George Washington Cowles.

Landmarks of Wayne County, New York online

. (page 24 of 107)
Online LibraryGeorge Washington CowlesLandmarks of Wayne County, New York → online text (page 24 of 107)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

on the west by Arcadia, and on the north by Sodus. It comprises the
portion of the Gore lying between the old and new pre-emption lines
and the southwest corner of town 13, the east part of town 12, and the
northeast corner of town 11 of the Pultney estate.


The town was originally covered with dense forests, consisting of
beech, maple, hemlock, oak, ash, hickory, basswood, elm, etc., which
long gave employment to numerous saw mills. Ganargwa Creek flows
southeasterly from Arcadia to Lyons village, where it joins the Canan-
daigua outlet, the two forming the Clyde River, which runs thence
southeast into Galen. This junction was known in early days as the
"Forks," and beyond it boats could run only when freshets prevailed.
The river guided the first settlers not only to this town, but to Wayne
county, and this became the site of the pioneer habitations. These
streams afford excellent drainage and several good mill privileges.

The surface is undulating and broken into sand ridges. The soil is
a rich, sandy, and gravelly loam on the highlands and marl on the
creek bottoms. It is exceedingly fertile, and yields abundant crops of
grain, fruit, hay, peppermint, potatoes, vegetables, etc. It is a note-
worthy fact that in Lyons the great peppermint industry of Wayne
county had its origin, and with it the name of Hotchkiss is inseparably
connected. Its cultivation forms an important agricultural interest of
the town and a large area of adjacent territory, and affords to those
engaged in the business an immense revenue annually. There are a
number of mint stills that extract the oil from the fragrant herb, and
local dealers buy and ship it to distant markets. Besides these industries
the rearing of live stock is carried on to a considerable extent.

The first town meeting for the old district of Sodus was held at the
house of Evert Van Wickle, within the present limits of Lyons, on the
present Rogers farm, on April 2, 1799, and the officers elected on that
date are given in the Sodus chapter. The first meeting after the present
town was organized was held at the house or Thomas D. Gale on the
first Tuesday in April, 1811, and the following officers were chosen:
Gilbert Howell, supervisor; Gabriel Rogers, town clerk; Joseph Burnett,
Jacob Leach, Jesse Brown, assessors; John Tibbitts, collector; Samuel
Soverhill, William Patten, Jesse Brown, highway commissioners; Joseph
Burnett and Gabriel Rogers, overseers of the poor; John Tibbitts and
Thomas Sutton, constables; and thirty-one overseers of highways.
The town records are very incomplete and the names of the supervisors
from 1839 to 1855 inclusive can not be ascertained. Excepting that
period the following have held the principal town office:

Gilbert Howell, 1811, EzeJuel Price, 1815,

John Brown, 1812-13, Ezra Jewell, 1816,

Henry Hyde, 1814, Oren Aldrich, 1817-19,


Robert W. Ashley, L820, Bartlett R. Rogers, 1859-61,

Oreo Aldrich, 1821-22, Miles S. Leach, 1862-68,

Robert W. Ashley, L823. Nelson R. Miriek, 1869-74,

James P. Bartle, 1824, William Van Marter, is;;, ;;

Oliver Allen, 1825-26, George W. Cramer, 1878 79,

Robert W. Ashley, 1827-30, Bartlett R. Rogers, 1880;

Abel Lyon, 1831, Leman Hotchkiss, 1881-82.

Eli Johnson, 1832-33, M. H. Dillenbeck, 1883-85,

John W. Holley, 1834-37, R. A. Hubbard, 1886-88,

Nelson Peck, 1838, A. E. Burnett, 1889,

1839 to 1855, unknown, William P. Miriek, 1890,

Miles S. Leach, 1856, A. E. Burnett, 1891-93,

John Adams, 1857, G. W. Koester, 1894.
C. Rice, 1858,

The town officers for 1894 are: G. W. Koester, supervisor; John
Mills, town clerk; J. B. Haynes, collector; Louis Deuchler, L. L.
Dickerson, W. E. McCollum, C. D. Leach, justices of the peace; Ernst
Berns, Daniel Barton, George F. Fellows, assessors; Samuel Cronise
and Edward Claassen, overseers of the poor; F. H. Miller, highway
commissioner; William Bailey, John H. Young, Louis P. Engel, excise

