy. 

Until the court house should be ready, it was provided that the 
courts should be held in the brick academy building in Geneseo, a 
two story edifice then standing on the present site of the district 
school-house on Center street. 

The county was entitled to elect one member of Assembly. The 
privilege of electing two was conferred in 1822. George Smith was 
the first Member of Assembly. 

By a supplemental act, passed also at the session of 1S21, the super- 
visors and county treasurers of the counties of Ontario and Genesee 
and the supervisors and county clerks of Monroe and Livingston 
were required to equitalily apportion all debts and effects as well as 
moneys belonging to the former counties among the several counties. 

After Geneseo was decided upon as the shire town, two sites were 
proposed for the county buildings. One of these was the public square 
t)r park at the south end of the village; the other, where the buildings 
now stand.' The land, about four acres and a quarter, was given by 
William and James Wadswi^rth and duly conveyed to the supervisors 

I. Deed iu trust from William and James Wadsworth to Supervisors of I.iviugstou Couuty, 
dated July 14, 1821, recorded July 15th in book I of deeds, at page 6l. Consideration, one dollar. 
Conveys 2 47-100 acres to be used as a public square and promenade; also I 79-100 acres for a site 
for court house and jail. See appendix No. 13 for copy of this deed. 

Cobblestone District School House in Geneseo, on site of Academy Building where Livingston 
County Courts were first held. 


to be used as a public square or promenade and for a site for the court 
house and jail. In this they but carried out a purpose previously- 
formed by them, which was to give a lot for the public buildings 
whether they should be located in Geneseo or Avon. 

The first annual meeting of the Supervisors was held in October, 
1821. The board was composed of members who would do honor to 
any legislative body. They were: From Avon, Thomas Wiard ; Cale- 
donia, Robert McKay; Freeport, Davenport Alger; Geneseo, William 
H. Spencer; Groveland, William Fitzhugh; Leicester, Jellis Clute; 
Lima, Manassah Leach; Livonia, Ichabod A. Holden; Mount Morris, 
\VilIiam A. !Mills; Sparta, William McCartney; Springwater, Alvah 
Southworth; York, Titus Goodman. 

William Fitzhugh of Groveland was chosen Chairman, and Ogden 
M. Willey of Geneseo was made Clerk. • Orlando Hastings was elect- 
ed County Treasurer. 

Among the first resolutions adopted was one authorizing a bounty 
of five dollars a head for the destruction of wolves, and two dollars a 
head for each wolf's whelp killed during the ensuing year. Leicester, 
it was voted, should be permitted to pay a bounty of one dollar for the 
destruction of each wildcat. What would be thought now of the 
necessity for such resolutions ? 

The bill for the personal expenses and services of the Commissioners 
to locate the site of the county buildings was presented and ordered 

On the subject of the public buildings, the Board determined that 
nine thousand dollars should "be raised and levied on the freeholders 
and inhabitants of the county for the purpose of erecting and finish- 
ing a court house and jail." Of this sum three thousand dollars was 
ordered raised the ensuing year. 3 

In December the Board formally expressed the opinion that the 
public buildings "should be of a size calculated for a county whose 
population was fast increasing, that they should be of the best mate- 
rial, and be constructed in the most faithful manner," and as the first 

1. This model officer and good citizeu held the position of clerk of the Supervisors for thirty 
years, to the general acceptance of the public. 

2. Amounting to $174.00. 

3. The valuation of the real and personal estate of the county in i)S2i was $2,177,901.25, as ap- 
pears by a table compiled from assessors' returns that year. 


sum named was found to be insufficient, they resolved to ask the Leg- 
islature for authority to raise two thousand dollars more the ensuing 
year. This was accordingly done, the power was granted, the further 
sum raised and the buildings completed. 

In February, 1822, Major Spencer and Orlando Hastings were 
appointed to e.xamine the accounts opened under the act by the 
treasurers of (Ontario and Genessee with Livingston, and to do what- 
ever was necessary to effect a settlement. The matter was afterward 
placed wholly in the hands of Mr. Hastings. The journals of the 
Biiard appear to furnish no record of the final adjustment of these 
accounts. ' 

The court house was ready for the courts in May, 1823. ^ In Oc- 
tober the bonds executed by the Commissioners for superintending the 
building of the court house and jail were ordered to be delivered up, 
and "the thanks of the Board were presented to the Commissioners 
for their faithful services rendered the county in erecting the public 

It was now formally resolved "that the keys of the court house be 
delivered to Chauncey Morse, and that he have liberty to open it for 
public worship and to show the interior to any gentleman who may 
wish to view it; and that he deliver the keys to the Sheriff to open 
the house for county purposes." A committee was appointed to 
deliver the keys and a copy of the foregoing resolution. 

I, From the book of supervisor's records of Genesee county, the following: transcript has 
been obtained: 
**i822, Januar>' 15. 

Resolved, that the moneys now iu the hands of the treasurer of the County of Ontario be ap- 
portioned as follows: 

Aggregate Aggregate of 

valuation. money divided. 

To the County of Monroe, $1,098,127 $ .348-7S 

do Livingston 1.375.469 436.S6 

do Ontario 6,304,185 2,002.31 

$S.777,7Sl $2,787.95" 

2. Homer Sherwood, of Geneseo, had the contract for building the court house. 

3. The official record says: "The Board of Supervisors at a meeting held Feb. 19, 1824, adopt- 
ed the following resolution: Whereas, The Hoard ol Snper\'isors of I^ivingstou County believe that 
General Win. Wadsworth for his gratuitous exertions in superintending the erection and finishing 
of the public buildings of the County, merits their individual approbation, Therefore, 

Resolved, rnanimously, that the thanks of this board, in behalf of the county, be rendered him 
for those exertions." 

Old Livingston County Court House; Clerlt's Office at riglit and Jail at left 


With equal formality was it resolved that the Sheriff be requested 
to "take charge of the irons belonging to the county and keep the 
same subject to the order of the Board." 

The first Court of General Sessions, indeed the first court of record 
held in the county, convened at the Brick Academy, a two story build- 
ing standing exactly on the site of the cobblestone school-house on 
Centre street, on the last Tuesday of May, 1821. There were present 
Moses Hayden, First Judge, ^latthew Warner, Jeremiah Riggs and 
Leman Gibbs, Judges. After prayer by the Rev. Mr. Bull, the court 
was opened by the usual proclamation. The following grand jurors 
were then sworn: William Janes, foreman, Robert McKay, James 
Smith, Asa Nowlen, Josiah Watrous, Francis Stevens, William 
Warner, Ichabod A. Holden. Ruel Blake, William A. ^lills, Ebenezer 
DaiTion, P. P. Peck, Joseph A. T^awrence, William Crossett, William 
Carnahan, James McNair, John Culver, Erastus Wilcox, John Flunt, 
Daniel H. Fitzhugh, Thomas Sherwood, Ebenezer Rogers and Gad 

The first indictment for trial was the case of The People vs. Mary 
DeGraw, for assault and battery with intent to murder. On the trial 
of the case the jury returned a verdict of guilty of an assault and 
battery, antl not guilty of the rest of the charges in the indictment. 

The lirst commitment appears to have been that of ^lay Brown, 
convicted at this term and sentenced to the Ontario county jail for 
thirty days. 

The first term of the Court of Common Pleas was also held on the 
last Tuesday of May, 1821. Among the attorneys who presented 
licenses and were admitted to practice in this court at the time, were 
Samuel Miles Hopkins, George Hosmer, Felix Tracy, John Dickson, 
Orlando Hastings, Charles H. Carroll, Willard H. Smith, Augustus A. 
/Bennett, Ogden M. Willey, Hezekiah D. Mason, and Melancthon W. 
/ Brown. On motion ^lark H. Sibley was also admittted to practice. 
The first trial held in this court was the case of Alfred Birge, appel- 
lee, vs. Joel Bardwell, appellant. O. Hastings appeared as attorney 
for the appellee, and A. A. Bennett as attorney for the appellant. 
The jury was composed of the following members: James Richmond, 
LeRoy Buckley, Federal Blakesley, Roger Wattles, T. H. Gilbert, 
Joseph White, Jehiel Kelsey, John Salmon, Geo. Whitmore, Dav-id A. 
Miller, Riley Scc^ville, Andrew Stilwell. 


During the Judge's maiden address to the grand jury the door op- 
posite the bench opened and a distinguished member of the bar, 
"standing six feet eight and well proportioned," entered the room. 
Though his bearing wimld have done credit to a Bayard, yet he could 
not resist a mischievous wink to the Judge. The latter could not help 
seeing it, as it was intended for him alone, and it was too much for 
him under the novel circumstances. He hesitated a moment, broke, 
and was forced to abruptly descend from the heights of his eloquence. 
But right keenly did he scold the wicked joker for the prank he had 
played him, after the ermine was put off for the day. 

In 1823 the May term of the Common Pleas, Charles li. Carroll, First 
Judge presiding, having opened in due form, adjourned to the new 
courthouse.^ Here, after being duly convened, the first term was 
opened by a court as dignified, surrounded by a bar as able and ac- 
complished and by jurors as honest and intelligent, as any new coim- 
ty, scarcely twenty years emerged from the wilderness, ever boasted. 

The county was now fully provided with the necessary buildings 
and machinery, and it has since fully maintained its standing among 
the other divisions of the State. 

Anecdotes connected with its organization have been preserved. 
Among these was one in reference to the design for the county seal. 
As it ran the dominant party at that time was called the "Bucktail." 
The first county clerk was of that [jarty, and in ordering the seal he 
chose for the design a buck with large horns and a long, bushy tail, 
longer than the law of nature justified. This caudal grace was long 
ago curtailed, however; indeed, the design itself was soon superseded 
the seal now bearing simply the name of the county between a larger 
and a smaller circle. 

1. On couveuing iu the uew court house George Hosmer was appointed District Attorney and 
Samuel Stevens, Crier. The first trial held in the new building was the suit of Driesbach and 
Scholl, Executors, Appellees, vs. Samuel Culbertson. .Appellant. 



THE GROWING cdinmnnities with their rapidly increasing bus- 
iness transactions felt very seriously the want of banking facili- 
ties, and as early as 1823 an attempt was made to establish a 
bank at Geneseo. A petition was presented to the Legislature March 
4th of that year for the privilege of opening a bank at that place,, 
which was signed by the judges and supervisors of the county. It 
was referred to the committee on banking of the Assembly and, ap- 
parently, was never reported by that committee, for in the Living- 
ston Register of March 2d, 1S25, the following notice appears: 

"Notice is hereby given that an application will be made to the 
next Legislature of the State of New York, for an act of incorporation 
for a bank, with the usual privileges of banking by the name and 
style of the Livingston County Bank, with a capital of one hundred 
thousand dollars, to be located in the village of Geneseo." 

The notice is signed by William H. Spencer and Homer Sherwood 
and is dated December 20th, 1824. This movement was probably also 
unsuccessful, for a simibr notice subsequently appeared in the Register 
dated November 15. 1825, and signed by John H. Jones, Moses Hayden, 
Edward Bissell and Philo C. Fuller. It asked for a charter for a bank 
with a capital of $250,000, "and with liberty to increase the stock to 
$400,000." All these efforts however, proved alike futile and it was 
not until 1830, as will subsequently appear, that the citizens of the 
county succeeded in securing the measure they so much desired. 

In 1823 P. R. Bowman was running a line of stages from Canandai- 
gua to Warsaw by way of Moscow. In the Livingston Gazette of July 
3d of that year he gave notice that thereafter he "would continue his 
line once in each week. He will leave Moscow on Saturday afternoon 
immediately after his arrival from Canandaigua, and return from 
Warsaw on Monday evening, and on Tuesday morning start again for 
Canandaigua." Between Moscow and Canandaigua the stages were 
run twice.each week, passing through Geneseo, Livonia, Richmond 
and Bristol. In connection with this line stages were run from Can- 


andaigiia to Palmyra and (via Geneva) to Lyons, connecting with the 
Erie canal. 

The same paper contains the notice of Jedediah Richardson, Hiram 
Jones and Nehemiah Westbrook, announcing that their new boat 
"Independence" would commence running on the river, between Bab- 
cock's Ferry and Rochester, and make regular trips once in two 
weeks, carrying freight down or up "on the most reasonable terms." 

Notwithstanding such enterprises, the greatest drawback to the 
growth and prosperity of the county, as of nearly all Western New- 
York, was the lack of prompt, reliable and cheap transportation for 
the products of its rich fields. The nearest remunerative mar- 
kets were Baltimore and Montreal, and from this county the 
only routes were navigable streams and the broad e.xpanse of 
Lake Ontario; the former tortuous ways, full of impediments, sub- 
ject to floods and drouth, and incapable of being navigated e.xccpt bv 
flat boats and rafts, floating with the current if passing down, labor- 
iously poled' along if passing up the streams. Added to these dif- 
ficulties were numerous portages or carrying places, to avoid water- 
falls and rapids or in [)assing from one stream to another. The open- 
ing of the Erie canal somewhat improved this state of affairs, as it 
brought nearer the markets of Albany and New York, yet it only did 
so to a moderate degree, for the nearest point on that great artificial 
waterway was comparatively a King distance from the tarming com- 
inunities of Livingston. It can be readily imagineil, therefore, that 
transportation charges were excessively great, and that the produce of 
the fertile lands of the settlers found a slow and unremunerative mar- 
ket. Some prices have already been given in this work, and instances 
showing the result of attempts to carry the surplus grain to market, 
attempts which generally left the margin on the wrong side of the 
ledger. The attention of the people was thus early directed toward 
measures for improving communication with the eastern markets, 
and the Erie canal ha\-ing just been completed, and having already 
given promise of fulfilling the highest anticipations of its wise projec- 

I. Not very many years ago a colored man named Schuyler occupied a cabin on Uie east bank 
of the riverjust below the Markham homestead, at Avon. He had a large swelling or bunch ou 
the side of his neck caused by polling. The jjrocess consisted in the use of long i)oles, one end 
resting against the bank or bottom of the stream the other against the breast or shoulder of the 
boatman: thus fixed the poller would walk from bow tt> stern of the boat forcing it upstream. 


tors, it was natural that a similar work should be proposed to meet 
the necessities of commerce in this and adjoining counties. 

A call appeared in the Livingston Register of June 15, 1825, for a 
public meeting to be held at the house of Col. John Pierce, in the 
village of Geneseo, on the 2Sth of June, of the citizens of Monroe, 
Livingston, Allegany, Cattaraugus and Steuben counties "who feel 
interested in the formation of a canal from Rochester along the valley 
of the Genesee and Canaseraga, and of a canal from Genesee river to 
some point of the Allegany river. " The meeting was "for the pur- 
pose of devising means to collect and convey to the Canal Commission- 
ers and to the State government the necessary information as ti) the 
practicability and vast importance of the above canal routes." The 
call was signed by Philip Church, Daniel H. Fitzhugh, William H. 
Spencer, Ira West, Jonathan Child and Ilenian Norton. 

At this meeting a committee was appointed "to obtain information 
respecting the practicability of making a canal" as proposed; and sub- 
sequently this committee was notified to meet at Geneseo on the first 
Tuesday of September, to commence the active discharge of its duties. 
A bill had been introduced in the Assembly the previous spring, auth- 
orizing a survey for this proposed canal, but it failed to become a law. 
Five years later the question was still being agitated by the people of 
the valley, their efforts thus far having met with but little success. A 
large and enthusiastic meeting of citizens of Sparta and adjoining 
towns, friendly to the Genesee Valley Canal, was held in Dansville 
July 24th, 1S30. Resolutions were adopted claiming that the region 
through which it was proposed to run the canal was "equal if not su- 
perior to any which for a length of time have been presented to the 
public, and especially so as it has been satisfactorily ascertained that 
by a canal connecting the waters of the Allegany river with the great 
Erie canal, a complete water communication will be effected between 
the two great commercial cities of New York and New Oi"leans." A 
meeting of like character had been previously held at Angelica, and 
subsequently, on the 26th of August, 1830, a delegate convention of 
conspicuous men from all the counties affected by the proposed meas- 
ure was held at Geneseo for the purpose of securing a survey of the 
route. Again, in 1833 we find a eall for a meeting to be held in Gen- 
eseo November 20th, of "the inhabitants of the counties more directly 
interested in the construction of a canal from Rochester to Olean, with 


a liranch to Dansville village, * * fur the purpose of takinij 
into consideration the proper measures to be adopted in rehition to 
that object." The call was signed by H. D. Mason, William Finley, 
Allen Ayrault, Daniel H. Fitzhugh, Robert Dixon, D. H. Bissell, Rus- 
sell Austin, S. G. Grover, John Cutler, Donald McDonald, Charles 
Colt, Leman Gibbs, James Wadsworth, P. C. Fuller, J. Young, William 
H. Stanley, Donald Fraser, Jr., William A. Mills, James McCurdy, 
Tabor Ward, Jotham Clark, E. Hill, C. R. Bond and James S. Wads- 

Other meetings were held in various places, but it was not until 1834 
that the preliminary surveys for the canal were made, although the 
subject was constantly discussed in the public prints and by individ- 
uals. Meanwhile the necessity of some better means of transportation 
had yearly become greater, and the people were clamorous for this 
improvement. The trade with Rochester, which had become thus 
early an important commercial center, was carried on principally by 
the river. Lumber was floated down during the spring and fall fresh- 
ets, and the passage was considered short if made in two days. The 
merchants brought their goods by the same channel, the trij) up 
requiring from four to five days. Such means of transportation, while 
answering the needs of the country when first settled, were wholly 
inadequate to the then present demands of their inland commerce, and 
no effort was spared to enforce this fact upon the attention of the 
Canal Commissioners and the Legislature. This demand of the people 
of the valley was, at length heeded and a survey made, as stated, 
in 1834. 

The total cost of the canal, as estimated by the chief engineer, F. C. 
Mills, after making this survey, was $2,002,285. Subsequent surveys 
and examinations, together with a change in the plans of many of the 
structures, increased this estimate to $4,750,125.7'), and reviewing this 
estimate again, he made it $4,900,122.44, but included in this was 
$197,099 for reservoirs for supplying the summit level with water. Its 
actual cost when completed, however, was about $6,000,000, or more 
than three times the first estimate of the engineer. 

So expeditiously was the project pushed, after the preliminary steps 
had been taken by the State authorities, that about 30 miles of the 
line had been put under contract in 1837, and 50 miles in 1838. The 
remainder of the work was let in the following year. It was originally 


() F P I C l) It s () |o I' II I] I) \ V. 

Marshal. — Siirrsiiiiis Itrilloii. :issis(4'(l 

In I ll<'> S|MMw<'r. 

I* n si dill I. -lUm.iU.uUs li.("jiin»||. 

fill l'iisi)liiils- K/.i\ I'llili I lull >li(Ml) IJioipU-. i',li|ili. 
iilcl TjliT. I'.M|.. Hull. It.iiii. I V~lili\, Col. I'riiMiici' 
.liiiKillinii Itiii'i'iiii. 

"rtlut - A. IKIVItL^ 1 llll'dw I .., 
IU*.1..r^.|||{KI'.|>|l'l lIM.n V. i:..| 
' '" tt»l,i:sTII.I;M..\. 

Jii/muua-j'ii'ji ur 'Jiii i,,i 

i>uiii:ii III' run i>iinf'l:Kviii\ 
' " II. fl.. IV. .\ V... ri....i.;,ifc 

!" "'■ If HI.1;;.. n. i..r <i,i.l lt.ii>ih<r. 

orUioilny. - 

t II i:.,..i 

■ r^ \lll. I 

"imn^ I llliMi\>. n.„«i , , , ,Vi vVt-'rr ih .. 

!,'.'.',";.." """- ' » ■ ">^i ■ iVi'CKi.i-r.., .':,;;■■ ^■»v~-u..iu.y...i., n,. 

•"••»..., , „ , ,„ , ^,„ ;;; ;;.... ,. |. 

.,,'..;';:.'r^ '■'-■••". ■ .t.ti;*.'::.r|;,",-; ^ ''■•■•■ •••^ >< i... 

Program o! Celebration at Nunda In 1838 on Account of Progress In 
Canal Construction. 


intended to be 123 miles long, including "navigable and unnavigable 
feeders," but the canal itself was only 118 miles in length. Its gener- 
al course was a southwesterly one from Rochester, through Monroe, 
Livingston, AVyoming, Allegany and Cattaraugus counties (passing 
through the towns of York, Leicester, Mount Morris, Nunda and Port- 
age), following the valley of the Genesee river to Squakie Hill, at 
Mount Morris, where it crossed the river and followed the Cashaqua 
valley to a point beyond Nunda, when it again sought the river, 
which it recrossed at Portageville. Thence it descended to Olean. 
The peculiar character of some parts of the country traversed by this 
artificial waterway necessitated some very expensive work. The plans 
first proposed included 115 locks besides several guard locks, one 
tunnel of 1082 feet in length near Portageville, 15 aqueducts, 8 dams, 
134 culverts, 103 highway bridges, several towpath bridges, 130 farm 
bridges and a number of bulkheads, wasteweirs, etc. Alterations 
in the plans changed these figures somewhat, but not materially, ex- 
cept in the abandonment of the tunnel project. 

The greatest engineering difficulties were encountered, and the 
heaviest proportionate expense was incurred on that portion between 
Nunda and Portageville. Here there was a cutting through the ridge 
dividing the valley of the Cashaqua from the Genesee valley 73 feet 
deep, and a series of locks, about 17 in number, which were required 
to reach the summit level 982 feet above the level of the Erie canal. 
Besides these extensive works the highest skill of the engineers was 
needed to carry the canal around the high, mountainous hills over- 
hanginsj; the river, and the attempt to do this seemed several times 
a futile one. The canal, having been brought from the deep cut across 
the Cashaqua ridge almost to the verge of the perpendicular cliffs im- 
pending over the river, took thence the ascending course of the stream. 
Approaching to within about two miles of Portageville, the mountain 
increased rapidly in height, and the excavation becarne very deep, in 
some places 50 or M) feet through solid rock. Here it was proposed 
to cut a tunnel through the mountain, and work was commenced upon 
it and continued until the most stupendous difficulties compelled the 
engineers to abandon it. The length of the tunnel was to have been 
l,tlS2 feet, its height 27 feet, and width 20 feet, piercing the towering 
mountain from side to side. This work was deemed necessary on 
account of the treacherous character of the sliding shelves of the hill, 


but the same cause which led to the tunneling of the hill finally forced 
the engineers to abandon this project and construct the canal around 
the side of the hill. A writer on an Eastern paper' who visited the 
work while it was in progress describes it as follows: "Great embar- 
rassment has already been experienced and heavy expenses incurred 
inconsequence of these slides, both above and below the tunnel;" and, 
speaking of the tunnel itself, "since the excavation h as been com- 
menced, such is the character of the rock, thrown together apparent- 
ly by Nature in loose masses and blocks, that it now appears that the 
entire roof and sides of the tunnel will require arching with solid ma- 
son work. Indeed, temporary arches of wood have been found nec- 
essary during the progress of almost every successive yard of the work. 
It is by far the greatest undertakmgof the kind that has been attempt- 
ed in our country." Of the engineering he says: "If he shall at last 
accomplish the work of pinning, as it were, the canal to the slippery 
shelf of sand which overhangs the gult, we shall have something 
worth while to show to engineers of the old world." 

