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May 19, 1791, by John Swift.

The colony, consisting of ten families, started from Long Island on
Monday morning, April 4, 1792, on a sail boat, built by Joel Foster,
and arrived at the mouth of Mill brook on May 2, following. Mrs.
Joel Foster brought in her arms her eldest son, Harvey, then eleven
months old. Among the pioneers were the Clarks, Posts, Howells,
Jaggers, Culvers, Jessups; Calvin, Charles, and Luther, sons of Col.
John Bradish ; Joseph Colt, Asa Lilly, Enoch Sanders, and Silas Stod-
dard. Their boat that brought them here was finally used on Seneca
Lake as a pleasure craft.

The lands comprising the present town of Palmyra were surveyed
into lots, save the Long Island farm of 5,500 acres, which was divided,
by those of the company present, into lots, and drawn by them as
shares. Each man of the Long Island colony owned from the creek to
the Marion town line. The lands along the creek were first settled.
Among the original owners were Zebulon Williams, 100 acres; Abraham
Gallop; John Russell, 200 acres; Isaac Arnold; Isaac Thayer, 200 acres
(including the present depot site); Job, Edward, and Pardon Durfee;
Weaver Osband ; William Wilcox; Robert Hinds; Howell Post, father
of S. G. ; Joel and David H. Foster; James and Elias Reeves, 400 acres;


Jedediah Hopkins and Reuben Stark, 175 acres each; John Hopkins,
360 acres; and Seth Howell, Oliver Clark, Moses Culver, and Luther
Sanford, whose combined purchases aggregated 450 acres.

Luther Sanford married Jennie Robinson; he was a carpenter and
built the first frame barn in town. Joel Foster was a shoemaker, Paul
Reeves a millwright, Oliver Clark a tailor as late as 1824, Elias Reeves
a weaver, Joseph Burnett a hatter, and Seth Howell a roughhewer.
Isaac, Jonah, and Gilbert Howell placed a saw and grist mill in opera-
tion on the creek, a half-mile east of Palmyra village, in September,
L793. The first wedding in the settlement was that of Charles Reeves
and Eunice Howell, the ceremony being performed by Rev. IraCondit,
October 27, L793. Stephen Cook, a member of the colony, landed at
East Palmyra with $1,000 in coin. Mr. and Mrs. William Hopkins
reached the house of John Hopkins on July 9, L793; both died on the
17th, eight days later.

Joel and Abraham Foster erected the first saw mill, and Jedediah
Foster built in 1803 the first two-story house in town. The latter's
great-granddaughter became the wife of J. W. Hardy. The first build-
ing in the vicinity of the Central Railroad depot at Palmyra village was
erected by Zebulon Williams, the pioneer merchant, who occupied it as
a store and dwelling; it stood near the east water-house. About L805
Williams returned to Seneca county, whence he had come, and the
building was converted into a cooper shop by William Cook. Subse-
quently it became Gregg & Chase's furnace, which burned, and the site
was afterward occupied by Mrs. Sarah GrinneH's orchard and garden.

Capt. James Galloway was a surveyor of the Phelps and Gorham pur-
chase. He came from Newton, where he had witnessed the Indians
transfer their lands by treaty, and April 27, 1791, purchased of Swift a
farm, on which he settled, and which in time passed to his son James,
jr., whose brick house stands near the site of the family's original log
cabin. Captain Galloway constructed the first mill dam across the
Ganargwa, where now stands the old Harrison mill; he was obliged to
cut a passageway for boats when the creek was declared a navigable
stream. On the south bank he built a primitive saw mill, of which
Paul Reeves was the millwright; it was burned two years later and at
once rebuilt.

Hiram Foster, a brother of i\braham, was born here November 8,
L794, and at his death was the oldest native of the town. He married
Nancy, daughter of James Reeves in 1819. He was long a Sabbath


school superintendent, a school teacher, and prominent in the Presby-
terian Church.