The first settlers in Wayne county as well as the first in this town
came in by boats or bateaux on the Clyde River to the junction of
Ganargwa Creek and Canandaigua outlet, and there is now standing in
Lyons village a celebrated landmark in the form of an elm tree, to
which the pioneers fastened their craft. This venerable relic is appro-
priately preserved, and around it cluster many interesting events. The
earliest records of roads in Lyons were made in 1800, but the first
thoroughfare laid out was the "Geneva road " from the village to Sodus
Point in 1794, by Captain Charles Williamson, the cutting of which cost
him over $250. Within two years this was extended to Geneva at an
expense to Williamson of about $180, and subsequently for some-time
was maintained as a plank road, as was also the highway along the
valley. Other roads were opened as settlers came in, and improved
from time to time as necessity required. In 1811 the town was divided
into thirty-one road districts; in 1817 there were fifty-one, in 18:22 the
number was fifty-one, and in 1824 there were eighty; at present there
are forty-seven.

April 10, 1824, Eli Frisbie, Simeon Griswold, and James Dickson
were appointed a committee to built a bridge across Canandaigua out-
let (or Clyde River) at Lyons village "where the old bridge now stands,


or as near as possible," and the supervisor was authorized to raise by
tax $1,00(> for the purpose. March 26, L829, the supervisor was em-
powered to raise $2,000 to erect two bridges, one over the Clyde River
on the road leading from the village to Hecox's mills, and another
across Ganargwa Creek and Erie Canal. March 30, 1832, $700 were
appropriated for the construction of a bridge over the Canandaigua out-
let at Alloway. March 26, 1838, the supervisor was authorized to raise
$2,000, of which $1,000 was for the rebuilding of abridge across the
Ganargwa near its junction with the outlet, and the balance for the re-
construction of the bridge over Clyde River near Kingman & Durfee's
mill. These are the principal early bridges; subsequently all of them,
and others, were superseded by substantial iron structures.

In 1825 the Erie Canal was completed and opened through the town
and village, and the event was celebrated with appropriate ceremonies.
It imparted a new impetus to the pioneer settlement, and ever afterward
exerted a marked influence upon the development and commercial ad-
vancement of the community. Clyde River immediately lost its pres-
tige as a water route, and gave up its commerce to the "great ditch."

In 1841 the canal aqueduct was built over Ganargwa Creek under the
supervision of Zebulon Moore, who was afterward appointed superin-
tendent of the Wayne county section.

In 1853 the New York Central Railroad was opened with a station at
Lyons village, and again an important impetus was inaugurated. The
first passenger train passed over the route on May 30th of that year.
The present brick depot was built in 1890. May 17, 1872, the town is-
sued bonds to the amount of $135,000, and on Feburary 18, 1874, another
lot amounting to $15,000, in aid of the Sodus Bay and Corning Railroad,
and up to January 1, 1804, all had been paid and canceled except $17,-
ooo. This is now the Fall Brook Railway, and was built only as far as
Lyons. The railroad commissioner is D. S. Chamberlain. The West
Shore (originally the New York, West Shore and Buffalo) Railroad was
constructed and formally opened through the town January 1, 1885.