After nearly a quarter of a million of dollars had been expended on 
the tunnel it was abandoned. It can be seen in passing 
over the line of the canal, a dark, half ruined cavern in the 
crumbling rock, and the lasting depository of the people's money, 
squandered in a vain struggle with Nature. But though baffled 
here, the engineer did succeed in pinning the canal to the treacherous 
side of the towering mountain, and his work was well worth a long 
visit to see. The hill rises quite abruptly to the height of several 
hundred feet. A long distance below, in a chasm with almost perpen- 
dicular sides, is the Genesee encircling the base of the hill and hurry- 
ing along over the rapids or madly leaping down the upper and middle 
falls. Half way up the preci])itous side of the mountain was the canal 
cut into its side and overhanging the raging torrent below. A narrow 
strip of land alone served as a towpath, from which the descent was 
almost perpendicular to the river. The canal wound around the hill 
in this manner, passed under the famous Portage Bridge and a short 
distance above crossed the river by means of a wooden aiiueduct. 
Work upon the canal was prosecuted vigorously, except on the upper 
sections, and in 1840 thirty-seven miles, from Rochester to Mount 
Morris, were completed.- The line from Mount Morris to the Shaker 

1. William L. Stone. 

2. (See uote on following page.) 


«ciic!iiec Valley Caiiial 

Scpfembir l«l, 18-40. 

Tho plarr of mecfiiif; will be nl IIk* juiirlioDof the 

Cannl nnd IhcSliilo Komi IritJins throiifcli A%oii (u t'lilnlitiiin. 

BnniM will be provided for rarrjiii? the Mililiir^ ('um])i>iiicK nnil Raadn of 
Mii^lc (Vco of c\i»cns<". 

Mnjor DilihtII'n Compniiy of Artlllrry, Willi llu'lr Onltinnre, nil! Itc at ihr 
plar4' of me^llnc on tlir cvrnlne prcrrdhii;. prepared to (ire a NHlioiml Sa!ut« 
at Muririvron tlie morn In;; of tlic ility oreeleltnition, niiil Mitlutrit will l>e flred 
at HiinrfHT «nd minM-t on Hint liny, nt Ihr promlneul pointK on the line of the 
Canal, from Koi-lie«(er (o Oleun. 

The other >|jlt(arv C'ompiinles, willi their Mu^ie, will be nl the place of 
tncetini: at ft oVkiek in themornliiKofthe dav of eelelirntlon, where lliey will 
bcmel livtJen. SleTriiH. ^liirohiil tif the djy' with til<< AiiUand llenuly Mar- 

nnitf«i prnviileil lorr;irrvin; lhi-<'iti>^eii*i •;eiierallV'. will leave Roc-healer at 
«oVl.«L. A.M.onlhddiiy.aiiil loiirliin: »l Sciitto ille, ami other inlerinedl- 
atc plaees to reeeive |M-r'«oii<4 on hoiiril. « ill nrri* e at the |»Iii<e of meettni; at 
l« o'eloek, M.; and liiiau provlileil fur Ihe H:iiiif piirpo'^e will leave Mount 
Morrio, Ctiy ler, l.i\ liic<<ton <ilv. nt wieh lioiirH iis to ciiHiire their e\arl arrival 
•I the pl^ire of nieelin^ at I'i.eelmk, M- Mie line of llaato frntn eaeh dirco 
UontoheneeompanUdnlth fall llan.U ot Mnxie. iiinl eaeh Rnal Ii> hear the 
Nfttloia.l Fhv^'. .;;Tlie Ladie> ilie«hole tine oftlie <-aiial and ila 
*lrlnll>, aiere»peethdlv invlud to alleiid and join in lhef.-^li*itie^ of the dav. 
tnmu-es »lll lie hi rendineo^iit thi' pliiee ol nuHIn- to lake the l.ailie^^aiid 
thoHe iKTWHiH who do not wl«h to join Kn- pi-iHe^Hian, to Ihe \ ill i-e «.l 1VeK» 
Avon lmmedi:itel.vaftrrtIienieetiucofUMll.,!U, and Ihe interehan-. oi -'reel* 
iD^mdaalotatlouMlM-lneen the iNoilhand the Month. 

h, fc.'"r"°"°° ""I "" " !"• '"'""-l un,l. r l[, " ,i„V, Iir 1,, M..^K 1 J 

hi. Ikpull,^ ,„d „„„,, , I III ,„",;"' ''"'".''" "f <l"- Marvhiil nnd 

Announcement of celebr&tlon of completion oi canal to Mount Morris. 


settlement, four miles, and the Dansville branch, eleven miles, was 
completed in 1841; from the Shakers to Oramel, thirty-six miles, in 
1851; from Oramel to Belfast, two miles, in 1853; from Belfast to 
Rockville, three miles, in 1854; and frnm Rockville to Olean basin, 
twenty-four miles, in 1856. 

The completion of the canal to Mount Morris in 184(1 and to 
Dansville in 1841, was hailed with demonstrations of the greatest joy 
by the people of the valley. Early in the summer of 1840 a meeting 
was held in Rochester to make arrangements for a suitable celebration, 
and in the fall of that year, in accordance with the previous arrange- 
ments, the letting of the water into the canal was observed with ap- 
I)ropriate ceremonies. In 1841, when the canal was opened to Dans- 
ville, the State scow went through from Rochester with a numerous 
delegation on board, and a six pounder cannon from which a salute 
was fired at every village on the route. 

In 1857 the Legislature authorized the extension of the Genesee 
Valley canal from Olean to Mill Grove pond (which connects with the 
Allegheny river), a distance of six and one-half miles. The engineer's 
estimate of the cost of this work was $88,500. 

The canal was not the only measure of relief proposed by 
the people of the valley. Other plans for providing suitable means of 
transportation were suggested, the most important of which was the im- 
provement of the Genesee river. There were those who believed this 
a better plan than that of constructing a canal, and until the latter 
measure was sanctioned by the Legislature and work upon it com- 
\ menced they urged their views with great zeal and pertinacity. In 
\ 183f> "the inhabitants of Livingston county friendly to improving the 
linavigation of the Genessee river from Rochester to Geneseo or to 
/ jsome point above, as may be found practicable," were invited to meet 
■^ at the Court House in Geneseo on the 16th of December. "A general 
attendance is requested," said the call, "as it is wished to have an in- 
terchange of views in relation to applying to the Legislature for a mod- 
ification of the law for constructing the Genesee Valley canal, so far 
as to leave it discretionary with the Canal Commissioners to substitute 

2. Work on these sectious was suspended by act of the Legislature March 29, 1842, but was 
subsequently resumed. The enormous cost of the canal above the original estimates of the 
engineer proved a great hindrance to the rapid progress of the work, and there is reason to sup- 
pose that had the State known how great the cost was really to be, it would never have authorized 
the construction of the canal. 


the river in place of a canal along its banks." The mcetinu; was held 
and was largely attended by citizens of York, Avon and Geneseo, the 
southern towns being evidently opposed to the measure. Curtiss Haw- 
ley of Avon was made chairman, and Benjamin F. Angel of Geneseo 
secretary. George Hosmer presented a series of resolutions, which, after 
approving speeches by those present, were adopted. These resolutions 
commended the wise policy which had for years characterized State 
counsels, by which the benefits of legislation had been extended to 
all parts of the State, and especially the aid which had been given in 
opening avenues of trade and commerce, "a policy which had ad- 
vanced us to a proud and commanding eminence among our sister con- 
federates, and justly entitled Xew York to the appellation of the Em- 
pire State." It was also declared that those composing this gather- 
ing were in favor of a water communication between the Allegheny 
river and the Erie canal at Rochester, and that they were friendly 
to the proposed canal, but that they at the same time believed that if 
a portion of the Genesee river could be improved and used advantage- 
ously as a canal, "at a saving of more than a quarter of a million of 
dollars to the State, and at the same time render greater facilities to 
trade at a period of interrupted navigation in the spring and fall, when 
a canal, supplied with water from the summit level of the (ienesee 
Valley canal, would be locked with ice," it should command the ser- 
ious and candid consideration of the public. The resolutions concluded 
by urging a modification of the act authorizing the construction of 
the canal so as to allow the Canal Commissioners to inquire into the 
expediency of substituting such portions of the river as might prove 
desirable, in place of the canal, and a committee consisting of Calvin 
H. Bryan, George Hosmer, Allen Ayrault, Charles Colt, Joseph B. 
Bloss and Elias Clark was appointed to present these views to the 

The project, however, does not seem to ha\-e had the su|)porl of the 
public, or at least of the people inhabiting the towns south of Geneseo 
on the proposed route of the canal. Hence the movers in the enter- 
prise were unsuccessful, and it was early abandoned, i 

About this time also the question of im])roving the Allegheny river 

I. At this early period railways were too much in their iufancy to be regar(le<l with much 
favor, but at this meetiug Mr. Bryan and Mr. Hosmer. in their addresses, suggested that the time 
might come when a railway along the valley of the Oenesee would supercede any other mode of 

iicii^'ice lalley line. 

i^' Tin- I..uri' niid Com-iurl^.jM ■ ' ■ t Bo.ilti 



I |',.M..,i-.r% .„, .).. iir... ..- \otl.. t-»..Hl. I..l«.il. I(-li.-l.. ...I.I .M.. II....". Ivf S 

% J. L. Ct-r\.'".K, 

I I ,, rtidnya. '■' '•■ 




For Freight or Passage. 

-. , \nv 4 I M It III M, Mr 'I ..-k; ... ii' 

.f -, ii>.»M. . '. If ... »....- 

• ^, .. fe . t: «;tt ^- ■.ci.r.r row : 

Time-table of Genesee Valley Canal, 1849. 


from Ulean to Pittsburg was seriously discussed, the object being to 
make a continuous water connection, by way of the Genesee \'alley 
canal and the Allegheny and Ohio rivers, between the Erie canal at 
Rochester and the river towns on the Mississippi. A number of 
meetings in behalf of this object were held in the county and the 
subject was urged upon the attention of Congress. 

In 1857 the Legislature authorized the extension of the canal to Mill 
Grove pond, about six miles beyond Olean, and a small amount of work 
was done on this improvement, when the work was suspended. In 
1858 a new project was broached, that of extending the canal beyond 
the Allegheny river to certain creeks flowing through rich iron and 
coal regions. The estimated cost of this improvement was $110,000, 
while incalculable benefits were expected to be derived from it. It 
was an unfavorable time, however, to urge the State to engage in 
any new enterprises of this character, and when it had re- 
covered sufficiently from the financial crisis of 1857 to warrant it in 
making any such vast expenditure of public funds as this and other con- 
templated measures for internal improvement would have demanded, 
the war came on and monopolized its energies and resources. 

With the advent of the railroad the canal had survived its useful- 
ness, and could not reasonably be sustained in navigable order. 
While the tolls received never paid the cost of the ordinary repairs 
and running expenses, much less any interest on the cost of its con- 
struction, yet it had been of inestimable value to the whole valley 
which it traversed, and paid indirectly many times its cost. It is 
scarcely possible to overestimate the influence it had in developing 
the resources of this part of the State, and it cannot be denied that 
to a very large degree our remarkable growth and prosperity are due 
to the facilities afforded by the Genesee Valley canal, and that the 
State was wise in constructing it. It was officially abandoned in 
September 1878. On the fifth day of November 1880 the State con- 
veyed to the Genesee Valley Canal Railroad Company all its right, 
title and interest in the canal property from Rochester to Mill Grove, 
with certain reservations, for a consideration of $11,400 (being at the 
rate of $100 per mile), in pursuance of the provisions of Chapter 32() of 
the Laws of 1880, the deed reciting that the grantee had given a bond 
in the sum of $700,000 conditioned for the construction of a railroad 
along the canal line, as required by the act. 


In 1S2<>, aftttr an exciting contest, William H. Spencer and James 
Faulkner were chosen Assemblymen by large majorities, while Ethan 
B. Allen was elected Senator. Levi Hovey having been elected 
County Clerk, John H. Jones, who had recently held the same office 
in Genesee county, was recommended by the Republicans to fill the 
vacancy as Judge of the courts of Livingston county. The appoint- 
ment, however, was given to Willard H. Smith of Caledonia, who 
served in this capacity with great acceptability until 1832. 

On the evening of the 30th of May, 1826, a meeting of a number of 
the prominent citizens of the county was held at the Court House in 
the village of Geneseo, to take steps for the establishment of a school 
on the monitorial plan, "sufficiently extensive to teach 600 scholars, 
particularly in the higher branches of science " Articles of association, 
previously drawn up, were adopted, and a comtiiittee consisting of 
George Hosmer, Charles H. Carroll, James Faulkner and Philo C. 
Fuller was appointed to solicit subscriptions in aid of this project. I 
August of the same year a committee advertised for proposals for th 
erection of buildings for the "Livingston County High School." The 
specifications called for an academic building of brick, 65 by 33 feet, 
three stories high, and a brick or frame boarding-house of about the 
same proportions. These buildings were completed in due season, and 
constitute the property of the old Geneseo Academy, yet standing and 
owned by Abram Goodwin, Esq. In 1827 the Legislature incorporated 
the Livingston County High School Association, with the following 
corporate members: William Wadsworth, James Wadsworth, Willia 
Fitzhugh, Daniel H. Fitzhugh, John H. Jones, Charles IL Carroll, 
George Hosmer, James Faulkner, William H. vSpencer, Philo C. Fu 
ler, Charles Colt, Henry P. North, Leman Gibbs, Orlando Hastings, 
Augustus A. Bennett, William Finley, Moses Hayden and Jeremiah 
Briggs. The school remained under the control of a stock association 
until 1849, when it passed to the Synod of Buffalo and became a school 
under Presbyterian control, but not especially a sectarian institution. 
For nearly half a century it remained one of the most useful and pros- 
perous, as it was one of the oldest, academies of the State. Its .grad- 
uates have been numbered by thousands, and students from every 
clime have laid the foundations of their education within its walls. 
It is a source of deep regret that in 1875 the Academy was finally 

Livingston County Bi^h School 


The post-rider in early days was an important personage. His 
visits were eagerly watched for and none were more warmly received 
in the settlements than he, whose coming brought tidings from absent 
friends or new-s of the great world's doings. Besides delivering the 
letters and papers coming through the mails, he made it a part of his 
business to supply newspapers to the people on his route, in much the 
same manner as the business is done by newsdealers at the present 
dav, buying his papers of the publishers and furnishing them to regu- 
lar customers at a certain rate per annum. As in more modern times, 
payments were not always made with as much promptness as they 
should have been, and the post-rider w'as often compelled to issue 
touching appeals to the debnq\ient customers to pay him. William 
Hutchins gives notice, over date of Dec. 10, 1823, "to all those w^ho 
have received of him the Livingston Gazette, printed at Moscow, that 
a collection must be made in order to enable him to pay the printer." 
He very kindly offers, how-ever, to receive grain in payment for news- 
papers, if delivered by the 15th of January at Gainesville. China, 
Springville, Collins or at Walnut Creek ^lills. 

In the fall of 1824 the mail stage between Geneseo and Rochester 
ran three times a week each way, leaving the former place Sundays, 
Tuesdays and Thursdays at half past six o'clock in the morning. In 
April 1825 E. Fisk advertises that the "Rochester stage will in future 
leave Geneseo every morning at half past five o'clock," and the com- 
mon wagons before in use were exchanged for "elegant coaches." In 
December of the same year the stage was advertised to leave Geneseo 
for Dansville, Bath and Olean Sundays and Wednesdays, on the arriv- 
al of the Rochester stage. The line to Rochester intersected the east 
and west line at Avon, thus giving a daily communication with Roch- 
ester, Canandaigua and Batavia, and points farther east and west. 
"For this accommodation," says a contemporary account, "the public 
are indebted to the enterprise of Mr. E. Fisk. whose perseverance 
has, from the use of a common wagon, which lately passed between 
this place and Rochester once a week, established a daily line of ele- 
gant coaches." 

As early as January 8th, 1S24, formal application was made to the 
Legislature by residents of Xunda,"That si.x milesof the north part" of 
that town in the county of Allegany might be erected into a separate 


town and annexed to the county of Livingston. Some years later this 
prayer of the people of Nunda was substantially granted. 

The people of the young and growing county were not allowed to 
suffer for the want of amusements. Travelling shows early found 
the way hither, and the public journals contained frequent flaming 
announcements. The Register of June 17, 1824, advertised a new 
museum of wax figures as "now open at the house of C. Watson in 
Moscow for a few days only." The collection embraced noted person- 
ages, the "Sleeping Beauty," and views of celebrated places. "The 
decorations and dresses are made in that style of elegance that will 
insure gratification to the observer. The museum will be open from 
y o'clock in the morning till 10 o'clock in the evening. ..Music on an 
elegant organ!" U^nless the making of wax figures has since become 
a lost art, and the specimens to-day but inferior imitations of those 
then shown to the public, it is not to be presumed that the exhibition 
was a very meritorious one. Perhaps as fascinating, at least far more 
disastrous in its consequences was the show of the snake charmer, who 
about this time visited Geneseo and surrounding towns. Allowing the 
repulsive reptiles to crawl freely about his person, he attracted curious 
crowds wherever he went. He was frequently warned of the danger he 
ran in allowing the reptiles to touch his person, but he only laughed at 
the fears of his spectators. One unlucky day, however, while exhibiting 
his snakes in Conesus one of the reptiles in crawling across his face 
bit him on the lip. Everything was done by the kind hearted people 
that was possible, but he was soon beyond human aid and died in the 
most terrible agony. 

There were very few Indians within the limits of the new county at 
the time of its erection. An informant states that there could not 
have been more than eighty or a hundred at this time, including 
young and old, male and female, remnants of the vSenecas. The resi- 
dence of these people was at vSquakie Hill. Soon after the sale of their 
lands in 1825 they began to leave, going to the western reservafions, 
and in a few years none were left. The Indians of Allen's Hill, Lit- 
tle Beardstown and other villages had gone some years before. Civil- 
ization had done but little for these dusky natives. With rare excep- 
tions they continued to live in their old huts, with fires in the centre, 
and nothing but skins and blankets for beds. The women also con- 
tinued to the last the laborers of the tribe, while the men spent their 


time in hunting, fishing and the idle amusements of their villages. 

On the 28th of January, 1824, a meeting of inhabitants of the 
county was held at the court house in Geneseo, for the purpose of 
forming a county Bible Society, auxiliary to the American Bible So- 
ciety. The history of one of the oldest and most useful organi- 
zations of Livingston county dates from this meeting. The meeting 
was well attended, and an organization effected. As officers for the 
ensuing year, the following were chosen; President, James AVads- 
worth; Vice Presidents, Charles H. Carroll and Jeremiah Riggs; 
Treasurer, Orlando Hastings; Corresponding Secretary, Rev. Norris 
Bull; Recording Secretary, Augustus A. Bennet; Directors, Willard 
H. Smith, Caledonia; George Hosmer, Avon; Orrin Gilbert, Lima; 
William Janes, York; Eben E. Buell, Geneseo; Leman Gibbs, Livonia; 
Dr. Asa R.' Palmer, Leicester; James Rosebrugh, Groveland ; Samuel 
Chapin, Jr., Freeport (Conesus); Jonathan Beach, Mount Morris; 
William McCartney, Sparta; Alva Southworth, Springwater. The 
society had an organized and active existence until the meeting held 
February 20th, 1886; at this meeting the officers were A. J. Abbott, 
President; Corresponding Secretary, Dr. F. De W^ Ward ; Recording 
Secretary, Lockwood R Doty ; Executive Committee, William J. ^lilne, 
John Rorbach, L. J. Ames, Dr. W. E. Lauderdale and Rev. K. B. 
Nettleton. While the Society retains a nominal standing and has a 
depository in Geneseo at present, but very little local interest has been 
manifested in its affairs since the date last mentioned. This circum- 
stance is probably due to the fact that the activities of the Society 
in the past have placed in practically all of the homes of the county, 
not otherwise furnished, copies of the Bible, and it must be said that 
in its peculiar field, no organization had done greater or more efficient 
work. The bibles distributed by it are numbered by thousands, and 
repeatedly the whole county has been canvassed, and a copy of this 
precious book placed in every home where one was found wanting, 
often without money and without price. 

The cause of the Greeks in 1824 excited the liveliest interest in Liv- 
mgston county, as it did throughout the country, and our liberty lov- 
ing^eople were not slow in showing their sympathy and extending 
substantial aid to the struggling Greeks. For this purpose a county 
meeting was held at Geneseo on New Year's day, 1824, at which 
Judg& Jones of Leicester presided. A series of resolutions expressive 


of the sentiments of the citizens were submitted by William H. Spen- 
cer, Calvin H. Bryan and Orlando Hastings, which were heartily en- 
dorsed. A committee was also appointed to receive and forward to 
New York such contribulinns as might be placed in their hanils. while 
committees to solicit and receive contributions were apjiointed for 
each town in the county In this way liberal contributions were 
secured, and substantial aid given to the cause in which the Greeks 
were engaged. 

A local paper announces as "commercial enterjirise, " under date of 
May 27, 1824, the passage by Geneseo, on the river, of the canal boat 
"Hazard" from Nunda on her way to Albany, loaded with pine lum- 
ber, ashes, etc. The boat was owned by Sanford Hunt of the former 
place. Shipments were often made in this way down the river until 
the completion of the Genesee \'alley canal. At one time an attempt 
was made to introduce steamboats on the river and steamboat navi- 
gation companies were organized, but the attem])t was not successful, 
although trips were made during several seasons by small steamboats. 
The following announcement appears in the Livingston Journal of July 
28th, 1824: "We can congratulate the public upon the arrival of the 
steamboat 'Erie Canal,' Captain Bottle, at our village last evening. 
A more welcome arrival and one which throws the smiles of a bland 
and heartv cheerfulness among our villagers could not well have 
happened. " 

The same paper contains a communication from Avon commencing 
as follows: 

"Cheer up you lusty gallants. 
With music sound the drum, 
For we've descry 'd a steamboat 
On the Genesee hath come." 