John Swift, the Durfees, and others, engaged in clearing Ganargwa
Creek of old logs. Regarding the creek as a permanent highway, they
cut through the wood-riffs to Lyons. Spring freshets swept off the logs
and left the channel free. Swift claimed the stream through Palmyra
as individual property. At his death Joel McCollum, holding a judg-
ment against his estate, levied on the creek, intending to exact tribute
from the millers or a removal of their dams. The mills had been
erected by special legislative grants and deeds from John Swift, so
McC611um failed in his purpose. Swift's landing, near the Palmyra
Central depot, was the head of navigation for seventeen years. Paul
Reeves built a mill in Arcadia, and constructed a plank-lock, but the
freshet washed it away. He circulated a petition in 1807, making the
center of township twelve, first and second ranges, the head of naviga-

Col. Ambrose Salisbury, born in Conway, Mass., in 1792, removed to
Phelps, N. Y., with his father's family in 1801, and in the war of 1812
went to the Niagara frontier as orderly sergeant in Capt. Selma Stan-
ley's rifle company of the 31st Regiment. Returning home in June,
1813, he again went out, as substitute for his uncle, John Salisbury, in
Capt. Aaron Reamer's company of dragoons from Geneva. Crossing
to Canada in pursuit of the enemy, he particpated in several skirmishes,
and coming to this town he purchased, with Caleb Beals, lots 7, 20, and
21, at East Palmyra; these contained 540 acres, and were bought of
Elisha Satterlee in the fall of 1814 for $1,402. Colonel Salisbury held
several town offices, being a justice of the peace thirty years, and of-
ficiating at mere than forty weddings. He was elected to the State
Legislature in 1832, 1833, and 1839, and was appointed canal appraiser
May 11, 1843. The same year he contracted to build the M. E. Church
at East Palmyra. In 1822 he became an ensign in the 39th Regiment
N. Y. State militia, and rising to the grade of colonel resigned in 1834.
He died July 21, 1864; his wife, Anna (Vandermark), died October 6,
1848. Of their two children only the daughter attained maturity.

Maltby Clark was a son of Oliver and a grandson of Samuel Clark,
and was born at East Palmyra, March 31, 1798. Samuel's children
were: Benjamin, Samuel, jr., Oliver, Mrs. Luther Sanford, Mrs. Sam-
uel Soverhill, and Mrs. Gabriel Rogers. Oliver's children were: Maltby,
Dennis, Jerry, Nelson, Mrs. J. M. Grow, Mrs. Henry O. Miles, Hiram,


and Matilda. He died in L843. Maltby Clark married Maria M. Ma-
son, who died, and he married Jerusha Jagger. He was early eleeted
school inspector, assessor, and justice of the peace, and from 1837 was
county coroner six years. In 1847 he was elected county superintend-
ent of the po'or, holding the office two terms, and being re-elected in
IS,'),'). He died June 4, 1875. He had seven children, of whom the
sons were Henry M., Lucius H., and Oliver M. Henry M. Clark was
member of assembly in 1873; he was born in East Palmyra, March 6,

Gen. Thomas Rogers, born in Richmond, R. L, February 13, 1790,
came to Palmyra with his parents when a child, and died here October
,">, L853; his wife, Harriet Holmes, died May 10, 1872. Their only child
was the late Carlton Holmes Rogers.

Col. George Beckwith, a native of Connecticut, born October 1(3, 1790,
came to Palmyra while a young man and entered into a mercantile part-
nership with a brother under the name of N. H. & G. Beckwith; he
afterward conducted business alone and amassed a fortune. In the days
of general trainings he organised an " independent " company, and rose
to a colonel's commission. For many years he was an elder in the Pres-
byterian Church; he died in 1867.

Daniel Chapman served about three years and was wounded in the
war of 1812. He settled two miles north of East Palmyra, and died
there November 9, 18] ■».

Col. Frederick Morley, who died in Detroit, Mich., in February, 1889,
was born, in England in 1 8 "2 1 , and was a son of Rev. Luke Morley, for
several years pastor of the Baptist Church in Clyde. He established the
Palmyra Courier in 1838, and was also appointed collector of tolls on
the canal. He was afterward connected successively with the Detroit
Enquirer, the Advertiser, and the Post and Tribune. During the war
he was an adjutant-general and in 1881-82 was immigration commis-
sioner of Michigan.

Col. Joseph W. Corning, a native of Nova Scotia, settled on a farm
in Ontario in L838, and in 1841 was appointed a postmaster there. Re-
moving to Palmyra in 1 S47 he was admitted to the bar in L855, and in
lSi;o be became a member of the Legislature. In 1864 he raised a com-
pany for the war, and rose to the position of lieutenant-colonel of the
33d X. V. Vols, and afterwards became colonel of the 194th Regiment.
He was mustered out February :!, I860, and returning to Palmyra en-
gaged in the grocery business. In I SSI he was appointed to a position


in the New York custom house and in 1889 became postmaster at Pal-
myra; he died June 29, 1890, and was succeeded in the latter office by
his widow.