The first settlers in Lyons and the first in Wayne county were Nich-
olas and William Stansell, brothers, and John Featherly, their brother-
in-law, with their families, numbering in all twelve persons. In the
spring of L789 they built and launched a boat on the Mohawk River, and
with an Indian trader named Wemple as a pilot the party came the en-
tire distance by water, arriving at the junction of Ganargwa Creek and
Canandaigua outlet, the head of navigation and the site of Lyons vil-


lage, in May, 1780. They settled on what is now the Dunn farm, and
their first log house stood on the site of the present residence. They
brought with them a number of swine, which were allowed to roam the
forests and, becoming wild, were hunted as other game. Mr. Stansell,
ptre, evidently comprised one of the party, for he died soon after their
arrival and "was buried without funeral rites," which was doubtless
the first white death in town. Nicholas Stansell is said to have been
their leader. He was born in Springfield, Mass., September 11, 1755,
and while a youth moved with his parents to the Mohawk valley. He
was a noted hunter and atypical pioneer, being endowed by nature with
a wonderful physique. Uniting their forces with three or four men
who had settled in Phelps, Ontario county, a few months previously,
they cut a road through the forests to the grist-mill at Waterloo. Nich-
olas Stansell was very prominent in the early settlement, and was one
of the first trustees of the M. E. Church. He had ten children, and
died December 11, 1819; his remains were interred in the Newark cem-
etery. John Featherly sold his farm to Daniel B. Westfall and moved
to Rose, where he died in 1843, aged eighty years. Daniel Cole died
August 25, 1855.

From 1789 to 1794 there is no account of other settlers coming into
this town, but in the latter year Capt. Charles Williamson, through his
local agents, Charles Cameron and Henry Towar, began improvements
at Lyons village and Alloway respectively, and it is said that he ex-
pended a total of about $12,000 in the two places. Daniel Scholl was
his millwright at Alloway, where a good grist-mill was built.

In 1796 James Otto came to Lyons from Pennsylvania and assisted
in building the mill and a warehouse at Alloway; the latter was finally
moved to Lyons and became a Presbyterian church and afterward a
cabinet shop. In 1798 Mr. Otto married a daughter of Capt. Samuel
Dunn, which was the first marriage in town. They had sixteen chil-
dren, of whom Samuel was murdered in Rose. He settled on a farm
three miles southeast of Lyons village, .which he sold after attaining the
age of eighty, and removed to Michigan.

In 1797 Rev. John Cole, a native of England and a local Methodist
preacher, came to Lyons, and was joined in 1799 by his sons Thomas
and Joseph, a daughter Mary, and a son-in-law, Samuel Bennett. Mr. •
Cole was the first preacher in the town. He bought 2G3 acres at $5 per
acre, which was the first individual purchase in Wayne county east of
Lyons village. He had a large library, was a great student, and died



herein L808. His daughter married Rev. William Ninde, an Episcopal
clergyman, and after his death took up her residence nere with four
sons and two daughters, one of whom was Thomas, who married a
daughter of Evert Van Wickle. Joseph Cole moved to Galen in 1837
and his son Samuel J. inherited the homestead. The latter died in
April, 1883.

George Carr settled on a farm of twenty-five acres now within the
village limits in 1798. He came from Maryland, was a stone mason,
and died January 30, 1841. Adam Learn moved here from Pennsyl-
vania as early as 1800. He was a brother-in-law to James Otto. His
eldest son John located in Galen on lot 42 and died in 1864.

Amos Gilbert was born in 1757, served in the Revolutionary war,
came to Lyons with his family in October, 1800, and died in Sodus in
1832. He was a carpenter, and had four daughters and six sons, of
whom John, David, and Solomon served in the war of 1812. Solomon
died in the service. Deacon John Gilbert, the eldest son, was born in
Salem, Mass., December 30, 1789. He settled in the village in 1810
and died there July 22, 1882. He was a sergeant in Captain Hull's
company on the Niagara f router, became captain of militia, was an elder
in the Presbyterian Church from 1817 until his death, and served as <
constable and collector from 1819 to 1829.

Gabriel Rogers started a tannery at an early date in Palmyra, where
he married in 1804 a daughter of Samuel Clark, and whence he moved
in 1809 to Lyons. He purchased the tannery of William Bond, which
he sold in 1817, and in 1818 removed to South Sodus, where he was ap-
pointed the first postmaster. He served in the cavalry in the war of
1812, and died in 1847. Hon. Bartlett R. Rogers was long a very
prominent citizen of Lyons. He was a captain in the 106th Regiment
in the Civil War, supervisor several years, county treasurer, sheriff, and
member of Assembly. He died in June, 1880.