The writer follows this rhyming effusion with a detailed account of 
the arrival of the boat at Avon on the 26th from Utica. "This 
being the first time the river has been navigated by steam drew to- 
gether a numerous multitude all eager to catch a glimpse of the novel 
stranger who had come in such a questionable manner among us." A 
company of gentlemen immediately assembled on board the boat "to 
honor its arrival and greet the commander with a cordial welcome. " 
Toasts were drunk, acc<impanied with music on board and the roar of 

For Sale. 

THE subscriber offers for sale, in LoU to suit purchasers, the Estate on llie 
Genesee River, on which Mr. Harris resides, al>oiit one half mile froni Gcncseo, 
in the county of Livingston. There are about 30(K) acres of upland and ItXX) acres 
of River Flats; of which one half is in Tiuiodiy and Clover. The upland is first 
rate wheat laud, and die flats of the best quality. The upland is <livided into farms 
of various sizes, many of them improved : others in Timber. — The pioprietoi- living 
at a distance, the prices will be low, and a liberal credit given for a great part of 
the purchase money, payable by installments. Apply at Gencsco, to 


May, 1824. 

C MoMsa k Co. PaiNxtas. UrKF^fi 

Notice of Sale of Lands, 1824. 


cannon on shore. The genius of Fulton, the steamboat itself, its gal- 
lant captain, the Genesee and the beautiful scenery on its shores, the 
arrival of tiie boat and the great promise of the future dating from 
this opening of steam navigation, all received due attention from the 
toasters, and each sentiment was lustily cheered by the multitude who 
had gathered to see the wonderful sight. "As the last gun was fired, 
the boat was gotten under way, and moved up the river toward Gen- 
eseo, the place of her destination, at the rate of about six miles per 

At Geneseo the boat met with much the same greeting. On the 
dav following her arrival a large company of ladies and gentlemen 
went on board and Captain Bottle gave them an e.xcursion up the 
river, returning in the evening. The boat was about 77 feet long with 
a breadth of beam equal to that of the largest canal packet and drew 
about 11 inches of water, exclusive of her keel. Where no obstruc- 
tions existed the boat made about four miles per hour up stream. 
Captain Bottle stated at that time that successful steamboat naviga- 
tion might be prosecuted from Rochester to Geneseo, and even a few- 
miles above, if the obstructions impeding the passage were removed. 
The channel vvas in some places filled w-ith fallen trees and snags, 
which often detained the boat for hours. The editor of the Register 
concurred with Captain Bottle in the opinion "that nothing is want- 
ing but an alteration in the feeder at Rochester and a cleaning out of 
the rubbish in the river, to make this one of the most easily navigable 
streams in the State," and favored an approjjriation by the Legislature 
to effect this object. 

The next attempt at steam navigation on the river was b)' the 
"Genesee," a rear-wheel steamboat owned by a stock company. Major 
W. H. vSpencer and other citizens of the county being interested in 
the enterprise. It plied between Rochester and (Jeneseo, its landing at 
Rochester being at the head of the feeder, and at Geneseo a little 
below North's mill. Its carrying capacity was not very great. It was 
intended for passengers and for towing river boats, of which it could 
tow about three at a time. The speed of the "Genesee" was greater 
than that of its predecessor, being at times ten or eleven miles 
an hour. It would leave the Geneseo landing at 5 o'clock in the morn- 
ing and reach Rochester by 10 or 11 o'clock that forenoon. Return- 
ing, it would leave Rochester at 4 o'clock P. M., reaching Geneseo at 


10 or 11 o'clock in the evening, — distance by the river 65 miles. If 
it brought up a tow it might be detained two or three hours or more. 
There were berths for the hands but none ftir passengers. The "Gen- 
esee," however, was not a success, and after running twu seasons the 
enterprise was abandoned. During the first season the boat was com- 
manded by Captain William W. Weed; Captain John Dallson was in 
charge the second season. 

An old resident, writing to the Avt)n Herald in 1887 of the difficul- 
ties of early navigation of the river, says: "I have seen six or eight 
men strujigle nearly all a hut afternoon to get a barge up the little 
rapids in the river just below the bridge, — -getting a rope out to the 
abutments of the bridge to aid tiiem in their efforts. All the large 
boats had pollers.' When the water was very low the current was 
quite swift and, to afford a better depth of water, the principle of 
Ead's jetties at the mouth of the Mississippi had been put in practice, 
— the stones on the bed of the river had been piled in rdws from the 
shores towards the middle of the river, trending with the current. 

The remains of these rude jetties may still be seen at low water. 
They served, with the aid of a lo^k at York, to keep the river navi- 
gable nearly all summer to Geneseo. It was only in the spring and fall 
that boats could go to Mount Morris, and even then the journey was 
a disheartening one, — thirty-si.\ miles by river to make six miles by 
land : 

"Of the barges which once floated upon the bosom of the placid Gen- 
esee, I have no distinct memory except of the old 'Northumberland,' 
whose size and carrying capacity, were a perpetual source of wonder- 
ing comment among 'us boys.' It was in the fall of 183') or the spring 
of 184(1 tliat she went down the river for the last time, carrying, it was 
said, the enormous cargo of <),()ll(l bushels of wheat and 200 bbls. of 
flour. She was too large to go through the locks of the Erie canal at 
that time, and some years after in going by packet from Rochester to 
Albion, I could scarcely repress a sigh as we passed this glorious cham- 
pion of the waters of the Genesee degraded to the service of a wood 
boat on the 'long level' between Rochester and Lockport." 

On the 12th of August, 1825, as a Mr. Adams of the village of Gen- 
eseo was opening a drain to conduct the water from the marshy spot 
on which the two springs are located, which formerly supplied the vil- 
lage with water, "he came iii contact with a substance between two 



and three feet below the surface of the earth, so peculiar in its appear- 
ance and delicate in texture that he was induced to make a critical 
examination of it, and found it to be a bony substance very much 
resembling- ivory in appearance. After removing the earth he 
found it to be of a spiral form, measuring five feet in length and seven 
inches in diameter at its base, gradually diminishing in size to an ob. 
tuse point. The figure of the substance so nearly resembled the tusk 
of at) elephant that he concluded it must have its fellow, so he renewed 
the search and soon found it situated about three feet from the first, 
and precisely resembling it in every respect, their points lying in 
opposite directions.' He also found eight of the teeth, proceeds the 
newspaper account, "four of which were evidently the back teeth of 
each side of the jaws, they being fitted to each other, and two belong- 
ing to the upper and two to the lower jaw, all precisely alike as to fig- 
ure and dimensions, their transverse diameter being three inches and 
their horizontal diameter six inches, one of which weighed three and 
a half pounds without the process that enters the jaw, that being total- 
ly destroyed in all of them. These teeth were marked upon their 
grinding surface by four rows of studded, blunt points elevated an 
inch. The four remaining teeth were of less size, and their grinding 
surface perfectly smooth. The enamel of all the teeth was sound and 

The discovery of these mastodon remains caused no little excite- 
ment in the village. The citizens, believing that with proper care 
the whorle skeleton might be obtained, volunteered to remove a sutifi- 
cient area of surface to effect this object. As anticipated, the bones 
of the body and extremities were found, but so much decayed that it 
was impossible to raise any of the more important ones entire. Traces, 
however, were left, by which their size and figure were ascertained. 
The lower bone of the hind leg measured three feet in length from the 
knee joint to the ankle. The thigh bone, from joint to neck, was also 
three feet in length and eighteen inches at its smallest circumference. 

The length of the animal, measuring from the centre between the 
base of the two tusks to the exterior point of the pelvis, was estimated 
at twenty feet and the height at twelve feet. "The animal could not 
have been old, as eight molar teeth were found — old animals have only 

1. Livingstou Register, Aug. 17, 1S25. 


one molar on eit'ner side of each jaw."' The bones were placed in the 
cabinet of the Buffalo Natural Historical Society. 

A similar discovery was made about the year l.S.iS, in straightening 
the road from Scottsburg to Conesus lake. In digging the ditch on 
the east side of the road, where it ran through a swamp of five or six 
acres near the inlet of the lake and about thirty rods to the west, the re- 
.mains of a mastodon were discovered about three feet below the surface. 
Eight teeth were found, four of which had blunt [joints and weighed 
about two pounds each. The shoulder blades, pieces of the ribs and 
some joints of the backbone were also found. Some of these bones were 
placed in the LeRoy Female Seminary. - 

In November, 1824, Livingston county gave S4'» majority for 
DeWitt Clinton for Governor, over Samuel Voung. Every town in 
the county except Groveland gave a majority for Clinton. In 1820 
Governor Clinton had proposed in the State Senate that the Federal 
constitution be amended so that presidential electors should be chosen 
■by the people in districts. Following up the idea, he recommended in 
his speech at the opening of the e.xtra session in November, 1820, 
that a State law be passed providing for the election of the electors 
by the people on a general ticket. This proposed change was the 
great theme of discussion in the fall of 182.^ and throughout the fol- 
lowing year. Originally agitated by the "Rucktails," all the Clinton- 
"ians joined them in favoring the bill. The advocacy of this measure 
added to Clinton's popularity with the people, but the moving cause 
of his triumphant election may with safety be attributed to the action 
of the Legislature in the spring of 1824, in removing him from the 
office of Canal Commissioner. This was done by the "Bucktails," 
his political enemies, yet though it was l)ut following out the policy 
lie had himself always pursued, it seemed to the people "like striking 
a fallen enemy." His work in behalf of the people, es[)ecially in de- 
A'eloping the resources of the State, were not forgotten, and rallying to 
his support they carried him into office with a majority of over sixteen 
thousand. In this contest, as has been shown, Livingston stood firm- 
ly by the "people's candidate," and contributed largely to his succes- 
ful canvass. 

Warmly supporting Clinton, the people also strongly favored his pro- 

1. Sillinian's Joiirual, Vol. 12, p. 380, 1st .Series. 

2. See iu another chapter the account of a more recent discovery of mastodon remains. 

Jud^e Ch&rlu. H. Carroll. 


posed change in the manner of choosing electors, and looked with sus- 
picion on all who did not hold the same views. During the sitting of 
the January Common Pleas, and while the electoral bill was pending 
in the Legislature, John Van Fossen, with a view of getting up a gen- 
eral meeting of the electors of the county, without reference to party, 
to give expression to the views of the people on this subject, presented 
a paper to Judge Carroll, then First Judge of the county, who was also 
Republican candidate for Congress, while he was at dinner with about 
fifty others at Amos Adams' tavern in Geneseo. The Judge declined 
ti) sign the paper, believing that Van Fossen had some ulterior pur- 
pose. Van Fossen at once caused to be struck oft handbills, which he 
circulated slyly in Monroe county, stating that Judge Carroll was op- 
posed to any change in the existing mode of appointing presidential 
electors. Judge Carroll, when appraised of this fact, publicly denied 
the assertion. His opponent, Moses Hayden, was also compelled by 
public opinion to define his position on this question, and his letter 
caused considerable discussion, although he warmly favored Clinton's 
measure. At the election ilr. Hayden was successful in securing a 

In the summer of 1826 Governor Clinton, accompanied by his son 
Colonel Clinton and General Beck, visited the Genesee valley. Ac- 
cepting the statement of the opposition organ as true, his reception was 
not a warm one. "His Excellency's visit at this place was remarkable 
for nothing but its silence; his friends, we think, were hardly civil to 

In 1826 Charles H. Carroll was the Republican candidate for State 
Senator, his opponent being his old foe, Mr. Van Fossen. The re- 
sult was somewhat of a surprise, a canvass of the votes showing that 
Judge Carroll had a majority of about 600 in a district which in 1824 
had given Mr. Clinton a majority of between 5,000 and 6,000. The 
Register, then the "Bucktail" organ at Geneseo, commenting on this 
result, said; "Notwithstanding, the little regency editor of the Jour- 
nal in his simpering tone proclaims that 'in this Senate District 
Charles H. Carroll, the Bucktail candidate, has been elected by a small 
majority.' It is true that it is not 6,000, neither is it reduced to the 
sickly number of nine; but is respectable in a district where the polit- 

I. Livingston Register. November 28, 1826. 



ical parties claim to be nearly equally divided, and one that the friends- 
of Judge Carroll feel not inclined to find fault with — and why need his 

From the best available records it appears, that in 1S2') a one story 
cobblestone clerk's office was erected on the court house grounds a few 
rods east of the court house. As originally built the floor was ot 
brick; in the course of years these had become much worn and the 
floor very uneven, and it was taken up and a wooden floor substituted. 
At the same time a heavy partition wall, built also of cobblestones 
with a fire place on each side of it and a chimney running through the 
roof, was removed and replaced with a stove. The removal of the 
partition caused the walls to crack and rendered necessary iron rods, 
which were passed through the building. This building was torn 
down in March, 1887, when the new clerk's office was constructed. 

The following statistics are taken from the census of the county for 
the year 1825: 

Males 12,225 

Females 11,635 

Legal voters 4,694 

Aliens 310 

Paupers 15 

Colored 53 

Deaf and dumb 5 

Idiots 13 

Lunatics 4 

Births ')!! 

Deaths 292 

Marriages 227 

Acres of improved land. .113,576 

Neat Cattle 28,762 

Horses 5,209 

Sheep 74,882 

Hogs 27,422 

Yards fulled cloth 51,772 

" flannel 75,494 

•• linen 81,027 

Grist mills 

Saw mills 

Oil mills 

Fulling mills 

Carding machines. 
Cotton factories. . , 
Woolen factories. . 

Iron works 

Trip hammers 













AN EVENT occurred in the fall of 1826, in the neighboring coun- 
ty of Genesee, that filled the people with alarm and terror and 
aroused them to a fever heat of excitement. A wide-spread 
effect was produced upon the then existing political parties, and a new 
organization sprang into existence, which rapidly increased in num- 
bers and for a time exerted a powerful influence over the political 
affairs of the State. 

This occurrence was the abduction and supposed murder of William 
Morgan, a Royal Arch Free Mason, a printer by trade, then living at 
Batavia. As the whole subject has been fully discussed by other 
writers, only enough of the details will be given here to explain the 
course of the people of this county, especially in their political action. 
Morgan, it appears, unable to earn a livelihood by his trade, deter- 
mined to publish for his pecuniary benefit a pamphlet containing an 
expose of the secrets of Masonry. While at work setting the type for 
this pamphlet, his intention was discovered by some of his fellow 
Masons, and communicated by them, as subsequent events seemed to 
show, to the members of the order far and wide. 

A warrant was issued by Jeffrey Chipman, a Justice of the Peace in 
Canandaigua, on the 11th of September, 1826, for the arrest of Mor- 
gan on a charge of stealing a shirt and cravat, and Mr. Cheesebrough, 
master of a Masonic lodge at Canandaigua, who procured the warrant, 
together with two or three other Masons, went to Batavia with it. 
Causing Morgan to be arrested, they hurried him in a close coach to 
Canandaigua, where he was brought before Justice Chipman, but was 
discharged, as the Justice believed him guiltless of the charge preferred. 
He was immediately re-arrested on a small debt due Aaron Ashley, 
which Cheesebrough claimed had been assigned to him. Judgment 
was rendered against Morgan for two dollars, and under a body execu- 
tion he was placed in the Canandaigua jail. During the night of the 
12th he was discharged from custody,_ but was immediately seized 
by a party of unknown persons and rapidly and secretly conveyed 
to the Niagara River, where he was left confined in the old magazine 


of Fori "Niagara, in charge of Colonel King and Elisha Adams. 
On the 29th of September he disappeared, and nothing was ever after- 
wards heard of him.' 

The people of Batavia had been for some time aware that Morgan 
was regarded with suspicion by the Masons, as they had made several 
ineffectual attempts to suppress the forthcoming work. When it be- 
came known, therefore, that Morgan had been forcibly seized after his 
discharge from custody, and had mysteriously disappeared, they de- 
termined to investigate the case and vindicate the majesty of outraged 
law. At a public meeting held in Batavia, a committee was appoint- 
ed which instituted a strict investigation, without, however, being 
able at that time to discover any traces of the missing man beyond 
the fact that his abductors had conveyed him rapidly toward Roches- 
ter. These facts being reported, the community became convinced 
that a great crime had been committed, and the dreadful suspicion pre- 
vailed that Morgan's life had been sacrificed by his abductors. Then 
the whole western part of the State was aroused, and alarm, indigna- 
tion and a deep determination to probe the mystery to the bottom 
prevailed among all classes of people. Meetings were held in nearly 
every town, at which was condemned in the severest terms the outrage 
which had been perpetrated, and steps were taken to ferret out and 
bring to justice the impious hands that had thus stained themeslves 
with human blood. The evident deliberation with which the abduc- 
tion had been committed, the large number of agents employed and 
the secrecy with which all the movements had been conducted pointed 
to a well organized and widespread conspiracy to put Morgan out of 
the way, and indicated that in thus ignoring the laws and outraging 
the sentiment of the peaceful community a large organization had 
been interested. This was enough to fill the community with alarm, 
but when was added to this evident strength of the abductors the 
mystery which surrounded the occurrence — itself an element that sel- 
dom fails to inspire terror — it may be readily believed that not only 
indignation but the greatest alarm filled the hearts of the people. 

The committee before spoken of continued its investigations, but at 
first with little success. "They could trace him (Morgan) as far as 

I. As to his ultimate fate later disclosures seem to leave no doubt. A party of men chosen 
by lot met under cover of darkness, and conveying him to the middle of the Niagara river, con- 
signed him to its waters, firmly bound and weighted with stones. 


Rochester, and it was a long time before the clue was found by which 
he was finally traced to Fort Niagara. The very difficulties inter- 
posed to the investigation increased the excitement in the public 
mind. There were some who early implicated the whole Masonic 
fraternity in the guilt of the transaction. This, however, was not at 
first the general public sentiment; but when, as the investigation pro- 
ceeded, it was found that all those implicated in the transaction were 
Masons, that with scarce an exception no Mason aided in the investi- 
gation; that the whole crime was made a matter of ridicule by the 
Masons; and even justified by them openly and publicly ; that the 
power of the laws was defied by them and the committees taunted 
with their inability to iiring the criminals to punishment before tribu- 
nals where judges, sheriffs, jurors and witnesses were Masons: 
that witnesses were mysteriously spirited away, and the committees 
themselves personally vilified and abused for acts which deserved 
commendation, the impression spread rapidly and took a strong hold 
upon the popular judgment, that the Masonic institution was in 
fact responsible for this daring crime. "^ 

It is proper to say, however, in this connection, that this extract is 
from the pen of one who was a prominent anti-Mason, and who took a 
leading part in the investigation. Therefore it is probable that his 
picture of the opposition met with by the committees in their investi- 
gations is highly colored and overdrawn. ]Many joined in the warfare 
on Masonry through honest abhorrence of the crime that had been 
committed, and a firm belief that all secret societies were inimical to 
the spirit of our institutions. Others, however, seized upon the op- 
portunity to advance their own political ends; and some who were 
loud in their denunciation of Masonry, and zealous to an excessive de- 
gree in the prosecution of those suspected of complicity in Morgan's 
abduction, would have been as ready, had the popular current been set- 
ting that way, to applaud the dark deed and extol the shining virtues 
of the Masonic order. It was certainly the case that the abduction 
and murder of Morgan found many to condemn it among Masons 
themselves, while, as must be admitted, a few of the order approved 
and defended it. 

The effect of this event on the then existing political parties was 

1. Ilammond's ni<ilorv of Political Parties. 


very great, although for a year or two it was not sensibly felt outside 
of the counties of Genesee, Monroe, Livingston, Orleans and Niagara. 
The rise and progress of the Atiti-Masonic party was briefly epito- 
mized at one of its later conventions, as fiillows: "The abduction of 
Morgan called forth the first general expression of popular opinion 
against secret societies. That event occurred at Batavia Sept. 11th. 
1826. A considerable period elapsed before the people in the imme- 
diate vicinity of that outrage became sensible of the fact that P'reemas- 
onry had commanded and justified the high handed conspiracy; and 
a still longer period transpired before the iniquitous oaths and obliga- 
tions of the order became generally known. But finding themselves 
at length unable to ferret out the conspirators, and becoming ac- 
quainted with the alarming principles, in accordance with which their 
fellow citizen had been bereft of liberty and life, a determination was 
made by the people in a few of the towns in the counties of Genesee, 
Monroe and Niagara, by the exercise of the right of suffrage, to effect 
the abolition of the institution in whose name and service the daring 
deed was committed. In the spring of 1827 a few scattering demon- 
strations of this determination were made at the town meetings. In 
the fall of 1827 the cjuestion was for the first time brought distinctly 
and with concert to the polls, in the counties of Genesee, Monroe, Liv- 
ingston. Orleans and Niagara, in each of which counties the Anti- 
Masonic ticket prevailed, and the territory including them became 
thenceforth known in Masonic language as the 'infected district'. In 
the summer of 1828 a convention of seceding Masons was held at Le- 
Roy, in the county of Genesee, by whom the truth of the revelations 
of Freemasonry made by Morgan was affirmed, and a further revela? 
tion was made by many of the higher degrees. In the fall of 1828^^e 
memorable presidential canvass absorbed almost the entire/public 
attention without the limits of the counties above mentionecT and the 
counties adjacent. Nevertheless, Anti- Masonry, in defiance of and 
in opposition to both of the political parties, deposited in the ballot 
bo.xes 33.000 votes. In the month of February, 1829, a StatA conven- 
tion was held at Albany, in which forty-two counties were repre- 
sented, and by which the first national convention was recomnvended. 
As yet neither of the political parties had openly declared itself iri op- 
position to Anti-Masonry, and in many parts of the State both had 
vied in caressing it. " 


In this county action was early taken to express the sentiment of 
the community. A call appeared in the local journals for a meeting to 
be held at the court house in Geneseo on the 12th day of January, 
1827, "for the purpose of expressing their sentiments in regard to the 
outrage committed upon William Morgan, and of adopting such meas- 
ures as may be deemed advisable to discover his fate, and to prevent 
a recurrence of such detestable transactions. " The call was signed 
by C. H. Bryan, P. C. Fuller, J. Wright, R. Austin, E. N. Buell, 
S. F. Butler, Charles Colt, Campbell Harris, and J. Percival. At this 
meeting Judge Jones, a prominent Freemason, was made chairman 
and Philo C. Fuller secretary. Mr. Bryan gave a brief review of the 
transaction which had given occasion for this meeting, and referred to 
the fact that there was no statutory prohibition of the kidnapping of 
white persons, although there was a statute to prevent the abduction 
of people of color. Several affidavits relating to various facts con- 
nected with the abduction and a report of the recent trial at Canan- 
daigua of persons implicated in it, were read, and a committee con- 
sisting of P. C. Fuller, C. H. Bryan, J. Clute, H. D. Mason and J. 
Almy was appointed to report resolutions for the consideration of the 
meeting. The resolutions thus reported and adopted condemned in 
the Severest terms the kidnapping of Morgan, "a proceduresf) ob- 
viously repugnant, not only to the laws of the land but to the first 
principles of civil liberty; we view the transaction as one calculated 
to excite alarm; one which no consideration can justify, and one 
which, as intelligent and watchful citizens, we are bound to reprobate 
in decided terms. " A suggestion was made that a law should be 
passed forbidding "the kidnapping of free white citizens," and a com- 
mittee consisting of the chairman, secretary and Mr. Clute was ap- 
pointed to "correspond with other committees in neighboring coun- 
ties, and to receive contributions to be used in endeavoring to discov- 
er the fate of Morgan, and in detecting and bringing his abductors to 
condign punishment ; and that a contribution for these purposes be 
taken up at this meeting." 