Morris Puxley drove the first 'bus to the first train in Palmyra village,
and continued in that occupation until his death in October, 1889, aged
seventy years.

Hon. George W. Cuyler was a prominent Democrat, and was appointed
by Governor Hoffman one of the committee to consider State taxation.
He was candidate for State senator in 1873, and was several times del-
egate to State and National conventions. He died here July 20, 1876.

The first burial place in the town was on the original Durfee home-
stead, subsequently the Lakey farm, and the first interment therein was
a child of Gideon Durfee; soon afterward James Rogers, the first adult,
was laid to rest there. In that plat lie the remains of many of the first
settlers. The present beautiful cemetery in Palmyra village was estab-
lished in 1844; in 1846 a public vault was erected. The Rogers Me-
morial Chapel was built in 1886; it is of stone, and owes its erection to
a fund of $4,000 left for the purpose by* Carlton H. Rogers. George
W. Wheeler has been superintendent since 1858. The cemetery is owned
by the village and is governed by a committee appointed by the trustees
of the corporation.

In 1793 two log school houses were erected, one on the site given by
John Swift in Palmyra village, the other, known as the Hopkins school
house, in East Palmyra. In a part of D. H. Foster's house Abigail Fos-
ter, his daughter, early taught a school of fifteen pupils; she afterward
married Benjamin Davis and died in Sodus, February 12, 1872. Two
frame school buildings were erected in Palmyra village designated re-
spectively "Federal" and "Democratic." " So strong was political
feeling that the partisans of each party sent only to their own school."
Early teachers in them were Ira Selby and a Mr. Blackman. A two-
story brick school house having four departments was built on the site
of the Catholic church, and on it was placed the first bell brought to the
town; this is now in use on the engine house. Chapman Jackson,
Lemuel Parkhurst, James S. Douglass, and Alexander Plumley were
among its earlier teachers. The institution was incorporated as a high
school, of which James F. Cogswell, Alexander Forbes, C. Giles, and
others were principals. The district was divided into three in 1835, and
a stone school house built in each.



The Palmyra Classical Union School had its inception in the consol-
idation of the above three school districts into "Union School, No. 1,
of Palmyra," in the winter of 1846-47. March 19, 1847, an act author-
ized a levy for the purchase of grounds and erection of a building.
April 11 the institution was incorporated. The first trustees were A. P.
Crandall, T. R. Strong, and Pliny 'Sexton ; R. G. Pardee was clerk. A
lot was secured from the heirs of Samuel Beckwith for $2,500 and the
erection of a school house commenced. A. P. Crandall was the finan-
cial trustee and Elihu Hinman the contractor. It was of brick, three
stories above the basement, cost $11,000, and was completed May 1,
1848. It contained eleven rooms. In 1889 this building was torn down,
and on the same lot the present handsome brick structure was built at
a cost of about $30,000. Joseph Blaby was the architect and George
C. Williams the contractor. It is three stories high, including base-
ment, and contains in all sixteen rooms. February 14, 1848, four de-
partments were organized, twelve teachers employed, and $800 raised
for the purchase of a bell, library and apparatus; that year the total
attendance was 697. The first faculty consisted of Justus W. French,
A. M., principal ; William M. Crosby, A. M., Miss Sarah D. Hance,
Charles D. Foster, Miss Clarissa Northrup, Miss Harriet E. Walker,
Edward W. French, Miss Melinda C. Jones, Miss A. Maria West, E.
Lush, C. D. Foster, J. C. French, De AVitt Mclntyre.