Major Ezekiel Price was born in New Jersey and obtained his title in
the vState militia. He came to Lyons in 1802, was appointed the first
postmaster and held the office nearly thirty years, and died in 1845,
aged eighty years. He was one of the earliest landlords, and built and
kept a frame tavern where Congress Hall now stands, prior to which he
had an inn on the east side of Broad street. His son, Ephraim Barton
Price, was a prominent citizen, had twelve children, and died in
January, 1885. His second son, William H. Price, became a civil
engineer, and died in 1870.


Jacob Leach came to Lyons from Litchfield, Conn., in L809, and
operated a distillery on the north side of Ganargwa Creek until the site
was wanted for the Erie Canal in 1824. He then became a merchant
with Joseph M. Demmon on Water street. He was a canal contractor,
and erected a mill on the Ganargwa that was burned and rebuilt in
1 837. He was a justice of the peace several years, member of Assembly
in 1823, and at one time president of the old Lyons Bank with Thaddeus
W. Patchen as cashier. He had ten children, and died in 1853, aged
seventy-five years.

Judge Daniel Dorsey commanded a company of volunteers in the
Revolutionary war, and was a planter in Frederick county, Md. In
1797 he visited this section, and purchased of Captain Williamson 1,048
acres of land adjoining the village on the south. The next year he
moved hither his large family and about forty slaves, and with some
goods which they had bought he began trading with the Indians, who
camped in large numbers in the vicinity. His mansion stood upon an
eminence at the end of a lane leading west from the Geneva road, and
on both sides of this lane were the slaves' houses, a store, and an office.
Mr. Dorsey was a magistrate, a physician, a member of Assembly,
judge of the Ontario County Court, and a Methodist, and in his barn
was held the first meeting of the Genesee Conference in this place, the
presiding officer being Rev. Francis Asbury, the first Methodist bishop
in America. Judge Dorsey died in 1823, aged sixty-five years, and his
widow moved to the village, built a house on Broad street, and died
there. They had five sons — Upton, Thomas E., Nelson, Andrew, and
Caleb — and seven daughters. Thomas E. Dorsey died December 27,
1870, aged seventy-eight years.

The tax or assessment roll dated October 9, 1802, for the "Town of
Sodus," contains eighty-four names of freeholders, enumerates sixty-
nine dwelling houses, places the total valuation at $174,312, and calls
for a tax levy of $327.29. The items falling within the present town
are as follows: William Beaty, 141 acres, assessed (37 cents. George
Carr, 25 acres (first farm north of the village), 35 cents. Richard Ely,
223 acres, $1.04 (Mr. Ely sold out and moved to Sodus about 1812).
William Bryant, 109 acres, 46 cents. Samuel Brown, 80 acres, 31 cents.
Judge Daniel Dorsey, 1,048 acres (between Clyde River and Alloway),
$9.53. David Gilson (a river boatman), one house and seven village
lots, 28 cents. William Gibbs, one house (the tavern stand, afterward
the "Old Museum ") and seven village lots, 36 cents. Richard Jones,


188 acres, 87 cents. Samuel Mummy, one house and four acres, 82
cents. John Perrine, 553 acres, $4.44. James Walters, 60 acres, 40
cents. William Paton, 101 acres, 54 cents. John'Riggs, two houses
and 299 acres, $1.77. John Van Wickle, 224 acres, $1.03. Evert Van
Wickle, house and lot, 39 cents. Thomas Cole (son of Rev. Cole), 50
acres, 31 cents.

Among those living in Lyons village and vicinity in 1808 were:
Captain David Gilson, Major Ezekiel Price, Dr. William Ambler (the
first physician), John Riggs. Richard Jones (saddler and harness maker),
William Bond, (shoemaker and tanner), Joseph Hathaway (proprietor
of "The Lick" tavern), Samuel Mummy, George Carr, Henry Beard,
Captain John Perrine, Thomas Story, William Duncan, the Stanton
brothers, Rev. John Cole and sons, Samuel Bennett, Peter AValker,
James Coats, a Mr. Wales, Judge Daniel Dorsey, Benjamin Brink,
James Walters, Henry Stansell, John Featherly, Richard Ely, Major
Amos Stout, Benjamin Hartman, John Van Wickle, Elisha Sylvester,
Captain William Paton, and Simon Van Wickle.