The people of the several towns followed the example thus set by 
this county gathering, and meetings were held in a large number of 
places. A local journal ' gives an acc(junt of a large meeting held in 

1. Livingston Register. 


Sparta on the 17th of March, 1827, to i^ive expression to the senti- 
ments of that community. Benjamin Roberts presided and William 
C. McNair officiated as secretary. The resolutions passed expressed 
in ringing tones the abhorrence with which the people viewed the out- 
rage. "The history of the last six months," the resolutions read, 
"has disclosed the facts which make every individual tremble for his 
own safety; our liberties have been invaded; the majesty of our laws 
has been trampled upon with imjiunity; our citizens have been ar- 
rested, robbed, kidnapped and murdered without the shadow of a 
crime, or any legal pretense whatever." The press, it was averred. 
had been generally silenced. Freemasonry had become a stepping 
stone to office, "and the principal posts of honor, trust or profit, from 
the President of the United States down to the petty magistrates of 
our towns and villages, are generally held by Masons." The meeting 
pledged itself to oppose the election of any one to any office of honor 
or trust who was a member of the order of Freemasonry, and ap- 
pointed Russell Day, Ilirani Kellog, S. W. Smith, James McNair and 
Benjamin Wheeler a committee of vigilance and correspondence for 
the town of Sparta. 

These accounts serve to show how thoroughly the people were 
aroused, and the deep, earnest and determined spirit with which they 
entered upon this warfare on an institution they deemed so dangerous 
to individual liberty and popular government. The most intense 
feeling was generated, and probably no question of public interest in 
this country ever more thoroughly engaged the attention of the peo- 
ple, was made the theme of more earnest discussion or gave rise to a 
warmer political canvass than this po])ular uprising against Masonry. 

In the election of 1827 the influence of this opposition was but lit- 
tle felt. The forces were but gathering then that afterwards for sev- 
eral years controlled the politics of the "infected district," and exerted 
a powerful influence in State councils. Nevertheless, it behooved can- 
didates for office, even at this time, that they be able to show a clear 
record on this question, and probably the election of Calvin H. Bryan 
to the Assembly in November, 1827, »vas due to the fact that he was not 
only a Jackson man l)ut also a decided Anti-Mason. At the same 
time William Janes, another vehement opposer of ilasonry, was also 
elected to the Assembly, the majority of both himself and his col- 
league being about Still. 


At the spring elections of 1828 the Anti-^Iasons were largel}' in the 
ascendency, the issue being for the first time brought directly before 
the people. A newspaper of that day said of the result: "Intelli- 
gence received from the several towns in this county of the results of 
the late town elections, furnishes the best evidence that Anti-^Iasonry 
still flows in a 'natural and healthful channel, notwithstanding the 
great exertions made use of by royal arch politicians to direct its 
course." The Anti- Masons elected the whole, or the greater part, of 
their tickets in nine out of twelve towns comprising the county. In 
Groveland, Leicester and Lima the Masons elected their candidates 
for the office of Supervisor by small majorities. 

In the spring of 1828 Charles H. Carroll, who was then one of the 
Senators from this district, resigned his seat for the purpose of devot- 
ing his whole time to his private affairs. He had served during 1S27 
and the winter session of 1828, with great acceptability to his constitu- 
ents and credit to himself, but his large personal interests demanded 
that he shoLdd forego, for a time at least, any further political honors. 
In his letter of resignation to the Hon. Peter R. Livingston, Presi- 
dent, pro icDi. of the Senate, he said: "The unusual time occupied 
by the sessions of our Legislature for the last two years, compel me to 
tender you the resignation of my seat in the Senate of this State. In 
years of ordinary legislation it would have afforded me much satisfac- 
tion to have served my constituents the four years for which they 
elected me. My own affairs, however, oblige me to resign this honor 
for the residue of the term, and to do it at this time that my [ilace 
may be supplied at the ensuing election, and my constituents saved 
the expense of a special one." The resignation was accepted, al- 
though it was said that "his retirement at this time is a source of re- 
gret to his friends, while the public will lose the services of a worthy 
and useful legislator." 

It becoming necessary to supply the vacancy caused by Judge 
Carroll's resignation at the November election, an Anti-Masonic con- 
vention was held at Rush, October 2tlth, 1828, which nominated James 
Wadsworth for this position. Mr. Wadsworth, however, although a 
decided Anti-Mason, declined to be a candidate. He was absent from 
home when the convention met, but William Wadsworth. his brother, 
on learning of the action taken, addressed a letter to the Anti-Masonic 
central committee of Livingston county, in which he said: "This 


nomination is contrar)- to his (James) wishes and his express declara- 
tions will appear from the following letter from him addressed and 
read to the convention. I am induced to ask a publication of this let- 
ter from a thorough conviction that my brother will not in any event 
suffer himself to be considered a candidate. His absence will prevent 
his declining publicly in time to permit another nomination. Under 
these circumstances, as it is the unquestionable right of Livingston 
county, I take the liberty to suggest to you, gentlemen, the propriety 
of recommending some other person without loss of time." 

Following out this suggestion, a meeting of Anti-Masonic electors 
of the county was held in Geneseo on the evening of the 20th. James 
Percival acted as chairman and Philo C. Fuller as secretary, and a 
resolution was unanimously adopted that Moses Hayden of York be 
recommended to the electors of the district as a candidate for the 
office of Senator. 

Meanwhile an Anti-Masonic State convention had been held at 
L^tica on the 4th of August, whch had nominated for Governor, 
Francis Granger of Ontario, and for Lieutenant-Governor, John Crary 
of Washington. In this convention James Wadsworth's name had 
been frequently mentioned in connection with the nomination for 
Governor. "Great unanimity of sentiment prevailed among the 
members of this body, although met from remote parts of the State. 
But two candidates for Governor were mentioned on the first attempt 
to obtain the mind of the delegates, when each one named the individ- 
ual of his choice. These two were James Wadsworth and Francis 
Granger, Esquires. As no member present was able to answer for 
the acceptance of the former gentleman, his name was reluctantly 
withdrawn by his friends, yet, notwithstanding the propriety of unan- 
•imity at the final balloting, some few could not be prevailed upon to 
relinquish what they deemed a fit opportunity of expressing their pref- 
erence for a man who is so eminently qualified to discharge the duties 
of the high and important office for which he had been named by 
those who knew his wtirth, and are acquainted with his sentiments on 
the particular subject which then engaged the attention of the conven- 
tion." Mr. Granger, however, declined the nomination for political 
reasons, although he was a decided Anti- Mason, and Solomon South- 
wick of Albany was substituted. Anti-Masonic nominations had also 
been made for all the offices to be filled at the coming election. These 


were as follows: For Congress, Timothy Childs; State Senators, 
(jeorge 11. Boughton, Moses Hayden; Assembly, Philo C. Fuller, 
Titus Goodman, Jr. ; vSheriff, Russell Austin; County Clerk, Chauncey 
R. Bond. Each of the other political parties also had a full ticket in 
the field, and the canvass was one of the most closely contested politi- 
cal campaigns ever witnessed in the county. Much feeling was en- 
gendered and the discussion was heated and bitter. All opposition 
to the new political movement was, however, useless. The people, 
regardless of all former political ties, of the ridicule of their oppon- 
ents, the reasoning and entreaties of politicians or the unconcern of 
the two great parties, were deeply in earnest in their determination 
to crush out, by the power of the ballot, what they conceived to be 
the great wrong of the age. Freemasonry. The result was astonish- 
ing to party leaders, and even to the people themselves. A canvass of 
the votes cast at the election showed that Southwick for Governor had 
received l')(i3 votes to 1257 for \'anBuren (Jackson candidate) and 
867 for Thompson (Adams man), while the Anti-Masonic candidates 
for Congressman, State Senators, Assemblymen, Sheriff and Clerk 
were elected by overwhelming majorities. 

This was the first great triumph of the Anti-ilasonic party, to 
which it added others in successive years until it was finally wholly 
absorbed by the Whig party about the year 1832. 

Early in the Spring of 1S27 the citizens of Blount [Morris com- 
menced an important public work, which has since added largely to 
the commercial importance and prosperity of that beautiful village. 
This was the construction of the race-way extending along the hill- 
side below the village from the Genesee river to a point near the 
center of the village, from whence its waters are again returned to 
the river by means of a small stream emptying into the Canaseraga 
creek. The plan proposed embraced a strong timber dam at the river 
to raise the water to the proper level to carry it through the race-way, 
and a lock and apron to facilitate the passage of boats. The work 
was done for the purpose of providing an extensive water power, 
which it answered admirably, a large number of flouring mills, saw 
mills, wood and iron working establishments, etc., being driven by the 
power which it furnished. The dam proved too weak and was re- 
placed by another in 1S33, in constructing which aid was obtained by 
the transfer to the proprietors of the Mount Morris Tract of the pub- 


lie square in the village, which was divided into lots and sold; this 
dam was carried away by the higii water in 1S52, and rebuilt by the 
vState for canal purposes. This was in turn destroyed in 18')'* and the 
present splendid dam of masonry completed in TMi,^ ])roniises to resist 
for many years the turinilence of the (Jenesee. 

The Board of vSupervisors gave notice in December, 1828, that "a 
fariTi is wanted for the accommodation of the poor of the county. It 
must be within six miles of the court house in the village of Genesee, 
and must contain about one hundred acres of land; the land must be 
of good qualitv. well timbered, and well su|)[)lied with good water. 
Any person having a farm for sale that will answer the purpose for 
which it is wanted, is requested to deliver a particular description of 
the same to William H. Spencer, before the 15th of December ensu- 
ing, stating the quality and <}uantity of land, how much is in timber, 
what kind of timber," etc., and "the ready cash price asked for the 
farm. " 

At the November session of the Board in the following year, the 
Superintendents of the Poor reported that they had purchased, under 
direction of- the Board, "a farm one mile and a half from the village 
of Geneseo; containing about 13(. acres, for the sum of $5,44i), payable 
in annual installments." The Superintendents erected an addition to 
the dwelling house already on the premises, 48 feet in length by 3(i 
feet in width and two stories high. Other improvements were made, 
and on the loth of June, 182'>, they commenced to receive paupers 
into the house; receiving u[) to November 7th of that year thirty- 
four persons, of whom twenty were males and fourteen females. 

Quite a formidable movement was inaugurated in 1S.^0 for the 
erection of a new county, out of portions of Allegany, Genesee and 
"so much of Mount Morris in Livingston county, as would lie south 
of a continuation of the north line of the town of Sparta to the Gen- 
esee river." The project seems to have originated in Allegany 
county, and was there pushed with remarkable pertinacity. Outside 
of that county, however, few were found to favor it. At a meeting 
of the citizens of that portion of Mount Morris which it was proposed 
to include in the new shire, having appeared "by the legislative reports 
that petitions purjiorting to be 'from Allegany, Genesee and Living- 
ston' have actually been presented in furtherance of the said applica- 
tion," a protest was entered against this or any other ])roject which 


contemplated the separation of all or any part of that town from the 
county to which it was then attached. The people said that while 
they conceded the right of their neighbors to "cut and carve" up 
their own count)' to suit their local or personal interests, they were 
"constrained to express the belief that the people of this section are 
unanimously opposed to the extension of the 'gerrymandering system' 
ti) this town or county." 

A meeting of citizens of the whole town was held in the vil- 
lage of Mount Morris Jan. 11th, 1831, for the purpose of taking steps 
ti> oppose the efforts of those who were seeking a division of the lown. 
William A. Mills was called to the chair and W. H. Stanley acted as 
secretary. A committee consisting of William A. Mills, W. H. Stan- 
ley, Moses Marvin, Humphrey Hunt and James Miller was appointed 
to report resolutions expressive of the sentiments of the meeting. In 
the resolutions thus adopted the citizens said, "While we are willing 
that Mur more prosperous brethren of Allegany and Genesee should im- 
pose on themselves any amount of taxes which they may desire, for 
their own exclusive convenience, we have not sufficient disinterested 
benevolence to induce us to 'go over and help' them; nor can we think 
it a generous attempt on their part, without consulting our feelings, 
to force us into a measure which we can have no possible interest to 
advance." And a local journal in commenting on this action ex- 
pressed the prevalent feeling in saying, that it was "sincerely to be 
hoped that the wishes of the inhabitants of Mount Morris would not 
. he unheeded," while it was unkind enough to say of the instigators of the 
vxcounty movement, that in advocating a division they were "suspected 
of being influenced more by considerations of private interest than by 
a jiroper regard for the good of the public." Owing probably to the 
determined and persistent opposition which it met, the new county 
project failed of success, and the people of the county were not called 
— upon to discuss the question for several years'. 
^ Up to this time all efforts to secure the establishment of a bank in 
the county had proved futile, although such a monetary institution 
was imperatively demanded by the commercial necessities of the com- 
munity. Avon had made several attempts to secure a bank charter, 
and so also had Geneseo, Mount Morris and York, but at this time 
the Legislature was chary of its favors in this direction, and the desire 
of the people was ungratified. At the session of the Legislature of 


1S30, however, the bill to incorp<jrate the Livinjiston County Bank- 
was passed, and the long \\'ished for measure was secured. Naturally 
the people of the county were much elated, and especially so as this 
was the only charter west <if Syracuse granted at this session. In 
May of the same year, the commissioners appointed to distribute the 
stock of the bank announced that the subscrii)tion books would be 
opened in Geneseo May 31st, at the house of C. Hamilton, and that 
a payment of $1 on each share of $25 was required by the act of incor- 
poration. The notice was signed by William H. Spencer. Allen 
Ayrault, W. H. Smith, I). H. Fitzhugh and William Lyman. Such 
was the public desire for the bank and the confidence felt in its finan- 
cial success, that in three days the entire capital stock, $1(1(1, (MM), was 
subscribed and the payment of $1 per share made. ( )n the 25th of June 
the stockholders met for the [)urpose of completing the organization, 
when the following gentlemen were elected Directors for the ensuing 
year: John Greig, H. B. Gibson, Nathaniel W. Howell, Abraham M. 
Schermerhorn, James K. Guernsey, Charles H. Carroll, Hezekiah D. 
Mason, Feli.x Tracy, Owen P. Olmsted, Eli Hill, William Lyman, 
William H. Stanley and Allen Ayrault. Subsequently Allen Ayrault 
was chosen President, Watts Sherman,' Cashier. Eben N. Buell, 
James Percival and David C. Stewart were appointed inspectors of the 
next election. 

Work was immediately commenced on a new hanking house, and 
in the Register of Sept. 8, 1S3(I, we find the following reference to the 
bank and its building: "The capital stock of this bank ($1(10,000) 
was promptly paid'in on the 1st inst., and everything is now in readi- 
ness for the transaction of business. A very neat banking house, well 
calculated both for convenience and security, has been erected since 
the first of June. The building is of brick, situated about the centre 
of the village, and will, as we understand, be completed in a few days; 
until which time the business of the bank will be transacted in an 
office appropriate for this purpose." The same paper indulges in a 
congratulatory strain over this event. It says: "Thus have the un- 
tired exertions of the inhabitants of this place been rewarded with 
success. Their perseverance for the last si.x years has resulted in the 
establishment of an institution which has long been needed, and the 

1. .-Vfterwards a member of the well known firm of Dnucan. Sherman is: Co.. Hankers, New 


lack of which has placed this section of the country under some dis- 
advantages which we hope will now be no more felt. We confidently 
look forward to the fulfillment of all the predictions we have hereto- 
fore made in relation to the benefits to be derived from this bank, 
and have still good reason to believe that with proper management, 
such as it will undoubtedly receive, both stockholders and those who 
have occasion to transact business with the bank will find an ample 
reciprocity of benefit and favor."* 

Moses Hayden while serving his second year in the Senate sick- 
ened and died Feb. 14. 1S.^0. His death was a shock to his constit- 
uents, and caused a feeling of deep and wide-spread regret. His 
public services had been rendered with marked ability and a sincere 
purpose to secure the public good, while his private character was 
one of singular ]nirity and integrity. He consequently had the con- 
fidence and esteem not only of his own party, but of the people gener- 
ally, and his unexpected death was the cause of sincere sorrow. His 
remains were brought from Albany in May of the same year, and 
rfekjterred near his late residence in York. Philo C. Fuller was chosen 
to fill the vacancy in the Senate caused by Mr. Hayden's death. 

The end of 1830 found the county, in the ninth year of its existence, 
in a highly prosperous condition. Its population had increased from 
19,800 in 1S21 to 27,710; its territory was dotted with numerous enter- 
prising and growing villages, and its active population was rapidly de- 
veloping the resources of this rich and fertile region. 

I. The expectatious of the editor were fully realized. Duriug the tweutv-five yeans of its ex- 
istence as a corporatiou it paid iu dividends to its stockholders, 5579.500, and theu returned to 
them every cent of the capital stock. .An eminent banker speaking; of its management wrote; 
"In reference to the closing of the operations of the Livingston County Bank, after its existence 
of a quarter of a centurj* under your management, a bank managed better, as well for the good of 
the country, as for the benefit of the stockholders, I do not think exists or has existed in the 



NOTWITHSTANDING that the question of a canal along 
the valley of the Genesee to Olean had now been before 
the people for fully six years, and the measure urged year after 
year with great determination upon the attention of the Legislature, 
nothing had as yet been done by that body to further this object. Dis- 
couraged by their attempts to secure the needed measure, the people 
of this and Monroe counties turned their attention to other plans for 
imjjroving the transportation facilities of the valley. 

Aiiout this period the attention of the country was directed to the 
subject of railroads, which were then just coming into use, and the 
people of the valley naturally concluded that a railroad would solve 
the difficulties under which they labored. 

On the 15th of November, 1831, a meeting of citizens of the county 
was held at C. Hamilton's house in Gencseo, for the [uirpose of taking 
measures to call a general meeting of the inhabitants of the counties 
of !Monroe, Livingston, Genesee, Allegany and Steuben who felt an 
interest in the construction of the "Rochester and Dansville Rail- 
road," along the valley of the Genesee river and Canaseraga creek. 
Charles H. Carroll acted as chairman ot this meeting and Allen 
Ayrault secretary. The object of the meeting having been stated, it 
was announced that a notice had been given that an application would 
be made to the Legislature for a charter for this road, with a capital of 
$300, out). It was therefore resolved that a call be issued for a general 
meeting to beheld in CJeneseo on Tuesday, Nov. 2'', 1S31. and all resi- 
dents of the counties previously named, who were interested in this 
project were invited to attend. The committee appointed to carry 
this into effect consisted of Charles H. Carroll, Allen Ayrault, C. H. 
Bryan, D. Firman, James Proudfit, Asa Arnold, William A. Mills, H. 
Jones, Jr., 1). H. Fitzhugh, Smith Parmalee, James McCurdy, F. 
Blakesley, Robert Di.von, S. C. Grover, J. Clark and John Young. 

Preliminary meetings to promote this object were also held in Dans- 
ville and other places which were participated in by leading citizens. On 
the 2'>th of the same month the general meeting was held in (Jeneseo, 


and proved a large and enthusiastic gathering. All sections were rep- 
resented, and a great unanimity of sentiment prevailed. In the pre- 
amble adopted appears this: "Whereas we have repeatedly and in 
vail) petitioned tt) the Legislature of this State for the improvement of 
our natural means of intercommunication by the construction of a 
canal from Rochester to Olean up the valley of the Genesee river; and 
whereas, within a few years the science of the construction of railroads 
and the machinery employed thereon has been so much improved as 
to exceed the most sanguine expectation of power and speed in its 
adaptation to the transportation of passengers and produce; and 
whereas, in this latitude the railroad has a decided advantage over 
the canal system by extending its benefits and facilities throughout 
the whole year." Hezekiah D. Mason, Allen Ayrault, C. H. Bryan, 
Felix Tracy, William A. ^lills and James Faulkner were made a com- 
mittee to circulate a petition for signatures, praying the Legislature to 
incorporate the company. 

In the memorial to the Legislature on this subject, it was urged that 
the face of the country over which the projected railroad would pass, 
was well adapted to its construction. From Rochester to the mouth 
of Canaseraga creek, about thirty miles, the rise was stated at 45 
feet; and from the latter point to Dansville, a distance of about 
eighteen miles, the rise was 160 feet, a total rise of 2U5 feet in forty- 
eight miles. Referring to the extent of the traffic over the water and 
land routes at this time, the memorial said: "The surplus products of 
the Genesee and Canaseraga valleys and southern country pass to 
Rochester down the Genesee valley. The amount of tonnage up and 
down the valley in the last year was 16,846 tons. This appears upon 
and is taken from the books of the forwarding merchants. Not in- 
cluded in this statement are the articles of oats, barley, beer, butter, 
cheese, lard, pork unpacked, tar, peltry, salt and lumber, and a great 
variety of other products that never find their way to the storehouse 
of the merchant. There are in the immediate vicinity of Dansville 
fifty-six sawmills surrounded by immense forests of white and yellow 
pine. The joint product of these mills at a low estimate is 5,000,000 
feet. ** * Present price of transportation from Dansville to Rochester, 
loads furnished both ways, is $4 a ton. From Geneseo by water, 
twenty shillings. A trip on railroad to Rochester and return could 
be made in nine hours; from Geneseo in six hours." 