In 1857 the Palmyra Classical Union School was incorporated, and on
the 8th of April, under this act, Stephen Hyde was elected president,
Joseph W. Corning, secretary, and Joseph C. Lovett, treasurer; the
board consisted of nine trustees. April 18th an academical department
was organized. The following have served as principals: Professor
Baldwin, 1857; C. M. Hutchins, 1857-62; John Dunlap, 1862-66; Wil-
liam H. Fitts, 1866-68; C. M. Hutchins, again, 1868-75; Henry F.
Curt, 1S75-82; E. B. Fancher, 1882-86; A. S. Downing, 1886 to Jan-
uary, 1887; H. G. Clark, 1887-90; George W. Pye, 1890 to August,
1894. The present incumbent is Professor S. D. Arms. The average
yearly cost of maintaining the school is about $7,300. The library,
which in 1848 numbered 600 volumes, now contains •2,350, and is valued
at $2,400; the chemical apparatus is worth $500. The school building
and site are valued at $40,000. In L893-94 the average enrollment was
575 scholars, and the officers of the board for that school year were:
H. R. Durfee, president; F. E. Converse, secretary; Henry P. Knowles,
treasurer; H. M. Wood, collector; G. S. Tinklepaugh, clerk.


The town has thirteen school districts and school houses, which were
taught during 1892-3 by twenty-four teachers and attended by 911
scholars. The school buildings and sites are valued at $47,000; as-
sessed valuation of districts, $3,008,000; public money received from
the State, $4,030.59: raised by local tax, $9,091.35.

During the War of the Rebellion the town of Palmyra sent more than
440 of her brave and loyal citizens to fight the nation's battles. Several
were promoted to commissioned offices, and nearly 100 killed in action
or died of starvation in rebel prisons. Few remain of those who re-
turned to tell the thrilling story of that long, sanguinary conflict, and
on Memorial Day of each year the dead and living alike are honored by
a grateful people.

In 1810 the town of Palmyra (including Macedon and perhaps other
territory) had, according to Spafforcl, 2,187 inhabitants or 355 families,
with 290 senatorial electors; that year 33,719 yards of cloth were manu-
factured. In 1858 there were 17,100 acres improved land; value of real
estate, $1,190,524; personal property, $195,000; 2,062 male and 2,053
female inhabitants; 713 dwellings; 846 families; 527 freeholders; 14
school districts; 1,319 school children; 859 horses; 1,303 oxeci and
calves; 1,193 cows; 7,954 sheep; 1,900 swine; the productions were
31,073 bushels winter and 112,235 spring wheat, 3,713 tons hay, 16,701
bushels potatoes, 33,113 bushels apples, 105,711 pounds butter, 14,816
pounds cheese, and 268 yards domestic cloths.

In 1890 the population was 4,188, or 247 less than in 1880. In 1893
the assessed valuation of land was $937,179 (equalized $929,282); vil-
lage and mill property, $1,015,817 (equalized $1,092,553); railroads and
telegraphs, $617,533 (equalized $583,049); personal property, $525,500.
Sehedule of taxes 1893: Contingent fund, $3,088.45;. town poor fund,
$700; special town tax, $150; reimburse county poor fund, $1,404.32;
school tax, $2,864.06; county tax, $6,852.59; State tax, $3,776.15; State
insane tax, $974.17; dog tax, $314. Total tax, $20,138.65; rate per
cent., .00650466. August 8, 1890, the town was divided into four elec-
tion districts.

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


volume. It is also the site of the first permanent settlement — that of
John Swift in L790 — in the district of Tolland. Swift built a wool card-
ing machine, an ashery in 1791, laid out Main street in 1792, and estab-
lished a boat landing at the month of Red Creek in L793; he also re-
served for a gospel and school lot the site of the present old cemetery,
and surveyed out village lots of four acres each on the south side of
Main street the same year. In the rear of these, ten-acre lots were laid
out, and the first village property, including the present residence lot of
C. D. Johnson, was sold to James Galloway. The gospel and school lot
was reserved for a burial place in L796. Stephen Phelps purchased a
part of Galloway's lot and built, in 1796, on the site of the Powers
Hotel, the second tavern in the village. June L3, L796, Swift sold
nearly all his landed property to Sarah Brockway for $2,000; this was
reconveyed to him June 8, L799, for $2,500. Capt; John Hurlburt, in
I 795, bought lots of Swift on the north side of Main street in the upper
part of the village, and about the same time John Russell purchased the
first lot east of Chapel street, the site of the Presbyterian Church.
Theodatus Sawyer, a brother-in-law of Swift, bought one of three lots
between Fayette and Cuyler streets, which he sold to Constant South-
worth, who in L806 sold to William Howe Cuyler, from whom Cuyler
street was named. The other purchasers of these three lots were Ste-
phen Phelps and Joseph Colt. Swift's landing at first promised to lie-
come the village, for there Zebulon Williams, as previously stated, early
established the first store, but the prevalence of fever and ague cheeked
further progress.