Samuel King settled on 300 acres northeast of the village in 1805.
He was the father of Samuel, jr., Esau, Thomas, Jesse, Joseph, and
Leander King. Benjamin Brink bought sixty acres of William Gibbs,
which he sold to Levi Geer in 1825, and moved to Galen, where he died.
Daniel B. Westfall came to Lyons about 1810, and purchased 117 acres
of John Featherly, and forty-seven of Matthias Clark, near Alloway,
where he lived until his death. He had four sons and two daughters,
the former being Benjamin, Abraham, James, and Cornelius; the latter
inherited the homestead. Simon Westfall settled three miles south of
Lyons, and died there. He had eleven children, of whom the sons were
Jacob, Lewis, William, and John.

William and Benjamin Ennis, brothers, migrated hither from New
Jersey in 1806. The former died about 1822 ; his son Robert was a canal
contractor, and in 1 847 purchased the homestead and saw-mill of Capt.
Henry Towar at Alloway, and died in 1860. Benjamin Ennis went to
Ohio in L832 and died there. George Ennis was a prominent farmer
neai- Alloway and a president of the Wayne Count)- Agricultural Society.
He died in December, 1883.

Thomas D. Gale, brother-in-law of Judge Sisson, came to Lyons in
ISO 1 .) and bought of Joseph Hathaway the tavern on the west side of
Broad street that was subsequently known as the "Old Museum." Be-
sides this he had a store and asheiw and butchered cattle for the Cana-


clian market. At his house the first town meeting was held in April, 1811.

There was a militia company in Lyons, attached to the list Regi-
ment, as early as 1808, the officers of which were William Paton, cap-
tain ; Peter Perrine, lieutenant; and James Bound, ensign. Elias Hull
was colonel, and his hotel was a favorite rendezvous.

John Barrick came from Maryland about 1805 and died in 185 1 . John
Close settled herein 1810, but removed to Lock Berlin about 1830 and
died the next year. Samuel Minkler, a tanner, located in Lyons in
1808. Peter Eisenlord was a resident of the town as early as 1806; he
finally sold his farm and moved to Michigan. Jeremiah Brown came to
Lyons prior to 1808. He was a cooper, had a distillery, and also went
to Michigan. Jonathan Clark, sr. , removed hither from New Jersey
about 1810. He had four sons, two of whom were David and Abraham.
William Paton was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, came to America in
L794, when twenty-four years of age, and settled in 1800, where he died
in 1843. He was an ardent admirer of Robert Burns. Henry Beard,
a pioneer from Pennsylvania, was both a pettifogger and jockey.

John Perrine came here from New Jersey. He built the first dam
across the Canandaigua outlet, erected the first saw mill in town a mile
south of the village, and was one of the founders of the Presbyterian
Church, whose services he often conducted in the absence of a minister.
With John Van Wickle, William Paton and others, he obtained from
the land office in 1806 a grant of land long known as the Parsonage
farm, which was designed as a permanent endowment of the church.
He organized a Sunday school in 1818, and owned with Paton and Van
Wickle a number of village lots on Queen street between William and
Broad. He was a justice of the peace and supervisor, and prominent
in all local affairs. He finally moved to Michigan and died in 1836.
His sons were Henry, William, Ira, and David W. The latter was a
lieutenant in the war of 1812 and succeeded to the paternal homestead.

Dr. Robert W. Ashley, a native of Massachusetts, came to Lyons in
1804 and afterward began housekeeping in Samuel Mummy's old house
on the east side of Broad street. He was long a practicing physician,
supervisor in 1827-30, candidate for the Assembly in 1830, and died in
1853. He was the father of Samuel J., Robert, and William F. Ashley
and Mrs. H. G. Hotchkiss.