The Village Chronicle of Dansville gives an account of a meeting 
held in that village Jan. 7th, 1832, in furtherance of the projected 
railroad, at which addresses were made by Judge Carroll, James 
Faulkner and others. The members of Congress of the 26th, 27th 
and 28th districts were requested by this meeting to use their inlUience 
to secure the appointment of some member of the corps of topographi- 
cal engineers to make a survey from Lake Ontario to the head waters 
of the Susquehanna river, through the valleys of the Genesee and 

These united and persistent efforts were speedily crowned with 
success. The bill incorporating the railroad company passed the 
Senate Feb. 23d, 1832, by a unanimous vote, and in the latter part 
of March it was passed by the Assembly. This successful issue was 
the signal for joyful outbreaks throughout the valley. Public meet- 
ings were held, congratulatory addresses delivered and in other ways 
the people testified to the general good feeling. The Village Chronicle 
of March 20, 1832, thus notices the reception of the news at Dansville: 
"The cheering intelligence that the bill incorporating the Dansville 
and Rochester Railroad company had passed the Assembly, and only 
wanted the signature of the Governor to become a law, was received 
in this village on ^Monday evening last, about 8 o'clock, and as a 
demonstration of the joy with which it was hailed by our citizens in 
the short space of half an hour, every house and shop in the village 
was handsomely illuminated, which together with the skyrockets, 
fireballs, bonfires, etc., that were flying in all directions, presented a 
beautiful scene." 

Surveys for the proposed road were commenced in July, 1832, by Mr. 
Almy of Geneseo, and on November 20 the stock books of the company 
were opened at the Eagle tavern in Rochester and Hamilton's tavern 
in Geneseo, for the purpose of receiving subscriptions. A portion of the 
stock was taken during the three days the books were kept open at this 
time, but in the following year the directors were compelled to give 
notice, that the subscription to the stock of the company not having 
been filled, the books would again be opened at the Eagle tavern in 
Rochester on the 9th of September. The persons signing this notice 
were Elisha Johnson, Charles H. Carroll, A.M. Schermerhorn, W. H. 
Spencer, Daniel H. Fitzhugh, James Faulkner and William Lyman. 

Unfortunately, however, this constitutes the substance of the history 


of the Rochester and Dansville railroad. Like all similar enterprises 
it met with delays, disappointments and embarrassments, and the 
enterprise was finally wholly abandoned. Subsequently the Genesee 
Valley Railroad Company built a line from Rochester to Avon, finish- 
ing it in 1854; the Avon, Geneseo and Mount Morris Railroad Com- 
pany extended the line to Mount Morris, opening the road to the pub- 
lic in 185"); and forty years after Dansville celebrated the chartering 
of her railroad company the cars entered that village for the first 
time the line having been extended by the Erie and Genesee A'al- 
ley Railroad Company from Mount Morris m the fall of 1871. The 
line from Rochester to Mount Morris is now under lease to and 
operated by the Erie Railroad Company, and that portion of the line 
from Mount Morris to Dansville is owned by the Dansville and Mount 
Morris Railroad Company, which was organized in October 1891. 

In addition to this railroad enterprise, a charter was granted in 
1832 for a railroad from Geneseo to Pitt.sford, but nothing was done 
in the direction of building the road. 

The general election of 1830 resulted in the election of the entire 
Anti-Masonic ticket. The Senators chosen were Philo C. Fuller, and 
Trumbull Cary; for the Assembly, Jerediah Horsford and James 
Percival. Calvin H. Bryan was a candidate for Member of Congress 
for the Twenty-seventh district, but was defeated by Frederick 
Whittlesey of Rochester, who filled the position during the"years 
1831 to 1835 inclusive, the congressional district at that time embrac- 
ing Livingston and Monroe counties. 

The town elections of 1831 resulted very favorably to Anti-Masonry. 
But three towns elected opposition tickets, Groveland, Mount Mor- 
ris and Lima. The Anti-Masonic organ in commenting on this result 
said, "The elections demonstrated that Anti-Masonry not only holds 
strong in this county, but that it is continually increasing in strength. 
In several towns the fraternity, although they put in requisition 
their utmost endeavors, were unable to get up any opposition." 

In March, 1832, Willard H. Smith was appointed by the Governor 
and Senate First Judge of the County Court of this county, succeed- 
ing Hezekiah D. Mason, who had served since 1829. At the same 
time Samuel W. Spencer was appointed in the same manner as Sur- 
rogate to succeed James Rosebrugh, whi) had filled the office since 
the organization of the county in 1821. 


By the act of June 2'J, 1832, Livingston and Allegany were made 
the Thirtieth Congressional district, and the first Representative 
chosen was Philo C. Fuller of Geneseo, who served from Dec. 2, 1833, 
to Sept. 2, 183f), when he resigned and was succeeded by John Young 
of Geneseo. Mr. Young was succeeded by Luther C. Peck of Al- 
legany, whose service covered the years 1837 to 1841 inclusive, when 
John Young was again returned and served one term. 

The election of 1831 resulted in the choice of George W. Patterson' 
and John Young as Merfibers of Assembly, and in 1833 the county 
was represented by George W. Patterson and Samuel W. Smith. 
The election in the fall of 1833 resulted in the choice for this office of 
Salmon G. Grover and Tabor Ward. Again in 1834 Mr. Patterson 
became the choice of the electors for this position, his colleague being 
Hollotn Hutchinson. At the same time Elias Clark was chosen 
County Clerk, the Whigs carrying the elections. 

In 1835 the elections resulted in another sweeping Whig victory, 
the Assemblymen chosen being Charles H. Carroll and George W. 
Patterson. On the 20th of January, 1836, Calvin H. Bryan was ap- 
pointed District Attorney by the Court of General Sessions, but was 
superseded May 30th of the same year by A. A. Bennett. The elec- 
tion of this year resulted in the choice of George W. Patterson and 
William Scott, Assemblymen; they seVved two successive terms. In 
1833 Mr. Patterson was again reelected, his colleague being Elias 
Clark. At the session of 1839 Mr. Patterson was chosen Speaker and 
filled the position two successive terms.with great credit to himself 
and honor to his constituents. Elias Clark was succeeded as County 
Clerk by William H. Stanley, who was elected in 1837. In 1840 
Samuel P. Allen was chosen to fill the office. George Hastings fol- 
lowed A. A. Bennett as District Attorney May 27th, 1839, while the 
Sheriffs of the county during the period covered by this chapter were 
Augustus Gibbs, elected in 1831; Josiah Wendell, 1834; AVilliam W. 
Weed, 1837 and James Brewer, 1840. 

Until the adoption of the new constitution in 1S4() Surrogates 
were appointed by the Governor and Senate for the term of four 
years. On the 23d of March, 1836, Benjamin F, Angel was appointed 
Surrogate, and held the office until April 22d, 1840, whc'n he was 
succeeded by William H. Kelsey, who in turn was followed by Mr. 
Angel again in 1844, upun the advent to power in the State of a 


Uemocratic administration. The office of Supreme Court Commis- 
sioner, an officer performing the duties of a Judge of the Supreme 
Court at Chambers, was conferred upon Mr. Angel at the same time, 
and held by him until the new constitution went into effect in 1847. 

Applications to the Legislature for charters and legislative aid to 
various enterprises were of frequent occurrence at this time. In 
1836 notices appeared that applications would be made for charters 
for banks at Avon, Dansville and York Centre, and the villages of 
Avon and York Centre wanted to be incorporated, while the people 
of Dansville asked for an act to incorporate the Dansville Academy, 
and the directors of the Livingston County Bank desired to increase 
their capital stock to $250,000. 

In 1837 an act was passed incorporating the Geneseo Hydraulic 
Company. It was the design of this company to provide a great 
water power, by proper dams and other works on the Genesee river. 
The passage of the bill was hailed with the greatest demonstrations of 
joy on the part of the people of Geneseo, but it does not appear that 
the company ever commenced work. It is certain, at least, that the 
wild expectations of the people were never realized. 

On July 13, 1837, a meeting of "the friends of universal freedom" 
was held at the Presbyterian meeting house in Geneseo, of which 
Feli.x Tracy was made chairman and Reuben Sleeper, secretary. The 
first resolution, offered by George Kemp and seconded by Rev. H. 
vSnyder, was adopted unanimously ; this is it : 

RESOLVED, That slavery being a great political and moral evil, 
and this whole nation being guilty of upholding it, it is the plain 
duty of this whole nation to repent of it immediately and bring forth 
fruits meet for repentance. 

The next resolution, offered by James H. Rogers of ]\It. Morris, was 
as follows: 

RESOLVED, That this meeting proceed now to form a Livingston 
county anti-slavery society which shall be auxiliary to the American 
Anti-Slavery Society. 

This encountered the opposition of the Rev. W. P. Page of the 
Episcopal Church in Geneseo, "on the assumption that the people of 
the county have not been informed of the intention of forming an anti- 
slavery society; that it would be improper to call it a county society, 
when all the people had not been notified; that it would go forth to 


the world as an expression of the public sentiment of Livingston 
count}', etc.," and he moved that the consideration of the resolution be 
postponed for one month and gave his reasons at some length. The 
motion to postpone consideration was laid on the table, and (Jcrrit 
Smith then addressed the meeting for nearly two hours, on the sub- 
ject of American slavery. 

The meeting then took a recess; upon reassembling, the considera- 
tion of Mr. Roger's resolution and the motion to postpone were 
discussed. Mr. Page returned to the attack and urged the postpone- 
ment of the adoption of the Roger's resolution ; the motion to post- 
pone was decided adversely. 

The report of the meeting proceeds to say that, "Gerrit Smith then 
addressed the meeting about two hours discursively on the resolution, 
interspersing his remarks with illustration, anecdotes and clear and 
forcible arguments, on the safety and general benefits of immediate 
emancipation, pointing out the evils and wickedness of the slave 
system, the prejudice and hatred against colored people, the dangers 
which threaten the liberties and free institutions of the nation, in 
consequence of the growing infiuenco of slavery, the infringements 
already made upon our constitutional rights, and portrayed in the 
most eloquent manner the duties of the people of the free States in 
resisting, by all lawful and moral means, the extension of the 
despotic doctrines of Slavery, and to labor for its immediate removal 
from the land; showing by scripture arguments and the history of 
all slaveholding nations that the only remedy against the threatened 
judgments of Heaven in the overthrow and ruin of this guilty nation 
is in their immediate repentance and the restoration of the oppressed 
to the rights of humanity. " 

Mr. Smith was followed by the redoubtable Rector Page, who, 
according to the record, "urged several objections to the doctrines 
of Abolition; professed himself as much opposed to slavery as Mr. 
Smith; would go as far to remedy the evil, etc., hut contended that 
Abolitionists had dont no good; they had agitated and ilisturlit-d the 
peace of the churches, etc., and that Mr. vSmith and his friends were 
all acting under a delusion! Mr. Smith rejoined, answered objections, 
explained and proved that the Abolitionist had done much to ad- 
vance the doctrines of freedom, and aided extensively in the emanci- 
pation of manv slaves, etc., and made further illustrations of the 


blessings of immediate emancipation by quoting historical proofs." 

Action was then taken upon the resolution, which passed with four 
or five dissenting votes, and a constitution was presented and read 
and unanimously adopted. 

In this manner was born the Livingston County Anti-Slavery 

A committee consisting of Charles Colt, Rev. Henry Snyder, 
Allen Ayrault, J. B. Bloss and Rev. Wilber Hoag was appointed for 
the purpose of reporting names of otificers. The committee reported 
for officers, Reuben Sleeper, of Mount Morris, for President; Vice 
Presidents; Wm. C. Dwight, Leicester; Asa Woodford, Mount Mor- 
ris; Samuel W. Smith, Sparta; I. McCracken, York; Russell Austin, 
Genesee; Wm. Squier, Groveland; Rev. H. B. Pierpont, Avon; 
Andrew Arnold, Conesus; Rev. H. Gregory, Lima; Henry Pierce, 
Livonia, Rev. Samuel Hoag, Springwater. For Recording and Cor- 
responding Secretary, AVilliam H. Stanley of Geneseo. For Treas- 
urer, Ephraim Cone of Geneseo. For E.xecutive Committee. Charles 
Colt, W. H. Stanley and W. M. Bond, Jr. of Geneseo, George Hast- 
ings of j\It. Morris and J. B. Bloss of York. 

The following are the names of the members given in at the first 
meeting or subsequently added; Wm. C. Dwight, Moses Marvin, 
James H. Rogers, Reuben Sleeper, ^lorris Sleeper, J. B, Bloss, David 
Bush, Allen Ayrault, Rev. Samuel Hoag, Giles Lyman, Jr., Charles Colt, 
Hiram Ellis, Rev. Wilber Hoag, Rev. C. H. Goodrich, Rev. Merritt 
Harman, Rev. Henry Snyder, Felix Tracy, George Kemp, Hiram 
Jennings, John D. Fraser, Rev. H. Gregory, A. Fowler, James Col- 
lins, Eben N. Horsford, Edgar Camp, Orrin Hall, Wm. B. Munson, 
S. Rowland, Wm. McCracken, Robert L. Guthrie, Alfred Beecher, 
Wells Fowler, James Richmond, Alanson Richmond, Jonathan Kings- 
bury, E. B^ Warner, John Fisher, Samuel Gardner, Samuel Burpee, 
James Conkey, George Hastings, Amos Scofield, Mary H. Hastings, 
Mrs. Wm. M. Bond, M. B. Rogers, Lucy F. Richmond, Alice Jen- 
nings, Mrs. B. Ayrault, Mary Lyman, Caroline, A. Bloss, Lucy 
Lyman, Mary W. Stanley, Mercy B. Stanley, Harriet C. Stanley, 
Emily S. Stanley, Catherine Whiting, Roxena Ewart, Nelly Bush, 
Susan E. Wendell, Eleanor C. Hoag, Sally H. Fowler, Maria Hills, 
Mary B. Lyman, Louisa Lyman, Sophia A. Fullerton, Lucretia W. 
Merrill, Orissa Merrill, Laura A. Bond, Lucinda Snyder, Hannah 


Cliilds, W. H. Stanley, Wni. M. Hoiul, Jr., J. R. Bond. Asa Wood- 
ford, Samuel \V. Smith, Russell Austin, William Squier, Rev. H. B. 
Pierpont, Andrew Arnold, Henry Pierce, Luman Stanley, S. S. 
Cooley, Wm. Wilder, N. Wilder, R. B. Southworth, Samuel Wood^ 
George H. Ellicott, Frederick Stanley. R. W. Hills, M. W. Toby, 
Doctor E. Childs, Ephraim Cone, W. F. Clark, Wm. 11. Raynale, 
Luther Melvin, S. Shannon, Moses VanCampen, C. E. Clark, Russell 
Day, J. W. Merrill, Jacob B. Hall, David Shepard, Robt. T. Sinclair, 
Moses Camp. John P. Gale, Eben Childs, Jr., Elilui S. Stanley, Johi> 
H. Stanley, James R. Bond, Andrew Baldwin. Tiiomas P. Boyd, 
Lorenzo H. Brooks, Lorin Coy. 

Meetings were held by the society until February 6th, 1839, which 
appears to be the date of its last assemblage. All but one were 
held in Geneseo, the final meeting being held at York Centre; and if 
the duration of the society was short, its work was of a very earnest^ 
if not effective, character, to judge from the resolutions which the 
record shows were adopted. 

Delegates were appointed to attend the conventions of the State 
society at various times, generally one or more members from each 
of the towns in the county being selected. 

■Gerrit Smith delivered an address at a meeting held at the Presby- 
terian Church in Geneseo, on the 1st day of September, 1838. At 
this meeting, according to the record, "there was a respectable audi- 
ence from several towns in the county, and among them a fciv from 
the Village of Geneseo." It is apparent from the emphasis with 
which the secretary records the word "few," that the attendance 
from Geneseo was not up to his notion of what it should have been. 
The following are several of the resolutions adopted in the course of 
the society's existence: 

"RESOLVED, That the system of American slavery, as sustained 
by law, is disgraceful to this nation, revolting to humanity, repugnant 
to common justice, contrary to the plain and positive injunctions of 
the Gospel, and ought therefore to be immediately abolished. 

"RESOLVED, That the adoption on the 21st inst. by the House of 
Representatives of Mr. Patton's resolution to lay unread, unprinted, 
and unreferred, all petitions and papers touching the abolition of 
slavery on the table, clearly shows that the North has in that house 
many unNorthern and unAmerican representatives, and that the 


whole of the affirmative on that res'ilution are ready to sacrifice the 
entire nation on the altar of slav-ery. 

"RESOLVED, That as American slaveholding destroys the in- 
dividual responsibilities of its victims by legally .blotting out the 
grand distinguishments of humanity, it is an usurpation of Divine 
power, and the relation in itself sinful. 

"RESOLVED, That the annexation of Texas to this republic 
would be unsound in policy, inconsistent with the avowed political 
faith of the nation, and threaten with a speedy dissolution the union 
of the States, and that Abolitionists ought at once to be prepared to 
meet any attempt for that purpose by the South, with the solemn' 
protest of all classes of their fellow citizens. 

"RESOLVED, That the principles and designs of Abolitionists 
need only to be understood to receive the approbation of candid and 
intelligent pei^ple. That they have been fully explained and power- 
fully discussed in the various anti-slavery publications of the day. 
That the establishing of libraries embracing these publications in 
towns and villages is an enterprise which commends itself to the 
judgment and ought to command the well directed persevering efforts 
of the friends of human rights to secure its immediate success. 

"RESOLVED, That slavery in the District of Columbia and in 
Florida and the slave trade between the respective States, are fully 
under the constitutional control of Congress. That the honor, safety 
and pmsperity of the nation demand their immediate abolition. 

"RESOLVED, That the recent assassination of E. P. Lovejoy 
admonishes us that the friends of human rights should be prepared to- 
make any sacrifice for the promotion of their cause. And that in the 
name of God and sufifering humanity they should be read\' to part 
with reputation, property and even life, rather than yield the great 
principles of Abolitionism which bind us to our fellow men and the 
throne of God. 

"RESOLVED, That we believe the system of American slavery 
was regarded by the wisdom and intelligence of our nation at the 
time of the organization of our Government, even by slaveholders, 
themselves, as a great evil and one which would soon diminish and 
eventually cease, and that the increase and extension of this evil and 
tlie claims of slaveholders upon the liberties of the free States, for 
the purpose of perpetuating this horrid system, .give fearful evidence. 


of a change of national policy incompatible with the fundamental 
principles of our Government, detrimental to the interest of free labor, 
and destructive to the peace and prosperity of our whole country. 

"RESOL\'EU, That recent events show more clearly than ever 
the dark spirit of slavery, and its withering influence not only at the 
South, but at the North; and that as the developments of its wither- 
ing influence are coming thick and fast upon us, in the form of mobs, 
lynching, burning of public buildings, gag resolutions, rejection of 
petitions, and threats of assassination, it becomes every philanthropist, 
every patriot, and especially every Christian, to maintain calmly, yet 
firmly, and unflinchingly, the principles of the Declaration of In- 
dependence, thatall men are created equal and endowed by their 
Creator with the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and tlje-pTirsuiT- 
of happiness. And to pledge to each other as did our /iithers our 
lives, jour fortunes and our sacred honor in suppi6rt of these 

"RESOLVED, That as slavery is created by la\|i-, it must .be 
abolished by law, and that in the exercise of our elective franchise, 
we will give our \-otes to those men of good moral character, and 
those only, who will sustain the principles of impartial freedom. And 
that the time has come to let all men know, that we will not on any 
consideration give our votes for any man to be next President or 
A'ice President of the United States, who is a slaveholder, or an 
apologist for slavery. 

"RESOLVED, That we have abundant evidence, not only in the 
nature of things and the testimony of God's words, but in the historv 
of all past experience, that immediate emancipatii)n is not only safe 
but most expedient for the master as well as the slave." 

For the most part, the resolutions were adopted unaninmusly ; 
occasionally some differences of opinioD were e.\])ressed by the more 
conservative members who, however, appeared to have been very much 
in the minority and do not seem to have impressed their spirit of 
moderation upon the Society. This is ]iriil)ably a fair ])icture of Imw 
strong a hold the anti-slavery feeling had thus early taken upon the 
people in the rural communities of the North. 

The [(residential cam[)aign of 1S4U was a memorable one, and holds 
its place in history as one of the most spirited and closely con- 
tested the country has ever witnessed. The Whig party came 


early into the field with its standard bearers, William Henry 
Harrison for President, and John Tyler for Vice President. The 
Democratic party nominated for reelection President Martin Van 
Biiren and Vice President Richard 'SI. Johnson. 

It was a period of great financial distress. In 1837 had occurred 
the disastrous financial panic, when bank after bank suspended specie 
])ayments, enterprise was crippled, the business of the country was 
to a large degree suspended, and thousands of laborers were thrown 
out of employment. The government, which a few months before 
had a surplus of forty millions of dollars, found itself in this crisis 
unable to meet its daily obligations, and an e.xtra session of Congress 
was rendered necessary to extricate it from serious difficulties. In 
1840 the financial distress had been but little relieved and the people 
generally attributed this to the attempts of the government to regu- 
late the currency. Under the generally accepted rule that the party 
in power is responsible for all existing evils, the Democratic party 
was held respcjnsible for this wide-spread distress and business stagna- 
tion, and its nominees were thus rendered un])opular. This tendency 
of popular judgment has ever been a marked feature of our political 
system, and while it may, and undoubtedly does, sometimes do in- 
justice to party leaders and organizations, it also acts as a wholesome 
check upon the abuse of power or the neglect of manifest public duty. 

vSome peculiar features marked the campaign of 1840. General 
Harrison, the Whig candidate for President, had served in the cam- 
paign of 1811 against the Indians, and at the battle of Tippecanoe 
had won great military honors. His admirers now took advantage of 
thi-;, and "Tippecanoe and Tyler too," became the Whig watchword. 
Another peculiarity arose from the fact that some injudicious 
opponents had taunted General Harrison with having lived in a log 
cabin and used hard cider as a beverage. "Hence the term 'log 
cabin' was seized upon and became the great talismanic word of the 
party, the effect of which all the arts of the 'Little ^Magician' were 
insufficient to counteract. Miniature log cabins were a part of the 
para])hernalia got up to give effect to the mass meetings which were 
not infrequently measured by acres. These rude structures, 
decorated with 'coon skins,' were erected of sufficient dimensions 
for the accommodation of the local assemblages. There was scarcely 
a city or village which was not adorned with an edifice of this de- 


scriptinn. And the number was legion of those who traced their con- 
version to the 'new liglit' emitted from these political forums." 