In 1812 the village consisted of Main, Canandaigua, and Church streets,
the Ensworth tavern, Abner Cole's office, the house of Rev. Eliphalet
Roweon Canandaigua street, the dwellings of James Benson and George
Beckwith (Washington Hall) on Church street, a church on the old
cemetery site, the drug store of Dr. Cain Robinson, a low building oc-
cupied by William Jackway and Piatt and Zebulon Williams, a distil-
lery, the store of N. H. & G. Beckwith, the tailor shop of A. PI. Reed,
the saddlery of Abraham Shattuek, the drugstore of Mr. Mclntyre, the
stores of Nathan Thayer, Samuel Wagstaff, and O'Rourke, the Durfee
mill and dwelling, the cooper shop and house of William Cook, known
as the " Long House," the " I Jemocratic " and " Federal " school houses,
the store of Selby & Phelps and the Phelps tavern, the dwellings of
Ezra Shepardson, William P. Wilson (the tanner), Levi Daggett (black-
smith), Benjamin Cole (brother of Aimer), Mr. Blackman (blacksmith),


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

The first merchant inside the corporation was Joseph Colt; Hubbard
Hall was his partner for a time. About 1831 Colt died, and his son
Joseph S. carried on business until he removed. Colt owned two Dur-
ham boats, and it is said that Cooper Culver, William Clark, Silas
vStoddard, John Phelps, and Gilbert Howell took them, in 1S0-4, to
Schenectady, loaded with pork and flour, and returned with a load of
merchandise, occupying two months making the trip ; other trips fol-
lowed. Hall succeeded the Colts, and was followed by Seymour Sco-
ville. Patrick O'Rourke and Samuel Jennings were also early merchants ;
the hitter's building was burned in November, 1876. James and Orren
White built the first brick building, two stories high, in the village, on
the site of the Episcopal church ; they were succeeded by Israel J.
Richardson, afterward a lawyer, and Samuel Allen, later stage propri-
etor between Palmyra and Canandaigua. T. C. Strong occupied a
building where the Baptist church now stands, which was opened as a
supply store by Lasher & Candee, canal contractors, who brought here
the first stock of gilt-framed mirrors. Nathan Thayer was succeeded
by Joel and Levi, brothers, who also had an ashery where the gas house
now is. The latter were twins, and built several canal boats, one of
which was named Twin Brothers. The first canal collector was Philip

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


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

The first tanner was William P. Wilson about 1800; in 1832 he sub-
stituted his old vat system by a brick building, which burned in 1805,
and the business was discontinued. About 1820 Wells Anderson started
a tannery in the rear of the Powers Hotel, which in 1850 was converted
into a carriage shop by the father of A. R. Sherman. Henry Jessup
was in partnership with Wilson, whose interest he finally purchased,
and about 1816 took George Palmer as partner. Jessup died in 1854.
James Blackman was the first blacksmith; others were Asa Lilley and
Marshall Johnson. The first saddler was Salmon Hathaway, whose
shop occupied the site of the present town hall. Palatiah West was a
harnessmaker in 1824. The first cloth dressing and wool-carding mill
was built by Calvin Perrine, and Edward Durfee and Jonah Howell
established the first grist and saw mills. About 1830 the Palmyra
Manufacturing Company built a steam mill on the canal, at the foot of
William street, which was burned ten years later. Jessup started
another about 1846, which was discontinued in 1860. West of the vil-
lage is the "Yellow Mill" of the Downing Brothers, while inside the
corporation is the grist mill of A. P. Barnhart. The old George Harri-
son mill, now discontinued, is owned by his sons.

The first tavern in the village was built and opened about 1792 by
Dr. Azel Ensworth, brother-in-law to William Rogers; it stood on the
site of the Methodist church. The second public house was the Stephen
Phelps tavern, which occupied the location of the Powers Hotel. In
L820 Phelps removed to Illinois, and in 1S24 the structure was rebuilt
and enlarged to three stories. It became the Eagle Hotel, and among
the landlords were: Horace Warren (a son-in-law to Phelps), Alexander
R. Galloway, William Rogers, jr., Lovell Hurd, and Solomon St. Johns.


Abou,t 1835 it was removed and became a store, giving place to the

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