Milton Barney was born in Massachusetts in 1796. In 1818 he trans-
ported a wool-carding and cloth-dressing machine to "Arms Cross
Roads" (now Wallington in Sodus), which he sold to Elisha Bushnell


and in 1810 came to Lyons. He carried on Iris trade here, bought a
saw mill of Judge Dorsey, erected a new dam across the outlet and built
a wool-carding- and cloth-dressing mill, and in 1825 with Samuel Wilcox
and William E. Perrine put up a flouring- mill on the present site of the
Shuler mill in the village. Afterward he purchased the grist mill of
Jacob Leach and added a clothier's shop, but finally resold the establish-
ment to Leach and went West.

Stephen H. and John Hartman settled two miles southwest of Lyons
village in 1816. The former died in 1872. Dr. Joseph Varnum came
here in 1817, and died in 1822, being buried with Masonic honors. Levi
Geer removed to Lyons the same year and first purchased of Abraham
Clark the original Stansell farm for $7,000. He had eight children and
died December 15, 185:], aged seventy-eight years. Cyrus Avery, a
Montezuma turnpike contractor, settled in this town with $1,500 in cash.
He was a typical Connecticut Yankee, and died in January, 1868, aged
eighty-four vears. He secured his deed from the Pultney estate, and
was succeeded on the homestead by his son, A G. Avery.

Joseph M. Demmon was born in Rensselaer county, N. Y., October
30, 1790, came to Phelps with his parents in 1801, and removed thence
to Lyons in 1813, where he died in March, 1886. He brought the first
stock of goods to this village, and besides being a merchant was also a
tavern keeper, a liveryman, and a contractor. He was the first town
clerk, and except four years held either the office of overseer of the
poor, town clerk, or village treasurer until his death. He was a highly
respected citizen.

Michael Vanderbilt, from New Jersey, settled in Lyons in 1812, and
died March 16, 1874*aged eighty-eight years. Josiah Wright, a brother-
in-law of Joseph Farwell, removed to the village about 1811 and built
a tavern in Joppa. About 1828 he exchanged this for the Lyons Hotel
(later the Graham House), and finally died in Buffalo. William Patrick
purchased of David W. Perrine a farm north of Lyons village about
L816. A carpenter by trade he was master workman during the con-
struction of the long bridge across Seneca River on the Montezuma
turnpike. He was the father of Frank, William, and Pierce Patrick.
Robert Holmes, sr., settled in Lyons in 1818, made brick and potash,
and died in 1848. His sons were: John, Gilman, Abram, William F.,
and Robert, jr. The latter was born in L803, and died in February,

Ziba Lane, born in Bedford, Mass., in 1756, removed with his wife to


Maine, and came thence to Lyons in 1814. He located on lot so, built
a log- cabin and afterwards a commodious residence, accumulated a hand-
some property, and died at a good old age. His son Levi was born in
Amherst, Mass., in 1806.

Newell Taf't and Farnum White removed to Lyons in 1816 and en-
gaged in manufacturing chairs; afterward the partnership was dissolved
and White continued the business alone. Mr. Taft became a contractor
and builder, and with Henry Seymour began casting plows, making the
first of the kind in town. Taft later built a foundry which he sold in
1866 to Wickson & Van Wickle. The establishment was burned in
1869, and rebuilt. Mr. Taft had twelve children. He was a prominent
member of the Presbyterian church from 1822 until his death, Decem-
ber 8, 1874, aged nearly eighty-one years.

Philip Dorscheimer was the first miller in Lyons village. He after-
ward kept the old Wayne County Hotel and then the Lyons Hotel, and
finally moved to Buffalo. He was a respected citizen, and through his
influence a large number of sturdy Germans were induced to settle in
the town. Elijah P. Taylor, born in Massachusetts in 1805, came to
Lyons in 1822, and after completing his trade carried on the tanning

Online LibraryGeorge Washington CowlesLandmarks of Wayne County, New York → online text (page 24 of 107)