Like their brethren in other piirts of the country, the Whigs of 
Livingston had their log cabins and hard cidt-r, much to the amuse- 
ment of their opponents, who derided them unmercifully. The Whigs 
of Geneseo erected a cabin near the centre of the village in the latter 
part of August, and it afforded a place for numerous gatherings dur- 
ing the campaign. It was not a sightly structure, however, and 
many were the derisive laughs enjoyed by the Democrats at its rough 
appearance and uncouth shape. The Register for September 1st, 
under the head ol "\'illage Improvements," announces the comple- 
tion of the log cabin, which had been built in one week. It con- 
sidered the architecture unique, and compared the cornice in front, 
which had no posts to sustain it, to "Federal Tippecanoe Whiggery," 
which, it said, "is destitute of props, posts or supports, that can save 
it from the fate that awaits it." 

Dansville also had her log cabin erected in one day at a grand 
mass meeting of Whigs, and, although threatened with destruction by 
the Democrats, it served its purpose in the campaign, and was the 
scene of a number of exciting and enthusiastic political barbecues. 

After a canvass which will long be remembered, the two great 
parties met at the polls and measured their relative strength. The 
result proved an overwhelming Whig victory, the party electing its 
•candidates for the presidency and vice presidency, gaining a large 
majority in Congress, and sweeping everything before it on its local 
tickets. In Livingston county it achieved a signal victory. The 
entire Whig ticket was elected. The Register, the organ of the 
Democracy, discouraged by this result, and its resources exhausted 
in attempts to maintain an existence, gracefully yielded to the in- 
evitable and suspended publication. The county officers chosen at 
this election were Samuel P. Allen, County Clerk; Jaines Brewer, 
Sheriff, Augustus Gibbs and Reuben P. Wisner, Members of As- 
sembly. John Young was also chosen Member of Congress and John 
Wheeler, Presidential Elector. 

The county had now nearly reached the twentieth year of its 
separate existence, and was prosperous to a degree exceeding the 
highest expectations of those who had favored its erection. The 
population at this time had reached 37,777, an increase of about 8,767 


in ten years. The assessed valuation of real estate was $10,477/)92: 
of personal estate, $768,432; aggregate valuation, $ll,24f),124. 

The development of the manufacturing interests of the county had 
kept pace with her agricultural progress, and among the principal 
manufacturing establishments were one woolen mill, six iron establish- 
ments, fiiur paper mills, twenty tanneries, one brewery, sixty-nine 
saw mills, thirty grist mills, sixteen fulling mills, fifteen carding 
mills and one oil mill. 

Of banking establishments the county had two. The Livingston 
County Bank at Geneseo, with a capital of $100,000, its report for 
183') showing loans and discounts to the amount of $217,844; divi- 
dends in tiiat year, $14,000, and surplus, or profits on hand, $37,762. 
Allen Ayrault was President and Ephraim Cone, Cashier. The Bank 
of Dansville was located at Dansville. Its capital was $150,000 at 
this time, and the amount of its circulation $124,000. 

The villages in the county incorporated were Geneseo and Mount 
Morris, the former in 1832, the latter in 1835. But Dansville, 
Moscow, A\'on, York, Lima and I^ivoiiia were flourishing villages, 
Dansville, at least, having a larger population than either of the 
incorporated villages. The number of post-offices in the county was 

Three newspapers were at this time making their weekly visits to 
the people. These were the Livingston Republican and Livingston 
Register,' published at Geneseo, and the Spectator, published at Mount 
Morris by Hugh Harding. 

Two incorporated academies furnished educational facilities, in addi- 
tion to the excellent district schools. These were the Genesee 
Wcsleyan Seminary at Lima, with an average attendance per term of 
180 pupils, and the Livingston County High School, with an average 
attendance of 83 pupils per term. There were also several unin- 
corporated academies which enjoyed a considerable reputation as 
institutions of learning. Among these were the academies at Moscow 
and West Avon. 

A daily line of stages furnished comparatively easy communication 
with all points, and carried the mails with regularity and dispatch. 
A line ran fnim Rochester to Bath, accommodating all the principal 

I. Suspended after the Presidential election of 1S40. 


places in this county, and making connection with a Philadelphia and 
Washington line, and also with lines running to Buffalo, Lewiston, 
Utica and Albany; while the Genesee Valley Canal, now completed 
to Mount Morris, and rapidly approaching a finished state on its upper 
sections, as previously stated, afforded ample and cheap facilities for 
transporting the abundant products of the valley. 



THE A^IBUSCADE by which a brave scouting party sent out 
from Sullivan's army of invasion in 177'* was ruthlessly de- 
stroyed by the savages, has been described in a previous chap- 
ter. The scene of this ambuscade is on the farm now owned by 
Robert D. and Mary E. Boyd, situated just below the cemetery in 
Groveland, and a few rods south of the public road. The spot where 
the remains were interred is now marked by a monument erected by 
the Livingston County Historical Society. The deeply worn trail 
traversed by Boyd's scouting party and over which the army passed, 
and which might until recently be easily traced through the wood lot 
near by for quite a distance between this spot and the lake, is now 
used as a private roadway. 

The fallen soldiers were buried in two graves near together, the 
larger of which was located between three huge oaks whose stumps 
were standing a few years ago. Captain Salmon, who now sleeps in 
the graveyard close at hand, lived for many years but a mile distant 
and frequently visited the spot. He never was weary of pointing out 
the place of conflict, or of identifying with soldierly reverence the 
burial place. The earth over the graves, while yet the virgin soil 
thereabouts lay undisturbed, had settled about two feet, and bushes 
had been thrown into the depression. Thus it remained for some years 
until the brush was removed by a tenant, who plowed over the 
spot and gradually levelled it with the surrounding surface. 

While the country was yet new and farmers allowed their cattle 
and horses to roam at large, John Harrison, of Groveland, one morning 
in crossing the farm, just north of the site of the ambush, in search 
of his stock, stumbled upon a human skull which lay beside a decay- 
ing log. This doubtless belonged to one who had been wounded in 
the fight and had crawled off in that direction to die. A scalping 
knife also, possibly the property of the Indian killed by Murphy while 
effecting his escape, was found a little way eastward of the graves. A 



number of other relics have been picked up from lime to time, 
though few are preserved.' For many years it was the practice of 
Grfiveland boys, on their way to the lake for fishing, when their 
route lay by this spot, to seek among the soldier bones, then quite' 
freely scattered over the surface, for such pieces as they best liked for 
cane tops. Military buttons, too, were now and then picked up and 
applied to the same fanciful purpose until the hand of the curious and 
the corrosion of time together had removed the more open evidences 
of the burial place, so that when in 1S41, the general e.\humation 
occurred, it was only after digging over a considerable space that the 
exact location of the two graves was ascertained. Mingled with the 
bones and dust thrown up on that occasion were found four jjewter 


buttons of a particular pattern, bearing on the fact- in large letters 
the initials "U. S. A. " These were at once recognized by Paul Sanborn 
and Lemuel Richardson, and nnc or two other Revolutionary soldiers 
present, as the kind worn by the Riflemen, to which corps Boyd's 
party belonged. The identity of the remains, consisting of bones 
more or less decayed, of teeth and we believe some portions of mili- 
tary clothing, was thus fully established. 

1. The eugraviuj: on this page shows the scalping knife alluded to above: an axe dug np 
aliout forty rods east of the spot where the military bridge was built across the inlet; and a pair 
of hnge bullet moulds, greatly rust eaten, capable of running a dozen balls at once, found near 
Sullivan's camping ground at Conesns. 

The knife was the properly of Janits Doyd, the late ownsr of the farm; the axe was presented 
to Colonel Doty by Mr. Granger Griswold, late of Conesns: the notch near the eye hole was made 
by taking out a piece of steel for ornamenting a cane made from the wood of the Big Tree for 
Thnrlow Weed; the bullet moulds were presented by thelate James T. Norton of Geneseo. 

There was found on Mr. Richardson's farm, on the spot where the army lay encamped for the 
night, a gun barrel, and Mr. Richardson some years ago plowed up two horse shoes, of great 
size, much eaten by the rust, which doubtless belonged to the army horses. 


As the anniversary of the Declaration of American Independence in 
the year 1841 approached, a writer in one of the Rochester journals, 

"The proximity of our national anniversary naturally excites re- 
flection respecting the services of those bold spirits whose patriotic 
course in field and council was blessed by Heaven to the establish- 
ment of American liberty- Unworthy would we be of the freedom we 
are enjoying, were we to prove forgetful inheritors of blessings se- 
cured through the storm and bloodshed of our glorious Revolution ! 
The national honor would have been consulted by more liberal 
provision for the soldiers of that memorable strife. But as time rolls 
by — thinning their ranks with its unsparing scythe — the survivors, 
like the SibvUine leaves, increase in public esteem as they diminish in 

"There were those who fell fighting our battles, whose memory has 
not been fully considered by the inheritors of the liberty for which 
they fought. This \'alley of the Genesee contains the relics of a 
gallant officer who bore arms for the Republic against the former 
savage occupants, when they were leagued with British red-coats in 
desolating our frontiers with fire and sword. 

"The mouldering relics of that ill-fated warrior slumber now in an 
obscure grave, almost unknown, as it is without any memorial to 
apprise the passing traveller that beneath rests the gallant Boyd, 
the slaughtered officer in the advance guard of Sullivan's army. 

"The heroic valor of Boyd would be worthy of admiration under 
any circumstances; but when we know that that valor was displayed 
in behalf of American liberty, and that his gallantry and his slaughter 
are identified with the history of the Genesee ^'alley, how much 
stronger are those claims rendered which impel us to testify our love 
for his patriotism — our sympathy for his fate, by some public testi- 
monial of his worth, and of the gratitude of his country! 

"It may be that oirr Rochester companies, recognizing promptly 
all claims of honcir and ])atriotism,will make an excursion this summer 
to remove the mouldering remains from their lonely grave to our 
beautiful Mount Hope, and award the last military honors by a proper 
monument to the martyred soldier." 

This suggestion evoked immediate response from the Rochester 
companies to whom it was more directly addressed, with the promise 


of their enthusiastic cooperation. The following is the record of the 
proceedings of a ineetintj of Williams' Light Infantry upon the 

Armory of Williams' Light Infantry. 

Roches^ter, July 2^ 1841. 
At a special meeting of this corps, on Friday evening, at their 
armory, the subject of disinterring the remains of the brave Lieut. 
Royd, which now lie buried in the \"alley of the Genesee, between 
(ieneseo and Moscow, and removing them to such place on Mount 
Hope as shall hereafter be designated, the fijUowing resolutions were 

Resolved, That we cordially approve of the recommendations which 
have been made for the removal to some selected spot, of the remains 
of the brave and generous Boyd, who, in 1779, fell a victim to the 
savage barbarity and treachery of the infamous Col. Butler, while, 
with a detachment of (ien. Sullivan's command, he was endeavoring 
to drive the savage enemy from the Valley of the Genesee. 

Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to cooperate 
with the other committees that may hereafter be appointed for tiie 
purpose of effecting such removal. 

Whereupon the President named as such committee, James Miller, 
Robert A. Hall and Henry Shears, jr. 

Joseph Putnam, 
E. F. Parker, Secretary. President. 

Similar action was quite as promptly taken by the Union (Srays, 
the City Cadets, the Artillery Corps, the German Grenadiers, the Fire 
Department of Rochester, the Mechanics' Literary Association and 
the Rochester Athenaeum. The Corporation of the City of Rochester 
delegated three Aldermen to represent the body in the General Com- 
mittee of Arrangements. The project took definite shape by the ap- 
pointment of a Rochester Committee of Arrangements, consisting of 
Messrs. Henry O'Reilly, _ L. B. Swan, John Williams and H. A. 
Tucker, and these gentlemen secured the promise of Governor Seward 
to be present at the ceremonies attending the proposed removal of the 
remains to Mount Hope appointed for August 21. 

The people of Livingston county, within whose limits lay the ashes 
of the honored dead, zealously concurred with the citizens of Roches- 
ter in favoring the proposed solemnities. 

Their feelings were happily expressed through the resolutions 
adopted by a county meeting convened at Creneseo. As some persons 
doubted the propriety of removing the remains from Livingston 


county, and as it was desirable that entire cordiality should exist 
between the people of the different counties on this matter, several 
prominent citizens of Genesee issued the following notice for a county 
convention, that the sentiment of the people of Livingston might be 
freely and decisively manifested for or against the proposed ceremon- 


The undersigned were appointed at a meeting of the citizens of 
Genesee, on the 11th inst., as a committee to invite the citizens of this 
county to meet at the Court House in Geneseo, on Saturday, the 14th 
inst., at 2 o'clock, p. m., to take into consideration the proposed re- 
moval of the remains of Lieut. Boyd and his companions in arms, 
from this county by the citizens of Rochester. All who feel an inter- 
est in this subject are earnestly requested to attend punctually at the 

Dated, August 12, 1841. 

This notice was signed by C. Metcalf, W. W. Weed, S. P. Allen, 
E. Clark, Allen Ayrault, W. J. Hamilton, E. P. Metcalf, E. R. Ham- 
matt,D. H. Bissell, C. H. Bryan, C. Colt, L. Turner, S. Treat, W. M. 
Bond, W. H. Kelsey. 

The following is an official account of such meeting: 

At a meeting of citizens of the County of Livingston, held, pursu- 
ant to public notice, at the Court House in Geneseo, on the 14th day 
of August, 1841, for the purpose of taking into consideration the pro- 
posed removal of the remains of Lieut. Boyd and his companions in 
arms, from this county, by the citizens of Rochester. 

Colonel David A. Miller was appointed Chairman, and Samuel W. 
Smith and O. M. Willey, Secretaries. 

C. H. Bryan, Esq., addressed the meeting on tlie subject ; and, in the 
course of his remarks gave a brief but interesting account of the con- 
flict between the Indians and the detachment under Lieut. Boyd, in 
which the latter was taken prisoner and shortly after put to death by 
the savages. 

Henry O'Reilly of Rochester, at the invitation of the chairman, ad- 
dressed the meeting on behalf of the committee of that city, in rela- 
tion to the contemplated removal, and the provision made for the in- 
terment of the soldiers of the Revolution in the cemetery of Mount 
Hope. Whereupon, 

Resolved, That a committee of seven be appointed to report what 
action is proper to be had by the citizens of this county, at the ap- 
proaching ceremonies. 

The chairman appointed W. W. Weed, W. M. Odell, S. W. Smith, 


Reuben Sleeper, Mr. Xixun. Allen Ayrauit and Sanuicl Lewis said 

The committee made the following report through Mr. Ayraiill: 

Your committee having entertained the subject matter committed 
to them do most cordially respond to the patriotic feeling evinced by 
the citizens of Rochester, to do honor to all who participated in the 
eventful struggle of the Revolution; and sincerely recommend to the 
citizens of Livingston County, to unite in the exercises contemplated 
on the 20th and 21st inst., in the removal of the remains of Lieut. 
Boyd and his immediate associates, who fell in 1779, in the cause of 
freedom, while contending with their savage enemies, within the 
territory now embraced in this county. 

The committee, therefore, recommend for the consideration of the 
meeting, the following resolution: 

Resolved, That a committee of seven be appointed, with power to 
appoint a sub-committee, to make all necessary arrangements for the 
purpose of conveying to Cuyler the remains of those soldiers of Lieut. 
Boyd's detachment who fell in (irovcland, in time for the exercises of 
the' 20th instant. 

The chairman appointed the following persons said committee: C. 
H. Bryan, W. T. Cuyler, D. H. Bissell, R. Sleeper, J. Henderson, 
Horatio Jones and John R. Murray, Jr. 

Resolved, That said committee be enlarged by the addition of six 
names. Whereupon. 

The chairman appointed the following additional members: Allen 
Ayrauit, Samuel Treat, E. R. Hammatt, W. W. Weed, W. H. Stanley 
and D. H. Bissell. 

Resolved, That we duly appreciate the praiseworthy and patriotic 
exertions of the citizens of Rochester, in establishing, in the cemetery 
at Mount Hope, a suitable place for the public interment in Western 
New York of such of the Revolutionary patriots as helped to fight the 
battles of our coimtry. 

D. A. Miller. 

Sam'l W. Smith, Chairman. 

O. M. Willey, 


In addition to the proceedings of the meeting at Geneseo, the follow- 
ing notice was issued to enable the people of Geneseo and other eastern 
towns to unite with the western towns of Livingston, in cooperation 
with the Rochester arrangements for the funeral ceremonies: 

The committee from Livingston County will accompany the re- 
mains to the place of reinterment at Mount Hope. All persons resid- 
ing on the east side of the Valley and desirous of uniting in the cere- 
monies of the occasion, are res|)ectfully invited to assemble in (Jene- 


seo on Friday, in season to join the procession from that [>lace, which 
will move at precisely 11 o'clock, a. m., and arrive at Cuyler before 
2 o'clock p. m. Those residing on the west side are invited to as- 
semble at the mound at Cuyler, in season to move with the procession 
from that place. Revolutionary soldiers are particularly solicited to 
unite in the ceremonies of the occasion. 

By order and in behalf of the Committee of Arrangements. 

E. R. Ilammatt, 


It is suitable to introduce here a letter and statement respecting 
the ceremonies at the disinterment of the remains at Groveland and 

Geneseo, August 16, 1841. 

Dear Sir — By this mail I send you a copy of our village paper, con- 
taining a sketch of the Order of Arrangements on the part of this 
county, for doing honor to the remains of the gallant Boyd and his 
associates. At a subsequent meeting we shall mature our plans, the 
result of which I will send you by Thursday's mail. 

To-day a delegation from our committee have been to Groveland, 
and after vigorous search, succeeded in finding a portion of the re- 
mains interred there. After digging over a small space of ground, 
they were eminently successful in their search, having found quite a 
number of bones, some in a tolerable state of preservation, and others 
more decayed — many teeth perfectly sound, etc. From information 
derived from some of the oldest settlers, but little doubt existed as to 
the identity of the remains with those they sought. Before leaving 
the ground, however, all doubt was removed by the discovery of four 
lead or pewter buttons in excellent preservation, and distinctly marked 
"U. S. A." These, with the remains, have been brought to our vil- 
lage; and to-morrow we propose to prosecute the search still further. 
Our committee learned from some old settlers who were present, that 
the ground had been explored some thirty-four years ago; and at that 
time many bones were discovered, which were either removed at the 
time or left exposed to the action of the atmosphere, and consequently 
soon decomposed. Many relics were also carried off at the time, such 
as buttons, parts of military dresses, etc. I will communicate the 
result of our further search. 

We understand that letters have been addressed by your committee 
to two nephews of Lieutenant Boyd, residing in Pennsylvania. Will 
you please communicate the substance of their replies, in order that 
our orator may avail himself of any incidents they may communicate? 

You will notice by the paper I send, that our committee propose 
accompanying the remains to Mount Hope. As there will be but few 
of us, could we not do so in one of the boats which will come up with 
the Rochester delegation? 


We have writen to Maj. VanCampen, requesting him to assist at 
the ceremonies; but, as yet have not received his reply. 

I am, dear sir, in behalf of the Committee, with great respect. 

Your obedient servant, 

E. R. Hammall. 
T(i Henry O'Reiley, Secretary. 

Chairman, &c. 


We, the undersigned, inhabitants of Cuylerville, in Livingston 
County, deem it proper to make the following record of the proceedings 
connected with the removal to Mount Hope of the remains of the 
party sent from Sullivan's army to reconnoitre the savages in Genesee 
Valley, in the Revolutionary War. 

Excavations, made during several days, resulted, on the 7th of 
August, in the discovery of some remains at the junction of the 
streams where historical and traditionary ac'counts state that the 
bodies of Boyd and Parker were buried, after they were tortured to 
death — they having been taken prisoners when their twenty comrades 
were killed in battle. These streams unite at Cuylerville, near the 
site of the Indian settlement formerly known as Little Beard's Town, 
the chief point against which Sullivan's army directed their operations 
in the Genesee Valley; and their junction is midway between CJeneseo 
and Moscow, a few rods from the main road. They were found partly 
overgrown by the roots of decayed plum trees, within a few feet of 
the edge of the bank of the united streams. They were disinterred in 
the presence of between twenty and thirty persons, including Captain 
David Shepard, of Geneseo, Henry O'Reilly, Lieut. Cheny of the 
Rochester Grays, and George Byinglon of the same city. The remain- 
der of the spectators were residents of this town, along with us. 

The relics, as disinterred, were examined particularly by Dr. Gar- 
lock, formerly of Canandaigua, and now of this place; who recognized 
most of them as parts of two skeletons, which, from the position in 
which they were found, left not a doubt on the minds of any one pres- 
ent, as to their being the remains of the ill-fated Boyd and Parker. 
These remains were kept in this village, in charge of one of the Liv- 
ingston County Committee, from that time to the 20th of August — 
being meantime examined, during that fortnight, by many persons 
from the neighboring towns, who called to witness the erection of the 
mound at the junction of the streams where these brave men met 
their fate. 

Seymour L. Phelps, 
Edward Munsel, 
A. H. Niven, 
W. T. Cuvler. 


The concurrence of sentiment thus exhibited between the people of 
Livingston and those in Monroe county who manifested an interest in 
the subject, led to a satisfactory co-operation in rendering the last 
honors to the heroic dead. 

Pursuant to arrangements between the General Committees of 
Monroe and Livingston counties, the Corporation and Military com- 
panies of Rochester left that city on the afternoon of the 19th of 
August, in a flotilla of boats, five in number, three of which were 
furnished gratuitously, with the usual liberality of Colonel John Allen 
of the Clinton Line, another by Mr. Sidney Allen, also an enterpris- 
ing and liberal minded forwarder of Rochester, the fifth being a 

On board these boats five military companies embarked, Wil- 
liams'Light Infantry, under Capt. Gibbs; the Union Grays, under 
Capt. Swan; the City Cadets, under Capt. Tucker; the Rochester 
Artillery, under Capt. Davis, and the (iernian Grenadiers, under Capt. 
Klein. With these companies there went several mvited guests, 
Major-General Stevens and suite, Capt. Eaton of the United States 
Army, Mr. Shepard of the Rochester Democrat and others, including 
several members of the General Committee of arrangements who 
were not attached to any military corps. 

The Mayor, Elijah F. Smith, with Aldermen Southerin, J. I. 
Robins, H. Witbeck, and vStephen Charles, as representatives of the 
Corporation of Rochester, proceeded in carriages to the scene of 
action in Livingston county. 

The military movements were directed by Col. Amos Sawyer, who 
had been elected Commandant for the occasion. 

The editor of the Rochester Democrat, Mr. Shepard, who partici- 
pated in the scenes he describes, thus referred in his jcjurnai to the 
progress of the flotilla and the ceremonies in Livingston county: 

As we progressed up the Genesee "N'alley canal, we saw evident 
tokens of a laudable public feeling, in the bonfires which were kindled 
at the principal villages, and the countless groups assembled to bear 
testimony to their reverence for the heroes of the Revolution, as well 
as approbation of the patriotism which had prompted this enterprise. 
At Scottsville, Captain Elnathan Perry, of West Rush, one of Sulli- 
van's men, in the eighty-first year of his age, joined our party, and 
bore his proportion of the fatigues of the next day, apparently with 
as little inconvenience as any of us. In the morning, passing through 


Ciiylfiville, which was already alive with spectators, we went to 
Mount Morris to breakfast. Here everything was in readiness, pre- 
pared by the liberality of its citizens; and after the repast, and a 
inarch by the troops through the several streets, were returned to Cuy- 
lerville, where we found such masses of people as seldom congregate 
on any occasion; proving satisfactorily that the people of Livingston 
county did not consider the attempt tf) commemorate the heroism and 
virtues of those who achieved our liberties, an unmeaning ceremony, 
or unworthy of their countenance and cooperation. 

Tiie military companies and many of the citizens dined under a 
bovver, while the committees, the survivors of the Revolution, the 
Mayor and Common Council, Maj. Gen. Stevens and staff, and other 
guests were very hospitably entertained by Colonel Cuyler, at his 
beautiful residence in the grove on the hill. 

The procession was then formed and proceeded to the mound, some 
three quarters of a mile east of the canal. The bones had been de- 
posited in an urn, and after a dirge played with much effect by the 
band, on the very spot where, sixty-two years ago, the savage yells of 
Little Beard and his blood-thirsty rangers had been the only requiem 
of the two dying patriots (Boyd and Parker), they were slowly borne 
away, with the sarcophagus containing the ashes of their comrades, 
followed by the thousands who had there collected from (ieneseo and 
the eastern extremes of the county. (The citizens from Geneseo, etc., 
had brought witli'them' to that spot the relics of Boyd's soldiers who 
fell in CJroveland — which were thus united with the ashes of their 
gallant officer in the honors paid to their heroism by the people of 
another age, w'ho are enjoying the blessings of that freedom for which 
those soldiers fell bravely fighting.) On reaching the large grove of 
stately oaks near Col. Cuylers house, where a platform and seats had 
been erected, the vast concourse (the lowest estimate of which, that 
we heard, was five thousand), was called to order, a dirge was played 
by the band, and the Throne of Grace addressed by the Rev. Mr. 
Gillet, of \[oscow. iilajor Moses \'anCampen, aged eighty five, and 
ilr. Sanborn, aged seventy-nine, sat on the platform by the side of 
Capt. Perry, all of whom had been actively employed in Sullivan's 
expedition. Mr. S. w'as the man who first discovered the mangled 
bodies of Boyd and Parker in the grass. There were also several 
other time honored Soldiers of the Revolution present. After another 
dirge, Mr. Samuel Treat, Principal of the Seminary at Geneseo, ad- 
dressed the audience in a strain of eloquence and manly feeling, highly 
honorable to him as a historian and scholar, giving in the introduc- 
tion detail of the massacres at Cherry \'alley, Wyoming, etc., which 
led to the destruction of the wigwams and corn patches that once 
covered the now prolific valley which lay spread out before us. As 
the address is to be ])ublished, and slionld he in every family in 


Livingston, Genesee and Monroe, we shall attem[)t no outline of it." 

The venerable JIajor \'anCampen, as President of the day, thus 
addressed the vast assemblage by which he was surrounded: 

Fellow Citizens — We no longer hear the war whoop of the savages. 
We are no longer alarmed by the martial drum calling us to arms. 
We no longer hear the roaring of cannon nor the din of small arms. 
We are no longer shocked by the cries of the wounded nor the groans 
of the dying. We no longer see the fertile fields of our country 
stained with the blood of your fathers and of my companions in arms. 
But we see the relics of those patriotic youths who shed their blood 
for the rights of man, deposited in that sacred urn before you. 

Gentlemen of the Committees! Citizens and Soldiers of the coun- 
ties of Monroe and Livingston ! You have conferred upon me the 
honor of presiding on this day, on this important and interesting 

I confess I want ability to discharge the duty connected with the 
deep interest felt on this occasion; yet I feel happy in doing what I 
can to commemorate the scenes which are this day brought before us. 

It will not be necessary for me to say much, after the interesting 
and eloquent address which we have just heard. Yet, I must say 
that I little expected to live to see the time when the remains of some 
companions in youth, and all of them my companions in arms, whose 
blood was shed in the glorious struggle for the liberty and independ- 
ence of our country, and shed on the soil of Livingston county; and 
whose patriotic remains for si.xty-two years have been mouldering in 
her dust — should here, this day, be presented to the view of this great 

How different do they appear to me now, from what they did sixty- 
two years ago, when I saw them in the vigor of life and in the bioom 
of youth. 

Aye! my noble Boyd! could your immortal spirit witness the 
scenes of this day, methinks it would rejoice to see your old friend 
and companion making a surrender of your mortal remains and those 
of your brave men who fell a sacrifice to the tomahawk and scalping 
knife of the savage ^surrendering you to the honorable committee 
and associations from Rochester, who hav» prepare I for you a resting 
place till you are called from the slumbering dust bv the voice of your 

And you, gentlemen, that have taken so honorable a part in the 
scenes of this day, your names are worthy of a page m the history of 
our country for this act of patriotism. 

Gentlemen, I now, with these my worthy companions, and the 
only two surviving members present of the army of General Sullivan, 
and in the n;ime of the Committee of the County of Livinsgton, sur- 


render to you these sacred relics for an honorable interment at Mount 
Hope, where you will pay to them the highest tribute of respect. 
Gentlemen, they are yours. 

The Mayor of the City of Rochester, the Hon. E. F. Smith, re- 
sponded to the sentiments expressed by the venerable VanCampen. 
as follows: 

Ab one of the Committee appointed on behalf of the citizens and 
military companies of Rochester, he said, he was impressed with the 
solemnity of the trust which the people of the Genesee valley had 
now transferred to the inhabitants of that city. Appropriate honors, 
k)ng deferred, had been paid by the multitude here assembled, to the 
names of those gallant soldiers whose lifeblood first moistened this 
valley in the cause of freedom. The remains of those heroic men, 
now transferred for interment on the Revolutionary Hill at Mount 
Hope, imposed on the citizens of Rochester a duty which he was con- 
fident would be sacredly discharged — the duty of rendering their 
resting place in that cemetery an appropriate mausoleum for those 
whose services in the cause of freedom entitled them to honor in 
death as in life. 

Yet, he remarked, it was proper to disclaim, on the part of his fel- 
low citizens, any feeling merely local or sectional. The Revohition- 
ary flill in Mount Hope Cemetery is designed not merely for the re- 
ception of the Revolutionary patriots who may die in Rochester, but 
for all of the gallant seventy-sixers "who have died or may die in the 
Valley of the Genesee." And whose remains more worthy of the first 
honors than those of the intrepid soldiers who fell with Boyd in this 
beautiful valley — the extreme western point to which the flag of free- 
dom was borne during our glorious Revolution? 

The corporation of Rochester, he added, had liberally appropriated 
a suitable eminence for the hallowed purpose; and the patriotic feel- 
ing which characterized the ceremonies thus far afforded ample 
guaranty that the people, not merely of Rochester, but of the whole 
Genesee valley, would, through long ages, guard with filial care the 
resting place of those Fathers of American Freedom who boldly 
pledged honor and life for the defence of their country, in the "times 
that tried men's souls." 

The following preamble and resolution were then proposed by 
Henry O'Reilly, the chairman of the Rochester Committee of Ar- 
rangements, and unanimously adopted: 

Assembled for the solemn purpose of rendering funeral honors to 
the gallant soldiers of Sullivan's army who fell fighting for freedom 
against the British and savage forces in the Revolutionary war, the 
thousands here collected from the Genesee valiev. do solemnlv 


Resolve, That the streams at whose junction were buried the 
mangled bodies of Boyd and Parker, one of which streams has hither- 
to been nameless and the other named after the savage chief whose 
ferocity was signalized by the shocking tortures of the gallant Boyd, 
shall hereafter be named in honor of those fallen soldiers, the latter 
Boyd's Creek, and the former Parker's Creek, that those streams 
and the mound at their junction may commemorate the names and 
services of those martyrs through all time, 'while grass grows and 
water runs.' 

"After reciprocal interchanges of courtesy between the Committees 
of Livingston and Monroe counties," says Mr. Shepard in his nar- 
rative of the expedition, and after directing that the entire proceedings 
should be published the Rochester Military took their departure with 
the remains an hour before sunset, highly gratified with the courtesies 
which liad been extended to them by the citizens of Livingston 

The arrival of the flotilla at Rochester was announced at sunrise by 
firing the national salute. At 10 o'clock the troops, upon the tolling 
of the hells, assembled in front of the place where the boats were 
moored; and, after going through various evolutions, formed into pro- 
cession and moved towards Mount Hope. 

When the immense cavalcade got in motion it presented a scene 
highly interesting and imposing. The procession extended as far as 
the eye could reach, consisting of double and sometimes treble rows 
of carriages, besides large numbers on horseback. Thousands of 
spectators lined the sides of the streets, or appeared at the windows, 
in the numerous balconies and on the tops of houses. Every 
eminence and elevated place was crowded with people. Along the 
whole line of march from the city to Mount Hope the roadsides were 
thronged with foot passengers wending their way to the scene of the 
final ceremonies. 

"Upon arriving at Mount Hope, where a vast assemblage cf people 
were awaiting the arrival of the procession," says the writer already 
quoted, "the military companies formed a line around the hill desig- 
nated as the burial place of the Revolutionary patriots, where the 
sarcophagus and urn were deposited in their final resting place." An 
address was made by Governor Seward, who was introduced by 
Chancellor Whittlesey. Rev. Elisha Tucker read the funeral service 
of the Episcopal Church, and in a very impressive manner dedicated 


the ground to the sacred purpose dI a cemetery for the remains of 
Revolutionary Soldiers, who had died or might thereafter die in the 
valley of the Genesee. 

Thus this portion of Momu Hope came to be known as Revolution- 
ary Hill and later Patriot Hill. But it did not prove to be the final 
resting place of Boyd and his tt-llow patriots, nor did the patriotic 
fervor which inspired the removal of the remains from Livingston 
county and the consecration of the spot to sacred uses outlive more 
than a score of years. In depressing contrast with the sentiment and 
promise of Mayor Smith of 1841: "The eminence for this hallowed 
purpose, and the patriotic feeling which has characterized the cere- 
monies thus far, afford ample guaranty that the people, not merely of 
Rochester, but of the whole Genesee valley, will through long ages 
guard with filial care the resting place of these fathers of American 
freedom, who boldly pledged honor and life for the defense of their 
country, in the times that tried men's souls," was the utilitarian 
spirit of the Commissioners of Mount Hope and the Common Council 
of the city in 1863, for in that year the hill was leveled to providt. 
salable Inirial lots and the bones of our soldiers were intrusted to the 
tender mercies of the keeper of the cemetery for removal to the pot- 
ter's field, the last resting place of the homeless and unknown. 

A monument erected by the Livingston County Historical Society 
to the memory of the soldiers who fell in Livingston County during 
Sullivan's campaign and were buried within the limits of the county, 
was completed and put in its place without formal ceremony in No- 
vember, 1901. The initial step in this enterprise was taken at the 
annual meeting of the Society held at Geneseo January 24, 1898, when 
the following letter addressed to \V. Austin Wadsworth, Esq., Presi- 
dent of the Livingston County Historical Society, by Hon. Wm. P. 
Letchworth was laid before the Society. This was the first annual 
meeting of the Society after the date of Mr. Letchworth's letter: 

P'-rlage P. O., N. Y. 
To March l')th. 1897. 

\V. Austin Wadsworth, l-^stjuirc. 

President of the Livingston County Historical Society, 
Dear Sir: 

One of the Governors of our State has said: "To preserve the mem- 
ory of early events, to mark the spots where they occurred, is a duty 

Monument to Sullivan's Men killed in Groveland Ambuscade 
Erected by Livingston County Historical Society. 


which we owe to the future and the vast mullitudes who are to come 
after us." There are two spots of earth in Livingston Count}' so 
intimately associated with important events in the history of our 
country that I am impressed with the conviction that they should be 
set apart and marked by some enduring memorial. One of the spots 
to which I refer is in the town of Groveland, where were buried the 
men who fell while discharging the dangerous duty assigned by 
General Sullivan to their leader, Lieutenant Thomas Boyd, in 1779. 
Some of the bones of these men were removed to Rochester in 1841: 
but the greater part of their remains had become incorporated with 
the soil where they fell, and can never be removed from the spot made 
sacred by their blood. 

The other spot baptized by the blood of Revolutionary martyrs is 
that at Cuylerville, where Lieutenant Boyd and Sergeant Parker were 
tortured to death and afterwards buried with military honors by their 
companions in arms. A part of the headless remains of these brave 
and unfortunate men were likewise removed to Rochester in 1841 . 
Included in what was not removed were the chambers of their minds, 
in which were the windows of the soul. These still remain in the soil 
of Livingston County. Had their retnains, however, been entirely 
removed, these spots of earth would have still remained historic, and 
the same obligation would exist to mark them in memory of the dead. 
It has always seemed strange to me that the people of the Genesee 
\"alley, especially of Livingston County, should have allowed these 
graves to be desecrated by the plow and left so long unmarked. 

The policy adopted by Congress in 1779 — "To carry the war into 
the country of the Six Nations, cut off their settlements, destroy 
their next year's crops, and do them any other mischief which time 
and circumstances will permit" was looked upon as the only means of 
protecting a long line of exposed frontier settlements. It was adopted 
after the Indians had broken their solemn treaty to remain neutral in 
the struggle between King George and the colonies and after the 
terrible massacres of Wyoming and of Cherry "\'alley by the Indians, 
aided and instigated by British troops and Tories. General Washing- 
ton delegated the carrying into execution of this mandate of Congress 
to (General Sullivan, who faithfully executed it with, it is believed, as 
little sacrifice of life as possible and without the wanton infliction of 
suffering. The men under his command who fell in the Genesee Val- 
ley were bravely fighting for the cause of American Independence, 
and the peculiar circuinstances under which they met death en- 
title their memories to lasting recognition. 

The commendable spirit shown by your Society in the preservation 
of historical relics, especially those liaving a patriotic significance, 
leads me to suggest the propriety of your carefully considering 
whether it is not desirable for your corporation to secure possession of 


these spots cf ground, and, after properly marking them by some 
enduring means, assume the responsibility of their perpetual care. 

I venture to suggest the project of purchasing, say an acre of land, 
about the site of these graves and of erecting thereon plain, substan- 
tial monuments of dignified propcjrtions, suitably inscribed, to cotii- 
memorate the services of these martyrs in the Revolutionary cause, 
a cause which, if unsuccessful, would have done away with the neces- 
sity of a Big Tree Treaty. The land acquired could be inclosed by a 
neat, inexpensive fence and the ground planted irregularly in the 
natural order with forest trees indigenous to the soil, which would 
eventually grow into stately trees, and, leaving Nature to her own 
ways, we in time would have two small tracts as they appeared at the 
time of Sullivan's Campaign. The spot at Cuylerville would, of course, 
require somewhat different treatment from that at (jrovcland. * * * 
I am, 

Yours with great respect, 

(Signed) Wm. Pryor Letchworth. 

An earnest discussion followed the reading of the letter, in which 
there was a unanimous expression of opinion in favor of carrying out 
the project suggested by Mr. Letchworth at as early a date as practic- 
able. A committee was appointed consisting of Hon. Wm. P. Letch- 
worth, William A. Brodie, Lockwood R. Doty, Chauncey K. Sanders 
and Charles Jones, to ascertain whether the titles to the lands desired 
could be secured. 

At the ne.xt annual meeting of the Historical Society, held at Gene- 
seo January 31, 1899, the committee reported that they could secure 
the site where the Revolutionary soldiers fell in the town of Grove- 
land, but were unable to obtain a proposal for the sale of the site 
at Cuylerville where Boyd and Parker were buried at any other than 
an extravagant sum. The powers of the committee were continued 
and a title to the (iroveland site was subsequently obtained. Messrs. 
Brodie and Djty a::tinT for thi c > n nittee. The funds to purchase the 
site and erect the monument were obtained by voluntary contribution, 
Mr. Letchworth and ilr. Herbert Wadsworth aiding with custonuiry 

The monument is situated on the Boyd farm in the town of Grove- 
land, about si.xty-five or seventy rods from the highway leading from 
Geneseo to the head of Conesus Lake. The memorial is reached by a 
farm road leading from the highway to the house of Mr. Boyd and 
descending into a picturesque wooded ravine beyond which, upon 




rising ground, the monument is situated. The monument bears the 
following inscription on the several faces; 
East face: 

Sacred to the memory of 
"Hanyerry," a loyal Oneida. 
Sergeant Nicholas Hungerman, 
Private John Carney, 

William Faughey, 
John McElroy, 
John Miller, 
" Benj. Curtin, 
" John Putnam 
and several tJthers, names unknown, 
who fell and were buried here. 

North face: 

South face: 

Erected by the 
Livingston County Historical Society 

Scene of Ambush and Massacre of 

Lieut. Thomas Boyd's Scouting Party 


General Sullivan's Armv, 


British and Indians under 

Rutler and Brant, 

September 13, 1779. 

Sacred to the Memory of 

Lieut. Thomas Boyd and 

Michael Parker, 

who were captured and afterwards 

tortured and killed. 

'"Afar their bones may lie. 

But here their patriot blood 
Baptised the land for aye 

And widened freedom's flood." 

The height of the monument is fourteen feet. It stands on a solid 
foundation, and consists of a base three feet square, on which rests a 


(iie two feet square and four feet high. Upon this rests a shaft which 
is seventeen inclies square at the base and gradually tapers to the 

It should not be forgotten that some of the soldiers whom this monu- 
ment commemorates were veterans in the United States service and 
participated in some of the hardest fought battles of the Revolutionary 

The monument, though simple and unpretentious, reflects great 
credit upon the Livingston County Historical Society and the in- 
dividuals who were actively interested in rendering this long delayed 

It was reserved for a genuinely patriotic society of women of Roch- 
ester — Irondetjuoit Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution — 
to secure decent sepulture at last for the remains of the Sullivan men. 
The following is taken from the admirable account of the ceremonies 
by Mrs. ]\Lu"y Cheney El wood, of Rochester: 

"It is difticult adequately to express in words the weight of grati- 
tude and obligation that is due to j\Irs. Josephine Gregg Chappell — 
a member of Irondequoit Chapter — for the diligent and patient search 
she made to locate and identify the graves. It is due to Mrs. Chap- 
pell, and to her alone, that, through her perseverance and untiring 
energy, the remains taken from Patriot Hill were identified. Those 
who are unfamiliai' with such work, can scarcely realize what persistent 
labor it has taken, for five years, to complete the work she so willing- 
ly undertook. After fully verifying the identity of the graves, a 
•committee was appointed by Mrs. William E. Hoyt, the Regent of 
Irondequoit Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, to confer 
with a committee from Rochester Chapter, Sons of the American 
Revolution. The object of this joint committee was to ascertain 
what could be done to rescue and suitably provide for the permanent 
•care of the remains of these heroes who had so long lain in neglected, 
unmarked and unhonored graves. The Mount Hope authorities were 
interviewed and, after several meetings, the Commissioners of the 
cemetery made a deed of gift of the south half of lot 24S in section 
B B, to the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, provided 
that $100 should be paid in order to ensure the perpetual care of the 
lot. The deed was duly executed and recorded in the cit)- clerk's 
office and at the same time a contract for the perpetual care of the 

Graves of Sulliv&n's Men ti Mount Hope. 


lot was executed by Mount Hope. The entire expense of disinterring 
and removing the bones, which was most carefully and satisfactorily 
done, was borne by the cemetery. 

"On October 31, 1903, a committee from the Sons and Daughters of 
the American Revolution, with the Superintendent, John W. Keller, 
were present at the opening of the graves and supervised the transfers 
to the new lot. The martyrs of the Sullivan campaign, with the 
Rev. ^Ir. ^'ining's remains, had been carefully preserved in boxes, 
showing that they had had proper care in the removal from Patriot 
Hill. The bones were critically examined and were unmistakably 
human, forever setting at rest the absurd story as to their being other 
than human bones. The other three graves were easily identified as 
those of soldiers for, in transferring them, ancient army buttons were 
found. The bones were carefully transferred to strong boxes and 
were gently and.tenderly borne to the resting place where it is devout- 
ly hoped and believed they may never again be disturbed until time is 
nu more and the grave shall give up its dead. 

"The following day, Sunday, November 1, 1903, being All Saints' 
day, was that set apart for the commemorative service at Mount 
Hope, and it was a day never to be forgotten by those who took part 
jn its simple service. It was the culminating act of many years of 
patient search. It was the fruition of all that had been long before 
conceived and undertaken and had been so unfalteringly and earnestly 
carried to its successful issue."' 

An act was passed on the 5th of May, 1841, to promote agriculture, 
by the appropriation to the various counties of the State of an annual 
sum, which should become available upon the formation by any county 
of an agricultural society and the raising by voluntary subscription of 
a sum of money equal to the amount of such appropriation; the 
amount apportioned to Livingston County was one hundred seven- 
teen dollars. The farmers of Livingston County were quick to take 
advantage of this act, and twenty days after its passage a largely 
signed petition requested Samuel P. Allen, then County Clerk, to give 
notice of a meeting to be called on July 1st at the court house in Gen- 
eseo, for the purpose of forming a society in this county. The meet- 
ing was accordingly held. Gen. William A. Mills being chosen Chair- 

1. See Appendix 14 for accouut of celebration of the Sullivan Centennial at Genesee. 


man, and Col. Samuel W. Smith, Secretary. It was determined to be 
expedient to form the Livingston County Agricultural Society, and 
Gen. ^licah Brooks, Col. Holloway Long, Felix Tracy, Calvin H. 
Bryan and John Holloway prepared the draft of a constitution, which 
was duly adopted at this meeting. The following named officers were 
then chosen: \Vm. A. Mills, President; Holloway Long, James S. 
Wadsworth and Daniel H. Fitzhugh, Vice Presidents; C. H. Bryan, 
Recording Secretary; C. R. Bond, Corresponding Secretary; Al- 
len Ayrault, Treasurer; Micah Brooks, Mt. Morris, S. W. Smith, 
Sparta, C. H. Carroll, (iroveland, W. H. Spencer, York, \V. 
W. Wadsworth, Geneseo, W. W. Wooster, Leicester, Hector 
Hitchcock, Conesus, Edward A. LeRoy, Caledonia, Asahel War- 
ner, Lima, H. S. Tyler, Springwater, Lernan Gibbs, Livonia, 
and John E. Tompkins, Avon, Managers. These persons became 
members by the payment of a fee of one dollar; iJavid Shepard, 
Chas. Shepard, Holloway Long, J. B. Harris, W. W. Wooster, J. 
Worthington, D. Warner, Jr.. P. E. Baker, J. W. Merrill, J. White, 
Jr., Samuel Vance, P. Goddard,' C. H. Bryan, Robert Crossett, O. D. 
Lake, R. L. Blake, S. P. Allen, M. P.rooks, Wm. A. Mills, O. Skin- 
ner, Cornelius Shepard, Reubsn Squirer S. W. Smith and John Hol- 
lou-ay. At a meeting of the executive committee held August 3, 1841, 
the following town committees were appointed: Geneseo, Cornelius 
Shei)ard, Jr., Reuben Squirer, Chas. Colt; Mt. Morris, Alfred Hub- 
bard, W'm. D. Morgan, Moses Barron; Sparta, Charles Shepard, Wm. 
Scott, Wm. Fullerton, Morgan Hammond; (iroveland, W. \V. Mc- 
Nair, John White, William Ewart ; Lima, Asahel H. Warner, Jasper 
Marvin, Samuel Stevens; Livonia, James Campbell, John Adams, 
Ruel L. Blake; Springwater, Parker H. Pierce, Horatio Dyer, Zenas 
Ashley; Conesus, John Henderson, Timothy DeGraw, Jotham Clark; 
Leicester, W. T. Cuyler, Jerediah Horsford, Allen Smead; Caledonia, 
Ephraim Lacy, Th. H. Newbold, John McKay; Avon, John Kelsey, 
Asa Nowlen, Ira Merrill; York, John Holloway, James Dow, Wm. 
Craig, John Russ, Wm. Stewart, James B. Harris, Angus McVean. 
It was determined at this meeting to hokl the first fair at Geneseo on 
the 22d of October, 1841, and to award forty-five cash premiums in 
amounts from two to fifteen dollars to exhibitors. An additional 
amount of forty dollars was appropriated as [jrcmiums for articles not 


The first fair was held at the time appointed. David Smith of Avon 
received the highest premium, fifteen dollars, for the best bull, two 
years old and over; Gen. Mills received premiums for the best pair of 
fat oxen and the best pair of matched horses; David Brooks of Avon 
received a premium for the best cow and another for the best stallion; 
Roswell Root of York received a premium for the best pair of work- 
ing oxen. 

At the second annual meeting the highest premium of ten dollars 
■was awarded to Angus McA'ean of Caledonia for the best cultivated 
farm of fifty acres or more. 

The fair for the year 1846 was held September 24th at Avon. At 
this meeting "the display of working cattle was very large and high- 
ly creditable to the farmers of the county." 

At the meeting of 1848, held in Mt. Morris, it was determined that 
the interests of the society "would be better promoted by the selection 
of a suitable place as a permanent location for the annual fair." The 
number of members this year was one hundred forty-one. 

In 1849 Geneseo was selected as the permanent location for the 
society exhibitions, and in the following year James S. Wads- 
worth offered the society the use of eight acres of the property long 
■occupied by it, rent free for five years, on condition that the society 
would build a fence and put the grounds in proper order. A trotting 
course was this year constructed on the new grounds. The society 
membership at this time had increased to two hundred fifty-three. 

The society was reorganized June 30, 1855, under the act of April 
13 of that year; the incorporators were: Z. Longyer, Richard Peck, 
Jas. T. Norton, William A. Mills, H. Allen, E. B. Chase, Aaron Bar- 
ber, L. S. Chamberlin, H. E. Rochester, C. C. Chapin, James Gil- 
man, Jehial Freeman. D. H. Bissell, Chas. Colt, Geo. W. Root, Fort 
Benway, O. D. Lake, Jasper Barber, Henry Simpson, Andrew Sill, 
Leman Gibbs, E. R. Hammatt, David Brooks, N. Robinson, Chas. 
E. Whaley, Jos. Kershner, John S. Wiley, Ezra Morehouse, John 
White, Henry V. Colt, W. S. Fullerton, J. W. Vrooman, B. F. 
Parker, J. Horsford. The officers for the term expiring December 
31, 1855 were: President, Aaron Barber; Vice President, George W. 
Root; Secretary, Joseph Kershner; Treasurer, Edward R. Hammatt; 
Directors, first year, Charles Colt, R. Peck; second year, Henry Simp- 
son, Wm. A. Mills; third year, John S. Wiley, Samuel W. Smith. In 


this j-ear Lyman Turner, Charles Jones, Isaac Allen, David Skinner, 
Henry V. Colt and William Cushing were appointed a committee to 
secure grounds for the society and ascertain the cost of fencing the 
same and erecting the necessary buildings; they were authorized to 
proceed at once with the work if the expense did not exceed eighteen 
hundred dollars. The committee obtained a twenty-one years' lease 
of the grounds then in use with adjacent lands north and east, com- 
prising about fourteen acres, at an annual rental of thirty dollars. 
The land was enclosed at a cost of $676.63, and the agricultural hall 
yet standing was erected at a cost of $1393.53; a trotting course one- 
third of a mile long was also laid out at a cost of $31().17, and every- 
thing was in readiness for the fair of 1855. 

A horse fair was held under the auspices of the society on the 4th 
of July, 1865, and prizes were offered for the best trotting and running 
horses. The first prize of $15U in the sweepstake trotting race was 
taken by D. i\Iahoney of Geneseo; the second of $50 went to George 
W. Pond of Rochester, and the third of $25 to O. C. Seymour of 
Rochester, and Craig W. Wadsworth of (ieneseo won the lirst prize of 
$50 in the running match. 

Plowing matches were early features of the society's work, and 
these and other competitions, relating more particularly to agricultural 
matters, were frequently arranged apart from the annual meetings. 
In later years very successful stallion shows were conducted by the 
society, and were usually held in the early summer. These exhibi- 
tions attracted the liest breeders in the county and adjoining counties. 
Among the prominent exhibitors were William A. Wadsworth, Samuel 
S. Howland, C. O. Shepard, Jacob Fisher, Henry Snyder, Morgan 
Shaffer, |. T. Trewer, Andrew Gardiner, Samuel Culbertson, A. L. 
Wyman, Dr. O'Dell, George A. Pitcher and many outside of the 

No intermission occurred in the annual meetings, until they finally 
ceased in 18<J6. A vast ann)imt of good was done by the society from 
the beginning, in the development of first class stock and the im- 
provement of farming methods. Here were shown, year after year, 
the unsurpassed herds of Short Horns of Aaron Barber, which had 
taken the highest premiums in nearly every State in the Union; the 
no less valuable Wadsworth herds of Short Horns and those of George 
W. Root, Judge Carroll and the Ayraults; the Spanish Merinos of 


Abrain Stocking, of York, owner of the famous rams Cornwall Chief, 
Kilpatrick and Tom Sayers; and of John S. Beecher and John P. Ray; 
S. N. Chamberlain & Sons, and Frederick Barrett's splendid Hocks of 
Southdowns; James W. Wadsworth's and L. Perrin's Shropshires; 
the superior herds and flocks of George D. Dooer. William A. Wads- 
worth, Matthew Wiard and Arthur Cummings, and the high class 
swine of Charles P. Armstrong, B. C. Nichols and Samuel Donnan; 
and here General Wadsworth, David Brooks, Richard Peck, C. H. 
Carroll and others elsewhere mentioned found in an earlier day the 
opportunity to introduce to the farmers of the valley improved strains 
of cattle, horses and sheep. Here, too, the breeders of adjoining 
counties were permitted to come into competition with those of Liv- 
ingston, and the excellent displays of sheep by Wellman Brothers of 
Wyoming County and Frank Ward of Genesee County, the fine cattle 
and sheep of William G. ilarkham, our near neighbor of Rush, and the 
magnificent herd of Holsteins of Captain Howard of Fairport will be 
remembered. An interesting circumstance may be recalled in con- 
nection with the effort to secure high grade stock. A prominent 
farmer in the town of Leicester purchased a Spanish Merino ram for 
4)5,000.00; he paid $2,000.00, in cash, and gave a second mortgage on 
his farm for $3,000.00, to secure the balance of the purchase price. 
The second mortgage represented about the whole of his equity in the 
property, and the amount that he had paid was substantially the 
amount of the first mortgage, so that he had practically given the 
price of his farm for the ram. Before he had proceeded very far in 
paying the balance of the debt his buildings burned and with them 
the ram. Such incidents as these, however, did not deter the farmers 
of this county from continuing the effort to develop the best quality 
of stock without much regard to jirice. The best products of the 
field, the garden, the orchard and the vine were brought here and 
carefully e.xamined and earnestly discussed. The housewife here dis- 
played her skill in the domestic arts, and the son and daughter of the 
household found many fields for honorable strife. It is much to be 
deplored that so serviceable an institution and one affording so great 
a stimulus in so many different directions should have been aban- 
doned, and regret is still expressed ^it its untimely taking off. 

The following explanation of the reasons which led to the abandon- 


ment of the society meetings is taken from the Livingston RepubH- 
can, shortly after they were discontinued: 

"Officers of the Livingston County Agricultural Society are fre- 
quently asked why they don't hold the annual county fair as has been 
the custom for more than fifty years. The reason is obvious. It is 
because, for the last few years the fairs have been running the asso- 
ciation into debt, and the officers are tired of assuming the responsi- 
bility and finding the means to pay it. It should be remembered, too, 
that for seven successive years one or both of the fair days have been 
wet enough to keep back the natural attendance, and consequently 
no gate money has been received to meet the bills. Such a succes- 
sion of ill luck could not be otherwise than ruinous, but there are 
other causes. It is a matter of general observation, that at the pres- 
ent time the purposes for which fairs were established, and for which 
they received the legislative sanction are almost entirely lost sight of, 
for the reason that a purely agricultural exhibition, such as used to be 
held on these grounds, will no longer pay. There have been on these 
grounds, and there can be at any time, if the farmers and breeders of 
the county will bring out their stock, a better exhibition of cattle, 
sheep and horses than is usually shown at the annual State fair. But 
even the State fair does not draw as it formerly did, and has in these 
later years been obliged to add to its attractions various shows, bicy- 
Ice races, balloon ascensions and such other catch-penny amusements, 
in order to fill its coffers, and it is understood that this method was 
successful with it last year. Perhajjs the introduction of this feature 
might make this fair successful, but the managers hesitate to intro- 
duce it. and it would be objectionable to many persons whose patron- 
age is desirable, and certainly not in consonance with the advertised 
object of the society, which is the advancement of agriculture, horti- 
culture, the mechanic arts and household industry. Meanwhile, if 
the managers, after a full consideration of all the circumstances that 
have tended to produce the unfortunate condition to which the 
county fair is reduced, can devise any plan by which it can be made 
again a self supporting institution, it will be revived." 

The following named persons were Presidents of the Society. Wm. 
A. Mills, Mt. Morris, 1841; James S. Wadsworth. Geneseo. 1842,1861; 
Holloway Long, York, 1844, 1867-8; W. W. Wadsworth, (ieneseo, 
1845; Asa Nowlen, Avon, 1846; Allen Ayrault, Geneseo, 1847; John 


R, Murray, Jr.,' Mt. Morris, 1848 ; Jerediah Horsford, Leicester, 1849; 
Chas. H. Carroll, Groveland, 1850, 1863, 1864; Chas. Colt, Genesee, 
1851; Robert Rome, Geneseo, 1852; Chauncey R. Bond, Genesee 
1853-4; Aaron Barber, Avon, 1855; Chas. Jones, Leicester, 1856; 
G. W. Root, York, 1857; Richard Peck, Lima, 1858; Alonzo Bradner, 
Dansville, 185f)-6(); Jasper Barber, Avon, 1862; Craig W. Wadsworth, 
(reneseo, 1865-6; Aaron Barber, Jr , Avon, 1869-70; James W. Wads- 
worth, Geneseo, 1871-2; R. F. McMillan, Conesus, 1873-4; Hugh Wil- 
son McNair, Sparta, 1875-6; Wm. A. Wadsworth, Geneseo, 1877-8, 
1881-'96; Jotham Clark, Jr., Conesus, 1879-'80; Hon. Kidder M. 
Scott was Treasurer continuously from 1865 to the end, and Wm. A. 
Brodie and Major Henry V. Colt were Secretaries for many years. 

On ]\Iay 29th, 1886, the Genesee Valley Park Association was 
formed with a capital of $8,000, and in vSeptember of that year it pur- 
chased the fairground property at Geneseo of the sons of Craig W. 
^\'adsworth, deceased, comprising about fifteen acres, and rented the 
grounds to the society for its annual fair. The subscribers to the 
stock of the association were William A. Wadsworth, James W. Wads- 
worth,. John Rorbach, Joseph Cone, Theodore F. Olmsted and Jeremi- 
ah Cullinan, The Trustees for the first year were A. R. Scott, L. W. 
Crossett, George Goode, W. A. Wadsworth, A. A. Cox, F. W. Mate, 
W. E. Lauderdale, Jr, Jeremiah Cullinan and R. M. Jones, James W. 
Wadsworth was made President. 

The design of the association, as expressed in its certificate of in- 
corporation, was to promote agricultural and mechanical interests in 
connection with agriculture in the County of Livingston, and im- 
provements in the breed of farm animals and other live stock. The 
association became the landlord of the Agricultural Society, and to 
this extent served the purpose of its organization untilthe society was 
abandoned, as above stated. A portion of the grounds was purchased 
by the State in 1898 for an athletic field, in connection with the Nor- 
mal School of Geneseo, and it is still in use for that purpose. The 
remainder of the property is unsold. 

In 1841 Gardner Arnold and Chester Bradley were elected to the 
Assembly, and were succeeded in 1842 by Daniel H. Fitzhugh and 

I. Resigned. George T. Olyphaut, elected Feb. t,. 1S4S, and resigued Feb. 8, 184S. Both resig- 
nations were based on the assumption that the office should be filled by a ]>ractical agriculturist. 
Jerediah Horsford was elected July 1, 1848. 


Daniel D. Spencer. James Faulkner was at the same time chosen 
Senator; he served during the years 1842 to 1845 inclusive. In 1842 
Charles H. Carroll was elected Member of Congress. At the fall elec- 
tion of 1843 the Whig party was again triumphant. The county offi- 
cers chosen were William H. Whiting, County Clerk ; William 11. 
Scott, Sheriff; Gardner Arnold and Daniel D. Spencer, Assemblymen. 

Calvin H. Bryan, wh(j settled in Geneseo the year the county was 
erected, ami who had always occupied a leading position as a lawyer 
and politician, was appointed by the Governor and Senate a Canal 
Appraiser for the -State, and Daniel H. Rissell of the town of Leices- 
ter, was elected Canal Commissioner. These responsible places of 
trust Were worthily filled, and reflected honor upon these respected citi- 
zens and upon the county. 

The records of the 'J4th Regiment of Infantry of the Militia of the 
State of New York, covering the period from July 20th, 1842, to June 
1, 184'), show that William J. Hamilton was Colonel ; James Wood, 
Jr., Lieut. Colonel, and William C. Hawley, Major, the same having 
been elected July 2<)th. On the 23d of July Colonel William J. 
Hamilton transmitted the report of such election to Brigadier Gen. 
William S. FuUerton at Sparta. The first regiinental order was issued 
(in the 12th of August, 1842, and is as follows: 

Headquarters 94th Regiment. 
Geneseo, 12th Aug., 1842. 
To Captain — 

You are hereby ordered to cause the commissioned, non 
commissioned officers and musicians of your company to be duly noti- 
fied to be and appear at the house of William W. Weed, in the \'illage 
of Geneseo, on the 24th and 25th days of August instant, armed and 
equipped, as the law directs, for drill and inspection, at h o'clock of 
each of those days in the forenoon. 

Yiiu will further cause the commissioned officers, non commissioned 
officers, musicians and privates of your company to be notified to be 
and appear at the inn of William W. Weed aforesaid, at 6 o'clock A. 
M. on the 13th day of October ne.xt, armed and equipped as the law 
directs, for military inspection and review. 

Wm. J. Hamilton, 

Col. and commanding officer. 

This order was issued to Cajitains Abraham 11. Williams, Richard 
Johnson, Norman J. Kclloiig, Richard N. Hanna, Lewis C. Kingsbury 


James H. Alger, Robert R. Beecher, Jr., and Henry Wiard, and 
Lieut. James W. Chappell. 

During the period mentioned it appears tliat the following persons 
besides those previously named were connected with the regiment: 
Adjutant, Dwight Webb, Geneseo; Paymaster, Orrin H. Coe, Avon; 
(Quartermaster, Oliver Smith, Avon; Assistant Surgeon, John W. 
Whitbeck, Avon; Sergeant Major, Zalman Griswold, Geneseo ; Ser- 
geant Color-Bearer, William Adams, Avon; Sergeant Color-Bearer, 
George F. Pratt, Livonia; Lieut. Oscar Ripley, Conesus; Lieut. 
Charles C. Pierson; Surgeon, David J. Pulling; Ensign, Ezra W. 
Clark; Lieut. Albert H. Huntley and Cjeorge H. Nowlen, George W. 
Kelly, Abraham H. Williams, Job Worthington, George Godfrey, 
James W. Chappell, H. R. Cowles, J. M. Humphrey, Florus S. Finley, 
Nathaniel K. Rose, John Patterson, Norton Gibbs, S. P. Fowler, T. 
Adams and Charles Cranmer. The regimental orders issued on and after 
June 19th 1845 are signed by James Wood, Jr. , Colonel and Commandant 
of the regiment, and in these orders Harvey J. Wood is referred to 
as Adjutant and later as Lieut. Colonel. The records abruptly end 
June 1st, 1841). 

But little less exciting than the "Log Cabin" conflict of 1840 was 
the presidential campaign of 1844. The leading and absorbing ques- 
tion of this contest was the annexation of Texas, a measure which the 
Democratic party North and South earnestly advocated, while the 
Whigs as vigorously opposed it. It involved the slavery question, 
which added to the warmth and bitterness of the canvass. The 
South was unanimously in favor of annexation, because the new 
territory offered a rich field for the extension of her peculiar 
institution; the anti-slavery men of the North, for the same reason, 
gave the measure their unqualified disapproval. To add to the 
intensity of the feeling a new element, the Anti-Slavery part\', made 
its appearance, — for the first time in a presidential election — nominat- 
ing James G. Birney' as its candidate for the presidency. The candi- 
dates of the Democratic party were James K. Polk for President and 

I . The remains of this pioneer in the Anti-Slavery movetnent lie in the Williamsburgh ceme- 
tery, east of the Colonel Abell residence, in the town of Groveland. He was born in Dansville, Ky., 
Fehrnary, I7g2, and died at HnKlewood, N. J.. November 24, 1^57. He married a sister of Dr. 
Daniel II. Fitzhugh. His son, Major Fitzhugh Biruey, A. A. G. of the Second Division of the Sec- 
ond Corps, Army of the Potomac, who died at Washington. Jnne 1N64, aged twenty-two, was buried 
by his side. A monnment is erected in the cemetery to mark their resting place. 


■George M. Dallas for Vice President. The Whigs supported Henry 
Clay and Theodore Frelinghuysen. In this county the Whigs sup- 
ported John Young and Harlow Wells for the Assembly. 

As the canvass progressed it became an exceedingly warm one, 
especially in this county, which possessed more than the usual number 
of leaders prominent in State and national politics. On the Whig 
side we recognize the names of Young, Carroll, Wood, Colt, Kelsey and 
•others equally prominent, while among Democratic leaders were 
James S. Wadsworth, Benjamin F. Angel, Calvin H. Bryan, Daniel 
H. Bissell, George Hastings and others. All were firm partisans, 
■energetic workers and men of wide-felt influence. Thus the local 
canvass was given an interest it would not otherwise have possessed, 
•since these leaders had reputations as well as views and principles to 
sustain; while the nearly equally balanced power of the two parties in 
the nation rendered the issue doubtful and furnished an incentive 
for each to put forth its greatest strength. But the victory was not 
for the Whigs. A variety of causes combined to weaken their 

strength, and the election resulted in the triumph of Mr. Polk by an 
■overwheln)ing popular vote, and also the success of the Democratic 
State ticket. Never had the Democratic party achieved a greater 
triumph than in the election of 1844. Both of the great parties of the 
country •had put forth their entire strength in the contest; the interest 
excited was intense and universal, and the result decisive. The Whig 
party was entirely prostrated and apparently discouraged. The 
Democratic party of the State never held so strong a position. The 
•severity of the contest with the Whigs had restored its ancient disci- 
pline, and the utmost enthusiasm animated its masses. Not so 
in Livingston county, however. Its firm adhesion to the Whig 
cause has in times past been proverbial, and on this occasion it 
firmly stood by its Whig principles. The candidates of that party were 
elected by the usual majoiities, but it was a hard earned victory and 
the opposition had the satisfaction of knowing that every inch of the 
•ground had been contested with unfailing courage and indomitable 

At the election of 1845 John Young and William S. Fullerton were 
the Whig candidates for the Assembly. Speaking of tJiese nomina- 
tions a Whig organ said: "This unflinching, unwavering Whig 
stronghold has prepared herself for the battle, and Locofocoism always 


feels her blows when they fall." The opposing candidates were David 
McDonald of York and Ira Merrill of Avon, both worthy citizens. 
The Whig candidate for Senator was Lorenzo Dana; his opponent, 
Thomas J. Wheeler of Cattaraugus. At this election also the ques- 
tion of a convention to revise the constitution was voted upon. The 
campaign was a closely contested one, but the Whig party was trium- 
phant in the county. The Senate district was largely Democratic, 
however, and Thomas J. Wheeler was chosen .Senator. 

The people having declared in favor of a constitutional convention, 
an election was held April 2Sth, 1846, to choose delegates. The 
nominees of the Whig party in this county were Allen Ayrault and 
William H. Spencer. The opposing candidates were Willard H. Smith 
and Hector Hitchcock. Probably no local canvass was ever more 
vigorously prosecuted, or the occasion of more bitterness of feeling. 
There was but little opposition to Mr. Spencer, but with Mr. Ayrault 
the case was different. His position as the President of the Living- 
ston County Bank had made for him enemies as wel